In the effort to give good and comforting answers to the young questioners whom we love, we very often arrive at good and comforting answers for ourselves. - Ruth Goode
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 202, 20 October 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

MINISTERS WARN OF COUP. State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis, information
minister Mikhail Poltoranin, foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev,
and deputy prime minister Anatolii Chubais warned at a press
conference that conservatives in the parliament are plotting
against Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his reform policy,
The Guardian reported on 19 October. Poltoranin stated that the
"coup" is being prepared under the direction of parliamentary
speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov. He accused conservatives of attempting
to replace the present judges of the Constitutional Court to
make that institution more obedient to right-wing forces. Burbulis
claimed that the government has lost control over the police
and prosecutors' offices in many regions to the right-wing opposition.
(Alexander Rahr)

KOBETS: MILITARY WOULD PREVENT COUP. General Konstantin Kobets,
recently appointed as the chief military inspector of the Russian
armed forces, told Interfax on 19 October that "the army will
not allow an overthrow of the president." He claimed that the
situation in the military was "stable enough, but its officer
corps well understands the changes taking place in the country
and is committed to the President and the government." Kobets,
a former deputy chief of the Soviet general staff, played a prominent
role in foiling the August coup attempt. Subsequently, he became
a military advisor to Yeltsin. (Doug Clarke)

YELTSIN SIGNS NUCLEAR TEST MORATORIUM DECREE. President Yeltsin
on 19 October signed a decree prolonging until July 1, 1993 the
Russian moratorium on nuclear weapons tests. ITAR-TASS reported
that the decision had been taken in connection with the recent
suspension of similar tests by France and the United States.
Yeltsin appealed to the other two declared nuclear powers, Great
Britain and China, to join the moratorium as soon as possible.
At the same time, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev said
that the moratorium could be extended throughout 1993 if the
United States would agree to follow suit. However, he told the
visiting New Zealand minister of defense that "a moratorium cannot
be unilateral permanently. If we do not reach accord, Russia,
most evidently, will resume nuclear tests in the middle of 1993."
(Doug Clarke)

RUSSIA DENIES REPORT ON CHINA DEAL. Russian officials on 19 October
denied a report published in The New York Times one day earlier-quoting
US officials-that accused Moscow of fueling an arms race in Asia
by selling advanced weapons systems to the China. The US charges
focused on alleged sales to China of technology for enriching
uranium, as well as missile-guidance technology, rocket engines
and rocket technology. A Russian spokesman for "Oboroneksport,"
which oversees such transactions, said that Russia had violated
neither the nuclear non-proliferation treaty nor other arms control
agreements, and that Russia was operating strictly "within the
framework of United Nations agreements." The story was reported
by Western agencies. (Stephen Foye)

CHINA SAID TO HAVE BACKED OUT OF FIGHTER DEAL. Quoting "competent
sources," Interfax on 19-October reported that China had annulled
an agreement to buy 10 Su-27 "Flanker" combat aircraft from the
Gagarin plant in Komsomolsk-on-the-Amur. The sale was first reported
by the same agency on 3-August, and seemed to have been confirmed
by Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev during the visit to
Moscow in late August by the Chinese minister of defense. The
latest report said factory officials suspected that China intended
to buy Western aircraft with more advanced electronics. They
said that the Gagarin factory-which had the capacity to build
10 Su-27s each month-at present had only two of the fighter-bombers
under construction. (Doug Clarke)

GRACHEV, KOBETS ON BALTIC PULL-OUT. Russian Defense Minister
Pavel Grachev said on 19 October that adverse conditions for
Russian military forces in the Baltic States dictate an early
withdrawal from the region, ITAR-TASS reported. Grachev pointed
to training difficulties and to the prohibition against sending
new conscripts to the Baltic states, saying that soon there would
be only officers serving there. He said that the troops should
be withdrawn "without delay" and suggested that military housing
shortages in Russia should not be a factor. Grachev nevertheless
appeared to hedge on the precise timetable of the withdrawal,
saying it should commence "right after the pull-out from Eastern
Europe in 1994," a qualification that will probably not please
Baltic leaders. On the same day, Interfax quoted Army General
Konstantin Kobets, the Russian Army's Chief Military Inspector,
as saying that Russian terms for withdrawing from the Baltic
were "completely reasonable," that "everything there is going
according to schedule," and that there is "no special animosity
in the process." (Stephen Foye)

RUSSIAN GAS DELIVERIES CURTAILED. The supply of Russian natural
gas to Germany and France was roughly halved last week, The Wall
Street Journal reported on 19 October. The shortfall was attributed
to the pumping of gas by Ukraine from transit pipelines, resulting
in lower pressure, as a consequence of a disagreement between
Russia and Ukraine over transit fees. The transport director
for the Ukrainian gas utility, Urgasprom, was quoted by Reuters
as saying that Ukraine has a right to take its share of Russian
gas in the case of any shortfall. Deliveries of gas to Western
Europe are reported to be slowly returning to the normal level.
(Keith Bush)

GAIDAR VISITS YAKUTIA AND MAGADAN. Russian Prime Minister Gaidar
was on tour of the natural resource rich regions of Yakutia and
Magadan on 16 and 17 October. In Yakutia, the President of the
autonomous republic, Mikhail Nikolaev, and Gaidar signed a document
creating a Russian-Yakut joint-stock company for mining, processing
and marketing diamonds in the region. The two also discussed
issues related to the decentralization of political and economic
power within the Russian Federation, Interfax reported. In Magadan,
Gaidar discussed the economic development of the Far East with
oblast officials, and approved of their plans for attracting
foreign companies to extract minerals in the territory, "Novosti"
reported on 18 October. (Erik Whitlock)

CHERNOBYL DEVELOPMENTS. The head of environmental policy at the
European Commission and the German environment minister have
expressed concern over the restarting of the third block of the
Chernobyl nuclear reactor on 16 October, Western agencies reported.
Meanwhile, a report by the State Commission of Ecological Experts
on the impact of the 1986 explosion at Chernobyl on the Russian
environment was scheduled to be presented to President Yeltsin
on 19 October. One of its authors told an RFE/RL correspondent
in Moscow that the study puts the cost of cleaning up the after-effects
of Chernobyl within the Russian Federation at 74 billion rubles
by the year 2000. At current rates of exchange, this works out
at about $220 million. (Keith Bush)

MINIMUM WAGE TO BE RAISED IN RUSSIA. ITARTASS reported on 19
October that the Russian Finance Ministry plans to raise the
minimum monthly wage from 900 to 2,250 rubles, starting in January
1993. The average monthly wage is currently approximately 5,500
rubles. Increases to student grants and to pensions are also
reported to be in the pipeline. According to Interfax, 19 October
1992, the head of the Social Security Department of the Labor
Ministry has claimed that one third of the Russian population
are currently living below the (unspecified) poverty line, and
that living costs are expected to double by the end of the year.
A new social security system is due to be introduced early next
year. While extra protection is obviously required to protect
the population from the effects of soaring prices and inflation,
increases in the minimum wage and benefits will add extra strain
to the budget deficit. (Sheila Marnie)

TRADE UNIONS PLAN PROTEST ACTION. According to Interfax on 19
October, the Russian Federation of Independent Trade Unions is
planning protest rallies the 24 October to support its demands
that the minimum monthly wage be raised to 4000 rubles, that
prices for bread, potatoes and milk be frozen, and that incomes
and savings be indexed. The unions have also been demanding the
dismissal of the Gaidar government. The government has set up
a conciliatory commission led by the Minister of Labor, Gennadii
Melikyan. If current negotiations between the commission and
the unions fail to produce results, strike action may follow.
November 23 has already been put forward as a tentative date
for such action. (Sheila Marnie)

RUSSIA AND MONGOLIA TO KEEP MILITARY TIES. Following the signing
of an agreement on bilateral relations and cooperation in Moscow
on 19-October, the Russian and Mongolian Foreign Ministers said
that both sides would like to continue cooperating in the area
of defense and security, Interfax reported. The Mongolian Foreign
Minister said that the withdrawal of Russian troops from Mongolia
does not signify an end to military cooperation with Moscow,
and called for expanding these relations. (Stephen Foye)

YAROV PESSIMISTIC ON BLACK SEA FLEET TALKS. Yurii Yarov, head
of the Russian delegation negotiating with Ukraine on the Black
Sea Fleet, said on 19 October that the talks were proceeding
with difficulty, Interfax reported. He said that documents regulating
the fleet's activities during the 3-year "transitional period"
had not been completed by 1-October, as planned. He added that
some areas of common interest had been found in terms of naming
a new fleet command, that Russia insisted that as few new posts
be created as possible, and that the fleet would be manned equally
by Russian and Ukrainian citizens. (Stephen Foye)

SHANIBOV IN GUDAUTA TO MEET ABKHAZ LEADERS. Musa Shanibov, president
of the Confederation of the Peoples of the Caucasus, arrived
in Gudauta (in Abkhazia) on 19 October. He told Interfax he had
come to tell the Abkhaz leaders of the Confederation's decisions
as regards political and military aid to the Abkhaz. Shanibov
described the decisions as "radical" but refused further comment
on them. Shanibov said that the Caucasus was well aware that
its future would be decided in Abkhazia and was prepared, if
necessary, to fight to prevent its occupation. Shanibov had come
from a two-day session of the Confederation's parliament in Groznyi.
(Ann Sheehy)

EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF CONGRESS OF KABARDIAN PEOPLE. An extraordinary
session of the Congress of the Kabardian People (CKP) was held
on 17 October in response to statements by the Kabardino-Balkar
Supreme Soviet and the republican prosecutor that the activity
of the CKP's Executive Committee during the continuous protest
meeting from 24 September to 4 October was unconstitutional,
Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 20 October. Participants in the
session rejected the charges, blaming recent political events
on the shortsightedness of the republic's top leadership, which
had refused a dialog with local political movements. They also
declared they would continue providing assistance to the Abkhaz
until the complete withdrawal of Georgian troops from Abkhazia.
A third, extraordinary Congress of the Kabardian People is to
be held in November where those delegates "who showed cowardice
at critical moments" will be replaced. (Ann Sheehy)

TAJIKS DEFEND RECORD ON MINORITIES. Tajikistan's Ministry of
Foreign Affairs defended the record of the Tajik government in
providing help to refugees regardless of nationality, ITAR-TASS
reported on 19 October. The ministry was responding to an expression
of concern by its Russian counterpart, in which the Russian Foreign
Ministry had called attention to the rise in Tajik nationalism
and what it described as political pressure on the non-Tajik
population. The Tajik response rejected the charges. The same
day, acting President Akbarsho Iskandarov set up a Security Council
consisting of the leadership of Tajikistan's legislature and
the Cabinet of Ministers, and appointed filmmaker and opposition
leader Davlat Khudonazarov his chief presidential advisor. (Bess
Brown)

CHECHENS ORDERED OUT OF UST-KAMENOGORSK. Reuters, quoting a CIS
TV broadcast, reported on 19 October that the Eastern Kazakhstan
Oblast Soviet in Ust-Kamenogorsk has ordered the deportation
of all Chechens from the oblast. The previous day Russian TV's
"Vesti" had reported that inhabitants of Ust-Kamenogorsk demanded
the deportation after a group of Chechens from Orenburg were
implicated in the murders of four Kazakhs in a city dormitory.
Participants in a spontaneous demonstration attempted to march
on a Chechen settlement, but were stopped by the militia. Reuters
quoted a report of the independent Kazreview news agency that
alcohol sales had been banned, and that the deportation decision
might be rescinded. (Bess Brown)

ANOTHER ATTACK ON BIRLIK LEADER. Two armed men attacked Abdurahim
Pulatov, leader of the Uzbek opposition organization Birlik,
on 19 October, Radio Rossii reported. The attack occurred in
a Tashkent subway station. Pulatov told an RL/RFE correspondent
that this was the third attempt on his life in six months. This
time colleagues overpowered the attackers, who were armed, and
handed them over to the militia. Earlier this year Pulatov was
badly beaten and suffered a fractured skull. Birlik supporters
believe that the attacks have been carried out at the instigation
of the Uzbek government, which has cracked down on domestic opposition
in the wake of the unrest in Tajikistan. (Bess Brown)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

POWER STRUGGLE IN BELGRADE. International media reported on 19
October that Serbian police had seized the interior ministry
of SerbiaMontenegro and all of its files. This appears to be
the latest chapter in a power struggle between Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic and the rump Yugoslav leadership headed by
President Dobrica Cosic and Prime Minister Milan Panic. Public
opinion appears to be increasingly behind Cosic and Panic, but
Milosevic can still count on the backing of the army and the
police. The files would be invaluable in any future trials of
war crimes, particularly those committed by Serbian forces in
Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia Herzegovina. (Patrick Moore)

IZETBEGOVIC AND COSIC MOVE TOWARD PEACE IN BOSNIA? On 19 October
Cosic met under UN and EC sponsorship with Bosnian President
Alija Izetbegovic. International media reported that they agreed
to stop and reverse ethnic cleansing, demilitarize Sarajevo,
"eliminate" armed irregulars, and support bringing war criminals
to justice. These pledges reaffirm those made at the London Conference
in late August. The presidents enjoy considerable moral standing
among their respective peoples, but most of the real authority
in BosniaHerzegovina appears to be in the hands of local Serb
and Croat leaders, so it is doubtful whether the promises can
be kept. Izetbegovic confirmed to Vecernji list on 19 October
that his government favored a "decentralized, not a unitary state,"
a position his people had also taken in London in an apparent
departure from their previous insistence on a centralized state.
They want, however, the autonomous regions based on geography
rather than on ethnic criteria, which the Serbs advocate. It
remains to be seen whether this is a bargaining ploy or a serious
bid for compromise. (Patrick Moore)

CROATIAN PARLIAMENT MOVES AGAINST FARRIGHT PARTY. On 17 October
the Croatian Sabor voted to lift the parliamentary immunity of
Croatian Party of [Historic] Rights (HSP) leader Dobroslav Paraga
and two other HSP deputies. They are to face charges of terrorism
stemming from the activities of the HSP's paramilitary group
the Croatian Defense Force (HOS). Sabor President Stipe Mesic
told Novi Vjesnik on 18 October that it was the stormiest parliamentary
session in living memory and that justice would now take its
course, adding that no country would tolerate private armies
like HOS. Others note, however, that President Franjo Tudjman's
government seems to be anxious to silence its critics from any
point on the political spectrum and point to administrative measures
taken recently against the leading independent daily Slobodna
Dalmacija. HOS is popular in some of the wartorn parts of Croatia
where it is credited with putting up a better fight than the
Croatian military. Vecernji list on 18 October published a poll
showing that 73% of those interviewed favored banning paramilitary
groups but that twothirds opposed banning the HSP. (Patrick
Moore)

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT DENIES EMBARGO INFRINGED. In a communique
released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and broadcast by
Radio Bucharest on 19 October, the government denied the trade
embargo on former Yugoslavia was being infringed. It said that
opposition leader Ion Ratiu, who made the allegation in Washington,
had never before shown an interest in the problem and that his
"sensational declarations" were intended to generate international
"suspicion and mistrust" toward the government's policy. (Michael
Shafir).

ILIESCU STARTS COALITION TALKS. President Ion Iliescu has begun
consultations with leaders of the political parties represented
in the new parliament for the purpose of designating the new
premier, Radio Bucharest reported on 19 October. He said he had
no "prejudices" and no "hard feelings" and that he hoped to set
up a government that would be "broadly accepted." The program
of economic reform and the legislation connected with it must
be completed, he added, in order to overcome the present crisis.
At the end of the talks, Iliescu said they had been positive
but the leader of the National Peasant Party Christian Democratic,
Corneliu Coposu, ruled out collaboration with the Democratic
National Salvation Front. (Michael Shafir)

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION LEADER DENIES DCR ABOUT TO SPLIT. Corneliu
Coposu, president of the National Peasant Party Christian Democratic
and interim president of the Democratic Convention of Romania
(DCR) denied the DCR was about to split. In an interview with
the daily Romania libera on 20-October, Coposu said none of the
eighteen parties and formations belonging to the DCR intended
to leave it. Such a step, he said, would be "suicidal" for any
formation deserting the convention. Arpress released an advance
summary of the interview on 19 October. (Michael Shafir)

ROMANIAN PARTY TAKES "TURN TO LEFT." The Party of National Unity
of Romania (PRNU), the political arm of the antiHungarian organization
"Romanian Cradle," has taken what the independent news agency
Arpress termed on 19 October as a "turn to the Left." At its
extraordinary national convention held in Cluj on 18 and 19 October,
the leadership of the party approved the election of Gheorghe
Funar, the PRNU candidate in the last presidential election,
as president of the formation. The decision confirms a 3 October
move to replace former PRNU leader Radu Ceontea, considered by
observers as centrist on the economy and more moderate on the
national question. (Michael Shafir).

SUCHOCKA ON FOREIGN POLICY. Speaking on 18 October at the inauguration
of the academic year at the Catholic University of Lublin, Prime
Minister Hanna Suchocka said that the priorities of Polish foreign
policy were European integration, association with NATO, and
regional cooperation. Although optimistic about Poland's prospects
of joining NATO, Suchocka said it would be naive to think that
"distant alliances" could provide a substitute for secure relations
with Poland's neighbors. She criticized the EC for treating the
"triangle" countries as potential rivals rather than as partners;
European integration would have to serve Poland's economic interests.
Suchocka also warned against succumbing to the provincialism
that Poland's past status as a Soviet satellite had fostered.
(Louisa Vinton)

SOLIDARITY TO HELP BROADEN COALITION. Parliamentary caucus leader
Bogdan Borusewicz announced on 19 October that Solidarity's deputies
in the Sejm would undertake talks aimed at bringing the Center
Alliance into the government coalition. Solidarity deputies brokered
the original coalition agreement in July. Although the sevenparty
coalition needs another partner to secure a comfortable procapitalist
majority, the Center Alliance may not be an especially attractive
candidate. Guided in part by personal antagonism toward President
Lech Walesa, Center Alliance leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski has voiced
shrill opposition to the current government's policies. Disciplinary
proceedings were begun on 19 October against four Center Alliance
deputies who failed to vote with the rest of the party against
the government's proposed revisions to the 1992 budget. The same
four deputies had previously advocated bargaining for a place
in the coalition. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka fired
three voivodship heads on 19 October. Two of these were Center
Alliance members who had opposed the government's budget proposals
during the Sejm debate on 17 October. (Louisa Vinton)

ECONOMIC UPTURN CONTINUES IN POLAND. Economic statistics released
on 19 October showed that September was the sixth consecutive
month in which Polish industrial production exceeded the previous
year's totals. Production in September 1992 was 13.1% higher
than in September 1991. Growth was recorded in all industrial
branches, with the exception of paper and food processing. Prices
in September rose 5.3% over August, the largest monthly jump
in inflation since January 1992. This was mainly due to huge
food price increases caused by the summer's drought. Real wages
dropped 0.4% in September. (Louisa Vinton)

NEW ESTONIAN PM CONFIRMED. The parliament approved Mart Laar
as Estonia's new prime minister on 19 October, according to the
local media. Laar, who was named Prime Minister Designate two
weeks ago by President Lennart Meri, was formally confirmed after
the Riigikogu approved the coalition agreement signed by the
three parties forming the ruling majority. Laar has seven days
to formally name a cabinet. The Riigikogu must confirm a number
of the appointments, including the internal affairs, defense,
foreign affairs and economics ministers. Laar has already announced
his choice for five of the ministries: Marju Lauristin for social
welfare, Lagle Parek for internal affairs, PaulErik Rummo for
culture and education, Ain Saarman for economics and Kaido Kama
for justice. (Riina Kionka)

ESTONIA'S RULING COALITION PROPOSES LIBERALIZATION ON CITIZENSHIP
LAW. In the coalition agreement approved on 19 October, the ruling
majority has called for liberalization of the citizenship law.
The agreement, signed by the parties Pro Patria, the Moderates,
and the ENIP, proposes a number of changes aimed at eliminating
much of the legal ambiguity that currently exists. It includes
provisions for dual citizenship and derivation of citizenship
through both male and female lines. It also calls on all CIS
republics to grant citizenship to those living in Estonia who
wish to take the citizenship of those states, and promises help
for those wishing to leave Estonia. In his statement to parliament
after the signing, Laar also said all nonEstonians who wanted
to stay should be integrated into Estonian society, BNS reported.
(Riina Kionka)

RUSSIAN EMBASSY IN LATVIA PROCESSES CITIZENSHIP APPLICATIONS.
BNS reported on 17 October that the Russian embassy in Riga had
started to process applications for Russian citizenship from
residents of Latvia. Some 300 applicants had already submitted
forms which include a statement that the applicant has not already
requested Latvian citizenship. Russians comprise 34% of Latvia's
population of about 2.6 million. (Dzintra Bungs)

BULGARIAN GYPSIES SET UP NATIONAL LOBBY ORGANIZATION. At a meeting
in Sofia on 17 and 18-October Bulgarian gypsies set up a national
organization, the United Roma Federation (URF). Vasil Chaprasov,
a teacher from the city of Sliven who was elected chairman, told
a Western agency the organization was independent and politically
unaffiliated. According to Trud of 19 October, the URF adopted
a declaration calling on the government to ensure Roma influence
in local politics. It demanded the resignation of Culture Minister
Elka Konstantinova who recently branded gypsies as "uncivilized."
(Kjell Engelbrekt)

PARTS OF THE DANUBE TO BE DIVERTED TODAY. A 30kilometer leg
of the Danube is scheduled to be diverted by Slovak engineers
today as part of the controversial Gabcikovo hydroelectric project.
Although Hungarian news agency MTI reported on 19-October that
the diversion might not begin as scheduled, there have been no
reports from Slovakia indicating a change of plans. According
to various sources, Czechoslovak, Hungarian, Austrian, and German
environmentalists are planning to converge for demonstrations
at the dam site. (Jan Obrman)

HUNGARIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON NATIONAL SECURITY. Defense Minister
Lajos Fuer, in a 19-October interview in Magyar Hirlap, said
Hungary was not threatened at present by any "direct military
attack from either the East, or the South, or the North." On
the other hand, the serious conflict to the south "could spill
over into Hungary at certain points and in certain forms," Fuer
added. Hungary's army would continue to show restraint in the
Yugoslav conflict but would also make clear that it would take
a resolute stand against "small aggression" coming from any quarter,
he concluded. (Alfred Reisch)

DEFENSE MINISTER OF REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA VISITS BULGARIA. Vlado
Popovski, the Republic of Macedonia's Defense Minister, heading
a delegation which included Chief of the General Staff, Colonel
General Mitre Arsovski, met with counterparts in Sofia on 19
October. According to BTA, discussions focussed on regional security
issues and Popovski informed Alexander Staliiski, Bulgaria's
Defense Minister, that Bulgaria was an important and stabilizing
factor in the Balkans especially for Macedonia. Both stressed
that there were no problems between the republics of Macedonia
and Bulgaria. Popovski noted that the Macedonian army was equipped
with weapons from the former Yugoslav territorial defense forces
and would seek those weapons which it lacked through normal diplomatic
contacts. In order to counter recent allegations in the Bulgarian
press that Bulgarian arms had been shipped to the new republic,
Popovski stressed that "not one Bulgarian rifle sling has entered
Macedonia." (Duncan Perry)

RUSSIAN TROOP TRAIN DETAINED IN RIGA. Radio Riga reported on
19 October that earlier that day a Russian troop train had been
detained at Skirotava station, Riga. The echelon, carrying troops,
6 tanks and 11 missile systems, arrived in Latvia from Estonia
without an entry permit and failed to halt for inspection at
Lugazi border post. Radio Riga said that such activity by the
Russian military was a flagrant violation of earlier accords
on movement of troops and weapons in Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs)


SOLDIERS SUPPORT MORATORIUM ON TROOP PULLOUT FROM LATVIA. On
15 October members of a local organization defending the rights
of Russian soldiers staged a demonstration in Daugavpils. They
demanded a moratorium on troop withdrawal and that the Latvian
government guarantee officers' families' welfare. They also called
for a halt to the transfer of military structures to the Latvian
authorities, BNS reported on 16 October. (Dzintra Bungs)

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Anna Swidlicka
































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