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ROADBLOCKS CITED IN USSR’S BID TO BOOST FOOD OUTPUT

SHARE ROADBLOCKS CITED IN USSR’S BID TO BOOST FOOD OUTPUT

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev will find it nearly impossible to boost the production of food and material goods and build a more capitalistic approach to business and industry in his country, a West German foreign affairs expert told the Deseret News Monday.

Jochen Thies, editor in chief of Europa-Archiv, a bimonthly West German foreign policy journal, said Gorbachev will have to overturn more than 72 years of communist history in the Soviet Union. Thies is on a three-week lecture tour of the United States and Canada."He'll also have to overcome more than 18 million Soviet government employees who see Gorbachev's radical new ideas as a threat to their jobs," Thies said.

The Soviet Union is so far behind the West in its industrialization and its citizens have such a poor work ethic that it may take 50 years or more before Soviet citizens can actually acquire the food, clothing and conveniences they see advertised in Moscow store windows.

"As an example, the Soviets probably produce enough wheat to feed themselves, but their transportation facilities are so antiquated and their machinery so poor that only half of the food produced actually gets to consumers. The rest spoils."

Thies said Soviet workers are used to sloth, not energetic, capitalistic enterprise and "getting them to change their work habits will be a major difficulty."

He said he has little hope for the reunification of Germany nor does he expect much help from Western nations toward such a reunification.

"I doubt if the East German government will change its hard-line tactics, even though Gorbachev is asking his satellite nations to revamp their policies.

"He has so many troubles in so many areas of the USSR that I don't think he will go out of his way to earn more trouble from the East German government by trying to force them into drastic changes of attitude."