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think that this week's topic is kind of like best nuclear power plant. There are none. They would say stolovayas range from bad to terrible. And they've got a point.

Stolovayas (Soviet style cafeterias for schools, factories and offices) are best known for pasta boiled several hours too long, kasha with mortar-like consistency, bitochki fashioned out of ground-up horse elbows and other such delicacies. No symbol sums up the Soviet concept of equity (collective suffering) better.

Nobody complains about a fly in the soup; at least that means more protein. People don't care when they run out of one type of boiled tendons, because regardless of the name, the dishes taste the same. Choice is dictated to the diners. Stolovayas are about as democratic as a gulag.

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