Before the exam board, Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences

Thursday 27th October 2011, 11.00am (day 63)

Moscow School colleagues, 27/10/11

My last morning in Moscow today – though I’m returning in 6 weeks. I post this while awaiting my flight back to Manchester in Heathrow’s terminal 5. (‘Sympathy for the Devil’ is on the stereo, which makes the wait more bearable.)

I realised I had got through all my time here without a single actual person (Russian or not) appearing in the pictures so tried to rectify that today. Russians are a paradox. When you don’t know them – the severe woman who checks in your coat or bag, the guy who approaches you and hassles you on the street – they can be phenomenally rude. But when you know or work with them they are among the friendliest and most helpful people I know. There is something deep in their national psyche that closes up to strangers, I guess, and you should feel privileged to be admitted to the bosom. It probably explains a lot about their national history.

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