RUSAG-L: Current Events #21

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 Servicc 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 PostD.

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.


30 April 1994:
-The current exchange rate is listed at R1820 per dollar. (-TheWashington
Post,- April 30, 1994)


29 April 1994:
-Russia's Foreign Economic Relations Ministry projects that trade between
Russia and China will double from this year's $7.7 billion by the year 2000,
making China Russia's major trading partner.  The Ministry's report stated that
the bulk of the trade occurs between the border regions of the two countries.
In exchange for credit extension, Russia will deliver some $290 million worth
of goods to China this year.  A large portion of the goods will consist of
military equipment. (RFE/RL, April 29, 1994)


28 April 1994:
-In its proposed rejection of the 1994 draft federal budget, the State Duma's
Economic Policy listed several areas that the budget slighted or overlooked.
Some of the areas included:  education, basic research, neglect of military
conversion, and the possibility of additional revenues.  The Committee then
went on to criticize the draft for raising deficit projections. (RFE/RL, April
28, 1994)

-Acting Finance Minister Sergei Dubinin has requested that the $6 billion
currency stabilization fund, conditionally promised by G-7, be redirected
toward providing social services to the poor, the elderly, and the
unemployed.  The stabilization fund is associated with the IMF and tied to
preconditions which Russia  seems unlikely to meet, given her failure to meet
previous guidelines. (RFE/RL, April 28, 1994)

-Today, only three representatives out of 248 participants failed to sign the
Civic Accord.  Communist Party leader, Gennadii Zyuganov, Aman Tuleev, chairman
of the Kemerovo oblast legislature, and N. E. Vinogradov, chairman of the
Vladimiroblast legislature refused to sign the document.  All three have been
among the sharpest critics of Yeltsin's policies. (RFE/RL, April 29, 1994)


27 April 1994:
-After talks with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin announced that the two prime ministers had signed six cooperation
agreements.  The areas ofcooperation included:  agriculture, science,
technology, culture, public health, and tourism. (China Radio International,
April 27,1994, from World Radio Transmission Services.)


26 April 1994:
-A new draft of the federal budget sharply raises the projected deficit for
1994.  The new draft cites an expected deficit of 68.8 trillion rubles, up from
the 53.8 trillion rubles presentedto the IMF in March.  Most of the additional
spending is attributed to the additional 8 trillion rubles allocated to the
agricultural sector and the extra one trillion rubles set aside for social
spending. (RFE/RL, April 26, 1994)

-In an interview in the German newspaper -Der Spiegel-, Boris Yeltsin accused
the West of discriminating against Russia in  terms of trade and economic
cooperation.  Yeltsin complained that Russia was not represented on Western
committees that regulate  the export of goods to former socialist countries.
He also said that the European Community continues to discriminate
against Russia by placing more and more conditions on Russia before setting up
a cooperation agreement. (RFE/RL, April 26, 1994)

-Deputy Economics Minister Andrei Shapovaliants is projecting that the number
of unemployed in Russia will reach 5 million by the end of 1994.  The head of
the Federal Employment Service, on the other hand, is predicting a year end
total of 6.5 million unemployed.  These estimations are expected to rise
dramatically once the government introduces bankruptcy procedures.
(RFE/RL,April 26, 1994)

-According to a report on the radio station "Ekho Moskvy," the Russian mafia
has used the privatization process in Russia to accumulate a great deal of
wealth and power.   The report said that researchers at the Russian Academy
of Sciences have estimated that the Russian mafia has already accumulated 55
percent of financial capital and some 80 percent of shares and vouchers.
(RFE/RL, April 26, 1994)


25 April 1994:
-Despite the fact that Russia has failed to meet three successive goals for
economic stabilization, an IMF official expressed confidence that the Russian
economy has reached a point of no return in its transition to a market economy.
The World Bank is expected to accelerate up to $1 billion in funds and up to
$4 billion in standby credit.  An article in -The Financial Times-of April 25
listed Russia's external financial needs for 1994 at $34 billion.  This is in
addition to the $1.5 billion recently approved by the IMF. (RFE/RL, April 25,
1994)


24 April 1994:
-In an interview with an Interfax news agency, Vice-Premier Aleksandr
Zaveryukha emphasized the Russian government's intention to "accelerate reforms
in agriculture and work out the procedure for declaring a company bankrupt this
year." Zaveryukha also stressed the continued decline in agricultural output,
citing a 13 percent decline in the first quarter of this year. (Radio Moscow
World Service, April 24, 1994, from World Radio Transcription Services)


15 April 1994:
-A final decision has not been made on how the Russian government will spend
the money that comes from privatization.  The government is unsure whether to
channel the money into the federal budget or leave the money with enterprises
so they can invest it. (FBIS, April 15, 1994)


April 1994:
-In January-June 1993, the total sum of foreign investments in Russia amounted
to R146.6 billion.  70.9 percent represented investments in production.
(-President,- p. 2, February 25, 1994, as reported by -Russian Travel
Monthly,) April 1994)

-According to an article in -Rossiyskiye Ekonomicheskiye Vedomosti,- the State
Property Committee lists 75 million Russians as having invested their vouchers
in 8500 privatized enterprises and an equal number as having not used
their privatization checks.  New auctions are expected to be held for shares of
Gazprom and LUKoil. (-Rossiyskiye Ekonomicheskiye Vedomosti,- p. 1, #4, March
1994, as reported by -Russian Travel Monthly, April 1994)



Area of Interest:  Lithuania

28 April 1994:
-During his visit to the United States, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Povilas
Gylys signed a trade relations agreement with the United States.  The accords
included protection of intellectual property and conferred the most favored
nation status for both countries.  (RFE/RL, April 29, 1994)