I am standing in Red Square. I have come to see the monument. Lenin's Tomb. I am feeling the disgrace of communism even
as I go to visit the tomb, the sheer crasness of the monument, thrust as a big mistake, a giant catastrophe, in the very
centre of the beautiful cultural setting of the Kremlin, its wall and Red Square itself. No, I decide, I will not visit Lenins
tomb. I will not carry this farce any further.
This is part of my introduction to Moscow city.
The day before I had tasted the life of suburbia, if there is such a thing in Russia.
Apartment blocks all looking very much the same are everywhere, and linked to gether by a frieze of interconnecting highways,
great wide roads churning with traffic. All of Moscow is one city, I think to myself, with many parts. Suburbia is a foreign
word. Muscovites, rich and poor, educated and simple, uncomplicated folk, all live in the same apartment buildings, albeit
in different value apartments themselves to a modest degree.
Standing in Red Square the blood of the martyrs of communism cry out to me from the very stones, crying
out for justice after these so many years. There are millions of them it seems, and I console them, I have come to Russia
courtesy of that justice which is unfolding.
His cross is golden. It is a crucifix. It is very small. He wears it around his neck. What do you think of the guard
ritual over Lenins tomb he asks in russian. - one hour shifts of complete immoveabilty except for the changing of the
guard - "communist bullshit" I reply.
I agree, he says, and I am one of the guards. He waves his arm in a mocking gesture towards it all. I am slightly bemused.
Within three months the ritual will be abolished, after 50 years.
I return once more to Red Square, that holy place. Communism has not dampened that. I make the aquaintence of a Russian
Jew. He shows me the place where, designated by a statue of Ivan on horseback pointing his sword downward he is believed to
have said "This is where I will found Moscow"
In return I introduce him to a Big Mac.
At the Irish Bar in Arbat street the next day where we meet again quite by accident I also make the aquaintance of another
Russian soldier. An officer, and we discuss the unmentionable word in public during communist days....freemasonry. He
has many documents he would llike to pass on to the west about the actions of freemasons in forming the communist system inside
Russia. These are priceless documents.kept hidden for decades and passed around in secret.
I take comfort in the indescribeable opening night of the Bolshoi, 'La Bayadere.', the beautiful Russian smiles and unspoken
brotherhood, the beautiful blonde bombshell that is every 2 out of three russian women, the caviar, the river Night Cruise,
the monasteries and great art galleries.. I fall for the red carnations, the unique russian ice cream.
The west assaults them with cigarette advertizing.
I am saddened by the poverty, gladdened by the friendly cameraderie of some of the cab drivers, both official and unoffical
- hitchhiking is a way of life in Moscow.
The nightime busker in Arbat streets rendition of "Yesterday." leaves me lost in a world that is soley Russian, soul
,that is light yet tangible and big as an ocean.
I go to a Russian church service. there you find the tears mingled with the smiles and witness their great love of children.
I leave the city of parks and trees and strangely sane people and happy birds and meet the Russian agent from Poland
for Playboy magazine, one of the few recognizable western influences at the time. He has done a good job.He also used to live
in Sydney in the same street as myself - what a small world , or is it simply fate.
With sadness I take my departure, and memories also of the too few Russian women I had met.The girl I had met on
the stairs of the subway, perfection almost, who hailed from St Petersburg and spoke perfect English, the others few, and
the interesting Italian girls who took me to dinner one evening.Neither of us understanding much of what the other
said, but it didn't matter.
Arriving back in the US I am arrested and charged with trying to smuggle foreign goods. The ruse worked and I get
police escort back into the country. I pay a fine.