Witness transition

Here I am on a school exchange to Russia in the Spring of 1992:

Moscow, April 1992

That trip prompted a fascination with alternative economic systems and the process by which a country can transition from communism to capitalism. This page is a collection of resources that have nurtured and fuelled my fascination with the topic of post-Soviet transition.

I devoted a section of Chapter 12 of my Managerial Economics textbook to transition. You can read it for free here.


Traumazone, by Adam Curtis – this collection of BBC archival footage provides a fascinating and absorbing insight into how life changed for ordinary citizens of the Soviet Union, from 1985 through 1999.

For more see here: https://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/traumazone-2022/

Bald and Bankrupt – a British vlogger who travels around the former Soviet Union providing a glimpse at the legacy of communism. I particularly liked this video, filmed one day before the Russian invasion of Ukraine:

Collective (2020) – a quite stunning look at how public officials attempt to restore trust, and how investigative journalists pursue justice, for the victims of the 2015 Romanian nightclub fire.

Flying over Berlin in 1991 – aerial shots taken by a helicopter

Berlin 1990 the end of the war (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) – home movies shot by Derek Williams who was in Berlin to see the Pink Floyd concert

Me visiting the Berlin wall in 2023:


Good Bye Lenin! (2003) – Set in East Berlin, a woman falls into a coma and misses the fall of the Berlin Wall. When she awakens her children don’t want to shock her, and attempt to screen the economic changes occurring outside the bedroom window. This is an entertaining but poignant demonstration of the transition process and alternative economic systems.

For more movies, see my Shin Film List.

“This isn’t the Wild West.”

“You got that right. This is the timid West. We need to roll the clock back.”

Jack Reacher, Gone Tomorrow