EPIGRAPH

  THE BEGINNING
  THE HISTORY OF BAM
  BAMLAG
  AFTER THE WAR, BUT BEFORE BAM
  THE CITY
  THE BIG CITY
  THE CELEBRITIES
  THE ART AND SOCIAL LIFE
  THE FIRST DECADE. 1975-1985.
CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS.

  THE BREAKING POINT
  SOUL RELAXATION
  CATASTROPHES
  WHAT'S LACKING IN THE CITY
  WOULD YOU LIKE MORE DETAILS?
  TOWNS AND VILLAGES OF THE AREA

  EPILOG

Tynda (Biased Notes)

 

THE HISTORY OF BAM

 

On January 4th 1992, Russian Government issued decree #20 called "Measures to complete the construction of the Baikal-Amur Railroad mainline and construction of the Berkakit-Tommot-Yakutsk railroad line."

In 1984 on Balbuhta station there was a solemn ceremony dedicated to the merger of the two ends of the railroad.Now all of BAM pieces were together.

On March 17th 1974, in Alma-Ata, during the festivities honoring the 20th anniversary of the steppes conquer in Central Asia, General secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Leonid Il'ich Brezhnev said:

"Tselina (steppe wastelands in Central Asia) does not end with the Kazakh steppes.Tselina -- it is the taiga of Siberia, tundra of the North, deserts of the Central Asia.To be exact, I will name only one of the upcoming projects-- Baikal-Amur Mainline, a railroad that will cross all of Eastern Siberia and the Far East.The construction of this railroad opens a way to the creation of a new large industrial region: villages and towns, industrial complexes and mines will grow along the new railroad.I am convinced, comrades, that this will be an All-Nation construction project.Emissaries of all republics, and first of all -- our young generation will take part in it" (excerpt from "Trud" newspaper, 7/31/91).

On April 24th 1974 the Central Committee of KPSS (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) and the Board of the Ministers again make a decision to resume BAM construction.And already on April 27th 1974 the first 600 Komsomol representatives were leaving for BAM straight for the Kremlin Palace of Congresses.

 

On April 13th 1932 SNK (Soviet (Board) of Peoples Commissars) issued a decree to build the Baikal-Amur Railroad

 

Spring.April.A crucial month for the suffering BAM.Now look at the years.It's not a mistake and not a typo.The construction of BAM was initiated and continued a few times.I just briefly summarized everything from top to bottom.From present days into the depth of ages.And this is not the beginning.The beginning is even further away.

Skeptics might say: " What is it with you and your BAM?!Who in the hell needs it?The railroad almost does not function.Population is diminishing.Only 20% of the total population live past the Ural Mountains.Approximately 32 million people live on a territory larger than USA.

But let's come back to history.This time let's dive much deeper and begin from bottom to top.

I am not going to bore you by mentioning Cossack leaders like Ermak, Maksim Perfil'ev and Peter Beketov and expeditions of Vasily Poyarkov and Erofei Khabarov.I'll just give you a general picture.By mid 17th century Russia adjoined to its territory the area of Dauria and Amur.By that time, people had begun studying geography and geology of their regions.200 years after the nominal attachment of Siberia to the Empire, political and state interests required special attention to this territory.Scientific expeditions began to follow the tracks of the pioneers.

Just look at the names!What images they bring! Admiral Nevel'skoi; Prince Kropotkin under the black anarchist flag; Przheval'sky in the General-Major uniform on the horse later named after him; future academician Obruchev looking for the Sannikov Land; Ivan Efremov searching the skies for the Andromeda Nebula.

The research had resumed only in the middle of the 19th century.The first scientist to comprise the scientific description of the Amur area wilderness was Aleksandr Fedorovich Middendorf, who traveled here in the winter of 1844-45.In a bitter cold he traveled on sleds from Byssa in the East through Dep and Gilyui to Ust'-Strelka in the West.His route ran through the South part of Tynda area.

In 1855 a Siberian expedition was organized.It consisted of math and physics squads. The math squad was comprised of topography offices.One of the officers was Arseny Fedorovich Usol'tsev.In 1856 the squad went from the Amur River to the merging point of the Big and Small Ol'doi Rivers.The hike was to go on for 9 days.But the summer was rainy: soil was saturated and rivers were overflowing."Hereis a continuous mountain range and valleys obstructed by forest thicket and bushes.In places this thicket is so impassible that the only way to get through is to clear cut your way with an axe."Having crossed Ol'doi on a raft, the squad continued its journey upstream along the Krestovka River valley.Then, having passed the Yankan mountain range, they came out to the upper Tynda River and continued their way North along its valley.When the squad came to Gilyui River, they turned to the Stanovoi mountain range.However they could not climb the mountain due to overflowing streams.Then the squad went South East towards Zeya River.Then on rafts, they traveled downstream.It was not an easy task.The ice began breaking up and they had to battle ice floes.The food supplies ran out.At the end the squad managed to return to Ust'-Zeya outpost.Instead of nine days, the researchers had to march through taiga for a month.

In ten years, in 1866, Nikolai Pavlovich Anosov began reconnaissance to the North of Albazino. His team utilized reindeers and skis.They spent nights in the open air or in leather urts that they carried with them. During the first year they managed to discover eight gold-bearing areas along Yankan (tribute of Ol'doi) and Dzhalinda (tribute of Urkan) rivers.Later two smaller gold deposits were discovered on Sivagli and Mongoli rivers.

In 1867 some experimental mining was done on Dzhalinda River.295.7 grams of gold

were extracted.However the official start to industrial gold mining in the Amur Region

and the Far East was in 1868, during which 819 kg of gold were extracted on Vasil'evsky

gold mining site.The name of Anosov is given to one of the stations on the BAM-Tynda

railroad line - Anosovskaya station.

In 1868 Petr Alekseevich Kropotkin researched the harder to reach places of the Northern Baikal territories: Muisk-Kuandinsky valley, Northen-Muisk and Sothern-Muisk mountain ranges.He was the one who gave the ranges their names.Petr Vanin (expedition officer of the colonel Bol'shev Topography Corp) studied the Uy Bay in the Tatar Straight by the Emperor Harbor (known today as the Soviet Harbor).Later, the notorious port was built."I remember that Vaninsky port and the view of the grouchy steam boat; how we were boarding the boat, going into the filthy cargo bays"

These extremely rich regions had to be developed.Even then everyone realized that if these places are left vacant and not made attractive, they would be lost forever.

In 1882 Russian emperor Alexander III gave his consent to the committee of the ministries to construct a railroad in Siberia.There were several drafts of the construction in Russia and abroad.American general Betterfield offered to organize a construction and management committee on a basis that the government would guarantee a high return on bonds of an American company for 80 years and that it would allow to import American materials duty free.Frenchman Lloyk De Label, also representing the interests of the American capital, offered to build Siberian-Alaskan railroad from Kansk, to the North from Baikal, through Chukotka - Bering Straight - Alaska and to connect with the railroad network of USA.As a payment for the construction of the railroad he asked for a permission to use for 90 years everything that would be found in a 25-mile zone along the whole railroad length.But the government of Russia declined all the proposals.It was decided to build the railroad using only domestic resources.

During the planning of the great Siberian railroad, an option of constructing a railroad to the North of Lake Baikal so that it goes all the way to the Pacific became feasible.General-Major A. P. Protsenko suggested a version of the railroad that follows this route: Krasnoyarsk - Bratsk outpost -- the Northern point of Lake Baikal -- Zeya -- Bureya -- Amur River by Khabarovsk.Director of the Tomsk - Irkutsk expedition, engineer N. P. Mezheninov supported this version.

In 1889 expedition of General Headquarters' Colonel Voloshin went along Krasnoyarsk - Bratsk - Nizhneangarsk route and barely made it along a difficult stretch from the northern point of Lake Baikal to Muisk-Kuandinsky valley.The very fact of a colonel from the main headquarters to head the expedition speaks about the importance of the future road to the government.Colonel Voloshin noted: "There are no data one can use to judge the named place.Tungussk elders could name only two people that visited the area while hunting.The reconnaissance of the area could not be doneTherefore it would be extremely difficult to make the line go though here due to technical and other issues." (Komogortsev, Frolov. "Pioneers, who are they?")

There also were other propositions.But despite the general appeal of the "northern project", all of them ran into a difficulty, and at those times -- impossibility of conducting a construction in such far away places.Construction of the supply routes alone would cost a pretty penny.And on December 1st 1890, Commission of the Emperor's Russian Technical Society completely accepted the "southern version" of the railroad construction.In February 1891, the government of Russia came to a decision to build a railroad in Siberia.

Trans-Siberian railroad was completed in 1916.However, it was a one way line and was to close to the Chinese border.At the moment, Japan was highly interested in China and had its eye on the Russian Far East.At the same time, influential Irkutsk merchant bourgeoisie was interested in the construction of the railroad towards Lena River so that it would be possible to deliver freight to the vast gold-carrying region of the Eastern Siberia.Foreign capital was equally interested in the project.That's why the issue of the railroad construction in the northern part of Lake Baikal came up time after time.One of the projects by gold merchant Y. D. Friser proposed a line that would go even further North from the present BAM.It was supposed to go through Irkutsk - Ust'-Kut - Vilyuisk - Yakutsk and further along Amga and Aldan rivers, coming to Zeya river valley and then merging with the Amur railroad.

 

WWI and October revolution of 1917 buried all these projects.