Soviet Union: A New Airing For Old Gripes

A New Airing For Old Gripes

"Go into our stores, Mikhail Sergeyevich!" shouted a woman in a crowd that surrounded Soviet Leader Gorbachev last week as he visited the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. "You'll find nothing there!" In the Soviet Union, where shortages of consumer goods are chronic, that complaint was not surprising. Nor were the criticisms voiced by Krasnoyarsk residents of housing, medical care and the Soviet bureaucracy.

What was startling about the grievances was that they were broadcast on nationwide television for successive nights, accompanied by Gorbachev's ridicule of local Communist Party officials. "What have you been doing about the issues?" Gorbachev asked the local...

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