These Totally Normal Things Are Banned In Russia
Even though Russia seems to have their hands in conflicts around the globe, they also like to carefully control what their citizens can do. While nearly every country around the world has basic laws, some of Russia’s are pretty outrageous.
Russia doesn’t just stop at internet censorship and human rights violations — they even hold grudges against seemingly normal things like rap music and French cheese. Quite a few of these banned items are only banned because Putin doesn’t like them! Read on to find out what could land you a night in jail in Russia.
House Of Cards
Don’t even think about watching one of Netflix’s most beloved political television series’ if you’re in Russia. If you’ve watched the show you might have noticed that the character playing the Russian president looks eerily similar to a certain oligarch currently in control.
Russia hates the show because of the portrayal and has banned it. Two episodes were even supposed to be filmed in the UN chambers but Russian representatives opposed it.
When the viral phone app was released in 2016, kids (and adults) worldwide went crazy for it, and Russia was no exception. The only problem was that Russia felt Pokémon Go was too much of a distraction and decided to crack down on the app.
The ban was all thanks to an internet user who posted a video of him playing the game in church. Russia claimed that the game mocked organized religion and “denied the divinity of Jesus.”
Since 2008, Russia has banned the gothic emo look for being a “dangerous teen trend.” That means if you wear black clothing, black makeup, tease your hair, and listen to alternative music then you might wind up in jail for a night.
Many critics think that Russian lawmakers have mistakingly lumped the emo trend in with skinheads. The bill that banned it argued that the emo trend encourages depression, social withdrawal, and even suicide.
Yes, the point of Bitcoin and other online currencies is that there are no laws or banks governing it, but that doesn’t mean Russia can’t try their best to ban it. President Putin and the Kremlin has issued an official rejection of Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies on the basis that they might be used for “money laundering and financing terrorism.”
It seems as though while the rest of the world is looking for new, high-tech ways to launder money, Russia is fine with the good, old-fashioned way.
It’s messed up, but it’s true. In 2014, Russia decided to ban the use of four particularly bad words in the arts. That means no films or books can feature these words because President Putin hopes to create a “national and spiritual identity” for the country.
The rule is so strict that even old books and plays might be re-censored or have a warning on the cover. The cursing ban is even supposed to extend to comments about art forms on the internet, but we’re not sure how they plan to enforce that.
If you’re hoping to go on a retreat to Russia, find your zen, and become a little more flexible while you do it, then think again. Parts of Russia have banned yoga because local officials believe that yoga “promoted the spread of new religious cults and movements.”
If you want to casually stretch in a public park without using any of the traditional names for certain yoga positions, you might get away with it.
There’s no dressing up for yours or your partner’s pleasure in Russia unless it’s more than 6% cotton. In 2014, President Putin banned all synthetic lingerie and “lacy underthings.” When the law went into effect, nearly 90% of the lingerie in Russian stores were considered illegal.
This might sound like a trivial ban, but there were legitimate street protests from women in Russia and Kazakhstan over the issue. Some women were even fined more than $60 for owning lingerie.
You might think that memes flow freely on the internet, but that doesn’t stop President Putin from wanting to put an end to them. In 2015, Russia banned any internet memes that make fun of the country’s political figures. While memes of Putin himself are most common, this ban applies to each and every lawmaker in Russia.
If a Russian citizen does post a meme that violates the conditions, they might be asked to remove it or face a harsh lawsuit.
Yes, the “Wolves” singer might look sweet and innocent, but apparently, she’s dangerous enough to be banned from Russia. The singer was denied a Russian visa because of her stance on LGBTQ+ rights. Basically, because she supports gay rights she wasn’t welcome to tour the country.
While other singers who support LGBTQ+ rights haven’t been banned yet, some have chosen not to tour Russia on their own accord. Lady Gaga, Madonna, and Elton John have all spoke out against touring in Russia.
Okay, obviously not all people are banned from driving, but there is a strange and sweeping list of reasons why Russia can deny you a driver’s license. One of the major reasons that have garnered attention is if you have a “medical deviation” which covers transgender people, bi-genders, asexuals, and cross-dressers.
The restrictions don’t stop there. If you’re shorter than 150cm, have a pathological gambling problem, or even showcase certain “fetishisms” you can be denied a license.
Russia, like many other European countries, have chosen to deny the Church of Scientology religious rights and instead classify it as a cult. Russia joined countries like France and Germany by banning the “religion” from the nation.
Still, Russia took it a step further and even went as far as to ban the books and teachings from being readily available. That means you won’t find anything by founding L. Ron Hubbard on the library shelves in Moscow.
Russia probably knew that it would be futile to try and ban the famous Eastern-European soup in their country. The sour dish is one of the most popular amongst Russians, but the name is actually a Ukrainian term.
Since we all know that Russia has a serious grudge against Ukraine, then it makes sense why restaurants have become encouraged to call it “beet root soup.” Although it’s not an outright ban, if President Putin “encourages” it then you should probably follow the rules.
President Putin himself has been outspoken against rap music. The Russian president has called on cultural leaders to control the music so he doesn’t have to resort to outright banning it.
Putin says that rap is based on “Three pillars: sex, drugs, and protest” and that those ideas should not resonate with Russians. Even rap made in Russia by Russians have been targeted, and some rappers have canceled concerts because of police pressure.
There are only four areas in all of Russia were gambling is legal. As of 2009, only the Altai, Krasnodar, Primorsky, and Kaliningrad regions of the country can legally operate casinos, gaming rooms, and slot machines.
The ban came after Russia experienced a rapid increase of casinos and slot machines in the 2000s. Many casinos also targeted young people in their advertisements. On top of all of that, it was shown that most casinos were engaging in money laundering and tax evasion.
There has long been restrictions in Russia about where and when you can smoke. At first, the ban applied to restaurants, but now it applies to nearly every public place. In 2015, President Putin had gone as far as to ban anyone born after 2014 from EVER buying tobacco.
Considering the fact that in 2016, 60% of the Russian population were smokers, this ban might actually help the overall health of the country. Don’t be fooled though, reportedly, smoking is only banned because it is one of Putin’s personal pet peeves.
Sexual education is nearly non-existent in Russian schools thanks to a ban on many banned terms and the influence of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The word “condom” isn’t allowed in Russian textbooks so it’s a little difficult to teach contraception.
Over the years there have been multiple attempts to push through reform on this issue but pressure from the church and conservative politicians shut it down every time. It also doesn’t help that Russia has a population crisis and actually offers prizes and money to couples who have kids.
Russia likes to know exactly who is posting about what on the internet. If you want to hide behind an anonymous monicker than think again. In 2014, Russia passed a regulation that made it illegal for blogs with more than 3,000 daily visitors to remain anonymous.
If your blog receives more than the 3,000 daily quota then you technically have to register as a media outlet which means disclosing personal data about yourself.
Apparently, bacon from outside their own country isn’t good enough for Russia. In 2014, Putin placed an embargo of the import of all pork products, but particularly bacon, from Europe. He claimed that the ban was due to outbreaks of swine flu in Lithuania and Poland, but the EU claimed otherwise.
The EU’s trade commission said the ban was “clearly disproportionally, discriminatory, and not based on science.” Maybe Russia just thinks it doesn’t taste as good.
Russia isn’t exactly friendly to most non-traditional religious practices (we’re looking at you, Scientology and yoga) but they seem to really hate Jehovah’s Witnesses. The religion was added to a list of “extremist organizations” in 2017 and forced to disband.
They were accused of collecting money to organize events (what religion doesn’t) and they even had their official website blocked. Despite the ban, the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to have more than 175,000 followers in Russia.
One of the most notorious and controversial bans in Russia came in 2014. Whether you’re LGBTQ+ yourself of not, you could find yourself facing jail time or monetary fines for partaking in LGBTQ+ parades, handing out pamphlets, or even flying the rainbow colored flag.
Russia claimed the “anti-gay law” was protecting children and advocating for traditional family values, but many people inside Russia claim it is simply a discriminatory act aimed to quiet an anti-Putin community.
Food From The Western World
Russia has banned the import of most (delicious) foods from countries such as the United States, Australia, Canada, and the European Union. The ban comes as retaliation for Western sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Russian officials have even started a campaign to track down and destroy Western food that has been smuggled in. You can find photos of Russian workers squishing French cheese and throwing American peaches off the back of a truck.
The Death Of Stalin
This 2017 satirical film was banned by Russia before it was even released. The plot follows the power struggle in the Communist party in the 1950s after Stalin’s death. The Russian minister of culture said the film was “aimed at inciting hatred” and was a “Western plot to destabilize Russia.”
Believe it or not, Stalin is still a very popular figure in Russia, so it makes sense why they wouldn’t want a movie trashing him, even if it’s meant to be a comedy.
The Telegram App
In a world where data sharing and spying is an increasing worry among the average person, applications like Telegram have come to the rescue. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically WhatsApp without being connected to any server like Facebook, which means your messages are encrypted and safe.
The only problem is that telegram has been a favorite app for terrorist organizations. Russia banned Telegram because the founder refused to share the encryption with the Russian spy network.
The late Republican senator and one-time Presidential nominee was banned from entering Russia after he was a driving force behind placing sanctions on them in 2014. McCain was just one of many Western and European officials who was suddenly barred from entering the country.
While others were worried, McCain seemed to wear it as a badge of honor. He even made the sarcastic comment that he’d have to spend “Easter in Sedona, rather than Siberia.”
Several Wikipedia pages and certain websites have been shut down or banned from Russian servers because of drug-related content. Even if the website is simply giving information about the scientific or historical use of drugs, it has been banned.
Russia even once shut out the entire Reddit website for more than 24 hours thanks to a single drug-related thread. This is likely because, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russians became one of the top users of narcotics in the world.
This ban on soap and beauty products from Western countries like England, France, and the United States is thanks to Russia’s consumer protection agency. They have outlawed soaps from huge companies like Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, and Henkel.
Russian officials say that products are “toxic” and don’t meet Russian safety standards, but the companies claim them to be perfectly safe. We’re sure this has nothing to do with Western sanctions against Russia.
While many countries have outlawed Holocaust deniers, Russia has taken it to the next level. In 2014, President Putin signed a law that made denying the Holocaust AND the accepted narrative of the Soviet Union in WW2 a crime.
Specifically, it says that if you don’t follow the history books and agree that the Soviet Union was nothing but good during the war, then you could land in jail. This law goes so far that in Russia, they say that WW2 started in 1941, not 1939, because they want to forget about the time they were on the Nazi’s side.
While no country likes to welcome a spy with open arms into their borders, Russia has classified anyone who is against their point of view as “foreign agents.” The ban came alongside the sweeping regulations against the LGBTQ+ community.
Basically, any independent group that receives any sort of “foreign funding” is deemed to be dangerous. That ranking goes up if the “foreign agents” are involved in any sort of “political activity.” The language is broad for a reason. This law essentially allows Russia to classify anyone as a foreign agent.
There will be no networking if you’re on Russia soil. In 2016, a Moscow court decided to ban access to the social networking platform LinkedIn because it stores the user data on servers outside of Russia.
The state claims that this ban was imposed to protect user data, but critics say it’s banned because Russia cannot access the data. Given everything we know about Russia and cybersecurity, we’ll let you be the judge.
Abortion has been a controversial topic for most countries around the world when it comes to making laws. While many countries have gone forward with decriminalizing abortion and upholding women’s rights, Russia is one of the many who have not. While abortion clinics and doctors exist in Russia, their reach is highly restricted.
In 2014, the Russian government even passed a bill that placed a monetary fine on anyone who went through with an illegal abortion.
Born to Work
Childhood might just be the most innocent and happiest of times for the children of North Korea. However, this is because they are not old enough to understand the horrible conditions they are brought up in or that they are being conditioned to acknowledge their dictator as a great guy.
Those who are not so fortunate to be born in Pyongyang often are subject to harsh conditions not suitable for a child. North Korea has recently come under fire for their forced labor of children, who are treated like slaves. In North Korea, it’s common to see young children gathering and hauling corn and grain.
The Demilitarized Zone
This is one of the few spots that you are actually capable of taking pictures without too much of a hassle. The key words there being “too much” because you know, you’re still in North Korea. There is one thing you need not do when taking photos in this area.
“Taking pictures in the demilitarized zone (between North and South Korea) is easy, but if you come too close to the soldiers, they stop you,” said Lafforgue. Why would you even want to get that close to the soldiers in the first place? Just mind your business and don’t do anything stupid!
Make Sure You Look up to Par If You Want Your Photo Taken
What we have here is a man not up to clothing standards. At least, not enough to be photographed. Imagine a fashion show and a model shows up with the wrong clothing line or is not wearing the style he was instructed to. That is what you are getting with this North Korean man in the photo.
“It is forbidden to take pictures of North Korean people if they are not well dressed,” said Lafforgue. “For my guide, this man was not well dressed enough to be photographed.” Even though he is wearing a nice button-up collared shirt, he did not meet the requirements of a well-dressed person.
Smoking Is Forbidden
When someone wants something to appear as if it is the greatest thing to ever be established then chances are that photos of the establishment taking a break or not looking serious will spoil those appearance dreams. Which is why this photo of the soldier just taking a smoke break is not allowed.
It is prohibited to take photos of soldiers “enjoying” themselves. It could be depicted that they are “sneaking” the cigarette (which they shouldn’t do in the first place) so it appears that two negatives are taking place in at this moment. Does that make it a right?
There are tons of places for you to be silly. The privacy of your own room, the park, a circus, or even a fair but if you are under portraits of Kim, you better not be silly. Especially if you are about to take a photo because it is also seen as disrespectful.
“Never take a picture where you can see people doing silly things in front of the Kim portraits,” says Lafforgue. For any leader, you can probably see how that can be taken as disrespect. However, it wouldn’t be banned in most other countries.
He Is Eating…Grass?
In most cases, unless it is in some sort of healthy smoothie drink, grass should only be eaten by animals. It doesn’t have a great taste and people walk across it as well as animals and insects. There are feces all in it. It is best you steer clear from eating grass.
“This kind of picture is widespread in the West,” said Lafforgue. “The caption often points out that North Koreans have to eat grass. The guides get furious if you take it.” Sadly, they often have to resort to eating grass because food is so scarce and the people are dying of starvation.
Don’t Snap a Pic of a Soldier
Have you ever been to a water park and tried not to get wet, for fun? Well, it is almost impossible to do such a task seeing as to there is water literally everywhere you turn. We advise you not to try this because of the difficulty of the task. Another hard task is associated with the dolphinarium in North Korea.
“When visiting the dolphinarium in Pyongyang, you are allowed to photograph the animals, but not the soldiers who make up 99 percent of the crowd,” said Lafforgue. As you can see in the photo above, you better be in a good position to avoid getting a soldier on photo.
All-Female Military Regiments
As mentioned earlier, North Korea’s military includes all-female regiments. One defector from the country spoke candidly about her experience in an interview with Business Insider. She explained that men are required to serve for 11 years in the military, and women for six.
This military defector confided that malnutrition is a major problem facing all of North Korea’s troops and said that she was only fed three spoonsful of rice for each meal. Of her time in the service, she said “I was in the early stages of malnutrition… I weighed just around 81 pounds and was about 5’2.”
Not As Good As Men
One of North Korea’s female military defectors told Business Insider that women are taught from an early age that they are not nearly as smart, capable, or important as men. Tales of abuse among former soldiers are rampant.
Another defector told a heartbreaking story about being beaten bloody by a male Major General. He was 45 years old; she was 18. In the BI interview, she said, “I don’t know whether he’s dead or alive, but if Korea ever gets reunified, I’m going to find him and even if I can’t make him feel ten times the pain I felt, I want to at least smack him on the right side of his face the same way he did to me.”
Throughout history, women have been attracted to powerful men. Even so, it can be difficult for outsiders to understand the apparent idol worship that many women in North Korea have for Kim Jong Un. Countless photos exist of the dictator surrounded by fawning, almost ecstatic fans.
In this picture, we see a military rally where several female troops greet Kim with smiles, hugs, and tears of joy. One of the women desperately hangs on his arm. Kim clearly relishes the attention, judging by the big grin on his fleshy face. However, as Ben Cosgrove noted in a Time article, “[o]f course, there’s always a possibility that the displays of weepy adoration that erupt wherever Kim goes might be sparked by base, primal fear; no one wants to be sent off to one of North Korea’s ‘re-education’ camps for the crime of not evincing the proper reverence for the ruler of the world’s weirdest nation.”
Dead or Alive?
On the surface level, there are two possible things wrong this image. One, why is this man laying on hard rocks like that. Isn’t that highly uncomfortable? The second thing is that it is hard to distinguish if he is indeed alive or dead. Because that looks like somewhere a dead body could be found.
“This man was taking a rest by the sea in Chilbo,” said Lafforgue. “My guide asked me to delete this for fear that Western media would say this man was dead. He was alive.” Who knows what the truth really is.
The Education System Brainwashes Kids
North Korea prides itself on its educational system and the fact that it’s literacy rate is high, the government controls this system and uses it to it’s advantage. According to the Washington Post, kids are taught to love communism and their supreme leader in an almost cult-like way as early as kindergarten.
Lee Hyun-ji, who grew up in North Korea but fled to South Korea told the Post, “…The teachers would say: ‘Do you know where the milk came from? It came from the Dear Leader. Because of his love and consideration, we are drinking milk today.'”
An Army Of Mini-Skirts?
North Korea also prides itself on its military, which includes all-female regiments. The female soldiers all wear the exact same haircut, determined by the military, and a uniform with a mini-skirt over tights. While it might be surprising to some that North Korea allows females in its army, the reason behind the decision is tragic: thousands of the male soldiers have either deserted or starved to death.
Unlike the men in their country though, women aren’t automatically drafted into the North Korean army. The military chooses only those women who they think show the most promise and successfully been brainwashed using the educational system, where they’ve reportedly been taught phrases like ‘We are killing Americans’.
Not Volunteer Work
Would you look at that, a couple of citizens enjoying a public project. Isn’t that what everyone would think is going on this picture? Don’t let it come out that some people assume that this is any kind of negative act going on like forced labor because then Kim would not allow for photos like this to be taken again.
“People go to the country to do public projects,” stated Lafforgue. “The regime used to see shots like these as positive but now they know that we interpret this as forced labor.” Well, which do you think that it is?
Preparing to Launch Rockets
In an ongoing effort to exhibit their technological prowess, North Korea has made multiple attempts to launch a rocket in order to get their own satellite into orbit. After three failed attempts since 1998, North Korea prepared for their fourth attempt in 2012 with the Unha-3.
On December 12, 2012, U.S. Northern Command reported that first stage fell into the Yellow Sea, while the second stage fell into the Philippine Sea. That time, North Korea successfully launched the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 satellite into orbit, which concerned other countries at the time for fear that North Korea was preparing to launch a missile.
Singing for Their Country
This photo depicts a North Korean military choir performing. Much of the music in North Korea is politically influenced and honors the Kim family, as with most aspects of the North Korean cult of personality.
After North Korea became its own entity, song-writing was changed to support the state and the patriotic style became known as “taejung kayo.” Some sources say that there may still be an existence of traditional Korean religious or folk music in North Korea, although there is not enough evidence in Western knowledge to prove this.
Billions Went into Creating This Dam
The West Sea Barrage dam, also known as the Nampho Dam, closes the Taedong River off from the Yellow City. From 1981 to 1986, the entire country was directed to contribute resources or labor to help construct it.
30,000 soldiers and an estimated $4 billion went into the construction of the dam, whose purpose was to prevent seawater from intruding on freshwater and to help irrigate land that did not have a lot of access to water. North Korea is reportedly so proud of the accomplishment that it is often used as a backdrop in the news broadcast and it is a popular tourist destination.
Born in North Korea
According to an article published by nknews.org, healthcare for expecting mothers is very divided between the capital city and the rural areas. “Residents in the Pyongyang Republic have access to obstetricians, pediatricians, and facilities of higher quality while residents in the Regional Republic are denied access to all of these.”
He continued, “People in North Korea were saying that Kim Jong II made sure that the medical service provided at Pyongyang San Won would be of satisfactory quality because he was heartbroken when he lost his mother due to gynecological disease.”
Getting an Education
When children do have the opportunity to go to school, they often have to fend for themselves just to get there. Business Insider reports that children in less developed areas have to walk a precarious route on the way to school.
Construction projects and dangerous terrain stand in the way of these children’s education, but this doesn’t stop them from finding a way to brave it. While there are some rural areas that are fortunate to have school buses, these buses are often just dump trucks that are repurposed to take children to school.
Indoctrination of Young Minds
North Korean children are brainwashed as early as preschool. In kindergarten, youngsters are already taught anti-American messages. They use their toy rifles and grenades to attack cartoon images of soldiers, according to Business Insider.
They learn songs about Kim Jong Il, who they are taught works very hard all day for the benefit of his own people. The Washinton Post also reports that schoolchildren would throw wooden “grenades” at “a wooden target of a human figure with pale skin and a huge nose, with ‘cunning American wolf’ written on it.”
A Predetermined Future
Indoctrination is so important to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, that on International Children’s Day, they hold a mock military parade in Pyongyang. Children dress up as North Korean military men and women, most likely a representation of their futures should they remain stuck in their country.
Much of the school curriculum is centered around the cult of personality that North Korea is known for. When children were served the luxury of milk in school, they were told it came from their “Dear Leader.” When taught math, the questions would often have to do with the Kim family and their military prowess.
Not Everyone Is So Fortunate
Elite families or families that had more money, most likely those who lived in Pyongyang, were able to provide their children with more luxuries than those who could not. This included traditional Korean clothing, as seen above. And although some families were better off than others, this didn’t exempt them from their political obligations to pay respects to their leaders. Parents who have money take their children to national monuments as a regular form of worship.
While not all children are born into abject poverty, all of them are conditioned and indoctrinated at a young age in North Korea’s efforts to create their version of an idealized and pure society.
USS Reagan Arrives in the Republic of Korea
While Kim Jong Un demands that the U.S. stay away from their region, the U.S. remains loyal to its allies, Japan and South Korea. Following a failed missile launch test by North Korea in September of 2016, the USS Reagan was welcomed in South Korea in October, where they have 15 military bases to aid in defense and prevent North Korea from striking neighboring countries with missile launches.
The relationship between the U.S. and South Korea infuriates North Korea’s leader, as Kim Jong Un aims to be seen as the dominating force in the west Pacific.
105th Birthday of Founder
Tensions quickly rose between North Korea and the United States in 2017. While the U.S. sought to disarm North Korea of nuclear weapons, the country’s leader told the U.S. to back off. April 15th, 2017 marked the 105th birthday of North Korea’s founder, Kim II Sung, and the rest of the world nervously awaited what they suspected would be a showing of power and force on the day of the anniversary.
In preparation, the U.S. deployed the USS Carl Vinson towards Korea, as Kim Jong Un grew angrier.
Failed Missile Test
As anticipated, North Korea brought out their weapons and showed off their military on the day of the 105th birthday of Kim II Sung. Not far away, South Korea and China braced themselves for any missile tests that would happen, as the United States naval strike group idled in the western Pacific.
As expected, North Korea did launch a missile test that week, but “the missile blew up almost immediately” according to U.S. Navy Commander Dave Benham. Kim Jong Un’s attempt to flex their power was an utter failure. Still, the leader threatened President Trump with his nuclear weapons.
While visiting a country where there are two huge bronzed statues in the center of a square, one might think that it would be the perfect spot to grab a photo — to make a memory to preserve forever. And, in most instances, you’d be right. But that doesn’t make it an easy task to accomplish in a place like North Korea.
The government keeps a close eye on any straying foreign tourist that might be stepping out of bounds. It was very important for Huniewicz (and is so for any other tourists visiting the country) to watch his every step and to make sure he could capture pictures quickly.
What Exactly Are They Cleaning?
“What the heck are they cleaning? The country is depressing. We only saw a handful of people smiling or expressing anything other than obedience. They just walk in silence from one place to another, and avoid foreigners like ourselves,” Huniewicz said in an interview with Next Shark.
These women were photographed sweeping a pathway that already appeared very clean. However, this is a very common sight to see in the country’s capital city. Seeing women sweep already clean pathways and streets is extremely common, and many people have a hard time figuring out why. Could it just be that the Kims require unnecessary manual labor? That could be it indeed.
No Mistaking For Grand Central Station
If you’ve ever been to a train station in the United States (or perhaps anywhere in the world), you’re probably used to seeing tons of people, carrying briefcases, rolling luggage, talking on cell phones, and being “busy.” However, when Huniewicz went to this particular train station — one of the country’s few (if not only) entry points for foreign tourists — it was basically deserted.
This is a far cry from what you’d see at just about any other train station that you visit on any given day of the week. Since it’s nearly impossible for tourists to be granted entry into North Korea, this isn’t too surprising, even if it is a little eerie.
In North Korea, the main means of transportation is by foot. Many people also use bicycles to get around. You hardly see any cars or motorcycles (women aren’t even allowed to ride motorcycles, according to North Korean law).
This means that the roadways are mostly used for pedestrians and bicycles, and overall, the environment is quieter. Views from the train show just how rural and quiet some areas of North Korea are.
They Call It Home
This photo of a residential building would be a huge no-no in Kim’s book of photos that are illegal. It shows a pretty run-down structure where hundreds of people live.
It is interesting to see how many people keep flowering plants and other items on their balconies, not unlike what people do all over the world. However, Kim Jong-un wouldn’t allow this photo to escape North Korea as it shows more signs of poverty. Each balcony appears covered in dirt, perhaps caused by pollution.