|- Town -|
Dormition Church in the town
Location of the Republic of Karelia in Russia
|Federal subject||Republic of Karelia|
|Population (2010 Census)||32,987 inhabitants|
|Time zone||MSK (UTC+04:00)|
|Dialing code(s)||+7 81451|
Kondopoga (Russian: Кондопога; Karelian: Kondupohju; Finnish: Kontupohja) is a town and the administrative center of Kondopozhsky District of the Republic of Karelia, Russia, located on the coast of the Kondopozhskaya Gulf of Lake Onega, near the mouth of the Suna River and Kivach Nature Reserve, about 54 kilometers (34 mi) from Petrozavodsk. Population: 32,987 (2010 Census); 34,863 (2002 Census); 36,365 (1989 Census).
Kondopoga has a railroad station on the Moscow–Murmansk railroad, some of the largest pulp and paper mills in Eastern Europe, a medical college, and facilities for the manufacture of building materials.
First recorded as early as 1495, Kondopoga retains a rare monument of Russian wooden architecture — the Dormition Church (Успенская церковь), built in 1774. The central column of this church is crowned by a hipped roof, 42 m in total height. The column is based on a central rectangular framework, with adjacent frameworks for the refectory and altar. The altar framework is covered by a traditional wooden roof, called a barrel roof.
Town status was granted to it in 1938.
Kondopoga originates from a village with the same name. The very first written reference well-known to historians dates back to 1563. The town became important after rich marble deposits were discovered nearby in 1757 and the quarries were founded. Kondopoga became a logistics hub for marble shipping to Saint Petersburg. Later, iron ore deposits were found in the vicinity, which were shipped to metallurgical factories in Petrozavodsk and in Kentjärvi.
By 1892, Kondopoga had 48 buildings, 300 inhabitants, 2 churches, a college; it was the site of an annual trade fair on September 8–15.
During World War I, the Main Artillery Administrative Department of Russian Military Ministry started construction of a nitric acid plant there, which was essential for gunpowder production. A hydroelectric power station was designed to meet considerable demand in the energy for such a plant. Kondopoga was well suitable for such a station due to significant water level drop between Nigozero and Onezhskoe Lake. A 30 MWt station was to become the largest in Russia. Due to Russian revolution and Civil war, the project was delayed and only revived in the Soviet time as part of GOELRO plan. According to the project, the waters of the Suna river were to be redirected towards the hydroelectric power station via the lake system. On July 19, 1923, Sovnarkhoz of Karelia ratified the formation of a building society to build a hydroelectric power station and a major pulp and paper mill (Kondostroy). Kondopoga became a county (rayon) seat in 1932, and received a town status in 1938, with some 14,000 inhabitants.
During World War II, Kondopoga was occupied by Finnish troops on November 3, 1941, and was totally destroyed. Industrial plants and factories were looted, including the pulp and paper mill, hydro station, granite and brick factories, furniture factory, et al.). Estimated 250 houses and apartment buildings were demolished along with concert halls, museums, kindergarten, school, hotels, fire station, municipal and county offices. All bridges in the vicinity were blown up. The city was liberated on June 28, 1944, by Red Army's Karelian Front as part of Svir–Petrozavodsk Offensive. After the war, the city was rebuilt. In 1957, Kondopoga was declared the All-Union Komsomol building site. A number of new factories were built, and the pulp and paper mill was also expanded. The population grew to 38,000 people.
2006 ethnic tensions
On the night of August 29–30, two ethnic Russians were killed and several others badly injured by Chechens in the Chayka («Чайка») restaurant. A group of Russian men were eating at the Azeri-owned restaurant, when allegedly, they noticed that the expensive, premium brand vodka bottle the waiter was pouring their drinks from was actually filled with a cheap, low quality spirit. An argument and brief scuffle ensued. The ethnic Russians then left the bar. The barman then called a 'rescue team' of 15 Chechens. This team of hired 'protectors' actually arrived an hour after the Russians involved in the initial fracas had exited, but on arrival, randomly attacked ethnic Russian diners in the restaurant, who hadn't been involved in the original vodka dispute. Armed with baseball bats and knives, they set on the clientele shouting 'allahu akbar!', and in a brutal melee, 2 Russians were killed, 8 seriously injured and 15 mutilated, the injuries ranging from cuts to gouged out eyes. Despite the fact that 3 police vehicles were in the direct vicinity of the restaurant, the police did not intervene. This has led to allegations that the police were being paid off by the Chechen gang.
|“||A couple of Russian fellows who had just been released from jail came to celebrate there (in the Chayka restaurant). They got fed up with the slow service of the Azeri bartender and did him in. The bartender called to the scene the Chechens from whom he had bought security. They then beat to death two bystanders. The police did not intervene in the events at all, since the Chechens had bought security from the police. Thus a spontaneous uprising of the people was the result.||”|
After the funeral of the Russian victims, tensions spilled over into an all out riot as the mob attempted to obtain vigilante revenge. Many of the Chechens and the families left the town, some stating a desire to live in Finland.
Sergey Katanandov, the head of Karelia Republic, told "Izvestia" on September 6 about a gang of Chechens who drove around the town in a Mercedes without number plates 'terrorising locals'. He also related an incident where a Chechen gang beat a local policeman. An ensuing lawsuit by the policeman was dropped, Katanandov hinting that he had been 'paid off' by the gang - others believe fear of reprisals may have been his motivation. . It said to be an open secret in Russia that many businesses often operate under the protection of kryshas ("roofs") - that provide protection via the FSB and other state bodies. In Kondopoga, many believe such 'immunity from prosecution' was visibly flaunted by the Chechen gang and the businesses under their protection.
Some reports link this state of affairs to clashes on the night of September 1–2, 2006 between groups of ethnic Russian youths and the OMON (a SWAT-type and riot-control unit) troops. The Chayka restaurant was destroyed during this unrest. A number of Chechen-owned businesses were also targeted.
On September 2, two days after the beginning of rioting, there was a mass meeting held at the town hall. A number of Russian nationalists came from Moscow, including leaders of Movement Against Illegal Immigration, and organized a rally calling on the government to forcibly resettle all people from the Caucasus, especially ethnic Chechens, from the town.
The nationalists pointed to the reign of fear spread by Chechen gangsters and the many violent acts committed against ethnic Russians, exacerbated by corrupt officials 'in the pockets' of the Chechens, as their motivation.
On April 1, 2010, the Chechens and Dagestanis who participated in the original restaurant attack were convicted of various crimes. Islam Magomadov was convicted of two counts of murder and sentenced to 22 years of imprisonment, five more people were convicted of assault and aggravated assault and received sentences ranging from 3 years 10 month up to 10 years of imprisonment.
- "Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1" [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года (2010 All-Russia Population Census) (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service. 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- Правительство Российской Федерации. Постановление №725 от 31 августа 2011 г. «О составе территорий, образующих каждую часовую зону, и порядке исчисления времени в часовых зонах, а также о признании утратившими силу отдельных Постановлений Правительства Российской Федерации». Вступил в силу по истечении 7 дней после дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Российская Газета", №197, 6 сентября 2011 г. (Government of the Russian Federation. Resolution #725 of August 31, 2011 On the Composition of the Territories Included into Each Time Zone and on the Procedures of Timekeeping in the Time Zones, as Well as on Abrogation of Several Resolutions of the Government of the Russian Federation. Effective as of after 7 days following the day of the official publication.).
- "Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек" [Population of Russia, its federal districts, federal subjects, districts, urban localities, rural localities—administrative centers, and rural localities with population of over 3,000]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года (All-Russia Population Census of 2002) (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service. May 21, 2004. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
- Demoscope Weekly (1989). "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров." [All Union Population Census of 1989. Present population of union and autonomous republics, autonomous oblasts and okrugs, krais, oblasts, districts, urban settlements, and villages serving as district administrative centers]. Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года (All-Union Population Census of 1989) (in Russian). Institute of Demographics of the State University—Higher School of Economics. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
- "Kondopoga:History and nowadays". Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- Arvo Tuominen: Äänisen vettä (Water of Lake Onega) — a road movie around Lake Onega. YLE TV 1, 26 Dec. 2011.
- "Подсудимые по делу о драке в Кондопоге получили до 22 лет колонии". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 2011-01-21.
- Official website of Kondopoga (English) (Russian) (Finnish)
Links about ethnic tensions in Kondopoga
- Fear and Uncertainty Reign in Kondopoga, by Carl Schreck, The Moscow Times, September 14, 2006.
- Russian town hit by race violence, BBC, 4 September 2006.
- Violent Mobs Attack Immigrants in Karelia, St. Petersburg Times (Russia), 5 September 2006.
- Authorities scramble to curb ethnic violence in North Russia, RIAN, 4 September 2006.
- Galina Kozhevnikova. Autumn - 2006: Under the Kondopoga Banner, SOVA Center, 4 January 2007.
- Kondopoga city forum with first-hand discussions of the conflict (Russian)
- Movement Against Illegal Immigration. Events in Kondopoga (Russian)