#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The main centers of attraction in the 1960s were Talnah, Messoyaha and, of course, Snezhnogorsk, but getting there was not easy. This is how, for example, Boris Ivanov’s book “Hello, Hantaika!” begins:
“The big city of Norilsk is businesslike and beautiful. In the evenings you won’t find people loitering on the streets: people are busy with important things – they’re relaxing. Little is known about Norilsk. And Norilsk residents know everything about affairs on the mainland.
A Krasnoyarsk man got off the plane at night, got into a taxi and asked the driver:
– To the Norilsk hotel.
And then, to start a conversation:
– Krasnoyarsk Lokomotiv lost today – 2:3.
“1:2,” the driver corrected, as if he had just returned from this match. – Norilsk residents know everything…
– If so, tell me how to get to Hantaika.
– It’s simple. From the hotel you can walk – ten minutes – or by bus – two stops. Do you want to buy a hat?
– There’s an exhibition and sale of hats there. I have already brought many people there.
– No. I need a chief engineer, – said the passenger, looking at the driver.
– In Hantayka? In the shop? – even the Volga jumped because of the driver’s surprise.
– Why in shop? On construction…
And both laughed.
Hantaika is located right in the city center, on Leninsky prospect. A good store is full of people, multi-colored squares of letters are along the facade, and the neon cuts darkness at night.
– How can I get to the real one?
– Like in the song: “You can get there by plane only”. Inquiries phone is 6-20-11. You can also go from Dudinka by boat, but it will take a long time.
From the Hantaigesstroy office window you can see mount Schmidtiha. It was chilly in the dampness and wrapped in white cotton wool. They say it’s always like this: the clouds catch Schmidtiha, and then, falling from its steep peak, they rush over the city – and the rain pours down tediously.
My business trip was coming up. The Hantayskaya HPP production and technical department’s head Leonid Zapalsky, must accept the route of the future power transmission line Snezhnogorsk – Norilsk and must issue new technical documentation to the builders. But we are sitting with our hands buried in a pile of letters with ridiculously mixed up addresses.
Everyone wants to be the first builder of a polar hydroelectric power station. “…I also want to ask you, is there a place to ride a bike there? Here in Frunze I go cycling and therefore want to take a bicycle with me. If you don’t have a bicycle club, I’ll create it.
– What should Vera do?
– Let her take it, the guys will adapt it for something. After all, a bicycle is a vehicle. I’ll show you our ‘cycling tracks’.
“We, three friends, want to build Snezhnogorsk. We are eighteen years old. Oh, if you only knew how much we want to come.
We also want… Zapalsky takes the next envelope. Letters, letters… They are like sparks, small, hot. Each has come a long way and is now lying, waiting for a response. They cannot be extinguished, these spark letters. They were taken on the road by the wind of time. Some rushed to the Sayans, another liked Ust-Ilim, and these ones need Hantaika, the construction of “the most polar hydroelectric power station”. It gets warmer when such sparks burn.
We are still traveling on water. It hurries towards us like a wide ribbon. It has only one way – to the north, to the Kara sea. OM-144 was sailing this way for the second time – from the Dudinka pier to the Snezhnogorsk pier. Omik, as it is affectionately called, is familiar to every seagull.
Suddenly, Omik gets closer to the left bank. And here they are, the Hantai gate, the mouth of the river. The Arctic Circle remained astern, and the seagulls also lagged behind. The water in Hantayka is blue and gentle. It accepts Omik as an old friend. Everyone lined up on the deck.
“Well, hello, Hantaika!”
In the History Spot’s previous publication, we told you what geologists wrote about the expedition to the Putorana plateau.
Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive