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2013 Jul by Veikko Huhtala*
On the way from Birobidzhan to Sakha Republic we stopped in some stations of Amur Oblast also, Shimanovsky, Belogorsk,Tynda, etc.Trans Siberian Railway is passing through and train is good possibility to visit this oblast.In summer time Russian trains are hot, because of bad air condition, but you can always open window in your cabin. |
2009 Sep by Jorge Sanchez
During the summer of 2009 I visited two towns of the Amur Oblast. The first one was Tynda, a stop in the BAM (Baikal Amur Magistral) railway line. From Tynda I left the BAM train and after spending a whole day in the town (I slept in a dormitory in the railway station for 300 rubles) and I continued northwards, to Tommot, also by train, in a new line called Amuro-Yakutskaya Magistral (AYaM), that within a few years will reach Yakutsk (capital of Yakutia), then Magadan, in a future Anadyr, in Chukotka, and then a tunnel will be constructed under the Strait of Bering to Alaska, thus uniting by train New York with Madrid, for instance.|
Tynda was not an exciting town. Its population was about 40.000 inhabitants, and the main industry is timber.
Much more interesting was Blagoveshchensk, the capital of Amur Oblast, a town that I would visit one month later, in my way back overland from Russian Far East to Spain, and would explore it during two days.
The train station of Blagoveshchensk is at about 3 kilometres distance from the downtown. After leaving my small bag (weighing 3 kilos) in a dormitory (very nice, clean, cheap, only 400 rubles per night, and with helpful and polite staffs) next door to the railway station, I walked to the centre to discover the city.
I noticed the presence of many Chinese nationals. Just at the other side of the River Amur I could distinguish the Chinese city of Heihe, with about 120.000 inhabitants (in Blagoveshchensk live 220.000 persons), with big signs announcing Chinese products in Russian language. But the two towns are not united by a bridge, which is why there was a ferry service several times a day, for about 50 US Dollars one way.
Russians do not need Chinese visa to cross to Heihe for a stay of 14 days, and many buy houses in China because are much cheaper than in Russia.
I asked in Russian Emigration if I could cross to Heihe, in Heilongjiang, just for a day, and they said that then I would lose my Russian visa, so I did not.
During my two days visit I observed a pretty looking Triumph Ark. It was new. I had been recently erected to commemorate that Tsar Alexander II ordered to construct Blagaveshchensk in the XIX century. In fact it had been restored; the Communists destroyed the first one, and only after the Perestroika the local Government decided to build it again.
I also noticed the great amount of Chinese who crossed the River Amur everyday to bring cheap items to be sold in Russian markets. In Blagaveshchensk there were even hotels only for Chinese, very cheap, and did not accept Russians or foreigners.
I was told that there were many illegal Chinese trying to find a job in Russia, mainly in restaurants or in small business.
In a sign in the railway station, I could read in Russian and in Chinese languages: “Forbidden to spit” what was in fact an insult against the Chinese.
In m my second day I discovered that Blagaveshchensk turned out to be a very historical city, in spite of having been founded only in the middle of the XIX century.
For instance, during the Boxer Upraising (from 1899 to 1901) the Chinese, tired of the negative interference of foreign powers in their country (mainly Japanese, French, English and Russians), revolted, and some insurgents crossed to Blagaveshchensk. They were stopped by the Russian Cossacks. After that the Russians decided to expel all the entire Chinese community, peaceful citizens who lived in Blagaveshchensk before the events, and were forced to swim to Heihe. The result was about 3000 Chinese drowned.
Chinese feel that Russians invaded the north of the Amur River with trickeries and due to superior military forces. That is why in every Russian (especially Siberian) mind there is the fear that in the long run, perhaps during this XXI century, the Chinese will push northwards. Human being exists before the borders, so moving to a better place to survive is a Natural Law, a Humankind Law, and it is unjust that a few millions Russians enjoy a territory twice bigger than China, a country overpopulated, with one and a half billon people. So the Nature will intervene in due time, that is sure, even if the governments concerned make wars to avoid it. Humankind is first.
After Blagoveshchensk I took a train to Chita, in Zabaykalsky Krai.
.............................................. I arrived to Tynda by train, from Saint Petersburg. I had to spend one day and one night there while waiting for my next train to the Sakha Republic by means of the AYaM (Amur Yakutsk Magistral). I found a bed in a dormitory in the same train station, for scarcely 300 rubles. Tynda is small and I noticed that many shops were selling weapons for hunting and items for fishing, the main hobbies of the people in the whole of Siberia. There was a statue devoted to Lenin and a pretty Orthodox Cathedral called Holy Trinity. The people had migrated there for 10 or 20 years because of the higher salaries. Then when they save enough money they move and buy a flat in other less remote cities and better communicated with the rest of the country. Tynda was founded in 1917, when constructing the BAM (Baykal Amur Magistral), and presently its inhabitants, basically Russians followed by Ukrainians, work in the timber industry. Even 1500 North Koreans live in that town very miserably, like slaves, cutting logs in the forest and their salary is sent directly from Russia to the Government of their country; the North Koreans receive just enough for an Spartan life in Tynda plus a small remuneration that they will receive back in North Korea, while the North Korea government keeps the difference with the real salary, much higher, paid by Russia. I saw their buildings at the distance, but did not go there; it was an empty area with no people in the streets. North Koreans never mix with the Russians; they live apart in buildings made with blocks. It was sad. The next day I continued my journey to Neryungri and further by train to Tommot in the River Aldan, and finally I hitchhiked and soon boarded a truck to Yakutsk. TYNDA: