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LC-A Big Book Chapter 51: In the Name of LOMO PLC: the Corporation, Panfilov, and Social Life

It is quite a tall order to unite 3 companies that have been operating independently with their own set of rules and traditions. The task is made a whole lot worse when two of these companies are used to competing with one another.

59. Mikhail Panfilovich Panfilov governed LOMO PLC during its golden stage. 60. Many a good LOMO-worker enjoyed his holiday at the “Neva” boarding house by the Black Sea. 61. Collecting mushrooms in the woods is an enjoyable leisure activity also popular amongst LOMO PLC officials.

It is quite a tall order to unite 3 companies that have been operating independently with their own set of rules and traditions. The task is made a whole lot worse when two of these companies are used to competing with one another. Progress also won an Order of Lenin for providing the Soviet Army with optical instrumentation. lt was going to take a special person to successfully lead the newly founded corporation into a new era of collective team work.

Mikhail Panfilovich Panfilov became the Director General of the works on 11th December 1962 and, from this moment on, led the company towards its most glorious years to date. Panfilov, or Papa, as many called him, led the factory with a strict yet sensitive leadership, and is remembered as one of the most remarkable characters in Soviet industry’s history. There were initial obstacles that had to be overcome. Many specialists left the company because they found it too hard to get used to the new conditions, every single department had to be restructured and hundreds of thousands of different items, from optical glass to electronics, had to be re-arranged. After this the volume of production increased year by year and the list of products grew to up to 700 different items, ranging from optical devices to microscopes to telescopes to weapon-equipment. For the sake of Gomzography, or better Lomography, the company also changed its final name to LOMO, Leningrad Optical Mechanical Amalgamation.

Having been successful as a new corporation, LOMO PLC was in good spirits and further developed its social and educational programme. Workers and employees of the company received appointment cards to study at technical schools or at an Institute of Higher Education. A multi-level training centre was created, LOMO PLC employees successfully completed Ph.D. theses and most of the young students of the LITMO institute, founded in the 1920s, started – and also often finished – their career at LOMO PLC. Social infrastructure continued to develop itself in the 1970s and 80s. As well as ensuring full social security for their workers, LOMO PLC also expanded institutions such as canteens, kindergartens, schools and pioneer camps for children. It even built apartment blocks for employees and created its own village. The Tarasovo settlement, about 100km outside St. Petersburg, produced agricultural products exclusively for the company and supplied cows, chickens and fruit and vegetables directly from its lush meadows to the canteen of the factory. Lunch was prepared here for up to 25.000 factory workers daily. At the same time, the Tarasovo settlement was a popular destination for vacations and from time to time, workers were even sent there compulsorily, as in Soviet times every large company was “responsible” for one village in the countryside. The factory’s workers were regularly sent to Tarasovo to harvest potatoes or to do other agricultural work, in order to get to know the nutritional basis of the communist society.

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written by ungrumpy

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Spanish & Deutsch.