Who are we and why am I writing this letter? My name is Anne Gruzdeva and I live in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia. I am a journalist and an editor of Siberia: Joining the Dots project. We tell about Siberia, the people who live here, its culture and history. Our team is interested in working with Lens Blog of The New York Times – we would like to publish our story of the Russian Arctic today. The New York Times has published photos and video of different northern territories: Alaska, Greenland, Yakutia, Norilsk. We share your broad view of the North and your approach of telling about the remote territories through the people's stories. We would delighted if you are interested in the story of the northern settlement of Dickson, the so called capital of the Russian Arctic and its brother-city of Dixon in the State of Illinois.
What history do we offer? Dickson is located in Russia on the Arctic Ocean coast in Taymyrsky Dolgano-Nenetsky District of Krasnoyarsk Krai. In our project we have showen the Soviet past of the Arctic, the Arctic of the 1990s after the breakup of the Soviet Union, and the Arctic today. The first part of the project is called On the Verge of Snow and it features Dickson people telling their stories: the stories of a fisherman, a meteorologist, and a driver. The second part — Meeting on Odnoklassniki, the Russian social network, presents a series of interviews with the polar explorers who left Dickson and those who spent their lives there. These interviews are illustrated by photos from the family albums. Thus we have visualized the collective experience of people, who lived in the Arctic in the USSR.
Why is it interesting to Lens Blog? On the one hand a lot of different things make Dikson similar to other arctic cities and northern settlements in whole world. For example the polar night, severe climate, Nordic character of people, polar bears. On the other hand the history of Dikson is a quintessence of the Soviet and post-Soviest experience of the development of the Arctic. It is not similar to the experience of other countries. It is a story about hope and Great Construction, a historical break in the early 1990s and collective trauma, about brave youth and nostalgic old age of the Soviet polar explorers — the ordinary inhabitants of the Arctic.
We think that the subject of development of the Arctic is a topical issue now and it would be interesting for your readers to learn about Dikson. I will be happy to contribute to such a reputed media.
We have an English version of the Dickson project, but the story has not been published in any foreign mass media yet.