Films & Videos

ARKTIKA: THE RUSSIAN DREAM THAT FAILED

A one hour television documentary on the conquest of the Russian Arctic. ARKTIKA traces the ambitious and disasterous Soviet attempt to conquer a vast arctic region spanning half of the top of the world.

One sentence descriptions

  • ARKTIKA peels back layers of secrecy and cold war rivalries to examine the ambitious Soviet campaign to conquer the Arctic, and its impact on the land and the people.
  • Combining Soviet archives and eyewitness testimony ARKTIKA explores the ambitious Soviet campaign to conquer the Arctic, and its devastating impact on the land and the people.
  • Blending science, history, stories, and a century of archival films, ARKTIKA retraces the history of the Russian North from the days of the Cossacks through the promise of the Revolution, to the economic collapse and environmental legacy of the Soviet era.

Short synposis
ARKTIKA traces the ambitious and disasterous Soviet attempt to conquer a vast arctic region spanning half of the top of the world. Shouldering aside native hunters and herders, the Soviets built an industrial empire and moved two million people and a fleet of nuclear submarines into the Arctic. But, as an emerging and environmental and aboriginal rights movement can testify, the Soviet conquest left a legacy of nuclear waste, disrupted lives and environmental destruction in its wake.

Synopsis
A veil of secrecy that enveloped the Russian Arctic during the Soviet era has lifted. As hundreds of thousands of Russians evacuate the north, leaving behind a legacy of environmental destruction and nuclear waste, the story of the Soviet dream of conquering the Arctic-and its cost-can be told.

At the height of their power the Soviet Union had a revolutionary plan for transforming the Arctic. With the help of slave labour, entire cities were built and more than two million people were moved into the North to operate mines and smelters in the cold polar regions.

At the same time, tens of thousands of native hunters and herders were moved off the land and into villages and their children were sent to state run boarding schools. The Soviet campaign mirrored the American and Canadian treatment of indigenous peoples in the North American Arctic.

For most of the past century, this huge social and environmental experiment in the vast Soviet Arctic was hidden away behind a wall of secrecy. On the day the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia had more native peoples, more cities, and more nuclear weapons and military bases north of the Arctic circle than the rest of the world combined. Now, with the help of an emerging human rights and environmental movement in Russia, the story is coming to light.