Military Review

Blood and sweat Temirtau


40 years ago, on the night of 1 on 2 in August 1959, in the city of Temirtau, Karaganda region, unrest began among the members of the Komsomol - the builders of the Karaganda Metallurgical Plant - the famous Kazakhstan Magnitogorsk.

Unrest lasted three days. When they were suppressed, troops from Moscow (the Dzerzhinsky division) and Tashkent were involved, as were the guards of the notorious Karaganda camps (Karlag). According to official data, 16 people were killed during the clashes of builders with the troops, over 100 were injured. According to unverified data, around 10 thousands of rounds of ammunition were used in the suppression of unrest by the troops.

Events in Temirtau occupy a special place in modern stories Of Kazakhstan. The decision to build the Karaganda Metallurgical Plant in Temirtau was taken at the height of World War II in 1943. Even earlier, in the first years of the war, Germany occupied a large territory of the European part of the USSR, and the Soviet leadership had to fire thousands of industrial enterprises to the east. After losing the coal and metallurgical base in the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog basin in Ukraine, the USSR had only one metallurgical base left — in the Urals.

Then the Karaganda coal basin with its unique coking coal was considered as a reserve base for creating a new coal and metallurgical base in the deep rear of the country. By 1959, construction has gained tremendous scope. Combine built the whole country. The Komsomol Central Committee announced the construction of Karmet one of the first Komsomol construction projects. Thousands of Komsomol members from all over the country (approximately from the 80 areas of all republics of the Soviet Union) arrived in Temirtau and settled in tent camps in the eastern part of the city, near the construction site. In addition to the Soviet Komsomol members, a large group of Bulgarians from the youth movement of the foremen, the Bulgarian counterpart of our VLKSM, came to the construction site. Bulgarians settled in hostels, our homes are not enough. The living conditions were terrible. In the red-hot steppe stood hundreds of army-style tents. There was practically nothing: no shops, no places for recreation. But most importantly - there was an acute shortage of water. In addition, the Komsomol was much more real front and works. A lot of people were not busy. Construction was an extensive method. The unskilled labor of a huge number of Komsomol members brought from all over the Union was used extremely unproductively.

Those who have been in the Karaganda steppes in the middle of summer know what heat and lack of water are. In the campground there were several cisterns, the water from which was used simultaneously for cooking, drinking and washing. Under the sun, this water was more like boiling water. The enthusiasm of Komsomol members, who came from more fertile lands - Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Russia - disappeared before our eyes. The situation in the tent camps gradually heated up.

The immediate reason for the start of the Temirtau events was the incident with the water. In one of the cisterns, the water was for some reason spoiled. Then they said that some jokers poured ink into the tank. Perhaps the water is just rotten. Nevertheless, the accumulated irritation immediately found its way out. A crowd gathered and demanded an explanation. Police arrested several of the most active participants in the speech. Then 1 August 1959, an angry mob stormed the building of the district police station in the eastern part of Temirtau, demanding the release of the arrested Komsomol members. However, they had already been transferred to Karaganda, for 30 kilometers from Temirtau. Required to return back.

The situation became completely unmanageable. Thousands of young builders-Komsomol-people from the tent camp on the night from 1 to 2 in August 1959, rioted throughout the eastern part of Temirtau. The store was taken by storm and looted near the ROVD building. The crowd rushed to the building of trust "Kazmetallurgstroy" (CCM). There were clashes with the police. Control over the situation was completely lost. Crowds of builders trashed the city. The second secretary of the Karaganda regional committee of the party Enodin was captured. He escaped by stating that he was a simple engineer. Karaganda’s Komsomol active was assembled in alarm and guarded a dynamite warehouse, which was half way from Temirtau to Karaganda.

It is worth noting that in the unrest was mainly attended by visitors to the Komsomol vouchers from different regions of the Soviet Union. The local population and the Bulgarian Komsomol did not participate in the speeches.

On August 2, Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU Brezhnev, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan Belyaev, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Kazakhstan Kunaev, Minister of Internal Affairs Kabylbayev arrived in Temirtau. In the end, it was decided to use force. The decision was made by Brezhnev. The soldiers of the Dzerzhinsky division from Moscow and the soldiers from Tashkent opened fire at this moment. The assault captured the buildings of the ROVD and the shops seized by young builders. According to official data, 16 people died.

The events in Temirtau were the only and most ambitious spontaneous unrest on domestic soil in the history of the Komsomol and in the history of the USSR. The movement of the All-Union Komsomol construction projects subsequently took a huge scope. Student construction teams, various groups of Komsomol members built the Baikal-Amur Mainline, mastered the virgin lands, erected facilities throughout the country. Youth was the cheapest labor. In addition, the state has always saved on social and living conditions. In the Far North and BAM, people lived in trailers.

The lessons of the Temirtau events as a whole were obviously taken into account. In the seventies-eighties, the state skillfully supported and controlled the enthusiasm of the Komsomol movements. Never again in the history of the USSR was there any Komsomol unrest similar to the events in Temirtau. Much attention was paid to ideological support, the creation of a leisure system, and the overall cultural and social activity of Komsomol members. Intensively developed the idea of ​​Komsomol romance. This allowed the state to save on social and domestic programs of new construction projects, but to prevent the repetition of Temirtau events.

In Temirtau itself, immediately after the suppression of unrest, trials of their most active participants took place. Several people were sentenced to death. At the same time, a landing of Komsomol and party workers from Karaganda, Almaty, Moscow was landed in the city. Began construction of social facilities. Then, in particular, the Rodina cinema was built.

The events in Temirtau did not prevent the completion of the construction of the Karaganda Metallurgical Plant. With the end of its construction, Karaganda became one of the main coal-metallurgical complexes of the country. The only problem was that it was a complex that successfully functioned for the needs of the USSR as a whole. After its collapse, Kazakhstan inherited the former pride of the Soviet industry - the Karaganda Metallurgical Plant, built by the incredible efforts of the entire Soviet Union, and the coal mines of Karaganda, without having a real opportunity to use their potential.

Kazakhstan itself can consume only five percent of Kazakhstan Magnitogorsk products within the country. Everything else he has to sell for export. The cold war is over. Nobody needed the defense complex of the former USSR both in Russia and in Kazakhstan. We have witnessed a huge tragedy of entire generations of Soviet people, their enormous superhuman efforts without any compensation from the state for the creation of an industrial complex of the former USSR.

The events in Temirtau in 1959 were remarkable for another reason. In fact, they were the beginning of a long-term political career of the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan, Dinmukhamed Kunaev.


Khristenko, Mikhail Mikhailovich.

In August 1959 of the year - the driver of the “Kazmetallurgstroy” trust (CMS).

- I remember those events well. I then worked as a driver in the CCM. At the construction site there were a lot of Komsomol members from different parts of the country. They all lived in tents. I remember on the tents it was written “Odessa-Mama”, “Vitebsk on the Dnieper”, “Greetings from Tbilisi”. They lived, however, they are bad. Bulgarian builders — there were many of them too — lived in dormitory houses, and ours were increasingly in tents. How many were there, I do not remember, but a lot.

In the evening of August 1 1959, I returned to Temirtau by truck. There were several women in the back with me. When we drove through the tent city in the eastern part of the city, we began to come across different groups. They started throwing stones into the car - they broke windows and headlights. We barely got out. Women shouted - take, they say, us in Karaganda. And on the highway - the police, nobody is allowed. And these Komsomol members are drunk around. Our car base was crushed, hijacked, in my opinion, by 18 machines; in tanks with fuel dirt poured. In general, the horror that was. The soldiers still stood at the CMS trust building, so they shot at them surreptitiously. Weapon they seem to have taken some, which they then defeated.


Kenzhebaev Sagandyk Zhunusovich.

In 1959 year - the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Komsomol of Kazakhstan.

- During the Temirtau events, I was the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Komsomol of Kazakhstan and a member of the bureau of the Komsomol Central Committee. At the beginning of the events I was in Almaty and in general in Kazakhstan was not - then I was in Vienna at the World Festival of Youth. I learned about the incident on arrival. Immediately flew from Moscow to Temirtau and began to understand the reasons for the performance of young people.

The fact is that now some figures attribute political issues to the Temirtau events and interpret this as a political action by the working class Temirtau. I believe that such an assessment does not correspond to historical reality. The fact is that it was a spontaneous performance of young people on the basis of outrage at the inconveniences that were created by the local administration and, in general, by the leaders of the city and region of Karaganda. Before leaving for the festival, I went to the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan, a member of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU, Nikolai Ilyich Belyaev with a special note. I visited Temirtau, went around all the tents, working quarters, was in workshops, at a construction site — I talked everywhere with young people. And everyone resented the disorder of their life and work.

The labor recruitment plan for the construction of Temirtau was exceeded somewhere on 30-40%, in the absence of an adequate scope of work. In addition, the entire infrastructure was not ready to receive such a large number of people: there were no outlets, catering, housing, or enough drinking water. People lived in tents, in cramped conditions, and the leaders did not pay due attention to these inconveniences.

After the trip to Temirtau, I wrote a big note addressed to Belyaev and was at his reception. I said that this situation is fraught with serious consequences. He promised to take emergency measures. I left - and exactly what we were talking about with Belyaev happened. This note saved me when the corresponding conclusions were made.

From among the Karaganda leadership only the first secretary of the Karaganda regional committee of the Komsomol Nikolai Davydov survived. The first secretary of the Karaganda regional committee, Pavel Nikolaevich Isaev, was expelled from the party, he was put on trial, he went to Sverdlovsk, where he worked as a foreman. Then he became blind on the nervous ground and died suddenly. The chairman of the Karaganda economic council, Dmitry Grigorievich Anik, was expelled from the party, removed from work, put on trial, but was not convicted.

- Sagandyk Zhunusovich, how many people were involved in the construction of the Kazakhstan Magnitogorsk?

- Up to 100 thousands of people from all over the Soviet Union. In the tents at the time of the Temirtau events, about 15 thousands of people lived in directions from the center. And there was such a practice that every time Isaev or Anika went to Moscow and asked to send more young people. And the CPSU Central Committee has always satisfied their requests.

- It turns out that this is one of the first Komsomol construction projects in the Union and the only mass action of Komsomol members?

- Yes, it was one of the first construction projects and the only performance of young people. After that, there were events in Novocherkassk, but there were already workers. And the opening of fire in Temirtau was ordered by none other than Brezhnev. Then he was secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU. He was accompanied by Belyaev, and Kunaev, and Isaev, and Anika. When the youth took to the streets and, in the opinion of the leadership, the movement became uncontrollable, it was Brezhnev who gave instructions to open fire on the speakers.

And although the order to open fire belongs to him, he did not admit it then. And the responsibility for this decision was assumed by the Minister of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan, Major-General Shyrakbek Kabylbayev. The question is, where is the logic? Did an ordinary republican minister at that time give an indication of the opening of fire on the working class? Now, many years later, I think, why did Brezhnev show cowardice then and did not recognize his responsibility? And I come to the opinion that then there was a struggle for power in the top leadership of the party. Brezhnev was only taken to the Central Committee of the CPSU, he is a supporter of Khrushchev. Khrushchev had not really strengthened his position, and there was a struggle between factions for power. If Brezhnev had said that he had instructed, it could have damaged the prestige of Khrushchev - in the sense that it was the Khrushchev side that opened fire on the workers.

- Sagandyk Zhunusovich, and who, in your opinion, could then force Kabylbaev to admit his responsibility for such a decision?

- Kabylbaeva could push on this and Brezhnev, and Kunaev. Kunaev then was the chairman of the Council of Ministers. A few years later, already under Brezhnev and Kunaev, Kabylbayev returned to the post of Minister of the Interior. So, Kunaev and Brezhnev did not forget this. And in the 1959 year, Kabylbayev was removed from work and convicted.

- And you were at the plenum when you removed Belyaev?

- Yes of course. The fact is that the events in Temirtau served as a reason to film Belyaev. For this purpose Brezhnev came specially. In place of Belyaev Brezhnev put Kunaev. In politics, interests always coexist.

- And Belyaev was not considered a member of the Khrushchev group?

- When he came to us, he was secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU and a member of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU. He was in disgrace, and he was actually exiled to Kazakhstan. When the so-called struggle of Khrushchev against the anti-Party group of Molotov-Malenkov and others was fought, Belyaev spoke on the side of Khrushchev. As a result, he became a member of the Presidium. But then the alignment of forces there changed, and he was sent to us.

- Sagandyk Zhunusovich, and to whom did the Komsomol organization at Magnitka submit?

- Formally, according to the Charter of the Komsomol, us. But in reality, management was in the hands of Moscow.
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