Alexei Stakhanov: The USSR’s superstar miner

[From the BBC News Website]

_87344358_78243415-7bc8-4370-9ff5-c38e53b72fd4In December 1935, Time magazine’s cover photo featured the celebrated Soviet worker Alexei Stakhanov. The US was still in the grip of the Great Depression and Stakhanov was a poster boy for communism – the figurehead of a new workers’ movement dedicated to increasing production. But the good times for Stakhanov did not last forever.

“He loved his job, and everything he achieved was through his own hard work, his own talent and perseverance,” says Violetta Stakhanova, the daughter of Alexei Stakhanov.

Stakhanov was a miner in Donbass, a coal-producing region in Soviet Ukraine. Under the communist system, all mines were run by the state and had monthly production targets. If they missed the targets, local managers and Communist Party officials were in trouble. The mine where Stakhanov worked was one of the worst-performing in the region.

“He was incredibly competitive. He kept thinking how to increase the productivity of his mine – and eventually he came up with a brilliant solution,” says Violetta.

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