Russia: Zone of Absolute Discomfort by Justin Jin

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Rasma Stodukh, originally from Riga in Latvia, in her apartment. She spent 13 years as a political prisoner in the town's former Gulag and stayed on after her release in 1960. Rasma's children left years ago but she is cared for by neighbours and says she is resigned to living out her days in the city. 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