I visited Russia for the first time in July of 2017. The country has long fascinated me, and the visit had been a long time coming; over the previous few years I'd been edging ever further east – first to Poland and then to Ukraine – and the final logical conclusion was to bite the bullet and visit the Motherland, Russia.
Russia has always fascinated me for the same reason it fascinates most people; because of its scale, its vastness, its geographical and cultural diversity, its otherness. Coming, in particular, from Britain, a small island nation, the intrigue of a continent straddling country like Russia holds firm over the imagination.
Given my interest in the Cold War, I spent a lot of time devouring history books about the period, and obviously Russia is central to that history. Also, when I discovered literature, I quickly fell in love with the Russian writers, and Tolstoy and Dostoevsky are still to this day my favourites. I felt, therefore, that I knew a lot about Russia before visiting. Russia, though, surprised me, and surprised me in lots of ways. I didn’t see a lot of the country in absolute terms, but I saw a lot nonetheless. I hope sharing my experiences here will encourages others to make the journey over to Russia and enjoy being surprised as much as I was.
Zelenograd means, in Russian, the Green City. Built in the middle of a beech wood forest in 1958, the city takes its name from the trees between which it sprung up from. Zelenograd is high-rise, with most of the city's buildings standing at 10 to 18 storeys tall. The buildings – their height and their style – are pretty typical 1950s-60s Soviet apartment towers, but what distinguishes Zelenograd from other Russian and post-Soviet cities is that it was planned from scratch, and adapted to a master plan. The planners kept as much of the forest intact as they could, and the white apartment towers which house the city's 240,000 residents stand nestled among the beech trees. Zelenongrad – the Green City.
Moscow - coming soon