History

Communism, Lenin famously said, is the Soviet government plus the electrification of the entire country. Abbreviated as GOELRO, the plan to make electric power available in every corner of Russia was inspired by his Bolshevik friend, electrical engineer Gleb Krzyżanowski, who had spent a few years exiled in Minusinsk. HG Wells, who interviewed Lenin in 1920, dubbed him 'the Kremlin dreamer', being convinced that the plan was utterly utopian. A couple of decades later, all major rivers in Russia were dammed and what Russians know as 'Ilyich lamps' lit up in every household.

A 1970s tribute to that utopian spirit and the most visually striking of Soviet hydroelectric projects, Sayano-Shushenskaya Dam is symbolically located near both Lenin's and Krzyżanowski's places of exile.