Last winter, visiting a friend who lives in a block of flats in central Moscow, I saw a handwritten note next to the entrance door:

It was minus fifteen degrees centigrade outside. Homeless people had probably tried to come inside to get some warmth. With just a handful of shelters in the city, and even those, apart from rare exceptions, only accepting people who could prove that they were formerly registered as residents of Moscow, it is hard to think where else homeless people would go. But, of course, that did not concern the residents of this building. Homeless people are a nuisance. They are like stray dogs that need to be removed by special services. But these are the stray dogs who can read… They were once human, went to the same schools, worked together and perhaps were even neighbours.