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NO. 219, 18 NOVEMBER 1994


NEW FIGHTING IN CHECHNYA. The Chechen government dispatched
reinforcements to the village of Bratskoe on 17 November to
aid government forces resisting a column of opposition tanks
that had crossed the border from North Ossetia, Russian
agencies reported. After a four-hour battle in which two
tanks were destroyed and their crews killed, the tanks
proceeded to the headquarters in Znamenskoe of the opposition
Provisional Council. The Chechen leadership issued a
statement to the world community characterizing the incursion
as the beginning of a new Russian-Caucasian war that would
affect the interests of many countries, according to
Interfax; a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry denied
that the tanks belonged to the North Caucasus Military
District. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned a Baltic Assembly
resolution on the demilitarization of Kaliningrad Oblast,
ITAR-TASS reported on 16 November. (In the resolution,
adopted in Vilnius on 13 November, the Baltic Assembly, an
interparliamentary body of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia,
called on Russia to reduce its military presence in the
region.) The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that Kaliningrad
was an inalienable part of Russia and that in consequence the
Baltic proposal constituted "intervention in Russia's
internal affairs." The State Duma backed the ministry,
stating that "the number of Russian troops in the area is
defined only by Russia's national interests," ITAR-TASS
reported on 17 November. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc.

Boris Yeltsin on 17 November chaired a meeting of the leaders
of the two chambers of the Russian parliament down to the
level of committee chairmen. Duma speaker Ivan Rybkin told
Interfax that "virtually all participants agreed that
great-power patriotism and extricating the country from the
present crisis are ideas everybody is ready to work for,
regardless of their political orientation." The appeal to
nationalism seems to bear out senior foreign policy analyst
Georgii Arbatov's assessment of Yeltsin's 14 November
statement to the military command, which appeared to revise
major Russian assumptions about cooperation with the West.
That was "not an isolated statement. There is a growing
anti-American, anti-Western mood among our politicians,"
Arbatov told the Financial Times of 17 November. Vladimir
Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

Pavel Grachev told a conference of airborne troop commanders
on 17 November that positive changes in the international
arena had not ended military threats to Russia, that there
was a risk of existing conflicts escalating and new ones
emerging, and that "by virtue of its geopolitical and
strategic interests Russia cannot remain indifferent to
them." These remarks echoed those of Yeltsin at the Defense
Ministry's review conference three days earlier. Grachev
praised Russia's armed forces for "restoring peace" in
Transdniester, Abkhazia, South and North Ossetia, Ingushetia,
and Tajikistan--places where the Russian military intervened
to aid local clients, resulting in ethnic cleansing in
several cases. Reserving special praise for the airborne
troops, "who have been on combat alert practically since
1988," Grachev promised them "a great future as they will
become the basis for Russia's [new] rapid-deployment forces."
Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

defense committee thinks that morale in the armed forces is
unsatisfactory and has recommended that the full Duma say so.
Committee chairman Sergei Yushenkov told Interfax on 17
November that the leadership of the Defense Ministry was not
solely responsible for this state of affairs. He also pointed
to the lack of a logical concept for building the armed
forces, the lack of civilian control, and faulty personnel
policies. The committee recommended that Yeltsin form a state
commission to conduct a comprehensive study of the state of
the military and another to exercise government and political
control over the armed forces. Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

study by a Russian-US team of scientists, first published in
the magazine Science and reviewed by Reuters on 17 November,
has concluded that a deadly outbreak of anthrax in Sverdlovsk
in 1979 was caused by a leak from a military facility and not
by tainted meat as the Soviets claimed at the time. At least
66 people died of anthrax in the city, now known again as
Ekaterinburg. The new study reports that autopsies by Russian
pathologists showed the infection had been inhaled rather
than ingested and that most of the people and livestock that
died from the disease were located in a narrow zone downwind
from the military facility. Harvard biologist Matthew
Meselson, who led the team, said there was still not enough
evidence to prove that the Soviets had violated the 1972
Biological Weapons Convention in the work at the Sverdlovsk
laboratory. Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

Semenov, the commander in chief of Russian Ground Forces,
told Interfax on 16 November that the combat readiness of his
troops was limited. He said the units were undermanned, with
only 53 percent of positions filled, and that the Ground
Forces were not receiving new equipment--especially attack
helicopters--because of a lack of procurement funds. While
declaring that the Ground Forces had passed 1994 "in a
fitting manner despite all the difficulties" they faced, he
pointed to major problems in mobilization training and social
protection. Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

ADMIRAL: NAVY BROKE BUT READY. Summing up the Navy's
performance in 1994, Commander in Chief Admiral Feliks Gromov
said that his service had maintained its combat readiness and
carried out its 1994 training plan but that the Navy had
received less than half of the money it needed and could use
only about one-third of its usual shipyards, meaning that
ships had to stay in dock four or five times as long as
normal. According to Interfax on 17 November, the admiral did
not expect funding to increase in 1995. Indirectly indicating
how bad the situation is, Gromov announced that the Baltic
Fleet--disrupted by the pullout from the Baltic republics and
the smallest and least important of the Russian fleets in
strategic terms--was currently Russia's best. Doug Clarke,
RFE/RL, Inc.

head of the Enisei Chemical Combine in Krasnoyarsk and a
member of the Federation Council, told Interfax on 15
November that he was suing the government for 112.3 billion
rubles--the losses his enterprise has suffered because the
government had "bungled the reform" of the defense industry.
He noted that his enterprise had made a profit of nearly 60
billion rubles in 1990 but would lose nearly 8 billion in
1994. Romanov said that if his written demands to the prime
minister and finance minister for compensation were not met,
he would apply to the court of arbitration. Doug Clarke,
RFE/RL, Inc.

military missile and space test site at Plesetsk, in
northwestern Russia, received the status of a cosmodrome in a
decree signed by Yeltsin on 11 November. That means it will
be used to launch manned space vehicles. Interfax on 14
November quoted a spokesman for the space forces as saying
there would be no immediate change at the facility. However,
when the new "Rus" booster rocket becomes operational, manned
flights from Plesetsk will become possible. The article also
said that the military expects Yeltsin to give the go-ahead
this month for work to begin on a new cosmodrome in the Far
East. But Plesetsk's new designation did not spare it from
fuel shortages: Reuters reported that Arkhangelsk Oblast
Governor Pavel Valashin had ordered electricity to be cut.
Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

Television reported on 16 November that Yeltsin had met with
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Solzhenitsyn's wife told an RFE/RL
correspondent that during the two-hour meeting Boris and
Naina Yeltsin and Solzhenitsyn had discussed Russia's
problems in general. During his address to the State Duma in
October, Solzhenitsyn called the present regime "an
oligarchy," but he avoided criticizing Yeltsin personally.
Also on 16 November Yeltsin met the Patriarch of the Russian
Orthodox Church Aleksii II, Russian TV reported. The two men
discussed state support for the restoration of churches. The
president also endorsed the participation of the Russian
Orthodox Church in the privatization of historical buildings.
Yeltsin's meeting with Solzhenitsyn and the Patriarch
suggests that he is searching for new sources of support for
his policies, which have been widely criticized. Victor
Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc.

ITAR-TASS on 17 November that Yeltsin had asked him to
resign. He said that his dismissal was part of broader
personnel changes and that he remained a member of the
democratic team. Kostikov's position has been uncertain since
September, after he and other presidential aides reportedly
sent a letter to Yeltsin criticizing his behavior at the
troop withdrawal celebrations in Germany. Penny Morvant,
RFE/RL, Inc.

OIL EXECUTIVE MURDERED. The body of Vladimir Zakharov, the
director of a subsidiary of Russia's largest oil corporation,
Lukoil, was discovered at his house in Moscow, agencies
reported on 16 November. That is the second killing of a
prominent industrialist in 10 days. Last week Yurii Tsittel,
the director of one of the largest Russian railroads, was
gunned down in Saratov. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc.


YELTSIN, ALIEV MEET. Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliev held
talks in Moscow on 17 November with Yeltsin on the issue of
Caspian oil and the Karabakh conflict, Russian and Western
agencies reported. Yeltsin stressed the need to reach
agreement as soon as possible on a political solution for
Nagorno-Karabakh; Aliev was quoted by Russian agencies as
evaluating highly the Russian mediation effort. Also on 17
November, ITAR-TASS quoted sources at NATO as stating that
the deployment of a peacekeeping force from member states of
the Partnership for Peace program in Karabakh might be
included in the agenda of the upcoming CSCE summit in
Budapest. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

ABKHAZ-UN TALKS DEADLOCKED. A further round of UN-mediated
talks between Georgia and Abkhazia on a political settlement
of the Abkhaz conflict opened in Geneva on 15 November but
appeared deadlocked after the Abkhaz delegation declared on
16 November that it would not accept a solution based on the
premise that Abkhazia was an integral part of Georgia,
Reuters reported. The failure to make any progress either on
Abkhazia's future status or on the repatriation of Georgian
refugees jeopardizes the meeting scheduled to be held in
Geneva on 2 December between Georgian parliament chairman
Eduard Shevardnadze and his Abkhaz counterpart Vladislav
Ardzinba. Meanwhile, Interfax of 15 November quoted the
commander of the Russian peacekeeping troops deployed along
the Abkhaz-Georgian border, Major General Vasilii Yakushev,
as disclosing that his troops' original mandate, which was to
have expired on 31 December 1994, had been extended until 15
May 1995 at the CIS summit last month. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL,


International media report that Bosnian Serb forces on 17
November fired three guided missiles and at least several
other shells at the building in downtown Sarajevo housing the
Bosnian Presidency. Two people were wounded, but little
structural damage was reported. The incident, however,
prompted authorities to declare a general alert in the city.
Also on 17 November, four artillery shells struck the
Sarajevo suburb of Hrasnica, located inside the UN
heavy-weapons exclusion zone, injuring four people. Reuters
reports that shots were fired the same day into the room of
the US ambassador, situated in a Sarajevo hotel. No one was
injured in the assault, and it appears that the ambassador
may not have been deliberately targeted. Stan Markotich,
RFE/RL, Inc.

media continue to report extensive fighting in several areas
of Bosnia. The most violent clashes appear to be in northwest
Bosnia, where Bosnian government forces are fending off
attacks by Bosnian Serb forces, rebel Muslim forces led by
Fikret Abdic, and rebel Serbs based in the Krajina region of
Croatia. Hina reported that forces loyal to Abdic have
encircled the town of Velika Kladusa, Abdic's former
headquarters. According to UN spokesman Colonel Tim Spicer,
forces loyal to Abdic have broken through defenses, capturing
a part of Velika Kladusa. Bosnian state radio on 17 November
reported that the towns of Bihac and Velika Kladusa were
under heavy shelling, resulting in at least 12 deaths. The UN
has condemned Serbian actions in northwest Bosnia and
particularly the role of the Krajina Serbs, saying that
continued shelling of the UN designated "safe area" of Bihac
or attacks against UN peacekeepers could result in NATO air
attacks. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

government on 17 November announced that Viktor Chernomyrdin
would visit Poland in December. The precise date is to be
revealed at a later day. The announcement, which followed
talks between the prime minister and Polish Minister of
Internal Affairs Andrzej Milczanowski in Moscow the same day,
has alleviated a momentary crisis in Polish-Russian relations
prompted by the alleged mishandling of Russian tourists by
the Polish police. The two countries are to sign important
economic agreements, including an accord on a gas pipeline
from Russia through Poland to Germany. Jan de Weydenthal,
RFE/RL, Inc.

ceremonies commemorating the 50th anniversary of the
liberation of Auschwitz, the most infamous of Nazi
concentration camps, announced on 17 November that they will
not invite PLO leader Yaser Arafat. Initially, the invitation
was to be extended to all Nobel peace prizewinners, including
this year's laureates. Following protests by various Jewish
organizations, however, the organizers declined to issue such
invitations. Polish media report that President Lech Walesa
plans to invite the heads of the 23 states whose citizens
were prisoners at Auschwitz. Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc.

Speaking to a gathering of students in Prague on the fifth
anniversary of the November 1989 "velvet revolution," Czech
President Vaclav Havel praised the postrevolutionary economic
and political changes in the country but argued that much
remains to be done. Earlier, Havel, accompanied by Portuguese
President Mario Soares, laid a wreath at Narodni Trida in
Prague, where security forces beat up student demonstrators
five years ago. A number of other Czech politicians also
attended the wreath-laying ceremony. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . AND BRATISLAVA. Meanwhile, 10,000 people gathered in
Bratislava's Slovak National Uprising Square to commemorate
the revolution. But the event soon turned into a protest
against the current political situation, with the crowd
calling for an end to the arrogance connected with
"Meciarism," TASR and Reuters report. Other meetings took
place in Kosice, Liptovsky Mikulas, and Banska Bystrica,
while 2,000 students attended a candlelight concert in
Bratislava the previous evening, calling for improvements in
education. In an address on 16 November, Premier Jozef
Moravcik criticized politicians "who create an atmosphere of
fear" and emphasized the need for a stable political scene
with leftist, liberal, and rightist parties. President Michal
Kovac sympathized with the difficult social situation in
Slovakia but stressed that improvements in the quality of
life require patience as well as changes in behavior and ways
of thinking. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

the polls on 18 and 19 November to elect local government
representatives in the independent Czech and Slovak
Republics' first local elections. CTK reported on 17 November
that in the Czech Republic, the vote will take place in 6,231
municipalities. A total of 295 parties and movements have
registered with the Central Electoral Commission, of which 49
will compete on their own and 137 will run in a coalition.
Slovaks are to vote in 100 cities and 2,500 other localities.
It is the third time in seven weeks that Slovaks have been
called to the polls. Slovakia remains in the midst of a
political crisis, as a new government has yet to be formed.
Jiri Pehe and Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

TURKMEN PRESIDENT IN SLOVAKIA. Turkmen President Saparmurad
Niyazov arrived in Slovakia on 17 November for a two-day
official visit, TASR reports. Slovak President Michal Kovac
noted that Slovakia sees Turkmenistan as a solvent financial
partner and stable political force in Central Asia.
Cooperation agreements were signed on the economy, trade,
foreign affairs, science, technology, and the protection of
investments. Slovak officials expressed interest in helping
Turkmenistan to construct an oil and gas pipeline through
Iran and Turkey to Western Europe. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL,

SLOVAK BUDGET CONTROVERSY. The outgoing Slovak government,
which promised to draft its 1995 state budget proposal by 15
November, is hesitating to submit the draft to the parliament
since it is expected to be rejected. The issue has grown into
a serious political conflict between Jozef Moravcik's cabinet
and the allies of Premier-designate Vladimir Meciar, who now
have control over the parliament. If Meciar wants his own
budget to be passed, he will have to rely on the support of
the Association of Slovak Workers; but ASW Chairman Jan
Luptak has said his party will not vote for a "restrictive
budget." Following a cabinet session on 16 November, during
which the budget was high on the agenda, Deputy Premier for
Economic Issues Brigita Schmoegnerova said that if a new
cabinet is not formed in the next few days, the current
cabinet will submit its budget proposal, whose pillars are a
budget deficit of 3 percent of GDP and an estimated 3 percent
increase in GDP. If the proposal fails, however, Slovakia may
have a provisional budget for the first part of the year.
Meanwhile, at a press conference on 17 November, the
Christian Democratic Movement announced it is willing to
negotiate with the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia about
supporting the new government's program and draft budget,
TASR reports. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARY'S 1995 DEFENSE BUDGET. The parliamentary Defense
Committee on 16 November approved part of the 1995 defense
budget, to be included by 23 November into the overall draft
budget, MTI reported. The defense sector is to receive 77.1
billion forint ($70.8 million) next year, up nearly 8 billion
forint on 1994. Of this amount, 66.4 billion forint will come
from central funds and the remaining 10.7 billion from the
Defense Ministry. The committee approved reducing the number
of conscripts in 1995 and asked the Ministry of Internal
Affairs for information on the 1995 budget of the Border
Guard (also part of the armed forces). Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL,

general manager of Philips Hungary Inc., announced on 16
November that Philips will invest $45 million in Hungary over
the next two years, MTI announced. The Dutch firm will begin
manufacturing computer monitors in Szombathely next spring,
reaching a capacity of 800,000 monitors in 1996 and a 15-20
percent increase each year thereafter. The assembly of video
recorders has already begun in Szekesfehervar, with an annual
output of 1 million sets planned as of 1996. Alfred Reisch,
RFE/RL, Inc.

second day of Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov's visit to
Romania, Turkmen officials visited Romania's oil equipment
plant in Ploesti, Romanian and Russian agencies reported on
16 November. The Romanians offered to supply equipment and
technicians for multinational oil and gas projects in
Turkmenistan and steel pipe for the oil pipelines to Western
Europe and Asia. They also proposed that the Romanian Black
Sea port of Constanta be a way station for the West-bound
pipeline. But this would mean that the pipeline would have to
cross Russian and Russian-controlled territory between the
Caspian and the Black Sea--a route not favored by Western
investors and Turkey. Romania was actively involved in the
late 1980s in Turkmen oil and gas projects, including the
giant Sovietabad field. A major producer of steel and
equipment for oil extraction during the communist era,
Romania evidently hopes to revive those sectors, despite the
fact that they were obsolescent in their heyday and thrived
on low-priced exports to the former USSR. Its chances of
competing successfully against Western firms interested in
Turkmen projects appear slim. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

quoted Romanian police as saying that an Iranian national
stabbed to death in Bucharest last week was the victim of a
dispute between criminal gangs. The police statement said an
investigation has shown that Mohamed Ali Assadi was killed in
a conflict with other Iranian nationals. It added that Assadi
had been arrested in June for threatening and robbing members
of the Iranian community in Romania. Three Iranians have been
arrested in connection with the killing and a fourth is being
sought. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

ALBANIA UPDATE. The daily Koha Jone on 15 November reported
that a further 10 people have died of cholera. The latest
victims were psychiatric patients at a hospital in Elbasan,
roughly 50 kilometers southeast of the capital Tirana. The
report also observed that an additional 42 people in Elbasan
are suffering from and being treated for the disease, which
to date has claimed at least 26 lives in the country.
According to other estimates by Albanian health officials, a
total of 13 people at Elbasan have succumbed to the disease.
In other news, Reuters on 15 November reported that the head
of Albania's association of former political prisoners began
a hunger strike the same day in protest against his
detention. Kurt Kola was placed under house arrest on 12
August, after police put a stop to a hunger strike by former
political prisoners claiming compensation for injustices
suffered under former communist leader Enver Hoxa. Stan
Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

on 17 November voted 282 to 13 to rescind laws adopted by
Crimea that contravene Ukraine's constitution, Ukrainian
Radio reported. The Crimean parliament was ordered to bring
its separatist legislature into line with Ukraine's by 1
November but failed to do so. Nationalist deputy Stepan
Khmara called for dissolving the Crimean parliament and
demoting Crimea to the status of district. The parliament
voted against such a proposal but for withholding state
subsidies from Crimean institutions that recognized
Simferopol's authority over Kiev's. Ultranationalists in the
parliament called for sending troops to the peninsula; and
leader of the Communist Party of Ukraine Petro Symonenko said
the idea of Crimea separating from Ukraine is "pure
speculation." He went on to say it was time for everyone to
understand that they all belong to one state. In other news,
Ukrainian Radio reported on 15 November that prices have
begun to be liberalized in Crimea, resulting in twofold
increases for dairy products and even larger hikes for meat.
Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

Kuchma ordered the arrest of former acting Prime Minister
Yukhim Zvyahilsky on 17 November for embezzling millions of
dollars. Ukrainian Radio reported on 15 November that the
Ukrainian parliament voted 274 to 2 to lift Zvyahilsky's
immunity and begin legal proceedings against him for illegal
deals. Zvyahilsky was acting prime minister under former
President Leonid Kravchuk from October 1993, after Kuchma
resigned from the premiership, until last June. Charges of
corruption were first made against him in May by the
prosecutor-general's office. In two separate deals,
Zvyahilsky allegedly swindled the Ukrainian state out of $25
million. One scheme involved the sale of aviation fuel to
Greece when Ukraine's own armed forces were suffering from a
shortage of such fuel. The other concerned the disappearance
of funds from the national bank; the money is believed to
have been transferred to a private account in Switzerland or
Austria. Zvyahilsky is currently in Israel, where it is
reported that he is undergoing medical treatment. If found
guilty and convicted, he faces a minimum of 15 years in
prison. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUS'S ECONOMIC CRISIS. According to Belinform-TASS on 17
November, the Independent Trade Unions of Belarus announced
that if living standards continued to decline, they would
organize "protest actions." Belarusian Television reported on
16 November that prices rose 11.2 times, compared with
December 1993. Belarusian Radio on 17 November reported that
the republic's foreign debt stood at $1.2 billion. The
largest chunk of the debt, $420 million, was owed to Russia
for natural gas. Belarus is hoping to negotiate an economic
union with Russia to pull the country out of its economic
crisis, but Russian demands for ownership of Beltranshaz
(Belarus's gas distributor) are viewed negatively by a number
of leading officials, including the Russophone president,
Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

Atlantic Assembly's current session in Washington, the
Political Committee on 16 November adopted the report
"Peacekeeping in Transdniester--A Test Case for the CSCE," by
US Congressman Gerald Solomon. The report includes
recommendations on the withdrawal of Russia's 14th Army from
Moldova and the political settlement of the Dniester
conflict. The forum called on the CSCE Council of Ministers
to consider the introduction of an international peacekeeping
force under CSCE auspices in Moldova. The Moldovan
parliament's deputy chairman, Nicolae Andronic, told the
assembly that the recent major cuts in Russia's
"disengagement contingent" in Transdniester create the need
and provide the opportunity for deploying a legitimate
international peacekeeping force. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL,

RAISING OF "ESTONIA" DOOR DELAYED. After a delay of several
days owing to bad weather, the Finnish icebreaker "Nordica"
and Swedish minelayer "Furusand" on 17 November began their
attempt to raise the 55-ton front cargo door of the ferry
"Estonia," BNS reports. An examination of the door of the
ferry, which sank on 28 September with the loss of more than
900 lives, should help determine why it broke off, causing
the ship to capsize. Uno Laur, an Estonian member of the
three-nation accident investigation commission who is on
board the "Nordica," said the attempts to attach cables to
the door failed because the hooks did not fit. The hooks are
to be altered, and it is hoped the door will be raised on 18
November. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

TWO NEW LITHUANIAN MINISTERS. President Algirdas Brazauskas
on 15 November named Seimas deputy Juozas Nekrosius minister
of culture, replacing Dainius Trinkunas, who resigned on 3
November, BNS reports. Four days earlier, on 11 November,
Brazauskas named deputy health minister Antanas Vinkus
minister of health, replacing Jurgis Bredikis, who resigned
the previous day. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

commemorating the proclamation of the independent Republic of
Latvia on 18 November 1918. The main celebration is to take
place in Riga's National Theater where the 1918 proclamation
was signed. Latvia has received official greetings from many
foreign leaders, including US President Bill Clinton and
Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas. Dzintra Bungs,
RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

(Compiled by Penny Morvant and Jan Cleave)
The RFE/RL DAILY REPORT, 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
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