Day 21: Vladivostok
The spontaneity, the music and the infectious need to share feelings is very Russian. It's what makes them great huggers, great embracers, great celebrants of either joy or gloom. Mood-swings are part of the national character and I know of few countries where they are so unconcealed.
Perhaps this accounts for the schizophrenic attitude to the Russian Pacific Fleet. This was one of the great, if not the greatest, naval forces in the world. Vladivostok, its home base, was so jealously guarded that the city was off-limits to foreigners until 1992. Now, only three years later, we are allowed to fly over, and even photograph, coves and inlets choked with beached and rusting warships. The helicopter pilot makes no attempt to prevent us catching sight of the half-submerged deck of a frigate, its revolving gun turrets peeking up above the water; or a submarine belly up on a sandy beach, with others keeled over in the turquoise water beyond.
The idyllic patchwork of waterways around the islands is one huge naval graveyard.
Choose another day from Full Circle
- Series: Full Circle
- Day: 21
- Country/sea: Eastern Russia
- Place: Russkiy Island
- Book page no: 43
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