April 22, 1994

RUSAG-L:  Current Events #20

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 Serve 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.


22 April 1994:
-The current exchange rate is R1792 per dollar. (-The Washington Post, April
22, 1994)

-Although several Russian political parties have expressed a willingness to
sign the Civic Accord Agreement on April 28, others appear reluctant to join
the Accord.  Vladimir Zhirinovsky's faction announced it would sign the Accord
only if certain key government officials, including Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev, were dismissed.  The Agrarian Party, the communists, the centrist
Democratic Party, and the liberal bloc have also expressed a reluctance to
join the Accord.  According to reports, many doubt the mere signing of a
document will bring about conformity in society.  Others fear the Accord will
detract the government from genuine political reform. (RFE/RL, April 22, 1994)


20 April 1994:
-Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin has announced that the Russian Federation
will use the Nizhnii Novgorod blueprint for land privatization. (RFE/RL, April
20, 1994) The International Finance Corporation has been active in the Nizhni
Novgorod experiment.  Nizhni Novgorod's progressive mayor, Nemstov, has
championed an aggressive approach toward land privatization.


12 April 1994:
-Nikolai Travkin, chairman and founder of the Democratic Party of Russia,
claims that  one of the main reasons current reforms have failed is the
government's neglect of the agricultural sector.  Travkin said the
agricultural sector could be reformed more quickly than the industrial or
defense sectors.  He also argued that Russian agriculture's path  lay
somewhere between the Soviet Union's collectivized farms and the United
States' farming system. (Nexis/Lexis through Mead Data Central Inc., Reuters,
Limited, April 12, 1994)


6 April 1994:
-According to the grain trade monthly Agrokhleb Report, Russia's 1994 grain
output could fall by 10-14 percent.  The Report cites reductions in winter
grain sowing, lower fertilizer use, and a possible reduction in spring
planting as reasons for the decline.  The Russian Agriculture Ministry has
also predicted a decline in grain output of about 12 million tons in 1994
because of lower fertilizer use. (Nexis/Lexis through Mead Data Central Inc.,
the Reuter European Business Report, April 6, 1994)


4 April 1994:
-Deputies of the committees of both Chambers of the Parliament for Agrarian
Issues, representatives of the government, researchers, experts, and heads of
the agro-industrial complex received a copy of a draft of the presidential
decree "On the Reorganization of Agricultural Enterprises and the Backing of
Associations (Collective Peasant Farms)."  The draft assigns agents of the
government the task of decollectivizing Russian agriculture.  Participants in
the parliamentary hearing called the document "anti- peasant" and prepared to
send Boris Yeltsin a letter citing their objections to the idea of
decollectivizing Russian agriculture. (Nexis/Lexis through Mead Data Central
Inc., The Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union TASS)


1 April 1994:
-Viktor Khlystun, Russia's Agriculture and Food Minister, favors retaining the
custom tariffs imposed March 15 on food and other products as a way of
safeguarding the interests of domestic commodity producers.  Khlystun reported
that farms had received 1 trillion of the 5 trillion rubles allocated for
agriculture this year.  However, because the farms did not receive the money
until late spring, farmers did not acquire enough spare parts, fuel and
lubricants, and pesticides.  Khlystun described the situation regarding spring
sowing as "alarming but not desperate."  (FBIS, April 1, 1994)



Area of Interest:  Poland

21 April 1994:
-The Polish government continues to debate the question of wage controls in
state firms



as industrial wages rose 14.8% above levels in February.  A series of
reversals on wage controls have rendered the ruling coalition unable to form a
coherent economic policy.  In other financial news, the director of the
finance ministry's tax control office said that the "gray sphere" of semilegal
economic activity accounts for 20% of Polish GDP or $15.5 billion.  (In the
US, the gray sphere accounts for 30% of GDP.)  Polish officials claim that
much of the semilegal economic activity involves unregistered trade or
services performed by legal firms. (RFE/RL, April 21, 1994)