Meeting with Youth Yabloko

Trip Start Aug 25, 2007
Trip End Dec 20, 2007

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Flag of Russia  ,
Friday, October 26, 2007

This was the last full day in Russia.  Moscow is a bit empty of tourist sites as it really isn't thought of as a tourist destination.  So we headed back to the Red Square area and took a tour around the Kremlin.  The Kremlin, today, is a mishmash of buildings dating from all the time periods including Soviet times.  Interestingly enough, there's many churches and none of them were torn down despite the whole communist anti-religion phase.  In fact, one of the higher-ups in Lenin's regime wanted to tear down St. Basil's, but Lenin refused as he liked the building too much.  The subways were meant to replace religion with ornate architecture and propaganda.

Even if the church looks different on the outside(St. Basil's) they all pretty much look the same on the inside.  They are filled, floor to ceiling, with icons.  Pretty to look at once, but gets boring after a whole week of them.  You can't take pictures inside and women have to wear scarves.  Men aren't allowed to wear hats as they are supposed to be completely exposed to God...but women are evil anyways, so ya know.

Besides the churches, the Kremlin has lots of government buildings including Putin's offices.

Later that day, we were supposed to meet with the US embassy for a briefing on what the US thinks of Russia.  Luckily, they cancelled on us, since I can't think of anything less interesting.  Instead, we had a meeting with Youth Yabloko.  They are a youth political movement associated with the Yabloko party, an opposition to the president party.  Actually, Yabloko just made the news as one of the head guys was mysteriously shot.

Russia requires a 7% vote threshold to gain any seats and Yabloko probably won't even get enough for that.  7% is ridiculously high and basically helps the party in power stay in power.

Youth Yabloko uses the Yabloko name mainly for protection from the upper party.  They consider themselves more radical but it would be too dangerous to operate alone.  They also have younger candidates running for office in the city.  They don't stand a chance to win but they are trying to  get the word out as to how much corruption there really is in Russia.  Most people are satisfied with the propaganda.

They also love speaking with foreigners as they basically never get the chance to.  Foreigners either don't come to Moscow or don't know about these opposition groups.  Also, all the group members only spoke Russian so the whole meeting was done through translation.  They also mentioned that Russia is the only country that is a major world power but continues to function as a 3rd world country.

After the meeting, we had free time the rest of the night.  Naturally, we visited the Red Square McDonald's. 
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