I arrived in Moscow on Monday to do some consulting for the coming months. Two months to be precise, unless there is an extension of the contract.
I’m sitting now in the huge space of Crowne Plaza lobby, a facility with an interesting history – or so I was told – but I cannot find it written anywhere (i.e. not on wikipedia). Colleague told me the complex was built in the 70s and became a rare enclave of capitalism within soviet Moscow, where people in western clothes could be seen, prostitutes abound etc. (full fledged capitalist environment in any case).
What else. The weather is shitty and I can hardly mobilize myself to do any work on Ogito side.
There seems to be a new element which came to light after I was last here, as an effect of the crisis.
People I work with, and they would be typical new middle class representatives, talk about feeling insecure in the country, anxiety can clearly be felt, to the point that makes them worry about state of things in Russia.
In the time of prosperity any troubling signs were filtered out before they could reach their consciousness. Things like political killings or corruption were known to exist, but not something successful specialists aiming for new cars and apartments would worry about.
Plus they bought into nationalistic theme, where every unpleasant fact was dismissed as exaggeration driven by hostile external propaganda.
Not anymore. Moscow streets were always a curiosity, where luxurious cars of the elite are mixing seamlessly with working class in ancient Russian ladas. Now, low income workers start to display open hostility towards suits passing by on the street.
Police would be expected to separate the extreme layers of the society, but unfortunately anyone in the uniform is considered rather a potential threat than protection. Men in uniforms look to benefit from their status for extortion and not serve anyone.
Prosperity is over for now and status quo where everyone is paid into submission through oil money may become unsustainable. Things may get ugly then.