|Российская наука и мир|
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)
Дальневосточное отделение Российской академии наук (ДВО РАН) планирует открыть семь новых исследовательских институтов на острове Русский во Владивостоке. В первую очередь речь идет о таких направлениях, как медицинские технологии, геохимия и геофизика, техническая химия.
L'Académie russe des sciences envisage de créer sept nouveaux instituts de recherche sur l'île Rousski, près de Vladivostok, a déclaré le président de la section extrême-orientale de l'Académie, Valentin Serguienko, lors d'une conférence de presse.
Un grand centre commercial, plusieurs hôtels confortables et une aire de tourisme seront construits en prévision du sommet d'Organisation de coopération économique pour l'Asie-Pacifique (APEC), en 2012, et lesdits sites doivent accueillir par la suite un Centre d'enseignement et de recherche de l'Extrême-Orient, a-t-il précisé.
Selon M. Serguienko, il s'agit d'abord des technologies médicales, de la géochimie, de la géophysique et de la chimie technique qui seront développées sur l'île Rousski.
"Nous avons besoin d'un institut spécialisé dans les problèmes écologiques et le monitorage de l'océan", a-t-il poursuivi.
Selon le président de la section extrême-orientale de l'Académie des sciences, la création de nouveaux sites scientifiques permettra de résoudre le principal problème de la région: le manque de personnel qualifié pour le développement de l'Extrême-Orient.
"Nos chercheurs participeront à la formation d'ingénieurs spécialisés dans la mise en valeur des ressources de pétrole et de gaz", a-t-il noté.
Copyright © 1997-2007 Digital Editions All rights reserved.
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Chicago Tribune / July 8, 2008
Russia's toxic rivers running out of time
After decades of pollution, Mother Volga, Russia's great waterway (some say its soul) oozes sickly to the sea. Can it be saved?
- By Alex Rodriguez, Chicago Tribune correspondent
Водоочистительные установки на многих промышленных предприятиях не менялись в течение десятилетий и уже не выполняют своих функций. В результате ряд российских рек и озер сильно загрязнены. Одна из самых грязных рек - Волга, куда, по оценкам российских ученых, сбрасывается треть сточных вод в стране.
SARATOV, Russia - Igor Shopen jabbed a branch into the edge of the Volga River, a stone's throw from the Saratov Oil Refinery's rust-covered storage tanks. In a matter of seconds, black crude billowed from the riverbed like ink from a squid.
In the air, the scent of oil hung thick and heavy. Along the shore, piles of picnic trash dotted the beach. Tossing the stick onto the brown-black sand, Shopen's voice quavered as he sized up the fate of a river long revered as a gateway into the soul of Russia.
"What we face here now is the question of ecological collapse - the question of life or death of the environment here," said Shopen, a local environmentalist who as a boy spent his summers swimming in the Volga. "I am proud of this great river and I want it to remain great after I'm gone."
The river that Russians call Mother Volga has been the country's lifeblood for centuries, as beloved here as the Mississippi is in the U.S.
Today, however, segments of the Volga serve as little more than ashcans for riverside factories that are pushing the river toward the brink of environmental ruin. Russian scientists estimate that a third of the country's wastewater gets dumped into the Volga basin, and much of that water is poorly filtered.
"In recent years, industrial activity has been on the rise in Russia, and that's very dangerous because the wastewater-cleaning facilities at industrial plants date back to Soviet times," said Galina Chernogayeva, a scientist at the Institute for Global Climate and Ecology, which studies water pollution in Russia. "They need modernization."
Legacy of ruin
Historically, Russia has never been a good guardian of its environment.
During the Cold War, large-scale radiation discharges at weapons manufacturing facilities in central Russia and Siberia were hushed up for years by Soviet authorities. Cancer rates have risen dramatically in villages along the Techa River in the Ural Mountains, not far from a plutonium plant that for decades secretly dumped more than 20 billion gallons of radioactive waste into the river. Along the Barents Sea and the country's eastern Pacific coast, submarines containing nuclear fuel rust in ports, awaiting dismantling.
Under former President Vladimir Putin, the country rebounded on the back of booming oil prices but failed to steer any of that newfound wealth toward safeguarding the environment. Now, authorities say, Russia cannot afford to ignore the health of its waterways much longer.
Putin's handpicked successor, President Dmitry Medvedev, said that if the country continues to neglect its environment, "in 10, 20 or 30 years we may find ourselves in a situation when part of the country's territory will be unfit for living."
"Environmental protection," Medvedev told law students in St. Petersburg in June, "is a question of national security."
Some of Russia's most iconic bodies of water are also its most endangered. For 40 years, a paper mill in east Siberia has been dumping chlorine and other contaminants into Lake Baikal, the world's largest and deepest freshwater lake. Siberia's Ob and Amur Rivers are also heavily polluted, scientists say.
Filth and hope
But it's the Volga that may be the country's most abused waterway.
Europe's longest river, the 2,300-mile Volga begins in the Valdai Hills north of Moscow and meanders through the dense birch woodlands of central Russia before emptying into the Caspian Sea. During the Soviet era, the country's military-industrial complex freely polluted the Volga for decades while it rushed to meet Moscow's production quotas. In the name of industrialization, the river was dammed in places, creating large reservoirs that slowed water flow and allowed pollutants to accumulate.
The Volga can still be saved, environmentalists say, but time is running out. A pollution study released by Chernogayeva's institute last year found that most of the water in the Volga basin could be characterized either as "contaminated" or "dirty", a designation based on an analysis of the type and severity of pollution found in samples.
At the river's delta near the city of Astrakhan, pollution from nearby factories and farms is causing algae blooms that rob fish stocks and the region's wetland wildlife of oxygen, "dramatically affecting the ecosystem of the river there", said Valentina Bryzgalo, chief researcher at the Hydrochemical Institute in Rostov-on-Don.
'The refinery is so old'
Tributaries that feed into the Volga aggravate the river's plight. The city of Chapayevsk on the Chapayevka River, a Volga tributary, is so polluted with dioxins and other contaminants that the mayor has proposed shutting down the city and resettling its 70,000 inhabitants.
In Saratov, a refinery has been polluting the Volga since it began operation in 1920, said Shopen, who heads the Saratov branch of Green Patrol, a Russian environmentalist group. Collection ponds just 50 yards from the river bank are coal-black with oil contamination.
"The problem is that the refinery is so old, and its condition is far from perfect," Shopen says. "So some of the oil just seeps into the ground or collects in these ponds, and groundwater underneath carries the oil into the river."
At a refinery outfall that empties into the river, the water is black and viscous. A small plastic barrier installed by the refinery's owner, TNK-BP, helps contain the oil-contaminated water, but during spring rains, it overflows and streams toward the river, Shopen says. TNK-BP placed the boom there three weeks ago at Green Patrol's urging; before, only a swatch of fabric was used to contain the oil.
Locals say the segment of the Volga that flows past Saratov used to teem with fish. Today, says Viktor Matarkulov, a 58-year-old railway worker, "there's very little fish, and the fish we catch smells of oil. If we go on abusing the Volga like this, there won't be any fish left at all."
On a recent cloudless afternoon, Alexei Nefyodov, 17, and Dmitry Lesin, 15, did backflips off of a pile of old tires stacked in the water.
When they were done, they said they would do what they always do - head home and shower off the film of oil.
"All of the oil here worries us," shrugged Nefyodov as he toweled himself off. "But we've got no other place to swim."
Copyright © 2008, Chicago Tribune.
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bulletins-electroniques.com - Paris, France / 8/07/2008
Développement de la collaboration scientifique entre la Russie et la Norvège
Россия и Норвегия намерены развивать и укреплять научное сотрудничество в сфере своих общих интересов: нефть, климат, полярные области.
Les études dans les domaines du pétrole, du climat et des pôles conduisent à une collaboration importante entre la Norvège et la Russie. Un séminaire réunissant des experts internationaux et des chercheurs norvégiens a récemment été organisé à Oslo par le Conseil de Recherche Norvégien. Au cours de ce séminaire, la sélection des thèmes de recherches et d'appels à propositions pour des fonds de recherche étaient des sujets clefs.
Les recherches polaires, sur le climat et sur le pétrole, présentent des intérêts communs pour les deux pays.
"Les centres d'intérêt communs offrent un excellent point de départ à la collaboration dans ces domaines de recherche", déclare Anne Kjersti Fahlvik, Directrice de la Division des Priorités Stratégiques.
Des initiatives individuelles au management de la stratégie de recherche
L'importance de la collaboration entre les organismes finançant les recherches aux niveaux national et régional était également un sujet important au séminaire. Karen Nossum Bie, Directrice générale adjointe du Département de Recherche au Ministère de l'Education Nationale et de la Recherche a conclu que "les organismes de financement devaient être plus impliqués dans le processus. La collaboration bilatérale ne peut pas être laissée uniquement à l'initiative individuelle".
En 2007, le Conseil de Recherche Norvégien, en collaboration avec le Centre Norvégien pour la Coopération Internationale dans l'Enseignement Supérieur (SIU), a fondé un programme de coopération avec la Russie, se concentrant particulièrement sur la recherche et l'enseignement supérieur sur le Grand Nord. Récemment, le Conseil de Recherche a lancé le programme de recherche "Geopolitics in the High North, Norwegian Interests" (GEOPOLITIKK-NORD), programme ayant une grande pertinence pour les relations entre Norvège et Russie. Le programme sera basé sur des institutions et s'appuiera sur un réseau de groupes de recherche dans les domaines de la sécurité et de la politique étrangère.
bulletins-electroniques.com tous droits réservés.
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Washington Post - United States / Sunday, July 13, 2008; Page BW10
How Soviet leaders resisted the study of genetics and destroyed a great scientist
- Reviewed by Anne Applebaum
В издательстве Simon & Schuster вышла книга Питера Прингла "Убийство Николая Вавилова. История сталинского преследования одного из величайших ученых ХХ века".
THE MURDER OF NIKOLAI VAVILOV: The Story of Stalin's Persecution of One of the Great Scientists of the Twentieth Century. By Peter Pringle. Simon & Schuster. 370 p.
Concentration camps, mass murders, wars, starvation: The history of the Soviet Union is not short of large-scale tragedies and crimes. But in cataloguing these events or counting up the dead, it's sometimes easy to forget that the Bolshevik Revolution left more than physical damage in its wake: It also destroyed culture, literature, art and science in ways that are not always simple to catalogue, to count or even to explain.
Though it is also the story of a man who was physically destroyed by Stalin's secret police, The Murder of Nikolai Vavilov is primarily an account of these subtler forms of damage. Its hero, Nikolai Vavilov, was one of the greatest of all Russian scientists, a botanist whose work led him, in the early decades of the 20th century, to the cutting edge of the then-new science of genetics. Yet even before his death in a KGB prison in 1943, he had been mentally destroyed by a twisted scientific establishment that valued quackery and political correctness over true science.
It was a terrible waste of an extraordinary mind. Educated in the best institutes of czarist Russia and admired by scientists around the world, Vavilov was almost fanatically dedicated to his work. He crossed deserts, climbed mountains and searched five continents in his quest to create what ultimately became one of the world's largest plant and seed collections. His motives were both scientific and humanitarian. Ahead of his time, he imagined breeding drought- or insect-resistant crops that could be grown in places otherwise inhospitable to agriculture.
At first, his passion seemed in tune with the mood of the times. The revolution, in its very earliest incarnation, encouraged new scientific ventures, especially those intended to improve the lives of the poor. Lenin was personally interested in Vavilov's seed collection and in 1921 ordered the creation of special plant-breeding research stations.
That brief moment of enthusiasm quickly waned, as Peter Pringle, a British journalist and longtime Russia-watcher, demonstrates very well. Using a wide variety of memoirs and archival documents, Pringle chronicles Vavilov's growing difficulties - his botanical institute lacked heat, electricity, funding. Within a few years of Stalin's rise to power, Vavilov's work fell victim to the general politicization of science in the Soviet Union and in particular to Stalin's violent dislike of genetics.
Odd though it sounds, there was a logic to this particular Stalinist fetish. After all, the Bolshevik Revolution was founded on a deep faith in the malleability of human nature. Stalin and his followers truly believed that people could be re-educated, that Soviet citizens could be taught to think, act and behave differently from their bourgeois predecessors. It is not surprising that they feared genetics, a branch of science that demonstrates the strength of inheritance and the impossibility of passing on acquired traits to one's children. Metaphorically, at least, genetics implied that the Bolshevik project was doomed to fail.
But Stalin's suspicion of genetics was not merely philosophical. In practice, it meant that as he rose to power, the Soviet government gradually cut off funding for Vavilov and shifted support to his rival, Trofim Lysenko. Lysenko, one of history's most brazen charlatans, was a follower not of Darwin but of Lamarck, the scientist famous for his belief that giraffes grew long necks because they stretched their heads higher and higher to reach the fruit on trees. Unlike Vavilov, Lysenko came from a peasant background, which made him a more acceptable scientific star. Lysenko also had no international contacts or admirers, which made him more trustworthy than Vavilov in Soviet leaders' eyes.
Throughout the 1930s, the two men clashed at scientific debates and symposia, but Vavilov's rational arguments made no headway against Lysenko's mystical theories. Supported by a Stalinist order to "fight the high priests of science" and to "smash the old traditions, norms and viewpoints," Lysenko took the top jobs, placed secret police agents in Vavilov's laboratories and harassed him to the point of illness. Vavilov's arrest surprised no one. His death in prison, from starvation, went unremarked.
Vavilov was posthumously rehabilitated and his reputation restored two years after Stalin's death in 1953, but the damage was never fully repaired. Genetics remained a suspect and somewhat dodgy area of science throughout the Soviet period, and Russian geneticists never really caught up with their Western counterparts. It is impossible to measure what scientific or intellectual achievements were thereby lost.
Yet Vavilov's extraordinary seed collection still exists in St. Petersburg, more relevant than ever in a world concerned about losing the same biodiversity that fascinated him. And, according to Pringle, the seed bank thrives. It was never, he writes, a "dead herbarium" but a "living museum of cultivated plants, lovingly cared for by loyal and devoted researchers." And so, one hopes, it will remain.
Anne Applebaum is a Washington Post columnist and the author of "Gulag: A History."
© Copyright 1996-2008 The Washington Post Company.
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14-18 июля во Владивостоке прошел международный симпозиум по нанотехнологиям "Наноструктуры: физика и технология".
(Nanowerk News) The international symposium on the physics and technology of nanostructures opened in Vladivostok on Monday.
Its participants will deliver over 150 reports and 35 scientists of the Far East department of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAN) will speak about their novelties. Researchers from Japan, the United States and China will also make reports on their achievements in the sphere of nanotechnologies.
RAN Vice President, Nobel Prize winner Zhores Alferov has become the co-chairman of the symposium and its honorary guest.
According to Alferov, Vladivostok has been chosen as the venue of the symposium for several reasons. "First, scientific research in this sphere has been successfully developing here. Second, it is necessary to stimulate its further development. Therefore we, on the one hand, are using the scientific potential of the RAN's Far East department, and on the other - this symposium will promote its further development," said the scientist.
"We are using the potential of the Far East department of the RAN. As compared with past years, very many specialists form Asian countries, in which nanotechnologies are intensively developing, are currently taking part in the symposium," said Alferov.
Several institutes at a time are engaged in the RAN's Far East department in the development of nanotechnology. Scientists are working out new technologies for their application in the oil production, sea biology, shipbuilding and marine engineering spheres.
The symposium will work for four days. The organisers are certain that the forum will expand cooperation of Russian scientists with scientific organisations of countries of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and its results will work for the development of the sphere of the national nanoindustry - science-intensive economy of knowledge and high technology.
Copyright © 2008, Nanowerk LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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Российские специалисты разработали метод, позволяющий определить состояние нефтепровода на основе данных со спутника.
Des chercheurs moscovites de l'Académie des sciences exactes de la Russie ont développé une nouvelle méthode permettant d'étudier à distance l'état des oléoducs à partir des données fournies par un satellite.
A l'aide des images fournies par le système d'imagerie par satellites Landsat-7, les scientifiques russes ont été en mesure d'étudier l'état de l'oléoduc "Mongui-Poguibi" situé sur l'île Sakhaline. Les images ont été recueillies par des radio-spectromètres capables de mesurer le rayonnement de la terre sur plusieurs bandes spectrales. L'étude de ces images, dont les résultats ont été comparés aux mesures réalisées sur le lieu même de l'oléoduc a permis d'aboutir à des conclusions très satisfaisantes.
Cette nouvelle méthode repose sur les différents phénomènes de rayonnement émis depuis la terre permettant de distinguer des obstacles et les objets aussi bien artificiels que naturels. En effet certains rayonnements pouvant être atypiques, irréguliers et se distinguant de celui de la Terre révèlent des objets provenant de l'activité humaine enterrés à plusieurs mètres de profondeur. Les chercheurs russes ont mené un étude plus poussée afin d'étudier d'analyser les types de sols, de végétation et du relief leur permettant de détecter les zones à risques de corrosion (forêt, marécages, relief). Ils sont mêmes parvenu aussi à détecter certains défauts et fuites directement au niveau de l'oléoduc. Ils poursuivent actuellement leurs travaux afin de rendre leur mesures plus précises et efficaces. Le diagnostique d'oléoducs présentent un grand nombre d'avantage notamment en termes d'efficacité, d'optimisation de temps et de réduction de coûts car il devient possible de limiter les déplacements vers les oléoducs.
Europétrole - Atémys © 2003-2008.
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Интервью известного исследователя полярных областей Артура Чилингарова для The Moscow News.
The famous polar researcher Arthur Chilingarov - whose name ranks among other outstanding polar explorers, like Amundsen, Nansen, Peary and Scott - is also deputy of the State Duma, Doctor of Geography, and Hero of the Soviet Union. He agreed to give an exclusive interview with The Moscow News. In January, Chilingarov was awarded by then-president Vladimir Putin the Hero of Russia gold medal for placing Russia's flag on the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. Mister Chilingarov spoke to us about the dangerous mission to the bottom of the Arctic, what it means for science, and the reverberations it had in the global community.
MN: Arthur Nikolayevich, could you tell our readers about your experience of diving to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean?
A. N.: We planned this expedition - a geographical and geological expedition on board the scientific ship the Academician Fedorov, to occur during The International Polar Year [The International Polar Year (IPY) is an international program focused on the Arctic and the Antarctic - Ed.]. Our ship was escorted to the North Pole by the nuclear ice-breaker The Rossiya. We dived in the manned submersible Mir. The thickness of the ice in the point of North Pole was 2.5 meters even in August. The Mir cannot breach such thick ice, thus it was very important for us to find a natural hole in the ice, or one made by an ice breaker. But the real threat was the drift of the ice hole during our diving. Initially, we tested the Mir near the Land of France-Iosiph.
The crew of Mir consisted of Anatoly Sagalevitch, who was the commander, and Vladimir Gruzdev and myself. We served as observers. On July 30, the day of our departure, we found our path obstructed by heavy ice packs; the thickness of the ice measured 2 meters. Our ship couldn't move, but The Rossiya crushed huge blocks of ice out of our way to help us breach the North Pole.
On August 2, we found a hole in the ice on the top of our planet. The air temperature was zero and the water was -1 Celsius. During the dive we saw a variety of fish, small squid, shrimp and medusas. Finally, we reached the bottom. The depth in the Arctic Ocean at this point in the North Pole is 4,300 meters. For the first time in the history of human civilization man visited the real pole of the North. Earlier, people visited the geographical point of the North Pole - but only on the icy surface. We planted the titanium Russian flag, along with our message to future generations, on the bottom of the North Pole.
After this event, however, Western politicians began to say that Russia has plans to seize the Arctic. I read a lot of such nervous speculation in the foreign mass media.
MN: What do you think about such speculation?
A. N.: Simply speaking, it's ridiculous. The Americans put the US flag on the Moon after their landing in 1969. And what does it mean? Does the Moon belong to the US? We have the same right to plant our own flag. Russia has the most powerful nuclear icebreaker fleet in the world. Without Russian nuclear icebreakers nobody could reach the North Pole, and I know that China and Sweden want to lease our icebreakers. I am all for international cooperation in the Arctic. After all, more than 60 states participate in the IPY. But only three states - Russia, Japan, and France - have such deep-going manned submersibles like the Mir.
Russia stopped its activities in the Arctic in the 90s due to the break up of the Soviet Union, but after this 13-year absence we have returned to the Arctic. And strictly speaking, we never really leave the Arctic anymore. Historically speaking, it is Russian territorial waters and islands.
Now we are recovering it. We are researching the Arctic and the Northern sea route more actively now. Let other states put their flags on the bottom of the Arctic. We invite them to do it. There are a lot of places still left for them down there.
MN: Some people think that Russia wants to enlarge its territory in the Arctic Ocean...
A. N.: Why not? We will prove our right to the continental shelf in the special Committee of the United Nations. That is exactly why we collected the evidence in the Arctic.
Presently, Russia has just 26 polar researchers. These men are now working throughout the year in the polar station "Severny Polyus-35" in the Arctic. We can use the Northern sea route at any moment we wish. But it's old achievements of the Soviet Union. Today we need the new approach for exploration of the Arctic. As the famous Russian scientist Michael Lomonosov said back in the XVIII century, "Russia would enlarge by Siberia and the Northern seas."
MN: What is the biggest significance of this Arctic mission?
A. N.: It's a recognized geographical discovery. We are the people who came closer to the center of the Earth than anybody else.
We raised our flag in the Arctic. There is political significance: we confirmed the presence of Russia in the Arctic. After all, the Arctic Ocean is an important region for the deployment of US and Russian nuclear submarines armed with strategic ballistic missiles. Moreover, there are enormous natural resources in the Arctic - oil, gas, gold, diamonds, tin, nickel, tungsten, etc. We want to make Northern sea route profitable, to develop our possessions in the Arctic, in the islands. Recently, we built in the Land of France-Iosiph an excellent border outpost and even a hotel.
MN: What were you able to see on the bottom of the Arctic?
A. N.: The surface of the bottom was flat, without hills and stones, and yellow-brown. The dismal landscape was decorated by white actinia and drift weed. We spent 1.5 hour on the bottom and took the samples of the ground and water. In total we spent almost nine hours under the water. We even received a message from the International Space Station that the crew had observed from space our operation on the North Pole. It was amazing!
MN: Is it true that you wrote out your will before the diving?
A. N.: I wrote to my wife that this mission would be difficult and very dangerous. I indicated in this farewell letter those who had some duties before me and how much [joking, Chilingarov said this with a laugh - Editor]. Our chance of surviving was only 30 percent; thus, there was a 70-percent chance that we would stay on the bottom forever. I am not crazy enough to dive there again. There have been almost 500 people in outer space; thirteen people have been on the Moon. But we were the first to travel under the North Pole.
MN: What did President Putin say to you?
A. N.: The president understood the risks of this dive. Like all Russians he is proud. He said to me: "You accomplished a great deed for our state!" He asked me: "How long will the Russian flag stand on the bottom?" I answered: "Forever!"
MN: What are your plans in Arctic exploration in the future?
A. N.: Last time I was in the Arctic and North Pole was in the end of April 2008... We will continue to research the continental shelf. It is a long exploration. The Ministry of the Natural Resources of Russia, the Institute of the Arctic and Antarctic, the Institute of the Geology of the Arctic, Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Roshydromet ("Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring") are engaging in this research work. We are going to prove our rights for the continental shelf in the United Nations. It's the task for our scientists to collect all proofs and evidences for it.
I can show you the unique map of the relief of the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. This map, which details exact depths, was made by Soviet and Russian explorers over a period of 40 years! Nobody in the world has such map. In order to make such a map they dived thousands of times, took thousands of samples of the ground.
We have already presented this map to the UN. We will add more details to this map in order to define our exact territory in the Arctic, including the continental shelf.
Furthermore, in August we plan a mission at Baikal Lake where we will dive to a depth of 1,637 meters. Prince Albert II of Monaco, representatives of the Japanese Association for Baikal International research program, the University of Ghent (Belgium), and the Royal Society of the United Kingdom will participate in this research expedition.
Baikal is a unique lake, the deepest in the world, and the most ancient - about 25 million years old. Lake Baikal contains more than 20 percent of the fresh water - among other natural resources - in the world.
© 2007 Moscow News.
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