This letter from Grozneft Oil Company in the city of Grozny, Chechen-Ingush region, was sent to Wickes Brothers, Saginaw, Michigan in 1934. In the 1930s, the Wickes Brothers specialized in manufacturing large size boilers, shipping them to other states as well as foreign countries. This letter is evidence of the company owners’ business acumen: they penetrated the fast-growing Soviet market right after the United States, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, officially recognized the Soviet Union, the last major power to do so. The Wickes boiler was about to be shipped to Grozneft State Oil Company. The capital city of Chechnya, Grozny, was a key oil pipeline juncture in the USSR of the 1930s. Chechen oil accounted for roughly one-third of the national total in 1932. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the decision by Moscow to send its army into the independence-seeking Chechnya could be partly due to a desire to secure control over its oil industry.

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