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This is Siberia, Russia's treasure chest. I'm 800 feet underground, where they're drilling in this rock in the hope of discovering emeralds. Beneath Siberia's bleak and massive surface, there are precious stones and minerals, oil and gas. Untold wealth. For many generations, Russia has lived off its Siberian fortune, but now, more than ever, its resurgence as a world power depends on it. I launched myself into Siberia in the footsteps of the first Russian adventurers, who carried their boats across the Urals and into uncharted territory. What's the name of this rock, Dimitry? Zaplotny. Zaplotny. And that means what? It's fence, border. Fence, border? Looks like fence. Border with Siberia. Yeah. Over 400 years ago, in the time of Ivan the Terrible, a Cossack leader, a kind of Russian conquistador, came down this river with over 800 followers to conquer Siberia in the name of the tsar. The Cossack's name was Yermak. Yermak was a buccaneer with an eye for the main chance. The wildlife in Siberia promised skins and furs, a trade as vital then as oil is today. Yermak's become a mythical figure in Russia, but he was obviously a pretty impressive character. He was described afterwards as having a black beard, a flat face, curly hair, being thick-set and broad-shouldered. But more important than that, is that he and his men had guns. As a result, after only a little over two months he was able to say, "We're in charge here." And Ivan the Terrible was able to say, "I'm tsar of Siberia." In fact, it would take decades to tame such an intractable land. Those who followed Yermak were even more ambitious to exploit Siberia's source of stupendous wealth. My own journey from one end of Russia to the other had led me to the point where Yermak had started his conquests - the Urals. Nowadays as you descend from the mountains, you come to the city of Ekaterinburg. Ekaterinburg is built on the grand scale. The original source of its prosperity was seams of iron ore, discovered here by the early settlers. Originally built as a fortress to protect Siberia's first iron foundry, the city is still a heavy-duty kind of place. In the Soviet era, this meant that Ekaterinburg, like similar strategic assets, was off-limits to foreigners. Find a tough city and you're sure to find tough music. MUSIC PLAYS On my first night here, I found my way to a new club owned by one of Russia's biggest hard rock stars, Vladimir Shakhrin. MUSIC DROWNS SPEECH Well before the collapse of Communism, the sounds produced by this city were as famous in Russia as the Mersey beat in Britain. Vladimir and his friends were dissidents, not so much demanding freedom, as playing the kind of music deplored by the cultural guardians of the Soviet flame. Though you were a famous group, you ARE a famous group, the music that you played never got on the radio at all. How did the music circulate? How did people know about you in Russia? HE SPEAKS IN RUSSIAN TRANSLATION: When there's an absolute, total lack of anything, you have to find ways of getting hold of things. So if you want to eat and there's nothing in the shops, you've got to find a way of getting food. And if you wanted to listen to good music, people just found ways of getting hold of that music they wanted to listen to. We didn't do anything to make it happen.