In the mid-1990s, I hosted a small dinner for Lady Thatcher and a group of Republican Senators in Washington. Bill Clinton had come out in favour of NATO expansion - which led a number of conservatives to come out against. During the evening, Lady Thatcher told the august group of Republicans around the table - all men, incidentally - to knock it off.
During the 80s, with artists I managed, I visited most of Eastern Europe's capitals. All of them smelt of decay. Buildings were dilapidated and hotels grubby. You could be arrested for taking a photograph where you shouldn't, or walking down the wrong street. In Moscow, the hotel staff were indistinguishable from police. "Your flight is cancel. You will delay 48 hours. We will retain your passport. Eat in the designated place."