Someone has recently written “Russia is an Orthodox country” on the “Stupa of Enlightenment” by the Apatity to Kirovsk road, one of the two stupas near Apatity built by local entrepreneurs brothers Igor and Oleg Belyayev. This is of course a far cry from the Taliban blowing up centuries-old statues of Buddha but still..
A few days ago, on April 20 2017, the Ministry of Justice declared the Kola Ecological Center, of which my mate Alexandra is a member, a “foreign agent” for receiving foreign financing and being engaged in political activity.
Its “political activity” appears to be taking part in public hearings where government officials were present.
The “foreign agent” status means, in addition to a serious stigma, a significant increase in the amount of reporting paperwork the NGO has to do.
The Kola Ecological Center is behind the eco-trails east of Kandalaksha and near Kolvitsa. They also orchestrated the construction of a WW2 memorial in Kolvitsa. These are the sort of things that stand out in their work, not attempting to influence Russian government officials using foreign funds.
Dates: June 25-26. The event is held every June since 1991.
Location: N. Kalyukin Memorial near Apatity.
Nikolay Kalyukin, from Apatity, was part of a group of mountain climbers that died on July 13 1990 while climbing the Lenin Peak of the Pamir Mountains. The festival is held annually in honour of this group.
“Kamenny Tsvetok” (“Stone Flower”) is one of the best known large-scale events, with over 100 participants, in the Murmansk region. This year it is held in Apatity from Feb. 10 to Feb. 14 in the “Palace of Culture”, ul. Lenina 24, open from 11am to 7:30pm.
There you will find rare minerals and articles made of stone, bone, glass and amber as well as jewelry and books on the history of Kola north.
Next Sunday, the 14th of February, in the reading hall of the L.A. Gladina Library in Apatity (ul. Lenina 24A, tel. +7 (815) 556 1110) at 3pm there will be a lecture by Evgeny Borovichev, an M.A. in biology and a member of the Russian Botanical Society, on the transformations of a variety of plants on their way from the field to your drinking glass. Sounds like fun. Time permitting I will try to be there.
(1) The Karelia part of the St. Petersburg to Murmansk road has been fully repaired, and travelling through Karelia, unlike it was even 2-3 years ago, is now a breeze.
(2) Nordavia.ru flies Moscow to Apatity (next door to Kirovsk) twice a week, Friday and Sunday, with tickets starting at 3780 roubles ($55 at the current exchange rate) one way, which is not much more expensive than train tickets.
Lights at the distance are Korovsk. Yellowish loop on the right is the skiiing track. A white spot left from the track is the Snow Village and Snowmobiling Center. Photo by Alexander Yenaleyev, borrowed from Ulitkiny Livejournal.
During our trip to Apatity yesterday we’ve noticed a structure, made of concrete, that did not appear to belong to these places – it looked like a buddist stupa. Stopped to closely examine it, and it indeed turned out to be one.
We’ve also dug up some materials on the monument on our return to Kandalaksha, and rummaged through our memories. The story of putting up a buddhist stupa has been going on for at least two years, initiated by two entrepreneurs from Apatity. The project stumbled into the land allocation issue. Apparently there is another similar structure somewhere along the Apatity to Kirovsk road. For a full compilation of articles on the subject, in Russian, see Alexandra’s livejournal.