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Posted by Alexander on December 7, 2001 21:26:08 UTC

When I came here, I had only $150 in my pocket. So, you conclude that I was INCREDIBLY POOR in Russia. Not true. Americans like to jump to conclusion without analysis. Do you think, I lived in Russia like homeless Americans live on the streets of 5-th Avenue, burning newspapers to warm themselves?

How about modern 4-room apartment in nice quiet forest research town near Moscow? (It still belongs to me, not to government. And it even has market value in modern Russia. Not much - something like $50K, but not zero). Back at socializm time there were practically no crime, no illegal drugs, no pornography. People were drinking, I agree: when you go shopping or visit you friends on Friday and Saturday night you may see a few drunks barely walking home from restaurant. Or sometimes even from their job - on Fridays some workers like to celebrate coming weekend right after 5 p.m., splitting 0.5 liter (18 oz) vodka bottle somewhere in their locker room "on three" (=per 3 person). Why in locker room? They knew that at home their wives would not welcome much such social "triplet". And it is less expensive than in restaurant. Often local party leader joins them too and they have good time altogether.)

Anyway. Also I had a car (I sold it for $4K after being here in US for a while and not using it). I discovered that a car is convenient for shopping, but not for crossing big city like Moscow in a rush (especially in rush hour) - public transport is much better for that. Subway trains passes every 70 seconds and goes with 50 mph - much faster than jammed in traffic car.

Also, I have a land to build a house (dacha) ($20K value for land or so) and few other things which came for free from the system, but which are not free in a capitalistic world.

So, I would no judge someone's living standards solely on the base of how much does he make, but rather on how he lives.

Unfortunately, now capitalozm in Russia is taking over, and not always with right twist.

I do not want to say that capitalism or socialism are ideal. There should be a mix of bests from both.

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