#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. On May 19, 1956, the country’s central newspapers published an appeal by the party and government to young people to work on construction sites in the Far North and the Far East: to develop the largest deposits of non-ferrous and rare metals.
Ideological Komsomol members were supposed to replace the Norilsk prisoners, because the usual recruitment of workers did not bring results. Already on June 19, 1956, the motor ship Alexander Matrosov arrived in Dudinka with the first volunteers, mainly from Leningraders and Muscovites. All in all, in June 1956, about 1500 people came to Norilsk on vouchers from the Central Committee of the Komsomol, from June to October – 6300.
The main problem that the city authorities faced was the settlement of new townspeople. Camp barracks were rebuilt for youth hostels – a total of 143 barracks and 49 houses. For example, the house No. 8 on Sovetskaya street, just commissioned by the builders, became a hostel. The Komsomol members were even settled in the converted office buildings and service rooms of the workshops.
The Norilsk residents did their best to receive the newcomers better: they were given warm clothes, vouchers to the night dispensary, and they were taught construction specialties.
The city newspaper even began to publish a special Youth Page for the visitors:
“It’s only been six months. It seemed that people who had never held the tools of a bricklayer, plasterer, or carpenter could do during this time? Much! Thousands of young men and women have acquired specialties, have become quite good qualified builders, and here are the results: the first stage of the plant of reinforced concrete structures produces products, hundreds of families celebrated housewarming in new houses. The youth are getting settled for a long time. I wish you success in the future, young Norilsk people!”
Nevertheless, the disorder of life and the harsh winter was not within the power of everyone: by January 1957, about 500 romantics had left, only the proven and persistent remained.
Their work was required everywhere: in factories, mines, but most importantly – at construction sites. The Komsomol troops were building the swimming pool and the television center, the hospital campus and schools, residential buildings and entire streets in Norilsk.
In the last issue of the History spot photo project, we talked about the fact that the Zapolyarnik stadium was at first a public garden named after Pushkin, and there, on the site of the farmsteads, tundra greenery took root well.
Text: Svetlana Samohina Photo: Nornckel Polar Division archive