7th Guards Mountain Air Assault Division
The 7th Guards Mountain Air Assault Division is an elite guards division of the Russian Airborne Troops. The 7th Guards Airborne Division was formed in September 1948 based on 322nd Guards Rifle Regiment which fought in Eastern Europe in World War II. In October 1948 the division was relocated to Lithuania. During the Cold War period, the division served in the suppression of the Hungarian and Czech revolutions. On August 1993, the division was relocated to Russia, it took part in various counter-insurgency operations in the Caucasus region. On 1 December 2006 it was renamed as 7th Guards Mountain Air Assault Division. In 2014 the division's 247th Guards Air Assault Regiment took part in the War in Donbass in Ukraine. There were two separately formed 7th Guards Airborne Divisions in the Red Army and Soviet Ground Forces/Soviet Airborne Troops; the first division was formed during the Second World War at Ramenskoye in December 1942. It fought at Demyansk, Korsun, on the Dnieper River, at Targul Frumos and Budapest.
It ended the war with 4th Guards Army of the 3rd Ukrainian Front in May 1945. As part of a postwar military reorganization, this division was retitled the 115th Guards Rifle Division in June 1945; the second formation of the 7th Guards Airborne Division was started in September 1948 based on 322nd Guards Rifle Regiment. The first formation of the division was formed during the Second World War at Ramenskoye in December 1942, it fought at Demyansk, Korsun, on the Dnieper River, at Targul Frumos and Budapest. On May 8, 1945, the divisional commander, Major General Dmitrii Aristarkhovich Drichkin, set up his headquarters in the village of Erlauf, some 60 miles west of Vienna and 50 miles east of Linz. Anxious to meet the Allies, he sent out scouts. At midnight, he met Major General Stanley Eric Reinhart, commander of the U. S. 65th Infantry Division. For the duration of their presence on the Danube river, both commanders continued to cooperate in an unusually effective manner. Twenty years public affairs officer Captain John J. Pullen described their first cordial encounter for the National Observer.
For the 50th anniversary, Erlauf erected a Soviet-sponsored memorial. It features a local girl, linking arms with a GI on her right, a Soviet soldier on her left. To this day, an enlarged photo and a small exhibit mark the spot where this historic encounter took place: A life-size Major General Reinhart, smiling at General Drichkin, as they compare their watches one minute past midnight, on 9 May 1945, the moment the unconditional surrender of Germany became effective; as part of a postwar military reorganization at the end of June 1945, the first formation of the 7th Guards Airborne Division was retitled as the 115th Guards Rifle Division. The 22nd Guards Tank Division was activated on 4 June 1957 in Novomoskovsk, Dnepropetrovsk Oblast, from the 115th Guards Rifle Division; the baptism of fire of the second formation division's predecessor regiment took place in 1945, fighting around Lake Balaton under the 37th Guards Rifle Corps, 9th Guards Army, 3rd Ukrainian Front. On 26 April 1945, the 322nd Guards Rifle Regiment of the 103rd Guards Rifle Division was awarded the Order of Kutuzov, second class, for exemplary performance.
In commemoration, the division's official day is 26 April, by an order of the Defense Minister of the USSR. At the end of the war, the 322nd Guards Rifle Regiment was in the city of Czechoslovakia. During the war, the regiment was thanked on six occasions by the Supreme Commander. In all 2,065 of its soldiers and officers were decorated for valor and heroism by the Soviet Union; the 7th Guards Airborne Division was established on 15 October 1948 on the basis of the 322nd Guards Air Landing Regiment of the 103rd Guards Airborne Division at Polotsk in the Belorussian Military District, becoming part of the 8th Guards Airborne Corps. The division was relocated to the cities of Kaunas and Marijampole, Lithuanian SSR. Personnel from these bases took part in actions against Lithuanian partisans. Units in this premier division of airborne troops have mastered the landing of Antonov An-8, An-12, An-22, Il-76 aircraft, tested a number of new parachute systems, all generations of BMD, 2S9 Nona artillery systems.
In 1956, the division was involved in "Operation Whirlwind", the suppression of the Hungarian revolution. On 3 November 1956, the 108th Parachute Regiment landed at the Tököl airbase in Il-12 and Li-2 aircraft and disabling six antiaircraft batteries positioning themselves to defend the base. On 4 November 1956 the regimental staff, together with fighters from the 119th Parachute Regiment, entered the city of Budapest and took part in street fighting until the city was secured on 7 November. In 1968, the division participated in Operation Danube to suppress the Prague Spring uprising; the 108th Regiment distinguished itself in the most dangerous and difficult missions, for which about two hundred of its personnel received high government awards. On 23 June 1969, troops of the 108th Airborne Regiment were tasked to fly from Kaunas to Ryazan, where they were to demonstrate their vehicle assault landing skills to the Minister of Defence of the USSR, Andrei Grechko; the group of three An-12 aircraft took off early in the morning, reaching a cruising altitude of 3,000 metres.
Approaching the city of Kaluga, a plane carrying the staff of a company and battalion command collided with an Ilyushin Il-14 passenger plane, at 3000 meters without clearance, with the loss of all aboard. The division was involved in many major exercises and maneuvers, such as "Shield-76", "Neman", "West-81", "West-84" and "Watch-86", in the latter three exerc
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, which started on Sunday, 22 June 1941, during World War II. The operation stemmed from Nazi Germany's ideological aims to conquer the western Soviet Union so that it could be repopulated by Germans, to use Slavs as a slave labour force for the Axis war effort, to murder the rest, to acquire the oil reserves of the Caucasus and the agricultural resources of Soviet territories. In the two years leading up to the invasion and the Soviet Union signed political and economic pacts for strategic purposes; the German High Command began planning an invasion of the Soviet Union in July 1940, which Adolf Hitler authorized on 18 December 1940. Over the course of the operation, about three million personnel of the Axis powers – the largest invasion force in the history of warfare – invaded the western Soviet Union along a 2,900-kilometer front. In addition to troops, the Wehrmacht deployed some 600,000 motor vehicles, between 600,000 and 700,000 horses for non-combat operations.
The offensive marked an escalation of World War II, both geographically and in the formation of the Allied coalition. Operationally, German forces achieved major victories and occupied some of the most important economic areas of the Soviet Union and inflicted, as well as sustained, heavy casualties. Despite these Axis successes, the German offensive stalled in the Battle of Moscow at the end of 1941, the subsequent Soviet winter counteroffensive pushed German troops back; the Red Army absorbed the Wehrmacht's strongest blows and forced the Germans into a war of attrition that they were unprepared for. The Wehrmacht never again mounted a simultaneous offensive along the entire Eastern front; the failure of the operation drove Hitler to demand further operations of limited scope inside the Soviet Union, such as Case Blue in 1942 and Operation Citadel in 1943 – all of which failed. The failure of Operation Barbarossa proved a turning point in the fortunes of the Third Reich. Most the operation opened up the Eastern Front, in which more forces were committed than in any other theater of war in world history.
The Eastern Front became the site of some of the largest battles, most horrific atrocities, highest World War II casualties, all of which influenced the course of both World War II and the subsequent history of the 20th century. The German armies captured 5,000,000 Red Army troops, who were denied the protection guaranteed by the Hague Conventions and the 1929 Geneva Convention. A majority of Red Army POWs never returned alive; the Nazis deliberately starved to death, or otherwise killed, 3.3 million prisoners of war, as well as a huge number of civilians. Einsatzgruppen death-squads and gassing operations murdered over a million Soviet Jews as part of the Holocaust; as early as 1925, Adolf Hitler vaguely declared in his political manifesto and autobiography Mein Kampf that he would invade the Soviet Union, asserting that the German people needed to secure Lebensraum to ensure the survival of Germany for generations to come. On 10 February 1939, Hitler told his army commanders that the next war would be "purely a war of Weltanschauungen... a people's war, a racial war".
On 23 November, once World War II had started, Hitler declared that "racial war has broken out and this war shall determine who shall govern Europe, with it, the world". The racial policy of Nazi Germany portrayed the Soviet Union as populated by non-Aryan Untermenschen, ruled by Jewish Bolshevik conspirators. Hitler claimed in Mein Kampf that Germany's destiny was to "turn to the East" as it did "six hundred years ago". Accordingly, it was stated Nazi policy to kill, deport, or enslave the majority of Russian and other Slavic populations and repopulate the land with Germanic peoples, under the Generalplan Ost; the Germans' belief in their ethnic superiority is evident in official German records and discernible in pseudoscientific articles in German periodicals at the time, which covered topics such as "how to deal with alien populations". While older histories tended to emphasize the notion of a "Clean Wehrmacht", the historian Jürgen Förster notes that "In fact, the military commanders were caught up in the ideological character of the conflict, involved in its implementation as willing participants."
Before and during the invasion of the Soviet Union, German troops were indoctrinated with anti-Bolshevik, anti-Semitic, anti-Slavic ideology via movies, lectures and leaflets. Likening the Soviets to the forces of Genghis Khan, Hitler told Croatian military leader Slavko Kvaternik that the "Mongolian race" threatened Europe. Following the invasion, Wehrmacht officers told their soldiers to target people who were described as "Jewish Bolshevik subhumans", the "Mongol hordes", the "Asiatic flood", the "Red beast". Nazi propaganda portrayed the war against the Soviet Union as both an ideological war between German National Socialism and Jewish Bolshevism and a racial war between the Germans and the Jewish and Slavic Untermenschen. An'order from the Führer' stated that the Einsatzgruppen were to execute all Soviet functionaries who were "less valuable Asiatics and Jews". Six months into the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Einsatzgruppen had murdered in excess of 500,000 Soviet Jews, a figure greater than the number of Red Army soldiers killed in combat during that same time frame.
German army command
Operation Kutuzov was the first of the two counteroffensives launched by the Red Army as part of the Kursk Strategic Offensive Operation. It commenced on 12 July 1943, in the Central Russian Upland, against Army Group Center of the German Wehrmacht; the operation was named after General Mikhail Kutuzov, the Russian general credited with saving Russia from Napoleon during the French invasion of Russia in 1812. Operation Kutuzov was one of two large-scale Soviet operations launched as counteroffensives against Operation Citadel; the Operation began on 12 July and ended on 18 August 1943 with the capture of Orel and collapse of the Orel bulge. As the end of the rasputitsa or rainy season approached, the Soviet command considered their next steps. Stalin desired to seize the initiative and attack the German forces but was convinced by his senior commanders to take an initial defensive posture and allow the Germans to weaken themselves in attacking prepared positions. After this the Soviet forces would go over onto the offensive.
Operation Kutuzov was the offensive plan for the Soviet forces before Moscow facing the German forces of Army Group Center. It was carried out by three Soviet Fronts or army groups: the Western Front, the Bryansk Front and the Central Front; the offensive was directed north of the Kursk area against the German 2nd Panzer Army, with the intention of cutting behind and trapping the German 9th Army conducting offensive operations against the Kursk salient. The Germans had spread their forces thin all across the front in an effort to provide as much men and material as possible for Operation Citadel. Holding the front before the Soviet offensive were the 2nd Panzer Army and elements of the 9th Army; the region had been held by German forces for nearly two years and despite Hitler's admonition not to build defensive works behind the front, some preparations had been made. A defensive line had been started, 5–7 kilometres in depth, consisting of minefields, interconnected trench works, strong points.
Wherever possible, the Germans took advantage of terrain features such as streams and gullies but the positions were thinly held. The Soviet high command planned two offensives as part of a large general offensive throughout the eastern front. Operation Kutuzov was the northern offensive, with its objective being to collapse the Orel salient, cut behind the 9th Army engaged in offensive operations at Kursk and annihilate it. In doing so they hoped to cause a general collapse of the German forces in the Soviet Union; the attack was to begin once the German panzer units engaged in Operation Citadel were locked into combat and weakened by their offensive at Kursk. The initial attack was to be made on the northern and eastern faces of the Orel salient, with the Central Front along the southern face of the salient joining in as well, once the German offensive had been stopped. German intelligence had revealed the Soviet forces massing opposite the 2nd Panzer Army and these had caused great concern to Kluge and Model.
The Soviet armies earmarked for the operation had amassed a force of 2,400 tanks. These were supported by 3,000 aircraft; the Soviet offensive was aided by partisan attacks behind the German lines. 100,000 Soviet partisans were working to disrupt German efforts to supply and reinforce their forces. German movements of ammunition and reinforcements were hampered throughout the operation by attacks on German communications and supply routes railway lines; the partisans operated under the guidance of the Red Army. On 12 July, a heavy artillery barrage marked the launching of the offensive; the armies of the Bryansk Front and the Western Front attacked along the north and north-east flanks of the 2nd Panzer Army. The Western Front assault was led by the 11th Guards Army under Lieutenant General Hovhannes Bagramyan, supported by the 1st and 5th Tank Corps; the Russians attacked with overwhelming numbers. Along one 16-kilometre attack sector near Ulianovo, six Soviet rifle divisions attacked two German infantry regiments.
At 5–7 kilometres in depth, the German defensive lines were deeper than the Soviets expected. The Soviet spearheads sustained heavy casualties but pushed through and in some areas achieved significant penetration; the defenders were overwhelmed by the afternoon of the first day, with the 11th Guards Army advancing some 23 kilometres. The German 5th Panzer Division attempted to fill the breach but they were met by the Russian supporting armour and were forced back; the initial attacks on the eastern face by the Bryansk Front were less successful. The 61st, 3rd, 63rd armies advanced 8, 14 and 15 kilometres respectively; the following day the German LIII Army Corps counter-attacked and brought the Bryansk Front to a halt. The open terrain favored the longer ranged guns of the Germans. Kluge and Model had anticipated the Soviet attack and were quick to transfer units from the Kursk area to reinforce the defenders, their timely arrival helped check the Soviet advance. Farther north the 11th Guards Army was forcing its way through the German defences.
The Germans lacked the reserves to block these penetrations. With the danger of a breakthrough and subsequent encirclement of their forces, the situation soon become serious for the 2nd Panzer Army. Army Group Centre transferred command of the 2nd Panzer Army to Model by the end of the second day; as Model was commanding the German 9th Army making the north portion of the Kursk attack, the command transfer meant he was now in command of all German units in the Orel area. Three days the second phase of Operation Kutuzov was initiated, with attacks on the German 9th Army by several
Saratov is a city and the administrative center of Saratov Oblast, a major port on the Volga River located upstream of Volgograd. Population: 837,900 ; the name Saratov may be derived from the Turkish words Saryk Atov, which mean "Hawks' Island". Another version of the name origin is Sary Tau, meaning "Yellow Mountain" in the Tatar language. In the Kazakh language, the city is known as Сарытау/Sarytaý. Uvek, a city of the Golden Horde, stood near the site of the modern city of Saratov from the mid-13th century until its destruction by Tamerlane in 1395. While the exact date of the foundation of modern Saratov is unknown, all plausible theories date it to ca. 1590, during the reign of Tsar Fyodor Ivanovich, who constructed several settlements along the Volga River in order to secure the southeastern boundary of his state. Town status was granted to it in 1708. By the 1800s, Saratov had grown to become an important shipping port on the Volga; the Ryazan-Ural Railroad reached Saratov in 1870. In 1896, the line continued its eastward expansion.
A unique train-ferry, owned by the Ryazan-Ural railroad, provided the connection across the river between the two parts of the railroad for 39 years, before the construction of a railway bridge in 1935. During January 1915, with World War I dominating the Russian national agenda, Saratov became the destination for deportation convoys of ethnic Germans, Hungarians and Slavs whose presence closer to the western front was perceived as a potential security risk to the state. During World War II, Saratov was a station on the North-South Volzhskaya Rokada, a specially designated military railroad supplying troops and supplies to Stalingrad in 1942-1943 the city was bombed by German aircraft the main target was the Kirov oil refinery bombarded seriously damaging the installation and destroying 80% of its plant and temporarily interrupting its work; the Luftwaffe was able to destroy all the fuel stock at bases in Saratov and eliminate the oil plant in the city.. Until the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Soviet authorities designated Saratov a "closed city"—strictly off-limits to all foreigners due to its military importance as the site of a vital facility manufacturing military aircraft.
The city of Saratov played an important role in the history of the Volga Germans. Until 1941, the town of Pokrovsk, located just across the Volga from Saratov, served as the capital of the Volga German Republic; the ethnic German population of the region numbered 800,000 in the early 20th century, with some people whose families had been there for generations. Beginning with Catherine the Great's 1763 Manifesto promising land, freedom from military conscription and religious freedom, the Russian Emperors invited German immigration in the 18th and 19th centuries to encourage agricultural development; the Volga German community came to include industrialists, scientists and architects, including those who built Saratov's universities and conservatories. After the beginning of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Soviet government forcibly expelled the Volga Germans to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Others were expelled to western Europe after World War II ended in 1945. Beginning in the 1980s, a large portion of the surviving members of the ethnic Germans emigrated from the Soviet Union to Germany.
Reminders of the once prominent place of Germans in the city remain, with the Roman Catholic St. Klemens Cathedral on Nemetskaya Ulitsa the most notable; the building designed by Mikhail N. Grudistov was converted into the children's cinema "Pioneer" during the Soviet period. A new cathedral was built in 2000 elsewhere in the city: the Cathedral of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Saratov. Saratov is the administrative center of the oblast and, within the framework of administrative divisions, it serves as the administrative center of Saratovsky District though it is not a part of it; as an administrative division, it is incorporated separately as the city of oblast significance of Saratov—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts. As a municipal division, the city of oblast significance of Saratov is incorporated as Saratov Urban Okrug. Saratov has a moderately continental climate with warm and dry summers and an abundance of sunny days; the warmest month is July with daily mean temperature near +23 °C.
Summers are dry in Saratov. Daytime temperatures of +30 °C or higher are commonplace, up to +40.9 °C during a heat wave in 2010. Snow and ice are dominant during the winter season. Days well above freezing and nights below −25 °C both occur in the winter. Saratov Oblast is industrialized, due in part to the richness in natural and industrial resources of the area; the oblast is one of the more important and largest cultural and scientific centers in Russia. Saratov possesses six institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences, twenty-one research institutes, nineteen project institutes, as well as the Saratov State University, the Saratov State Socio-Economic University, the Saratov State Technical University, many scientific and technological laboratories attached to some of the city's large industrial enterprises. Saratov is served by the Saratov Tsentralny Airport; the air
6th Guards Airborne Division
The 6th Guards Airborne Division was a Red Army airborne division that fought as infantry during World War II. Formed in December 1942 from an airborne corps, it first saw combat as an infantry unit in the Staraya Russa in March 1943 fought in the Battle of Kursk; the division advanced west in the Battle of the Dnieper. The division fought in the Kirovograd Offensive and the Korsun-Shevchenkovsky Offensive in late 1943 and early 1944; the 5th Guards received the Order of the Red Banner and the Order of Suvorov for actions during the Uman–Botoșani Offensive fought in the Jassy–Kishinev Offensive. The division advanced westward into Hungary, fighting in the Battle of Debrecen and the Budapest Offensive in late 1944. In the last months of the war it fought in the Bratislava–Brno Offensive and ended the war fighting in the Prague Offensive. Weeks after the end of the war, it was redesignated as the 113th Guards Rifle Division, it was downsized into a brigade between 1953, serving in the Taurida Military District.
The division became a motor rifle division in 1957 and disbanded in 1959. The 6th Guards Airborne Division was formed on 8 December 1942 from the 6th Airborne Corps in Noginsk, one of eight new airborne divisions formed due to a shortage of infantry; the former commander of the 6th Airborne Corps, Major General Alexander Kirzimov, continued in command of the new division. Although its personnel received airborne training, the division was organized as a guards rifle division and would fight as infantry for the rest of the war, it included the 14th, 17th, 20th Guards Airborne Regiments, the 8th Guards Airborne Artillery Regiment, smaller units. Before the division went into combat, Kirzimov was replaced by Colonel Mikhail Smirnov on 11 March 1943, promoted to major general on 16 October 1943; the division saw its first combat with the 1st Shock Army in the area of Koshelki south of Staraya Russa on 14 March during the Staraya Russa Offensive. After that, the division was placed in the Reserve of the Supreme High Command.
As part of the 5th Guards Army, the division fought in the Battle of Kursk and the Belgorod-Kharkov Offensive Operation. After the Battle of the Dnieper, the division captured Kremenchuk on 29 September and Znamianka on 9 December, for which it was awarded honorifics. On 8 January 1944, the division helped capture Kirovohrad during the Kirovograd Offensive. In the Korsun-Shevchenkovsky Offensive, the division stopped German attempts to relieve the Korsun Pocket. During the Uman–Botoșani Offensive, it operated with the 4th Guards Army. For its performance during the offensive, the division was awarded the Order of the Red Banner on 19 March. For crossing the Dniester, the 6th Guards Airborne was awarded the Order of Suvorov 2nd class on 8 April. 14th Guards Airborne Regiment platoon commander Starshina Sharifzyan Kazanbaev was posthumously made a Hero of the Soviet Union for saving the regimental flag during fighting in early April. In the second half of April, it entered Romanian territory; as part of the 7th Guards Army, it captured Târgu Frumos.
In October, it fought in the Battle of Debrecen. Advancing into Hungary, it fought in the Budapest Offensive. On 5 December, the division broke through the northeastern defensive lines of Budapest as part of the 7th Guards Army, with which it remained for the rest of the war. At the end of December it crossed the Hron, but was forced to retreat in the face of German resistance. On 25 March 1945, the division crossed the Hron in the area of Zhemlyari during the Bratislava–Brno Offensive. On that day, it had a strength of 5,001 officers and men, with more than 1,000 in each of its three rifle regiments; the division was equipped with 2,157 rifles, 851 submachine guns, 109 light machine guns, 49 heavy machine guns, twelve anti-aircraft machine guns, twelve 120 mm mortars divided between each rifle regiment, 51 82 mm mortars divided between the rifle regiments, five 122 mm howitzers, twenty 76 mm divisional guns, eight 76 mm regimental guns, eighteen 45 mm anti-tank guns, 36 anti-tank rifles, 131 vehicles.
After the breaking through the German lines, the division captured Šurany, advanced over the Western Carpathians, captured oilfields in Zistersdorf. The division captured Příbram on 11 May. On 13 June 1945, it was redesignated as the 113th Guards Rifle Division to reflect its infantry role as part of the 25th Guards Rifle Corps of the 7th Guards Army in the newly created Central Group of Forces, its airborne regiments became the 359th, 361st, 363rd Guards Rifle Regiments, the division included the 468th and 473rd Guards Artillery Regiments. The division was withdrawn to Zaporizhia in the Odessa Military District in late 1945 with the corps and downsized into the 43rd Separate Guards Rifle Brigade in April 1948 following the disbandment of the corps in May 1947; the brigade was subsequently moved to Yevpatoria in the Taurida Military District, where it became a division again in October 1953. By 1955, the 85th Guards Tank Regiment was added to the division. On 17 May 1957, the 113th Guards Rifle Division became a motor rifle division at Yevpatoria with the 45th Army Corps.
It included the 359th, 361st and 363rd Guards Motor Rifle Regiments formed from guards rifle regiments with the same numbers, the 85th Guards Tank Regiment and other smaller units. The division was disbanded on 1 March 1959; the following officers are known to have led the division: Major General Alexander Kirzimov Colonel Mikhail Smirnov (11 March 1943–December 1948.
Nizhny Novgorod, colloquially shortened to Nizhny, is a city in Russia and the administrative center of Volga Federal District and Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. From 1932 to 1990, it was known as Gorky, after the writer Maxim Gorky, born there; the city is an important economic, scientific and cultural center in Russia and the vast Volga-Vyatka economic region, is the main center of river tourism in Russia. In the historic part of the city there is a large number of universities, theaters and churches. Nizhny Novgorod is located about 400 km east of Moscow. Population: 1,250,619 ; the city was founded in 4 February 1221 by Prince Yuri II of Vladimir. In 1612 Kuzma Minin and Prince Dmitry Pozharsky organized an army for the liberation of Moscow from the Poles. In 1817 Nizhny Novgorod became a great trade center of the Russian Empire. In 1896 at a fair, an All-Russia Exhibition was organized. During the Soviet period, the city turned into an important industrial center. In particular, the Gorky Automobile Plant was constructed in this period.
The city was given the nickname "Russian Detroit". During World War II, Gorky became the biggest provider of military equipment to the Eastern Front. Due to this, the Luftwaffe bombed the city from the air; the majority of the German bombs fell in the area of the Gorky Automobile Plant. Although all the production sites of the plant were destroyed, the citizens of Gorky reconstructed the factory after 100 days. After the war, Gorky became a "closed city" and remained one until after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1990. At that time, the city was renamed Nizhny Novgorod once again. In 1985, the Nizhny Novgorod Metro was opened. In 2016, Vladimir Putin opened the new 70th Anniversary of Victory Plant, part of the Almaz-Antey Air and Space Defence Corporation; the Kremlin – the main center of the city – contains the main government agencies of the city and the Volga Federal District. The demonym for a Nizhny Novgorod resident is "нижегородец" for male or "нижегородка" for female, rendered in English as Nizhegorodian.
Novgorodian is inappropriate. The name was just Novgorod, but to distinguish it from the other and well-known Novgorod to the west, the city was called "Novgorod of the Lower lands"; this land was named "lower" because it is situated downstream from the point of view of other Russian cities such as Moscow and Murom. It was transformed into the contemporary name of the city that means "Lower Newtown"; the city traces its origin from a small Russian wooden hillfort, founded by Grand Duke Yuri II in 1221 at the confluence of two of the most important rivers in his principality, the Volga and Oka rivers. Its independent existence was threatened by the continuous Mordvin attacks against it. A major stronghold for border protection, Nizhny Novgorod fortress took advantage of a natural moat formed by the two rivers. Along with Moscow and Tver, Nizhny Novgorod was among several newly founded towns that escaped Mongol devastation on account of their insignificance, but grew into centers in vassalic Russian political life during the period of the Tatar Yoke.
With the agreement of the Mongol Khan, Nizhny Novgorod was incorporated into the Vladimir-Suzdal Principality in 1264. After 86 years its importance further increased when the seat of the powerful Suzdal Principality was moved here from Gorodets in 1350. Grand Duke Dmitry Konstantinovich sought to make his capital a rival worthy of Moscow; the earliest extant manuscript of the Russian Primary Chronicle, the Laurentian Codex, was written for him by the local monk Laurentius in 1377. After the city's incorporation into the Grand Duchy of Moscow in 1392, the local princes took the name Shuisky and settled in Moscow, where they were prominent at the court and ascended the throne in the person of Vasily IV. After being burnt by the powerful Crimean Tatar chief Edigu in 1408, Nizhny Novgorod was restored and regarded by the Muscovites as a great stronghold in their wars against the Tatars of Kazan; the enormous red-brick kremlin, one of the strongest and earliest preserved citadels in Russia, was built in 1508–1511 under the supervision of Peter the Italian.
The fortress was strong enough to withstand Tatar sieges in 1520 and 1536. In 1612, the so-called "national militia", gathered by a local merchant, Kuzma Minin, commanded by Knyaz Dmitry Pozharsky expelled the Polish troops from Moscow, thus putting an end to the "Time of Troubles" and establishing the rule of the Romanov dynasty; the main square in front of the Kremlin is named after Minin and Pozharsky, although it is locally known as Minin Square. Minin's remains are buried in the citadel. In the course of the following century, the city prospered commercially and was chosen by the Stroganovs as a base for their operations. A particular style of architec