Mass media could not mention Norilsk name

Mass media could not mention Norilsk name

December 01, 2022

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the names of enterprises and even the name of the city itself could not be mentioned in the Norilsk mass media.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. After the Great Patriotic War, several printed publications were issued in Norilsk: a newspaper for party members – Stalinets, Production Bulletin – for camps prisoners, and even a scientific magazine Technical Information Bulletin.

Interesting that for reasons of secrecy they did not mention the names of industrial enterprises in Norilsk – they indicated only their heads’ names.

Moreover, in the late 1940s, even local geographical names were banned in the press: Norilsk was allegorically called ‘the combine’s city’ or just ‘our city’, and Krasnoyarsk was called ‘the regional center’.

In the same difficult conditions, the journalists of the Zapolyarnaya Pravda city newspaper, created in 1953, worked at that time. It had to talk about mines and factories without naming them or using the words ‘ore’ or ‘metal’. The result was an abracadabra that no spy could understand:

“The enterprise, where comrade Krestnikov is the head, celebrated its 15th anniversary. Over the years, it has produced 1.6 times more products than planned for the project”; “Athletes of the enterprises where comrades Kibalin and Prohorov are directors are on the ice field. The meeting ended with a score of 4:1 in favor of the hockey players of the plant, where comrade Kibalin is the director.

Journalists of those years swore: “I swear to keep state and party secrets and be vigilant, also not to disclose the names of the authors and the content of unpublished materials, operational plans and editorial assignments. Otherwise, I bear criminal liability in accordance with the current legislation”.

In the History Spot’s previous publication, we told that when designing Norilsk, experts hoped to outdo the American Nome: Stalin expressed the desire that the polar Soviet city should be better than Nome.

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Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive

December 01, 2022

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