Volunteers with the public environmental organisation Eko Vakhta Sakhalin take part in a cleanup operation near Nevelsk on the southwestern shore of Sakhalin Island after the tanker Nadezhda ran aground in December 2015, spilling large amounts of crude oil.
"Asia comes to an end. You could say that the Amur flows into the Pacific Ocean here, if it weren't for Sakhalin blocking the way." Anton Chekhov, The Island: A Journey to Sakhalin, 1967
In 1890, Anton Chekhov set out on a journey to the 'prison island' of Sakhalin to investigate the penal conditions in the Russian Far East and raise awareness about the inhumane treatment of inmates there. In 1895, he published the book Sakhalin Island, which The New Yorker recently named the best work of journalism written in the nineteenth century. When it was published, the book's ability to show the contrast between the authorities' official statements about the prisons and their grim reality led to a public outcry, forcing the Tsarist government to initiate much-needed reforms. 120 years after the publication of Sakhalin Island, photographer Oleg Klimov retraced Chekhov's steps, traveling to Sakhalin to assess its modern-day condition.