Russia: Fill Up with Commilube

An important part of Soviet foreign policy these days floats to the outside world on a thick black tide of oozing oil. Russian oil salesmen with barter deals in their briefcases stride the sidewalks of Beirut, Colombo and Tokyo. Earnest technicians from Moscow probe the earth in India, Ghana, Cuba and Pakistan to help the locals find petroleum of their own. Fat tankers chug out of the Black Sea toward a score of nations already signed up at bargain-basement prices for Commilube, the fuel of friendship.

Ten years ago, all this was impossible, for Russia produced barely enough oil for...

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