Monday, 8 August 2005 - 13:22 BSTName: Joanna
Mean-spirited of me, no doubt, but this was another occasion when I thought about how awful it would be to live in one of the still or recently ex-communist countries...everything wretchedly poor, badly made, falling apart, shabby. Particularly it would be horrible to work in the Russian military where personnel have to go without paydays sometimes, work with miserably unreliable equipment. Once again they had to be baled out by much-vilified capitalists. At least this time, Russian authorities admitted in time that they needed help.
Sometimes I feel that we in the USA have so much that it's ridiculous when compared with droopier parts of the world. We are too fat, too comfortable, truly spoiled in every way. Anytime I get all guilty about this, I also must admit that I wouldn't have it any other way!
Monday, 8 August 2005 - 18:16 BSTName: Tessa
No, not a country to live in especially with all the violent crime they can't control!
And yes, Communist leaders, such as Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev, were so paranoid about the West and the 'arms race' that they spent far too much on weapons, tanks, aeroplanes and atomic submarines, etc., during the cold war. All to the detriment of the people living behind the Iron Curtain. Now, Russia can't afford to keep its navy in good condition let alone replace vessels which should have been scrapped years ago.
N.B. Never fly in a Russian aeroplane!
Thursday, 11 August 2005 - 12:48 BSTName: Joanna
A friend's experience forever dissuaded me from any desire to see to Russia firsthand. I was at her house on the day she packed her bags and saw that most of the space in her luggage was taken up with toilet paper. She had been warned that in hotels you can't assume there will be any. Also, when you call down to the desk to ask for toilet paper, they bring you A PIECE. Period. With toilet paper so scarce, she hoped to use her extra supply in trade for other little things she might need but didn't know in advance to bring from home. Since then any time I hear someone rhapsodize about the wonders of Russia, I mentally add, "But no toilet paper."