Magnitogorsk didn't even exist before the the five year palns, it was a city built form scratch in an uninhabited area of Russia that was rich in Iron ore. 1/4 million workers were transported to 'magnetic mountain' to creat Russia's largest steel factory.
John Scott wrote about his experiences there in his book, 'Behind the Urals' 1942. He was an American collage student who left America during the depression, joining the communist party working in Magnitogorsk. This is notes from his acoount:
On arrival, the city was under construction, it was a dirty, chaotic construction camp.
In April, it was still bitter cold and the ground was still frozen solid however by May, the ground had thawed and it was swimming in mud
There was little food and his first home was a long, one storey wodden barrack which he shared with 80 workers, in which worker had a iron bed frame and small brick stove. There was little privacy, but they were all proud because it was owned by them, not rented.
They had a shared library, and free evening classes were avaliable incluiding reading, Russian and maths. The standard of living was lower than America, many had never seen an electric light or a book yet others were capable of reading a newspaper.
Everyone had enough to eat but consumer goods in short supply, unskilled workers still liked in mud huts however Scott and other skilled workers were now living in small relativly modern apartments that had running water, central heating and electricity.
The town also had universites, street cars and movie theatres
Link to Five Year Plans
1st- Very poor, lack of food,
2nd- Some improvements, still lack of consumer goods, better housing and rewards for good workers
No time to build fire in the morning to cook food, sheepskin coats had to be worn as they often worked in weather as cold as 35° below zero. The equipment they had was either broen or missingwhich…