Of course, I wanted to see the big, historical tourist spots such as the Kremlin and Red Square during my visit. And I did, which impressed me very much. The Kremlin is a huge structure built to last and the beauty of the Eastern Orthodox churches inside the walls was breath-taking. Red Square was impressive to me simply because of the reminders of the past that are located there. Lenin’s tomb and Stalin’s grave are there along with other important Soviet heroes such as Yuri Gagarin. And you can’t forget the beautiful Cathedral of St. Basil. I’m very happy that I got to see these places in person and not simply in pictures. For these reasons alone my trip to Moscow would have been worth it. When we were leaving Red Square I saw two guys dressed as Lenin and Stalin posing for pictures. It’s fun to see how Russians embrace the past and have a sense of humor about it. These two Soviet impersonators were yelling to the tourists, “We need money for the Revolution! We need money for the Revolution!” And I yelled back, “So do we!”
On a side note, an unexpected opportunity arose when I learned that my long-time friend Ilya Shevchenko from IL-2 was still in Moscow for another night and we could meet up for dinner. I had just arrived and he was on his way back to the States. We live fairly close to each other in California and to get together in Moscow was a surreal experience. It’s weird how life works that way sometimes. We met up and had an interesting conversation about our respective development activities and the evolution of each team. We talked about the weird rivalry between our two products on the forums, the genesis of it and the future of both teams. We respect each other and we believe in friendly competition. We both wish the community would see it the same way and be supportive of both products.