Samara (səmäˈrə) [key], formerly Kuybyshev, city (1989 pop. 1,254,000), capital of its region, E central European Russia, on the left bank of the Volga and at the mouth of the Samara River. It is a major river port and rail center (Moscow-Siberian line) and has important industries producing automobiles, aircraft, locomotives, machinery, ball bearings, synthetic rubber, chemicals, textiles, and petroleum products. Grain and livestock are the chief exports. The gigantic Kuybyshev reservoir and hydroelectric plant is a few miles upstream from the city. Industrial and residential satellite cities surround the main metropolis. Founded in 1586 as a Muscovite stronghold for the defense of the Volga trade route and of Russia's eastern frontier, Samara was attacked by the Nogai Tatars (1615) and the Kalmyks (1644) and opened its gates to the Cossack rebels under Stenka Razin in 1670. It grew to be the chief grain center on the Volga and was the seat of immensely rich grain merchants. Its industrial expansion dates from the early 20th cent., when railroads to Siberia and central Asia were built. Samara was (1918) the seat of the anti-Bolshevik provisional government and constituent assembly of Russia. During World War II the central government of the USSR was transferred to Kuybyshev (1941–43) from Moscow. As a result, the population increased tremendously, and the city limits were greatly expanded. The city was named Kuybyshev from 1935 to 1991.
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