March 30, 2021

Mines from Aluminum to Crypto



Mines from Aluminum to Crypto
Nadvoitsy has been called the Pripyat of the Arctic; this is what a post-Chernobyl Pripyat classroom looked like in 2011. Wikimedia Commons user Shanomag

What's more mysterious than a nearly abandoned Soviet-era ghost town in the Arctic? A nearly-abandoned Soviet-era ghost town in the Arctic that's seeing an uncanny resurgence through internet wizardry.

The town of Nadvoitsy developed around an aluminum factory planted in the Arctic by the Soviets. At its height, it had more than 10,000 residents. Now, apartments are on sale for R150,000-R400,000 ($1,973-$5,262), and no one buys them. For comparison, the cost of an entire apartment in Nadvoitsy would buy a person root canals and crowns on two teeth in St. Petersburg, as this author knows from recent personal experience.

Now that the aluminum factory is closed, who wants to stay in the Arctic? No one, really. The Komsomolskaya Pravda writer who investigated the story contends that, "According to all the laws of economics, [Nadvoitsy] had to die."

But investors recently spent $5 billion dollars to keep this monotown from turning into a ghost town. Why?

The old factory is now a data center. After all, "every pie shop now has an online store." That digital data has to be stored somewhere!

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin can also be mined there, meaning that a town that was once close to being forgotten is now becoming more and more valuable. With a hydroelectric plant nearby, electricity is cheap. Servers and mining release enormous amounts of heat, but in the Arctic, there is no need for expensive coolers.

Since a data center pretty much runs itself, thousands of factory jobs have been replaced with only hundreds of high-tech ones. Still, the new facility is pumping a lot of money into the local economy.

Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

A Taste of Russia

A Taste of Russia

The definitive modern cookbook on Russian cuisine has been totally updated and redesigned in a 30th Anniversary Edition. Layering superbly researched recipes with informative essays on the dishes' rich historical and cultural context, A Taste of Russia includes over 200 recipes on everything from borshch to blini, from Salmon Coulibiac to Beef Stew with Rum, from Marinated Mushrooms to Walnut-honey Filled Pies. A Taste of Russia shows off the best that Russian cooking has to offer. Full of great quotes from Russian literature about Russian food and designed in a convenient wide format that stays open during use.
The Spine of Russia

The Spine of Russia

This coffee table book is the photographic journal of an epic 6000-kilometer road trip. The book includes over 200 compelling images of Russians and Russian places met along the way, plus a dozen texts (in both English and Russian) on everything from business to education, from roads to fools.
93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.
Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.
Russia Rules

Russia Rules

From the shores of the White Sea to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, Russian Rules is a high-speed thriller based on actual events, terrifying possibilities, and some really stupid decisions.
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

800-639-4301
802-223-4955