And that brings us to the sixth category, the bewildered. In the early nineties I noticed the blooming female nouveau riche, superficially sophisticated lovelies in Prada and furs. They sipped cappuccinos in Café Mozart at the Radisson Slavanskaya with men who were convinced of their importance in the new get-rich-quick world. These women have now lived a fairy-tale life for ten years or so, shopping in Paris and parading down the posh avenues of world centers where their rich boyfriends would take them for entertainment while they stashed their ill-gotten riches in foreign banks.
Even if these women had a university education and degrees in economics or science, they found themselves left out of the picture. As their male sponsors faced the unpredictability of Russian financial progress, bankruptcy or a bullet, the ladies drifted into other camps, or were dumped by their men for younger companionship. Now they look at their bold contemporaries, running advertising agencies or technology firms, and are standing on the dock watching their ship disappear over the horizon. They are bewildered, longing now to find a purpose, to get a life. Some may take the long step needed to find a place that will replace their earlier frivolous goals and bring them self-respect. Some have taken their credit cards and come to America, where, with some luck, they will find more secure, if not richer, life.
This is the end of my special series out of my book, Walking on Ice, An American Businessman in Russia. You can back up on this web-site to read the earlier excerpts. Or you can buy the book at “Walking on Ice, An American Businessman in Russia”
Questions and comments are welcome anytime.