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mid-July 2011 view of Nikel
mid-July 2011 view of Nikel
Coat of arms of Nikel
Coat of arms
Location of Nikel
Nikel is located in Russia
Location of Nikel
Nikel is located in Murmansk Oblast
Nikel (Murmansk Oblast)
Coordinates: 69°24′50″N 30°13′55″E / 69.41389°N 30.23194°E / 69.41389; 30.23194Coordinates: 69°24′50″N 30°13′55″E / 69.41389°N 30.23194°E / 69.41389; 30.23194
Federal subjectMurmansk Oblast[1]
Administrative districtPechengsky District[1]
Founded1944Edit this on Wikidata
140 m (460 ft)
 • Total12,756
 • Estimate 
11,437 (−10.3%)
 • Capital ofPechengsky District[1]
 • Municipal districtPechengsky Municipal District[4]
 • Urban settlementNikel Urban Settlement[4]
 • Capital ofNikel Urban Settlement[4]
Time zoneUTC+3 (MSK Edit this on Wikidata[5])
Postal code(s)[6]
184421Edit this on Wikidata
Dialing code(s)+7 81554
OKTMO ID47615151051

Nikel (Russian: Ни́кель, lit. nickel; Finnish: Nikkeli) is an urban locality (an urban-type settlement) and the administrative center of Pechengsky District of Murmansk Oblast, Russia,[1] located on the shores of Lake Kuets-Yarvi 196 kilometers (122 mi) northwest of Murmansk and 7 kilometers (4.3 mi) from the Norwegian border on E 105. Population: 12,756 (2010 Census);[2] 16,534 (2002 Census);[7] 21,838 (1989 Census);[8] 18,000 (1973).


In the 1920 Treaty of Tartu, Soviet Russia ceded the area of Petsamo to Finland.[9] In the 1930s huge reserves of nickel were found on fells nearby. The amount was estimated to be five million tons. In 1934, the Finnish Government awarded the mining right to the British Mond Nickel Co, subsidiary of International Nickel Co (Inco), that founded the Petsamon Nikkeli Oy mining company. The company began building a railway, as well as other infrastructure, between the town, then known as Kolosjoki, and Liinahamari harbor.

In the Winter War of 1939–1940, the Soviet Union occupied Petsamo. In the following peace agreement only the Finnish part of the Rybachy Peninsula was ceded to the Soviet Union, although the Soviets had occupied all of Petsamo during the war. In summer 1940, the Finnish government took over the mines from the British company. The first mining operations began in the same year. During World War II, the ore was mainly sold to Germany. The hydro power plant in Jäniskoski started operations in 1942, making it possible to smelt the ore locally.

In December 1943 Albert Speer, German Minister of Armaments and War Production, flew on an inspection tour to Kolosjoki, which by then was the sole supplier of nickel to the Third Reich. Captured during the invasion of Russia, the mines’ ore heaps remained in the yards and had not been shipped out due to a priority of bomb-proofing the power station and smelter. By placing the power plant security on a lower priority, Speer was able to make the transportation shipments of the vital ore to Germany move quicker.[10]

In 1944, the Red Army occupied Petsamo, and Finland had to cede it to the Soviet Union as part of the Moscow Armistice signed on September 19, 1944.[9] Retreating German forces destroyed the power plant and partially the smelter. On July 21, 1945, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union decreed to establish Pechengsky District with the administrative center in Nikel on the ceded territory and to include this district as a part of Murmansk Oblast.[9]


Norilsk Nickel plant in Nikel

The town is linked to the Norilsk Nickel plant Kola MMC nearby where many of its citizens are employed and which causes environmental and health concerns for the population. The nickel smelter which has been an eyesore in Norway–Russia relations for decades due to its extreme pollution levels usually deposits its sulfur dioxide fumes to the south of the town where the countryside is a brown moonscape of bald hills, barren of plant life for kilometers around.[11] In the summertime, the toxic fumes which for the rest of the year rarely blow northwards towards the town occasionally do just that, making breathing difficult and even burning holes in people's umbrellas.[11] Over the last 15 years, however, SO2 emissions from Kola MMC have lowered significantly from 191,000 tonnes in 2001 to 119,700 tonnes in 2016, provides company data.[12] By 2025, Norilsk Nickel plans to reduce its overall emissions by 90% as part of its long-term development programme announced in 2019.[13]

Recent events[edit]

The video of English alternative rock band White Lies, Farewell to the Fairground, was filmed there in early 2009.[citation needed]

Sister cities[edit]


Apartment buildings in Nikel


  1. ^ a b c d e Государственный комитет Российской Федерации по статистике. Комитет Российской Федерации по стандартизации, метрологии и сертификации. №ОК 019-95 1 января 1997 г. «Общероссийский классификатор объектов административно-территориального деления. Код 47 215», в ред. изменения №278/2015 от 1 января 2016 г.. (State Statistics Committee of the Russian Federation. Committee of the Russian Federation on Standardization, Metrology, and Certification. #OK 019-95 January 1, 1997 Russian Classification of Objects of Administrative Division (OKATO). Code 47 215, as amended by the Amendment #278/2015 of January 1, 2016. ).
  2. ^ a b Russian Federal State Statistics Service (2011). Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1 [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года [2010 All-Russia Population Census] (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service.
  3. ^ "26. Численность постоянного населения Российской Федерации по муниципальным образованиям на 1 января 2018 года". Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Law #539-01-ZMO
  5. ^ "Об исчислении времени". Официальный интернет-портал правовой информации (in Russian). June 3, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  6. ^ "Archived copy" Информация об объекте почтовой связи (in Russian). Russian Post. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved March 16, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Russian Federal State Statistics Service (May 21, 2004). Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек [Population of Russia, Its Federal Districts, Federal Subjects, Districts, Urban Localities, Rural Localities—Administrative Centers, and Rural Localities with Population of Over 3,000] (XLS). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года [All-Russia Population Census of 2002] (in Russian).
  8. ^ Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров [All Union Population Census of 1989: Present Population of Union and Autonomous Republics, Autonomous Oblasts and Okrugs, Krais, Oblasts, Districts, Urban Settlements, and Villages Serving as District Administrative Centers]. Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года [All-Union Population Census of 1989] (in Russian). Институт демографии Национального исследовательского университета: Высшая школа экономики [Institute of Demography at the National Research University: Higher School of Economics]. 1989 – via Demoscope Weekly.
  9. ^ a b c Administrative-Territorial Division of Murmansk Oblast, p. 54
  10. ^ Speer, Albert. 1970. Inside the Third Reich. New York: Macmillan. Page 382.
  11. ^ a b Antonova, Maria (July 25, 2008). "Balancing Growth and Environment". The Moscow Times. Archived from the original on August 3, 2008. Retrieved July 25, 2008.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  12. ^ "Norilsk Nickel Hosts 2017 Annual Strategy Day: investing In Sustainable Development - Nornickel". Nornickel. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  13. ^
  14. ^ The model of twin cities Barents Institute Reprint (2008) no. 2


  • Архивный отдел Администрации Мурманской области. Государственный Архив Мурманской области. (1995). Административно-территориальное деление Мурманской области (1920-1993 гг.). Справочник. Мурманск: Мурманское издательско-полиграфическое предприятие "Север".

External links[edit]