Natalia Golysheva, a BBC correspondent whose grandfather was a Gulag prisoner, visited Solovki in June 2018. She joined pilgrims on their journey to the far-off skits, heard from local residents and spoke to the granddaughter of perhaps the most famous Gulag survivor Dmitry Likhachov asking her what Solovki represents in modern day Russia.
Among other things, Natalia explores the conflict between, on the one hand, the monastery, which is said to try to erase the traces of the prison history of the place, and, on the other, historians and human rights activists, who want Solovki preserved as a Gulag memorial.
Rumours have reached me that the Union of Independent Guides to Solovki invites artists, photographers, and bloggers to stay there for free in exchange for their paintings, photographs, or mentionings in blogs. Details here.
Just got a hint from a client about a very inexpensive, comfortable, and exceptionally well-situated hostel in St. Petersburg at ulitsa Yakubovicha 20, tel. +7 911 278 1114, e-mail email@example.com. It is said to be a few steps from St. Isaac’s Cathedral on Nevsky. They rented two beds in a four-bed room for 400 roubles ($7) a night each, which is a very good rate for the center of St. Petersburg.
Moscow ornithologist Pavel Kvartalnov has recently made, on our request that was, in turn, prompted by an enquiry by the person who contributes to the Yorkshire Regiment WW1 Remembrance site, a full set of the Arkhangelsk British Cemetery graves. They can be found at [removed on author’s requestб probably available if you ask for it].
I’ve been asked several times over the last month what’s the big fuss about the proposed plans to knock down several thousand of Moscow’s outdated (mostly from the 1950s and 1960s) buildings. Here is an article, in English, summarizing what’s wrong with mayor Sobyanin’s project. And here is another one from The Moscow Times explaining why scores of Muscovites are not that happy about the authorities’ big plans.
The other day I’ve noticed a poster by Orenburzhye Airlines at the local supermarket announcing direct daily Murmansk to Arkhangelsk flights. The cost of the ticket is ~8000 roubles (about $130) one way according to their site. Before this offer became available one would either have to fly via Moscow (that would take pretty much the whole day) or spend one and a half or two days on the train.
In the Central House of Artist in Moscow (Krymsky Val 10/14) soon opens a big exposition featuring 65 works, mostly from the collection of the Murmansk Regional Art Museum, by classic Murmansk artists, starting May 27 and closing on June 19.