I highly recommend that you read Peter Hitchens’ charming and thoughtful essay in First Things about his years spent in Moscow and about Russia’s geopolitical situation today: “The Cold War Is Over.” Hitchens’ sensible consideration should be so obvious for those who have eyes to see—but so few ever bother to look.
As a personal note, I enjoyed remembering the many places mentioned that my brother Aaron and I visited, including Bolshaya Ordynka, Novodevichy Convent, and the Danilovsky Monastery. I laughed at the following reminiscing:
You will have heard that Europe ends at the Ural Mountains. This is not true. The Urals are a much overrated geographical feature, but even if they weren’t, you can find Asia in Moscow, and feel its closeness. In the days before Christmas, when I lived there, Moscow took on the mythical characteristics of the East, as old women wrapped in black took up station on street corners, selling fresh-killed geese raised in snowy clearings. I would not have been surprised if these ageless crones had offered me a handful of magic beans or three wishes. . . .
The rebirth of Russia is a consolation in these mad times when the West appears unflinching in its efforts to destroy itself.