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RUSSIAN POPULATION SET TO PLUNGE AS NEIGHBORS' READY TO SOAR. The population of Russia will decline by 18 percent to 119.1 million people by 2050 from its current level of 145.5 million, reported on 23 July, citing the U.S.-based Population Reference Bureau. The populations of Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan are expected to decrease by 20 percent, 14 percent, and 10 percent, respectively. Those of most other CIS countries are projected to swell. Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan will see jumps of more than 35 percent. Moldova and Armenia will see jumps of 8 percent and 4 percent, respectively. JAC

CABINET HEADS MIGHT ROLL OVER UKRAINE'S FOOD-MARKET CRISIS. Premier Viktor Yanukovych on 23 July blamed recent rises in food prices (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 and 9 July 2003) on cabinet officials responsible for agrarian and economic policies, Interfax reported. "I see personal responsibility primarily on the part of the government's agrarian bloc, the Agriculture Ministry, the Economy Ministry, and the Antimonopoly Committee," Yanukovych said. He said a recent run on the food market was created "artificially." The premier claimed he knows which companies have profited from the crisis and who stands behind them, adding that the thread is leading to local bureaucrats, law enforcement agencies, and sometimes to "the offices of top government officials." Yanukovych proposed to President Leonid Kuchma that he should start by dismissing the governors of Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava, and Chernivtsi oblasts. JM