MOSCOW — Historian Yury Brodsky sees the far northern Solovki Archipelago as a kaleidoscopic microcosm of Russia — its history, culture, nature, and spirit all brought together in one remote and windswept corner of a vast country.
“The most varied people come here and they all need Solovki,” Brodsky tells RFE/RL. “It can change your world view. I’m trying to say that Solovki is a reflection of our entire world, of our entire history.”
“Architects note the extraordinary architecture there and this is true,” Brodsky adds. “Ornithologists go there to study the birds — there are about 220 bird species on Solovki. The marshlands there are considered objects of international significance. Scientists who study the beluga whale note that Solovki is one of the very few breeding areas for the beluga. For them, the beluga is the most important thing about Solovki. [Other scientists] remind us that we need to study local lichens, of which there are 170 types because of the ideal climate for them…. Russian Orthodox believers, Old Believers, and others come here.”