When Norilsk became city, over 80 thousand people lived in it

When Norilsk became city, over 80 thousand people lived in it

March 23, 2022

On July 15, 1953, Norilsk was given the status of a city.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Prior to getting the city status, since 1939, it was considered a working settlement of the Dudinka district of the Taimyr National District of the Krasnoyarsk region, that is, it was legally subordinate to Dudinka.

After the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Presidium Decree was issued, Norilsk was transformed into a city of regional subordination, which significantly increased its status and made it possible to resolve issues through Krasnoyarsk.

What was Norilsk like in 1953? There were already 82 000 Norilsk residents here, and they mostly lived in the surrounding villages: Yuzhny, Zapadny, Medvezhka, Semerka, Sredny, and also in the Old City.

At the same time, the forced labor camp continued to function, and most of the residents were, if not today’s, then yesterday’s prisoners.

The new part of Norilsk, which was called Gorstroy, consisted of only ten or twelve streets, and most of them were just beginning to be built up. The center was Sevastopolskaya street, and Leninsky (at that time Stalinsky) prospect consisted only of Gvardeiskaya square.

Only 80 buses traveled through the streets, there were no taxis. The children attended ten schools.

The main cultural sites were the House of Engineering and Technical Workers on Octyabrskaya street and the old theater on Sevastopolskaya one.

There was no television either; 11 000 radio points worked in the apartments of Norilsk residents. The first full-fledged cinema, Rodina, opened.

In the absence of other entertainment, the Norilsk people read a lot. The fund of the scientific and technical library contained 90 thousand books, another 50 thousand volumes were on the shelves of the trade union library. In December 1953, a new city newspaper, Zapolyarnaya Pravda, appeared.

After Norilsk became a city, city attributes began to appear in it. So, in October 1953, the first session of the City Council took place. Of the 175 deputies, 69 had only a primary education.

In the last issue of the History Spot photo project we told the Norilsk legend about Father Snow Blower.

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Text: Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive

March 23, 2022

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