White spots on the map: in Russia died in the town

White spots on the map: in Russia died in the town

In Russia over the last three decades have been abandoned hundreds of small towns. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs and left the house, after the collapsed of the main enterprise. And what the future holds about 300 Russian single-industry towns?


“No end in continuous rows stretched the ruins. Destroyed and dilapidated buildings. Ugly dark spots of the fires…” is a fragment from the film-catastrophe “the Death of Japan” filmed in 1973 and three years later published in the Soviet hire. The story of a scientist who tried to warn the country about the impending earthquake and tsunami.

In 1976, the painting was shown in the mining town of Kadykchan in the Magadan region. With the projector sitting 18-year-old projectionist Vladimir Voskresenskiy, already at that age, not time parting with a thick black mustache.

He wanted to become a Turner, but without direction from production in Magadan, the school took only the projectionists. “So I went — can to say nonsense,” Vladimir smiles.

Among the hundreds of films that brought in Kadykchan, he remembered that “Death of Japan”:

Really is a disaster, you feel it.Vladimir Voskresenskiy

Then, in the mid-1970s, neither the projectionist nor the visitors of the cinema “Shakhtar” could not imagine that in twenty years their own town will be in a catastrophic situation and will cease to exist as a fictional Japan of the movie Ciro Moritani.

In 1979, the screens out the production drama “the Commission on investigation” of the young Soviet Director Vladimir Bortko. She told about the accident at the nuclear power plant and was shot in 4000 miles and eight time zones from Kadykchan, in the Arctic circle in the Murmansk region, near the town of Kirovsk.

Kirovsk — a typical Soviet one-industry town. As Kadykchan is a city of miners. Here mined Apatite-nepheline ore to produce mineral fertilizers. And Kirovsk is so often used for filming that he was called North Hollywood. Filmmakers were drawn to the majestic landscapes of the local residents willingly filmed scenes.

In the early 1990s after the collapse of the USSR, the situation Kirovsk seemed as hopeless as Kadykchan: demand for fertilizers was not, the miners were sent on indefinite leave without pay salaries.

The story of how he survived Kirovsk and couldn’t survive Kadykchan is one of the most important for the Russian economy. In Russia more than 300 settlements, which are called single-industry towns. Their life is entirely dependent on Soviet factories, mines and fields. Many of them were built using forced labour, and in places unsuitable for living.

Now have to pay for it. Company towns, which were created under the planned economy, was a serious problem at times of market economy.

Now in these cities, according to official figures, live 16 million people, more than a tenth of the population of Russia. Almost 60% of the inhabitants of mono-towns at the end of 2015 assessed the situation as intolerable or “tolerable hard”, it was revealed in a survey commissioned by the Federal security service.

Dead city

A hot day in August a former projectionist Vladimir Voskresensky walking down the street 50 years of October in the village where he spent his youth. Shows a crooked door:

There was a shop. Ran in here during breaks — bread, milk, rolls bought. And “Snowball” — beverage: sweet yogurt. And which shows the man with the torch is the sports complex, went here with a friend after work to exercise.

The village meets Vladimir creaking roofing iron and the cries of crows. More answers to no one. Residents of Kadykchan left.

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Describing familiar places — a restaurant, a cinema, a bakery, Vladimir returns like a Ghost town to life.

The family history of the resurrection is typical of this region, so distant from the centre that the locals call the rest of the Russian mainland.

Vladimir spent his whole life in the Magadan region. In 1938 his father for a minor crime, was sent to Kolyma camp.

Father talked little about it, but I know that his double could shoot. Saved him the writer Viktor Vyatkin: he assured the lists of people who need businesses. And those who works well, not shot.Vladimir Voskresenskiy

The mother of Vladimir arrived in Magadan oblast of Ufa, the Komsomol in 1946. “In those days young people were not passive, they wanted to build, to create,” continues Vladimir. In 1974 the family moved to Kadykchan — at that time-developed mining town that was home to five thousand people.

Its appearance in 1943 the village was required to “Dalstroy”. Formally independent from the Gulag, the organization used the labor of prisoners and civilian for the development of the Far East. From 1938 to 1957 through the “dalstroi” was about a million prisoners. Inhumane working conditions, lack of food, 50-degree frosts, violence and executions of the Kolyma turned into a mass grave for 200 thousand prisoners.

Among those who survived was the writer Varlam Shalamov. On the Kolyma, he spent 16 years unsuccessfully tried to escape from the trees, several times fell in the camp hospital. Your experience described in Shalamov “Kolyma stories”.

Shalamov worked in coal mines in Kadykchan, and the neighboring Arkagala from 1940 to 1942.

Bloody blisters, hunger and beatings. This is what greeted us Kadykchan.Varlam ShalamovDuring the download an error has occurred.

When Vladimir’s parents moved to the village, “Dalstroy” was abolished, and the mines were managed by the Ministry of coal industry of the USSR. Miners flocked to the village from all over the country, hoping to get a high salary and apartment.

On the former scale can be judged by the administration of one of the abandoned mines: a building in classical style, with many doors, shelves — here you will hear a phone call, and in the offices will start to fill the budget and to make outfits for the miners.

In Soviet times the shops Kadykchan was no shortage, and the restaurant “Polar” was pouring wine and live music. The village was full of young people who rallied to extreme climate.
“I loved the winter evenings, when the temperature rose to minus 30 degrees and it was warm enough to go walk on the main pedestrian street — we call it Broadway,” — says Vladimir. In 1987 he got a job at the power plant and went to a nearby village. There was restructuring.

Spouses Tatyana and Gennady Shipalkina born in Kadykchan. “I was the first child appeared in the hospital Kadykchan”, — says Tatiana.

A student of the music school and the athlete is preparing to follow in the footsteps of his father-a miner, met at a school dance in the fall of 1984. The wedding was held in 1988 in the village restaurant “Polar”.

It was a lot of young people, three days of walking for sure.Tatiana Shipalkina

And then the village began to change. “Increasingly began to come strangers, became a little more dangerous — picks up the story of her husband Gennady. Began to wage arrears. The summer they shut down one mine and translated the miners on the other, and it was clear that begins the curtailment of the village. Naturally, people have become more aggressive.”

The last Congress of the CPSU in 1990, began with the fact that he had come to Moscow from Kadykchan the delegate — the assistant to the head section of the mine, Vladimir Bludov — suggested to send in resignation of the CPSU Central Committee, headed by Politburo “for the collapse of the work on the implementation of the Food program.”

Appeared in Kadykchan cable TV at this time talked about the disruptions of supply, which used to be the life of the village never was.

“Bread didn’t arrive to the stores, and started to panic among the population. But the stocks of flour we have enough for the next two years”, — reassured the head of the village Council Galina Obukhov.