#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The girl’s figure stood next to the cottages on the shore of the Dolgoye lake. It was the most mysterious and multifaceted – it had several popular names: a geologist, a teacher, a sniper, a Komsomol member, a Norilsk woman – all these are variants of a real prototype of the statue.
There was a version that the sculpture was nothing more than a test of the gypsum-cement mixtures’ strength. Even the year of its appearance differs – either 1939 or 1941. It is reliably known that the statue was sculpted by the prisoner sculptor Moisey Zaitsev. He called his two-meter sculpture a sniper girl who defended her homeland.
Over the past years, the Norilsk woman has repeatedly fallen from her pedestal, disappeared and rebelled again. At least twice – in 1967 and 1985 – the statue underwent a complete reconstruction. As a result, its pedestal was changed, and in the girl’s hand something similar to a paper scroll appeared. But neither a book nor a rifle attributed to it by popular rumor are visible in historical photographs.
The sculpture was not a masterpiece of art. “Moisey Zaitsev was far from Rodin, but his creation was not devoid of some merits”, the architect Vitold Nepokoichitsky recalled.The Norilsk people fell in love with the stone girl. The famous poet Vsevolod Vilchek even wrote a poem about her: “There is a girl – the youth of Norilsk – the keeper of its fortitude”.
In 1989, the statue disappeared, it would seem, forever: they said that it would not survive the next restoration. So they were going to order a new statue to the sculptor Vyacheslav Melikov – but it did not work out. Though the romantic figurine never disappeared from the memory of the townspeople. Therefore, its third “reincarnation” in 2010 could not but rejoice.
Made not in a fragile plaster, but in durable bronze, the statue became a present from the Nornickel company to the townspeople on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Norilsk combine.
The “father” of the new Norilsk woman statue is the Krasnoyarsk sculptor Konstantin Zinich.
For other materials of our photo project about the history of the city and the combine, go to the History spot section.
Text: Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nikolay Shchipko, Nornickel Polar Division archive, social networks