Long lines and empty shelves for many in Moscow as food prices rise soar.

While there are limited products on offer at state shops, they are affordable. Galina Kuznetsova is a school teacher on a salary of two hundred rubles a month queues are a part of her daily life. She explain that sometimes she has to stand in line for forty minutes to buy one item. It can take two or three hours to queue to buy meat or cheese. However, often there is no food at all available in the shop.

You end up queuing in an empty shop.

The scenes in state run shops are starkly different to Moscow's private markets where food is available in abundance. However, this produce comes at a very high cost which is overly priced for ordinary people. According to shopper Irina Andreeva,

It’s practically impossible to buy anything in the market.

There are some predictions that the social and political challenges facing many Soviets could create a wave of refugees to the west if more liberal emigration laws are passed. Emigration laws have been long discussed in the Soviet Union but have yet to be passed. When emigration laws are eventually passed, the question for many will be where to go.

Irina Holina, a Soviet Jew, claims that a growing wave of anti-semitism is forcing her out of the country. She describes emigration as a tragedy but sees no alternative and feels it is dangerous for her to stay.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 10 January 1991. The reporter is Orla Guerin.