This Time article (text version) describes Washington, D.C. as the bubble-within-Murrey’s-bubble (don’t miss the cute oblique reference to DC’s still-large population of poor blacks). Government contractors hiring contractors to fish for government contracts, green urban living, expensive artisan food, you name it. This large distance between the capital and the country is characteristic of third-world states. The larger the distance, the more third-worldy the country. Africa, South America, Russia and the CIS countries, even China… Moscow stood in the same relationship to the rest of the Soviet Union. Galina Vishnevskaya, an opera singer proscribed in the 70’s for supporting Solzhenitsyn, writes in her memoir,
Maybe there is no Russia anymore, not since a long time ago. There is the state of Moscow — chock-full of people, institutions, government offices… Driven by a premonition of the Deluge, people and animals rush for the doors of this Noah’s Ark to save their lives. And the winds blow this ark around the bottom of a dried-out sea with the strange name of “Soviet Union”. When and where will the ark make landfall, who will survive among its inhabitants — these things it is not given to mortals to know.