12 Jul 2011

Donetsk, Ukraine

Donetsk is a large city in eastern Ukraine on the Kalmius river. Administratively, it is a center of Donetsk Oblast, while historically, it is the unofficial capital and largest city of the economic and cultural Donets Basin (Donbass) region. The city was founded in 1869 by a Welsh businessman, John Hughes, who constructed a steel plant and several coal mines in the region; the town was thus named Yuzovka (Юзовка) in recognition of his role in its founding ("Yuz" being a Russian or Ukrainian approximation of Hughes). During Soviet times, the city's steel industry was expanded.

In 1924 at the plenum Yuzovsky executive committee had decided to rename the town from Yuzovka to Stalin (Сталiн). In 1929-1931 the town was renamed in Stalino (Сталино). In 1932 the city became the center of Donetsk region. In 1961, during the De-Stalinisation the city was again renamed to its modern name Donetsk after the Seversky Donets river. In addition, some sources state that the city was briefly called Trotsk—after Leon Trotsky—for a few months in 1923. Today, the city still remains an important industrial centre for coal and steel in Ukraine.

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