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Threshold Podcast Season 2, Episode 10—'Nickel for your Thoughts'

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The smelting plant in Nikel is so old, the pollution billows out of the plant itself, in addition to the smokestack. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

The smelting plant in Nikel is so old, the pollution billows out of the plant itself, in addition to the smokestack. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

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Norilsk Nickel owns the mine and smelting plant just outside of the town of Nikel. The company is one of the wealthiest in Russia—and one of the Arctic's biggest polluters. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

Norilsk Nickel owns the mine and smelting plant just outside of the town of Nikel. The company is one of the wealthiest in Russia—and one of the Arctic's biggest polluters. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

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Families gather for a festival of Soviet music and World War II re-enactments in the center of this town of 12,000. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

Families gather for a festival of Soviet music and World War II re-enactments in the center of this town of 12,000. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

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A statue of Lenin in the town of Nikel. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

A statue of Lenin in the town of Nikel. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

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The old Soviet flag waves in the breeze on Victory Day. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

The old Soviet flag waves in the breeze on Victory Day. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

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Thomas Nilsen is the editor of The Barents Observer, an online newspaper. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

Thomas Nilsen is the editor of The Barents Observer, an online newspaper. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

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People march in the Victory Day parade, a celebration of the end of World War II, known as The Great Patriotic War here. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

People march in the Victory Day parade, a celebration of the end of World War II, known as The Great Patriotic War here. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

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Parades are held across Russia on May 9 to commemorate the end of the war and to honor the 26 million Soviet citizens who lost their lives. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

Parades are held across Russia on May 9 to commemorate the end of the war and to honor the 26 million Soviet citizens who lost their lives. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

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Local students perform for the Victory Day celebration. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

Local students perform for the Victory Day celebration. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

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More than half of the Soviet citizens killed in WWII were civilians. On Victory Day, people carry signs to honor those who were lost. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

More than half of the Soviet citizens killed in WWII were civilians. On Victory Day, people carry signs to honor those who were lost. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

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Some Russians believe Victory Day has been co-opted by the Putin regime to promote a nationalist agenda. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

Some Russians believe Victory Day has been co-opted by the Putin regime to promote a nationalist agenda. Image by Amy Martin. Russia, 2018.

Half of the Arctic is in Russia, and half of Russia is in the Arctic. Oil, minerals, pollution—it's a web of complicated environmental stories that need to be told. But in Russia, investigative journalists have become an endangered species. Spend some time around a nickel smelter and meet a veteran journalist fighting to do his job.  

 

LEARN MORE

MURMANSK INDUSTRY SERIOUSLY AFFECTS PEOPLE’S HEALTH

The Barents Observer article reports on dangerously high levels of heavy metals that are present in tissue samples taken from Murmansk residents.

NEW SPATE OF REPRESSIVE LAWS IN RUSSIA

Read Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) condemnation of the latest attack on press freedom in Russia here.

NUMBER OF JOURNALIST KILLED IN RUSSIA

This graph shows the number of journalists killed in Russia since 1992.

MAP OF NORTHERN SEA ROUTE

The map shows the Murmansk Shipping Company’s sea route across northern Russia.