RUSSIA: The Muzhik & the Commissar

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Opposite the Kremlin, on the northeast side of Red Square, there stands a strange old building, sometimes plastered with the likenesses of Lenin and Stalin. The outside of the building is like a wedding cake, but within, there are so many modern corridors and pillared halls that the casual visitor might wonder whether to say a prayer or catch a train.

On one facade of the building are the bold initials G.U.M.—for Glavny Universalny Magazin (Principal Department Store). G.U.M. is Moscow's answer to Macy's, Gimbels, Sears Roebuck, Woolworth and A. &...

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