Comments (2003)

Borderzone Country. The border zone still exists in some areas, and it is very difficult for Russians to visit places like Chukotka or the Arctic Coast. Foreigners easily get in by paying certain amount of cash to every official they encounter.

Land's End. The Kurils are still very difficult to get to, although some Western cruise ships pass close by from time to time.

Looking into craters. The road to Ust-Kamchatsk was finished in 1998 The powerplant at Mutnovski Volcano was completed in 2003, after 15 years of construction. Klyuchevskoi Volcano is now 4850 m tall, and still growing. I won't be surprised if it implodes to form a caldera some day.

Train racing. A highway from Lake Baikal to the Far East is now under construction, and is supposed to open within a few years. There are also some new roads being built on Chukotka.

Grandfather Frost. Following the online publication of this book, the Kolyma Highway became a popular tourist destination. Some tour operators now provide tours to its Eastern part. The Western part is traveled by up to 10-20 hitchhikers a year. There are plans for repairing the bridges and even paving the road, but it might take decades.

Top secret. Now I know what it was all about, but I won't tell.

Berezina. Thanks to this book, Mutnovski Crater is now a popular destination for adventurous travelers, although most of its beauty was destroyed by 1999 eruption.

End of winter. Mining industry along BAM has been on the rise recently. Some towns along the railroad are slowly recovering, but others are still in process of turning into ghost towns.

Traveling in Russia and most other CIS countries is really getting better now. Some people even travel to Pamir and come back. You are welcome to write me if you have questions about visiting the area.