Roma Shatrov is the founder of the Silent Cape Nature Park in Sakhalin. Irina Grudova is Ainu, the indigenous inhabitants of Sakhalin. Roma is obsessed with Ainu history and culture and has dedicated the Silent Cape to revitalizing their tradition. Irina is a local Ainu activist and is skeptical of such outsiders looking to exploit her heritage. Yet Roma and Irina instantly hit it off and formed a strong bond over their mutual love of the Ainu. Rusana Novikova brings us a story about the romanticism and self-discovery at the heart of Irina and Roma’s complicated friendship, and its potential promise for Ainu and Russian relations.
The Soviet Union was a latecomer to the whaling industry. But after a bumbling start, by the 1960s, Soviet whalers were slaughtering over 20,000 whales a year. The decimation of the world’s whales in the 20th century, a genocide in which the Soviets played no small part, has had catastrophic results on the world’s ocean environments. Ryan Tucker Jones tells us about the Soviet whaling industry, the lives of Soviet whalers, their attitudes toward their craft, and the lasting trauma of the hunt the ocean’s majestic creatures.