reading this history of toilet paper woes under communismhttp://home.wlv.ac.uk/~le1958/t2.htm
it seems random but it's actually fascinating. the accounts are harrowing
"Back in USSR there wasn't enough toilet paper produced. I was told by my friends that some lucky ones had connections that gave them access to toilet paper. I remember seeing on the streets people walking with enormous quantities of toilet paper rolls. The lines that people had to stay in to buy it (when rarely it has been sold) were huge -- you'll stand for a couple of hours.
So people like my parents and I used newspapers. When I was a kid, it was my work to cut newspapers for my family.
In 1991 I stayed about a week in an old monastery building where lay people had been settled. The second-floor toilet was a hole in the floor over a deep chute at the end of the hall. What made it interesting was the inverse airflow. Mercifully, the residents had barricaded the corridor so that the stench wouldn't back up through the rest of the building, but they had never solved the paper problem. After a squat over the hole, any paper you threw down tended to fly back up in your face.
When toilet paper was available, it was the type that was hard and glossy on one side, and very rough on the other. We used to call it "the sandpaper." When Poles were fortunate enough to find some decent toilet paper in the shops, they were not hesitant to display their good fortune to others. One of the funniest things I ever saw in Poland was a man riding down Warsaw's main street, Aleje Ujazdowskie, on a bicycle with about twenty or more rolls of toilet paper on a string hanging over his shoulder and across his chest like a bandolier. He was proud and wanted everyone to see.
I don't know precicely what this is attributable too. lack of resources, the danger of setting a precedent for decent TP and not being able to live up to it, or that they just didn't prioritize it for some random reason. I can't imagine going without toilet paper or using newspaper.