April-June 2018 #2 (22)
I will start with two quotes. Here is the first: “We had a very successful trip to Russia. We made it back.” Here is the second: “The only problem that I have coming to Russia is that there’s never enough time to see and visit everything.” The first line comes from the well-known American comic Bob Hope, who visited Moscow at the start of the 1960’s. The second quote came from the famous Hollywood actor Johnny Depp, who visited the Moscow capital twice, first in 2011, and later in 2013. More than half a century had passed between the two quotes, during which time Moscow changed radically.
Changes today in the capital occur at a such a break-neck speed that even a Muscovite could not keep track of them. Almost every day some positive development takes place in the city: a new subway station is opened for use, a new supermarket, cafe, or movie theater opens its doors, a new segment of highway is laid, or a new residential building is constructed.
It used to be that when foreigners arrived to Moscow, they by and large had no idea what to do and where to go to have an interesting time. Aside from Red Square, Tretyakovskaya Gallery, Bolshoi Theater, and, perhaps, Gorky Park, it seemed as if there was nothing to see in the Russian capital. The city did not even have decent cafes and restaurants, where one could have dinner. Moscow closed at 23:00 and, whether or not one wanted to, one had to go home and sleep.
Today, however, Moscow is a city which never sleeps. Now it is nice to just walk around Moscow. The city center has been completely liberated from vehicles and given to pedestrians. Currently a rich, interesting life is in full swing both night and day in the Russian capital. There are first-class restaurants and cafes, exhibits and concerts with world-renowned stars. Incidentally, at the end of May of this year Johnny Depp is coming to Moscow once again, this time with his band Hollywood Vampires. We will hope that this time he will have more time to enjoy the city.
Life in Moscow is becoming better not by waving a magic wand. All of this is the result of the city’s authorities implementing programs affecting all corners of life. Transport, residential buildings, education, health, safety, sport, tourism, recreation… Even sceptics acknowledge today that these programs are being implemented with success. Not surprisingly, the Moscow Mayor Sobyanin has been for some years now in the first place in national ratings among Russian regional authorities.
However, one does not need to look at ratings to understand how Moscow is getting better. Now it is difficult to find a foreigner living in Moscow who does not love this hospitable city. Many expats have openly described to me how they really enjoy life in the Russian capital. Some of them confess, what they can get here they would never be able to get back in their home country or anywhere else. This, of course, is not just about beautiful women, who really are unbelievably abundant in Moscow. However, this, ultimately, is a matter of taste and personal charm. We are talking about something entirely different. First of all are the high-quality services which one can get in the city, and the opportunities which are available here for every intelligent, energetic, ambitious businessman. After all, sanctions are one thing, but the desire and ability to work are another. Foreign businessmen working today in Russia give quite a few good examples of this.
For those who have still not figured out what to do, I can give some advice. Here it is: Come to Moscow without hesitation – it is a modern, convenient city that is attractive for business and investment. After all, Moscow is a megalopolis of 20 million people, which is implementing one of the largest development programs in the world for city infrastructure.
Editor in Chief
Founder: Department for External Economic and International Relations of the Government of Moscow
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