Russian wilderness areas are under increasing threat from a wide range of impacts and issues. In Russia, the word zapovednik refers to their equivalent of wilderness, the most highly protected natural area. Zapovednik literally means “forbidden area”. In former communist Russia, zapovedniks were protected and maintained assiduously for scientific baseline research. In the last 15 years as budgets have been slashed, many responsibilities delegated to the Federation States, the vast reduction of the social welfare system, and the rise of criminal syndicates, the natural resources of these areas (wildlife, timber, fish, minerals) have come under dramatic assault. Authorities have little budget or system to cope with the issues. The International Journal of Wilderness featured an overview article in August, 2008, Personal Reflections on the Fate of Wilderness Reserves in Russia (Braden) and in the coming months in TalkingWILD we will have numerous guest bloggers reporting on the issues facing the wilderness, wildlife, natural resources, and tribal people throughout the vast Russian sub-continent. For example, Kathleen Braden recently posted this great commentary of the Sochi games.