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A group of Norilsk residents sit at a table on the shore of Lama Lake near Norilsk on an outing from the city. When the weather becomes slightly warmer residents are keen to get outside, having spent the best part of nine months indoors during the long arctic winter. <br />
The city of Norilsk, in the far north of Russia's Krasnoyarsk region, was founded in the 1920s and today has a population of just over 175,000. In its early years it served as the centre of Norillag (or the Norilsk Corrective Labour Camp) but was given town status in 1953 as the Gulag system was slowly winding down. Today the city is largely dependent on MMC Norilsk Nickel, the world's leading producer of Nickel and palladium and Norilsk's main employer. In 2001, the city was closed to all non-Russians, except for citizens of Belarus.