Enterprising Hungarian merchants have cashed in on a recent swell of anti-Soviet sentiment by offering T-shirts depicting a fat-necked Kremlin general and the Russian words for "Comrades, You're Finished!"
The T-shirts are selling briskly as Hungarians express pride and patriotism upon the departure of the last of 50,000 Soviet troops from their homeland, the end of more than 46 years of occupation.
Tapping into the reservoir of pent-up resentment of Moscow, Budapest city officials are hosting a giant street party on June 30 to mark the liberation of Hungarian soil from foreign soldiers.
The event is being billed as a celebration of sovereignty and a new age in relations with the Soviet Union in which Hungary is considered an equal, not an underling. But some Hungarian leaders have begun to fear the bash has all the markings of officially sanctioned Soviet-bashing.
Tens of thousands are expected to flood the capital's streets in an outpouring of joy at their long-awaited freedom, which, in the absence of any Soviet participants, is likely to convey less a message of "farewell" as "good riddance."
"The occasion to celebrate on June 30 is the restoration of Hungary's sovereignty and not the withdrawal of Soviet troops," Hungarian President Arpad Goncz cautioned in a radio address last weekend.
Prime Minister Jozsef Antall, whose political party first designed the T-shirt graphic as a campaign poster last year, has also appealed for restraint during the festivities to avoid offending an important neighbor.
The day of open-air concerts, singing and dancing is the brainchild of Budapest Mayor Gabor Demszky, a former anti-Communist dissident whose persistent challenge to the Soviet presence last year helped bring about the treaty setting a June 30 deadline for the military retreat.
The withdrawal was actually completed late last Sunday, two weeks ahead of schedule and with no fanfare for the last soldiers who crossed the border by train in the dead of night. They brought up the rear of a 15-month caravan that took 35,000 railway cars to evacuate the Soviets' 860 tanks, 600 artillery pieces and an unknown number of short-range missiles.
Despite the physical departure, a formal agreement to settle open accounts of the Soviet occupation remains mired in tense and nearly paralyzed negotiations. Kremlin officials have demanded nearly $700 million in compensation for "investments" being left behind, like ramshackle barracks and weed-choked airstrips at the military bases they established after liberating Hungary from the Nazis in 1945.
Hungarians, miffed at the Soviet hubris, have submitted their own bills to Moscow for environmental pollution. They have also demanded an apology for the Kremlin's lead role in crushing Hungary's 1956 uprising against communism.
Moscow already owes Hungary 2 billion rubles for goods delivered before the East Bloc nations switched to dollar-based accounting at the start of this year.
A raging debate over the dollar value of that trade deficit is one issue holding up agreement on who owes whom what after more than four decades of forced partnership.
Some Hungarian authorities apparently fear that an anti-Soviet send-off at the party next weekend will further damage relations and imperil what are already slim chances of getting Moscow to pay off its debts.
It may take years to settle affairs with the Soviets over the costs of their occupation, Hungarian Defense Ministry spokesman Gyorgy Keleti said.
Meanwhile, he said, it is important for Hungary "not to quarrel with the Soviets and to make sure that they leave the country without the deterioration of good neighborly relations."
Other government officials point out that Czechoslovakia will also be free of Soviet troops by month's end, and that nation has refrained from any excess of expression that might offend the Soviets.
Under pressure from national leaders, Demszky has appealed to all political parties not to make any antagonistic statements during his government-sponsored farewell.
He has also invited the mayor of Moscow and Soviet diplomats to the party.
Not surprisingly, none has accepted.
Western diplomats and businessmen say they, too, are wary of attending an event that might be interpreted as righteous reveling in Moscow's fall from grace.
"We'll take part only if the Soviet ambassador is there," said the head of one American firm. "And I don't think there's much chance of that."