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Accepted Paper:

Hydrosdocial Change in Tiksi, Northern Russia: Melting Permafrost and Community Development  
Olga Povoroznyuk (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

The paper based on the case of Tiksi, Russia, analyzes the entanglement between social and environmental change and explores the agency of natural forces such as melting permafrost in degradation of infrastructures and reverse social transformation of the artic settlement into a remote community.

Paper long abstract:

The town of Tiksi, founded during the early period of Soviet Arctic development in the 1930s, is a water transportation node and an important port of the Northern Sea Route (NSR). Tiksi soon turned from a frontier settlement into an urban community with a series of apartment buildings, stores and public offices centered around the sea port. Well-functioning and maintained communal and transport infrastructure including a sea- and a river port as well as an airport, "northern supply" that is state supported provisioning of the city, made the town a comfortable place of residence despite the extreme environmental conditions of the Artic. While Tiksi is still proudly called "the Artic sea-gate of Yakutiya", it has been experiencing rapid climate and socio-economic change in recent decades, despite an ongoing national modernization program of the NSR. In the context of curtailing state support, environmental change effects become visible. Buildings and roads left without proper maintenance, crack and dilapidate due to thawing permafrost and ice, as well as strong winds and snowstorms. While the population of neighboring villages is drawn to Tiksi, local residents move to Yakutsk or further to the "Big Land" leaving empty houses behind. This paper analyzes the entanglement between social and environmental change exploring the agency of natural forces such as (melting) permafrost in reverse transformation of the coastal community from a transportation hub into a remote artic settlement.

Panel P162
Wet horizons: hydrosocial re-articulations in the Anthropocene [EnviroAnt]
  Session 1 Tuesday 21 July, 2020, -