Photo by Elena Chernyshova Interest in the city of Norilsk began when geologists discovered rich deposits of nickel, copper and cobalt in the area in the beginning of the 20th century. In 1936, Russia built a mining and metallurgical complex in the area
using Gulag prisoners. The forced labor workers constructed the city, mines, and factories over a period of 20 years. Norilsk is now home to over 170,000 people, making it one of the largest arctic cities. Photos are clickable.
Here is a video of Russian Navy officers diving into the cold Arctic waters right off the submarine deck, presumably not far from the North Pole, as one of the bathing men says he is a polar man. The water must be ice cold as the pieces of ice of different size can be seen floating around nearby, however as men talk they mention a month of August, so it can be easily the warmest month of the year at the North Pole. It also might be some
sort of initiation ritual for them, as only two out of the five people present actually bathe, and it looks like they follow certain rules: the cameraman insists that both of the men should dive in fully, with their heads immersed into the water, or it could be a certain achievement one can tell their grandchildren about later: "You know, kids, once I was bathing right on the North Pole, and I am not joking!".
This is how the biggest city of the Crimea region looks a day before the referendum set to happen tomorrow, March 16th. According to witnesses, Russian flags can be seen on the majority of buildings in the city, the same on smaller shops and offices or larger residential complexes. People wander around with Russian
flags as Barcelona soccer team fans do when they celebrate a victory of their team. "I really hope to wake up on Monday in a different country without changing my location", writes a popular Crimean blogger as night dawns on the Crimean peninsula, the last night before the referendum starts.