Kenneth J Casey Bashkaus Rafting

Bashkaus Whitewater River Rafting - Siberia Russia USSR

The late 1980s

It was only a year after the 1987 President Reagan’s speech to ‘tear down this wall’ at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin, then West Germany. The same year that the first joint Soviet-American river rafting expedition on the Katun River occurred.

It was prior to end of the cold war with the USSR. In fact it was the early stages of the Perestroika and Glasnost movements. 

It was in the air … better relations with the Soviet Union may have a chance to move forward. 

It’s now 1988 …

Project R.A.F.T.

Russians and Americans For Teamwork

The thought – try to foster cooperation between the American and Russian cultures by putting them all on rafts. All risking their lives for each other, to work together to survive the treacherous Class 5 white waters.

The Results

These first International rafting events of its kind that was the foundation of the International Rafting Federation World Rafting Championships. Perhaps it was also another nudge (amongst others) for a pathway of better relations with the Russians.

Ken Casey, Novato CA

It seemed in 1988 that the film crew filming Mutual Of Omaha ‘Rafting Into Siberia’ had enough excitement filming the white water rafters on the Chuya River and left Siberia not wishing to push their luck on filming another group of ‘crazy’ Russians and Americans rafters on even rougher waterways of the Bashkaus River. No way – no how (no one will survive that river).  

I was on the rafting team a week after the filming. This time to take on the Bashkaus River in Siberia, (which was previously closed to foreigners). Attempting to be the first Soviet-American rafting team to successfully challenge this wild class 5 waterway.

Here you will enjoy never seen before 1988 images and video of the Bashkaus River – Project RAFT event. Even archival video footage of rafting in Siberia.

As Paul Harvey has famously said, ‘and now … for the rest of the story’ …

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