Stalin's road death in the Arctic
• Stalin's road death in the Arctic
On the outskirts of Salekhard, capital of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District, almost at the Arctic Circle lie the remains of an abandoned railway line Salekhard - Igarka, also known as the Death Railway, Road of Death and Dead Road. The length of the railway line on a plan of the Soviet leadership was to be about 1300 kilometers.
It was planned that it will become part of the Stalinist transpolar highway - railway gigantic scale, which would connect the western and eastern parts of Siberia, the city of Inta in the Komi Republic through Salekhard located on the bank of the Yenisei to Igarka. line project was never completed, but tens of thousands of people died during the construction of the road.
Most of the workers who participated in the construction of roads, were imprisoned in the gulag labor camps, where to send convicted of political crimes. However, for political crimes in those days we attributed very wide range of violations of the law, from the writings of incorrect from the point of view of the authorities of poems and stay in the German concentration camps to steal beets to feed hungry children. Such people were called enemies of the people, and sent to the Gulag camps, where prisoners experienced countless hardships and subjected to terrible abuse.
The original plans included the construction of a port in Salekhard on Ob River and implementation of transportation on water supplies to large industrial enterprises, such as nickel plant in Norilsk. However, when it became clear that the Ob river estuary is too shallow for ships, it was decided to build a port in Igarka on the Yenisei River. By means of the first part to connect the planned line Salekhard Igarka with a possible further extension of the road from Igarki southeast, to the Trans backbone.
But the reality is different from the management plans. Despite Stalin's ambitious plans to conquer the Arctic nature, this railway line was not special demand. Siberian factory is quite acceptable service existing railways, passes much farther south, but by itself the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug has been too isolated and sparsely populated to the road was so necessary.
Working conditions were very harsh. In winter the temperature dropped to -60 degrees Celsius, and the wind during a snowstorm to the bone. In the summer of giant clouds of terrible mosquitoes brought with them disease and death. The price of life was small, and beatings were frequent, and survive in these conditions, only the most robust, stable and strong spirit.
have not been solved serious technical problems associated with the laying of the railroad in the middle of the permafrost. Due to lack of equipment, logistical difficulties and lack of material quality of work was at a very low level. Bridges collapsed and meltwater and rainfall eroded the embankment.
When Stalin died in 1953, work stopped. By this time, the amount of people who went to the construction of the polar railway was about 42 billion Soviet rubles in 1953 (which is $ 1950 about 10 billion).
Hardly ever will know the exact number of people killed during the construction workers. It is believed that about one third of deaths had taken part in the construction site.