I’m writing this while in flight having just left Russia. This trip was the “richest” experience in my hundreds of trips to Russian cities in the past 33 years. U.S. media tell us that under the pressure of sanctions and low oil prices the Russian economy is failing, but after seeing Russia this spring one has to question this.
I traveled to Russia numerous times during the drabness and product scarcity of the Soviet years (1983 – 1989). Following that, I spent months each year in Russia amid the disintegration, lawlessness and chaos of the 1990’s. During this period Russians had lost all hope in themselves and in Russia at large. I watched during the 2000’s as a semblance of order began to slowly emerge. During this period I also noticed Russians beginning to question “Who are we? What is our “National Idea?”