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Winter's Bitter Wind

With the economy crumbling and food shortages worsening, Soviet citizens are losing patience with perestroika and forcing Gorbachev into a race for results

A guy walks into a Moscow bar and orders a beer. "One ruble," says the bartender. "What?" the man protests. "Last week it cost only 50 kopecks!"

"Well, 50 kopecks is for the beer, and 50 kopecks is for perestroika."

When the customer hands over a ruble, the bartender gives him back 50 kopecks. Says the bartender: "We're out of beer."

The Soviet Union's farcical economy has long been the butt of its citizens' jokes. A cynical sense of humor has helped Soviet consumers endure the almost full-time occupation of waiting in queues for necessities and the utter lack of quality...

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