Meetings in

The Arctic project of Siberia: Joining the Dots
contains the stories of the polar explorers
who have left Dikson or who still live there

Russian version

Idea, text, selection of materials: Anna Gruzdeva
Editor: Elena Makeenko
Photoeditor: Valeria Vetoshkina and Academy of the Photography
Make-up: Vasily Vershinin, Nikita Pushkin and Evdokia Shelamova
Translator: Maria Biryucheva

They meet on high days and holidays and also for no particular reason in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, in Norilsk and Krasnoyarsk. Those who moved to the mainland, put their old photos in social networks and recall the days of the past. Those who stayed in the capital of the Arctic, share the photos from the present: about the falls of snow in September, about the recently demolished uninhabited houses, about a bear dropped in to the people or about a door, drifted with snow up to the handle in December. It seems that Dikson doesn't let off anybody who has ever visited it.

Without any agreement the people from Dikson call themselves The northern brotherhood. Many things bring them together indeed: the northern soviet time, when the state invested a lot in building of the trans-polar settlements and when the military were sent to the end of the Earth to secure the borders, when the scientists studied the North and the icebreakers were built to develop the Northern Sea Ruote. The 90s in the North were the years when the fish-factories and polar-stations were closed, the closed windows of the houses appeared, they were also the years when the tourist ships went along Yenisey more seldom. The present in the North is nothing more than frightening deserted and ruined settlements, the tundra filled with rusty fuel-barrels and the silent question in the future "What is going to happen to the Arctic?"

The history of Dikson is a history of lots of polar explores' generations, and, as is well known, polar explorers can't become former polar explorers. We talked to the people from Dikson who have moved and who have stayed on the island, to those people who lived on Dikson during its golden 1960-80s. We learned how their families went to the North, what they remember about the mainland settlement and the island and how they see the present and the future of the Russian Arctic. Using their old photos, which were collected from different family archives, we tried to make a kind of family photo-album about private and general experience gained by several generations of the polar explorers who used to live or continue living on Dikson.

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