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Swedish (and western) media gives a very negative picture of Russia today. Being "brainwashed" by the Swedish mediapicture I was quite prejudiced when arriving in St Petersburgh.
After one week in Russia my picture of this country and it`s people have changed.
The livingstandard for the Russian middleclass of today is much better than 20 years ago. People are friendly and polite (standing up for older women on the subway something you hardly see in Sweden today). You also feel they are proud of their country and wether you like it or not the majority of people (especially the young middleclass) are behind their president Vladimir Putin who no doubt have given back some pride to Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union.
St Petersburgh itself is a remarcable city and for someone like me who is not particularly fond of big cities, this is the most beautiful city of Europe.
The public transportation system and especially the metro can stand as a symbol of Russia today. Not only are the subway stations beautiful, the trains come and leave every second minute. Something for Swedish transportation bureaucrats to take a look at.
Strangely enough the Swedish media picture of the old Soviet Union(which no doubt was a supressive totalitarian utopy mistake) was not as negative as the mediapicture of todays Russia. Perhaps that´s best explained by leftwing being the fashion those days and the conformism of the majority of Swedish journalists.

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