Johan and Judy Maurer

Elektrostal, Russia



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New Humanities Institute, winter
New Humanities Institute, where Johan and Judy teach

Elektrostal celebrates its 75th birthday in 2013. It is an industrial city nearly 40 miles east of Moscow. It is built on both sides of a rail spur going north off the Moscow-Nizhni Novogorod line. The rail spur provides passenger access to Elektrostal and its older sister just to the north, Noginsk, but also provides freight service to the industrial plants around which Elektrostal gradually developed, starting with the building of the first two factories in 1916. The original settlement was called Zatishie; it was renamed Elektrostal in 1928 and given official city status in 1938.
According to Elektrostal's official Web site, the city has 146,370 inhabitants. Of those, about 29,000 work in industry. The city has both government and independent schools through undergraduate university level. Among the independent schools is the New Humanities Institute with its three faculties--Linguistics and Intercultural Communication, Design, and Tourism.
Elektrostal is served by an extensive network of bus routes, along with a large number of passenger vans (marshrutki). Trains connect Elektrostal with Moscow several times a day (even more frequently from the rail junction at nearby Fryazevo village), and buses leave for Moscow every 20-30 minutes.
The steel foundry that originally gave Elektrostal ("electro-steel") its name celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2007; visit the English-language section of their web site here. Elektrostal also played an important role in the Soviet Union's nuclear science program. One of the most prominent local businesses, Mashinostroitel'ny Zavod (Elemash for short), specializes in fuel rods and related products for nuclear power plants. Its parent company supplies about 17% of the world's commercial nuclear fuel.
During much of the Soviet era, Elektrostal's importance as a center of military industry made it a closed city. In the first years after the end of the USSR, several of its major plants went into decline, but in recent years the city has enjoyed an industrial and economic revival.

Photos of Elektrostal

Elektrostal's 70th birthday (2008)
Elektrostal's artists