The Kurenev tragedy

On March 13, 1961, due to an accident on a dam in one of the districts of Kiev called Kurenevka, according to modern estimates, about 1, 5 thousand people died. However, on that day, not a single local newspaper said a single word about the tragedy. For a long time, even many Kievites did not know about the disaster.

Back in the early 1950s, it was decided to take waste from brick production to the infamous Babi Yar. This waste was mixed with water and then washed off through pipes. A reliable dam was supposed to block the path of the accumulated dirt.

But on March 13, 1961, the dam could not withstand the pressure and at about 8.30 am it burst. A mud stream, reaching a height of 14 meters, rushed to the city, burying all living things under it. The first blow fell on the tram depot. Then the mixture spread to several streets, a stadium, a factory, a hospital, and residential buildings. The running people were covered with mud. Due to the electrical short-circuits caused by the accident, fires occurred here and there. Deadly stream The mud avalanche, which at some point accelerated to 60 km / h, froze after about two hours. But many of the victims could no longer be saved. After a while, the water mixed with the clay began to solidify. Until recently, the mobile stream turned to stone. People buried alive under a layer of pulp had to be literally wrested out of it. The buckets of excavators, which were eliminating the consequences of the tragedy, tore the corpses to pieces. An area of ​​about 30 hectares was covered with a three-meter stone layer. According to official data of those years, more than 80 buildings of Kurenevka disappeared from the face of the earth as a result of the accident.

It is noteworthy that the Kiev newspapers did not report the catastrophe in those terrible days. Only a few months later did the first publications appear. However, the media only mentioned 150 victims. But in fact, according to the historian Alexander Anisimov, who has been studying the Kurenev events for many years, the death toll in the articles has been underestimated several times. In reality, the deadly stream claimed the lives of 1.5 thousand people. It is not for nothing that the authorities recommended that people be buried in different cemeteries and on different days.

According to experts, one of the main causes of the disaster was negligence in the construction of the dam itself. The fact is that the waste container was located at a level of 40-60 meters above residential areas. In addition, under such a load, the barrier had to be made of strong concrete and be at least 25 meters high. But the organizers limited themselves to an earthen partition of 12 meters. The volumes of melt water were also not taken into account. And, to put it mildly, unimportant liquid drainage through pipes also played a role. Over the entire existence of the dam in Babi Yar, more than 4 million tons of pulp have accumulated.

In 1961, a special commission was created to investigate the case. There were six officials in the dock. Many eyewitnesses to the disaster still blame Alexey Davydov, the chairman of the local City Executive Committee, for everything. Two years after the Kurenev tragedy, Davydov died. Some say that from a heart attack, others are sure that the chairman shot himself.