The club draws its history from the very start of the Soviet football league competitions and is one of the oldest clubs in Ukraine. The club was a member of the Soviet Voluntary Sports Society of Shakhtyor, having connections with other Soviet teams from Karaganda (Kazakhstan), Soligorsk (Belarus), among others. In the late Soviet period, Shakhtar was considered a tough mid-table club of the Soviet Top League and a cup competition specialist after winning the Soviet Cup two years in a row in 1961 and 1962.
The team has played under the following names: Stakhanovets (1936–1946), Shakhtyor (Shakhtar) (1946–1992), and FC Shakhtar (since 1992).
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