via press release:
|BBC World News hits the road with Russia On Four Wheels
Starts February 1st 2014
BBC World News invites audiences to join an incredible journey in Russia On Four Wheels. As the world’s attention turns to Sochi for the Winter Olympics, presenters Justin Rowlatt and Anita Rani set out on two separate and very different road trips, driving thousands of miles in two very different cars to discover what life is really like in this enormous and diverse country.
As Russia looks to reassert itself as a world power, how far has it left its Soviet past behind? Twenty five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall what direction will the country take? Leaving the glitz and glamour of Sochi behind Justin and Anita embark on two very different journeys to discover ‘old’ and ‘new’ Russia. From Moscow to the Siberian border they meet a diverse range of people and landscapes discovering that in modern day Russia, ‘old’ and ‘new’ may not be as distant as first perceived.
Episode 1 of ‘Russia On Four wheels’ will be broadcast on BBC World News on Saturday 1st February at 3:10 pm ET.
Anita and Justin begin their journeys in Sochi, the Black Sea resort home to the 2014 Winter Olympics. Full of futuristic architecture, this is new Russia’s glittering showcase to the world, but just round the corner from the glitzy stadiums is Joseph Stalin’s old dacha, a reminder that in Russia the old and the new are often very close.
Anita is out to discover ‘new’ Russia. She travels north and west from Sochi in a Kombat, a Russian-built luxury armoured plated bling machine – her oligarch tank. She enters a thriving world of westernised entrepreneurs, the mega-rich and rebellious youth, people who are at the forefront of shaping a new and vibrant Russia.
On her first leg she drives to the western port of Taganrog, enters a vast iron ore mine near Kursk, and makes her way up to Kaluga, a city once at the heart of one of Russia’s poorest regions, and now a centre of industry with western factories including Volkswagen transforming its fortunes.
Meanwhile Justin heads east into ‘old’ Russia where he encounters a very different world in his chosen vehicle: a slightly battered Soviet-built UAZ ‘jeep’ first designed in the 1940s for the Red Army. He meets traditional Russians and encounters a land that seems hardly to have changed since before the Cold War years.
On the first half of his journey, Justin drives to a vast farm, once a Soviet Collective, before making his way alongside the Volga, Russia’s “Mother River”, and to Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) where he meets Second World War veterans of the Battle of Stalingrad, before heading to the vast Lada car factory.
Episode 2 of ‘Russia On Four Wheels’ will be broadcast on BBC World News on Saturday 8th February at 3:10 pm ET.
In the second episode, Anita travels to Moscow where she meets wealthy socialite Alisa Krylova and some rebellious night drag-racers. She then moves on to St. Petersburg where she gets the chance to open a massive bridge and behind the tourist sites she finds a city of migrant workers and gay rights protesters.
Anita then turns north to meet entrepreneurs harvesting caviar from sturgeon stocked in the warm waters of a nuclear power plant, before reaching her final destination of Murmansk, high in the arctic and Russia’s new economic frontier.
Justin continues on his journey east, from Perm and one of the last Gulag prison camps, deep into the Ural Mountains and Asia. He spends time with some very traditional bear hunters, gets close to some powerful military buyers at Russia’s biggest arms fair, and drives on to Yekaterinburg, where he comes a little too close to men protecting the graves of local gangsters from the 1990s.
Finally, Justin reaches the lands of Russia’s incredibly rich natural resources – a world of grim copper smelters, Cold War nuclear bomb-making plants, and a road that seems to go on forever into Siberia, looking east towards China and Japan.