BEAM ME DOWN, SCOTTY

This week's random coordinates picked by the computer are: Latitude: 66 2' N Longitude: 51 56' E
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The Independent Travel
First reaction

What? Back in the former USSR again?

Country and region

The Russian Federation, in the Komi Autonomous Republic, 700 kilometres northeast of Saint Petersburg and 40km south of the Arctic Circle.

Nearest human settlements

Luckily, you are not far from the Pechora River valley, the region's main transport artery, which also contains a thin straggle of settlements. The village of Nizhnneye Bugayevo lies on the near bank of the river about 20 kilometres to the east.

Nature of terrain

The general area is part of the Russian Taiga, or Boreal Forest, which covers the entire area from Sweden to the Sea of Japan. For much of the summer the land will be swampy underfoot.

Altitude

100 metres.

Possible hazards

Getting lost in bogs amid endless melancholy birch trees whilst being massacred by mosquitoes.

Useful languages

Russian and any Finno-Ugrian languages (eg Finnish and Hungarian) would come in handy.

Take me to your leader

President Boris Yeltsin is far away in Moscow and villagers in the region are rumoured to be unaware of the Tsar's demise.

Likely weather conditions

August temperatures are roughly similar to those of southern Britain but will soon be in free fall.

Reason for hanging around

Fur trapping is the only sport to speak of, with Arctic Fox and squirrel the main prey. Apart from opportunities to see reindeer herding and the onset of winter, you may meet some of the 300,000 Komi people who are among the world's most culturally isolated.

Getting the hell out of there

Walk east to the Pechora river and catch a ride with a lumber barge (or build your own raft). Heading southeast for a few days along the right tributaries will get you to Pechora, linked by rail to Moscow.

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