“One hundred Volgas aren’t enough for the city anymore”

“One hundred Volgas aren’t enough for the city anymore”

October 04, 2023

Booklets and guidebooks about Norilsk were written not only for visiting tourists, but also for newcomers who stayed in our city.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Waves of migration occurred in the late 1950s, when the Komsomol troops arrived, and in the 1960s, when the builders of Talnah were came, and in the 1970s, when the city was building the Nadezhda metallurgical plant.

The brochure Norilsk and Norilsk Residents in 1978 gave newcomers “instructions for using” our city. It was written by journalist Anatoly Lvov, the author of the largest number of books and booklets about Norilsk.

Anatoly Lvov

“Norilsk is 750 houses of five, six, nine, twelve floors. Four dozen streets. The city is designed to reduce the strength of the wind. The courtyards are largely protected from snow drifts. The development is compact, each microdistrict has its own schools, kindergartens, shops, canteens, home kitchens, and so on (usually no further than three hundred meters from the house).

The total number of household services provided to Norilsk residents is close to five thousand, from home delivery of potatoes or furniture to an interior artist’s assistance. By calling “80” you will always hear the signal of the most precise time; by calling “86”, “87”, “88”, “89” you will find out if the weather is good for a flight, when to go by train to the airport, what goods have arrived in stores, and other information. You can book a table in any of the eight restaurants, as well as in the Demyanova Uha restaurant (whitefish, salmon, omul and other Taimyr fish delicacies are not always on the menu).

It’s better to order a taxi in advance: a hundred Volgas are no longer enough for the city. There is also a shortage of hotel rooms, flowers delivered from Sochi, color televisions, imported furniture, refrigerators, and cars for personal use.

There are more than fifty dormitories in Norilsk, with two to four residents per room. In the remaining 700 houses, apartments range from one to four rooms, depending on family composition. Every year five thousand new apartments are put into operation, and the city grows by two hundred floors. Each house stands on reinforced concrete piles frozen into permafrost soil. Each kitchen has an electric stove and hot water.

Norilsk region is an ‘island’ on the country map. Its external relations are carried out by aviation (all year round) and fleet – river and sea (from June to December). Tu-154 aircraft fly from Norilsk to Moscow (3,5 hours) and Krasnoyarsk (1 hour 40 minutes). In the summer season, you can also fly non-stop to Sochi, Leningrad, Novosibirsk, Sverdlovsk, Volgograd, and all year round – to Vorkuta, Yeniseisk, Igarka, Hatanga, Abakan.

Internal transportation is provided by rail and road transport. The railway network of the region is 560 kilometers. The total length of bus routes is 250 kilometers, not counting the road under construction to Dudinka. Norilsk’s vehicle fleet numbers eight thousand units, including 450 buses. Traffic on streets and roads is supported by a mechanized snow removal service.

Each person gets salary according to his work. This is the law of our society. It takes into account how much and how good a person works. And where. That’s why there is a Norilsk bonus to the mainland salary. The vacation is longer than the mainland one. Vacation travel is free once every three years. Retirement age comes five years earlier (with 15 years of work experience in Norilsk). But the main privilege of Norilsk residents is to live and work where it is difficult, where they are most needed. Transform the northern land into a habitable area”.

In the History Spot’s previous publication, we talked about the brochure The Northernmost – about Norilsk in the late 1950s.

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Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive

October 04, 2023

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