Karin and I recently returned from Russia on a Viking river boat, beginning in St Petersburg, ending in Moscow. Worth doing before we get too old! Having been to both major cities some years back, we were struck by the greatly increased number of cars on the city streets and by the cleanliness of the cities. Difficult to tell if the people are happy or sad, or just placid, but the impact of sanctions is not readily apparent. The Hermitage is as splendid as ever as is the Kremlin with a great deal of construction activity everywhere. We weren't bothered by any "politicking" anywhere. Viking takes great care of its passengers. All in all, a very enjoyable trip.