SOVIET UNION: Avtomobilizatsia

In Moscow last week, the 150,000 or so citizens who are privileged to own private cars were engaged in an annual spring ritual. First, they stripped the tarpaulins from their autos, most of which had been left under wraps all winter because of the ferocious frosts. Then the cars were carefully polished (a dirty auto can bring a $ 1 fine), and inspected by police. Only after that could Moscow's motorists stream out of the city for the budding birch woods and the May Day weekend, the first three-day holiday of the spring season.

They encountered few traffic jams, but that...

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