Capitalism On Kropotkinskaya Street

It is 11 a.m., an hour before opening time. Already the queue at 36 Kropotkinskaya Street extends around the corner of the elegant green-and-cream 19th century building. People are waiting patiently for a chance to experience one of the first visible signs of economic reform, a free-enterprise restaurant. "We've got a big problem here," Manager Andrei Fyodorov says. "Too many customers."

Some problem. Fyodorov, 44, is co-chairman of the eight-member cooperative that opened Moscow's first such venture last March. He and his seven partners, most of them experienced cooks or waiters, are investing in a business that will prosper -- or...

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