Now this is getting humiliating. The fearsome Russian Defense Ministry is so broke that it's selling Red Army surplus to acquisitive Western trendies: Uniforms, including coats and hats; map bags; and Joe Stalin medals.
The Sharper Image catalog recently began selling officers' greatcoats--eight pounds of gray felt for a Siberian-style cold snap--for $399. The supplier: C.W.O. (for Cold War's Over) in Perryopolis, Pa., whose chairwoman, Kate McKeown, has a distribution deal with Moscow. Now, C.W.O. is negotiating a possible deal with QVC Network. The company also has a stash of blank KGB ID badges--authenticity not guaranteed. As an enticement, C.W.O. sent one to QVC CEO Barry Diller.
This isn't just about making a buck, McKeown says: "When you buy this stuff, you personally help dismantle the Soviet war machine." One-tenth of the profits will go to teach entrepre-neurship in Russia. C.W.O.'s adviser, Stanley Marcus, the 88-year-old chairman emeritus of Neiman Marcus, says he expects the greatcoats to be particularly popular: "They have a lot of macho to them--and a lot of wool." And Lenin thought that capitalists would end up selling rope for their own nooses.