Russia draws in hordes of Chinese with 'red tourism'

Marina Koreneva
1 / 5

A Chinese tourist holds Russian flag as she visits a gift kiosk in St. Petersburg, on September 4, 2015

A Chinese tourist holds Russian flag as she visits a gift kiosk in St. Petersburg, on September 4, 2015 (AFP Photo/Olga Maltseva)

Saint Petersburg (AFP) - Drawn by its Communist past and a visa-free regime, Chinese tourists are flocking to Russia in droves as it develops new routes touting "red tourism".

Nearly 410,000 Chinese came to Russia last year putting them on top of the list of foreign tourists, according to the federal tourism agency.

Their number has swelled 10 percent since 2013, when Germans topped the list of overseas visitors.

"We had lots of work this summer," said Viktoria Borgacheva, the head of the association of Chinese interpreters and guides in the city of Saint Petersburg, Russia's main tourist destination.

"I would say our workload has increased 30 percent since last year," Borgacheva said.

In the first half of this year alone, more than 200,000 Chinese tourists visited Russia.

Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg, the former imperial capital renowned for its world-class museums and luxurious palaces, hosted nearly 26,000 Chinese tourists in 2014.

"Saint Petersburg is a beautiful city with a rich history," said Yong Tang, a 57-year-old tourist from Beijing, as he purchased a bust of Lenin.

"I'm glad I came here."

Experts estimate that between 40,000 and 50,000 Chinese tourists could visit Saint Petersburg this year, the Russian tourism industry union said.

But Saint Petersburg's European flair and its winding canals are not the main attraction for them, according to Russian tourism officials.

Chinese tourists flock to Saint Petersburg chiefly to soak in the city's turbulent revolutionary history as the scene of three revolutions -- one in 1905 and two in 1917 -- that precipitated the end of the tsarist era and ushered in the Soviet Union.

"While Europeans come to Saint Petersburg above all to admire the old capital and the Hermitage (art museum), Chinese tourists want to see Leningrad and its revolutionary history," Borgacheva said, referring to Saint Petersburg's Soviet-era name.

-'Red circuit'-


In July Moscow and Beijing officially launched an ambitious "red circuit," a tourist route tracing the life of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin in four Russian cities.

The eight-day journey starts in Moscow, where tourists can gape at hammers and sickles on Soviet-era buildings and in the sprawling metro network.

The Russian capital is also the resting place of Lenin, with his body still preserved in a mausoleum on Red Square.

The circuit then takes tourists to Lenin's birthplace of Ulyanovsk on the banks of the Volga River, before continuing to Kazan, the city where he studied.

The tour ends in Saint Petersburg, the scene of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917.

"Revolution and the people's fight for independence and even the Great Patriotic War (World War II as fought by the Soviets from 1941) are important themes for the Chinese, just as they are for us," said Sergei Lakovsky, the head of Ulyanovsk's tourist department.

Costing $1,000 per person excluding flights, the "red circuit" promises to be lucrative for the dozen Russian tourist agencies participating in the programme, expected to be in full swing by next year.

Chinese tourists spent some $1 billion in Russia last year, according to a recent estimate.

Russia's new "red circuit" finds a counterpart in China, where Russian tourists can retrace the life of Mao Zedong, the first chairman of the Chinese Communist party.


  • Trump defense on Russian bounty story falls flat, even with Republicans
    Yahoo News

    Trump defense on Russian bounty story falls flat, even with Republicans

    White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany continued to defend President Trump on Tuesday in the wake of reporting by the New York Times and confirmation by other news outlets that intelligence officials had concluded in 2019 that Russia's government offered bounties to Taliban fighters for killing American troops in Afghanistan. One day after telling reporters that Trump had not been briefed on the alleged Russian bounties — contradicting reports that the intelligence was included in at least one President's Daily Brief in 2019 — McEnany was asked why the president does not read those documents.

  • After a Black protester is killed in Omaha, witnesses claim a rushed investigation ignored signs of the shooter's allegedly racist past
    Yahoo News

    After a Black protester is killed in Omaha, witnesses claim a rushed investigation ignored signs of the shooter's allegedly racist past

    More than 300 people have been arrested in Omaha since Friday, May 29, when the city of less than 500,000 was swept up in the tidal wave of protests against police brutality and systemic racism that had erupted in Minneapolis after the brutal killing by police of an unarmed Black man named George Floyd. Jake Gardner, the white bar owner who shot and killed James Scurlock, a 22-year-old Black protester, on the second night of unrest in Omaha — Saturday, May 30 — wasn't one of them. Within just 36 hours of the shooting, Douglas County prosecutor Don Kleine announced that criminal charges would not be filed, finding that Gardner — a 38-year-old ex-Marine with an expired concealed carry permit — had shot Scurlock in self-defense.

  • Harvard Grad Says She Was Fired from Deloitte Job for Threatening ‘All Lives Matter’ Supporters
    National Review

    Harvard Grad Says She Was Fired from Deloitte Job for Threatening ‘All Lives Matter’ Supporters

    A recent Harvard graduate who threatened to “stab” anyone who told her “all lives matter” has been fired from her job, she announced in a tearful video. Claira Janover, who said in a viral but since-deleted TikTok post that she would “stab” those with “the nerve” to say “all lives matter,” posted several tearful videos explaining that her new employer, Deloitte, had fired her. “I know this is what Trump supporters wanted because standing up for Black Lives Matter put me in a place online to be seen by millions of people,” Janover explained.

  • Italian police seize record amount of amphetamines shipped from Syria
    Reuters

    Italian police seize record amount of amphetamines shipped from Syria

    Italian police said on Wednesday they had seized about 14 tonnes of amphetamine pills worth around 1 billion euros ($1 billion) arriving from Syria, in what they described as the world's single largest operation of its kind. Used in the 1960s to treat narcolepsy and depression, Captagon is one of several brand names for fenethylline hydrochloride, a drug compound belonging to a family of amphetamines that can inhibit fear and ward off tiredness. Captagon is popular in the Middle East, and widespread in war-torn areas such as Syria, where conflict has fuelled demand and created opportunities for producers.

  • America's New B-21 Stealth Bomber Is Just Two-Years Away
    The National Interest

    America's New B-21 Stealth Bomber Is Just Two-Years Away

    The much anticipated, high-tech B-21 bomber will “come on in two years,” bringing new dimensions of stealth, software, attack possibilities and nuclear deterrence to the U.S. Air Force. It would even possibly usher in new tactical approaches to how modern operations may move forward in the years ahead. In a conversation with The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies regarding the importance of modernizing the nuclear triad, Air Force Chief of Staff General Stephen Wilson confirmed that the stealthy new aircraft will “come on in two years.

  • Texas sets another record for new daily coronavirus cases, with more than 8,000 new infections
    Business Insider

    Texas sets another record for new daily coronavirus cases, with more than 8,000 new infections

    Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images Texas surpassed 8,000 new daily coronavirus cases on Wednesday, an all-time high. The state has reported more than 172,000 COVID-19 cases. Texas also recorded its second-highest daily death toll with 57 deaths.

  • Oklahoma becomes latest red state to approve Obamacare's Medicaid expansion at the ballot box
    Yahoo News

    Oklahoma becomes latest red state to approve Obamacare's Medicaid expansion at the ballot box

    Voters in Oklahoma narrowly approved an expansion of Medicaid on Tuesday night, making it the latest conservative-leaning state to approve of the Obamacare provision at the ballot box. The measure bypasses the Republican-controlled Legislature and governor's mansion to enshrine insurance coverage for low-income Oklahomans via the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) in the state's constitution. “In the middle of a pandemic, Oklahomans stepped up and delivered lifesaving care for nearly 200,000 of our neighbors, took action to keep our rural hospitals open, and brought our tax dollars home to protect jobs and boost our local economy,” Yes on 802 campaign manager Amber England said in a statement after the victory.

  • Venezuela general accused with Maduro unable to pay attorney
    Associated Press

    Venezuela general accused with Maduro unable to pay attorney

    A former Venezuelan general who was organizing a volunteer army to overthrow Nicolas Maduro says he is unable to afford a legal defense in a U.S. narcotics case that charges him alongside gis homeland's socialist president. Gen. Cliver Alcala surrendered in March to face U.S. accusations that he led with Maduro and two others for two decades a narcoterrorist conspiracy that sent 250 metric tons of cocaine a year to the U.S. and turned the Venezuelan state into a platform for violent cartels and Colombian rebels. Prior to his surrender, Alcala was working with a former U.S. Green Beret, Jordan Goudreau, to train at secret camps in Colombia a volunteer army of Venezuelan military deserters plotting an incursion to remove Maduro.

  • Finland's air force drops swastika emblem after century in use
    The Telegraph

    Finland's air force drops swastika emblem after century in use

    Finland's air force has quietly removed the last swastikas from unit emblems after over a century in use. Until recently the country's Air Force Command emblem depicted a pair of wings around a swastika, a symbol which pre-dates its associations with Nazism. The change was first observed by Teivo Teivainen, a politics professor at the University of Helsinki, who argued its negative associations made the swastika's ongoing use politically fraught.

  • Duckworth threatens to block military nominees unless impeachment witness Vindman gets promotion
    Politico

    Duckworth threatens to block military nominees unless impeachment witness Vindman gets promotion

    Sen. Tammy Duckworth on Thursday announced she'll hold up the confirmation of more than 1,000 military promotions until Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirms that the promotion of impeachment witness Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman will move forward. Duckworth, a retired Army officer who lost both legs because of wounds sustained in the Iraq War, said she intends to block 1,123 promotions until Esper "confirms in writing that he did not, or will not, block the expected and deserved promotion" of Vindman to colonel. The move by the Illinois Democrat raises the stakes amid reports that the White House could nix Vindman's promotion from a list of officers set to move up the ranks.

  • 'You’ve been warned': Florida sheriff says he may deputize gun owners against protesters
    USA TODAY

    'You’ve been warned': Florida sheriff says he may deputize gun owners against protesters

    Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels, no stranger to making viral videos appealing to tough-on-crime politics, released a video Tuesday that said he will make “special deputies of every lawful gun owner in this county” if he feels the county is overwhelmed by protesters. The three-minute video shows Daniels standing in front of 18 deputies as he derides civil rights protesters as godless disruptors and tells them to stay out of Clay County, a suburb of Jacksonville. "If we can't handle you, I'll exercise the power and authority as the sheriff, and I'll make special deputies of every lawful gun owner in this county and I'll deputize them for this one purpose to stand in the gap between lawlessness and civility," he said.

  • Fox News anchor Ed Henry fired after sexual misconduct investigation
    LA Times

    Fox News anchor Ed Henry fired after sexual misconduct investigation

    Fox News anchor Ed Henry has been fired following an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations. Fox News Media Chief Executive Suzanne Scott announced Henry's dismissal in an internal memo sent to employees Wednesday. The memo said the company received a complaint on June 25 from the attorney of a former employee that described "willful sexual misconduct in the workplace years ago."

  • Amazon fires at 13-year high for June
    BBC

    Amazon fires at 13-year high for June

    Fires in Brazil's Amazon rainforest rose by almost 20% in June - a 13-year high for the month, according to government data. Many forest fires in the country are started deliberately by illegal loggers and farmers wanting to quickly clear ground. Brazil has the world's second-highest coronavirus death toll, after the US, and there are also concerns that increased smoke could have a damaging effect on the breathing of virus patients.

  • Sen. Scott on COVID-19 surge in Florida: We can beat this without the government taking away our rights
    FOX News Videos

    Sen. Scott on COVID-19 surge in Florida: We can beat this without the government taking away our rights

    Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott says citizens can responsibly combat the virus by being given more information from the government instead of just being told what to do.

  • The Best Bike Lights to Illuminate Your Ride
    Popular Mechanics

    The Best Bike Lights to Illuminate Your Ride

    See what's coming and stay visible with these 11 bicycle lights. From Popular Mechanics

  • GOP candidates who embrace far-right QAnon conspiracy theory score primary wins
    Yahoo News

    GOP candidates who embrace far-right QAnon conspiracy theory score primary wins

    A candidate who has expressed enthusiasm for QAnon knocked off a Trump-endorsed Republican incumbent in Colorado's House primary Tuesday night, becoming the latest in a string of victorious GOP candidates who have embraced the conspiracy theory. Bar owner and gun rights activist Lauren Boebert, 33, defeated five-time incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton in Colorado's Third Congressional District, which encompasses the mostly rural western half of the state. Boebert ran to Tipton's right, saying he wasn't supportive enough of President Trump.

  • See the yellow card Alaska Airlines will give to passengers who refuse to wear masks on its flights
    Business Insider

    See the yellow card Alaska Airlines will give to passengers who refuse to wear masks on its flights

    Bruce Bennett/Getty Alaska Airlines is enforcing the mandatory face covering policy onboard its aircraft by issuing written warnings in the form of yellow cards, like the ones in a soccer match. "The safety of guests and employees is always our top priority, but we also need your cooperation to help keep each other safe," the card says. "This is why Alaska Airlines requires guests to wear a face mask or covering while on board, except when eating or drinking."

  • Associated Press

    Utah university to consider dropping 'Dixie' from its name

    After years of resisting calls to change, a university in Utah is considering dropping “Dixie” from its name in another example of the nation's reexamination of the Confederacy and slavery. Dixie State University, located about 300 miles (480 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City, has faced scrutiny in the past over its name, but resisted changing. Settlers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, many of them from the South, moved to the St. George area in the 1800s.

  • The New York City Council passed a budget to defund the NYPD by $1 billion — but nobody seems to like it
    INSIDER

    The New York City Council passed a budget to defund the NYPD by $1 billion — but nobody seems to like it

    The New York City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday agreed on a budget that strips the New York Police Department of $1 billion in funding. The move came in response to nationwide protests to defund police departments in the wake of George Floyd's death. The New York City Council passed a budget Tuesday that takes $1 billion away from the New York City Police Department.

  • Homeowner shoots woman trying to steal his Nazi flag, Oklahoma cops say
    Miami Herald

    Homeowner shoots woman trying to steal his Nazi flag, Oklahoma cops say

    An Oklahoma man is behind bars after shooting a woman who allegedly tried to steal one of two Nazi flags flying outside his Garfield County home over the weekend, authorities said. Garfield County sheriff's deputies arrested Alexander John Feaster, 44, on charges of shooting with intent to kill and assault and battery with a deadly weapon in the incident, according to KFOR. Sheriff Jody Helm said deputies responded to reports of a shooting around 3 a.m. Sunday and arrived to find an injured woman laying in a ditch, the news station reported.

  • Nerve agent fear as hundreds of elephants perish mysteriously in Botswana
    The Telegraph

    Nerve agent fear as hundreds of elephants perish mysteriously in Botswana

    The mysterious death of hundreds of elephants in Botswana has left experts alarmed that there could be a dangerous neurotoxin spreading through one of Africa's largest conservationist areas. Around 400 African elephants have died since April in the Okavango Delta, a wetland area in the northwest of the country often referred to as 'Africa's Last Eden.' Powerful poaching syndicates from Zambia and South Africa regularly cross into Botswana to shoot the animals with high-calibre rifles before hacking their tusks off with axes.

  • Terry Crews and the Toxic ‘Black Supremacy’ Myth
    The Daily Beast

    Terry Crews and the Toxic ‘Black Supremacy’ Myth

    Actor Terry Crews fears an imaginary future where reverse racism—to date, a fiction—reigns supreme. With these tweets, Crews seemed to be pointing to the increasing prevalence of pro-Black stances within Black communities, especially Black-activist circles and saying that they're too much—dangerous, even. Many popular Black pundits, actors, and commentators moved to call him in and out online, expressing outrage that a prominent Black figure like Crews is using his platform to espouse “all lives matter” talking points.

  • Black couple outraged after neighbor calls police on them
    WABC – NY

    Black couple outraged after neighbor calls police on them

    A Black couple from New Jersey is speaking out about a confrontation with their neighbor that led to police being called.

  • Former Pope Benedict's brother Georg dies at 96
    Reuters

    Former Pope Benedict's brother Georg dies at 96

    Georg Ratzinger, the brother of former Pope Benedict who nurtured a very close relationship over decades to his sibling, has died at the age of 96 in the German town of Regensburg on Wednesday, the local archdiocese said. In June, Benedict, aged 93, had spent five days in his native Germany to visit his ailing brother, who was also a priest. It was the first time that Benedict left Italy since 2013, when he became the first Pope to resign in six centuries.

  • Seattle police clear out protester-occupied zone
    BBC

    Seattle police clear out protester-occupied zone

    Police have cleared out an area near Seattle city centre that was taken over three weeks ago by protesters, some of them armed. Dozens of people were arrested as heavily equipped officers swept into the district on Wednesday morning following an order by the city mayor. It was city hall that ordered police on 8 June to abandon their precinct after violent clashes with demonstrators.