The «uncharted» city («Не отмеченный на карте» город) (The Perm Days)

By Ludmila Prokopets

The first years of a M. human being are the basis for his/her whole life, they are crucial for future rela­tionships and even the occupational choice. The same statement is valid for a city as well.

In 1723 a copper smelting plant was established by the Egoshikha river mouth. The produced copper was used for cannon manufacturing and coin­age, A few years later the copper mines were «worked out» but by then the city’s history had begun. The Ego­shikha village had very favorable geographical situation, being located at the intersection of waterways from Euro­pean part of Russia to Siberia. That was the principal reason why the village soon became the provincial center, In 1780, Egoshikha was renamed «Perm», by the order of Ekaterina II.

The industrial baton was taken by Motovilikhinskiy a copper smelting plant founded in 1736 400 km away from Egoshikha. The plant output was pri­marily used for military purposes. The first heat steel, produced at the plant, was considered to be of the highest quality, and the Russian Artillery department ordered 76 guns from the plant.

The guns of the plant were pronounced as «the best iron guns ever used in artillery». The famous «tsar-gun» was also cast here. The Perm gun was even heavier than the one, located in Kremlin. Moreover, 314 test shots were made with the Perm gun, and each shell weighted 500 kg. Nowadays this gun is an honorable exhibit of the Motovilkhinskiy museum.

Perm has been an industrial city from its very «childhood». At first, the plant had been established; later a village was formed around the plant. Gradually the village grew up into a district of the city. The older the city was, the more plants it had, and the most of them were military plants.

During the Soviet period, Perm was an essential industrial center because of the large number of military plants in the region. All the artillery and rockets, as well as engine start­ing systems for ballistic rockets, MiG aircraft engines and multiple kinds of guns were con­structed in Perm. The Soviet Union govern­ment made big efforts to keep this strategic city top-secret. Even many Russians didn’t know about existence of Perm, a city with population of 1 million citizens.

Until the end of the «cold war» neither the city, nor the roads, leading to the city, were charted in the main USSR maps. Many Perm citizens worked at military enterprises, every one of which had several secrecy levels.

Often the plants, of­ficially manufacturing civil goods, in fact pro­duced «something else». For example, Perm has never had a «watch» plant, but every demon­stration was participated by a delegation of the «Perm watch plant». But in reality this enterprise produced automatic pilot and navigation sys­tems. Today it has more accurate name JSC «Perm scientific produc­tion instrument-making company».

One of the most classified enterprises is situated on Kosmonavtov road. It was even prohibited to mention it in press, because it dealt with telecommunication apparatus. Today it is JSC «Morion».

Perm citizens worked on many space projects: from the first satellite launch to the construction of the international space station. They had unique chance to drink a very special red wine, a carriage of which was bequeathed in 19th century to the first one, who can take a picture of the «dark side» of the Moon. The wine was awarded to the Soviet Union, and the Moscow decided to share the wine with all the enter­prises, included in the project.

Presently Perm continues to work in the defense and space industry. JSC «Inkar» produce units for many kinds of war-planes, for example Su-27. Other local enterprises are de­veloping engines which are to be used in space craft planned for 20 years in the future! But now, these local firms are truly putting Perm «on the map»!

The Perm Days

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