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HS Schoch


A TOUGH JOB FOR TOUGH MEN

Trucking on the rough roads in the east of Russia is not a speedy business

Talking about Russia means talking about the unthinkable: To imagine the countries size is hard for Europeans. Of course, the old Soviet Union was even bigger. But still all 27 countries of the European Union would fit 4,5 times in the boundaries of Russia. It's not the pure figures that evoke the imagination of the "end of the world" – there are many holiday resorts of the Europeans that are further away from Munich, Geneva or Rome than Irkutsk, Chabarovsk or Magadan. But those cities belong to a country sharing boundaries with the European Union and ending somewhere in the far east where the sun raises seven hours earlier than in the busy and expansive capital of Moscow.

Therefore it took quite a while to find the right channels: But when Nikolai Alexandrovich Kondratiev was contacted he immediately agreed to send us out with his truck drivers. Together with them we experienced roads in an incredible state, although they are classified as "Magistrale" under the responsibiliy of the federal government. Out there we met: a Kamaz-driver repairing his truck some 10.000 kilometer away from home; Anja, the probably most beautiful taxidriver in Russia who tries to make a good living in the formerly forbidden town of Chita; bloody bull-heads and Lenin with a gloriole; we experienced a fierce snow storm, a loose trailer axle and railroad crossings almost impossible to cross.

for the whole story contact: Richard Kienberger

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