Officials today announced that the Soviet capital will ration meat, grain, vodka and wine in a stark acknowledgement that they expect the local economy of nearly worthless money and empty stores to worsen this winter.
President Mikhail S. Gorbachev’s decree taking 50- and 100-ruble notes out of circulation disrupted banks and commerce for a third day, and rumors swept the government of impending increases in state-controlled prices.
The national government said it is allowing retirees two more days to exchange their large bills. But four republics said Thursday that they will allow extra time past today’s deadline for people to turn in the large-denomination notes.
“The shelves of Moscow stores are just as empty as in other cities of the country,” said a dispatch in the Rabochaya Tribuna newspaper, announcing increased rationing in Moscow. “Now, after long discussions, the Moscow City Council decided to introduce coupons for meat, lard, sausage, grain, vodka and wine.”
Rationing will begin March 1, and the city will decide before the beginning of every month how much of each rationed item it can offer to its 9 million citizens, the report said.