A feature of Grand Circle tours is a home visit in the country visited. Ours took place in the village of Svirstroy on the river Svir. It's population peaked in the 1930's during construction of a dam on the river. It is home to 700 in 2013.
86 year old Yulia and daughter Olga welcomed us to her home for tea. Her story is quite interesting.
When she was 14 the Finnish army invaded from the north while the Germans came from the west. Hearing gun fire they grabbed a few things and went deep into the forest for safety thinking they would return soon. Seven years later they returned to find the village totally destroyed. Homes were rebuilt by German prisoners of war and they moved into a 3 room flat at the end of a four unit building.
Both she and her daughter worked at the school. When the USSR collapsed they became the owner of their flat.
When asked to compare life under communism vs life under capitalism she replied, "no change. I work hard before. I work hard now. I have a roof over my head, heat, food and my garden. Life is good. I need nothing more."