The Nobel Peace Prize award to President Mikhail Gorbachev Monday won praise from Soviet public figures but ordinary citizens were indifferent, saying it would change little in their daily lives.
"That's all very well, but what does that have to do with me when I can't find any milk?" said one Soviet worker.Gorbachev is trying to overturn decades of central planning and put the country's collapsing economy onto market principles.
"I think it is very nice if the leader gets a Nobel Prize, but at the same time there is a full agenda and a lot of topics and this is the main point," said Georgy Arbatov of the U.S. and Canada Institute.
Genrikh Borovik, head of the Soviet peace fund, said: "I think the reaction will be mainly positive in the country, although some may use the prize to prove their view that he and (Foreign Minister Eduard) Shevardnadze are yielding to Western politics.
"I think his international policy, although it made some mistakes, is great on the whole and is maybe changing the world."
Arkady Maslennikov, who served as Gorbachev's spokesman for several months, said the prize would be appreciated by Soviet citizens aware of Gorbachev's contribution to the changed international circumstances.