Приве́т!

Back from Moscow.
I MISS HOME SO MUCH!

I don’t see why people like to say “I don’t wanna go home!”?
Tak nak balik, tukar pasport lah. LOL.


Russia has always been a mysterious place simply because IT IS SO FAR AWAY and so little-known.
I mean, what do we know about Russia?
1. Largest country by area.
2. Used to be communist.
3. The President is called Putin.
4. Don’t like America.
I think that’s about it. Before coming here I don’t know a single Russian football player at all.


World travel
Anyway this trip adds the Russian Federation to my list of travelled countries.
I thought I was pretty well-travelled—maybe not, I have a lot of space to cover.




This trip took place because I won a lucky draw by Maybank and VISA. Maybe I spent too much on their card? I don’t know. But apparently VISA is my sugar daddy during this trip—everything was taken care of.

First they gave us free US$225 for no reason.
Then a lunch card worth 4500 rubles for no reason.
Then free Metro card.
Three free pints of beer per day.
Free jacket.
Free match tickets.
Free vodka souvenirs.
Free travelling pouch.
Free museum tickets.
Free laptop bag.
Free snacks daily.

夫复何求?

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1. World Cup

So the World Cup match I was watching is Spain versus Russia. I heard there were fights between Russian and Brazilian fans in the previous matches, so of course I am supporting Russia. Anyway they provide me with so much food and hospitality, give face lah…

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The entire Luzhniki Stadium is surrounded by crazy fans and a lot of entertainment.
Russians fans are damn fierce. Maybe a bit violent too, but it’s okay, so am I.



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他们的男人真的不帅。


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One thing I cannot accept though is “booing” in the stadium. Don’t want support then don’t support lah, boo for fuck…? Damn no sportsmanship leh. I don’t watch football, can someone tell me if it is common/alright to boo at the opponent? I am pretty sure in badminton if the supporters booed they will be made to shut up.

I don't know, but maybe I just aren't the competitive type.
I mean, 都不会做人,就算赢了全世界又有屁用?


UGPJ9259

Okay lah Russia won in the end, I think it was a good match because Spain performed really badly. At least Russia made a lot of attempts to bring the ball to somewhere near the Spanish goalpost.




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2. Socialism


As you may or may not know, I am slightly more sympathetic towards the leftist movement. I have always been a fan of egalitarian systems and obviously social justice is something that I believe strongly in. It is of course easy to say that I believe in a certain system/ideology—to be honest we don’t really know much about it anyway. People often call us “entitled”, which isn’t entirely wrong, but beyond that presumed “entitlement” they fail to see the struggles youths face in society.

Social mobility has become more stagnant than before.

Religion and ideology is not something that was as widely practised strictly as before.

Opportunities may be equal; access to it is not so.

And the list goes on.


But yes, people of my generation did not have a real taste of what REAL socialism is. It remains a 憧憬 that may or may not make sense, but its ideals of a socially more inclusive society were surely attractive enough.

As you may know, contemporary Russia is established on the rumps of the former Soviet Union. To my parents (they’re educated in China) the fall of the Soviet Union was like a number big thing to them because it signified the end of a socialist experiment that began since the 1920s. Not too sure if that shook their belief in socialism but anyway I want to say that traces of socialism is EVERYWHERE in Moscow:

MEWO3662
Spot the anvil and hammers.

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The back entrance of the Kremlin. Putin stays here.

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Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building, a Stalinist skycraper built in 1947, meant to be an apartment.


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The Russian State Library, named after Vladimir Lenin, with almost 45 million books inside.



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Oktyabr Cinema, now redesigned as a mall. Check out the communist motifs on top!


I went to this Contemporary History Museum, where they talked about 1950s-2000s Russia. You could tell that the breakup of the Soviet Union was the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT event in Russian history, not only because they lost 25% of their land rightaway, but it represented a fall of a Golden Age.

The Museum featured the 50s-60s as an era of inventions and innovations and they were really proud of it. Never in the exhibition did they criticise communism--they of course cited lack of reforms and corruption as reasons why the regime collapsed, but there were no direct references to failures of the ideology--perhaps there isn't?

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3. Architecture

The architecture in Moscow is very interesting. Moscow does not have many skycrapers, most of its buidings are below 20 storeys high.

That said, the architecture there is very diverse because they emphasise various periods of Russian history. The streets of Moscow are wide and huge and surprisingly I seldom see traffic lights. Most cars give way at zebra crossings and there is no traffic jam. The Metro system is bloody complicated but isn't difficult to navigate.

The only issue is, English is minimal here so it does get annoying when you are trying to somewhere and you take four minutes to figure where you are on the map.



EMAV2626



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The front of the Kremlin, at the Red Square.



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The only legit skycrapers in Moscow, at the Moscow International Business Centre.




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Arbat Street.





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Outside the State History Museum.
Everything was in Russian, you had to pay extra for English guide.
Which obviously I won't.



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Yes, every damn thing is in Russian ONLY.

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MORE RUSSIAN. HELP LAH.


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Found my way nevertheless.
Doing NUS proud.

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The Metro stations have beautiful vault architecture.
Some stations serve an added function of being a nuclear shelter.
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The trains are super old.


_______
4. Shopping

Shopping was done at minimal because the Russians really don't speak English. I entered a confectionary once at the International Business Centre and guess what, no one knew what I wanted. The sweets and chocolates looked really amazing and I was legit spoiled for choice, but because I had no idea what was written on it, 我也就只能靠感觉随便拿咯。



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Olivier salad with a quail, a salad dish that is traditionally Russian.
Supposedly invented by a Belgian chef named Olivier 150 years ago.


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The former state department store, GUM (pronounced GOOM).

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YES THIS IS THE CONFECTIONERY.
LOOKS GREAT BUT I NEEDED HELP DESPERATELY.


Anyway it was really an eye-opening tour, and it was free, so there is no regrets lah. 10/10 will go again, after learning some better Russian.


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