#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Geographically, it was located behind the present Talnahskaya street, where it intersected with Pavlova and Anisimov streets. In 1944, ‘all the weak, sick, as well as physically underdeveloped juvenile convicts not older than 16 years’ were taken to Krasnoyarsk, and those who remained in Norilsk underwent industrial training ‘with subsequent use at the enterprises of the Norilsk combine.
In August 1943, a factory training school (FZO) was opened in Norilsk – a prototype of a vocational school. Students were recruited in Norilsk and Dudinka, someone was transported from the mainland: 14–17-year-old boys and girls were mobilized to study. They trained workers: carpenters, bricklayers, plasterers, woodcutters, metalworkers, chemists, power engineers, railroad workers who studied in three shifts, one at night.
During the first six months, the FZO school trained and transferred 819 workers of 70 different professions to the Norilsk combine. And a year later, in 1944, the ‘white bone’ of young people – students – appeared in Norilsk. On October 5, classes began at the Norilsk Mining and Metallurgical College, which was located on Octyabrskaya street.
From 1937, the Norilsk youth was united by the Komsomol organization. Komsomol members were the main initiators and participants of all actions and fundraising for different constructions. Komsomol members took patronage over construction projects, organized Komsomol youth brigades and shifts. The main slogan of those years was ‘Two norms are the norm of the Komsomol’.
Volunteer Komsomol members were to become a replacement for the Norilsk prisoners. When the GULAG was liquidated, and the usual recruitment of workers did not bring results, the CPSU Central Committee appealed to the country’s youth to take up the development of Siberia and the Far East.
In the summer of 1956, 7 037 volunteers arrived in Norilsk, many from Moscow and Leningrad. Someone came to the Norilsk snow in summer slippers. But the slogans called: ‘Let us warm the vastness of the endless North with young, warm hearts!’ The Komsomol troops in Norilsk built the Copper plant and Nadezhda metallurgical plant, the swimming pool and the television center, the hospital campus and schools, residential buildings and entire streets.
For other materials of our photo project about the history of Norilsk and the combine, go to the History spot section.
Text: Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive