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On my week-long visit to St. Petersburg and Moscow in December, 1975, I found the ordinary people serving tourists to be glum and unsmiling. Perhaps it was because they didn't want to be around Americans. A young teacher in Vladivostok with whom I corresponded was also despondent and anxious to get of of teaching. On a train, a man approached us quietly. As we tried to communicate with him, he surreptitiously pulled out a picture of Jesus and showed us -- implying that he was a Christian. The secretiveness was probably due to not wanting to be known as a religious person.
On the other hand, although their apartments were small and crowded, they were inexpensive. Entertainment at the ballet and opera was also inexpensive.
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