You always pass failure on the way to success. - Mickey Rooney
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 232, 9 December 1994


Russian parliament discussed the Chechen crisis behind closed
doors on 8 December, Russian and Western agencies reported. The
Federation Council condemned attempts to resolve the crisis by
force, and called on the prosecutor general to investigate who had
initiated the air raids on Grozny. The State Duma adopted a draft
resolution criticizing as unsatisfactory the activities of federal
bodies in Chechnya and called on President Boris Yeltsin to use
only constitutional means to restore the situation to normal. The
presidium of the parliament of Tatarstan similarly expressed deep
concern over Moscow's "shortsighted and ambitious" use of force in
Chechnya, Interfax reported. Also on 8 December, the last
remaining seven Russian troops captured during the abortive
attempt by the opposition Provisional Council on 26-27 November to
take control of Grozny were released in accordance with the
agreement reached on 6 December between Chechen President Dzhokhar
Dudaev and Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev. A Chechen
spokesman denied reports by ITAR-TASS that talks between the
Chechen and Russian governments and the Chechen opposition would
begin on 12 December, affirming that the Chechen government would
never negotiate with the Provisional Council, according to
Reuters. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

Mozhdok (North Ossetia), where a large Russian task force stands
poised on Chechnya's border, officers interviewed by Western
reporters are in a robust mood. One officer told a correspondent
for Le Monde (8 December) that "we need a new Stalin who would
show us how to deal with these dark-skinned types." Another
officer told a correspondent for The Independent (6 December) that
Chechnya "must be not merely defeated but destroyed." He endorsed
the view of a 19th century Russian commander in the protracted
Caucasus war that "extermination rather than pacification is the
way to secure long-term control" of the region. Russian TV on 7
December described the "fighting spirit" in the Russian task force
and interviewed two of its officers who presented themselves as
"mercenaries" recruited and paid specially for operations against
Chechnya. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . BUT SOME BRASS OBJECT. Deputy Defense Minister Georgii
Kondratev on 8 December joined fellow Deputy Minister Boris Gromov
and Lieutenant General Aleksandr Lebed in publicly criticizing the
use of force against Chechnya. "The problem of Chechnya will not
be solved through military means. . . . There must be no
repetition of the ill-considered [military] actions of a few days
ago," Kondratev told ITAR-TASS. He urged Yeltsin and the Russian
government to seek a political solution and called for
negotiations with "the elected president" of Chechnya. Gromov was
even more outspoken, telling Russian TV on 7 December that he
would join other parents in resisting efforts to send their
conscript sons to invade Chechnya. On the same day, Duma Military
Affairs Committee Chairman Sergei Yushenkov (Democratic Russia)
told Interfax that "the more or less democratic-minded people on
the presidential team are absolutely powerless." That major
military figures and political and parliamentary groups ranging
from democrats to nationalists have all criticized the
government's policy on Chechnya underscores the personal
responsibility of Yeltsin and Grachev for the decision to use
force against Chechnya. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

Mikhail Gorbachev told RFE/RL on 8 December that he had been
approached by the Chechen president to serve as a mediator between
the Chechen and Russian leaderships. According to Gorbachev,
Dudaev had decided to turn to him after the former Soviet leader
had told journalists at a press conference held earlier in the
month to mark the publication of his book on the collapse of the
USSR that he opposed the use of force against the breakaway
Russian republic. Gorbachev added that he had accepted Dudaev's
request and was going to contact Russia's leaders; their
willingness to accept him as a go-between is by no means certain.
-- Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

INGUSH LEADERS' WARNINGS. In Komsomolskaya pravda of 8 December,
Ingush President Ruslan Aushev stated that he was categorically
opposed to the use of force against Chechnya. A Russian invasion,
if mounted, would succeed at the cost of "massive bloodshed" and
would lead to a guerrilla war, he predicted. Ingushetia would
oppose the transit of Russian forces through its territory en
route for Chechnya "because the Chechen are our brothers," Aushev
said. Ingush Vice President Boris Agapov similarly warned via
Interfax on 8 December that "Ingushetia can never be turned into a
bridgehead against Chechnya." Passage of Russian forces to
Chechnya via Ingushetia "may compel people to take up arms, since
most Ingush see the situation in Chechnya as a conflict between
Chechnya and Russia," Agapov said. Until 1992, the Ingush and
Chechens formed a common republic, and both were persecuted under
Soviet rule. On 7 December 1994 delegates to a congress of
repressed peoples, held in the Ingush capital Nazran, were barred
by the Moscow-installed Temporary Administration from visiting
Prigorodnyi Raion, whose Ingush population was violently evicted
in 1992 by the Russian-backed North Ossetians. Those developments
seem to have shaken Aushev's loyalty to Moscow as a former Soviet
paratroop general with a distinguished combat record in
Afghanistan. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

Travkin, the founder of the first noncommunist political party in
modern Russia--the Democratic Party of Russia (DPR)--has resigned
as DPR chairman and as leader of its faction in the Duma, Russian
Television's "Vesti" reported on 7 December. Founded in 1990 as a
strongly anticommunist party, the DPR, along with fellow activists
in the Democratic Russia movement, supported Yeltsin during his
campaign for the Presidency in June 1991. In December of the same
year, Travkin's party split the movement, and Travkin became one
of the most eloquent spokesmen of the centrist opposition to
Yeltsin in the former parliament. In the run-up to the last
parliamentary elections, in December 1993, Travkin persuaded a
number of prominent intellectuals, who had never before been DPR
members, to stand on the DPR list. Those people--including
Yeltsin's former minister of foreign trade, Sergei Glazev, the
film director Stanislav Govorukhin, and the economist Oleg
Bogomolov--did not share the procommunist or Russian nationalist
views of the illiberal opposition but also rejected Yeltsin's
policies. Earlier this year, Travkin was appointed minister
without portfolio, and he subsequently lost all interest in
opposition activities. As a result, he lost the support of his
faction and had to resign. -- Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

to Ostankino TV news, on 8 December the Duma rejected Yeltsin's
proposal to declare 12 December, the day when the first
postcommunist Russian Constitution was approved in a referendum in
1993, a holiday. By voting to retain 12 December as a working day,
the Russian parliament is breaking with a tradition that dates
back to 1936, for the anniversaries of the constitutions adopted
under Stalin and Brezhnev (5 December and 7 October, respectively)
were both holidays. Moreover, the vote of 8 December suggests that
a majority of deputies have doubts about whether the constitution,
adopted in a vote called by Yeltsin that contradicted the then law
on referendums, is an entirely legal document. -- Julia
Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

CRACKDOWN ON DRAFT DODGERS. The Russian government on 8 December
endorsed a Defense Ministry proposal to take much harsher action
against those who avoid the draft or other military obligations.
Interfax quoted Colonel General Mikhail Kolesnikov--chief of the
Russian General Staff--as saying that on average 250,000 men each
year either dodge the draft, fail to report for reserve training,
or neglect to register with their local army commissariat.
Kolesnikov charged that the existing punishments for such offenses
were purely symbolic: a 5-25 ruble fine. The new
punishments--which have yet to be endorsed by the Duma--would call
for a one to three year jail term, up to two years corrective
labor, or a fine equal to 50 times the monthly minimum wage for
draft dodgers. Those who did not register with their local
commissariat would have to pay a fine equal to five times the
monthly minimum wage, while reservists who did not show up for
training when called could be put in jail or given corrective
labor for one year or fined 25 times the monthly minimum wage. --
Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

reported that the Russian Defense Ministry had worked out the
basic areas of a new "military-technical policy" under the
pressure of a severe budget deficit. Quoting the ministry's
information and press department, the agency said that the new
plan envisaged cutting the number of enterprises that supply
military equipment and increasing the funds for research. Priority
would be given to new technology. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

scientist Vil Mirzayanov told Interfax on 8 December that his
former employer--the State Institute of Organic Chemistry and
Technology--was suing him for 33 million rubles for the damage to
the institute's prestige caused by his revelations. In September
1992 Mirzayanov published an article in Moscow News charging that
Russia had created a new binary chemical weapon at the institute.
Subsequently, he was charged with disclosing state secrets, but
the case against him was eventually dropped. He called the
institute's behavior "completely absurd." Mirzayanov claimed that
he had written the original article on the initiative of the
institute and that the decision to drop the case indicated that he
had written the truth. "It is unclear to me what I must refute
now," he declared. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.


reported on 8 December that the Manila-based Asian Development
Bank (ADB) had approved a $40 million loan to Kyrgyzstan to help
stabilize the country's economy. On 6 December the same
organization had approved a $60 million loan to Kazakhstan to
assist that country's transition to a market economy. Kyrgyzstan's
economy has suffered more than that of any other Central Asian
state except war-torn Tajikistan from the rupture of Soviet era
economic ties, and it has sought extensive assistance from foreign
countries and financial institutions for help in stopping the
decline and instituting a market economy. The interest-free ADB
loan is earmarked for the financing of imports to strengthen the
energy and transportation sectors, for educational services, and
for the revitalization of public and private enterprises. -- Bess
Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

REACTION TO CSCE KARABAKH DECISION. Speaking to journalists in
Erevan on 8 December, acting Armenian presidential press secretary
Levon Zurabyan characterized the decision of the CSCE Budapest
summit on creating a peacekeeping force for Nagorno-Karabakh as "a
success for Armenian diplomacy" and a move toward resolving the
conflict, Interfax reported. At the same time, he reiterated that
Armenia still abided by the principle that Nagorno-Karabakh itself
was a main party to the conflict. Russia's mediator for
Nagorno-Karabakh, Vladimir Kazimirov, described the ruling as
"realistic and balanced" and expressed the hope that it would end
what he termed "speculations" about tension between Russia and the
CSCE Minsk Group. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

Tribune on 9 December calls a "major turnaround," President Bill
Clinton has approved the deployment of up to 15,000 US combat
troops to protect any UN withdrawal from Bosnia and Herzegovina. A
State Department spokesperson said "the president believes that it
is important that the United States, as the leader of the Atlantic
Alliance, be ready to assist its allies in the event their forces
are in danger." A Republican senator told the BBC, however, that
the Clinton administration's Bosnian policy is changing "by the
hour, by the minute." -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

December Financial Times reports that London does not share the
sense of urgency felt in Paris on possibly pulling its troops out
of Bosnia. Britain's UN ambassador told news agencies simply that
"the behavior of some of the parties, particularly the Bosnian
Serb party, is putting into question the carrying out of the
mandate and that . . . raises the issue of a withdrawal." In a
related development, The New York Times says that British Major
General Rupert Smith will replace his countryman General Sir
Michael Rose when the latter's term as UNPROFOR commander in
Bosnia runs out on 24 January. Meanwhile in Bosnia itself, Serbian
forces released some 55 Canadian peacekeepers they had been taken
hostage, but they continue to hold some 300 UNPROFOR troops. A US
and a French photographer "were handcuffed, hooded, and repeatedly
beaten" while held north of Bihac after being arrested in Krajina
on 5 December. A UN spokesman said the men had been submitted to
"outrageous treatment." It is reported that they were beaten by a
unit of Yugoslav army soldiers from Belgrade. -- Patrick Moore,
RFE/RL, Inc.

WALESA INSISTS ON LOWER TAXES. President Lech Walesa on 8 December
instructed his aides to ask the Constitutional Tribunal to rule on
the Sejm's vote overriding his veto of the income tax bill. The
president had argued that high tax rates provided by the bill
would cripple the public's purchasing power. The parliament, for
its part, overrode the veto, arguing that high taxes are necessary
to maintain a balanced budget. Walesa wants the tribunal to
determine whether the bill complies with the constitution; but
since it is unlikely that the tribunal will make a ruling before
the end of the year, the public will probably continue to pay
lower taxes during at least the first part of 1995. Gazeta
Wyborcza on 9 December said the presidential maneuvers appear
politically motivated--Walesa wants to gain public sympathy in
view of the forthcoming elections--but are also backed by solid
economic arguments (maintaining the public's purchasing power and
forcing the government to prepare a leaner budget and cut
unnecessary expenditures). Walesa's action also suggests his
determination to intervene further in the government's economic
programs, including vetoing other bills. -- Jan de Weydenthal,
RFE/RL, Inc.

HAVEL MEETS ESTONIAN PRESIDENT. Czech President Vaclav Havel on 8
December held talks with Estonian President Lennart Meri, after
meetings with the two other Baltic presidents. After the meeting
with Meri, Havel told journalists that his talks had been very
useful. The Estonian president told journalists that Estonia will
become an associate member of the European Union in 1995. He said
the West should not delay incorporating East European states into
Western organizations, because "Russia is on the brink of chaos,
and it is possible that the West does not have much time to act."
-- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

on money laundering, approved by the Czech government on 7
December, stipulates that financial institutions be obliged to
report "every unusual financial transaction" to the Finance
Ministry's analytical center. CTK reports that "unusual
transactions" are defined as those "untypical for trade activities
of a certain kind or for some people." Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus
told journalists that the government is not certain "who should
report and how one should report such unusual transactions." He
added that the mere fact that a financial institution reported
such transactions should not lead to any charges until the case
has been thoroughly investigated by the responsible state
agencies. The draft law has to be approved by the parliament,
which is likely to ask for changes to the bill. -- Jiri Pehe,
RFE/RL, Inc.

the Czech Republic's Federation of Jewish Communities, told a
press conference in Prague on 8 December that the government's
method of returning Jewish property seized by the Nazis and the
Communists is "neither fortunate nor effective in many respects,"
Reuter reports. Danicek complained that the Jewish side has been
put into the role of petitioner, obliged to submit to all the
quirks of bureaucracy and forced to hold endless talks with an
unclear prospect of success. The parliament in April passed a law
providing for the return of 202 state-held buildings and pieces of
land to the Jewish community. The Jews were not permitted,
however, to claim former state property transferred to
municipalities or already privatized. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

ANTI-MECIAR RALLY IN BRATISLAVA. Several thousand demonstrators
staged a protest in Bratislava on 8 December against what they see
as the undemocratic practices of Slovakia's Prime
Minister-designate Vladimir Meciar. The rally was organized by
university students on the occasion of International Human Rights
Day. Politicians and representatives of the Slovak Council of
Bishops, the Jewish Community, and other religious groups
addressed the crowd. Reuter reports Jan Findra, chief of President
Michal Kovac's office, as telling the demonstrators that "people
are afraid that [communist-style] habits and practices are
returning. Democracy is not a dictatorship of the majority over
the minority." -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

CTK on 8 December that an early conclusion of the Slovak-Hungarian
treaty was unlikely. He noted that Slovak and Hungarian views were
very different, especially on the status of ethnic minorities.
Kukan noted that Bratislava has been waiting for an answer from
Budapest on Slovakia's draft of the treaty for more than four
months. He added that experts from both countries will meet to
discuss the treaty in the next few days. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL,

ENERGY PRICE HIKES IN HUNGARY. The Hungarian government announced
on 8 December that electricity and gas prices for consumers will
increase by an average of 65 and 53 percent, respectively, as of
January, MTI reports. The government will allocate 9 billion
forint ($8.2 million) from the state budget to compensate those
hardest hit by the increases. It is estimated that a 100% hike in
household energy prices is needed to bring them up to world levels
and to cover production costs. -- Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc.

UPDATE ON PROTESTS IN RESITA. For the third consecutive day,
workers protested in the Romanian town of Resita, an RFE/RL
correspondent and Radio Bucharest reported on 8 December. The
Romanian government has dispatched a team of experts to Resita to
analyze the 1995 prospects for the town's steelworks. Radio
Bucharest reported at noon that the situation was "tense."
Tensions apparently increased after the release of a communique by
the President's office saying that the situation in Resita and
elsewhere reflects the hardships brought about by restructuring
but no solution could be found outside the "strict rules of the
market economy." President Ion Iliescu added that joint teams of
management, trade unions, government representatives, and
privatization funds should work out a long-term program for the
restructuring of enterprises encountering difficulties. Trade
union leaders said the presidential press release contradicted
proposals made to them earlier in the day in a telephone
conversation with the president. Following that conversation, the
union leaders had announced they accepted the proposals, which the
President apparently later withdrew. Meanwhile, numerous trade
unions have expressed solidarity with the strikers and some have
dispatched representatives to Resita. -- Michael Shafir, RFE/RL,

Iliescu has attacked the Moldovan government in an interview with
the Chisinau weekly Saptamina. Asked to comment on the reactions
of the Moldovan leadership and the parliament to official Romanian
irredentist statements, Iliescu said they were "nervous" and
"lacking in judgment." He termed Moldova "a Romanian province" and
rejected the notion of a Moldovan identity, insisting that
Moldovans are Romanians. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

President Sali Berisha dismissed twelve ministers and appointed
five on 4 December, Rilindja Demokratike reported two days later.
Among those dismissed were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for
Economic Reforms Bashkim Kopliku and the ministers for justice,
finance, industry and trade, housing and construction, culture and
youth, transportation and communication, tourism, interior, and
labor and social affairs. Also sacked was a minister without
portfolio and the head of the commission for the former
politically persecuted. Central Bank Governor Dylber Vrioni has
been appointed deputy prime minister and finance minister in the
reshuffled cabinet. Albert Brojka is the new minister for
industry, trade, and transportation, while Hektor Frasheri has
been appointed justice minister. The new minister for culture,
youth, and sports is Teodor Laco. Berisha's reshuffled came in
response to recent charges of incompetence against the government
in the Albanian media. The scope of the reshuffle may also be a
result of Berisha's defeat in the November constitutional
referendum. -- Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc.

OTHER ALBANIAN DEVELOPMENTS. According to a Reuters report from
Tirana on 8 December, Albanian government officials denied that
President Sali Berisha gave an interview to the daily Ta Nea,
which the Greek paper published on 8 December. In it, the Albanian
leader allegedly said his country would "soon" free the five
ethnic Greeks sentenced earlier this year for espionage. A
presidential spokesman refused to comment further on the fate of
the five men. Elsewhere, some 113 peasants from the Kukes area are
in the seventh day of a hunger strike to demand compensation for
land belonging to them that was flooded by a communist-era dam
project. Berisha had promised them a package including an
interest-free loan of $1,600 per capita to rebuild; but, as with
his promises to the communist-era political prisoners, the pledge
has yet to be met. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

parliament on 8 December again voted to lift a four-month ban on
privatization, international agencies reported. The decision was
taken after deputies approved a list of more than 6,000 companies
that will remain in state hands. While the list was not made
public, it is reported to include large and medium-sized
enterprises in the defense, communications, energy, and
transportation sectors. Viktor Pynzenyk, first deputy prime
minister in charge of economic reform, said after the 8 December
vote that "the moratorium is lifted, but privatization is still an
extremely complicated business." The previous day, the legislators
had first voted to lift the ban and then voted to suspend that
decision. -- Jan Cleave, RFE/RL, Inc.

President Leonid Kuchma said on 7 December that Ukrainian
peacekeepers will participate in missions overseen by the
Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the CSCE
becomes the OSCE on 1 Jan. 1995), Reuters reported. Kuchma said
Ukraine has decided to take an active role in international
peacekeeping efforts, including those in Nagorno-Karabakh and
Abkhazia. He said Ukrainian troops would participate only as
peacekeepers and only as part of OSCE missions. Kuchma said any
deployment of Ukrainian peacekeepers would have to be approved by
parliament. The OSCE agreed at a summit this week to send a
multi-national peacekeeping force to Nagorno-Karabakh. -- Pete
Baumgartner, RFE/RL, Inc.

Hanchar announced his resignation on 8 December, criticizing
President Aleksandr Lukashenko for poor leadership. He noted at a
Minsk conference press that the president has become "a tool in
the hands of rogues and outrageous dilettantes who paid for his
election campaign," but he did not elaborate. Singling out the
president's chief of staff Ivan Tsitsyankou and State Secretary
for Security Viktar Sheiman, he said the two politicians had used
their positions for personal advantage and created "a paranoid
atmosphere" in government. Hanchar, a former professor of law and
legislator, was a major supporter of Lukashenka's successful
presidential campaign in July. -- Jan Cleave, RFE/RL, Inc.

conference of ministers of Baltic Sea states, which ended on 8
December in the Estonian capital, the participants adopted the
principles of strategy for regional development. In planning the
development of cities and transportation systems, each country was
urged to regard improving the environment as the primary
consideration. The conference also expressed support for closer
interstate cooperation on economic and social issues. The
discussion of the region's transportation system ended with the
acceptance of the Latvian delegation's proposal to include
Latvia's major port cities, which so far have been outside the
network, BNS reported on 8 December. -- Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL,

Latvia's Citizenship and Immigration Department issued 1,213
temporary residence permits to Russian military personnel and
2,208 permits to their family members for the period 31 August to
5 December 1994, BNS reported on 7 December. The permits were
issued to military personnel living in Latvia as well as those who
asked for permission to come to the country to settle repatriation
issues. The department also said the 1,501 military staff who,
under Latvian-Russian agreements, should have left Latvia by 31
August 1994 have not yet done so. Russia has submitted a list of
22,320 military personnel who, Russia says, are entitled to stay
in Latvia under interstate agreements. The department has started
to check that list and obtained information about 15,701 military
personnel who were in Latvia as of 28 January 1992. Of that
number, 1,061 have never had residence permits. -- Dzintra Bungs,
RFE/RL, Inc.

LITHUANIAN PREMIER ON BUDGET. Adolfas Slezevicius told reporters
on 8 December that the government has increased anticipated
revenues in its 1995 budget to 5,200 million litai ($1,300
million) and that he expected the parliament would approve the
budget on 14 December, BNS reports. He noted that revenues rose
from an average of 330 million litai a month during the period
August-October to 427 million litai in November, owing to stricter
control on liquor and oil import and trade. He predicted that
Lithuania's gross domestic product in 1995 would increase by 5
percent and inflation would be held at 25 percent. -- Saulius
Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

PROBLEMS FOR LITHUANIAN REFINERY. A lack of crude oil has closed
down the Nafta refinery in Mazeikiai since 17 November, resulting
in losses of more than 1 million litai ($250,000) per day,
RFE/RL's Lithuanian Service reported on 7 December. Although the
Russian firm Lukoil signed an agreement with Lithuania in January
to supply 6 million tons of oil in 1994, it has sent only 1
million tons. Gediminas Kiesus, the refinery's deputy director,
said on 8 December that although the refinery received 40,000 tons
of oil from the Russian company Rosneft that day, it would start
up again only when it receives another 60,000 tons from Rosneft or
the 150,000 tons from Lukoil for which it has already paid $7.4
million as a guarantee for shipment. The oil supplied by Rosneft
will be shipped to Kaliningrad after it is refined. -- Saulius
Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

NOVEMBER INFLATION IN ESTONIA. The Estonian Statistics Department
announced that the consumer price index in November grew by 1.6
percent or 0.5 percent more than in October, BNS reported on 7
December. The costs of goods increased by 1.7 percent (1.4 percent
for food and 2.2 percent for manufactured goods), and services
went up by 1.4 percent. While the prices for dairy products and
eggs increased 7.8 percent, those for fruits and vegetables
declined by 3.6 percent. Compared with November 1993, the costs of
goods and services were up 45.4 percent and housing expenses up
100.7 percent. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET] (Compiled by Jan Cleave and Penny Morvant)
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
Division, is available through electronic mail by subscribing to
Inquiries about specific news items should be directed as
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Copyright 1994, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.

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