To Russia, with doubts
I am glad to say that the preparations for my forthcoming trips seem to be coming to an end. In terms of effort, the trip to Moscow in mid May was certainly more strenuous to prepare than the trip to New York next week. I was not prepared for the paperwork required to get a visum to Russia: you need an invitation, proof of medical insurance, a physical slip as proof of payment of the visum fee ... what a hassle! Nevertheless, I hope that the Consulate will revert in time for the NY trip next week, ere immigration without a passport might turn out to be a bit difficult. Otherwise, NY is much easier to deal with: you only need to find a seat on a plane and a hotel that is not fully booked - both are equally difficult, it seems.