For decades, cultural and casual contacts between Russian common people and American people were close to impossible in the Soviet state. People couldn't meet an American on the streets, Americans didn't come for cultural or study exchanges, and even on TV you couldn't see much of the American people. Then, in late 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, things started to change at a fast pace: Americans and other foreigners started appearing in Russia in increasing numbers. Missionaries brought tons of free bibles - books that were previously not published in Soviet Russia, teachers and schools established student exchanges and brought their students from USA with them to explore Russian life. "What? She doesn't want to eat caviar? She is what? A Vegetarian? What the heck is that?" - was a reaction from
common Russian people when, for the first time in their life, they encountered an American student who was a vegetarian and who refused to eat the tasty caviar they offered to her as part of the welcome program in school. In a few years Russian people got more used to the foreign presence, however most encounters with people from abroad in that turning point times was of an extraordinary meaning for the people involved. Here are some photos of one such visit of Americans to a Russian school in 1992. The Russian people meeting them decorated the rooms with balloons and hand-written banners in English. Ladies dressed and people lined up for a meeting. Later, the American guests were served tea and cakes and received presents from the audience.