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Russia: News Roundup--Regions Try To Cope With Crisis


Prague, 18 September 1998 (RFE/RL) -- A roundup of news items about how Russia's regions are coping with the current economic crisis.

Red Cross Warns of the Dangers of Hunger, Disease in Kola Peninsula

Moscow -- The Russian daily Novye Izvestiya reported yesterday that the Finnish and Norwegian Red Cross consider the threat of hunger and disease in the Kola Peninsular as imminent. The newspaper cites Finnish Red Cross spokesman Martti Vepsalainen as saying that up to 70,000 people in the area do not have access to basic foodstuffs because of the recent price hikes. The Red Cross sent representatives to assess the situation in the peninsula after Murmansk regional governor Yury Evdokimov appealed to neighboring Scandinavian countries for humanitarian aid in the aftermath of the collapse of the Russian ruble.

Lithuania to Provide Medical Aid to Kaliningrad

Kaliningrad -- The Baltic News Service reports that Lithuania is set to deliver 250,000 dollars worth of medical aid to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. The agency reported that the protocols agreeing to the transfers of urgently needed medicines was signed yesterday at the Lithuanian consulate in Kaliningrad. The Lithuanian medicines are intended for urban and regional childrens' hospitals, intensive care hospitals, and psychoneurological clinics. Last week, the Polish government offered to send food aid to Kaliningrad which has declared an emergency economic situation in the wake of Russia's financial crisis.

Low-Income Families to Receive Free Foodstuffs in Maritime Territory

Vladivostok -- Itar-Tass reports that from October 1 low income families in the Maritime territory will receive free donations of sugar, cereals, flour, oil, and other foodstuffs. Tass said yesterday that the Maritime administration has set aside nine million rubles from the territorial budget to provide the necessary subsidies. Prices in this Far Eastern territory rocketed out of the reach of many inhabitants in the wake of last month's effective devaluation of the ruble.

Moscow Introduces Price Controls on Basic Foodstuffs

Moscow -- In Moscow, Mayor Yury Luzhkov has issued a decree prohibiting traders from increasing prices on basic products such as sugar, matches, salt, soap or eggs by more than 20 percent. AP says the decree, issued Tuesday, affects 29 products for the period starting September 15 until November 1, 1998. The deputy head of Moscow's consumer department Svetlana Korolyova says the authorities will impose the controls on a case by case basis and that other goods, such as luxury items and imports, will not be affected. Korolyova says the controls are designed to stop shop owners from hiking up their prices deliberately.

Financial Crisis Affects Print Media in Tatarstan

Prague -- A four-fold increase in the price of paper in Tatarstan has led to newspapers issuing smaller editions to reduce costs. The deputy chief editor of one leading Tatarstan newspaper, Tatarstan Yashlerle, told local television on Tuesday that his newspaper did not have enough funds to maintain regular production to the end of the year. Most of the newspapers in the republic invested their working capital in short term Treasury Bills which were disavowed by the Russian government last month.
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