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Ministry of Railways

The Soviet Railroads (Sovetskie zheleznye dorogi - SZD) were managed and operated by the all-union Ministry of Railways. The ministry was divided into twenty-three main administrations, each responsible for an overall segment of the railroads' operating or administrative management. Directly under the ministry were the thirty-two regional railroads, which in fact constituted the SZD. The railroads were named after republics, major cities, river basins, or larger geographic areas. The October Railroad, headquartered in Leningrad, was of course named in honor of the October (Bolshevik) Revolution. Each regional railroad, except the Moldavian, was subdivided into divisions. The divisions were generally named after their headquartered stations.

The systematic activity of the government in the field of communications began in 1649, when Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich issued the Code on the Protection of Navigation. During the reign of Peter I, the Commerz-Collegium was established, observing the land roads. Then in 1742 these functions passed to the Office of the prospective road, and in 1748 - to the Commission on the roads in the State. In 1798 Paul I approved the draft of the Water Communications Department, which in 1809 was renamed the Office of Water and Land Communications, in 1820-1832. was called the Main Administration of Railways, and in 1833-1842. - The main administration of communications and public buildings.

In 1842, the Department of Railways was created in the department. The department headed the construction of the Petersburg-Moscow railway (1842 - 1851). In 1862, the Petersburg-Warsaw Railway and the Nizhny Novgorod Railway were completed. On June 15, 1865 Emperor Alexander II issued a decree on the establishment of the Ministry of Railways of Russia . The management of public buildings was transferred to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the telegraph office was assigned to the Main Postal Department. The Ministry of Railways maintained the Department of Railways, and the Office of the Chief Inspector of Private Railways was established.

The First World War undermined the Russian economy, and this was reflected in the railways. Since the end of April 1917, the devastation in transport has skyrocketed. The Ministry of Railways systematically reported to the government about the disastrous position of the railways. After the October Revolution of Soviet power, it was necessary to strengthen centralization in the management of rail transport. When forming the new government, the People's Commissariat of Railways (NKPS) was formed. In 1932 the decision of the Council of People's Commissars on the reconstruction of railways was adopted.

In 1946 NKPS was transformed into the Ministry of Railways of the USSR. And in 1954 the Ministry of Transport Construction of the USSR was separated from the Ministry of Transport (since 1992 it was transformed into the Transstroy concern). In the post-war period, having completed the restoration of the destroyed economy, the Ministry of Railways initiated the promising (for 20 years) development and modernization of the railway transport.

Rail transport in peacetime fell under the supervision of the Ministry of Railways. This agency was a uniformed service with ranks similar to the military. It also operated all civilian railway services within the USSR. Military rail forces worked with civilians in every-day operations, but in wartime, the railway system would revert to military control.

Lev Davidovich Trotsky was People's Commissar of Railways 20.03.1920 - 10.12.1920. In late 1920, he headed the work to restore the completely destroyed transport system of Russia. He proposed introducing strict discipline on all railways. The militarization also affected the trade union of railway workers and transport workers.

Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky was People's Commissar of Railways 4.04.1921 - 2.02.1924. Since 1921, the People's Commissariat of Railways had been handed over the management of automobile, cartage and tramway transport, handling and freight forwarding on all types of transport. Throughout the network of Russian railways, above all, at major stations, special "troikas" of the Cheka were created. With their direct assistance, accidents and wreckage have sharply decreased, and the work of roads has improved. At the initiative of the People's Commissar and with his participation, the newspaper "Siberian Hooter" began to appear, the work of transport workers and cultural and educational institutions on the railways was improved. He offered to buy merchant ships abroad.

Lazar Moiseevich Kaganovich was People's Commissar of Railways 28.02.1935 - 25.03.1942, and then again 26.02.1943 - 20.12.1944. A network-wide timetable for the movement of trains, a single timetable and the Charter of the railways of the USSR were introduced. Great attention was paid to improving the social and living conditions of the railway workers. Since 1935, an annual celebration of the Railway Worker's Day was established. The name Kaganovich in 1935-1955 was worn by the Moscow Metro, and then, until 1957, the Okhotny Ryad station; The first Soviet trolleybus owned the brand "LK" in his honor.

The fate of the country was decided not only by heroism on the battlefields, but also by the precise work of transport. The scale and complexity of this work can be judged from the fact that in the second half of 1941 alone 2,600 enterprises were evacuated from the European part of the country, 18 million workers and their families were evacuated, and 290 divisions, over 2 million fighters and commanders and countless tanks, guns, ammunition. So, the link behind the link, and forged Victory.

Boris Pavlovich Beshchev was Minister of Railways of the USSR 06/5/1948 - 01/14/1977. The most complicated questions were solved on electrification of railways, modernization of rolling stock, transition to diesel and electric traction. Reconstruction of track facilities was carried out. The capacity of the existing network has increased, new lines have been built. The structure of road sections has changed. Since 1956, the unbonded track has been laid and the use of reinforced concrete sleepers. Introduced the practice of holding extended meetings of the collegium of the Ministry.

The effectiveness of the system of distribution of responsibilities between the Minister and other heads of the Ministry of Railways was largely ensured by the highest speed, irrepressible energy and exactingness of First Deputy Minister Nikolai Alekseevich Gundobin. In many ways he was the main organizer of the implementation of the decisions of the College and the Minister. The business "tandem" Beshchev-Gundobin worked consistently and very effectively during their long joint work.

The transport complex had a position and significance in the overall structure of the national economy of the country. This, in particular, refers to uncompromising protection, the preservation of the Ministry of Railways as a system of centralized transport management, despite repeated (sometimes very persistent) attempts to reorganize the ministry, the proposal to transfer part of its functions to the field, to replace it by the Transport Committee, e. In these matters, Boris Pavlovich held a very clear and firm position. Knowing in detail the work of railways and the Ministry of Railways, their relationship with other government agencies and clientele, he always found convincing evidence of the inadmissibility of the collapse of the Ministry of Railways, with which the "reformers" of any level had to be considered.

A Railroad Troops Directorate handled rail construction and maintenance of the MOD-controlled tracks. It operated trains carrying sensitive military cargo such as missiles over the civilian rail system. Also, military railroad troops participated in construction projects in the civilian sector. In time of war, the military rail transport staff of the front chief of the rear plannned and directed rail shipments and movements. Front logistic bases probably would be located near large rail centers. The chief of rail transport at front level is responsible, through yard and regulating elements, for dispatch of supplies from rail stations to army logistic bases.

Railroad troops, whose mission was to build railroads and bridges and organize communications in the event of war, actually spent the majority of their time serving the USSR Ministry of Transport construction. According to a Pravda report: "The ministry 'entrusts' the railroad troops with its least prestigious and lowest-paying jobs, and the soldiers can often be seen with crowbars and sledgehammers doing work that civilian specialists won't touch." The railroad troops did fully 25 percent of all heavy work such as excavation and ballasting.

The Soviet Railroad Troops were well-trained professionals, and proved themselves a viable force in trying conditions. Soviet perceptions of military rail transportation in wartime conditions provided a backdrop for the railroad troops. Despite some expressed Soviet doubt as to military railway effectiveness, there were several positive Soviet measures toward building a military railway reserve which implied that this mode was still of significance in Soviet military thought. Closely allied with Railroad troops, Military Communications troops, or VOSO, were responsible for the flow of military goods within the USSR.

The Soviet Railroad Troops were well-trained, professional, and proved themselves a viable force in the trying conditions extant on BAM. Rail transport still constituted a vital portion of the Soviet military logistics system. In spite of a continuing reliance on rail transport, long-standing deficiencies continued to exist which would hamper the use of the rail net in any future conflict. Despite some expressed Soviet doubt as to military railway effectiveness, several positive Soviet measures toward building a military railway reserve implied that this mode was still of significance in contemporary Soviet military thought.

Marshal of the Soviet Union N. V. Ogarkov announced in the summer of 1981 that the basic form of operation in a future war would be the "theater strategic operation," which highlighted for Western analysts that a fundamental change in Soviet planning for theater war had taken place. The developments that Ogarkov publicly articulated in 1981 had not sprung full-blown in the 1980s. Rather, Soviet concepts for strategic combined-arms operations in continental TSMAs had been integral to Soviet planning for at least a decade and a half. Thus, by the early 1970s Soviet military educational institutions like the Voroshilov General Staff Academy were instructing Soviet officers in the conduct of all components of theater strategic operations, including rear service support.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2018 12:54:35 ZULU