Does Putin’s Russia reject the West?

The road out of Perm runs along a frozen river dotted with crouching figures. They huddle round small holes drilled through the ice. All around are thick forests of silver birch and fir trees, covered in snow.

Lyubov laughs off mention of the cold as I approach her gingerly, looking for cracks beneath my feet. It’s -17C and the pensioner has been fishing with her husband on the frozen river for hours without gloves.

“It’s fine!” she insists, dipping a finger through the ice hole and swirling it round. “It’s warmer in the water.”

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