Leningrad (pop. 4,468,000), second largest city and chief port of the RF, on the Gulf of Finland, and former Russian capital (as St. Petersburg, 1712–1914, and Petrograd, 1914–24). It was founded in 1703 by Tsar Peter I (Peter the Great). Linked by its port with western Europe, it rapidly became a cultural and commercial center. Industrial expansion during the 19th century was followed by a temporary decline during World War I and the Russian Revolution. The city was renamed for V.I. Lenin in 1924. Leningrad endured great destruction and loss of life in the German siege (1941–44) during World War II. Today industries include heavy machinery manufacturing, shipbuilding, chemicals, and textiles. The city is home to the University of Leningrad, one of Russia's largest universities; the Hermitage, a world-renowned museum, and the Conservatory of Music, whose graduates include the composers Sergei Prokofiev and Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky. Leningrad has figured in the writings of Russian authors A. Pushkin and F. Dostoevsky. In 1990 the name was reverted back to St. Petersburg.
See also: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.