A life worthy of a novel: Vadim Tumanov, a sailor, a prisoner, a gold digger and a friend of Vysotsky

Many of us in our school years read adventure novels by Jack London, Mayne Reed and Fenimore Cooper. As we grew older, we began to understand that almost all the characters in the books were fictional or were collective images, having absorbed the life stories of many people. But there are people near us whose lives are no less amazing than the fates of literary heroes, and so full of events that they would be enough for ten. One of these real heroes is Vadim Ivanovich Tumanov, who recently turned 94 years old.

A life worthy of a novel: Vadim Tumanov, a sailor, a prisoner, a gold digger and a friend of Vysotsky

Vadim Tumanov was born on September 1, 1927 in the Ukrainian city of Bila Tserkva, in a working-class family. In 1930, the Tumanovs moved to the Far East, where Vadim went to the first grade. At the age of 14, he joined the Komsomol, then graduated from the electromechanical working school and the school of navigators. During the war, Tumanov served in the Pacific Fleet and participated in military campaigns.

A life worthy of a novel: Vadim Tumanov, a sailor, a prisoner, a gold digger and a friend of Vysotsky

After the war, the young navigator remained in the navy and got a job as the third assistant captain of the steamship Uralmash. But Tumanov did not have to walk the seas for a long time – in 1948 he was arrested on charges of espionage and anti-Soviet activities. He himself always claimed that he suffered because of his love for the poems of Yesenin, whose work was banned at that time.

So the sailor Vadim Tumanov became a political prisoner at the age of 21 – he went to serve his 8 years of camps in the remote and perilous "Sevvostlag", on the Kolyma. Vadim did not accept the verdict and repeatedly, risking his life, tried to escape. But the restless prisoner was caught, beaten, put in a punishment cell and added time for escape. After a couple of years of imprisonment, Tumanov had a term of 25 years and a very slim chance of ever being released.

A life worthy of a novel: Vadim Tumanov, a sailor, a prisoner, a gold digger and a friend of Vysotsky

In the camp, Tumanov worked at the mine and more than once came close to death. Once he and a friend got caught in a landslide, in which there was almost no chance of surviving, in the end they managed to get out of the face, dirty, broken stones, but alive. More than once, he experienced the fate of the Tumans in fights with the guards – each such brawl could be the last for him, but fate protected the young convict. He understood that his life would end in the camp and always boldly looked death in the face.

But after Stalin's death, the sentences of many prisoners were reviewed and Vadim Ivanovich was rehabilitated. After being released, Tumanov decided to stay in the Far North and devote himself to prospecting. He graduated from the school of mining masters and began to master the difficult profession of a gold miner in practice. In the new business, the former naval navigator achieved considerable success – he was not just engaged in the extraction of precious metal, but also organized artels.

Tumanov's activity has spread far beyond the borders of Kolyma – the artels created by him are still working from the Urals to the Sea of Okhotsk, from Yakutia to Tajikistan. In Soviet times, Tumanov's artels gave the country a total of 500 tons of gold! Vadim Ivanovich in 1979 created the association "Pechora", which included many artels, and became its head.

A life worthy of a novel: Vadim Tumanov, a sailor, a prisoner, a gold digger and a friend of Vysotsky

In the 80s, Tumanov made sure that his organization switched to self-financing and the salaries of employees of Pechora became the best in the country. An ordinary prospector who did not drink and carefully performed his duties received more than the minister. Working for Tumanov was the dream of thousands of prospectors, but it was not easy to stay in elite artels. For drunkenness in the workplace, theft or lying, Vadim Ivanovich was dismissed without warning.

At the same time, Tumanov always remained a real person and a father to his subordinates. There are cases when the manager organized the departure of employees "to the mainland" so that they could have a lot of drinks and take a walk, and then return and continue working. Vadim Ivanovich has never spared money for vouchers for employees and their families, improving their living conditions and improving their health.

A life worthy of a novel: Vadim Tumanov, a sailor, a prisoner, a gold digger and a friend of Vysotsky

Tumanov never brought a bribe into high offices and always told the truth, even where it was necessary to remain silent. The talented leader was not forgiven for this-the persecution was led by the country's top officials: Egor Ligachev, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPSU, and Vladimir Durasov, the Minister of Non-ferrous Metallurgy. Later, the country's main bribe-taker, Mikhail Gorbachev, also took part in this shameful discrediting. The pressure on Pechora and its founder continued for years and Tumanov was forced to close the enterprise.

Vadim Ivanovich moved to the other end of the country, to Karelia, where he organized a road construction company. In parallel, Tumanov conducted gold exploration on the Karelian Peninsula. He found the yellow metal in an area called Sukhoi Log, but Moscow did not give the go-ahead to start developing the deposit.

A life worthy of a novel: Vadim Tumanov, a sailor, a prisoner, a gold digger and a friend of Vysotsky

Tumanov had to say goodbye to the idea of creating a mine and he directed all his energy to creation. Under the leadership of Vadim Ivanovich, the company "Tumanov and Co." was created, whose sphere of activity included not only the construction of roads and bridges, but also the construction of residential and industrial buildings. Tumanov did a lot for Karelia and became its honorary citizen.

Many years of friendship connected Vadim Ivanovich Tumanov and Vladimir Semyonovich Vysotsky. The bard came to the Pechora mines more than once and gave concerts that could last from evening to morning. About Tumanov, Vysotsky wrote the songs "There was an escape on a jerk" and "In infancy, our mothers scared us...", and the difficult fate of the former prisoner formed the basis of the book "Black Candle", which the poet and performer wrote in collaboration with Leonid Monchinsky.

A life worthy of a novel: Vadim Tumanov, a sailor, a prisoner, a gold digger and a friend of Vysotsky

Vadim Tumanov has lived all his life with one beloved woman-Rimma Vasilyevna, whom he met in the 1950s. In 1959, their son Vladimir was born. In 2008, Vadim Ivanovich's wife died. Now Tumanov lives in Moscow and, sometimes, in his house in Yalta. In 2004, the gold digger and businessman wrote an autobiographical book " To lose everything — and start again with a dream...", in which he told about his life.

Keywords: Russian Federation | Celebrities | Fate | Vysotsky | Gulag | Entrepreneurship | Kolyma | Gold mining

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