Russia: A Journey (BBC)

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[edit] General Information

Travel Documentary with no narration published by BBC in 2008 - English language

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Image: Russia-A-Journey-BBC-Cover.jpg

[edit] Information

In this revealing portrait, distinguished author and broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby crosses eight time zones and covers 10,000 miles, from Murmansk in the Arctic Circle to the Asian city of Vladivostok, in an attempt to get beneath the skin of modern Russia. In this landmark five-part series, he explores the extraordinary changes that are taking place in Russia today and reveals the contours left by history on this vast land. From the Arctic Circle, where the summer sun never sets, to the breathtaking cities of Vladivostok and St Petersburg, from white witches to hirsute masseurs, from oil wells to shamans, Dimbleby's journey is heart-warming, entertaining and compelling. Travelling by road, rail and boat, his epic journey takes him from the splendour of St Petersburg to remote parts of Siberia, during which he meets both shamans and oil moguls and reveals the most interesting details about Russia and its culture. Jonathan was the only British television journalist to interview President Gorbachev during the Cold War, and, returning to Russia for the first time since those days, he discovers a land transformed. For Jonathan, crossing the immense Russian landmass became as much an interior journey as an exterior one. In television's first comprehensive journey through the vast and varied landscapes of Russia, Jonathan Dimbleby makes an epic journey from one end to the other, killing cliches and revelling in the unpredictable. Look through one window and you see an authoritarian regime trying to modernise itself into an oil-rich economy. Look through another and you see exuberant people enjoying new opportunities, struggling with old problems. Everywhere, the marker stones of their turbulent past. Across seven time zones and through all extremes of weather, he seeks out the people of this strange and extraordinary land. A Mentorn Media Production for BBC

[edit] Breaking The Ice

Summer 2006, Jonathan visits Murmansk, Karelia and St Petersburg. Jonathan Dimbleby explores ten thousand miles of one of the world's most awe-inspiring countries.
Having lived through the Cold War, Jonathan makes his first stop in the city of Murmansk, which stands as a reminder to the years when England and Russia were close allies in a war of survival against the Nazis. But soon he is on the move, entering the strange and remote world of Karelia and savouring the sophisticated elegance of St Petersburg.
BBC journalist Jonathan Dimbleby embarks on an epic journey through Russia - a country with much to discover. From Murmansk he first travels to Saint Petersburg, then he visits the place where Lenin proclaimed the socialist revolution and in Veliky Novgorod he feels transported back to the Middle Ages. He then makes his way to the political and cultural heart of the nation - Moscow.

[edit] Country Matters

Jonathan Dimbleby explores ten thousand miles of Russia. He takes a train to Tolstoy's estate, before moving on to the Caucasus, the ruins of School Number One in Beslan, Chechnya and the Caspian Sea. If the action in today's Russia is in the cities, the eternal spirit of Russia is in the countryside. Jonathan finds himself at a reception for a Madonna concert, attended by anyone who's anyone in Moscow. But the next day he takes the train to a different world - the family estate of Leo Tolstoy, arguably the greatest of all Russian writers. Further south he comes to the reality of farming in Russia today, where families struggle to survive after the ending of state subsidies. Voronezh is in the middle of Black Earth country, named after the rich soil that surrounds it. This part of Russia bore the brunt of Stalin's brutal project to bring all farms under state control. Millions died in the famine that followed, and in the purges he later inflicted on the survivors. In the woods nearby, Jonathan comes across a memorial to some of the victims. Pyatigorsk is a spa town, and Jonathan decides to sample the warm sulphur springs. Just above are the great mountains of the Caucasus, the scene then and now of fierce fighting between Russian armies and the local tribesmen. Jonathan gets a chance to ride one of the famous Kabardin horses whose bloodline is prized by breeders all over the world. Jonathan's route takes him past Beslan where 331 people died, over half of them children. He visits the ruins of School Number One, preserved as a memorial to them. Further on he comes across another side of the story, a Chechen village whose entire population was deported to Central Asia in 1944 on Stalin's orders. Finally he reaches the Caspian Sea, under the huge walls of Derbent, an ancient city built by the Persians to defend themselves from the peoples of the north.

[edit] Motherland

Jonathan Dimbleby explores ten thousand miles of Russia and arrives in a tiny village not far from the port of Astrakhan that was once the capital of the Golden Horde. The symbol of Russian patriotism is the River Volga which runs from above Moscow through the heart of Russia to the Caspian Sea. Not far from the port of Astrakhan is a tiny village that was once the great capital of the Golden Horde. He arrives there in February when the biting wind chills to the bone, and is astonished to find how little remains of the western capital of Genghiz Khan's massive empire. In Volgograd, the former Stalingrad, he meets Svetlana Argatseva, a woman who thinks Stalin has been misunderstood and discovers that she is not alone. In Samara, once a secret armaments city closed to all foreigners, it is Victory Day. Traditionally families take offerings of food and drink to the graves of their departed loved ones in the city's cemeteries. Jonathan joins them and finds that a stranger is welcome even at this most intimate family occasion. It is also the time when new recruits are called up for military service. A sobering meeting is with journalist Sergei Kurt-Adjiev. He works for Novaya Gazeta, one of the few publications that has refused to take the government line. Sergei is subject to constant harassment by the police. Jonathan travels past Kazan - the place where Ivan the Terrible finally smashed the rule of the Mongols - towards Perm. Just beyond Perm is the site of one of the last camps for political prisoners. Jonathan meets a former inmate, who shows him round the solitary confinement block and describes what it was like in the subzero winters. His final stop is in the Ural Mountains, now a place popular with off-roaders and hunters. This is the boundary between Europe and Asia, between ancient Russia and the land empire they conquered stretching to the Pacific.

[edit] National Treasures

Jonathan Dimbleby continues his odyssey in Siberia, Russia's treasure chest. He visits an emerald mine and then Ekaterinburg, built to protect iron ore reserves. Siberia is Russia's treasure chest. Jonathan visits an emerald mine and then makes his way down to the great city of Ekaterinburg, built to protect and exploit reserves of iron ore found in the mountains. Alcoholism is a huge problem in Russia, often because of home-made poison liquor sold on the estates in cities like Ekaterinburg. Jonathan goes on a raid with a crime-busting group founded by an ex-alcoholic. Ekaterinburg is also the place where the last tsar and his family were murdered by the Bolsheviks. In woods near the city Jonathan comes across an archaeologist who has just unearthed what he thinks are the bones of two of the imperial children, thus solving the puzzle of what had become of them. The modern treasure on which Russia prospers is oil. Jonathan takes the train north towards the Arctic Circle to Nizhnevartovsk where BP are co-owners of a huge oilfield. Most people just come for the wages - there is not much to do besides drill for oil. The team then takes a river boat to the beautiful old city of Tomsk. They set out for the logging camps in the taiga north of town in a tank-like tracked carrier. Out in the forest Jonathan meets a climate change scientist who warns that vast quantities of methane gas are starting to seep out of the melting bogs - potentially lethal to the world's atmosphere. Next stop is Akademgorodok, a purpose-built city for some of the brainiest people in Russia. Jonathan finds himself trying to master the controls of a computer game designed by scientists whose day job is to design the guidance systems for spacecraft. Finally, he heads into the Altai mountains to find the reindeer herdsmen who sell antlers to be ground up as aphrodisiacs.

[edit] Far from Moscow

Jonathan Dimbleby reflects on his journey across the ten thousand miles of Russia, visiting Stalin's Birobidzhan before completing his exploration in Vladivostok. Jonathan Dimbleby explores ten thousand miles of one of the world's most awe-inspiring countries. Jonathan follows one of the Red Cross teams struggling to manage the AIDS epidemic in Irkutsk and visits Birobidzhan, arguably one of the strangest places in Russia - a Jewish homeland created by Stalin at the furthest end of his empire. Not many Jews have survived there, but the people - Jewish or not - are proud of their unusual heritage. Jonathan finds Hanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, being jointly celebrated by the rabbi and the mayor. Finally he comes to his last stop: Vladivostok. Jonathan meets some students in a cafe. This far from Moscow, will they feel any different from the chic young people he met in St Petersburg some ten thousand miles ago? Not really. They want a strong Russia before they want a democratic one. As he looks out over the Pacific, Jonathan reflects on how charming and how different the Russians are from us.

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[edit] Technical Specs

Video Codec: x264 CABAC High@L4
Video Bitrate: 3 500 Kbps
Video Resolution: 1920x1080
Display Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frames Per Second: 25.000 fps
Audio Codec: AC3
Audio Bitrate: 448 kb/s CBR 48000 Hz
Audio Streams: 6
Audio Languages: english
RunTime Per Part: 59 min
Number Of Parts: 5
Part Size: 1.64 GB
Source: HDTV 1080i MPEG2 (Thanks to LoopGuru@a.b.hdtv)
Encoded by: DocFreak08

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