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Media about us: labor dynasties at the cement plant Semei

In the soviet times there was such a film – a Large Family. The film heroes were the members of large labor ship masters dynasty, working in the ship-building yard. They said about this family that if they would come together, they would be able to build a whole ship. Same for Belenko family, if needed, they can produce the whole technologic chain on high grade cement manufacturing. This labor dynasty has more than 200 years of the total working experience, its 11 members work for more than 50 years at the Cement Plant Semey.

The founder of Belenko cement dynasty was Mikhail Lavrentievich. In 1958, when cement plant was just started, the party entrusted Lavrentiy Mikhailovich with one of the plant’s most responsible areas – procurement, sales and all administration issues. His position was even named as Deputy Director on general issues. You can judge yourself how general such issues were. Under his supervision there were not only all administrative issues of the production and the large Cement village as well.
— Cement village was one of the plant’s divisions, — recollects the son of Mikhail Lavrentievich, Nikolay. — Mainly plant workers were living here.
Also, the plant had 2 kindergartens, a stadium, a club, pioneer camp, and sanatorium.  Basically all events which took place on the plant territory, were well known to all village inhabitants. Especially this was related to the slack workmen, who defaulted at the production. If the men got into the sobering station or did not pay alimonies, women’s club was immediately after him. And here the violator could not cop out the responsibilities.
Mikhail Lavrentievich’s brothers – Boris and Vladimir – also tied their lives and profession with cement plant. Each of them had their own way to the plant. After graduation from Shymkent Polytechnic College, Boris worked as technologist in kilning and grinding workshops. Vladimir worked in the repair and construction workshop over 30 years. He joined the plant as an ordinary woodman, then he was promoted as a team leader and workshop master.     
Shall we say that the family mother, Maria Zakharovna, had also worked together with husband and sons at the cement plant? She worked as an estimator in the plant’s boiler house. The daughters-in-law, Nadezjda, Lubov and Nelly, followed her and joined family dynasty.
Mikhail Lavrentievich’s sons – Nikolay and Sergey – became family dynasty second generation representatives. As Nikolay Mikhailovich confessed, Uncle Boris’s friend made him to join the plant, but not a father as you might think. In 1968 he brought a young man to the technologic equipment repair workshop as 2nd class locksmith. So, combining the work, he managed to finish Semipalatinck Technologic Institute, thus became an engineer-mechanic. And now for more than 44 years Nikolay Mikhailovich is providing the conduction of plant’s technologic equipment repairs. Even now, being on well-deserved rest, he is not eager to retire on a pension. Being a deputy chief mechanic, he controls almost all repair teams, servicing the plant equipment.
Belenko family experienced related to the plant tragedy as well. Sergey Mikahilovich, Nikolay’s brother, worked as a master in the boiler house. Once in 1999 there was an emergency accident in the boiler house: the steamer had exploded. Sergey Belenko died in the production. Unfortunately, such cases also sometimes occur.
Generally, Belenkos do not like to look back to 90ies of the last century. Even though, exactly that time all plant workers passed through a great test. USSR collapse, severance of economic ties, transfer to the market relations, all these brought the plant to a sharp production decline. Semipalatinsk industrial giant could not avoid this fate as well. Company debts achieved billion tenge level, but the majority of the workers, its skeleton staff, stayed with the plant. The most difficult time was winter of 1999-2000. The plant celebrated Millenium with fears. Because of the debts, the plant was disconnected from electricity, so the operations were stopped. But unlike the others, the cementmen stayed with the plant and preserved everything collected during so many cement generations for the future. They organized daily duties, guarded the equipment and spare aprts in the unheated premises. And all these were based on pure enthusiasm, as no salaries were paid.
— I even cannot explain what made us to do that, — Nikolay Mikhailovich confessed. — Maybe, our working team. This was a great power, which might impact human’s fate. We stand for each other thick and thin. The plant is our native house, and maybe it is even more important than our own one. We survived those difficult times, and this made us more united.
After this steep turn, the life got in the groove again. After deep crisis, the flourishing came. But of course to achieve this, the whole staff had to work hard: starting from the new management to the trainees. In return, all workshops are now operating full capacity, producing high quality cement and providing almost the whole republic with the construction materials.
And then the third generation of Belenko family joined Semiplatinsky cement plant. The son of Sergey, died in the emergency accident, Alexander came to work as heavy truck driver. His sister, Marina, is working in packing workshop, a cousin, Sergey Nikolayevich, is working with his father, mother, brothers, aunts and uncles for more than 18 years. Now he is working as a master of the cement production aspiration workshop, and at the same time he studies at the company expenses at the engineer-mechanic faculty of South Kazakhstan State University named after Auezov in Shymkent.
Should we say that this big and friendly labor family conducts the production meetings not only in the offices but around the big family table as well? For more than 50 years the most interesting topic for conversation was and is cement production. If we add the duration of all Belenkos employment time at the cement plant together, we will come to over 200 years period. Almost two centuries of the working deeds, honor, achievements and victories for the society and Kazakhstan benefit.

Ekaterina Gulyaeva, "Rudnyi Altai"