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The Kolyma Highway

The Kolyma Highway begins at the port of Magadan on Russia’s Pacific Ocean, heads north some distance, but then veers to the west, and ends at Yakutsk, a city of 311,000 people, deep in a Siberian wilderness called the taiga. Travelers see only spruce and fir trees in every direction.

All together, this highway of gravel, mud, ice, and pavement that cuts through the endless forest extends across 2012 kilometers, or 1260 miles, of the Russian landscape. Early in the twentieth-century, the Soviet Union’s dictator, Joseph Stalin, decided to build the Kolyma Highway with conscripted slave labor, p...


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