Russian dignitaries visit Pole by Helicopter

Russians Nikolai Patrushev, deputy leader of the FSB (Federal Security Service), and Vladimir Pronichev, director of the Border Guard Service, and others, visit Pole on two FSB MI-8 helicopters. The trip, led by polar explorer and Duma vice speaker Artur Chilingarov had flown to PH from Punta Arenas via KGI on a Antonov An 24 aircraft; the helicopters had been positioned at PH. They reached Pole on the evening of 7 January. The trip was led by polar explorer and Duma vice speaker Artur Chilingarov. It was variously described as a kickoff event for the International Polar Year, and as a PR effort to undermine the US "monopoly" at the South Pole.