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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


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Beriozkas make pitch for Russian shoppers

In the old days, before Stockmann, before Intercar, before the Irish House, there was the beriozka, the state's answer to hard-currency shopping. Today, these special shops - created by the state 30 years ago to serve foreigners - appear poised to go the way of the U. S. S. R. But not if Yevgeny Ivanov has his way. As director of the Ministry of Trade section that operates the chain of 90 beriozkas in Russia, he is planning a metamorphosis of the stale old stores into Russia's first chain of supermarkets. ""We have many problems"", admitted Ivanov. ""We are trying to restructure, and we are studying business"". The shops that once sold Russian souvenirs are replacing matryoshka dolls and lacquer boxes with Western soft drinks, German sausages and Italian pasta. and they are marketing to a different clientele: Russian shoppers. A case in point is the beriozka at 39 Pyatnitskaya Ulitsa near Novokuznetskaya metro.

From nationalists; a new challenge

A coalition of nationalists from across Russia has launched a grassroots political party with a detailed economic and foreign policy alternative to the Yeltsin government - as well as a strategy for taking power. The new party was formed on Friday and Saturday in Moscow and is known as the Russian National Assembly, or Sobor for short. Over 1, 200 delegates, representing towns and districts across Russia, and 69 national organizations participated in the founding sessions of the party. Though thousands of political parties now dot the Russian political landscape, Sobor is the first anticommunist nationalist group with a network of supporters extending across Russia. It is a union of such diverse groups as cossacks, slavophiles, Orthodox revival groups and monarchists. In its first move, Sobor called for an emergency session of the Congress of People's Deputies to vote to dismiss the Yeltsin government, replacing it with a Committee of National Salvation of Russia.

U. S. steps up POW search

Recent revelations about American servicemen held in the Soviet Union under Stalin have hardened resolve to learn their fate, a U. S. diplomat said Monday. The diplomat, working here on behalf of the U. S. Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, said that while the Russian government continues to unearth information, a team at the U. S. Embassy will work to verify the burial sites and arrange to have the soldier's remains returned to the United States. ""I don't think there are a lot of American POWs who are alive, but the chances are better for those taken captive later"", said the diplomat, who asked that his name not be used. ""We'll pursue cases of any reports we get of living Americans with more urgency, but we also want to confirm burials and obtain identification of those men"". The diplomat was responding to Friday's disclosure that 12 missing American airmen were held in prisons and mental institutions on the orders of Stalin's regime.
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