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Dave's Russia Page is back!
Originally established in 1999 at http://rossiya_david.tripod.com, unloved for many years - but now it's back: bigger, brighter, better than ever!

why Russia?

3 July 2013

I love this film! I have gathered together her various bits and pieces relating to this 1990 Cold War spy thriller: reviews, cast information, locations, script.

CHRIST THE SAVIOUR CATHEDRAL describes the rebuilding of the church that was destroyed in Stalin's time.

KRUSHCHEV'S GRAVE provides some background information on the construction of the tombstone in Novodevichy Convent.

MOSCOW SKYCRAPERS If you want to know all about those 7 wedding cake skyscrapers in Moscow, there is a of information and pictures here, there is also a page dedicated to each of the seven buildings


Refurbished and on a new plinth, this famous monument returns to its All Russia Exhibition home


Over the years I have faced such questions as: Are you a Communist? Why Russia? If you love it so much why don't you go and live there?


Well, I am not a communist and my interest does not stem from a dislike of my own country or a wish to belong to another culture. On the contrary, I am very patriotic, I am proud of our history and institutions and I certainly wouldn't want to live anywhere else.


However, none of this precludes me from taking an interest in the language, culture, history and politics of another country.

"Patriotism is the love of one's own country, nationalism is the hatred of others" Dimitri Sergeyevich Likhachev - Russian literary historian who died in 1999.

But why Russia? I don't know.. . what started out as a mild curiosity, years ago, has turned into quite an obsession today. All I can say is that it began at school when I was studying political philosophy and we covered Marxism, communism and the history of the Russian Revolution.


I caught a glimpse of a nation that was far removed from the 'evil empire' that was portrayed in our media at that time.


Whilst Reagan's 'evil empire' tag wasn't entirely incorrect - the Soviet Union was a brutal regime - Soviet society was not the disciplined nor regimented place portrayed in the media. It was often (and Russia still is) a place of chaos, haphazard organisation, and lackadaisical pace. There was the stifling bureaucracy, of course, but there existed a general and healthy disregard for rules and regulations.


"In a country where so much is forbidden, almost everything seems possible" Michael Binyon, Life in Russia


This was clearly demonstrated to me when I first climbed aboard a scheduled Aeroflot flight in 1988. After being allocated our seats at the check-in desk, the frosty Russian stewardess who grudgingly welcomed us on board the Ilyushin 76 told us to sit where we liked. I was slightly unnerved by an unattended bag that lay under the seat in front. I was convinced it was a bomb so I promptly told the stewardess. She scowled at me but didn't look unduly concerned; however, she did locate the bag's owner. The bag, as it turned out, belonged to another passenger - a Muslim chap who was elsewhere on the plane - praying in the aisle (that same passenger had asked us earlier which direction was Mecca (I had no idea – although I did think, at the time, it was in Morroco –so I was no help whatsoever). I must admit, if this happened to me on a flight nowadays, I would properly shit myself.


Initially, I may have been attracted to the propaganda image of the working class heroically marching towards their glorious future, building a worker's state, but I was also curious as to what the reality of life was like living in such a system. I love the high-rise apartment blocks but i'm not sure whether I would like to live in one - certainly such blocks have a bad image in the UK owing to shoddy construction, damp and social problems associated with them.


Beyond the dehumanized and politicised facade of a monolithic Soviet state, it was always possible to detect something distinctly Russian amongst the human responses to a totalitarian system. This can best be summed up as follows:

"There is something about Russia which makes most of us foreigners who live here spend most of our idle hours discussing the country's ills, proposing remedies and speculating about prospects for recovery. In a sense this is patronising. However it also demonstrated Russia's unique ability to stimulate foreigner's interest, even love. Perhaps because of the universality of its great literature and art, perhaps because of its size, strength and a particular kind of purity, Russia represents the human condition and struggle of the human spirit more vividly than our own countries. We are fascinated by what we see here, we want to be part of the struggle. We personally - often involuntarily - identify with this people's difficulties and fate. This is not patronising, but a testimony to Russia's greatness."

George Feifer, Message from Moscow