August 09, 2022

A Soviet Callback


A Soviet Callback
The echoes of the USSR can be heard among the aisles. Russian Life files

On August 27, Moscow and St. Petersburg will see the opening of some new storefronts. These storefronts will be exclusive spaces known as "duty-free" shops.

The duty-free shops will boast a wide selection of goods, anything from alcohol and tobacco to smartphones and watches. The price tags for these items will be indicated in rubles, dollars, and euros. But what makes these stores so exclusive is that only diplomatic workers, employees of international organizations, and members of their families will be allowed to shop there. Proof of one's official position with documents will be required at the register.

This kind of store is not a new concept to Russia. During the Soviet era, the buying and selling of Western-imported goods for the bureaucratic elite was a common occurrence and was later viewed as a symbol of how the communist dream was left unfulfilled within the country.

While imports became more common in Russia after the dissolution of the USSR, the ever-tightening sanctions against Russia have made it more difficult to come across foreign goods.

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