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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016



Muscovites have always looked askance at the privileges of the Soviet period: All members of the Politburo, regional party secretaries and Supreme Soviet representatives received Moscow apartments and propiski [residence permits], after they retired. Judging from everything, this old "illness" has not gone away.

Today, deputies from all convocations and from various regions of Russia are not hurrying to return home, and their numbers are increasing in the capital. They have turned into a certain kind of nevozvrashchenets [defector], and are joining the fight for the city's square meters.

In Moscow today there are three apartment houses for deputies. On Rublyovskoye Shosse, Ulitsa Korolyova and in Mitino. Those who "drank from the cup" of Soviet times are fortunate. The apartments on Rublyovskoye Shosse and Ulitsa Korolyova are distinguished by their spaciousness and high ceilings, and the furniture there is chic -- made of red wood. And just imagine: It is all free.

The deputies from the second convocation have taken on a somewhat second-class position. A spetsdom [special house] was built for them at the world's end, in Mitino. The apartments are smaller and the furniture cheaper. This house is still occupied by many of its old residents and, in the absence of empty apartments, new deputies are being put up for the time being in the Moscow or Rossia hotels at a cost of 350,000 to 800,000 rubles ($71 to $163) per day.

Of course, the ex-deputies could return to the place of their ex-constituency [to make room for the new deputies]. But they do not want to do so. They would rather wait for the presidential elections.

A war over the deputy apartment houses has broken out between the deputies from the first and second convocations. As one elected official told us, several deputies are ready to discuss a bill "On the Eviction of All Deputies of All Convocations from All Deputy Houses." Even from Rublyovskoye Shosse.

Argumenty i Fakty, No. 16,

April 1996.

Solzhenitsyn Speaks

Komsomolskaya Pravda printed excerpts from Alexander Solzhenitsyn's two-hour reader call-in interview.

"Russia is suffering from so many ills today!"

Alexander Isayevich ended his talk by shouting these words into the receiver, since the connection of the last call was bad.

Here are some short excerpts of what Solzhenitsyn said to our readers:

"Don't give in to the pre-election frenzy."

"It is a tragedy that we don't have a vice president."

"It is disgraceful that Russians are fleeing Kazakhstan."

"Our separation from Ukraine is entirely reminiscent of the division between East and West Germany.

"After finishing high school, my father spoke with Leo Tolstoy for five minutes at Yasnaya Polyana.

"Not only is the Belovezhskaya Pushcha agreement illegal, but so are all documents since Nicholas II's abdication in March 1917."

Komsomolskaya Pravda, April 16.