Really, really, really stupid.
I went to school with Russian emigres. I’ve seen what they look like. It was good.
There was no change in appearance. It’s just that access to the west was restricted to the well off before the fall of the FSU, and the well off mean middle aged, at least.
Anne Applebaum knows Russia, and I don’t. Anne Applebaum has been to Russia, and I haven’t. But based on my reading of her work through the years, she does not “hang” with us ordinary plebes, she hangs with the movers and shakers.
Russian women, as the saying goes, “clean up good”.
20 Years ago, that did not mean YSL or Chanel’s “little black dress”. I don’t know what Russian fashion was, but it sucked by western standards, though according to my dad, it sucked a lot less in Leningrad than it did in Moscow, at least in 1973.
Of course, Ms. Applebaum is so intent on showing the virtues of the klepto-capitalism that is Russia, she reduces what a woman is to her market value for her appearance.