Stories

So close to the US and yet so different

by Markus Lundgren - 1 year ago

Both foreigners and Russians need special permission to visit Chukotka, opposite Alaska in the Russian Far East. I got the help of a St Petersburg travel agent to apply for the permit, since I could not myself understand the 11 pages with requirements to obtain the permit in Russian. It took almost two months to obtain, so when I finally arrived to Anadyr, the regional capital, it felt very special. The airport was on the other side of the river from Anadyr. In the summer boats were used and in winter normally band waggons, but since the ice was not thick enough when I arrived we had to travel by helicopter. In Anadyr a guide showed me around the few sights. Abrahimovic, the oligarch, has been governor of the region and really spruced it up. The buildings reminded me of Greenland, all in different colours. There is not much exchange with Alaska, although Nome is quite close. An important reason is that Russians need a visa to visit the US which can only be obtained in Moscow, about ten hours to the West by air. I was booked on a Transaero flight from Moscow, which must be one of the longest domestic flights in the world, but the airline went bankrupt, so I travelled from Khabarovsk instead, and on to Jakutsk, to experience winter with -45 degress celcius.



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