|There is one thing more exasperating than a wife who can cook and won't, and that is the wife who can't cook and will. - Robert Frost|
No. 119, 25 June 1993
RUSSIA CHERNOMYRDIN CANCELS WASHINGTON VISIT. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin on 24-June canceled a planned visit to Washington over US accusations that Russian plans to sell sophisticated missile technology to India violate international export regulations, The Washington Post and New York Times reported. Clinton Administration officials revealed that the US had imposed sanctions on Russian companies involved in the disputed sale, but said that the sanctions have been waived until mid-July to allow the two sides time to resolve their differences. According to the Post, Administration officials said that the talks planned between Chernomyrdin and US Vice President Al Gore on US-Russian cooperation on energy, science and technology hinged on Moscow's cancellation of the rocket engine sale to India. Disagreement over the terms of Russia's sale to Washington of weapons-grade uranium extracted from Russian nuclear weapons was also reportedly a point of friction. Discussions are to be continued in early July when the two Presidents meet in Tokyo at the G-7 Summit. -Stephen Foye TATARSTAN TO BOYCOTT CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY. Tatarstan's president Mintimer Shaimiev and Supreme Soviet Chairman Farid Mukhametshin issued a statement on 24 June saying that Tatarstan was recalling its representatives from the constitutional assembly, Russian and Western media reported. The statement complained that the assembly had ignored Tatarstan's request that the treaty-constitutional relations between the republic and the Russian Federation, that is its special status, be acknowledged in the draft constitution. -Ann Sheehy STATUS OF REPUBLICS AND DRAFT CONSTITUTION. The reinstatement in the merged text of the draft constitution, produced by the constitutional assembly's conciliation commission, of the designation of the republics as sovereign states is meeting resistance, ITAR-TASS reported on 24 June. Originally supported by the section of the subjects of the federation, it had been rejected by the other four sections of the assembly, and they are still expressing their reservations. Representatives of the section of commodity producers, for instance, maintain that the sovereignty of the republics is in conflict with the idea of a single economic space. Member of the Presidential Council Andranik Migranyan thinks, however, that the opposition may be reconciled by the fact that the draft limits the sovereignty of the republics by proclaiming the primacy of federal laws and in effect forbidding secession. -Ann Sheehy SUBJECTS OF FEDERATION OBJECT TO DRAFT DECREE ON ELECTIONS. The section of the subjects of the federation of the constitutional assembly has objected to the draft "Act on Elections to the Supreme Body of Legislative Power of the Russian Federation-the Federal Assembly" which participants of the assembly received on 24 June, ITAR-TASS reported. The Russian president's representative in St. Petersburg, Sergei Tsiplyaev, told ITAR-TASS that "the idea of elections by party lists cannot be supported by the heads of the regions because all the leadership of the parties is concentrated in Moscow." Members of the sections of the federal organs of power and of commodity producers also voted against the draft. -Ann Sheehy SEVEN PRE-ELECTORAL BLOCKS. According to Kommersant-daily on 24 June, seven pre-electoral blocks are currently being set up for the next parliamentary and, possibly, presidential elections: first, the "Coalition of Civic Forces" on the basis of the Civic Union, which supports the candidacy of Aleksandr Rutskoi for president; second, the "Block of Reformist Forces," formed by former State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis and the Movement Democratic Russia in support of President Boris Yeltsin; third, the "Block of Reformist and Liberal-Conservative Forces," created by the leader of the Movement for Democratic Reform, Gavriil Popov, and Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai; fourth, the Movement "Entrepreneurs for a New Russia" which supports the candidacy of economist Grigorii Yavlinsky; fifth, the "Block of Liberal Forces", organized by the Republican Party; sixth, the "United Democratic Block", set up by the leader of the People's Party, Telman Gdlyan; and, seventh, the "Block of State-Patriotic Forces", set up by the Russian Communist Party. -Alexander Rahr SHUMEIKO, POLTORANIN ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION. Parliament on 24 June called for the firing of First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko and the head of the Federal Information Center, Mikhail Poltoranin, because of corruption, ITAR-TASS reported. Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolai Makarov, who had investigated allegations of corruption in government leveled by Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi, told parliament that both men had given approval to a number of commercial contracts with Western firms which had "damaged Russia's interests." He also accused Defense Minister Pavel Grachev of a similar "squandering of state funds." Parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov commented that the facts contained in Makarov's report were sufficient to warrant dismissing the entire government immediately. -Alexander Rahr SHUMEIKO DEFENDS HIMSELF. First Deputy Prime Minister Shumeiko said that he will sue Makarov for slandering him at the session of the parliament, ITAR-TASS reported on 24-June. He also called upon the entire parliament to resign and to stop resisting reform. Shumeiko stated that Makarov's allegations were a "political provocation" and noted that he also plans to sue Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi. Meanwhile, First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Lobov told Rossiya (No. 26) that he has evidence that Rutskoi had falsified corruption investigation results. -Alexander Rahr MEMBERS DENOUNCE REFORM ARMY GROUP. Five members of the parliamentary group "Reform Army" have left the group, charging that its leader, Vitalii Urazhtsev, is engaged in a pre-election campaign aimed at nominating Aleksandr Rutskoi for president, ITAR-TASS reported on 24 June. The five also renounced the recent actions of the group, which have included leveling allegations of corruption at the Russian military leadership. On 16 June the "Reform Army" group hosted a speech in the parliamentary center by Rutskoi in which the Vice President accused President Boris Yeltsin of trying to buy off the military leadership and of ignoring social problems in the armed forces. The five included Yeltsin military advisor Dmitrii Volkogonov and Konstantin Kobets, another Yeltsin ally who was recently named Russian Deputy Defense Minister. -Stephen Foye QUALIFIED OPTIMISM OVER THE ECONOMY. At a Moscow news conference on 24 June, members of the Working Center on Economic Reform painted an upbeat picture of economic developments, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. Although credit emissions during the second quarter (3.4 trillion rubles) will exceed the guidelines laid down by the joint government-Russian Central Bank agreement reached two months ago (2.8 trillion rubles), other indicators were more hopeful. The inflation rate in June was expected to fall to 15%, after 23% in May and 19% in April, and confidence was expressed that the monthly rate would decline to single digits by the end of the year. The ruble was, it was claimed, stabilizing against the dollar (it rose for the seventh consecutive trading session to 1,066 rubles to the dollar on 24 June). Plans for the reduction of the budget deficit were reportedly on course, and output had largely stabilized during the past ten months. -Keith Bush TOKYO MUTES CRITICISM OF WASHINGTON AID PLAN. Kyodo reported on 24 June that Japanese Foreign Minister Kabun Muto has formally retracted his criticism of a US aid plan for Russia. On 22 June, according to The New York Times, Muto had characterized as "preposterous" a US proposal to create a $4-billion fund aimed at converting Russia's state-owned firms into private companies. Muto had said that it was too early to fund privatization because Russia still lacked the basic ingredients necessary to create a capitalist system. Those remarks, reported originally by Kyodo, were made during the monthly meeting of a study group on international affairs. In Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry officials speculated that Muto's remarks were made primarily for the domestic Japanese audience and were not subscribed to by other G-7 participants. Meanwhile, on 24 June Mainichi Shimbun reported that Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev had once again requested that Japan not link the question of Japanese aid to resolution of the Kuril Islands territorial dispute. -Stephen Foye TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA AZERBAIJAN'S NATIONAL ASSEMBLY STRIPS ELCHIBEY OF PRESIDENTIAL POWERS. The Azerbaijan National Assembly (the rump parliament) reconvened on 24 June to debate a 16-point compromise proposal submitted by President Elchibey whereby he would transfer most of his powers to parliament speaker Geidar Aliev for an unspecified time period, retaining only control of foreign policy and the right to sign or veto legislation, Western agencies reported. The National Assembly finally rejected this option as "unconstitutional" and voted instead to strip Elchibey of all his authority. Ten members of the ruling Popular Front boycotted the vote and one condemned it as "the use of military force by the opposition to topple the government, according to The New York Times of 25-June. A statement faxed to the National Assembly by rebel leader Surat Huseinov claimed that three of his supporters had been shot dead in Gyandzha by unidentified "provocateurs", Turkish TV reported. -Liz Fuller KAZAKHSTAN: MORE KAZAKHS, FEWER RUSSIANS. ITAR-TASS, citing figures from Kazakhstan's State Committee for Statistics, reported on 23 June that the number of Kazakhs in Kazakhstan rose sharply (224,000) in 1992. By contrast, the percentage of Russians, Ukrainians, and Germans fell. At the beginning of 1993, Kazakhs accounted for 43.2%, up from 42% the year before; the percentage of Russians decreased from 37% to 36.4%. This marks the first time in recent history that Kazakhs outnumber Russians and Ukrainians, combined, in Kazakhstan. Two main reasons have accounted for the large increase in Kazakhs: a significantly higher birth rate than among the European nationalities, and a large in-migration of Kazakhs from Russia and Mongolia; approximately 50,000 Kazakhs arrived in Kazakhstan last year from those two states alone. Conversely, the lower birth rates and out-migration among the European nationalities, especially Germans, accounted for the decrease in their numbers. -Keith Martin COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES CIS REPRESENTATIVES DISCUSS REGULATION OF ACTIVITY OF ENTERPRISES. Problems of the legislative and economic regulation of the activity of enterprises in CIS states are being discussed at a conference that opened in St. Petersburg on 24 June, ITAR-TASS reported. The conference, which is being held under the auspices of the CIS Interparliamentary assembly, is being attended by political leaders, economists, bankers, and leading engineers from all the CIS states except Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and also by representatives of Azerbaijan. The rector of St.-Petersburg University, Professor Leonid Tarasevich, told ITARTASS that he thought the high level of representation-deputy prime ministers, chairman of parliamentary commissions, bank directors, well-known scientists-should ensure progress in solving the problems of the paralysis of the activity of many enterprises caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union. -Ann Sheehy CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN TALKS MOVING APACE. International media report on 24 and 25 June that Bosnian Serb and Croat leaders have agreed on a constitutional plan to create a confederation of three constituent geographical units, with one "republic" each for Serbs, Croats, and Muslims. The seven-member Bosnian government delegation at the ongoing Geneva talks says that President Alija Izetbegovic, who is boycotting the session, is simply a first among equals. It appears that the delegation is effectively assuming the authority to negotiate. That body consists of three Serbs, three Croats, and one Muslim, the latter being the ambitious and colorful Fikret Abdic, who denied that a coup had taken place but nonetheless stressed that the delegation would continue to talk. The plan keeps Bosnia as an internationally recognized entity, but the vague wording of the constitutional plan prohibits the Serb and Croat entities from entering into agreements with their respective mother states only "if it can damage the interests of the other" constituent units. -Patrick Moore RUMP YUGOSLAV ECONOMY ON VERGE OF COLLAPSE. On 23 June Federal Prime Minister Radoje Kontic warned the long-term implementation of international sanctions could lead to economic collapse and major social upheavals that "would fall upon the conscience of the international community." He described the current situation to foreign journalists as catastrophic, saying that hyper-inflation has reached 300% per month, more than one million people are on forced annual leave, and the average monthly wage has fallen to about $50. He added that no government can combat inflation under such conditions without extensive foreign assistance. Radio Serbia carried the report. Critics, however, blame Serbia's economic problems primarily on the neo-communist policies of President Slobodan Milosevic. -Milan Andrejevich NEW PRESIDENT FOR RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. On 24-June the Federal Assembly is scheduled to elect a new president. Zoran Lilic is the candidate of the main Socialist Party (SPS) of Milosevic and is expected win election. He is currently president of Serbia's National Assembly and member of the SPS Executive Steering Committee. Lilic will be opposed by three independents. Radio Serbia carried the reports.--Milan Andrejevich YELTSIN DENOUNCES ESTONIAN ACTIONS. Reacting to Estonia's Law on Aliens, on 24-June President Yeltsin accused Estonia of unfriendly actions toward his country and charged that "there is ethnic cleansing similar to apartheid going on in Estonia." Stressing that he would not tolerate infringement on the legitimate rights of ethnic Russians in Estonia, Yeltsin said that appropriate measures would be taken "to protect the honor, dignity, and legitimate rights of our compatriots, including servicemen, retired army officers, workers at munitions plants and members of their families." Russian media also reported that the Supreme Soviet is to discuss on 25 June a resolution on how to deal with Estonia. In a related move, orders have apparently been issued to suspend the withdrawal of Russia's Baltic Fleet from Estonia, Baltic media report. -Dzintra Bungs RUSSIA TO REDIRECT OIL FROM UKRAINE THROUGH LATVIA. An RFE/RL correspondent reported that according to the 17 June oil industry publication, Nefte Compass, Russian oil from Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, once sold to Ukraine at subsidized prices, will be exported through Latvia to be sold at world prices in the west. Ukraine now receives only 4-to 5% of what Russia had agreed to supply earlier. As a result the giant refinery in Lisichansk has shut down completely. The Kremenchug refinery east of Kiev seems likely to go next: beginning this week, oil which had been delivered there will be redirected for western export through a pipeline to Ventspils in Latvia where there is a large marine oil terminal. Negotiations had taken place between Ukraine and Russia on the supply and price of oil in May. Despite claims by both sides that an agreement was at hand, this does not appear to have been the case. -Ustina Markus RUSSIA, UKRAINE REACH ECONOMIC AGREEMENTS. On 24 June Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Shokhin met with Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk in Kiev to discuss economic relations, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. Shokhin emerged from the meeting saying agreements had been reached in a number of areas, including a free trade agreement, a Russian three-year credit of 250 billion rubles to Ukraine, and on the issue of Ukraine's use of former Soviet properties abroad. The most important problem, the price and supply of Russian gas and oil to Ukraine, has not been resolved, however. How much Ukraine will be charged will largely be determined by how much Ukraine will charge Russia for transporting oil through its territory. -Ustina Markus OPEN ECONOMIC REGIME IN THE CRIMEA. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk has issued a decree supporting the Crimea's intention of creating an "open economic regime" on the territory of the peninsula, Ukrainian Radio reported on 23 June. Crimean lawmakers resolved to liberalize financial, tax, customs, and foreign economic relations on 16 June. The presidential decree supports that initiative by instructing that the Crimean Council of Ministers and the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers prepare appropriate legislation to regulate economic relations under the new circumstances. -Roman Solchanyk BELARUS WANTS MORE MONEY TO DISMANTLE NUKES. The Foreign Minister of Belarus, Pyotr Krauchenka, told a news conference on 23 June that other countries should provide funds in addition to the $74-million proposed by Washington for the elimination of its nuclear weapons, Reuters reported on 24-June. He suggested that Britain, France, Germany, and Scandinavian states may contribute towards the estimated $232 million needed for the job. The Belarusian parliament ratified START-1 earlier this year thereby committing itself to dispose of the 72 SS-25 missiles in Belarus. -Ustina Markus HAVEL CRITICIZES HUNGARY. In a meeting at the Prague Castle on 24 June, Czech President Vaclav Havel told the Hungarian Ambassador to Prague, Gyorgy Varga, that the attitude of Hungary toward the admission of Slovakia into the Council of Europe is "inadequate and confrontational." Hungary has linked its consent for Slovakia's admission to the CE to improvements in the situation of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia. After his meeting with Varga, Havel told journalists that he does not think that the situation of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia is optimal but that it is not a reason for blocking Slovakia's admission to the CE. Varga said he would pass Havel's statements on to his government and president. -Jiri Pehe SLOVAK PREMIER IN BUCHAREST. On 24 June Slovak Premier Vladimir Meciar arrived in Bucharest on a two-day official visit, accompanied by Economy Minister Jaroslav Kubecka and State Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry Jan Liguch. Radio Bucharest reported that Meciar met his Romanian counterpart Nicolae Vacaroiu. The two concluded that Romania and the Slovak Republic were facing similar difficulties in their current transition to democracy. Meciar was also received by Romanian President Ion Iliescu, with whom he discussed bilateral ties and problems related to the two countries' large Hungarian minorities. In statements after the meeting, both leaders stressed that ethnic minorities had to be loyal to the state they lived in. Meciar added that he would "salute the day Slovaks in Hungary enjoyed the same rights as Hungarians in Slovakia." Iliescu accepted an invitation to visit Bratislava later this year to sign a cooperation and friendship treaty. -Dan Ionescu and Sharon Fisher SOLIDARITY AND THE BBWR. After a working breakfast with President Lech Walesa on 24-June, Solidarity chairman Marian Krzaklewski told PAP that the president had suggested that Solidarity should represent the employee lobby within his Nonparty Bloc to Support Reforms (BBWR). Krzaklewski said that the president's offer would be presented to Solidarity delegates at their national congress beginning on 25 June but recalled that the unionists had thus far planned to go into the elections alone. Only one day earlier RFE/RL's Polish Service had reported Krzaklewski to have authorized activists of the Network, Solidarity's influential heavy industry lobby that is close to Walesa, to join the BBWR on their own account but to have been against the involvement of union organizations as corporate BBWR members. -Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka "OLD THEATER" IN AUSCHWITZ TO BECOME ARCHIVE. The building adjacent to the perimeter of the site of the former Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz that is being vacated by the Carmelite nuns is to become an Archive for Polish Victims of War and Totalitarianism, PAP reported on 24 June, quoting an official of the War Victims Association. -Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka ZHELEV SLAMS OPPOSITION. On 23 June Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev attacked the opposition Union of Democratic Forces, Bulgarian media report. He charged that the UDF has lately attempted to create social unrest by staging anti-government rallies. His remarks came on the same day that UDF deputies stormed out of parliament in protest over ministerial appointments, vowing not to participate in debates but agreeing to remain active in parliamentary commissions. On 24 June UDF-led rallies continued, with leaders calling for daily protests until the government is defeated. On 24 June The Financial Times reported that rallies may not be as well attended as UDF sources claim, noting that only a few thousand may be participating as opposed to the alleged "hundreds of thousands of Bulgarians." Stan Markotich HUNGARIAN ARMY: MIG-29S, 1994 BUDGET NEEDS. Hungary and Russia have signed in Moscow the agreement under which Budapest is to receive 28 MiG-29 interceptor aircraft, six of them two-seat training planes, Defense Minister Lajos Fur told MTI and Radio Budapest on 23 June. The planes are worth $760 million or about one-half of the former USSR's trade debt with Hungary; Fur categorically denied that Hungary intended to sell the planes to a third country then buy US planes with the proceeds. Fur said Hungary's army will need 75-billion forint next year to remain operational but expects to get only 66.5 billion, two billion more than this year. At the same time, living conditions in the army keep deteriorating and reserves have been exhausted. According to Army Commander Col. General Kalman Lorincz, the reduced defense budget would negatively affect the training of pilots; the development of airborne battalions and of a peace-keeping company; middle school military education; and reservists' training. -Alfred Reisch EXPANDED RADIO PROGRAMS FOR HUNGARY'S MINORITIES. Starting 1 July 1993, Hungarian Radio's Szeged station will broadcast daily 90-minute regional nationality programs in the Romanian and Slovak languages, radio Vice President Laszlo Csucs announced on 23 June. According to MTI, the radio will also expand the German, Croatian, and Serbian language programs of its station in Pecs and is planning a Ukrainian language program. The broadcasts reportedly will enjoy complete professional independence with the officially stated aim of helping Hungary's national and ethnic minorities preserve their identity and to promote cultural cooperation between the nations of the region. -Alfred Reisch ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS PROPOSAL TO LET FOREIGNERS TO BUY LAND. During a joint session on 23 June, the Parliament's two houses rejected by a 213-174 vote an amendment to the foreign investment law designed to enable foreign investors to own land if they registered their companies in Romania. The proposal was strongly opposed by representatives of nationalists parties whose support is essential for the survival of the current left-wing minority cabinet. Its rejection is seen by the opposition as a setback in Romania's policy to attract more foreign capital to revamp its battered economy. -Dan Ionescu GREEKS TO TAKE CHARGE OF ROMANIAN SHIPPING FIRM. The Greek Forum Maritime S.A. Company, based in Piraeus, reportedly purchased a 51% stake in the Romanian state shipping company Petromin for $335 million. A Greek delegation discussed the deal on 23-June with Vacaroiu and other Romanian officials. Petromin has more than 4,000 employees and a fleet of 106 vessels. The deal, described as one of the biggest cash injections in Eastern Europe since the fall of communism, is meant to underscore Romania's determination to speed up its sluggish and controversial privatization program. At a 24 June press conference, Iliescu said that the deal was necessary to avoid bankruptcy. -Dan Ionescu ISRAELI DELEGATION IN LITHUANIA. Israeli Knesset member Dan Meridor, Wiesenthal Center director Efrein Zuroff, and Jerusalem University professor Don Levin held talks on 21-22 June on the rehabilitation of Lithuanians suspected of being involved in the Holocaust, the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service reported on 23-June. The legislation, rehabilitating persons sentenced by Soviet courts or "troikas" for anti-Soviet activities, specifically excluded people involved in crimes against humanity and a small number of rehabilitations were reversed. The delegation and President Algirdas Brazauskas agreed to form by September a joint Lithuanian-Israeli committee to review the rehabilitation files. Saulius Girnius NATO DELEGATION IN LITHUANIA. On 24 June a NATO Political Committee delegation, headed by deputy secretary general for political affairs John Kreindler, held talks with President Algirdas Brazauskas, officials of the foreign affairs and national defence ministries, and parliament deputies, Radio Lithuania reports. Brazauskas spoke about the country's political and economic situation and asked for NATO's support in helping Lithuania become a member of the EC. He hoped that the decision to halve taxes on foreign investments for five years would help increase such investments. The delegation departed for Estonia after its two-day visit. -Saulius Girnius MOLDOVAN-RUSSIAN TROOP TALKS DEADLOCKED. A sixth round of negotiations on the future of Russia's 14th Army in Moldova was held on 22 and 23 June in Chisinau, Moldovan media reported on the 24th. The Russian side rejected Moldova's proposal to invite the head of CSCE's mission in Chisinau to observe the session (the mission is mandated to facilitate the troops' withdrawal); declined to discuss a calendar for withdrawal; and reaffirmed the linkage between troop withdrawal and the determination of Transdniester's political status. The Moldovan side, which had previously seemed to accepted that linkage, now announced that it "expressed more clearly its position" in refusing political conditions; called for the troops to withdraw in the second half of 1994; reiterated its rejection of Yeltsin's recent proposal to establish Russian military bases in Moldova and other newly independent states; and again offered to help build housing in Russia for the 14th Army. The negotiations were adjourned until "late August or early September." -Vladimir Socor [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Stephen Foye and Patrick Moore THE RFE/RL DAILY REPORT IS PRODUCED BY THE RFE/RL RESEARCH INSTITUTE (A DIVISION OF RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, INC.) with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division (NCA). The report is available by electronic mail via LISTSERV (RFERL-L@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU), on the Sovset' computer bulletin board, by fax, and by postal mail. For inquiries about specific news items, subscriptions, or additional copies, please contact: in North America: Mr. Brian Reed, RFE/RL, Inc., 1201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC-20036 Telephone: (202) 457-6912 or -6907; Fax: (202) 457-6992 or 828-8783; Internet: RIDC@RFERL.ORG or Elsewhere: Ms. Helga Hofer, Publications Department, RFE/RL Research Institute, Oettingenstrasse 67, 8000 Munich 22, Germany;.Telephone: (+49 89) 2102-2631 or -2624; Fax: (+49 89) 2102-2648, Internet: PD@RFERL.ORG 1993, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.RFE/RL Daily Report
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