Soviet Union: Soap Opera

Shopping at the "Black Hole"

No less an authority than President Leonid Brezhnev has conceded that life for the Soviet consumer is not easy. But just how tough can it be? The Moscow weekly, Literary Gazette, dispatched Correspondent Vil Dorofeyev to Krasnodar, a typical provincial city 735 miles south of Moscow, to find out. Dorofeyev was instructed to take only the clothes on his back and a pad and pencil, and to buy everything else that he needed on the spot. The seemingly simple assignment turned into a soap opera, Soviet-style.

Dorofeyev noticed that something was amiss when passengers...

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