Russia: Unmerry Christmas

The red flag will be lowered soon, but citizens are more preoccupied with how to repair the ruined fabric of their daily lives

Neighbors are not happy about the barnyard noises and smells coming from the back of Alexander Torzhenko's house on a busy street in the center of the south Russian city of Krasnodar. But the elderly manual laborer and his wife Alexandra are determined not to give up the pigs or the dozen ducks they keep in two ramshackle wood shacks on their 15-sq.-yd. plot. In fact, the couple seem to be settling in for a long siege. "Around here, they steal," says Torzhenko, so he has dug a cellar with concrete walls and a heavy metal trapdoor to store pork and...

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