|A man seldom thinks with more earnestness of anything than he does of his dinner. - Samuel Johnson|
No. 101, 27 May 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR CONSTITUTIONAL COURT POSTPONES DECISION ON CPSU. The Russian Constitutional Court met on 26 May to consider the status of the CPSU, Russian media reported. The court hearing had originally been called to evaluate the legality of Russian President Boris Yeltsins decree banning the Communist Party, but it has expanded its scope to examine whether the Party itself acted outside the constitution. Sergei Shakhrai, Yeltsins former chief legal advisor and the presidents representative in court, asked for a ten-day postponement, arguing that both sides need more time to prepare. The other side (a representative of the disbanded CPSU) requested an additional three months to prepare. In response, the Constitutional Court decided to postpone the hearings until 7 July. Meanwhile, supporters and opponents of Yeltsin were demonstrating on opposite sides of the street outside the building where the hearings were taking place. (Vera Tolz) GORBACHEV CALLED TO TESTIFY. The Constitutional Court also ruled that former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev should be summoned to testify on the constitutionality of the CPSU. ITAR-TASS said on 26 May that Gorbachev and two other former senior Party officials, or their representatives should be heard in court. The other two are former CPSU Deputy General Secretary Vladimir Ivashko and former First Secretary of the Russian Communist Party Valentin Kuptsov. Gorbachevs spokesman Georgii Shakhnazarov noted that since Gorbachev had resigned as general secretary while the Party still existed, it was senseless to require him to defend it in court, Western agencies reported. Ivan Rybkin, a coordinator of the parliamentary faction Communists of Russia, also opposed Gorbachevs inclusion in the CPSU hearings, arguing that the interests of Gorbachev and the CPSU had diverged long before the Party was banned, ITAR-TASS reported. (Vera Tolz) YELTSIN SAYS HE WILL NOT RESIGN. Boris Yeltsin said he had no intention of resigning as Russian president during his current term, but does not plan to seek a second term in 1996. On 26 May, ITAR-TASS quoted Yeltsin as telling people in the Western Siberian city of Barnaul: I will not go, no matter how hard it gets. I will not step back. Yeltsin arrived in Barnaul earlier on 26 May at the start of a four-day tour of Siberia. (Vera Tolz) RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN SUMMIT CALLED TO CLEAR THE AIR. Russian President Boris Yeltsin announced on 27 May that he had with agreed with his Ukrainian counterpart, Leonid Kravchuk, to hold a Russian-Ukrainian summit in the early part of June to discuss ways of resolving the acute problems between the two neighboring states. According to Radio Ukraine, Yeltsin said that apart from the two presidents, the heads of the parliaments and governments of both countries would also take part. (Bohdan Nahaylo) UKRAINE RAISES CRIMEA ISSUE IN U.N. The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs official note of protest to Moscow, concerning the Russian parliaments rejection on 21 May of the legality of Crimeas transfer to Ukraine in 1954, has been forwarded to UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali. Ukrainian UN envoy, Viktor Batiuk, informed journalists of Ukraines position on Crimea at a press conference on 26 May, according to ITAR-TASS. (Kathy Mihalisko) CIS STRATEGIC FORCES REDEFINED. CIS defense ministers met in Moscow on 26 May to prepare military documents for the next Commonwealth summit, scheduled for 6 July in Moscow. CIS Commander in Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov, said that the ministers had agreed on the composition of the CIS Strategic Forces, replacing a broad definition agreed to earlier, ITAR-TASS and Radio Moscow reported. These would be made up of the former Strategic Rocket Forces, nuclear delivery components from the Air Forces and the Navy, the ballistic-missile warning system and anti-missile defense system, and some space forces. Shaposhnikov acknowledged that the ex-Soviet Black Sea Fleet was not included in the strategic forces. He said that the defense ministers would hold another meeting on 3 July to complete their work. (Doug Clarke) RUSSIA TO DEEPEN REFORMS. According to ITAR-TASS 26 May, officials at the Russian governments Center for Economic Reform, have worked out a program to deepen economic reforms. The new measures are very likely based on guidelines established by the IMF and World Bank. Among the main concerns of the new program are the establishment of financial stability. In particular, budget balancing measures and efforts to make the ruble convertible. Over the course of the last 18 months, the financial imbalance in the economy has emerged as, arguably, the most debilitating aspect of the economic crisis and one of the most difficult to correct. It is unlikely that a significant improvement is imminent, though the Russian commitment to progress on this front is a positive development. Another very important aspect of the reform program is the creation of secondary markets for capital, land and real estate. (John Tedstrom) MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL LEADERS GATHER. Vesti reported on 26 May that leaders of the Russian military-industrial complex, parliamentary leaders, government officials, and ministry management gathered to discuss the complex question of demilitarizing the economy while avoiding the stagnation of Russian industry. Key concerns are the growth of unemployment, a brain drain, and a slow down of research and development. One participant of the conference was quoted as saying, We, the defense industry, are Socialist from beginning to end. And now they want to force privatization on us? Its incompatible! (John Tedstrom) RUSSIA PREPARES EXPORT CONTROL SYSTEM. Ekonomika i zhizn no. 21 outlines Russian plans for establishing a strategic export control system drawing on US experience. Following a recent presidential edict, a Russian Federation Commission for Export Control has been set up. The authors of the article, V. Priskunov and V. Sokolov of the Economic Ministrys All-Russian Research Institute on Foreign Economic Relations, are working on detailed regulations and an export control list which will be published. The standard coverage (weapons, nuclear and dual-use items) of such controls was indicated in a Soviet statute of 20 March 1989, but no USSR list was ever published. (Philip Hanson) TEXTILE WORKERS APPEAL TO RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT. A delegation representing the textile enterprises of Ivanovo oblast, the most important center of the textile industry in Russia, flew to Moscow on 25 May to appeal for help from the Russian government, Moscow radio reported. The textile workers have been idle since the beginning of May for lack of raw cotton, which the Central Asian republics are refusing to supply except for hard currency or in exchange for goods. The losses to the Ivanovo textile industry so far amount to 400 million rubles, and garment and knitwear factories are expected to cease production shortly. (Ann Sheehy) UNION OF COSSACK HOSTS OF SOUTHERN RUSSIA CREATED. A conference of Cossack atamans of southern Russia in Stavropol on 24 May decided on the unification of the Cossack hosts of southern Russia as a counterweight to the consolidation of the North Caucasian republics, Radio Rossii reported on 25 May. Sergei Meshcherikov, ataman of the Don Host, was elected head of the new union. (Ann Sheehy) SPECIAL STATUS FOR TATARSTAN AND CHECHNYA? Novosti, citing RIA, reported on 22 May that the Russian parliament was preparing a document granting Tatarstan and Chechnya special status within the Russian Federation. Tatarstan and Chechen-Ingushetia were the only two republics that refused to sign the federal treaty on 31 March. Both have been seeking bilateral arrangements with Russia that would recognize their independence. On 22 May the Tatarstan parliament adopted on the first reading a draft constitution that reiterates Tatarstans stand on this question. (Ann Sheehy) RUSSIAN-CHECHEN TALKS CONTINUE. A second round of consultations between Russian and Chechen groups of experts on regulating relations between Russia and Chechnya began outside Moscow on 26 May, Vesti reported. Progress is likely to be difficult, however, as the Chechen side says there can be no compromise on recognizing its independence. (Ann Sheehy) IN CHECHNYA. The Chechen authorities are assisting pilgrims to Mecca with transport and foreign currency, ITAR-TASS reported on 23 May. Some pilgrims have already set out by bus and another 2,000 will be going by air. A report from Groznyi, carried by Vesti on 23 May, said that a group of hit men from outside Chechnya who were preparing an attempt on the life of the Chechen President Dzhakhar Dudaev had been detained. A new Chechen law on foreign investments allows enterprises to be fully owned by foreign investors, ITAR-TASS reported on 23 May. Businessmen from the large Chechen diaspora are said to be deterred, however, by the lack of clarity in relations between Chechnya and Russia. (Ann Sheehy) US AMBASSADOR IN KIEV SWORN IN. Roman Popadiuk, the 42-year-old Ukrainian-American who has been serving as deputy White House press secretary for foreign affairs, was sworn in on 26 May as US ambassador to Ukraine. (Kathy Mihalisko) KEBICH TRIP TO MIDDLE EAST CONTINUES. Belarus and Israel established diplomatic relations on 26 May, in an agreement signed in Jerusalem by Belarusian Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich and Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy. As quoted on 25 May by Belarusian Radio, Kebich, who arrived in Israel from Kuwait, said that his primary goal was to give new impulse to Belaruss relations with Kuwait and Israel. Kebich also hoped to receive Israeli medical assistance for victims of the Chernobyl accident. He noted that Belaruss recently adopted legislation on foreign investments will stimulate mutual cooperation between Tel Aviv and Minsk. (Kathy Mihalisko) YELTSIN CONFIRMS SERVICEMENS INVOLVEMENT IN MOLDOVA. On 27 May Yeltsin reportedly acknowledged, in an interview with Komsomolskaya pravda, that some servicemen of Russias 14th Army had joined the Dniester Russian forces against Moldova. Yeltsins remark lays to rest the Russian Defense Ministrys and the CIS Commands insistent denials of that fact. Yeltsin also noted that those troops had done so at their own initiative, not on orders. (Vladimir Socor) YELTSIN CALLS FOR TRIPARTITE MEETING. In a statement on 26 May reported by Russian media, Yeltsin announced that he had agreed with Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk to hold a meeting of Russian, Ukrainian, and Moldovan foreign and defense ministers, probably on 28 May in Odessa. Moldovas Presidential Office told the RFE/RL Research Institute that Yeltsin had not informed Chisinau before making the announcement and that the Russian president had still not answered Moldovan President Mircea Snegurs three recent messages. Meanwhile, the Romanian news agency, Rompres, announced on 26 May that Romania had responded positively to a proposal by Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev to hold a quadripartite, Russian-Ukrainian-Moldovan-Romanian meeting of foreign and defense ministers in Chisinau on 29 May. (Vladimir Socor) GAGAUZ TO OPEN A SECOND FRONT? The Gagauz republic Supreme Soviet reemerged on 22 May with a resolution holding Moldova responsible for the Dniester conflict, ITAR-TASS reported. A Gagauz detachment on 24 May ambushed a Moldovan security detail which was seeking to stop a delivery of Alazan rockets to Gagauz militants. At least two Moldovan officers were killed and several others were injured and captured, Moldovan and Russian media reported. The Gagauz figures who claimed responsibility for these actions represent the Russian-oriented, armed faction, which is being opposed by unarmed Gagauz moderates who accept Moldovas independence and territorial integrity. Meanwhile, on 26 May, the Dniester republic Supreme Soviet resolved to assist in the development of the Gagauz republics defense forces, Radio Tiraspol reported. (Vladimir Socor) CHURCHMEN APPEAL FOR PEACE IN MOLDOVA. The Archbishop of Chisinau and Moldova Vladimir sent a telegram to Patriarch Aleksii II on 21 May in which he asked the head of the Russian Orthodox Church to appeal to the Russian president and the Russian government to halt the 14th Army's involvement in the internal affairs of sovereign Moldova, Radio Mayak reported. The same day, the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church sent a similar telegram to the Russian Patriarch in which he expressed deep concern over the political situation on the left bank of Dniester. (Oxana Antic) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE KOSOVO VIOLENCE REPORTED. An ethnic Albanian civilian and a Serb policeman were killed on 25May near Pec when a group of Albanians attacked a police patrol. A statement from the Democratic Alliance of Kosovo (DSK) says several Albanians were killed in a police raid on the village. The Albanian Foreign Ministry protested to Belgrade and called on them to cease using violence and withdraw the federal army from Kosovo. Albanias army is said to have been placed on alert along its border with Kosovo. Radio Croatia carried the reports. In an interview with the Pristina paper Bujku on 26May, the Kosovo president-elect, writer Ibrahim Rugova, said that the regions Albanians will gradually, through dialogue, try to form a parliament and government. Serbias government has invited all Kosovo Albanian political parties to come to Belgrade on 28May to discuss the upcoming local and federal elections and issues related to human rights. Radio Serbia carried the reports. (Milan Andrejevich) BOSNIA UPDATE. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev told reporters in Sarajevo that leaders of the ruling Muslim, Serb, and Croat parties have agreed to a cease-fire and the reopening of Sarajevo airport so emergency humanitarian aid can be flown in. In Belgrade Kozyrev said that ethnic Serb and Muslim leaders are willing to observe a negotiated end to the fighting, but warned that a third force ignores all positive processes without mentioning specifics. French Antenne-2 filmed the bodies of 29Bosnian men, each executed with a single bullet to the head, in Nova Kasaba, a predominantly Muslim village. Bosnias Interior Ministry stated on 26May that the controversial Serb militia leader Arkan (Zeljko Raznjatovic) had died of wounds and that several top Serb and Montenegrin leaders attended his funeral. Sporadic heavy fighting was reported in several areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina. (Milan Andrejevich) EC SANCTIONS AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA. Yugoslav-area and Western media report on 26May that EC officials have agreed on sanctions against Belgrade including a ban on trade, oil shipments, and air services, and banning Yugoslavia from the Barcelona Olympics. The measures must be formally endorsed by EC foreign ministers before the sanctions take effect. The EC identifies Yugoslavia as the main aggressor in the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Belgrade government protests that the accusations are unfounded and says it has formally agreed to work with the UN to end the fighting and has requested a UN fact-finding mission be sent to assess the situation. The UN is reportedly also planning punitive measures. (Milan Andrejevich) ZHELEV IN SPAIN, MEETS WITH SIMEON. Returning from an official visit to Spain, where he met with Spanish leaders and opened Bulgarias pavilion at Expo92 in Seville, President Zhelyu Zhelev praised Spains efforts to integrate his country into European structures. According to BTA, Zhelev characterized his meetings with King Juan Carlos and Premier Felipe González as very constructive and important. He also announced that Juan Carlos and the speaker of the Spanish parliament plan visits to Bulgaria later this year. Earlier the same day, outside his official schedule, Zhelev met with ex-Tsar SimeonII for more than an hour. The 54-year-old Simeon, who has lived most of his life in Spain, later told reporters that the discussions were cordial, pragmatic, and positive, Reuters said. Zhelev, who earlier this year sharply criticized Simeon for attempting to restore the monarchy in Bulgaria, declined to comment on the content of the talks, but said photographers had captured the historic moment. (Kjell Engelbrekt) MICHAEL URGES RETURN TO MONARCHY IN ROMANIA. In his memoirswhich are in the form of conversations with a French journalistpublished under the title Le Rčgne inachevé, Romanias former King Michael urges a return to constitutional monarchy in Romania as the only way to restore the balance needed for the countrys prosperity, Romanian and foreign media reported on 25May. If the National Salvation Front remains in power, Michael writes, political and economic chaos will continue and he urges the opposition to close ranks to win the next elections. (Crisula Stefanescu) WALESA WITHDRAWS SUPPORT FOR GOVERNMENT. On 26May Polish President Lech Walesa asked parliament to replace the government of Prime Minister Jan Olszewski, Western and Polish media report. In a letter to the speaker of the Sejm Walesa said he was withdrawing his support from the government because he had lost confidence in it. Walesa also said the government provoked conflicts with the presidency and destabilized state structures. Olszewski refused to comment. He met later with parliamentary leaders to discuss the presidents letter. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) HAVEL ON RE-ELECTION. Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel says he will not be blackmailed by politicians in order to ensure his own reelection. Havel is standing for reelection by parliament in July. He told Reuters in an interview on 26May that he wants to enhance an atmosphere of consensus and that he will be happy if the election winners are parties that ensure stability and the continuation of the common state. He also said the presidency needs extra powers. (Barbara Kroulik) CONTINUING DISARRAY IN LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT. The 26May session of the Lithuanian Supreme Council, parts of which were broadcast live by Radio Lithuania, indicated that its ability to function normally are still impeded. After the speech by parliament chairman Vytautas Landsbergis, deputies of the Joint Sajudis, Conciliation, and National factions boycotted the rest of the sessions as they had done the previous week. In the absence of a quorum the remaining deputies could only pass nonbinding resolutions, such as requesting the parliaments presidium to dismiss Saulius Stoma as the editor of Lietuvos aidas. It was also proposed that elections to a new parliament be held on 6September and that economics minister Albertas Simenas replace Gediminas Vagnorius as prime minister. (Saulius Girnius) MAJOR OFFERS MORE HELP TO POLAND. On 26May British Prime Minister John Major announced that his country will provide Poland with another $14million in aid to help generate small business. Earlier Major and his Polish counterpart, Jan Olszewski, agreed to remove visa requirements on travel between the two countries. According to Western and Polish media, the two also discussed Polands eventual admission into the EC and Polish security issues. Major said Britain will use its presidency of the EC to build on the association accords with Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. He repeated Britains aim of full EC membership for the Triangle countries by the end of the century. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) DIENSTBIER ON GABCIKOVO-NAGYMAROS TREATY. According to the Czechoslovak Foreign Ministry, the 1977 treaty between Czechoslovakia and Hungary on the construction of the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros dam and the associated treaty documentation are still in force, Czechoslovak radio reported on 26May. Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier so informed Frans Andriessen, Deputy Chairman of the EC Commission, also expressing the hope that the EC authorities in Czechoslovakia and Hungary will support the attainment of an acceptable solution. (Barbara Kroulik) GERMANY TO TAKE BACK ROMANIAN TOXIC WASTE. Marcian Bleahu, Romanian Environmental Minister said after returning from Bonn that Germany has agreed to take back toxic waste dumped in Romania by German firms, Reuters reported on 26May. Last week in Sibiu Romanian police found 485tons of toxic wastedescribed in documents as lacquer and pesticidewhich local firms had brought in illegally from Germany. (Crisula Stefanescu) HERZOG UNVEILS MEMORIAL AT AUSCHWITZ. On 26May, the second day of his visit to Poland, Israeli President Chaim Herzog visited the site of the Auschwitz death camp. Unveiling a memorial rock from Jerusalem dedicated to the Jews killed in the Holocaust, obviously deeply moved, he said I stand in this dread place broken-hearted. Before leaving, the Israeli delegation prayed and sang the national anthem. Herzog also toured the nearby Birkenau concentration camp. Later, the delegation visited two synagogues in Krakow. Herzog recalled that Krakow was once a major center of Jewish learning. Western and Polish wire services carried the story. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) PRAGUE CONFERENCE ON ANTI-SEMITISM. On 22May, at a four-day conference organized by the Franz Kafka Society (FKS), a cultural organization named for Pragues most famous writer, experts warned of growing anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe. Participants from the American Jewish Committee said anti-Semitism in the region appears to be most dangerous in Poland and least threatening in Hungary, while Czechoslovakia ranked somewhere in the middle. FKS members said anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe often is connected with representatives of the old communist regimes as well as with right-wing radicals riding a new wave of political extremism, an RFE/RL correspondent reports. (Peter Matuska) LEADERSHIP CHANGES IN LATVIAN AND RADIO TV. On 26May the Supreme Council elected Zigmunds Skujins to head the Radio and TV Council. Skujins, a novelist, told Radio Riga on 26May that he sees his duties as coordinating the interests of society and those of radio-TV administrations and employees. Imants Rakins was elected to head Latvian TV; he was deputy chairman of the State Committee on Radio and TV. The Supreme Council decided to postpone the selection of the director of Latvian Radio until 3June. (Dzintra Bungs) FUTURE OF PLAVNIEKS, DEPARTMENT UNCLEAR. Radio Riga reports on 26May that the situation of the Citizenship and Immigration Department and its director Maris Plavnieks remains unclear. On 18May Plavnieks was fired for allegedly making unsubstantiated accusations against the Ministry of Justice and exceeding his authority. After meeting with employees in the department loyal to Plavnieks, Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis said he will place the department in another ministry but did not, however, meet their demands to reinstate Plavnieks as department director. (Dzintra Bungs) ETHNIC HUNGARIAN ELECTED MAYOR OF TIRGU MURES. Voters in this Transylvanian city, where ethnic riots two years ago left six people dead, have elected an ethnic Hungarian as mayor. Gyozo Nagy, a 54-year-old economist, representing the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania, received nearly 57% of the vote, while Constantin Herisanu, the candidate of the Mures Democratic Alliance, was second with 40%. Nagy says he hopes to shift the focus of local politics from ethnic relations to economic reforms, Romanian and foreign media report. (Crisula Stefanescu) UKRAINIAN-ESTONIAN AGREEMENT SIGNED. Ukraine and Estonia signed a commercial and economic agreement on 26May, BNS reports. According to the terms of the wide-ranging agreement, Ukraine and Estonia grant each other most-favored-nation trading status. The agreement, a general friendship and mutual cooperation treaty, was signed on the occasion of Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuks visit to Estonia the same day. According to Interfax, Kravchuk expressed his support for the Estonian position on early withdrawal of ex-USSR troops from the Baltics. (Riina Kionka) VAHI MEETS MIYAZAWA. Estonian Prime Minister Tiit Vahi met with his Japanese counterpart Kiichi Miyazawa on 26May, BNS reports. Miyazawa told reporters afterwards that the two major problems Estonia currently faces are the presence of former Soviet troops and a difficult domestic economy. For his part, Vahi said he hopes Japan will eventually invest in Estonia, adding that Estonia has a lot to learn from Japans postwar period of economic reconstruction. The trip was Vahis first to Tokyo. (Riina Kionka) LATVIA EXPECTS MORE SOLDIERS DESPITE TALKS. Latvian and Russian delegations, led respectively by Minister of State Janis Dinevics and Ambassador-at-Large Sergei Zotov, met in a dacha outside Moscow on 26May. Latvians focused on a schedule for the prompt withdrawal of ex-USSR troops from Latvia, while the Russians wanted to discuss the rights of Russians residing in Latvia. The Russians suggested a plan for gradual withdrawal of troops that might be completed by the end of the centurya plan Latvians found unacceptable. Meanwhile, BNS learned from a Latvian Defense Ministry official on 26May that Russia expects to send more recruits to bases in Latvia, flying them in to military airports in order to avoid Latvian border guards and customs. (Dzintra Bungs) OVER HALF A MILLION ENTREPRENEURS IN HUNGARY. According to data released by the Central Statistical Office on 26May, there are some 532,000 private entrepreneurs in Hungary, more than double the number registered at the end of 1988, MTI reports. Most of the businessmen226,000are craftsmen, 158,000 are retailers, and 145,000 are self-employed. The number of entrepreneurs in agriculture is only 3,000. (Edith Oltay) UNEMPLOYMENT IN ROMANIA. According to data gathered by the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, the number of unemployed persons in May was 574,000, which puts the current unemployment rate at 5%. Facing a drastic financial situation are the 130,000 persons who no longer receive unemployment benefits, Rompres reported on 25May. (Crisula Stefanescu) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull The RFE/RL Daily Report is produced by the RFE/RL Research Institute (a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Inc.) in Munich, Germany, with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division (NCA). The report is available Monday through Friday, except holidays, at approximately 0800 US Eastern Time (1400 Central European Time) by fax, post, or e-mail. The report is also posted daily on the SOVSET computer network. For inquiries about specific news items, subscriptions, or additional copies, please contact: In USA: Mr. Jon Lodeesen or Mr. Brian Reed RFE/RL, Inc., 1201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036. Telephone: (202) 457-6912 or -6900 fax: (202) 457-6992 or -202-828-8783; or in Europe: Mr. David L. Troyanek or Ms. Helga Hofer Publications Department, RFE/RL Research Institute Oettingenstrasse 67 8000 Munich 22 Telephone: (-49 89) 2102-2631 or -2642 fax: (-49 89) 2102-2648
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