Ulyanovsk (ōlyäˈnəfsk) [key], city (1989 pop. 625,000), capital of Ulyanovsk region, W central European Russia, a port on the Volga and Svigaya rivers. It is a major rail and water transport center and trades in grain, wool, and potash. Industries include food processing, vodka distilling, and the manufacture of motor vehicles, machine tools, and metal and milling equipment. Ulyanovsk was founded in 1648 on the site of a Tatar village as a strongpoint to defend Russia's southern frontier. It also developed as a trade center. It was taken by the Cossack leader Stenka Razin in 1670, was the scene of fighting during the Pugachev insurrection of 1773–74, and was virtually destroyed by fire in 1864. The city was the birthplace of V. I. Lenin, the founder of Soviet Russia, as well as of such famous figures as A. F. Kerensky, the head of the 1917 provisional Russian government; the novelist I. A. Goncharov; and the historian and writer N. M. Karamzin. The house where Lenin was born and the school that he attended became national shrines of the Soviet Union. The city, formerly called Simbirsk, was renamed in 1924 in honor of Lenin (whose original name was Vladimir I. Ulyanov).
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