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In late 1941, some 1500 Soviet factories were relocated to the Urals, or other areas east of European Russia to keep them safe from German bombing, or worse, occupation. (My understanding is that these represented more than half of Soviet industrial capacity.)

What happened to these factories after the war? Were many moved back to their original, presumably optimal locations? Where they mostly left in place, and new factories built on their original locations? Or did they form the core of a new Soviet industrial society with new factories being built around them?

Overall statistics. I want an overview.

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    It was a combination of all the possibilities, including relocation of confiscated German equipment to rebuild the evacuated factories. Are you more interested in the overall statistics or in some particular industries?
    – jmster
    Jul 22 at 5:16
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Surprisingly, the process of return (re-evacuation) is not that well studied. I could find a couple of dissertations (mostly focussed on people migration than industries per se, but they are closely linked), all in Russian. My brief take is this:

  • There was a small wave of re-evacuation from as early as December 1941, right after the Battle of Moscow, primarily for the Moscow industries.[1] These factories were generally re-established.

  • An overwhelming majority of factories remained in the East (primarily in the Urals) after the war.[2] Some data for the Chelyabinsk region (southern Urals): 178 facilites were evacuated there, of them 155 heavy industries. By 1946, only 10 were re-evacuated.[3]

  • Most of the "original" facilities were also restored, and were initially supplied (starting from 1943) with the "excess" equipment that couldn't be deployed at the relocated facilities.[3] This was rather in the form of "economic assistance" rather than official re-deployment.[1][3]

  • Most evacuated people were eager to get back. Authorities tried to prevent it, even after 1945, but the majority returned, by hook or by crook, leaving the factories to the (generally less educated) local workforce (as well as to the migrants from the Central Asian republics and prisoners[3]). Still, even by 1948, more than 65000 evacuated people remained in the Urals alone and were unable to move.[1][2]


[1] Marina Potyomkina, Processes of evacuation and re-evacuation, and the evacuated population in the Urals in 1941-1948, Doctor dissertation, 2004.

[2] Vadim Shuvalov, Evacuation was hard, but return was harder (interview with Marina Potyomkina).

[3] Artyom Churikov, Management, manufacturing and social problems of evacuation and re-evacuation of heavy industries in Chelyabinsk Oblast (1941-1946), Ph.D thesis, 2011, synopsis.

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In many cases, but not in all cases, the result was 2 factories instead of one: one on the original place, another at the place where the factory was moved. For example, Kharkiv tractor plant was moved in 1941 first to Stalingrad, and then to Rubtsovsk (Rубцовск) near Barnaul. After re-occupation of Kharkiv, the main part moved back to Kharkiv, while Barnaul obtained a new tractor plant. Both still exist.

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  • Presumably the environmental factors that made the original location suitable for a tractor plant would still exist? Jul 22 at 14:36
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    @jeffronicus: I am not sure what you exactly mean by environmental factors, and how could they change in few years. Kharkiv is a traditional big industrial center, and there are sources of steel energy and coal nearby.
    – Alex
    Jul 22 at 15:21
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I can see why you asked this question, there is frustratingly little information about the redispersion of industry following the end of WWII. I did find some information regarding the city of Novosibirsk in Siberia. It grew rapidly during the war and continued to grow rapidly after the war. That is because Novosibirsk received a good number of relocated factories (and refugees) during the war. These factories seemingly stayed put and the people who followed them also stayed. The USSR invested in new infrastructure and institutions in the city to cope with the boom that started during the industrialization period before and during WWII.

I can assume that this probably also took place in other similar cities in the Urals and the East. We can also probably assume that some of the factories were relocated back into the newly occupied and created Soviet territories as part of the rebuilding efforts after the war. As for hard evidence, the info about Novosibirsk is a good one to point to.

I hope this helps.

References:

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