Inside Putin's Russia


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Bridget Kendall visits St Petersburg, Putin's hometown.

Historically the most western of RUSSIAn cities, St.

Petersburg is a popular tourist destination.

Alongside the restored Italianate palaces and the dark courtyards, the crumbling facades of Dostoevsky's city are still home to the destitute.

Is St.

Petersburg still RUSSIA's 'window on the west' as its creator Peter the Great intended, or does the gloss and affluence of Putin's RUSSIA only go skin deep, even in his own showcase hometown?


Bridget Kendall travels to Vologda, RUSSIA's spiritual and rural heartland.

Four hundred kilometres north of Moscow, Vologda is an ancient centre of monastic pilgrimage, famous for its forests and for its creamy butter.

But RUSSIA's rural regions are in terrible decline.

Many villages are being wiped off the map, their populations dwindling to insignificance.

More than 80 years after the Bolsheviks abolished private property, RUSSIAns can now own land again.

But why has privatization made so little difference to agriculture? And what is the cause of rural degeneration inside Putin's RUSSIA?


In the third programme in the series 'Inside Putin's RUSSIA, presenter Bridget Kendall travels to the Arctic Circle.

Vorkuta is a mining town, built by victims of Stalinism who perished there in their millions as they laboured in the vast coal reserves of RUSSIA's frozen north.

In Putin's RUSSIA, Vorkuta is doomed.

Providing fuel, services and even food to this city, built on the ice and shrouded in snow for ten months of the year, is not cost effective.

But Vorkuta's mayor is defiant that the town should not just survive, but flourish.

What awaits these victims of Stalin's past in the brave new world of Putin's RUSSIA?


In the fourth programme in the series 'Inside Putin's RUSSIA', the BBC's former Moscow correspondent Bridget Kendall revisits Kazan, capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, on the Volga River.

Home to RUSSIA's second largest ethnic group, the Muslims, Tatarstan has carved out for itself its own unique identity and considerable autonomy within the RUSSIAn Federation.

For the past decade its leader, President Shaimiev has juggled local demands to strengthen religious and cultural ties with the Islamic world, with the demands of an increasingly centralized RUSSIAn state.

But now President Putin is clawing back some of those freedoms in an effort to create stronger, vertical power from Moscow.

Bridget Kendall discovers how far the heady dreams of religious and nationalist leaders were realized since she was first in Kazan over ten years ago, and how far Tarstan's government will go to get what they want for RUSSIA's Tatar Muslims?

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Bridget Kendall visits the city of Tomsk, a flourishing city with its own vibrant identity, its many universities and colleges a magnet for young people across Siberia.