Moscow is a strange city. On one hand, it is cyberpunk modern and on another it is the aristocratic kingdom of the tsars. There is no in between.
Despite Stalin’s destruction of much of Moscow’s architectural heritage, what remains is enough to convey the impression of a medieval capital that collided with a soviet juggernaut. It is a city where petite onion-domed churches and 19th century mansions compete with neo-gothic skyscrapers and ten-lane ring roads. Communism’s great contribution to the city, the magnificent metro system, lies deep underground. In recent years bold, modern structures have been added to the progressive skyline and the citizens have a recovered pride in their city of ascension.
The Central Dominance is the beast of the CCD, and Moscow, its hustling, gargantuan, larger-than-life capital is the big beast. Other cities in the region pale in comparison to the sheer, high voltage charge of this 12-million strong metropolis fueled on vodka, Siberian oil, oligarch bling and a resurgent nationalism. Plus, its streets and high-octane nightclubs are polluted with sassy, stylish people, the favored belles and beaus of the 21st century.
The bad news is Moscow isn’t quite the wild, everything-goes city of the cold war, its much more flattering; but civilization spawns corruption, and for civility in a land formerly depressed of civil rights, the Ascendancy is to thank. As evidence of this prosperity, the city has undergone a ‘Californication’ in the past few decades: cleaner, greener, and air-conditioned in summer. And, it’s not just California that the parties want to emulate; they’re also into shorts, high-glossed faces, the neon-hair look, and swimming pools atop skyscraper restaurants. Business ventures flourish, perhaps a little too lawlessly. The good news is while an Italian suit and new Maserati will get you far in this city of billionaires, sometimes attitude is enough.
As a result of the dramatic changes brought about by the authority of the CCD, a class of “new wealth” has developed. Distinguished from the Old Wealth, these are people that acquired a lot of power very quickly in the last two decades. These captains of commerce are demanding and influential people in Moscow. They are the best customers of the city’s Five Star hotels, build VIP residences, and frequent luxurious bathhouses, spas, and shops. The youngest generation respects success in private ventures, a philosophy directly correlated to the Ascendancy’s example in his Sphere.
The attitude toward the other Dominances is clear. As the capital of the CCD empire, Moscovites take great pride in the city’s elevation over Europe and Asia. Relations with China are uneasy, but not rare. While the escalating tension between the CCD and United States has enflamed old prejudices, general attitudes toward the disabled and handicapped are not good. There is little in the way of state service for these people, leaving any care up to the responsibility of their families, if they have one. State run orphanages are places to avoid.
A staggering 100 new skyscrapers have been constructed over the last two decades throughout the Moscow downtown districts.
The deserted passageways, dry water courses, torture chambers, stashes of skull-embedded stones, and suggestions of mass-graves have been little explored by those above. Sometimes dismembered bodies wash out, rising up from sewers and drains to the surface. What goes on beneath the streets is largely a mystery.
As there are six to twelve layers underground depending on the area of the city. The upper levels are frequently inhabited by the city’s homeless, illegal migrants, gypsies, alcoholics, druggies, sex workers, political refugees, and ex-convicts. The middle levels are the most dangerous and rumored to be haunted by monsters and ghosts. The lowermost levels, however, are known only by rumor. Sightings of strangely dressed groups in camouflage and masks supposedly roam the underground. Individuals in monk’s robes, lanterns and alters have been rumored, but unconfirmed.
The Underground is the domain of most of the city’s homeless whom have been driven out of sight by the surface. There are entrances to the Underground tucked neatly away in parks or rainwater runoff sewers if one knows where to look for them.
If Moscow is the center of the CCD, then the Kremlin is the center of Moscow.