USSR Kermit Conference 1989 - Photo #2

We stayed in the Hotel Rossiya (Россия), a short walk from the Kremlin and Red Square. It was the largest hotel on earth at the time. The hallways disappeared into the vanishing point, they must have been close to a mile long. On each floor, at each corner, was a “bufyet” to buy snacks, whatever was available, usually bread, hardboiled eggs, cucumbers, coffee, and sometimes bottled Pepsi. Not a lot of variety but you could stuff yourself for a few kopeks. There was also a restaurant but it was only opened by special arrangement as far as I could tell (we had a lavish and unforgettable farewell dinner there, complete with live music).

There is a "key lady" on each corridor, who sits behind a big desk in what seems to be her own living room, complete with TV, coffee table with samovar, big easy chair etc. When you leave the floor, you have to leave your key with the key lady, and she gives you a receipt that serves not only as a claim check for your key, but also as a kind of passport if you are asked for your papers on the street (something that never happened). When we were there everybody was crowding around the TV because they were showing heated debates in the Supreme Soviet, something never seen on television before.