Vroom in the USSR
I still remember the jaw-dropping feeling that news of the collapse of The Wall brought. I was working in London at the time, and it was probably one of the few times I felt motivated to jump on plane (the Heathrow link road was on my daily route too), thoughts of a piece of the wall ‘as demolished’ almost sounded sensible.
I think it’s a shame that the real culture and differences that used to exist as Russia’s become an offshoot of Europe are being lost as western ideology sweeps over the people. That’s not to be taken as any sort of endorsement of the utter corruption that that existed in the running of the country, or of it’s elite, that lived in luxury while their people were oppressed and starved.
What I did admire was the resourcefulness of the people, and those tasked with achieving the tasks their Masters imposed on them. The Kalashnikov, for example, remains an engineering marvel, performing in conditions where its Western brethren have long given up the ghost if a single grain of sand should threaten them. Detailed reports of the Soviet lunar lander showed it was made plumbing parts, as might be found at home. Thankfully never tested in reality, it still makes you wonder if all NASA’s expense is really necessary.
Sadly, all that really happened when The Wall came down was that the same people who truly wielded all the power and controlled all the money just changed their job titles, and have carried on regardless.
There are also some illustrations of what Moscow might have looked liked if Stalin had been able to get his own way, and World War II had not got in the way.