Northerners Have to Jump From one Bank to Another

Northerners Have to Jump From one Bank to Another


Entire municipal district in the Krasnoyarsk territory is in a transport siege. Weather conditions did not make it possible to start the ice crossing on local rivers in time. However, locals believe that global warming is not the only reason for this.

The Motygino district that spreads over approximately 20,000 km² and borders the huge Evenkia area is one of the most hard-to-reach parts of the Krasnoyarsk territory. It has a very sparse population. Only about 15,000 people live there. This is no surprise as there is nothing but taiga all around. However, there are a lot of relatively good jobs since the territory is rich in natural resources. Several companies are mining gold there. The Novoangarsk ore-dressing factory, one of the main taxpayers in the area, produces lead and zinc. There is a large plant manufacturing carbonate of magnesia. However, this does not make life in the Krasnoyarsk territory comfortable and easy.

There is practically no advanced communal infrastructure. “Residents are not interested in doing business,” one of the local officials told “Why would they? It is easier to work with dredging at a mine and to get paid from 70,000 ($949.90) to 100,000 rubles ($1,357) without any extra efforts. It is very difficult to make people from other districts move here. There is no good traffic infrastructure. In addition, the municipality doesn't have enough authority to provide businesses with these benefits so that people would come in flocks here.”

To get to the district center from Krasnoyarsk, one has to cross three rivers – the Taseyeva, the Yenisei and the Angara. The latter two are on the list of Russia’s largest rivers. In summer, ferries operate here. In winter, ice crossings help. This year it got even worse. The ferries on the Angara work no longer, and the ice formed late. Small air-cushioned craft such as the HIVUS hovercrafts were the only way to cross the river. However, they are old and few. They can transfer only a small numbers of passengers. In addition, to sail on them on the fragile ice is simply dangerous. There are ways to go by detour roads through taiga to the bridge in the neighboring Boguchany district. However, it means to make a detour of dozens of kilometers. It is scary even to imagine what might happen if one stall somewhere on the timber road in 50°C frost.

According to the official explanation, the warm weather in the autumn and the beginning of winter were the reason why the Angara didn't freeze when it was supposed to. But according to ordinary people, it happened also due to the current water discharges at the Boguchany Dam, a large hydroelectric dam on the Angara River in the township of Kodinsk that was commissioned in 2012. The activists believe that during the construction of the dam no one might have taken this point into account at all. Although there was a similar example. The 300-kilometer ice-hole that occurs on the Yenisei River downstream of the Krasnoyarsk hydroelectric power plant. This year, a warm air-hole formed on the Angara near the township of Rybnoye where the local “road of life” runs. The road helps deliver food and mail and transport passengers in wintertime. "Social action organizations have repeatedly warned about the socio-environmental risks for the areas downstream the Boguchany Dam. This includes the unfrozen Angara river. Residents filed an appeal to build a bridge over the Angara. However, nothing has been done there. There are no other official roads. Businessmen transport food by snowmobiles. No statements were received from the authorities," said local activist Alexei Kolpakov.

"The post office cannot deliver parcels,” Igor Petrov, a local activist from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, told

“The situation with tickets remains tense. The bus carries passengers to the Angara. There passengers are transferred by Hivuses, and then they get on another bus of the same carrier. It takes people to the Taseyeva river. There they are transferred to another bus in a similar way and then across Yenissei to Krasnoyarsk by ferryboat. For instance, a one way trip to the hospital in Krasnoyarsk for a family of four members costs more than a round trip by car."

The regional Transport Ministry said that the motor transport accessibility of the township of Motygino was traditionally tied to Boguchany, the neighboring district center. It is a route through the townships of Ordzhonikidze, Kamenka and Angarsky on the right-hand bank of the Angara. This year, road workers promptly "froze" a winter road over the river of the same name near Kamenka. Before that, in December, a truck of some fearless person who was carrying goods got into the river by breaking the thin ice.

"In order to eliminate the dependence of transport communication of Motygino district on the operation schedule of the Boguchany Dam, measures for the development of this area are implemented step by step,” the ministry says. “For example, a bridge across the Irkeneyeva river has been commissioned. It provides year-round access to road transport. Construction of an automobile bridge across the Kamenka river is under consideration."

Isolated steps are taken in terms of air traffic. In January, the plan is to launch additional flights to Motygino. However, the inhabitants of the district still have a strong feeling that no one really cares for their problems. “The schedules of filling and discharging of reservoirs, and the routing of floods at hydroelectric power plants are established by the Federal Agency for Water Resources,” the press service of the Boguchany Dam said commenting on the situation. “It operates under the recommendations of the Interdepartmental Work Group which includes representatives of Ministry of Emergency Situations, Ministry of Agriculture, Federal Agency for Fishery, Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transportation, System Operator of the United Power System, and executive authorities of constituent entities of the Federation.”

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