Magnum Foundation

Magnum Foundation

Notes from the Russian Arctic

2011 Emergency Fund Ppotographer Justin Jin sent us images from the Russian Arctic, where post-Soviet industrial communities struggle to survive.

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Karp Belgayev, a coal miner, walks through Yor Shor, an abandoned village near Vorkuta where he is among the last ten inhabitants. Miners say that after ten years working underground it is impossible to remove black rings from around the eyes.

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Gases emitted from the nickel mining combine in this Russian Arctic town kills almost everything within sight. The combine, built in 1937 during Stalin’s reign, emits five times more sulphur dioxide—the cause of acid rain—than the whole of Norway across the Russian border. In 2001, Norway gave Norilsk Nickel, the head company, 32 million euros to modernise the facility and cut pollution. The money disappeared, but the factory was not improved. Sulphur dioxide emitted from the factory kills vegetation, pollutes ground water and causes asthma, especially among children.