White Sea kayaking

A group of courageous/foolhardy Czech travellers sent me a question on the possibility (mostly from the legal rather than technical point of view) of going from Kem’ to Solovki, circling the island, and returning to Belomorsk by sea kayak. At the moment I’m investigating the issue by asking people closely associated with this type of trips, but getting contradictory answers. Does anybody have reliable info on the subject of whether the authorities would interfere and make these travellers stop their suicidal trip, and possibly give them some extra trouble eg. fines or arrest?

New!! Budget apartment for rent in St. Petersburg, Metro Obvodnoy Kanal

st-petersburg-3From Fred, an old client and friend of mine from Washington. Small, freshly redecorated in simple but modern Russian style, 4th floor of early twentieth century building with no elevator. No info on the rate at the moment but probably on the inexpensive side. 
st-petersburg-4

Contact Fred at willardfred62@gmail.com, with a copy to me to manfriday@yandex.ru.

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A monument to Stalin in Arkhangelsk

stalinThe campaign to erect a monument to the former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin as well as the seemingly growing opposition to the project are well under way in Arkhangelsk.

The cost of the project is said to be about 500 thousand roubles (about $7000 at the currect exchange rate), of which 30 thousand have already been collected. Once the funds are there it should take 2-3 monthes to manufacture the statue.

A $10/night hostel right by the Kremlin wall

landmark-hostel-moscowA few days ago I’ve run into a hostel offering beds of the sort like on the picture above for mere 600 roubles/night (just under $10). What’s more, it is at Starovagankovsky pereulok, literally across the road from the main entrance to the Kremlin. Their second location is in Old Arbat, which is pretty good too. I am hereby sharing this info with budget travel enthusiasts. The hostel site is only in Russian but the staff speak English, and most clients seems to be travellers from distant lands. A few more hostels of the same class noticed in the area but I’ve had no occasion to inspect them in person. All-in-all I’d say Moscow, as well as the rest of the country, is at the cheapest to travel to it’s been in the last 10-15 years.