Gazprom Neft has splashed out millions of roubles to sponsor festivities in northern Russia's core producing Yamal-Nenets region to mark the traditional annual gathering of reindeer herders and hunters.


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A trio of the state-controlled oil giant's subsidiaries used the cash to sponsor celebrations in the regional city of Yar-Sale, which reportedly attracted huge crowds of residents and indigenous people.

This year's festivities, held earlier this month, celebrated the 60th anniversary of the traditional gathering.

According to televised reports from the event, Gazprom Neft rolled out a dozen Russian-made snowmobiles — each worth $10,000 — as prizes for winners of various competitions that are popular among indigenous Nenets, Khanty and Selkup tribes.

The competitions included reindeer sled races, lasso throwing and wrestling, and went on for hours.

According to local press reports, winner in the sled jumping competition, Maxim Salinder, won a snowmobile after setting a record of 403 jumps.

Visitors — including regional governmental officials and Yamal-Nenets Governor Dmitry Artyukhov — were seen flouting social distancing rules by mingling and hugging with each other, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The number of new daily cases of Covid-19 in Russia fell below 9000 in April, as compared with close to 29,000 at the end of December.