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Travels in Russia

Stop Theif!
Almost Worth Staying For
Offshore Your Rubles in Swiss Accounts
Russian Women
You Can Buy Anything in a Russian Kiosk!
What Did Russians Eat Before Potaotes?
Nothing Like a Birch Branch Beating!
Anything Can Be Scrap Metal
Serious Soviet Pollution
Day-Tripping Around the Garden Ring
The Russian Poezd
Yeltsin's Family
Soviet Photography
Happy Times in HTML Hell
Road Runners Rule!
Piva is Good!
A Subaka Says What?
Soviet Swimming
Manly Russian Men
And Peter is a Distant Second
Invest in Russia?!
The Zen of the Line
But He Went by the Name of Lenin
That Looks Just Like My Dom
Russian Adoptions by the Dozen
Internet Cafes Are Everywhere
Going to See Mama Russia
Going to the Movies
Russian Visas
Eta Notebook Batteria, Durak!
Fidelity is Not a Brokerage
Soviet Suburban Living
Taking the tramvai
Cash Transfers Across Russia
Time to go...
Do Your Spring Cleaning Now!
Reclama Nation
Russians Do Tours
Going Local
Pecktopan = Restaurants
Yevgeniy Primakov, Who?
101 Reasons Why NATO's War Sucks
A State Secrect: Women's Ages
Russians Blew up the US Embassy!
It's Dacha Time Again
I Love Me a Starlite Diner
Anything Goes at Night
Yesho Piedesat Gram Vodkoo
Shock Thearpy
IMF & Reform
Zoos Should Be for Politicans
There Was Giligan, And the Skipper Too
The Regions Exist?
Do You Believe the Media?
What is Russian Feminism?
Russian Music Rocks
Bye Bye Fast Food
Yest Klooch?
Addicts Are Addictive
Racism in Russia Too
An Education in Russian Politics
Orphans Are Lonely
Making Bliny
Nasty Newspapers
#51 If you get the jokes
Sick as a Dog
Those Crazy Russians
An Open Road Ahead
Iron Felix
You Can Buy (Almost) Anything in a Market
Education Makes Elections Happen
Ice Cream in Winter
Superstitions Are Sneaky
The Adventures of Flat Jon
Ice Fishing in Sibera
Death is Painful in Any Culture, Anywhere.
Lenin is Alive
Every Thing is Leaking
New Russians
Go Dollar!
Corruption is Endemic
The Joe-Cool Moscow Crew
Taxes Will Find You
I'm Driven Mad
Holidays Last and Last
It's All About Location
Taxies Take You Everywhere
Russian Religion Re-emerges


Russia, September 28, 1999

Russian Remonts

With all the dust and notice, you'd forget there is a crisis on!

Yikes!Its 9am on a Saturday morning, and I am wide awake. I was not planning on being in this state, at this hour on a Saturday, but the sound of a pneumatic chisel hitting the pipes that run by my bed was hard to ignore. My housemates and I are in the vortex of the Moscow living curse, remonting.

All over this city, in more apartments than I can imagine, the new wealth of Moscow is showing itself in the apartments of the lucky and the smart. The New Russians are buying big, roomy, but dilapidated apartments in the center of the city. Once they have an apartment with a great view and tons of room, they gut the apartment to the very support structure. All is tossed, from the worn doors to the beautiful Soviet furniture, and its replaced with the best that Russian kitsch can produce.

A bit of a mess!

Granted that the Russian may not have a lifetime of IKEA exposure to orient them to good taste, but usually the remonts are not even close to good taste. Unfortunately, our apartment is no exception. We have wall to wall carpets covering beautiful wood floors, bedroom walls covered in full-length mirrors, and a budeau in the bathroom! A little over the top, but at least its not like some apartments I've seen where a waterfall in the living room is the center of attention.

HmmmSo now, I have two new neighbors. An interesting young couple bought the apartment below us, and so far they have torn out the entire inside of the apartment, and now are building an amazing love nest. I haven't seen the inside since it was a shell, but I have glimpsed the arches and such they are building. The apartment on the other side of the podyez is also under remont, for the Director of a large Moscow company whose name I forgot. In his apartment, the workers are cutting a hole in the wall to make a balcony! Gotta love people with more money than they know what to do with.

Remonted all the way to the superstructure!

All this remonting is doing an interesting thing to the real estate market. The price of large, unfurnished apartments climbs steadily, while the price of remonted apartments drops. Seems everyone wants to have their own styled apartment, and are unwilling to pay for someone else's dream pad.

Ok, they have started banging on the pipes again. I can't take this at 9 in the morning, but I am not about to follow in my housemate's thoughts and actually ask, "I wonder what the laws are on when to start working?" This is Russia!

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