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Om författaren

Erika Fatland studied Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo and is the author of two previous books in Norwegian, The Village of Angels and The Year Without Summer, describing the year that followed the massacre on Utya. She speaks eight languages and lives in Oslo with her husband. She is visa mer the author of Sovietistan, also available from Pegasus Books. visa färre

Inkluderar namnet: Fatland Erika

Foto taget av: Erika Fatland

Verk av Erika Fatland


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I love travel books well written and this would be one of those. Fat land takes you with her through these exotic and difficult to travel countries. Along the way, she points out the minutia only a good tourist would note and puts it all into the context of these lands in flux. I would never travel serve so rough or research so thoroughly. Thanks for doing all the hard parts so I could travel these places too
BBrookes | 11 andra recensioner | Nov 22, 2023 |
Disappointing. A travel book for the Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor, internet generation. A quick run through the Himalayas with a top five things to do at every stop. No overarching theme, written in simple straightforward language. Interesting enough bu superficial.
Steve38 | 2 andra recensioner | Nov 13, 2023 |
Erika Fatland is a social anthropologist from Norway, she wrote several books mainly about travel. The Border A Journey Around Russia is her second book beside Sovetistan which I read. Erika Fatland is the true definition of a polyglot, she is fluent in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, and Arabic.
In this book Erika Fatland describes her journeys to 13 different countries which culturally and linguistically were different from hers, but all of these countries have one thing in common. They share borders with Russia. Fatland describes the consequences and challenges of these countries with their neighbor Russia.

*North Korea
This country is one of the most mysterious countries on the earth, Russia shares its shortest border with North Korea. This country technologically and economically depends on Russia and China. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the country went through a famine and millions of people lost their lives.

When you enter China from North Korea you can feel that you are entering a different dimension. Even though China is a communist country it is nothing like North Korea. China has a hybrid or market economy while North Korea has a command economy. There are several cities in northern China such as Harbin where you can see Russian influences such as orthodox churches and news stands which sell Russian magazines and newspapers. Also, unlike North Korea you can have access to a variety of western goods and clothes.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union Mongolia managed to switch to democracy, today the country’s standard of living is improving. Mongolia has an abundance of iron ore, that is one of the reasons which Russia invested in this country. Mongolia was the home of Chingis Khan, one of the world’s most military geniuses whose empire stretched from Mongolia all the way to eastern Europe. The Mongols sacked and invaded Russia for 600 years.


Kazakhstan is the second largest Soviet successor state after the Russian Federation. The Kazakh language belongs to the Tuko-Ugrich group which has nothing in common with Russian or other Slavic languages. This country is one of Central Asia’s most stable countries. The former president Noor Sultan Nazarbayev ruled this country with his iron fists. People in the northern part of Kazakhstan are predominantly Russians, they favor reuniting with Russia. It causes a major concern for the Kazakhstan government.

Russia ceased Azerbaijan from the Persian Empire in the early 1800s under the treaties of Gulestan and Turkmenchai. The Azeri language is a subgroup of the Turkish language, Shia Islam is the country’s main religion. Like North Korea Azerbaijan has hereditary dictatorship as its form of government. After the former president Heydar Aliev, a former KGB officer passed away in 2003 his son Ilham Aliev became the president. Recently he appointed his wife as the country’s vice president. About lack of freedom of press and human rights Azerbaijan is one of the top 10 countries on the earth.

Georgia was the home of the famous Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Even to this day they are two schools of thoughts toward him, some favor him and some hate him. Georgia paid the consequences of Stalin's Gerrymandering. He gave several regions such as Abkhazia and South Ossetia to Georgia; these regions have languages and cultures different from Georgian. After the collapse of the Soviet Union Abkhazia did not want to be part of Georgia which ended up in the bloody war. In the 2000s Georgia showed interest in NATO and the West, it angered Russia. In 2008 Russia under the presidency of Dmitry Medvedev attacked Georgia, the war lasted five days and Russia won. It ceded South Ossetia from Georgia.

Currently Ukraine is a major playground between Russia and the West. Ukraine is Europe's largest country and its breadbasket. This is one of the reasons why Putin’s regime wants to control this country. If you divide Ukraine in half, the eastern part is predominantly Russian while the western part is predominantly Ukrainian. Russia invaded Ukraine because they felt aggravated to have another NATO or pro West country beyond their borders. Putin’s propaganda machine depicts Ukrainians as a bunch of neo-nazis, he wants to convince the Russians and the world that he is the defender of Russians in Ukraine.

This country is Europe’s last Stalinist place, it is more faithful to Russia than the West. The Soviet legacy still exists, you can see Lenin statues standing strong everywhere. As much as Lukashenko is faithful to Putin he can remain in power and receive economic aid from him.

Poland was a Soviet satellite state until the collapse of the Soviet Union. It disappeared from the map several times and finally regained independence after the First World War when the Russian Empire collapsed. Stalin established a pro Soviet government after the Second World War. He arrested many educated Polish citizens such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, officers, and priests who had the potential to oppose the communist regime. He brought them to the Soviet Union and executed them. When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union they discovered their mass graves in Katyn Forest. Stalin used Poland as a buffer zone, if Germans tried to attack the Soviet Union again, they should go through Poland first then the Soviet Union.

*Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia (The Baltic States)
These three republics share shores with the Baltic Sea, they are known to have high standards of living, democratic societies and members of NATO and EU. The Baltic States suffered a lot during the Second World War, they were major playgrounds between the Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. After the Soviet occupation, the Soviets began the Russification process, they deported many Balts to Siberia and brought ethnic Russians to the region. Even today we can see the legacy of Russification. There is a diaspora of Russians in the Baltic regions who are stateless and cannot speak Lithuanian, Latvian, or Estonian. They have a bitter attitude toward the Balts and desire the Russian Language to become their official language again.

Finland was part of the Russian Empire, it gained independence after the Bolshevik Revolution. Finland is one of Russia’s neighbors with a high standard of living and representative democracy as its form of government. Also, Finland has the best education system in the world. In the 1940s Stalin tried to regain Finland, there was a bloody battle, the Finns fought courageously. Stalin did not achieve his goal,he only took %11 of the Finnish territory.

Erika Fatland's last stop was her native country Norway. The area which is close to Russia is called Finnmark, it is located above the arctic circle and home to Europe’s only indigenous people known as Samis or Lapps. The city of Kirkenes which is only a few hundred meters from the Russian border was once occupied by the Nazi Germany, the Soviets liberated the city and returned it to Norway. Out of Russia's neighbors Norway is the only one which Russia did not influence. Norway has constitutional monarchy as its form of Government.

I really enjoyed this book, I recommend this book to any travel, history and geography enthusiast. Also, I like the author’s style, she passionately describes the historical past of the places which she visited during her journey.
… (mer)
booktastic88 | 4 andra recensioner | Feb 26, 2023 |
This lively, well presented and fascinating travel book takes the reader to five central Asian countries, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Erika Fatland travels like a journalist, keen to get word of mouth stories and observes like an anthropologist, which she studied in Norway. She is open and interested in everything from silk production to bride stealing. She travels solo, looking for the Soviet Union legacy in these countries and how they have moved on since independence. She captures the places, the beauty, the ugly and drab and the strange. Some cities only have a tall flagpole going for them and in the mountains she travels through stunning scenery. An exceptional read..… (mer)
CarolKub | 11 andra recensioner | Jan 15, 2023 |



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Associerade författare

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Eva Kampmann Translator
Ulrich Sonnenberg Übersetzer
Alessandra Scali Translator
Sara Culeddu Translator
Elena Putignano Translator



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