Kamchatka - Life in the Shadow of the Volcanoes

Lenght: 43' HD

Year of production: 2013 

Country of production: Germany

Author: Andreas Lünser

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At the easternmost reaches of Russia, halfway around the globe and eight time zones away from Moscow, lies the peninsula of Kamchatka. Almost 400,000 people inhabit this region, roughly the size of Germany. Most of them live in Petropavlovsk, a town that was never intended to last. There are no roads connecting it to the mainland. Anyone wishing to come here must fly or travel by water. The peninsula is one of the remotest places in all Russia. During the Soviet era, Kamchatka was a restricted military zone, the base of the pacific fleet and a centre of the fishing industry. Visitors to Kamchatka required special authorisation, and foreigners were kept out altogether. Tempted by high salaries and financial benefits, people would move to this isolated spot for a few years, and then clear out again at some later point. Following Perestroika, the state subsidised industries collapsed. People were left with nothing. Those who could leave never came back, but those who stayed had to take fate into their own hands. The region is frequently hit by volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Nowhere else on earth are there as many active volcanoes as on Kamchatka. Thanks to decades in isolation, Kamchatka has developed one of the world’s most fascinating areas of wilderness. Enormous brown bears roam unchecked through tundra und taiga, and the abundance of fish is unequalled anywhere in the world. Today, a burgeoning tourist industry is providing the people of the region with a new outlook. Who lives in Siberia’s forgotten East? Why haven’t its inhabitants moved away? What significance does the peninsula’s unique natural environment hold for those who live here?

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