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Report from a Spanish friend
I have not visited Russia, but a friend from Madrid told me this about a trip he and some friends made in 2003:
 
"We scheduled a trip to St. Petersburg expecting to see a beautiful European city, famous for its art, its culture and its palaces.  As an afterthought, we added Moscow to our plans, but we did not expect to see much, just a capital city.  Our experience was the opposite of what we expected.  Yes, the Hermitage was beautiful and St. Petersburg ought to be visited, but we found it run down and dirty.  Moscow we found filled with treasures to visit -- museums, churches and palaces -- and beyond that, it was better maintained than St. Petersburg.  Things have advanced to the point that Moscow has the feel of a city in Western Europe.  I heartily recommend a visit to Moscow."
 
Gary Johnson,
May 2003