Tag Archives: Vision Express

The RIP Roarin’ Russian 90s!

If you ever wondered about how an aging American would dive into a burgeoning “mafiaocrasy” where partners were killed, enemies “taken out”, money easily made and, frequently, stolen and line-tapping was common and lying was a way of life, then, you have come to the right writing. The path that led me to spend nearly [...]

Bunking The Bankers …

By the early 1990s, Russia and the Former Soviet Union (FSU) had earned a certain fame, summarized by a certain name for its particular blend of business and politics, it was known by its acquaintances as a mafiocracy. Now, those of us who were living in it, like in any society, hardly noticed the big image, we just dealt with our [...]

I’ll Take Manhattan Everytime…

Early in 1983, my partner, Jim Fischbach, and I had just about given up hope for the success of, or even the continuation of,  our new enterprise, CARMA (Casino and Restaurant Marketing Associates). Our big client for whom we were contracted to reposition, redesign and market five casino hotels in Las Vegas (including The Silverbird, the Silver Nugget and the [...]

Bombs Away in Lithuania …

This will tell the story of how three of our four Vision Express stores in Lithuania were simultaneously bathed in grenades one Monday morning at 1am and how the Mafia group who did the deed eventually apologized and paid for damage repair. When the USSR folded back into its constituent states in 1991, I was already [...]

Bye,Bye,Byrnee …

Valeriy Solovyov was honored, buried and toasted. This morning,  we had told “Boris Schmoris” to “Go Fuck Himself” (in proper Russian, of course). We’d just had a few hour nap. Sergey, our driver,  rang our bell at 1:30 in the afternoon. Refreshed from our naps following the meeting with Boris, the abhorrent, Veronika and I [...]

The Wall Street Infernal.

NOTE: WRITE INTRO TO CONNECT WITH REST OF STORY. IF NEEDED. E. Dean Butler was a man with inside information. He had been inside Procter & Gamble for six years and had risen to a high inside position. The Wall Street Journal had a lady reporter who had been nosing around P&G for nearly a [...]

The Tsar is Dead.

At 8AM on December 8th, 1993, my Russian Federation partner, Valeriy Solovyev, stepped out of his elevator and was hit with three bullets fired at point blank range.  (See ”Death and Life at The Palace of Culture”, “Head of the Table” and …….). The experience at the Northern St. Petersburg cemetary was a rare one indeed …. The hand was [...]

Death and Life in the Palace of Culture.

NOTE: Write intro that connects with rest of story. He was cute. Impish. Dimpled. Round. His eager eyes always shone with anticipation and were quick to laugh. He was small for a Russian, perhaps 5’6”. Although he was somewhat rotund in shape, his shoulders-width neck reminded one of his youthful accomplishments as a Greco-Roman wrestler [...]

That Dirty Daug Mindaugas

Vision Express had opened three stores in Lithuania, the first in Panevežys which was nearest to our Latvia headquarters in Riga, the second in Vilnius, the capital and largest city, and the third in Kaunas,  close to Vilnius in size and thriving. All three cities met our population and economic criteria, but one Lithuanian city [...]