In 1944 Norilsk got to foreign press pages

In 1944 Norilsk got to foreign press pages

April 11, 2022

In 1944, the American newspaper New York Herald Tribune wrote that on September 29, its correspondent Maurice Hindus ‘on telephone from Norilsk’ spoke about the center of non-ferrous metallurgy in Siberia.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. “Among Americans, not many have heard of Norilsk”, the newspaper wrote, “but for Russians, Norilsk is a symbol of the triumph of man over the nature of the North. For some time now, this is an industrial center, the largest of its kind, has been supplying priceless metals to war factories. Norilsk has a stationary theatre, a power plant, a football stadium, halls for dancing, lectures and film screenings. There is a secondary school and a college teaching 71 specialties. At the same time, Norilsk is located in Northern Siberia, at the seventieth parallel, in the area of ​​permafrost, in the frozen desert…”

In general, the article by Maurice Hindus (by the way, an American with Russian roots) was quite objective, without too much sensationalism. The only serious mistake was the replacement of the pioneers Sotnikov and Urvantsev with the ‘geologist Vorontsov with a companion’. But in 1944, Urvantsev was still a Norillag convict, and Sotnikov had been shot a long time ago, that was why their names were banned, and therefore the mistake is understandable.

A copy of the article was sent to Norilsk from Washington by Sergey Bocharnikov, a Norilsk resident, who was in the United States on a business trip in 1944-1945, receiving equipment for the Large Concentration Plant of the Norilsk Combine.

Bocharnikov attached Zavenyagin’s request to the article: to find out whether the correspondent Maurice Hindus had really been to Norilsk.

The article made a lot of noise in the city. The main question is whether the American visited our town and how did he get here in wartime? There are no answers so far.

Research writer Mikhail Vazhnov voiced two versions: Hindus, who was friends with the head of the military department of the Red Star newspaper, could fly with him on a military plane for a day. The second version is that there was not the American in Norilsk, but a lady who collaborated with Hindus, she probably was a Norilsk resident, who was employed by the Foreign Ministry and was connected with the NKVD.

In the last issue of the History Spot photo project, we told that open-pit mining in Norilsk had begun despite of skeptics’ opinion.

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Text: Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive

April 11, 2022

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