Business: Another Soviet Grain Sting

How the Russians again outfoxed the experts—and the eye-in-the-sky

To the sharp-trading stereotypes of the Philadelphia lawyer, the Greek shipowner and the Swiss banker must now be added a new model of shrewdness: the Russian grain buyer. In the celebrated "Great Grain Robbery" of 1972, Soviet agricultural agents bought up whole shiploads of U.S. wheat, managing not only to secure it at bargain prices but also to get the U.S. Government to foot part of the bill through a farm subsidy program. Now, much to Washington's embarrassment, the Russians have struck—and stung—again.

The sting...

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