Military Review

C-300 under the imperial standard

The oldest steel and engineering company in Russia is experiencing a rebirth

Obukhovsky plant in St. Petersburg quietly celebrated the 150 anniversary of its inception. There were no grand celebrations on this occasion, the journalists did not pay much attention to the date - not the twentieth anniversary of any “Russian pop star”. Meanwhile, the renewed enterprise may soon become the pride of not only the northern capital.

In May 1863 of the year between the Partnership on shares “P.M. Obukhov, N.I. Putilov, S.G. Kudryavtsev ”and the Marine Ministry signed a contract for the construction of a steel and gun factory 12 versts from St. Petersburg, on the Shlisselburg highway in the village of Aleksandrovsky. More recently, the Crimean War ended, which showed the world not only the heroism of Russian soldiers, but also a significant technical gap between Russia and Great Britain and France. And while the tsarist government was thinking, there were true devotees in the country who knew what to do and how. It was necessary to urgently raise the very poor industry to a qualitatively new level. We had to build factories better than in Western Europe. It is worth recalling who were the people who pledged, as stated in the contract: “Within five years, build a steel plant and make on it steel, fully trimmed rifled artillery, charging from the barrel, totaling up to one million rubles.”

Pavel Matveyevich Obukhov is a talented metallurgical engineer. Developed twenty original steel grades, each of which exceeded the British and German counterparts.

Nikolay Ivanovich Putilov - collegiate adviser, official of special assignments of the Marine Ministry. Speaking in modern language, he was a state top manager who was involved in the organization of various industries.

Sergei Galaktionovich Kudryavtsev - merchant I guild, commerce advisor. In fact, with his money, the plant was mortgaged and almost completely built.

We now talk a lot about the re-industrialization of Russia, a country that is full of oligarchs: in comparison with them, Kudryavtsev is simply a beggar ragged. And if people who are similar in engineering and organizational talent to Obukhov and Putilov are still encountered, then such people like Kudryavtsev are nowhere to be seen. However, among the wealthy Russian people there are those who are willing to invest their millions and even billions in the revival of Russia's industrial glory. But, firstly, their names are stubbornly kept silent, and, secondly, the current legislation simply does not allow them to unfold in full force and implement their most ambitious projects.

Alas, and in that Russia, “which we lost”, not everything went smoothly. Both Kudryavtsev and Obukhov simply burst out on the construction site, on the search for additional money, and died before the plant was fully operational. After the death of Obukhov in 1869, Putilov, whose relations with the partners in the Partnership were also upset, however, appreciating the contribution of Obukhov to the development of domestic metallurgy, he managed to get the factory under his name.

When none of the plant’s founders, 1 February 1886, was left alive, Emperor Alexander III, with his supreme decree, ordered that all shares be bought back from the then owners and that the management of the Obukhov Steel Plant was transferred to the treasury. From that day and throughout the twentieth century, one of the world's largest metallurgical and engineering enterprises was state-owned. At the factory, more than a hundred and twenty years ago, they began to produce excellent artillery pieces, including the largest caliber for battleships of the Russian Navy, as well as armor plates with which they were sheathed.

Obukhov steel was even supplied to the UK and Germany, where it was very much appreciated for its high quality.

In addition, it can be said, cyclopic military products produced at the factory were thin surgical, drawing and plumbing tools. And with 1905, we have mastered the production of complex optical systems.

In 1908, by decree of Emperor Nicholas II for his contribution to the development of the Sea fleet Russia Obukhov plant, along with three others, was awarded their own standard. He represented a white-blue-red cloth, in the center of which on a blue background in large white letters it read: "O. Z. " By 1913, the company became one of the largest in the world, being the main competitor of the German Krupp and English factories - Armstrong. The Obukhov Steel Plant produced over 90 percent of the armaments for the Navy and 50 percent for the ground forces. More than ten thousand highly skilled workers, engineers and designers worked there. The location was extremely successful - there were good exits to port facilities, to railways and highways. Located on the far outskirts of St. Petersburg, a huge enterprise did not spoil the distinctive face of the then capital of the empire.

The revolution and the civil war did not have the best effect on the factory. In the years of the First World, the technological lines operated at full capacity and were worn out in order. And in 1918 and the following years, many valuable specialists either died or emigrated. Three years the plant did not work at all. However, when establishing already stable Soviet power, the largest domestic enterprise was given special attention. It was renamed “Bolshevik” and invested huge funds in the re-establishment of production and its full modernization.

By the eightieth years of the last century, the plant produced the widest range of various products. From the finest and most accurate tools to the most powerful ship guns and launchers of strategic missiles, launch systems of space rockets, nuclear reactor equipment and much more.

She worked at an enterprise that occupied tens of hectares, more than thirty thousand people. There was a massive housing construction. There were a wonderful summer camp, rest houses and sanatoriums, a large house of culture, a factory clinic and its own hospital. And then a new revolution took place, the Democrats came to power ...

The imperial standard was removed from the museum and with great fanfare was handed to the team, by the way, who actively supported Anatoly Sobchak and his team in the fight against “remnants of totalitarianism and the power of the CPSU”. The name "Bolshevik" was anathematized and returned historical name. In 1992, under the sounds of fanfare, the old-new name “State Obukhov Plant” appeared - GOZ. The strange thing that the huge state defense order will certainly be the industrial pillar of the new Russian State, the formation of which was then cracked at every corner, was not specifically mentioned. Yes, and what to talk about? In 1992, state orders to public order were canceled. Somehow quietly and inconspicuously, such non-core assets as their own medical institutions, a culture house, rest houses, sanatoriums, dispensaries and a pioneer camp were seized without any compensation in favor of the city, or rather, its then authorities. Where is all this now? No one knows. Naturally, housing construction stopped. In fact, the payment of salaries has stopped. Then the company was corporatized.

But also the OJSC with the mockingly absurd name “State Obukhov Plant” and with its own nominal standard established by Nicholas II, turned out to be unnecessary in the Russian State. The enterprise, which was the pride of imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, became more democratic in Russia. From the former industrial grandeur there were only old walls, old technologies. The number of employees has decreased tenfold, less than three thousand are left - mainly for the elderly. They worked for pennies, but under a nominal standard.

And when the joint-stock enterprise, it seemed, would inevitably fall into a number of private firms and firms, ceasing to exist as a single and once powerful Obukhovsky Zavod, it was included in the Almaz-Antey air defense concern.

It would seem that the enterprise, which was created in the interests of the Marine Ministry, which in past years had almost one hundred percent of the order passed through the Navy, with a concern specializing in the creation and production of anti-aircraft defense equipment, was common. But there was some kind of sacred reincarnation of the essence of the Obukhov factory. In the 19th century, it was really conceived and built to produce fire protection equipment for ships in the ocean and coastal defense lines. And in the 21st century, it will produce combat means to protect not the water areas, but the air ocean over Russia, more precisely - the aerospace. That is, a qualitative transition has begun to a new level not only of the products manufactured, but also of the means of its production.

However, no matter how sacred or mystical the changes seemed, they could not be realized by magic. It took the leadership of the concern, which is located in Moscow, several years to deal with the inherited legacy in St. Petersburg and decide what to do next.

Unfortunately, it was impossible to return the lost. All the so-called social welfare enterprises, with the exception of some sports facilities, completely lost. And the huge areas with old brick buildings located on them turned out to be a very heavy burden, requiring huge investments only to maintain them in their current condition. A radical decision was taken: to create the North-West Regional Center of the Almaz-Antey Air Defense Concern in part of the territory. The territory itself is significantly reduced, the old buildings demolish. The concern simply has to start selling off the factory lands, especially since they have long been in the city, and their price is very high. Total planned to sell at least forty hectares. As for the buildings, alas, it is physically impossible to place new technological equipment in the old walls. It is easier to demolish them and build new production areas - smaller in terms of internal volumes, but more saturated with the most modern machines. Of course, something most valuable from a historical point of view will remain, but mostly factory buildings erected in the late XIX and early XX centuries, will be eliminated.

Work on the practical creation of the updated “GOZ Obukhovsky Zavod” began only in 2010 year, but much has already been done.

The concern has received a multi-billion loan and carte blanche for the purchase of any of the most modern technological equipment abroad.
The North-Western Regional Center is not a military secret - they will include: the Russian Institute of Radio Navigation and Time, the All-Russian Institute of Radio Equipment, the KB of Special Engineering, the factory of radio engineering equipment and the Obukhov factory itself.

Now the construction of new buildings is in full swing. The translation of the radio equipment plant has been almost completed. It produces complex antenna systems for C-300, C-400 systems and will produce various antennas and radars for C-500. According to the specialists who have been working at the plant for more than twenty years, what was before and what has become now is earth and sky. Work has become physically easier and much more interesting, and the salary becomes quite decent. The main activity of the renewed "GOZ Obukhov Plant" will be the production of components of anti-aircraft missile systems, as well as air defense systems and anti-space defense of a new generation. There will also be work in the interests of the Navy, the Strategic Missile Forces, the space and nuclear industries. A significant share will take civilian production.

Already by 2015, the “GOZ Obukhovsky Zavod” should be almost completely updated and work in a new mode.

It will become a more compact, well-controlled production with a total number of workers and employees of about seven thousand people. Pavel Matveyevich Obukhov, Nikolai Ivanovich Putilov and Sergei Galaktionovich Kudryavtsev would probably be pleased that the cause of their life, begun at the end of the 19th century, was not interrupted at the end of the 20th and received new content at the beginning of the 21st. Most likely, they would appreciate the difficulties that their heirs face. Centuries have passed, but little has changed ...

In the sixties of the XIX century, the Partnership, which began the construction of a new plant unique in those days, very soon faced a shortage of funds. Since the company was private, it was necessary to look for money in the form of various loans, which almost led to bankruptcy. Acute financial problems were the direct cause of the premature death of Kudryavtsev and Obukhov, and they had a negative impact on Putilov’s health ...

At the beginning of the 21st century, the state, preoccupied with preserving the “Obukhov State Plant”, did not allocate any significant amounts from the treasury for these funds. But generously allowed the new owners to take a multi-billion dollar loan under the "preferential" 10 percent per annum. Of course, formally the shareholders themselves should look for funds for their development. But after all, 100 percent of the shares are in state ownership. It turns out that the state itself does not want to start making profits in the first place, when the renewed plant comes into a rhythmic mode and becomes profitable, and generously gives billions to banks.

Complicates the financial situation and the loss of professionalism in the highest echelons of the power of the Ministry of Defense. Earlier in the USSR, and now all over the world, when launching products of a new generation for the armed forces, a batch is made for the customer’s money, which is sent to the troops for trial operation. And only after the whole complex of military tests, paid for from the ministry’s budget, is carried out, the new product is launched into serial production. And now the military does not want to pay for it. Having experienced a single copy, often very superficially, they are ready to order large quantities, but in such a way that all the equipment supplied to them works like a Swiss watch, and in the field. And for all the problems threaten with penalties.

Alas, but there seems to be no generals left in the military department who understand what it means to actually introduce new technology into real military operation.

There are very few really competent specialists in defense enterprises who are responsible for their work - Obukhovsky Zavod is no exception. The continuity of generations is broken, and new personnel almost always have a lot of ambition and high demands, but they really can't do almost anything. This is also a problem.

There are also problems of the latest corruption time. The director of the Obukhivsky plant, as a market vendor, should almost stand in front of everyone who has a formidable inspecting crust. There was a case when the “Obukhov State Plant” for thirty days received forty demands for inspections - from the prosecutor’s office to the Rybnadzor. This happened as soon as the first solid tranche of the loan was received from the bank. The directors of the plant - and this is not a joke - tried to fine for ... interference with fish spawning, as part of the territory of the enterprise goes to the Neva.

This is not an easy task - to raise Russia's technological power to a qualitatively new level, to lead its re-industrialization. But it moves, hard, but it goes. And what is happening today on the territory of the Obukhovsky plant in St. Petersburg is a graphic confirmation of this.
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  1. polly
    polly 15 June 2013 09: 57
    A relevant and interesting article. And although the Obukhov plant still has many problems, but seven thousand workers is already a good scale on the labor front. She herself survived the collapse of the defense industry in the 90s, when our experienced specialists left the plant to sell Chinese consumer goods, so the topic is close .Now, at worst, it’s bad, but our glorious "reptiles" went to the army aviation. I wish the St. Petersburg citizens a second wind, and we all - no longer step on the rake slipped by the helpful "reformers" ...
    1. cartridge
      cartridge 15 June 2013 10: 14
      Over the past three years, the plant has increased production by almost 18 (!) Times. It has state defense orders up to and including 2020. Factory buildings have changed even externally. Instead of pre-revolutionary red-brick, bright walls with the emblem and name of the company are now looking at the world. About 6000 workers were additionally hired, most of whom were retrained to work on new equipment. The plant now operates in three shifts. The average salary of a skilled machine operator is 40 rubles per month and a guaranteed social package.
      1. Dovmont
        Dovmont 16 June 2013 10: 33
        Your words are just a balm for the soul !!
  2. avt
    avt 15 June 2013 10: 06
    Well, God bless them! good
  3. lars
    lars 15 June 2013 12: 12
    Obukhovtsev with a holiday! Much has been done for the Motherland, and may still do much. All the very comrades !!!
  4. Ezhaak
    Ezhaak 15 June 2013 15: 19
    it turned out to be useless to anyone in the Russian State. The enterprise, which was the pride of imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, has become redundant in democratic Russia

    I fully support the author. It’s more profitable for modern media to talk about homosexuals, repainted bandits who climb into power and other abominations. From the publication of an article on public health, journalists will receive a small change in salary. Best case scenario. And they always want to eat tasty and glamorous clothes.
  5. ded10041948
    ded10041948 15 June 2013 21: 13
    Interestingly, will we ever unlearn how to cut the branch on which we sit, or is it a feature of our mentality?
  6. crasever
    crasever 17 June 2013 03: 51
    There were, are and will be left-handed people in Russia, the Aglitz flea are remarkably savvy. And let now, for work for the good of the Fatherland, orders are not particularly spoiled, intelligible people living in Russia know and always kindly wish all, all to those thanks to whose work we have a clear sky above our heads !!!