ACEP Research Assistant Haley McIntyre returns from Institute of the North’s Chukotka Russian Policy Tour

ACEP Research Assistant Haley McIntyre returns from Institute of the North’s Chukotka Russian Policy Tour

Haley McIntyre recounts her recent experience in Russia as part of the Chukotka Russian Policy Tour. 

“Just across the Bering Strait from Nome, lies the Russian providence, or Okrug, of Chukotka. I was fortunate enough to travel there as a part of the American delegation celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Beringia Days Friendship Flight. In 1988, the Ice Curtain separating families across the Bering Strait melted just long enough for 80 Americans to spend 12 hours in Provideniya, Chukotka reconnecting with long lost relatives. Since this initial flight, follow up journeys have been hosted on both sides of the boarder to talk about the past, and plan for means to work together in the future.

This year’s conference was held in Anadyr, the regional capital of Chukotka. Topics of discussion included paleontological discoveries of prehistoric cultural interactions across the land bridge, the establishment of an international nature preserve to protect this unique ecosystem, and means for promoting access and travel to Chukotka. However, the highlight of the trip was witnessing Inupiat members from both sides sharing discussions in Yupik, dancing the same beautiful Eskimo dances, and enjoying traditional foods like Muktuk.

From the energy perspective, it was fascinating to see the different trajectory taken to power and heat communities. The Russians are not shy about keeping the heat on high with their high pressure steam loop piping in heat to every building from the centralized combined coal and gas power plant. Similar to the capital, rural settlements along the coast live together in concrete buildings joined by a coal powered heat loop that keeps residents warm and electrified in this harsh region. While efforts could be made to better scrub the coal ash, a high cost for power is not something that Chukotka’s rural communities must face.”


Photo Caption:  Haley McIntyre in Chukotka, Russia

Photo courtesy of H. McIntyre ACEP/UAF