A leading Soviet economist has frankly warned the Kremlin's allies that Moscow is near the limits of its capacity to supply them with energy. Prof. Oleg Bogomolov, head of the Institute of the Economy of the World Socialist System in Moscow, forecasts that by 1990 the six East European Soviet allies and Cuba, Mongolia, and Vietnam will import half their energy supplies from outside the bloc. In 1975, the members of Comecon, the Communist trading group, drew -- except for the Soviet Union -- 70 percent of their energy supplies from within the bloc.
This appears to indicate the consequences of the Kremlin decision, announced at a Comecon summit in June, to deliver a maximum 20 percent more energy to its allies during the 1981-85 plan period than in the previous five years.
Professor Bogomolov says that efforts are already under way to increase production in Eastern Europe of coal, hydroelectric power, and atomic power and that scientists are looking for new ways of making liquied fuel from coal. But he says that instead of waiting for the Soviet Union to solve their problems, the other Comecon countries should help themselves by doing more to conserve energy. He adds that the Soviet-bloc countries will need to improve their planning techniques to predict their energy needs more accurately.