Urho Kekkonen came to Norilsk in 1976

Urho Kekkonen came to Norilsk in 1976

February 10, 2023

In the midst of the Nadezhda metallurgical plant construction, in 1976, Finnish leader Urho Kekkonen visited our city.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. An agreement was concluded with the Finns on turnkey installation and maintenance of a new technological scheme at the Nadezhda under construction. The technology of flash smelting of copper-nickel concentrates, developed by Finnish specialists, but based, by the way, on a Russian invention, was recognized as the most effective. Kekkonen called the project the biggest export deal ever.

The city legend says that the Finnish leader came at the end of June and the weather was lucky in those days, the polar summer came to the city: 25 degrees Celsius.

  “It was Sunday”, Yury Smolov, the Norilsk city executive committee chairman, later recalled, “the Norilsk people went to the tundra, to camp sites”.

For the passage of the guest’s cortege, traffic was stopped on the highway in Talnah. Curious vacationers stood along the roadside as a solid wall.

Given that the weather was warm, the vast majority were, so to speak, in beach uniforms – in swimming trunks and swimsuits, and at first Urho Kekkonen could not understand what this was connected with: “What’s the matter, why are people standing along the road naked?”

“I had to explain several times through an interpreter that it was the first warm day, that the mosquito had not yet risen to the wing and people could sunbathe in the tundra without hiding from the midges. They were standing along the road because of the cartege that attracted them”, told Yury Smolov.

On the way back, the same thing happened: the Norilsk people amiably saw off the motorcade of cars, and in the end, the president himself began to wave and smile affably.

In the History Spot’s previous publication, we told that before the construction of the railway, people came from Dudinka to Norilsk on foot or by sleigh.

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Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive

February 10, 2023

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