If the world is round I’m so far east that I could almost be in the west!

Kilometres pass, changing time zones, days and nights chasing one another, and after so much wandering eastwards, I have finally reached the point where the tracks die and the Trans-Siberian journey comes to an end. Besides, you cannot go any further, there is the ocean beyond and, in front of me, somewhere, there is Japan. In short, I arrived at […]

Birobidzhan, a day in Sion Soviet Union

Birobidzhan, a day in Sion Soviet Union I arrive in this small province-town on a sunny Sunday when not a single living soul strolls around. Birobidzhan is the capital of the Jewish Autonomous Region, created from nothing in 1934 because of Stalin’s behest. In the USSR, Judaism was reduced to a mere line in the Soviet internal passport, in point […]

Russian women, between Bolshevik feminism and Romance

Next to the homo sovieticus, communism created the mulier sovietica. In the 1920s, the Bolsheviks initiated a massive campaign of transformation of the role of women in Russian society. Lenin himself often treated gender issues, complaining in his speeches, the traditionalist mentality that looked at women as nothing more than a “domestic slave”. The blame, according to the father of […]

Siberia, this unknown no man’s land

From the encrusted with rain and dust window of the train I see passing days of landscapes made of spiky birch green forests, yellow marshes on which the smoky mist of the morning hovers and, occasionally, some solitary chimney that stands out like a tall silent minaret among the marshy grasslands. Is this Siberia? Silence and immensity that the train […]

Bajkal, the limpid Siberian giant

Despite the dilapidated Russian roads, we eventually manage to get to Listvyanka, a small village on the south coast of the majestic Lake Bajkal. A fresh wind blows on the lake shore waving the branches of the forest that borders the battered road pothole. The town is a series of wooden houses in the Siberian style with inlaid boxes and […]