Valentin I. Kovalenkov

Valentin I. Kovalenkov


Tuesday, March 25, 1884

Passed away: 

Thursday, July 14, 1960

Valentin Kovalenkov, in full Valentin Ivanovich Kovalenkov, was born in the village of Mezhnik, the Oskuiskaya volost in the Tikhvin district of the Novgorod Province (nowadays, the Chudovsky district of the Novgorod Region), in the family of a village teacher. Valentin was the eldest son of 9 children. He received elementary education in the rural schools of the villages of Mezhnik and Zaitsevo. As a child of rural teachers, Kovalenkov had the right to reside in a dormitory of the province center. Having exercised the right, he entered a real school in Novgorod and successfully graduated in 1901.

In 1902, Kovalenkov was admitted to the Imperial Electrotechnical Institute in St. Petersburg (nowadays, St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University “LETI”) in the Weak Current Department. Without sufficient means of subsistence, Kovalenkov earned his living by giving lessons; from 1907 to 1916, he taught physics and cosmogony at the Bastman private gymnasium.

At the Electrotechnical Institute, Kovalenkov was keen on the lectures of Professors V.V. Skobeltsin, K.A. Posse, I.I. Borgman, and P.D. Voinarovsky. He got in touch with A.S. Popov, who significantly affected his research interests. Upon graduation from the Electrotechnical Institute, Kovalenkov became the 1st class electrical engineer (1909). His graduation work, entitled “Long-Distance Telegraphy,” was awarded a medal, and his name was inscribed on the marble plaque of the Institute’s distinguished graduates.

As a certified engineer, in 1909 Kovalenkov was appointed the deputy head of the department in the Chief Directorate of Posts and Telegraphs. He was permitted to attend St. Petersburg University, the Department of Physics and Mathematics, as a free student. From 1909 to 1911, he studied at the University, devoting much attention to mathematics under the guidance of Academician V.A. Steklov. Steklov introduced him to Academician A.N. Krylov, who tutored and advised the talented student for the rest of his life.

From 1911 to 1941, Kovalenkov worked at the Electrotechnical Institute, holding successive positions: laboratory assistant, lecturer, and Professor (1917) in the Department of Telephony. In 1919—1920, he was Director of the Institute and, for 8 years, was acting Dean of the Department of Wire Communications. Kovalenkov organized the Department of Railway Automation, Remote Control, and Communications. In 1939, it became an independent educational institution, Leningrad Electrotechnical of Signaling and Communications.

In 1913, at the meeting of the Council of the Electrotechnical Institute with the participation of university professors, Kovalenkov passed the examination for an Adjunct (Associate Professor) of low-current electrical engineering. In 1914, he defended the candidate’s dissertation entitled “Settling Processes and Intermittent Current Distribution in Telegraph Wires.” At the All-Russian contest (1915), his dissertation was awarded the Popov Prize and received an honorary mention from the Russian Academy of Sciences.

From 1919 to 1920, Kovalenkov was Professor of Acoustics at the Institute of the Living Word in Petrograd. From 1919 to 1925, he was Professor of Acoustics and Sound Technology in the Department of Music History, the Institute of Art History. From 1925 to 1930, Kovalenkov was the 1st category researcher in the Department of Natural and Scientific Fundamentals of Musical Art. From 1919 to 1921, he was a consultant at the Music Department of the RSFSR People’s Commissariat for Education (Petrograd). Kovalenkov conducted research on the artificial synthesis of sounds, new musical instruments, and measuring devices to analyze the voice, hearing, and musical abilities of students, the acoustics of rooms, etc.

In 1922, he was elected Honorary Member of the Petrograd Association of Inventors.

In 1919, during the Yudenich attack on Petrograd, Kovalenkov appeared at the Red Army Headquarters and offered his services as a communications expert. He was instructed to organize an elemental plant in Moscow and to produce dry galvanic components for the Army. Since that time, Kovalenkov’s life was inseparably connected with the Red Army. From 1923 to 1941, he was successively a staff teacher, senior supervisor, Head of the Telephony Department, Head of the Institute of Adjuncts, and Professor of the Telephony Department at the Military Technical Academy. (Subsequently, it was renamed, first, to the Electrotechnical Academy of the Red Army and, then, to the Military Electrotechnical Academy of Communications.) In 1935, Kovalenkov received the military rank of Brigade Engineer; in 1940, Division Engineer; in 1943, Major-General of the Engineering Service.

In 1928, Kovalenkov was elected Professor of the Telephony Department at the Leningrad Institute of Railway Transportation Engineers.

In 1934, the Higher Attestation Commission confirmed Kovalenkov with the academic degree of Dr. Sci. (Eng.). In 1935, the Presidium of the All-Soviet Central Executive Committee entitled him the Honored Man of Science and Technology of the RSFSR.

In 1938, Kovalenkov was approved the Executive Editor of Automation and Remote Control.

In 1939, he was elected Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, the Department of Engineering (Technical Physics). From that moment, his research was connected with the USSR Academy of Sciences.

From 1932, Kovalenkov was Member of the Scientific Council of the Leningrad Institute of Remote Control. In 1934, he became a Member of the Commission on Automation and Remote Control of the USSR Academy of Sciences (since 1940, the Committee on Automation and Remote Control, the USSR Academy of Science). In 1939, Kovalenkov became Deputy Director of the Institute of Automation and Remote Control (IARC, the USSR Academy of Sciences); in 1941, Director of the IARC. He organized the Sector for Scientific Problems of Wire Communications in the Laboratory of Remote Control of the IARC. In 1948, the sector was transformed by the Technical Sciences Department (the USSR Academy of Sciences) into an independent institution, the Laboratory for Scientific Problems of Wire Communications. It was headed by Kovalenkov until 1956. In the Laboratory, he organized R&D works on a wide of wire communication problems, including automation. Kovalenkov actively trained young scientists. Many famous experts in telecommunications defended their doctoral dissertations under his supervision. Among them, note A.F. Beletsky, I.I. Grodnev, I.E. Efimov, K.E. Kulbatsky, P.M. Kurochkin, V.N. Roginsky, M.A. Sapozhkov, and V.L. Tyurin.

Kovalenkov received the Stalin Prize of the 2nd degree (1941). Also, he was awarded the Red Star Order (1936), the Red Banner of Labor Order (1944), the Combat Red Banner Order (1944), two Lenin Orders (1945, 1953), and many medals.

Kovalenkov’s main books are as follows:

  1. Ustanavlivayushchiesya elektromagnitnye protsessy vdol’ provodnykh linii (Settling Electromagnetic Processes along Wire Lines), Moscow: the USSR Academy of Sciences, 1945. — 248 p.;
  2. Teoriya peredachi po liniyam (Theory of Line Transmission), Moscow: Svyaz’tekhizdat, 1938. — 331 p.

The books are presented in the Institute’s database:Коваленков

The list of his papers in Avtomatika i Telemekhanika can be found at:

Many inventions by Kovalenkov are available at:

Articles about V.I. Kovalenkov

1. V. I. Kovalenkov, Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences (to His Seventieth Birthday), Avtomat. i Telemekh., 15:3 (1954), 272—274.

Also, see the Wikipedia page devoted to Kovalenkov:Коваленков,_Валентин_Иванович