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OUR AID PROGRAM TO SOVIET UNION DOES NOTHING TO REFORM ITS SYSTEM

The editorial, "Food package for Soviets makes sense for them and us," gives a number of reasons for aiding Gorbachev without fully exploring the negative aspects of channeling aid through the despised bureaucracy and KGB.

Nowhere does the editorial mention "perestroika" or suggest how aid will enhance the reform process. There are vague hopes that Gorbachev's gradual shift away from the democratic process is temporary, but this attitude is largely a matter of faith.

The absence of a linkage of aid to the observance of human rights by Gorbachev is imprudent and likely to result in the wrong conclusion being drawn by those in the USSR eager to "bust heads" and introduce "law and order," familiar to Communist and fascist regimes everywhere.

Obviously, dealing directly with the Communist-dominated central bureaucracy in Moscow and the disreputable KGB organization does nothing to reform the existing command economy nor to support the democratic political forces favoring decentralization and a free market which have been increasingly pushed into the background by Gorbachev's decrees and recent appointments of hard-liners.

We should ask whether the current aid program will help to hasten the abandonment of Gorbachev's central planning obsession and prevent the forcible removal of the elected leaders of the democratic opposition to the bankrupt command economy and imperial political system of the USSR?

The connection between aid and reform is not evident. Is "perestroika" a dead issue? Is Gorbachev to be maintained at any cost?

VINCENT RACENIS
Kenmore

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