RUSSIA: On the Ice

The lives of 601 Russians last week balanced on the ice. Most of them, 500 fishers for sturgeon and seal, were in the Caspian, Russia's landlocked sea. Though they were scarcely 20 miles from land and home, they stood on ice floes that were shrinking by the hour.

Three great rivers, the Volga, the Ural and the Emba, empty into the Caspian from the North. Their silt makes the Caspian's Northern third shallow; their fresh water makes it easily frozen. Every January the sturgeon swim into this basin on their spring jaunt up the rivers to spawn caviar....

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