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Misha, the Russian bear, served as mascot -- and merchandizing phenomenon -- for the 1980 Moscow games. "During the games themselves, Misha appeared as a giant balloon that was released during the closing ceremonies as a cartoon version of him shed tears on a screen and a choir of children sang 'Good-bye, our sweet Misha.' There was not a dry eye in the stadium. One can only imagine the tears that the mascot's further fate would elicit: The balloon was recovered on the outskirts hours later, and put in storage where it was abandoned to be devoured by rats."


"The thirsty Soviet may have had his choice of beverages -- soda water from a machine, kvass from a barrel -- but rarely, if ever, did these things come with a paper cup, let alone a plastic one. Like communism itself, disposable dishware existed only in theory. In practice, what was available to the masses was the highly suspect communal drinking glass. The collapsible cup was thus a telescopic beacon of hope in an icky world of strangers' germs, and a modest triumph of individuality to boot."


The highly popular, minimalist Soviet radio was also marketed overseas; here in an ad for Spanish-speaking audiences.

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