Soviet Union: Bread, Cigarettes and Reform

The revolution spreads from Moscow to the Urals, but can democrats consolidate their power in the provinces?

An excited murmur ripples along the ragged line of shoppers, snaking away from the tiny tobacco shop on Lenin Street. It is 10 a.m. on an overcast day in the provincial city of Perm. Many in the crowd, pressed against the closed plate-glass doors, have been waiting more than four hours just for this moment. A flatbed truck pulls up with a precious cargo of cigarettes. As two men begin unloading, the impatient shoppers surge forward. There is a resounding whack. A young policeman, standing in the truck, hits his billy club against the wooden side panel in warning. "He probably...

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