Don’t take offense, Muscovites. The subway riding dogs have made Moscow famous. We have seen this canine phenomenon on TV. Moscow is a city of dogs. There are two classes. Much like the city’s underclass inhabitants, those affected by the need to move out of the modernizing city can still be seen in vagabond packs or stalking alone, scheming to survive, begging,. But now they ride the metro.
They sleep in the suburbs and shop in the center. Russian scientists say that Moscow stray dogs became much smarter. Once they arrive to the downtown they demonstrate different new, previously unseen dog skills. They know how to scare people into dropping their hotdog. They don’t miss their stop while going on the subway. Biologists say dogs have very keen sense of time which helps them not to miss their destination. Another skill they have is to cross the road on the green traffic light. “They don’t react on color, but on the picture they see on the traffic light”, Moscow scientist tells. Also they choose often the last or the first metro car–those are less crowded usually.
There is of course the upper class of dogs, the canine elite, who walk their masters, regardless of rank, in the parks each morning and evening. (In my book, see the essays Dogs and My Name is Dog in the Essay Collection.)
But then there is the big picture. Moscow is a masculine city. It has muscle. It is an exploding powerhouse of opportunity held together by threads of personal energy and ambition. It is a beehive of lives stacked twenty stories high, living the happiness and sins of people anywhere—only at the extremes Moscow hardly sleeps. It has a burly aggressiveness unique in Europe. In time, Moscow is destined to be one of the great cities of Europe. The one word that describes Moscow is power.
With an energy unmatched anywhere else in Russia, Moscow is a sprawling, brawling, dynamic throng of eleven million people embracing dozens of races, speaking scores of different tongues and struggling to make enough rubles to survive. Not only are there two Russias, there are two Moscows, one whose people thrive and one whose people strive to survive. Not far outside the latest Outer Ring, you might think in some ways it is still the 1930s. And then there are the dogs. Maybe there are three Moscows.