Baltic Countries' Severed Trade With Russia

It is correct that the economies of Estonia and the other Baltic countries have suffered from a radical severing of trade with Russia, as was stated in the article "Estonia's Market Reforms Advance," July 14. However, this is due less to immoderate Baltic nationalism or demands for a quick removal of Russian occupation troops than to contradictions between state policy and a new economic "democracy" on the Russian side.

State-to-state agreements bartering Russian oil for Lithuanian and Latvian food break down when the Siberian producer refuses to accept as his payment a shipment of meat that went to St. Petersburg. Latvian newspapers recently went on strike to protest the inability of their government to get the Russian government to ensure that railcars of newsprint they had bought in Russia would make it across the border.

Having hoped for a slower breakdown of Soviet state structures, which might have eased their own transitions to free markets, Balts now find themselves left out not only from a preferred relationship with members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, but by a rather exclusive relationship between the commonwealth and the United States.

Though practically in-extricable from the Soviet Union a year ago, the Baltic "breakaway republics" even have been dropped from the semantic company of the other "former Soviet republics," a term US policymakers reserve for the Commonwealth of Independent States. Sandra Marefat, Lexington, Ky.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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