Capitalism’s tough reality for many Russians

By Rupert Wingfield Hayes, BBC News, Moscow

When the Soviet Union collapsed nearly 20 years ago, Russia emerged as an independent country that embraced capitalism but what has this meant for its citizens?

More than half a century ago Winston Churchill famously described Russia as a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

It is an old cliche but not without truth. To this day, outsiders still find Russia very confusing.

I remember the day the Soviet Union began to fall apart.

By a strange twist of fate, I was sitting in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport waiting for a flight to London.

The terminal at Sheremetyevo said a lot about Russia then. It had been built for the 1980 Olympics but it was one of the most uninviting places I had ever been.

It was dark brown and smelled of industrial detergent. The officials wore granite expressions and ridiculous, oversized hats.

Of course I had no idea there had been a coup. It was a secret. Only when we touched down in London did I find out what was happening.

‘Forbidding’

It would be another 15 years before I would return to Moscow.

On a cold and wet November day, my wife and I drove through the streets of what was about to become our new home.

In those 15 years, Russia had changed enormously. …

Read more : BBC

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