Over the border (Russian Arctic)

Murmansk region, North-West Russia. Few miles away from Norway, yet worlds apart. This region of the Russian Arctic had a strategic role during the second world war and has still a very heavy military presence.

About 30 – 40 km into Russia lies the city of Nikel, founded in the 1930s around newly discovered occurrences of copper and nickel. A vast area around the city is today heavily contaminated by smoke and fine particles constantly emitted by three tall pipes that stand as the city’s only real landmark. Not much vegetation grows within a 2 – 3 km radius from the pipes. The city itself is a conglomerate of rather depressing, gray, soviet blocks placed worryingly close to the pipes. Life expectancy here is well under 60 years, as a result of cancer and other respiratory diseases.

Half an hour drive from Nikel lies Zapolyarnyj, established in the 1950s and with just about the same story as Nikel. Below is a short series from my trip there in March 2012.

6 Comments on “Over the border (Russian Arctic)

  1. great shots…. having a similar dream for a while… stay tuned, and i am following you!

  2. Your portfolio is a masterpiece. This is a clear example of how the eye of the photographer can turn a “normal” place into a wonderful visual proposal. While looking at your photographs I was walking next to you, feeling the ice cracking and the cold blowing. I enjoyed it very much. Thank you.

  3. Most moving documentary about these two places , they, for me , sum up the downright depressive atmosphere of many parts of Eastern Europe. No wonder the Russian people have such yearning for song and dance and wodca.
    Again , I like the sensitive way you have portrayed the incredibly difficult living conditions of these warmhearted russian people.

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