Russia's Uralkali Potash Mine
The recent arrest in Belarus of Vladislav Baumgertner, the general director of Russia's Uralkali potash-producing giant, not only raised tensions between Minsk and Moscow. It also focused attention on the important commodity, a potassium-based salt which is used mostly to make fertilizer. Uralkali is the world's largest potash-producing company, ahead of Canadian and U.S. competitors. Baumgertner's announcement in July that Uralkali was leaving a joint venture with the Belarusian firm Belaruskali led to a steep drop in the commodity's price and hurt the Belarusian economy. RFE/RL gathered photos of Uralkali's mining efforts in Russia's Perm region to illustrate the massive scale of the work involved in potash production.