Soviet Union: Missing the Train

Missing the Train

In a country the size of the Soviet Union (more than two times larger than the U.S.), letters frequently get lost in the mail. Sometimes even important documents disappear into the maw of a vast bureaucracy. But a whole train? Just so. In June 1983, according to an article last week in Pravda, the Communist Party newspaper, a 28-car freight train loaded with crushed rock rolled out of the Tomashgorodsky Metal Factory in the Ukraine, bound for a construction site 350 miles away in the Russian republic. The train left, Pravda reported, "but it did not arrive."

Puzzled, F. Polyak, the...

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