A town in northern Siberia home to 170,000 people has gained the undesirable title of "most depressing city on Earth".
The Russian town of Norilsk in the Krasnoyarsk Krai oblast is closer to the North Pole than it is to Moscow. It is equally far away from Vladivostok and the Pacific making it possibly the most isolated city in Russia. The industrial outpost is so remote there are no road connections. There is only a single freight rail-line to the sea and the port of Dudinka.
According to the Sun who dubbed the city the "most depressing on earth", locals refer to leaving the city as "going to the mainland", when they cross the Noril Skaya river.
Harsh living conditions and Soviet era pollution mean life expectancy is 10 years lower than the national average, already the lowest in Europe.
National health data shows blood illnesses are 44 per cent higher in the children of Norilsk than anywhere else in Siberia.
Perhaps the most visible sign of the industrial pollution is the river's turning blood red following tailings from a nearby smelting plant.
"In the winter, the snow is also red," said factory worker Evgeny Belikov. Although clear sign of chemical pollution he told ABC the phenomenon is strangely "beautiful".
In June 2020 the Ambaranya River was also dyed blood red following a diesel leak from Norilsk Nickel. The incident was declared a state of emergency and 20,000 tonnes of diesel fuel were thought to have made it into the waterways.
In the early 2000s Nasa satellite imagery showed that almost half of the surrounding forests had been killed from sulphur and heavy metal pollution.
While the rivers and snow are an unexpected shade of crimson, there is one thing that is reliably white: polar bears.
White Russian bears are regularly seen prowling the streets and raiding the bins of unexpecting residents. In 2019 the Royev Ruchei Zoo in Krasnoyarsk, which rescues the creatures, warned that the animals were being forced into the town by warming winters and lack of Arctic hunting grounds.
The also appear on the city's coat of arms since it was founded in 1935 as a nickel mining settlement. However some of the first residents did not move there willingly. The Norillag labour camp of Gulag used prisoners to do metallurgical plant work and mining.
In the almost 90 years since its founding, residents have braved winter temperatures of between -30 and -53 Celsius and six weeks of darkness. This lack of natural light and dangerously low temperatures can lead to sunlight deficiencies and seasonal sicknesses.
To counter the drabness buildings in the central city and Leninsky Prospekt (Lenin Street) have even been painted bright sunflower yellow.
On the swing side of living in Norilsk, in summer residents experience 65 days of midsummer sunshine.
The living wage is also subsidised for residents. Wages in the Russian Nickel capital is almost $400 a month more generous than the national average.
The region has some of the highest concentrations of platinum and palladium on earth, roughly 25 per cent of the world's supply.
The semi-precious, magnetic minerals are the main reason anyone is there in the first place. Until recently, the local mineral economy is worth 2 per cent of Russia's GDP.
For that reason people endure the harsh winters and Siberian isolation and are handsomely compensated.