Проекты экспертного центра ПОРА включают как нашу деятельность в рамках постоянно идущих программ, так и реализацию разовых проектов, направленных на достижение наших целей.

Polar Index

Polar Index is a joint project of the PORA expert center and the Environmental Economics Chair, Lomonosov Moscow State University, aimed at promoting the sustainable development principles in the Russian Arctic.

As part of the project, two independent, although interconnected, sustainable development ratings are being compiled, one for Russian Arctic regions, and the other for companies operating there.

The methodology used to assign these ratings is based upon the sustainable development theory introduced by the UN as a universal model for the development of human societies ranging from local communities and small companies to the world as a whole.

Unlike most currently existing territory/company ratings, the Polar Index Project is methodologically based on the so-called triple score concept: sustainable development is interpreted as a balance of its economic, environmental and social components.

Polar Index: Companies (presented in June 2018)  became the first specialized sustainable development rating of companies operating in the Russian Arctic. The following five companies topped the rating: PJSC LUKOIL, PJSC SIBUR Holding, PJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel, PJSC Rosneft, and PJSC ALROSA.

The second rating produced under this project, Polar Index: Regions,  made public in September 2018 assesses the sustainability of development of the Russian Arctic at the macro-scale. The rating covers all regions that are administratively part of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation. According to the rating, the top five regions are: Murmansk Oblast, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Arkhangelsk Oblast,  Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, and Krasnoyarsk Region.

As the next step, the project went international with launching the Polar Index for Barents Region that rated the provinces of, and companies operating in, the Barents Euro-Arctic Region.

The Barents Euro-Arctic Region (or Barents Region for short) is the Europe’s biggest interregional association established on 11 January 1993. It encompasses 13 Norwegian, Russian, Finnish and Swedish administrative provinces located in geographical proximity of the Barents Sea.

The international scope of the ratings allows to address the sustainable development of the High North at the macro-scale while taking into account both the common objectives and the contradictions existing between various Arctic nations.

Clean Pillars Project and Krasnyie Kamni Environmental Trail

Despite the efforts by the Stolby (the Pillars) Nature Reserve management, the Reserve’s stone pillars are still being regularly vandalized by tourists, rock climbers and illegal graffiti artists. The huge size of the reserve, a constant and considerable flow of visitors, as well as the lack of funding prevent the management from solving the graffiti issue. At a yearly basis, the reserve employees and volunteers participate in small-scale Stop the Graffiti! campaigns.  However, this is clearly not enough. The aim of the Clean Pillars Project is to ensure gradual removal of graffiti from the surface of the preserve rocks within summer and autumn. Under the Reserve Landing initiative, which is part of the project, local schoolchildren participate in collecting garbage at the reserve. The Stolby Reserve is widely viewed as an eco-symbol of the City of Krasnoyarsk, and the key city’s environmental asset.

First graffiti were painted on the reserve’s rocks before the 1917 Russian Revolution, such as the well-known historical inscription that says Svoboda (meaning Freedom in Russian). Painted on the reserve’s Second Pillar, it is periodically renewed by enthusiasts. However, not all such inscriptions have any historical significance. Most of the graffiti observable in the reserve are merely present-day unwanted drawings and inscriptions, which keep appearing from one year to another. The reserve receives about 1/2 million visitors annually, not all of whom treat it with due respect.
At the initial stage of the project, the graffiti and illegal waste disposal sites located in the park were identified and cataloged, which enabled us to draft a 3-year action plan. The second stage involved the actual effort to remove paint from rocks. The removal was performed by professional rope access technicians who volunteered to take part in the project. During 3 consecutive summer seasons, the Reserve Landing initiative engaging high-school children was implemented. As part of the initiative, teenager volunteers collected garbage and dead-wood, arranged trails, and contributed to the area beautification.

The Krasnyie Kamni Environmental Trail

Krasnyie Kamni (Red Stones) is a mountain gorge favored by dwellers of the City of Norilsk and communities of Talnakh and Kayerkan as a picnic/resting place. The gorge is located 6 kilometers to the East of Talnakh and is part of the Kharaelakh Mountains.  Visitors are attracted by a 2-stream waterfall flowing into a crystal clear lake whose depth reaches 9 meters, and the sight of the red-brownish mountains that gave the name to the gorge. The mountain ridge that is 500 to 600 meters high is ideal for rock climbing practice. The lake is used for holding polar divers competitions.  Many Norilsk dwellers come here by bike. The Krasnyie Kamni gorge is a starting point of numerous tourist trails alongside the Kharaelakh mountain area to the Melkoe and Lama lakes. This area also borders the Putorana nature reserve.

Regrettably, the place also attracts illegal graffiti painters. Most rocks are covered with unwanted inscriptions, which spoils the natural beauty of the place. Moreover, the remote location of the gorge combined with the lack of garbage containers contribute to yet another issue, the large amount of illegal dumping sites found alongside the road between the intercity highway and the waterfall. This project aims at creating a tourist environment trail. Together with the For the Clean City, a Norilsk NGO, and with support from the Joint Directorate of Taymyr Nature Reserves, we collected most of the garbage alongside the trail, and removed most graffiti painted on rocks. In 2019, the path will be furnished with information boards and resting places equipped with benches and pavilions, as well as signposts indicating distance points. The preparatory pre-installation work was complete by autumn 2018. In addition, it is our plan to install waste containers inaccessible to wild animals and make arrangements for regular garbage removal.

Our Partners: SFU Environment Foundation and For the Clean City (NGO)

It is Time for Arctic Cuisine

The Russian Arctic is abundant not only in mineral resources but also in unique foods that are both clean, natural, safe, and rich in nutrients and vitamines. Regrettably, for a number of reasons ranging from complicated logistics to the lack of awareness of most Russians about health benefits of Arctic food products, the latter are next to impossible to buy outside the High North regions.

On 23 January 2018, the PORA Expert Center hosted a round table on Arctic diet and healthy nutrition, which resulted in initiating the project dubbed It is Time for Arctic Cuisine. As part of the project, a catalog of Arctic food producers and respective foods (e.g. venison, fish, wild berries and mushrooms typical for High North, as well as their products). The catalog’s goal is to introduce the rest of Russia to the variety of Arctic foods and cuisine.

The Arctic is home to a range of unique species, that cannot be found outside the region. Local wildlife is not harmed by chemicals and pollutants, unlike farm animals and plants used to produce mass market food.  Arctic cuisine features an amazing combination of wild flavor and unique nutrients.

Arctic foods are very beneficial for one’s health. Both meat and fish from the region are rich in trace nutrients and vitamins, while arctic salmon, omul (Arctic cisco) and smelt help combat cardiovascular diseases and contribute to reducing the risk of heart attacks. Nearly all arctic foods have strong health benefits. For instance, halibut helps strengthen the central nervous system, while venison is known for its anticarcinogen and antihypertensive properties.

In addition, Arctic foods boost immune system, and are beneficial in other ways, e.g. brown algae are rich in iodine that stimulates brain activity and decreases cholesterol levels, and whitefish provides protein (which serves as building blocks for body tissues) and a considerable amount of vitamins.

The mission of this project is to promote and contribute to ensuring the availability of Arctic foods throughout Russia.

GoArctic, a Mobile Application

At present, the Russian Arctic can hardly be called a popular tourist destination. There are numerous reasons for that. First and foremost, many believe that the Arctic is only good for extreme tourism. Secondly, there is a stereotype that only wealthy tourists can afford trips to the Arctic. Thirdly, many are simply not aware of what the Arctic really is, and think of it as ice-frozen plains populated with polar bears.

It is with the view to combat such stereotypes that the PORA Expert Center launched the design of an application named GoArctic.

GoArctic is an application for anyone who:

  • Never thought about going to the Arctic
  • Never visited the Arctic, but dreamed of it
  • Visited the Arctic but is eager to explore new places there.

The Russian Arctic is home to astounding natural beauty, unique culture and cuisine of the Northern peoples, and history. The application offers access to exclusive information on all places in the Russian Arctic worth visiting and a tool to calculate travel expenses. GoArctic aggregates Arctic news and gives insight into history and culture of each specific Arctic region and its people.

We believe that all users will find some sort of attraction in the High North: some will fall in love with its nature, some will be interested in exploring culture, while others will be tempted with peculiar cuisine of the Arctic peoples.

Sleep-Wakefulness Cycle and Health Indicators in Children in the Arctic Regions of Russia

«ПОРА» исследует особенности сна детей в Арктике

In 2018, the PORA Expert Center extended its support to the project aiming to study and assess the impact of life in the Arctic on sleep-wakefulness cycle and other biological rhythms of children. The study was performed by experts of the Karelian Research Center (Russian Academy of Sciences) and I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University.  

The findings acquired under the 1st stage of the study were presented on 4 April 2019 at a panel hosted by the PORA.

The study involved 1,000 children aged 7 to 12 living in the Murmansk Oblast and Taimyr, the control group being represented by children from such cities as Petrozavodsk and Tyumen. The study involved children from both aboriginal and Russian communities. Additionally, in the course of several months, researchers measured diurnal body temperature of the children and their levels of melatonin and cortisol secretion, and conducted a range of genetic studies on genome responsible for biological cycle.

The study showed that: About 57 per cent of children in the Arctic report the lack of sleep, while more than 58 per cent wake up in the middle of the night.  15 per cent report drowsiness at daytime, and 40 per cent occasional/light forms of insomnia. Sleep disorders reported by schoolchildren of Russian descent are connected, inter alia, with unhealthy lifestyle. Levels of cortisol and their dynamics differ in children of indigenous and non-indigenous descent, while melatonin levels are determined by gender and geographical factors. Duration of sleep also influences the performance at school and a range of biochemical blood values (such as glucose and trace elements levels) in schoolchildren.  The study statistically proves that drowsiness increases in winter.

The experts drafted separate sets of recommendations for children, parents and teachers on what to do to normalize day regimen and improve sleep-wakefulness cycle. For instance, for those who have trouble with sleep it is advisable to keep a self-observation diary to monitor sleep and state of health (in paper or digital form), eat more foods with high content of tryptophan (such as cheese, nuts, some sorts of fish), and use gradual lighting to gently wake up in the morning. In classrooms, the lighting should be both bright and dispersed, with preference given to fluorescent lamps. This helps activate the circadian system function in infants and teenagers thus improving their concentration. It is a known fact that people are more intellectually productive if they work in well-lit environment.

Researchers also gave several lectures and presented their findings at student conferences and learning sessions on sleep hygiene and day regimen for schoolchildren in Karelia, Murmansk Oblast, Tyumen and St. Petersburg.

The recommendations drafted were presented to the public institutions concerned of the respective Arctic regions. The project team plans to organize seminars on the subject involving teachers and eventually middle and high school students.

The Enets Writing Project

This project (full name: the Creation of Enets Writing as a Means of Safeguarding the Unique Cultural Heritage of Northern Indigenous Minorities) is a joint initiative of the PORA Expert Center and the Siberian Federal University.

Currently, native languages of Arctic indigenous minorities are at a turning point: they can either be revived or become extinct.  Historical linguistics knows examples of both scenarios. Quite surprisingly, in XXI century there still are peoples with non-written languages. One of such peoples are the Enets, an indigenous minority that live in the Russian Arctic, at the Taimyr Dolgano-Nenets Municipal District (Krasnoyarsk Region). In accordance with 2010 National Population Census, there are 215 Enets in Russia.

Historians believe that the Enets migrated to the Taimyr Peninsula from the South (hypothetically, from Southern Siberia or regions adjacent to Sayan Mountains and/or Tom River) and assimilated the Taimyr aboriginal tribes of reindeer hunters.

At present, the Enets live mostly in communities close to the City of Dudinka, and in the community of Ust-Avam, (Taimyr Dolgano-Nenets Municipal District, Krasnoyarsk Region).

Peoples which speak non-written languages are specifically vulnerable in times of global change. In this light, the PORA Center extended its support to the research by the Siberian Federal University and its effort to design an Enets writhing system.

The project was launched on 17 April 2018, and its implementation continued in 2019 proclaimed by the UN as the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

Project mission is to preserve and revive the unique cultural heritage of the Enets people.

Project goal is to create a writing system for the Enets in order to enable the preservation of this people’s cultural legacy, and secure its transition to further generations.

Project objectives:

  1. Studying best practices in designing alphabets for non-written languages;
  2. Implementing an in situ research program with view to study the current state of the Enets culture involving the use of methodologies in the field of visual anthropology, cultural studies and ethnic and cultural modeling.
  3. Analysis of the data acquired and practice-oriented expert assessment of ideas and proposals for designing the Enets writing system.
  4. Exploring and mastering up-to-date means (including digital formats) to be used for safeguarding and sharing the Enets cultural heritage.
  5. Designing a set of research-based and validated model ethno-educational technologies aiming to preserve and ensure the reproduction of the Enets culture.

Interim Results:

A Committee on designing and legal recognition of the Enets writing system was established and is operational; A working group on the Enets language is set up under the auspices of the Dolgano-Nenets Municipal District Head;  A program for educating educators in minority tongues of the Taimyr Peninsula is being designed; Currently, both the Enets writing and language courses undergo a series of field tests in the community of Potapovo under the kohanga reo (language nest, or group immersion) learning method.

Polar Bear Environmental Learning Center

Polar Bear Environmental Learning Center (City of Norilsk) was inaugurated as part of the Let Us Safeguard the Polar Bear program, a joint initiative by the Siberian Federal University Environmental Foundation and the PORA Expert Center (Project Office for the Development of the Arctic) implemented at the Taymyr Peninsula, Krasnoyarsk Region.

The project’s aim is to stop the decline in polar bear numbers along the coast of the Laptev Sea caused by poaching.

Polar bear, the biggest land predator on Earth, is widely regarded as the symbol of the Arctic, which is of special importance to Russia as the world’s largest Arctic nation. It should be noted that the very word Arctic derived from the Greek word ἀρκτικός meaning ‘close to the Great Bear’ (the word ἄρκτος means bear). Polar bear is a common character in numerous legends and fairy tales of the indigenous peoples of High North, as well as present-day animated films.

The current polar bear population in Russia is estimated at 5 to 6 thousand animals. According to the 2015 study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the polar bear numbers will decline by at least 30% by 2050; the pessimistic scenario envisions a more dramatic drop by 2/3.

The key menace endangering the polar bear population in Russia is poaching. In the project framework, we wage an aggressive anti-poaching campaign targeting adults; however, we believe that achieving real change should entail the engagement of children, as it is only reasonable to cultivate the environment-friendly attitude since early age.

We envisaged this specific goal when establishing the Polar Bear Environmental Learning Center, which hosts learning sessions since 15 November 2018. Every week the Center serves 110 children of primary school age (13 groups); next year we plan to double that number. On week-ends, the Center can also be attended by older children.

A virtual reality application White Bear was developed specifically to be used at the Center. The application aims to tell children about polar bear, his habitat, feeding habits, neighboring species etc. With the help of augmented reality, children are offered the opportunity to observe a polar bear, a seal, or a guillemot in the comfort of the classroom, while VR technology enables them to ‘teleport’ themselves to the icy plains of High North and meet the polar bear, explore the bear’s habitat, and help him find food and take a bath in the ocean.

Polar Bear Environmental Learning Center strives to serve the community as a modern center focusing on promoting children’s creativity and environmental awareness. The Center delivers learning through arts and crafts, theater, literature, as well as computer-generated graphics and animation.

What makes it different?

  • Environmental learning through creativity
  • Not just lessons, but also gameplay using cutting-edge technologies
  • Combination of traditional creative activities (painting, handicraft, theatrical role play etc.) and computer-assisted ones (animation and graphic design)
  • All sessions are absolutely free.

 

Plans for the nearest future:

  1. Issuing teaching aids for school teachers and parents
  2. Double the number of learning groups in Norilsk
  3. Establish such centers in other Russian High North cities

Arctic Job Center

Картинки по запросу работа на крайнем севере

One of PORA’s major prospective projects aims to launch a center for suitable employment in the Arctic. We intend to establish a vocational guidance service for those interested in finding a job in the Russian Arctic.

We consult on the following subjects:

  • Advantages of working in the Russian Arctic;
  • Pay rates for specific jobs and career venues;
  • Preferences for professionals working in the Arctic;
  • Watch-based vs full-time employment;
  • Available vacancies and first steps necessary for starting an Arctic career.

Additionally, the Center is supposed to provide vocational guidance assisting a specific person in finding the best fitting job.

Young people will be able to find information on available education and training opportunities related to prospective careers in the Arctic.

As first step, we plan to draft a Compendium for Arctic Professions listing all career venues, which are in demand in the Arctic.

Major Advantages of Working in the Arctic

Higher Salaries

Wages of professionals working in the Arctic are multiplied by a so-called district coefficient, which in some regions can be as high as two. The said coefficients for High North regions are as follows:

  • Yakut Republic: 2
  • Chukotka Autonomous District: 2
  • Krasnoyarsk Region: 2
  • Nenets Autonomous District: 1.8
  • Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District: 1.7 to 1.8
  • Komi Republic (City of Vorkuta): 1.6
  • Murmansk Oblast: 1.5
  • Republic of Karelia: 1.4
  • Arkhangelsk Oblast: 1.2

Apart from that, employees are entitled to the so-called Northern bonus, a benefit payment for working in the High North that gradually grows depending on the length of employment.

  • For instance, within first 6 months of employment this bonus amounts to 10 per cent  of the base wage rate;
  • Every 6 consecutive months the bonus amount grows by 10 per cent of the base wage rate up to the limit of 80 (or, in some regions, 100) per cent.

Overall, owing to these multipliers, wage standards in the Russian Arctic exceed those of the rest of Russia by up to 3 times.

Longer Vacations

Those working in the High North are entitled to an additional leave allowance of 24 days per annum plus the standard 28-days paid leave.

  • This is valid for both full-time and part-tame/watch-based workers;
  • Employers are legally obliged to pay travel costs (incl. luggage) to and from the employee’s vacation destination;
  • An employee may choose to receive a just compensation for not going on vacation.

Healthcare Package

Employers shall cover expenses relating to their employees’ trips to other cities/regions where they receive treatment that is not available in their home city.

Parental Package

Employees with children are entitled to a 14-days paid leave, should the need arises to escort them to another city/region for entrance examination.

If an employee has children aged under 16, he or she is entitled to an additional day-off per month (non-paid).

Less Working Hours for Women

For women, the working week in the High North is 36 hrs instead of 40. However, women are paid the same salaries as their male colleagues who work 40 hrs a week.

Earlier Retirement Age

Those employed in polar and pre-polar regions can retire earlier than their colleagues from the rest of Russia if the length of their employment is not less than 15 years. This being the case, their retirement age is:

  • 60 years for men
  • 55 years for women.

In case that a person’s length of employment in the High North equals or exceeds 7 years and 6 months, his/her retirement age is lowered at a rate of 4 months each consecutive year of employment.

Great Northern Route

Картинки по запросу великий северный путь круглов

The Russian Arctic has been attracting explorers and artists for centuries. Those who are both, are capable of creating such masterpieces as the Great Northern Route, a recent documentary film by Leonid Kruglov.

The film is a virtual voyage into history of the Russian Arctic based on a real one that lasted 4 years. Mr. Kruglov, a renowned director of documentaries, photographer, ethnographist, and member of the Russian Geographic Society, followed the path of the XVII century Russian explorer Semyon Dezhnev, who crossed the least accessible areas of the Russian Arctic, and made a film about his journey.

The project relied on support from the Zvezda TV Channel, the Russian Geographic Society, the PORA Expert Center, and the Sony Corporation.

In the mid-XVII century, Dezhnyov crossed the Urals Mountains and went eastwards to try his luck and explore new lands. Traveling by dog sled, deer sled, and boat, he ultimately reached Chukotka. ‘We followed his path using the same means of transport, and made a film on how the Russian Arctic was explored’, says director Kruglov.

To follow the great explorer’s footsteps, the XXI century travelers were determined to use authentic means of transport. ‘Together with Fyodor Konyukhov, we traveled from the Arkhangelsk Oblast (where Velikiy Ustyug, the Dezhnev’s home city, is located) to the Komi Republic by dog sled. We covered the distance between Komi and the City of Tobolsk by deer sled, and then we used all means of transport available including a small single-engine plane, which brought us across the Putorana Plateau to the City of Oymyakon. Then we crossed the Laptev Sea by twin hull sailboat’, Mr. Kruglov said.

Semyon Dezhnev (circa 1605 – 1673) was a Russian traveler, seafarer and explorer of Northern and Eastern Siberia and North America. He also served as a Cossack officer, and made a fortune as a fur trader. He was the first European to sail through the Bering Strait separating Asia from America. This happened in 1648, 80 years before Russian explorer and military cartographer Vitus Bering did the same. The easternmost point of both Chukotka and Eurasia, Cape Dezhnev, is named after him.