From A Journey into Russia, by Jens Mühling (Armchair Traveller series; Haus, 2015), Kindle Loc. 2251ff:
I took the express train back to Moscow. Not because I was in a hurry, but because it is the only real express train in the entire country, the sole long-distance connection where you don’t book a bed, but a seat.
The journey felt like a trip into the future. Everything that usually makes up a Russian train ride had been eliminated: the motherly conductresses, the on-board samovar, the clothes-changing rituals, the physical proximity, the carry-on food, the feuding families, the drunken soldiers, the rumbling heartbeat of the wheels. Even the typical odour was missing, that mix of engine oil and onions and bedclothes. The air strongly smelled of nothing at all. Solitary cappuccino-drinkers and laptop-typers filled the soundproofed compartments. My seatmate discreetly moved her elbow away as I sat down. Without looking up from her computer she replied to my greeting, then grew silent, like the rest of the carriage. There was the same awkwardly maintained anonymity that I was familiar with from the commuter trains in Western Europe. Twenty more years, I thought, maybe 30, then all of Russia will look like this.
For most of the four-hour trip I just stared out of the window, glad to live in the present. The country that flew by outside looked as if it was in a hurry.
Halfway along the route someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around, but there was nobody there. When I turned back around the face of my seatmate was chalk-white. With a hysterical finger she pointed to my shoulder and shouted a word I did not understand: ‘Maiskizhuk! Maiskizhuk!’ I fumbled with my shirt. A huge insect flew off and disappeared through the open compartment door. My neighbour sighed with relief.
Back in Moscow, in Vanya’s apartment, I consulted the dictionary. I was leafing through it when a scratching sound distracted me. Irritated, I raised my head. Directly beside my face a fat May beetle was crawling over the window pane.