Emerging from hard times in the past, Siberia blooms because of huge network of roads and railways and oil and gas productions. However, climate change threatens the entire infrastructure in Siberia's industrial cities.
The region has experienced economical growth that led to prosperity through decades in the last two centuries. There was no fear of the future and no one has expected the recent climate change to be real at the time the industrial infrastructure was built on the permafrost in the area.
The following article is about this region and the recent climate threats it faces, which could result in complete damages to all that the authorities have built through the long years of hard work.
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Siberia is the only huge region in the entire great Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) before the collapse of the republic in 1991 and, well -- Russia nowadays.
This huge region stretches east from the Urals Mountains up to the strait between the Pacific Ocean and the Arctic Ocean and covers nearly 10% of the Earth's land surface. That area is 13.1 million square kilometres.
However, most of the areas of the entire huge region remained unexplored until the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway Network between 1891 and 1916.
It is well known that in the hard times of the Russian history some political events took place here in Siberia's harsh arctic and sub arctic climate.
During long periods of time, the area was inhabited only by exiled prisoners from western Russia in addition to very small numbers of explorers and traders.
In the Stalin era, the Gulag labour camps were prepared for deportation of prisoners who were either petty criminals or political enemies of the state.
The numbers of those exiled prisoners reached alarming heights during Stalin's hard time. At least 14 million people, including all nationalities were deported to the Gulag camps between 1929 and 1953.
In addition to removing unwanted political or criminal elements from many cities in Russia, the authorities arranged the Gulag camps to be quite convenient environment for labours to work in the mines in the isolated Siberian-plateau, which is rich in natural resources like oil, natural gas, coal, lead, gold and diamonds.
Today, some of the Gulag camps became major industrial cities such as Norilsk, Vorkuta and Magadan in the far eastern Kolyma region. However, today's Siberia is still sparsely populated, with a density of only three inhabitants per square kilometre.
Recently, around 36 million people live in the region. People living in the Siberian cities could be heading towards new troubled times.
Several sites such as the Siberian oil and gas compounds, pipelines, roads and railways networks were all constructed on the top of the permafrost.
In Yakutsk, a city that known as the world's largest permafrost-city, everything from apartments to hospitals and factories were built on the top of a foundation of wooden poles that are hammered into the permafrost.
It is projected that the permafrost areas in the northern hemisphere will probably shrunk by 20% to 35% in the coming forty years because of the global warming.
Thawing of the permafrost under the mentioned facilities can lead to leaks in oil and gas facilities and cause extensive damages to the infrastructure in the northern Siberian regions.
The thawed permafrost already weakens some buildings in some parts of the region. It is projected that the entire cities with all the economical facilities will be lost by 2030, if the rate of thawing in the permafrost continues.
A Cultural History (Landscapes of the Imagination)
Before Russians crossed the Urals Mountains in the sixteenth century to settle their "colony" in North Asia, they heard rumors about bountiful fur, of bizarre people without eyes who ate by shrugging their shoulders and of a land where trees exploded from cold. This region of frozen tundra, endless forest, and humming steppe between the Urals and the Pacific Ocean was a vast, strange, and frightening paradise. It was Siberia.
Between Heaven and Hell: The Myth of Siberia in Russian Culture
In addition to this specific topic about the region, I have some pages on this website about other topics in Russia you can link to them on Altai Mountains, Bering Sea, Lake Baikal and Yamal Peninsula.
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