The retreat was not to be easy; due to a sudden warm spell, the permafrost had turned into quicksand, causing wagons to overturn in the deep ruts, and for supplies and troops to sink forever into the bog swamps. The Allies, using broad wooden planks as a type of snowshoe for traversing mud, were able to catch the Russians and deprive them of their borscht and vodka.
During the Allied thievery, a young Nikita Khrushchev gained his first taste of Western capitalism when he was forced to sell his Kalshinikov rifle for twenty francs to a French soldier in order to buy back his favorite vodka fluski (or flask), a family heirloom that had originally been owned by Peter the Great. Khrushchev, waist deep in mud, vowed revenge on the west, shouting, "Though I am sinking in mud now, someday we will bury you! We will bury you!" to the drunken onlooking troops laughing uproariously at the misfortune of the Russian infantrymen.