Norilsk had its own spontaneous private dwellings sector

Norilsk had its own spontaneous private dwellings sector

May 17, 2023

Makeshift barracks clung to each other, forming entire districts that resembled favelas under the snow. There was even a whole real village of self-construction, nicknamed Pashka's village.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. This Norilsk “Shanghai” arose due to an acute shortage of housing. Therefore, the authorities had to put up with the barracks and call them “individual buildings”.

Here is a note from the Norilsk press in 1957 with a demand to “put things in order in individual construction”:

“Because housing conditions are difficult in our city, individual construction is of great importance. But the practice of past years has shown that individual construction was carried out arbitrarily.

Houses appeared in the most unexpected and inappropriate places and were built from inappropriate materials. Furnaces were erected in gross violation of standard, electrical wiring was installed from various brands of wires, without complying with technical rules and regulations.

The result of careless construction are frequent fires in these houses. In individual construction, it is necessary to put things in order.

The design office has to think about a typical project, taking into account the construction site. Developers need to be assisted by construction offices and enterprises. Houses upon completion of construction should be accepted by a special commission”.

According to the recollections of old Norilsk residents, the barracks were built right next to each other. For each new housing, it was enough to put together three walls, and sometimes two were enough.

There were no streets and lanes, squares and quarters, only labyrinths of nooks and crannies. It was almost impossible to find the addressee without a guide:

“It is especially difficult for postmen to work with such settlements, even the policemen were afraid to go there. The criminal contingent lived there: they were released from the prison and had to wait somewhere for navigation”.

It was necessary to systematize such housing on the eve of the elections, so in the list of polling stations there appeared mysterious “villages of the southeastern site” or “individual village in the bath area”.

In the History Spot’s previous publication, we told that settlements used to be actively burned around Norilsk.

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Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive

May 17, 2023

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