LETTER : Forced back into Moscow's arms

Sir: In your leading article on 3 April ("Back in the USSR"), you acknowledge the right of Belarus and others to forge closer links with Russia yet, with regard to Bulgaria, you state that Western leaders should remind Boris Yeltsin that "the independence of Eastern Europe is absolutely not up for discussion".

Exposing its economy to the rigours of market forces over the last few years has caused many Bulgarian businesses to collapse, resulting in unemployment and inflation. These factors contributed to the former Communists being returned to power in the democratic elections of December 1994. Bulgaria's leaders would undoubtedly have broad public support for closer ties with Russia.

In order to ensure that Bulgaria does not turn its back on recent reforms, investment from the West is required rather then your bellicose statements. It is to be hoped that the annual meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, to be held in Sofia this week, may catalyse such activity.

Michael J Rhodes

Harpenden, Hertfordshire

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