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The alliterative name rolls off the tongue with an air of mystery and a sense of the faraway. Vladivostok, rather like Timbuktu, is one of those places that everyone has vaguely heard of but few know much about. If Moscow has its way, however, by the end of 2011 Russia’s Far Eastern hub will be firmly on the radar.

It certainly occupies a strategic location – land borders with North Korea and China are close; Japan is just across the water. Vladivostok literally means “Ruler of the East”, and the city houses the headquarters of Russia’s Pacific…

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