A Memorable Account of Journalist on Trip to Moscow

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By Ayele Yaregal

The writer of this article has paid a visit to Moscow along with other young journalists from across the world. A visitor to Moscow, the capital city of the Russian Republic will immediately notice the captivating beauty of Moscow River which bisects the city adding more beauty to the unique architectural designs and buildings which depict the history and cultural heritages of Russia. The River, decorated with numerous boats that daily sail the river with thousands of tourists on overlooking a gigantic modern stadium, gives a spectacular beauty to the city. The indigenous trees on the bank of the river provide astonishing natural green scenery with a tantalizing landscape. Cable ferries over the sky connect both sides of the river making it easy for tourists and casual visitors to enjoy their stay in Moscow.

The hillsides of Moscow provide an excellent spot from which one can see everything below blended in a mix of beauty on the horizon. 

 A Glimpse of Moscow

If we look at the historical background of Moscow, we could easily notice that the city has undergone huge changes since the early 20th century when it became the capital city of Russia replacing St. Petersburg.

Majestically located at the center of the city, Kremlin Palace accompanied with St. Basil's Cathedral Churches with their unique and stunning architecture are real wonders of the Russian history and culture. Kremlin Palace is a place where the political leaders of the country pass important decisions on national and global diplomatic relations. From the period of the rule of the monarchy of the Russian czars up to the era of communist rule, Russia has experienced huge changes over time.

According to Lydia, our tour guide, Moscow was founded in 1147. Its name is derived from ‘Moskva’ (Moskva River), before it holds the present name of ‘Moscow’.  The tour guide said that the word Kremlin means ‘fortress inside a city’.  Kremlin made Moscow to sustain theological, political and cultural legacy of the great Roman Empire. That is why in different historical books Kremlin   is referred as ‘third Rome’ next to Roman and Constantinople.

The Seven Sisters, also called seven skyscrapers, are impressive architectural looks of Moscow. Those buildings were designed and built during the reign of Joseph Stalin. From 1947 to 1953, the buildings, traditionally known as the seven sisters were the tallest building in Europe and are described among the great legacies of the Soviet Union era. Those skyscrapers are not just buildings but they are the historical venues of different institutions. Therefore, the seven sister comprise the main buildings of Moscow State University, Hotel Ukraina (Now Raddison Blue), Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Apartments, the Kudrinskaya Square Building, the Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya Hotel, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Red Gates Administrative Building.

Moscow State University is one of the prestigious universities across the globe.  With its remarkable architectural setting, the university was the first Russian University that was founded in 1755. Since then, it has become hub of Russian research and education center graduating highly skilled professionals every year.  The Luzhniki Olympic Complex is located near of Moscow River. This stadium was one of the main stadiums in the city that hosted the 21st FIFA world cup.  One of the biggest mosques in Europe with minarets of 72 meters   is also located close to the Olympic Stadium in the center of Moscow. 

The historical and magnificent bridges over Moscow River, monuments like statue of Peter the Great, wide-ranging green parks like Gorky, buildings are bizarre hotspots of the city. 

Russia had been ruled by Emperors, commonly known as czars, for centuries before socialism and communism system emerged in the beginning of 20th century. Moscow had once fallen under the prominent emperor Napoleon Bonaparte of France according to our tour guide. The Tsar of all Russia since 1686 and first emperor of Russia from 1721-1725 was Peter I (Peter the Great), recognized with his effort of Russian modernization. In fact Moscow becomes the capital of all Russia after the revolution in early 20th century.


Now a days Moscow along with remarkable and analogous buildings and all impressive digital infrastructure become one of the best global smart cities. Moscow, also known as the center of Russian culture in course of history, is home of global billionaires, and prestigious artists, scientists and public figures. In 2022 Moscow was awarded by UN publication as the top spot among large cities for quality of life and infrastructure. The population of Mosco is estimated at over 13 million that made it 8th populous cities across the world.

Thanks to ‘InteRussia Program 2023’ I get in person at Moscow and my dream came true. Even though I was among young journalists from ten African countries for this program, I was feeling more familiar with the city because I came from the origin of Abraham Hannibal, Ethiopia, who was the grandfather of Russian legendary writer Alexander S. Pushkin.

What prompted me to think of Russia?

Historically, Ethiopian kings had aspired to create connection with Russian czars for many years. For instance the Ethiopian (Abyssinian) emperor Twodros II (1818-1868),   named his ever first large artillery ‘Sevastopol’ that he tried to use during British expedition in Abyssinia led by Robert Napier. This name was taken from the Russia, Crimean town, Sevastopol, the site of a battle during the Crimean War. Emperor Yohannes 4th (1872-1889), the successor of Twodros II, was also largely inspired by the similarity of religion between the two countries. The historical facts mentioned that the relationship between Russia and Ethiopia in terms cultural and spiritual perspective dated back to four centuries.

However, official diplomatic mission was started during Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia and Tsar Nikolas II of Russia in the late nineteen century. At the end of 19th century research expeditions of V.F. Mashkov (1889–1892), full members of the Russian Geographical Society A.V. Eliseev and N.S. Leontiev (1893), geographer and ethnographer A.K. Bulatovich (1896-1898), and others, contributed to the strengthening of Russian-Ethiopian ties.  According to a study by Russian science academy the first religious missions were sent to Ethiopia, and contacts between the two churches established in the 1880s. An Embassy of the Russian Empire in Addis Ababa was opened in 1897.

Thus, in 1895 Ethiopian envoy, first envoy from black Africa, headed by Fitawurari Damtew  Ketema, father of Ras Desta, was sent to the city of Russia Saint Petersburg, Winter Palace of czsars. The mission stayed in Russia for a whole month with very solemn reception. Following the visit of this delegation, Russian donated weapons and ammunition for the battle of Adwa in February 1896.

In February 1898, a Russian delegation headed by Pyotr Mikhailovich Vlasov was sent to Ethiopia and emperor Menelik welcomed the delegation warmly. In February 1902, the State Council decided to establish a permanent diplomatic mission in Ethiopia with an envoy in the position of resident minister. The first appointed State Councilor Konstantin Nikolaevich Lishin (General) arrived in Addis Ababa on March 28, 1903 and then he had made very fruitful diplomatic ties until he died in 1906 and buried in Addis Ababa.

Definitely Moscow is a miracle city where nature, history and folks or narratives has merged.  If paradise exist on the plane such types of scenery has to be part of it. Perhaps, there might be several lovely cities across a world. However, existence of such a naturally endowed and historically gifted cities might be very rare, except this place. Moscow as the center of Russian culture contained of different museums, academic and political institutions and theaters. Wherever I traveled in the city, I witnessed that Moscow combines the best of old and modern architecture. The long avenues and majestic squares, leafy boulevards, parks and gardens, new luxury housing, bridges, the sandstone ridges of Moscow River, and the unique cultural and historical heritages are some of the beauties of this city.


 

‘State Tretyakov Gallery’ is the foremost depositary of Russian fine arts which is a well-known tourist destination. This gallery deposited 180, 000 Russian works of painting, sculpture and graphics created between the 11th to 20th centuries. According to our tour guide Olga, the gallery house aged about 150 year which was owned by a merchant family Pavel M. Tretyakov as a private art works collection. But the owner transferred the gallery to the government. The gallery consists of Russian art collections of successive generations.

 

 

Ethiopian News Agency
2023