A sailor, the Civil War participant, who went from an ordinary sailor to the Minister of the USSR Navy, Alexander Afanasyev was a truly outstanding person, a bright representative of his time, who survived all the ups and downs of the era.
At the request of the veterans, the Krasnoyarsk Community public organization turned to the senior vice president – Nornickel’s HR, social policy and public relations block head Larisa Zelkova with a proposal to perpetuate the memory of the legendary sailor.
Alexander Afanasyev during the Great Patriotic War was the first deputy people’s commissar of the navy, authorized by the State Defense Committee for the maritime transportation of lend-lease cargo. Thanks to the transportation organized along the Northern Sea Route, the Norilsk combine got equipment for mining, metallurgical and energy facilities, as well as the necessary food through the Dudinka port. Thanks to Afanasyev, after the victory, tugboats, an icebreaker, lighters and barges were overtaken to the port of Dudinka from Germany along the Northern Sea Route.
During the years of political repression, in 1948, Afanasyev was arrested and sentenced as an ‘enemy of the people’. In 1952, he was released ahead of schedule, exiled to Dudinka, and appointed the Norilsk combine port head. In 1954, fully rehabilitated, he returned to Moscow and became deputy minister of the USSR Navy and Main Northern Sea Route head, working until 1973.
“We readily supported the initiative of veterans and Larisa Zelkova personally to perpetuate the memory of our colleague Alexander Afanasyev. I am sure that without knowledge of history, no team or enterprise can see the today’s problems and follow urgent challenges”, said Aleksey Novakov, the Polar Transportation Branch head, at the opening of the memorial plaque.
Text: Denis Kozhevnikov, Photo: author