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Supreme Soviet OKs Economic, Social Reforms

June 30, 1987|Associated Press

MOSCOW — The Supreme Soviet today unanimously adopted a historic economic reform law proposed by Communist Party chief Mikhail S. Gorbachev to improve production by giving managers more autonomy and responsibility.

The law was adopted by a show of hands five minutes into the second day of the summer session of the Supreme Soviet, the nominal Parliament.

Also approved was a law establishing an appeals process for citizens who believe their rights have been violated by officials and a law calling for a nationwide network of public discussion groups to broaden citizen participation in national affairs.

The economic changes championed by Gorbachev are intended to force businesses to be economically self-sufficient, to revamp the system of pricing and supply and to curb the power of state bureaucrats.

Significant Change

Although government planners will retain some powers under the reform package, it represents a dramatic break with the state-financed "command economy" that had been the Soviet ideal since Josef Stalin's rule.

The 1,500-member Supreme Soviet routinely gives a stamp of approval to decisions made by the ruling Politburo. Although its sessions are treated with much fanfare by the state-run media, the lawmakers adopt party proposals by unanimous vote.

The principles of the new discussion law were outlined in a speech by President Andrei A. Gromyko, but few specifics were explained.

Sincere Opinions Sought

Current methods of gathering public opinion have been "over organized and in many ways were a formality," Gromyko said. He added that the leadership's campaigns for economic and social reform "demand a precisely functioning mechanism of bringing out public opinion."

The law was adopted after being amended to include discussion of Soviet foreign policy as well as of domestic affairs.

The appeals law, as explained by party Secretary Georgy P. Razumovsky, requires the court to respond within 10 days to citizens' complaints of rights violations.

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