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Bruce Malashevich Travel Blog:
In the Eye of the Taiga

MIR client Bruce Malashevich convinced a few intrepid travelers to join him on a cruise to the Arctic Circle on Russia's mighty Lena River. Here is his engaging account:

The Sakha Republic

From Yakutsk, we embarked on a 15-day cruise down and back on the River Lena. The river originates just north of Lake Baikal and flows roughly 3,000 miles, through Yakutsk, emptying into the Artic Sea. The surrounding Sakha Republic, five thousand miles east of Moscow, stretches across three time zones. It comprises 20 percent of the land mass of the Russian Federation, but less than one percent (900,000+) of the population. Native Sakhas comprise the largest single share of the population (46 %). Russians make up 41%, with Ukrainians and native Evenks and Evens comprising the balance. The ethnic groups appear to live harmoniously, with inter-marriage not unusual. The native languages, as well as Russian, are widely spoken. The native Sakha, Evenks and Evens follow animist religious beliefs originating thousands of years ago in what is now Mongolia and constitute what is probably one of the largest animistic cultures remaining in the world.

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