The Tower of Death

In the Sverdlovsk district of the city of Perm, on Komsomolsky Prospekt, there is a building about which Perm people know many legends and pass them on to each other.Popular rumor calls the building the Tower of Death. The name has become commonplace to such an extent that the name is also used in official papers.

Construction and purpose of the building

The building, built in 1952 by the architect Pereleshin, was conceived as the main building of the Perm University , but the State Security Committee became the owner, later – the Perm Territory Department of Internal Affairs.

The brick plastered building was built in the style of monumental classicism. With a height of five floors, the rectangular building occupies a quarter and has a three-tiered tower with a spire 43 meters high. This is a symbol of Perm, where the internal affairs bodies were constantly working.

City’s legends

The ATC building is a source of legends. It was built at the end of Stalin’s reign, but in the stories about the tower, history is pushed back into the past and is associated with years of terror and repression.

Rumor claims:

  • Here were Stalin’s torture chambers.
  • The bodies of its builders, GULAG prisoners who were brought to Perm for work, are immured in the house.
  • There was an underground prison connected by secret passages with the Yegoshikhinsky cemetery.
  • NKVD officers tortured and executed innocent people.
  • Convicts were thrown from the tower, shot and buried in the courtyard.
  • One communist prisoner threw himself from the tower down.
  • In the building, the muffled sounds of shots were regularly heard – prisoners were shot.
  • They tell romantic stories about unhappy love, when unhappy lovers took their own lives here.
  • Even today it is scary in the tower, the shadows of the victims roam there.

Causes of legends

The name “Tower of Death” is firmly entrenched in the language of the townspeople, and for good reason.

  1. A new high-rise building on a vacant lot towered over the low-rise city like a medieval tower. Standing out sharply, the building has become an important landmark in the urban space and is often mentioned in communication.
  2. The persistence of these stories is explained by the negative attitude of people towards “organs”. People are used to considering them a source of arbitrariness and an apparatus of violence against the people.
  3. The townspeople explain the ominous nature of the tower by the fact that it was built on a cursed place: in a cemetery, where people used to be shot.
  4. In 1963, the film “The Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors” was released, which had an extraordinary success with the audience. The main reality of the kingdom is the tower of death. Perhaps this film gave rise to the emergence of the Perm toponym.
  5. The version is indirectly confirmed by the fact that there was a cinema on the site of the NKVD office, the last film that appeared on the screen before the demolition was called “The Tower of Death”.
  6. On the ground floor of the ATC building there is a laboratory where experts fired at the seized weapons . The inhabitants passing by, hearing the shots, thought that the arrested were shot without trial. This gave rise to rumors, and the name of the tower is exactly the case when legends were created before our eyes.

The building of the Internal Affairs Directorate of the Perm Territory is an object of cultural heritage, a monument of architecture and urban planning.