The Factory of Man Himself

With the reshaping of a nation into something never before seen on earth, Russia in the early twentieth century was asking its people to become something utterly unique. The Russian people were tasked with transforming their nation into the world’s largest communist state, and that task came with the responsibility of becoming citizens capable of making fundamental changes to their lives to allow the system to prosper.  With a population of a quarter million growing over the span of three years, the development and growth of Magnitostroi was dependent on the wrangling of vocational school graduates, urbanites, even decommissioned military regiments. The need for specialists to guide the labor of the unskilled workers was greater than ever, and the desire of specialists to serve was nonexistent. Many skipped out on work, or never reported when assigned. Citizens sent to Magnitostroi were met with empty steppe-land instead of the chrome furnaces they expected. The desire to go was so low that the government sponsored national campaigns to drive up enthusiasm. With documentaries and press releases more akin to wartime propaganda than industrial recruitment, authorities fought to lure more workers to the site. A major source of labor was the deportation of kulaks, peasant people who were perceived to own more than others, thus qualifying them as traitors to the ideals of communism. As punishment for their misdoings, real or imagined, many were sent to work on the construction of the giant city. Despite general dislike for the project, the work performed by many was legendary, with workers struggling around the clock to complete building construction in freezing temperatures. Eventually the sense of commitment to work the cadre desired was fostered, with many work brigades holding competitions to achieve the most progress. Dam construction became an epic saga in which one could win glory for the nation, never mind the poor quality of the civic planning.