Moscow expat Life Editors Letter
John Harrison, Editor, Moscow expat Life

John Harrison, Editor, Moscow expat Life

Somebody asked me to write a roundup of what has happened this year. I said that I need about three months to do that please. Where do you begin in a year when everything has changed? And yet has everything changed? Has anything changed? Brexit still has to actually happen, and judging by the decisions of Britain’s High Court judges (see Luke Connor’s article), may be blocked indefinitely. Changes to America’s foreign policy are not Trump’s immediate concern, as Chris Weafer discusses in his article. Sanctions may or may not be lifted, it is difficult to say at the moment. Great changes are afoot, but it is just not clear exactly, at least at the time of going to press, what these changes will be, how quickly they will happen, and what events may occur in the meantime which will alter our perspectives. A rapprochement towards Russia, will be good thing for many of us, but because of pressure from the Republican Party, we have to face up to the fact that it may never happen, at least in the way that we thought it might. In short, it is business, or lack of business, as usual.

With that hopefully realistic note, this is Moscow expat Life’s 5th birthday. It is difficult to believe that 5 years have gone since the first issue of this magazine was distributed in Moscow. As that first issue hit the streets, we watched as the Russian economy nosed dived and wondered whether this was the best time to launch an English language magazine. 17 issues later we are still in print, and doing OK, thanks to YOU! We have tried to keep to our original idea – that is a lifestyle magazine with no politics. That has not been strictly possible, because everything has become politicised. Just living here is now a political statement. However the overall mission to show, indeed celebrate the fact that there is life beyond politics, remains unchanged. Working on this magazine has given me personally the opportunity to meet some amazing people, see sides of Moscow that I never knew existed and even find out what it means to be an expatriate.

The magazine is targeted at the basic core of expatriates who are manning essential positions here. Their numbers have decreased, but only slightly. When times are good, a large influx of foreigners arrive to work here, and many find work thanks to these people. When times are not so good, the opposite happens. But the underlying need for western quality, experience and know-how in Russia has been here since the 17th century, is still here now, and probably always will be.

The magazine has morphed out into the Moscow Good Food Club and the Moscow Business Networking Club, both of which, thanks to Kim Waddoup, are successful. Despite the crisis (when, precisely, was there not a crisis of one kind or another here?), there seems to be a niche for all of us, not only to exist, but to grow in an organic way.

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