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Je Suis Russia #3

Friday, October 14, Moscow.Really catching a lot of sleep. Last night another 9 hours.

Nickolai came around 3 pm to take me on a stroll through the immediate neighborhood. This is a housing development completed by Nikita Khrushchev to provide housing for Russian people. Sometime around 4pm, Aleksey Mavroyev arrived with instructions to take me to see some of the sights.

The weather here is getting cold. Since I’ve been here there has been complete overcast and temperatures hovering around 50 F during the day and dropping down to the 30’s overnight. It was quite cold tonight as we toured the center of Moscow.

I have been to Rome, Amsterdam, Paris, London, Geneva, Barcelona, Madrid, Munich, NYC, Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., LA, Dallas, Miami and everywhere in between, but there is no other city in the world that can compare to Moscow. It is unmatched in beauty, architecture, cleanliness, scale, and history. Founded in the 11th Century, this city of 17 MILLION and 20 Million in the metropolitan area is unbelievable. It would take more than ten days to even begin to scratch the surface.

Russian people look no different than Americans anywhere in the U.S.. The women are stylish and elegant, yet some are dressed in blue jeans and I even saw one young woman with dreads. The men sport short hair and dress causally. But I saw many very stylish men in suits, ties, and expensive coiffures. There were also many with long hair and beards.

I saw only two people begging on the streets. No sign of homeless people, but I was told there were many very poor people and some homelessness.

I’m beginning to see that not all Russians hold the same beliefs about many things: Communism, Lenin, Stalin, Marx, the Soviet Era. I was told that most Moscovites are “apathetic” when it comes to politics and many believe they are powerless to do anything about the political environment. Hmmmm…just like Merica and the EU.

Nickolai explained that the first law of Capitalism was to maximize profits. Couldn’t disagree with that. He said that the first law of Communism was to ensure that the people had what they needed. When I asked to differentiate between  Capitalism and free market Capitalism or unregulated Capitalism, Nickolai just laughed.

I must conclude by saying, I feel completely at home and safe. Several friends cautioned me to “be careful” in Russia. Not sure what they were thinking. I walked the streets for several hours today and rode the metro and never felt uncomfortable or much less threatened. Moscow is a very safe place, and I think safer than New York. There are policemen in the subways and in some areas of the city, but no machine guns, riot gears, or any of that stuff as there is all across America. At JFK airport, there are regular patrols of National Guard personnel with M-16s everywhere. Nothing of the kind here.

I will begin working (filming) tomorrow and that will include my first interviews. I just wish all Americans could experience Russia and Russian people as I have. They are not evil. The real evil exists in Washington, and everyone else knows it.

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