Russia With Simon Reeve

Ep 2/3

Thursday 5 October

9.00pm-10.00pm

BBC TWO

Simon Reeve’s spectacular journey through Russia with a host of extraordinary characters continues. In this second leg, Simon begins in south-east Siberia and it takes him to Russia’s far south west and the majestic Caucasus Mountains.

Simon’s first stop is Lake Baikal, the oldest and deepest lake on earth, and the nearby city of Irkutsk where he witnesses the emotional outpouring of Russia’s annual commemoration of World War Two.

Rejoining the Trans-Siberian railway he heads to the city of Krasnoyarsk, where a café pays homage to Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and proud and patriotic staff and punters perform a daily rendition of the national anthem.

Continuing his journey, Simon sees evidence of the political and social upheaval that Russia has faced since the collapse of communism. In their search for a new ideology, millions of Russians have joined sects and new religions. Simon visits the Siberian community that worships a man named Vissarion, believing him to be the reincarnation of Christ. Vissarion, a former traffic policeman, grants a rare interview. Simon also meets the woman educating the newest generation of Vissarion schoolgirls to become 'future brides for worthy men'.

After encounters with Tuvan throat singers and Cossack street patrols Simon ends the second part of his journey in Dagestan, where he talks to the villagers attempting to keep their ancient tightrope walking traditions alive. Dagestan is a largely Muslim region that has been scarred by Jihadist violence and Simon also meets the security forces who use highly trained dogs to tackle the terrorist threat.

Pictured: Simon Reeve with Tuvan children, in Tuva, Russia

JC