Giant of the Arctic
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Giant of the Arctic

June 26, 2020

The Novosibirsk newsreel began making the first film about Norilsk before the end of the Great Patriotic War.

The film group consisted of a cameraman, an electrical engineer and a director. The Norilsk Combine head Panyukov attached an assistant Victor Glass to them. The former cameraman who worked at Lenfilm was released from the Norillag in april 1945 and hired for work at the plant’s photo lab. The script of The Giant … was written by the exiled journalist Yevgeny Ryabchikov.

They shot in the mine and at the Bolshoi Metallurgical Plant, as well as in the House of Engineering and Technical Workers and at the skating rink, where a hockey match was organized on this occasion. The transport aircraft with Norilsk metal flying from Dudinka on May 1 was also shot.

The “cinema eye” visited the hospital of the Norilsk Combine, which was unofficially called Rodionovskaya. The images preserved in the photo archive show the head surgeon of the hospital Vladimir Rodionov (left) doing a surgery and his assistant – a therapist, future academician, the author of the Human Genome program Alexander Bayev (on the right side of the table). They were set free from the Norillag at that time but not yet rehabilitated.

You can see Rodionov’s wife, Klavdia, on the photo (in a white gown without a mask) who has remained in the history of Norilsk as the first director of the museum. In 1945, she graduated from nursing courses.

In July, Vladimir Rodionov wrote to his sister in a letter: “In Moscow, probably, the film The Giant of the Arctic will go on the newsreel. There you will see Norilsk, me and Klavdyusha”.

The 43-year-old doctor also wrote that in May he had been awarded a high government award – the Badge of Honor Order and the medal for participating in the defense of the Arctic.

In 1942, Rodionov, together with the head of the sanitary department Sergei Smirnov and a nurse, flew to Dikson, where they did surgeries to the injured Soviet sailors who repelled the fire of the fascist battleship Admiral Scheer. He operated on about 30 wounded soldiers. Many continued treatment in Norilsk.

Not only the hospital’s medical staff got into the shot, but so did the film crew. Now it’s hard to determine who is who. It can be assumed that Victor Glass stands behind the camera.

By the way, Dr. Rodionov himself was a very good photographer and a participant of many photo exhibitions.

Text: Valentina Vachaeva, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive

June 26, 2020

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