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  • Published in InFocus

Participants of the international complex scientific research expedition ‘Lena’ visited the Neryungri district to study the cultural-tourist, historical-ethnographic state of the regions of Yakutia. All of them are from South Korea and speak fluent Russian.

Head of the Neryungri district administration Viktor Stanilovsky hosted a meeting with foreign scientists during which they an interesting conversation about the history, today and prospects of the city and the region. During the discussion, the guests offered the Neryungrians to take an unbiased look at South Yakutia, in many ways unexpected. They willingly shared this vision with representatives of the Neryungri district.


The complex scientific research expedition ‘Lena’ runs from July 26 to August 7. It consists of scientists from the North-Eastern Federal University, along with South Korean colleagues - professors of the University of Hankuk.

The expedition is headed by Kang Dook-soo, Professor and Director of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, President of the Sakha-Korea Association. As an honorary professor at the North-Eastern Federal University, Kang Dook-soo made an invaluable contribution in establishing cooperation with universities and organizations of the Republic of Korea.

Together with his Korean counterparts a post-graduate student at the North-Eastern Federal University, Semyon Reshetnikov, arrived in Neryungri. There they were accompanied by the director of the NEFU Technical Institute (branch), Sergei Pavlov.

The expedition kicked off in Yakutsk. On the day of their arrival, they met with Evgenia Mikhailova, Rector of the NEFU, and the next morning they left Yakutsk for Neryungri. Later in Neryungri, they shared their impressions of the crossing of the Lena River and the low quality of the federal highway "Lena" connecting the capital of Yakutia with the capital of South Yakutia.

Having crossed the Lena River, the scientists stopped for half a day in the village of Nizhny Bestyakh, visited the railway station, studied the prospects for the development of the tourist route.

After that, the guests moved to the Aldan district, where, in addition to the city of Aldan, they visited the village of Khatystyr. Khatystyr is a center that unites national settlements and production associations of the region, engaged in traditional economic activities: reindeer herding, hunting, horse breeding, cattle breeding.



The head of the delegation, Professor Kang Dook-soo (pictured left) is the head of the Russian Language Department at Hankuk University. He is very well known in Yakutia. The professor was one of the originators of the Sakha-Korean school, the creation of the Sakha-Korean Association and the opening of the Korean language department at the NEFU Institute of Foreign Philology and Regional Studies. He translated the Yakut heroic epic "Olonkho" into the Korean language.

Greeting the guests, the head of the Neryungri district Viktor Stanilovsky told the history of the district, the South Yakut Territorial Production Complex, the railway, coal mining enterprises and energy. A unique feature of the district is its multinationality, since representatives of all the Soviet Union republics arrived to build Neryungri, as well as the presence of its indigenous inhabitants - the Evenks, who preserved their way of life, culture, traditional methods of management, including reindeer husbandry.

Professor Kang Dook-soo spoke about the tasks of the international complex scientific research expedition ‘Lena’. In various regions, comprehensive scientific research will be conducted on socio-economic, historical-ethnographic and cultural development. The expedition is implemented within the framework of a nationwide investment project for the integrated development of South Yakutia. Scientists are engaged in the collection and analysis of information on the current development of the study areas, creating a digital archive of field materials of the expedition, meeting with the public and representatives of communities.

A special part of the expedition is a trip along the Lena River in August. On August 2 they sailed along the Lena River from Yakutsk to Sangar. After that,  they stopped in Zhigansk. In the north of Yakutia, scientists will try to study and understand the possibilities and prospects of the Northern Sea Route.


"I'm visiting Neryungri for the first time, although I have been working in Yakutia for 20 years," said Professor Kang Dook-soo. We want to know the economic prospects of your city. We also want to understand the opportunities and prospects for cooperation with South Korea. In Korea, people know little about the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), despite 20 years of my efforts," the professor added.

He was surprised to note that the coal-mining city has a very good environment  - clean air, lots of greenery and even flowers. Viktor Stanilovsky explained that, firstly, coal miners use modern environmental technologies. Secondly, the work of environmentalists who are very serious about saving the environment. Industrial companies are fined for the slightest violation of environmental regulations. Thirdly, the preservation of nature is very important, because the main traditional activity of representatives of indigenous peoples of the North (in this case – the Evenks) has always been and will be reindeer husbandry. And this requires the conservation of pasture areas, which again is a key issue of local ecology. So clean air of coal mining Neryungri became a pleasant discovery for the Korean professor.

Professor Zhe Sung-hoon (the very one who shared his difficult impressions from the 'Lena' road from Yakutsk to Neryungri) was interested in investing in Neryungri district. Which country is the most actively investing in the South Yakutia? Why China?

China is the country most geographically close to Neryungri, Viktor Stanilovsky noted. The distance in a straight line is only 400 kilometers, and although more close contacts are hampered by the lack of direct railways and highways, now the Neryungri district is a twin city with Heihe. Contacts in this case are very strong.

Not only China, of course. The partners of the main coal mining companies are Japan (with which the city of Neryungri kicked off) , and Korea, and even India. This can be easily explained: geographically Neryungri is nearest to all other coal regions to the ports of the Far East. Thanks to this, the most profitable logistics is here (the question of logistics was asked by Professor-Political scientist Zhe Sung-hoon).

Scientists were interested in the ‘South Yakutia’ Advanced Development Zone. The Advanced Development Zones, as is known, are established to attract foreign direct investment to the regions of the Far East. At the forefront here is only the economy, and the Advanced Development Zone is interested in the best investments, which give the best technologies, the greatest added value and the most productive workplaces.



After this visit the expedition again went back to the north - Yakutsk, and further - along the Lena River.

According to the results of the expedition, scientists will prepare scientific reports for the publication of joint articles in journals, which are included in Scopus and Web of Science. We, of course, will be interested to know what impressions they had and what they will tell about the Neryungri district of Yakutia.

By Oleg Solodukhin