Rehabilitated posthumously. "A very peculiar person with a rather famous past." Part of 1
Berzin forever inscribed his name in history development of the modern Magadan region. He headed the trust "Dalstroy", being, in fact, the owner of a distant and vast territory. His name is often found in the stories of Varlam Shalamov on Visherlag and Dalstroy. But that was later. Eduard Petrovich began his career as a Latvian rifleman. Then he became a security officer and took part in unraveling the conspiracy of foreign ambassadors against the Bolshevik government, being an ally of Dzerzhinsky. After - camp work. But in 1937, the roller of repression reached Kolyma. In distant Moscow, no one forgot about Berzin.
Edward Berzin (his real surname is Berzins) was born in 1893 in a peasant family. At first they lived in the Staro-Pebalsky volost of Volmarsky district of Livonia province (modern Latvia). But in 1898, the family moved to Riga. Edward studied in one of the local schools, mastered painting craft. And in 1910, he left for Germany. Here Berzin graduated from the Royal Berlin Art School. Then he returned to his native Latvia. And soon he was called up for military service. At the beginning of 1915, he took part in the First World War as part of the fourth Vidzeme Latvian rifle battalion. In the military field, Berzin managed to give a good account of himself. He was honored with a silver medal on the Stanislavsky ribbon with the inscription "For Diligence", as well as the St. George Cross of the Fourth Degree. In 1917, he became an officer.
After the October Revolution, Berzin became one of those who formed the first light artillery division of the Latvian infantry Soviet division. Soon he also headed this division. In general, in the first years of the Bolshevik power, Berzin had a very busy life. And he fully justified the confidence of the authorities. For example, in the summer of 1918, Eduard Petrovich became one of the main actors in suppressing the insurgency of the Left SRs in Moscow. A little later, Berzin took an active part in uncovering the “Lockhart case”. The British ambassador — the chief conspiracy — with the support of a French diplomat, an American agent, and a developed espionage network, tried to impose his order in the ruling Bolshevik elite. Berzin met with Lockhart under the guise of a consonant to the Latvian riot shooter. The Briton offered him a large sum of money to bribe other shooters. The money was received by Edward Petrovich from the famous spy Sydney Reilly and transferred to the “where to”. And after the disclosure of the conspiracy, Berzin returned to the military field. At the end of 1918, he fought with the White Guards on both the Western and South-Western and Eastern fronts of the bloody civil war.
And during the Oryol-Kromsky battle, which took place in October 1919, Eduard Petrovich held the position of the head of supply for the Latvian rifle division. Then in his life there were several more important fights with the White Guards. And in 1921, Berzin became an employee of the special department of the Cheka, and after - OGPU. In the official security officers, he passed about six years. Until in 1927 of the year, he proposed in the USSR Supreme Council of National Economy a plan for the construction of the Vishera pulp and paper mill (PPM). According to Berzin, the enterprise should have been located in the village of Vizhaiha (now Krasnovishersk) in the Northern Urals. "Tops" Berzin's idea was supported. But due to various circumstances the case was delayed. Affected and lack of necessary equipment. Therefore, Eduard Petrovich followed him in the company of several specialists in 1929, first went to Germany and then to the USA. Formally, construction of the construction of the Vishersky Pulp and Paper Mill of the OGPU started only at the beginning of 1931. And all the work was laid on the shoulders of the prisoners of Vishlag (there, by the way, Varlam Shalamov was serving the sentence). The work went very quickly. So quickly that the pulp and paper mill was built in just a year and a half.
While construction was underway, Eduard Petrovich was given the chair of the Dalstroy trust. This is a state enterprise, which was commissioned to engage in the development of territory in the Upper Kolyma region. Looking ahead, we can say that Berzin subsequently combined the posts of the authorized collegium of the OGPU of the USSR, Dalcraykom VKP (b), Dalcray Executive Committee and the head of the Nagaev-Magadan garrison of the Okhotsk-Kolyma region.
Many, and most importantly, very interesting about Berzin wrote Shalamov. Here is one of his memories: “Dzerzhinsky, with his constant interest in converting people, to various communes to street kids, impressed Berzin with his passion, his love. At that time, from Solovki, from USLON, bad news came about “Smoking-room”, about “mosquito-fighting”, beatings, about arbitrariness, about the drunkenness of the camp authorities, and the Solovki affairs were engaged in the affairs. It was decided to build these affairs in a new way, finding people who would understand how difficult science is to help a person, how dangerous and difficult power over disenfranchised people are. He, Berzin, was entrusted with the first experiment of this kind. "
The position of the head of the state trust for industrial and road construction Berzin, in fact, was given for the fact that he brilliantly coped with the task of building a pulp and paper mill. Actually, Stalin himself recommended him for the post of director of Dalstroi. Subsequently, the trust will be reorganized into the “Main Directorate for the Construction of the Far North”.
In fact, this enterprise was a paramilitary and its tasks were the same. And the choice of the location of its deployment was reasonable. The fact is that there the First Kolyma Geological Prospecting Expedition was able to confirm the presence of gold. And in such quantities that it could be mined on an industrial scale. This was stated in the decree of the Council of Labor and Defense of the USSR on 1931: “There was a need to create a powerful economic organization that could as soon as possible, in parallel with further exploration and development of mineral resources, start building roads, sea and air ports and settlements on a wide front” .
And in the Nagareva Bay (modern - Magadan) Berzin sailed at the beginning of February 1932 on the Sakhalin ship. Along with him on the development of distant and unknown land came freelance employees of the trust, about a hundred prisoners and arrows of the paramilitary guards.
The owner of the Kolyma
Eduard Petrovich was not only the director of Dalstroi. In fact, he became the full owner of not only the territory, but also all the people who were in his submission. "Tops" understood that he faced a difficult task, so his powers were limited to a very conditional framework. And Berzin, in full, took advantage of the privileges received. He founded his own "state in the state." Shalamov wrote in the story "Berzin": "He was the master of life and death of tens of thousands of people, the highest party instance, the main Soviet government of the golden land, the commander of the border troops on the border with Japan and America."
Researcher Ivan Paniakarov wrote in the book “Kolymsky GULAG in 30-e years”: “Exactly 5 years, 10 months and 15 days Eduard Petrovich had to lay the city, build the first berths of the seaport, industrial enterprises, power station. When it opened the first school and boarding schools for the children of the local population, a library, film installations appeared in two good clubs from the chopped wood to show dumb, and then sound films. Already in the year of his arrival, a small theatrical group was created in the Office of the Northeastern Forced Labor Camps (USVITLA), which began the history of the Magadan State Music and Drama Theater. In the center of the future of Magadan, at the direction of Edward Petrovich, a huge taiga array was left untouched in order to turn it into a city park of culture and recreation. Looking today at the 30 photographs, you will be surprised to find modern asphalt paths, the remains of buildings of those years in the old parkways of the park, and you feel great gratitude to people who even thought about us in those terrible years ... And two years after the arrival of the first director Dalstroy Kolyma has become the leading currency shop of the country! ”
In Kolyma, of course, we did not forget about gold mining. In 1932, this figure was quite modest - about five hundred kilograms. But two years later, Berzin was able to put the case on stream. And the result of extraction exceeded five and a half tons. And in 1936, this figure was increased to thirty-three tons. Such successes, of course, did not go unnoticed. Iosif Vissarionovich was also pleased. At the end of 1933, in an interview for the New York Times, he said: “Our products have already doubled the production of tsarist times and now gives more than 100 million rubles a year. Especially in the last two years, we have improved our exploration methods and found large reserves of gold. ”
But what Eduard Petrovich himself said about the gold mining in 1936 in an interview for the newspaper Pravda: “One day Kolyma produces gold so much that with this money you can feed the whole world for one day”.
By the way, by that time dozens of mines and farms were working on the territory subject to Berzin. Many villages were founded, and they built power plants, hospitals and schools. The connection was maintained thanks to the Kolyma highway, which stretched for more than six hundred kilometers. Not without cost, of course, without prison camps.
Ivan Paniakarov wrote: “By the middle of the 30-s, mines already existed in the central areas of the Kolyma:“ Verkhniy At-Uryakh ”, named after Vodopyanova,“ Partizan ”,“ Shturmovaya ”,“ Five-Year Plan ”and others. Their main workforce was, of course, prisoners. In fact, each locality was a camp. The prisoners of the middle of the 30-s were kept in camps, not at all similar to those that appeared in the Kolyma at the beginning of the 1938 of the year. ”
But the memories of a former prisoner by the name of Vygon. He was kept just in the camp "Partizan": "The territory of this town was not fenced with barbed wire. Yes, and the work of prisoners were taken without a convoy. The work is ordinary: mining in the face and transportation to the dumps of gold-bearing sands ... "
Interestingly, until the mid-thirties, the life of prisoners was not particularly limited. They were free to move around the camp-village, to buy the necessary products in the store. In addition, each of them had their own account in the savings bank, which received their salary. Yes, deductions were made from this money, but still the amounts were decent. In addition, prisoners could write letters and send telegrams. They had the right to call their families to the village.
Varlam Shalamov recalled: “Why did the Kolyma years, from 1932 to 1937, inclusive, drop out of the chronicles of shoots? This is the time when Edward Petrovich Berzin worked there ... He tried, very successfully, to solve the problem of the colonization of the harsh region and at the same time the problems of "forging" and isolation. Offsets that allowed return to ten-year-olds in two or three years. Excellent food, clothing, working day in winter 4-6 hours, in summer - 10 hours, huge earnings for prisoners, allowing them to help families and return after the deadline to the mainland by wealthy people. Edward Petrovich did not believe in reforging the blatari, he knew this shaky and vile human material all too well. It was difficult for thieves to get to Kolyma during the first years ... The prisoners' cemeteries of those times were so small that one could think that the inhabitants of Kolyma were immortal. Nobody ran with Kolyma and did not run - that would be nonsense, nonsense ... ”
Memories of Pyotr Georgievich Kupriyanov, who was the head of the technical department of the Zyryansk exploitation base, give an insight into what kind of person Berzin was: “In 1936, going round the Kolymo-Indigirka Shipping Company, Berzin came here for the first time. A tall man who started to slouch. Gray beard. Silently walked around the village for a long time, creaking with a leather jacket, looking in all corners. And our Zyryanka was - scary to remember. Built among kochkornika, in the swamp, the barracks of unmolested logs. The dirt is impassable all around ... Berzin personally was looking for a new place for the village. He ordered to build a new settlement at the mouth of the Yasachnaya, on the hill. There is a place for backwaters, and for the transshipment base is convenient. When he left, he said: “I will come next year, so that there will be no trace of this. Burned on both sides. I arrived in June, when the construction of the second stage of the village and the new complex was already ending. I am satisfied ...
Another such fact I remember. The supplyers did not deliver the new pulleys, so we got the knack of making them out of plywood. And she - the deficit is expensive. Edward Petrovich smiled and said: well, they say, the material is expensive, you do not mind the money of the state? Huge millions he set in motion here in the North, and forced to keep every penny ... "
Such an attitude to people and to work, naturally, gave results very quickly. Researcher Alexander Kozlov wrote: “By the end of 1937, the construction of a support base in Magadan and Nagaevo was completed, the laying of the main canvas of the Kolyma highway and its branches to the mines, the creation of the Nagaevsky sea port, its own sea and river fleets, a number of airports, car depots, diesel power stations, state farms, collective farms, fish farms, etc. In the period 1932-1937. Dalstroy mined almost 106 tons of chemically pure gold. From 1937 in the "Dagger" and "Butugichag" mines, he began to mine the second negotiable metal - tin. In total for the period 1932-1937. capital investments in Dalstroi's exploration work amounted to 88,6 million rubles. ”
Memories of Eduard Petrovich of the blacksmith of the Zyryanskaya motor depot are preserved: “In May 1936 lived in Magadan, worked in car repair shops. Some say: "Berzin has arrived!". About him in our city there were whole legends. Enters the workshop, with each said hello. He stood beside me, looked at how I worked, and suggested that I suddenly move to live in Zyryanka. “It’s very hard there with working hands,” he says. And I do not know where this very Zyryanka. It turned out more than a thousand kilometers from Magadan ... Then, a year later, he met with Eduard Petrovich here. Amazing he was a man - he did not promise the mountains of gold, nor the manna of heaven. At first we lived in tents. This is in our winter ... "
Very interesting memories from Alexander Fedorovich Gudimenko. He was born in Belgorod, graduated from the nine-year school. At the end of 20, he worked as a mechanic at a railroad depot. And then he moved to Rostov-on-Don. Here Alexander Fedorovich decided to change his career. He graduated from the chauffeur courses and returned to Belgorod. Led the most ordinary and unremarkable way of life of an ordinary hard worker. And on a piece of bread, Gudimenko earned labor in the garage of the Soyuzplodovosch association. Then he could not imagine that in 1932, his life will change dramatically. He was unjacked arrested and sentenced to imprisonment in labor camps in the Far North. Later, being free, Alexander Fedorovich wrote the book “Behind the Flight Flight”. In it, he told about his life of the convict, who had to work in Kolyma in the Directorate of motor transport "Dalstroy". Here is a small fragment of memoirs: “I had heard about Berzin from the first days of my arrival to Kolyma, and I personally met only in 1934. It happened when the director Dalstroy was driving along the highway and stopped in our team, which was known for its steady progress in the transportation of goods. After talking with us, asking about plans and difficulties in work, having learned that we were suffering during a bad road without good shoes, he ordered everyone to give out waders with long boots. And they were not so easily knocked from the suppliers. “Wear it for health,” said Edward Petrovich, and jokingly added: “But just do not think that the main thing in labor is just legs.” I was struck by his manner of conversation, the simplicity with which he stayed not only with former prisoners, but also those who were serving time ...
In June 1935, I was released early. Soon I got married, my daughter Tamara was born ... I was already involved in the Stakhanov movement, competing with other drivers, became the winner in the autumn-winter transportation of 1935 / 36 of the year. The results were summed up somewhere in the first half of May. A few days later Eduza Petrovich’s wife, Elsa Yanovna, came to me. Then everyone knew that she was an excellent photographer and took pictures for the newspaper Sovetskaya Kolyma. Seeing her, I was at first very embarrassed, but, having searched myself, I answered all questions as calmly as possible. “Well, now I’ll photograph you,” Elsa Yanovna suddenly said, and clicked the camera. A few days later, the picture she took appeared in the "Soviet Kolyma" and then in the magazine "Kolyma". My wife really liked this picture, and for a long time she kept a clipping from a newspaper ...
For the construction of a power station in the village of Sporny, it was necessary to transport the Finner Gamper boiler. He weighed 16 tons. At that time, no one else was transporting such weight on Kolyma. The boiler was located in the bay Nagaeva. Delivery of it, given the previous successful shipments, was entrusted to me. It is difficult to convey how the flight was going, but here I am from Nagaev, together with the attendant, arrived in Magadan. Stopped at the bridge over the Magadanka river. Here I was waited by the heads of the motor depot, as well as the head of the Department of motor transport Dalstroy I.Ye. Pritulyuk. Soon E.P. Berzin. Having greeted him, he walked around the boiler attached to the car with the trailer, inspected everything, shook his head and, shaking my hand, said: “Though it is heavy, but I am sure that you will deliver it safely.” From such words, a lump rose up in my throat, choking tears.
In Dalstroi, at the time of Berzin, there was a re-education system that was supposed to return a strayed person to a normal road. There were a lot of positive examples. Former criminals (among them drivers) became Stakhanovites, record-breakers, they called their wives and children from the mainland and continued to live and work in Kolyma for free.
... The last farewell of E.P. Berzin I performed. The flight to the Disputed was very difficult, but successful. ”
I must say that Alexander Fedorovich was lucky. He not only survived, but also received early release in June 1935. True, he did not return to his small homeland. And for another ten years, he worked as a freelance worker at several Magadan truck stores.
But Berzin continued to bend his line and equip "the state in the state." It was unlikely that he could have imagined that the approaching 1937 year would be fatal, first for his offspring, and then for himself. Taking into account the type of activity of Eduard Petrovich and his “past achievements”, he has formed, so to speak, a “pool” of detractors and envious ones. And they, as usual, did not sit with folded arms.
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