Sunday, 29 August 2010

Back in the USSR...

I'm back! And this time I mean business. Literally. Well sort of. It says as much on my [3 month!!!] visa and if anyone asks I'm here for various seminars and other commercially minded reasons...

The real reason for my trip, besides the obligatory Russian lessons - still very much needed despite steady progress over the summer months while I had a willing Russian speaking Pole to practice on in Oxford - is that I'll be travelling down to Moscow for a couple of months in the archives. Yes! Those archives!

Allow me to bring you all(?...hello mum x) up to speed...

Managed to get involved in a week long workshop in Moscow in Easter aimed at introducing DPhil students to working and researching in them. Largely a chance to have someone experienced there to help navigate us through the endless form filling and beaurocracy. Now a proud owner of two Russian library cards - one for the old state 'Lenin Library' and the other for the state history library - and the necessary paperwork for entry into the former Party archives in RGASPI and (hopefully) the more general holdings of GARF.

Besides access to real, dusty, history in your hands, butterflies in your belly (just me still?) documents, most of the above still boast their old Soviet era kitchens that continue to provide a decent meal for a student friendly price. Hopefully won't starve at least while I'm there.

After that it was the obligatory revision / exam run that Oxford loves to make us all suffer. The fear wasn't there after getting through finals in my undergrad days and I was pleasantly surprised by the overall performance. Aced the history paper - which I really should be doing if I'm at all serious about playing this game long term - and comfortable passes in the other two.

That left me with a summer ahead to work every hour available to earn the money to come here and stay here for any decent amount of time..."I don't know how lucky [I] are!"

P.S - The photo is from that earlier Moscow trip. Currently sat tapping away in St Petersburg so will start updating properly as of tomorrow.

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