Publisher Note

In 1920, the Spitsbergen Treatyattributed sovereignty over the arctic archipelago of svalbard to norway on the following conditions: total demilitarization of the region, a proper system of taxation, respect for the environment and above all the possibility for all signatory countries to develop a sustainable activity. Russia, which only ratified the treaty in 1935, is currently the only foreign country to benefit from this right through mining. This situation results from exclusively geopolitical considerations because the various Russian coal mines in the archipelago (Barentsburg, Pyramiden, Grumant and Colesbay) have always been in financial deficit. Barentsburg was thus an advanced observation post during the Second World War and the Cold War in addition to being a possible military base for the Soviet Union. today, russian interests in svalbard derive from Barentsburg's strategic location in the Arctic Circle and its ideal location amid the new sea lanes which are gradually opening up in the arctic. nevertheless, the mine remains the only official justification for the Russian presence in the region. But no one is fooled. Not even the miners who have patience between their work in an unsanitary mining operation, the polar night and the lack of entertainment. russian interests in svalbard stem from Barentsburg's strategic location in the Arctic Circle and its ideal location amid the new sea lanes which are gradually opening up in the arctic. nevertheless, the mine remains the only official justification for the Russian presence in the region. But no one is fooled. Not even the miners who have patience between their work in an unsanitary mining operation, the polar night and the lack of entertainment. russian interests in svalbard stem from Barentsburg's strategic location in the Arctic Circle and its ideal location amid the new sea lanes which are gradually opening up in the arctic. nevertheless, the mine remains the only official justification for the Russian presence in the region. But no one is fooled. Not even the miners who have patience between their work in an unsanitary mining operation, the polar night and the lack of entertainment.


In 1920, the Spitsbergen Treatyrecognized the sovereignty of norway over the arctic archipelago of svalbard under the following conditions: that it remain entirely demilitarized, exempt from taxation, environmentally intact, and open to business development from the citizens of all signatory countries. Russia, which ratified the treaty in 1935, is currently the only foreign country to make use of this right through coal mining. this is an exclusively geopolitical decision, since every Russian mine on the archipelago — Barentsburg, Pyramiden, Grumant and Colesbukta — has always operated at a loss. Barentsburg served as an observation outpost during World War II and the Cold War, as well as a potential military staging area for the soviet Union. today, the Russian interest in svalbard is due to the strategic location of Barentsburg given the new routes opening as a result of disappearing arctic sea ice. While the mine remains the official justification for Russian presence in the region, no one is fooled, least of all the miners themselves, who bide their time in the polar night, craving entertainment between shifts in a squalid mine.

Artists’ Book

Arktikugol

— Charbon arctique

by Leo Delafontaine

Publisher
Release Place Paris, France
Edition 1st edition
Release Date 2017
Credits
Printrun 700
Identifiers
ISBN-13: 978-2-9552412-3-3
Work  
Subform Photobook
Topics Cold War, Landscapes, Russia, World War Ii
Methods Photography
Language French, English, Russian
Dimensions 20.0 × 25.5 × 1.0 cm
Pages 160
Technique Offset