Norilsk residents celebrate main holidays in July

Norilsk residents celebrate main holidays in July

July 19, 2023

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Norilsk city and the 88th anniversary of the Norilsk combine. Dates of the city and the combine’s birthdays, however, are rather conditional.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The main summer holiday in Norilsk is triple – City Day, Metallurgist Day and Company Day. According to the established tradition, it is celebrated on the third weekend of July, but this was not always this way.

It is customary to start the construction of a metallurgical giant from 1935, when, by a well-known order, it was subordinated to the NKVD. But in reality, the construction of the combine began even earlier, when work in our area began to be carried out by the state-owned gold-platinum joint-stock company Soyuzzoloto. After all, the main bet was made on Norilsk platinum at that time.

In 1929, Soyuzzoloto created a special expedition led by Yakov Vedernikov to put the Norilsk deposit into operation and to conduct an economic survey of the region. Vedernikov became, in fact, the first head of the combine construction.

In the 1940s and 1950s, April 29, 1942 was considered the birthday of the combine and the city. On this day, the first ton of pure industrial nickel was obtained in the electrolysis shop of the Small Metallurgical Plant and sent by plane to the mainland.

It was a real victory for the Norilsk metallurgists, and for the next 15 years the combine’s birthday was celebrated at the end of April. They celebrated it modestly, preferring sporting events – track and field relay races, ski runs, football matches.

In the mid-1950s, it was decided to consider June 23, 1935, the date of signing the order on the combine’s construction, as its birthday.

Around the same time, in 1957, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR established a new holiday – Metallurgist’s Day, which was celebrated on the third Sunday of July. And given that the status of the city of Norilsk was awarded in mid-July, over time, all these three dates merged into one holiday, and the most important summer city celebrations take place on the July third weekend.

Another idea related to the birth of Norilsk has long been circulating among local historians. They propose, without changing the date of the City Day celebration, to change its official age. Take as a starting point not 1953, when the workers’ settlement received city status, but 1742, which dates the first written mention of the Norilsk winter quarters, found in the diaries of Hariton Laptev. Thus, this weekend Norilsk could celebrate not the 70th, but the 281st birthday.

In the History Spot’s previous publication, we said that once there was only one sports shop in Norilsk.

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Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nikolay Shchipko, Norilsk people and Nornickel Polar Division’s archives

July 19, 2023

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