Russia: Zone of Absolute Discomfort by Justin Jin

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People walk by an empty boarding house. Vortuka's population has fallen by a third since the break-up of the Soviet Union, when subsidies for Russia's far north were reduced. Vorkuta is a coal mining and former Gulag town established beyond the Arctic Circle, where temperatures in winter drop to -50C. Russia's far north is slowly declining. Every year thousands of people from its towns and cities flee south. The system of subsidies that propped up Siberia and the Arctic in Soviet times has crumbled. Now there is no advantage to living in the far north, salaries are no higher than in central Russia and prices for goods are higher. /Felix Features