This little guy grabbed
on to my leg and wouldn't let go
until I gave him a coin. "Please! Please!" he cried. Gypsy children are often beaten if they don't bring in their minimum for the day. A few minutes after I gave him a bit of money, he was doing somersaults with the other children.
The pitiful look is practiced, but the coldness of his eyes betrays a hard life.        

These two boys lived near my office, and I would talk with them on their way to and from school. My level of Russian proficiency was perfect for dialog with 10-year-olds. This day I found them buying their lunch (a single chunk of bread) from the nearby bakery.

We mugged
for the camera
while his partner
snapped the shot.

A young Russian proudly wears the hand-made hat I delivered on behalf of two American boys who sent it as a gift for "some kid in Moscow."
The brim says "Hulk Rules" in
carefully-lettered nail polish.

The grim-looking papa
squeezes out a Russian folk tune
for his talented little charmers
on the Moscow Arbat. I dropped some bills in for dad, the girls sparkled a bit when they saw me toss in a few toys for them.

Detski Mir,
which translates to Children's World. An ironic metaphor for the Moscow children's world: empty, grim, superficial cheer with meager pickings. The toy store is located right across from the KGB's Lubyanka offices and prison.
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