Thursday, 3 November 2011

and back again

Actually it wont be Moscow or my Russian colleagues that finally chase me away from here. It will be a few of the English people I work with. Maybe it is an expat thing more widely, but it's as if being in Moscow makes some - particularly young men - regress to juvenile behaviour in ways that I cannot believe they would do at home, or would be allowed to do.  Somehow their sense of entitlement (the slouch of confidence) takes on a smothering excess of smugness and self-importance; producing a depressing mixture of often-vocalised assumed superiority over everything Russian, and a kind of swaggering copy of the worse of Russian macho manhood.

I have just finished reading Snowdrops, a thriller-ish novel by A. D. Miller, who was the Moscow correspondent of the Economist for some years. His hero has some of these qualities (although the author lets him off lightly), using the excuse of joining in with wealthy Muscovite hedonism as a means of easily slipping into other, more unpleasant, thoughtless and unethical activities. The book was recommended by two people separately who have both come to visit here, because it evokes many of the experiences of being in Moscow. Although a little thin as to story, and with a tendency to treat all Russians homogeneously as a collective 'them', my friends are right about this book. The asides about everyday life here made me snort happily in recognition.

No comments:

Post a Comment