A dreadfully cold, desolate place covered with snow all around the year, where political prisoners were sent by the tsars and bears can be seen in the streets is how most people think about Siberia. I was fascinated with the Great Siberian Plains right from when my teachers had told me of this vast stretch of land that witnesses extreme winters, with temperatures reaching up to -40 deg C. Naturally, I was quite excited when my visit to Russia last…