To the Land! - by Christopher M.
Tromping in New Russia c. 1995
182pp / 40+ photos / Four-Sep Publications
Saint Petersburg Alive!
This is Russia circa 1995.....
The Soviet Union dissolved, and Russia was suddenly "free." This is a killer book loaded with travel tales, odd stories, and more than 40 black-and-white photos from an unusual and tumultuous time in Russian society. Just ask that guy on the cover who got a peg leg in return for his service, yet still loves Lenin.
The black and white photos were all shot on TMax-400 film, and the journal was handwritten in a series of notebooks. Was 1995 really that long ago?
But it's old! 1995? Why should we care?
Because social transformation is always interesting, and is happening around us every day. And we can learn much by learning about other people, regardless of the era.
Though originally intended as a private journal, ‘TO THE LAND!’ has mutated into social commentary, analysis, story, documentary... even a travel guide of sorts. I was fortunate to have been in Russia during a holiday-packed period in 1995 which allowed me to participate in the culture in ways that are otherwise not normally in plain view. This is no scholarly thesis, although I approached both Russia and my journals with the background of a degree in Russian Area Studies and a minor in the Russian language.
In Russia, I did not “research” my topic; I walked among it, questioned it, and drank with it (lots...). Posh tourist hotels were not on the agenda and bus tours were taboo. Besides covering mass distances on the Metro, my feet were my transportation. This story is by no means definitive of life in Moscow and Saint Petersburg in 1995, but it is always accurate. Much was changing, rapidly, during this period in Russian history. Lifestyles, values and daily activity varied from person to person, day to day, week to week, and month to month..... this does not imply an absence of tradition or values, just that Russian society, at that time, was metamorphosing, as it has done so many times in its storied history.