Soviet Union: New World Order? Or Law And Order?

Reformers fear that a crackdown on street crime and business fraud heralds more repressive moves

Even in the best of times, Moscow was a militarized city, where officers in uniform rode the metro and army vehicles mingled with city traffic. But as tensions rise and visions of chaos begin to haunt the nation, jittery Muscovites have been paying more attention to all the soldiers in their midst.

As soldiers and sailors teamed up with police last week on joint patrols in cities across the country, the question of just what they were there for took on fresh urgency. Defense Minister Dmitri Yazov and Interior Minister Boris Pugo, who drafted the order in secret last Dec. 29,...

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