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E-mail From Washington

From: CNN
In: Moscow
Posted 12-3-97

Subject: Gorbachev's Pizza Hut Ad Benefits His Archives

Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader who introduced the world to the words "perestroika" and "glasnost," was compelled to appear in a Pizza Hut commercial to raise money for the "Perestroika Library and Archives," according to a statement from the Gorbachev Foundation.

"Mikhail Sergeivich Gorbachev received a lot of proposals over the past few years to do these kinds of TV commercials. As a rule, these proposals were rejected. An exception was made in this case due to the fact that the Gorbachev Foundation needs money to acquire a building to house the Perestroika Library and Archives," the foundation's press service explained in the written statement.

"It's worth noting that the Gorbachev Foundation rents its space currently, and has never had, does not have now, and is not asking for any financial support from the government," the group added.

It was not clear from the statement if the commercial has been shown on television yet.

Today's New York Times reports that the ad has Gorbachev arriving by limousine at a Russian Pizza Hut. An older man sees him and grumbles, "Because of him, we have economic confusion."

The commercial continues when a younger man argues, "Because of him we have opportunity."

Patrons continue to argue until an older woman says, "Because of him we have things like Pizza Hut!" Customers then raise their slices and give their former leader a standing ovation.

Some reports indicate Gorbachev's fee for the ad is close to $1 million.

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