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News? Check. Politics? Check. Music? Check. Random thoughts about life? Check. Readership? Ummm.... let me get back to you on that. Updated when I feel like I have something to say, and remember to post it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

1985-2005

St. Petersburg is a beautiful city, and two days is nowhere near enough to explore it.

I thought about what a difference twenty years makes. Had you asked me in 1985 what the Soviet government would have thought about an American cruise ship docking in Leningrad, I would have expected a response like this:

"Filthy American bourgeois oppressors, stealing the fruit of the sweat of the proletariat of the whole world! They eat more than they need, drink more than they need, and waste time and materials. And to take needed shipbuilding resources from the people to build a huge pleasure vessel, with no legitimate military or infrastructure need! That is the height of capitalist arrogance."

Today, the response is different.

"Welcome! We want to share our history and culture with you. We want your tourist dollars." [Note: Not necessarily in that order.]

Yes, tourism is desired, as Russia waives the normal visa requirements for entry into Russia at St. Petersburg if you are part of an organized tour, and staying less than 48 hours.

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