Arina, a 16 year-old Coldplay and Haruki Murakami fan from Angarsk in Eastern Siberia, is an example of how Instagram can break down barriers of distance and language and create opportunities for people. The popular teenage blogger using the name @sleepnovember now gets business inquires to promote clothing or goods.
Arina, who would need to drive an hour to Irkutsk airport and then fly six hours to get to Moscow, expressed frustration that she lives ‘’far from the rest of the world.’’ Change and trends ‘’come to us last’’ in Siberia, she said.
Over the past two years, she has used Instagram to see the world and promote herself to an international audience. ‘’I have met a lot of fantastic people and it has really widened my horizon,’’ she said.
Andrei, 34, was working on a computer in the kitchen of a hostel in Ulyanovsk, about 4,000 kilometers from his home town of Angarsk near Lake Baikal in Siberia. A father of four children, including two step-children, Andrei said he has completely changed his life over the last few years. He said he quit smoking three years ago, then drinking and his full-time office job as an accountant. He also said he changed 95% of the people around him to ensure he didn't resume the bad habits. ''Your lifestyle depends on the people around you,'' he said. ''I feel great now.'' Andrei now travels around the country to buy used cars from bankrupt or distressed companies and resell them. He said he prefers having the freedom of working for himself. Andrei, who regularly jogs in the morning, said his future plans include having another child.