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9/11-20 LEE SIU HIN: Journey to Russia with Solidarity-My Fact-Finding Trip to Moscow, St. Petersburg PART ONE: MOSCOW
9/11-20 LEE SIU HIN: Journey to Russia with Solidarity-My Fact-Finding Trip to Moscow, St. Petersburg
PART ONE: MOSCOW
YouTube Video Link
Moscow Red Square: https://youtu.be/cioobRLiLo8
李小轩 Lee Siu Hin
From Shanghai, China 9/28/2023, our China-US solidarity working trip 2023; last week, we organized a 10-days trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia, for a solidarity meeting and fact-finding investigation—what happened to Russia at the midst of Russia-Ukraine war, and the life under total western/U.S. sanctions.
It’s an exciting trip to Russia/former Soviet Union since 1994 nearly 30 years ago, during and after the breakup of the USSR.
I still remember Russia at early 90s after the Soviet Union was broke up, orchestrated by the western/U.S. color revolution; witnessed the country was under total chaos: facing total economic collapse, result in rampart inflation; violent crimes are everywhere, civil wars and people loss of national pride and directions where they should heading.
Surely the end of the Soviet Union like a nightmare, didn’t gave Russians and the citizens of former Soviet Republics a better life or security, instead political and economic mafia, behind by the west, collectively robbed their people.
Indeed my memory of the Russia/former Soviet Union during 1990s was very negative (it affected me to decide to visit Russia again for 30 years); therefore; I am very interest to want to know what happened to today’s Russia. With a short planning and recommendations from my friends, I decided to make a quick trip to Russia from China at mid-September.
We start our trip from Beijing, flew Aeroflot Russian Airlines to Moscow; before the trip, many Chinese friends warned us that because of Russia-Ukraine conflict, travel to Russia will be very dangerous, possibly facing Ukrainian missile attack; food shortage due to the sanctions—with my very surprise, it wasn’t true.
My Moscow-bound flight from Beijing was full, mostly Chinese tourists, students and business people; as far as I know there’re at least 3-5 flights from China to Russia from different Chinese and Russian carriers daily--by sharp comparison, there’re less China-US direct flights then China-Russian route, due to Biden’s anti-China policy (media says there’ll be resuming more direct flights by November, hope so).
When we arrived to Moscow airport, then public transportation to the city center, we didn’t see any curfew, military check points or military hardware; we didn’t even see any trash or homeless people on the street. It’s very surprisingly very orderly, safe and normal life across the city with enough groceries. Need to say; in my opinion, from the city’s cleanness, safety and sanity point of view, Moscow (and most other Russian cities) will be far better than New York City (it’s also the same case as China’s Beijing, Shanghai and Urumqi at Xinjiang, will be far better and safer than NYC Big Apple as well).
It’s already after the summer tourist seasons, but there’re still many tourists from China, Iran and so on visit across the Russia; I also met many self-driving Chinese tourists with their cars from southern China, across Russia to Europe!
At my tourist hotel, business people from across Russia and foreign countries (mostly China) are still coming to Moscow attend business meeting and trade expo, the international trade doesn’t seems affect totally by the sanctions.
Of course, the current conflict and the western sanctions affect Russian economy, Ruble exchange rate has dropped, inflation has been notably increased, it’s difficult to get western goods, but every Russians I had randomly talked to, they all support the government, and their decisions on Ukraine, and they don’t care about the western/U.S. sanctions “Let them eat their sanctions!” they told me. Their views on westerners are at the lowest point; also include South Korean and Japanese because they support western sanctions against Russia.
China on the other hand, receives very warm receptions across Russia, it can reflect at the same time when we visit Russia, North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also visited Russia; and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke at 8th Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, “turning to the East, South economically”, shifting the Russian strategic interest from west (Europe, EU and US) to the east (China).
At the first days of my trip, I visit Red Square, stand at the same location 30 years ago, the view is still the same, the flag had changed, but the society had much improved from the post-Soviet collapse chaos, into moderately prosperous and harmonic society that no different than most European cities.
For the West/U.S. peace activist, it’ll be naïve and wrong to believe any political porn-nonsense like: Russia is under dictator Putin’s horror, life is miserable without food, people are scarce need to hide inside home from missile attacks, Russian are fed up with the war, want to overthrow Putin to make peace with Ukraine/west.
We should understand the complex, yet simple history of the region, what Russian, and Ukrainian think; think outside the box, fight against U.S./NATO imperialism, and colonial racism. That’s the U.S./West same textbook imperialist rhetoric against China and Xinjiang region, want to break a country into chaos for their colonial benefits, like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and so on; how many people care about the recent devastated flood in Libya?
Think about it; I spend lots of time thinking when I walking at the Red Square.
More reports from Moscow and St Petersburg follows..
李小轩 Lee Siu Hin
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