MOSCOW : Wasn't Japan Friendlier?

Back from a state visit to Japan, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev faces a major challenge to his leadership when the Communist Party's Central Committee convenes Wednesday with hard-liners calling him to "account" for the country's multiple crises.

Although Gorbachev has transferred much of his power base to the presidency, his additional position as party general secretary remains important. A blow from that side at this point could prove extremely damaging.

Meanwhile, the Soviet Parliament will continue battling over the government's controversial new anti-crisis program.

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