Kirovohrad (Ukrainian: Кіровоград [kʲirowoˈɦrɑd̪], Russian: Кировоград, Kirovograd), formerly Elisavetgrad, is a city in central Ukraine. It is located on the Inhul River. It is a motorway junction. Pop. 239,400 (2004 EST.). Developed around a military settlement the city got to prominence in the 19th century when it became an important trade centre enjoying the rights of the Ukrainian culture promoter with the first professional theatrical company both in Central and Eastern Ukraine being established here in 1882.
In Soviet times the city rose to the status of an agricultural and light industry centre whose fame was due to such enterprises as Chervona Zirka Agricultural Machinery Plant (which once provided more than 50% of the USSR need in tractor seeders), Hydrosila Hydraulic Units Plant, Radiy Radio Component Plant, Pishmash Typewriter Plant etc.
The recent history of Kirovohrad saw the imminent decline of the city's industrial potential and general socioeconomic value. The latter plus the poor reputation of local authorities with the city's population led to the widespread settled opinions that Kirovohrad belongs to the group of the low-developed regional capitals of Ukraine. Since 2002 the economics of Kirovohrad has been slowly reviving.
During the Ukrainian presidential election of 2004 the city got the country-wide notoriety because of mass election fraud committed by local authorities and long after that was known as District 100 (the community number according to Central Elections Committee).
Origin of the City Name.
Presenting the letter of grant on January 11, 1752 to Major-General Jovan Horvat, the organizer of Nova Serbia settlements, the Empress Elizabeth of Russia ordered "to found the earthen fortress and name it the Fort of St. Elizabeth" (see On the Historical Meaning of the Name Elizabeth for Our City) (in Ukrainian). Thus very ambivalently the future city was called in honor of its formal founder, the Russian empress, and simultaneously with due respect to her heavenly patroness, St. Elizabeth.
The official date of the name Yelisavetgrad (usually spelled Elisavetgrad or Elizabethgrad in English language publications) introduction is unknown. It is considered that the word itself should have appeared in a natural way, as the amalgamation of the fortress name and the common Eastern Slavonic constituent "-grad" (Old/Church Slavonic "градъ", "a settlement encompassed by a wall"). Its first documented usage dates back only to 1764 when the Yelisavetgrad Province was organized together with the Yelisavetgrad Lancer Regiment.
In 1924 the city was renamed Zinovievsk, (also spelled Zinovyevsk,) - after Grigory Zinoviev, a Soviet statesman and one of the Russian Communist Party (bolsheviks) leaders, who was born in Yelisavetgrad on September 20 (September 8 O.S.), 1883. At the time referred he was the member of Politburo and the Chairman of the Comintern's Executive Committee.
On December 27, 1934, after the assassination of Sergei Kirov (who hadn't ever been to Kirovohrad and wasn't related to the city in any possible way), Zinovievsk together with a number of other Soviet cities was renamed again - this time as Kirovo, and then as Kirovograd. The latter name appeared simultaneously with the creation of Kirovograd Oblast, on January 10, 1939 and was aimed to differentiate the region from Kirov Oblast in present-day Russia.
After the independence of Ukraine, the name of the city got started to be spelled directly via Ukrainian pronunciation as Kirovohrad, though previous Russified orthography is still widely used due to the wide spread of this language in the region.
Since 1991 there have been a lot of discussions on the future fate of the city name. A number of activists fervently support the idea to return the city its original name Yelisavetgrad (or now Yelysavethrad in Ukrainian transcription). Other variants were also proposed by people who consider the name of the Russian Empress Elizabeth inappropriate for contemporary Ukraine: they were Tobilevychi (in honor of the Tobilevych family, the Coryphaei of the classic Ukrainian drama established in Kirovohrad in 1882), Zlatopil, from Ukrainian "золоте поле", literally "golden field", and Stepohrad, Ukrainian for "city of steppes" (in recognition of the agricultural status of the city), Ukrayinsk or Ukrayinoslav, i.e. "the glorifying Ukraine one" and Novokozachyn (to commemorate the semi-fabulous Cossack regiment which could have quartered in the present-day city location).
Due to the slight tensions existing among the followers of different variants mentioned above and primarily because of annual city budget deficit the deal of Kirovohrad renaming remains an unresolved case
Weather and Climate
Kirovohrad is located in the central region of Ukraine. Kirovograd’s climate is moderate continental: cold and snowy winters, and hot summers. The seasonal average temperatures are not too cold in winter, not too hot in summer: −6.9 ° C (20 °F) in January and 20.3 °C (68.5 °F) in July. The average rainfall totals 513 mm (20 in) per year, with the most in June and July.
The history of Kirovohrad starts from that of Fort of St. Elizabeth. This fort was built in 1754 by the order of empress Elizabeth of Russia and it played a pivotal role in the new lands added to Russia by the Belgrad Peace Treaty of 1739. In 1764 the settlement received status of the center of the Elizabeth province, and in 1784 the status of chief town of a district, when it was renamed after the fort as Yelizavetgrad.
The Fort of St. Elizabeth was located on the crossroads of trade routes, and it eventually became a major trade center. The city has held regular fairs 4 times a year. Merchants from all over the Russian Empire have visited these fairs. Also, there were a lot of foreign merchants, especially from Greece.
On Wednesday, April 27, 1881, there was a pogrom against the Jewish citizens of Elisavetgrad.A religious dispute at an inn served as fuel for the riot. The attack focused at first on the systematic destruction of Jewish shops and warehouses. The Jewish citizens tried to protect their businesses, but this only led to more outrage. The soldiers joined in the rioting rather than protecting the innocent. After two days of attacks, many were killed, 500 houses and 100 shops were demolished and approximately 2,000,000 rubles' worth of property was stolen or destroyed. This would not be the only pogrom against the Jewish population of Elisavetgrad. In 1905 another riot flared killing Jews and again plundering the Jewish quarter. A contemporary account of the 1905 pogrom was reported in the NY Times December 13, 1905
Elizabethgrad was ravished by famine in 1901 which was made worse by poor government response. The region itself is extremely fertile. However, a drought in 1892 and poor farming methods which never allowed the soil to recover prompted a large famine that plagued the region. According to a 1901 NY Times article, the Ministry of the Interior denied that the persistence of famine in the region and blocked non-State charities from bringing aid to the area. In the opinion of the NY Times author, "The existence of famine was inconvenient at a time when negotiations were pending for foreign loans." The Governor of the Kherson region, Prince Oblonsky, refused to acknowledge this famine. Nevertheless, one non-resident and non-State worker was able to gain access to Elizabethgrad and could provide the NY Times with an eye-witness account He observed:
1. General destitution
2. Acute destitution
3. Death from starvation
4. Hunger typhus (shows poverty)
5. Little to no work to be found in the region.
The first Ukraine Theater was built in Kirovohrad, which was founded by M. Kropyvnyts'ky, I. Karpenko-Karyy, M. Zankovets'ka, P. Saksahans'ky and M. Sadovs'ky.
A lot of legends are associated with Kirovograd. One of them tells about the sunken Turkish ship, which carried gold down the river Ingul. But there are no some real documents, to confirm the direct place, where the ship sank.
The other interesting fact from the history of this wonderful city is that the building plan of former Elizabethgrad and now Kirovograd was based on the building plan of Paris. The only difference is that the houses in the center of Kirovograd are lower for a couple stores than in the capital of France. That means that all central streets along and near the river Ingul copy the plan of Paris. Kirovograd was even called little Paris before.
The city is full of interesting places. One of the sights in Kirovograd attracts the newlyweds. It is the bridge over the Ingul, the railings of which are crowned with padlocks. Here one can see the different padlocks with names of people in love – it is the padlocks of love. According to the tradition the newlyweds hang the padlock on the bridge and throw out the key into the water, that symbolizes their unbreakable union. This tradition exists not only in such Ukrainian cities as Kiev and Odessa, but also in Riga and Florence…
The other attraction of the city is the first dramatic theatre in Ukraine – the theatre in name of Kropivnitski. The first tram in Ukraine was also started in Kirovograd. But during the war the Germans demolished the tramways and they were not renewed after the occupation.
The favorite rest places of Kirovograd citizens are the parks – Kovalevski, Victory, and arboretum. The Park of Victory exists for more than 200 years. It is situated along the river Suhokleia and the water reservoir in Kirovograd. In park there are places with the Crimean microclimate and the southern trees and bushes can grow there.