My nervous journey abroad sharpened my appreciation for American civic life1 min read
Russia and Turkey were probably not high on a list of countries for most Americans to visit in the past year. Nevertheless, my wife and I traveled to Russia once and Turkey twice.
Three months before Putin started his senseless war against Ukraine, we were staying at the Marriott Kremlin in Kazan. The city is the fifth-largest in Russia, situated on the Volga River about 600 miles east of Moscow.
During that month-long stay, the hotel staff was overwhelmingly helpful and courteous. However, those who have traveled in Russia are familiar with the nondescript person in the lobby apparently monitoring the comings and goings of the hotel’s guests.
According to my son, who was living in Kazan during the war, the atmosphere was “eerily normal.” Still, we were…
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