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электронный журнал "Новые исследования Тувы"

Russia Close-Up: Is it time for Tuva to Exploit its Natural Beauty?

3 days running every two hours Russia Today channel aired from Tuva. The first day, September 6, was devoted to touristic and economic prospects of Tuva. Here is a story. The firstyNever mind foreigners, many Russians know little about the Republic of Tyva and don't even know where it is. There's no train service to this remote region of southern Siberia, and flights to Tyva are few and far between. Only one road connects it with the rest of Russia.

Yet this secluded region is extraordinary in many respects. It's people, although poor, have an unusual culture. And their dramatic landscape is unspoilt.

Tuva does not fit any stereotypical image of Russia. The republic’s capital Kyzyl is the geographical centre of Asia, and oriental flavours are clearly seen in the Buddhist shrines in the streets, and in the Tuvan people themselves, who speak their native language rather than Russian

Tuva has some of the richest coal and mineral deposits in the country, yet it’s one of the poorest Russian republics. About 20% of the 300,000 inhabitants are unemployed. The region’s government gets 80% of its money from the federal budget.
The Elegestinskoe coal field in Tuva is one of the biggest in the country. The Russian government plans to develop it and build a railroad to transport the coal. This is expected to boost the region's economy and partially solve the unemployment problem. On the other hand, there is concern that the railroad may damage the local environment.
Being in the middle of nowhere, Tuva doesn’t really suffer from crowds of tourists. Actually, RT’s team in the area only encountered one – Simon Kneperato, an Italian who travels across Russia on his motorbike. He says even for such an experienced explorer, the journey to Tuva was quite a challenge: “You must be a little bit crazy, I think. It’s very hard to come here from Europe. Be careful of the roads,” Mr Kneperato warns. Roads – or to be more precise, the lack of them – is what you should be prepared for.
But on the other hand, perhaps thanks to its inaccessibility, Tuva has an unspoilt natural beauty. It covers an area of 170 sq km – about twice the size of Iceland – and has the full range of climates, including tundra, desert, Alpine meadows, rocky mountains and lush forests.
The republic is also called the land of blue rivers and lakes. Dus-Khoy which means ‘salt lake’ is just one of many. Several mineral springs at the bottom of the lake enrich its waters, giving them special qualities. It’s believed that the healing properties of Dus-Khoy are as strong as those of the famous Dead Sea in Israel.
Nevertheless, the region has failed to attract tourists. It lacks hotels and accommodation, foreigners would find suitable. The local government says it needs money to build facilities that would make Tyva’s salt lakes a source of profit.
But therein lies the republic's dilemma: whether to make the region more commercial, thereby endangering its pristine landscape, or to preserve it as one of the few places on the planet almost untouched by civilization.

rttv.ru
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