From Ufa II

July 23, 2008
Just a quick update now while I'm on online. Things are going well. I've been working in the archive the past few days--they're treating me nicely. As was the case when I worked here in 2005, they allow unlimited (and free) use of digital cameras, which makes the work go faster. I've been looking at some of the opisi of the Orenburg Spiritual Assembly that I didn't get a chance to look at last time, as well as some other materials relating to the provincial governor's office and other branches of regional administration.
The apartment is working out nicely. It's pretty clean now, and has begun to feel like home. More generally, Ufa is growing on me quickly. I didn't get a chance to see much of it the last time I was here, but this time I'm doing a lot of walking and am spending more time talking to people. It's a really green city, and pretty quiet. It's not the most exciting place in the world, but it's got a rhythm that appeals to me. I also like the fact that the sun sets really late--at around 11 pm.

Compared to Kazan, where it's hard to forget you're in the capital of Tatarstan, Ufa feels like a pretty ordinary Russian provincial city. I watch the Bashkir news on television, and there's a Tatar music station on the radio, but it's rare that I hear anything other than Russian on the street. Written Bashkir is very visible, however, and bilingual signs are everywhere.
I've settled into a nice routine. In the mornings I work at home, reading the material that I've photographed at the archive and working on an article that has been part of my life for all too long. In the afternoons I'm in the archive. Since the archive has a five document per day limit, and since they let me photocopy whatever I want, I'm just spending a few hours a day there. On Friday I'm going to check out the library at the Academy of Sciences and see what's going on there.

Anyway, it's time to head home and relax--it's been a long day.
To see more photos from the Caucacus journey, go to the photos page of  
More links, analysis and photographs can be found at the Borderlands Lounge

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