AboutTime - Page 26

cover Story an artist rendering The beginnings of Vostok-Europe grew out of a suitcase full of watches as payment for a microwave transmitter. Vostok Komandirkie watches similar to those that filled a suitcase as payment to Zubovskij and his team. Igor Zubovskij 1984 in Vilnius. The transceiver is completed. The institute has months even if official currency exchange were possible in the disar- of work and money tied up in the project. They need to deliver it ray. So, a suitcase full of Komandirskie watches is smuggled and they need to get paid. At the same time, Vostok still has a through four borders headed for a barter transaction that contract to fulfill with the remaining government in Moscow, union would change the course of Zubovskij’s life and the lives of his or no union. colleagues forever. “Things were becoming like chaos,” Zubovskij said. “We Given the conditions at the time and Zubovskij and his needed to get paid and to pay the salaries of the people in the colleagues needed some way to pay a salary to the team and institutute. We really were unsure what we were going to be able the institute. They had little choice but to accept the suitcase of to do.” Komandirskie watches as compensation for the emitter . The trade With no way to transfer funds, Vostok puts a member of their team on a train to Vilnius. Carrying rubles is out of the question, 26 FUNCTION | AboutTime Magazine proceeded. At the time, street markets had sprung up all over, as everyone was looking for a way to make some money in the