The siberian north and the dynamics of an image: from Barren grounds to a Northern plain
This article analyses how the image of the Siberian North was formed by scientists, specialists, and officials as an intellectual construct that emerged from their work. The image of the region is also regarded as a phenomenon of collective consciousness. According to the author, such modelling was limited to the most vivid scientific, popular, and journalistic works, which were meant for a vast audience. The first attempt at such modelling was made in the late 1920s. This was a time of considerable administrative, social, cultural, and territorial changes, which manifested themselves not only in the central regions but also in the more remote parts of the country. The period was characterized by an intensive search for ways to develop the northern territories and uncover the potential of the region: it was to rely on a scientific use of its resources. These ideas were fully realised in the second half of the 20th century with the full-scale exploitation of oil and gas deposits. During the 20th century, the development of the Siberian North was based on the idea of the industrialisation of the region, which was later on implemented in practice. This industrialisation was perceived as a synonym for the development of the North. Anything that furthered the development of large-scale industry, transportation, and communications in the Siberian North was considered a positive development, while anything that impeded them had to be eliminated. In the symbolic and socio-economic space of the USSR, the Siberian North was a conquered land. However, this later led to anthropogenic environmental issues.
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