Tomsk (Томск) is a city on the Tom River in the southwest of Siberian Federal District, Russia, the administrative centre of Tomsk Oblast. One of the oldest towns in Siberia, Tomsk celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2004. Population: It is served by Bogashevo Airport.
In 2005, the city annexed the settlements of Eushta, Dzerzhinsky, Timiryazevskoye, Zonalny, Loskutovo, Svetly, Kirgizka, and Kopylovo.
In 1804, the government selected Tomsk to become the center for a new governorate which would include the modern cities of Novosibirsk, Kemerovo, Krasnoyarsk and eastern Kazakhstan. The new status brought development and the city grew quickly.
The discovery of gold in 1830 brought further development to Tomsk in the 19th century. However, when the Trans-Siberian Railroad bypassed the city in favor of the village of Novonikolayevka (now Novosibirsk), development began to move south to connect with the railroad. In time, Novosibirsk would surpass Tomsk in importance.
In the mid-19th century, one-fifth of the city’s residents were exiles. However, within a few years, the city would be reinvented as an educational center in Siberia with the establishment of Tomsk State University and Tomsk Polytechnic University. By World War II, every 12th resident of the city was a student. For this reason, Tomsk has been known as the Siberian Athens.
After the Russian Revolution the city was a notable centre of the White movement, led by Anatoly Pepelyayev and Maria Bochkareva, among others. After the town’s capture by the Red Army, Tomsk was incorporated into the West Siberia region and later into the Novosibirsk Region.
As in many Siberian cities, Tomsk found many factories relocated there to protect them from the Nazi invasion. The Soviet government then established Tomsk Oblast with Tomsk as the center. The city of Tomsk was closed to foreigners until 1991. When it opened, the first American to enter the city, Gary Barnes, was arrested and expelled after only five days for unspecified violations of the city criminal code. It was three years before another American was admitted to the city legally. Although, others came to the city in the interim.
Tomsk is governed by a mayor and a 33-member city Duma. The current mayor is Alexander Sergeyevich Makarov (who was arrested in 2006) and the current Duma chairman is Nikolay Nikolaychuk, both members of United Russia. Mayor Makarov is currently suspended from his post pending the outcome of criminal proceedings against him. in russian Of the 33 members, 16 are elected from the eight double mandate districts while 17 are chosen from party lists.
In the October 2005 local elections, United Russia was expected to cruise to a solid victory; however, the Pensioners Party put up a strong showing. The final count was:
Tomsk has a number of prominent universities:
Thanks to its strong university presence, Tomsk has become a center of the IT industry in Russia. Internet connection in Tomsk was available even in early 1990-s due to grants received by the universities and scientific cooperation.
Tomsk has many local cultural institutions including drama theaters, a children’s theater and a puppet theater. One can find music at the city concert hall, home of the local orchestra, or the Sports Palace where pop and rock stars perform. The city also has centers of German, Polish and Tatar culture where residents can study languages or learn about other countries.
Unfortunately, one of Tomsk’s theaters was destroyed in an act of terrorism in 1905. The Korolevskii Theater (built in 1884–85) was being used by a group of communist revolutionaries one evening, when members of the Black Hundred struck. The Black Hundred was a hardline organ of the tsar and brutally stamped out opposition. The theater was set on fire with Black Hundred members shooting those who tried to escape the flames. Estimates of casualties ranged from 200 to 1000 people.
There are a number of museums in Tomsk including those devoted to art, local history and wood carving. Tomsk State University has a number of small museums with exhibits on archaeology, paleontology, zoology as well as a herbarium and botanical garden.
As in many other cities in the former Soviet Union, the government destroyed a number of old churches in the city including two that had existed since the 17th century. However, Tomsk managed to retain some of its churches by creating alternative uses for them such as machine shops, warehouses, archives, and even residences. Since the end of communism, some of the churches have been renovated and handed back to their congregations.
Tomsk is well-known for its (gingerbread) carved wooden houses. The quantity of these wooden houses is constantly decreasing due to fire and new construction.
Trud (Labor) Stadium, in central Tomsk, plays host to FC Tom’ Tomsk, the city’s soccer team. Thanks to the team’s promotion to the Russian Premier League in 2005, local fans have the opportunity to see Russia’s best soccer teams when they visit each year.
Tomsk does have many local media outlets including a television station TV2, radio stations (Radio Siberia and Echo Moscow—Tomsk) and newspapers (Tomskii Vestnik, Tomskaya Nedelya, Krasnoye Znamya and Vechernii Tomsk).
Tomsk consumes more electric energy than it produces. Main volume of electric and thermal energy is produced by GRES-2 (281 MWt) and TEC-3 (140 MWt) that belong to Tomskenergo Inc. Tomsk also uses energy that is produced in Seversk (this energy is called “far heat”).
The Trans-Siberian railway (Transsib) was build in 1896 and bypasses Tomsk, which remains 50 km to the north of it. Access from Tomsk to the Trans-Siberian railway is available via the town of Taiga. A regional rail links Tomsk with Taiga.
The Tomsk Railway existed until 1961. At the present time, the Tomsk line belongs to the West-Siberian Railway, branch of Russian Railways Corp.. Trains link Tomsk to Anapa, Asino, Barnaul, Bely Yar, Moscow, Novokuznetsk, Novosibirsk, Sochi and Taiga.