#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. He started as a shift foreman at the copper plant, quickly rose to the position of a senior plant manager. Then – director of the nickel plant, its chief engineer, from 1973 to 1988 – the Norilsk combine head. Over those 15 years, the production of nickel and copper at the plant increased by 2.2 times.
Boris Kolesnikov’s successor Anatoly Filatov, recalled that he was a very original leader at that time – he was concerned about the social development of the almost one hundred combine’s thousandth staff. And thanks to his activities in this area, Norilsk was ahead of the average for the Union in almost all indicators. Square meters of housing per capita, the number of kindergartens, schools, recreation centers, sanatoriums, resorts, boarding houses, sports facilities – all that was in Kolesnikov’s field of vision:
“He had an integrated approach to solving problems – besides putting a new stove at the plant, he increased the number of people, housing, social and cultural life, and various benefits increased respectively. Production was done not for the sake of production, but for the sake of people”.
In parallel with the leadership of a large metallurgical production, a city-forming enterprise and, in fact, a city in the Arctic, Kolesnikov was a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. He was elected for three convocations in a row – during 1974-1989. Accordingly, the entire territory of the Taimyr Autonomous District was included in the circle of constant concerns of the combine’s director.
In the winter of 1979, an accident occurred on the gas pipeline. Kolesnikov spoke on television: “Be sure, we will do everything to defend the city.” And during the liquidation of that accident, planning meetings began with the situation in kindergartens – they tried to maintain a normal temperature there.
Alexander Gorr, Kolesnikov’s deputy for work supplies, recalled the story about watermelons:
“They said: well, this is a complete absurdity to carry “water” from Uzbekistan to Taimyr with big losses. From a mathematical point of view, it’s probably correct, but on the other hand, watermelons are in the Far North, where it’s winter for nine months! Everyone can come to the stall on Leninsky prospect and buy! How does the person feel? Boris Kolesnikov understood these questions perfectly. We brought watermelons up to six thousand tons”.
In the History Spot photo project previous publication we told that 65 years ago a vocational school appeared in Norilsk.
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Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive