Perennially misunderstood, consistently mysterious and often unjustly criticised, Russia has long been considered impenetrable, even by its own inhabitants. Russia’s best kept secret is perhaps its variety, between the cosmopolitan streets of Moscow and the endless forests of Siberia; between St Petersburg’s architectural mastery and the rugged, romanticised landscape of the Caucasus. The culture, much like the rest of the country is torn between East and West. Hospitality and loyalty are key Russian values, and interactions with locals tend to involve copious amounts of laughter, generosity and vodka. As the Western elite turns its back on Russia, there has never been a better time to explore this fascinating country and meet its remarkable people.