Alexey Stakhanov

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Alexey Stakhanov

Stakhanov speaks to a fellow miner
Born Alexey Grigoryevich Stakhanov
Lugovaya, Oryol Oblast, Russian Empire
Died November 5, 1977(1977-11-05) (aged 71)
Torez, Soviet Union
Nationality Russian
Occupation Miner
Known for "Founder" of Stakhanovite movement
Awards Order of Lenin
Order of the Red Banner
Hero of Socialist Labour (1970)

Alexey Grigoryevich Stakhanov (Russian: Алексе́й Григо́рьевич Стаха́нов; 3 January 1906– 5 November 1977) was a miner in the Soviet Union. In 1970, he was made a Hero of Socialist Labor. In 1936, he became a member of the CPSU. He became a celebrity in 1935 as part of a movement that was intended to increase worker productivity and demonstrate the superiority of the socialist economic system.

Stakhanov was born in Lugovaya near Oryol. In 1927, he began working in a mine called "Tsentralnaya-Irmino" in Kadievka (Donbass). In 1933, Stakhanov became a jackhammer operator. In 1935, he took a local course in mining. On 31 August 1935, it was reported that he had mined a record 102 tonnes of coal in 5 hours and 45 minutes (14 times his quota).[1] On 19 September, Stakhanov was reported to have set a new record by mining 227 tonnes of coal in a single shift.[2] His example was held up in newspapers and posters as a model for others to follow, and he even appeared on the cover of Time Magazine.[3][4]

Between 1936 and 1941, Stakhanov was a student of the Industrial Academy in Moscow. In 1941–1942, he was appointed director of mine No. 31 in Karaganda. Between 1943 and 1957, Stakhanov worked in the Ministry of Coal Industry of the USSR. In 1957–1959, he was deputy director of the Chistyakovantratsit trust, and after that, assistant chief engineer at the mine management office No. 2/43 of the Torezantratsit trust until his retirement in 1974.

Stakhanov was a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of the first convocation. He was awarded two Orders of Lenin, Order of the Red Banner, and numerous medals. The last Sunday of August was designated "Coal Miner's Day", also apparently in his honor.

The town of Kadievka in eastern Ukraine where he started his work was renamed Stakhanov in his honour in 1978, after his death.

Stakhanov's records set an example throughout the country and gave birth to the Stakhanovite movement where workers who exceeded production targets could become "Stakhanovites". Orwell in Animal Farm presents Boxer as a symbolic character of the "Stakhanovites"[source?].

Record disputed[change | edit source]

The validity of Stakhanov's record has since been called into question. In 1985, The New York Times printed a story that said Stakhanov had indeed succeeded in his feat, but that it was only because the Communist Party had pre-arranged the event. With it, the Communist party wanted to boost public morale. According to this article, many other miners helped Stakhanov beat the mining record. The Times quoted the chief of the Tsentralnaya-Irmino mine's branch of the Party, Konstantin G. Petrov: "I suppose Stakhanov need not have been the first... It could have been anybody else. In the final analysis it was not the individual face-worker who determined whether the attempt to break the record would succeed, but the new system of coal extraction."[5] In 1988, Soviet newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda claimed that the widely propagandized personal achievements of Stakhanov were puffery — the paper insisted that Stakhanov had used a number of helpers on support works, while the throughput was tallied for him alone. Still, according to the newspaper, Stakhanov's approach had eventually led to the increased productivity by means of a better organization of the work, including specialization and task sequencing.[6]

It has also been claimed that his record was beaten by Alija Sirotanović of Yugoslavia and Sergej Scemuk of Ukraine.[7]

Notes[change | edit source]

  1. Richard Overy, The Dictators: Hilter's Germany, Stalin's Russia, p258 ISBN 0-393-02030-4
  2. "Labour in the Land of Socialism; Stakhanovites in Conference", Moscow 1936
  3. "Heroes of Labor", Time Magazine, 16 December 1935
  4. "Soviet leaders' gifts go on show", BBC.com, 15 November 2006
  5. Serge Schmemann, "In Soviet, Eager Beaver's Legend Works Overtime," New York Times (31 Aug 1985), p. 2.
  6. Komsomolskaya Pravda, October 15, 1988
  7. Sergej lo stakhanovista che supera Stakhanov