During a visit to the USSR, an American was intrigued by a new telephone capable of connecting with hell. He spoke briefly with the devil, and the call cost him 27 cents. When he came back home, he found out that this same service was now available in the US too. He tried it again and received a bill for $2,000. He was distressed.
- How come?! The same call only cost me 27 cents in the USSR.
- Well, said the operator. Over there it is a local call.
You're right Martin 1990s were a hell for all of FSU as they transitioned from socialism to capitalism, especially for the 40+, who had lived their entire lives in socialism. Under Putin, Russian is improving.
When I got my citizenship in 1990, I was surprised to see that majority of US citizenship recepients were from UK. Later that year, I visited England for the first time. Every step I took at Victoria train station, I displaced trash. Same for elsewhere. My last visit to England was in 2003. The country had improved considerably.
After the Gulf War I, a lot of sheiks donated malls and what not to UK to thank them for reclaiming Kuwait, when it was the US ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, who gave Saddam the green light to attack Kuwait to begin with: "we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait."