Live all you can: it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven't had that what have you had? - Henry James
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 97, 21 May 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

AZERBAIJAN TO LEAVE CIS? In an interview published in Komsomolskaya
pravda on 20 May, Azerbaijani Popular Front chairman and presidential
candidate, Abulfaz Elchibey, asserted that "Azerbaijan will not
be a part of the present CIS," and that all agreements signed
by former President Ayaz Mutalibov are invalid because they have
not been ratified by parliament. (Mutalibov travelled to Alma-Ata
in December and committed Azerbaijan to CIS membership despite
a unanimous vote against by the National Council.) (Liz Fuller)


CRIMEAN ISSUE AT CRUCIAL STAGE. Moving to defuse the tension
between Ukraine, Crimea and Russia over the issue of Crimea's
secession from Ukraine, the Crimean parliament voted on 21 May
to repeal its declaration of independence made earlier this month,
and also, in effect, to refrain from holding a planned referendum
on this question, Western and CIS agencies reported. However,
a technicality exploited by pro-Russia deputies led to a second
vote, which fell three short of the required majority. The Crimean
parliament is continuing the debate. Meanwhile in Moscow, the
Russian parliament is due to discuss the Crimean issue on 21
May despite strong objections from Ukraine. A spokesman for a
Ukrainian delegation which has been holding talks in Moscow with
Russian officials on Crimea, warned on 20 May, according to Reuters,
that the actions of the Russian parliament "could play the role
of a detonator" and lead to "unpredictable consequences." (Bohdan
Nahaylo)

RUSSIAN SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS. The newly created Security Council
of the Russian Federation met for the first time on 20 May, ITAR-TASS
reported. The chairman of the Security Council is Russian President
Boris Yeltsin. The Council is slated to become the institution
through which the executive and the legislature will control
Russian security policy. Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi and
the first deputy chairman of the parliament, Sergei Filatov,
have been appointed permanent members (postoyannye chleny) of
the Council--as representatives of the executive and legislative
branches, respectively. (Alexander Rahr)

COMMENTARY, GRACHEV INTERVIEW ON RUSSIAN ARMY. Commenting on
recent developments in the Russian armed forces, Moskovsky Komsomolets
on 20 May characterized Pavel Grachev's appointment to the post
of Russian Defense Minister as a "temporary compromise." The
newspaper also confirmed that First Deputy Defense Minister Andrei
Kokoshin will deal with the military industrial complex, and
indicated that there are currently 2,623,000 men serving in the
armed forces under Russian jurisdiction. Grachev himself is quoted
as being very concerned with draft shortfalls in Russia, laying
the blame for these problems partly on journalists and politicians
and, more surprisingly, on what he called an unfortunate order
from CIS Commander in Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov that widened
the qualifications for draft deferments on the basis of poor
health. (Stephen Foye)

JAPAN UPSET BY REMARKS ON KURILE ISLANDS. The Japanese news service
Kyodo reported on 20 May that Japanese Foreign Ministry officials
are upset by an ITAR-TASS report of 19 May in which Russian Defense
Minister Pavel Grachev was quoted as saying that Russia would
not withdraw its military forces from the disputed Kurile Islands.
A Japanese official reportedly said that Grachev's remarks, if
true, contradict a statement made by Boris Yeltsin to Japanese
Foreign Minister Watanabe earlier this month in Moscow. Yeltsin,
he said, made it clear that all troops would be withdrawn from
the Kuriles within a year or two. Japanese diplomats in Moscow
have reportedly been ordered to get a clarification of Grachev's
remarks. Some 7,000 troops are believed to remain on the island.
(Stephen Foye)

YELTSIN APPOINTS NEW DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER. Georgii Khizha, a
deputy mayor of St. Petersburg, has been appointed as a Russian
deputy prime minister by Boris Yeltsin on 20 May, ITAR-TASS reported.
The presidential press service described Khizha as a 54-year-old
engineer, born in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat. His appointment
as Yeltsin's fifth deputy prime minister would seem to answer
criticism that his administration has too few industrial experts.
(Carla Thorson)

YELTSIN BACKS PRESIDENTIAL ENVOYS. Boris Yeltsin has met with
his personal envoys to the republics and regions of the Russian
Federation to sort out conflicts between his envoys and the local
administrations, "Vesti" reported on 20 May. The chiefs of the
local administrations regard the presence of presidential envoys
in their regions as a sign of the Russian president's mistrust.
Yeltsin has criticized the local administrations, the vast majority
of which still consist of former Communists, for resistance to
his reforms. Yeltsin asserted that he will continue to rely on
the information he receives from his envoys. (Alexander Rahr)


RUBLE RATE UP. In a revealing announcement, the Russian Central
Bank on 16 May raised its fixed "market rate" for the ruble from
100 to 90 to the US dollar, Reuters reported. It is still planned,
apparently, to move towards a single rate of exchange with effect
from 1 July, and then to make the ruble convertible in August,
hopefully at a rate of around 80 rubles to the dollar. Many observers
are skeptical that this timetable will be kept. (Keith Bush)


NUCLEAR WASTE DISPOSAL PLAN. The Russian Minister of Atomic Energy,
Viktor Mikhailov, said on 19 May that scientists in the "atomic
city" of Arzamas-16 are developing ways to destroy nuclear and
chemical waste through nuclear detonations, AFP reported. He
thereby partially confirmed a recent Greenpeace assertion that
Russia plans to destroy nuclear and chemical waste by nuclear
blasts at the Barents Sea archipelago of Novaya Zemlya. Mikhailov
did not comment on the location of the project, and promised
that international scientists would vet the safety aspects of
any such disposal procedures. (Keith Bush)

RUSSIA TARGETS JOBLESS YOUTH IN CRIME PREVENTION DRIVE. The Russian
government on 19 May unveiled a program aimed at keeping unemployed
and homeless youths out of trouble by offering state and private
enterprises financial incentives to give them jobs. Reuters and
Interfax quoted Major General Boris Voronov, head of the crime
prevention department of Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs,
as saying rising unemployment, particularly among young people,
lies at the root of the present sharp rise in Russia's crime
rate. In the first quarter of 1992, Voronov said, the crime rate
rose by over one third, with the increase in juvenile delinquency
being especially marked. While in 1987 juveniles committed every
tenth crime, in 1991 juveniles were responsible for every sixth.
(Elizabeth Teague)

FIGHTING CONTINUES IN NAKHICHEVAN DESPITE DIPLOMATIC OVERTURES.
Heavy artillery fire continued on 20 May on the border between
Armenian and Nakhichevan; Nakhichevan parliament Chairman Geidar
Aliev told Western journalists that he had spoken by phone to
Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan and the latter had reneged
on a promise to try to arrange a cease-fire. Armenia's Ambassador
to the UN, Alexander Arzoumanian, told RFE/RL on 20 May that
he hoped Turkey and the US would support an Armenian proposal
for cooperation with Nakhichevan. IRNA carried a warning to Armenia
by the Iranian Foreign Ministry that Iran considers any attempts
to alter existing borders by force "an act of aggression." Erevan
Radio reported that Iran had agreed to a joint proposal by Armenia
and Nakhichevan to send observers to Nakhichevan. Turkish Prime
Minister Suleyman Demirel ruled out the dispatch of Turkish troops
to Nakhichevan, but Radio Baku reported that he had promised
to send "aid" to the region. (Liz Fuller)

SHAPOSHNIKOV WARNS AGAINST FOREIGN INTERVENTION IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH.
Speaking at a press conference in Moscow on 20 May, CIS armed
forces Commander in Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov warned that if
outside powers attempt to intervene militarily in the Karabakh
conflict "that will obviously place us on the brink of a new
world war," Western media reported. (Liz Fuller)

TAJIK REGIONS REJECT NEW GOVERNMENT. The authorities in Tajikistan's
Leninabad and Kulyab Oblasts announced on 20 May their refusal
to recognize the new government that was created last week under
an agreement between Tajik President Rakhman Nabiev and the opposition
coalition. Leninabad officials had threatened to ask Uzbekistan
to annex their oblast, if the Tajik government reached an accommodation
with the opposition. Authorities in Kulyab, who likewise opposed
an agreement with the opposition, have threatened to create an
independent state. Groups of parliamentary deputies from the
two oblasts have informed the acting speaker of parliament that
they will participate in neither the newly-formed Popular Assembly
or the Supreme Soviet. (Bess Brown)

DETAILS ON TURKMENISTAN CONSTITUTION. On 20 May, Radio Rossii
provided additional information on Turkmenistan's new constitution,
adopted on 18 May and just published in the republican press.
The highest organ of power will be the Halk Maslahaty (Council
of the People), with a Mejlis (Assembly) functioning as the working
parliament. Oblasts will be known as velayets, raions will become
etraps, the chief administrators of which will be hakims and
archins, respectively. The report notes that ethnic and religious
political parties are prohibited. (Bess Brown)

KARIMOV ON UZBEK ARMY. The Imanpress agency quoted Uzbek president
Islam Karimov on 19 May as saying that Uzbekistan's army will
not exceed 35,000 men. (Bess Brown)

DNIESTER CASUALTY TOLL UP. Twenty-four were killed and 87 were
wounded on both sides when "Dniester" Russian insurgents attacked
the Moldovan police bridgeheads on the left bank on 18-19 May,
Moldovan and Moscow media reported on 20 May. The updated toll
is considerably higher than initially reported (see Daily Report,
20 May), and the fighting is continuing. (Vladimir Socor)

RUSSIAN MILITARY UNITS JOIN "DNIESTER" FORCES. On 19-20 May,
several units of Russia's 14th Army joined the "Dniester" forces
in military operations, Moldovan and Moscow media reported. In
one case, 10 tanks, 10 armored personnel carriers, and a field
artillery battery moved from barracks in Tiraspol and, jointly
with the "Dniester guard," attacked Moldovan positions on both
banks of the Dniester. The army's commander, Maj. Gen. Yurii
Netkachev, reportedly told both Chisinau and Moscow that he had
lost control over elements of his army who were disobeying his
orders to observe neutrality. The 14th Army has assisted the
"Dniester" forces all along but has usually avoided direct involvement
in combat. (Vladimir Socor)

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT APPEALS TO THE PEOPLE. In a radio and television
address to the people of Moldova on 20 May, President Mircea
Snegur said that units of Russia's 14th Army were seizing areas
on the left bank of the Dniester. "The independence and integrity
of our republic are being placed in mortal danger. Yesterday's
occupiers seek to restore their power over us and to force us
once again on our knees," Snegur said. He called on Moldova's
citizens to be prepared to repulse the aggression. (Vladimir
Socor)

SNEGUR APPEALS TO WORLD. In a message to the leaders of the member
countries of the UN Security Council, of the CSCE, and of the
CIS, reported by the Moldovan media on 20 May, Snegur "informed
them that Russian military forces, using the 14th Army's armor
and artillery, have begun open military actions against the Republic
of Moldova and the legal forces of order." Besides constituting
an aggression against an independent state, the military intervention
also foils Moldova's search for a political solution to the conflict,
Snegur said. He asked these states to "find ways to support us
in these decisive moments for the existence of an independent
Republic of Moldova." Previous appeals for support against the
military-communist takeover of Moldova's eastern area have largely
been ignored. (Vladimir Socor)

UKRAINIANS IN RUSSIA AND MOLDOVA ORGANIZING. Ukrainians living
outside of Ukraine in other former Soviet republics (6.2 million
in 1989) are continuing to organize themselves. On 15 May, Radio
Ukraine reported, an association of Ukrainians living in Russia
has been formed with the aim of defending the cultural rights
of the 4.4 million Ukrainians living in Russia. So far, 42 regional
and local Ukrainian societies and organizations have sprung up
in Russia. Meanwhile, Reuters and Radio Ukraine reported that
on 16 May some 10,000 Ukrainians living in Moldova on the left
bank of the Dniester held an assembly in the town of Rashkov.
Speakers criticized Kiev for "ignoring" the 200,000 Ukrainians
caught in the conflict between the "Dniester republic" and Chisinau.
A total of 600,000 Ukrainians live in Moldova. (Bohdan Nahaylo)


UNDERTAKERS ON STRIKE IN KRASNODAR. Morgue attendants in the
southern Russian city of Krasnodar went on strike on 19 May,
Radio Moscow reported, to demand an increase in wages. They are
refusing to issue death certificates, undertake postmortems,
or accept corpses for burial. (Elizabeth Teague)





CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN FIGHTING UPDATE. Intense fighting was reported in Tuzla,
where 49 federal soldiers were killed by Muslim paramilitary
forces as they were pulling out of their base. Radio Serbia says
on 20 May that three barracks in Sarajevo also remain under siege,
delaying the federal army withdrawal from Sarajevo. For the first
time ever Bosnia's Presidency has officially called the Yugoslav
federal armed forces "an army of occupation," and demanded their
complete and immediate withdrawal from the republic. The Presidency
also proposed two laws establishing the republic's army. Serb
militiamen continue to hold a predominantly Muslim convoy of
refugees in Sarajevo; they are demanding the safe evacuation
of federal army personnel from Sarajevo and time to recover their
dead. Most of the refugees have been placed in Serbian homes
and shelters. Reports on the number of hostages range from 2,500
to 7,200 people. EC-sponsored talks between the warring parties
are scheduled for 21 May, but Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic
is unlikely, for security reasons, to attend and has asked that
the talks be delayed until the 25th. (Milan Andrejevich)

BOSNIA'S DEATH TOLL AND REFUGEES. Bosnia's health and social
security crisis center told reporters on 20 May that the death
toll in the republic has risen to 2,225 with 7,663 wounded and
2,555 missing since the fighting broke out two months ago. Refugees
from Bosnia-Herzegovina in neighboring republics number 580,000,
while 350,000 have fled their homes and relocated elsewhere in
Bosnia. Some 32 health centers have been destroyed. On 21 May,
an emergency meeting in Vienna of 10 European states, UNHCR,
Red Cross, and the EC will discuss ways of handling the 1.5 million
Yugoslav-area refugees, the largest wave of displaced people
since 1945-46. Radio Bosnia-Herzegovina carried the reports.
(Milan Andrejevich)

KOSOVO ALBANIANS MUST FIGHT. Azem Vllasi, former head of Kosovo's
communist party, told Croatian TV on 19 May that the time has
come for Albanians to decide between "silence and war." But silence,
he said, would be fatal, and the only course left for Kosovo's
Albanians is to fight "the repressive Serbian police state."
On 24 May Kosovo Albanians will hold legislative and presidential
elections under the auspices of the Assembly of the Republic
of Kosovo founded in September 1990. The assembly declared Kosovo
independent of Yugoslavia in October 1991 after a referendum
in September 1991 overwhelmingly approved independence. Serbia
has said the elections are illegal. Radio Serbia reported on
19 May that Lord Carrington's special aide Thierry de Beauce,
speaking in Pristina, stressed that the EC will not recognize
the independence of Kosovo. On 20 May, the CSCE, which has accused
Serbia of "continued violation of CSCE commitments" in Kosovo,
said it will soon send a fact-finding mission to the area. (Milan
Andrejevich)

BULGARIAN CABINET SHAKE-UP. On 20 May the Bulgarian National
Assembly approved the new government proposed by prime minister
Filip Dimitrov. The reshuffle, which came little more than six
months after Dimitrov assumed responsibility for government,
involves seven new appointments, five faces new to high government
posts, and the splitting-up of two economic ministries into three.
Aleksandar Pramatarski and Georgi Stoyanov, lawyers without party
affiliation, were given the trade and agricultural ministries,
while the 34-year-old engineer Rumen Bikov assumes the industry
portfolio. Defense Minister Dimitar Ludzhev, under fire for allegedly
allowing controversial arms sales, was replaced by 67-year-old
Sofia jurist Aleksandar Staliiski. The key position of deputy
prime minister in charge of economic affairs went to 43-year-old
Ilko Eskenazi, recently appointed head of the Bulgarian delegation
negotiating with the EC on an association agreement. The three
other deputy premiers are Svetoslav Luchnikov (justice), Nikolai
Vasilev (education and science) and Nikola Vasilev (health care).
(Kjell Engelbrekt)

WALESA--GOVERNMENT'S SURVIVAL CHANCES SLIM. On 20 May Polish
President Lech Walesa said to Prime Minister Jan Olszewski that
his cabinet's chances of survival are slim, Western and Polish
media report. In his toughest criticism of Olszewski yet, Walesa
also blamed the government for provoking quarrels among Poland's
ruling bodies and stoking social unrest. "The president is concerned
that possibilities of the current government may be exhausted,"
presidential spokesman Andrzej Drzycimski told newsmen, "although
that does not mean that he is calling for the government's resignation."
Olszewski told state radio that he would resign if Walesa withdrew
support for the government, but declined to comment directly
upon Drzycimski's statement. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)

ESTONIAN REFERENDUM SET FOR 28 JUNE. The Estonian Supreme Council
voted on 20 May to hold the constitutional referendum on 28 June,
Postimees reports. The referendum involves two issues: whether
citizens approve the draft constitution in combination with its
enabling legislation, and whether they wish to extend the franchise
to citizenship applicants. The Supreme Council's 20 May decision
restricted the franchise for the referendum itself to citizens
over the age of 18. (Riina Kionka)

MORE CRACKS IN THE NSF. On 19 May Marian Enache, vice president
of the Chamber of Deputies left the National Salvation Front
and, together with 13 earlier defectors from the ruling coalition,
has created a new group called A Future for Romania. Dan Martian,
chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, also resigned from the NSF
on the same day and went over to the [pro-Iliescu] Democratic
NSF, which now numbers 65 deputies. NSF chairman Petre Roman
said that Martian's statements have offended the remaining 128
NSF deputies. Meanwhile, two more local branches of the Democratic
NSF said they will back President Ion Iliescu if he chooses to
run again for the presidency, local media reported on 19 and
20 May. (Mihai Sturdza)

HUNGARIAN-AMERICAN ENTERPRISE FUND SETS UP CORPORATION. On 20
May the Euroamerica Capital Corporation was established with
a $4 million capital base to promote the establishment of small
and medium-sized private companies in Hungary and to advise companies
on attracting capital, MTI and Western agencies report. John
C. Whitehead, the chairman of the fund, was optimistic that the
new corporation will help turn Budapest into the financial center
of East Central Europe. He said that the US congress appropriated
over $60 million to promote private enterprise in Hungary, and
that since its establishment in 1990 the Hungarian-American Enterprise
Fund has provided over 200 loans and investments to Hungary.
(Edith Oltay)

DE BENEDETTI BUYS SECOND HUNGARIAN PRINTING COMPANY. On 20 May
the Carlo de Benedetti group acquired a majority stake in the
venerable KNER printing firm in Bekescsaba, MTI reports. The
group bought an 85% stake in the 110-year-old company, which
produces packaging materials and high-quality books and controls
a major share of the Hungarian packaging markets. The de Benedetti
group already owns the Petofi printing company in Kecskemet,
the other major Hungarian packaging material producer. Spokesmen
for the group said that the two printers "could create an important
pillar in Central Europe's packaging industry." The investors
have committed themselves to increasing capital investments significantly,
raising the salaries of KNER's 1,200 employees, and making workers
shareholders. The deal was valued at some $20 million. (Edith
Oltay)

FIAT ACQUIRES POLISH AUTOMAKER. On 20 May the Italian automaker
Fiat and Polish authorities signed an agreement opening the way
for a $2-billion deal by which Fiat obtains a 90% interest in
the state-owned FSM auto factory. Renato Ruggiero, head of the
Turin-based company, and caretaker Finance Minister Andrzej Olechowski
signed the protocol anticipating the final agreement, which is
to be finalized on 28 May. The deal must still be approved by
the Polish government and the Fiat board. FSM will be turned
into a joint stock company and the Polish side will retain a
10% share, Western media report. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION DOWN IN LATVIA. During the first four months
of 1992, industrial production decreased in Latvia. Compared
with the same period in 1991, the smallest (10%) decline has
been registered by the porcelain and ceramics industry, while
the largest (35%) drop was in light industry. About 21,500 workers
lost their jobs in the period January-April, but over 12,000
had found other employment; about 8,500 persons have been registered
with the unemployment office. The average monthly pay of an industrial
worker in this period was 3000 rubles, Radio Riga reported on
20 May. (Dzintra Bungs)

MORE GERMAN TOXIC WASTES UNEARTHED AT SIBIU. Continuing inquiries
in villages in Sibiu County lead to the discovery on 20 May of
more sites where highly hazardous waste materials were dumped.
Besides the two dumps in the city of Sibiu reported in local
and German media on 8 and 9 May, now an additional 500 tons of
chemical waste illegally shipped to Romania by German firms has
been found. The Basel Convention stipulates that all international
shipments of waste materials are subjected to rigid sanitary
and customs controls, but it appears that none of the countries
or firms involved in the transport of these shipments from Germany
to Romania has complied. Formal suit has been brought against
the management of some Sibiu chemical firms. Mishandling of German-Romanian
agreements on movement of chemical products prompted the resignation
last December of Dolfi Drimmer as vice president of the Ecological
Movement, although he continues in his job of waste-recycling
specialist at the Ministry of Industry. (Mihai Sturdza)

RIFT IN BULGARIAN HOLY SYNOD DEEPENS. In a statement read by
its secretary, Bishop Neofit, at a press conference on 20 May,
the Holy Synod, the governing body of the Bulgarian Orthodox
Church, expressed consternation that three of its members had
decided to leave the body, but said it hopes they will "realize
their error" and rejoin. According to BTA, Bishop Neofit also
confirmed that two metropolitan bishops have come out in support
of the three church officials. BTA suggests that Hristofor Sabev,
a former dissident priest and a well-known critic of the spiritual
leadership of the Church, may have encouraged the defections
of the Holy Synod members. (Kjell Engelbrekt)

TREATY QUARREL MARRING WALESA'S MOSCOW VISIT. The Polish president's
visit to Moscow on 22 May is being overshadowed by a row in Warsaw
over the treaty he is to sign with President Boris Yeltsin. The
Olszewski government is unhappy that the treaty lacks a specific
condemnation of the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact of 1939, which paved
the way for the Soviet annexation of Eastern Poland. On 20 May,
after the cabinet studied the text, Walesa, Olszewski, Foreign
Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski and speakers of the two chambers
of parliament tackled the issue again. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)


LATVIAN FORCES TAKE OVER EX-USSR MILITARY FACILITY. Radio Riga
reports that on 19 May Latvian security forces took over a military
training facility of the former USSR forces in the Ciekurkalns
district of Riga. For over six months the facility been used
for purposes other than training; at the time of the takeover
fewer than 30 officers and soldiers, plus families, were staying
there, and two buildings had been rented to cooperatives. The
takeover was coordinated with the base commander, but the Latvians
had not specifically cleared the move with the Northwestern Group
of Forces, who filed a note of protest. (Dzintra Bungs)

NORTHERN FLEET SHIP ARRIVES IN BOLDERAJA. On 19 May a warship
of the Northern Fleet arrived in Bolderaja without having cleared
its arrival with the Latvian authorities. Latvians are expected
to protest this breach of their sovereignty by Russia/CIS, Radio
Riga reported on 20 May. (Dzintra Bungs)

RETURN OF COL. CHERNYKH TO KLAIPEDA. On 20 May the Lithuanian
parliament reported that Klaipeda mayor Benediktas Petrauskas
received an unexpected phone call from Col. Ivan Chernykh, Radio
Lithuania reports. Chernykh said that he had been in the city
since 16 May handing over his command. Sharp protests from the
CIS military authorities were evoked when on 7 April Lithuania
arrested Chernykh for having backed the August putsch and for
attempting to overthrow the Lithuanian government. Azubalis noted
that during the discussions for Chernykh's release on bail, Col.
Gen. Valerii Mironov, commander of the North-west Group of Forces,
had promised that Chernykh would not return to Lithuania except
to answer questions by the Lithuanian procuracy. Parliament chairman
Vytautas Landsbergis noted the broken promise and said he hopes
Chernykh will leave Lithuania as soon as possible. (Saulius Girnius)
[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull














(END)



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