Home US North Korea allows Russian tourists to visit country again since the pandemic – and first to have been say it’s ‘surreal’

North Korea allows Russian tourists to visit country again since the pandemic – and first to have been say it’s ‘surreal’

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Russian tourists who were allowed to visit North Korea have described their trip as

The first Russian tourists allowed to visit North Korea since the start of the pandemic described their trip as “surreal.”

Ilya Voskresensky and Elena Bychokva were among a group of 100 Russians who signed up for a recent tour of the country.

The group flew from Vladivostok to Pyongyang on North Korea’s only airline, Air Koryo, and enjoyed activities such as snowboarding, sightseeing and music recitals.

It comes amid the burgeoning “special relationship” between North Korea and Russia recently praised by Vladimir Putin.

“It’s like going back in time,” said travel blogger Voskresensky from St. Petersburg. cnn.

Russian tourists allowed to visit North Korea have described their trip as “surreal”

The group flew from Vladivostok to Pyongyang on North Korea's only airline, Air Koryo, and enjoyed typical activities such as snowboarding and sightseeing.

The group flew from Vladivostok to Pyongyang on North Korea's only airline, Air Koryo, and enjoyed typical activities such as snowboarding and sightseeing.

The group flew from Vladivostok to Pyongyang on North Korea’s only airline, Air Koryo, and enjoyed typical activities such as snowboarding and sightseeing.

The 100 tourists were taken around the capital city, which was eerily empty and strangely quiet according to visitors.

The 100 tourists were taken around the capital city, which was eerily empty and strangely quiet according to visitors.

The 100 tourists were taken around the capital city, which was eerily empty and strangely quiet according to visitors.

“It reminds me of the stories my grandparents taught me about life in the Soviet Union: the empty streets, the lack of advertising – it’s surreal.”

Voskresensky shared a video of him snowboarding down eerily empty slopes, as well as riding ghostly paths throughout the capital city.

“The meticulous preparations for our visit were like being in a theater production,” said Bychoka, a marketing professional.

“But in the midst of the choreographed scenes I couldn’t shake the feeling that there is another side to North Korea, one that remains hidden.”

He showed a video of a carefully controlled children’s music recital, showing smiling young people performing in perfect harmony.

North Korea’s invitation to Russian tourists is further evidence of strengthening ties between the two countries.

Russia has been using North Korean missiles during its invasion of Ukraine.

On Monday it was reported that Putin had gifted the North Korean leader a Russian-made car for his personal use.

A report confirming the gift does not say what type of vehicle Putin gave the North Korean dictator or how it was shipped.

Elena Bychkovka was one of the first Russian tourists allowed into North Korea.

Elena Bychkovka was one of the first Russian tourists allowed into North Korea.

Ilya Voskresensky jumped at the chance to visit this notoriously impenetrable country.

Ilya Voskresensky jumped at the chance to visit this notoriously impenetrable country.

Elena Bychkovka (left) and Ilya Voskresensky (right) were among the first Russian tourists allowed into North Korea.

Bychkovka described the “meticulously” planned trip as if it were in the theater, and suggested there is more to the country than the controlled image they were shown.

It comes amid the burgeoning “special relationship” between North Korea and Russia recently praised by Vladimir Putin.

Voskresensky said the visit was like “going back in time” to the Soviet-era stories his grandparents told him.

But observers said it could violate a U.N. resolution banning the supply of luxury goods to North Korea in a bid to pressure the country to give up its nuclear weapons.

North Korea and Russia have significantly increased their cooperation since Kim traveled to Russia last September for a summit with Putin.

During Kim’s visit to Russia’s main spaceport, Putin showed the North Korean leader his personal Anrus Senat limousine and Kim sat in the back seat.

By comparison, relations between North Korea and the United States have deteriorated since the failed Hanoi Summit between then-President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in 2019.

Visitors from the United States have been banned in North Korea since 2017.

But an American tourist on a tightly controlled visit to the country recently got a glimpse of the country’s attitude toward the United States.

“What would you say is the common perception of, say, the United States in North Korea, in the DPRK?” Jesse Romberg implored his anonymous guide (DPRK, short for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is what the nation is called).

‘So far, we have no history of invasion. Korea, the DPRK, has no history of invasion,” the anonymous man began.

While on a tour of North Korea, content creator Jesse Romberg decided to ask his state-appointed tour guide about the country's relationship with the United States.

While on a tour of North Korea, content creator Jesse Romberg decided to ask his state-appointed tour guide about the country's relationship with the United States.

While on a tour of North Korea, content creator Jesse Romberg decided to ask his state-appointed tour guide about the country’s relationship with the United States.

In Jesse's Instagram highlight video about his trip to North Korea, he explained that he accessed the country through a Chinese tour agency.

In Jesse's Instagram highlight video about his trip to North Korea, he explained that he accessed the country through a Chinese tour agency.

In Jesse’s Instagram highlight video about his trip to North Korea, he explained that he accessed the country through a Chinese tour agency.

Their guide seemed to reflect the point of view of the citizens within the totalitarian regime, as many viewers pointed out that the guide's narrative did not quite reflect the entire story.

Their guide seemed to reflect the point of view of the citizens within the totalitarian regime, as many viewers pointed out that the guide's narrative did not quite reflect the entire story.

Their guide seemed to reflect the point of view of the citizens within the totalitarian regime, as many viewers pointed out that the guide’s narrative did not quite reflect the entire story.

‘[America] They have invaded so many countries. But there is no history of invasion. [from DPRK],’ he continued.

‘We didn’t do anything harmful to the United States, but the United States invaded our country.

‘They are still in the southern part of our country. And they are still pushing hostile policies against our country and sanctions against our country,” he continued.

‘So what do we mean? [to the US] “It’s abandoning our country, lifting all sanctions; then we can recover relations… Relations between the United States and our country will improve.”

When discussing the invasion of Korea, the guide refers to the Korean War that began when North Korea, led by Kim Il-sung and backed by the Soviet Union, invaded South Korea in 1950 and the subsequent involvement of the United States. .

Far from the façade built for tourists, life in the country under Kim’s brutal regime remains bleak for many of its 26 million citizens.

Residents cannot leave the country without government permission, under penalty of death.

Speaking against the government can also be punishable by death, making the prospect of questioning one of its citizens about international relations on camera quite complicated.

North Korea and Russia have significantly increased their cooperation since Kim traveled to Russia last September for a summit with Putin.

North Korea and Russia have significantly increased their cooperation since Kim traveled to Russia last September for a summit with Putin.

North Korea and Russia have significantly increased their cooperation since Kim traveled to Russia last September for a summit with Putin.

American tourists have been banned from entering North Korea since 2017, and relations only worsened after the failed Hanoi summit in 2019.

American tourists have been banned from entering North Korea since 2017, and relations only worsened after the failed Hanoi summit in 2019.

American tourists have been banned from entering North Korea since 2017, and relations only worsened after the failed Hanoi summit in 2019.

For many North Koreans, life is a far cry from the pristine, tourist-friendly image that was presented to the group with a U.N. report in 2019 suggesting that up to 40 percent of the country is hungry.

For many North Koreans, life is a far cry from the pristine, tourist-friendly image that was presented to the group with a U.N. report in 2019 suggesting that up to 40 percent of the country is hungry.

For many North Koreans, life is a far cry from the pristine, tourist-friendly image that was presented to the group with a U.N. report in 2019 suggesting that up to 40 percent of the country is hungry.

Horrifying details of the conditions in their gulags recently emerged in a documentary showing defectors desperately trying to flee North Korea.

In the gripping documentary Beyond Utopia: Escape from North Korea, heartbreaking footage reveals the lengths desperate people will go to leave Kim Jong-un’s regime plagued by famine, a developing economic crisis, and crippling international sanctions.

One defector said he did not make it out and was detained in North Korea during his escape attempt, where he was tortured for nine months and starved to the point that he only weighed 35 kg (77 pounds).

Meanwhile, a 2019 report by the UN Human Rights Office said up to 40 percent of the country is hungry after the collapse of socialist systems meant to provide them with food.

“People in (North Korea) are trapped in a vicious cycle, in which the state’s inability to meet basic needs forces them to resort to rudimentary markets where they face a series of human rights violations in an uncertain legal environment” The UN office said in a separate press release.

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