Exactly 35 years ago, the first IBM PC in history went on sale, but long before that day — in the 1960’s, one of the centers of Soviet Cybernetics was in Belarus. Let us remember the story of a family of computing machinery “Minsk” which won All-Union glory, and then lost it.
The gap between the USSR and the western countries in the field of computer technology in the 1950’s, according to the most optimistic estimates, was at least 10 years. Therefore, in August 1956, the decision of the USSR Council of Ministers was the start of the expansion of the production of electronic computers across the country. The resolution also provided for the establishment of centres for their production, design and development, one of which was supposed to stay in the BSSR.
Soon in Minsk, the Ordzhonikidze Plant was opened, and by 1958, the Special Design Bureau (SDB) was set up to support and upgrade the computer. Subsequently, the SDB was transformed into an independent design and research company – NIIEVM – which is still working to this day.