March's GIM interviewed Dr Vladimir Gershenzon, the General Director of Scan Ex. Despite it being the late 1980s there were still difficulties in setting up a scientific business. I quote
"It is probably hard for an outsider to imagine, but at that time it was impossible to survive by being involved only in "hi-tech". So, with 40000 borrowed dollars ... we went to Germany to buy Mercedes cars for selling on the Russian market. It was dangerous: on two occasions ... I barely escaped from hijackers".
Not your average day at work in the surveying industry then?
And do I detect a lament at the tightening of customs rules and regulations?
"Today you need to fill in many documents to export any commodity, but at the time you could just pack it* in a refrigerator box and roll it past customers on a cart, declaring, 'for school, for school'."
[* a portable meteorological station]
Ah, those were the days...