Russia has for many years been a land of mystery and intrigue to the people of the West. For hundreds of years it has been an enigma, friend, or enemy, as the political winds here and there blew in changing directions. As in any situation where new relationships are being formed we have found that we didn't know at least as much as we did know. That being said we have found that people everywhere have much in common. We found that Russians as a people are interested in many of the same things as any other people. They wish a better life for themselves, self determination, and pride in self and country.

New freedoms in most areas of life are bringing new opportunities for Russians, as well as visitors, for business and pleasure. Russian society and culture have opened up bringing the opportunity to visit and do business. For the first time there is freedom of employment, religion, and opportunity for all citizens. These changes allow opportunity for unprecedented success and failure. The changes have been wrenching, the control of government over all aspects of life did not start in 1917, but had been the case for centuries. Not all of the changes have been of benefit to all of the people.

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