Russia wants prisoners to clean up Arctic | Abroad

Alexander Kalashnikov instructed the chiefs of the regions in his service to draw up this plan. Agreements have already been signed with the administration of Norilsk, an industrial city in northern Siberia severely polluted with mining activities.

In that region, mining giant Norilsk Nick suffered an environmental disaster last year as 21,000 tons of fuel spilled into rivers. The red color of the water was visible from space. The plan has been discussed before. Then a FSIN official suggested building mobile buildings to house detainees in remote areas.

How prisoners are motivated to clean remains unclear. Nothing is known of any reduction in their punishment or their salaries higher than those given to work in the Punishment Colony.

The plans remind us of Gulag, the government agency that in the Stalinist era put convicts to work on mega projects, such as the construction of the White Sea Canal in the 1930s.

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