Moscow is a city in which one comes face to face with all that is finest and all that is most frustrating in Russia. The gregarious geniality of its people is as evident as the extreme tensions of a city coming to terms with the confusions of rapid social change. More than anywhere else in the country, it is in Moscow where the Soviet past collides with the capitalist future.
Yet, as the new Moscow emerges, it is becoming increasingly clear that any move into the future will be marked by a strong appreciation of the city's rich and varied heritage – a heritage that vastly predates the era of Soviet rule. Indeed, the most striking aspect of the city today is not Moscow's much-publicized embrace of Western culture but its self-assured revival of its own traditions. Moscow is once more assuming its position as the capital and mother city of the ancient state of Russia.