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Take virtual tour of downtown Pyongyang thanks to this brave Finnish reporter (VIDEO)

Take virtual tour of downtown Pyongyang thanks to this brave Finnish reporter (VIDEO)
A Finnish journalist has braved North Korea’s notoriously intense and paranoid security regime to smuggle out some extremely rare footage of Pyongyang without any of the pomp and propaganda.

Mika Makelainen, the Asian correspondent for Finland’s state broadcaster and news agency Yle, was in Pyongyang to cover the reclusive nation’s ‘Day of the Sun’ celebrations, which marked the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s founder. 

Videos of such celebrations are commonplace online and form an integral part of North Korea’s propaganda.

However, the brazen reporter managed to capture some unfiltered, candid footage of everyday life in the capital of one of the world’s most dangerous rogue states without being subjected to any ill treatment by authorities.

“I shot it openly through the windshield, and nobody told me not to film,” Makelainen told Jennifer Williams of Vox.

Any foreigner who has visited the country speaks of the near-constant surveillance from tour guides, who are careful to craft the tourist’s experience down to minute details, while making sure nothing that could tarnish the hermit state’s reputation ever exits its borders.

This generally means that any kind of recording equipment must be surrendered for inspection at regular intervals. Until recently, phones of any kind were forbidden, though this rule has been relaxed in recent years.

This may be due to the near complete absence of internet connectivity and cell phone coverage in North Korea, however.

The video is peppered with pastel-colored apartment blocks, the familiar brutalist architecture of a communist regime, and the seemingly endless billboards drenched in fawning admiration for the Great Leader.

The Tower of Immortality, which was built in 1994 to mark the death of the country’s ‘Eternal President’, Kim Il Sung, is among the well-known sights captured in the footage, but the eerie and, yet familiar, calm of the scenes captured in the 12-minute video is what stands out the most.