Yakut State United Museum of the History and Culture of the Peoples of the North n.a. Em. Yaroslavskiy (Yakut Museum) presents the exhibition ‘More fish to the lines!’, dedicated to the labor feat of the fish industry workers of the Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (YASSR) for the Victory over fascism in the Great Patriotic War, 1941-1945.

At the end of 1941 almost all fish-industrial area of SSSR (the Azov sea, the Baltic) were occupated by Nazy army. On January 6, 1942 the Council of People’s Commissars of SSSR and the Central committee of All-Russian Communist Party (the Bolsheviks) took a decision ‘On the development of fish industry in the river basins of Siberia and the Far East’ to provide food for the Army. On February 9, 1942 bureau of Yakut Regional Committee took a decision where the events to perform this resolution were planned.

In 1941 Yakut fish trust consisted of 7 factories. New Kolymo-Indigirskiy fish trust was founded. It consisted of 4 fish factories: Nizhnekolymskiy, Srednekolymskiy, Verkhnekolymskiy and Allaikhovskiy.

Yakut fish trust was reorganized into Yakut State Fish Trust for Union Purpose. 240 fishing brigades of agricultural collective farms (kolkhoz) consisting of 2100 fishermen were organized during a short period of time. Co-operative fishers’ societies were organized and specific supply trading was initiated as stimulation.

On August 11, 1942 during the session of the bureau of Yakut Regional Committee they made the resolution №213 to remove 30-40 kolkhozes of Churaptchinskiy region to the regions of fish industry (Kobyaiskiy, Zhiganskiy, Bulunskiy regions). The original reason of this decision was climatic and pedologic conditions of Churaptchinskiy region. Dry weather had been destroying grain crop for recent years, there were big problems with harvesting to feed the cattle.

It was noted that "an extreme lack of prospects in agriculture and live-farming occurred for the most part of Churaptchinskiy kolkhozes. Farming basis of the most part of kolkhozes and financial conditions were ruined. Along with this there was an opportunity to use labor resources in fishing industry...". Republican committee on resettlement was founded, empowered and authorized persons on kolkhozes were designated. Authorized persons were to agitate and directly organize the resettlement of collective farmers.

So, the decision that became a beginning of tragic fate for thousands farmers was made. Arrangements made by the Regional Committee of All-Russian Communist Party, the Council of People’s Commissars and local administration were deficient. The date and terms were set very infelicitously. Resettlement was organized in a rush; there were lots of large families, disabled and sick people among migrants. There were no housings nor food or cattle fodder where they were moving. People had to live in makeshift shelters built in a rush. There were no any help. And these exhausted people had to fulfill a fishing plan. Mass mortality from starvation began while several tons of fish were wasting in ice cellars of fishing factories during that time (according to crude data, 1747 people died).

They were allowed to take baggage no more than 16 kg. Migrants to Kobyaiskiy and Zhiganskiy regions were allowed to take cows and horses with them, but it was prohibited for migrants to Bulunskiy region. Other kolkhoz and private cattle left at home was sold to the government at a cost price 41 kopek per 1 kg. The migrants had to leave their houses and belongings unkept. They just closed the doors of their houses and barns and went away. 41 kolkhozes, 1655 farms, 5318 people removed, including 10 kolkhozes, 252 farms, 759 people moved to Bulunskiy, 13 kolkhozes, 540 farms, 1736 people to Zhiganskiy, 18 kolkhozes, 863 farms, 2493 people to Kobyaiskiy regions. However, because of bad arrangement many people died from diseases and starvation on the way. There were no any arrangements made for meeting people in Kobyaiskiy region. The migrants had to survive without food and cattle fodder, they had to live in the open air, and the winter was coming. Nevertheless, people began ice fishing, but they were weakened because of severe living and working conditions and starvation. In a single year 489 people died. But despite all difficulties the migrants caught big amount of fish, so they fulfilled a patriotic duty.

According to the memoirs of settlers-farmers, they drove on such carts with his meager belongings and families to the pier on the bank of the Lena river. Thebulls pulled their. Rode two days. In the heat on the long path from the friction wheel started to smoke and burn. There was no water, they were extinguished, smearedwheel by cow manure.

For two years (1942-1943) semidesert shore of the Arctic became an industrial fishing and processing field. Seven fishing factories were added in the republic, including ‘Kobyaiskiy’ and ‘Vilyuiskiy’ and 5 mechanized engine-fishing stations.

Individual fishing equipment
Fishing tackles in fishing industry are used in Yakutia since the appearance of fishing. If you trace the history of fishing tackles, pay attention to its conservatism. Fishing equipment and technique stayed the same as they were 100 or even 200 years ago. Only materials have changed. Creel is made of wires. But the form, way of use, peculiarity of setting are the same.

Equipment for collective fishing

Methods of fish conservation in the Arctic conditions of central and southern regions differ. Depending on the species of fish and climatic conditions, there are unique methods of fish processing.

Yukola - dried meat of fish or reindeer, cook by the peoples of Eastern Siberia and the Far East. In some parts the Jukola smoked over the fire or weakly salted before drying.

There was a lack of workers. 1449 workers and employees, 376 graduates of work schools and industrial schools were enrolled in Yakutsk and regions of republic. About 6 thousand people from western regions of the Union were sent to the North. Almost 50% of migrants from Baltics consisted of children under 16 years of age and over-50s. At the end of 1942 about 10 thousand people were brought to the North. 24 fishing kolkhozes and hundreds of brigades were organized in agricultural regions. 4 new fishing factories were founded (Trofimovskiy, Ust’-Olenekskiy, Kobyaiskiy and Vilyuiskiy)

There were lots of problems: people who came were maladjusted to the conditions of Thule; they didn’t know fishing methods, waters, places where fish swam; there was a lack of fishing equipment, clothing, shoes, even houses; people had to live in the open air although severe Polar winter began.

By December 1942 7683 people were fishing. Ice-fishing started.

In 1943 385 brigades consisting of 5535 fishermen were organized. Three new factories were set up (Omoloyskiy, Govorovskiy and Ust’-Kamelekskiy). 1345 people were sent to the northern fishing factories when navigation opened. For the first time engine-fishing stations appeared. Bestyakhskiy dockyard was put into operation. Fish pick-up and processing subdivisions, ice cellars were built. Another 18 fishing kolkhozes were organized by migrants and local population. Only migrants in Polar Regions counted more than 6500 people.

There were also expellees whom the government thought to be socially dangerous and expelled from their permanent place of residence to the North with restrictions of liberty of movement.

Many nationalities were deported: Germans, Jews, Balts, Finns, Chechens, Ingush, Kalmyks. Over 47 thousand people were deported to Yakutia. They lived in different regions. Most of them were deported for fishing in Bulunskiy, Ust’-Yanskiy and Zhiganskiy regions.

Special migrants were also left in severe conditions; they were left at almost desolate shore of the Arctic sea without houses, warm clothes. Extreme conditions led to death of many of them, because there were many children, women, old men suffering from diseases and dying from starvation and cold. Precise number of deceased is still unknown.

Fulfilling fishing plan as an order of defense purpose was considered as sacred duty of all fishing brigades, kolkhozes, fishermen and other workers of fish industry.

Many fishing kolkhozes and co-operative fishers’ societies, hundreds of brigades, sections and fishermen were ahead of schedule occasionally. Big group of fish industry workers were decorated with orders and medals of SSSR and Certificate of Appreciation of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of YASSR. Hundreds of people were conferred a decoration "Expert of Fishing Industry" and certificates of People’s Commissariat of Fishing Industry of SSSR. In 1943 fishermen from Tit-Arinskiy, Trofimovskiy, Yakutskiy, Aldanskiy, Olekminskiy and Kobyaiskiy factories distinguished. Kolkhoz n.a. Molotov of Bulunskiy region provided to the government 62500 poods (sixteen kilograms) of fish, which includes 23500 poods above the target. Brigade of A.S. Noev caught 7000 poods. Kolkhoz "the Arctic" of Ust’-Yanskiy engine-fishing station provided 11000 poods of fish above the target. According to the information of Yakut State Fishing trust to Yakut Regional Committee «About fishing brigades and co-operative fishers’ societies included to the Republican Recognition board» of January 30, 1943: "... Brigade of Noev Alexey Semyonovich from fishing kolkhoz n.a. Molotov fulfilled a IV quarter plan on 404%, provided to the government 850 hundredweight of fish, and fulfilled an annual plan over than 300%". Alexey Semyonovich Noev became a first Yakut who was awarded the supreme recognition of his work – the Order of the Red Banner of Labour and Certificate of Appreciation of People’s Commissariat of Fishing Industry which he was given by M.I. Kalinin, the Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, in Kremlin.

In 1942 over 50 brigades and kolkhozes fulfilled and overfulfilled an annual plan of fishing, including kolkhoz n.a. Molotov of Bulunskiy region that caught 6424 hundredweight of fish or 134% of its plan, kolkhoz ‘Red reindeer’ – 132%, kolkhoz n.a. Kuibyshev – 127%, brigade of kolkhoz ‘Red Aldan’ of Tattynskiy region – 407%, kolkhoz ‘Yuner olokh’ of Namskiy region – 304% and others. Fish brigades of Ust’-Aldanskiy region fulfilled plan over 122% ahead of schedule and won challenge Red Banner of the Council of People’s Commissars and Regional Committee of All-Russian Communist Party.

Altogether in 1943 fishermen of YASSR caught and provided 127 813 hundredweight of fish, which is twice as much as in 1942. It was the highest-ever result of fishing in Yakutia (118.95 thousand hundredweights were caught since 1936 to 1940, 411.5 thousand hundredweights were caught since 1941 to 1945).

Due to heroic work of the rear during the war period Yakutia provided to the country 1/5 part of all-union gold-mining, thousands of tons of phlogopite, many stannum, Muscovy glass and other resources. It provided fur costing almost 90 million rubles, about 2 million poods of fish, meat, butter and other food products. This was a huge contribution into enforcement and development of military economy of the country and into the Victory.

The State Yakitia United Museum of History and Culture of the People of the North
Credits: Story

Alexey Ivanov, High Achiever in Culture of Sakha Republic (Yakutia), curator and coordinator of the project on inclusion of regional museums of Yakutia into the project "Google Cultural Institute" (e-mail: bylesha2@gmail.com)

On the creation of the exhibition was attended by:
Nelly Kondakova, curator of the exhibition "More fish to the lines!"
Liia Egorova, scientific secretary
Dariya Popova, museum curator
Kynney Illarionova, museum curator
Yulia Illarionova, museum curator
Elizaveta Nikonova, museum curator
Irina Yakovleva, translator
Alexander Bozhedonov (Storm), photographer

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions (listed below) who have supplied the content.
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