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Alexander Khudilainen: the expedition from the Republic of Karelia through the North Pole to the southern extremity of Greenland is the event of world importance

Alexander Khudilainen

Alexander Khudilainen

On February, 1 one of the leading Russian news agencies RIA-Novosti was a venue for the press-conference where the unique sleddog expedition on the route the Republic of Karelia Ц the North Pole Ц the southern extremity of Greenland was presented officially. The expedition will take place on the threshold of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi within the period from March to August under the aegis of the Government of the Republic of Karelia and the Russian Geographic Society.

Arthur Chilingarov

Arthur Chilingarov

Head of Karelia Alexander Khudilainen, the expedition participants Feodor Konyukhov and Viktor Simonov and Special Presidential Representative for International Cooperation in the Arctic and Antarctic and Vice-President of the Russian Geographic Society Arthur Chilingarov have answered questions of journalists.

Head of Karelia opened the conference.

Feodor Konyukhov

Feodor Konyukhov

Ц Today we have a unique opportunity to declare the Russian presence in the Arctic regions. Karelia is a gate to the Arctic regions, the Arctic circle crosses the territory of Karelia. Our republic was always famous for its travellers, and dogs have always been direct participants of exploring the North. We're happy that Karelian traveller Viktor Simonov is going to participate in the trip together with Feodor Konyukhov. Our Karelian dogs will be direct participants of the expedition, Ц Alexander Khudilainen mentioned.

Within four months the travellers expect to cover the distance of more than 4000 km of icefield and finish their trip on the southern extremity of Greenland. This trip is supposed to become the longest one across the Arctic regions, and that will become an extreme test for the human capacity. The expedition will involve sled dogs bred in the republic and trained specially for this trip.

Participants of the press-conference

Participants of the press-conference

There is no coincidence that the Republic of Karelia was made the starting point of the sleddog expedition. Mushing is thriving in the republic, and currently Karelia is the only one region in Russia where one of the World Cup stages in mushing is held, as well as other large international competitions in this kind of sports.

Head of the republic has reminded that before 1933 sled dog race was a part of the Winter Olympic Games, and has expressed confidence that in the future it will be re-included in the Olympic program: for this purpose Karelia will initiate submission of the corresponding application.

Alexander Khudilainen has made a special emphasis on the following:

Ц Today we bindingly confirm that we are ready for this expedition, we will support it, render it all kinds of assistance in the remained two months before the start. We hope that it will be successful, and once again Russia will declare its presence in the northern latitudes, and our courageous travellers will prove their ability to make it through the routes that nobody else could.

The expedition is supported by the Russian Geographic Society. Arthur Chilingarov has emphasized, that the Russian Geographic Society has been wary of recent proposals of various expeditions, but he fell for this expedition as soon as he heard of it.

Viktor Simonov

Viktor Simonov

Ц First, because Feodor Konyukhov takes part in it, and, second, because Head of Karelia Alexander Khudilainen from the very first days is in contact to participants of the expedition, Ц Arthur Chilingarov explained. Ц If all heads of regions took care of the organization of such unique campaigns so actively, we would have a lot of interesting events related to glorification of Russia.

To the press conference Karelian participant of the expedition Viktor Simonov came with his Chukotka Sleddog by the nickname Cherke. Cherke has already been to the North Pole and will be a part of the team again. Arthur Chilingarov has asked for a puppy of this dog in the future.

Viktor Simonov came to Moscow with his dog Cherke

Viktor Simonov came to Moscow with his dog Cherke

Answering the journalists' questions, Feodor Konyukhov and Viktor Simonov have told how they've got the idea of the expedition. According to Viktor Simonov, Feodor Konyukhov addressed this proposal to him two years ago. The main thing was to have enough time to prepare the dogs and to find financial resources. The Karelian traveller has especially emphasized, that the expedition is financed from the unappropriated sources, none of the budgetary funds are involved.

Participants of the press-conference

Participants of the press-conference

Feodor Konyukhov, the architect of this concept, has mentioned that he has been dreaming of making this trip since 1978 when the famous Japanese adventurer Naomi Uemura launched a challenge against northern latitudes and laid the course of his sled-dog expedition from the coast of Canada to the North Pole and then through Greenland. However, he had never made it to the end. Participants of the expedition on the route the Republic of Karelia Ц the North Pole Ц the southern extremity of Greenland are planning on travelling all the way along the Naomi Uemura's path.

Feodor Konyukhov has mentioned that all of his round-the-world trips started from the foreign states. This expedition is different, as will start in Russia, in Karelia.

The journalists

The journalists

Ц I've been to Karelia before and I knew that sled-dog races take place in the republic. I also knew that the authorities of Karelia support this kind of sports. There are many good racers. Therefore, I decided in favour of Karelia. Victor Simonov is a great expert, and I pin my hopes more on him, than on myself, Ц the famous adventurer declared.

Participants of the expedition have explained that on the ice of the North Pole they will go with one sled with 10 dogs and with two more in the reserve. Travelling across Greenland they're going to use 2 sleds. The sled weighs 300 kgs. The most difficult part of the trip accounts for the drifting ice. Since the time of the expedition of the Japanese adventurer technology and communications have made great strides, however, ice conditions in the Arctic regions have changed a lot, too. Therefore, this expedition might be even more difficult than Naomi Uemura's trip.

At the press conference some sponsors have made a gift of complete sets of equipment to the travellers which will help them to stay in touch and all the time to transfer the information about their trip to the continent.

Journalists and the invitees

Journalists and the invitees

Viktor Savinykh, pilot-cosmonaut, twice Hero of the Soviet Union, President of Moscow State University of Geodesy and Cartography, said that the expedition participants will be granted all the necessary cartographical documents and gave the travellers a symbolic map of their trip at the press-conference.

A symbolic map of the last lap of the expedition

A symbolic map of the last lap of the expedition

Ц I suppose that from the very start and to the end of this expedition the entire republic will be supporting it and will get involved with its success. We speak about patriotism. Karelia is doing it to let the rising generation, the youth, know that there are people in Russia ready to undergo the ordeal to bring fame to their native land. We need heroes today. Russia needs leading lights whose example young people may follow, Ц Arthur Chilingarov proclaimed the main aim of the expedition at the press conference.

Concluding the press-conference Alexander Khudilainen emphasized:

Ц The expedition is of great importance. We're going to do our best to carry the information on it and make it widely available. The expedition is important for Karelia, and even more it is important for Russia!

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Created: February 1, 2013. Last updated: February 4, 2013.
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