Perm is a city and administrative center of Perm Oblast, Russia. It is situated on the banks of the Kama River, at the foot of the Ural Mountains. Perm is one of the largest cities in Russia, thirteenth most populous, with 976,116 (2006 est.).
During the early Middle Ages, the region of Perm was populated by pagan Finno-Ugric tribes who lived to the southeast of the legendary Bjarmaland and northeast of Volga Bulgaria. Between the 13th and 14th centuries, Russian fur traders and Christian missionaries from Novgorod and later Moscow founded first settlements in the area. Saint Stephen of Perm is credited with the conversion of the local population to Christianity in the late 14th century. In the 15th century, the Perm region, because of its highly profitable fur trade, was an object of a bitter rivalry between Novgorod and Moscow, and in 1472 Perm was finally annexed by the Grand Duchy of Moscow. In the late 15th and early 16th centuries, soldiers, merchants, Christian monks, and priests were followed by Tsarist administration officials and peasant settlers from the western Russia.
Perm was first mentioned as a village, Yegoshikha, in 1647; however, the history of the modern city of Perm starts with the development of the Ural region by Tsar Peter I of Russia. Vasily Tatishchev, appointed by the Tsar as a chief manager of Ural factories, founded Perm together with another major center of the Ural region, Yekaterinburg.
Perm was founded on May 15 (May 4 in Julian calendar), 1723, and has had town status since 1781. By 1797, it was already an administrative center of the gubernia with the same name. In the 19th century, Perm became a major trade and industrial center with a population of more than 20,000 people in the 1860s, with several metallurgy, paper, and steamboat producing factories, including one owned by a British entrepreneur. In 1870, an opera theatre was opened in the city, and in 1871 the first phosphoric factory in Russia was built. In 1916, Perm State University—a major educational institution in modern Russia—was opened.
After the outbreak of the Russian Civil War, Perm became a prime target for both sides because of its military munitions factories. In December 1918 the Siberian White Army under Anatoly Pepelyayev (who acknowledged the authority of the Omsk Government of Alexander Kolchak), took Perm. In 1919 the city was retaken by the Red Army.
Grand Duke Mikail Alexandrovich was executed in the outskirts of Perm with his secretary Nicholas Johnson on June 12, 1918 on the orders of the Per Private Community. Their bodies were never recovered. A few weeks later on July 7, 1918, Andronic Nikolsky, the Archbishop of Perm, was also murdered by the Bolsheviks in the city. In 2000, the Russian Orthodox Church glorified him as Hero martyr Andronik, Archbishop of Perm, one of the Russian New Martyrs and Confessors.
In the 1930s, Perm grew as a major industrial city, and aviation, shipbuilding, and chemical factories were built there. The process continued after the 1940s and virtually every major industry became represented by numerous factories in Perm. To this day almost 80% of the city's population is employed in manufacturing. During the Great Patriotic War (World War II), Perm was a vital center of tank production in the Soviet Union.
From 1940 until 1957 the city was named Molotov, after Vyacheslav Molotov.
Now the city is a major administrative, industrial, scientific, and cultural center. The leading industries include machinery, defense, oil production (about 3% of Russian output), oil refining, chemical and petrochemical, timber and wood processing and the food industry.