A New Cold War

Well written


I first began visiting the countries of the former Soviet Union (the “Commonwealth of Independent States”) in 1997. The hardship and humiliation of the rush to capitalism and democracy  was palpable. People had lost their jobs overnight. Government officials in “respectable” positions  had lost their positions and with them, their self respect and sources of income. Some that I spoke to were forced to travel across borders into China and Germany to sell vodka and Soviet made cameras and other goods in order to make a buck. The bribery of customs officials and arduous train journeys had become the norm. Nothing could have been more humiliating than moving from a government job to becoming a petty trader to make ends meet. Pensioners, living off meager government pensions faced an uncertain future as prices rose dramatically and the economy and currency tumbled. The shock to the system was debilitating. Alcoholism had…

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