Opening of the Geographical Center of Russia

Geographical Center of Russia

30 years ago, on the south-east bank of Lake Vivi in Krasnoyarsk Krai, the third geographic center of Russia was opened and a commemorative sign was installed.

There were many difficulties associated with his discovery. First, it was necessary to obtain and approve the coordinates of the center of Russia by the General Department of Geodesy and Cartography.

The first attempt to confirm the coordinates was in 1974. By that time, they had been calculated. But due to the fact that the head of the main Department of Geodesy and Cartography, Major General Kutuzov, was not included in the number of calculators, this idea was defeated.

In 1992, when Kutuzov was no longer there, the calculations of the coordinates of the geographical center were at last approved.

For the supposed opening of the center, already in 1974 the defence enterprise «Dolphin» made titanium obelisk, which was to be installed at the source of the Pocolky River. The obelisk was a column with its crowning double-headed eagle. But Kutuzov prevented its installation, arguing that calculating the coordinates of Russia’s geographic center could lead to a revision of the borders of the USSR and complicate relations with the US.

Thanks to the efforts of Kutuzov in 1974, the obelisk could not be installed, being content with the temporary sign of the «Tourist». They forgot about the geographical center for a while and even tried not to mention it.

A new attempt to open a geographical centre in Russia was made in 1992. Once again, the decision was taken to install a commemorative sign. But here, too, a number of difficulties have arisen.

The obelisk manufactured by Dolphin was a column topped with a double-headed eagle, but in this form the geographical community refused to accept it, forcing them to replace the eagle with a ship from the Admiralty in St. Petersburg. As a result, it was decided to revise the layout of the monument and make the necessary changes.

The prototype of Alexander Jadan was approved as the obelisk of the center of Russia. It was to be in the form of a stele with a needle and a metre-high two-headed eagle on the top. Around the obelisk there would be four information petals. The model itself was called the Golden Flower of Russia. A factory of non-standard equipment in Moscow took over its production.

To install and open the obelisk, a team of professional hikers was recruited, which included:

Yevgeny Mikheyev – experienced expeditions commander and construction expert;
Igor Hrulev - cinematographer and geologist;
Vladimir Frolov is a geologist, a veteran of the NSE, who holds one of the leading positions in the apparatus of  PGO "Centergeologiya" ;
Yuri Rodin is a supply manager with extensive experience;
Alexander Jadan is the author of the obelisk project;
Lyubov Jadan - a schoolgirl and daughter of Alexander, served as a botanist and artist;
Anatoly Odintz - Future Doctor of Life Sciences;
Dmitry Gordeev - Major of the Ministry of Internal Affairs;
Yevgeny Griniuk is an experienced hiker who volunteered to help build the obelisk;
Dmitry Matyushin is a correspondent of «Radio Russia»;
Anatoly Sobolev is a doctor;
Valery Sawkin is a surgeon;
Konstantin Babin is the son of the head of the shop in which the petals and the engraving of the obelisk were made;
Alexander Baranov - builder with great experience;
Nikolai Makarovich Tarasov - leader of the expedition, by profession journalist, member of the Russian Geographical Society, veteran of war and labor.

The main part of the team members had the titles of masters sport of water tourism.
The plans of the expedition included: the delivery and installation of an obelisk, as well as an eight-pointed Orthodox Holy Cross to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the death of Sergius of Radonezh.

Expedition

The expedition began on August 19 from the airfield «Chkalovsky», from where all 15 members of the expedition went to Evenkia. The flight was conducted under the guise of a special mission of the Supreme Soviet.

Despite its importance, the expedition encountered difficulties several times. They didn't want to refuel the plane, was not allowed to take off, and so on. In addition, he was not one of the comfortable ones. The crew had to sit on iron chairs, use the pilots' lavatory, and eat a dry lunch. And in Evenka, the plane made a rather hard landing.

Upon arrival the trekkers were met by the entire leadership of the Evenki Autonomous District. The entire team, including the pilots, moved the motor transport and drove to Tura, where they were to split up in the morning. A part of the expedition was to go to the building of the obelisk and the rest, mostly the superiors, to the CPSU District Committee. In the morning, the pilots left the team, promising to return for the rest when the mission was over.

On August 21, the construction of the obelisk of the geographical center of Russia began on the hill of Lake Vivi. The base of the monument was immured, and the top was laid with special black stones. I had to go down and lift up them up in my backpacks.

A double-headed eagle was mounted on the spire, in which they made a hollow and inserted a capsule with a letter to descendants. At the same time a system of raising the Russian flag and banners of the expedition was established.

At the same time, a Holy Cross was erected near the hill, near the lake. On it the builders burned the inscription Sergius Radonezh. 1392-1992» and installed an icon with the image of a saint.

On 27 August 1992, the obelisk and the Holy Cross were inaugurated.
The coordinates and names of the scientific expedition, as well as organizations that participated in the development and creation of the monument, were engraved on the petals of the geographical center symbol.

The opening ceremony was attended by a large number of people, including the Governor of Krasnoyarsk Krai - A.F. Veprev, Chairman of the District Council of People's Deputies of Evenkia Chepalov E.V. Also a special guest was invited Valery Mukto, Evenkia folk singer.

The return trip for the expedition was scheduled for the first days of September, following the same route through the Tura River.

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