It seems as though blogs all over the world are using the last few days of 2007 to do a recap of the year. And who am I to go against the trend?
It’s certainly been a fun year – the sheer amount of interest in Russia inspired me back in December 2006 to resurrect this blog from its year long slumber.
Since December 2006, I’ve published hundreds of new posts, received probably a thousand or more comments on Siberian Light, more than 125,000 people visitors to Siberian Light and, best of all, rekindled many friendships and made many more new ones.
So, here are a few of my favourite posts from the past year, starting way back in January 2007…
The first full month since relaunching was spent getting Siberian Light back on its feet. Lots of small posts were the order of the month, interspersed with the odd longer piece, including this photo-report of the London Russian Winter Festival.
January was overshadowed, however, by sad news of Aussiegirl’s untimely death.
Things really kicked off in February with the launch of the Siberian Light interview series. First up was my interview of La Russophobe – an interview that proved so controversial that I had to write a follow up post three days later to explain myself!
More people visited Siberian Light in February 2007 than ever before (or since) thanks to this simple map showing Russia surrounded by US military bases. The post hit the front page of Digg, a social networking site, causing a massive influx of visitors – more than 20,000 in just one day alone. At one stage SL was receiving more than 3,500 visitors every hour…
A month of consolidation. The interviews series continued, and we heard the views of Mike Averko, Copydude, Sean Guillory and Nathan Hamm.
Perhaps the biggest feature of this period was the level of discussion in the comments sections of individual posts – this discussion about rival protests in Kiev is just one example of many.
In fact, discussion in the comments became so heated, I had to write a comments policy…
And when we got bored of fighting, we tried to discover what was under the blurry bits on Goggle maps of Siberia.
Siberian Light was nominated in the Best CIS weblog category of the 3rd annual European Weblog awards. Fifth place was about right for a blog that had just returned from a year long break – Central Asian blog New Eurasia was the contest’s deserved winner.
Meanwhile, in honour of Russia’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, I published an article collecting every Russian Eurovision video ever released.
The wit and wisdom of Vladimir Putin captured my attention in June, as I compiled a list of Vladimir Putin quotes to live your life by.
Also in June, Siberian Light mourned the death of Mosnews and peered into the crystal ball to ponder just how Russia might self-destruct.
Henry Kissinger visited the Kremlin for secret talks with Putin – and almost nobody in the West noticed. Siberian Light did.
We also noticed the high heeled sprint in St Petersburg.
And that Baltika beer was for sale in England.
The 1,000th post was published on Siberian Light, completely overshadowing the publication of pictures of Vladimir Putin fishing.
I moved house and my internet connection broke. Nuff said.
As well as warning you of new Russian visa regulations, Siberian Light considered whether pictures of kissing policemen would bring shame on Russia.
Oh, and Russia beat England at football. No cheating required.
Siberian Light was one of the first English language news outlets (blogs or mainstream media) to cover the Gravikol 21 story – Russian bloggers, incensed by a pharmaceutical scam targetting pensioners, hit back in style, bringing the offending company to its knees with 21 million (!) telephone calls.
Mike Averko popped in to review The New Cold War – Mark MacKinnon’s new book.
And we introduced you to Russia’s answer to Borat – Peter Natlitch’s Guitar video.
Election and succession fever hit in December. United Russia comfortably won the elections, and all became clear about who would be Russia’s next President (Medvedev) and who would be Russia’s next Prime Minister (Putin, of course).
Oh, and incidentally, in the space of a few days, Putin became Time Magazine Person of the Year AND the world’s fourth richest person.
What now for 2008?
Watch this space…
Some related and civil followup pertaining to that mentioned March discussion:
As per the above link, Taras Kuzio significantly downplays:
– pro-Russian sentiment in Ukraine
– anti-Russian extremist acts by a small but noticeable enough number of Ukrainians, who are opposed by many other Ukrainian residents (ethnic Russians, as well as ethnic Ukrainians and others, including those of mixed background).