The dark sides of Moscow and Berlin

Moscow

Moscow is a metropolis in a league with the likes of New York, Paris, and Tokyo. It is Russia’s political and cultural centre, famous amongst tourists. It offers a rich cultural experience and opens the doors to a diverse culture. In addition, Moscow boasts 800 years of history, a patchwork of many political and cultural phases.

As a tourist, it’s easy to become quickly overwhelmed by the sheer number of sites available to visit. However, the metro allows you to get from A to B quickly, and is, in itself,  an attraction. The subways are like a palace in the underground. 

Edifices like the Kremlin, the Lenin Mausoleum, and the Basilius Cathedral are each architectural masterpieces with a unique style. Staying in the heart of the city – near the ‘Red Square’- looking around, and absorbing the atmosphere is something indescribable. And that is only the tip of the iceberg.

There is something for every taste. If you are a shopaholic, you can go to the GUM, a department store featuring both designer brands like Dior and more affordable ones like Zara. If you have a passion for art, the Puschkin Museum is home to paintings by Van Gogh and Rembrandt. After an exhausting sightseeing trip, you can conclude the day by enjoying a performance at the world-renowned Bolschoi Theater.

The city has many good aspects, and its infrastructure was improved in 2018 when it held the Football World Cup. However, this is only one side of the medal. 

Moscow shows the shiny side to tourists, but there are always two sides to be considered. Moscow is the city of contrasts. On the one hand, we have impressive buildings, a long history, and a rich culture but on the other hand, there are many problems which are only visible if you scratch beneath the surface.

There are many dark places like the garage settlement near the ‘MSU’, the Lomonosov Moscow State University, where illegal deals and acts take place.

Furthermore, the city is divided. You have many beautiful buildings in the inner city but the further you go away from the centre the more you start to see a new face. Many regions are neglected for the sake of attracting tourists. Western sanctions and sinking oil prices lead to an increase in the number of people below the poverty line and, during the preparations for the football world championship in 2018, many homeless people were deported so they didn’t bother the tourists.



In conclusion, where there is light there are also shadows. Many unpleasant things are hidden, often in the hopes of attracting tourists. Be aware and remain cautious, so you don’t get lost in the dark. We only see the things we want to see.  Always remember that the coin has two sides.

Berlin

Capitals are places where dreams come true, there are a lot of picturesque sites, brilliant opportunities and discoveries. But behind the beautiful life of a big city, there are hidden dark side​s. 

Berlin charms us with its beauty: well-maintained parks, cozy gardens, and marvelous architectural buildings. But there is always the flip side of the coin. 

One of Berlin’s problems is beggars. You can see them in public places like parks or train stations. Here they illegally beg for money. Some of the beggars solicit money around streets cafes and scare some people away. It is getting more and more dangerous in the streets especially in the night. However, the government introduces harsh punishment for street panhandlers and even has a special system for beggars to help them overcome their ‘unhealthy’ lifestyle and start their life from scratch.

Another issue is Berlin’s traffic system: S-Bahn and U-Bahn. The people of the capital are tired of everlasting accidents, track maintenance, and late arrival. If there is snowfall, downpour or thunderstorm outside, transport can not work and people have to go on foot. Even if you go by car you can come across a parking problem. In the city center, it is very difficult to park a car, moreover, parking places are very expensive.

One of the most serious challenges of Berlin’s life is drugs. Even teenagers can be asked to buy weed. The place of drug proliferation is considered to be Gorlitzer Park- a symbol of freedom. Some people come here not to enjoy pleasant weather but to buy a new dose of 

drugs. The government tried to solve the problem of introducing special zones for drug dealers but the only thing that people can say is that the question is far from being settled. 

The last dark side of Berlin that I want to tell you about is Abou Chaker Clan. This is a crime group that consisted of Arabs residing in Berlin. They are well known for drug dealing, extortion, robbery, arms sales, and controlling many Berlin streets such as Kurfürstendamm Avenue and Red Light District in Oranienburg Straße The crime that the clan commits is a serious public issue.

Elena

VELIKY NOVGOROD / RUSSIA

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