If Eastern Siberia declared independence, it would be the world's seventh largest country – just below Australia. It is rich in timber, diamonds, gold, coal, fur, copper, and tin and has deposits of petroleum, natural gas, and uranium. Perhaps because of its vastness, richness, and relative emptiness, Eastern Siberia seems to inspire human activity on a phenomenal scale. The economic development of Eastern Siberia, however, has always been hampered by its distance from Moscow and lack of roads; a trip from Moscow to Yakutsk took more than three muddy months for travelers in the 19th century. The problem, which continues today, is a result of centuries of poor management and Eastern Siberia's severe weather, which fluctuates between frigidly cold winters to wet springs to blisteringly hot summers, and which makes road construction and maintenance a difficult and expensive venture.
© Ramdas Iyer Photography