Questions on Russian travel (in particular to the north-west of European part of the country), working, or living are most welcomed. Write to, contact me via Skype at Uncle_Pasha_2011, or use chat at the bottom right corner of this page.

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A hotel in Alakurtti

From our recent trip to Finland. This sign was found hidden in the bushes at the gas station in Alakurtti.


“We are waiting for you in the village of Alakurtti, ulitsa N. Naberezhnaya 50, tel. 8 911 314 4155, 8 911 336 3863.”

A warning based on the story of one of our guests: Although Alakurtti is NOT closed to foreigners the local police will monitor you closely and may burst in in the middle of night to check your documents. Alakurtti remains the last point before the Finnish border where you can find accommodation, and since the border crossing closes at 9pm it is wise to make a note of Alakurtti accommodation.

See another post on Alakurtti accommodation >>

The last days of September on the south coast of the Kola Peninsula

Photos by Gennady Aleksandrov


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Moscow on Monday

gloomy-muscovitesThe collective face of the city is considerably gloomier than on the weekend.

But still no traffic jams of three years ago.






Another new impression is a large – huge – number of “for rent” signs on retail property, a sure sign of economic decline.


Moscow – first impressions after 2+ years away

Irrived in Moscow yesterday at 11:35am. First impressions after being away for over two years:

(1) Neatness and cleanliness leaning towards glamour.

(2) Huge police presence.

(3) A conspicuous number of Muslim-dressed people seen on Moscow streets.


(4) The traffic situation appears to be less of a problem than three years ago although this impression may be misleading as I arrived on Saturday, when traffic is not always high.

(5) Lots of bicycles. The colour of the season is white. And folding kick scooters all over not seen at all in 2013 Moscow.

(6) Public bicycle rental is all over, both in the city center and in the outskirts.



Bike rental points are marked in green

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Our Nenets neighbours classed as “foreign agents”

nenetsky-regionBarents observer reports that the Nenets organization Yasavey Manzara is the first indigenous peoples´ organization in the Barents Region to be declared “foreign agents”. The Arkhangelsk and Nenets department of the Ministry of Justice has put Yasavey Manzala on the foreign agents list on Sept. 23. This means the ceasure of organization’s work as continuing after being labeled “foreign agent” requires adminstrative resources Yasavey Manzara does not have.

On my way to Moscow

moscowOff to Moscow tomorrow, arriving Saturday, Sept. 26, at 11:35am, and staying there for 2-3 weeks.

Anybody wishing to see me in person please write to

Back from Finland, impressed with how cheap Russia is

roubleThis recent trip drove home how inexpensive Russia has become following the fall of the rouble. Across the board prices here are half of what they are in Finland.

I’d say if you are thinking of visiting Russia at all do it now, while it is cheap, before rouble inflation catches up with rising dollar and euro.

Off to the Oulanka Park, Finland on Friday

oulankaBack Monday or Tuesday. May have limited Internet access during the trip. Call me at +7 921 155 5432 if there is anything urgent.