Far East Russia
(RIA Novosti, 21 February 2013) -- YAKUTSK, February 21 (RIA Novosti) - A new gold deposit has been discovered Russia’s Siberian republic of Yakutia, the region’s economics ministry said on Thursday. The Gora Rudnaya in the republic's Aldan District deposit may hold about 200 metric tons of gold, according to the statement. The deposit has already been registered with the Federal Agency for Subsoil Usage. It will be auctioned shortly after its value is determined. The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), a vast Siberian land of taiga and permafrost, is known for its vast gold and diamond reserves. From Voice of Russia: "Experts knew that it was worth looking at after they assessed the content of gold and ore parameters. The deposit will be put up for auction in three years. Yakutia’s gold output amounted to 21.2 tons last year. "
Posted 21 February 2013; 12:37:38 AM. Permalink
(Maxim Shemetov/Reuters, 18 February 2013) -- Oymyakon valley, Russia - One loses all bearings when faced with the shroud of white that obscures all things mid January in the Siberian city of Yakutsk. Only the traffic lights and gas pipelines overhanging the roads help you to find your way. Wrapped in frosty fog the city life seems frozen in a sleepy half-light. It is -48 C (-54 degrees Fahrenheit) outside. Before venturing out, I put on two layers of thermal underwear, trousers, two-sweaters, pants winterized up to my waist, and huge low-temperature boots. I pull close the hood of my down jacket and fasten it so that only my eyes are exposed. Lastly, I slip on two pairs of gloves and head for the entrance hall – the airlock. Now only the ice-bound door separates me from the cold. There is Space outside and I feel like an astronaut. However I do not have enough time to freeze today – the minibus is waiting for me at the corner and I pile in with my gear. Our routes lies along a Stalin-era road that is officially called “Kolyma Federal Highway”. Locals call it “the road on bones” after the thousands of Gulag prisoners who built it in the middle of the 20th century perished. ... After two days on the road, we finally arrive in the Oymyakon valley – the Pole of the Cold. This is the coldest known place in the Northern hemisphere. Thermometers registered a record chill of -67.7 degrees Celsius (-88 degrees Fahrenheit) in 1933 – shortly after weather monitoring began here in the end of the 1920s. [Follow the title link for Shemetov's pictures from the trip.]
Posted 18 February 2013; 1:40:34 PM. Permalink
(RIA Novosti, 11 February 2013) -- BLAGOVESHCHENSK, February 11 (RIA Novosti) – Police in Russia’s Far East Amur Region have seized some 600 kilograms (1,320 pounds) of mammoth tusks from residents of the neighboring Republic of Yakutia, the regional interior affairs department said on Monday. “Police found 71 tusks weighing about 600 kilograms at a warehouse [in Blagoveschensk],” the department said, adding three men were planning to sell the tusks to Chinese nationals. Police are currently investigating whether the fossils were obtained legally. The world market price of mammoth tusk is almost equal to the price of silver. One kilogram is worth 5,000 rubles ($166) at international auctions in Yakutsk, capital of Yakutia. Some 90 percent of the mammoth remains found so far have come from Yakutia. The region’s extreme weather conditions and permafrost allow scientists to find their remains largely intact.
Posted 11 February 2013; 3:49:39 PM. Permalink
(Regnum, 8 October 2012) -- As of 5 October, 3,546 educational institutions of a total of 5,440 are connected to district heating (65%). These figures were reported on 8 October by the press service of the Far Eastern envoy after a meeting chaired by the Minister for Development of the Far East - the presidential envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Viktor Ishayev. At a meeting called to discuss preparations for winter, it was announced that 1,308 health facilities of 2,452 were connected to district heating (53%). Health care facilities in the Sakhalin (22) and Khabarovsk (278) regions have yet to be connected. 67% of Far East homes are connected to district heating. The envoy called on the authorities to fully provide heat to institutions of education and health care. He also instructed officials to undertake appropriate checks across the districts to identify connection problems and to get them fixed. [this is an edited version of the original]
Posted 14 October 2012; 5:18:29 PM. Permalink
(BakuToday, 11 October 2012) -- Government scientists from the region of Khabarovsk have developed new asphalt mixtures designed specifically for the Kamchatka climate. Acting Minister of Road Construction in the region, Vladimir Kayumov told BakuToday that the new process could double the lifespan of the province's roads. According to Kayumov, the new asphalt mixture that is being introduced is prepared with "ash soil," which is very plastic. Current formulations do not withstand annual freeze-thaw cycle very long. The new formulation will be more resistant to heaving, which makes the road more durable. Indeed, said the minister, the new formulation could well add three to six years to the current six-year road life span. Some modification of the region's asphalt plants will be needed, said the Deputy of the City Council Sergey Mecetin. [this item is an edited version of the original]
Posted 14 October 2012; 4:44:13 PM. Permalink
(Voice of Russia, 28 March 2012) -- The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has endorsed projects for a permafrost seedbank in Yakutia and research into the impact of global climate change on Arctic nature in that part of Siberia. Developed by local specialists and presented at the UNESCO Paris headquarters earlier this week, the projects will be part of the UNESCO-sponsored global warming assessment monitoring. Here is what Chairman of Yakutia’s Innovative Policy Committee Dmitry Safonov told reporters: "The UNESCO is preparing a large-scale program it plans to launch in 2013. It will focus on climate change and related scientific aspects such as the degradation of permafrost, the productivity of biosystems and the environmental and even humanitarian components, in other words, the effects of climate change on society, on people inhabiting certain territories." The Arctic is a region where climate change has been the most dramatic, which can best be seen in Yakutia. Degrading permafrost causes a rapid decrease of landmass. A research station will be built on the island of Samoilovsky in the Lena delta, where complex studies in various fields will be carried out, said Dmitry Safonov: "These include natural processes, nature management in the Arctic and the dynamics of the coastal and deep-sea permafrost in the eastern Arctic. In the geological bloc, it’s seismotectonics and paleogeography of Arctic Siberia. And there will also be a humanitarian bloc studying of the cultural and historical heritage. The Arctic boasts many interesting sites telling of famous explorers and expeditions of the great Arctic exploration era." Unlike most of the existing world seedbanks, the future cryo-repository in Yakut permafrost won’t need refrigerators to maintain temperatures at the required level, nor will it need electricity to power the equipment. Even compared to the European Union cryo-repository built on Spitsbergen in natural conditions, it will have significant advantages, says Professor of the Novosibirsk Institute of Cytology and Genetics Nikolai Goncharov. "If temperatures rise 5 degrees, the ice on Spitsbergen will melt and the EU cryo-repository will have to use refrigerators. For this to happen in Yakutia, a 20 degree warming is needed. The thick layer of permafrost is an eternal and ecologically clean system resistant to cataclysms."
Posted 2 April 2012; 4:08:25 PM. Permalink
(AskYakutia.com, 21 March 2012) -- One of the most frequently asked question in regards to the Republic of Sakha-Yakutia, that occupies 1/3 of Russia and 1/2 of Siberia and the Far East, is, of course, “Where online to download region maps?” Always in my reply, I sent links that I could recall at once. Praise god, there is the list now. Recently, Artem Petukhov, a friend of mine, who runs his local Adventure Club blog in Russian, has compiled the list of maps available online for free download. If you are an active traveller – motorcyclist, 4wd driver, mountain trekker, hiker, whatever, you might wish to check out the following maps...
Posted 21 March 2012; 10:57:47 AM. Permalink
(eYakutia blog, 9 March 2012) -- The Yakut horse is a breed originated on the territory of the Republic of Sakha-Yakutia in North-East Siberia, Russia. See how awesome they are in the extreme cold winter in Yakutia, Russia’s biggest Siberian region. It is just a few episodes of Yegor Makarov’s new documentary. A teas[er] video was done with the help of talanted cameraman, Yuri Berezhnev. The film is not completed yet. They are working on it. Meanwhile, you might wish to check what I have already on my blog under the tag Yakut Horse. Feel free to share this video. Let’s spread a word about the Yakut horse.
Posted 18 March 2012; 2:31:17 AM. Permalink
(The Financial, 9 February 2012) -- The EBRD will provide up to 3 billion roubles (€75 million) to modernise and increase the energy efficiency of district heating systems in a permafrost area of Far East Russia where the heating season lasts 10 months a year and winter temperatures drop to -50 degrees centigrade for extended periods. According to The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the proceeds of the Bank’s 16-year loan will fund a capital investment programme in a number of northern settlements in the Republic of Sakha, also known as Yakutia. This vast territory in Eastern Siberia is almost as big as India but has a population of less than one million. The cost of heating services per square metre in Yakutia is the highest in Russia. Fuel and transport account for 75 per cent of such operational costs. There is, therefore, a large potential for savings, particularly if coal and gas can substitute expensive sea-borne fuel supplies. The loan will finance the replacement of both heat-generating facilities and heat-distribution systems in the ports of Tiksi and Cherskyi. ... The two ports targeted by this loan provide a lifeline for remote inland communities, storing supplies that are shipped by sea during the summer for onward transportation into the interior along frozen roads once winter sets in. Due to the permafrost, no roads exist for the rest of the year.
Posted 9 February 2012; 3:49:20 PM. Permalink
(Vladivostok Air press release, 4 January 2012) -- Vladivostok Air is proud to announce the resumption of seasonal service between Anchorage, Alaska, and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia, this coming summer. This weekly service will run from July 12 to September 13, 2012, with departures on Thursdays. Flights arrive in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the morning, allowing for fishermen to get to their rivers the day of arrival and for transit travelers to make connections to other Russian cities. See full details on our Kamchatka page. Commencing late February, 2012, tickets for these flights will go on sale via all major ticketing reservations systems, and may be booked through any quality travel agent. Vladivostok Air is also working with travel partner Kamchatintour in Russia and US travel agents to create exciting travel packages to Kamchatka. Business travel services will also be offered. FAM trips for North American trip operators are also being coordinated. Details will be available soon.
Posted 26 January 2012; 6:27:09 PM. Permalink
(redOrbit, 18 December 2011) --More than a hundred Beluga whales are trapped in frigid water surrounded by ice floes in the Chukotka region of Russia’s Far East, and risk death unless they are rescued soon, local authorities said. The flock of gentle whales was trapped in the Sinyavinsky Strait off the Bering Sea near the village of Yanrakynnot, a statement from the Chukotka Autonomous Region said, with local governor Roman Kopin calling for the government to send an icebreaker to the region to try and free them from their soon-to-be icy graveyard. Local fishermen reported that the whales were concentrated in two relatively small ice holes, where they can at least breathe freely for the time being. But the odds of them being able to swim back out to open water are slim due to the vast fields of ice over the strait. The statement said the whales risk becoming starved if they cannot be rescued soon. And with the advancement of the ice floes, the space where they are concentrated is growing smaller and smaller. “Given the lack of food and the speed at which the water is freezing, all the animals are threatened with exhaustion and death,” it added. A Russian icebreaker was just two days sail away from the area, the Chukotka government noted. It could easily make the trip in time to save the whales, it added. ... Besides having little or no food, and the rapid advancement of ice, the Belugas are at risk of attack from hungry polar bears or killer whales in the region as well. Trapped Belugas are a frequent problem in Arctic waters but are not often detected by people. The last relatively successful case of a Beluga rescue came in 1986, when an icebreaker was deployed to help free them.
Posted 19 December 2011; 11:55:42 AM. Permalink
(Trude Pettersen/BarentsObserver, 19 December 2011) -- Russian media is now asking why the whole crew stayed onboard during the towing of the oil jack-up rig ”Kolskaya” that overturned and sank in the Sea of Okhotsk yesterday. With the break of day, search for survivors and dead after the accident outside the island of Sakhalin continued. 14 dead have so far been found, the Federal Agency for Sea and River Transport's web site reads. The rig sank in course of only 20 minutes, Murmansk Oblast Governor Dmitry Dmitriyenko told RIA Novosti. 32 of the 67 people aboard came from the Murmansk region. 14 persons were found alive after the accident and picked up by boats taking part in the rescue operation. All the 14 survivors were on duty on deck during the towing and were wearing survival suits and life-jackets. ... Russian media is now asking why the whole crew stayed onboard during the towing, and why towing was conducted at all in such bad weather. A source in the Federal Agency for Sea and River Transport says to Kommersant that half of the people onboard had nothing to do with the towing operation – they were drilling operators, crane operators and others. – The number of casualties did not have to be that high, the source says. According to Russian instructions for safety at sea, only a required minimum of personnel should be onboard a vessel that is being towed. The Russian Agency for Transport Supervision has started investigation of the accident. The weather in the area is bad, with wind of 10 m/s, waves of 2 meters and temperature of -2°C. The water temperature is 1°C.
Posted 19 December 2011; 10:36:35 AM. Permalink
(RIA Novosti, 15 February 2011) -- An indigenous group inhabiting Russia's northern region of Yakutia has called for the rerouting of a planned Siberian gas pipeline. The planned pipeline, which will link Yakutia's Chayandinskoye oil and gas deposit with the Far Eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk, is to be constructed near an indigenous Evenk settlement. "We are not against progress or economic development, but we feel like we are the ones who will suffer from this," the group said in a petition, signed by 213 people. "Our reindeer pastures and hunting sites are being seized, rivers are being poisoned and fish are disappearing." The Evenks have sent letters to the regional and national governments calling for the rerouting of the pipeline. They say their habitat is already under threat from the construction of the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline and the development of gold and iron ore deposits in the republic. Russian energy giant Gazprom, which is constructing the pipeline, has said an alternative pipeline would be much longer and would cost around 49 billion rubles ($1.67 billion) more in construction expenditures "The sparsely populated Evenks, who have inhabited these territories for centuries, will be most affected by this decision," Yakut deputy parliamentary speaker Andrei Krivoshapkin told RIA Novosti. The Chayandinskoye oil and gas deposit to be developed by Gazprom is one of the largest in Russia, with gas reserves estimated at 1.24 trillion cubic meters and oil and gas condensate reserves of 68.4 billion tons.
Posted 17 February 2011; 8:48:55 PM. Permalink
(Nicholas Kohler/Macleans, 16 February 2011) -- In the spring of 2006, wildlife biologists with the Canadian government loaded 30 wood bison calves, 15 males and 15 females, into three modified horse trailers and drove them from Elk Island National Park, in Alberta, to Edmonton International Airport an hour away. There they watched as a crane extended from the bowels of an Ilyushin Il-76, the Russian counterpart to the Lockheed Hercules, and collected the trailers one by one from the tarmac. During the 15-hour flight that followed, the Il-76 was kept a cool 10° C; wood bison grow uncomfortable in heat. When they reached Yakutsk, capital of the Republic of Sakha—located in northeast Siberia and also called Yakutia—then-president Vyacheslav Shtyrov greeted the wood bison with a retinue of ministers. Alongside him, a crowd of some 200 Yakutians, many in traditional garb, performed dances and serenaded the herd with toyuk—a blessing song. To the visiting Canadians they offered raw horse liver and wood goblets filled with kumis, an alcoholic beverage made from fermented mare’s milk. Sakha newspapers later delighted in running photographs of one Canadian, mid-sip, visibly distressed by the taste of the milk. Despite the pomp, few in Sakha had ever seen bison, which haven’t lived in Siberia since the steppe bison, an animal twice the wood bison’s size, died out 10,000 years ago. If the Yakutians celebrated the herd’s arrival, Parks Canada employees simply fretted over the transfer. Wood bison, at upwards of 900 kg, are the largest land mammal in North America, and are classified as a threatened species. Yet, five years on, their foray into Siberia has proven a success: the animals, who live on a wildlife preserve, began reproducing a year after their arrival, earlier than expected, and have grown larger than their Alberta cousins thanks, it’s thought, to the Sakha cold.
Posted 17 February 2011; 8:32:49 PM. Permalink
[Found lodged in the crevices of my web site] (Mareike Aden/Living Planet, 12 March 2010) -- In the Bikin River Valley, in the region close to Russia's border with China, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature and the indigenous locals have found an unusual conservation solution.
(Sara Wheeler, The Independent, 16 January 2011) -- The Russian Arctic is savage. I travelled across it to research my book on the Arctic Circle. My nostrils froze, one of my teeth exploded, and my exhaled breath fell in a tinkle of crystals. The region is so isolated that reindeer-herding residents refer to the rest of Russia as "the mainland". But the landscape is the most powerful I have ever seen: dazzling, pristine, a kind of biological haiku. I love the pared-down existence of polar lands and the grace of their peoples under pressure. Chukotka is an Arctic region the size of Turkey in the Russian Far East (it's the bit Sarah Palin can see from Alaska). This magical slab of ice and tundra has no roads at all outside the capital, Anadyr. It took me two years to weasel my way in, but when I got there, I ran into President Medvedev. That morning he had stepped out of his helicopter to pat a reindeer and listen to some Chukchi folk songs in a local school. He was the first Russian head of state to bother; no tsar had ever come within a thousand miles. Five days previously, in a speech on Arctic policy to the Security Council in Moscow, Medvedev had flagged the reason for his visit. "This region," he said, "accounts for around 20 per cent of Russia's gross domestic product and 22 per cent of our national exports." He was talking about oil and gas. And now he wants more. The emergence of the Arctic as an energy frontier has shunted the entire zone into public consciousness, and hydrocarbon extraction is certainly set to remain an economic driver across the polar lands, not just in Russia. I'm not going to stop burning up my own share, so it would be hypocritical of me to call for a drilling ban. But I hope we don't foul up one of our last true wildernesses. ... And why is so much of the Russian Arctic closed to foreigners? Who is hiding what? On the Domodedovo plane back from Anadyr to Moscow, I sat next to a geochemist who had been working on a research vessel scouting the Barents Sea for potential drilling sites. When I asked if safety procedures were policed, he rolled his eyes and ordered another drink.
Posted 16 January 2011; 2:05:20 AM. Permalink
(Times of India, 8 January 2011) -- VLADIVOSTOK - Air temperatures of minus 61.2 degrees Celsius were reported last night in the settlement of Oimyakon in Russia's republic of Yakutia, known as the cold pole. Daytime temperatures here rose to minus 53.9 degree Celsius. An intense spell of cold weather will stay in Oimyakon with a population of 500 for several days more, according to weather forecasts. Heavy frosts were reported in neighbouring settlements as well. Air temperatures in the settlement of Ust-Nera, the Oimyakov district administrative centre, were minus 54.7 degrees Celsius. Ust-Nera's population is 8,500 people. The city of Yakutsk is "lucky" to have much "warmer" air temperatures of 35.7 degrees below zero. The record low air temperatures of minus 67.7 degrees Celsius were registered in Oimyakon in 1933. In the 21st century, the lowest temperature was 64.5 degrees below zero. It was registered in 2002.
Posted 14 January 2011; 3:03:35 AM. Permalink
(RIA Novosti, 2 January 2011) -- PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY - Thin layer of ash from the active Kizimen volcano has on Sunday covered the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky where 60 percent of the Kamchatka Peninsula residents live, a representative for the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said. "A taint of grey ash typical of Kizimen can be seen on the snow, on the cars and on all of the surfaces in the city," the spokesman said. He said the layer is tiny, about 0.5 millimeters, and added that the current situation does not pose a threat to the health of the local residents. However, the ash could affect the operations of aircraft. The Kizimen volcano is located 265 kilometers away from Petropavlovsk Kamchatsky. Kizimen's last eruption occurred in the end of 1920-s, but it the volcano started to exhibit activity the last June and a new eruption began a month ago.
Posted 2 January 2011; 12:13:54 PM. Permalink
(RIA Novosti, 1 January 2011) -- A special operation to rescue three fishing vessels frozen in ice in the northern Sea of Okhotsk will begin on January 2 when Russia's ice-breaker Magadan will reach the scene of the incident, Russia's Transport Minister Igor Levitin said on Saturday. "There are 555 people there...three big vessels. They've got into drifting ice. Two ice-breakers have set off to help them. The first one, Magadan, will approach the site by 2.00 a.m. on January 2. The second is Makarov ice-breaker, it will arrive in two days," Levitin told Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Connection with all of the troubled vessels has been established, the transport minister said. He emphasized that the life of the fishermen is out of danger.
Posted 2 January 2011; 11:03:52 AM. Permalink
(AFP, 17 December 2010) -- MOSCOW - Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich intends to hang on to his seat in the local parliament of Russia's remote Arctic region of Chukotka, Interfax reported Friday. Abramovich, who was ranked as Russia's fourth-richest man with a fortune of 11.2 billion dollars by Forbes magazine, has represented the Bering Strait district in various capacities for the past decade, always winning overwhelming support. "He submitted the documents himself," Interfax quoted the local election commission chairman as saying. Abramovich represented the region in Russia's State Duma lower house of parliament from 2001 to 2008 and now serves as chairman of the local chamber, which will have another election in March. Abramovich, 44, made his fortune in the turbulent early years of post-Soviet Russia by trading oil, eventually acquiring the Sibneft oil company and expanding into other businesses. He is currently the main owner of the Millhouse LLC investment company.
Posted 18 December 2010; 9:24:40 AM. Permalink
(Andrei Ozharovsky/Bellona, 9 November 2010) -- MOSCOW – A scram of Reactor 2 at Bilibino Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Russia’s Far Northeast late last October took the unit out of operation for 36 hours — bringing into doubt the ongoing attempts to modernise the obsolete and worn-out equipment at this first-generation NPP, which was commissioned as far back as the 1970s. According to reports by the public information service of the Russian NPP operator, concern Rosenergoatom, and the press service of Bilibino’s production and engineering department, the scram occurred on October 27, 2010 at 07:12 p.m. local time. The reactor was taken back online on October 29 at 05:32 a.m. local time. The scram was ascribed to a “false signal generated by the protection equipment.” The reactor was thus offline for 34 hours, providing no power or heat to the Chaun-Bilibino energy system. One circumstance that causes additional concerns regarding the latest shutdown at Bilibino is that it occurred only two weeks after three-day unscheduled repairs – October 11 through 14 – ended at the reactor. There have been no reports as to why the repairs were needed in the first place. It can be speculated that the repairs had to do with modernising the very protection and safety systems which generated a false alarm signal and brought the reactor down on October 27. Reactor Unit 2 at Bilibino NPP was commissioned in 1974. According to design projections, it was supposed to have run out its 30-year operational lifetime in 2004, and decommissioned after that. However – as has been common enough practice at Russian nuclear power plants, such as Kola NPP in Murmansk Region in Russia’s Far North – the reactor’s license was extended, allowing it to operate for another 15 years, or until 2019. ... Bilibino NPP was built beyond the polar circle, in an area covered by permafrost, in Chukotka Autonomous District. There are risks to its safety and integrity beyond the common equipment failures plaguing Russian nuclear power plants – namely, global warming. As permafrost melts, even partial thawing can cause thermokarst to appear – very irregular surfaces of marshy hollows and small hummocks formed as a result of thawing ice-rich permafrost. The melting permafrost phenomenon already presents a grave danger for Russian towns and cities in the far north, where buildings and infrastructure – including oil production and transport facilities – are predicted come under threat as the ground beneath becomes unstable. Should such risks loom close over Bilibino, the reactors will have to be shut down anyway: No listing is permissible for a structure as sensitive and potentially hazardous as a nuclear power plant.
Posted 11 November 2010; 10:54:02 PM. Permalink
(Eilís Quinn/Radio Canada International via Eye on the Arctic: Views from Up North, 27 October 2010) -- IQALUIT, Nunavut; NUUK, Greenland – When Edna MacLean, a renowned Inuk linguist, took the podium at a language conference in Iqaluit this year, over 200 Inuit from Canada, the United States and Greenland were listening in the audience. Some of the Arctic's most highly-skilled translators were on hand. But despite their collective fluency in at least three Inuit-language dialects: Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun and Greenlandic, and a working knowledge of several others, it still wasn't enough. MacLean began her talk in Inupiaq, an Inuit dialect spoken in northern Alaska. But the interpreter translating the speech into English soon stumbled on a word. A nearby translator whispered a suggestion: "Grandparents." The original interpreter spoke back into the microphone: "And also my grandparents,..." But the translation soon trailed away again. The next time the interpreter's voice came through the audience's ear pieces, it wasn't with a translation, but with an apology. "Sorry," the interpreter said. "We're not understanding her language." Approximately 150,000 Inuit live across the circumpolar North in Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Russia. They share the same traditions, oral history and what is essentially the same language. But the dozens of different writing systems and dialects are often mutually unintelligible – not only between Inuit in different countries, but also between Inuit who live in neighbouring communities within the same region. 'Aliasuk' may mean 'happy' in Nunavik, Quebec, but 800km away in Igloolik, Nunavut, aliasuk means you're downright scared. Even Inuit linguists disagree on how many dialects there actually are and how to define them. In Canada, alone, there's Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun, Natsilingmiutut, Inuttut, Inuttitut ... The list goes on and on. That means Inuit from different regions often must use English to speak with each other. Inuit language experts want to change that. They're proposing a standard Inuit language and writing system that could be used and understood all across the Arctic. They say standardization would increase the language's use in day-to-day life, help protect traditional culture from the ravages of climate change and give Inuit increased cultural and political clout on the world stage. Jose Kusugak, a former educator and prominent Inuit leader from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, calls the need for different dialect interpreters at international Inuit meetings 'absurd.' He's given numerous speeches around the world asking that a common dialect and writing system be decreed within a year. His position is controversial to some but he says he has no regrets. "I used to shy away from making those kind of remarks," Kusugak says. "But I'm old enough now to develop a thick skin and say 'Pick a damn dialect!'"
Posted 28 October 2010; 3:19:01 PM. Permalink
(BarentsObserver, 6 October 2010) -- The port of Petropavlovsk at Kamchatka will be developed as an eastern hub for the Northern Sea Route, regional authorities say. Regional authorities have requested the Northeastern Shipping Company to engage in the plans, Seanews.ru reports. According to plans, the port is to become a major international port and the main hub on the eastern end of the Northern Sea Route. The Northeastern Shipping Company, which is part of the Transit DV company, intends to be agent for all the ships operating the route, Oilru.com reports.
Posted 6 October 2010; 3:29:48 PM. Permalink
(Hanneke Brooymans/edmontonjournal.com, 5 August 2010) --EDMONTON - Elk Island National Park will send a second shipment of bison to Russia this year as part of a conservation project. Thirty wood bison will be sent in December to the Republic of Sakha, also known as Yakutia, where biologists are attempting to re-establish a population. The republic's rugged and largely forested landscape already holds moose, caribou and elk. But the steppe bison that used to roam that area died out about 5,000 to 6,000 years ago. Canada's wood bison are the closest living relatives of the steppe bison, and the Russians asked the Wood Bison Recovery Team at Elk Island in 1997 for their help. Elk Island staff were keen to participate, partly because a geographically separate population acts as a safeguard to protect the species as a whole. They agreed to donate 15 males and 15 females, but the Russians had to pay for transportation. A Sakha diamond company called Alrosa stepped forward with the necessary cash in 2006. Elk Island will also donate this year's batch of 15 males and 15 females, said Archie Handel, a resource conservation and public safety specialist with the park. The first herd seems to have done fairly well. All but three of the original 30 are alive. Last year, the cows gave birth to 10 calves, Handel said. There is no word on how many calves were born this year or in previous years.
Posted 21 August 2010; 8:41:12 PM. Permalink
(RIA Novosti, 1 August 2010) -- Khabarovsk - Seven people were killed and another eight injured after two minivans collided on a highway in the Magadan Region in the Russian Far East, the regional emergencies center said on Sunday. The road accident occurred on the 297th km (185th mile) of the Kolyma highway on Sunday afternoon. The persons injured in the accident have been hospitalized, the emergencies center said. Police are investigating the causes of the accident, the emergencies center said. According to statistics, 30,000 people lose their lives in traffic accidents every year in Russia due to the poor state of highway networks and reckless driving.
Posted 1 August 2010; 10:32:30 AM. Permalink
(Jamie Hanlon/University of Alberta ExpressNews, 23 July 2010) -- (Edmonton) Abandoned houses strewn across a once-populated northern region, the victim of shifting political and economic conditions, left by many of the North’s former inhabitants who have migrated to more prosperous regions. While the narrative would seem to fit parts of northern Canada, the scene is also descriptive of Magadan, a city in northeast Russia. Magadan is the focus of a project being conducted by Elena Khlinovskaya-Rockhill of the University of Alberta’s Canadian Circumpolar Institute. ... Khlinovskaya-Rockhill also worked in collaboration with two Magadan photographers, Pavel Zhdanov and Andrei Osipov, along with Lawrence Khlinovski-Rockhill, a visiting scholar at CCI, to capture photos of the devastation, but also the resilience and determination of the region’s remaining inhabitants. Images from this collaboration are now on at the Rutherford Library until July 31. This exhibit is part of the Canadian Circumpolar Institute’s 50th anniversary celebration. In October 2010, the display will be moved to Cameron Library. A thriving town during the Soviet era, Magadan’s population once grew due to state-funded migration and settlement allowances, said Khlinovskaya-Rockhill. The Soviet Union used a variety of monetary and non-monetary incentives to attract people to the region, she notes. ... However, she explained, in post-Soviet times, state funding cuts resulted in an unprecedented outmigration towards western Russia. ... Yet, an interesting phenomenon that is part of Khlinovskaya-Rockhill’s research, and is evident in the photo exhibit itself, is the spirit and resilience of the people of Magadan, indigenous and non-native, who have remained. Many prosper, despite the lack of any substantial state support or economic stimulation. The transplanted citizens have developed a level of attachment to the area, and their desire to remain is no longer influenced by state-induced incentives, monetary or ideological. “This is not where they were born, it’s not where they thought they would retire. But for a whole set of reasons, they still remain,” she said. “Some of them consider that place to be their home.”
Posted 27 July 2010; 3:34:36 PM. Permalink
(RIA Novosti, 7 June 2010) -- PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY - Eurasia's highest volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's Far East has shown again signs of intensified activity throwing clouds of smoke and ash into the air to a height of 2.5 kilometers. The Klyuchevskoy, which lies 220 miles north of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, is one of the largest active volcanoes in the world and reaches an altitude of 15,584 feet. It erupts about every 2-3 years. Local seismologists said on Monday there was no immediate threat to the residents or tourists in the area, but issued an ash emission warning for air traffic in the vicinity of the volcano. The Klyuchevskoy started a new active cycle with an eruption in August 2009. There are more than 150 volcanoes on Kamchatka, 29 of them active. Another volcano in the area, the Bezymyanny, erupted on May 31, sending clouds of ash to the height of 10 kilometers for about 20 minutes.
Posted 7 June 2010; 1:05:16 AM. Permalink
(Russia Info, 19 May 2010) -- The air carrier of Yakutia has opened a new direct regular flight Moscow Ц Anadyr Ц Moscow. This route provides new traveling possibilities for the residents of Chukchi Autonomous Area (Chukotka) and for the tourists who choose eco-tours on dog sleds and thrill seekers who wants to research this northern exotic land as well. The flight is carried out from this Wednesday, May19 from the Moscow international airport of Vnukovo, which provides different possibilities for transit flights. The service takes place on the modern aircraft of Boeing 757-200 on Wednesdays (Moscow - Anadyr) and on Thusdays (Anadyr - Moscow). The trip time amounts to 8 hours.
Posted 21 May 2010; 1:48:39 PM. Permalink
(eYakutia, 18 April 2010) -- Take a look at 38 exclusive photographs of how Polar Airlines was rescuing the French Arctic explorer Jean-Louis Etienne in the Arctic tundra of Yakutia’s Siberia after his 5-days North Pole balloon crossing on April 11th, 2010.
Posted 18 April 2010; 6:21:23 PM. Permalink
(RIA Novosti, 19 March 2010) -- VLADIVOSTOK - Earthquakes hit Kolyma and Sakhalin on Friday. An earthquake measuring 4.8 points was registered in Kolyma at 15.53 local time (07.53 Moscow time) at a depth of 26 kilometers, the Geophysical Service of the Russian Academy of Sciences reported. The epicenter was situated in the area of the peninsula of Taigonos. The epicenter of the earthquake was situated 575 kilometers from Magadan. According to data of the local seismic station, the underground tremor lasted two seconds. The epicenter of the Sakhalin earthquake measuring 4.9 points was situated in the Nogliksky region in the island’s north. The underground tremor was registered at 14:07 Sakhalin time (07:07 Moscow time) at a depth of 15 kilometers. The Far Eastern regional center of the Ministry for Emergencies reported that none of the earthquakes caused destructions, there are no victims.
Posted 20 March 2010; 1:04:05 PM. Permalink
(Mareike Aden/Living Planet, 12 March 2010) -- [This story is not exactly northern, but it's interesting.] In the Bikin River Valley, in the region close to Russia's border with China, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature and the indigenous locals [Udege and Nanai] have found an unusual conservation solution.
(Alaska Newsreader/Anchorage Daily News, 1 March 2010) -- Some Russian scientists and indigenous peoples gave a knowing nod when
they heard of last fall's unusual haulout
of walrus on the shore of Northwest Alaska. The phenomenon
has been noted in the Russian Far East for the past decade, except the
haulouts are much larger. The
Arctic Sounder reports on a recent visit to Point Hope by
scientist Anatoly Kochnev and three members of a Russian village "polar
bear patrol." Kochnev said that as haulouts get bigger, walrus deaths have also increased because of walrus stampedes. In 2007 scientists counted more than 3,000 walrus corpses along the Chukchi coast on the Russian side and estimate the total walrus deaths to be close to 10,000. Almost all the fatalities were young animals, crushed in stampedes. Before 2000, Kochnev said, scientists never saw groups of dead walruses like that. A more immediate worry for the Russian villagers: The walrus haulouts are attracting polar bears, which themselves are being driven onto land because of melting polar ice. Kochnev said that groups of up to 300 polar bear will hang out around the walrus herds. When those haulouts are close to human habitation, the consequences can be tragic. ... A young girl was killed by a polar bear in Ryrkaypyi in 2006, following two deaths from polar bear attacks in the same town in 2003. The villagers have established polar bear patrols and are taking steps to protect walrus during haulouts and prevent stampedes, according to The Sounder.
Posted 8 March 2010; 2:08:21 PM. Permalink
(RedOrbit, 24 February 2010) -- The United Nations reported on Wednesday that several countries, including Russia, Iran and China, are working together to bring back the Siberian Crane form the brink of extinction. The pure white, 55-inch tall crane is considered to be critically endangered with a population of less than 3,500 individuals left. But, with the help of the international community, “the future of the Siberian crane is looking brighter,” said Claire Mirande, director of the Siberian Crane Wetland Project. The large crane is migratory and flies 3,100 miles every year from its breeding habitat in northern Siberia to Iran and southern China. Many wetland regions along its migration route are being drained for farming. The project to save the bird is being supported by the Global Environment Facility and being implemented by the International Crane Foundation through the UN Environment Program. This is the first project of its kind to take on a ‘flyway’ approach to secure the future of the species. Flyways are flight paths that birds use for the annual migration from breeding grounds to wintering areas. Many times these flyways span oceans and continents.
Posted 24 February 2010; 4:18:01 PM. Permalink
(Itar-Tass, 14 February 2010) -- KHABAROVSK - Four people died in the fire that broke out at four-storey apartment block in Yakutia’s settlement of Chersky on Sunday, the main EMERCOM department in Yakutia told Itar-Tass on Sunday. Some 38 people were evacuated from the building by the firefighters, who arrived at the fire site ten minutes after the fire alarm call. The firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to neighboring buildings and saved the house. However, they failed to save four residents, who were found dead after the fire. The fire victims are being identified. A group of investigators is working at the fire site.
Posted 14 February 2010; 10:22:18 AM. Permalink
(RIA Novosti, 31 January 2010) -- Over 200 children, most of them younger than three years, have been hospitalized with acute intestinal infection in the Magadan Region in the Russian Far East, Rossiya TV channel reported on Sunday. Doctors believe the children were poisoned after eating imported fruits - bananas, apples and citruses - largely supplied from China, the TV channel reported. Local health authorities are taking measures to contain the spread of the virus, the TV channel said. Doctors say the virus has affected whole families in the area, with children hit hardest, the TV channel said. The infection is likely to subside in spring when navigation will allow domestic food supplies into the subarctic region, the TV channel reported.
Posted 31 January 2010; 12:26:25 PM. Permalink
(RIA Novosti, 22 January 2010) -- YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK - A ship with 30 crew on board sent a distress signal on Friday, warning that it could sink after becoming stuck in ice in the Sea of Okhotsk, off Russia's Pacific coast, local emergencies officials said. "The information that the refrigerator ship had become iced-in was received by the emergencies department of the Sakhalin Region at 07:40 Moscow time," the official said. All crew members on board the vessel are Russians, he said, adding that bad weather conditions could hamper any rescue operation. He said that emergency and maritime rescue officials were "exploring the possibility of involving ships located in the area ... to conduct a rescue operation." A local rescue center official said the trapped vessel had lost power and was unable to move.
Posted 22 January 2010; 10:27:20 PM. Permalink
(Regnum.ru with aid from Google Translate, 20 January 2010) -- Southern Kamchatka is under a weather advisory for the period 21-23 January. Meteorologists are expecting snow and blizzards with visibility reduced to 500m and winds gusting to 60 km/h. The press service of the Far Eastern Regional Center of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia warns of increased risk of avalanches in the mountains during the same period. Local officials are preparing to respond to disruptions of some essential services, and the possibility of damage to heating and electrical infrastructure. In addition, billboards, awnings, electricity and power wires could be damaged by strong gusts of wind. Ships in coastal areas, too, are being cautioned.
Posted 20 January 2010; 11:42:29 AM. Permalink
(Denis Adam/NV Press, No. 51, 25 December 2009) -- Having undergone many adventures, the carcass of the ancient Kolyma wooly rhino has finally arrived in Yakutsk. It coincides with the opening of the exhibition with the intriguing title "He came back ...," which is devoted to fifty years of scientific activity of the eminent Yakutsk paleontologist, director of the Museum of the Mammoth Peter Lazarev. The carcass of the woolly rhinoceros was found in June 2007 near the Malaya Filippova River, about 8 kilometers from the town of Chersky. It was found by a miner working for the "Kolyma" mine, Alexander Stryuk. Then the mystery: the carcass disappeared, allegedly stolen by foreigners. On March 8 it was discovered by the motorway near the village of Green Cape. On March 11 the prehistoric remains were transported to Yakutsk. The rhino remains are 193 cm long and weigh up to 900 kg. Based on these data, experts have calculated that it was a female middle-aged, up to 350 cm in length and a half tons of weight. In Russia, the woolly rhinoceros was and is systematically, but often poorly preserved. Due to permafrost, the Kolyma rhino survived very well; this is one of the greatest finds in recent times. It is of great scientific value because it preserved soft tissues, muscles, cellular structure, and DNA. "This is really a very rare museum exhibit and with a scientific age of about forty thousand years, bearing in a lot of information about a bygone era", said paleontologist Gennady Boeskorov. According to Boeskorov, there is even interest in the stomach contents: "She ate before she died, respectively, hence we know the composition of the vegetation that time. The high degree of preservation may clarify how this animal could live in cold climates. And with preserved DNA it might be possible even to restore the genome of the animal and create a genetic copy of her. Next year a special working group, which includes the leading paleontologists of Yakutia, will take part in the World of the Mammoth conference in France, at which it will report on the results of studies of the Kolyma rhinoceros.
Posted 29 December 2009; 11:15:44 AM. Permalink
(Jewellery News, 21 December 2009) -- The Aikhal underground diamond mine, located in the Russian republic of Sakha (Yakutia) has been commissioned in the presence of Vyacheslav Shtyrov, president of Yakutia, Fyodor Andreyev, President of Russian diamond miner Alrosa, as well as employees of the diamond giant. The new mine forms part of the Aikhal Integrated Mining and Processing Complex (Aikhal GOK), which was established in 1986 originally with the purpose to operate the Sytykan open-pit mine and with a plan to increase the ore production in the future by commissioning the Jubilee open-pit mine. Until now, the Aikhal GOK has operated three open-pit mines: Sytykan, Aikhal and Jubilee, No. 8 Ore Treatment Plant, transportation department and auxiliary facilities to support the mining operations, as well as a number of social facilities. The new Aikhal underground mine has a life expectancy of 25 years, an is expected to produce 500,000 tons of diamond ore annually. The total investment since the beginning of development of the deposit by underground mining has been nearly 9 billion Russian rubles. The number of employees at the mine now stands at 380 people, which will increase to 600. The Aikhal diamond deposit was discovered on January 22, 1960. The Aikhal pipe is located in the northwestern part of Yakutia, about 450km to the north of the city of Mirny, within a permafrost zone. The deposit is located within the left-hand valley slope of the Sokhsolookh-Markhinsky Creek and is an explosion-type pipe extending in the northeastern direction.The Aikhal open-pit mine is located at a steep left-hand slope of the Sakhsolookh River and constitutes a typical mountain-slope pit. For more information on Alrosa visit: http://www.diamondne.ws/directory/alrosa-co-ltd/
Posted 21 December 2009; 2:04:17 AM. Permalink
(Regnum.ru, 24 November 2009) -- In 2006, Korf, a village [established in the mid-1920s to house salmon fishers] in the Olyutorsky district on the coast of [60°22'17.83"N, 166° 0'54.38"E] suffered a severe earthquake. In December 2008, it was floods. In 2006, in response to the damage caused by the earthquake, the Governor of Kamchatka Territory, Alexei Kuzmitsky, authorized the relocation of Korf inhabitants to safer places. Rising sea levels threatened the spit of land on which the town was built and its location in a seismic zone meant that human habitation was deemed unsuitable by specialists of the Geophysical Institute. Each resident was told how the evacuation would proceed, when containers would be loaded with their personal effects. However, of the 22 families first chosen to leave Korf, only seven left. The remainder continue to live in condemned buildings without access to social services, which have been suspended because the community was to be abandoned. Since some 170 families have not yet been issued certificates for housing elsewhere, the government has shipped enough coal to keep the district heating plant working through the winter and have repaired the power line serving the community. (Loosely paraphrased from the GoogleTranslated version of the original Russian.)
Posted 30 November 2009; 5:03:51 PM. Permalink
(RIA Novosti, 15 November 2009) -- PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY - A lava flow has started to come down the slope of Eurasia's highest volcano, the Klyuchevskoy, on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's Far East, a local volcanologist said on Sunday. The Klyuchevskoy, which lies 220 miles north of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, is one of the largest active volcanoes in the world and reaches an altitude of 15,584 feet. It erupts about every 2 years. "A small flow of lava has started trickling down the south-eastern slope of the Klyuchevskoy after magma has filled its crater to the brink," said a researcher at the Far Eastern Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. He also said the volcano continued to throw red-hot rocks to a height of 200 meters (over 650 feet). The current eruption started in August after several months of relevant inactivity. Unlike many others, it started slow, but its intensity is rapidly growing. Seismological stations near the Klyuchevskoy register hundreds of small tremors in the area every day. The volcano is dangerous only to tourists at this point, although lava flows and high-altitude ash emissions could soon threaten air traffic in the region. The Klyuchevskoy started a new active cycle with an eruption on February 15, 2007. Volcanic ash from that eruption stretched over 500 km above the Bering Sea at the height of 8.2-8.7 km. There are more than 150 volcanoes on Kamchatka, 29 of them active.
Posted 15 November 2009; 2:23:41 AM. Permalink
(Bellona, 4 November 2009) -- ST. PETERSBURG - When, in June 2001, a block of flats crumbled in the village of Chersky, in the upper Kolyma River area in Russia’s Far Northeast, it was no terrorist act, nor an explosion of a gas tank that had prompted the accident. In a much more prosaic turn of events, the leaking rusty plumbing and central heating pipes had eaten away at the foundation, which finally gave way. Yet, as a closer inspection later revealed, the main cause was the thawing of the permafrost: The building collapsed because of the global warming.
Posted 6 November 2009; 4:04:01 PM. Permalink
(RIA Novosti, 2 November 2009) --PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY - The number of people confirmed as having the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu, in Russia's Far East Kamchatka Territory has grown to 54, local health ministry spokesman said."Thirty seven children and 17 adults have been confirmed as having swine flu in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Elizovsky district," the spokesman said, adding 32 people had light infections and 22 were in a moderately grave condition. Thirty-five people were hospitalized, he said."We have enough medicine and places in hospitals," the spokesman added. The first case of swine flu infection was registered in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on October 21, three days after an infected 11-year-old boy was hospitalized. Five deaths from the H1N1 virus have been so far registered in Russia. Three fatalities were reported in the east Siberian city of Chita, one in Moscow, and another one in the Siberian Krasnoyarsk region. The total number of officially confirmed swine flu cases in the country has reached almost 1,900. Russia's chief sanitary official, Gennady Onishchenko, earlier said the swine flu cases began growing considerably in October, traditionally the time for a seasonal flu outbreak. The country plans to start a swine flu vaccination program in December. According to the World Health Organization, more than 5,700 people have died from swine flu worldwide, and the total number of officially confirmed cases has exceeded 440,000, as of October 25.
Posted 1 November 2009; 9:24:25 PM. Permalink
(Bridget Kendall/From Our Own Correspondent, BBC, 16 September 2009) -- Climate change is having an impact in the vast and remote region of Yakutia in Siberia which, in winter at least, is still the coldest place on earth. Bridget Kendall reports. There cannot be many foreigners who make it as far as Yakutia's top tourist attraction, the Ice Kingdom. The way in is through an unassuming wooden door cut into the hillside, just like the entrance to Bilbo Baggin's hobbit home in The Lord of the Rings. You pass into a dark hallway strewn with straw and blocks of ice, and enter another world. White crystals sparkle. A tunnel shimmers blue as far as the eye can see. In padded silver capes, guides usher us through caverns carved with ice sculptures. One houses the ivory tusks of a mammoth. In another, a young man draped in furs sits on an icy throne. "The Lord of the Cold," our guide tells us. "How long have you been here?" I ask. "Eternity," he answers with stoic humour. In fact, no one could last long in these icy caverns without a break. Just one and a half metres from the surface, the ground is permanently frozen at -10C. Yakutia is home to the permafrost. In midwinter, outside temperatures make it the coldest place on earth - an unbelievable -70C. Luckily September is still fleetingly autumn. The trees seem to fade from green to yellow overnight. In just four days the temperature drops noticeably. The local paper worries that not all heating plants are yet fully repaired and supplied with fuel. The first frosts, it says, will come in days. Evidence of extreme temperatures is visible everywhere. Newer buildings perch on concrete permafrost stilts. The asphalt on the buckled roads erupts into cracks and bumps, while lagged heating pipes snake over head. Untidy spaghetti wires loop from one high-rise to another. You can not bury power lines and pipes in the permafrost. There are also telling signs of what looks like global warming. This July in the underground Ice Kingdom the temperature rose to a dangerously warm -7C. On the surface winter frosts rarely get harsher than -50C.
Posted 30 September 2009; 2:16:22 PM. Permalink
(Arctic Peoples, 11 September 2009) -- At the recent EPPR meeting held in Anadyr, Chukotka, August 17-21, Larisa Abryutina, member of the Executive Committee of RAIPON , presented a list of issues that in her view need to be addressed with regard to the safety of the population and human health and wellbeing in the Russian North. According to Ms. Abryutina, these issues include: Communication of threats and dangerous situations to indigenous populations; Raising public awareness of prevention, preparedness and response to potential emergency situations; Reconstruction of mobile medical units operating in regions of the North; Re-establish network of local weather stations to monitor changes in the environment, for example risks of floods, strong winds and wild forest fires, and communicate it to indigenous communities. Transparency of economic development projects that take place in the North, for example results of impact assessment etc. should be communicated to impacted communities and peoples; Cooperation between authorities and indigenous peoples organisations. Indigenous peoples are not prepared for threats they do not know about (for example nuclear devices placed on their traditional hunting and fishing grounds and reindeer pasture areas) which renders communication and cooperation all the more crucial.
Posted 12 September 2009; 2:14:52 PM. Permalink
(RIA Novosti, 9 September 2009) -- PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY - Police in Kamchatka in Russia's Far East have seized over two metric tons of poached red caviar early on Wednesday, a police spokesman said. "A vessel carrying 2.2 metric tons of salmon caviar was detained on Wednesday in the Kamchatka River," the source said. The vessel's 25-year-old owner failed to provide documents verifying the legality of the delicacy. A probe into the incident has been launched. During last year's anti-poaching operations, police seized over 61 metric tons of red caviar and 525 metric tons of salmon were seized. A total of 107 vessels were confiscated. Salmon caviar, or red caviar, is not as highly prized as the black caviar from sturgeon.
Posted 8 September 2009; 8:53:41 PM. Permalink
(Victoria Barber/The Arctic Sounder via Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 5 September 2009) -- ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Four years of training and research culminated in a trip to the Chukotka, Russia, last month when the Sivulliq Youth Media students filmed Russian dancers for "The Lost Dances," a DVD that will trace the shared traditions of Russian and Alaska indigenous song and dance. "It was exciting, and it didn't hit me until the middle of the week that - wow, we're in Russia," said Denali Whiting, 17. "We've been working and training to do it, so we were ready for it. I felt pretty confident." Whiting, now a senior in high school, first got involved in the project when she was in eighth grade. She was interested in photography and her father heard that a summer workshop in filmmaking was being offered. But what started as "just a summer thing" grew into an international, multiyear project to film "lost" indigenous dance on both sides of the Bering Strait. ... The film touches on the ways that, for the past hundred years or so, indigenous Russians and their Alaska counterparts have helped keep each other's heritage of song and dance alive, despite cultural oppression, forced relocations and political upheaval. Russian groups are closely related to the Alaskans of St. Lawrence Island and used to make regular trips to Kotzebue for trade fairs, where they would share dances. Most of the characteristic dance movements such as walking, hunting and paddling are the same.
Posted 7 September 2009; 11:29:01 AM. Permalink
(ITAR-TASS, 28 August 2009) -- MOSCOW - There is an oil spill in the Tiksi Bay in Yakutia, a source at the Federal Environmental Supervisory Service told Itar-Tass on Friday with the reference to the service’s Yakutia department. He said the accident occurred at about 6:00 a.m. local time on August 23 as crude was being pumped into storage tanks of the Sakha public utility managing company. The amount of the spill is yet unknown. The bay is being cleaned in order to prevent pollution of high seas.
Posted 31 August 2009; 12:58:47 PM. Permalink
(NRK via BarentsObserver, 27 August 2009) -- A small Norwegian sailboat is detained in Russia’s East Siberia Sea by border guards. The Norwegian sailboat and its three crew members have violated Russian law, says press-spokesman in the Murmansk branch of the border guard, Alexei Astaskin to NRK. The crew indented to sail around the North Pole. They started in Vardø, Norway’s easternmost town in the end of July. "They did not go through the mandatory border and customs control in Murmansk port," the border guard spokesman said. Instead they sailed all the way to the Russia's Far Eastern coast. The Norwegian Foreign Ministry has been in contact with the crew. Press-contact in the Ministry, Ragnhild Imerslund, says they have the impression that the case will be solved. "The cooperation with the Russian border guards is working very well," Imerslund told NRK.
Posted 27 August 2009; 2:41:14 PM. Permalink
(russia-ic.com, 17 August 2009)** -- The Extreme North is inhabited by over 20 peoples and ethnicities, all of them keeping their ancient and interesting culture, an important place in which belongs to useful arts. From olden times the northerners have made clothes, household articles and decorations using natural materials, such as fells of animals and birds, fish skin, wood and plants, and, certainly, carved bone. The folk art of bone carving has been a old tradition with the Chukchi and Eskimos inhabiting the northeast coast of the Chukchi Peninsula and the Diomede Islands. Carving and engraving on bones of polar animals is one of the most striking examples of the inimitable art of the Arctic peoples. Nowadays the art of bone carving has been kept alive only in Alaska, Yakutia and the Chukchi Autonomous District. According to archeological finds the works of Chukchi and Eskimos bone carving existed as far back as the first centuries of Christian era. Bone had been a universal material in the North before metals appeared there. The aboriginal masters used different kinds of bone: walrus tusk, hartshorn, and mammoth bone. The Ancient Bering Sea culture (Old Eskimos culture that existed from the 3rd century BC till the 1st century CE) was peculiar for its animalistic sculpture and household articles made of bone and decorated with relief carving and curvilinear ornamentation. In the following Punuk Period, which lasted till the beginning of the second millennium, sculpture became geometrical, and ornaments changed into rectilineal. The 19th century saw the appearance of narrative bone engraving, originating from petroglyphs of Pegtymel' and ritual wood drawings.
Posted 17 August 2009; 11:24:16 PM. Permalink
(Robin Paxton/Reuters, 13 August 2009)** -- ANADYR, Russia - Vladislav Rintytegin is an alcoholic, but he hasn't had a drink in three years. He is leaving on a one-month voyage around Chukotka to help people like him. In Russia's extreme northeast, no village has escaped the scourge of alcohol abuse, he says. "We held an art competition for children. Do you know what they painted?," the 47-year-old Red Cross volunteer asks. "Broken glass, blood, cemeteries. It's all thanks to vodka." Seventy years of Soviet rule failed to subdue Russia's most isolated natives, but "perestroika" proved to be devastating. In the ensuing lawlessness, poachers decimated reindeer herds and unemployment was rife. Suddenly starved of Moscow's subsidies, the indigenous peoples of the far northeast—the Chukchi, Eskimos and Evens—were powerless to stop the collapse of their traditional ways of life. Hunger, poverty and alcoholism, took hold. "People talk now about 'the crisis'. We've been living in a crisis since the 1990s," said Alexandra Khalkachan, 56, a teacher of the Even language in the city of Magadan.
Posted 17 August 2009; 8:05:19 PM. Permalink
(United Press International via redOrbit, 27 July 2009) -- Volcanic ash reached 23,000 feet above Petropavlovsk in Russia's Far East as the country's northernmost active volcano continued erupting, a geophysicist said. The Shiveluch volcano began erupting in December 2006 and hasn't stopped since. The 10,771-foot volcano is on the Kamchatka Peninsula. The local geophysics service registered more than 170 tremors in the area of the volcano between Saturday and Sunday, a spokesman told RIA Novosti. "Some of (the tremors) were followed by powerful ash bursts and avalanches," the spokesman said. He said the volcanic activity has altered the contour of the volcano, with the crater increasing in size by 50 percent and the slopes having become much steeper. The news service said there are more than 150 volcanoes on the peninsula, 29 of them active.
Posted 27 July 2009; 1:45:48 PM. Permalink
(RIA Novosti, 20 July 2009) -- The first geyser to appear in the remote area of the Kamchatka Peninsula since the 1960s has been aptly named “Peculiar”. See also Valley of the Geysers web cam.
Posted 20 July 2009; 10:32:20 AM. Permalink
(Leonid Vladimirov/YASIA via Google Translate, 14 July 2009) -- Yakutsk - During the first half of 2009, all modes of transport moved 14.884 million tons of various cargoes, 0.5% more than during the same period last year and moved 45.842 million passengers, or 2.2% more to corresponding level in 2008. These figures indicate that the transport complex of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), in general, has been able to resist the negative influence of world economic crisis. At a regular meeting of the Board of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Informatization of the Republic on 14 July in the report of the First Deputy Minister Marianne Nikiforova thoroughly reviewed the activities of transport and communication complex for 1 semester, have a clear mandate to the industry in July-December 2009. Compared to the first half of last year, this year marked by growth in the volume of cargo, passengers and the volume of passenger traffic, a slight decline in traffic. At 28% reduced volume of inland water transport. The reason: this year there is no transport of sand-gravel mixture for construction of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline. Secondly, in the first round of navigation extremely low water levels on the Yana River almost broke all the time for delivery to consumers of goods remaining in intermediate depots. Decreased performance of national airlines. The reason was a decline in custom work on the maintenance of geological and exploration work on the part of AK «ALROSA» and JSC «Lower Lena». A decline in freight traffic by rail has been caused by lower coal demand.
Posted 14 July 2009; 12:36:19 PM. Permalink
(Magadan Region Internal Affairs Directorate press release via RF Ministry of the Interior, 9 July 2009) -- As part of the campaign "Fifth term" militia officers of the Internal Affairs Directorate in Magadan region started taking measures for prevention of offences among children and teenagers during the summer period for from the first days of the summer holidays. In the children's recreation camp "Energetik" employees of the temporary custody center for underage delinquents and juvenile units held a series of conversations concerning the children's personal safety, discussed a number of law concepts and terms the children may require, recollected the traffic safety rules and explained to the teenagers in what way they are liable for offences and crimes they commit. On the examination day the children were to show the acquired knowledge in practice. The children answered questions of a trivia game, produced a composite facial image of a conditional "criminal" who had "committed a theft" some minutes before, designed and made a creative banner urging inhabitants of Magadan region to be law-abiding. In conclusion of the event militia officers and members of the Public council at the Internal Affairs Directorate in Magadan region awarded the winners certificates of honor and sweets while all participants were treated to a huge pie. Now that the children showed excellent competence the militia officers are sure that the work they perform will save young inhabitants of Magadan region from inconsiderate acts.
Posted 14 July 2009; 12:14:17 PM. Permalink
(RFE/RL, 18 June 2009) -- KAZAN, Tatarstan - The far eastern Russian republic of Sakha (formerly Yakutia) has passed an amendment that removes the word "sovereignty" from its constitution, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports. Sakha President Vyacheslav Shtyrov and parliament speaker Vitaly Basygysov drafted the amendment, which says that "subjects of the Russian Federation are not eligible to have sovereignty, since the federation as a whole has it." The Russian Constitutional Court issued an order on June 9 directing 11 of its "ethnic republics" to eliminate all references in their constitutions to "sovereignty." The court published its decision in an attempt to urge 10 other entities of the Russian Federation—including the republics of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and Buryatia—to also change their constitutions so that the word "sovereignty" is removed. Bashkortostan's President Murtaza Rakhimov said last week that the laws regarding Bashkortostan's sovereignty might be changed. Officials in Tatarstan have yet to comment on the issue. Tatar intellectuals and politicians say that the exclusion of sovereignty from the laws of Russia's ethnic republics would damage the language, culture, and ethnic identity of their titular populations.
Posted 21 June 2009; 12:35:22 PM. Permalink
(ITAR-TASS, 30 April 2009) -- MOSCOW - An Antonov-2 single-engine biplane has crashed in Yakutia, killing the crew, the Far Eastern regional center of the Emergency Situations Ministry has told Itar-Tass over the telephone. The plane was en route from Lensk to Magan. At 00:48 Khabarovsk time the plane suffered a crash near the village of Pokrovka, 16 kilometers away from the final destination. There was a crew of three and no passengers on board. Nobody survived. Firefighters and rescue workers are already at the scene. The causes of the crash are still to be established.
Posted 1 May 2009; 10:50:13 AM. Permalink
(RIA Novosti, 27 March 2009) -- YAKUTSK - Spring floods are threatening possible anthrax contamination from sites used to dispose of infected cattle in the Siberian republic of Yakutia, a sanitary official said on Friday. The Siberian republic has 259 anthrax landfill sites, 28 of them are under threat from flooding, posing a possible health threat to the population in seven regions. The situation is being made worse by global warming, which is causing Siberia's permafrost to melt, leading to soil erosion. "If landfill sites are eroded by flood waters, there is a threat of water contamination and subsequent infection of animals by anthrax spores that are active for 100 years," a spokesman for the regional department of Russian consumers rights regulator Rospotrebnadzor said. "In Yakutia, the last disposals were conducted in the 90s, therefore, anthrax bacterial spores will remain active for a long time," he added. In addition, the exact locations of many sites are unknown due to a lack of records. Anthrax affects both wild mammals and domestic cattle that ingest or inhale the bacterial spores while grazing. Humans can contract the disease if they are exposed to the blood or tissue of infected animals. It can be highly lethal, but in some forms responds well to antibiotic treatment.
Posted 29 March 2009; 8:05:20 PM. Permalink
(Regnum, 26 January 2009) -- An earthquake of magnitude 5.3 occurred in Yakutia. The tremor was registered at 06:30 local time (00:30 Moscow time). According to the Seismic Branch "Yakutsk", the earthquake was felt in the town of Tynda, but no damage was reported.
Posted 28 January 2009; 10:07:37 AM. Permalink
(RIA Novosti, 26 January 2009) -- MOSCOW - Russia's Polyus Zoloto and Canada's Kinross Gold Corporation signed on Monday an agreement on joint gold exploration in Eastern Siberia. The protocol calls for a joint Russian-Canadian venture to develop the Nezhdaninskoye deposit in Yakutia (Sakha). Polyus Zoloto is Russia's largest gold mining corporation and Canada's Kinross is the third largest gold mining company in North America. The Canadian company also owns the rights to the Kupol deposit in Russia's Far Eastern republic of Chukotka. Polyus Zoloto's general director, Yevgeny Ivanov, said the technical and financial cost of getting the project started is estimated at $10 million, which the Canadian partners took on themselves. Ivanov said the total amount of investment needed for the project would be around $1 billion. If the project fulfills its full potential, a complex with a production capacity of 12 tons of gold per year will be constructed, Ivanov said, adding that this would be possible "if energy and infrastructure issues are resolved." Kinross Gold Corporation was founded in 1993 and has operations in Canada, the United States, Brazil, Chile and Russia.
Posted 26 January 2009; 2:05:56 PM. Permalink
(RussiaToday, 9 January 2009) -- Bison are making a comeback thousands of years after they disappeared from eastern Russia. Bison breeders in Siberia are hoping the return of the huge woolly mammals to the region will help boost eco-tourism. Two thousand years ago the bison left the region that is now the Republic of Yakutia in Siberia, but now they're back â€“ and thriving. The bison had become extinct in Russia, but thanks to Canada that they're home again. Thirty Canadian-born woolly bovines have now spent three winters at the Lensky Stolby Nature Park, 100 kilometres south of Yakutsk. Local herdsmen say they've settled in nicely. "They're good at enduring the cold and they've adapted extremely well. They look happy here and I've become really attached to these beautiful animals," bison herder Sergey says. A good indication of how well these bison are adapting to their new environment is their ability to reproduce. Already six babies have been born into this herd—a sure sign that they're thriving in their former homeland. Bison were taken from Canada as part of the world's first bison resettlement programme. Canada wants to conserve species at risk. So this project is a chance to secure the global survival of the Red Book bison. The Red Book is a list of endangered species. Meanwhile, wildlife conservationists say the bison will soon be the region's star attraction. "We're aiming to create an eco-tourist park here. There's been so much interest in the bison, so eventually we want to re-introduce all animals that once roamed this land," says Yakob Sivtsev from the Conservation Ministry.
Posted 11 January 2009; 7:22:02 PM. Permalink
(ITAR-TASS, 22 December 2008) -- YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK - Air temperature falling to 60 degrees Celsius below zero has for the first time been registered since the beginning of this winter in the Oimyakon settlement in Yakutia. Oimyakon is one of the "frost poles" located in the northern hemisphere of the planet. The second "frost pole" [Pole of Cold], in the city of Verkhoyansk that is located 600 kilometres from Oimyakon, had 55 degrees of frost overnight, the Hydrometeorology Centre of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) reported on Monday. The Hydrometeorology Centre has forecasted that the heavy frosts in Oimyakon lower 500 degrees Celsius below zero will stay until the coming Saturday. On December 28, it will be slightly warmer in the settlement—the night air temperatures are expected to be 48 degrees of frost and during the day the temperatures will be 41 degrees. Yakutsk had 47 degrees below zero overnight.
Posted 26 December 2008; 4:25:27 PM. Permalink
(Regnum.ru, 3 December 2008. Translated by GoogleTranslate) -- Today, December 3, Kolyma celebrates birthday - 55 years ago on this day Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR was formed Magadan region. According to the news agency REGNUM, the press service of the regional administration, with a holiday kolymchan congratulated members of the Federation Council, the heads of neighboring regions, the scientific community, the State Duma deputies, etc. "Kolyma maintains its tough selection, and to whom it accepts, it becomes a way of life. Even leaving the Kolyma, people remember her snow-covered Barrows, furry stlanik and severe, persistent larch, bright bunch Ashberry and granatovye rossypi cranberries, silver salmon from rivers and majestic Sea of Okhotsk. And the most important thing in your heart forever remains a spirit prevailing in our province unity and good relations to one another - said in his speech the Governor of the region Nikolai Dudov. - I am sincerely grateful to all the residents of the area, veterans of the North for good, responsible attitude to the dedication that they show every day and transmit to new generations. It is in this - a pledge the present and the future of our territory. "
Posted 3 December 2008; 7:49:53 PM. Permalink
(Vostok Media, 28 October 2008) -- MAGADAN - The federal highway "Kolyma" now connects Magadan and Yakutia. The highway is the only connection between Magadan and Yakutia and, for the north-eastern regions of Sakha, it is the only route to the Sea of Okhotsk. Its length is more than 2,000 km, 834 of which are located in the territory of Magadanskaya oblast and 1,200 km is in Yakutia. Reconstruction of the highway part Kubuma-Selerican was completed by four companies last December. Reconstruction teams worked on bridges built across the Selerekan and Elga rivers. At the official ceremony held in Oymyakonskoy ulus of Sakha Republic, the Governor of Magadanskaya oblast noted that since the highway was finished residents of Kolyma would not feel distance and the highway reached not only other regions of Russia but also opened a pass to the Okhotskoe sea. It will facilitate trade relations between Sakha Republic and Kolyma, back implementation of investment projects in agriculture, mining and energy industry.
Posted 5 November 2008; 11:11:39 PM. Permalink
(The Dutch Harbor Fisherman, 13 October 2008) -- Natives of the Russian Arctic living near Alaska fear U.S. intentions to resume developing oil and gas resources on Chukotka Sea shelf may lead to an ecological catastrophe, reports Russia's RIA Novosti news agency. According to the report, representatives of Natives in Russia’s far eastern Chukotka Peninsula have called on the American people, Arctic countries, the international community and greens to suspend the development of hydrocarbons in the area until ecologically safe ways of transporting them from the Chukotka Sea shelf are found. On Sept. 16, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill permitting oil and gas development on the U.S. sea shelf except for the Gulf of Mexico area. It also recommended that President Bush implement the construction of a pipeline to transport gas from the Alaska coast as soon as possible.
Posted 19 October 2008; 3:07:10 PM. Permalink
(AP via International Herald Tribune, 3 July 2008) -- MOSCOW: Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich resigned Thursday as governor of a remote Arctic region, a position he has held for almost eight years and long wanted to leave. His formal resignation request was denied two years ago by former President Vladimir Putin, a signal that the tycoon should continue serving as benefactor of the impoverished Chukotka region. But on Thursday the new president, Dmitry Medvedev, signed off on his departure. Abramovich, 41, the owner of the Chelsea soccer club who spends much of his time in London, has rarely been seen in Chukotka, which has a population of 50,000 and lies opposite Alaska on the Bering Strait. But its residents praise him for rescuing the region's economy. He restored food supplies and built roads, factories, hospitals and schools. He also runs two charities. Although he has stepped down as governor, Abramovich will continue investing in the resource-rich region, his spokesman John Mann said. "It's a change of role, but not a disengagement," Mann said. Abramovich was first elected governor of Chukotka in December 2000 and later said he would not run again, describing the job as "too expensive." But Putin reappointed him in 2005 after direct elections of regional leaders were abolished. Abramovich, whose current business interests are focused on metals, was ranked 15th in a list of the world's richest people by Forbes magazine in 2008 with an estimated fortune of US$23.5 billion (euro14.8 billion). Forbes names him as Russia's second-richest man. ... Medvedev appointed Roman Kopin, the 34-year-old deputy governor, as acting governor.
Posted 3 July 2008; 6:24:25 PM. Permalink
(Felix Lowe/Telegraph, 24 June 2008) -- The Russian state has secured a controlling stake in the world's second largest diamond miner, Alrosa. Russian finance minister Alexei Kudrin, who heads Alrosa's supervisory board, confirmed yesterday that the federal government had increased its stake from 37pc to 50pc plus one share after the issuing of 72,726 new shares worth $40.1 million (£20.4m). The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and its eight municipal districts, where Alrosa runs the majority of its diamond mining operations, have retained a 32pc and 8pc stake in the company respectively. With the remaining 10pc of shares now available for private investment, the switch marked a transformation of the company from a closed-joint stock company to an open-joint stock company, as required by Russian law. The share issue has led to fresh doubts over Alrosa's proposed plans for a stock market flotation.
Posted 24 June 2008; 9:01:02 PM. Permalink
(Xinhua, 24 June 2008) -- MOSCOW - Three earthquakes jolted Russia's far eastern region of Yakutia on Monday, causing no casualties or destruction, the Itar-Tass news agency reported Tuesday. The first quake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale occurred at around 18:00, Moscow time (1500 GMT) and the following quakes in the same area were weaker, Itar-Tass cited the Far Eastern regional center of the Ministry of Emergency Situations. "The earthquakes were not felt in the republic' s settlements. There have been no casualties or destruction," the ministry's Far Eastern center reported. There's a small population in Russia's vast far east and the epicenters were reportedly some 150 to 160 km away from the settlements.
Posted 24 June 2008; 8:58:23 PM. Permalink
(ITAR-TASS, 20 June 2008) -- KHABAROVSK - A special fire prevention state is imposed in Yakutia's Aldan and Neryungri districts where the situation is the most serious, the forestry department of the republic's nature ministry told Itar-Tass on Friday. More than 2,600 hectares of the taiga are ablaze in Yakutia where 16 fires have been reported. There are four fires over 500-600 hectares in the Aldan district. Almost 200 hectares of a forest are ablaze not far from the village of Berkakit in the Eastern Siberia-Pacific pipeline construction area. In the region, 178 professional firemen, paratroopers from the air forest protection service and members of volunteer firemen teams are mobilised to fight the blaze. In the neighbouring Amur Region, afire are more than 12,700 hectares of forests. The most severely hit are forests in the Tynda and Zeisk districts where more than 9,000 hectares are burning. More than 180 people, including 107 paratroopers, specialists of forestry services and three An-2 planes and a Mi-8 helicopter are fighting the fires. A total of 384 fires have been reported in the Amur Region since the beginning of the season. More than 144,400 hectares of forests and 413,000 hectares of other areas burned up. See also UPI's "Wildfires ravaging portions of Russia," 20 June 2008.
Posted 20 June 2008; 3:08:39 PM. Permalink
(Vostok Media, 19 June 2008) -- YAKUTSK - The Korean company Hyundai Kia Motors Group interested in long-term cooperation with Yakutia. The director general of the company Pak Song Ha said about that during the meeting with the president of the Republic Vacheslav Shchtyrov. The head of the Republic noted that during last years Yakutia was establishing tight relations with Korea and he expressed hope that these relations would develop. This is very important especially under conditions of megaprojects realization in Yakutia. Mr. Pak Song Ha thanked the president for reception and noted that the government of Yakutia deserved respect for great work in the sphere of attracting investments. The pride of the world brand Kia Motors Group is metallurgical plants of Hyundai Steel. The company has several divisions. They are production of steel, cars, spare parts and so on. Hyundai produces near 5 millions cars annually. Sales volume is 127 billions USD. Steel production is the main directivity of the company. Annually Hyundai Steel produces 11 millions tons of steel, the total sales volume is 12 billions USD. For successful development of steel production the company needs cooperation with Russia and first of all with the largest and the richest region: Yakutia.
Posted 19 June 2008; 1:44:48 PM. Permalink
(ITAR-TASS, 29 May 2008) -- KHABAROVSK - The situation with spring floods is returning to normal in Yakutia, Itar-Tass learnt on Thursday at the Far Eastern regional centre of the Russian Ministry for Emergencies. According to the ministry, water left nine partially inundated houses on Thursday in the village of Kalvitsa, Kobyaisky district. Evacuated residents return to their homes, but it will take time to restore the normal way of life in flood-stricken villages. The power supply was restored 50 percent in Kalvitsa, the Sakhaenergo Company reported. Customers of the Lesnaya and Bolnichnaya transformer substations were switched off from power in the village of Sangar over damaged power transmission lines. The ministry's Yakutia emergency branch and the republican centre on overcoming consequences of floods closely follow the situation in all rivers. The situation is deteriorating in northern districts. Water reached a diesel power plant in the village of Ust-Yana and continues to rise. Power supplies have not been cut off from the village for the time being. There are no inundated dwelling houses, since they stand on piles. The water level in the Kolyma River has not reached its critical level in the village of Svatai, Srednekolyma district, but water is still rising.
Posted 29 May 2008; 3:09:04 PM. Permalink
(ITAR-TASS, 25 May 2008) -- KHABAROVSK, May 25 (Itar-Tass) - Spring floods inundated 86 dwelling houses, a school, a kindergarten and other buildings in the village of Kalvitsa, Yakutia Republic, over a huge ice jam on the Lena River. As many as 254 people, including over 80 children, were urgently evacuated, Itar-Tass learnt at the Yakutia branch of the Russian Ministry for Emergencies on Sunday. On Sunday morning, a group of rescuers and demolition experts flew by helicopter to blast an ice jam which straddled one of Lena tributaries 30 kilometres up the Vilyui River estuary. Another 1.5-tonne batch of explosives was brought to the place of the jam. Demolition experts had failed to smash the jam on Saturday, although they had spent 2.8 tonnes of TNT for a series of blasts. The situation with floods in Kalvitsa remains most tense in Yakutia. On the other hand, the situation is returning to normal in the Tattinsky district which was under close watch of rescuers over the past ten days. Waters of the Amga River are ebbing from nearby villages. "Only two houses are partially flooded in the village of Chimai, and people are returning to their homes in the village of Kharbalakh," the Ministry for Emergencies reported. Emergency groups of the ministry help population to overcome consequences of the inundation. They also repair roads, bridges and power transmission lines to villages. The Yakutia branch of the ministry reported that the situation is normal in the Vilyui, Aldan, Kolyma and other rivers in Yakutia: water levels are below critical marks. (See also, ITAR-TASS, "Floods in Yakutia inundate 217 dwelling houses, 23 May 2008).
Posted 25 May 2008; 1:51:36 PM. Permalink
(ITAR-TASS, 21 May 2008) -- YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, May 21 (Itar-Tass) - Due to spring flooding 223 dwelling houses in four settlements of the Yakutia republic—Daya-Amga, Kharbalakh, Chimnai and Myryla in the Tattinsky and Churapchinsky districts remain inundated, the press service of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations' main department for the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) reported on Wednesday. According to the press service, the Myryla settlement has been affected the worst—135 houses there are in water. Centres of temporary accommodation of people have been set up in all villages affected by spring floods, response groups of emergency ministry’ s rescuers are on duty ready to help the local residents any time. Kharbalakh has no power supply, it has been disconnected from the main electric power transmission line, the settlement is using a reserve diesel power station supplying electricity to houses according to a timetable. The flooding in the Vilyuisk city affected a petroleum storage depot, but there have been no fuel leaks. The water level in the Vilyui River near the city is 1,088 centimetres—over one metre above the critical level. Explosion works were carried out on May 20 to liquidate an ice jam downstream Vilyuisk - so the water level in the river has begun to do down. Meanwhile, ice drifting has started in other rivers of Yakutia—the Amga, Aldan, Kolyma, Indigirka. Water in them has considerably risen, but has not reached the critical marks and is not threatening populated localities on their banks.
Posted 22 May 2008; 1:48:09 AM. Permalink
(ITAR-TASS, 17 May 2008) -- KHABAROVSK - Over 1590 houses have been inundated and 640 people have been evacuated in two districts of Yakutia due to intensive spring floods. Water streams have destroyed a high-voltage electrical power line in one of the districts, leaving several settlements without electricity. The republic's authorities will send more rescuers to the affected districts. The situation in several other districts also remains complex. On Friday, 47 passengers of an Ural trailer stranded in a rural area were rescued and taken to Vilyusk by helicopter.
Posted 17 May 2008; 4:12:38 PM. Permalink
(Alex Rodriguez/Tribune, 13 May 2008) -- YAKUTSK, Russia - Every spring, Nikolai Petrov leads a squadron of motorboats along the banks of remote channels and rivers in northern Siberia, waiting for the split second when chunks of thawing tundra plunge into the water. If luck is on Petrov's side, he will see shards of mammoth fossils protruding from the bank. He doesn't want the femurs, pelvises or shoulder blades, just the tusks. Here in the Siberian province of Yakutia, mammoth tusks are big business—a trove thousands of years old meant not for the world's museums but for Russian souvenir shops and jewelry stores. Yakutia has other commodities far more precious to its economy. It supplies a quarter of the world's diamonds and is home to a lucrative gold-mining industry. But the value of mammoth tusks to everyday Yakuts, particularly those who live in the reindeer-herding villages of the Far North, lies in the fossils' abundance. In northern Siberia, the tusks can be found throughout the permafrost, remnants of the Pleistocene Epoch more than 10,000 years ago, when mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses and bison reigned over the Russian steppe. Scientists estimate there are 600 mammoth skeletons per square kilometer in the northern Yakutian tundra.
Posted 16 May 2008; 9:06:54 PM. Permalink
(ITAR-TASS, 14 May 2008) -- KHABAROVSK - Over 15 settlements of Yakutia have been totally blocked as spring waters washed out roads, damaged bridges and the evacuation of the population from the inundation zone is difficult. According to the Lensk water reserve department, the situation is complicated in the area of the Amga River where the water level 75-80 centimetres exceeds the critical marks and continues to rise. A total of 21 houses with 48 dwellers have been flooded in the Amga settlement. As many as 78 people have been evacuated from the Berdigestyakh, Asyma and Yert settlements of the Gorny district where a state of emergency has been introduced. Roads have been washed out in the Khocho, Byuteidyakh, Yelechei, Sola, Teligi, Darkyulakh settlements in the Megino-Kamgalassky area. Evacuation of over 50 residents of the Myndagai settlement of the Churapchinsky district is planned for Wednesday. According to the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry’s main department for Yakutia and heads of districts, several hundred people have had to temporarily settle at evacuation centres, as well as with their relative and friends. The evacuation centres are supplied with food and medicines. Roads to six settlements of the Tattinsky district were washed out on Tuesday; several settlements have no electricity due to breakages of wires at power transmission lines.
Posted 14 May 2008; 4:24:13 PM. Permalink
(Philip Burgess/Arctic Council News, 2 May 2008) -- The IPY EALAT-Outreach/Information project among reindeer holders is in progress. Here is a report from the fourth EALAT Information seminar which recently wrapped up in Topolinoe, Sakha (Yakutia). Topolinoe is a small village established at the end of the 1980's as a "showcase" for reindeer husbandry and as such was in fact visited by an NRL NBR delegation that included Johan Mathis Turi and Svein Mathiesen among others, a visit which marked the early stages of the cross border and pan Arctic cooperation within world reindeer husbandry that has continued to this day. [See the title link for a full report on the EALAT seminar.]
Posted 2 May 2008; 8:15:49 AM. Permalink
(Vladivostok News, 14 April 2008) -- A traveler from Yakutia recently covered more than 1,000 kilometers on his bicycle from Yakutsk to Magadan across the severe Kolyma highway spending 21 days on his extreme adventure. Igor Danilov traveled with a tent, warm clothes, a supply of products and a gas stove—there are no hotels along the road and only a few cafes. The temperatures at nights still fall below 20 degrees. It is not his first voyage across freezing roads of Yakutia and Kolyma—the traveler has already covered more than 10,000 kilometers on his bike. Kolyma road was built by Gulag prisoners. The construction was started in 1932 and finished only in 1952. The road which linked the country with gold reserves from Kolyma and Yakutia claimed the lives of thousands of prisoners.
Posted 14 April 2008; 7:59:25 PM. Permalink
(Vladivostok News, 14 April 2008) -- A resident of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, in the Kamchatka region, robbed the town's library on Sunday night stealing about 30 books—classic works and literature about psychology, a press statement from the region's Department of Inner Affairs. The 20â€“year-old unemployed man broke a window and entered the library, located in a residential building in the Mokhovaya district of the town. The man was immediately detained by the police and the investigation is being conducted. The value of the stolen books is estimated at 2,000 rubles ($83), the statement said. It is still unclear what the man planned to do with used library books.
Posted 14 April 2008; 7:56:44 PM. Permalink
A delegation of four Russian indigenous leaders from the Sakha Republic were in the Alaska communities of Barrow and Nuiqsut last week to meet tribal leaders, organizations and local residents and learn about Inupiat methods of protecting their culture, reports the Arctic Sounder. The trip, which took place March 22-April 3, was sponsored by the Russia and Alaska programs of Pacific Environment, an environmental organization based in San Francisco with an office in Alaska. The Russian visitors intended to learn how community organizing in Alaska is used as a tool to gain leverage when dealing with resource extraction companies and government bodies, the Arctic Sounder says. "Before the coal industry, we had 12,000 domesticated reindeer in one herd, now we only have 4,500," Ivan Atlasov, an industrial engineer and president since 2005 of the Association of the Evenk people, told the Arctic Sounder. "The reindeer changed their patterns to move away from the mines and went further towards the mountains." Reliant on the animals for food and clothes, the herders in this remote and extremely cold region were forced to travel with the herd by air, subjected to rising oil costs. In addition to coal mining and a pipeline, a railroad is under construction, and plans are made for an open-pit coal mine in the southern region of Sakha. The territory for the future pipeline section is entirely above permafrost and is home to the Evenk, who rely mainly on subsistence hunting of reindeer. During their visit to Alaska, the delegation made stops in the North Slope, Fairbanks, Anchorage and Chickaloon.
Posted 13 April 2008; 1:15:52 PM. Permalink
(Russia Today, 20 March 2008) -- Chukotka in Russia's Far East is the only place in the world where the number of reindeer is constantly on the increase. Up to $US 15 million is spent every year to support reindeer breeding in the region. The animals provide people with food, clothing, shelter and very often with transport. Just 20 years ago there were 500,000 reindeer in the area. After the crisis of the 1990s only a fifth were left. In some villages whole herds were slaughtered. With the region about to lose its key resource, the government took tough measures. In 2001 the Chukotka authorities declared a moratorium meaning it was forbidden to slaughter reindeer for five years. Reindeer breeders are provided with transport and weapons. They get a good salary from the state and receive a bonus for the herd's growth. [Click title link for additional video.]
Posted 20 March 2008; 1:24:07 AM. Permalink
(Russia Today, 19 March 2008) -- With temperatures falling to minus 40 degrees Centigrade in winter, Chukotka in Russia's north east is not an easy place to live. Still, although weather conditions are tough, the land is rich in gold and coal. The region has been showing stable growth over the last few years and it seems the trend is set to continue. Regarding gold deposits, Chukotka is one of Russia's richest regions, with extraction expected to reach 30 tonnes per year by 2020. Coal was discovered in Chukotka fifty years ago, and today coal mining is one of the region's most profitable industries. The climate, the permafrost and the remoteness of Chukotka render the extraction difficult, but the regional government believes the wealth of natural reserves will make up for the effort and the money spent. It has invested $US 15 million to provide new equipment and improve the mines. Half a million tonnes were extracted last year, satisfying the needs of the whole region, as well as neighbouring Koryakia, Magadan and Yakutia, with some left over for export. Local officials are optimistic about development prospects. "Demand will grow and production will rise. New industries will need energy from coal. We are ready for this growing demand and we'll provide more coal if things develop further," says Vladimir Bobylev, Deputy Chief of the Chukotka Autonomous Area. Investment in oil and gas is also anticipated. The world's giants, Canada's Kinross and BHP Billiton of Australia both say they're interested in exploring the area. [Video also available.]
Posted 20 March 2008; 1:19:08 AM. Permalink
(Science Centric, 15 March 2008) -- On 27 September 2004 the front part of a baby mammoth's body was found in Olchan mine in the Oimyakon Region of Yakutia. Specialists of the Museum of Mammoth of the Institute of Applied Ecology of the North, Academy of Sciences of Sakha Republic (Yakutia), have been thoroughly studying the finding and they have published the first outcomes. There remained only the head, part of the proboscis, the neck area and part of the breast of the baby mammoth's body. The body is practically cut off behind the withers and shoulder area. The skin on the head is torn on the forehead and cinciput, the skull is damaged, the proboscis is torn off. The baby mammoth's skin is well preserved, it is smooth, greyish-brown, the tawny hair fell out and froze into the ice near the body. Under the skin, there remained muscles and the alveole with a permanent 76 millimetre long tusk, which had come through. Since the replacement of milk-tusks by permanent ones happened with mammoths at the age of one year the earliest, the researchers decided that the baby they had found perished approximately at this age. As the tusk is short, it can be assumed that the Oimyakon mammoth was a female (male's tusks are longer). The animal's remains were investigated by the X-ray computer-aided tomography methods at the National Centre of Medicine in Yakutsk. Roentgenograms allowed to determine the baby's age more accurately: judging by the teeth state, the mammoth was at least one year old but no more than a year and a half. The baby mammoth was already able to feed on vegetation independently.
Posted 15 March 2008; 4:55:01 PM. Permalink
(All-Russia Ecological Portal/EcoPortal.ru, 14 March 2008) -- Yakut scientists from the Institute of Applied Ecology of the North have begun to examine the remains of a woolly rhinoceros found by gold miners in the summer of 2007 in Neznekolimsk Ulus, the manager of the Museum of the Mammoth, Peter Lazarev, told reporters Friday morning. "The scientists are also surveying the burial place of the rhinoceros, to carry out paleontological and microbiological research, and will obtain radiocarbon dates that will determine, within a thousand years, the age of the find." Lazarev explained that after a detailed examination, the find is likely to be exhibited in various Russian cities and abroad. "The woolly rhinoceros found in the summer of 2007 in Sakha Republic (Yakutia) is only the third in the world to be found. Two other fossilized specimens were found in the Ukraine in 1907 and in 1927. The immense value of the Yakut find that it has lain in a permafrost and is consequently better kept," he added. The rhinoceros was discovered by gold miners and, in mid-September, it was removed to a warehouse in Chersky. After only a day or so in storage, the specimen was stolen. An investigation was launched, since the theft of such artifacts is punishable by a prison term from 6 to 10 years and a substantial fine. On 8 March, investigators located the specimen at Km 19 of the Chersy-Bilibino road. On Tuesday, 11 March, the rhinoceros was flown to Yakutsk. Suspects have been identified and the investigation continues. [Link is to a machine translation of the original article; the article has been modified from the machine translation.]
Posted 14 March 2008; 10:28:03 PM. Permalink
(Vostok Media, 11 March 2008) -- Ecologists of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic insist on revision of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (VSTO – Russian acronym) oil pipeline project, Ecoportal reports. Eight public organizations and residents of Yakutia submitted an appeal to the republican Supreme Court demanding to resume proceedings against Rostekhnadzor (Russian Federal Service for Ecological, Technical and Atomic Supervision) that decided to build the pipeline in a trench under the Lena River. Zinaida Altukhova, director of the Yakutia Environmental Center told Ecoportal, a project for construction of the pipeline through a microtunnel across the river had been presented at the public meetings for estimation of impact on the environment. But Rostekhnadzor transmitted to the state environmental commission a project with a trench pass. Such kind of the pass, ecologists say, poses a considerably greater danger to the biggest river of Russia. The case against Rostekhnadzor was jointly filed by the Yakutia Environmental Center, republican Center of environmental education Eige, public foundation Sakha, Association of Yakutia’s Evenk People and other public organizations and private individuals. Nevertheless the complaint signed by the eight organizations and citizens was rejected by the Yakutsk City Court on February 26.
Posted 14 March 2008; 10:09:42 PM. Permalink
(Philip Burgess/Arctic Council News, 12 March 2008) -- A very successful EALAT Information IPY seminar has just wrapped up in Anadyr, the capital of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, in Russia's far East. Attended by over 40 people, the Sami delegation included EALAT IPY research project leader Svein Mathiesen, International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry Director, Anders Oskal, Sámi student Anne Marja Magga and ICR Reindeer Portal project manager Philip Burgess. A large region (737,700 km² - two times the size of Norway), though sparsely populated (55,000 in 2004), Chukotka is one of world's greatest regions of reindeer husbandry, though one which has experienced severe upheaval in the 1990's when herd numbers fell from over half a million to about 100,000. Their current level is around 170,000 animals. The seminar was hosted and organized by Vladimir Etylin and the Chukotka Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in cooperation with the Reindeer Herders' Union of Chukotka. Etylin is a scientist, has served as Vice Governor of Chukotka in the Russian State Duma (the first indigenous person to hold office in the Russian legislature) and was born into a reindeer herding family in the village of Kaiettyn, Chukotka. He is also a board member of the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry, representative to the International Whaling Commission and is Vice President of the Chukotka Union of Reindeer Herders. Reindeer herders from across Chukotka brought their expertise to the seminar, along with regional administrators and a member of the Chukotka Duma. The seminar consisted of two days of presentations at the Institute in the regional capital Anadyr, with presentations made by reindeer herders, elders, administrators, verterinarians, politicians and scientists from across the vast region of Chukotka, with participants travelling from Omolon, Lorima, Tawaivaam, Kanchalan and Ust Belaya along with several researchers from Anadyr and Magadan. Issues discussed were the specific challenges facing reindeer husbandry in Chukotka, loss of grazing land, pasture qualities, climate change, archeology and traditional knowledge, with several veteran herders presenting generations of cumulative experience and knowledge. According to data presented by the local meteorological office noted that Anadyr last year had been 2-o warmer than normal, which was backed up by anecdotal evidence that the ice road across the bay had not frozen to sufficient depth until late December, later than usual. An exciting cultural program was held in the evening at the culmination of the first part of the seminar and locally produced reindeer products were served.
Posted 12 March 2008; 4:24:17 PM. Permalink
(PhysOrg, 13 February 2008) -- The human journey from Asia to the New World was interrupted by a 20,000-year layover in Beringia, a once-habitable region that today lies submerged under the icy waters of the Bering Strait. Furthermore, the New World was colonized by approximately 1,000 to 5,000 people—a substantially higher number than the 100 or fewer individuals of previous estimates. The developments, to be reported by University of Florida Genetics Institute scientists in the open-access journal PLoS ONE on February 13, help shape understanding of how the Americas came to be populated—not through a single expansion event that is put forth in most theories, but in three distinct stages separated by thousands of generations. "Our model makes for a more interesting, complex scenario than the idea that humans diverged from Asians and expanded into the New World in a single event," said Connie Mulligan, Ph.D., an associate professor of anthropology at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and assistant director of the UF Genetics Institute. "If you think about it, these people didn't know they were going to a new world. They were moving out of Asia and finally reached a landmass that was exposed because of lower sea levels during the last glacial maximum, but two major glaciers blocked their progress into the New World. So they basically stayed put for about 20,000 years. It wasn't paradise, but they survived. When the North American ice sheets started to melt and a passage into the New World opened, we think they left Beringia to go to a better place." UF scientists analyzed DNA sequences from Native American, New World and Asian populations with the understanding that modern DNA is forged by an accumulation of events in the distant past, and merged their findings with data from existing archaeological, geological and paleoecological studies.
Posted 4 March 2008; 1:57:11 AM. Permalink
(Regnum.ru, 14 February 2008) -- The problem of the reduction of the population of East Siberia and Far East disturbs many citizens, and the measures adopted do not give proper result, Vladimir Putin recognized, answering a question from a journalist from Vladivostok in the course of the press conference on 14 February in the Kremlin. Putin noted that in the Far East "there is a program of development, we plan taking important international measures...". In his opinion, the citizens in the Far East must be set in better position than the inhabitants of the European part of Russia, and for this it is necessary to use [various] mechanisms, in particular, the regulation of tariffs in order to make residence there comfortable and advantageous. [Translation achieved with Babelfish; title link is to the original Russian article.]
Posted 14 February 2008; 9:13:50 PM. Permalink
(Kommersant, 1 February 2008) -- The Sakha Republic (Yakutia) was discussed in the Ministry of Regional Development yesterday. It is supposed to be included in the Far Eastern Development Program by 2025. For that to take place, 2 trillion rubles in private investment and 500 billion rubles in state investment will be necessary, under the development strategy through 2020 presented yesterday by the republic's president Vyacheslav Shtyrov. That document was 1500 pages long and covers the Russian Far East, the Republic of Buryatia and Irkutsk and Chita Regions. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered its compilation last year. In order to meet the goals of the development strategy, the region's GDP must be increased by 180 percent, personal income increased 260 percent. Most of the regional government projects involve oil and gas and mining. Oil production in the region will rise from its current 30 tons of oil a year (used in local boilers) to 1 billion tons per year in 2020. The Talakan oil field will be developed and its oil exported through the East Siberia – Pacific Ocean Pipeline. The republic's government will build an oil refinery in Lensk. Natural gas production in the republic will be raised from 1.6 billion cu. m. to 34 billion cu. m. in 2020. The Chayandin deposit will be developed and liquefied natural gas will be exported to China. Shtyrov's plans also include the construction of four iron ore processing plants and bringing the Elkon uranium plant up to full capacity. In addition, three gold-processing plants will be built and underground diamond mining will be initiated. A South Yakutian hydroelectric complex will be built to generate 4.2 gigawatt-hours of electricity per year by 2020. Among the expected investors in the republic are Surgutneftegaz, Gazprom, Mechel and Rosatom.
Posted 2 February 2008; 1:58:13 PM. Permalink
(Tamar Ben-Yosef/The Arctic Sounder, 1 Debruary 2008) -- A historic agreement of polar bear management cooperation between Alaska Natives and the Native people of Chukotka, Russia, was signed on Jan. 18 in Nome. The Alaska Nanuuq Commission, reflecting the Inupiat name for polar bear, met with the Association of Traditional Marine Mammal Hunters of Chukotka during the commission's annual meeting. Alaska is home to two polar bear populations, one in the Bering and Chukchi Seas, which is shared with Chukotka, and another in the Beaufort Sea, which is shared with Canada. The two groups finalized the agreement on the conservation of the shared population—an agreement that will implement the U.S./Russia Polar Bear Agreement that was signed on Oct. 16, 2000. This agreement will allow the Native people of Chukotka to legally harvest the bears for subsistence use, as Alaska Natives have been allowed by the International Polar Bear Treaty.
Posted 2 February 2008; 1:31:26 PM. Permalink
(ITAR-TASS, 24 January 2008) -- YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK - Central heating was totally restored on Thursday in the Artyk settlement in the Yakutia republic where 16 houses had been left without heating and frozen. Forty-nine residents of Artyk that had been evacuated to the Ust-Neri settlement have returned to their houses, the press service of the Far Eastern regional centre of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry reported. The emergency in the settlement located in the Oimyakon district occurred on the night from December 26 to 27. The heating pipeline main lying at a depth of 2.5 metres fractured in several places. About 60 people out of 562 Artyk residents were timely evacuated as the air temperatures in the settlement were dropping to 50 degrees Celsius below zero. Pipes, radiators and other materials for the repair were airlifted from Yakutsk and delivered by motor transport from Magadan.
Posted 26 January 2008; 5:32:23 PM. Permalink
SeverPress via BarentsObserver, 18 January 2008) -- As much as 29 percent of all investments in Russia was in 2007 placed in the Russian North. In addition, the North contributed with 35 percent of all tax incomes in the country. Now, its time for Russia to treat the people of the North better, member of parliament, Gennadii Oleynik says. According to Mr. Oleynik, deputy in the Federation Council from the oil-rich Khanti-Mansiisk region, the Russian North in 2007 attracted 19,4 percent of all foreign investments placed in the country. In addition, 25 percent of all company profits generated in the country come from companies operating in the North. Mr. Oleynik chairs the Federation Councilâ€™s Committee of the North and Small Peoples. Lately, the situation in the Russian North has improved with both economic growth and reduced unemployment. However, the situation remains problematic. Since year 1990, the population in the Russian North has dropped from 12,8 million people to 10,6 million. In addition, the north has seen a significant aging of the population with the number of pensioners increasing from 20 percent to 26,5 percent of the regional population. Also life standards still lag behind the Russian average, and unemployment, despite the positive current tendences, remain far higher than in Russia major. Mr. Oleynik now calls on Russian decision-makers to facilitate conditions for continued growth in the North. He believes it must become more attractive for qualified specialists to work in the region, and that life conditions must be improved. For this to be achieved, social guarantees and compensations must be arranged for, he maintains. The Russia North, a huge and resource-rich area covering major parts of the country, remains the economic engine of Russia. However, the area, remains first of all a raw material producer and the profits to a growing extend ends up in Moscow.
Posted 19 January 2008; 9:00:27 PM. Permalink
(RIA Novosti, 17 january 2008) -- YAKUTSK - A herd of horses in the Republic of Yakutia, in east Siberia, have accepted a reindeer as their own, a local horse breeder told RIA Novosti on Thursday. "The case is, of course, unique—horses accepting a reindeer into their herd. What's more they will not allow anyone to take it away to rejoin its own kind," said Vladimir Koryakin. According to the horse breeder, it is not clear how the young reindeer teamed up with the horses, whose pasture ground lies about 250-270 km (150-170 miles) away from the nearest known reindeer herd and lacks the lichen that reindeers mainly feed on. The horses, ten females and a male, have vigorously opposed any attempt to take the reindeer away, sheltering it with their bodies and even adopting "a threatening manner."
Posted 18 January 2008; 5:47:58 PM. Permalink
(Sergei Blagov/Eurasia Daily Monitor, 10 January 2008)** -- Distracted by the country's longest festive season, Russia has faced a series of power outages in early January, including in areas where temperatures plummet to extreme lows. The accidents came as an ominous reminder that Russia needs to improve and redevelop its basic infrastructure, specifically to rehabilitate power and heating supply systems after years of under investment. The festive season turned unpleasant for many people in Yakutia, an eastern region known for its extremely harsh climate conditions. On New Year's Eve, nearly 60 houses lost heat in the regional capital, Yakutsk, forcing the evacuation of nearly 600 people. Local authorities rushed to dispatch some 200 emergency personnel to deal with the accident. Furthermore, on December 26 68 houses in Artyk township in Yakutia lost heating supplies. It took the authorities more than two weeks to tackle the consequences of the incident, while Artyk recorded temperatures as low as –55C. Yet, on January 6 Russia's top medical official, Gennady Onischenko, announced that the government saw no need to set up special evacuation centers in order to deal with such emergencies (Interfax, Itar-Tass, RIA-Novosti, January 1-6). Separately, on January 4 some 140 residential buildings were left without heating in the Siberian town of Krasnoyarsk, and another 200 houses in Berezovka village nearby. About 7,000 local residents were affected, and it took the authorities two days to repair the damage caused by worn-out pipes. On January 8, Krasnoyarsk Mayor Pyotr Pimashkov suggested that local power companies should pay compensation to local residents affected by the incident (Interfax, January 6-8).
Posted 11 January 2008; 2:56:02 AM. Permalink
(Vladivostok News, 14 December 2007) -- The Yakutia Republic, one of Russia's remote Far Eastern regions, will stage an international auction of mammoth tusks and other remains on Friday, the fourth event of this kind there. According to Yakutia's ministry in charge of business affairs, officials are currently performing all necessary preparations, including evaluating the items for sale, particularly their quality and price. In Yakutia 33 companies are engaged in collecting mammoths' tusks and remains. According to their licenses, they all are required to exhibit their findings for sale. Annually in Yakutia the companies gather from 30 to 50 tons of mammoths' remains. The tusks are usually found in the northern regions of the Yakutia Republic. During last year's auction, 14 of 34 items offered, totaling 624 kilograms (1,375 pounds), were sold, bringing in 12.2 million rubles ($502,000). The countries participating in the auction were Russia, Germany, Italy, Canada, the U.S., Thailand, France, Japan and others. Starting from 2008 the ministry plans to introduce a system of on-line auctions with the possibility of paying via the internet. Environmentalists support the auctions because the sale of mammoth tusks brings down the price of elephant ivory on the black market, thereby reducing the appeal of poaching.
Posted 14 December 2007; 11:16:15 PM. Permalink
(Regnum.ru, 14 December 2007) -- The level of chemical pollution of the lakes located in territory of Yakutsk and its suburbs, for last five years has considerably decreased. Checks of the republican Ministry of wildlife management show that for last five years in comparison with the last years parameters the level of contaminants in city lakes, including mineral oil, phenols, ammonia, nitrogen and other harmful substances, have considerably decreased. The main cause of the pollution of Yakutsk lakes are emergency dumps of sewage from the city system. There are regular inspections and chemical analysis of water of all reservoirs located in Yakutsk and its suburbs. [The title link is to the Russian original.]
Posted 14 December 2007; 10:16:09 PM. Permalink
(Regnum.ru, 14 December 2007) -- On 1 January 2008, Kamchatka will usher in a new goverment management structure. The Kamchatka Times reports that the main feature of the change will be a conversion of the old "managements" into "ministries." Former "chiefs of management" will become ministers. The new structure was approved on 11 November 2007. As of the new year, there will be new ministries, agencies and inspections that will be responsible for all state-level activities in Kamchatka territory. [Title link is to the Russian source.]
Posted 14 December 2007; 9:58:15 PM. Permalink
(ScienceDaily, 26 November 2007) -- Some 40,000 walruses have appeared on the Russian Arctic coast, a phenomenon that scientists believe is a result of global warming melting Arctic sea ice. According to WWF, this is the largest walrus haul out—areas where walruses rest when they are out of the water—registered in the Russian Arctic. The area is currently being protected by the local community through the WWF-supported Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North. But more permanent protection, like a nature reserve, is needed to prevent walrus poaching and other threats to these large marine mammals. "Because of climate change, ice is disappearing from the Chukchi and East Siberian seas during the summer months," says Viktor Nikiforov, Director of WWF-Russia's Regional Programmes. "This means that in the coming years new haul outs will appear along the Chukotka Arctic coast." Walruses need thick sea ice to support their weight and the shallow waters of the coastal zone to feed. Unlike seals, they cannot swim indefinitely and must pause after foraging.
Posted 27 November 2007; 12:50:14 AM. Permalink
(Vladivostok Times, 22 November 2007) -- VLADIVOSTOK - Two earthquakes have been registered in the Far East of Russia. The first one hit the waters of the Pacific Ocean at 1:38 a.m. (Vladivostok time) 229,9 kilometers to the South of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy. The quake measured 4.0 on the Richter scale and its epicenter was located at the depth of 60 km, the Far Eastern Centre of the RF Ministry of emergencies reported. Another 4,9 magnitude quake hit Yakutia, 180 km to the South-East of Ust-Nera Settlement, the Oymyakonskiy District. Its epicenter was at the depth of 15 km. According to the rescuers, the tremors were felt neither on the Kamchatka peninsula nor in Yakutia. There are no casualties, destructions or tsunami threat.
Posted 22 November 2007; 4:16:17 PM. Permalink
(ITAR-TASS, 16 November 2007) -- KHABAROVSK, November 16 (Itar-Tass) - Two people have died and another two have been hospitalised with burns as a result of fire at a diesel power station in the Ulakhan-Kyuel settlement of the Verkhoyansk district of Yakutia, the republican department of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry told Itar-Tass on Friday. The accident occurred on Thursday evening leaving 1076 people without electricity. The settlement's apartment houses now are using ovens for heating and six out of seven boiler houses that provide heating to the local musical school, kindergarten, sport centre, the obstetrics station and other facilities use their own fuel. "There is no threat of freezing of the heating supply systems," the emergencies department officials said. Now the electricity supply has been restored and the repair operation at the power station is underway. An emergency response headquarters is operating in the settlement administration. A new diesel power generator has been brought by Mi-8 helicopter to Ulakhan-Kyuel from the Batagai settlement and has been temporarily placed at the secondary school premises. An investigation group of operatives is working at the incident site. According to a preliminary version, the blaze started due to careless handling of fire in the station's oil-fuel room, the emergencies department officials noted.
Posted 16 November 2007; 5:31:52 PM. Permalink