Destinations \ Russia (Continued)
In fact, it all started when I moved to Russia and the very first day I was told that I look like Alexander I, who was the Czar of Russia in the 1777-1825. You might know that Sasha is a nickname for Alexander. I decided to go by Sasha because I am not as young as I use to be, but the most important, it carries tender feelings of love, friendship, home, and family—and of course royalty. I should admit that I always felt the presence of the Russian heritage in my blood, and now, finally, my search is over. This is my motherland and home and I am ready to tell you more about it while flying high in the sky, or sitting in a tree or on a telephone pole. Watch for me while browsing this site. I am everywhere and ready to help you with any questions.
Well, let me begin my story about Russia—or the Russian Federation, if you like to be official and all. Not so long ago it was part of a bigger country called Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Something happened in 1989 and Republics of the Baltic, Central Asia and Caucasus regions decided they wanted independence. Today they are called the Newly Independent States (NIS), but have already formed into a new sub-federation called the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Politics, politics! The most important thing that Russia, and I personally, still have is good connections with all former USSR Republics, and I look forward to introducing them to you. Let me remind you that Siberia is a part of Russia and is not a separate State or Republic. It carries geographical meaning the same as the Amazon or the Sahara. Have you ever been in Siberia? You probably heard about the mysterious “Russian Soul.” I can assure you that Siberia is the place to go to experience it.
I like what one of my friends, Mr. Valentin Rasputin, writes about Siberia: “A Siberian is not only a thick skin accustomed to inconvenience and freezing cold and not only stubbornness and persistence in achieving goals (qualities that the local conditions produced), but also a certain fatedness, a deep and solid rootedness in this land, a compatibility between the human soul and the spirit of nature.”
Ah yes, pardon me for wandering from the subject at hand. Something tells me that you have a reason for listening to my story. I don’t remember if we have met before in Russia or you just heard about me from your friends, classmates, or the media. Anything is surely possible these days. Lately Ms. Russia is a rising star among travelers. For some reason often people say that She is a scary monster, evil, dangerous … not sure why one would say this about any country. In fact, Russia is a friendly Lady, a bit ancient and tough, but full of energy and hospitality. She is huge, literally the biggest country in the world. If you measure her from north to south, she is 2,500-4,000 km (1,560-2,500 miles) and another 9,000 km (5,600 miles) from east to west. The western most point is located on the Polish border; the eastern most point is situated on Ratmanov Island (Bering Straits) right across from Alaska. The southernmost point is located on the Russian-Azeri border, and the northernmost point is on Franz-Josef Land islands.
Russia’s house is always full of people, with the world's fifth largest population (148.8 million people) after China, India, the United States and Indonesia. It is also home to approximately 130 nationalities and ethnic groups, including some 130 million Russians.
Between you and me, I will confess that my job is not an easy one. I have to get up very early in the morning to make sure I make through all those 7 regions. By the time I reach the Russian Far East, people there are having supper while in Central European Russia it is only a breakfast time. Oh boy, what jet leg!