HEAL London

A more intelligent approach to HIV/AIDS

Reports from first Russian dissident AIDS conference




"Problems of HIV/AIDS and the family well-being of the nation"

EKATERINBURG - May 29th - 30th , 2008


Notes from Joan Shenton

When I sat on the ‘plane and heard that our Captain was called Igor and our flight attendant Svetlana I knew that it was true that I was going to Russia.

I have travelled pretty far and wide but never to Russia. All the more exciting because to be invited to speak about what has become my life's work at one of the farthermost cities of Europe was perhaps the best way I could possibly think of visiting this new territory.

Ekaterinburg in the Urals with its 1.5 million inhabitants is a powerful industrial research centre, home of vast iron deposits, home of a massive arsenal of military technology and armaments during the Second World War, home of precious metals, semi-precious stones and unwelcome home for a while for Czar Nicholas II, his wife and five children before they were brutally murdered in July 1918 in the Ipatiev House ((I happened to have read two books about this 30 years ago and now I was on my way there).

Our hosts were the All Russia Parents' Assembly. The reason for the conference was a profound disquiet amongst its members about the way in which the, in their view, mistaken infectious hypothesis for AIDS is being enforced in Russia through the judiciary, the medical profession and in schools. One of the movement's main objections is to the hypersexualisation of children and young people who are being subjected to explicit sex education programmes at the age of seven under the excuse that they must at all costs learn about safe sex or AIDS will ‘get them'.

Dr Irina Sazonova a doctor and homeopath in Moscow had followed the progress of the dissident AIDS scientists and journalists across the world for 24 years and became convinced that the science behind the infectious virus-AIDS hypothesis was wrong. It was she who decided that an international conference was necessary, inviting dissident voices from all over the world to meet their Russian counterparts and to devise a strategy for toppling the prevailing orthodoxy.

Irina asked Anthony Brink, the South African lawyer and AIDS activist, to draw up a list of delegates. Key participants were to be the Perth Group of scientists in Western Australia, Dr Val Turner and Biophysicist Eleni Eleopulos. It was not possible for them to attend, however Anthony Brink made a powerful presentation on their behalf called "The missing virus".

But back to Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport where I had landed at six in the morning. It was a frightening place. No one spoke on word of English and the information desk was closed. I had to run the gauntlet of a band of over-eager unofficial taxi drivers until I found the ‘official' taxi counter where a little English was spoken and I was told that Domododevo airport was 100 kilometres away. There was no shuttle bus and the taxi ride would cost me 3,500 roubles, about £70.

So off again across the concourse to get more money and twice more to wave away the swarm of  unofficial drivers.

Once in Domododevo airport things improved except that it was too early to check in and both the loo and left luggage were down a steep flight of steps so I could visit neither.

I slept for a while with my feet on my suitcase and then everything changed.

I met up with the smiling Alexander and Alena, our charming welcoming committee who had flown in from Ekaterinburg.

Soon we were all gathered, Anthony Brink the barrister from South Africa, John Crossley the cameraman and film maker from South Africa, Juliane Sacher the doctor from Germany, Roberto Giraldo the doctor from New York and his wife Tanya, Irina Sazonova the doctor from Moscow, Andrej Dmitrevskij the poet, journalist and magazine editor from Moscow, Christine Maggiore the AIDS activist, her mother Evelyn and her son Charlie, who had flown in from Los Angeles and Natalia Zakharova the actor from Moscow. We were missing Lluis Botinas, the writer and AIDS activist from Spain, but he was able to join us the following day.

We flew for two hours, enjoying a remarkably good Aeroflot meal,  to the Eastern side of the Urals, to the edge of Asia and were shepherded exhausted, to a five star hotel where we met out host, German Advushin the head of the All Russia Parents' Assembly (sometimes affectionately nicknamed "The father of Russia".)

We had been communicating with German for months. Each email came back with an automatic acknowledgement in Russian and then later with a perfectly honed English reply through the translator.

A hot bath and a few hours' sleep before the big day.

Day one - 29th May

The conference venue was in one of the city's fifteen institutes of higher education, a technical college housing the museum of precious and semi-precious stones.

I shall cover here only highlights of the conference, which was conducted via two wonderful and untiring interpreters Alena and Denis, taking it in turns to do consecutive interpreting. I am asking for all English contributions to be sent to me. Which will then be posted all together on the Immunity Resource Foundation website. http://www.immunity.org.uk

I would also like, if possible, a translation into English of the Russian contributions.

All of the English contributions to the conference were translated into Russian and, together with the Russian contributions, were published in a book prior to the conference.

German Avdushin, President of the All Russia Parents' Assembly opened the conference. He had been responsible for the tremendous task of convening and co-ordinating the conference and also orchestrating our arrival from different parts of the globe. He reminded us all that Vladimir Putin had declared 2008 the "Year of the Family".

Some panel members at the Russian conference

Dr Nadejda Hramova - Psychologist


A psychologist form Ekaterinburg, Nadejda explained why she had supported the convening of this conference. She said the family should be a "productive unit providing a  demographic increase" but that AIDS prevention policies had introduced a visibly destructive influence into all aspects of family life. She mentioned the very early introduction of sex education to seven year old school children and how difficult it was to protest about this because anyone expressing an objection was considered to be against AIDS prevention and therefore a criminal.


Hramova described a theatrical troupe from France who was touring schools to teach AIDS prevention and safe sex. They performed a sex act in the school courtyard when they were asked why they did this they said that if children did not learn about safe sex they would inevitably be affected by AIDS. It was important to learn to die properly.


Horrified Hramova said "We teach our children to live properly not to die properly".

Dr Irina Sazonova - Physician and homeopath

Irina Sazonova followed. She wanted to dedicate the conference to "living without fear" pointing out that a fear of death was poisoning the collective consciousness.

How can it be, she asked, that there has been no critical assessment of the progress (or not) of the AIDS establishment's prevention policies? Was anyone keeping track of the massive funding going into AIDS prevention? Has anyone kept track of the prediction that we would all be dead by 2010?

Sazonova referred to the history of AIDS dissidence, mentioning Duesberg, Bialy, Lauritsen, Huw Christie and "Continuum Magazine", Mark Craddock the Australian mathematician who had made mincemeat of AIDS predictions, Kramer, Brink and the Perth Group. How could it be she asked that people are not aware of this vast body of scientific work? Or is it that they don't want to be aware?

In Russia, she said there was another kind of Acquired Immune Deficiency, it was a "legal and intellectual deficiency". There was absolutely no critical assessment of the current AIDS theories and practices and no critical analysis of the toxicity of ARVs.

Sazonova pointed out that in Russia Federal Law requiress  compulsory HIV testing only for blood and organ donors and certain named conditions described by the Ministry of Health. In 1995 an act was passed strictly prohibiting compulsory HIV testing in other groups. But what is happening? People are being tested everywhere. Pregnant women are tested three times during their pregnancy (none of this is compulsory). No one is made responsible for these violations of the law. It is easier to comply than to complain.

The outcome, said Sazonova, is the systematic destruction of the family. Mother's are being coerced into abortion. If they refuse they are given toxic anti-viral drugs which destroy their immune system. This, said Irina, amounts to the genocide of a nation.


Dr Roberto Giraldo

It is not possible for me to do justice here to Dr Roberto Giraldo's presentation with its scientific references and slides so you will want to refer to the full text (after I receive it) on the Immunity Resource Foundation website http://www.immunity.org.uk.

Giraldo gave his presentation with his usual infectious verve.

Highlights in my notes include the opening of his speech where he reminded us of the official figures for AIDS - 25 years of the pandemic, 40 million HIV positives, 25million deaths. We are facing medical genocide, he said.

He then went on to point out several anomalies like  - why are 60% of AIDS cases said to be occurring in Africa and only 2% in Brazil? Why is Russia said to have the highest HIV/AIDS figures in Europe? The WHO and UNAIDS are disseminating scare stories about Russia saying there is a lot of AIDS there but it should be remembered that most people who test HIV positive do not develop AIDS. He also reminded us of the 5,000 official cases of AIDS with no HIV in the medical literature.

Giraldo has spent many years researching the role of physical and chemical stressors in immunodeficiency. Exposure to immunological stressors or oxidizing agents is the cause of mild to moderate levels of immune suppression present in many non-symptomatic individuals who react positively on the "tests for HIV." If exposure to immunological stressors is not stopped, or if the individual is not detoxified, the health status of these individuals will frequently worsen, their immune systems eventually collapsing with the subsequent development of the clinical manifestations of AIDS.

He mentioned the dilution of the ELISA antibody tests. In his laboratory work he had the opportunity of demonstrating that all human blood samples react positively on the ELISA test when the tests are run with non-diluted serum. This indicates that all individuals have antibodies against what is supposed to be HIV. The individuals that react positively with straight serum would have a smaller quantity of antibodies than those reacting positively when the serum is diluted 400 times.  This observation has been confirmed by Yugoslavian and Italian researchers (Metlas et al 1999).


There were many intriguing anecdotes, for example that in Chile, women who work in the wine industry and are grape pickers or workers in the vineyard, become sere-positive whilst their husband remain negative. This could be due to the toxic effect of the agrochemicals used in the vineyards, said Giraldo.

Father Dmitri Smirnov

Now it was the turn of Father Dmitri. He is a senior figure in Russian Orthodox Church and Chairman of the Synod Committee on interaction with the armed forces and law-enforcement.

Father Dmitri drew a parallel between the threat of HIV/AIDS and the often mythical threat of international terrorism. In both he sees an excuse for the abuse of human rights.

He described most vividly how a mythical threat can be manufactured and spread around the world, a bit like a train where you keep on adding carriages until it eventually reaches people's consciousness.

All you need is an initial idea. Then you invent an NGO to fight this threat. Then you  manipulate the media in order to control the shape of the myth. By this time, anyone disagreeing with the mythical threat will be considered mad.

In Russia it is very easy to do the above because bribery and corruption have become part of everyday life. Any idea or mythical threat can be introduced and bribery can buy off court official health officials and education officials.

Father Dmitri described the way AIDS money is spent in Russia as the "criminal management of state funding".

It was his view that the AIDS threat was being used as an excuse to reduce the population of the world and to destroy the family unit. 40% of children in Russia were born outside the family.

Although Communism and Fascism were both supposed to be dead, they are both surviving as ideas introduced into the mass consciousness. These ideas can live for ever.

Now what needs to be worked on is the introduction of the ANTI-INITIAL IDEA.

Press Conference

There were five film crews with their reporters and several journalists present.

The questions were not hostile so we gave some good sound bites between us.

That evening a three minute report was broadcast on the regional television station. We were described as "enthusiast airing our views" and the orthodoxy were given the last word, but as Nadezda Hramova said "We were noticed".

Anthony Brink

He opened by explaining that he had been asked by the Perth Group - Eleni Eleopulos and Dr Val Turner - to give their scientific presentation with slides. He would do this a little later on.

Brink gave a lively account of the story of the witches of Salem - witches are everywhere. And compared it with the AIDS myth - HIV is everywhere.

Even the wisest judges in the land believed in the reality of what was called the "science of witchcraft". They were taken in.

President Thabo Mbeki was also taken in (but only briefly). On October 9th 1998 he gave an emergency address to the people of South Africa saying HIV is everywhere, in homes, schools, sports grounds, everywhere. People would die and the country would collapse. A year later after reading Brink's manuscript on the toxicity of AZT and after acquainting himself with the work of Duesberg and the Perth Group, Mbeki was angry with himself because he too had been taken in.

THE MISSING VIRUS - Presentation by Anthony Brink of contribution with slides from Eleni Eleopulos of the Perth Group. (Full text to be made available)

Essentially this presentation explains how HIV has never been purified and HIV has never, therefore, been isolated.

What is called HIV is not a retrovirus but cellular proteins which can become raised when our bodies are stressed. These proteins are not specific to what is called HIV. They are endogenous and can cause an antibody positive test result when testing for HIV.


Brink continued with his own presentation after lunch.

He described how in October 1999 President Mbeki warned Parliament about the toxicity of AZT and ARVs in pregnancy. However TAC (Treatment Action Campaign) eventually coerced the government into permitting AZT to be given to pregnant women (see "Poisoning our Children - AZT in pregnancy" by Anthony Brink.


Brink mentioned receiving a letter form Professor Bels (?) who had been involved in the development of AZT saying that he (Brink) was justified in what he had written about AZT. He hoped Brink would succeed in persuading his government (South Africa) not to make AZT available.

Beware of AIDS NGOs said Brink. They are proliferating in Russia. In South Africa they are more powerful than government.

In November last year a biography was published of Mbeki in which Mbeki was described as an AIDS dissident.

Mbeki wrote the author specifically to confirm that he was right in describing him as an AIDS dissident and disavowing the author's ascribing his dissidence to psychological factors rather than actual matters of fact.

Tamara's story

In the afternoon a young married couple joined us in the conference hall. Tamara told us her story.

She discovered she was HIV positive during her second pregnancy and an abortion was recommended. She refused. In hospital she was isolated an examined only with her clothes on.

Tamara insisted on breastfeeding her child. She was told by both lawyers and doctors that if she did not desist from breastfeeding she would be she would be depriving herself of her child. She took no ARVs. The Social Services threatened to take the child from her. Dr Irina Sazonova intervened by writing a letter to the highest authorities as if from Tamara, and the authorities stopped bothering her.

Christine Maggiore spoke here to say that in her experience through her Alive and Well Group, it was quite common for mothers to test HIV antibody positive in their second pregnancy. The babies are nearly always born negative. She usually advised mothers to have their babies tested as soon as possible in order to "get out of the system".

Tamara said she was very grateful for the support she had been shown today and in the past by the All Russia Parents' Assembly.

Conference Resolution

The draft version of the resolution in English runs to 4 and half pages long. It was later honed down to two pages of Russian text. Anthony Brink volunteered to edit the final English version.

The resolution sets the scene and ends with the following actions:


  1. To publish the result of the conference "The Problem of HIV/AIDS and the family  well-being of the nation" in a collection of reports of the conference and on the site of the All Russia public movement "The All Russia Parents' Assembly" http://www.oodvrs.ru
  2. To create video material with presentations of alternative views on the problem of HIV/AIDS
  3. To create an  international network of honest journalists to improve the delivery of information to the public
  4. To exchange information on a vast scale with scientists-dissidents and to spread this information in order to eliminate censorship against the alternative views in AIDS.
  5. To stress that the participants of the conference came to the conclusion that contradictions concerning the causes and treatment of AIDS have many aspects and meanings: technical, scientific, medical, ethical, moral, legal, social, political and economic.


In essence, the myth of HIV/AIDS is an informational pilot experiment carried out on the world's population in order to wreak havoc, and to identify the percentage of those who are resistant to annihilation. A demographic war of a new type is being waged against Russia, an informational war. Its core is so-called "HIV/AIDS" prevention which is being used as a political, pharmaceutical, and international commercial weapon.


Resolution discussion

A confluence of negative factors and misinformation surrounding HIV/AIDS had created an "inner devil".

The discussion focused on the need to approach government education and health departments at the highest level urging them to change their health education policies. A petition to the state authorities was needed.

Christine Maggiore reminded us that April 23rd has become Rethinking AIDS Day. Joan Shenton suggested we call it "International Rethinking AIDS Day".


Day two - Friday 30th May

Joan Shenton

Shenton spoke on censorship, highlighting examples of the way in which dissident scientists and journalists have been stifled and muzzled through a strategy of silence. In this way dissenting voices have been kept quiet. No debate has been allowed by the prevailing scientific oligarchy of virologists who have refused to enter into any discussion saying the matter had been dealt with" in an article in Nature by Weiss and Jaffe where Peter Duesberg was accused of being "absurd", "perilous", belittling of safe sex" and a "flat earther". (Nature vol 345, 21 June 1990, pp. 659-660)

The then editor of Nature Sir John Maddox refused Duesberg the right to reply, rejecting his rebuttal and allowing him only a 300 word letter.

Shenton also described many other examples of censorship. And since her return from  Ekaterinburg she had been able to read Professor Gordon Stewart's article in Index on Censorship (Vol 3, 1999) describing his attempts to draw attention to the grossly inflated UK government's predictions for AIDS based on the infectious hypothesis. Stewart's calculations based on a risk hypothesis tuned out to be almost exactly accurate but no one would publish them in spite of his senioirity in the scientific establishment (Emeritus Prof of Public Health, Glasgow University and member of several UN Health panels).

Shenton's worst experience was the cancelling of her one hour Channel 4 19998 World AIDS Day programme and the subsequent banning, the night before transmission, of the token Channel 4 News slot to which she was relegated and in which she described some of the anomalies her team had found in their comparison of HIV test kits.

Shenton showed the half hour programme she made with Huw Christie around the interview with President Mbeki. This programme "Search for Solutions" was broadcast from Johannesburg in April 2000 by M-Net South Africa. There were forces working against its transmission but she was happy to say it was broadcast across Africa.  No Western broadcaster would screen the interview with Mbeki.

The film can be downloaded form Immunity Resource Foundation website.


Lluis Botinas

Lluis offered four complementary approaches to the question "Does HIV Exist" posed by the Perth Group's scientific exposition "The Missing Virus".

His speech, together with the others, will be available in full on the Immunity Resource Foundation website. I shall quote below one of Botinas's key concluding paragraphs:

Can a virus that really exists not have any viral protein? Is it a coincidence that all the supposed "HIV proteins" are endogenous and in all of us anyway?

This is another crucial characteristic of the supposed "HIV": it has no protein of its own, that is to say, a viral one. The Perth Group has demonstrated that all the proteins attributed to the so-called "HIV", are in reality human proteins.

Therefore, if the supposed "HIV" has no stable genetic information at all, and if all the proteins that are attributed to it are in reality human proteins, it has no biological entity at all. The supposed "HIV" is a fiction... and is everything that is called "HIV/AIDS", for which HIV is pivotal factor.

Dr Vladimir Ageev

Dr Ageev is a pathologist who works in a drug addiction unit.

He gave a wide-ranging and detailed presentation. I am glad to say Chrstine Maggiore took far more detailed notes and will no doubt be making her own report on this particularly important presentation.

I shall just note some of the highlights here.

Ageev began with a description of how the HIV/AIDS paradigm has destroyed families, caused suicides and the abandonment of an untold number of children.

He pointed out that at a recent Round Table discussion, the representative from United Nations said that it was unfortunate that in Russia we were still at the initial stages of the AIDS epidemic, that it would reach its peak in 2050 and that the current regional and federal budgets were not sufficient. By 2040 they would need to be increased tenfold.

Was this not an economic assault on this country?, asked Ageev.

There has been an investment of USD 70 million dollars annually between 2005 and 2007.

To date three billion Russian roubles have been made available for AIDS by the Russian government.

What has it been spent on?

Information and guidelines about AIDS which arrive with no indication as to who was the author of this information, HIV testing, and lobbying for changes to be made in the law.

Most of the money is spent by the Ministry of Social development and the Ministry of Health.

The funding goes into the pockets of the bosses for expensive trips to conferences abroad and for anti-retroviral drugs, yet no one has been cured.

Ageev then went on to give a detailed explanation on why drug addicts test positive. He said that they nearly all produce liver lesions and hepatitis within a year of drug addiction and therefore test HIV antibody positive.

He said that drug addicts are also prone to develop TB but this is being missed. Logically TB patients who test positive should be given ARVs

A colleague of his had made a small study of two groups of patients in her Meningitis and TB Clinic.  One group which was less ill was given ARVs and the second group which was severely ill was given no ARVs. The mortality rate in the first group was three times higher that in the second severely ill group.

Dr Juliane Sacher

Again, Dr Sacher's detailed presentation will be made available in its entirety.

Dr Sacher has had thirty years of experience treating thousands of patients with AIDS first with Lufthansa and then at her own private clinic.

She has provided alternative treatments for AIDS and her detailed presentation with slides will be made available with the others on the IRF website.

Dr Taicija Bolgova

Dr Bolgova is a lawyer working in a remote rural region of Russia.

She told us a harrowing story. A young soldier returned from the battlefield to her village. He tested positive and having read the available booklets about HIV/AIDS he thought he believed he was going to die.  He also read that if he should "infect" someone else he would be committing an offence.

Three young women in the village were also found to be positive and he the young soldier was blamed for this. The three girls said they had had sexual relations with the young man.

Bolgova was asked to defend the man in court. Questions kept coming up in her mind.  She had noticed in her meetings with the young women that they were all in perfect health. She needed help and it came to her through Dr Irina Sazonova's book "AIDS - the cancelled sentence."

"I read it and everything fell into place" said Bolgova.

She decided that the young man was not to blame - nobody was to blame because HIV did not exist - and that he  should be protected.

She spoke to the judge about her findings and also to the victims and their relatives. The judge then decided to do his own research but remained firm. He found the man guilty of infecting the women but did not order a prison sentence.

This was the first ever case of someone being found guilty but not imprisoned. The Supreme Court overruled this sentence and the man had to be imprisoned unless he could "prove no guilt".

(At this point Bolgova was thinking that stress from the battlefield could have caused his antibody positive status)

He was sentence to three and a half years in prison. He is there now.

Bolgova said she feels she should have fought the system harder and feels responsible for this person.

She said she now realises that the AIDS situation is a form of global genocide. No one can be indifferent to this.

She has decided to form a pressure group for women to continue the fight.

"We can say there is a war and the front line is the family" she said.

The young man will be free in six months. He has read all the literature surrounding the AIDS debate and is in excellent health. The doctors who told him he would die in 5 years now visit him in prison.

One of the three women who had tested positive in the village is now married with two healthy children. The other has had one child and the third is waiting for him to get out of prison!

It was lucky that no ARVs were available in this poor region of Russia so none of the affected parties took anti-retroviral drugs.

Christine Maggiore

Christine's compelling story was delivered with her usual consummate sense of timing and wry sense of humour.

Her story began sixteen years ago when she tested HIV antibody positive. The doctors told her she could expect to live five to six years and then die immediately.

"What was I to do? Wait to get sick and then take medicines that would make me get sicker?"

Her doctor told her not to waste her money on vitamins so she went straight out to the first vitamin store she could find and stocked up. She decided to nurture a positive outlook - to consume fresh organic foods, eliminate toxic chemicals, exercise regularly and to determine her own future.

In the next few years Maggiore tested indeterminate then positive then negative then positive. (She will relate the details of her story in the text for this presentation when it is made available.)

However, it is important to note that she began to work for an orthodox AIDS charity but when she became aware of the work of Peter Duesberg and others, she decided to set up her own charity called "Alive and Well". http://www.aliveandwell.org/

Tragically her daughter Eliza Jane died at the age of 3 from an ear infection for which she was given powerful antibiotics.  The LA police said it was AIDS pneumonia and there followed a harrowing period of persecution by the police and health authorities.

Happily Christine and Robin Scovill's (her husband) son Charlie (now 9) is extremely well. He was breastfed and never took ARVs.

Christine's husband has never tested positive.

Andrej Dmitrevskij

Andrej is a poet, writer and editor of two community newspapers in Moscow, "Our Beskudnikovo" and "Best Kudnikovets", a youth oriented newspaper.

He opened by pointing out that when there is a quiet phase in the world of AIDS the emptiness is soon filled with the emergence of new infectious diseases like Bird Flu, Atypical Pneumonia.

Dmitrevskij has written a series of articles about the AIDS debate based on data from Irina Sazonova. He had a huge response. He discovered that many people had been questioning the received views about AIDS.

He mentioned the contribution to the debate made by Irina Sazonova's book "Virtual HIV" and by Dr Vladimir Ageev's book " Invented Disaeases".

Again I cannot do justice to Dmitrevskij  speech here and would like it to be translated into English.


There were two further speakers and a round table discussion. Much of this I was not able to cover and I was invited down to be interviewed by the documentary film crew in another part of the building. They conducted many interviews and covered all of the proceedings. The film was commissioned by the All Russia Parents' assembly.

South African cameraman John Crossley had also filmed all of the proceedings both on and off the stage so there is a powerful record of this amazing event.

I was left with a sense of wonder at the fact that so many years on into this debate one could find so many completely committed dissidents so far away. It was an enormously encouraging experience.

And afterwards....

We were all given a splendid farewell dinner. German Avdushin gave a closing toast and then the Russian custom of toasting all and sundry came into play which was very  welcome and very jolly.

We were treated to two wonderful Russian songs by Natalia Zachariah and, not to be left out, sang a Chilean folksong.

Then off to the Russian billiards table and a glass of vodka. I had thought Russian billiards would be like snooker. The table is the same size but there the similarity stops. The pockets are so tight that you literally have to force the ball in with a hard shot that has to be completely accurate. Sorry to say although my billiards partner Vladimir played very well, we lost to Andrej and John. Great fun!

Saturday 31st May

We were taken to the museum of precious and semi-precious stones in the very Institute where the conference had been held.

It was breathtaking - huge rocks of gold and emeralds from the Urals,  enormous crystals and every semi-precious stone you have ever heard of both in its natural form and then crafted into beautiful objets d'art.

Then a whirlwind tour of the city of Ekaterinburg which has a staggering amount of new construction going up with only a glimpse of the grand old mansions that used to belong to the wealthy iron merchants of old.

The last stop was at the cathedral that has been built on the spot where the Ipatiev family house stood and where Czar Nicholas's and his family were slaughtered.

Then to the airport and to Moscow and to London.


With huge thanks to German Avdushin and the All Russia Parents' Assembly for their warm hospitality and for looking after us all so beautifully.