Kate is a Dubliner and part-time Muscovite who has lived and studied in both Ireland and Russia. The unlikely combination of cultures, peoples and languages has led her to consider the differences and the similarities of both cities. But how do the green and the red capitals compare, and, above all, which is more fun for a night out?
Dublin and Moscow are obviously very different cities. But can you tell me if you can think of any ways in which the two are unexpectedly similar?
Kate: There are definitely similarities to be found, especially in the capitals’ inhabitants. Both Dubliners and Muscovites are pretty open and trusting of strangers, though in Moscow, they sometimes play hard to get – but then you’ll always find those who love to chat to you about why you came to Russia, or who your favourite Russian writer is. In Dublin too we’re generally friendly folk, who can strike up conversation with anyone – in fact, in both cities you’ll find gifted and interested conversationalists. One man told me that the Russians and Irish had a deep bond, like brothers. We share a history of revolution, great writers and poets, a… “fondness” for the drink, and a decent sense of humour. I’d say he was fairly spot-on with that one.
Is there anything Dublin could learn from a place like Moscow?
Yes, definitely. There are loads of very Russian things which might improve Dublin – cheaper booze and cigarettes are the obvious ones! But also open-air exhibitions, the transformation of outdoor spaces according to the seasons, national holidays and full-blown celebrations, presents on International Women’s day, shared taxis, Georgian and Azerbaijani cuisine, cake-shaped religious buildings. Basically, Moscow uses every inch of earth and every second well, and I think we could learn to use our space and time a bit better.
A Dubliner and a Muscovite have a baby who’s a perfect blend of both. Describe the child?
A good drinker who can recite poetry and walk in heels on ice.
And finally – the hardest question. The two cities enter a drinking contest. Who wins?
Moscow – hands down!
Words: Laura Gozzi