Soviet Union: Big Trouble on the Farm

Another poor harvest spurs talk of "political" problems at home

Like an aged shopkeeper, he dourly acknowledged that the shelves in the nation's produkty (produce) stores were nearly bare. Nervous that empty shelves meant empty stomachs and that empty stomachs meant a cynical and disgruntled people, Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev decided that it was time for some straight talk. He declared: "The food problem is, economically and politically, the central problem of the five-year plan."

It was an extraordinary admission for the leader of a country that fancies itself to be the...

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