Views and guides. How the Russian Geographical Society protects the Arctic and animals

Weekly “Argumenty i Fakty” No. 31. The feeling of inevitable food 03/08/2022

Is it possible to clear the Arctic of debris at once? Where can I see Miklukho-Maclay's drawings? And where do you go if you want to go on an excursion to the super guides?

"AiF" spoke with the leaders of the Russian Geographical Society (RGS).


Quality guides

– The Russian Geographical Society has been holding the contest “The Best Guide of Russia” for the third year already. Can he improve the situation when you don’t know what quality your guide will turn out to be?

Anastasia Chernobrovina, Advisor to the President of the Russian Geographical Society on Information Policy:

– Of course it can! For the sake of this, in part, we organized the action. The main goal of the ­competition – to bring our professionals to the light when domestic tourism is developing very actively, so that we can recommend the best specialists to travelers. At the same time, we invited not only professionals, but also young people to the competition – future guides and just amateurs, those who love their land very much.

When the competition began, it turned out that we did not have a single certification of guides. It existed only at the level of individual tourist centers.

Then it turned out that many amateur guides could well give odds to professionals in this field. They make great videos and can talk about their sights in a very modern way.

We need a lot of guides, says ­Anastasia Chernobrovina, Advisor to the President of the Russian Geographical Society and host of TV programs about nature. Photo: AiF/Eduard Kudryavitsky.

All this led us to the conclusion that there is a serious problem in the country so that a tourist can find a good, professional guide during the trip.

We raised these issues at the Board of Trustees of the Russian Geographical Society. Chairman of the Board of Trustees Vladimir ­Putinreacted vividly to the topic of introducing mandatory certification of guides.

– Surely after that, the shifts began!

– No wonder they say: “Water wears away a stone.” Since July of this year, the procedure for mandatory certification of tour guides (guides), guide-interpreters and instructor-guides has now been legislatively fixed. People from other countries can also lead excursions. Main – that they be citizens of Russia.

During the competition, we at the Russian Geographical Society managed to collect a pool of absolutely fantastic guides – this is our golden galaxy. Ordinary people voted for them (spectators participate in the competition) and experts from our jury (it includes representatives of the tourism industry from all over the country). Our winning guides – they are smart and young guys who speak different languages, with non-trivial approaches to excursions, which you really want to go to! Thanks to the competition, they became known throughout the country.

They had a lot of work even before the competition, and now they have to sign up for them several months in advance! This is our most important result.

– How can I find out about these guides and the competition?

– On the site Bestguide.rf.

How to clean up the Arctic

– Another direction of the Russian Geographical Society – ecology. The society has been cleaning up the Arctic for a relatively long time, but in connection with this, the question is: is it possible to carry out a one-time large-scale action – recruit a huge number of volunteers and take out all the industrial waste, all these numerous fuel barrels?

Sergey Korlykhanov, Executive Director of the Russian Geographical Society:

– The need to rid the Arctic of the “historical heritage” accumulated throughout the 20th century was first identified by the Russian Geographical Society more than 10 years ago. Since the question was raised (2010), for several years, scientists have estimated the volume and studied the nature of pollution in the Arctic zone of Russia. A geoecological survey determined the total mass of waste accumulated on the archipelago at 90 thousand tons. The specialists of the Russian Geographical Society managed not only to assess the scale of the negative impact, but also to develop a plan for clearing the territories of the Arctic archipelagos – Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya, New Siberian Islands, as well as Kildin and ­Wrangel Islands.

When the volume, complexity and duration of the “general cleaning” have become clear, it is time to secure the resources for this work. By order of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, separate environmental platoons of the Ministry of Defense were formed, which annually, starting in 2015, carry out work to eliminate the accumulated harm simultaneously in several regions of the Russian Arctic. So, in 2015-2019. from Kotelny Island (Novosibirsk Islands) alone, 3,600 tons of scrap metal, mostly fuel drums, were pressed with a hydraulic press, transported to the mainland and disposed of.

Ekovplatoon has been cleaning up Kildin since 2017. Already taken to mainland for the disposal of more than 350 tons of scrap metal. According to the results of a joint expedition in 2022, with the support of the Russian Geographical Society, it is planned to double this figure – that is, to take out 300 tons from Kildin in one season.

What is hidden in the archives

– The Russian Geographical Society also conducts extensive archival work. It is clear that it has scientific value, but is there something for ordinary people?

Ilya Gurov, First Deputy Executive Director of the Russian Geographical Society:

– Our scientific archive is located in St. Petersburg in a magnificent building built in 1909 specifically for the Russian Geographical Society. We keep unique documents related to the expeditions of Przhevalsky, Miklukho-Maclay, Obruchev, as well as their drawings. There are documents of the first censuses of the population of Russia, materials on the basis of which Vladimir Ivanovich Dal created a dictionary of the living Great Russian language. We have the first relief globe in Russia, and our specialized geographical library is larger than that of the British Geographical Society. Here we ate them. There are several hundred thousand cards in our card fund. And a high percentage of handwritten. We have a unique monument of the 17th century. – map of Siberia 4 by 3 m in size, created by the explorer Semyon Ulyanovich Remezov. We have the diaries of Miklouho-Maclay. He wrote and drew fantastically.

– Researchers in those days had to draw – there were no cameras…

– Of course! But they were also educated people. Everyone studied with such artists, whose paintings we now see in the Hermitage, – someone at Bryullov, someone at Kramskoy.

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