April 15, 1994

Please keep in mind that the following current events information represents
information about events in Russian agriculture we received during the past
week, while the actual events may have occurred earlier.

The sources for the information below include, but are not limited to, the
following:  the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Daily Report (RFE/RL), the
Foreign Broadcast Information Service at the Central Intelligence Agency's
Central Eurasia Daily Report (FBIS), U.S. Department of Agriculture's AG a.m.,
Nexis/Lexis through Mead Data Central, Inc., and The Washington Post.

The Russian Agricultural List Service is sponsored by the University of
Maryland College of Agriculture at College Park, the Research and Scientific
Exchanges Division, Foreign Agriculture Service/International Cooperation and
Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Committee on
International Science and Education of the Joint Council on Food and
Agricultural Sciences.


15 April 1994:
-The current exchange rate is R1785 per dollar. (-The Washington Post-, April
14, 1994)


14 April 1994:
-Russian President Boris Yeltsin has hinted that Russia may not join the
Partnership for Peace program which allows former Eastern bloc countries to
participate in some NATO operations.  Yeltsin, miffed because he was not
notified prior to the UN air strikes in Bosnia, also tied wider access for
Russian goods in Western markets to Russia's willingness to participate in the
Partnership for Peace program. (-The Washington Post-, April 14, 1994)


12 April 1994:
-President Yeltsin's presidential decree in January on taxes on loans to
Russia-based firms, except those channeled through Russian banks, continues to
cause confusion for foreign investors.  Russian tax authorities have begun
asking foreign firms to pay a 23% tax on investment capital.  However, First
Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets has denied the tax exists.  Meanwhile,
the deputy head of the State Tax Committee told Reuters that, while the topic
of taxing foreign loans and investments does exist, the decree does not make
clear what conclusion should be reached in regard to those taxes. (RFE/RL,
April 12, 1994)


11 April 1994:
-The World Bank has just completed plans to provide targeted loans to Russian
agriculture if the Russian government is able to meet certain demands.
According to the Bank, the Russian government must issue an official statement
endorsing the projects funded by the Bank; the Russian Finance Ministry must
agree to provide funding for the Russian part of the project; the government
must choose a specific bank into which the funds will be deposited, and the
government has to identify the companies that it will use to carry out the
projects.  Deputy Premier Aleksandr Zaveryuka thinks the government will have
no problems meeting these demands. (Nexis/Lexis through Mead Data Inc., April
11, 1994)


8 April 1994:
-According to an article that appeared in -Pravda-, Russian agriculture is in
desperate need of assistance, and, if emergency measures are not introduced
soon, Russia could become a "dying country."  The article cited officials at
the Ministry of Agriculture as saying that the market had proven ineffective
in the countryside and that, irrespective of their type of ownership, rural
commodity producers were approaching "disaster."  The article also said that
Agriculture Ministry officials have predicted that gross grain harvest will
not exceed 88.7 million tons in 1994. (Nexis/Lexis through Mead Data Control
Inc., April 8, 1994)

-In an editorial report published by political observer A. Bykovskiy, Russian
Agriculture and Food Minister V.N. Khlystun addressed the effects of imports
on Russian agriculture.  Khlystun said that commodity producers all over the
world were having trouble finding markets for their goods and so they had
taken advantage of the opening of the huge Russian market, flooding the market
with foreign imports.  Foreign import prices were usually much lower than
Russian internal prices because government debt to Russian producers prevented
them from lowering their prices.  Khlystun also commented that, if April
credits were delayed to farmers, the situation in the countryside would be
"irremediable." (Nexis/Lexis through Mead Data Control Inc., April 8, 1994)


9 March 1994:
-President Boris Yeltsin voiced yet another concern in regard to the import
duties that took effect on March 15.  He believes certain negative effects,
such as those relating to such goods as white sugar, should be corrected.
(U.S. Department of Agriculture's AG a.m., March 29, 1994)  Yeltsin did not
elaborate on what he thought the negative effects included nor how he thought
they could be corrected.

-Russia's minister for foreign economic relations said that Russia plans to
abolish export duties and quotas which restrict exports by 1995.  He also
indicated that Russia would abandon centralized imports. (U.S. Department of
Agriculture's AG a.m., March 29, 1994)

-The President of Kazakhstan has called on member states of the Commonwealth of
Independent States to form an organization much like the 12 member European
Union.  He advocated establishing a sole currency and freedom of movement
across national borders. (U.S. Department of Agriculture's AG a.m., March 29,
1994)


24 March 1994:
-Izvestiya- reports that food suppliers have reacted to the recent increase in
import tariffs by substantially increasing prices of domestic foodstuffs.  For
example, Smolensk  offered to supply Moscow with 100 tons of butter at 3,700
rubles per kilogram and then another 50 tons at 4,200 rubles.  Voronezh raised
their butter prices to 5,000 rubles per kilogram.  Since there are substantial
supplies of food everywhere and city authorities expect supply and demand to
change, purchasing agents are in no hurry to buy food at those prices.  Plus,
because the population cannot afford to pay such high prices, everyone is
expecting President Yeltsin to cancel or amend the decree. (FBIS, March 24,
1994)



Area of Interest:  Bulgaria
-12 April 1994:
The International Monetary Fund has approved an initial loan of $162 million
for Bulgaria with an additional $97 million tagged as standby credit.
According to the IMF, Bulgaria's government program for the fiscal year is
designed to "achieve a turnaround," despite the high inflation in 1993 and the
current economic deterioration. (RFE/RL, April 12, 1994)


- Estonia
-11 April 1994:
The Estonian Statistics Department issued figures showing that the consumer
price index rose by 8.9% in March.  The greatest increases occurred in the
following:  "housing--18.5%, milk and eggs--13.3%, transport and
communications--9.7%, meat and fish--8.2%, and flour, fruits, and
vegetables--8%." (RFE/RL, April 11, 1994)