Vitaly Buzuev was born in December 1960 – on the 21st, the winter solstice, a birthday he shares with Joseph Stalin. Despite that, Vitaly has never been a fan.
Vitaly’s mother was the St Petersburg artist, Galina Buzueva, and his father, Arkadiy Buzuev was a polar explorer, geography professor and head of the North Pole-13 station.
In 1978 Vitaly moved from Leningrad (now St Petersburg) to Moscow where he lived with his grandfather, artist Leonid Karataev. Vitaly's great grandfather, Ippolit Karataev, was a general in Poland's gendarmerie. Vitaly remembers his early childhood through his grandfather's stories. Once, in the Crimea, Leonid took his grandson for a stroll, as an artist, his grandfather was always distracted by the sights around him. On this occasion, he was so struck by the view from the top of a hill that he let go of the pram, which rolled down some steps into a peacock cage where it flipped over. Luckily, young Vitaly was unharmed and opened his eyes to see a peacock fanning its tail at him.
As a child, Vitaly also wanted to be an artist. He was sent to the Hermitage Museum's extra-curricular school for gifted children. He was awarded a gold medal in New York for his work based on the fairy-tale "The Emperor's New Clothes".
After that victory, Vitaly put down his paintbrush and graduated from high school and decided to become a journalist joining Moscow State University's faculty of journalism in 1978. He went on to work for various newspapers, magazines and radio stations. In 1996 he moved to London to work for the BBC's Russian Service, hosting a show called "The View From London".
He then returned to Moscow and was offered a job at NTV, where he was initially responsible for press reviews, then he became a reporter and presented the "Profession – Journalist" programme. He also hosted a morning show called "Today". In 2001 he moved to Ren-TV.
He considers his films about female suicide-bombers in Sri Lanka and Nepalese Maoists to be his best of this period. Vitaly is happy to explain to anyone the meaning of "exotic separatism"!
From 2008 to 2011 he oversaw the creation of Ren-TV's press centre in Kiev.
Vitaly has been at RT since 2012. He won a major prize for his film "Children of the Tundra" in the national "Country" awards in 2013.
While in 2014 his documentary "Sky Rescue" was awarded first prize in the All-Russian journalistic contest "SMIrotvorets" in the category "Television: Federal and Regional Mass Media".
Of all the films he's made for RT, he is especially proud of "Butterfly People", "Agafia", and, of course, his film about rescue helicopters on the Yamal peninsula.
Some call it, “The Mine”, to others, it’s “the beast”, an infamous rubbish dump in Guatemala City, Central America’s biggest capital. For thousands of poor people it provides a livelihood. Raw sewage flows through the massive landfill and twice a year, floods cause deadly landslides.
South Sudan in Africa has been in a state of civil war since 2013. Hundreds of thousands of people have fallen victim to the ongoing hostilities. The desolation of war has brought famine to this normally fertile land. In this drastic situation, an international team at a Red Cross hospital in the town of Kodok fights to save the lives of those wounded, ill, or starving, as well as help reunite families separated by the conflict.
The Giant Panda has been a symbol of wildlife protection for more than 50 years. It has survived in just one country: China, and its future is constantly threatened by human activity and climate change. In September 2016, the adorable bamboo bear was taken off the endangered species list.
Child prostitution in Kenya has reached a shocking level. Extreme poverty and sex tourism lead to the sexual exploitation of children on a massive scale. RT Doc investigates what is being done about the problem and who profits from it.
Bangladesh has no metal resources of its own, so the shipbreaking yards in Chittagong, its largest second city, generate high profits for their owners. Workers though, enjoy none of the benefits of that profit; wages are barely enough to live on and there are no health and safety regulations to protect them. Injuries are a frequent occurrence and even death is not uncommon.
E-waste (discarded electronic appliances) is often shipped by developed nations to poorer countries such as Ghana. Locals call its most infamous dumping ground, Agbogbloshie, “Sodom and Gomorrah” after the Biblical sin cities. Its air and soil are polluted with toxic chemicals, while child labour and criminal gangs are also rife.
Mica is a shiny mineral that’s all the rage in modern-day makeup, helping to give beauty products a bright gleam and natural-looking glow. This beauty, however, comes at a price that most are unaware of. Those who pay it are the poorest and the most vulnerable. RT Doc visits India’s illegal mica mines where child labour is rife.
When kids are accused of witchcraft in Africa’s Democratic Republic of the Congo, they’re thrown out of their homes. They beg and steal in the streets, where might is right. The aim of the country’s first centre for homeless children is to bring them back to their families. But superstition in Congolese society is hard to combat.
As international interest in the Arctic grows, Russia is resuming development of Franz Josef Land, its polar territory 900 km from the North Pole. Take a look at the lives of the people laying the foundations for a new town here, while living next door to curious polar bears.
The old saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has a very literal meaning for the residents of one small town on the outskirts of Cairo in Egypt. Zabbaleen is home to a large community of rubbish collectors who gather and sort all of the capital’s waste. The process provides work for whole families.
People living in the tundra are accustomed to a nomadic life. Their homes are ascetic, food is basic, and deers are their everything. They don’t watch TV or use the Internet. However, their children do go to boarding schools, but not all parents are in favor of them. Find out more about life and education out on the tundra on RTDoc.
Often described as a mystery, Moscow reveals yet another of its secrets; beneath its ancient streets lies a little known underworld of dark catacombs and underground rivers. It provides a bottomless pit of adrenaline for the small army of volunteers who compete to be recognised as the ultimate digger.
The Chukchi, an indigenous population in Russia's far northeast, have hunted marine mammals for centuries. RTD travels to the largest ethnic settlement of Chukotka to meet the whale hunters. They learn what it takes to land a big catch and why their job is crucial to the survival of their community.
Harp seals are born right on the ice-fields of the White Sea. For many years the little pups had been hunted extensively for their snow-white furs. But the hunters have been eventually replaced by eco-tourists. We travel to the White Sea to meet the big eyed, fluffy little wonder of the North.
For some people, the so-called ‘Tower of David’ is just an unfinished
skyscraper. For others, it’s an asylum for robbers and murderers. About
800 families call this place home. RTD presents a film about people that
live in this tower.
The fires have been put out in central Kiev and Ukraine's elected president has fled. But while some cheer the ouster of what they saw as a corrupt regime, others fear far worse from those who have seized power. As volunteers queue to defend Crimea from Euromaidan's victors, many are asking: does Crimea belong in Ukraine, or could it become part of Russia?
The reindeer herders of the Yamal tundra live in rawhide tents like their ancestors did hundreds of years ago and have hardly any contact with the outside world. However, when they urgently need medical treatment, they must rely on air rescue helicopters for their very survival.