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Description of Kotlas
Kotlas is located in the southern part of the
Arkhangelsk region. The administrative center of the Kotlas region.
The city stands at the confluence of the Vychegda and the Northern
Dvina, about 600 kilometers southeast of Arkhangelsk. Together to
the surrounding settlements is a major center for pulp and paper
production. Kotlas is also a major rail junction; it connects
central Russia with the Komi Republic.
Kotlas had a Gulag (labour camp) in the 1930s -
1950s durign reign of Stalin, inhabited by deported kulaks (rich
peasants) and other political enemies of newly established Soviet
Russia. Such people were put to work in the timber and paper
industry. The Kotlas chapter of the "Sovest" organization keeps
alive the memory of the people who suffered under the labour camps
here. Many persons of Polish descent live here. There is also an
airbase in Kotlas (Savatiya).
Travel Destinations in Kotlas
Cathedral of St. Stephan of Perm. Built in 1788, this landmark
cathedral honours Stephen of Perm who Christianized the Komi people
in the mid 14th century.
Kotlas Pulp and Paper Mill - (now Ilim
Group Koryazhma Subsidiary)
Northern Dvina State Basin Authority
of Waterways and Navigation
History of Kotlas
The place was probably inhabited from ancient times, but was only
granted official town status by the Provisional Government of Russia
on June 16, 1917, when it was a part of Vologda Governorate. In
1918, the area was transferred to the newly formed Northern Dvina
Governorate, and in 1924 the uyezds were abolished in favor of the
new divisions, the districts (raions). Kotlassky District was
established on June 25, 1924. In 1929, Northern Dvina Governorate
was merged into Northern Krai, which in 1936 was transformed into
Northern Oblast. In 1937, Northern Oblast was split into Arkhangelsk
Oblast and Vologda Oblast. Kotlassky District remained in
Arkhangelsk Oblast ever since.
During the 1930s,
Kotlas became a place to which kulaks were deported and made to work
in the forestry industry. It was managed by the Kotlaslag division
of Gulag. Later, it hosted all possible categories of people
repressed during the Stalin era. A significant population of Poles
existed in the area, with whole Polish villages resettled here in
1920s and 1930s.
Labor camps existed within the territory of
the city until 1953. Besides logging and the paper industry, inmates
worked at plant, housing, bridge, and railroad construction. Most of
camps were unguarded barrack settlements. In addition, Kotlas was a
major transit point for deportees transferred further to the north
and east, since it was a railroad terminus. There is a Kotlas branch
of the Sovest (Conscience) organization, which seeks to preserve the
memory of those times and seek compensation for victims.
The further development of Kotlas was due to the
construction of the Pechora Railway. Already from 1899 Kotlas was
connected by a railway line with Vyatka (currently Kirov), which was
heavily used for the cargo transport of goods to and from the
Northern Dvina River. In 1940, the construction of the railroad
connecting Konosha (on the railway stretch between Moscow and
Arkhangelsk) to Vorkuta started. The railroad was needed to
transport coal, timber, and later oil from the Komi Republic. The
headquarters of this railroad were opened in Kotlas. In the same
year, Kotlas became a separate administrative unit. In December
1941, the road was completed, and from 1942, the regular service
started. Kotlas thus became an important transport hub. The
headquarters of the Pechora Railway were located in Kotlas until
1959, when the railway was merged into the Northern Railway.
Kotlas Airport - 4 km southeast of Kotlas; small
aircraft only - the largest aircraft is an AN4 with 40 seats.