The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. - Eden Phillpotts
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 84, 04 May 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

YELTSIN MOVES AGAINST CONGRESS. Russian President Boris Yeltsin
has called for a referendum on a new constitution which would
abolish the Russian Congress of People's Deputies. In his speech
to steel workers in Cherepovets, he said that one million signatures
should be collected throughout the country in favor of holding
the referendum, ITAR-TASS reported on 30 April. He added that
the Congress has been a Communist invention and has now outlived
its usefulness. Only a week before, Yeltsin had offered to cooperate
with the Congress and asserted that he was against dissolving
this body. He apparently changed his mind after three days of
travelling and meeting with people in Northern Russia. (Alexander
Rahr)

GORBACHEV CRITICIZES YELTSIN. Ex-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
said before his visit to the United States that Yeltsin is pushing
Russia too quickly toward reform and must slow down his course
"if he is a realistic politician." Otherwise a wave of social
explosions will "sweep him away." According to Western agencies
on 30 April, Gorbachev did, however, admit that he had not pushed
reforms quickly enough and had spent too much time trying to
improve the system. He added that he wished he had moved faster
to allow private ownership. Gorbachev also denied that he wants
to return to politics. (Alexander Rahr)

PRIMAKOV ON RUSSIAN FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE. Russian foreign intelligence
chief Evgenii Primakov said during his visit to Sweden that the
number of KGB agents in Russian embassies is being reduced. Western
agencies quoted him as saying that his task is to protect Russia's
interests "without seeking confrontation with other countries."
When Swedish politicians complained to him about continued spying
by the military intelligence service (GRU) in the West, he admitted
that he had no control over the GRU since there was some rivalry
between his agency and the GRU. (Alexander Rahr)

SHAPOSHNIKOV ON CIS PROBLEMS. Marshal Evgenii Shaposhnikov, commander
in chief of CIS military forces, said in Moskovskie novosti on
3 May that while he originally advocated retaining unified forces
in the CIS, he now supports the late decision by Russia to create
its own army. In other comments, Shaposhnikov complained that
various CIS governmental agencies often failed to cooperate with
the armed forces, but said that he had received unwavering support
from Boris Yeltsin and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev.
He was also harshly critical of developments in the Baltic republics,
lashing out at Baltic leaders for the arrest of a Navy officer
and for demanding a quick military withdrawal from the region.
(Stephen Foye)

RUSSIANS PEDDLE ARMS IN MIDDLE EAST. IDF Radio out of Tel Aviv
reported on 30 April that Russian Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi
had visited the Israeli Aircraft Industries earlier that day
and had suggested increased cooperation with Russian military
aircraft producers. Rutskoi reportedly scheduled a meeting in
two weeks time at the Sukhoi production plants with an Israeli
representative. Western reports out of Abu Dhabi on 30 April,
meanwhile, said that two Russian delegations, one from the Russian
Air Force and one from the Defense Ministry, have visited the
United Arab Emirates in recent days as part of determined effort
to sell arms to Middle Eastern countries. (Stephen Foye)

MILITARY EXPERTS OUT OF LIBYA. An airlift home of hundreds of
military experts from Russia and the other CIS states currently
in Libya will begin this week, Reuters reported on 4 May. A Russian
embassy spokesman said that all the experts, as well as family
members, are expected to be out of Libya within two weeks. (Stephen
Foye)

MAY DAY CELEBRATIONS IN RUSSIA. On 1 May, Russia held its first
May Day celebrations since the collapse of the Soviet Union,
replacing the traditional parade with a giant Moscow party for
orphans, the Russian media reported. Meanwhile, about 20,000
Communist supporters gathered near the Lenin statue in October
Square in Moscow to protest against Yeltsin's policies. They
then marched to Red Square, carrying portraits of Lenin and Stalin.
The media also reported that in some other Russian Federation
cities, including Khabarovsk and Petropavlovsk, pro- and anti-government
demonstrations took place. (Vera Tolz)

RUSSIAN PRICE RISES. Russian Economics Minister Andrei Nechaev
told a news conference in Boston that energy prices in Russia
are expected to rise by 50-70% on 10 May, Reuters reported on
1 May. He also said that the ruble should be convertible by early
1993. ITAR-TASS reported on 1 May that the prices of water, gas,
and electricity are to be doubled in Moscow starting on 4 May.
(Keith Bush)

CHELYABINSK-RUSSIAN BUDGET CRISIS. In a move that is reminiscent
of the Soviet fiscal federal crisis of 1990-91, Chelyabinsk has
announced its intention to suspend payments into the federal
(Russian) budget. The reason for the ultimatum is that Moscow
has not been able to supply Chelyabinsk with the necessary amounts
of cash. Arrears in the oblast on pension and wage payments total
some 3 billion rubles, according to ITAR-TASS of 29 April. That
figure is expected to grow to 5 billion rubles in May. On a more
individual level, many industrial workers in the area are not
showing up for work. Although fiscal federal relations within
Russia have so far been manageable, political protests such as
that in Chelyabinsk are bound to become more frequent (and problematic)
as the macroeconomic imbalance in the country continues and grows.
(John Tedstrom)

BELARUSIAN REFERENDUM MIGHT TAKE PLACE. Speaking on 29 April
at a press conference in Minsk, Belarusian parliamentary Chairman
Stanislau Shushkevich said there may be no avoiding the holding
of a national referendum on whether to call new elections to
parliament now that over 400,000 signatures have been collected
in favor of the proposed referendum, according to an RFE/RL correspondent's
report. But he hinted that the ballot might present voters with
a choice between the question that has been formulated by the
Belarusian Popular Front and another proposal, which presumably
will be backed by the incumbent authorities. Shushkevich has
said in the past that he is opposed to the referendum. (Kathy
Mihalisko)

SPLIT IN UKRAINIAN REPUBLICAN PARTY. The Ukrainian Republican
Party held its third congress in Kiev on 1-2 May, calling for
Ukraine to leave the CIS, Radio Ukraine and Russian media reported.
The congress also witnessed a formal split in the 12,000 strong
organization, with supporters of the radical people's deputy,
Stepan Khmara, leaving the party to form a new political grouping.
People's Deputy Levko Lukyanenko, named Ukrainian ambassador
to Canada, resigned from the party's leadership and was replaced
by Mykhailo Horyn, an influential "Rukh" leader and supporter
of President Leonid Kravchuk. (Roman Solchanyk)

DEVELOPMENTS IN CRIMEA. A meeting of democratic forces in support
of Crimea remaining within Ukraine was held on 2 May in Simferopol,
Radio Ukraine reported. The meeting heard speakers urging the
Crimean parliament, which opens on 5 May, to decide against holding
a referendum on the peninsula's status. A resolution was adopted
calling for the dissolution of the Crimean parliament should
it opt for the referendum. According to Russian media, the meeting
was poorly attended. (Roman Solchanyk)

KRAVCHUK IN TURKEY. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk arrived
in Ankara on 3 May for a two-day official visit, ITAR-TASS and
Western agencies reported. He met with Turkish Prime Minister
Suleyman Demirel to discuss bilateral ties and regional and international
issues. In February, Ukraine and Turkey initialed a Black Sea
economic cooperation pact proposing the gradual elimination of
trade barriers. Ukraine also wants to transform the Black Sea
area into a nuclear-free zone. (Roman Solchanyk)

GEORGIA SETS DATE FOR PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. New parliamentary
elections in Georgia will take place on 11 October, Interfax
reported on 1 May; a date for local elections will be set later.
Also on 1 May, the ruling Georgian State Council extended for
another month the state of emergency and curfew introduced in
early January prior to the ouster of President Zviad Gamsakhurdia,
ITAR-TASS reported. (Liz Fuller)

DRAFT PEACE SETTLEMENT REACHED ON SOUTH OSSETIA. On 2 May Russian
TV carried a statement by Georgian Popular Front Chairman Nodar
Natadze giving details of a draft agreement on resolving the
ongoing conflict in South Ossetia, which has for three years
campaigned to secede from Georgia. The agreement was reached
during talks at a conference in Copenhagen on "Problems of National
Minorities and National Conflicts in the Transcaucasus." It provides
for the return of refugees and the lifting of transport blockades;
its implementation will be monitored by representatives of the
Georgian political organization, Charter 91, and the Ossetian
Republican Party. (Liz Fuller)

NEW DIPLOMATIC INITIATIVES ON NAGORNO-KARABAKH. A meeting of
the CSCE's Committee of Senior Officials in Helsinki on 1 May
decided to set up a mission to monitor a cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh
as soon as an effective and durable cease-fire is reached. The
size and composition of the mission will be decided later. IRNA
reported on 3 May that Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan
will meet in Tehran on 6-8 May with Azerbaijani acting President
Yagub Mamedov for talks on the Karabakh conflict. Ter-Petrossyan
will also open the new Armenian embassy in Tehran. (Liz Fuller)


DEMIREL IN AZERBAIJAN. Arriving in Baku on 2 May on the final
stop of his tour of the former Soviet Muslim republics, Turkish
Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel called for a solution "based
on justice and equal rights" to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,
ITAR-TASS reported. At a subsequent private meeting with acting
Azerbaijani President Yagub Mamedov, Demirel affirmed Turkey's
readiness to channel private investment to Azerbaijan. Demirel
also met with Abulfaz Elchibei, chairman of the Azerbaijan Popular
Front; the two men agreed that international perceptions of Azerbaijan
will depend largely on the democratic conduct of the presidential
elections scheduled for 7 June, in which both Mamedov and Elchibei
are candidates. (Liz Fuller)

. . . AND IN CENTRAL ASIA. The Turkish Prime Minister wound up
his visit to the Central Asian states with a stop in Turkmenistan
on 1 and 2 May, Western and domestic agencies reported. He was
scheduled to visit all five of the Central Asian states but cancelled
the stop in Tajikistan because of political unrest there. In
those countries he did visit, Demirel signed agreements on economic
assistance and cooperation in trade, cultural and technical endeavors.
Officials travelling with him said in Ashkhabad that Turkey wants
to create a Turkic Council with the Central Asian states and
Azerbaijan. (Bess Brown)

SITUATION WORSENS IN TAJIKISTAN. Tajik President Rakhman Nabiev
was empowered by Tajikistan's legislature to institute direct
presidential rule on 30 April, Khovar-TASS reported on 1 May.
On 2 May Nabiev ordered the creation of a National Guard that
would answer to him directly. The same day, the chairman of the
opposition Democratic Party was quoted by Interfax as saying
that armed conflict between pro- and anti-government forces cannot
be ruled out. On 3 May, ITAR-TASS reported that former Speaker
of the Supreme Soviet Safarali Kenzhaev, forced out of office
by the opposition in April, was restored to his parliamentary
post, and opposition leaders refused to join a conciliation commission
established a few days earlier. (Bess Brown)

HELP FOR MEDIA IN UZBEKISTAN. Uzbek President Islam Karimov has
signed a decree providing financial help for the country's information
media, ITAR-TASS reported on 29 April. Among the measures to
be taken are subsidies of 100 million rubles from the state budget,
exemption from the value-added tax, favorable leases, and hard
currency to enable media organizations to purchase new equipment.
Similar measures were taken in Kazakhstan earlier in the month.
(Bess Brown)

MOLDOVA, TURKEY AGREE ON CULTURAL AID TO GAGAUZ. Returning from
a visit to Turkey, Moldova's Parliament Chairman Alexandru Mosanu
told Moldovapres and Nezavisimaya Gazeta on 27 and 29 April respectively,
that the Turkish government was urging Moldova's Turkish-speaking
Gagauz population to be "loyal and law-abiding citizens" of Moldova.
Mosanu, along with Vladimir Kapanji, member of the Moldovan Parliament
Presidium and the highest-ranking Gagauz politician, obtained
Turkish pledges to conclude specific agreements with Moldova
on cultural assistance to the Gagauz. The move should undercut
the communist leaders of the self-styled "Gagauz republic" who
promote continuing Russification of the Gagauz. (Vladimir Socor)


MOLDOVA DISCUSSES MILITARY ASSISTANCE WITH SWITZERLAND. Moldova's
Defense Minister, Lt. Gen.Ion Costas, met with the Swiss military
attache in Moscow, Moldovapres reported on 30 April. The attache
was cited as saying that Switzerland "intends to establish links
between the military institutions of the two countries with a
view to extending tangible assistance to Moldova in strengthening
the defense capabilities of Moldova's military forces." (Vladimir
Socor)



CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIA FIGHTING RAGES ON. "The mindless war in Bosnia-Herzegovina
is continuing" said Radio Sarajevo early on 4 May. The Bosnia
capital was relatively quiet for several hours early this morning
after a weekend of unprecedented violence. Many parts of the
city were heavily damaged on Saturday by Serb militia forces
in retaliation to an attack on a federal army barracks by Bosnian
territorial defense forces. Gunfire resumed at dawn. Recriminations
abound over who is responsible for the latest surge of warfare.
One Belgrade radio report on 3 May quoted a Bosnian defense official
as saying that 150 federal soldiers were killed. Serb paramilitary
forces backed by the federal army also bombarded Mostar, causing
extensive damage. (Milan Andrejevich)

IZETBEGOVIC RELEASED, ARMY CONVOY AMBUSHED. On 2 May, Alija Izetbegovic
was detained and held against his will by the federal army. The
army said the Bosnian President was held for his own security
when his plane landed at Sarajevo airport as he returned from
inconclusive EC-sponsored peace talks on Bosnia-Herzegovina in
Lisbon. Muslim and Croat militia surrounded federal army headquarters
where Izetbegovic was being held. After 24 hours and following
UN and EC intervention, Izetbegovic was released in exchange
for guarantees that the federal army command personnel would
be allowed safe passage out of Sarajevo under UN-EC supervision.
Nonetheless, during the pullout the convoy came under fire and
some deaths were reported. The federal army accused Izetbegovic
and other top Bosnian officials of planning the ambush. EC envoy
Colm Doyle told reporters that the incident raises questions
whether Bosnia's Presidency has control over its own forces.
Talks resume today between Izetbegovic and federal army officials
at the UNPROFOR headquarters building. (Milan Andrejevich)

GLIGOROV UNHAPPY WITH EC DECISION ON "MACEDONIA." Western media
reported on 2 May that the EC foreign ministers, yielding to
Greek demands, decided to recognize the independence of the former
Yugoslav republic of Macedonia only if the republic changes its
name. President Kiro Gligorov of the Republic of Macedonia complained
to reporters on the 3rd that "to barter the name of a state as
a condition for its recognition" is unprecedented and violates
the standards of international law. Greece argues that using
a name other than Macedonia would help assure that the former
Yugoslav Macedonian republic has no territorial pretensions on
the northern Greek region of the same name. (Milan Andrejevich)


HAVEL CONDEMNS NAMING ALLEGED StB AGENTS. On 3 May Czechoslovak

President Vaclav Havel condemned last week's publication of the
names of nearly 400 journalists alleged to have worked for the
former secret police (StB), an RFE/RL correspondent reports.
Havel called publication of the list "embarrassing and absurd"
and said it was further evidence that the country has been unable
to handle the issue of former StB collaborators in a "civilized
and humane way." Havel also criticized the Czech government for
planning a bill making it possible to publicly name tens of thousands
of alleged StB agents and senior officials. He said such a list
could contain errors and damage many lives. (Peter Matuska)

BUSH PICKS NEW AMBASSADOR TO CZECHOSLOVAKIA. On 1 May the White
House announced that Adrian Basora has been named to replace
Shirley Temple Black as Ambassador to Czechoslovakia, Western
agencies report. Currently a senior research associate at the
Foreign Service Institute, Basora earlier served as Director
of European and Soviet Affairs at the National Security Council
and was Ambassador to France in the 1980s. His nomination must
be approved by the Senate. (Peter Matuska)

POLISH DEFENSE MINISTER INTERRUPTS HIS LEAVE. On forced leave
since early April, when he accused some politicians of "fomenting
intrigues to the detriment of the army and the country," Polish
Defense Minister Jan Parys reiterated on 2 May that the country
is under threat, Polish media report. Speaking to a group of
supporters in Warsaw, Parys suggested the possibility of setting
up state defense committees "in case the country finds itself
without a budget, the government without authority, and the parliament
without an election law." Commenting on Prime Minister Jan Olszewski's
instruction to stay out of his office until a special investigation
commission reports back, Parys said, "you may as well send on
leave doctors who want to cure an illness." Olszewski has also
instructed Parys to refrain from making any more public statements
until further notice. (Roman Stefanowski)

POLAND REOPENS IMF COOPERATION TALKS. An IMF delegation will
meet today in Warsaw with Finance Minister Andrzej Olechowski
to reopen credit talks suspended last fall when the Polish government
failed to satisfy the IMF's request to curb the budget deficit.
Polish media report that while the budget drawn up by the government
appears to be acceptable to the IMF, it has not yet been approved
by the Polish parliament. Further, while the Sejm Budget Commission
still thinks that the actual deficit exceeds that foreseen in
the budget, Olechowski said on 30 April that the latest measures
taken assure that the deficit will be kept within limits. (Roman
Stefanowski)

HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN TALKS. According to Theodor Melescanu, Romanian
state secretary for foreign affairs, 80% of the bilateral state
treaty with Hungary has been completed, but the problems remaining
are "rather serious," Radio Budapest reported on 30 April. They
include the question of Hungary's acceptance of the inviolability
of the two countries' present border and a renunciation of any
territorial claims against Romania. According to the Romanian,
the many "negative elements" that have accumulated in bilateral
relations make it difficult for Romania to make "an objective
judgment" of the situation in every case. Following bilateral
talks in Budapest, the two neighbors expect to sign an agreement
concerning the expulsion of Hungarian and Romanian nationals
living illegally in the other country. (Alfred Reisch)

DEMONSTRATION AGAINST GABCIKOVO-NAGYMAROS DAM. One thousand persons
took part in a demonstration organized in Budapest on 2 May by
the Danube Circle and the Hungaria Green party, MTI reports.
The demonstrators read appeals before the Austrian and Czechoslovak
embassies and called for a boycott of Austrian products in protest
against private Austrian bank loans to Slovakia to complete the
project. The same evening, Prime Minister Jozsef Antall said
on Hungarian TV that Hungarian-Czechoslovak differences over
Gabcikovo cannot be allowed to imperil trilateral cooperation
between Budapest, Warsaw, and Prague. Hungarian minister without
portfolio Ferenc Madl told Magyar hirlap on 30 April that the
dam dispute could endanger the bilateral state treaty between
Hungary and Czechoslovakia should Prague make its signature contingent
upon being allowed to complete the Danube dam project. (Alfred
Reisch)

CZECHOSLOVAKIA TO CUT ARMED FORCES. Defense Minister Lubos Dobrovsky
said Czechoslovakia will reduce its armed forces from 135,000
to 90-100,000 men within five years. CSTK quoted his as saying
cuts would commence after conscription is reduced next year to
12 months from the current 18 months. Under communist rule Czechoslovakia
kept some 180,000 men under arms. (Peter Matuska)

OFFICIAL PROTEST AGAINST NEW RUSSIAN TROOPS. On 30 April Lithuanian
charge d'affaires in Russia Egidijus Bickauskas presented a formal
protest to the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry about the dispatch
of new Russian troops to Lithuania, the parliament Public Affairs
Office in Vilnius reports. Bickauskas stressed that such unilateral
actions can only complicate the negotiations about the withdrawal
of former USSR troops from Lithuania and demanded the immediate
departure of the new troops. Russian officials promised to inform
the Russian government and officially reply to the protest note.
(Saulius Girnius)

HUNGARIAN-JAPANESE MILITARY TALKS. Miyashita Sohei, director-general
of the Japanese Defense Agency, became the first Japanese defense
official to visit East Central Europe when he held talks with
his Hungarian counterpart Lajos Fur in Budapest, MTI announced
on 1 May. The two sides expect to establish closer cooperation
and exchange military attaches. (Alfred Reisch)

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN TRADE SURPLUS. According to the Ministry of
International Economic Relations, in the first quarter of 1992
Hungary achieved a $400 million foreign trade surplus, compared
to a $100 million deficit in the same period of last year, MTI
reported on 30 April. Exports amounted to $2.4 billion and imports
to over $2 billion, a 13% increase and 10% decrease, respectively,
compared to a year ago. (Alfred Reisch)

HUNGARIAN UNEMPLOYMENT TO RISE. According to the Central Statistical
Office, 421,000 persons, or 8.9% of the active population, were
jobless in Hungary in the first quarter of the year, MTI reported
on 30 April. On the other hand, the Labor Ministry reported 480,000
registered jobless and said it expects the number of the unemployed
to rise to 700,000 by the end of the year. (Alfred Reisch)

COUPONS ISSUED TO ALLEVIATE LITHUANIAN RUBLE SHORTAGE. On 1 May
Lithuania began to issue a new set of coupons, commonly known
as vagnorkas (in reference to the prime minister), that will
serve as a temporary currency. Because the Russian Central Bank
has not delivered sufficient quantities of rubles, many workers
in Lithuania could not be paid. The coupons, intended to supplement
regular ruble bills, will be issued in 200- and 500-unit denominations
and will serve in the same way as rubles. (Saulius Girnius)

ROMANIA BRACES FOR MORE PRICE INCREASES. Romanians face a series
of big price increases on 4 May, when 25% of the state subsidies
for a series of consumer products and services will be removed.
In an interview broadcast on state television on 30 April, Premier
Theodor Stolojan acknowledged that this will be a "very unpleasant
measure" but an inevitable one. He urged workers and unions to
support the move, adding that ending the subsidies will help
crack down on corruption, speculative trading, and smuggling.
Iacob Zelenco, the secretary of state in charge of prices, said
the subsidies being removed are worth about $400 million. (Crisula
Stefanescu)

EXIMBANK CREDIT INSURANCE FOR ROMANIA. The US Export-Import Bank
will make short-term credit insurance available for American
exports to Romania, an RFE/RL correspondent reports. On 30 April
a bank official explained that Bucharest stopped using credits
for imports in the early 1980s, and the short-term credit insurance
is the first step back towards eligibility for the bank's full
range of export credits, financing, and insurance. (Crisula Stefanescu)


BULGARIAN GAS PRICE INCREASES REVERSED. The 15-18% increases
announced on 29 April and to have begun on 1 May, were repealed
on the 30th as the government decided to postpone for one month
planned customs rate. The revised price schedule shows the usual
pattern of unchanged or slightly modified gas prices. Trud said
on 1 May that since the beginning of the year not a single drop
of the 3,000,000 tons of crude oil due from Russia under contract
has been delivered. The paper predicted new, sharp price increases
for fuel later. (Rada Nikolaev)

RADIATION ACCIDENT IN BULGARIA. Strong radiation was reported
on 29 April over an area limited to some 20-25 meters at the
Redki Metali uranium processing plant at Buhovo. The accident
was reported by BTA and the daily press two days later. Pieces
of radioactive cobalt were spilled when a container was being
loaded for transport. The pieces are reportedly being collected
for disposal, and medical care will be provided for those involved
in the spill and the cleanup. The media also reported on 1 May
that the two 1,000-megawatt reactors of the Kozloduy nuclear
power plant have been shut down, one for a scheduled three-month
overhaul and in order to save fuel for the winter, and the other
because of a failure which is expected to be repaired by noon
on 4 May. Reuters quoted the director of the two units as saying
that a leak of radioactive water was involved, but this was denied
by 24 chasa on 4 May. (Rada Nikolaev)

SHCHELOV-KOVEDYAEV TO LITHUANIA. On 4 May Russian Deputy Foreign
Affairs Minister Fedor Shchelov-Kovedyaev arrived in Vilnius,
Radio Lithuania reports. He will hold talks with Prime Minister
Gediminas Vagnorius and other top officials and present the ratification
documents for the Lithuanian-Russian interstate treaty. After
meeting with representatives of the Russian community in Lithuania,
his delegation will fly to Riga in the evening. (Saulius Girnius)


ROMAN ENDS US VISIT. Petre Roman, chairman of the National Salvation
Front, and Caius Dragomir, NSF vice chairman, ended a two day-visit
to Washington, Rompres reported on 2 May. In a short statement
before departing, Roman expressed his satisfaction with the results
of the meetings with US administration officials. (Crisula Stefanescu)
[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull












(END)



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