Moscow expat Life Editors Letter
John Harrison, Editor, Moscow expat Life

John Harrison, Editor, Moscow expat Life

The long winter is coming to an end. Those of us who have seen crises out in the past are beginning to sense the end of this one, or at least we feel that things can’t get much worse. But this is all occurring against a background of massive polarisation of opinions and a certain amount of McCarthyite anti-Russia bashing. Russia must be a massively more important card than many of us who live here think, for she is able to play such a decisive role in world politics methinks!

Helen Borodina covers an important cultural event organized by the South African embassy in Moscow, when, at the ‘Dom Muziki,’ the embassy celebrated South Africa’s own very powerful and specific culture. The next day, as Helen reports, two statues dedicated to national South African heroes were unveiled in a special ceremony. The Ambassador of UAE to Moscow, Ambassador Omar Said Ghobash touches on a vitally important theme in my interview in this issue, when he talks about the need to tell the world that Islam is not actually a radical religion despite the narrative that we are being fed with from the world’s media day and night.

Maintaining our clarity of mind is certainly not easy. A way of finding peace for many expats and Russians, has been meditation. It still feels strange to write about this, however it now feels safe to ‘come out’ about such subjects. Long-time Moscow resident Charles Borden writes about his journey that began 47 years ago when he became acquainted with the meditation techniques imparted by the Maharishi Yogi in Maine, New England. Charles actually became a TM teacher in 1974. He brings his story to Russia, and describes the interesting development of that movement in Russia. Sherry Weinstein, writes about the ‘Peace Education Programme’ as offered by the Prem Rawat Foundation, a programme that has brought, according to graduates of the programme, a deep understanding and experience of peace to a huge number of people the world over. The programme is now available in Moscow.

The Turks in Moscow are another aspect of our community who have been incredibly busy designing and building some of the landmark buildings that we consider to be archetypical Moscow. Riverside Towers at Paveletskaya, for example, was one of their first achievements. Political developments hit the Moscow Turkish community hard last year, but they now seem to be recovering. Thanks to Maria Ushakova, we were able to interview four Turks in this issue.

Perhaps of interest to those who may be about to pack up and go, are two articles about what it is like to move both in the physical and spiritual sense. Can we ever, in fact, forget Russia? On the cultural front, Lubov Zolotova writes about the ZIL Cultural centre and Creative Cluster, and the indefatigable Ross Hunter (of ‘Silver’s’ fame) who may well be a ‘repat’ soon, tackles (well) an impossible subject: ‘The Arts as a Revolutionary Force in Russia, 1880-1916.’  Тhere is a lot in this issue, much more than I have mentioned here; not least the unforgettable Dragons’ Rugby Ball. I do hope you enjoy reading this magazine.

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Moscow Expat Life Spring 2017