Soviet Union: Good News, Bad Times

Gorbachev seeks an economic truce with his restive republics, hoping to ease the country's tensions

With good news scarcer than sausage in the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev made the most of what was available last week. Emerging jubilant from a Kremlin meeting with the Federation Council, a policymaking body that includes leaders of the 15 republics, the President announced that a temporary economic truce had been reached with the republics, finally making it possible to draft a national budget for the coming year. The central government and the republics, Gorbachev said, would also cooperate to overcome a deepening food crisis and set up a transitional administration until a new treaty reorganizing the federal structure of the...

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