April 23, 1990 |
It is nearly 1 a.m. at the railroad station, and 14-year-old Galina Simbirskaya is getting ready to spend the night. She puts down her book and stretches out on a tattered brown blanket on the concrete floor. " Spakoni nochi , Mama ," she says. "Good night." Her mother, Valentina, 45, is lying with her face turned to the wall, trying to tune out announcements about arrivals and departures, trying to forget for a few hours the reality of her daily life as one of the bomzhi .
July 3, 1989 |
Elena Gareliv, 88, spooned tomato slices onto her plate as she described to a stranger her days before the Soviet Union's first soup kitchen opened its doors. "My monthly pension normally lasted two weeks. The rest of the time I could only afford bread and tea," she said, drawing knowing nods from the three women sitting around her. "And then, even when I could buy sausage, it was difficult to prepare a meal. I live alone and need a cane, you see."
March 25, 1989 |
Millions of Soviet citizens live on the bread line with totally inadequate wages or pensions, the Communist Party newspaper Pravda reported Friday. "We write very rarely about poor people--pensioners, labor veterans and invalids living on low incomes, about young families living from hand to mouth--yet there are very many of them in our country," the newspaper said. Fifteen million people in the Soviet Union live on a pension of less than $97 a month, it added.