Red Square and the Kremlin

My head is spinning after our first full day in Moscow. We hired a tour guide, Maria, at a friend’s recommendation, and she took us around central Moscow. We visited Red Square, some of the parks and streets nearby, and the grounds and churches of Red Square.

We were surrounded by contradictions. Across the square from Lenin’s tomb, the most luxurious shopping mall I’ve ever seen. Next to a socialist meeting hall inside the Kremlin, several exquisite orthodox churches. From Maria herself, a consistent tension between respect for the strength of the state and its historical leaders, alongside deeply held suspicions about domestic and global politics and our ability to understand them.

Andrew Bartholomew