LETTER FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Last summer, I travelled around Russia,
from its northwest to its east, covering
14 cities and towns in total. I rejoiced
at the sight of new hotels and modern
housing estates being built in its regional
capitals, ousting the drab and dull urban
uniformity of Soviet town planning
with an almost European gloss. In the
process, however, the uniqueness of
each place is being preserved for future
generations and present-day visitors.
Such is the physical revival of Russia.
Local guides were yet another surprise.
Their level of professionalism and genuine
pride in their native cities and regions
were outstanding. If 10 years ago many
of them considered migrating overseas
in search of greener pastures, today they
have brushed this idea aside and are zealously
transforming their native land into
a better place in which to live. Such is the
patriotic revival of Russia.
On many occasions, I received souvenirs
and gifts from my hosts. A Siberian
guide, knowing that we’d have to spend
some time in thick forest, called taiga,
brought along some snacks for my son
and brand-new socks for both of us, in
case we wet our feet. Such is the revival
of the Russian character, which in
known for its hospitality.
Some may say that these guides wished
nothing else but to please me as their client.
Well, so what? Even if this was their
ulterior motive, it only goes to show that
Russian entrepreneurs have finally acquired
the basics of running a successful
business – a satisfied customer is a
repeat customer – and that travelling
around Russia today has become a pleasant
experience, in stark contrast to the
uneasiness of the gloomy 1990s.
Russia is healing. Russia has changed.
Russia is worth visiting.