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On the Ground: Russia

The Croft Magazine // In our sixth pin drop, we go on the ground in St. Petersburg with Year Abroad student Jenny Barruol, now studying in the nation's second city. Russia stands accused of engineering conflicts in neighbouring countries.

By Jenny Barruol, International Deputy Editor

The Croft Magazine // In our sixth pin drop, we go on the ground in St. Petersburg with Year Abroad student Jenny Barruol, now studying in the nation's second city. Russia stands accused of engineering conflicts in neighbouring countries.

Russia put everything in place to invade Ukraine. Publications, including Sky News and the BBC, questioned whether its assistance in Kazakhstan was tactical, and a way of saying "hey, Ukraine, be careful... we can invade you if we want to". Certainly, whatever the reasons of that conflict (and its requested assistance), Russia is very important in Eurasia. Despite Biden-Putin talks, it remains difficult to ascertain the facts of this nation. Articles appear saying anti-vaxers can go to jail, but 52 per cent of the population have taken the Sputnik vaccine, despite suggestions Russians were unsure of its efficacy. President Putin said it was effective, then caught coronavirus immediately after his shot. That's not to say it isn't effective, but it certainly raises questions.

As of 15th January, there are around 29,000 daily cases and, since the pandemic started, there have been 670,000 deaths. That could increase over the winter, but temperatures in St. Petersburg are only -8C during the day. It's in Siberia you find the -30C temperatures. I'm studying, so we have 25 hours of intensive Russian language courses a week. Most of us stay with host families for the first two months in the city centre, which is nice.

Featured Image: Epigram / Arina Fedoseenkova

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