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No. 123, 01 July 1993
RUSSIA IMF LOAN APPROVED. The executive board of the International Monetary Fund approved on 30 June the first half of the $3 billion systematic transformation facility for Russia, Western agencies report. The approval had been delayed in the hope of pressuring the Russian government to undertake credible steps to control more tightly inflation, the budget deficit, and credit emissions, but, as widely anticipated, was given in time for the G-7 summit. The IMF announcement said that Russia could qualify for the second tranche in six months' time if it could demonstrate progress in stabilization. Russia's representative at the IMF said that he hoped for disbursement of the remaining $1.5 billion by September. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. BUDGET DEBATE CONTINUES. From pronouncements made by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Boris Fedorov and by the head of parliament's Commission for Budget, Planning, and Taxes, Aleksandr Pochinok on 28-30 June, as reported by Russian and Western agencies, it looks as if a key commitment to the IMF and G-7 will not be met. Russia undertook, inter alia, to reduce the budget deficit to 5% of GDP by the end of 1993. Fedorov told parliament on 30 June that the cabinet was aiming at a deficit of 12 trillion rubles, or about 10% of GDP. Pochinok had put the projected deficit at 15 trillion rubles, or about 12.5% of GDP. Both estimates appeared to include Western credits in budgetary income and to exclude the financing of populist measures proposed by both the government and parliament which could boost the deficit to nearly 20 trillion rubles. No final budget for 1993 has been passed by parliament which has grudgingly given approval on a quarterly, interim basis. The legislature also appears to have plans for additional expenditure and has signaled its opposition to various government proposals for raising extra revenue. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. LEAD-UP TO G-7 SUMMIT. A State Department spokesman announced on 30 June that a proposal to open a G-7 office in Moscow will be discussed at the G-7 summit on 7-9 July. French President Francois Mitterand told Japanese journalists on 30 June that the European Community has already granted $67 billion in aid to Russia and that Japan and the US should contribute more to Russia's economic recovery. Russia's privatization minister, Anatolii Chubais told a news conference the same day that a proposed ruble stabilization fund for Russia would be wasted unless a Western-financed privatization fund was also forthcoming at the same time. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. IS SHAPOSHNIKOV IN OR OUT? THE PARLIAMENTARY SESSION ON 30 JUNE FAILED TO REACH A FINAL DECISION ON MARSHAL EVGENII SHAPOSHNIKOV'S APPOINTMENT TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL. While earlier reports indicated that the vote against Shaposhnikov had been struck down for procedural reasons, it now appears to have been upheld. However, a second round of voting is expected to be held in approximately one week. According to a 30 June report from ITAR-TASS and Radio Mayak Shaposhnikov's candidacy is apparently being supported by Ruslan Khasbulatov, who suggested a compromise in which Shaposhnikov would be confirmed and the Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Soviet, Valentin Agafonov, would also be appointed to the Council. (Under current law the Deputy Chairman has ex officio a right to a seat on the Council.) John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN GROUNDS SPEAKER'S AIRCRAFT. Ruslan Khasbulatov's visit to Penza and other Russian cities, initially scheduled for 30 June, was unexpectedly canceled later that day. Russian television newscasts cited the speaker as saying that he had to cancel his trip because President Yeltsin had ordered that Khasbulatov be denied a plane for his official visits. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN ON BOSNIA. At his 30 June news conference with Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis, Yeltsin emphasized the harmony of Greek and Russian views on the conflict in the Balkans. He contrasted Russian-Greek agreement with the "different viewpoints" of the US and Russian positions and added that this situation encourages cooperation between Moscow and Athens. Yeltsin warned that "if someone insists on using force, on lifting the weapons embargo [on Bosnia], we will exercise our right to veto in the [UN] Security Council to prevent this," Radio Rossii reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. MALAYSIA AGREES TO BUY RUSSIAN FIGHTER JETS. The announcement by Defense Minister Najik Razak on 29 June that Malaysia would purchase 18 MiG-29 fighter jets marked Moscow's first major break-through into the lucrative southeast Asian arms market. The closing of the deal, which experts estimate could be worth $1 billion, was reportedly helped by Moscow's agreement to buy $1 billion worth of Malaysian palm oil as partial payment. The Malaysians also announced that they would buy 8 US F-18 fighters, and experts speculated that other southeast Asian states would monitor Malaysia closely to see if it could successfully manage a mixed Russian-US fleet. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA'S GROWING REFUGEE PROBLEM. There are reported to be more than 2 million refugees and "forced resettlers" in Russia, according to Russian Radio on 30 June. Most of them are living in the Moscow region, and in the Northern Caucasus. More refugees are expected in the near future; about 30 million ethnic Russians and other nationalities of the Russian Federation currently live outside Russia, and it is feared that the nationality policies of some of the former members of the USSR will encourage a flow of native Russians to Russia. In the absence of effective help from state authorities, a movement for the creation of settlements has been founded by the refugees themselves, and 35 such settlements are now being built under what are described as "incredibly difficult conditions" in Russia. Sheila Marnie, RFE/RL, Inc. PRESIDENT OF SAKHA ON DRAFT CONSTITU-TION. The President of Sakha (Yakutia) Mikhail Nikolaev says in an article in Nezavisimaya gazeta of 30 June that the essence of the draft Russian constitution is "died-in-the wool unitarism and disdain for the peoples of Russia." He maintains that the interpretation of democracy as the will of the majority is in the spirit of Bolshevik democratic centralism and reduces the chances of the rights of ethnic minorities being taken into account. Nikolaev also argues that the detailing of human rights in the draft and the setting of human rights against the rights of peoples harbors the danger of minorities being deprived of their historic possessions. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. LAW ON PARLIAMENTARY BODYGUARDS COMES INTO EFFECT. The controversial law, setting up a special regiment to ensure the safety of the speaker and other leaders of the Russian parliament was finally published in Rossiiskaya gazeta on 30 June. In late-1992, the existence of the regiment, controlled by the speaker, Ruslan Khasbulatov, rather then by either the president or any of the so-called "power" ministers, was severely criticized by Yeltsin's supporters, some of whom even accused Khasbulatov of setting up the team of bodyguards to attempt a coup against the president. On 28 April the parliament had adopted the law on setting up such a regiment of bodyguards that included Yeltsin's suggested amendments, but it went into effect only on the day of its publication, 30 June. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA AZERBAIJAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY APPOINTS SURAT HUSEINOV PRIME MINISTER. A session of Azerbaijan's National Assembly (the rump parliament) voted on 30 June by 38 votes to one to appoint rebel colonel Surat Huseinov as Prime Minister with supreme responsibility for the ministries of Defense, Security and the Interior, Western news agencies reported. In a twenty-minute eulogy of Huseinov, parliament chairman Geidar Aliev said one of his primary tasks would be "to recapture Azerbaijan's lands", thus calling into question Azerbaijan's commitment to the latest CSCE Karabakh peace plan; Huseinov called for "national reconciliation", and promised to unveil a new economic program in two weeks. National Independence Party chairman Etibar Mamedov, who had previously been considered a likely candidate for the post of prime minister, declined to comment on Huseinov's appointment; President Elchibey rejected it as "unconstitutional", according to ITAR-TASS. The head of the Azerbaijan Oil Company, Sabit Bagirov, resigned on 30 June, telling Reuters that he had been given to understand by the new leadership that he was no longer wanted. Talks on the development of three offshore oil fields by eight Western oil companies, and with Turkey on a pipeline from Baku to Yumurtalik in eastern Turkey, were suspended late last week, according to Reuters and The Wall Street Journal. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN SOLDIERS WITNESS TAJIK ATROCITIES. In a report from Tajikistan aired on Germany's ARD television on 29 June, two Russian soldiers reported witnessing Tajik government forces committing atrocities. The two, who had just finished a tour of duty along the Tajik-Afghan border, said they had seen Tajik government troops beat prisoners with sledgehammers and then shoot them. A local commander, asked about the Islamic opposition forces, was quoted as saying, "When we find them, we kill them." In the past, there have been frequent claims by Amnesty International and other human rights groups that government troops and irregulars, supporting the government, have engaged in widespread repression against people from some southern regions of the country; the government denies that any systematic persecutions have taken place. Keith Martin, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS WHICH FLAG FLIES OVER THE BLACK SEA FLEET? IN RESPONSE TO A CALL BY THE OFFICERS' ASSEMBLY OF THE BLACK SEA FLEET TO HOIST THE RUSSIAN NAVAL ENSIGN ON FLEET SHIPS ON 1 JULY, THE FLEET COMMANDER, ADMIRAL EDUARD BALTIN, ISSUED AN ORDER ON 30 JUNE INSISTING THAT THE FLEET FLY ITS REGULAR (SOVIET PERIOD) FLAG. According to a report on Ekho Moskvy, officers within the fleet felt that Baltin had no choice but to issue the command, otherwise he would have been dismissed from his position. On 30 June The Christian Science Monitor reported significant opposition within the fleet's command to the Moscow agreement to split the fleet, while ITAR-TASS reported that the Crimean parliament had upheld a resolution calling for the fleet to remain unified. In Kiev on 30 June, President Kravchuk stated that officers who do not agree with the decision should resign, and that raising a different flag would be insubordination, according to Reuters. ITAR-TASS also reported that two trains carrying armored vehicles and small arms had arrived in Sevastopol for a Ukrainian marine unit located there, prompting reports that it was preparing for urban combat. On 1 July a spokesman for the fleet in Sevastopol informed an RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow that only one fleet vessel and some shore artillery units had raised the Russian flag. Ostankino TV on July 1 was reporting that the Russian naval ensign had been hoisted on up to ten support vessels and also at the naval infantry base at Simferopol. Thus, the planned mass action appears to have faltered and a new crisis over the fleet averted. John Lepingwell , RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE CZECHS AND SLOVAKS JOIN THE CE, HUNGARY ABSTAINS FROM SLOVAK VOTE. Both the Czech and Slovak republics were admitted into the Council of Europe on 30 June; each received 28 votes and 1 abstention in the final voting. The country which abstained from the Czech vote was Liechtenstein, due to disputes over property confiscated by the Czechoslovak government in 1918. Rather than veto Slovak admission as expected, the Hungarian deputy abstained from the voting after intense pressure by other Council members, particularly those from EC countries, RFE/RL's correspondent reports. Hungarian government representative Ambassador Janos Perenyi announced before the voting that he would refrain from casting a ballot, MTI reported. Perenyi gave two reasons for not objecting, as anticipated, to Slovakia's admission. First, Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef Antall has received promises from his Slovak counterpart that Hungarian minority rights would soon be legally protected. Second, the Council of Europe has accepted responsibility to regularly supervise the observance of minority rights in Slovakia. The Hungarian Foreign Ministry issued a lengthy statement on its stand on Slovakia's admission to the CE. The statement explained that it was not Hungary's goal to isolate a country or to prevent European integration, but for the sake of stability in the region the post-communist countries must comply with certain standards in politics and human rights. In the case of Slovakia, Hungary wanted not only a guarantee that minority rights will be observed, but it wanted Slovakia to annul the so-called Benes-decree issued after World War II stating that the Hungarian minority in Slovakia bore collective guilt. The Foreign Ministry stated that it views the national minority requirements formulated by the CE in connection with the Slovak admission as a precedent for the admission of all other countries. Slovak officials promised the situation of the Hungarian minority will improve, and Meciar called Slovakia's entry a "shared triumph" for CE members and Slovakia, TASR reports. Judith Pataki and Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. CROATS AND MUSLIMS BATTLE FOR MOSTAR. International media report on 1 July that the previous day witnessed heavy fighting between the two former allies for the principal city of Herzegovina. Muslims took the nearby Croatian Tihomir Misic army base and some suburbs, although the Croatian commander claimed that his forces had simply withdrawn to regroup. The Croatian Defense Council (HVO) called for a general mobilization within 24 hours, but this may be a political rather than a military move, since the HVO at least on some fronts has a surplus of trained manpower but a relative lack of weapons. The International Herald Tribune quotes the Croatian chief-of-staff as saying that the current fighting "will perhaps be the decisive battle" for Mostar. Bavarian Radio predicts the imminent fall of the Croatian-held city to the Muslims in an effort by the latter to establish a north-south corridor between it and Jablanica. Finally, HVO troops on 30 June barred access to Mostar to UN troops, and a Spanish contingent has been withdrawn from the area. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. OTHER BOSNIAN DEVELOPMENTS. The UN has announced a 50% cut in aid to central Bosnia and a 20% reduction in that to Sarajevo as of 1 July because of fighting and a lack of donations, international media report. The United States, however, is trying to make good some of the shortfall. Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune reports that the mayor of Sarajevo and 11 other city officials have gone on a hunger strike to demand the delivery of minimal food, water, electricity, and fuel supplies to the besieged town. UN officials said that the Croats are demanding "$20 million in protection money to let the . . . aid convoys pass" and that the Serbs are planning to make similar demands. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. DRASKOVIC COUPLE FORMALLY CHARGED. Radio Serbia reports on 30 June that Belgrade's public prosecutor Miodrag Tmusic has formally charged Vuk Draskovic, leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement, and his wife Danica, with criminal offense. The action comes 30 days after their arrest on 1 June following clashes during an anti-government demonstration. The most serious charge facing Draskovic for beating a police officer could result in a 10-year prison term. The incident occurred in front of the main entrance of the Federal Assembly building during the demonstrations. The same bill of indictment accuses the couple of using their influence and directing " a rally which resulted in violent acts that led to a man's [police officer's] death." Draskovic and his wife have been imprisoned since their arrest. Their lawyers and many Serbian opposition leaders who met the Draskovic's say the couple were severely beaten by police during their arrest and have demanded their release. European and US leaders have also protested that the couple should be freed. However, Serbia's President Slobodan Milosevic said on 9 June that their case was a legal matter and not a political one. According to Borba on 1 July, Tmusic also demanded that the Draskovic's should be remain in custody. Milan Andrejevich, RFE/RL, Inc. "RADIO BROD" OFF THE AIR? THE BBC'S SERBIAN AND CROATIAN SERVICES ON 1 JULY REPORT THAT THE INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS UNION HAS RULED IN FAVOR OF SERBIAN COMPLAINTS AGAINST THE EC-FUNDED RADIO SHIP IN THE ADRIATIC, WHICH BROADCASTS NEWS AND INFORMATION ON THE YUGOSLAV AREA BY DOMESTIC JOURNALISTS. The Caribbean country under whose registration the ship sails revoked that registration upon receipt of the ITU's decision. The ship has sailed to Italy, but its future and that of its broadcasts are unclear. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. VIOLENCE IN SOUTHERN ALBANIA. The crisis brought on by Albania's expulsion of a Greek Orthodox cleric last week and Greece's subsequent decision to begin massive deportations of Albanian migrants continues to plague relations between the countries. Reuters reports on 30 June that Albanian police clashed with members of Albania's Greek minority in Southern Albania. The protesters, demanding the return of the expelled priest, had hoped to reach the city of Gjirokaster to take part in a larger rally organized by the Greek Orthodox Church but were blocked by Albanian police. Albanian authorities, concerned about growing unrest in the region, had banned the rally. This is the latest incident in the steady deterioration of Albanian-Greek relations. The crowd was estimated at 300 and 2 injuries were reported. Robert Austin , RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULING. According to a 30 June MTI report, the Hungarian Constitutional Court has ruled that the frequency law that was passed by parliament in April was not unconstitutional and did not violate the freedom of opinion and the press. The court has pointed out, however, that the granting of frequencies for local broadcasting or to non-commercial stations is not based on this law but on the 1984 media law. It concluded that the government is guilty of negligence for not having properly defined within the legal framework the grounds and rules for the division of frequencies and has thereby created an unconstitutional situation. The court called upon the government to regulate the granting of frequencies and broadcasting permits to local radio and television stations by 31 July 1993. In a separate ruling the court declared unconstitutional a law that would have allowed the prosecution of individuals who ordered the shootings into defenseless crowds during the 1956 revolution. This was the second time the court has ruled unconstitutional a law pertaining to communist crimes of the past because it would "create legal insecurity." Judith Pataki , RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAKS REFUSE TO ACCEPT REFUGEES RETURNED BY CZECH REPUBLIC. TASR reports that Slovak Interior Minister Jozef Tuchyna said at a 30 June press conference that if the Czech Republic makes the "one-sided decision" to close the Czech-Slovak border in order to stem the flow of refugees trying to reach Germany across the its borders, the Slovak government will refuse to accept those refugees back into Slovakia. Existing agreements between the Czech and Slovak republics preclude border checks of individuals. The Czech Republic has been under increasing pressure from Germany to sign an agreement to accept would-be asylum seekers who will be turned back from Germany after that country's new asylum law goes into effect on 1 July. Czech President Vaclav Havel and Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec are to discuss this and other issues in Slovakia on 1 July. Sharon Fisher and Milada Vachudova, RFE/RL, Inc. CZECH GOVERNMENT TO IMPLEMENT WAGE CONTROL. On 30 June, Czech Finance Minister Ivan Kocarnik announced at a press conference that the government had ordered the regulation of wage increases. The decision applies exclusively to enterprises where wages are growing more quickly than production. No sanctions will be applied if wages rise by 15% over four years, but stiff fines will be levied on higher increases. Although recent statistics indicate a slight improvement in the relation between production and wage increases, Kocarnik said that wages are still rising too quickly, creating dangerous inflationary pressures. The government decision will affect mostly state firms with excessive wage increases, and will lead to a virtual wage freeze in the state sector. It will not affect most private firms. In response to strong criticism by trade union leaders, Kocarnik argued that the alternative wage policy supported by the unions would lead to higher unemployment as well as higher inflation, two outcomes which the government would like to prevent. The decision goes into effect on 1 July but CTK reports that its duration has not been determined. Milada Vachudova, RFE/RL, Inc. PRICE RISES IN POLAND. On 1 July Poland began raising energy prices as a result of VAT, PAP reported. Hot water for domestic consumers went up by 12%; electricity and gas will go up by 7% on 5 July. Public transportation will also be increased as of 5 July. Withdrawal of the price rises and compensation for cost of living increases were two of the conditions set by the Solidarity trade union for desisting from staging a general strike before the elections. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH POLICEMEN RUN FOR PARLIAMENT. At an extraordinary congress of the police union, delegates demanded improved pay and conditions and legislative reforms to ensure more efficient crime-fighting. The new union chairman, Grzegorz Korytowski, told PAP on 30 June that some 10 policeman, including himself, would run for parliament on the lists of three left-wing parties and possibly also within president Walesa's nonparty reform bloc. Noting that the law prevented policemen from belonging to political parties but not from running for parliament, Interior Minister Andrzej Milczanowski warned that he would not countenance any "political disruption" within the service. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. BULGARIAN VICE PRESIDENT OFFERS RESIGNATION. According to BTA, on 30 June Vice President Blaga Dimitrova forwarded a letter of resignation to the Constitutional Court. She cited a number of reasons which led to the decision, including feelings of being deliberately shut out of the decision-making process and her belief that "preparations are under way for dictatorship in this country." Speaking to RFE/RL, President Zhelyu Zhelev said he had hoped Dimitrova would not resign and added that her announcement caught him by surprise. The Constitutional Court is slated to review the resignation on 6 July and is expected to make a public announcement on that day. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN PREMIER ON SHIPPING DEAL. At a press conference on 30 June Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu dwelt upon the controversial shipping deal between the Romanian Petronim state firm and the Greek Forum Maritime company. Vacaroiu denied any governmental or personal involvement in the transaction. But he strongly defended the joint venture, suggesting that Romania's merchant fleet badly needed an infusion of capital in view of its desolate state. Vacaroiu said that the Greek company had raised no objection to its share in the venture being revised downwards to less than 50%, but that it insisted on retaining control over Petronim's management. He further accused former Transport Minister Traian Basescu and Petronim manager Nicolae Posedaru of having mortgaged 39 out of Petronim's 92 ships under the two previous post-communist cabinets. Such operations were conducted through ghost firms and amounted to "major fiscal evasion," Vacaroiu said. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIA CALLS ON US, IRAQ TO SHOW RESTRAINT. In a statement broadcast by Radio Bucharest on 30 June, Romania's Foreign Affairs Ministry called on the United States and Iraq to avoid an escalation of conflict following the recent US missile attack on Baghdad. Romania, the statement said, noted that the US explained the attack by "indications" of a "terrorist operation" being planned by Iraq against former President George Bush during his April visit to Kuwait. The ministry reiterated the Romanian official stance of condemning any form of terrorism., but added that "there could be no justification" for the loss of Iraqi civilian lives during the military action. Dan Ionescu LUCINSCHI TELLS ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT TO ACCEPT MOLDOVAN INDEPENDENCE. Addressing Romania's Chamber of Deputies on his first official visit to Romania, Moldovan Parliament Chairman Petru Lucinschi said that the Moldovan national revival sought its fulfillment in democracy, state independence, and integration with Europe and the world. While noting the common history and language of the two states, Lucinschi pointed out that most Moldovans favor independence; and "the public will is decisive for us." He advised Romania to view Moldova "not just from a historical viewpoint but from that of realistic politicians," "stop pursuing unreal things," and "accept us for what we are." He equated Romanian irredentism and Transdniester separatism with a "Scylla and Charibdis" for Moldova. Lucinschi's speech contrasted with Romanian Chamber of Deputies Chairman Adrian Nastase's introductory appeals for Romanian-Moldovan "legislative synchronization" and his allusions to a future unification. Vladimir Socor , RFE/RL, Inc. CSCE HIGH COMMISSIONER IN ESTONIA. On 30 June the trip from Tallinn to Narva by CSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities Maz van der Stoel was temporarily blocked by about 6,000 demonstrators in the city of Sillamae to protest recently passed Estonian laws, BNS reports. Stoel held meetings with Narva municipal officials who told him that they had decided to use "the most peaceful means of resolving a conflict," holding a referendum instead of resorting to strikes or blocking roads. The Estonian Chancellor of Justice Erik-Juhan Truvali ruled that the holding of the Narva referendum contradicted the Constitution and called on Narva officials to call it off within 20 days and that, in any event, it would be declared void by the Estonian Supreme Court. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Saulius Girnius 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, 80538 Munich, Germany;.Telephone: (+49 89) 2102-2631 or -2624; Fax: (+49 89) 2102-2648, Internet: PD@RFERL.ORG 1993, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.
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