Articles tagged:

Russian Federation

Magazine article

Polar bees

by hidden europe

The news is not great for polar bumble bees, which are well adapted to the Arctic climate. Climate change may not bode well for these bees in the Russian North, but the prospects for adventurous butterflies are on the up.

Magazine article

Allegro speculations

by hidden europe

No rail operator’s international operations were more brutally affected by the pandemic that those of RZD Russian Railways. Links from Russia to fourteen other European countries were suspended in March 2020, and none of those regular passenger services have yet been restored.

Blog post

From Bilbao to Murmansk: A Tale of One Princess

Large ferries often go through multiple incarnations and we developed a sort of vicarious attachment to the Princess Anastasia, a vessel which we saw in Bilbao in 2008, and which is now based near Murmansk where she has become part of the infrastructure for tackling the COVID pandemic.

Magazine article

Where Europe meets Asia

by hidden europe

Pull off the main highway just west of Ekaterinburg and you'll find a fairly new monument that purports to mark the border between Asia and Europe. The design recalls the Eiffel Tower in Paris, a nice reminder that Ekaterinburg iron was used to construct the Paris landmark.

Magazine article

Ice caves: a rare subterranean spectacle

by Nicky Gardner

The great Siberian cartographer Semyon Remezov approached the ice cave on the bank of the River Sylva with Christian reverence and a map maker's precision. We follow Remezov to Kungur in Russia to discover one of the finest European examples of a cave with perennial ice.

Blog post

The Road to Uhtua

We are in search of the one-time capital city of a forgotten republic. From the turn-off on the Murmansk highway, it is 150 km of easy driving, skirting dozens of lakes, to reach the small community which in 1919 proclaimed its status as the capital of the Republic of Uhtua.

Magazine article

Changing Places

by hidden europe

Had you noticed that humble Staines, a riverside town south-west of London, has changed its name? It is now called Staines-upon-Thames. Moving upmarket one might say. But the Canadian village of Swastika is resolutely resisting suggestions that a name change might be in order.

Magazine article

Island Summit

by hidden europe

In October 2003, there was an unlikely standoff between Russia and Ukraine in the Kerch Strait. The status of Tuzla Island had been the subject of discussions between the presidents of the two countries just five weeks earlier.

Blog post

Visa changes: Russia and Belarus

As the United Kingdom tightens its entrance requirements, the progressive relaxation of visa regimes elsewhere in Europe is of course very welcome. In this Letter from Europe, we look at changes in visa regulations relating to Russia and Belarus.

Magazine article

Drawing a Line in the Water: The Caspian Sea

by Nicky Gardner
Is the Caspian a sea or a lake? Aristotle averred it was certainly a lake. Pliny and Strabo suggested it was a sea. No other trans-boundary body of water throws up quite the same issues as the Caspian. We take a look at international frontiers that bisect lakes (or seas!).
Magazine article

CityStar Ticket

by hidden europe
Discover a special rail tariff which offers cheap deals for travels from Slovakia to destinations in the Alps, eastern Europe and the Balkans.
Magazine article

Boundary Lakes

by hidden europe
A whistle-stop tour of some of Europe's trans-boundary water bodies, from Lake Peipus to Lake Prespa and beyond.
Blog post

The Curonian Spit

For much of its length, the Curonian Spit is about two to three kilometres wide; at points it narrows to just a few hundred metres. The sea is never far away. There is a real sense of being on the very edge of Europe. Yet, for all its remoteness, the landscape is deeply influenced by human intervention.

Magazine article

In from the Cold

by hidden europe
The thrills and spills of top-class soccer are just part of the appeal of the FIFA World Cup. Sport aside, it's been a chance for visitors to feel the warmth of Russian hospitality. An amiable wolf called Zabivaka has been doing his bit to make visitors feel welcome.
Magazine article

Reading Matters

by hidden europe
Russian Railways (RZD) have launched their Library for Young Travellers programme with a selection of books for kids on trains to holiday destinations across Russia. Hop aboard for fairy tales, classic novels and a wide choice of poetry by Russian and international writers.
Magazine article

Corridor Trains

by Nicky Gardner

Corridor trains (Korridorzüge in German) have a privileged status in international law which makes provision for the trains of one country to transit another country's territory without onerous bureaucracy and border checks. With the fading of borders in Europe, the corridor train is no longer as important as once it was. We look at some examples of corridor trains past and present.

Magazine article

Faking Bruges

by hidden europe
The legacy of Leonid Markelov, who in April this year stood down from the position of President of the Mari El Republic, lies in the oddball architecture of the republic's capital city of Yoshkar Ola.
Magazine article

Visa News

by hidden europe
A chance to visit Belarus without a visa, and a tweak to the visa regulations in the Russian port of Murmansk are just two of the latest changes to visa regimes in Europe.
Magazine article

The Berry Seller

by Paul E Richardson
Two new books arising from the Spine of Russia project afford a look at everyday life in the Russian Federation. In this preview of one of the books, Paul Richardson swaps notes with Igor, who is selling berries on a roadside in Karelia.
Blog post

On Pushkin and locusts

They storm in, straight out of the Book of Revelation, and lay waste to the earth. Locusts! They do not make pleasant neighbours. Europe has been largely free of locusts in recent years – but not entirely.

Magazine article

Eastern connections: rail links through Ukraine

by Nicky Gardner

At a very practical level, the difficult relations between Russia and Ukraine - and in particular their competing interests in Crimea - is playing itself out in train timetables. No trains have run from Ukraine's Kherson Oblast into Crimea for almost a year now. But the effects of the conflict have been felt much further afield, with rail services from Moscow to the Balkans being disrupted.

Blog post

A children's republic in the Crimea

This week marks the 90th anniversary of the opening of the Artek children's camp in the Crimea. Throughout post-Soviet Europe there are thousands of older people who look back with great affection to the summer holidays they enjoyed as children at Artek.

Magazine article

Russia’s eternal winter

by hidden europe

They have fiddled with the clocks in Moscow. Not just in Moscow, but right across the Russian Federation. Russia has decided to move to perpetual winter – at least when it comes to time. For the clocks shall stay henceforth on winter time.

Blog post

Tales from Titovka

Everyone stops at Titovka sooner or later. That's the way things are up here in the far north-west corner of Russia. The Titovka roadside café is on the highway that runs west from Murmansk towards the mining towns of Zapolyarny and Nikel.

Blog post

Yuri gets a ticket

Yuri overstayed the limit. So he was given a ticket. Then the authorities ushered Yuri out of town. Now he's parked outside the airport terminal. How long he'll stay there is a matter for debate. Our guess is that, as long as Russians keep flying into town, Yuri will be allowed to stay outside the airport.

Magazine article

Timing matters

by Nicky Gardner

Russia's decision this year to abandon seasonal changes of clocks has prompted much media comment. Belarus has followed Russia's example. Ukraine, after much prevarication, has opted to stick with alternating winter and summer time. In this short piece for hidden europe, we take a look at the politics and time.

Blog post

Report from Kalmykia

The steppes on the drive east from the capital are parched and dry. Vehicles are few and far between. They are in the main old Soviet-era jeeps and trucks, the progress of each one marked by a trail of dust that hangs heavy in the afternoon air.This is the land of the saiga, an endangered antelope with a beautiful bulbous nose that lives on the feather grass steppes of Kalmykia.

Magazine article

Where cultures meet: Kazan

by Laurence Mitchell

Kazan, with its gleaming new developments and clean streets, is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan. Laurence Mitchell, a long-standing writer for hidden europe, introduces us to a part of Europe that has deeply Islamic roots.

Magazine article

Temple of All Religions

by hidden europe

Ildar Khanov lives in a temple of his own creation. It boasts a splendid array of minarets and domes that recall many of the world’s principal religions. Not quite what you might expect to find in the suburb of a city in the Russian Federation. But this is Russia with a twist, for Ildar Khanov lives in Tatarstan.

Magazine article

The Russian Federation

by hidden europe

Kalmykia is the only political unit in Europe where Buddhism is the dominant religion. You think we jest! But it is true. We take a look at some of the lesser known republics within the European part of the Russian Federation.

Magazine article

Songlands: a Karelian journey

by Nicky Gardner

Karelia is the land of the Kalevala, the great epic poem that so powerfully influenced the development of the Finnish national movement in the nineteenth century. We travel through the songlands of the Kalevala and look in particular at the role of Orthodox religion in Karelia and more widely in Finland.