The Soviet Lurch Toward Capitalism

Down an underground passageway, past the former bomb shelter's antiradiation doors, is LOT, the most popular department store in the military city of Perm. Heavy-metal rock music blares as shoppers pick over Portuguese boots going for 1,200 rubles, or four months' pay, Tampax for 30 rubles a box, or a German-made Siemens refrigerator for 12,000 rubles. "We're underground because the city authorities didn't want us competing near the state stores downtown," says Rudolph Kamarov, LOT's chain-smoking, 22-year-old director. "But there's nothing in those state stores."

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.