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P.M. BRIEFING : Soviets Tune In Debates, Output Off

June 27, 1989|From Times wire services

MOSCOW — So many Soviets were glued to televisions and radios, enthralled by the unprecedented open debate of the new Congress from May 25 to June 9, that industrial output dropped 20%, Tass press agency said today.

That is why officials decided to halt live coverage of the smaller, full-time legislature, the Supreme Soviet, Tass quoted Vice President Anatoly Lukyanov as saying.

"The most important meetings will be broadcast in full, but on tape, in the evening, when the working hours of most people are over," Tass said. News programs will broadcast highlights.

During the inaugural session of the Congress of People's Deputies, which met for 2 1/2 weeks from May 25 to June 9, repairmen disappeared.

Shoppers could hear their newly elected deputies criticizing Politburo members and demanding control over the dreaded KBG everywhere.

As they moved out of earshot of the broadcast at a checkout stand, they could walk outside to hear the words coming from a car radio.

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