Oh, how things have changed

I stood in this very spot in September 2013
I stood in this very spot on September 16, 2013. It was cool, cloudy, rainy; peaceful and devoid of crowds – and, frankly, beautiful. We took a very modern high speed train from St. Petersburg to Moscow, spent hours touring the Kremlin and surrounding area, spoke freely with the locals, and returned to St. Petersburg late that night. There was a beautiful, modernistic upscale mall housed in a large, elegant building just beyond the church on the right. Military and police presence was…. not visible.

I was a child during the Cold War, and had nightmares for a long time regarding the U.S. relationship with the USSR. A trip to Russia was not on my bucket list, but…given the opportunity, who could pass it up?! My opinion of Russia changed as a result of our trip. I am far more educated, and appreciative, but I’m not naive.

Historically, countries in that region of the world have changed allegiances or rule many times throughout history. I was pleased when the USSR dissolved, and I sincerely wish those countries well. I also recognize that Crimea has a huge Russian population and allegiance to Russia. Should Ukraine cede control of Crimea? In my opinion, that is an domestic issue that can, hopefully, be settled peacefully.

In the meantime, I firmly believe that the international community, including Russia and the U.S. should stay out of it. Let the people choose.


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