The man across from him snorted in contempt.
He looked over the top of his paper at Smirnov and said, "The election in Italy. Ridiculous!"
Ilya Simonov brought his mind back to the present. "How did they turn out? I understand the depression is terrible there."
"So I understand," the other said. "The vote turned out as was to be expected."
Simonov's eyebrows went up. "The Party has been voted into power?"
"Ha!" the other snorted. "The vote for the Party has fallen off by more than a third."
The security colonel scowled at him. "That doesn't sound reasonable, if the economic situation is as bad as has been reported."
His table mate put down the paper. "Why not? Has there ever been a country where the