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Soviets say living standards declining

The Soviet Union released details of falling production and living standards Saturday, a day after parliament approved an historic switch to a market economy. The State Statistics Committee Goskomstat published figures showing falling industrial output and declining exports of crude oil, a major hard currency earner, during the first nine months of this year.

"The figures . . . bear witness to a further intensification of the crisis in society. Production continued to fall . . . the economy became more unmanageable," Goskomstat said in its introduction to the figures, which appeared in the weekly Economy and Life.

After months of delays and wrangling, the Soviet parliament agreed Friday to switch to a market economy, but President Mikhail Gorbachev warned that the change could take years.

Russian Federation Prime Minister Ivan Silayev immediately declared his republic would go ahead with a more radical program, setting the stage for a fight between the republics and the Kremlin.

The Soviet Union looks certain to record its second consecutive trade deficit this year after 13 years of surpluses.

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