The paper is based
on field surveys carried out in Petersburg and - for comparison - in a Siberian township
of Izhmorsk. Authorized methods of content analysis and semantic differentials were
used. The past - soviet period - was evaluated in the surveys as 'the time of politics'
and 'of confidence in the future'. In contrast, the current time is seen as time
of 'economics' and 'of reedom'. 'Party', 'queues', 'salary', 'communism', and 'stability'
were found to be the foremost symbols for the past, while 'freedom', 'unemployment',
'war in Chechenia', 'democracy', and 'perestroika' - for the present respectively.