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#6 - JRL 7129
April 2, 2003
Russian Geographic Center Lost Its Only Inhabitant

Russias geographic center is situated in the autonomous okrug of the Russian Federation, Evenkia, on the sides of the Vivi lake; a memorial board was fixed in the place to inform people they are visiting the very geographic center of the country. Recently, the only resident of those places Anatoly Denisenko passed away.

The man came to Evenkia for the first time 12 years ago together with a geological prospecting expedition. Anatoly was so much fascinated with the beauty of the place that he decided not to get back to the mainland at all. The hermit made his living by fishing and hunting, recently he even started supplying fish to the city of Tura.

Living his lonely life, Anatoly himself became a point of interest in Evenkia: famous figures of the country often visited him, pilots were also his frequent guests. All friends and acquaintances of Anatoly say he was an unusually kind and hearty man, the true guardian of Russias central point.

Territorial centers are precisely marked in other countries of the world as well, in the USA, France, Italy, Spain, Australia.

But here in this country the idea to mark the geographic center became quite a struggle. In 1974, Major-general Kutuzov, then-director of the Central geodesy and cartography department in the Soviet Cabinet of Ministers, strongly objected to marking of the territorial center. He said, fixation of such a center might entail problems on an international scale. He added that on that very ground the USA could also snip off the Arctic sector of the Arctic Ocean. And although director of the Soviet frontier troops disagreed with the apprehensions stated by Kutuzov, the latter managed to launch an inimical campaign against the idea of marking the geographic center of the country. Its incredible, but the chief for press in the Trade Union Supreme Council, Mrs. Zemlyannikova, prohibited to publish any materials concerning the geographic center marking in any periodicals published under the aegis of the Soviet Trade Unions. The prohibition also concerned the Tourist magazine, although 400.000 copies of the magazine were already published by that time; the material on the geographic center was torn off from almost all copies of the magazine. Fortunately, some copies remained intact.

But its said that no administrative measures can suppress ideas that are actually vital and important.

In 1983, on the eve of the 150th anniversary of the famous chemist Dmitry Mendeleyev, an expedition was allowed to mark the territorial center of the Russian Empire that scientists had previously determined. A silver 8-meter column with a gold ship on the top was made especially for this purpose to mark the center. It was a reduced copy of the ship from St.Petersburgs Admiralty.

The lake of Vivi where the geographic center of Russia is situated is unique because of the variety of fish species inhabiting the lake. Fishers can catch even a 50-kilo sturgeon there, or big white-fish. The center of Russia is like its symbol with unique nature. Its quite logic that people living there must be with kind hearts; the place wouldnt accept others. People who knew Anatoly Denisenko say he was a man of this kind, kind and well-natured.

Publication prepared by Yelena Kiseleva PRAVDA.Ru Translated by Maria Gousseva

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