There’s one thing arts guru Ruth Addison can’t get enough of
Brought up in a working-class family in northeast England, Ruth Addison spent five years working for the British Council in Cairo. She moved to Russia to become deputy director of the organization’s Moscow branch in 2002. After completing a part-time MA in Art History, she ran a gallery. Since 2015 she has been Chief Editor for Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.
I didn’t want to leave Cairo, so that was part of the issue, and I kind of knew some Russian but not very much. It was strange because I came from a developing country to a European country. In Egypt, people speak a little bit of English. I came here and was really surprised that people don’t really speak English, so it was a real struggle. I was here on my own and I felt quite isolated.
In the summer there are lots of places with terraces, so I can take the dog and have a cup of coffee. I used to go a lot to Coffeemania on Nikitskaya, but now I just get too tense about how expensive it is. So across the road from there is a place called Prostiye Veshchi. It’s small, but it’s a nicer terrace because you’re in a garden. Prostiye Veshchi, 14 Bolshaya Nikitskaya Ulitsa, Metro Arbatskaya
They have an amazing terrace: In the summer you can go and sit there and have dinner. It’s open 24 hours, so if you have a hankering for kebabs at 3 o’clock in the morning, you can go there. The clientele is quite mixed, so from the people-watching point of view it’s interesting. We quite often go in a biggish group, so you just order a load of [Turkish/Greek appetizers] meze and then kebabs, and it’s just a nice social way of eating, because you’re all sharing food. Karetny Dvor, 52/55 Povarskaya Ulitsa, Bldg. 3, Metro Barrikadnaya
[Writer Maxim] Gorky lived there for a while, though it’s actually the Ryabushinsky House. It was built by Fyodor Shekhtel, the Russian Art Nouveau architect. When Gorky was persuaded that he needed to return to the USSR, he got this beautiful house that had belonged to the merchant Ryabushinsky. Plus I’m interested in Gorky as a personality. He’s a very ambiguous character. He’s one of those people that’s really easy to think, ”If it was me I’d have done it differently” – but would you have done it differently? He’s a fascinating character for me. Ryabushinsky House (Gorky Museum), 6/2 Malaya Nikitskaya Ulitsa, Metro Arbatskaya
Ruth Addison says she has acculturated in Moscow and has no plans to leave.