As I said I will give some account of my latest trip to Russia and here it is. What needs to be pointed out immediately is this:
1. Russians (and especially Muscovites) are generally well aware of the world outside. My sense is that they are aware of the world on several orders of magnitude more than Americans or even Europeans. As I stated many times in this blog--it comes naturally, memories of wars and sacrifice are as alive as it was true in my childhood, which was quite some time ago. I had a very interesting discussion with youth (distant relatives and relatives in law) one warm night near Moscow. The interest about US was lively but even this youth (ranging in age from 25 to 31) radiated what Leo Tolstoy called in his War & Peace "the warm light of patriotism", when describing Russian soldiers on the eve of Borodino Battle. It is there and it shows. These are very bad news for neocons.
|Memory Hall in The Victory Park. There Are 2.6 Million Crystal Pendants-Tears Hanging From The Ceiling--Each For A Fallen Soldier.|
|Lend-Lease M-4 Shermans And Matildas Are proudly Displayed.|
2. Life is not easy for anyone but it is also not what is being peddled by Western media. Not even close. People still go out, they still buy things and department and grocery stores are always packed. The choice of products both consumer and groceries is, actually, startling. I bought a superb Russian-made shoes--leather, comfy, nice. Well, they came out around 60 USD which is a hefty sum but there are very many less expensive options which work just fine. Fact is, I wouldn't mind getting to one of the huge Russian market places (rynok) where variety of stuff is offered for a fraction of the price. We simply didn't have time.
3. Moscow and around it--everything is uber-computerized, everything is scanned, including universal cards for all modes of public transportation--from metro through buses and trams. As it is well known, Moscow's traffic is a nightmare and even colossal Moscow's major streets (sometimes 12-14 lines of traffic combined) have issues handling the flow. Yes, Moscow is gigantic but it is what is inside it that makes her stand out. Major arteries are incredibly wide and there is construction everywhere--2018 FIFA World Cup is coming. The worst part is narrowing of famous Tverskaya Street which leads to the Manege Square. As I already stated, to comprehend Moscow's scale one has to be there physically and try to get the bearings while standing on the isle near Arc De Triumph on Kutuzovsky Avenue--the space seems limitless despite colossal buildings and skyscrapers of Moscow-city towering in distance. Lovely villages around Moscow (if not for a freaking heat-wave) are a much better way of spending time, granted that one has an ample supply of Jack Daniels and a couple of good cigars;-)
To be continued......