21 October 2022 Calamity Islands

Dear reader,

Samizdat is back. Unfortunately. The recently published Calamity Islands. Sakhalin and the Kurils. Terra incognita of a brutal Russian Empire is a sad example of this new trend. The latest photo book by the internationally renowned Russian photographer Oleg Klimov is not available in Russia, due to a de facto import ban for the Russian Federation.

Fortunately, Calamity Islands is available outside of Russia. That is why we can offer you this unconventional book.

Calamity Islands. Sakhalin and the Kurils. Terra incognita or a brutal Russian Empire is a form of visual anthropology. Oleg Klimov, who has lived and worked for two years on this small archipelago in the Pacific, recounts the often ill-fated history of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands.

The islands were discovered in the 17th century by a captain of the Dutch trade organization United East India Company (VOC). Since then, they have been alternately claimed by Japan or Russia. Both powers fought each other and, in the meantime, oppressed the original inhabitants.

Russian tsars in the 19th century saw in Sakhalin an ideal remote place for penal colonies. The Russian writer Anton Chekhov wrote about it more than a century ago. Successive tsars dreamed that Sakhalin would become a Russian Australia. That didn’t happen. The archipelago is still a kind of no man’s (is)land. Even Royal Dutch/Shell has had little pleasure in its investments in Sakhalin.

In his book Oleg Klimov sketches the past and present with more than a hundred new photos and personal reflections. For Calamity Islands he has discovered unique, unpublished photography from the time of Chekhov. Historical essays by the British Chekhov expert Donald Redfield and the Dutch historians René Attema and Hubert Smeets complement the book.

Title. Calamity Islands. Sakhalin and the Kurils. Terra incognita of a brutal Russian Empire
Publisher. Samizdat Liberty Su. ISBN 978 5 6047801 0 7.
Hard cover. 160 pages – 22 x 22.6 x 1.8 cm.
Photography. Oleg Klimov.
English texts. Oleg Klimov, René Attema, Donald Rayfield and Hubert Smeets.

Publisher Samizdat Liberty Su

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