Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

Categories: Travel

In September 1703, at the height of the Northern War, in which Russia and Sweden were adversaries, Peter the Great ordered his adviser, Prince Alexander Menshikov, to build a factory for the production of cannons and anchors for the young Baltic Fleet. The state-owned plant on the shores of Lake Onega was originally called Shuisky, then Petrovsky. Around it, a settlement of builders and workers was formed, called the Petrozavodsk Sloboda.

After the death of Peter the town fell into decay, and its factories were empty for half a century. In the 1770s, Catherine the Great needed cannons to fight Turkey. She set up a new weapons factory and ordered the founding of the city of Petrozavodsk.

It is quite natural that, knowing this story, we wanted to meet with Vadim Markelov. In the best traditions of his city, he is engaged in foundry business - but he does not produce guns, but dumbbells.

(Total 19 photos)

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

We were very intrigued by his project - to install power simulators on the embankment in Petrozavodsk. Not exactly the kind you're used to seeing in gyms. These colossus do not care about any bad weather, they are thought out to the last screw - so that neither vandals nor thieves can cope with them.

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

Vadim Markelov, 52, has been making hardware since 1986. His business covers all stages of production. “We buy water, gas, scrap metal and rubber, that's all,” says Markelov. “We make our entire range of products from this.”

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

“Technology park,” he continues, showing us the spare parts warehouse behind the production line, which is adjacent to the galvanizing and repair shops, and then another room where welding and painting are carried out. “If we need some tricky bolt, it’s easier for us to make it ourselves than to find a supplier.” This policy also brings unobvious dividends: “Because we do everything ourselves, we constantly have new ideas and concepts of original products.”

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

According to Markelov's calculations, every month they produce about 300 tons of dumbbells and 2,000 weight machines. Among the buyers are construction companies, the army, prisons, as well as a variety of customers from abroad. But the main market is still domestic.

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

“Sanctions have had a good effect on businesses like ours,” Markelov explains. “They have closed the market for foreign goods, and now we have no competitors. If the crisis continues for another five years, it will be good for us.”

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

After a tour of Markelov's extensive production, we retired to his office. While the tea was being brewed, the owner went to the warehouse adjacent to the office and returned with a three-liter jar full of golden jam. And not just jam, but homemade cloudberries, brewed by Markelov himself.

“Women don’t know how to make jam,” he declared, proudly placing a healthy container on the negotiating table and filling a liter vase with an amber mass. “They digest it and put too much sugar in it. The secret is to bring the fruit to a boil and remove it from the heat."

Expedition The Spine of Russia - "The Ridge of Russia": metal and cloudberries

We tried tea with jam. It retained all the piquancy and freshness of cloudberries, it was not too sweet, which is usually the sin of homemade jam. Small cloudberry pits crunched on our teeth, and we savored each spoonful, washing down the divine nectar with weak black tea.

Suddenly Michael and I looked at each other, thinking the same thing. We didn’t have lunch today, and the liter of jam that Markelov put in a vase for us, it seems, will not be enough for us.

Keywords: Karelia | Metallurgy | Simulator | Gym | Expedition

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