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Russians Queue for Rubik's Cube

By
STEVEN R. REED

MOSCOW -- Two years after the fad swept through most of the world, Rubik's Cube has finally arrived in Moscow. But just try to get one.

Moscovites trying to get their hands on one of the multicolored Hungarian brainbusters lined up in 25-degree weather Wednesday outside Vladimir Pavlovich Grashin's Hungarian import shop.

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Inside, Grashin raised his hands and signaled for quiet. He was sorry, he explained, but there could be no special treatment for customers pleading special problems.

'It would not be fair to those waiting outside if I made exceptions for anyone,' he said. 'You must wait your turn.'

The militiamen on either side of him ensured his decision would be enforced.

Dima, 18, a student, had been in line for only an hour and he was almost to the front. He never had owned a cube, he said, but a friend had once lent him one on a long train ride.

'I found it an interesting brain teaser,' he said. 'Now I will buy two, one for me and one for my younger brother.'

Dima had chosen one of two parallel lines outside Balaton. His was for those in a hurry. When he reached the front of the line he was not given a Cube, but a number establishing his position among those who would come back later to try to collect their prize.

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Dutifully Dima used his ballpoint pen to mark his number on his palm: 8715.

Grashin said he had received 100,000 Cubes after a three-month wait, and was so busy he forgot to take a Cube home to his 7-year-old son. He remembered Tuesday.

'It was the first chance I had to hold a Cube in my hands,' he said. 'I turned it in all directions. I could do nothing.

'Now, I have no time to deal with the Cube.'

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