Principessa (principessar) wrote in little_details,

Visiting St. Petersburg in the immediate post-Soviet era

I'm trying to decide when a story ought to be set. In the story, two people, both elderly Russians, meet up in St. Petersburg sometime in the 1990's. They are brother and sister and have been seperated since the sister defected to the west in the 1950's. I would like to know when people were able to and started going to visit St. Petersburg as tourists after the USSR fell, and, if you have some idea, how long it would take someone who had defected to the west and thus might be afraid to return to Russia, how long it would take her to decide that it was safe to return for a visit. (I'm assuming that after the Soviet era ended people who had defected didn't still have to fear consequences if they returned -- at least only to visit -- so please correct me if I'm wrong.)

I've done research on wikipedia's St. Petersburg page and in some books I have on Russian culture but I'm not quite sure how to research this. I have a feeling there's not a strict answer, so what I'm asking is, like, if I set it in 1993, for instance, would that seem unrealistic? And, if so, what would you suggest instead?


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