Soviet-Style Bureaucracy: One Woman's Battle to Get Her Clothes Dry Cleaned

The Soviet Union was a bureaucratic nightmare.

Player utilities

This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Even the smallest task involved piles of paperwork and forms to fill out.

In modern-day Russia that is still the case if you want to get clothes dry cleaned.

Moscow-based Guardian correspondent Miriam Elder wrote about the mountain of paperwork it took to get five sweaters dry cleaned.

"The woman behind the counter takes a huge stack of papers," said Elder in an interview with Marco Werman. "She starts examining your clothes with the diligence of a doctor devoted to internal medicine."