The historian Orlando Figes, in both A People’s Tragedy and Natasha’s Dance, mentions a mythical land which he describes in the former book thus:
And there were equally fabulous tales of a ‘Kingdom of Opona’, somewhere on the edge of the flat earth, where the peasants lived happily, undisturbed by gentry or state. Groups of peasants even set out on expeditions in the far north in the hope of finding this arcadia.
He sources this to Gorky, M., ‘On the Russian Peasantry’, in R.E.F. Smith (ed.), The Russian Peasantry 1920 and 1984, London, 1977, and thanks to the magic of Google Books I can actually see the page where Gorky talks about this; Figes has basically reworded his account in the first sentence, but Gorky says nothing about expeditions. The other source cited is Stites, Revolutionary Dreams: Utopian Vision and Experimental Life in the Russian Revolution, but Amazon’s “Search inside” feature allows me to discover that there is no reference to “Opona” in the book. Stites does talk about an expedition to find a similar utopia, “Belovode” [Беловодье] (“the Kingdom of the White Waters”) in the late 19th century, and mentions “similar arcadias… the City of Ignat, the Land of the River Darya, Nutland, and Kitezh.” So the trail peters out with Gorky’s 1922 book on the peasantry, to which I can find no other reference. I’ve checked the online Russian editions without success; you’d think it would be on this page if it started with О ‘about, on’ in Russian, and you’d think it would be here or here if it was published in 1922. Anyway, I’m fascinated by mythical places like this, I’d like to know more about “Opona” (there’s a word opona ‘covering, curtain’ in Russian, which may or may not be relevant), and if anyone knows more (about Opona or about Ignat, Darya, or Nutland), please share.