Few hear the cries of those fighting to save wild Russia
Lying to either side of the Urals, the Republic of Komi and Khanty-Mansiysk in the north of Russia are among the country's most oil-rich regions. Scarcely populated, they provide a substantial share of Russia's oil and gas revenues.
The areas are famed for their pristine nature, unique biodiversity and nature reserves, such as the UNESCO-listed Yugyd Va National Park. They are equally renowned for oil, gas, nickel, gold and valuable timber. Intense mining and drilling over the past 20 years in both regions has made prosperous places of many former back-country towns, boasting developed social infrastructure, marble pavements, and shiny new shopping centres. But in spite of high levels of income, residents of oil-rich towns experience many social problems such as alcohol and drug abuse. The indigenous peoples of the Siberian north, many still living a very traditional lifestyle, experience the same problems while existing on poverty-level welfare payments.
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Article by former Fellow Angelina Davydova.