Can Mikhail Gorbachev Bring It Off?

Slowly, tentatively, a rigid society awakes to the chilly dawn of reform

At first glance, Moscow this summer looks much as it has for decades: office workers queuing up at street-side ice cream stands, red-kerchiefed flocks of Young Pioneers fidgeting in the mile-long line outside Lenin's Tomb, old women sweeping courtyards with twig-bundle brooms, faded red signs proclaiming VICTORY TO COMMUNISM. But beneath the capital's seedy, socialist exterior there is an unaccustomed hum of excitement. Passersby pore over posted copies of Moscow News, marveling at articles on (gasp!) official corruption and incompetence. Once banned abstract paintings hang at an outdoor Sunday art fair. In public parks and private living rooms, families plan futures...

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