Dikson is the most northern port in Russia and one of the northernmost settlements in the world. It is located so far north that one may experience complete darkness with no civil twilight from the 8th of December to the 5th of January. In most of major settlements north of the Arctic Circle, there is still substantial twilight during the polar
night at midday. It is also one of the most isolated settlements in the world. The village was named after a Swedish explorer. Dikson's inhabitants informally call their settlement the "Capital of the Arctic", a name taken from a popular Soviet song. Common citizens of Russia can't go there without a special pass.
Common houses were a model in Soviet Russia, where people or families coming to a city needed a place to live, but the local authorities couldn't give them an apartment (yes, apartments were free in USSR and were given out to people in need) so they gave them a room in a such a house. In the photo above, you can see a plan of the floor of the house. The numbered squares are the rooms on the floor. It is just a room, no bathroom, no kitchen, just a plain space to live with usually one window and a door leading to
the long hallway. The hallway itself leads to the sides of the building where usually the common kitchens and bathrooms were situated. Yes, one or two bathrooms for the thirty five or more rooms. Then, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, people as a rule started turning these rooms into their private property. So now, these are in private hands, but still they have one bathroom and one kitchen on each floor, and inside you can see a few photos of how it looks from inside:
For decades, cultural and casual contacts between Russian common people and American people were close to impossible in the Soviet state. People couldn't meet an American on the streets, Americans didn't come for cultural or study exchanges, and even on TV you couldn't see much of the American people. Then, in late 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, things started to change at a fast pace: Americans and other foreigners started appearing in Russia in increasing numbers. Missionaries brought tons of free bibles - books that were previously not published in Soviet Russia, teachers and schools established student exchanges and brought their students from USA with them to explore Russian life. "What? She doesn't want to eat caviar? She is what? A Vegetarian? What the heck is that?" - was a reaction from
common Russian people when, for the first time in their life, they encountered an American student who was a vegetarian and who refused to eat the tasty caviar they offered to her as part of the welcome program in school. In a few years Russian people got more used to the foreign presence, however most encounters with people from abroad in that turning point times was of an extraordinary meaning for the people involved. Here are some photos of one such visit of Americans to a Russian school in 1992. The Russian people meeting them decorated the rooms with balloons and hand-written banners in English. Ladies dressed and people lined up for a meeting. Later, the American guests were served tea and cakes and received presents from the audience.
It's hard to believe but there is only one free tram in Russia. It operates in the village of Cheryomushky, and it is one of the smallest in the territory of Russia and the last created in the USSR and Russian
tram system. It was opened on 18 May 1991. Every morning, the village hears the solid thud of railway wheels, as the local tram delivers people to their work - the Sayano-Shushenskaya Power Plant.