where's the snow?
I flew into Moscow this afternoon and am writing this at midnight, Moscow time, in my hotel. (By the way, have they got a traffic problem! It took almost as long to get from the airport to the city as it did from Brussels to Moscow.) Anyway, I am here for a meeting, beginning tomorrow morning at the headquarters of the Russian Civic Forum, of the administrative council of the International Association of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions. This evening there was a welcoming cocktail and afterwards I went for a walk with my colleague Vasco along Tverskaya Street all the way down to the Kremlin and the Red Square. The sense of history and awe was spoilt a little by the presence of a temporary ice-skating rink in the middle of the square but, still, this was it. I grew up with images of the parades with the tanks and missiles rolling through this square, with Brezhnev and Andropov, etc, standing above Lenin’s tomb. And now here I was and, as Vasco pointed out to me, throughout the depths of the Cold War Moscow was only ever a three or four hours flight away from Brussels. The surreal nature of the experience was extended by the fact that there is no snow here; the temperature this evening is nine degrees!