The former soldier turned defense writer and novelist, Ralph Peters, once mentioned that Russia would always break your heart. This may be in part because there is so much potential there, and there are so many obstacles to reaching it.
For an instance of the first: despite past horrors and the existence of places like Norilsk, Russia’s environment is in pretty good shape. (Both this story and the next are from the Moscow Times– links expired).
“Take a deep breath and a swig of water. Russian air, water and sanitation systems are among the best in the world, according to a study that will be released Thursday at the World Economic Forum.
“Russia, in 32nd place, ranks a few notches behind the United States (28) and above Poland (38) in the 2006 Environmental Performance Index, compiled by researchers from Columbia and Yale universities.
“Russia’s environmental health — measured by indoor air pollution, the prevalence of smog outside, the quality of drinking water, child mortality and adequate sanitation — is approaching its optimal level, or 92.3 out of a possible 100, according to the report, which will be presented at the annual gathering of world and business leaders in Davos, Switzerland.”
Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union are actually among the few places other than the States I’d consider living. But check out the next item as well…