Russia 2018

HI FROM MOSCOW, RUSSIAN FEDERATION.

It is Friday 5:18 AM in Moscow, the capital city of Legendary Russian Federation. It is 10:58 PM, Saturday, in New York city, capital of the world.

I am a member of a crowd of 60 that have made it to the 2018 World Cup Adventure. We have been here for 48 hours, it feels like 48 weeks. We have been too busy touring the capital and living the dream of being at a World Cup. We have had no real or virtual time to post on the magnificence of the city and intensity of the event. It is just overwhelming.

RUSSIA AND ITS LEGEND

“Russia is our next-door neighbor, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.” Sarah Palin, to Charles Gibson, ABC News.

It is a sure bet that everyone on this planet has heard of at least two of these names: Vladimir Putin, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Yuri Gagarin, Mikhail Gorbachev, Peter the Great, Anna Kournikova, Gorky

CRUISING THE MOSCOW RIVER.

The Laguna is one these bateaux-mouches (fly boats) similar to those that navigate La Seine in Paris. The crew had to wait for the Travel O Ganza group for more than an hour because of (1) heavy traffic, (2) the bus driver got into a fender bender, with private car.   During the World Cup, the streets of Moscow, are transformed into a large parking lot, with no end in

RUSSIA, FACTS AND NUMBERS.

Russia is a federation, not a union, ran by a president (head of state) assisted by a prime minister (head of government).

The country coveers an area of 17,098,242 sq km. That is equivalent to 1/6 of all uncovered lands on the planet. It encompasses 11 time zones.  It borders 13 countries, and four of the seven major oceans. It is by far the largest country in the world.

VICTORY MUSEUM & DANCE PARTY

“Those who fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”

Lately, the international media has been considering (or auguring) the possibility of a major armed conflict between two major military powers. The remedy to such a blunder would be to schedule all world leaders to take a tour of the Victory Museum in Moscow.

KREMLIN & SPARTAK STADIUM

“Life within the Kremlin was shrouded in impenetrable secrecy.” Harrison Salisbury

 

Once upon a time, if there is one word that would have your hair raised on your back, that would be the world Kremlin.  Indeed from 1922 to 1991, the world waved and moved on the whim of the Kremlin.  Most of us say “the Kremlin” the same way we say, “the White House” or “l’Elysee”. It is the power behind the walls.

ISMAYLOVSKIY SHOPPING & BOLSHOI BALLET

“Bolshoi Ballet is a universe of the imagination, a place of magic and enchantment, beauty and romance.” – Trudy Garfunkel

 

If you have had Bolshoi Theater on your bucket list, you are not alone. The Bolshoi Theatre is to Moscow what the Opera House is to Sydney.  You must stop at Bolshoi, if you ever visit Moscow.

MOSCOW, GRANDIOSE THIRD ROME.

“Moscow had this incredible, intense atmosphere of intrigue and darkness and secrecy.” Alan Furst

Think of a city that is among the largest in the world, brimming with good-looking people, replete with museums, parks, restaurants, night clubs, monuments, and visited by 17 million tourists every year.

HI FROM SAINT PETERSBURG, CAPITAL OF IMPERIAL RUSSIA.

“St. Petersburg is a gem of world culture and Russia’s most European city.”
 Valentina Matviyenko

After spending a day in Saint Petersburg, you will very likely wonder “Why do I have to spend so much time in London or Paris?’. The City of Peter the Great is wholly magnificent and broadly reflects the petulant soul of its dwellers.

SAINT-PETERSBURG: OPULENT, ROMANTIC, SPECATULAR.

“Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration.”

Robin Sharma

When Peter the First, decided to create a modern European-like city in Russia, no one understood his project.  The Czar went to Western Europe, disguised as a commoner, learned about the sciences and techniques that would usher Russia into the modern world.

PETERHOF, THE VERSAILLES OF SAINT-PETERSBURG

“A glorious symbol of the new sea lords that once ruled over Russia” (Unknown)

If you have any opinion on what may have been the greatest imperial or royal palace in the world, please hold it until you see Peterhof, located 29 kilometers from downtown Saint Petersburg, built on 31 hectares of land, the size of 500 football fields.

HERMITAGE MUSEUM & CRUISE ON THE NEVA RIVER

“The museum teaches and gives joy and is therefore somewhere between Disneyland and a temple” (Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the Hermitage Museum.)

The highlight of the day was a visit to the Winter Palace, hosting the Hermitage Museum.  It is one of the largest museum in the world, an obligate stop in any visit of Saint Petersburg. An average of 3.1 million visitors come to the Hermitage every year.

THE FUTURE OF RUSSIA

“The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” William Gibson

With the goal to be an undeniable super power in the decades to come, Russia has:

A young pyramidal population.

Among the best healthcare and educational systems in the world.

A huge territory, rich in natural resources.

BACK FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE

“Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key.”  Winston Churchill.

Russia is not a snowy warrying backward Antarctic Viking or Ottoman landscape. It is a huge subcontinent occupying 1/8 of all the land on the planet, inhabited by many ethnic groups. It spans two different continents.  It offers a diversity of cultures on a scale unmatched anywhere else in Europe…