Sunday, October 01, 2006

Of Metro lines and tennis stars

Vivek, our man in Moscow, has a great post about the city's Metro:

The Moscow Metro is one of the oldest and one of the busiest Metro systems in the world. The first station came up way back in 1930s. The metro stations in Moscow are not ordinary either, as many of them would give some museums a run for their money. For some amazing photos of the Moscow Metro, take a look here. In a way, the Metro is a tourist destination in itself.

If, on the other hand, you were wondering "Where in frozen Siberia did Russians learn how to swing a racket?", you might want to read the musings of Sherge Shmemann, who used to be their man in Russia.

There’s a time-honored tradition in the West to approach Russia as a riddle, devising elaborate explanations for admittedly befuddling ways. I know: I was a foreign correspondent in Moscow for 10 years, expounding on the effects of endless winter, endless expanse, the collision of East and West, long subjugation by Mongol hordes. I’ve always had a soft spot for the swaddling theory, wherein the practice of binding babies like mummies between feedings formed a nation given to lurching between passivity and anarchy.

So there is a certain temptation to seek a profound explanation for the rise of Russian tennis. ...