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When I was in the Navy I got to visit Vladivostok. It was amazing. The people were wonderful hosts and I got to see a lot of the city and experience real Russian culture. The one thing that many people told me over and over was that the best thing for them about the visit of the American warships was that all of the markets had been fully stocked and for the first time in years they were able to purchase many of the things they rarely even saw on the shelves. Another showed me that black market food stands on the roadsides for vegetables and fruits were where most people normally bought their groceries.

Being hungry was a part of normal life for them.