“Hydrograds” built by the former Soviet Union


Impressive Nurek Dam – Source: pinterest.com

Following last week’s post on American Hydrograds, this blogpost explores the Hydrograds built by the former Soviet Union. Hydrograds are cities and towns constructed specifically to house workers building the hydroelectric project, as well as the support staff to run the facility once it was completed.

Below are details on 15 of these cities and towns ranging in size from less than two dozen residents to more than 100,000. There may be more hydrograds than these that are listed, but information on them appears to be sparse on the internet. As always, any additional information is most welcome. Peace!

Aizkraukle, Latvia (1961-present):

Source: redrose.in.ua/en/travel_to_Latvia_Aizkraukle/district_of_Aizkraukle.html

  • Built in 1961 house workers for the Pļaviņas Hydroelectric Power Station on the Daugava River.
  • Originally called Stučka, but renamed to Aizkraukle in 1990.
  • Population of 10,080 people in 2009.

Borisoglebsky, Russia (1961-present):

Chaykovsky, Russia (1955-present):

  • Founded in 1955 to house construction and support service workers the Votkinsk Hydroelectric Station.
  • Chaykovsky is named after the famous Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky who was born nearby.
  • Estimated 2018 population of 83,077.
  • The city’s coat of arms honor its hydroelectric founding and heritage (see above).

Chaykovsky, Russia – Source: en.wikipedia.org

Divnogorsk, Russia (1957-present):


  • Founded in 1957 to house workers building and supporting the Krasnoyarsk Hydroelectric Dam on the Yenisei River.
  • Estimated population in 2018 of 29,246.
  • Both the city’s flag and coat of arms honor it history tied to the hydroelectric dam (see above).

Monument to the Krasnoyarsk Dam Builders – Source: forum.artinvestment.ru/blog.php?b=216677&langid=5

Ķegums, Latvia (1936-present):

  • Development of the town began in 1936 to house workers and support staff for the Ķegums Hydroelectric Station on the Daugava River.
  • Most recent census (date unknown) indicates the town has a population of 2,473 people.

Kodinsk, Russia (1977-present):


  • Founded in 1977 to house workers building and supporting the servicing the construction of the Boguchanskaya Hydroelectric Power Station on the Angara River.
  • The dam project wasn’t fully completed until 2015, well after the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991.
  • Estimated 2018 population of 16,116.
  • The city’s flag and coat of arms both hint at its hydroelectric heritage (see above).

Novodnistrovsk, Ukraine (1973-present):


  • Founded in 1973 for development of the Dniester Hydroelectric Dam on the Dniester River.
  • Had a 2019 population of 10,709.
  • The city’s flag and coat of arms both hint at its hydroelectric heritage.

View of the city and the dam – Source: https://miska-rada.com.ua

Nova Kakhovka, Ukraine (1952-present):


  • The city’s nickname is “The Pearl of the Lower Dnieper.”
  • Though designed for up to 20,000 people, the city has grown to have a population of 46,044 in 2018.
  • Both the city’s flag and coat of arms depict its hydroelectric power heritage.

Gorgeous Palace of Culture – Source: en.wikipedia.org

Nurak, Tajikistan (1960-present):

Portion of the Okno Space Surveillance Station – Source: reddit.com

Sayanogorsk, Russia (1975-present):


  • Founded in 1975 to house workers and support staff for the Sayan-Shushenskaya Hydroelectric Power Plant on the Yenisei River.
  • Estimated 2018 population of 47,358.
  • Both its flag and coat of arms honor the city’s hydroelectric heritage.

City of Sayanogorsk – Source: http://wikimapia.org/64048/Sayanogorsk

Sinegorye, Russia (1971-present):

  • Founded in 1971 to provide housing for construction and support workers for the ___ on the Kolyma River.
  • The city’s name means Blue Mountains.
  • Though planned for up to 10,000 residents, most have moved away since completion of the hydroelectric dam project.
  • Estimated population of 2,198 in 2018.

Svirstroy, Russia (1931-present):

  • Founded in 1931 to house workers for the Lower Svir Hydroelectric Station.
  • The town’s name means “construction on the Svir.”
  • Estimated population of 881 in 2018.

Svitlovodsk, Ukraine (1954-present):

  • Founded on the Dnieper River in 1954 to house dam workers and support staff.
  • The town’s name means “light water.”
  • Estimated population of 45,312 in 2017.

Ust-Ilimsk, Russia (1966-present):


  • The modern city was founded in 1966 to house workers for the Ust-Ilimsk Hydroelectric Power Station (see below) on the Angara River.
  • Estimated population of 81,976 in 2018.
  • Both the city’s flag and coat of arms celebrate its hydroelectric heritage.

Ust-Ilimsk Hydroelectric Power Station – Source: britannica.com

Volgodonsk, Russia (1950-present):

  • Founded in 1950 to house construction and support staff for the Tsimlyansk Hydroelectric Dam.
  • Located on the Volga-Don Canal.
  • The city is also a center of nuclear power production with the Atommash research and manufacturing factory located here, as well as the Rostov nuclear power plant.
  • Population estimated at 171,729 in 2018. Largest of the Soviet-era Hydrograds.

Peaceful Atom Monument – Source: wikimapia.org


This entry was posted in archaeology, cities, culture, energy, Europe, geography, historic preservation, history, infrastructure, land use, pictures, place names, placemaking, planning, rivers/watersheds, Russia, spatial design, technology, urban planning and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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