A friend sent me these photos, which date to sometime in the late-1980s or 1990s. I lived in Moscow & St Pete during those gloomy years, and these photos reminded me how horribly bleak things were during those days. I remember vividly walking into large grocery stores and there being NOTHING on the shelves--just shopkeepers staring hostilely. I remember seeing bodies on the way to the metro station. I remember my teacher telling me that she and her husband were subsisting on fifty kilos of pasta they'd managed to buy, because макароны не портятся (macaroni doesn't go bad).