At a press conference in Novosibirsk, officials are touting their city’s credentials to a room full of journalists. ‘What would you say to a westerner who was considering visiting this part of Siberia in order to persuade them?’ I ask. There’s a lingering pause, and then the response. ‘Our airport has two runways’, says one of the town hall’s most senior politicians. Then, as if he’s forgotten he had his trump card with him all along, he turns to the city zoo. ‘We have bred a lion with a tiger’ he says. ‘So we have a liger. It’s literally half lion, half tiger.’
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