Americans Feeling The Pinch

When capitalism came to Russia, American business came right along with it. The result is, there are parts of Moscow that look just like home.

Now, in the midst of Russia's economic distress, Americans are feeling the pinch, too reports CBS News Correspondent Richard Threlkeld.

At a Dunkin' Donuts shop for example, management has been smart by importing just a four-month supply of donut fixings. But the manager David O'Hara is most concerned about the Russians.

"My employees work so hard, they save 80 percent of their salaries, some of them, and they put it in the banks and they're losing them," says O'Hara.

Montana Coffee has been selling high-quality coffee since
1991. Business has been good, but now, according the manager, Alexander Malchik, things are getting complicated.

"It's very difficult and the biggest problem is we don't
know how to price our product,"
says Malchik. "The second biggest difficulty is we can't rely on banks, therefore, we don't know if we will get paid."

Over at the Starlight Diner they've got the same problem, figuring out the prices of hamburgers and fries and so forth every day because every day the Russian ruble is worth less.

Business is down, but "we're fairly confident we'll pull through this, and Starlight is prepared to ride out the storm," says Starlight Diner manager Jo-Jo Massimiani.

When President Clinton was in Russia this week, he said America stands ready to help Russia, where it can.

Truth is, a lot of Americans have been here for years, trying to help Russia prosper, and trying to make a profit. Now, like the Russians themselves, they're becoming casualties, too.

Reported by Richard Threlkeld