What We’re Reading: Sakhalin Island and the Making of Colombia

Weekly reviews of what's on our bookshelves.

Sakhalin Island By Anton Chekhov Earlier, during my studies, I read a lot of Russian classical literature, including the works of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov. Chekhov is a famous Russian writer and playwright, but the school curriculum did not include “Sakhalin Island.” I don’t know why. “Sakhalin Island” is among my favorites of Chekhov’s works. In 1890, when Chekhov was already famous, he traveled to Sakhalin to explore the island and culture. Since 1875, prisoners had been sent there to perform forced labor under harsh conditions at remote penal colonies known as katorga. Chekhov’s book is based on his personal experiences and statistics he collected during the trip. He begins his journey in the north. He talks about the history of the island, the natural environment and the findings of scientists who explored it before him. There are interesting descriptions of the organization of villages, of everyday life, of failed attempts to cultivate agriculture and of the weather. He also describes the living conditions of the prisoners and the free inhabitants, and how their lives changed when the penal colonies appeared. Chekhov then went to the southern part of the island. He drew parallels between the north and south and contrasted […]

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Ekaterina Zolotova
Ekaterina Zolotova is an analyst for Geopolitical Futures. Prior to Geopolitical Futures, Ms. Zolotova participated in several research projects devoted to problems and prospects of Russia’s integration into the world economy. Ms. Zolotova has a specialist degree in international economic relations from Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. In addition, Ms. Zolotova studied international trade and international integration processes. Her thesis was on features of economic development of Venezuela. She speaks native Russian and is fluent in English.
Allison Fedirka
Allison Fedirka is the director of analysis for Geopolitical Futures. In addition to writing analyses, she helps train new analysts, oversees the intellectual quality of analyst work and helps guide the forecasting process. Prior to joining Geopolitical Futures, Ms. Fedirka worked for Stratfor as a Latin America specialist and subsequently as the Latin America regional director. She lived in South America – primarily Argentina and Brazil – for more than seven years and, in addition to English, fluently speaks Spanish and Portuguese. Ms. Fedirka has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and international studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s degree in international relations and affairs from the University of Belgrano, Argentina. Her thesis was on Brazil and Angola and south-south cooperation.