|Много великого есть на свете, но нет ничего более великого, чем человек. - Софокл|
No. 164, 27 August 1993
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc. RUSSIA RUTSKOI READY TO ANSWER CORRUPTION CHARGES. Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi issued a statement on 26 August saying that he was prepared to respond to the allegations of the presidential commission on crime and corruption. ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported that the vice president had demanded that the Moscow city procurator look into the accusations of "links to a Swiss bank account." Rutskoi warned that should the allegations prove unfounded, he would consider filing charges for slander against members of the commission. The chairman of the commission, Andrei Makarov, had accused Rutskoi of corruption on TV on 24 August. -Wendy Slater CIVIC UNION CRITICIZES GOVERNMENT'S ECONOMIC POLICIES. At a centrist Civic Union bloc news conference on 26 August, reported by Ostankino and Russian TV, representatives criticized the government's economic policy for being dominated by "market dogmatism." They called for increased state participation, and for more dialog over economic policy. They also accused the government of yielding to strong-arm tactics, particularly from the miners. They said this caused financial instability and harmed vulnerable sections of the population. A member of the Civic Union's political consultative council warned of an ongoing, unregulated, structural shift in the economy, which resulted in damage to the consumer sector and an increased role for the export of raw materials. -Wendy Slater DEADLINE FOR WITHDRAWAL OF SMALL-DENOMINATION BANKNOTES EXTENDED. The Central Bank announced on 26 August that the deadline for the withdrawal of small-denomination pre-1993 banknotes has been extended from 31 August until 31-December 1993, ITAR-TASS reported. The notes, for 10 rubles and less, are still much in demand for bus fares, subway tokens, newspapers, etc. -Keith Bush MOSCOW MAYOR TO RETAIN PROPISKA SYSTEM. Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov was quoted by Russian TV news on 26 August as saying that he does not intend to implement the "Law on the Russian Citizen's Entitlement on the Freedom of Movement, Choice of Whereabouts and Residence within Russia." The law replaces the residence permits (propiska) system with a German-style registration of residents and is due to come into force in October. Luzhkov said that the capital has already suffered from a flow of immigrants from other parts of the republic, and the law would open the door for "strangers with money." Luzhkov suggested that the parliament adopted the law out of self-interest, since it would enable parliamentary deputies to settle in Moscow. The existing system of residence permits was adopted under Stalin. In 1991, the USSR Committee of Constitutional Surveillance tried to rule the system unconstitutional but the Moscow authorities refused to implement the ruling. -Julia Wishnevsky YELTSIN STATEMENT ON BOSNIA. President Boris Yeltsin issued a statement in Prague on 26 August on the crisis in Bosnia offering Russia's tacit approval for what is emerging in Geneva as a settlement of the conflict. The statement characterized the current stage of discussions on a settlement for Bosnia as extremely important, and hailed the achievement of this moment as the result of hard work on the part of the international community and the "vitally important concessions from all the warring sides." The statement concluded with an appeal to all of the parties to move toward peace in Bosnia and stability in the former Yugoslavia and the Balkans, ITAR-TASS reported. -Suzanne Crow KUNADZE ARRIVES IN JAPAN; TOKYO NAMES AMBASSADOR. Deputy Foreign Minister Georgii Kunadze arrived in Tokyo on 27 August to begin two days of talks in preparation for a visit by Yeltsin that is tentatively scheduled for mid-October, AFP reported. Yeltsin has twice previously canceled official visits to Japan, and recent hard-line remarks by Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin on the Kuril Islands dispute have once again raised tensions. Meanwhile, the Tokyo Shimbun reported on 25 August that the resignation of Japan's current ambassador to Russia, Sumio Edamura, has been accepted by the Foreign Ministry. He is to be replaced following the Yeltsin visit by Japan's current ambassador to Italy, Koji Watanabe. -Stephen Foye ALEKSANDR LEBED: RUSSIAN ARMY IN DISARRAY. In a wide-ranging interview published by Pravda on 24-August (see also Daily Report of 25 August), the controversial commander of Russia's 14th army in Moldova charged that the Russian army is in lamentable condition and that assertions by the military leadership to the contrary have no basis in reality. Lt. Gen. Aleksandr Lebed's criticism is significant: he has long been viewed as an ally of Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, with whom he served in Afghanistan, and he is respected as a strong figure by many in the armed forces. Lebed claimed that in May of last year the Defense Ministry summoned him to Moscow and, in an effort to quiet his criticism, recommended that he leave the 14th army and begin studies at the General Staff Academy. He also said that defense related legislation passed in Russia is useless because its provisions are not enforced; criticized the parliament for laws that drastically reduce the army's available conscript pool; claimed that many units withdrawn from abroad are in disarray and not battle-worthy; and called for Russia to export more arms. -Stephen Foye RUSSIAN OFFICER CORPS CONTINUES TO SHRINK. Deputy Defense Minister Valerii Mironov told reporters on 21 August that the defense ministry expects some 25,000 Russian officers to be pensioned off this year, RIA reported. Of more importance to the future of the army, Mironov said that over the past year and a half more than 44,000 officers under the age of 30 had left the armed forces. -Stephen Foye TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA MORE ON FEDERATION COUNCIL. The head of Yeltsin's administration, Sergei Filatov, has said that the Federation Council could meet for its first session as early as the beginning of September, Echo of Moscow radio station reported on 25 August. It has now been decided that the council will be created not by presidential decree but by the signing of an agreement by the subjects of the federation. The chairman of the parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, will be invited to participate in the work of the Council. According to Rossiiskie vesti of 26 August, some of the regions would be happier if the Council was created jointly with the parliament. Indeed, the Novosibirsk oblast soviet decided on 26-August that it would not delegate representatives to the council on the grounds that its creation would violate the constitution, ITAR-TASS reported. -Ann Sheehy AZERBAIJAN CEASEFIRE TALKS COLLAPSE. Telephone negotiations between Azerbaijan Deputy parliament chairman Afiaddinn Dzhalilov and Nagorno- Karabakh Foreign Ministry representatives failed to lead to the hoped-for talks on a ceasefire because of "unrealistic demands" by the Azerbaijani side, Reuters reported on 26 August quoting a Karabakh Armenian spokesman. Also on 26 August, Azerbaijan handed over 29 Armenian prisoners to the International Red Cross "in respect for international humanitarian norms" according to a statement by Azerbaijan parliament chairman Geidar Aliev. Aliev further stated that 2,804 Azerbaijanis were registered as missing or prisoners, and he accused Armenia of mistreating Azerbaijani prisoners. -Liz Fuller TAJIK UPDATE. UN Special envoy Ismat Katami held talks with Iranian deputy foreign minister Mahmood Vaezi in Tehran on 25 August on resolving the Tajik conflict, AFP reported quoting Iranian press reports. Katami expressed gratitude for Tehran's mediation attempts and affirmed that the only way to end the Tajik crisis is to call an immediate ceasefire and begin negotiations between the warring parties. Also on 25 August, a Tajik court sentenced Ajit Aliyev, a member of the outlawed Islamic Revival Party, to death on charges of terrorism, banditry and treason for his part in last year's fighting, Reuters reported. A new Popular Party, the professed aim of which is to unite all forces in favor of a secular democratic state and the transition to a market economy, is being created in Tajikistan; its chairman is first deputy Supreme Soviet chairman Abdulmadjid Dostiev, according to ITAR-TASS. At present the Communist Party is the only legally registered party in the country. -Liz Fuller CIS THREE OPTIONS FOR THE CIS. In an interview with The Financial Times of 27 August, the deputy head of the Russian state committee that deals with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) outlined three possible options for economic relationships and cooperation in that body. The first envisages a 10-year treaty that would provide for the gradual construction of an economic union. The second option would be a fast-track agreement for "intensive economic integration" in the form of a common trading area without internal customs barriers and with a common currency, along the lines of the "Slavic Union" presently being discussed between Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. The third variant, which could be combined with either of the first two, would be a currency union. -Keith Bush MORE ON CIS DEFENSE MINISTERS MEETING. Komsomolskaya pravda reported on 25-August that CIS Defense Ministers, meeting in Moscow a day earlier, heard a report by recently named Russian Border Forces commander Andrei Nikolaev in which he said that conditions on the Afghan-Tajik border were getting worse by the day. Participants reportedly agreed that it was necessary to dispatch more troops to the region before the onset of winter. Disagreements also broke out over who was to command the coalition force in Tajikistan: Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev proposed Lt.-Gen. Aleksandr Sokolov, who has headed a Russian task force in Tajikistan. Other views prevailed, however, and Col. Gen. Boris Pyankov, a former CIS deputy commander to Evgenii Shaposhnikov, was named. Participants also clashed over the manner of deploying troops, with a quota system finally chosen over a proposal to assign each participating state a sector and to allow that state to determine the forces required. All decisions remain subject to approval by the CIS Council of Heads of State. -Stephen Foye CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE YELTSIN IN PRAGUE . . . Russian President Boris Yeltsin concluded his roughly five-hour-long visit to the Czech capital and left for Bratislava on 26 August, Czech media reported. Yeltsin's tight schedule included talks with Czech President Vaclav Havel and Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, the signing of a cooperation treaty, and the laying of flowers at the memorial of a woman killed 25 years ago during the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. The friendship and cooperation treaty signed by the two presidents is similar to the one between Czechoslovakia and the Russian Federation of April 1992 (that was initialed, but never ratified). It does, however, not include a provision that made it impossible for either of the contracting parties to make its territory and logistical support available to potential "aggressors" against the other. Various Czech politicians declared that any such provision would limit the Czech Republic's sovereignty and might complicate the country's admission to NATO. Yeltsin pointed out after the signing ceremony that Russia "has no right" to hinder the Czech Republic's joining of any organization, indicating that Moscow will not object a possible Czech admission to NATO. Havel stressed in an interview after Yeltsin's departure that the ratification of the treaty was crucial as it will effectively put an end to the totalitarian nature of relations between the two countries. He speculated, however, that there might be problems in the Russian parliament with its ratification. -Jan Obrman .-.-. AND BRATISLAVA. In the Slovak capital Yeltsin and President Michal Kovac signed a treaty on friendly relations and cooperation to promote closer economic, cultural and social ties, TASR reports. Although the treaty does not include an apology for the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968, the preamble includes a condemnation of "totalitarianism-.-.-. that manifested itself in the trampling of the principles of international law in 1968." The controversial Article 4 of the treaty, which states that neither nation will provide its territory for a third party's aggression against the other, was dropped following protests from Slovak opposition parties. Yeltsin also met with Prime Minister Meciar, with whom he discussed economic cooperation and forms of repayment of Russian debts to Slovakia. The two leaders also discussed cooperation between arms-producing factories. An agreement on military cooperation between the two states, promising closer defense and security relations, was also signed by defense ministers Pavel Grachev and Imrich Andrejcak. According to CTK, the agreement states that Slovakia will be guaranteed spare parts for military equipment as well as the possibility to use Russian military space for training operations. -Sharon Fisher RUSSIAN-CZECH TALKS. Several members of Yeltsin's delegation, including Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev; Defense Minister Pavel Grachev; and First Deputy Chairman of the Russian Council of Ministers Oleg Lobov, held talks with their Czech counterparts. At a meeting with Czech Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec, Kozyrev pointed out that the Czech Republic is a sovereign state and that it thus has the right to join any organization it wishes to. At the same time, Russia will welcome Czech support in the intensification of relations between the Council of Europe and Russia, Kozyrev said. Defense ministers Grachev and Antonin Baudys agreed to discuss a joint commission to produce spare parts for Soviet-designed military equipment. Both ministers expressed satisfaction at the prospect of cooperation between the two sides. Lobov discussed Russia's debt to the Czech Republic with Finance Minister Ivan Kocarnik and Trade Minister Vladimir Dlouhy and agreed to set up a joint commission in September. -Jan Obrman EXCHANGE OF ACCUSATIONS AT THE WORLD COURT. On 26 August lawyers for rump Yugoslavia told the World Court in the Hague that their government has no territorial ambitions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and denied having "paramilitary [forces] of any kind, either within or outside its territory," international media report. Legal adviser to the Bosnian government Francis Boyle replied: "It's a total lie, you know it and I know it," and asked the court to declare any partition invalid. "We'll be carved up by the great powers and eaten for breakfast unless the court acts. We will be eliminated as a people and a state," Boyle said. Rump Yugoslavia accused the Muslims of plundering homes, raping women, and other atrocities and asked the court for protection against Muslim forces: "The terror the Serbs are now exposed to is the same as during the World War," a senior Yugoslav diplomat said, while Bosnia urged the court to declare the Geneva peace process illegal because it was aimed at forcing Bosnia to accept the results of genocide. -Fabian Schmidt MORE PROTESTS IN CROATIA AGAINST PARTITION OF BOSNIA. President Franjo Tudjman has apparently opted for joining the Serbs in what amounts to a division of the neighboring republic in return for a seemingly illusive grand deal to redraw former Yugoslav republican boundaries between Serbs and Croats. His approach has long been criticized by the opposition and by many in his own party as shortsighted and as fatal for the traditional Croat-Muslim alliance against the common and more numerous Serb enemy. Now Cardinal Franjo Kuharic has criticized the partition in a letter to Foreign Minister Mate Granic, Vecernji list reports on 27 August. He says that the plan does not take into account the numerous historic Croatian communities in central Bosnia who will now find themselves under Muslim or Serb rule. Implicit in the cardinal's message is that the partition marks the triumph of Herzegovinian Croat interests over those of all other Croats, a point he first made in public in May and for which he was sharply attacked by Herzegovinian Croat leader Mate Boban. Meanwhile, Vjesnik reports that Croatia's labor unions have jointly slammed the partition as endorsing "Serbian fascism and ethnic cleansing" and as hurting Croatian interests by giving the Serbs a strategic land corridor across northern Bosnia. The unions also called for a renewal of the alliance with the Muslims against a common foe. Finally, in Mostar Muslim civilians continued on 26 August to block the departure of a UN aid convoy, international media report. -Patrick Moore UN TO INVESTIGATE CORRUPTION CHARGES IN SARAJEVO. The BBC's Serbian and Croatian Services on 27 August quote UN spokesmen as saying that UN police officials are beginning an investigation of accusations against UNPROFOR troops in the Bosnian capital, particularly against French and Ukrainians. Charges range from dealing in cigarettes and food on the black market to running prostitution rings to selling heroin with the help of local gangsters. French spokesmen have denied the possibility of widespread involvement by their soldiers. Similarly, the head of peacekeeping operations in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, Col. Viktor Bezruchenko, dismissed the allegations as an attempt by Bosnian officials to discredit UN troops. He conceded that there have been incidents of black marketeering in cigarettes and food, but denied that the 400-man Ukrainian battalion has been involved in selling fuel, drugs, or weapons. Since the deployment of Ukrainian troops in Sarajevo, 13 have been sent home for black market activities-the equivalent of a dishonorable discharge. Other UNPROFOR troops in Karlovac have been caught dealing in drugs, while some Russian officers gave Serb forces illegal access to heavy weapons. -Patrick Moore and Ustina Markus BULGARIAN CRITICIZED FOR MEETING YUGOSLAV OFFICIALS. An RFE/RL correspondent reported that the government has officially disapproved of a 25 August meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Neycho Neev and four high officials from rump Yugoslavia and Serbia. Neither Prime Minister Lyuben Berov nor the Foreign Ministry had advance knowledge of the meeting. There were no statements about the subject of the meeting. BTA reports that on 26 August Bulgarian Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitar Ikonomov left for Zagreb on a trip that will also take him to Slovenia, Macedonia, Greece, and possibly Serbia. Bulgarian officials say there is no connection with the meeting attended by Neev. Ikonomov also told 24 Chasa that a meeting between the Serbian and Bulgarian prime ministers, which Sofia last week said was imminent, will not take place until "common ground" has been identified. -Stan Markotich COURT UPHOLDS SENTENCE OF NEXHMIJE HOXHA. In her second appeal this year to reduce her 11-year sentence, Nexhmije Hoxha has again been unsuccessful. The widow of Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha, she was originally sentenced to 9 years in prison for abuse of funds but had the sentence increased after her first appeal. Reuters reports on 26 August that Judge Avni Shehu said that the 11-year sentence is "just and lawful." Nonetheless her codefendant, Kino Buxheli, had his sentence reduced from 4 to 3 years. In a rare interview in the Albanian paper Republika on 26-August, Nexhmije Hoxha declared that she and Enver "worked like slaves" and dedicated their whole lives to the fatherland. She also noted that her husband's main preoccupation had been the "freedom and sovereignty of Albania." As to "successes" under Enver's rule, she pointed to the emancipation of youth and women. -Robert Austin HUNGARIAN SOCIALIST PARTY PROGRAM. On 26-August the Socialist Party published its policy plan, the basis for its election program, MTI reports. The program calls for a market economy accompanied by modern social policies and foresees good relationships with Hungary's neighbors. While accepting current borders, Hungary would at the same time demand that the rights of Magyar minorities be observed. The Socialists support membership in the European Community and an expanding relationship with NATO and believe that membership in these organizations should be decided by a referendum. The HSP supports the reform of the state budget, privatization with equal opportunities for everyone, legal security and state support for agriculture, and the reduction of unemployment. The party calls for a direct election of the president and an expansion of his power. -Judith Pataki LALUMIERE IN ROMANIA. On 26 August Council of Europe Secretary-General Catherine Lalumiere began a three-day official visit to Romania. According to Western agencies, Lalumiere is expected to decide whether Romania is politically ready to join the council this autumn. She discussed economic, political, social, and legal issues with Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu, and Justice Minister Petre Ninosu and will meet President Ion Iliescu and other leaders on the 27th. Dan Ionescu ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT TO GET CONFLICTING REPORTS ON CORRUPTION. A special parliamentary committee investigating allegations of corruption in high offices is likely to present two conflicting reports when parliament convenes on 30-31 August in an extraordinary session. At a press conference on 26-August, panel members belonging to the ruling party and its allies openly disagreed with those of the opposition over the results of their investigation. A preliminary report released by the panel on 30 June, which exposed widespread influence-peddling and abuse of office, appears to have been considerably watered down in the meantime. The commission has been investigating corruption allegations first made public by the former head of the Financial Guard, Gen. Gheorghe Florica. The Prosecutor's Office, which is generally seen as a conservative stronghold, already cleared 10-persons blacklisted by Florica on corruption charges. -Dan Ionescu LEBED ACCEPTS CANDIDACY FOR "DNIESTER" PARLIAMENT. Lt. Gen. Aleksandr Lebed, commander of Russia's 14th Army in Moldova, who is currently on leave in Moscow, has accepted a bid to run for a seat in the "Dniester republic" Supreme Soviet in a forthcoming by-election, Ekho Moskvy and Tiraspol media monitored in Chisinau reported on 24-25 August. This recalls the standard Soviet practice whereby army commanders sat in the Supreme Soviets of the republics in which their armies were stationed. It also reflects the view in Russian nationalist circles that this area of Moldova is in essence a part of Greater Russia. -Vladimir Socor POLISH PRIVATIZATION CONFLICT RAGES ON. A Warsaw appeals court on 26 August overturned a ruling by a lower court that had ordered Supreme Control Chamber chief Lech Kaczynski to apologize to Privatization Minister Janusz Lewandowski for having suggested that state firms are deliberately being sold off for less than their value. The appeals court ruled that the dispute is not covered by a clause in the new election law that requires the judicial system to rule on "false accusations" in the election campaign within 24 hours. Lewandowski said he plans to sue Kaczynski for slander under normal procedures, but the ruling is a clear blow to the embattled privatization minister, who has become the chief target for opposition criticism in the election campaign. Hailing the ruling, Kaczynski threatened to urge prosecutors to investigate "criminal mismanagement" at the privatization ministry and hinted that Lewandowski should resign. -Louisa Vinton POLAND SETTLES DISPUTE OVER RUSSIAN MILITARY MISSION. Polish Defense Minister Janusz Onyszkiewicz announced on 26 August that the Russian military mission charged with overseeing the withdrawal of troops from Germany through Poland will be located at the Warsaw site initially requested by the Russian command. The location of the mission caused a dispute earlier in August that briefly interrupted the troop withdrawal from Poland. Polish authorities initially demanded that the mission be located in the Russian embassy. The issue was settled during Russian President Boris Yeltsin's visit to Poland on 25-August, PAP reports. -Louisa Vinton UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT DIVIDED OVER REFERENDUM, REFORMS. Parliament is continuing to debate whether or not to hold the referendum on confidence in the Supreme Council and the president scheduled for 26 September. Many of those who spoke, including President Leonid Kravchuk and Parliament Speaker Ivan Plyushch, called for new elections instead of the referendum. There is strong opposition from the procommunist deputies to this alternative proposal, however. Parliament is also due to receive the latest set of proposals from Leonid Kuchma's government aimed at stabilizing the deteriorating economic situation and giving impetus to reform. In the meantime, according to Ukrainian TV, seven democratic political parties have called for a special national assembly to adopt a new constitution, arguing that the present deadlocked parliament is incapable of leading the country out of its political and economic crisis. -Bohdan Nahaylo RUSSIA CUTS GAS SUPPLY TO UKRAINE. Gazprom, the Russian state gas monopoly, cut gas supplies by 25% because of unpaid bills, Reuters reported on 26-August. A Gazprom official was cited by ITAR-TASS as saying that supplies will be cut to 50% of normal by the end of the day. Earlier this month President Kravchuk reached agreement with Boris Yeltsin on a barter plan whereby Ukraine would provide farm products and help develop energy resources in Siberia in exchange for Russian oil and gas. The effect Gazprom's actions will have on this accord are unclear. Over the past month Belarus and others of Russia's clients have also had to deal with gas cuts. Earlier this week Russia agreed to restore supplies after Belarus agreed to pay off a quarter of its 100-billion-ruble debt. Ukraine's debt reportedly stands at 600 billion Russian rubles. -Ustina Markus BELARUS OFFICIAL URGES RATIFICATION OF CIS TREATY. Henadz Danilau, state secretary of the Committee on Crime and National Security, told Vo slavu rodiny that participation in the CIS collective security pact is the only correct way to insure Belarus's security and sovereignty. The statement was made in connection to the upcoming meeting of CIS heads in Moscow in September. Danilau went on to say that an economic union with Russia is desirable since the country is oriented eastwards, towards other Slavic states. Participation in the security pact would also help the army acquire technical supplies and training. Despite the Supreme Soviet's vote in favor of participation, Supreme Soviet Chairman Stanislau Shushkevich still refuses to sign the CIS pact, arguing that it is a betrayal the country's sovereignty in exchange for Russian oil. -Ustina Markus CE PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT IN LITHUANIA. On 26-August Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly President Miguel Angel Martinez held talks with Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas and other top officials, Radio Lithuania reports. The talks focused primarily on Russian troop withdrawal, with Martinez agreeing with Brazauskas's decision to deal with the situation by seeking a dialogue. Martinez restated the CE's position that a foreign army can not remain in a country when the people and government are opposed to its presence. -Saulius Girnius FINNISH EXPERT ON BALTIC SECURITY VACUUM. Lt. Col. Erkki Nordberg, who recently surveyed Baltic regional security for Finland's National Defense College, told the press in Stockholm on 26 August that there is a military vacuum in the Baltic States: the Russian forces are retreating and NATO is not making any moves in the area that give concern to Moscow. He estimated that it will take at least 10 years for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to build up their own defense capabilities. Should the relationship between Russia and NATO deteriorate and should a crisis develop in the Baltic, a dangerous situation could arise, Nordberg said. He added that Russia will benefit if the Baltic States boost their own defense forces because no other power can then enter the region. -Dzintra Bungs [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Ustina Markus and Charles Trumbull 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). 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