The rynok is a sort of farmer’s or flea market. The rynok began as an economic safety valve under the Soviets, allowing for some private production and sales. During the 1990s, they became the beginnings of the capitalist system in many of the new countries that formed from the collapsed USSR. Then and through the 2000s, they were lively, bustling places often selling everything from cheese to socks and electronics. In recent years, however, with the stabilization of the economy, larger chains have gained dominance. Government policy has also worked against the rynok, which, while often cheap, was also often associated with crime, tax evasion, and health issues. Today, where rynki (the plural of rynok) survive, they often do so in poorer areas or as hipster locations, dealing in upscale food, art, and/or antiques.

Flea Market & Rynoks in St. Petersburg, Russia

The market, known as a “рынок” in Russian, has a special place in Russian history. The market was a bastion of privately produced and sold goods that allowed under the USSR and allowed people access to hard-to-find goods, usually of the food sort. In the 1990s, the market was a booming enterprise, full of private […]

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