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"In the taiga you are naked"

Film director Vasily Solkin - about the preservation of the population of the Far Eastern leopard and the strength of the taiga

Almost all his life, a journalist, writer, film director, and now the head of the public relations department of the Amur branch of the World Wildlife Fund Vasily Solkin devoted to the conservation of the population of the Far Eastern leopard. In 2014, he was awarded the Order of Honor for his labor success, significant contribution to the development of Russia, achievements in the humanitarian sphere, and active social activities. Taiga told EastRussia about the innate love for the taiga, the test of loneliness and the uniqueness of Primorye.In the meantime, there is no need to worry about it. ”

"In the taiga you are naked"
Photo: courtesy of Vasily Solkin

Vasily Solkin
was born in Kirov in the family of a veteran who passed from Stalingrad to Berlin and returned home alive. Father was an example for Basil. He graduated from the Sverdlovsk Suvorov Military School, but, as he recalls now, he did not represent himself as the commander of a tank platoon. He entered the faculty of military journalism of the Lviv Higher Military-Political School.

- As a child, I read books by Arseniev, - recalls Vasily. - I found out that he was serving in Poland, and from there he was sent to the Far East after numerous reports. It turns out that Arseniev was not far from me. So I asked Lvov to send me to the east. So I became a correspondent of the newspaper of the Pacific Fleet "Combat Watch". I deal only with what I believe in a hundred percent, so brought up. As soon as I stopped believing in the Communist Party, I wrote a statement and left. I thought then that my career as a journalist is over forever. 


Solkin's grandfather and father were hunters. And Vasily spent all his officer vacations in the taiga, without her he never imagined his life. In the forest I met with the staff of the Academy of Sciences more than once.

"I'm a taiga man from a young nail, so when I came to work in the laboratory of ecology and wildlife conservation of the Institute of Geography of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, I was already acquainted with my boss Dmitry Pikunov," Vasily explains. - First he was an engineer. Then in the field expeditions passed a test of strength: they saw that I can be relied on, if that - the back I'll cover. So became a research fellow at the Laboratory of Mammals of the Pacific Institute of Geography. And when I realized that we with the taiga team see so much everything unique that the rest of humanity does not even suspect, decided to produce a popular science newspaper.

The newspaper was transformed into a full-color magazine called "Call of the Taiga", which the people called the Russian National Geographic. He went out almost 20 years. Nine months the team spent in the taiga, so that there was something to tell the reader about. Ninety percent of the expeditions were in Primorye, and articles were written about the life of Far Eastern tigers and leopards, unique marine animals, as Solkin calls them.

"The Call of the Taiga" was the only full-color magazine on the territory of the former CIS countries, with eighty percent of subscribers being rural residents, "Vasily says. - We wrote for those who live and work in the taiga. They tried with all their might to inform the reader that we know as much as the taiga, about which we write. And it was true. Of course, in megacities we were also read, there was a fairly large "diaspora" in Moscow and St. Petersburg.


Following the magazine, the team had a small studio. Over 17 years, they shot more than fifty documentary films about the taiga. Most of them can be viewed online in the Far East channel about the secrets of the wild.

"First and foremost, the operator, who removes wild animals in the wild, must be able to survive in these conditions and bring the material," Vasily explains. - We are a team of like-minded people, all videographers are brilliant. Now we really want to have time to professionally grow those who will continue our business so that they take on a new era of taiga stories.


Films of the film studio "Call of the Taiga" won many prizes at Russian and international film festivals. The main goal of the films dedicated to the Far Eastern leopard is to call for the preservation of the rarest cat in the world. Now in Russia there are about 70 of these predators.


- Tears of the viewer we squeezed out guaranteed, - recalls Solkin. "We needed to reach out to heaven." When I started, we were five crazy around the globe who tried to save the thirty remaining cats of this subspecies. Last year we released the film "Land of the Leopard. Roundabout of life ». Animals live in their natural habitat, and the viewer looks into the keyhole. In order to make such a film, we went all our lives. The places where the shooting was conducted are very dear to us - our old comrades of life put down to save them. Still now I plan to write a certain documentary about what we have seen in all the years. To tell future generations what the taiga lived, because this is the real life of a huge number of people.


In Primorye Vasily Solkin has many favorite places, but there is one that is especially dear to the heart. In the Olginsky district there was a winter residence, where, due to circumstances and service obligations to the Academy of Sciences, he spent an entire day alone for 71.

- Taiga sawed out. And now this place exists only in my memory and the memory of my friends, ”says Vasily. - There I understood what is good and evil, what is good and what is bad. Testing loneliness leaves a serious imprint on the psyche and consciousness. In the taiga you are naked. No one will tell anyone how you behaved. After all, we do many things in public, because they look at us, but do not want to disgrace in front of dozens of eyes. And the taiga is communication with oneself, when it is very easy to turn into svintusa. I saw many people who tried to accustom themselves to life in the taiga, for example, because they had to work there. But they did not succeed. To be a taiga given from God.

Photo Shoot: Vasily SolkinEvgeny Konovalov
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