The Kola Peninsula: geography, history and resources

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The Kola Peninsula in northwest Russia is one of the most important economic regions in the circumpolar North. The region contains valuable natural resources and is proximate to the large gas fields of the Barents Sea. A large population, industrial complexes, and military infrastructure are also characteristic of the region. The Kola Peninsula developed rapidly during the Soviet period (1917-92) under the principles of socialist development policy. This policy favoured extensive resource extraction and industrialization and resulted in increased northern settlement, much of it involuntary. Soviet development policy prompted the opening of new mines and the construction of smelters and refining facilities, while Soviet military policy necessitated the establishment of large military basing operations. Resource development and processing have led to severe environmental damage in the region and beyond. This paper descibes the geographical features of the Kola Peninsula and the region's development history and contains data on natural and labour resources. -Authors

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