Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“What people did not realize was that war had started.  By 1 p.m., a few minutes after Molotov’s speech, queues, especially in the food stores, began to grow.  The women shoppers in the gastronoms or grocery stores started to buy indiscriminately – canned goods (which Russians do not like very much), butter, sugar, lard, flour, groats, sausage, matches, salt.  In twenty years of Soviet power Leningraders had learned by bitter experience what to expect in time of crisis.  They rushed to the stores to buy what they could.  They gave preference to foods which would keep.  But they were not particular.  One shopper bought five kilos of caviar, another ten.

At the savings banks the people clutched worn and greasy passbooks in their hands.  They were drawing out every ruble that stood to their accounts.  Many headed straight for the commission shops.  There they turned over fat packets of paper money for diamond rings, gold watches, emerald earrings, oriental rugs, brass samovars.

The crowds outside the savings banks quickly became disorderly.  No one wanted to wait.  They demanded their money seichas-immediately.  Police detachments appeared.  By 3 p.m. the banks had closed, having exhausted their supply of currency.  They did not reopen again until Tuesday (Monday was their closed day).  When they opened again, the government had imposed a limit on withdrawals of two hundred rubles per person per month.” – Harrison E. Salisbury, The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad