Millions of people are happy to spend their vacation in Turkey, thousands – on the French coast. Sergei Shoigu selects the furthest reaches of Russia. Getting there is not easy, they are not comfortable, but there is something else, and «Vokrug Sveta” spoke about it with the President of the Russian Geographical Society.
- Shoigu is my name – he said, entering the room exactly at the agreed time and greeting unfamiliar characters. The stroke is clearly not new, but funny. – Let’s just not talk about politics – he suggested later. The head of the Russian Geographical Society had more important topics to discuss before the October Congress.
The informal part. The traveler
- Each month one of the tasks of “Around the World” is to have material about unusual beautiful places of the planet. Let’s try to form the top 5 places Shoigu would advise to go.
- Firstly, the Putorana Plateau, this is a little-known place …
- Well, the audience of the magazine is familiar at least with the name of it.
- Yes, maybe only with the name. A unique, wonderful place.
- Lake Tuva. There was an article about Todzha district of Tuva in your magazine (referring to the publication of “Spirits of the taiga” in the last issue. – Ed.), I went back from there about a couple of weeks ago, but I was in a dense area, very beautiful, where dozens of lakes scattered in the small area. Do you harvest blueberries sometime? There are fields of untouched berries in the area and of course it is completely different from the one in the supermarket.
Many of the rivers should be rafted … Wonderful raft, for example, is along the river Chulym. There are two places nearby, Nazarov and Achinsk: I was working in the area for a long time when I was a young builder, so I know … It takes 30-35 kilometers by car from Achinsk to Nazarovo. But if you take the raft, you raft in the Tomsk region and after 600 kilometers you get in Achinsk. Very beautiful river, a lot of incredible places.
I can go on for a long time: Manpupuner, Lena Stolby, Kungurskaya cave …
- Well, here is the list. Can it be said that one of the ultimate goals of the RGS – to boost the development of the Russian domestic tourism?
- You know, probably, yes. However, I would not focus – here is one goal, here is another. Our task is to identify and fill gaps. And there are a lot of gaps, whatever may be said today about the study, through the length and breadth of our planet and country. Lend-Lease for example seems to be a studied topic. Children study it at school. During the war five airfields were built in Siberia, in the wild taiga. How people managed to to do it? How did they live there? How did they get there? How they produced energy? I can not understand. This is a blank page, and it is related to the feats, to history and geography. In addition members of the Russian Geographical Society were supposed to study the supply from America. And they reported to Stalin about the Northern Sea Route, how to fettle the communication as quickly as possible.
Or the New Siberian Islands … I’d say where was the war and where were these islands – but the German ships came there, there were clashes with them. Also an unknown page.
- This is concerning history …
- This is concerning filling the gaps. Or talking about World War I and the role of members of the Geographical Society in it. Part of the history, which for some reason was kept secret. A famous member of the Society Kolchak with his campaign against the Bolsheviks through the Far East …
Sometimes I come to the Old Believers, their skills is also a white spot. Private life story of people who have a very special opinion and special skills. They cut down their house with axes, so they are all matched – a match can not be thrust between the logs. Or here I have their forged bear trap – entirely forged, including springs. How did they do it? This a discovery. I discovered them for myself at least.
Here you have written about the sources in Todzha. I do not say that I’ve visited all the sources, but many … There are in fact places like Sannikov Land from the film. The snow is all around you, and all of a sudden grass, leaves and Turkish delight, you know …
If one wishes to discover there will be many discoveries …
- Does the RGS support personal stories? There are famous travelers in Russia.
- It is more interesting to tell about the activities of the RGS through personal stories, I agree. For example, through the story of Miclukho-Maclay …
- And today there is no Miclukho-Maclay?
- Probably no. I do not see such travelers. Miclukho-Maclay spent a few years of his life on the journey, wrote a scientific report, we have it in our archive. He painted everything, described how the locals lived, how they cured what they did. He described everything – that is interesting to us. We are willing to tell about individuals, but it should be the individual, like Cousteau, and the expedition should have scientific goals. You crossed the desert – add your medical records to the report, tell me how you lose weight, what did you eat to make up for the loss of energy, what was your pulse at that moment … There should be benefits!
- The question then arises: why today there are no such characters?
- My answer may be paradoxical, but I think this is due to today’s pace of life. A person doesn’t have a lot of time to concentrate on anything, the pressure of the flow of information is in the way. I remember a time when there were no mobile phones, life was calm and measured, and there were opportunities to do serious things. We didn’t read less than we do now, but we read what we wanted, and today we are overwhelmed, we focus on this and that… and we don’t concentrate on what we really want to learn.
On the one hand we keep running all the time, and on the other – we just keep getting ready for this life. How about completing something … Today even scientists have to think not about the in-depth research, but how to “sell” themselves. Of course you can do what Perelman did …
- But Perelman stopped his flow. Suppose there comes a moment when you do the same. What then?
- There are places where I need to come back. Not only because it is beautiful there, but because I feel good there. There are places where I want to stay and live. And what would I do … I guess, I would invite a talented man and spent 50-100 evenings with him and we would write an interesting book together. Not about myself but about the people who should be remembered about the stories that must be told. I probably would take an art teacher, he would taught me some skills. I paint sometimes, but it’s all for myself, and I want to do it more professionally, to enjoy it.
I had a dream to cut a chapel myself, I realized it 15 years ago.
- Is it still there?
- It is there, I did a good cut, did it competently, the three lower levels are of larch, so she stood up well.
I really want to swim in the river Lena, calmly swim from start to finish.
You know, these questions make you think. Think about the fact that once the time comes to hit the brakes and say, “Stop, here is my stop, I’m out here, won’t go anywhere in this crazy «Sapsan»…»
Text: Alexander Monakhov