Historical locomotives stolen for scraping

Historical locomotives stolen for scraping

A few days ago, unrevealed by the administration and residents of Igarka as well as the employees of our „Permafrost Museum“, two locomotives of the OV type („Ovechka“ – little sheep; translator’s note) were stolen from the environs of the former settlement of Yermakovo (GULAG Construction Project No. 503). The locomotives were of a great historic value.

One of them is already planned for being scrapped, maybe this has already been done by now! During the past years similar attempts on historical remains were made by passengers of touristic steamers, mebers of a foreign TV-team, passionate seakers and various entrepreneurial structures. For this reason the museum staff several times addressed themselves to the administrative bodies and the Council of the People’s Deputies of Igarka with the urgent request to declare the territory of the former settlement of Yermakovo and the adjacent area of the former Construction Site No. 503 a specially protected zone, prohibit the removal of any items from this place and organize and install a special video monitoring system with regard to the specific objects connected to the construction of this railroad line.

This was also done with the aim of commemorating the political prisoners, among them relatives, close friends and acquaintances of the residents of Igarka, and keep the rare objects of the Construction Project No. 503 in a due condition. In the summer of 1991 the Russian Orthodox Church took notice of our appeal – on the right banks of the river Yenisey, in the overgron settlement of Yermakovo, a wooden cross was erected in memory of all those, who lost their lives during the building of this mainline. The cross was sanctified by Antoniy, the archbishop of Krasnoyarsk and Yeniseysk.

In 1992 and 1996 the local authorities passed a decree to declare the territory a historico-architectural area. However, the barbarian stealing of exhibits from the former camp and the demolition of buildings goes on. Human insatiability does not even stop at the cemeteries, where prisoners and free workers, who worked for this construction project, are buried – a construction project that attained a regrettable fame under the name „Road of Death“.

On the cemetery we find the grave of a former prisoner. There is a small wooden tablet bearing the inscription „No. G20“. It is the grave of the artist and designer of the „Camp Theater of the Construction Site No. 501-503“, Dmitriy Vladimirovich Zelenkov, who worked for the Mariinsk and Aleksandriysk Theaters before his arrest (he came from the famous Lancère-Benois lineage). It is known for sure that he was buried here in the settlement of Yermakovo - not in Leningrad, as say the Soviet encyclopaedias.

Unfortunately, our strenuous efforts could not prevent off this barbarian delict committed by profiteers and fanciers of despotism. A serious act of vandalism has taken place – two locomotives were stolen, one of which, as it is reported, has already been sawn up. We appeal to the public to support our request to call to account those, who permitted the theft of these historical treasures to happen.

(A recent expedition organized by the newspaper „Krasnoyarskiy rabochiy“ („Krasnoyarsk worker“; translator’s note) was dedicated to this historic railroad line). The feature-stories of our journalists will be published in the Saturday issues. The next report can be read in the „Krasnoyarsk rabochiy“ on the 6th of August“.

V. Sergeeva, „Permafrost Museum“, Igarka
 “Krasnoyarskiy rabochiy”, 04.08.2005