MOSCOW, JULY 24 -- Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev warned developing countries today that aid they receive from the Soviet Union will be reviewed to take into account the "real capabilities of our country."
Analysts said Gorbachev's statement, reported by the news agency Tass, seemed to be directed chiefly at Cuba, a major recipient of Soviet aid, and could signal the end of an era in which the Kremlin propped up economies of its Marxist allies at the expense of its own.
Gorbachev is under pressure to cope with pressing domestic economic problems, such as the declining standard of living in the Soviet Union, the rising budget deficit and a poor credit rating in international markets.
The Soviet Union spent $19 billion, or 1.4 percent of its gross national product, sending economic aid to developing countries last year, the labor newspaper Trud reported in February.
Gorbachev's statement indicated future economic relations with such states as Cuba, North Korea, Syria, Libya and Vietnam will be based on "the principles of mutual advantages and mutual interests."
The same statement also directed Soviet officials to transfer economic relations with members of the East Bloc trading group Comecon to a system dependent on world market prices and convertible currencies beginning Jan. 1.
Soviet officials had announced the possibility of a phased reduction of economic assistance to Cuba, which receives an estimated $4 billion to $5 billion a year in Soviet aid. Deliveries of Soviet oil to Cuba, averaging about 90 million barrels annually, already have been cut back.