In 1939 Norilsk got workers’ settlement status

In 1939 Norilsk got workers’ settlement status

February 01, 2023

On August 27, 1939, Norilsk was officially assigned to the territory of the Dudinka district of the Taimyr National District.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Prior to that, it was listed as a settlement under the Chasovnya nomadic council. That is, Chasovnya on the Rybnaya river was the administrative center with the authorities.

In 1939, along with the new status, Norilsk also received leadership functions: in the winter, 25 deputies were elected to the village council, and a registry office appeared. From that moment, the first Norilsk residents no longer had to go to Rybnaya for every certificate.

By that time the population of the village was 2593 people. But these are only civilians, more than ten thousand people made up the contingent of the Norilsk forced labor camp. And in the next year, 1940, these figures rose to 6 and 20 thousand, respectively.

In 1939, there were six streets in Norilsk – now it is the territory of the Old City. The first two-story stone houses were built here and a three-story building was laid, where the Central Hospital of the camp would be. A horse-drawn ambulance appeared. There was a bathhouse, a kindergarten, a school, a canteen. The streets were paved with stone, trucks, cars and even two buses walked along them.

A small metallurgical plant, a temporary power plant were already operating, and a thermal power plant construction began. Norilsk coal in 1939 was already partially used by the Northern Sea Route and river vessels. In its own printing house, the first large-circulation appeared, and on New Year’s Eve, for the first time, a public Christmas tree was installed on the street. And the first pioneer organization detachment consisted of eight pioneers.

Here is how the Norilsk City Council chairman Zoya Tumanishvili described that time:

“What can I say about the village? Wooden houses and wagons. The political department was located in Urvantsev’s house. Here, on Gornaya street, there was a design department, geologists, a bacteriological laboratory, a state bank. And there was the ‘zone’ (the Norilsk forced labor camp area. – editor). Perpendicular to that Zavodskaya street was built up with two-story houses made of rubble stone. There was also a clinic on this street.

Before the club was built, all cultural events took place in the dining room. The school was on the hill. The premises for the village council were allocated in a wooden two-story house on Zavodskaya street. It consisted of two rooms: two small ones. Another room was given for the military registry department. Through the corridor on the same territory there was the people’s court”.

In the History Spot’s previous publication, we told that in the 1950s Norilsk produced its own mining equipment.

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Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive

February 01, 2023

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