Soviet Union: Bottoms Up, Mikhail

Bottoms Up, Mikhail

Irate Soviet citizens took to calling him the "Mineral Secretary" or the "Genjuice," but now they may want to tag Communist Party General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev with a more affectionate nickname -- say, "Comrade Cognac." Last week the Soviet Council of Ministers announced that grocery stores will once again be allowed to sell beer, wine and cognac -- but not vodka. The decree watered down Gorbachev's antialcohol policies of 1985, which produced long lines at state shops and a flood of black-market booze. Despite the softened stance on liquor sales, the Soviet leadership still hopes to cut alcohol consumption with a...

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