At the end of the earth, there’s a lonely weather station on the shores of the freezing Barents Sea. It is staffed by three people, each working a year-long work shift. They are waiting for a ship – their only connection to the mainland. Until it comes, they must try and stay sane.
As international interest in the Arctic grows, Russia is resuming development of Franz Josef Land, its polar territory 900 km from the North Pole. Take a look at the lives of the people laying the foundations for a new town here, while living next door to curious polar bears.
On the icy island of Spitsbergen in the Arctic Ocean, people are outnumbered by polar bears and snowmobiles are used rather than cars. In addition to the Norwegians who maintain nominal control of Spitsbergen, the island is home to the Russian mining community of Barentsburg, a "company town" that is run by Arktikugol, a Russian state coal mining company.
The reindeer herders of the Yamal tundra live in rawhide tents like their ancestors did hundreds of years ago and have hardly any contact with the outside world. However, when they urgently need medical treatment, they must rely on air rescue helicopters for their very survival.
Shoina is a village drowned up to the waist in sand. Its denizens are quite fatalistic about it, and their only means of protection is leaving their door open for the night, as they can never be sure if they can open it in the morning.
“Keldysh” is Russia’s famous research vessel. She’s heading towards the Arctic Circle on a mission to collect important underwater samples. One of the scientists aboard helped draft Russia’s Arctic shelf claim, submitted to the UN. He explains the science behind it.