Il completamento della ferrovia Transiberiana avvenne 100 anni fa

ferrovia-transiberiana-1.900x600.jpgSono trascorsi 100 anni dal completamento della Transiberiana, l’arteria ferroviaria più lunga del mondo, ma anche luogo mitico e di grande ispirazione: lo ricorda il doodle di oggi, dal respiro cinematografico e accompagnato musicalmente da una Serenata per archi di Tchaikovsky.

Solo 100 anni fa giungeva a completamento un’opera che aveva chiesto il lavoro di 90mila operai nel freddo e nelle intemperie, facendosi varco tra le fitte foreste di conifere della taiga siberiana. La Transiberiana doveva essere un’opera d’eccellenza nella Russia degli Zar, un motivo d’orgoglio nazionale. Doveva “essere costruita dai russi e con materiali russi”, come dichiarò ufficialmente la commissione che gestiva il progetto e i lavori. Pronto e funzionante già nel luglio 1904 ma completata veramente solo nel 1916.

A rendere la Transiberiana un’infrastruttura unica, la sua capacità di unire le due estremità dell’immenso paese, assolvendo alle nascenti esigenze correlate anche all’ascesa economica della costa est della Russia, quella che si affaccia sull’ Oceano Pacifico. Trasportare le merci da e per porti fiorenti come quello appena nato di Vladivostok al cuore della Russia, San Pietroburgo (l’allora capitale dell’impero) e Mosca era un’impresa pressoché impossibile. E poi c’era la Siberia, isolata dal freddo e tagliata fuori dallo sviluppo sociale ed economico.

Fu così che nacque e prese forma l’idea di una linea ferroviaria che unisse le estremità est e ovest del paese.

Dopo alcune spedizioni perlustratrici, nel 1891, sotto il regno dello Zar Alessandro III prendevano il via i lavori della Transiberiana, inaugurati ufficialmente a Vladivostok dall’erede al trono, Nikolai, fresco di viaggio intorno al mondo. Era stato infatti deciso che la costruzione della ferrovia sarebbe iniziata contemporaneamente alle due estremità, e avrebbe proceduto verso il centro: da una parte il porto sulla costa del mare del Giappone, dall’altra Chelyabinsk, a ridosso degli Urali, proseguendo poi attraverso le montagne, i fiumi, i laghi, la steppa e la taiga del vasto territorio russo.

Nel 1904 furono quindi completate le sezioni da Mosca a Vladivostok; nel 1916 si approda a una ferrovia Transiberiana che copre le estremità del paese. Ancora oggi la Transiberiana resta più di una ferrovia, è un simbolo culturale potente di legame tra popolazioni e lo stesso autore del doodle, Matt Cruickshank, ha viaggiato sulla mitica linea nel 2015, prendendo ispirazione per il soggetto celebrativo odierno. (Wired.it)

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Scoperta nell’Artico “Isola che non c’è”

“Seconda stella a destra, questo è il cammino”, cantava Bennato rivisitando la favola di Peter Pan, poi la strada per “l’isola che non c’e'” l’hanno trovata casualmente alcuni piloti russi mentre sorvolavano con i loro elicotteri il mare (Artico) di Laptev, nella repubblica siberiana di Yakuzia, vicino all’arcipelago delle isole di Novosibirski. All’inizio è sembrato loro strano, pensavano che non potesse esistere un’isola che non c’è sulle mappe.

Forse era “solo fantasia”, come nella canzone di Bennato, ma in ogni caso hanno preso le coordinate. Poi hanno deciso di fare un secondo sorvolo per essere sicuri di non aver avuto delle allucinazioni. Al secondo giro con i loro Mi-26 non hanno avuto dubbi e hanno regalato alla Russia, che è già il Paese più grande (e in alcuni casi inesplorato) del mondo, altri 500 metri quadri di superficie.

Il nuovo isolotto e’ stato battezzato “Iaia”, come riferisci il tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda. Due le ipotesi per spiegare come sia potuta spuntare dal nulla: la meno probabile è che si sia formata recentemente, anche perchè nell’Artico non ci sono vulcani; la più accreditata invece è che esistesse già ma che nessuno l’avesse vista e quindi mappata perché mimetizzata nel manto candido dell’Artico dal ghiaccio che la ricopriva interamente. (Ansa)

Dmitry Berezhkov freed from jail

Indigenous Peoples activist Dmitry Berezhkov is a free man after a court decision in Northern Norway on says the conditions for extradition to Russia is not present.

Saturday’s court ruling says nearly the opposite of the prosecutor’s claims. “The court says the conditions for extradition to Russian authorities are not present,” says Berezhkov’s lawyer Thomas Hansen to Nordlys.

BarentsObserver has spoken to people near Dmitry Berezhkov after the court ruling that says he is now on his way home to his family after having spent two nights in jail. Berezhkov has been living in Tromsø the last year where he is a student at the regional University.

Yesterday, BarentsObserver quoted sources saying there are clearly political reasons for why Dmitry Berezhkov stays in Norway and can’t return to Russia. The source points to the fact that there over a long period had been a dispute between Russian authorities and RAIPON, where Berezhkov earlier was the Vice-President.

RAIPON is the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, and organization whose new leaders play the melody of Kremlin after an election thriller at their Congress in March.

RAIPON

The newspaper Nordlys on Saturday published an editorial under the headline “Putin’s prisoner” saying this is a case the Norwegian prosecutor should seriously think through.

“To fabricate false charges of crimes against dissidents is just another weapon in the president’s arsenal against opposition and dissents. The prosecutor and the court in Tromsø must bear in mind that this is not in any way any ordinary criminal case,” the Nordlys editorial reads. (Barents Observer)

Indigenous Peoples activist arrested in Norway

Dmitry Berezhkov, former Vice President in RAIPON

Police Prosecutor Thomas Rye-Holmboe confirms to BarentsObserver that “a Russian citizen was arrested in Tromsø on Thursday” …and “the arrest is based on a demanded extradition from Russian police.”

Dmitry Berezhkov is the former Vice President of RAIPON, the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North. Over the last year, Dmitry Berezhkov has been a student at the University of Tromsø.

Troms Police District does not want to give any further comments to BarentsObserver on the details behind the arrest. “Further particulars in the case are something I can’t comment on,” says Thomas Rye-Holmboe.

A trusted source speaking to BarentsObserver who will remain anonymous says there are clearly political reasons for why Dmitry Berezhkov stays in Norway and can’t return to Russia. The source points to the fact that there over a long period had been a dispute between Russian authorities and RAIPON.

Dmitry Berezhkov was arrested just after returning from the preparatory meeting for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples that took place in Alta, Northern Norway from Monday to Wednesday this week. “The arrest is done in accordance with a Russian, Norwegian juridical agreement,” says Troms Police Prosecutor Thomas Rye-Holmboe.

Aili Keskitalo, Sàmi politican and former President of the Sàmi Parliament in Norway says the arrest of Dmitry is horrifying. “I am horrified over the fact that an Indigenous Peoples activist is arrested in Norway on his way from an Indigenous Peoples conference. This is a signal to us all that we have to be on watch,” says Aili Keskitalo in a phone interview with BarentsObserver Friday afternoon.  Keskitalo says she has little confidence in Russian prosecution authority. “I am sorry to say I am afraid Dmitry will not get a fair trial in Russia.”

“The power struggle between Moscow and RAIPON is a well known fact. The struggle was very visible at the February RAIPON Congress in Salekhard in Siberia,” says Keskitalo.

At the Congress, Indigenous right activist Pavel Sulyandziga had to withdraw his candidature after pressure as Moscow and gas-hungry Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District urged the candidature of State Duma deputy from United Russia Gregory Ledkov.

Public Prosecutor in Troms, Lars Fause, says to Nordlys the petition from Russian Attorney’s Office was sent to Norway in March. “There is nothing that suggests that this is anything other than a normal demanded extradition. It is noted that the indictment is not based on race, religion or political reasons. This standardized information in such requests,” says Lars Fause.

Dmitry Berezhkov will, despite Thursday’s arrest, not be automatically handed over to Russian authorities. “The case will be considered in court. We may also request additional information if we find it necessary. When the case is tried by the court, we weigh whether it should be an extradition. After the case tried in court, there is also a possibility to appeal the verdict, says Lars Fause to Nordlys. (Barents Observer)

Floating research station in need of evacuation

The floating research station North Pole-40

The scientific research station was placed on the ice floe in October 2012 and was planned to stay there until September. Now the floe has already started to break apart and the crew has to be evacuated as soon as possible.

Russia’s Minister of Nature Resources and Ecology Sergey Donskoy has ordered that a plan for evacuation should be ready within three days, the Ministry’s web site reads.

“A collapse of the station’s ice floe poses a threat to its continued work, the lives of the crew, the environment close to the Canadian Economic Zone and to equipment and supplies”, a note from the minister reads.

Donskoy suggests that the nuclear-powered icebreaker “Yamal” could evacuate the station from the floe and move it to Severnaya Zemlya.

With ice levels in the Arctic reaching record lows, finding a suitable floe for the station proved to be a difficult task last autumn. The icebreaker carrying the station’s crew had to sail all around the North Pole before finding an ice floe solid enough to hold the station. None of the three floes that had been pre-evaluated from land as possible objects were considered safe enough.

Also the previous shift of Russian scientists experienced problems with the ice situation in the Arctic. In late April the members of North Pole-39 had to move the whole research station to another ice floe because the first one was breaking up.

Only three times has a station had to be evacuated before schedule. The last time was in 2010, when the icebreaker “Rossiya” had to go out and rescue the people on the floating station “North Pole-37” already in May.

Russia earlier this year allocated 1,7 billion rubles (app €42 million) to developing a self-propelled, ice- strengthened floating platform to replace the natural ice floes for future research stations.

Russia has had floating research stations in the Arctic since 1937, when the first scientific drifting ice station in the world – “North Pole-1”, was established. From 1954 Soviet “North Pole” stations worked continuously, with one to three such stations operating simultaneously every year. In the post-Soviet era, Russian exploration of the Arctic by drifting ice stations was suspended for twelve years, and was resumed in 2003. (Barents Observer)