Saturday, August 13, 2016
What Is Happening In Moscow.
Lucian Kim, Berlin Policy Journal: Potemkin Village
Moscow has had an expensive makeover while the regime ossifies.
Moscow is looking better than it has in decades.
The Russian capital has become more hip, its post-Communist ennui replaced by fashionable new urban development. But this only serves as a distraction from Russia’s political problems – some of which are keeping Muscovites trapped at home.
When I first visited the city 25 years ago, it was the decaying capital of world communism. A decade later, during an unprecedented oil boom, Moscow had become a jungle of runaway real estate developments and monster traffic jams. Today the city is undergoing yet another transformation.
Returning to see friends this summer, I barely recognized the place. In the city’s historic center, bicycle lanes and broad granite sidewalks now squeeze out cars. Parking rules are strictly enforced, and outdoor advertising has largely vanished.
The changes are not only cosmetic. Gourmet burger joints, kosher restaurants, and craft beer pubs vie for the foot traffic. As a friend and I sat on one of the ubiquitous summer verandas one evening, quaint trams trundled by. For a moment, it almost felt like Prague.
Read more ....
WNY Editor: Arrived in Moscow a few hours ago .... and while it is now morning .... from what I have seen so far .... this place is still booming. These are just first impressions .... I have seen more than my share of booms and busts in Moscow .... but I cannot help but sense that there is something different now. On an interesting note .... my cousin's son picked us at the airport .... and he talked about everything and anything except the one subject that I am most interested in ..... and that is what the hell is happening in the Kremlin. More on that in the next post.