Siberia

region of Asia

Siberia (Russian: Сибирь, Sibir') is an extensive geographical region comprising all of North Asia, from the Ural Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. It has formed part of the sovereign territory of Russia and its various predecessor states since the centuries-long conquest of Siberia, which began with the fall of the Khanate of Sibir in the late 16th century and concluded with the annexation of Chukotka in 1778. Siberia is vast and sparsely populated, covering an area of over 13.1 million square kilometres (5,100,000 sq mi), but home to only one-fifth of Russia's population. Novosibirsk and Omsk are the largest cities in the area.

The Akkem Valley and Mount Belukha

Quotes edit

  • The true discovery of America by mankind came when those first hunting bands crossed over from Siberia 25,000 years ago. This, however, never seems to count. When people speak of the "discovery of America" they invariably mean its discovery by Europeans.
  • Our path has not been an easy one. Our people are proud that in a historically short period of time, after the victory of the Socialist Revolution, backward Russia transformed itself into a major industrial power and achieved outstanding successes in science and culture. We take pride in having built a new society — a most stable and confidently developing society — which has assured all our citizens of social justice and has made the values of modern civilization the property of all the people. We are proud that dozens of previously oppressed nations and nationalities in our country have become genuinely equal, and that in our close-knit family of nations they are developing their economy and culture. We have great plans for the future. We want to raise considerably the living standards of the Soviet people. We want to make new advances in education and medicine. We want to make our villages and towns more comfortable to live in and more beautiful. We have drafted programs to develop the remote areas of Siberia, the North and the Far East, with their immense natural resources. And every Soviet individual is deeply conscious of the fact that the realization of those plans requires peace and peaceful cooperation with other nations.
  • Many scientists are now warning that we are moving closer to several "tipping points" that could — within as little as 10 years — make it impossible for us to avoid irretrievable damage to the planet's habitability for human civilization. In this regard, just a few weeks ago, another group of scientists reported on the unexpectedly rapid increases in the release of carbon and methane emissions from frozen tundra in Siberia, now beginning to thaw because of human caused increases in global temperature. The scientists tell us that the tundra in danger of thawing contains an amount of additional global warming pollution that is equal to the total amount that is already in the earth's atmosphere.
  • It is needless to rehearse the utter and degrading loss of individual liberty which results from the orthodox communistic theory that society is itself an organism in which each person is merely an insignificant cell. It is not in anti-Soviet libels, but in the proud reports of Soviet leaders, that we read of the forcible transfer of whole village populations from their ancestral abodes to new locations in the Arctic, and of the arbitrary ordering of Moscow clerks to tasks of manual labour in the farms and forests of Siberia. All these things are logical outgrowths of what the Bolsheviks call their “collectivistic ideology”, and typical examples of the horrors which might fall upon us if communism were to gain a foothold here.
    • H. P. Lovecraft, "Some Repetitions on the Times" (1933). Reprinted in S. T. Joshi, ed., Miscellaneous Writings (Arkham House, 1995)
  • The spring in this place is different, it seems, from the spring ... in Russia. The freeze at night continues, although the sun at midday shines a great deal; the wind is always cold ... Three days ago on the 16th [of April], the freeze was 10 degrees [Fahrenheit]; the following night it was 8 degrees [Fahrenheit] and last evening snow fell and it continues today.
  • Comrades, it is in strenous circumstances that we are today celebrating the twenty-fourth anniversary of the October Revolution. The perfidious attack of the German brigands and the war which has been forced upon us have placed our country in jeopardy. We have temporarily lost a number of regions, the enemy has appeared at the gates of Leningrad and Moscow. The enemy reckoned that after the very first blow our army would be dispersed, and our country would be forced to its knees. But the enemy sadly miscalculated. In spite of the temporary reverses our army and navy are heroically repulsing the enemy's attacks along the whole front and inflicting heavy losses upon him, while our country - our entire country - has formed itself into one fighting camp in order, together with our Army and our Navy, to encompass the defeat of the German invaders. There were times when our country was in even more difficult straits than today. Recall the year 1918, when we celebrated the first anniversary of the October Revolution. Three-quarters of our country was at that time in the hands of foreign invaders. The Ukraine, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Urals, Siberia and the Far East were temporarily lost to us. We had no allies, we had no Red Army - we had only just begun to form it; there was a shortage of food, of armaments, of clothing for the army. Fouteen states were pressing on our country. But we did not despond, we did not lose heart. In the fire of war we forged the Red Army and converted our country into a military camp. The spirit of the great Lenin animated us in the war against the invaders. And what happened? We routed the invaders, recovered all our lost territory, and achieved victory.

Literary edit

  • Deep in the Siberian mine,
    Keep your patience proud;
    The bitter toil shall not be lost,
    The rebel thought unbowed.

Exoticism edit

  • Yet more outragious is the season still,
    A deeper horror, in Siberian wilds;
    Where Winter keeps his unrejoicing court,
    And in his airy hall the loud misrule
    Of driving tempest is for ever heard.
    There thro’ the ragged woods absorpt in snow,
    Sole tenant of these shades, the shaggy bear,
    With dangling ice all horrid, stalks forlorn;
    Slow-pac’d and sourer as the storms increase,
    He makes his bed beneath the drifted snow;
    And, scorning the complainings of distress.
    Hardens his heart against assailing want.
    While tempted vigorous o’er the marble waste.
    On sleds reclin’d, the furry Russian sits;
    And, by his rain-deer drawn, behind him throws
    A shining kingdom in a winter’s day.
  • But what is this? our infant Winter sinks,
    Diverted of his grandeur, should our eye
    Astonish’d shoot into the Frigid Zone;
    Where, for relentless months, continual night,
    Holds o’er the glittering waste her starry reign.
      There, thro’ the prison of unbounded wilds,
    Barr’d by the hand of Nature from escape,
    Wide-roams the Russian exile. Nought around
    Strikes his sad eye, but desarts lost in snow;
    And heavy-loaded groves; and solid floods,
    That stretch, athwart the solitary vast,
    Their icy horrors to the frozen main;
    And cheerless towns far-distant, never bless’d,
    Save when its annual course the caravan
    Bends to the golden coast of rich Cathay
    With news of human-kind. Yet there life glows;
    Yet cherish’d there, beneath the shining waste,
    The furry nations harbour: tipt with jet,
    Fair ermines, spotless as the snows they press;
    Sables, of glossy black; and dark-embrown’d,
    Or beauteous freakt with many a mingled hue,
    Thousands besides, the costly pride of courts.
    There, warm together press’d, the trooping deer
    Sleep on the new-fallen snows; and, scarce his head
    Rais’d o’er the heapy wreath, the branching elk
    Lies slumbering sullen in the white abyss.
    The ruthless hunter wants nor dogs nor toils,
    Nor with the dread of sounding bows he drives
    The fearful-flying race; with ponderous clubs,
    As weak against the mountain-heaps they push
    Their beating breast in vain, and piteous bray,
    He lays them quivering on th’ ensanguin’d snows,
    And with loud shouts rejoicing bears them home.
    There thro’ the piny forest half-absorpt,
    Rough tenant of these shades, the shapeless bear,
    With dangling ice all horrid, stalks forlorn;
    Slow-pac’d, and sourer as the storms increase,
    He makes his bed beneath th’ inclement drift,
    And, with stern patience, scorning weak complaint,
    Hardens his heart against assailing want.
    • James Thomson, "Winter"
    • The Seasons: A New Edition (1791)
  • Thence winding eastward to the Tartar’s coast,
    She sweeps the howling margin of the main;
    Where undissolving, from the first of time,
    Snows swell on snows amazing to the sky;
    And icy mountains, high on mountains pil’d,
    Seem to the shivering sailor from afar,
    Shapeless and white, an atmosphere of clouds.
    Projected huge, and horrid, o’er the surge,
    Alps frown on alps; or rushing hideous down,
    As if old chaos was again return’d,
    Wide-rend the deep, and shake the solid pole.
    Ocean itself no longer can resist
    The binding fury; but, in all its rage
    Of tempest taken by the boundless frost,
    Is many a fathom to the bottom chain’d,
    And bid to roar no more: a bleak expanse,
    Shagg’d o’er with wavy rocks, cheerless, and void
    Of every life, that from the dreary months
    Flies conscious southward. Miserable they!
    Who, here entangled in the gathering ice,
    Take their last look of the descending sun;
    While, full of death, and fierce with tenfold frost,
    The long long night, incumbent o’er their head,
    Falls horrible. Such was the BRITON’s FATE,
    As with first prow, (what have not BRITONS dar’d!)
    He for the passage fought, attempted since
    So much in vain, and seeming to be shut
    By jealous Nature with eternal bars.
    In these fell regions, in Arxina caught,
    And to the stony deep his idle ship
    Immediate seal’d, he with his hapless crew,
    Each full exerted at his several task,
    Froze into statues; to the cordage glued
    The sailor, and the pilot to the helm.
      Hard by these shores, where scarce his freezing stream
    Rolls the wild Oby, live the last of Men;
    And, half-enliven’d by the distant sun,
    That rears and ripens Man, as well as plants,
    Here human Nature wears its rudest form.
    Deep from the piercing season sunk in caves,
    Here by dull fires, and with unjoyous cheer,
    They waste the tedious gloom. Immers’d in furs,
    Doze the gross race. Nor sprightly jest, nor song,
    Nor tenderness they know; nor aught of life,
    Beyond the kindred bears that stalk without.
    Till morn at length, her roses drooping all,
    Sheds a long twilight brightening o’er their fields,
    And calls the quiver’d savage to the chace.
      What cannot active government perform,
    New-moulding Man? Wide-stretching from these shores,
    A people savage from remotest time,
    A huge neglected empire ONE VAST MIND,
    By HEAVEN inspir’d, from gothic darkness call’d.
    Immortal PETER! first of monarchs! he
    His stubborn country tam’d, her rocks, her fens,
    Her floods, her seas, her ill-submitting sons;
    And while the fierce Barbarian he subdu’d,
    To more exalted soul he raised the Man.
    Ye shades of antient heroes, ye who toil’d
    Thro’ long successive ages to build up
    A laboring plan of state, behold at once
    The wonder done! behold the matchless prince!
    Who left his native throne, where reign’d till then
    A mighty shadow of unreal power;
    Who greatly spurn’d the slothful pomp of courts;
    And roaming every land, in every port,
    His scepter laid aside, with glorious hand
    Unweary’d plying the mechanic tool,
    Gather’d the seeds of trade, of useful arts,
    Of civil wisdom, and of martial skill.
    Charg’d with the stores of Europe home he goes!
    Then cities rise amid th’ illumin’d waste;
    O’er joyless desarts smiles the rural reign;
    Far-distant flood to flood is social join’d;
    Th’ astonish’d Euxine hears the Baltic roar;
    Proud navies ride on seas that never foam’d
    With daring keel before; and armies stretch
    Each way their dazzling files, repressing here
    The frantic Alexander of the north,
    And awing there stern OTHMAN’s shrinking sons.
    Sloth flies the land, and Ignorance, and Vice,
    Of old dishonour proud: it glows around,
    Taught by the ROYAL HAND that rous’d the whole,
    One scene of arts, of arms, of rising trade:
    For what his wisdom plann’d, and power enforc’d,
    More potent still, his great example shew’d.
      Muttering, the winds at eve, with blunted point,
    Blow hollow-blustering from the south. Subdu’d,
    The frost resolves into a trickling thaw.
    Spotted the mountains shine; loose sleet descends,
    And floods the country round. The rivers swell,
    Of bonds impatient. Sudden from the hills,
    O’er rocks and woods, in broad brown cataracts,
    A thousand snow-fed torrents shoot at once;
    And, where they rush, the wide-resounding plain
    Is left one slimy waste. Those sullen seas,
    That wash th’ ungenial pole, will rest no more
    Beneath the shackles of the mighty north;
    But, rousing all their waves, resistless heave.
    And hark! the lengthening roar continuous runs
    Athwart the rifted deep: at once it bursts,
    And piles a thousand mountains to the clouds.
    Ill fares the bark with trembling wretches charg’d,
    That, soft amid the floating fragments, moors
    Beneath the shelter of an icy isle,
    While night o’erwhelms the sea, and horror looks
    More horrible. Can human force endure
    Th’ assembled mischiefs that besiege them round?
    Heart-gnawing hunger, fainting weariness,
    The roar of winds and waves, the crush of ice,
    Now ceasing, now-renew’d with louder rage,
    And in dire echoes bellowing round the main.
    More to embroil the deep, Leviathan
    And his unwieldy train, in dreadful sport,
    Tempest the loosened brine, while thro’ the gloom,
    Far, from the bleak inhospitable shore,
    Loading the winds, is heard the hungry howl
    Of famish’d monsters, there awaiting wrecks.
    Yet PROVIDENCE, that ever waking Eye,
    Looks down with pity on the feeble toil
    Of mortals lost to hope, and lights them safe,
    Thro’ all this dreary labyrinth of fate.
    • James Thomson, "Winter"
    • The Seasons: A New Edition (1791)
  • What are the splendours of the gaudy court,
    Its tinsel trappings, and its pageant pomps?
    To me far happier seems the banish’d lord,
    Amid Siberia’s unrejoicing wilds
    Who pines all lonesome, in the chambers hoar
    Of some high castle shut, whose windows dim
    In distant ken discover trackless plains,
    Where Winter ever whirls his icy car;
    While still repeated objects of his view,
    The gloomy battlements, and ivied spires,
    That crown the solitary dome, arise;
    While from the topmost turret the slow clock,
    Far heard along th’ inhospitable wastes,
    With sad-returning chime awakes new grief;
    Ev’n he far happier seems than is the proud,
    The potent Satrap, whom he left behind
    ’Mid Moscow’s golden palaces, to drown
    In ease and luxury the laughing hours.
  • In Siberia’s wastes
      The ice-wind’s breath
    Woundeth like the toothèd steel;
    Lost Siberia doth reveal
      Only blight and death.
    Blight and death alone.
      No Summer shines.
    Night is interblent with Day.
    In Siberia’s wastes alway
      The blood blackens, the heart pines.
    In Siberia’s wastes
      No tears are shed,
    For they freeze within the brain.
    Naught is felt but dullest pain,
      Pain acute, yet dead;
    Pain as in a dream,
      When years go by
    Funeral-paced, yet fugitive,
    When man lives, and doth not live,
      Doth not live—nor die.
    In Siberia’s wastes
      Are sands and rocks.
    Nothing blooms of green or soft,
    But the snow-peaks rise aloft
      And the gaunt ice-blocks.
    And the exile there
      Is one with those;
    They are part, and he is part,
    For the sands are in his heart,
      And the killing snows.
    Therefore, in those wastes
      None curse the Czar.
    Each man’s tongue is cloven by
    The North Blast, who heweth nigh
      With sharp scymitar.
    And such doom each drees,
      Till, hunger-gnawn,
    And cold-slain, he at length sinks there,
    Yet scarce more a corpse than ere
      His last breath was drawn.

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