Facing heavy pressure to reduce its tax arrears,Russia’s gas monopoly Gazprom has cut deliveries by 40% – 50% to customersin Moldova, and Belarus and may do so in Ukraine. Although the amounts arein dispute, Ukraine is said to owe over $1 billion and tiny Moldova nearlyhalf that. Belarus has put $240 million on the tab since April 1, 1996(debts prior to that date were forgiven in the Russia-Belarus politicalmerger signed last year). Gazprom chairman Rem Vyakhirev complains thatRussia’s tax authorities don’t understand. “Russia’s position in [these]energy markets is at stake,” he said. “If Russia leaves these markets, morepatient suppliers will take its place.”