of the Director of the Soviet GAZ auto factory from 1932-1938
following interview was conducted as a part of the documentary
program Yanks for Stalin concerning American aid in the
industrial development of the Soviet Union during the 20's and
This is a picture of my father, Sergei Sergeyevich Dyakonov, director
of Gorkovskiy Automotive Plant. He was the director from
1932 to 1938.
How did he end up at the automotive plant? What was the
The fact is that the plant had already been built, but difficulties
were encountered in beginning production. At that time,
Sergo Ordzhanokidze sent Sergei Sergeyevich Dyakonov to the Gorkovskiy
Automotive Plant. He worked on beginning production at the
plant, and the first cars were built there under his supervision.
There were 2 types, GAZ A, and GAZ AA.
Was that the first automated assembly line in Russia?
That's difficult to say. The plant was designed by Ford,
and Ford installed the latest American technological innovations
of the time, that is, those of the American automotive industry.
Not only were automated assembly lines installed there, but all
intermediate production stages were automated as well.
Did he meet Ford? If so, under what circumstances?
Yes. He was in the US twice, and he met Ford the second
time. Ford invited Dyakonov to his plant. He showed
Dyakonov the plant in Detroit, described how he got the Ford Motor
Company started, and became friends with my father. Photographs
were taken, and Ford autographed them "From the American
Ford to the Soviet Ford," meaning my father. He gave
my father a film about the Ford plant in Detroit, and also gave
him a film projector so that he could show it at home.
How did he get it home? It must have been a large piece
Well, it certainly was a large piece of equipment, but it wasn't
the only thing Ford sent. They were sending all sorts of
machinery on steamers, carefully packed in crates.
Did Dyakanov show this film in Russia?
Yes, of course. First of all, many people saw this film
at the Gorkovskiy plant. It was very interesting to see
how production was organized at Ford plants. That's where
the film was shot.
Did they have a friendly relationship?
According to my father, they had a very good relationship.
He was invited to Ford's home, where they talked a lot.
Ford was his host, treated him to a formal dinner, and after that
they met more than a few times to discuss issues that would arise.
Ford was always willing to meet with him.
And what happened to those photographs you mentioned?
Unfortunately, after my father's arrest our house was searched,
and all photographs that concerned foreigners in any way, or which
featured foreigners posing with my father, were confiscated by
Apparently they considered these photographs to be incriminating
evidence against him.
Have you examined the case against him?
And what sort of evidence was there? Was there anything,
any proof against him?
I examined my father's case in the KGB archives. There were
no photographs of any kind. There was nothing but the testimonies
of a few persons, records of proceedings against him, and KGB
internal orders and memos.