March 16, 2022: Article “Infrastructural legacies and post-Soviet transformations in Northern Sakha (Yakutiya), Russia”

The town of Tiksi came into being in the 1930s, when the Soviet Union intensified its efforts to industrialize the Arctic. A critical element of that policy was to make the Northern Sea Route a viable Arctic shipping lane and Tiksi, located where the Lena River meets the Arctic Ocean, became an important transportation hub on that route. Post-Soviet transformations led to a rapid decline in population numbers and economic significance of the town, while climate change opened up new opportunities for shipping and mammoth tusk collecting. Today, the situation seems to have stabilized but the promises of a bright future pronounced in strategic papers by the government are yet to be realized. The article explores the socio-economic, infrastructural and environmental changes of recent decades in order to explore future development prospects for Tiksi. The infrastructural legacies of the Soviet past, combined with the environmental conditions of the region, result in the intertwined material dependencies of built and natural environments. Still, these material dependencies are neither straitjackets nor unchangeable. It is the interplay between global climate change, national policies, and local initiative that will challenge the material dependencies of the past and present.

Published in “Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning”, March 16, 2022

Full article as PDF

January 2023: Outreach Position in ERC Project InfraNorth

The ERC project InfraNorth is inviting applications for the position of an outreach expert to communicate and disseminate project related research. Deadline has been extended to February 6. For details, please navigate to the University of Vienna’s job portal.

January 25, 2023: Future Talk: Climate x Change – Polar Silkroad

Kunst Haus Wien will host a podium discussion “Climate x Change – Polar Silkroad” as part of the exhibition “Unseen places“. The exhibition represents the works of Austrian photographer Gregor Sailer and is focusing on the ways in which built infrastructure has an impact on the environment. Sailer has long worked in polar areas. He […]

October 15, 2022: InfraNorth Session at Arctic Circle Conference 2022

Peter Schweitzer, Olga Povoroznyuk and Timothy Heleniak presented their recent research at the InfraNorth session “Arctic Transport Infrastructures and Sustainable Communities” at one of the largest conferences on Arctic policy and research taking place annually in Reykjavik, Iceland. The session was well-attended by researchers, indigenous leaders, representatives of NGOs and governmental bodies from different countries […]

September 19, 2022: Olga Povoroznyuk Succesfully Defended her PhD-Thesis

Olga Povoroznyuk successfully defended her PhD dissertation “Soviet Infrastructure in the Post-Soviet Era? Building a Railroad and Identity along the Baikal–Amur Mainline in East Siberia”. Her cumulative dissertation introduces the notion of transformative infrastructure and focuses on the role of large-scale infrastructures as articulations of state modernization and identity building. The research was supported by […]

August 11, 2022: Article on Roads and Railways for the Journal “Arctic Science”

Interdisciplinary review article on social and environmental consequences of roads and railways led by Olga Povoroznyuk with contributions from W. Vincent, P. Schweitzer and a few other Arctic scholars is now accessible online in the Canadian journal Arctic Science https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/full/10.1139/as-2021-0033 The article features six Arctic case studies and is a result of collaboration between social […]