Moscow, Goran’s old neighbourhood

We had a whole day of walking around the neighbourhood where I used to live in the boom years of 1996-97. It was before the stock crash of 1998 and the private economy was booming. The government was short on cash, but business were thriving and growing like crazy.

Now the whole town has risen to a completely new level. There is an amazing amount of money flowing around, and all of central Moscow has been renovated or is in the process. The energy of the town is very powerful and a bit scary. It is a bit like a James-Bond-movie, with photo-model ladies and luxury cars and policemen and women armed with automatic assault rifles (did not dare to take photos of this.).

The wealth is spreading across big parts of society, at least in the big cities, where real salary increase has been 1000% during the Putin years (from 80 USD/month in 2000 to 900 USD/month in 2013). The income distribution is wide, with enormous differences between groups in society, but most have profited in this period. This is clearly one of the reasons why Putin is so popular.

In front of the house where Goran lived for a year. (just one flat...)

In front of the house where Goran lived for a year. (just one flat…)

Belorussky Train Station. All train stations are well maintained and clean.

Belorussky Train Station. All train stations are well maintained and clean.

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The Metro works like a clock. The wagons smells like the old days and they are quite noisy...

Deep underground, nuke-proof.

 

Noisy trains in the metro, smells like the old days. Not yet replaced.

Noisy trains in the metro, smells like the old days. Not yet replaced.

 

Great coffee in plenty of places. This is the Uzbek style cafe Lepyoska - very friendly and tasty dishes.

Great coffee in plenty of places. This is the Uzbek style cafe Lepyoska – very friendly and tasty dishes.

 

Starbucks as well...

Starbucks as well…

 

"Stalin Skyscrapers" - this is the favorite - the University building MGU.

“Stalin Skyscrapers” – this is the favorite – the University building MGU.

Another Stalin skyscraper - Leningrad Hotel.

Another Stalin skyscraper – Leningrad Hotel.

GUM - a.k.a. State Department Store - now only expensive luxury.

GUM – a.k.a. State Department Store – now only expensive luxury.

Red Square (or as Walter would say, "The Beautiful Square, hrmm, since we all know that krasny used to mean beautiful before it meant red. Just like Belarus, as another aside on colors and beauty.")

Red Square (or as Walter would say, “The Beautiful Square, hrmm, since we all know that krasny used to mean beautiful before it meant red. Just like Belarus, as another aside on colors and beauty.”)

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