“Our country is not just very large in its territory, but also very beautiful. Its beauty is not only in the riches of its nature; most of all, its beauty is in its people. They are our main treasure. Our people are very open-hearted, especially in the regions. Very radiant people…” These are the words of someone who knows Russia and its residents very well: Vladimir Putin.

We all know that when we travel, we don’t just remember things like rivers and mountains, museums and statues. Most of all we remember the people we meet, the way they talk, light a bonfire or pour wine, how they laugh or sing and play the guitar. Their thoughts also stay with you forever: they may not be all that original, you may have heard or read them somewhere before, but only after a chance encounter do you suddenly realize their wisdom.

Russia is vast, with her “many forests, fields and rivers”, as a well-known Russian song says. But foreign visitors for some reason are reluctant to go beyond St. Petersburg, Moscow and the Golden Ring. So they don’t get to encounter the many beautiful and open-hearted people of Russia’s boundless regions.

Summer is in full swing. Don’t miss this most essential time of year. You can stray from your bride on your wedding day, they say, but never stray from your summer trip!

Believe me, the best place to spend your summer vacation is Russia. In this issue, you’ll discover many destinations that take you beyond the standard tours of the two Russian capitals. The further you go from Red Square, the more interesting the places and the people you will meet… It couldn’t be any other way in a country that spreads across half the globe. You’ll be certain to have interesting travels and meet unique people in Russia.

And the remote areas of Russia are especially good in the summer. In Russian, the word for “year” is synonymous with the word for “summer.” You are as many years old as you’ve spent summers on earth. If you’ve ever smelled a haystack in a Siberian village, if you’ve fished from a wooden rowboat and cooked fish chowder on the fire instead of ordering some fish delicacy in Cafe Pushkin on Tverskaya in Moscow, you’ve spent your summer the right way. It means you have visited Russia for real.

 

Alexander Krestnikov,

Editor-in-Chief

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