Russia: And Then the Police Fired

Within weeks of last June's Kremlin decree boosting the prices of meat and butter as much as 30%, a remarkable rumor filtered through the Iron Curtain: several hundred young Russian students and workers had been killed by police in the booming southern industrial city of Novocherkassk, near Rostov, in a wild night of rioting and pillaging touched off by the unexpected price increase.

The sketchy story was briefly and inconspicuously reported by British and French newspapers; last month Radio Liberty, an emigre broadcasting outfit in Munich, beamed the rumor back to Russia. Among the circumstantial supporting evidence: 1) the entire...

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