A group of Russian businessmen, members of the Leaders’ Club, set off for the Antarctic on December 20. One of their goals is to draw attention to Russia’s studies of the Antarctic and to test Russian-made communication equipment in extreme conditions.
Expedition participants also intend to hoist the Russian flag at the highest spot of the Antarctic and conduct a series of medical and biological studies. The expedition involves some 200 people and 34 research organisations.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. Can you hear me?
Leaders’ Club President, Agency For Strategic Initiatives New Business Director Artem Avetisyan: Yes, we can hear you. The Leaders’ Club expedition welcomes you to the vast expanses of the Antarctic.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you. Hello, everyone.
I remember you were telling me about this expedition in Moscow, and bearing in mind that your expedition is of a national scope, I would like to recall that our compatriots Faddey Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev pioneered Antarctic exploration.
Besides, next year, I believe, we will be marking 60 years since the first Soviet expedition to the Antarctic. Thus, overall we have significant experience in this exploration. This is a very interesting, unique part of the planet.
Unfortunately, not everyone who wanted to take part in the expedition managed to do so. Only yesterday, I spoke to my aide Andrei Belousov. He is disappointed he could not join you because of his workload, though he had the necessary training.
I am glad that you have managed to bring this expedition to fruition. I know you have planned many events and many people are taking part in this work.
Could you please remind us of what you intend to do, including the testing of Russian-made radio and video communication equipment.
Artem Avetisyan: Mr President, we are actually testing the equipment now. This is the first ever TV link-up between Moscow and the Antarctic. Nobody has ever done it before.
This was made possible thanks to Russian engineers. A large part of the equipment we are using was made in Russia.
We have set camp here, 16,000 kilometres from Moscow, and tomorrow we are setting out to the highest peak of the Antarctic to hoist the Russian flag there.
We have representatives of medium size businesses here from various sectors of the economy, and our goal is not only to hoist the Russian flag, but also to test Russian equipment at the peak.
We will also conduct a series of medical and biological experiments to study human sensitivity to hypoxia at high altitudes. We also plan to collect water samples from the highest peak of the Antarctic. They say it is the cleanest water in the world, and we believe it can extend human life.
Also, it is no secret that for a year now the Leaders’ Club has been making sample purchases. Now we have made a sample purchase here in the Antarctic and found a discrepancy: tourists here are taken around by Russian pilots on board legendary Russian Il-76 craft. However, the travel agencies are foreign, and the aircraft servicing companies are also foreign, while the number of tourists is significant – around 6,000.
We would like to create Russian tourist infrastructure to popularise Antarctic travel in our country. If you do not mind, Mr President, we would like to discuss this with you in Moscow, and if you support the idea, the Leaders’ Club is willing to take on the job.
Vladimir Putin: Fine, let us do that.
Naturally, wherever you go you always find areas where you can apply your creative and business-like approach. I never had any doubt about that. See, you have found something even in the Antarctic. How are you planning to see in the New Year?
Artem Avetisyan: We should be at an altitude of some 4,000 metres on New Year’s Eve, so we intend to contact Russian entrepreneurs in all the remote areas of Russia. That is actually why we brought all this equipment. We have a Russian-made radio station that we will also be testing. And we will be wishing everyone a happy New Year.
Vladimir Putin: I see.
I would like to wish you good luck and all the best in the New Year, success in your work and in reaching the peak. Please pass on my best wishes to all the expedition participants.
I know that about 200 people are involved in your work and 34 research organisations have been supporting it in one way or another.
Please convey my best wishes to the marine and aircraft crews. I wish you all the best. Happy New Year!
Artem Avetisyan: Thank you, Mr President. Happy New Year to you!
Vladimir Putin: All the best! Good-bye and good luck!