|If you are not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don't want to go there. - Martin Luther|
No. 129, 09 July 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR G-7 ECONOMIC PACKAGE FOR YELTSIN. President Boris Yeltsin left Munich with a modest basket of incentives to encourage self-help. He diplomatically remarked: "I certainly didn't expect any more than that, and I didn't want any less." Russia received: endorsement of the IMF offer of $1 billion in credits; conditional assurances on the rest of the $24-billion package; encouraging words on debt rescheduling; a promise of coordinated aid on nuclear safety; pledges on the granting of most favored nation status; and the unlocking of a $500 million export cover commitment by the UK. Yeltsin offered to trade Russia's foreign debt for equity--mineral rights, oil leases, industrial plants, and land. He also undertook to pursue the path of radical economic reform. (Keith Bush) RUSSIAN DEFENSE, SECURITY OFFICIALS DENY COUP RUMORS. High-ranking representatives of Russia's ministries of defense and security, reacting to recent statements by Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev and others, held a press conference on 8 July to deny that they are planning a coup, ITAR-TASS and Russian TV reported. Top Security Ministry analyst, General Ksenofont Ippolotov, suggested that the rumors were being spread in order to exclude the defense and security agencies from the policy-making process. None of the spokesmen, however, ruled out the possibility that extremists could incite unrest among a population worn out by economic hardship. (Brenda Horrigan) STANKEVICH ATTACKS KOZYREV. The struggle over Russia's foreign policy course has intensified. Presidential advisor Sergei Stankevich attacked Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev for lacking a clear concept in foreign policy in an article in Izvestiya on 8 July. He maintained that Kozyrev's indecisiveness in tackling the Trans-Dniester problem has led to bloodshed. He criticized Moscow's diplomacy toward the Baltic states and called for sanctions against Estonia and Latvia, where, he asserted, millions of Russians have been denied basic rights. He noted that although Russia would never become an empire again, it will be a great power, which should, however, concentrate on Russia's basic needs and refrain from expansionism. (Alexander Rahr) CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT IN MOLDOVA. Col. Gen. Vladimir Semenov, commander of Russia's land forces, arrived in Moldova on 7 July as a plenipotentiary of the Russian president. A cease-fire was then signed by Moldovan First Deputy Minister of Defense Pavel Creanga, "Dniester republican guard" commander Stefan Kitsak, and Semenov, Russian and Moldovan media reported. Effective as of midnight on 8 July, the agreement provides for an immediate and unconditional cease-fire; the redeployment of all armored vehicles, artillery, rocket launchers, and mine and grenade throwers to designated locations behind the front lines; the withdrawal of snipers and the recall of covert operations units to their barracks; the wide dissemination of these orders through the mass media; and the creation of joint groups of monitors from Moldova's Ministry of Defense, the "Dniester guard," Russia's 14th Army, and Russia's Ministry of Defense. The cease-fire is not part of the multilateral peacemaking operation initiated by the CIS on 6 July but, rather, an outcome of a recent agreement between Yeltsin and Moldovan President Mircea Snegur to act jointly as "guarantors" of a cease-fire. (Vladimir Socor) MILITARY COMMANDERS ON GENERAL LEBED. Russian TV reported on 8 July that the military leadership of the Russian Federation has ordered Gen. Aleksandr Lebed to cease meeting with representatives of the central media. Lebed, recently appointed commander of the 14th Army in Moldova, has since made a number of provocative, anti-Moldovan statements. In Moscow, meanwhile, a group of high-ranking Russian officers, including at least one member of the General Staff, refused to condemn Lebed's statements, and one called him a patriot, The New York Times reported on 9 July. Western agencies on 8 July reported that Shaposhnikov had also refused to condemn Lebed. (Stephen Foye) RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES CFE. The Russian parliament on 8 July ratified the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE), ITAR-TASS reported. Russian Deputy Defense Minister Valerii Mironov defended the treaty before parliament, arguing that the treaty's requirements have had an important impact on Russian military reform. The parliament also adopted a resolution on Russia's international obligations with respect to chemical and biological weapons. According to ITAR-TASS, the resolution says that Russia is the legal successor to the USSR in its obligations on biological and chemical weapons. (Stephen Foye) SHAPOSHNIKOV ON CIS COMMAND STRUCTURE. According to the CIS commander in chief, Evgenii Shaposhnikov, the main functions of his command will include centralized control over strategic nuclear arms, coordination of military doctrines and military reforms of CIS member states, and the settling of armed conflicts both inside the CIS and along its borders. The newly appointed deputy CIS commander, Boris Pyankov, will be in charge of the latter task, according to Shaposhnikov, and will head a special structure created for that purpose. Shaposhnikov added that the CIS command would consist of some 300 military and 100 civilian employees, that the CIS commander will remain subordinated to the Council of Heads of State, and that he will also run meetings of the Council of Defense Ministers. This council will have a committee for coordinating nuclear strategy and a secretariat. (Stephen Foye) TENSIONS FLARE OVER BLACK SEA FLEET, STRATEGIC FORCES. The commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Adm. Igor Kasatonov, on 8 July accused Ukraine of violating the Dagomys agreement on the Black Sea Fleet by re-subordinating a marine regiment of the fleet to the command of the Ukrainian Odessa Military District, ITAR-TASS reported. On the same day, the Coordinating Council of the Black Sea Fleet Officers' Assembly threatened to take resolute measures if Kiev did not halt what the council called the "Ukrainization" of the fleet. The pro-Russian officers charged that Ukraine was behind a massive propaganda effort to destabilize the fleet, ITAR-TASS reported, and they threatened to join "the political struggle for the holding of referendum on the future of Crimea." Also on 8 July, Shaposhnikov accused Ukraine of violating the Lisbon agreement by putting strategic nuclear forces under Kiev's command. (Stephen Foye) CPSU HEARINGS: NOT A "POLITICAL TRIBUNAL." At the close of the first day of the Constitutional Court hearings, chairman, Valerii Zorkin, called on both sides to show more restraint in their remarks and to avoid turning the hearings into a "political tribunal," Russian and Western agencies reported on 7 July. According to Radio Rossii, Zorkin noted that the court, "examines matters of law and not matters of political expediency." His remarks followed a rousing defense of the CPSU and an attack on the Russian president made by Dmitrii Stepanov in which he threatened an armed seizure of power. Stepanov was then barred from the proceedings. In an apparent effort to avoid turning the hearings into a trial of communism, the court has decided to consider the constitutionality of Yeltsin's decrees banning the Party first, and only then to address the question of whether the Party itself had acted unconstitutionally. (Carla Thorson) YELTSIN'S LAWYERS PRESENT ARGUMENTS ON CPSU. On 8 July, after Zorkin again warned the participants to refrain from turning the hearings into a political show, lawyers for the Russian president launched their defense of Yeltsin's ban on the Communist Party. Sergei Shakhrai argued that the Communist Party was not a political party in any sense of the term. He called the CPSU the "most powerful organization of the 20th Century"--a "phantom government" that stole state funds, repressed dissidents and assassinated its enemies, Russian and Western agencies reported. As evidence of the Party's involvement in the August 1991 coup attempt, Shakhrai also presented telegrams from various party leaders declaring their full support for the Emergency Committee. Shakhrai concluded that Yeltsin had not only a legal right, but a constitutional obligation to ban the Party. (Carla Thorson) SOME PARTY ARCHIVE MATERIALS SAID TO BE FORGED. On 8 July, "Vesti" cited a warning, issued by the Russian governmental commission responsible for the declassification of the CPSU archives, which noted that some of the documents published in the Russian and Western press amount to forgery. The commission referred specifically to materials that allegedly came from top secret CPSU files and Soviet security bodies, and which had been turned over to the media by a former senior official in the CPSU Central Committee International Department, Anatolii Smirnov. Immediately following the August 1991 attempted coup, Smirnov had released documents on the Party's financing of foreign communist parties. (Julia Wishnevsky) TV PROGRAM PARTIALLY REHABILITATING GORBACHEV CENSORED. A Russian TV program called "7 Dnei," (7 Days), announced that a documentary on the Communist Party was scheduled to be broadcast in the regular series, Chernyi Yashchik (Black Box), on 8 July. The program, however, was replaced by another in the same series. According to "7 Dnei," the censored program included a letter, sent on 26 April 1986 by the USSR deputy minister for energy, which claimed that there was no radiation or public health threat following the Chernobyl accident. This assertion would appear to confirm the version of events presented by the Gorbachev leadership, (namely, that they were misinformed by state officials). This evidence would also contradict recent speculation in the media that Gorbachev and Yakovlev knew everything about the disaster from the onset but deliberately covered up the truth. (Julia Wishnevsky) UKRAINIAN ECONOMICS MINISTER TO STAY ON. Ukrainian Economics Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Lanovy told a press conference in Kiev on 8 July that he will not step down from his post, Radio Ukraine and ITAR-TASS reported. The day before Lanovy had said that he was prepared to resign because of lack of support from the president. Lanovy told reporters that he would continue to push for economic reforms, but that he had no intention of heading a new government. (Roman Solchanyk) AZERBAIJAN DECLARES UNILATERAL CEASE-FIRE IN KARABAKH. Addressing delegates to the CSCE conference in Helsinki on 8 July, Azerbaijani President Abulfaz Elchibey announced that Azerbaijan will observe a unilateral cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh, beginning on 9 July, Western agencies reported. An Azerbaijani delegate to the CSCE Karabakh talks in Rome said that the decision had been taken in compliance with an appeal from the Italian chairman of the talks, Mario Raffaelli, last weekend. The Armenian mission in Moscow charged that Azerbaijan had nonetheless launched a new offensive in the Mardakert raion of Karabakh, CIS TV reported on 8 July. The Armenian parliament passed a decree affirming its support for the rights of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh and rejecting any international document stipulating that the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is a part of Azerbaijan, ITAR-TASS reported. (Liz Fuller) TURKISH "PEACE CORPS" TO AID MUSLIM REPUBLICS. Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan will receive groups of Turkish professional volunteers, financed by Turkey and the United Nations this fall, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 8 July. Priority will be given to aiding the banking, legal, and telecommunications systems as well as agriculture in these states. The United States, Japan and the European Community are expected to join the United Nations Development Program in funding the project, which was unveiled in Ankara on 8 July. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) NEW CENTRAL ASIAN SIGNATORIES TO HELSINKI FINAL ACT. Among the nine states to sign the 1975 Council on Security and Cooperation in Europe treaty on 8 July in Helsinki, three were former Soviet Central Asian republics: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. Uzbekistan became a signatory to the treaty during an official visit by President Islam Karimov to Helsinki in February 1992. ITAR-TASS reported that Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov emphasized the significance of the inclusion of Asian states in the Helsinki process, and the hope that trade and economic relations with CSCE states can be built. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) KYRGYZSTAN: 98% LIVE BELOW POVERTY LEVEL. According to the chairman of the Kyrgyz Federation of Trade Unions, 98% of Kyrgyz citizens have a monthly income below the subsistence level of 2,723 rubles calculated by that organization, Radio Mayak reported on 8 July. This fact was given as a warning that the continuation of economic "shock therapy" measures in the republic would be socially dangerous. Kyrgyzstan recently announced a slate of policies intended to stabilize the economy by the end of the year. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) EXPATRIATE INCOME TAX TO BE HALVED. Russian Economics Minister Andrei Nechaev has announced that the top rate of income tax on resident foreigners will be cut to 30% this year, The Journal of Commerce reported on 9 July. The previous top rate of 60% on income over 420,000 rubles a year (about $3,000 a year at the current rate of exchange) on the worldwide income of expatriates residing more than 183 days a year in Russia was understandably unpopular. The Journal suggested that few Western businessmen intended to pay the exorbitant tax anyway. (Keith Bush) YELTSIN FIRES CORRUPT OFFICIAL. Yeltsin dismissed the chairman of the Trade Committee of the Ministry of Trade and Material Resources, Aleksandr Khlystov, in connection with corruption charges, "Vesti" reported on 2 July. Yeltsin will reportedly also fire Khlystov's deputies--Viktor Kozlov and Vladimir Tikhonov. Meanwhile the conservative parliamentary faction "Edinstvo" has called for the resignation of the government and the exclusion of the president from all decision-making concerning the economy, ITAR-TASS reported on the same day. "Edinstvo" wants to set up a "government of people's trust" which would establish emergency rule in the country for solving economic problems. (Alexander Rahr) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE CSCE SUSPENDS YUGOSLAVIA. Meeting in Helsinki on 8 July, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe voted to suspend the rump Yugoslav state from further participation in the organization until October 14. This roughly coincides with the 100-day grace period Yugoslav prime minister-designate Milan Panic asked for to initiate peace talks among the former Yugoslav republics. Russia has resisted harsher action against Yugoslavia, arguing that expulsion would only make it more difficult to find a solution to the conflict. The chief Yugoslav delegate to the conference, Vladimir Pavicevic, told reporters afterwards that the suspension would give the new government time to initiate democratic elections and work toward ending the year-old civil war. (Gordon Bardos) CROATS BACKPEDAL ON SEPARATE ENCLAVE IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA. The proclamation on 3 July of the "Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna" at first met with icy silence in the Zagreb press close to President Franjo Tudjman's governing party. On 7 July Vjesnik ran an editorial saying that Croatian state interests require Zagreb to support Bosnia's territorial integrity and not back any secessionists, since Croatia seeks to recover breakaway Serb parts of its own territory. The paper also ran the text of a Tudjman press conference and a statement by Herzegovinian Croat leader Mate Boban, while on 8 July Vecernji list carried a letter from Tudjman to Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic. The gist of these messages is that Herceg-Bosna is a purely temporary entity to facilitate administration amid wartime chaos and that it in no way threatens Bosnia-Herzegovina's territorial integrity. Tudjman and some of his Herzegovinian advisors are believed to favor partition of the neighboring republic, while the rest of the government is opposed. (Patrick Moore) OTHER BOSNIAN DEVELOPMENTS. Regardless of what official Croatia says about partition, Bosnian Serbian leader Radovan Karadzic has offered Bosnian Croats a "confederation" of their two respective areas. The 9 July Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quotes a recent Politika article to that effect. Karadzic's Serbian enclaves recently introduced their own currency. On 8 July in Sarajevo, Reuters quoted Sadako Ogata, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, as saying that other Bosnian cities will need relief assistance as well. (Patrick Moore) SERBIAN MEDIA REPORT "INCIDENTS" WITH ALBANIANS. On 6 July Politika ran a long article cataloging alleged recent violations of the Serbian and Montenegrin frontiers by Albanian civilians and troops. The paper added that Tirana has not replied to Belgrade's protest notes, and claimed that Italian and American military personnel are stationed in Albania near the Yugoslav border: "units of the two countries are carrying out 'humanitarian aid' as a reason for their presence." On 7 July Tanjug said that one Serb policeman was killed and another wounded that day by ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. (Patrick Moore) ROMANIA DENIES SUPPLYING OIL TO SERBIA. On 8 July Traian Chebeleu, a spokesman for the Romanian foreign ministry, rejected allegations that oil is flowing through Romania to Serbia and Montenegro in violation of the UN embargo. Talking to an RFE corespondent, Chebeleu insisted that his country is "unhappy" over such allegations, wondering how they could reach the G-7 summit meeting in Munich. He said that a ship that sought to pump oil into Yugoslav river barges at Constanta was refused permission to enter the Romanian port. On 6 July Borba quoted the vice president of the Serbian parliament as saying that Romania is secretly supplying 25,000 tons of crude oil a week to his country. On 8 July Prime Minister Theodor Stolojan told the press that his government is determined to strictly observe the UN sanctions and is ready to receive foreign observers to check oil transportation facilities, Rompres reports. (Dan Ionescu) ROMANIA PONDERS JOINING PEACE-KEEPING FORCE IN MOLDOVA. Chebeleu also told an RFE correspondent on 8 July that his government sees no problem "in principle" with sending troops to join a peace-keeping force in the Republic of Moldova, if that country agreed. Inclusion of Romanian troops in a force mainly consisting of Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian contingents was suggested by Russian president Boris Yeltsin in a proposal addressed to the Romanian parliament on 4 July but not yet discussed. The force would try to establish a buffer zone between warring Moldovan troops and forces of the self-proclaimed Dniester republic. (Dan Ionescu) WALESA ACCEPTS PROPOSED CABINET. Despite what he called a "moral hangover," Polish President Lech Walesa endorsed the candidacy of Hanna Suchocka for prime minister and voiced no objections to her cabinet lineup. The president said he was "bowing to the will of democracy." Walesa met with Suchocka and the leaders of the major coalition parties before his departure for Helsinki on 8 July. Reluctant to part with his own concept, Walesa suggested that the current prime minister, Waldemar Pawlak, might have headed a more lasting government, but admitted that "democracy has constructed a more promising option." For her part, Suchocka expressed confidence in the notion of a "government of national consensus." (Louisa Vinton) NEW POLISH GOVERNMENT IN POWER BY WEEKEND? Thanking the prime minister for having helped to ensure calm and order in Poland at a "dangerous moment," President Walesa submitted a formal motion for Pawlak's dismissal on 8 July. The Sejm leadership decided to convene a special parliamentary session on 1011 July to vote on Pawlak's resignation. Only then can Walesa submit Suchocka's candidacy for consideration. The seven-party coalition can count on support from 236 of the 460 Sejm deputies, so the new cabinet seems assured of confirmation. Polish TV reported that the value of Poland's debt in New York rose from 22 to 26.5 cents on the dollar at the news of the imminent formation of a majority government. (Louisa Vinton) EC SHOULD PREPARE FOR SPLIT, CZECHOSLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS. Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Jozef Moravcik (a member of Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia) said in an interview with CSTK on July 8 that he intends to open talks with the European Community on the possibility of the Czech and Slovak Republics separately joining the EC. Moravcik said that the most likely date for a split of Czechoslovakia is 1 January 1993. He said that he has the obligation to prepare the international community for the possibility of a breakup. (Jan Obrman) NATIONAL COUNCIL TO DISCUSS CZECH CONSTITUTION. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus announced on 8 July that the Czech parliament will soon start discussing a draft constitution with the aim of Czech statehood, according to CSTK. Klaus said that his government will submit to the Czech National Council a program which includes plans to establish the post of a Czech president. (Jan Obrman) YELTSIN PLEDGES FULL TROOP PULLOUT FROM BALTIC STATES. On 9 July Russian President Boris Yeltsin said that Russia has "set a precise deadline--the second half of 1992 and first half of 1993"--for the withdrawal of the remaining former USSR troops from the Baltic States, Western agencies report. He said that no more troops will be sent to replace those whose tours of duty expire; he did not, however, mention a completion date for the troop pullout. Arriving in Helsinki, he told an impromptu news conference that it is impossible to meet the Baltic demands that the more than 100,000 troops be withdrawn by the end of the year because of the lack of housing, but he confirmed that an agreement on a timetable "is to be signed shortly." Meanwhile, in Munich on 8 July Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev told his German counterpart Klaus Kinkel that Russia will speed up the withdrawal. Kinkel also asked Kozyrev to give the Baltic States a "detailed time schedule" but indicated the withdrawal would not have to take place "at a breakneck speed." Kozyrev asked Kinkel to remember Russia's economic difficulties. Kozyrev had told BALTFAX on 7 July that the terms of the withdrawal would depend on the volume of aid given Russia to settle this issue and recommended an international program to facilitate resettling the withdrawn troops. (Saulius Girnius & Dzintra Bungs) BILDT: TROOP PULLOUT NOT TO BE TIED TO MINORITIES. Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt stresses: "there must be no coupling of the troop problem to the minority issue. Statements from some Russian politicians that the Russian Army is needed in the Baltics to protect Russian interests there demonstrate an ignorance of international law, are not substantiated by the facts and are counterproductive." In his commentary in the International Herald Tribune of 8 July, Bildt points out that "'minority' is a misnomer. The Latvians are probably outnumbered by the Russians and other groups in their own country. Most of the Russians [and other Slavs] in the Baltics do not speak the language of the country where they live. At the same time, Russian-speakers in the Baltic States are in many ways victims themselves of a deliberate Stalinist colonization policy which, among other crimes, deported and killed thousands of Balts." (Dzintra Bungs) LITHUANIA TAKES OVER MILITARY SCHOOL. On 8 July the Russian military signed documents officially transferring the Vilnius Higher Radioelectronic School, including its training center for anti-aircraft defense officers, to the Lithuanian army, Radio Lithuania reports. Col. Algimantas Vaitkaitis, the head of the Lithuanian National Defense Academy, said that most facilities were not in particularly bad repair, in part since Lithuania had begun discussions on its transfer as early as April. According to information supplied by the Northwest Group of Forces there were 1,436 students at the school on 1 January 1992. (Saulius Girnius) POWELL IN POLAND. Continuing his visit to the Central European "triangle," US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Colin Powell met with acting defense minister Janusz Onyszkiewicz, presidential security chief Jerzy Milewski, and Polish General Staff Chief Gen. Zdzislaw Stelmaszuk on 8 July. Powell said there was no discussion of possible US aid to Poland in the form of military equipment. Onyszkiewicz added that the most important assistance the US could provide was advice on the structure of the armed forces and officer training. (Louisa Vinton) MORE BULGARIAN STRIKES. Continuing an action that began a day earlier, some 70,000 medical personnel on 8 July refused to offer other than emergency services, BTA reported. Trade union representatives said medical staff across Bulgaria are dissatisfied with the promised 26% pay rise, but they also demanded the government funnel more resources into the national health care system. At the same time dock workers in Burgas concerned about job security laid down their tools, and miners in several districts have threatened to follow their example as well. (Kjell Engelbrekt) DROUGHT HITS LITHUANIAN AGRICULTURE. On 8 July the Lithuanian Cabinet decided to ask parliament to declare a state of emergency in Lithuanian agriculture because of the two-month drought, Radio Lithuania reports. Rainfall has been only 510% of normal. This year's grain harvest will be 1.81.9 million tons, down from 3.4 million last year. Agriculture Minister Rimvydas Survila noted that primarily due to lack of fodder, sales of milk and meat in the first half of the year decreased 17% and 29% respectively compared with 1991. This year's harvest of sugar beets will be only 56% of last year's, flax--42%, vegetables--55%, and potatoes--67%. (Saulius Girnius) COST OF LIVING, UNEMPLOYMENT RISE IN LATVIA. Radio Riga reports on 8 July that 20,427 persons are actively seeking employment in Latvia and that 9,524 persons have already been registered as unemployed. Some 2500 persons are receiving unemployment compensation. By the end of this year the percentage of labor force that is unemployed is expected to exceed the earlier estimated 12%. BNS reported on 7 July that the Latvian government now estimates 1,900 rubles as the minimum subsistence-level per capita monthly income, while Latvia's Free Trade Union Association gives that figure as 2,319 rubles. (Dzintra Bungs) CZECHOSLOVAK GOVERNMENT ON GABCIKOVO-NAGYMAROS. According to Czechoslovak TV, the new federal government expressed the intention to continue constructing the controversial dam on Czechoslovakia's border with Hungary, which has considerably increased tensions between the two countries. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ludek Krajhanzl made it clear that the federal government will stick to the 1977 agreement between the two countries on the construction of a joint hydroelectric project. Hungary withdrew from its part of the Danube project in 1989 and unilaterally canceled the agreement earlier this year. (Jan Obrman) POLISH-LITHUANIAN RAIL LINK. On 7 July at the recently renovated Sestokai train station Polish Transportation Minister Ewaryst Waligorski and his Lithuanian counterpart Jonas Birziskis signed a treaty establishing a railroad link between the two countries, Radio Lithuania reports. Passenger trains able to carry 300 passengers will travel the 60-km route between Sestokai and Suwalki every day. The tickets will be sold for hard currency. The agreement establishes Lithuania's first direct railroad route with the West--i.e., not passing through the territory of the former USSR. (Saulius Girnius) [As of 1200 CET]
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