If you have any interest in the wild forest lands of Russia where “representatives of non-traditional pursuits” (musicians, etc.) go to smoke weed in the summer or, perhaps, the far-away guarded territory where Gazprom gas super-corp and Putin are going to build a massive, opulent resort complex — it’s the same place, this place right here. Photographer Dmitry Chistoprudov has been hoarding the photos he took on a perilous trek to the far-South Russian Republic of Altai, until now.
Where’s this? In the middle of Asia, “at the junction of Siberian taiga, steppes of Kazakhstan and semi-deserts of Mongolia.” It’s far. The roads aren’t bad, actually, it’s the guards around the “federal” roads, “private land” and lonely helicopter pads that are problematic. Yet, on they trekked, as the paved roads tapered off to dirty paths and rocking bridges and on, onwards until they hit glorious, picturesque mountain land, scattered with brittle remnants of long-abandoned villages. There, Lev the local horse breeder tells them about Putin’s visit that one time. Also, there are fields of weed. Apparently, the Altainians don’t care for it.
“Even the locusts won’t eat it. Only, those guys, the… erm… musicians, that come here ever summer.” So enjoy your daydream of an undisturbed, hazy gateway before the opulent mega-yuppies usurp and mow it away.