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You might have never heard about the Republic of Tuva, but the history of this remote region is really peculiar. The words “Tuva Republic” don’t ring a bell even for many Russians, especially those living in the European part of the country. This region, which is one of Russia’s 85 federal subjects, is very remote: 4,600 km east of Moscow, in Southern Siberia, bordering Mongolia. Even planes from Moscow don’t fly directly there, and the region even doesn’t have railroads. To get to Tuva’s capital of Kyzyl, you have to fly to the Siberian city of Abakan and take a 7.5-hour bus trip. What for, one might wonder… Tuva, however, is far more interesting than it seems. First, this is the land of shamans, where the once nomadic Tuvans now living in small villages still preserve the mystical art of communication with other worlds (or so they say). Second, Tuva’s rugged nature is so spectacular that Vladimir Putin himself enjoys it: in August 2018, he was hiking in the wild for a weekend….