Monday 25th of May 2020

"It's the best city in the world, a city of unlimited possibilities. No other city has this much energy...."

the city that never sleeps...

In his company's loft offices above the roofs of Moscow, along with the hammocks and Soviet-era memorabilia, Artemy Lebedev has a provocative piece on display. Guests who use the bathroom while visiting Russia's best-known product designer find themselves inside the Kremlin, so to speak, sitting between the battlements of the fortress walls, gazing out at Red Square and listening to the sounds of the city. The voices of pedestrians and the traffic noise are a recording, the buildings and churches are painted onto a mural and the Kremlin wall is made of red-painted wood.


The 41-year-old designer is Moscow's enfant terrible. Together with his studio, he has designed a microwave for South Korean company Samsung, rectangular traffic lights for Istanbul and, for the nerds of the world, a computer keyboard that has acquired cult status with its luminous keys.

Lebedev has traveled to more than 200 countries, but he always feels drawn back to his native city. It is impossible to escape his creations in Moscow, where he has designed street signs and building numbers, mailboxes and even the maps for the city's metro system.

"Moscow never sleeps. It's the best city in the world," says Lebedev, "a city of unlimited possibilities, not as deadly boring as Berlin, where the restaurant kitchens close before midnight. No other city has this much energy. Moscow is just cool!"

Lebedev may be an eccentric, but he isn't exaggerating when he talks about the Russian capital. Moscow has never been as modern and cosmopolitan as it is today. There is free WLAN in subway cars, parks, restaurants and cemeteries, and you can use your smartphone to pay for parking spaces without having to walk to a parking meter. When you drive away, the main traffic office calculates online the exact number of minutes you parked. If your car was there for 53 minutes, you pay for 53 minutes.

Dozens of streets are being converted into pedestrian zones, there are 300 automatic bike rental stations, and movies are shown on outdoor screens in the city's parks, even after midnight. And Moscow is constantly setting new records. Last summer, for example, it overtook Paris and London with the total square footage of shopping malls.

Vibrant, Noisy and Booming

All of this is happening despite the economic crisis that has gripped the country, and despite the sanctions Western Europe and the United States have imposed in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea and the war in eastern Ukraine.


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Picture at top: Red Square after circa 1650 (from a Gus collection of stuff — )


the US is stretching the empire in places it shouldn't...

A Russian jet has performed an ‘aggressive’ barrel roll over a US plane on a reconnaissance mission for the second time in a month.

The Russian aircraft, a SU-27, performed the manoeuvre in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, approaching the US aircraft and flying over the top of it to the other side, at a distance of around 25 feet, US Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Michelle L. Baldanza told CNN.

"The SU-27 intercepted the U.S. aircraft flying a routine route at high rate of speed from the side then proceeded to perform an aggressive manoeuvre that posed a threat to the safety of the U.S. aircrew in the RC-135," Baldanza said.

But Russia defended the 29 April actions of its air force, which come amid rising tensions between the two countries.

"All flights of Russian planes are conducted in accordance with international regulations on the use of airspace," the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement.

"The US Air Force has two solutions: either not to fly near our borders or to turn the transponder on for identification."

"We are already starting to get used to the insults of the Pentagon regarding alleged 'unprofessional' manoeuvres when our fighters intercept US spy planes at the Russian border," the ministry added.

It is the second ‘barrel roll’ to be performed over a US plane by a Russian jet in the space of a month, with a similar incident occurring on 16 April, when a Russian aircraft approached the US plane over the Baltic Sea and was described as behaving erratically before rolling over the top of the plane.

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putin, lenin and my cousin — all vladimir...


The ruble may be become one of the most attractive currencies after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. The trend may continue in both the short and long term.

After the Brexit vote, the Russian ruble has become more attractive in the short and long term perspectives.

"Ruble looks good even in the long-term run, from 6 to 12 months, because oil is not expected to be seriously affected by Brexit," Per Hammarlund, chief emerging-market strategist at SEB SA in Stockholm, wrote in an e-mail to Bloomberg.

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This one could tempt Soros...

Oops... My Grand dad Adolph lost his life savings by investing in Trans-Siberian Railway Bonds... By 1917, his investment was worthless. Mind you, the railways in Russia had been started under the Tsar by a great Russian engineer. The revolution changed all this. Even the Germans during WWI let Lenin cross from Switzerland to "Petrograd". Meanwhile there had been a small revolt of the Russian proletariat, especially railway workers, in 1905, which Lenin had encouraged. This was an indication of things to come. 

At least the Trans-Siberian Railway is still running. I believe grand dad would be proud, even if his investment was not honoured, because the money was used nonetheless, possibly financing more than a couple of kilometres of tracks...

Revisiting some oldies and we now find similar connotations with the past:


In September 1917, Lenin published Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, which argued that imperialism was a product of monopoly capitalism, as capitalists sought to increase their profits by extending into new territories where wages were lower and raw materials cheaper. He believed that competition and conflict would increase and that war between the imperialist powers would continue until they were overthrown by proletariat revolution and socialism established.[122] At this time, he spent much time reading the works of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich HegelLudwig Feuerbach, and Aristotle, all of whom had been key influences on Marx.[123] This changed Lenin's interpretation of Marxism; whereas he once believed that policies could be developed based on predetermined scientific principles, he concluded that the only test of whether a policy was correct was its practice.[124] Although still perceiving himself as an orthodox Marxist, he began to divert from some of Marx's predictions about societal development; whereas Marx had believed that a "bourgeoisie-democratic revolution" of the middle-classes had to take place before a "socialist revolution" of the proletariat, Lenin believed that in Russia, the proletariat could overthrow the Tsarist regime without an intermediate revolution.[125]

February Revolution and the July Days: 1917

In February 1917, the February Revolution broke out in St. Petersburg – renamed Petrograd at the beginning of the First World War – as industrial workers went on strike over food shortages and deteriorating factory conditions. The unrest spread to other parts of Russia, and fearing that he would be violently overthrown, Tsar Nicholas II abdicated. The State Duma took over control of the country, establishing a Provisional Government and converting the Empire into a new Russian Republic.[126] When Lenin learned of this from his base in Switzerland, he celebrated with other dissidents.[127] He decided to return to Russia to take charge of the Bolsheviks, but found that most passages in to the country were blocked due to the ongoing conflict. He organised a plan with other dissidents to negotiate a passage for them through Germany, with whom Russia was then at war. Recognising that these dissidents could cause problems for their Russian enemies, the German government agreed to permit 32 Russian citizens to travel in a train carriage through their territory, among them Lenin and his wife.[128] The group traveled by train from Zürich to Sassnitz, proceeding by ferry to Trelleborg, Sweden, and from there to Helsinki before taking the final train to Petrograd.[129]


"The [First World] war is being waged for the division of colonies and the robbery of foreign territory; thieves have fallen out–and to refer to the defeats at a given moment of one of the thieves in order to identify the interests of all thieves with the interests of the nation or the fatherland is an unconscionable bourgeois lie."

Lenin on his interpretation of the First World War


Nothing new..

tourists in moscow...

According to the mayor, tourism revenues in Moscow's economy now amount to "over 700 billion rubles [$11.4 billion] a year," which is in part due to the city's development, event tourism, and festivals.


Sobyanin also expressed confidence that the number of foreign tourists in Moscow would continue to increase.

Russian-Western relations deteriorated in 2014 over Moscow's alleged involvement in Ukrainian domestic affairs and Crimea's reunification with Russia. The relations got even worse due to Russia's support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, which contradicts the West's stance. Most recently, the ties were affected by Russia's alleged involvement in the poisoning of a former intelligence officer in the United Kingdom. Russia has repeatedly denied all allegations.


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the sordid disinformation at the BBC...


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One of the images from Gus's collection of the Planning of Moscow with green spaces and other spiffy stuff from 1975...

moscow planningmoscow planning


the best destination...

DOHA (Sputnik) - Moscow has for the first time won the main nomination of the World Travel Awards (WTA) — as "The Best Travel Destination. City", bypassing London, Paris and St. Petersburg, the head of the Moscow tourism committee, Ekaterina Pronicheva told Sputnik on Thursday after the WTA Grand Final Gala Ceremony in Muscat, Oman.

"As a result of the vote of tourists and tourism industry experts, Moscow won the most important nomination for the "tourist Oscar" — the most prestigious award in the field of tourism World Travel Awards — 'The Best Travel Destination. City", Pronicheva said.

Everyone could take part in the open vote, which took place on the WTA official website. In addition to Moscow, such cities as London, New York, Lisbon, Paris, St. Petersburg, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro were represented in this nomination.

Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin expressed gratitude to all those who voted for Moscow in this nomination.


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The best, except if you're a French social philosopher: no yellow vests in ruskialaland...

QR code for ruskies...

Starting from April 3, Russian citizens will be informed about quarantine violations through SMS services and the Unified portal of public services. Starting from April 1, the Ministry of Communications will start providing the Social Insurance Fund and the Moscow Government with information about the citizens who should observe self-isolation regime. It goes about those who arrived from the countries with an unfavorable epidemiological situation.

In the near future, all Muscovites will need to have a QR code to leave their homes. With the help of the code, representatives of regulatory and law enforcement agencies will be able to verify the eligibility of the citizens' decisions to go outside. CCTV cameras, telephone billing and bank transactions will be used to monitor quarantine violators.

Not to be considered as such, Muscovites should create personal accounts on the website of the Moscow administration indicating their residential address, phone number and attaching a photo. After the registration, people will be able to obtain unique QR codes on their smartphones.


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Why not use the yourdemocracy (вашадемократия) QR code below:





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