I 106 – Eduard Taeragtin, Second Brigade – Chukotka – Siberia, Russia
Depending on the topographic conditions served up by the countries we visited, we’ve used any means of transportation from donkeys to rackety planes, from canoes to our very own feet. In Chukotka, we even had a tank at our disposal. Not an actual military vehicle with turrets and cannons, but it did have caterpillar tracks and everything. For the harsh terrain of Siberia, it proved to be an invaluable asset and the only way to cross the barren, unpredictable winter landscape unscathed. “Only a few hours after we had set off into the white nothing, we were hit by a magnificent blizzard.” Within minutes, the snowfall was so heavy we couldn’t possibly continue. Our only choice was to sit out the storm. To avoid getting snowed in, the tank operator parked the tank with its back into the wind. That way there’d be enough space in front of the vehicle to get going again once the snowfall had subsided. At that time, we had no way of knowing we were going to be stuck in our 8m2 steel confinement for the next 72 hours.
The ancient Arctic Chukchi live on the peninsula of the Chukotka. Unlike other native groups of Siberia, they have never been conquered by Russian troops. Their environment and traditional culture endured destruction under Soviet rule, by weapon testing and pollution.
“The way you treat your dog in this life determines your place in heaven”
Due to the harsh climate and difficulty of life in the tundra, hospitality and generosity are highly prized among the Chukchi. They believe that all natural phenomena are considered to have their own spirits. Traditional lifestyle still survives but is increasingly supplemented.