The typhoon brought enough rain to raise the Tunguska River two meters, more than enough for the ferry to reach us in Pobeda and take us to Khabarovsk. The next day, we flew home, stopping first in Moscow, an eight-hour flight from Khabarovsk. We only had a few hours to see the city before flying on to New York.

I had last visited Moscow in 1995, when I took Svetlana and her two daughters to the US embassy for their visas to immigrate to the U.S.  Moscow is a modern capitalist city now, like London or New York,  It’s broad boulevards and expansive plazas are designed to express the nation’s power. In that way, tt reminds me of Rome. The city is much cleaner than I remember, and much wealthier.  After spending a month in impoverished villages in the Russian Far East, the disparity of wealth seemed surreal. “I feel I’m in a different country,” Svetlana told me.

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