During World War II the Soviet Army established the world’s only reindeer transport battalion. More than 1000 reindeer herders and 6000 reindeer were mobilized from Nenets Autonomous Okrug to the Karelian Front.
The memorial was opened on February 23, the Defender of the Fatherland’s Day. Photo: Andrey Vokuev
In addition to the Nenets, also reindeer herders from Murmansk, Arkhangelsk and Komi districts were mobilized to the front.
During 1944, the Karelian Front participated in the final offensive against Finland which led to the Soviet-Finnish armistice. In October 1944 it conducted the Petsamo-Kirkenes Operation, capturing parts of northern Finland and liberating the easternmost parts of Norway from German occupation.
The Karelian Front conducted the only successful major military operation ever undertaken in an Arctic environment in modern warfare. Reindeer proved to be very useful in Arctic operations. One reindeer can pull up to 50 kg on a sledge behind it. They transported not only food and ammunition, they also carried urgent orders to officers and they carried mail, wounded soldiers and pilots from downed aircrafts back to their lines. The reindeer were even successfully used to pull downed aircrafts back to sites and units where they could be repaired.
The Murmansk Economic Zone was presented as a miracle cure for regional development and as key facility for the Shtokman project. Today, five years on, regional authorities put their faith in the fish industry.
Renowned Norwegian actress Gørild Mauseth is in the leading role when actors and producers from the Gorky Dramatic Theatre in Vladivostok come to Harstad to present a unique version of Tolsoy’s classic play Anna Karenina.
Nuclear safety projects in the Murmansk region wouldn’t be the same without her contribution. Finnish European Parliament Member Heidi Hautala is today one of 89 Europeans barred from Russia in response to EU sanctions over Crimea and Ukraine.