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Running With Reindeer: Encounters In Russian Lapland by Roger Took

By Roger Took

Russian Lapland, a area of fantastic contrasts. right here lies the final precise wasteland of Europe, a wealthy and pristine surroundings teeming with poultry and animal existence. yet the following too lie the darkish, satanic turbines of the previous Soviet Union and the rotting remnants of nuclear submarines. operating with Reindeer is the 1st account in over a century to explain lifestyles during this harsh yet attractive land. dwelling between distant reindeer-herding and searching households, Roger Took spends a decade following the lives and traditions of the indigenous Lapps, or Saami. He meets pioneering villagers descended from medieval Novgorod fur-traders who're now studying to deal with the hot economic system, and the lads and girls initially compelled north to mine Russian Lapland's exceptional mineral wealth yet are actually unemployed and stranded. fending off the nonetheless vigilant defense providers, he explores the naval bases the place nuclear-powered submarines are mendacity dangerously overlooked. His encounters with the land and its population are dramatic and comical in addition to emotionally annoying and bodily risky. relocating among the traces of the professional histories, dealing with laborious Arctic stipulations, he writes compellingly, providing a brilliant account of a different a part of Europe.

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Almost without warning we were forced to live here in Lovozero. Why? ' Electricity was indeed needed but, as Kseniya explained, the authorities had anyway decided that all the Saami everywhere should be 'settled centrally' to form large collectives. Soviet planning was unable to accommodate the fact that the Saami lived remotely and migrated seasonally, running with reindeer, hunting everywhere, and setting up camp at different fishing places. In the 19605 the small village of Lovozero expanded rapidly as Saami were forcibly removed from their territories.

This matron was responsible for the management of the floor, and monitored all comings and goings from a large desk with an old-technology telephone switchboard, placed at the end of a long corridor. She interrogated me briefly, showed me to my room, and asked me to be sure that I inform her of my intended movements. I soon understood why: the hotel was a stronghold of officers and sailors from the Northern Fleet and its visitors. If I had ever been inclined to do so, I could not have found a better place to acquaint myself with the activities 17 Englishman Abroad of that most secretive and lethal protagonist of the former Cold War.

The population of Murmansk port town alone reached 440,000 in 1989 before declining to about 360,000 in 2001. 19 Englishman Abroad his apartment for the interview, I prepared a handsome meal and laid on vodka in expectation of a long evening's listening to a rough-andtough sea-salt with a repertoire of tales from the deep, but the person who rang the door bell was a sleek, athletic, well-groomed man in his forties with a whiff of quality eau-de-cologne. Viktor had seen the last of the good times with the Murmansk fishing fleet.

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