The third night now I let myself drift through Moscow and look at me confused spectacle: Colombians dancing on street, Argentines Bawl, Mexicans talk about Russian policemen posing with sombreros for photos. And as two poles trot back after game with bowed heads, two muscular Russians emerge, embrace and comfort m.
In Moscow, usually city of haste, Russians, who can speak a few chunks of English, will suddenly stop and ask if one could help. Men pee at night in corners opposite Secret Service headquarters Lubyanka or climb on monuments, because re flag blows more beautiful – and police, which orwise goes on every trifle, watches.
Anyone who knows sellers in ticket desks of subway knows that friendliness was not a requirement for hiring. Now y smile and try mselves in English greetings. In subway, where it usually goes silent and lifeless, people suddenly talk to each or or sing. The Russian national guards, who have so far noticed me on demonstrations by ir rabid, wave with hands and feet to explain to British people where y have to change. Moscow, what happened?Moscow is great – and draining
I have been living in Russian capital for two and a half years, since a week she has been dissolving cognitive dissonance in me. Do not misunderstand: Moscow did not become a dazzling modern metropolis just a week ago, which it can accommodate with London or Paris. The new splendour is a project of mayor Sergei Sobjanin, who, especially over past two years, has been building, planting, grinding, and laying down day and night. His modernization furor gave Russian language a new verb: sobjanit, sobjanieren. SAY: Make Moscow a modern figurehead in an authoritarian system.
So Moscow became for me yes-but-city: Yes, Moscow is great-but city can be incredibly draining. Yes, Moscow is developing breathtakingly fast, but development is ruthless, often at expense of weak, as underpaid guest worker, who for World Cup even at night Fußwegplatten cut with bare hands and flip flops on feet. Yes, Moscow has great restaurants, but average Russian salaries of a few hundred euros a month allow only fewest regular visits. Yes, newly-made roads, broad footpaths, freshly planted linden trees are imposing, but it is financed with money that is missing in regions for roads. Yes, Moscow is very tidy and very safe – but thanks to a control and surveillance zeal that sets itself like a shadow on daily life.Five before 8:00 subscribe to morning column of Time online – from Monday to Friday by email. Sign up now
And so I walk through streets and look incredulously, like a city that suffers from too much control, celebrates loss of control and celebrates chaos. The tight rules are stretched. Suddenly, some Russians wonder that so many foreigners rejoice with m when Russian team wins – where supposedly Russophobia reigns world. Suddenly inner search grid of policemen is messed up, which orwise persistently pecks every Asians, every Caucasian out of crowd, because so many strangers from all over world are re. Suddenly Russians see that re is nothing to roll out posters on Red Square, because world does not go down. Suddenly Moscow is city in which it lives with ease.
Certainly, one should not pretend: this feast is only possible because it is not political. Uruguayans are likely to have banners without police stirring – but Briton, who just rolled out a small poster for rights of LGTB, was immediately arrested. Russia will not be anor country overnight, this World Cup will not give Ukrainian director Oleh Senzow Freedom, it will not change fact that in Chechnya human rights activist Ojub Titijew is wrong.
But this kind of small state of emergency might raise some questions. Perhaps Russians will doubt wher in west re can really be such a russophobia as politicians want to make m believe. Perhaps some people will wonder why posters in city are being sanctioned again just because y have a political message. Perhaps it will only be what remains of World Cup – wouldn't that be a start?Furr links RELATED LINKS
Bloomberg: World Cup gives a Glimpse of a happier Russia
Reuters: ' Let's hang out! ': Friendly Russians revel in influx of visiting fans
New York Times: Will FIFA force Russia to make World Cup friendly to L.G.B.T. people?
Date Of Update: 22 June 2018, 12:02