Russia: Lace & Lipstick

While Nikita Khrushchev holds out visions of a consumer's paradise just around the corner of the next Seven Year Plan, a band of ingenious entrepreneurs are doing their individual best to make the dream come true a little sooner. They are the Soviet citizens—no one can tell how many—who operate private businesses for private profit, often dodging the police for years before they are caught. Operators of two of the cleverest syndicates were in the hands of the law last week, charged with running a textile empire and lipstick plant with profits that ran into the millions.

According to agents of...

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