He was selling New Year’s gifts in Minsk near the tractor factory, a less attractive part of the city. He said he put up his Christmas tree on Dec. 1, like he does every year. But this year, his girlfriend helped him clean up his apartment, throwing out alot of his old stuff. He said it was the best days of the year. He told me he rents the apartment basically for free – part of a state sponsored program to help orphans. He said his parents are alive…and that as a child he admired his dad …. But alcohol and crime changed everything. He said he has seen a lot, but tries to keep a positive outlook on life. However, he said many orphans will succumb to crime and drugs because they look up to gangster types.