Moscow welcomed us kindly. Starting with the Russian Army band that was playing very cheerful and dynamic music from the moment we stepped off of the train. Surprisingly and against what everyone was telling us – people were very friendly and welcoming. Therefore we had no problems with finding a place to crash or any type of help that we needed throughout the whole stay here.
On the first day, our talented host took us to the music festival for college students, not too far from the place where we stayed. We had the chance to listen and enjoy the music from one of the most popular Russian rock band, followed by the spectacular fireworks show. The interesting fact was that the whole festival was sponsored by public donations, millionaires and people who finished that particular college. The residents told us that this festival is one of the best around and that the fireworks show completely knocked down the one that was shown to celebrate ending of the World War II. I found this very interesting, that in the country with such a strong socialism history a private person can organize such a big event – better than a government institution 😉
The building on the picture above- that looks just like the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw- is the building of one of the biggest universities in Moscow and actually in all of Russia. I have to admit the whole university campus is very impressive. There are 7 more buildings like that in Moscow and they are different public institutions.
After the concert, with our new Russian friends we went to the big after party by the water fountain next to the university. For the first time we were really able to see how welcoming the younger generation really was- such a difference from the stereotype that we have heard and had seen in media.
One of the biggest shockers of this trip is the fact that in Russia you can’t buy alcohol between 11pm-8am. I’m sure reading this, you are as surprised as we were, and at first we thought that somebody is messing with us just to be funny, but no they were dead serious. Just want to say that we were able to bend that rule a little; with the help of our new Armenian friend. Im sure that with no knowledge of Russian and without our friend we wouldn’t be able to do it. As you can assume going to the “after party” we didn’t have any adult drinks with us because we consumed everything at the concert but our kind companions profusely shared with us their supplies.
After couple of shots the conversation with our new friends got more loose and because most of them were able to communicate in English, we could talk beyond “what’s your name?” and “what music do you listen to?”. With some people, who we got to know better, we could chat about less or more controversial subjects. The moment I got to Russia I was wondering what is their point of view when comes to Russia and Ukraine and to be more specific – Crimea. What was interesting is the fact that almost every educated young Russian didn’t see anything wrong with it, and that Crimea was a part of Russia for many years. Also that at this point people have chosen for themselves by legally voting. On the other hand what was shocking to me is that almost every person who I talked to didn’t have anything nice to say about their current president- Vladimir Putin, and some of them just by hearing that name got their stomach turning.
Most of the people who saw us with our cameras and go-cams were very curious, but we had one incident when a girl came up to us and nervously started asking us questions “what are we doing here?”, “were are we from?”, “why are we filming all of this and what are we going to do with our materials?”. After short conversation, couple of shots and several “sto lat”- “happy bdays” (she claimed it was her bday that day) she got more relaxed to the point that we could have a more serious conversation. It turned out she was a journalist working for one of the Russian newspapers. Our conversation got to the subject of “Night Wolves”- pro-russian group and motorcycle enthusiasts who were banned entry to Poland while traveling to Germany to celebrate the “Victory Day”. We asked her about her personal opinion about this and she said that Poland made the right choice of not letting them to our country. I asked her did she write that in her newspaper and unfortunately- to be able to keep her job she had to write the total opposite. I asked if she realizes what she did is called a propaganda and she nodded her head not even looking into my eyes….