The Fire Escape Is Locked for Your Safety: On the Road in the Former Soviet Union

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9781882897650: The Fire Escape Is Locked for Your Safety: On the Road in the Former Soviet Union

A decade ago, communism lost its iron grip. As Vladimir Putin stepped onto the world stage, average citizens and petty bureaucrats in the former Soviet Union carried on with the long-running sideshow of their everyday lives.

Richly painted with local color, this is a journey across two continents from the beaches of the Black Sea to the rusty Baltic and Arctic ports, through the arid sagebrush plains of the southern Volga, and across the frigid Siberian steppes. It is also a journey through the hearts and minds of ordinary Russians, Ukrainians, Belarussians, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Tatars and Buryats as they scratch out a meager living, help one another through difficulties, and openly share their optimism and pessimism about the future.

Kafkaesque, hilarious, heartwarming and sometimes bloodcurdling, the events recounted here are real, seen through the eyes of an American lawyer who has studied the former Soviet Union and knows how the game of life is played there.

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From Library Journal:

Locked fire exits, fixed prices, greedy bureaucrats, underfunded services, and a crippled, Soviet-built infrastructure these are the highlights of a close-up tour on an easterly thoroughfare through Russia today. Between 1997 and 2001, Baier, a San Francisco lawyer and Russian specialist, lived in Kiev, Ukraine, where she worked as a legal adviser for the American and British governments in the conversion from a Communist to a capitalist system of law. When the assignment ended, Baier journeyed 12,000 miles east from Murmansk to Vladivostok, observing post-Communist life. The result is this short book of swiftly moving chapters about people, places, and life in post-Soviet Russia. Inspired by questions about ordinary life and events from friends and family, the narrative exhibits warm personal communication but is also underpinned with a significant understanding of the economic and legal situation in the new era. As a result, readers will learn much. There is also a solid glossary, substantive sidebars, and charming yet informative maps and illustrations. Aimed at general readers, this well-written travelog is highly recommended for all public libraries. Margaret W. Norton, Oak Park, IL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Molly J. Baier
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Baier, Molly J./ Jacyszyn, Lisa (Illustrator)
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