“A trip to Kolvitsa” book is in the process

Memorial stone, Lolvitsa. A photo by Gennady Alexandrov.

A stone that commemorates 120 years of Kolvitsa. Photo by Gennady Alexandrov.

“A trip to Kolvitsa” won the First All-Russian competition “Cultural mosaic of small towns and villages” (the Timchenko Fund). The project was performed by youth movement “EcoDozor” (EcoWatch) of the Kola Ecological Center jointly with youth center “Harmonia” of the City of Kandalaksha. Immediately involved were Ludmila and Gennady Alexandrov, and Alexandra Goryashko. Artist Valentin Myzdrikov developed the book’s cover.

Kolvitsa, one of several villages along the Kandalaksha coast of the White Sea, has a rich and unique history. Unlike other, Pomor, villages, Kolvitsa was founded by migrants from Karelia, and thus maintained, for many years, its cultural and linguistic uniqueness.

So far about 20 of Kolvitsa old residents have been interviewed and around 100 photos from family archives or documents from the Murmansk regional archive or the Local History Museum have been collected. These materials allowed to confirm or correct many dates in the history of the village, and to change mistaken description of historic episoded related to Kolvitsa scattered around in literature. The book contains detailed information on the first settlers in Kolvitsa and stories of Finnish families repressed in 1940, or the times and exact locations of “forest outposts” of the Solovki prison camp.

Based on documents and reminiscences of descendants of the participants of these events the period of 1918-1919 – the difficult times of “invited intervention” and activity of local guerrilla fighter groups as well as the punitive raid of a British  battlecruiser – is described and analyzed in detail, with popular literature stories of the events corrected.

WWI participants from Kandalaksha. These later became Kolvitsa guerrilla fighters.

WWI participants from Kandalaksha. These later turned into Kolvitsa guerrilla fighters.

Stories by eyewitnesses and participants allowed to restore realistic descriptions of life during the collective farm (Kolkhoz “Red North”) days, to establish exact years the local hydroelectric station built at the waterfalls was supplying the village with electricity, to describe in detail all the main areas of Kolvitsa activity – reindeer breeding, fishing and fish breeding, logging and rafting, as well as customs and peculiarities of daily life of the villagers.

Kolvitsa girls, ~1955-56

Kolvitsa girls, ~1955-56

There will be a dedicated chapter on Kolvitsa in arts. Many poems and paintings dedicated to Kolvitsa’s nature and history will be assembled here.

Anna Mikhailova. Kolvitsa.

Kolvitsa, by Anna Mikhailova

In the plans is also to describe present-day life of Kolvitsa, including the ecological and historic trail and the celebration of 120 years since the establishment of Kolvitsa, complete with opening of Memorial stones, and also to discuss current problems in the life of the village.

Presentation of the book is planned for November 2014 in Kandalaksha.

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