The volunteer project Yenisei Day was launched by RUSAL and the Russian Geographical Society in 2011 as a one-off event that sought to raise awareness of the environmental issues of Siberia's largest river. However, as the response was so successful and encompassing, it was decided to make it an annual event. In 2012, the authorities of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, the Republic of Khakasia and the Republic of Tyva, where the river has its source, issued special resolutions giving Yenisei Day the status of a regional holiday. Officially, Yenisei Day is celebrated on the last Saturday of September, however, it has now become a tradition for it to be preceded by an environmental protection marathon throughout the summer.
Today, Yenisei Day is not only a significant event and a brand that has gained recognition far beyond Siberia, but it is also a major environmental, cultural and public event with its own traditions. It features clean-up landings on the banks of the Yenisei, quests and contests, exhibitions, lectures, concerts, master classes, sporting competitions and many other types of events. Every year, volunteers in Krasnoyarsk and Sayanogorsk release thousands of sturgeon, peled and other valuable species of fish into the river.
In 2018, the project was entered into a contest aimed at promoting the development of civil society and as a result, it received a presidential grant of RUB 2.5 mln to open five environmental protection locations in mass recreation areas on the banks of the Yenisei. The initiative of RUSAL’s volunteers received a variety of awards and diplomas at different contests.
The project is scaling up fast and in addition to Yenisei Day, other Russian regions are celebrating Rivers Day, a festival that aims to improve the state of river banks and encourage the local communities to treat their environment with care.