30 July, 2021

Moscow Diary

In Outlook this week, a diary from Moscow.

Illustration by Saahil
Moscow Diary
Perestroika, Ahoy!

It’s three in the morning. The cab pulls up at a red light on a pedestrian crossing. There is no traffic; no one’s crossing the road either. But the cabbie waits patiently for 70 seconds for the light to turn green. That’s Moscow for you. Everything is in order, from traffic signs on washed roads to nearly identical apartment buildings and glass-fronted shops. From the ultra-modern underground metro rail to river ferries taking tourists up and down the Moskva.

The clockwork precision of life in the northernmost megapolis is a Soviet legacy. Many Muscovites look back at the fall of the Soviet Union with a trace of sadness and fondly remember the “great country” that it once was. Russian old-timers still discuss conspiracy theories about the “capitalist and expansionist” West’s hand in the collapse of the USSR—same as the Cyrillic acronym CCCP on Olympic jerseys. The 50-something...

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