Soviet Union Give Us Our Daily Bread

Consumers face a hungry winter as supplies run short and state food production and distribution turn to crumbs

The Molodezhny milk store in the Frunze District of northwest Moscow used to be famous for its dairy products. Nowadays, almost no customers are seen there during peak afternoon shopping hours. No wonder. Refrigerator cases offer bottles of a sour apple-grape drink instead of butter and cheese. In a touch of the absurd, otherwise barren shelves display seltzer-water dispensers and brightly colored plastic Little Drummer Rabbit dolls, presumably for toddlers who will have to do without fresh milk.

Molodezhny, at least, has something to sell. Some shops open at 8 a.m. but close by lunchtime, when the day's allotment of food...

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