Asia’s icy Harbin rediscovers its Russian roots

Asia’s icy Harbin rediscovers its Russian roots

HARBIN (Reuters) – Russian swimmer Lyudmila Smolyakova strips right down to a swimsuit and flip-flops and prances right in front of Chinese tourists bundled up against below-freezing climate before diving right into a pool cut into a river that is iced-covered.

The tourists, who possess compensated 30 yuan ($3.87) for seats to see Smolyakova’s ice swimming troupe perform, scatter as she emerges and threatens to splash them.

It could be cool in Harbin, that is nearer to Siberia rather than Beijing, but warming ties between Russia and Asia suggest the town is rediscovering its Russian roots.

That’s a blessing for Zena Zhao. She works as A chinese translator for the Russians within the troupe whom see Harbin every January to execute with Chinese swimmers during the Sino-Russian Friendship Winter Swimming Sports Amusement Park.

Russian ended up being the language of Zhao’s mom, whom relocated to Harbin because the young bride of Zhao’s Chinese dad in 1926. Zhao remained behind whenever her mom and siblings left for the then-Soviet Union in 1962 through the split that is sino-Soviet.

“When the swimmers first arrived in 1986, they aided me find my mom. They helped me find her grave and the old age home where she had stayed, ” Zhao said although she had already passed away. […]

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