To appreciate nonsense requires a serious interest in life. - Gelett Burgess
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 215, 06 November 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

SHAKHRAI RETURNED TO CABINET IN CHARGE OF NATIONALITIES AFFAIRS.
Sergei Shakhrai has been returned to the Russian cabinet as chairman
of the State Committee on Nationalities Policy with the rank
of deputy premier, ITAR-TASS reported on 5 November. Shakhrai,
who is currently representing Yeltsin in the Russian Constitutional
Court in the CPSU case, will take up his new post on 25 November.
His appointment with the rank of deputy premier, which his predecessor
did not enjoy, is an indication of the increased importance of
the nationalities question. Valerii Tishkov, Director of the
Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Ethnography, who resigned
as chairman of the state committee at the end of September complaining
that he was not consulted. Tishkov suggested that Shakhrai would
be an ideal successor as he had more political clout. (Ann Sheehy)


SHAKHRAI'S APPOINTMENT WELCOMED BY RUTSKOI, FILATOV, AND SHUMEIKO.
Shakhrai's appointment has been welcomed by Vice-President Aleksandr
Rutskoi, First Deputy Chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet
Sergei Filatov, and First Deputy Premier Vladimir Shumeiko, who
all consider that his legal expertise will be useful in his new
post. Filatov and Shumeiko both suggested that progress might
now be made in implementing the federal treaty so as to give
more rights to the republics and regions, which they see as the
key to the success of the economic reform. (Ann Sheehy)

STAROVOITOVA DISMISSED AS YELTSIN'S NATIONALITIES ADVISER. A
decree dismissing Galina Starovoitova as Yeltsin's adviser on
nationalities issues was issued on 4 November, Interfax and ITAR-TASS
reported. No reason was given for her dismissal, which came as
a complete surprise to Starovoitova, although she told Interfax
that she had lately had difficulty in arranging meetings with
Yeltsin. Starovoitova has been one of the most prominent reformers,
but has run into criticism for her liberal stand on nationalities
issues. She has frequently been criticized by both Yeltsin's
right-wing opponents and by "centrists" for advocating the right
of the Armenian majority to secede while denying the same right
to the Russian-speaking majority in the self-proclaimed Dniester
republic. (Ann Sheehy)

MORE ON GOVERNMENT DEAL WITH CIVIC UNION. First Deputy Prime
Minister Vladimir Shumeiko said that the government has adopted
many of the proposals included in the Civic Union's economic
program. According to Interfax on 4 November, Shumeiko had asked
the leader of the Civic Union, Arkadii Volsky, about the existence
of a list of alternative ministers which the Civic Union allegedly
sent to the president. Volsky denied the existence of such a
list. Volsky said that if the parliamentary faction of Smena
issues such a list, he would demand the exclusion of Smena from
the Civic Union coalition. (Alexander Rahr)

FURTHER PRONOUNCEMENTS ON GOVERNMENT CHANGES. At a news conference
in Moscow on 5 November, President Yeltsin declared that he would
not enter into any kind of alliance with the Civic Union regarding
a government reshuffle, Interfax reported. He said that only
three or four small amendments contained in the Civic Union's
anti-crisis program would be introduced into his government's
own program. At another news conference on the same day, one
representative of the Civic Union stated that "we have no wish
to dictate any names to the president," while another insisted
that no discussion had taken place at the meeting between Yeltsin
and the Civic Union concerning a reshuffle at government or any
other level. And Vice-President Rutskoi told "Mayak" that the
Civic Union had given no lists to President Yeltsin of possible
changes in the cabinet. (Keith Bush)

YELTSIN'S VISITS TO BRITAIN AND HUNGARY. President Yeltsin told
the same news conference that he would not appoint an acting
president to mind the store during his official visits to Britain
and Hungary scheduled for next week. "I shall not give up the
reins of power to anybody. I shall rule Russia and direct the
progress of reforms from there." (Keith Bush)

YELTSIN OFFERS TO DISCUSS STRATEGIC ARMS CUTS WITH CLINTON. During
a telephone conversation with President-Elect Bill Clinton, Yeltsin
offered to discuss strategic arms reductions at a proposed post-inauguration
summit in Moscow, Interfax reported on 5 November. The arms reductions
would apparently be based on the June 1992 US--Russia agreement
to cut strategic nuclear forces to approximately 3,000 warheads
on each side. The June agreement has not yet been formalized
in a treaty because of new Russian positions concerning the use
of silos and the elimination of land-based multiple warhead missiles.
It was unclear whether Yeltsin suggested any further reductions,
or concessions on the points that are now stalling the negotiations.
(Doug Clarke and John Lepingwell)

RUSSIAN CASUALTIES IN TRANSCAUCASUS. The press center of the
Transcaucasian military district announced on 5 November that
59 Russian servicemen or military dependents had been killed
since the beginning of the year and 100 wounded as a results
of attacks on military facilities within the district, Interfax
reported. The highest number of deaths were reported in Georgia,
where 42 were killed and 35 wounded. Six people lost their lives
in Armenia and 12 were wounded while 11 servicemen were killed
in Azerbaijan and 53 wounded. Also in that republic 3,217 artillery
pieces were seized. Another 634 pieces were lost in Georgia.
The press center also reported that 1,306 military cars had been
hijacked with only 119 recovered. (Doug Clarke)

SITUATION NORMALIZING IN NORTH OSSETIA. The Press Service of
the North Ossetian Security Council said on 5 November that the
cease-fire was generally being observed in the Prigorodnyi raion
of North Ossetia and that Ingush armed formations had been expelled
from all settlements, ITAR-TASS reported. An active exchange
of hostages was also taking place. The North Ossetian Ministry
of Health reported that since the night o 30 October 115 people
had been killed and 272 wounded. Yusup Soslambekov, the Chechen
chairman of the parliament of the Confederation of Peoples of
the Caucasus, told ITAR-TASS that the confederation did not favor
either side, and its armed units had not been asked by either
side to intervene. (Ann Sheehy)

GRACHEV AND BARANNIKOV TO NORTH OSSETIA. Russian Defense Minister
Pavel Grachev (an Afghan veteran) flew to North Ossetia on 5
November to oversee the efforts of Russian troops as they sought
to disarm Ossetian and Ingush militants, Interfax reported on
5 November. Grachev was accompanied by Interior Minister Viktor
Barannikov. According to Interfax, the two are expected to draw
up proposals on the conflict for an upcoming meeting of the Russian
Security Council. They were expected back in Moscow on 6 November.
(Stephen Foye)

AFGHAN VET TO HEAD RUSSIAN INGUSH COMMITTEE. Ruslan Aushev, an
ethnic Ingush and a much decorated veteran of the Soviet war
in Afghanistan, was named on 5 November as the chief Russian
administrator in Ingushetia, AFP and Interfax reported. The 38
year-old Aushev has long been involved in Afghan veteran affairs
and was most recently serving as an advisor to Russian Vice President
Aleksandr Rutskoi. AFP also reported that the Russian government
had created a new executive headquarters under the leadership
of Interior Minister Viktor Yerin that is tasked with establishing
order and guaranteeing "the security of Russian citizens in the
conflict zone." Boris Gromov, a Russian Deputy Defense Minister
and also an Afghan veteran, was among those named to that body.
(Stephen Foye)

DUSHANBE FEARS RENEWED ATTACK. According to agency reports on
5 November the streets of Tajikistan's capital were deserted
and the city was paralyzed because the inhabitants feared anti-government
forces will attack again. Supporters of deposed President Rakhmon
Nabiev invaded the city and seized government buildings on 24
November, retreating two days later after considerable loss of
life in battles with government supporters. The fears of Dushanbe
residents were given some substance by the refusal of anti-government
forces to accept a proposal from Central Asian leaders for the
formation of a state council in Tajikistan that would include
all factions. (Bess Brown)

CALL TO SELL UKRAINE'S NUCLEAR WARHEADS. Western agencies reported
on 5 November that a Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister has
suggested that Kiev ought to sell or auction off to the highest
bidder nuclear warheads that remain in the country. Ihor Yukhnovsky
apparently told a news conference that the 176 strategic warheads
on Ukrainian territory belong to the Ukrainian people and should
not be given up for free. He suggested that Russia should get
first option on the warheads, with other states already possessing
nuclear weapons also eligible to make a bid. (Stephen Foye)

UKRAINE TO LEAVE RUBLE ZONE "SHORTLY." Ukrainian Prime Minister
Leonid Kuchma told a news conference in Kiev on 4 November that
Ukraine will shortly introduce the coupon and ignore cash currency,
The Financial Times reported on 5 November. This would effectively
take Ukraine out of the ruble zone. Kuchma warned of impending
economic disaster in Ukraine. He plans to restrict the allocation
of credit to faltering state enterprises and to raise the Ukrainian
Central Bank's discount lending rate to at least 50% a year at
a time, as the newspaper notes, when inflation is exceeding that
rate in a month. (Keith Bush)

RUSSIAN CENTRAL BANK TO STEM DOLLAR FLOW TO FSU NATIONS. The
Russian Central Bank has issued orders temporarily forbidding
enterprises, banks and other organizations of countries of the
former Soviet Union (FSU) from buying hard currency on the Russian
market, according to Interfax on 5 November. The Central Bank
recently granted enterprises and individuals significantly broader
freedom to convert rubles into hard currency. The Bank apparently
feared that, without the ability to control the creation of ruble
purchasing power in the other nations of the region, Russia would
experience increased dollar outflow and further depreciation
of the ruble. The Central Bank also put restrictions on investment
in Russia by enterprises of other FSU nations. (Erik Whitlock).


RUBLE SLIPS FURTHER. The ruble exchange rate eased to 399, up
from 396, rubles to the dollar on the Moscow Interbank Currency
Exchange on 5 November, Biznes-TASS reported. Volume traded was
$40.46 million. (Erik Whitlock)

IMF WARNS OF RUSSIAN HYPERINFLATION. The managing director of
the International Monetary Fund, Michel Camdessus, told bankers
in Bonn on 5 November that Russia faced a risk of hyperinflation
that could destroy confidence in its economy, Reuters reported.
Camdessus claimed that Western aid promised to Russia for 1992
was being disbursed as planned, with $11.4 billion of support
put in place during the first half of the year, including about
$9.2 billion in grants and credits and $2.2 billion in debt deferrals,
and a further $7 billion's worth of grants, credits, and debt
deferrals in the second half of 1992. He said that Russia had
agreed to postponement of the $6 billion stabilization fund until
inflation had been brought under control. (Keith Bush)

MORE ON RUSSIAN PRIVATIZATION. Russian Deputy Prime Minister
Anatolii Chubais has announced that preparations are underway
for auctions of state property in December, where privatization
vouchers can be used to purchase shares, according to "Novosti"
reports on 5 November. The first auctions are programmed to be
held in the Vladimir oblast', Perm, Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Several large enterprises are to be put up for auction, as well
as Intourist hotels and Berezka foreign currency shops. According
to Chubais, these auctions will help to raise the value of the
vouchers which, according to a report in Finansovye izvestiya
on 29 October, are currently being traded in Moscow for an average
of 5-7,000 roubles, well under their face value of 10,000 roubles.
(Sheila Marnie)

HOW THE RUSSIANS RATE THEIR STANDARD OF LIVING. An opinion poll
carried out by the Russian Center for Public Opinion and Market
Research (VTsIOM) suggests that 41% of Russians think that they
live badly, over 50% that they live "averagely", and 8% that
they live well, according to an Interfax report of 5 November.
Other VTsIOM research suggests that 47% of Russians think that
life is difficult, but "tolerable". On the basis of this, sociologists
claim that the situation may not be as catastrophic as it has
been portrayed in the mass media. (Sheila Marnie)

NABIEV REJECTED STATE COUNCIL. In an interview issued by Interfax
on 5 November, deposed Tajik President Rakhmon Nabiev said that
his supporters would reject the plan for a state council of all
factions proposed by Central Asian leaders at a summit in Alma-Ata
on 4 November, because such a council would perpetuate the influence
of Supreme Soviet Chairman Akbarsho Iskandarov, who has been
acting president since Nabiev was forced to resign at gunpoint.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev told journalists after the
summit that in his opinion Nabiev should not try to reclaim the
presidency of Tajikistan because not enough of the country's
citizens back him. (Bess Brown)

OPPOSITION BOYCOTT IN BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT. Opposition deputies
in Belarus have announced that they would boycott certain actions
of the parliament, Western news agencies reported on 5 November.
The decision was taken to protest parliament's earlier rejection
of calls for early elections. The boycott was announced in a
statement signed by 32 lawmakers from the opposition Belarusian
Popular Front and broadcast by Radio Minsk. The deputies said
that they would continue to attend parliamentary sessions but
abstain from certain debates and voting. (Roman Solchanyk)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

SERBS BLOCK UN AID CONVOY. Western agencies reported on 5 November
that Serbian civilians in Bratunac had blocked a UN convoy heading
from Serbia into Bosnia to the mainly Muslim town of Srebrenica,
whose 30,000 inhabitants have been under siege for about six
months. Both towns are just inside Bosnia's border with Serbia.
This is not the first incident in which apparently well-organized
Serb civilians have prevented UN convoys from reaching besieged
Muslims. Milan Panic, the prime minister of Serbia-Montenegro,
has repeatedly promised that UN convoys could use Serbia and
Serbian-held territory in Bosnia to transport relief supplies,
and has also promised to provide the trucks. (Patrick Moore)


UN HAS SERIOUS PROBLEMS IN PEACE-KEEPING. Cedric Thornberry,
the deputy chief of the UN mission in former Yugoslavia, said
on 5 November that Sarajevo faced famine and that the nominally
UN-controlled areas of Croatia were submerged in chaos thanks
to armed and uniformed Serbian gangs. The 6 November Washington
Post quoted him as saying that the "armed criminals... usually
target Croats and other minorities, usually old people." Thornberry
added that Serbian aircraft had apparently violated the UN no-fly
zone in Bosnia 18 to 20 times, but it was not clear whether they
had actually engaged in military operations against Muslims and
Croats, the New York Times reported. He blamed both Serbs and
Croats for hindering relief shipments bound for Sarajevo, and
said that Serb forces in Croatia had refused to tell the UN where
they had placed mines in the giant Peruca hydro-electric dam.
(Patrick Moore)

RUSSIAN GENERAL VISITS HERZEGOVINA. Radio Serbia reported on
5 November that Russian General Viktor Filatov paid an official
visit to Serb-controlled areas of Herzegovina to observe the
situation there and to see for himself "who is defending himself
and who is the aggressor." Filatov, a member of the General Staff
of the Russian Army, said that aggression was being waged against
Serbs and promised to recommend to the Russian General Staff
that Russia support the Serbs. The Russian Defense Ministry's
newspaper Krasnaya zvezda has generally taken a pro-Serb line,
which suggests that Filatov may have support within the Russian
high command. (Milan Andrejevich)

IRAN PLEDGES TO SUPPORT BOSNIA. Sarajevo Radio reported on 5
November that the general headquarters of Iran's armed forces
issued a statement pledging their readiness to provide "any kind
of material or moral assistance" to the Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina
if ordered to do so by Iran's leaders. In an interview broadcast
by Tehran TV on 5 November Alija Izetbegovic, President of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
said Bosnia's Muslims and government were grateful to Ayatollah
Khamene'i, President Hashemi-Rafsanjani, and the government and
people of Iran, for declaring their support for the Muslims of
Bosnia-Herzegovina. Last week Izetbegovic paid an official visit
to Teheran. (Milan Andrejevich)

NEW ROMANIAN PREMIER PREPARES PROGRAM, STARTS TALKS. On 5 November
Romania's Prime Minister-designate Nicolae Vacaroiu presented
a preview of his government's program. At a press conference
broadcast by Radio Bucharest, Vacaroiu said that his government's
top priority would be to ensure supplies of heat, energy and
food for the winter. He also pledged to work out together with
his team a long-term strategy for economic changes in Romania.
Vacaroiu, who was a little known senior Finance Ministry official
before being nominated prime minister by President Ion Iliescu,
spoke on the prospects for economic reforms in Romania. While
insisting that he was fully committed to pursuing reforms, he
warned against decisions that might lead to a sharp drop in living
standards. Vacaroiu also stressed the importance of the state's
role during the period of transition to a market economy. In
a first round of talks on his future cabinet, Vacaroiu met with
leading figures from the economic and financial spheres. (Dan
Ionescu)

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT NAMED. Alexander Yordanov, a Union
of Democratic Forces (UDF) MP, was elected president of the Sobranie
or parliament on 5 November, according to BTA. He replaced Stefan
Savov who was forced out of office by opposition from the predominantly
Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), the lynchpin
in contemporary Bulgarian politics. MRF deputies withdrew their
support for the minority UDF government of Filip Dimitrov, voting
no confidence on 28 October, thus causing the prime minister
to resign. While relations between the UDF and the MRF are strained,
Yordanov's appointment, which received a clear endorsement from
the MRF, may signal willingness by both sides to resume cooperation.
Neither wishes to work closely with the Bulgarian Socialist Party,
the only other party with seats in the parliament. (Duncan Perry)


CANDIDATE NOMINATED FOR LATVIAN FOREIGN MINISTER. On 3 November
the chairman of the Latvian Supreme Council Foreign Affairs Commission
Indulis Berzins announced that the commission had approved a
proposal by Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis to nominate its commission
member Georgs Andreevs to the post of Latvian Foreign Minister,
the RFE/RL Latvian Service reported. Andreevs, a doctor of medicine
of Russian extraction who is fluent in Latvian, Russian, English,
and German, had been recommended because of his excellent performance
heading the Latvian delegation to the Council of Europe. The
Latvian Supreme Council will vote on his candidacy next week.
(Saulius Girnius)

CZECHS WANT HAVEL FOR PRESIDENT. According to a public opinion
poll published on 5 November, a solid majority of Czechs would
like to see former Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel as the
Czech Republic's first president. The Prague-based Institute
for Public Opinion said that 57% of the Czech Republic's citizens
favor Havel's candidacy. Havel has indicated his willingness
to reenter politics if there is broad support for him. (Jan Obrman)


DRAFT OF CZECH CONSTITUTION READY. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav
Klaus announced on 5 November that the Czech government has completed
work on a draft constitution for the Czech Republic, Czechoslovak
Television reported. It will be submitted to the Czech parliament
for approval on 10 November. The draft would create a bicameral
parliament, introducing a Senate in addition to the existing
lower house, the National Council. Members of the Senate would
be elected for six-year terms; Senate elections would alternate,
with one third of its members facing elections every two years.
It is not clear whether the draft will win the support of opposition
parties which is crucial since Klaus' coalition does not have
the necessary three-fifths majority in the parliament to adopt
constitutional laws. (Jan Obrman)

LEADER OF THE HUNGARIAN DEMOCRATIC COMMUNITY OF VOIVODINA TESTIFIES.
Andras Agoston, the chairman of the Hungarian Democratic Community
of Voivodina testified before the human rights committee of the
Hungarian parliament on 4 November. Agoston said that the peace
efforts in his country were not proceeding well, and it was feared
that the civil war might even escalate. Agoston said the Hungarians
supported the policy of Yugoslav Prime Minister Milan Panic,
but that Panic could only be truly acceptable to the Hungarians
if he were willing to start a dialogue with them. The DCV leader
said talks could only be based on the Carrington plan. He stressed
that Voivodina Hungarians did not want the borders changed, but
wished to ensure that their human rights were respected within
the present borders. According to Agoston, some 25,000 Hungarians
have left Voivodina as a result of the war, and the Serbs wanted
to replace them with 30,000 Serbians. This was unacceptable for
the DCV because it would change the ethnic composition of Vojvodina.
The report was carried by MTI. (Judith Pataki)

SOLIDARITY ACCEPTS CONSUMPTION LIMITS. During talks on the government's
proposed "pact on state firms" on 5 November, Solidarity agreed
that consumption should be limited to half of the growth in national
income over the next ten years. The rest, the union agreed, should
be devoted to increased spending on investment. The formerly
procommunist OPZZ federation has objected to this proposal, arguing
that the government was trying to burden the unions with responsibility
for declining living standards in recent years. Labor Minister
Jacek Kuron argued that unions have an interest in encouraging
investment: "the unions won't be able to defend workers' interests
if the economy collapses." Solidarity leader Marian Krzaklewski
told reporters that the union had won government concessions
on many issues and was prepared to sign the pact. (Louisa Vinton)


CAMDESSUS ENCOURAGED BY EAST EUROPEAN ECONOMY. International
Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Michel Camdessus has said
several countries in Eastern Europe have made encouraging economic
progress, Western media reported. Speaking to bankers in Bonn
on 5 November, Camdessus specifically named Hungary, Czechoslovakia,
and Poland. He said recent developments in those countries justified
"cautious optimism" that the sharp drops in output during the
past few years were "possibly at an end." He added that 1993
may see positive growth in their gross domestic product for the
first time in almost five years. "We are possibly at a turning
point," he said. (Jan Obrman)

ARMS SALES TO SUDAN ILLEGAL, STRASKY SAYS. Czechoslovak Prime
Minister Jan Strasky said on 5 November that Slovakia was violating
present laws in negotiating the sale of armored personnel carriers
to Sudan, CSTK reported. Sales to sensitive areas, to which Sudan
belongs (its government is believed to support international
terrorism), require federal government approval. Strasky said
that Slovakia had already shipped one vehicle for testing and
that the Slovak economics ministry has created a commission to
handle future sales. (Jan Obrman)

RUSSIA AND LITHUANIA SIGN AGREEMENT ON OIL AND GAS. On 3 November
in Moscow Lithuanian Deputy Prime Minister Bronislavas Lubys
and his Russian counterpart Aleksandr Shokhin signed an agreement
on supplying oil and gas to Lithuania in 1992, Radio Lithuania
reports. Russia will send Lithuania 1,400 million cubic meters
of natural gas (at $75 per thousand cubic meters) and almost
a million tons of crude oil (at $110 per ton). The payment can
be made in hard currency or rubles at the official Russian exchange
rate. (Saulius Girnius)

POLISH PRIME MINISTER IN BONN. During her first official visit
to Bonn Polish Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka received once again
Germany's pledge to support Poland's efforts to enter the European
Community. According to a report in the Warsaw daily Rzeczpospolita
of 6 November, Germany Chancellor Helmut Kohl promised to support
Poland's cause at the forthcoming EC summit meeting in Edinburgh
and suggested that Poland might join the EC in about ten years'
time. Kohl emphasized, however, that EC acceptance of Poland's
full membership would depend on the success of economic changes
in the country. Suchocka also attended a joint sitting in Bonn
of the foreign committees of the Bundestag, the French Assemblee
Nationale, and the Polish Sejm. Before she leaves for Poland
on 6 November, Suchocka is scheduled to meet German Foreign Minister
Klaus Kinkel and other German economic and political officials.
(Jan de Weydenthal)

NATO AGAINST SUSPENSION OF WITHDRAWALS. According to BNS of 5
November, citing the NATO News Bulletin, the NATO leadership
thinks that last week's suspension of troop withdrawals from
the Baltic states violates international law. NATO reportedly
called on Russia to continue the pullout. (Riina Kionka)

RUSSIA KEEPS VIOLATING LATVIAN AIRSPACE. Russian military aircraft
continue to violate Latvian airspace, according to the Latvian
Defense Ministry, whose spokesman told Diena on 4 November that
between 30 October and 1 November alone, Russian military aircraft
performed 24 unsanctioned flights over Latvia en route to Ukraine
and Russia. During October, Russian military planes made some
88 uncleared flights. (Riina Kionka)

YELTSIN'S MESSAGE TO HEADS OF BALTIC STATES. At a Moscow press
conference on 5 November Russian President Boris Yeltsin said
that his decision to suspend troop withdrawals from the Baltic
States had been made since the Defense Ministry had overstrained
the process by stationing some units in open fields, Radio Lithuania
reported. Yeltsin said that the schedule signed with Lithuania
would be followed and that commissions had been formed to discuss
such schedules for Latvia and Estonia which would not be linked
with the rights of the Russian-speaking minorities there. He
denied that the suspension was the result of internal Russian
political pressure. (Saulius Girnius)

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Keith Bush & Anna Swidlicka






[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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