World: Want to Change Dollars?

"Can you give me the right time?"

The question is well known to American tourists in every major Russian city. Usually accompanied by a furtive look, it is a standard opening gambit of a breed of young Soviet citizens that the Kremlin has long tried to stamp out: the black marketeers. They waste little time in getting to the point: "Want to change dollars? I can give you a good price."

The offer is tempting. Whereas the ruble is officially pegged at $1.11, the tourist can get it on the black market for anywhere from 25¢ to 66¢. But it is also dangerous,...

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