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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Abramovich Studies Reindeer Slaughter

Chukotka Governor Roman Abramovich has been learning about the best way to butcher reindeer during a working trip to Finland, the governor of Lapland said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

"Abramovich visited [on Monday] on a very short trip to study our reindeer meat production," Lapland Governor Hannele Pokka said.

During the visit to Ravienimi, just south of the Artic Circle, Abramovich and several other Chukotka officials toured the high-tech Lapin Liha factory, the world's largest producer of reindeer meat.

"We were walking through the factory for two hours and they were asking a lot of questions about reindeer processing and about our machinery," said Tero Martikainen, production director at Lapin Liha.

"Mostly we are a reindeer-slaughtering company and a reindeer-processing company," Martikainen said, adding that his products also include smoked reindeer sausage.

Pokka said Abramovich's visit was only the latest example of long-established cooperation between Lapland and Russia, with reindeer experts from Russia coming to study in Finland.

Modernizing the reindeer processing facilities in Chukotka is seen as a crucial way of boosting the fortunes of the beleaguered indigenous population

Last year, a new reindeer-slaughtering house began operations in Chukotka, the regional administration said in a statement.

Due to controls put in place by the local government, the number of reindeer in Chukotka has risen from 92,500 in 2000 to 162,000 in 2006, the statement said.

During his tenure as governor of Chukotka, Abramovich has invested in local infrastructure in an attempt to stimulate the area's flagging economy.

As to whether Abramovich had sampled any of the local specialty, Pokka said that he had not.

"No, he does not eat meat at all," she said.

Martikainen said many people are squeamish about the thought of eating reindeer meat, and because of associations with Father Christmas and Rudolph, it is often marketed as artic deer.

He said the Russian delegation was more interested in the economics than the emotions of the enterprise, however.

"Abramovich was not worried about this. He is a real businessman," Martikainen said.