It is 4:54 AM Eastern Time U.S. I am watching a young Russian woman showing me women’s underwear. She is holding each item up, pointing out details. Will she model the items? Who knows?

I remember when the stereotype of Russian women was of a frumpy middle-aged woman who wore a head scarf (baboushka) and chunky boots. Things have changed a bit. Russia very much has a consumer, free market (capitalistic) economy. Fifty years ago, the United States and The Union Of Soviet Socialist Republics were prepared to annihilate each other and the rest of the world along with them.

Now we have an entire generation who have NO memory of The Cold War, the abject failure of Marxist economics, and the brutality of the Communist totalitarian state. At least one of these young people is now serving in Congress.

The street survivalist wisdom of living under a Marxist economy suggested that one stand on the line whenever a queue formed to buy whatever it was that was available, whether one needed the item or not. For example, toilet paper might be offered in today’s line. One bought the quota of toilet paper available, with the intention of trading your surplus toilet paper for the toothpaste, razor blades or feminine hygiene items someone else may have acquired that you or a family member might need. Americans, used to living in capitalist abundance, have no concept of any other system, where scarcity is the norm.

The resurgence of the Russian Orthodox Church is another aspect of Russian life we are surprised to hear about. The faith, during the age of Communist suppression, was practiced underground. I remember hearing a man who recalled praying the Our Father during the Nazi bombardment of Stalingrad. His mother taught him the prayer. She could have been denounced and sent to a gulag, a slave labor camp for performing such an action. The spiritual formation of our children is something we take for granted, or worse, neglect.