Russian Language Blog

Could You Be a Russian Skywalker? Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in Culture, News, Russian life


So, you think you’re brave? Do you perform stunts that others won’t even try? Are you a photographer? Are you Russian? Is your name Kirill Oreshkin? A recent trend is growing in Russia among young adults and it involves taking selfies from atop some of the world’s tallest buildings, towers, and other man-made structures. In some instances these “Skywalkers” will climb over the edge of a building in an attempt to take the perfect selfie while holding onto the building with one hand. As one that is not particularly fond of heights, I could barely watch some of these videos without having to look away. When I was younger, my friends and I liked to go drink coffee, maybe have some wine, listen to music, dance, things like that. Guess that’s just not enough to stimulate people anymore.

Simply put, the best way to appreciate and understand what these daredevils are doing is see them in action. Here are a few youtube links where you can see Kirill in action:

As I was watching the second link, my palms were getting sweaty. At least when Evel Knievel performed his epic stunts, he was paid and had a team that took precautionary measures to ensure that the physics worked, the equipment worked, and that people involved in the planning were trained. These selfie enthusiasts seem more like they are regular people with cell phones, guts, and money to travel to various structures and spend on legal entanglements.

As previously stated, Kirill Oreshkin is one of many that are involved in this sport. Donning masks to hide their identity before attempting to climb, Vadim Makhorov and Vitaliy Raskalov, have climbed the yet-to-be completed Shanghai Tower in China. This building stands at just over 2000 feet tall and is the world’s second tallest building. These two daredevils have made headlines in Egypt and Prague for their bravado – if that’s what you’d call it. Here is a link to see what they’re up to:

I suppose that this is one of the unintended consequences of producing such small and very functional cameras. These crazy boys and girls are not usually professional photographers or climbers – what they are is BRAVE. Others may have better adjectives but I’ll stay positive. While I do not advocate anybody risking life and limb in order to take photos of themselves and videos like these, I will respect what they’ve done in order to make a name for themselves, entertain some of us, and give me ideas to write about. In some ways I can relate to what they’re doing; when I was younger I climbed on top of a tree to impress my friends, unfortunately, I did not have a cell phone to capture it! Well maybe that isn’t quite the same thing!

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About the Author: Jenya

Born in Russia, I spent the first twenty years of my life in Orenburg, Russia and Mogilev, Belarus. For the last eleven years, I've lived in New Hampshire and Michigan, US. While I continue to absorb and adapt to American culture, I am always thrilled to share my Russian heritage with those who find it interesting. Travel, photography and art play a special part in my life. Twitter: @iamnx2u


  1. Tandan:

    Can you please followup with some Russian words regarding skywalking, e.g. the word for skywalker and the noun for skywalking? I find the act as being very irresponsible for the skywalker, towards their family and any potential victims or articles below should they slip and fall. I have problems climbing more than 10 meters and am amazed with their lack of fear.

    • Jenya:

      @Tandan Tandan, thank you for the question. I checked out some Russian search engines and it seems like there is really no word for “skywalking,” what people are doing is just spelling it with Russian letters – скайвокинг. You can translate it literally into прогулки по небесам, but I believe the other one is more common 🙂 .

  2. David Roberts:

    This had me sweating too! Although logically all heights above a certain level (multi-story car park, for instance) are equally dangerous to fall from. So the statue of Liberty, Blackpool tower, the Eiffel tower, the Petronas building etc are all the same when it comes to falling off them. It must have been very dangerous for the man in that iconic 1945 photograph planting the red flag on top of the Reichstag – I wonder what became of him in later life?

    • Jenya:

      @David Roberts Thank you David! This type of activity is not new, I remember watching “Man on a Wire,” which came out years ago. It chronicles one man’s commitment to walking on a wire between two skyscrapers 🙂 .