#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. A wide front passage turning into the current Theater square was drawn on the plan for the Norilsk first stage construction in 1943. The theater building, judging by the plan, should be placed right in the center of this passage.
The Dzerzhinskogo street began to grow in reality, not on paper in 1960. And at first it was named the Teatralny proezd (Eng.: Theater passage), apparently expecting that the theater’s construction would not be long in coming.
“The Teatralny proezd appeared in Norilsk on the very outskirts of tundra. The bus is running fast on the asphalt. Behind are the cinema named after Lenin, the city agency building. The library’s of the Lenin Komsomol sign appeared in the window and flashed quickly. Stalina prospekt is as straight as an arrow. But here is a turn, and the bus heads for the railway station. The conductor announces: “Prepare to exit: The Teatralny proezd”. There are a lot of people who want to get out. These are those who live on Mira and Leningradskaya streets”, wrote the newspaper Zapolyarka in 1961.
But the theater building was destined to grow in this area only after a quarter of a century. And in April 1962, the street officially received the name of Felix Dzerzhinsky. By the same order, the name of the ‘knight of the revolution’ was also given to the square on which it was opened – the current Theater square.
There was a television tower and the Norilsk television center’s (GTRK Norilsk) building, the old school No. 8 and a square without a theater in the Dzerzhinskogo street’s prospects for a long time.
The Norilsk people asked to rename the street, erasing the name of Iron Felix, who had nothing to do with the city, from the Norilsk map during the perestroika years. However, this is not entirely true: Dzerzhinsky managed to personally participate in the Norilsk fate.
In 1924, after the Nikolai Urvantsev’s first expeditions to the Norilsk valley, Geolcom (Eng.: Geological commetee) studied the geological surveys’ results, approved them, but decided not to conduct further studies yet. Urvantsev categorically disagreed with this, understanding the region’s prospects. And he turned to Dzerzhinsky, who headed the Supreme Council of the National Economy at that time. People’s Commissar studied the situation and supported Urvantsev. And an expedition of 150 people headed by Dzerzhinsky’s personal secretary Pavel Alliluyev (Stalin’s brother-in-law) set off for the Norilsk valley already in the spring of the following year.
In the History spot photo project previous publication we told how the Norilsk Combine’s head became a prisoner.
Text: Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive