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The Bering Strait Festival took place in the Russian city of Anadyr and village of Lorino in Chukotka on 4-11 August. The festival was highlighted by the Beringia Games, which brought together representatives of the Indigenous peoples of the Arctic in the format of a cultural forum and sports competitions. The festival programme also included business sessions, the Beringia 2023 regatta, as well as fact-finding trips to tourist attractions in the region. The festival was part of the plan of events of Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021-2023, which are managed by the Roscongress Foundation.

Recap of the Bering Strait Festival

The Beringia Games featured 45 participants, including representatives of Indigenous peoples from eight of Russia’s Arctic regions and foreign guests. The competition determined the best performers in the following national sports: one-foot high kick, sled jumping, Alaskan high kick, and others. In the overall team standings, athletes from the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) finished first, representatives of the Komi Republic came in second, and contestants from the Chukotka Autonomous District took third place.

The individual medallists among men were Vadim Anaka from the Chukotka Autonomous District (1st place) and Georgy Sofronov (2nd place) and Ayaan Chorosov (3rd place) from the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). Among women, Anastasia Paramonova from the Republic of Komi finished first in the competition, Amelia Alexeyeva from the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) came in second, and Diana Pavlova from Yakutia took third place.

The festival’s business programme featured discussions on how to develop tourism in the Arctic regions, including the creation of new tourism products, the modernization of tourism infrastructure, the tourism industry’s adaptation to off-season work, and the creation of campsites, glamping sites, and cruise routes.

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In addition, the festival programme included the Beringia 2023 regatta, which was postponed to 13 August due to weather conditions. The regatta, which consisted of team racing on leather kayaks, featured competitions among men’s and women’s teams along with individual races. Indigenous peoples living in the Bering Strait region primarily used leather canoes for transport. Twenty teams took part in the regatta.

The event also included a special fact-finding tour of Chukotka for tourism industry professionals and media representatives. Participants in the festival’s business programme had an opportunity to try out one of the Chukotka Autonomous District’s promising tourist products – a cruise to Kresta Bay to visit the village of Egvekinot and the Master of the Earth Ethnopark.

The festival was organized by the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic and the government of the Chukotka Autonomous District.