9/11-20 LEE SIU HIN: Journey to Russia with Solidarity-My Fact-Finding Trip to Moscow, St. Petersburg PART TWO: Life in Russia




9/11-20 LEE SIU HIN: Journey to Russia with Solidarity-My Fact-Finding Trip to Moscow, St. Petersburg

PART TWO: Life in Russia


李小轩 Lee Siu Hin

YouTube Video Links:

Moscow Daily Life:

Moscow Metro:

St Petersburg Daily Life:

St Petersburg Community:

St Petersburg Metro:

St Petersburg Food:



So who funded this trip?


My trip was practically sponsored by my 81 years-old uncle from Beijing, this is dream trip of his life; because his age, he need a companion who can assist him during the travel (like: carrying his suit case). I don’t have enough money, so he offer me to pays the larger share of the cost, and IOU him the rest, fund raise to pay him back later.


For that reason part of the trip was tourism with my uncle go sightseeing, but I also took the advantage “wondering” around for my fact-finding investigation. 


Besides the usual travel spots, we travelled by ourselves, with the help from the local translator, without special arrangements, using regular public transportation or getting rideshare cars, randomly walk/travel different communities across the city, visit markets, bookstores, community centers; talk to ordinary people, and eat at their regular restaurants.


We took many videos, uploaded into TikTok China site (not TikTok global site, U.S. audiences cannot see it due to the western/U.S. information war), I re-uploaded several of them, non-tourism videos into YouTube for this report.


It’s looks touristy, but my purpose is to show the U.S./west audiences, what I saw un-filter, the life at today’s Russia is absolutely normal—even better than many people think,


The living conditions of ordinary people in Russians, according to the web research, especially after the year-long conflict and western/U.S. sanctions since 2022, has some negative impact, but not significant, at least less serious then what U.S. and Europe are currently facing.


Russia has a total population of 146.74 million, in 2022, Russia's total GDP will be 151.5 trillion rubles, equivalent to approximately US$2.2 trillion, and ranking 8th in the world. According to Russian media reports, in 2022, the median salary in Russia will be 62,269 rubles, or approximately $635USD.


Exchange rate depends on different calculation on different time, due to the current sanctions (1 ruble approximately can exchange $0.01USD at September, 2023 rate). Since 2022, the war and the sanctions had a considerable impact on Russia's economic development. According to Russian media, the prices of many commodities have increased in the past year.


Russia's GDP will fall by 2.1% in 2022, especially the wholesale and retail industry, water supply industry, sewage treatment industry, waste treatment industry, environmental protection industry, manufacturing, logistics industry and other industries, which have been very obviously impact by the western sanctions.


From 2021 to 2023, the average house price in Russia has increased by about 25%, especially in large and medium-sized cities; each square ft. selling approximately $380USD-$1270USD, depends on the location.



However, unlike United States, Russia has very good social safety net, similar to rest of the Europe, to prevent people from losing everything, falling out from the crack. Russia has a free healthcare system, which takes a considerable amount of pressure off the average family.


Throughout our trip, we ate modesty from low-end neighborhood diner, cost 300 rubles/person ($3USD), to mid-range restaurant of 1500 rubles/person ($15USD); coffee is around 70 ruble ($0.70USD). Each metro trip is around 60 ruble ($0.6USD), gasoline is approx. 55 rubles/liter ($2.08USD/gallon).


Therefore; it’s fair to say, it’ll be expensive to buy western-imported products due to the sanctions, or buying a house at the good location, but the average Russian’s living standard didn’t affect too much from the current conflict with Ukraine, and the sanctions.


That doesn’t mean Russia has no inequality or poverty, according to the statics there’re approx. 15.3 million Russians are living below poverty line, 10.4% of total Russian population; the low-wage workers are generally coming from the people of former Soviet Central Asian countries. However; unlike my life in New York City or Los Angeles, I didn’t see any homeless people, or slums, or violent police arrests on the street of Russia.



李小轩 Lee Siu Hin

National Coordinator

National Immigrant Solidarity Network

ActionLA Network  

China-US Solidarity Network



Part One: PART ONE: MOSCOW,%20St.%20Petersburg%20PART%20ONE:%20MOSCOW&filename=1695998252734&ext=jpg


YouTube Video Link

Moscow Red Square:



About Lee Siu Hin

Lee Siu Hin, a Chinese-American immigrant activist from Los Angeles, CA, is the founder and national coordinator of the China-U.S. Solidarity Network (CUSN) and the National Immigrant Solidarity Network (NISN). He is a long-time community, labor, antiwar and immigrant rights activist for grassroots struggle. He's also a long-time Pacifica Radio KPFK Los Angeles unpaid reporter and producer and war correspondent who has worked in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.


NISN is a grassroots-based national immigrant activist network, and CUSN is a network of academic and community activists in both countries committed to building a China-U.S. grassroots activist dialogue.


Lee holds a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) and a Masters of Engineering (Aerospace) from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, located in Pomona, CA.


He is currently working on medical IT technology for the inner-city community, and for the global south. He travels frequently between China and U.S. for the activism work.


His latest book “Capitalism on a Ventilator” was co-published with Sara Flounders in September 2020; the Chinese edition was released in January 2022. He contributed to “Sanctions: a wrecking ball in a global economy” published in December 2022 and produced the documentary “Vaccine and Sanctions” in December 2022.


Lee directed a documentary “Vaccine and Sanctions” released on February, 2023.


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