We live in Usinsk. It’s a small town with a population of about 60 thousand people situated near the river Usa in the northeastern corner of the Komi Republic. Usinsk is young, it was founded in 1975. It is a multinational town, and people of many nationalities live here, Russians, Ukranians, Tatars, Komis, Bashkirs and so on.
The climate is severe, the winter is cold and long, lasting for 6-8 months, whereas spring and summer are short and cool.
Usinsk district is rich in oil, so oil is extracted here by the petroleum industry. There are many industrial enterprises connected with oil extraction.
There are also some joint – ventures such as international specialists from North America, the UK and France, who team up with Russian oil companies, living and working in Usinsk.
In autumn 1994 our Usinsk became world renowned as a town where one of the world’s greatest ecological catastrophies took place. The old oil pipeline suddenly collapsed and a lot of oil and oil products streamed onto and into the ground, flowing into rivers and their tributaries. The news of the catastrophe spread quickly throughout the world, and many foreign correspondents visited Usinsk in November 1994, calling this a great ecological catastrophe but our Komi oil bosses called it only a local incident without consequences nor ecological impact.
Part of the oil cleanup operation involved cleaning the banks of the river, adjacent affected areas, and any flora and fauna covered with oil and oil products, rescuing the damaged ecological system.
Finally, The old broken pipeline was replaced with a new one.
In my opinion, this ecological catastrophe is such an unpleasant event in the life of our town. As our town is young we have no theatres and museums, historical and memorial places yet. But we have a cinema, the Palace of Technics, a swimming-pool, a hockey stadium, the House for Schoolchildren where there are a lot of different clubs, studios for teenagers and a lot of pupils attend them. There is also a music and art school, seven schools, and many kindergartens. There is an airport and a railway station and our people can go to Moscow, Syktyvkar, Ufa, Kazan by plane and by train. Our town is surrounded by forests, there are also small rivers and lakes. Our people like to spend weekends in the forests picking mushrooms and berries in autumn, skiing in winter and in early spring. Our men and boys are fond of fishing. As for me, I like my town, it’s so lovely.