In wartime cultural facilities in Norilsk built despite of bans

In wartime cultural facilities in Norilsk built despite of bans

April 29, 2022

Avraamy Zavenyagin personally influenced the decision to continue building cultural institution.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. An interesting historical document was signed in Norilsk on October 8, 1942. It was a temporary instruction for the design of industrial enterprises in wartime. On the one hand, it greatly simplified the work of builders, and on the other hand, it complicated further operation.

For example, during construction, deviations from sanitary, fire and other standards were allowed, or objects were allowed to be handed over in parts. At the same time, the installation of asphalt sidewalks, internal and external plastering of premises and buildings was prohibited.

Moreover, it was instructed to “exclude the plant management, schools, clubs, cinemas and other cultural and community institutions from the construction plans”, and build only low-rise residential buildings with stove heating.

On the same day, Avraamy Zavenyagin, Deputy People’s Commissar of Internal Affairs, spoke at a meeting of the plant’s assets, saying completely opposite things:

“Some employees of the Norilsk combine have a misconception: they tend to interpret some things as excess, comfort, as things that should not be done during the war. I was told recently, there was a meeting where they said that spending money on plaster during the war was comfort. Completely wrong. This approach is uncultured: it looks cheaper, but leads to high costs. Any slovenliness, clutter, imperfections cause high costs. We are building a city, but we need to build faster. By the end of next year there will already be a serious settlement with good houses, a number of first-class streets…”

Apparently, thanks to Zavenyagin’s point of view, during the war, despite the prohibitions, they handed over the House of Engineering and Technical Workers – in fact, the Palace of Culture of that time, built the Dynamo stadium, equipped a small gym. A ski base, a shooting range, and boat stations also appeared.

In the last publication of the History Spot photo project we told about the permafrost station, which has been conducting research in Norilsk since 1935.

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Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive

April 29, 2022

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