It has been hot and dry for the last two weeks. The usual consequence of such conditions is forest fires that are said to be raging all over the Murmansk region. Lichen burns where there is no forest, such as in the vicinity of Teriberka. Just heard that the Lotta (Luttojoki) Border Crossing Point connecting Russia to Finland is closed because of forest fires nearby.
Here is a comprehensive yet of manageable size, profound yet easy to read article by Martin Levine, former Foreign Service Officer, explaining why Russia is what it is with all her peculiarities, which are likely to make our lives more difficult than they have to be for a long time to come. I stumbled onto it on Quora.com
I have spent a few months in Russia so I maybe understand their attitude a little bit.
The Russians have a set of issues that make it difficult for them to relate to the rest of the world, not just the USA.
A Profound Sense of Loss
The Russians are sort of like the British. They had an Empire and they lost it. Some parts of the Soviet Union were kept there by force, an internal empire. The Uzbeks, the Ukrainians, the Kazakhs, might have preferred to do their own thing. Then of course there were the “satellite “ countries of Eastern Europe. And, the Russians had outposts in Cuba, Vietnam, Angola and elsewhere.
Rain, melting snow, and wind – we were treated to the classic late fall weather last night. The ugliest it has been in a long time. Most definitely this is not the time of year to travel to Kandalaksha.
But I make a living off you travellers, thus the late fall special on all of my services in an effort to entice you here: 50% off, or $12.50/hour and I’m yours to act as a guide, driver or translator.
Or, if you have business here but can’t attend the place in person, I can be your errand boy. Information gathering of any sort, people and grave searches, press reviews, whatever. It’s like having your feet and eyes and hands, and even a part of your brain here.
Severpost.ru reports that Olga Galanchik, the owner of one of Kandalaksha’s travel agencies, Orange Tours, located at no. 3 ulitsa 50 let Okryabrya, was arrested in Sweden on Sept. 19, 2017, for stealing a fur coat. The court date is set for October 6, and Olga is said to be under arrest before the court.
I wonder if this is a true story or a typical Russian “drive your competitor out of business” ploy.
Someone has recently written “Russia is an Orthodox country” on the “Stupa of Enlightenment” by the Apatity to Kirovsk road, one of the two stupas near Apatity built by local entrepreneurs brothers Igor and Oleg Belyayev. This is of course a far cry from the Taliban blowing up centuries-old statues of Buddha but still..
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.
A few days ago, on April 20 2017, the Ministry of Justice declared the Kola Ecological Center, of which my mate Alexandra is a member, a “foreign agent” for receiving foreign financing and being engaged in political activity.
Its “political activity” appears to be taking part in public hearings where government officials were present.
The “foreign agent” status means, in addition to a serious stigma, a significant increase in the amount of reporting paperwork the NGO has to do.
The Kola Ecological Center is behind the eco-trails east of Kandalaksha and near Kolvitsa. They also orchestrated the construction of a WW2 memorial in Kolvitsa. These are the sort of things that stand out in their work, not attempting to influence Russian government officials using foreign funds.
Heard a couple of dramatic reports that water dumped from a reservoir up the Kovda river washed off the bridge in the village of Kovda downstream thus leaving the residents cut off from the mainland, and is threatening houses.
Complaints of no response from emergency services.
Kovda is some 80km south from Kandalaksha. See my small overview post on Kovda.
The Murmansk Region section of the Ministry of Emergencies reported yesterday that since the beginning of 2016 43 persons were lost in the woods and hills, of which 11 were found dead and nine not located at all.
What level of risk these figures represent I know not since the total number of those venturing out was not told. Still, before leaving tell someone you are off, and indicate the route and the expected return time to make the search easier.