Glimpses: Oleg Kiriyanov Website on North Korea



While in Beijing, I had the pleasure of having coffee with Andrei Lankov and Oleg Kiriyanov, a researcher on China-North Korea relations from Moscow University who has spent substantial time in-country. Oleg has taken a lot of hand-held footage of the country, and much of it goes where the standard news crews fail to tread. Videos can be found here; photos here. Although the front page of the site is in Russian there are English translations on most but not all of the videos.

 Among those that are particularly interesting is the unplanned visit to a food processing facility in Wonsan. As Oleg explained it, these firms are usually situated in provincial capitals and are putting out a very wide range of product designed mostly for a regional market; the opportunities for growth of this sector are quite obviously huge. A shot of a Russian class at the Pyongyang Foreign Language Institute shows all of the students sitting at desks with computers in front of them. And the Mansudae Art Studio seems to be pushing out its share of kitsch. Perhaps the most revealing video is of the Mirae Scientists’ Street, where the regime rewards not only scientists but other loyalists with modern, high-rise apartments; as clear a sign as you can get of the growing inequality in the country.   

 Finally, this video (below) without an English title shows the Rason port operation in 2014, including the coal transshipment business and some local housing in the zone.  

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