Friday, June 04, 2004

Two Different Worlds In Russia

The tour of Moscow today offered a completely different view of Russia than the one we gained during nearly two weeks in Nizhny.

Although it is the third-largest city in Russia, Nizhny is dirt poor ... and very dirty. Moscow is very much like capital cities in the United States, including Washington -- prim, proper and polished. We saw the seedier side of the city our first night in Russia, when we made an impromptu overnight stay with a Christian because we couldn't get train tickets to Nizhny. But Moscow appears to be very much like Washington: pockets of poverty (probably broader and more extreme than in the District) but also areas of great wealth and stunning architecture.

Moscow has beautiful apartment complexes, including one where it costs $2,000 to $3,000 to rent a small space, according to the guide on the bus tour. They have an embassy row. And the campus of Moscow University rivals any of the big schools I've seen in D.C. or throughout the United States (save the West Virginia University campus, which is unrivaled in the world!!!). My photos won't tell the story because I had to take most of them from the bus, through glass windows and with electrical wires and car tops in the foreground. But I hope they will provide some insight.

Masha said the reason for the disparity between Moscow (as well as St. Peterburg) and other cities like Nizhny is the control Moscow has over revenue in the nation. Most of it goes to the two biggest cities, and most popular attractions for foreigners, and the rest have access to limited funds.

Sounds a bit like the pork-barrel political system in the United States, only on a much larger scale and I suspect with fewer people pulling the strings.


Blogger David R said...

One more night in Russia... seems like it's gone so fast (but I'm not the one listening to RUssian and missing my family!). Glad you had some good weather today, and we'll pray for your safe travels on the last leg home.

12:48 AM  
Blogger Rick & Peg said...

The count down has begun. I hope you start talking about the trip and don't stop for days...I want to hear everything, even repeat some stuff. Your notes have been great to hear and something I have looked forward to everyday.

Keep safe and give everyone out love.


1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I don't know if you will be able to read this or not, since I'm not sure just when you will be leaving. Mom and I have enjoyed being able to keep up with you on this trip, and will pray for your safe return to us. We will be looking forward to hearing all about the trip in person. I have placed a link to your report on my web page. Hope to see you soon.


6:32 AM  

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