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April 24, 1981



The Soviet Union, gripped by a wide-spread meat shortage, may have instituted a new rationing system in remote towns. There has been no confirmation or announcement from official circles. But various Muscovites recently returned from trips outside the capital speak of a system whereby local stores distribute limited supplies of meat.

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Meat shortages are officially attributed to problems in the planned Soviet economy, which President Brezhnev has been urging his compatriots to correct.

But some foreign diplomats point to another possible catalyst: recent shortages in livestock feed du e in part to the US grain embargo.m