When I was a kid (about 12, I think), my dad took our family to Moscow just before the fall of communism. My dad was a politician and we were guests of the Party. We stayed in a set of walled-off buildings collectively called something like ‘The Center For Economic Studies‘. It consisted of two 30 floor high tower blocks, some lower rise buildings and a network of underground tunnels with plenty of locked doors. Me and my sister stayed on the 28th floor of one of the tower blocks and my parents on the 20th of the other one. As far as we could tell there was nobody else staying there. Every morning an old Russian woman would hobble down the long corridor to clean our room.
The only time we really saw anyone else was during a banquet held in honor of the Western guests. We sat at a high table looking out on a room full of members of the Party. They served tongue - not thinly sliced, nicely disguised tongue, but a whole tongue on a piece of lettuce. There was no way I was going to eat it - but my parents told me in hushed, angry tones (while smiling pleasantly at the onlooking Party members) that not eating the tongue was not an option. It would cause an international incident, I think they said. I must have blocked that actual memory of eating that tongue, but I’ve never eaten tongue since.