JARMARK EUROPAThe Jarmark Europa in Warsaws Dziesieciolecia Stadium is one of the biggest bazaars in Eastern Europe. The merchants and traders come from many different parts of the former Soviet Union. They transport their wares in their famous carrying bags to Warsaw and other cities to the west of the former USSR. In Russian they are called chelnoki, which describes their movement. Chelnok means a weavers shuttle. For the most part they have exchanged a middle-class life for a life of constantly travelling back and forth between their home town and the bazaar. Many of them are university graduates who earn too little to live on, are out of work or are retired. The chelnoki are entrepreneurs at the dawn of a constantly changing society.
The film tells the story of two of them, while also relating the difficulties the filmmaker had in recording this story. Kaleria Michajlowna from Penza was the head of a polyclinic. Now she is retired. Once every two months she travels to Warsaw to sell everything that costs next to nothing in Penza and can therefore be sold at a profit in Poland.
Swetlana Anatoljewna from Brest lost her job as a music teacher in the course of Perestroika. To keep from getting bored at the bazaar she used to read a lot. Other merchants from Russia were also interested in her books. So she opened a lending library in her kiosk, which is meanwhile a flourishing business.