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No Free-Market Reforms, Gorbachev Aides Say

Associated Press

Reports of speeches by two officials close to Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev made clear Saturday that a freer economy is not part of his plan for achieving greater output and efficiency.

The authoritative Communist Party newspaper Pravda quoted Politburo member Yegor K. Ligachev as calling on graduates of a major party academy to work for revitalization “without any diversions in the direction of a market economy.”

Reports of the speech, to graduates of the Central Committee’s academy of social sciences, and of a similar address by fellow Politburo member Nikolai I. Ryzhkov at the national economics academy appeared in Pravda the day after they were delivered. The schools train managers for industrial enterprises and party organization jobs.

Both men are said to be close associates of Gorbachev, who elevated them to the ruling Communist Party organization roughly two months ago.

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Since becoming party chief March 11, Gorbachev has repeatedly called for higher industrial and agricultural output through greater efficiency and worker discipline. He has called for more economic experiments but has given few details of his plans for creating incentives.

The speeches by Ligachev and Ryzhkov reinforced Gorbachev’s statements on the need for greater economic progress. Ligachev implied criticism of the economic policies of the late President Leonid I. Brezhnev, who died in November, 1982.

“A sharp and decisive turn has already begun toward overcoming the negative tendencies in the economy and social life accumulated in the late 1970s and early 1980s,” he told the graduates. Gorbachev made a similar reference to the Brezhnev era in a speech June 11 to a Central Committee conference on the economy.

Ligachev added that these needed changes will take place “in the framework of scientific socialism without any diversions in the direction of a market economy.”

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