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Calm. Norilsk, a city at the point of no return

From project “A Moon Of Nickel And Ice”

Norilsk

Russia.

Norilsk city is an industrial Mecca of Russia. The city is a ghost, surrounded by metallurgical plants of Norilsk Nickel. This is not just a small factory, not just a mine. This is a real giant.

At the end of May 2020, an ecological catastrophe of a planetary scale occurred in Norilsk. At one of the thermal power plants, 21,000 tons of diesel was leaked into a local lake. Then it was discovered that contaminated water was being pumped out of the Talnakh enrichment plant into the tundra by pumps. Finally, another subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel “Norilsktransgaz” reported a leak of 44.5 tons of jet fuel due to a leak in the pipeline. The plant has never encountered environmental problems of this magnitude.

But people living here are not particularly surprised, even a little perplexed and grinned. Where were all these media, environmentalists before when Norilsk was leading in anti-ratings on ecology for years? People are already accustomed to the smell of sulfur and thick smog, when due to air pollution in kindergartens, children are not allowed out for walks.

Here people have different values. People are only concerned with how to survive until the next vacation, buy a ticket and go away from it all with the whole family. Vocation for the residents of the Far North are of particular value. People do not have a summer residence, they cannot spend their holidays here, they must definitely leave. This is both a tradition and an urgent need. This anxiety is the main one in the city, against its background other problems fade away.

The city is at the point of no return, and the panic from what is happening intoxicates and pulls like a stone to the bottom.

Such is the payback for the extraction of metal and a decent salary.

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Ann Nikonenok

My name is Ann, I am a free artist from Siberia. Photography for me is the best way to be in the moment. I believe that the camera in my hands can change the world through beauty and mindfulness.

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