Sir: I was sorry to read (30 December) a small piece about the recent cold weather written by Will Bennett headed "In Russia only the dogs and the drunks are in peril". Homelessness is a growing and alarming problem in Russia, where people freeze to death by the dozen each week and are swept out of the gutters as part of the weekly cleansing of the cities. It is also on the increase, due to the decline in wages and loss of job security - if you lose your job and your house, in Russia you also lose your civil rights, welfare rights, your work permit, your right to be rehoused and even the right to reside in your home town. The best you can hope for is to be given a two-year stretch in jail for vagrancy.
If I had lost everything I would be grateful indeed for a bottle of vodka to warm my insides in temperatures way below zero!
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