SOVIET UNION: Coddling the Consumer

The man from Moscow's Literary Gazette was putting some questions to an official of the State Planning Commission. Russia's 1971-75 five-year plan had just been made public, and because it called for a higher growth rate in consumer goods than in heavy industry for the first time in Soviet history, the reporter was anxious to find out what it meant. "Will the shelves be bursting with goods?" asked the newsman. The commission's deputy chairman, Nikolai Mirotvortsev, began rattling off a long list of items that would be available by 1975, though they...

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