I have arrived in Moscow, Russia for the Russia Study Tour organized by the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space (GN). We are here to learn for ourselves about the Russian people and their society. We want to build bridges of peace and solidarity, and we don’t need Rachel Maddow’s opinion to do so.
First noticeable aspect, since I’ve traveled a lot in the past few years, is that arriving in Russia was much easier than any American or Israeli airport. People were kind, lines were short, and no military running around with body armor. The JFK airport had “security” all over the place. America’s favorite “ally” Israel is even worse where they interrogate everyone who isn’t Jewish. Even when you depart from the country, the Israeli airport security and workers constantly track you, ask ridiculous questions, and check your bags unnecessarily. What are they scared of? And why are Russians so relaxed?
The next amazing aspect was the taxi service here in Moscow. Nearly every place I travel, upon arrival you are bombarded by taxi drivers attempting to exploit you. Only a few places have decent treatment of foreigners at airports. Well, in Moscow we had several people help us with bags, communicate to us with politeness, and even welcome us to their beautiful country with lovely greetings, smiles, and handshakes.
I arrived with 4 elderly people and myself, cranky and tired from half a day of traveling with little to no sleep. The taxi driver and workers were very patient with us, answered every question we had, and made us feel comfortable. No rush, no worry. Our driver offered us free WiFi connection to his phone, gave us bottles of water, and helped each person out of the van by hand and then helped us with our luggage. I can’t find service like that in my country!
Photo taken outside of the Aerostar Hotel.
My group arrived a day early so we will just do some sightseeing, learn the metro system, and eat Russian food. This is always a great way to experience a new country.
Our group will be in the Aerostar Hotel in Moscow for the next week. Various groups and organizations will visit our hotel every morning to speak and discuss various issues. We are here to learn, observe, and bring these stories back to the US.
After speaking to several Russian people in the US before coming to Russia, I would tell them we are here as peace activists. Every time, they respond with a sigh of relief. They have this look on their face which says, “oh thank goodness, people who aren’t judging me and fearing me.” Can you imagine everywhere you go people judge you before ever hearing your story, your experience, or the truth?