Monday, May 16, 2011

Soviet Victory today

One week ago today was Victory Day- the day that Nazi Germany surrendered to the USSR (and some other Allies).  The week before that was May Day, and Moscow has been a-buzz with shashlik picnics and Soviet era memorabilia.  Any visitors coming to Russia in early May who didn't know otherwise might believe they had been transported back 70 years when red stars and statues of workers holding wheat above their heads was perfectly normal.  Christine and I took a spontaneous trip to St. Petersburg where we arrived outside the Hermitage in time to see the entire Saturday Victory Day rehearsal with both soldiers and vehicles displayed in majestic regalia.

Two days later we stood for 2.5 hours in Moscow on Mayakovskaya Square to see a much less spectacular 10 minutes of tanks rolling by.  And then we went to Starlite Diner.  And then like all good Moscuvites, we went to Victory Park and got stranded when the metro closed at 4pm.  It was really moving to see all the war veterans receiving flowers from young people in thanks for their service. It was also a beautiful day to sit in the sun.

 Victory Park

To add to the wave of post-Soviet excitement, after reading in the most-helpful April-May 2011 edition of Moscow in your Pocket that you could rent bikes at the VDNKh (ВДНХ) park, Christine and I visited what we've dubbed the "Soviet Disneyland."  At ВДНХ, we were treated to an assortment of pavilions celebrating Belarus, Armenia and other Soviet republics, statues of workers, and museums dedicated to the achievements of the USSR (such as electricity and space exploration) littering the park in a derelict sort of nostalgia.  If you take a visit to Moscow, this park has to be on your list of things to see.  Rent some bikes for 150r/hour and take a trip back in time to when all this was taken seriously.  Also plan on finishing the trip with a Стардог (Stardog), a bottle of kvas, and a Кино (Kino) cover band. 

 She was obviously waiting for her rocket to come

I sang along to "Kamchatka"

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