Svobodny, Amur Oblast

Svobodny, Amur Oblast

Russian Town
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Svobodny, Amur Oblast

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Svobodny () is a town in Amur Oblast, Russia. Population: 58,730 (2010 est.); 63,889 (2002 Census);


The town is located north of Blagoveshchensk on the right bank of the Zeya River.


The town was founded in 1912 in conjunction with the construction of the Amur Railway (the Trans-Siberian Railway's "bypass" route, which was to provide a railway connection from European Russia to the Pacific entirely over the Russian soil, without crossing the north-eastern China). The town was originally named Alexeyevsk in honor of the then crown prince Alexey. After the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II following the February Revolution, the city was renamed Svobodny, Russian for free.

During the Stalin era, the BAMLag prison camp was built in Svobodny, with the intention of providing forced labor for the planned construction of the BAM railway. The camp became one of the largest in the gulag system, with ca. 190,300 convicts in October 1935. The camp claimed the lives of thousands of political and clerical prisoners.

It is the birthplace of the director Leonid Gaiday, whose memorial was unveiled in September 2006.

Economy and infrastructure

The town is an important junction for both rail and river traffic, with two railway stations on the Trans-Siberian Railway including rolling-stock repair facilities, and a river port on the Zeya.

The town is also home to factories producing...
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