So Russia is very much in the Western news like never before and - as an expat who lives here - I thought it might be good to give an occasional glimpse of what it is like to live in the belly of the beast: Moscow. (I invite other expats in Russia - there's one or two more on here - to join in). Forgive me if it rambles.... The thing about Moscow life is that it just grinds on like some huge hyperactive Heath Robinson machine, regardless of geopolitics. Russian people are for the most part intensely apolitical and they just bury themselves in their private worlds...: trying to ski in the last of the snow, trying not to let the inherent unhealthiness of Moscow life affect them too much, trying to better themselves,catching American TV series's online,planning holidays to Turkey, crowding the Metro,and going out to their dachas at weekends to `sleep`. That said, I have noted a new restlesness among the mostly young and middle class students who I teach English to: they know the last election was a huge circus and they are very conscious of the pervasiveness of corruption. Many said that they would vote for Ksenia Sobchack as a protest, expecting nothing of it. A great many wish to leave their country altogether, and decamp to Canada or Australia - places they imagine to be probem-free utopias (btw Britian doesn't feature so heavily in this escape fantasy). We are emerging from a seemingly long and challenging winter - perhaps it was just a normal Russian winter really, but this one seemed to hit us hard -and the temperatures are now very early minus figures - with some sun, some actual sun! -and we are slowly waking up from the sleepwalking life of the past few months. For the first time in the ten or so years that I have been here I am being asked by folks at home if I am `allright`. I can only reply that nothing has changed- yet. I can report, hand on heart, that I have never experienced the slightest hostility from any Russian - that I can think off -on account of merely being British.The attitude is more one of curiosity (`Don't you miss your family?` `Why is London always foggy?` `Do you drink tea at four -o-clock?`) sometimes mingled with a kind of respect (for being a brave traveller - as they see it) I am, however, starting to wonder if the political situation is going to rebound on my work somehow - visas and all of that, but nothing has come to my attention so far. A few days ago I had a surprise visit to my flat from the Politsia (the police). This was a bit concerning at first, but it turned out that they were merely collecting the names and details of all the people in the area - something to do with the imminent World Cup. They looked at my I.D, spoke to my landlady and asked me some questions and otherwise were polite enough. Ah, yes: the World Cup. That's a biggy here. They have spent the last year rebuilding Moscow round the clock - there has been building and renovation sites wherever you go and the endless noise of road drills. The Metro now has announcements in English and there are special police around called the Tourist Police who can speak English and whose job it is to help tourists. Ladies and gentlemen: they really, really want people to come! That is why, even though I am temperamentally disinclined to conspiracy theories, and no Putin fan, I do find it hard to understand why Putin's regime would have been directly involved in the events at Salisbury. Why piss on your own parade in that way? I can however believe that Russians in some shape or form were behind it. And by the way, Johnson's rant comparing the World Cup to the Nazi Olympics was about the most ill-judged remark that a diplomat could possibly make. Russians are obsessed with the `Great Patriotic War` against the Nazis to an unhealthy degree so that was about the most inflammatory thing anyone could have said.That will have been reported in the state run media and now the Man in the Street, who has nothing against us Brits, will have felt slighted for sure. Well, that's all for now. PAKA!