VYACHESLAV ERMAKOV
"You can perceive the North as a place like a hostel but also as your own home"
In 1948, after the war, it was hungry in Moscow so my parents enlisted for work in the North. They went from Arhangelsk to Dikson by boat. In 1948 my elder brother was born and in 1952 I followed. So my brother and I can be considered to be native inhabitants. The first five years there we lived on the island. My father worked as a wireless operator at the local weather station. Then my mother got a job at the telegraph station in the settlement and we were given accommodation. As for my dad, he continued going to work on the island and in cases of strong snowstorms he didn't come home but stayed at work for the whole night.


From the 7th till the 10th class I took up music, my friends and I even created our own band Vesna (Transl.: spring). We also did sport; went to Norilsk, Dudinka and Krasnoyarsk to take part in football, volleyball and hard athletic competitions; stood up for the honor of our own settlement, played "for Dikson". We were busy every day with classes, rehearses, work and school.

---------
It was impossible to buy any music albums on Dikson, they could only be brought from the mainland. I had friends in Moscow who recorded songs on reels or cut records for us.
______

Page from Andrey Kuzmich Golinsky's work-record book (worked as a polar explorer)
>> to click
A photo from Vladimir Cherepanov's archive
After finishing school we created the band Miryane (Transl.: laypeople). In the beginning almost all of our equipment for recording songs – guitars, amplifiers, loudspeakers – were made by ourselves. We found a lot of radio equipment and plywood in the radio center. We studied special books and learned how to calculate, to solder correctly and engineer our own equipment. Later, coming back from my holidays, I always brought good tape-recorders and loudspeakers with me. As soon as there was something new on the mainland I brought it. People who went on holiday brought back German guitars. Using that equipment we began recording our songs. We played at dancing parties or in cafes. Our first songs appeared in 1968-69. As for the more serious "northern" songs, they were composed from 1975 and till ... now.

At that time like most people in Russia we listened to "Pesniary", "Vesiolie Rebiata" (popular Soviet VIA bands – Translator's Note), Antonov and Tukhmanov. It was impossible to buy any music albums on Dikson, they could only be brought from the mainland. I had friends in Moscow who recorded songs on reels or cut records for us. When I was on holidays I spent my time running along New Arbat street looking for records. I wanted to listen to Pugachiova so much. Or, for example, when a person was going to the North, we always used the opportunity to obtain some new music. In the 1980s I studied at Abakan Music College for two years and received some basic musical knowledge. I didn't finish it because my daughter was born.
--------
It is a great pity that everything has fallen into such decay, that there is almost nothing of the original Dikson that we sang about and played for.
______
I left Dixon on 28th October 1992. My parents weren't young anymore so it was necessary to go to Moscow and look after them. Since then I have never been to Dikson again. I flew to the North twice, but reached Norilsk only. I am often visited by people from Dikson who come to Moscow on business trips. I am told that Dikson is now a painful sight. It is a great pity that everything has fallen into such decay, that there is almost nothing of the original Dikson that we sang about and played for. Judging by the photos, the settlement is practically uninhabited, which looks unusual.
--------
I spent practically forty-one years on Dikson and it seems to me that Dikson is suitable for people to live on and it doesn't need to be left. I am even sure it is feasible to live there.
______
I believe the state is largely responsible for the decay. I agree with the saying that says it is always easier to break than to build. So much of people's efforts were given to the development of the North in Dikson,Tiksi, Anderma, Khatanga, Igarka – to all of those northern settlements. Maybe, if the state thinks about it one day, the North will be revived, they are after all large and rich regions. Using a rotational work system is not good as people should live there constantly. Only the person who lives there permanently would try to make everything so that it could be used on a permanent basis, not for a month or two. That would be another sense of responsibility. You can perceive the North as a place like a hostel but also as your own home.
Choose a story
Share your story about Dikson