Virgin lands campaign
One of the most significant stages in the history of the northern provincial town began with the decision of the party and government of the USSR on the development of virgin and fallow lands. Young enthusiasts from all cities of the Soviet Union set about implementation of the idea of Nikita Khrushchev, Secretary General of the CPSU Central Committee. On March 2, 1954, the first echelon arrived with volunteers from Alma-Ata, and on March 5 – with Moscow workers on the virgin land.
According to historical data, only in the period from 1953 to 1958 about 270 thousand people arrived in the Akmola region. Until now, children and grandchildren of those first virgin land workers live already in the young capital of Kazakhstan. Due to the development of virgin lands Akmola region has become one of the main granary of the country and a major center of agricultural engineering. During 1953-1956, 3.5 million hectares of virgin lands were raised in the region. The city was booming, and on December 26, 1960 a decree was issued on the formation of the Virgin Land.
And since 1961 it was already called Tselinograd. In pursuance of another idea of Nikita Khrushchev – the formation of the Tselinny Region in Kazakhstan with the capital in Tselinograd – a Resolution of the USSR Council of Ministers was adopted and a master plan for the development of the city was developed, as well as a plan for reconstruction of the old and development of the new building in the South-East. On November 6, 1963, the television center began to operate in Tselinograd. At the same time, the Tselinnikov Palace was opened, which was designed by Latvian architects P.Y. Fogels, O.N. Krauklis, D.K. Danneberg. It was designed for 2,355 seats.
It was considered the second in the USSR after the Kremlin Palace of Congresses by the scale and system of equipment at that time. The plan of Secretary General of the CPSU Central Committee Nikita Khrushchev was not destined to come true – the city did not become the official capital of the virgin region. But it was the city destined to become the new capital of sovereign Kazakhstan. Moreover, by historical standards the city had to wait for this high status not for a long time.