Some parts of the Astrakhan region look like a moldy honey cake with rare green blotches of trees, which is restrung by celebratory blue ribbons of shallow streams. There is very little growth, the ground is dry and the trees are scraggy. The situation changes drastically as you approach the Caspian Sea, where the Volga river is divided into numerous arms, and it starts looking like a cable barbarian attacked and unraveled with the plug torn off: everything is green, the trees get higher, though there are fewer of them, little plots of land, that is there, is covered with green reed twice the human height. Half of the Russian Red Book (endangered species list) inhabits this area.
IL-18 with a bunch of strange antennae on the roof
It turned out that it was a highly classified IL-22, which had been used as a flying headquarters and masked to look like a civilian plane of the Aeroflot.
This is quite a beast.
The flight was part of the training exercises that were performed by the military together with … can’t tell you who…. in the framework of anti-terrorist operation of trying to find bad guys in the steppe. The helicopter has flown up … can’t tell you without who…. and have enjoyed the solitude in the first few minutes in the cabin of MI-8
This is a typical village on a river bank
Another shot of the village
This house has stood out compared with the rest of the background because of its high thick hedge and green well-cut grass
There were too many military personnel in the helicopter, and this guy had to fly standing. Who could ever imagine that people can fly in helicopters like in trams or buses while standing.
National Anti-terrorist Committee rules and regulations
The first 15 minutes have been spent trying to get the connection with someone to work
Something is wrong with the connection
They were looking for a hidden UAZ automobile with the bad guys
Went to South-West towards the salty lakes region
Some of the salty lakes have dried out.
The old church in the center has been used as a bus station during the Soviet era. It is surrounded by bedroom communities in apartment buildings.
Here in the center – the Astrakhan Kremlin.
There is a new grand hotel “Al Pash” in Astrakhan now – finally a decent hotel.
We weren’t allowed to take pictures of MIGs on land, but it was okay to do in the air.
All the planes are placed into caponniers, that is they are surrounded by land mounds, so if one is struck by a bomb, the rest of them don’t blow up.
So most of the photos were taken through an open door. The photographer was placed on a special stool, like the ones that are used in movie theaters, and was attached by a belt to a nail hook in the siding, and held onto the sides of the helicopter. He must have felt like a navy seal, just with a photo-camera instead of an M-16.