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Like all Siberians, the people of Chita half foundered on their expectations. Some opened their chains and irons and lived the bitter lives of exiles. They felled the taiga to build their ships and mined the hills for gold, uranium, and precious stones. Finally, oligarchs arrived to drill for oil. === “It’s Chita. Anything can happen. ‘Not yet ready for tourists, the guidebooks say,“ … === It was no use trying to rekindle a fire that was damp. He was tired. === “You’re being cynical.” “I hope so. I hope I’ve learned something from my years in Moscow.” “This is Siberia.” “Siberia, the home of the gulag,“ … === “Bears are omnivores, so they taste like their last meal,” Bolot said, “Berries are good. But if they’ve been eating salmon, they smell like low tide on a hot day, …”