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Important Recent News Concerning China & Russia

KGB: The Daily News Digest reported some time ago that the KGB announced the abolition of the Fifth Directorate, the section that had the task of "combating enemy ideological subversion". It turns out that the department was replaced by the Directorate for the Defense of the Soviet Constitutional System, which does the same thing. (Data from Insight, 11/27, p. 34)

SOVIET HEALTH CARE: An estimated 65% of the roughly 4,000 rural hospitals have no hot water, 27% lack sewage. Disposable syringes, commonplace in the West, are a luxury in the USSR.(U.S. News & World Report 11/20 p. 25)

SOVIET AGRICULTURE: Though 98% of agricultural lands are farmed by the state, fully 25% of the total agricultural output of the USSR comes from the 2% in private hands. 25% of the Soviet labor force is in agriculture, compared with roughly 3% in the US, yet the USSR averages just over 50% of the per-acre output of the US. Up to 25% of all grain is lost before it gets to the market, just about equal to the value of Soviet imports. Most is lost in shipping or simply rots before it can be harvested. The Soviets now have a worse diet than they did under Czar Nicholas II in 1913. Then, Russia was the world's largest food exporter; now it is the largest importer. On November 18, Soviet Agriculture chief Yegor Ligachev said it would be years before the Soviet Union could feed itself. (U.S. News & World Report, 11/20, p. 36, 100; Reuter, 11/18)

GORBACHEV, with his empire crumbling around him, reaffirmed his faith in the socialist (Communist) system and rejected any alternatives as daydreams. In a treatise covering 2.5 pages of the Communist Party daily Pravda, Gorbachev rejected any other course to a civilized and progressive society, saying the transient nature of capitalism had been proven and with it the necessity of moving on to a new state of social development, which he described as Marxism.(Reuter, 11/26)