Moscow Round 2: One Month In…

Moscow Round 2: One Month In…
24 August 2016

Moscow is incomparable to the point of being almost indescribable. I often find myself making conflicting statements when trying to justify my, apparently, inexplicable decision to return to the city. Life here is characterised by juxtapositions which are taken as given by city’s inhabitants. It is not uncommon to see women with perfect manicures and red-soled heels, stopping along the road to buy fruit and veg from elderly ladies, with wizened faces and missing teeth telling of harder times.

Similarly, people seem to always have something to complain about- be it the economy or omnipresent ailments- whilst simultaneously always having something to celebrate. Muscovites, and Russians in general, enjoy a multitude of festivals and commemorative days, marked with traditional ceremonies and shrouded in superstitions that are as old as Russia herself. I still find it difficult to reconcile the hard and unsmiling faces on the metro with the people who will spend a good ten minutes on a heartfelt toast in your honour.

Whilst the past is very much still alive, embodied by the historic buildings and the beautifully ornate metro stations which tell of an ambivalent history, Moscow is far from being a stagnant. The Moscow I experienced three years ago is definitely not the Moscow of today. Thanks to a focus on urban planning and development, the city feels a lot more accessible. Alongside the immortalised figures and heroes of the Soviet past, are modern cafes and restaurant offering gastronomic experiences beyond the standard soups and salads. In parks adorned with symbols of Communism, exalting the worker and the importance of labour, people cycle and lounge on huge beanbags- Moscow is most definitely a city of paradoxes..

“Moscow isn’t ‘real’ Russia” is a common accusation made against the Russian capital- usually by people not from the city. However when you consider that it covers 17,098,242 square kilometres, what would qualify an area to be ‘real’ Russia is unclear. Nevertheless, I’ve already found myself unwittingly drawn into this competition between regions, championing Moscow’s superiority. Don’t get me started on the Moscow vs. St Petersburg argument…

Lola, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz Moscow. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related posts
Hello everyone, my name's Kamila and I'm delighted to be the new blogger at Liden and Denz! I've just started a month-long Russian language ...
Read more
As I was walking home last week, two large stone sphinxes on the banks of the Neva caught my eye. They exuded a sense of mystery and antiquity ...
Read more
On the occasion of Tchaikovsky's 175th anniversary special events will be held all over Russia during 2015. Пётр Ильич Чайковский (Pyotr Ilich ...
Read more
Потемкинские деревни, which can be translated as Potemkin villages, is a curious idiom found in Russian, which is also sometimes used in ...
Read more