The President of Russia and the President of the Republic of Belarus participated via videoconference in the commissioning ceremony of the new wintering complex at the Russian Vostok station in Antarctica. The experience of bilateral cooperation in Antarctica might be also useful for the Arctic development.
The Vostok Station was established in 1957. It is one of five active Russian research stations in Antarctica. Today all the station facilities are buried under a thick layer of snow. Thus, the construction of the new wintering complex became a significant event for polar scientists.
The new wintering complex is a modular construction of five blocks with an area of more than 3 thousand square metres. The complex will provide a comfortable stay and research activities of 35 seasonal specialists and up to 15 people during the wintering period.
One of the most important tasks of the station is to explore the subglacial Lake Vostok, one of the largest on Earth, as well as search for ancient ice within a radius of 300 kilometres.
Russian-Belarusian cooperation in Antarctica is actively pursued. For example, Russian polar explorers support the research of their Belarusian counterparts and provide infrastructure and scientific equipment. In addition, Russia assists in the establishment of the first Belarusian station Gora Vechernaya [Vechernyaya Base] in Antarctica.
The experience of creating the Antarctic station will be useful for Belarusian and Russian specialists in the development of the Arctic.
The Standing Committee of the Union State [ of Russia and Belarus- ed] has been promoting the idea of Belarus' active participation in the development of the Arctic for many years. Belarusian scientists have acquired significant Arctic scientific potential. For example, in case of an oil leak or a major oil accident, Belarusian scientists can offer sorbents that absorb hydrocarbons, including those based on peat.
Earlier, Russia and Belarus announced that they plan to launch a joint project to develop the Arctic. The Arctic-SG Fund has already been established to implement the project. Taking into account the existing potential of advanced technologies of Russian and Belarusian scientists, production and youth resources of the Union State countries, the Fund aims to ensure a comfortable human presence in the Arctic and to intensify the growth of human resources in the Arctic regions.