Norilsk: a city built by forced labor

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  • Post Category:History / News

“The northernmost city in the world” is in Russia, a mining community built on bones. Covered by snow most of the year, with a 40-day polar night without sun, the lenses of different cameras save the beauty of a north completely contaminated by the ambition of mining.

 

Norilsk una ciudad constuida por labor forzado Saga History Saga Creativa Ecuador cover
Source: IG janjanmishka_house

 

175,000 people live in what once was the headquarters of a prison and forced labor camp, the Gulag. This kind of imprisonment contained, for the most part, political opponents and “undesirable” people in the eyes of the regime of Vladimir Lenin and later that of Joseph Stalin.

Since around 1920, the extraction of nickel, copper and palladium, in the largest deposits in the world, became the primary activity of Norilsk, forged with the labor of the “prisoners”.

The city rose above the overexploited and, to this day, they survive from mining: the workers do not have many job opportunities so they end up exposing themselves to a job that fills their lungs with metal and steal them of 10 years of their average life. The air, snow, vegetation and water suffer from mining pollution, many have described the city as a frozen hell. To get here, as if it were an island, you have to do it by sea or by air: there is no road to Norilsk.

Despite these conditions, locals and tourists have captured their reality in this city. They have rescued, with their focus on composition, the beauty that the north possesses. The Russian photographer, Elena Chernyshova, made a photo report in 2013 about life 400 km north of the Arctic circle. Until today, she keeps posting images of Norilsk on her Instagram account.

You can see the photo report here.

Like her, others have rescued these hard landscapes through attractive images, but in all this documentation the detail of a polluting industrialization does not escape, either in the smoke of the factories or in an architecture that evokes oppression. The nostalgia of the cold and history are eternally injected in Norilsk.

 

 

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Source:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUqDpJt7VGY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ks9E9XQp_2k

http://www.bbc.com/culture/gallery/20190321-norilsk-the-city-where-the-sun-doesnt-rise

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/sep/15/norilsk-red-river-russias-most-polluted-city-clean

https://www.rbth.com/travel/328844-facts-about-norilsk

 

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