The Sandarmokh forest massif near Medvezhyegorsk

sandarmohThe Sandarmokh forest massif near Medvezhyegorsk (12km from Medvezhyegorsk towards Vologda)is the biggest shooting range and burial ground in the Russian North-West. About 10 thousand are buried here: 3500 Karelians, 4500 White to Baltic sea canal workers, and 1000+ political prisoners from Solovki, all shot in 1937-1938, at the height of purges. Now it is a memorial cemetery.

More here >> (English) and here >> (Russian).

Kem’ was a bit too much even for Pasha, our connoisseur of gloom

kemA town in Karelia, on the White Sea, about halfway between Medvezhyegorsk (“Bear Mountain”) and Kandalaksha, 15km off the main highway. Populaton ~30 th. Any train to Murmansk will go through Kem’. About 32 hours from Moscow, 25 from Saint-Petersburg, and 2-3 from Kandalaksha.

Visit Kem’ if you are interested either in the Pomors (an ethnic or cultural group, a subset of Russians), or the history of Gulag. A boat to the Island of Solovki – a popular destination among the Orthodox Russians because of the Solovetski monastery – leaves from the Kem’ port.

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Kem, Belomorsk, and the Baltic to White Sea Canal links

Two travelogues worthy of notice:

Sosnovets

On the Baltic Sea to White Sea Canal, ~20km from Belomorsk.

More info later. If anybody is real hot about Sosnovets, write and I’ll do a compilation on it.

A review of the history of Sosnovets on the Pomor Cultural Center’s site: http://pomorskibereg.ru/sosnovec. In Russian but really well written and, as texts that make sense, should easily submit to online translation. The Pomor Culture Center is in Belomorsk, the end point of the Baltic to White Sea Canal.

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Baltic Sea – White Sea Canal

Jelle Brandt Corstius talks about the construction of the Belomor Canal in the ’30s. Dutch with English subtitles.

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