A new documentary podcast series from BBC News Russian tells the story of a journey made a century ago by a Japanese ship to rescue and bring back home hundreds of children caught in the chaos of the Russian Civil War.
The Passengers Of The Yomei Maru will bring to life the unforgettable characters of a gripping human drama and tragedy in the wake of the Russian Revolution.
In the spring of 1918, a group of 768 children arrived at a camp in the Urals which promised to feed them properly after the shortages and hunger in Petrograd (St Petersburg). With the civil war raging across the vast country, the children found themselves marooned outside a frontline. To escape the horrors of the war and reunite with their parents, they were destined to make a voyage around the world.
Set in St Petersburg, Siberia, Russia’s Far East, Japan, the Panama Canal and the US, the BBC News Russian podcast docuseries brings first-hand stories of the voyagers whose voices were preserved in a Soviet-era documentary, their memoirs and correspondence, and talks to the researchers.
The main narrators are the series author, the BBC’s Ilia Kizirov, and two granddaughters of the voyagers. The protagonist is Yura Zavodchikov, who set off on his journey as a pampered boy, abandoned his fellow voyagers but later led the struggle for their return home.
It’s a story full of unexpected turns and discoveries, offering fresh views on the tragic history of the Russian Civil War. Using unique audio archive material, contemporary songs and dramatic sound effects, the series breathes life into striking characters.
The Passengers Of The Yomei Maru is a seven-part series, available weekly from today via the BBC News Russian website, Apple Podcasts and other podcast platforms (such as Яндекс. Музыка, Castbox), the messenger app Telegram, the social networks VKontakte and OK.ru.
BBC News Russian is part of BBC World Service.