It was at this time of year in 1995 that I paid my first visit to the North Caucasus.
As a student of Russian literature in the 1980s, the mountains at Russia’s southern edge had come to fascinate me, providing as they did the backdrop to one of my favourite books (it is to this day) Mikhail Lermontov’s Hero of our Time. It remains a marvel that such a book could be written by someone in their early 20s. He was to die in duel aged just 27 — a fate which could well have been that of one of his characters.
My work as a journalist took me to back the Caucasus — northern and southern sides — on numerous occasions. One of those was to report on the visit of the International Olympic Committee to Sochi in 2007 as they sought to decide where to award the 2014 games.
There’s also a second piece of mine on the site, about press freedom in Russia — where not everything is as controlled by the Kremlin as we are sometimes led to believe.