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THE WEEK AHEAD

VILNIUS : Hatching Nest Eggs

August 23, 1994

In Lithuania--where inflation was upward of 1,100% in 1992 and 188% in 1993--voters will cast ballots Saturday in a national referendum on requiring the government to multiply citizens' savings 100-fold.

The referendum has Western economists gasping in horror. The International Monetary Fund has condemned it as likely to kick off a new stage of wild inflation,

Indeed, Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas has asked voters just where the government--already running a small deficit--is supposed to find enough money to give everyone a larger nest egg.

Millions have watched helplessly as their life savings fizzled to nothing in Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine and other inflation-prone republics emerging from the wreckage of the Soviet Union.

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