The Russian Chronicles -- Ten Years Later

By Lisa Dickey
Special to
Tuesday, August 30, 2005; 4:45 PM

What is The Russian Chronicles -- Ten Years Later?

This project is a daily travel blog. I will be writing and photographer David Hillegas will help chronicle our 11-week journey across Russia.

Why "Ten Years Later"?

We're reprising a 1995 trip I made with photographer Gary Matoso -- the original Russian Chronicles project. This time, we will go to the same 11 cities, in hopes of tracking down the same people we chronicled in 1995, to ask them how their lives have changed over the last decade.

How will you track them down? Have you remained in contact with the people you wrote about in 1995?

I haven't stayed in contact with any of them. For some, such as the Buryat farmer, we'll just show up and hope they're still there. For those who more likely moved over the years, such as the young businesswoman from Khabarovsk, we've taken preliminary steps to try and find them. But even for those we track down beforehand, we won't do any research or story writing; we'll find what we find when we get to them.

How often will you update the blog?

We'll have a new posting every weekday morning from Sept. 1 until Nov. 22. On Monday mornings, the posting will recap what happened over the weekend.

How are you able to update the site daily?

We expect to use several methods, mostly dial-up Internet connection and satellite communication equipment. In a pinch, when there's no Internet connectivity -- such as on a two-day nonstop train trip -- we might dictate text to staff over a satellite phone call.

Have you been back to Russia since 1995?

I have been to Russia twice since returning to Washington from St. Petersburg in December 1996. I traveled to Moscow and St. Petersburg for a week in 1998, and to Moscow and Tula for a week in 2003. Whatever changes have happened over the past 10 years will be new to me. David has never been to Russia before this trip.

What's different from the 1995 "Daily Chronicles?"

In 1995, I wrote the "Road Stories," and photographer Gary Matoso wrote the "Daily Chronicles." This time around, I'm writing all the text on the site and David will take the photographs. Also, the technology has changed considerably since 1995. For the original site, we used an early-generation digital camera. This time, David's photography equipment is more advanced. The original site was built with rudimentary Web design tools. The 2005 site on will be much easier for us to produce and for you to read.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company