Even as recently as just ten years ago, the Russian airline Aeroflot was still a major player at Malta's international airport. There was not just the daily flight to Moscow, but Aeroflot still offered direct services from Malta to South America, the Cape Verde islands and various cities in West Africa. Aeroflot may no longer have much visibility in Malta, but the Russian flag still flies over Triq Il-Merkanti, one of the principal streets in the Maltese capital Valletta. There, Irina Medvedeva and her colleagues at the Russian Centre for Science and Culture say that demand for Russian language courses among young Maltese people is as strong as ever. "The centre," says Irina, "builds on over three hundred years of rich links between Russia and Malta".