Glasnost brought a little more color into the lives of Soviet newspaper readers as Izvestia heralded with a front-page splash of green the opening of its pages to foreign advertisers.
For decades, the same government daily had railed against capitalism in small, gray type. Now, it was introducing the Western sales pitch."French perfumes, French wines and the French effort to find comfort have been well-known to you for a long time," proclaimed Pechiney, a French firm that bought all of page five in Tuesday's ground-breaking edition. "Now you have a chance to get more closely acquainted with industrial France,"
In a front-page announcement, Izvestia said the two pages of ads from European and U.S. companies were the first in a weekly effort "to give Western businessmen the possibility to enter into direct dialogue with future Soviet partners who are trying to set up contacts with the foreign market."
West Germany's Dresdner Bank, the first Western bank to open an office in Moscow in 1973, had a quarter of page six with a green stripe matching the splash of green on the eight-page paper's front.
The ads represent a sharp turnabout for the central press. Soviet newspapers usually consist of four to six broad sheets of small type crammed from top to bottom of each page. They have not accepted any advertising.
In recent years, newspapers such as Moscow News, which is at the forefront of Gorbachev's drive for greater openness and restructuring Soviet society, have begun publishing occasional ads for state-run enterprises.
In announcing an agreement Oct. 15 to cooperate on the advertising project with West Germany's Burda magazine, Izvestia called advertising the "engine of trade."