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.