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The Journey Is Over

This journey that started for me aged 17 in Anna’s Russian class has now come to an end. I’m glad that you were there to see a huge part of it. From the villages of the Komi republic to the mountains of Dagestan, we have experienced so many adventures ( and Soviet sinks ). I’ll always remember the forays into the hinterland and the people I met with great fondness but it’s time to to bring the curtain down.

Glory to the USSR!

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This Video Caused An International Incident! ??

??Since we began exploring the former USSR we have discovered all kinds of wonderful examples of Soviet art and technology. However this time I went in search of the biggest prize of all…I just didn’t realise it would cause such a fuss as it did. Glory to the Soviet space engineers and cosmonauts! Glory to the Buran!

Check out the Instagram @lanasator for some great photos from Buran and other areas of the former USSR. Without her advice and knowledge this video wouldn’t have been possible.

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The BAM: Russia’s Unknown Trans-Siberian Train??

?? We have all heard of the Trans-Siberian, Russia’s mega train journey that crosses Siberia as it skirts the Chinese border. But few have heard of the even more impressive B.A.M ( Baikal Amur Mainline ) which passes through virgin forest in the middle of Siberia. Built in the 1970s by young communists, the BAM is the greatest construction project of the 20th Century. And yet it is unknown in the West.

I decided to go and ride this unknown journey across northern Siberia and speak to the people who came to build it. Join me as we ride ‘The Bam’!

The journey route: Tayshet-Severobaykalsk-Novi Uoyan-Tinda

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Looking For A Drink In Deepest Siberia ??

?? What does a man have to do to get a beer around here? Well if you’re in the Siberian town of Taiga then the answer is quite a lot. I searched everywhere for a beer and met legends on the way. Welcome to the towns other bloggers don’t show you, where everyone is a character with a twinkle in their eye.

For you guys searching on a map for the towns I visit in this film, they are: Novosibirsk-Bolotnoe-Tomsk-Taiga-Taishet

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Inside Perm 36: The Last Gulag

?? Under Stalin the G.U.LAG ( Main Administration of Camps ) system spread out across what was the former Soviet Union, swallowing up citizens and foreigners from all corners of the empire. Ukrainians, Estonians, Kyrgyz etc. were taken from their homes and sent north in box cars to the camps to work away their stretches. Millions passed through the camps and many never returned home. Those camps have long been dismantled or converted into regular factories and work places and you’d be hard pressed to know that you were visiting a former camp. However Perm 36 logging camp has been preserved and so I travelled to the very edge of Europe to a village called Kutchino to visit the last Gulag and to see how the prisoners lived.

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Solo On The World’s Longest Train Journey ??

??The Trans-Siberian train, who hasn’t dreamt of taking it across this leviathan of a country? Well not me to be honest but somehow I decided to override my dread of endless train rides to show you what nobody has shown you before. The real Trans-Siberian. This isn’t a package tour, nothing is booked in advance. It’s just me on my own hopping from town to town on whichever train is leaving next, meeting locals, drinking vodka, avoiding snorers, exploring Russia. Join me!

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Hunting The Caspian Sea Monster

In the 1960s American spy satellites photographed a huge leviathan craft docked in the Caspian Sea. The CIA dubbed it the Caspian monster. It was however a top secret Ekranoplan that was built for war. It remained in a naval dockyard under lock and key after the USSR collapsed until recently when it broke free and washed ups on a beach a few hours to the south near the Russian city of Derbent. I flew to Rostov and set off across the varied landscapes and cultures of Southern Russia in search of the infamous Caspian monster.