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At first glance this city is much like any other great capital, but Moscow is even more about money and glitz than I'd imagined. Arkady Novikov is at all the posh parties. He was once turned down for a job in the kitchens at McDonald's. Now he owns more than and knows everyone that matters. He is, as they say, "The Man". This bash is for Madonna, who's in town for a megaconcert. In the scrum of minders and paparazzi, just a glimpse of the lady herself. This city worships the rich and famous. This is my first visit to Moscow since the collapse of communism. No prizes for recognising this as Red Square. St Basil's down there and here, the Kremlin, which for me still is always associated with the Soviet Union, what President Reagan used to call "the evil empire". This was the enemy, the threat in the nuclear age, and I still have that sort of odd sensation when I'm standing here looking at it now. On the outside, there's little change, but behind the historic facade, it's a very different world. The famous department store, Gum, used to be exceptionally gloomy, now look at it. But my purpose on this trip is not to binge on bling, but to find out how much has changed away from the capital of conspicuous consumption, though I can't resist one last taste of it. Arkady Novikov has invited me and my fluent-in-Russian producer, Teresa, to visit one of his restaurants. Lots of beautiful girls he says, as you'll see. Lots of beautiful girls. What sort of prices do you pay in this restaurant for a meal? HE SPEAKS RUSSIAN Mm-hm. Roughly 50 for a.. . 50. . . for a lunch, you know, for a good lunch. The restaurants favoured by the "in crowd" are also said to be watering holes for the rich and wicked, where they and the politicians scheme and scam, over some of the best food you can get anywhere. Arkady will have none of it. "Look around you", he insists, "they're really nice people, "ordinary people, maybe it happens but it could happen anywhere. "Every family has its black sheep", he says. "For that matter you could find the same thing in western restaurants." You've now got 100 restaurants, how long before you're at 200? TERESA TRANSLATES HE SPEAKS RUSSIAN It's all up to God. What's the secret? You have to be professional and work a lot. Arkady is a very rich man because he's touched a new Russian nerve. Muscovites spend as if there's no tomorrow, and the city is now the most expensive in the world. An absurd sight! The nation's capital has a real buzz. However, I'm in search of another Russia beyond Moscow, that Russia where the great majority live. Moscow going south, I feel a bit like a schoolboy, I've got my money, just go and try and get a ticket and hope that I get the right train. I think it's platform nine or train nine. We'll see. Is that right? Great. Spasiba. I'm getting better. At least I can do "spasiba". Some of these trains are more than a kilometre in length, and of course my carriage has to be right at the end. I've got a couple of minutes. Phew, made it. A tremendously good smell of food. A little smell of food and a little bit of bodies as well. I had a three-hour journey ahead of me. Time for a good read... . . or so I thought. Book...? Yeah, well I'm reading this book. It's a very famous Russian book called... Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. Ahh. You know Tolstoy? Great man. Tolstoy. Yeah, he's a great man. It's one of the intriguing things about travelling by train is that you do have these totally incomprehensible conversations.