I have quite a fascination with Russia.
I think maybe I inherited it from my mother. She went there in the sixties with a friend. I can't imagine what it must have been like back then for two girls travelling around by themselves. One of them could read Russian, and the other could speak it - I can't remember which - but I'm guessing mum's friend was the one who could speak it as I think she had a Russian parent or something. Anyway, mum had Russian novels, we listened to Russian composers, and she had an authentic Matryoshka (Матрёшка) doll which I loved to play with.
I visited Russia in 2000 with my sister. We travelled on the Trans-Siberian railway from Moscow to Beijing via Irkutsk (Ирку́тск) (and Lake Baikal - о́зеро Байка́л) and through Mongolia. Its the only time I've really struggled with communication, as absolutely noone spoke English and nothing was written in English anywhere. I had to learn to read the cyrillic alphabet really fast! (I can't read it anymore, I really should brush up on it again, such a good skill to have - amazing how fast you can learn when you really have to!)
Anyway, I found this series of photography to be really captivating. A series of beautifully taken snapshots of life. Go have a look!