#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Vasily Ksintaris had a difficult time in the Norilsk supply chain’s formation: the late 1940s – early 1950s. There were no normal warehouses and loading equipment. Barges with cargoes often froze into the Yenisei, and every nail that came to Norilsk became ‘golden’.
Ksintaris’ job wasn’t exactly desk work. Moreover, he suffered for his nationality in the same years. In 1950, he was asked to leave Norilsk ‘at 24 o’clock’ precisely because of the ‘fifth paragraph’ in his passport, where Ksintaris did not hesitate to indicate his Greek nationality. The order was canceled soon, but Ksintaris returned to Norilsk only in 1954, immediately becoming the Norilsk Mining and Metallurgical Combine’s deputy director for supply and transport.
The Norilsk Combine’s head Boris Loginov recalled this period:
During my directorship, he has already been the complete Combine’s supply’s owner, and no one bothered him anymore, especially since times have changed for the better. He was in charge of supply, rail, air, sea transport, housing and communication with the camp. I was amazed at his ability to retain a huge amount of information and make the necessary decisions in time and have learned a lot from him.
Vasily Ksintaris was not a callous boss either. He helped his countrymen-prisoners, not being afraid of it. He recalled the Norilsk camp:
The bastards’ percentage among the camp authorities in Norillag, perhaps, was slightly higher than the average for the USSR, but the humanity, sympathy for the convicts and simple decency’s percentage was much higher.
Vasily Ksintaris was appointed the Krasnoyarsk Economic Council’s supply department’s head in 1957. He was appointed the Ministry of Non-Ferrous Metallurgy of the USSR’s deputy minister in 1965 and became the USSR Gossnab’s first deputy head in 1973. He did a lot for the Norilsk Combine’s development, the city and the entire Taimyr occupying ever higher positions.
Vasily Ksintaris was awarded six orders and nine medals, including the medal For the Defense of the Soviet Arctic. In 2002, he was awarded the title of Honorary Taimyr Citizen, and in 2017 he became an honorary Norilsk citizen.
The memorial plaque hangs on the former Norilsksnab’s (Eng.: Norilsk supply) building in memory of Vasily Ksintaris.
In the History Spot photo project previous publication, we told about one of the first Talnah builders Mikhail Kravets.
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Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive