When will Moscow grow into Siberia?

By Sergey Fufaev

REFERENCE Tobolsk, a town on the right bank of the Irtysh River near its confluence with the Tobol River... Seat of the Tobolsk Governate... Founded by the Cossack leader Danil Chulkov in 1587, moved to its present site in 1610... Boston, capital of Massachusetts (N. America)... Founded in 1630... Vladivostock, military port and fortress, Primorsky Region, near the Amur Bay, Pacific Ocean... Founded in 1860... San Francisco, main city of California, at the north end of San Francisco Peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and S.-F Bay... S.-Francisco was developed after the discovery in 1848 of Californian gold deposits...

Abridged Encyclopedic Dictionary, Brockhaus and Efron (1890-1907)

These four historical and geographical points mark parallel paths in the development of the vast territories of two great continents. One path was taken by the Western European civilization, predominantly Protestant, and the other by the Eastern European civilization. They moved in different directions, but due to the spherical nature of the earth, they also moved towards each other, finally meeting in Alaska and Northern California. Nonetheless, they wisely chose to remain separate occupying opposite sides of the Bering Strait, which saved the two future superpowers from additional risk and expense during the Cold War. Indeed violating a maritime boundary is far less tempting than a land boundary. From this perspective, the sale of Alaska would appear to have been an exceptionally visionary move.

As far as the wealth of the North American peninsula is concerned, god give us the wisdom to manage our own resources responsibly. There should be no regrets, but it can be purposive to compare the results of four hundred years worth of effort. Admittedly, the results are fairly obvious ...

Most significant among them in my opinion, is the fact that Canada (to take a country not so different from the US, with climate conditions that are almost directly analogous to Siberia) sets immigration quotas, selecting the very best, the most highly educated and qualified, whereas in Siberia the population is decreasing. And those who leave are primarily the most highly educated and qualified.

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Photographic by Victor Savin. Translated by Joanna Dobson

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