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SOVIET PREMIER REJECTS REFORMS

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Premier Nikolai I. Ryzhkov, spurning the demands of progressives, offered an economic reform plan Wednesday that continues the ban on private property and generally maintains central control of the economy.

The 2,250-member Congress interrupted the premier's nearly two-hour speech with applause only once. About half the deputies clapped when Ryzhkov declared that "the state is the owner of the means of production."Ryzhkov claimed he was offering a radical reform "for carrying the economy out of a crisis." Food and consumer goods are in painfully short supply, and authorities now wonder if they will have enough fuel to heat Soviet apartments through the long winter.

Ryzhkov's speech displeased progressives who pushed unsuccessfully on Tuesday to have the Congress take up legislation to liberalize private property ownership and to consider lifting the Communist Party's monopoly on power.

5000+v Such deputies insist that Communist ideology must be divorced from economic policy if the country is to pull itself out of a grave economic crisis.

"Five years ago, we said it was a choice between five-year plans and perestroika, and unfortunately, it turns out the five-year plan has won," said economist and parliamentarian Pavel Bunich in the lobby outside the Kremlin's snow-covered Palace of Congresses.

President Mikhail S. Gorbachev successfully defeated attempts to address such broad ideological questions and got the agenda he wanted for the 10-day congress that opened Tuesday - a focus on the government's economic reform program, known as perestroika.

But Ryzhkov's speech appeared more conservative than the reform plan unveiled last month by his deputy, Leonid Abalkin. That plan called for measures to lift state controls on some prices, sell off unprofitable state enterprises and lay the groundwork for a type of stock market.

Ryzhkov spoke at length about developing a "socialist market" economy that the state would control, but he gave few details. He offered no specifics on letting market forces dictate prices, which are artifically low because of state subsidies on many goods.

Because of consumer fears that easing price controls will result in exorbitant prices, the government will discuss compensation for price increases beginning next year and only afterward draft the reform, he said.

The premier also said the government would begin relying less on centralized planning in a second stage of reform beginning in 1993.

But his report appeared to contain nothing to give Soviets an incentive to work efficiently.

"We have to leave free to the market only that part of production that would not lead to unbalancing the economy," Ryzhkov said.

The official Tass news agency said Ryzhkov rejected demands for private property ownership. He repeated previously announced plans to shift more production from heavy industry to consumer goods and to improve technology.

The reforms that Gorbachev began when he rose to power in 1985 are now being outpaced by changes in other East bloc nations.

In Moscow, progressives said the government should, instead of releasing yet another economic report, offer specific legislation that the Congress could immediately take up.

They also criticized the ruling Communists for refusing to back the legalization of private property, which many economists consider crucial to ending chronic consumer shortages and industrial inefficiency.

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(Additional information)

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