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In a recent story titled "A Push to Privatize Pennsylvania Liquor Stores," New York Times reporter Katharine Seelye described a state-owned liquor store in Forest City, Pa, that ran out of eggnog before Christmas and concluded that customers of these stores are "like prisoners in the gulag" (more).

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With Georgia on the U.S. mainstream media's map after its recent war with Russia, a new interest in Georgian history and politics seems to have come to life, especially concerning the cult of personality that Stalin still leads in his native land.

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He was born into a Cossack family, which was just one of many indications that life wasn't exactly going to be conflict-free for Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who died Aug. 3. The Russian writer survived eight years in Stalin's notorious gulags and became one of his country's most controversial critical thinkers, a process that continued during the two decades he was forced to live in exile.

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