The senators were surprised at the scale of renovation and ‘northern buses’ in Norilsk

The senators were surprised at the scale of renovation and ‘northern buses’ in Norilsk

Expert Reports  

Is there life in Norilsk in winter? Sure, and the life is in full swing. Members of a strong high rank parliamentary delegation led by Valentina Matviyenko, Chairwoman of the Council of Federation, who visited the city this week, learnt this at first hand.

The Chairwoman of the Council of Federation said that she was dissuaded from traveling to Norilsk in winter and was told that at this time of year, it was cold and uncomfortable in the city. According to Valentina Matviyenko, her experience during this visit was great and the city made a bright and warm impression on her.

The house built by the factory 

The senators visited the city’s renovation projects, including the first turnkey reconstructed residential complex Solnechny (Sunny) for the employees of the polar branch of Norilsk Nickel. The half-constructed house on Solnechny Proezd (Sunny Lane) in Norilsk had been unfinished since 1996, and a few years ago, the Norilsk Nickel company took the initiative to inspect the building for its possible reconstruction. As a result, the construction of the building was completed, modern replanning of the apartments on the floors was carried out, all 90 apartments were furnished and equipped with household appliances. The surrounding area was also landscaped and a sports ground and a nice children’s playground were made.

In total, the buildings in the central part of the city are currently under renovation in Norilsk, new multi-storied buildings are under construction, the work to improve Teatralnaya (Theater) Square is in progress, a clinic and a school are under construction, and work has begun on the construction of a multidisciplinary innovative educational complex for children.

‘Warm landmarks’ of Norilsk

The senators noted the innovations in the public transport services in Norilsk, including heated bus-stop pavilions that have now become numerous, and new ‘severobuses’ (northern buses) that are modern, warm, cozy and comfortable, and which is most important, they are equipped with additional autonomous air heaters, which allows heating the buses inside even if an engine is failed on the way, for example, due to bad weather. Over five years, 105 heated bus-stop pavilions have been installed in Norilsk. 

This year, 10 more heated warm pavilions will be added. Each heated bus-stop pavilion is equipped with a stationary heater, heated benches and an information board, there are USB connectors for charging gadgets in some of these pavilions. Warm and nicely decorated bus-stop pavilions have already become a landmark of Norilsk, the senators said.

The senators also visited the state-of-the-art sports complex Aika built by the Norilsk Nickel company where all-Russian mini-football  competitions are regularly held, and the Integrated Center for Social Services called Norilsky that has become an integral part of the city’s public space.

Visiting the Nadezhdinsky Metallurgical Plant with hope

The senators, of course, could not but visit the Norilsk Nickel company, so, they visited the company’s Nadezhdinsky Metallurgical Plant where they appreciated the progress of the Nornikel’s Sulfur Program (aimed at reducing the air emissions in the Norilsk industrial region through re-equipping the production process) that became the largest component of the Federal Clean Air Project. Currently, the first stage of launching the Sulfur Program is nearing successful completion and the company keeps on implementing the important project despite the sanctions imposed on Norilsk Nickel and the refusal of unfriendly countries to supply imported equipment and software.

According to Vladimir Potanin, the CEO of Norilsk Nickel, an important moment is coming for the city now, which should support the approach aimed at promoting and guaranteeing higher standards of living for the people working in the city and providing goods to the city of Norilsk that is a Russia’s stronghold located on the Northern Sea Route. The Norilsk residents see and appreciate everything that is being done for them now, including the housing renovation, upgrading the public utilities, solving the environmental problems, fulfilling the Clean Norilsk and the Clean Air programs, and cleaning the area. However, this is just the beginning of the journey, and we have long-term plans. The attention paid by the Parliament’s Upper Chamber and the Russian government, and the fact that some issues are under the President’s implementation control force us to act even more responsibly. This makes us bear in mind that we have no right to disappoint the people of Norilsk and the country’s leaders who support us in implementing this program”.

It was noted that the Norilsk Nickel’s total investments in the environmental program and improving living conditions in the areas where the company’s enterprises operate amount to about 180 bn rubles.

The Arctic for living and traveling

Vladimir Potanin also spoke about the unique projects that have been under implementation in Norilsk in recent years. “The airport runway was repaired without shutting down the airport - this is the only case of this kind in the world. The Internet was provided over the distance of thousands of kilometers because our Norilsk could not be considered a modern city without the Internet”.

At the end of the trip, Valentina Matviyenko expressed her gratitude to the management of the Norilsk Nickel company for their high social responsibility. “In addition to the renovation of Norilsk, the Norilsk Nickel company is implementing a large-scale social program covering the education, healthcare, and family support spheres. When businesses show such a high social responsibility, the companies achieve greater success and enjoy the greater respect. People are grateful for what the companies do and really appreciate their efforts”.

Mikhail Kotyukov, Governor of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, noted that the Norilsk project should show a new level of the quality of life of people living in the areas along the Northern Sea Route. “We need to find new technologies, understand what infrastructural, educational, healthcare and transport services, as well as the public utilities should be like in the region. Norilsk Nickel sets standards for social responsibility, which should give tangible results to the residents of Norilsk. In the future, this experience can be scaled up to other cities of the Krasnoyarsk Territory and, in general, to the entire Arctic zone of the Russian Federation”.

Alexander Uss, the former governor of the Krasnoyarsk Territory and now a senator from the Krasnoyarsk Territory, pointed out the attractiveness of the Arctic also from a tourist point of view. “The number of tourists to the region has been growing year after year, and I must say that in recent years, we have seen a soaring growth in the tourist flow and interest in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. We are located far from large centers, which is our competitive advantage as the pristine nature is the main attraction for people,” he said, noting that the Taimyr Peninsula attracts thanks to such ‘pearls’ as the stunning Putorana Plateau, amazing rocks and beautiful lakes, and the Great Arctic Reserve is also located in this area.