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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

08/01/1996

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White House Eats Put Cafes to Shame

There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but the Russian White House has the next best thing. Entrance to the third-floor cafeteria is among the most cherished benefits of a pass to federal government headquarters. Never mind that an important news conference is about to start and the MTK Moscow television channel crew is cutting it close. ""To go to the White House and ignore the cafeteria would be a crime,"" declared a cameraman recently, overriding an anxious young MTK reporter as he punched the third-floor elevator button. Little wonder. A meal that would cost 15,000 to 20,000 rubles ($3 to $4) at an average Moscow bistro or caf? goes for less than half that sum in the cafeteria. Throw in air-conditioning, friendly service, quiet surroundings and a Moskva River view, and you have an unbeatable bargain -- surpassed only, perhaps, by the more sumptuous if slightly more expensive spread available over at the State Duma.

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