VOLGA IN 30 DAYS
Actor Ville Haapasalo’s 30 days -series continues with a journey along the longest river in Europe, the Volga. The journey begins in Ville’s former home town of St Petersburg, going through Russian heartlands all the way down to the Caspian Sea. This path is also known as the ancient Viking trade route to the East. During the adventure tackling thousands of kilometers, Ville becomes acquianted with countless people, ways of life and traditions, which can be found today along the historically significant trade route of the Volga.
Similar to previous seasons, the series portrays the unbelievable diversity of Russia through Ville’s adventures. Thrilling boat trips, local personalities, pagan religions and Buddhism, the brewing of beer and moonshine, underground culture, nomad camps and camel breeders, and a watermelon festival are just a few of the many things experienced along the way!
The journey begins in Venice of the East, St Petersburg, which is a city many Finns are familiar with. Ville’s earliest experiences in the city date as far back as the days of the Soviet Union, but he still manages to find new and surprising sides of his old college town. The journey continues to the shores of Lake Ladoga, another place close to the Finns, but one with a Viking history few are aware of. The first part of the Volga is tackled in the cities of Rybinsk and Yaroslavl, where one can witness the contradictory mix of an urban, European way of life next to a Soviet atmosphere frozen in time. Ville’s journey continues into Chuvash, which is rich in natural resources. The ancient pagan religion and pride of the local native people are having a resurrection also among the young people of the state. Closed off during the Soviet union, cities of Samara and Saratov are nowadays thriving cultural and industrial centers. Sun flower fields dominating the countryside along with massive watermelon plantations create a contrast to the urban hustle and bustle. The last big city on Ville’s route, Volgograd, famous for the Stalingrad battle, is a masterpiece of Soviet architecture. This place is the starting point of a lush delta, which is surrounded by dry and barren desert, leading all the way to the Caspian Sea. The Republic of Kalmykia is exotic and foreign even to the Russians. The descendants of ancient Mongolian nomads inhabit the only Buddhist region in the whole of Europe. Kalmykia, with its golden temples, orange robed monks and colorful flying Buddhist flags, is like a little piece of Tibet in the middle of Russia’s backwoods. The journey ends in the region of Astrakhan, one of the most multicultural areas in Russia. Ethnic Kazakhs inhabit desertified borderlands making a living by raising camels. Approaching the Caspian Sea the surroundings become rich and green again.
The current situation in world politics can be seen clearly along the route; nationalism is on the rise and export is stagnant. In addition, climate change has brought its own challenges to tradesmen with traditional sources of livelihood. Daily bread is scarce for many. Even so, the warmth and hospitality of Russians are second to none. Beanie-clad Ville is welcomed in every house and home. He is a beloved character, who once again invites his viewers along for the journey, to encounter wonderful, genuine people and the real, rough around the edges Russia.
Volga in 30 Days
44 min, 10 episodes
For more information
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