chapter  2
26 Pages

Shuttle Trade and Borders in Ašmjany Before the Disintegration of the USSR

The traces of the Soviet past in Ašmjany have been vivid not only in the town’s appearance and the controversies of urban life, as the previous chapter has demonstrated, but also in local memories. Reminiscences of life ‘before the border’ occupied a significant place in many interviews and daily conversations with Ašmjany residents. Moreover, the way daily life in the town had been organized before the border appeared had an important impact on the development and operation of shuttle trade in the town after the USSR’s collapse. First, I start with the analysis of interrelations between Ašmjany and Vilnius during Soviet times and the significant role which Vilnius played in the daily life of Ašmjany dwellers. Secondly, a picture of informal trade in Ašmjany at that time is drawn and its connections with the Polish past of the town demonstrated. Thirdly, I consider how memories about the Soviet past were represented by different people and which place in these reminiscences was taken by mobility and nostalgia.