Praise yourself daringly, something always sticks. - Francis Bacon
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 137, 21 July 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

RUSSIA AND BELARUS AGREE TO COORDINATE ECONOMIC POLICIES. Russia
and Belarus formally declared their intention to coordinate economic
policies and reform strategies on 20 July, ITAR-TASS reported.
Delegations from the two countries, led by Acting Prime Minister
Egor Gaidar and Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kebich respectively,
signed a series of documents pledging to maintain the ruble as
their common currency and coordinate monetary, fiscal, pricing
and export-import policies. The participants also announced further
negotiations concerning division of obligations for the external
debt of the former USSR. (Erik Whitlock)

BELARUSIAN-RUSSIAN SECURITY AGREEMENT. In addition, Russia and
Belarus on 20 July signed what was described by ITAR-TASS as
a military cooperation agreement with supplemental agreements
on the status of strategic forces temporarily stationed in Belarus.
Gaidar was quoted as saying that the agreements "transcend" accords
signed previously within the CIS framework, and he suggested
that Russia was negotiating similar agreements with other CIS
states. Belarusian Defense Minister Col. Gen. Pavel Kozlovsky
said that the agreements specified that a part of the strategic
forces stationed in Belarus be subordinated to Moscow, Interfax
reported. At a later date, he said, they would be handed over
to the CIS command. (Stephen Foye)

RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN AGREEMENTS: "A STEP IN THE DIRECTION OF CONFEDERATION."
At a press conference after the signing of the Russian-Belarusian
agreements, acting Russian Prime Minister Egor Gaidar, asked
whether they marked the "beginning of a confederation" within
the CIS, said they could be regarded "as a step in that direction,"
a view with which the Belarusian prime minister, Vyacheslav Kebich,
concurred. (Ann Sheehy)

BELARUSIAN-UKRAINIAN TALKS ON DEFENSE. On 20 July, Belarusian
Deputy Defense Minister Petr Chaus told Interfax that defense
officials from Belarus and Ukraine had met in Kiev to discuss
cooperation in the defense sphere. The issues on the agenda apparently
included coordinating air operations, renovating weaponry, and
insuring social security for military personnel. He said that
special bilateral agreements in all these areas would be signed
by the two sides, and that their next meeting would be held in
Minsk at the beginning of August. (Stephen Foye)

RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN INTELLIGENCE AGREEMENT. Russian Minister of
Security, Viktor Barannikov and the chief of the National Security
Service of Ukraine, Yevhen Marchuk, have signed an document on
cooperation of their international and regional activities, ITAR-TASS
reported on 20 July. Both services also agreed not to work against
each other and to combat intelligence gathering by third parties.
When the Ukrainian KGB was a part of the All-Union agency, it
had already used its own small foreign intelligence unit (known
as "TR line") in cooperation with the central KGB and the Polish
communist intelligence service. (Victor Yasmann)

STANKEVICH TO BECOME MINISTER FOR CIS AFFAIRS? Sergei Stankevich,
political advisor to the Russian President, has indicated that
he may become the head of a new ministry for CIS affairs, according
to Interfax on 17 July. Stankevich, who has recently become the
most outspoken defender of the Russian minorities in the former
Soviet republics, also emphasized that developments in the CIS
call "for a special and independent sphere of Russian foreign
policy" and noted that the CIS "must be dealt with on a daily
basis, and not in between trips to London and Paris." Stankevich
denied rumors that the present foreign minister, Andrei Kozyrev,
will be dismissed and that he, himself, might take over Kozyrev's
job. (Alexander Rahr)

DEMANDS FOR EXPULSION OF "PERSONS OF CAUCASIAN NATIONALITY."
Bus and trolleybus drivers in Bryansk have threatened to strike
if "persons of Caucasian nationality" are not expelled from the
city within two days, ITAR-TASS reported on 20 July. Two days
earlier "Ostankino" TV reported that local traders had blocked
the central thoroughfare of Vologda demanding the immediate expulsion
from the oblast of all persons of Caucasian nationality. These
incidents, which are becoming more frequent, almost invariably
follow a crime involving a Caucasian. Gypsies have also been
targeted on occasion. DR-Press reported on 18 July that the associations
of fellow-countrymen of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia in St.
Petersburg were drawing up an appeal to the local population
pointing out that a hostile attitude towards Caucasians could
provoke a similar attitude toward Russians in the Transcaucasian
republics. (Ann Sheehy)

IZVESTIYA APPEALS TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT, CONTINUES TO PRINT.
The showdown between Izvestiya's editors and the Russian Parliament
is now heading to the Russian Constitutional Court. On 20 July,
the Press and Information Ministry, having been ordered to reregister
Izvestiya as the parliament's paper, refused after consulting
lawyers, and decided instead to appeal to the Constitutional
Court. Izvestiya's chief editor, Igor Golembiovsky, continues
to describe the Parliament's maneuvers as a "fight for power";
Izvestiya's headline on Monday read, "Izvestiya ready to obey
the law but not the ambitions of the legislators." Yeltsin's
former legal advisor, Sergei Shakhrai, has said he is prepared
to represent the newspaper in court. Meanwhile, Komsomolskaya
pravda reported suspicions of rigged voting during the parliamentary
vote on the newspaper's fate. According to the report, two deputies,
Sergei Shakhrai and Oleg Rumyantsev, did not attend the session
but were recorded as having voted in favor of the resolution.
(Kathryn Brown)

SOVIET ARMS SALES DOWN IN 1991. The value of arms sales to the
third world by the former Soviet Union fell from $11.2 billion
in 1990 to $5 billion in 1991, according to a study by the US
Congressional Research Service, as reported in The New York Times
on 21 July. Soviet arms sales had peaked at $24.8 billion in
1986. Moscow's exports of military hardware to Iran had increased
in recent years, but its deliveries to Iraq were curtailed by
the UN embargo, its arms supplies to Cuba dried up after 1987,
and its sales to Vietnam, Syria, and India have been greatly
reduced. (Keith Bush)

RUSSIAN UNEMPLOYMENT RISING. Izvestiya of 16 July reported on
a Russian Federation end-of-June official statistic of 200,000
registered unemployed, and a projection from the Russian Employment
Service of an end-of-July figure of 235,000. These figures compare
with 69,000 at the beginning of the year and 176,000 at the end
of May. The Employment Service has also said that the number
of notified vacancies had fallen from 882,000 in December to
350,000 in June, according to Ekonomika i zhizn, (no. 27). A
particular concern is the rise of youth (up to 22 years of age)
unemployment. In the Komi, Irkutsk, Sverdlovsk and Omsk regions,
between one-quarter and one-third of unemployment falls in this
category. (Philip Hanson)

NEW POLITICAL COALITION IN UKRAINE. The newspaper, Visti z Ukrainy
(no. 29), reported that a new coalition of national democratic
parties will probably be formed by the end of the summer. Citing
Mykhilo Horyn, head of the Ukrainian Republican Party (URP),
the report said that the republicans will join forces with the
Democratic Party of Ukraine (DemPU) and several other parties
at a "Congress of National Democratic Forces" to be convened
in August. According to Horyn, negotiations are underway with
"Rukh," which is headed by Vyacheslav Chornovil, concerning its
joining the coalition, which is meant to exert more forceful
pressure on Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk. (Roman Solchanyk)


"RUKH" CALLS FOR EARLY ELECTIONS. The leadership of "Rukh" issued
a resolution on 19 July calling for the earliest possible dissolution
of the Ukrainian parliament and new elections, Radio Ukraine
reported. The organization also approved a series of measures
to set in motion a referendum on the dissolution of parliament
and set a date (30 October-1 November) for Rukh's fourth congress.
(Roman Solchanyk)

HEAVY FIGHTING REPORTED IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH. The Armenian Defense
Ministry claimed on 20 July that there had been heavy fighting
between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in the Mardakert region
of Nagorno-Karabakh, and at least 88 people were killed. The
Armenian report, quoted by Western and Moscow media, said that
Armenian forces had captured one village. A report from the Nagorno-Karabakh
capital Stepanakert said that five villages had been captured.
Meanwhile, an Azerbaijani report, broadcast by Radio Rossii,
said that Armenia was continuing to send military hardware into
Nagorno-Karabakh. (Bess Brown)

DISSATISFACTION IN SEVENTH ARMY. Upset over their living conditions,
officers of the Armenian based Russian Seventh Army have sent
an appeal to the Russian government and Defense Ministry, ITAR-TASS
reported on 20 July. The appeal, formally drafted by an officers
assembly of the army's staff and central administration, included
demands for a doubling or tripling of pay, for each month of
service in Armenia to count as two months, for a halt to arms
transfers, and for the rapid construction of officers housing.
(Stephen Foye)

"DNIESTER GUARD" LEADER ARRESTED AND KILLED BY OWN SIDE; GROUP
"LIQUIDATED." Nikolai (alias Yurii) Kostenko, a reserve Lt. Col.
who commanded the "Dniester guard" battalion in Bendery, has
been killed "by an unknown gang" while in the custody of the
authorities in Tiraspol, ITAR-TASS reported on 20 July. The self-styled
"Dniester republic prosecutor general," Boris Luchik, told ITAR-TASS
that a group of "Dniester guards" in Bendery loyal to Kostenko
had been "liquidated" on 16 July; and that Kostenko was arrested
on that day. The "Kostenko group" was accused of having formed
a "third force" acting both against the "Dniester" and against
Moldovan forces in Bendery. Luchik added that Kostenko was handed
over from one to another "law enforcement organ" before being
killed, but failed to name either "organ". (Vladimir Socor)

SHOKHIN TO VISIT CENTRAL ASIAN STATES. Russian Deputy Prime Minister
Aleksandr Shokhin set out on a journey to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan,
Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan on 20 July, ITAR-TASS reported. He
characterized the goal of his trip as the "activation of diplomatic
relations" with these former Soviet republicsnow member states
of the CIS. In each capital Shokhin will hold discussions on
a number of bilateral issues, including military, economic and
political questions, and the fate of Russian minorities in these
states.(Cassandra Cavanaugh)

UZBEKISTAN NATIONAL GUARDS TAKE OATH. Russian television reported
on 20 July on the swearing in of Uzbekistan's first 1,000 national
guards in Tashkent. The force includes an honor guard and a special
forces unit. The TV report assessed the military preparedness
of the units as high, and noted that their duties will include
preventing terrorist actions, freeing kidnapped prisoners, guarding
important economic installations and dealing with the consequences
of natural disasters. (Cassandra Cavanaugh)

KRASNAYA ZVEZDA ON THE STATE OF THE UZBEK ARMY. On 16 July, Krasnaya
zvezda reported that the native language of 70% of the Uzbek
Army officer corps is Russian, and so, for the time being, the
language of communication in the army will remain Russian. In
order not to drive these officers away, Uzbekistan has not yet
mandated that they take an oath of loyalty to the Uzbek government;
though, for those who wish to leave, Uzbek authorities are attempting
to reach an agreement with Russia to preserve the ranks and privileges
of these officers in the Russian army. Of the several thousand
native Uzbek officers serving elsewhere in the former USSR, some,
but not all, have returned to serve in Uzbekistan. (Cassandra
Cavanaugh)

UZBEKISTAN READY TO ADVANCE OLYMPIC BID. A delegation from Tashkent
is in Barcelona lobbying the International Olympic Committee
to host the summer Olympic Games in the year 2000, Reuters reported
on 18 July. The mayor of Tashkent stated that "Whatever it costs
to stage [the games] we will pay, and if we do not get it this
time we will come back again and again until we do," AFP reported.
Among the eight competitors, Tashkent is seen as the long shot,
though Uzbek officials have promised to finance the games with
proceeds from its rich oil and gold resources. (Cassandra Cavanaugh)


RUSSIAN PASSPORT COSTS 50 RUBLES. The Russian government has
priced a passport at 50 rubles, according to a 16 July Nezavisimaya
gazeta report. This price supposedly reflects the actual cost
in producing the passport. The Interior Ministry and the ministries
of justice and finance were charged by the government with presenting
suggestions within a two month period on changes and additions
to the Russian Federation legal-administrative code, to strengthen
regulations on "the careless storing of a passport, entailing
for its loss, and other violations of the rules of the passport
system." (Sarah Helmstadter)

FIRES ESPECIALLY DANGEROUS IN RUSSIA. A 16 July report in Rossiiskie
Vesti, blamed a lack of fire prevention measures and fire fighting
equipment for the high rate of death and injury from fires in
the Russian Federation. According to an Interior Ministry report,
7,800 died and 65,000 were seriously injured in fire-related
incidents in 1991: this was said to be the highest such toll
in the world. The ministry predicted that the year 2000 would
see 14,000 people die and 130,000 injured in fires if present
trends continue. Rural areas, where one third of all fires in
Russia break out, are especially hard hit; they suffer half of
all material damage from fire. (Sarah Helmstadter)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

HAVEL RESIGNS. At 6:00 p.m. on 20 July, the presidential flag
was lowered over the Prague Castle, Vaclav Havel's residence
for the past 30 months. Before his formal resignation, the president
had a farewell meeting with members of the diplomatic corps.
He told the diplomats that he was convinced that the fundamental
principles of democracy would be preserved in both republics
of the disintegrating Czechoslovakia. According to various news
agencies, he said in a meeting with journalists that he considered
it "a great failure" that Czechoslovakia could not be transformed
into a "just and democratic federation." The federal government
meanwhile asked federal prime minister Jan Strasky to assume
Havel's powers. (Jan Obrman)

FIGHTING FORCES CLOSURE OF SARAJEVO AIRPORT. UN officials were
forced to close Sarajevo's airport on 20 July after intense fighting
in the vicinity threatened incoming flights of relief supplies.
The fighting brought a halt to the two-week old airlift, which
was supplying Sarajevo with 20 planeloads a day of foodstuffs
and medicine. Two UN soldiers were wounded by flying shrapnel
when a mortar shell exploded near the airport. The Washington
Post quoted the commander of UN forces in Sarajevo, Lt. Gen.
Lewis Mackenzie, as saying that it was impossible to tell whether
the besieging Serbs or the besieged Muslims were responsible
for the shelling. Bavarian Radio reported midmorning on the 21st
that the airport had been partially reopened and that a French
relief flight had landed. Elsewhere in Bosnia, Serbs continued
their offensive against the towns of Gorazde and Mostar. (Gordon
Bardos)

EC TO MEDIATE IN THE KOSOVO DISPUTE? Reuters reports on 20 July
that Kosovo president Ibrahim Rugova and EC chief mediator in
the Yugoslav crisis, Lord Carrington, have agreed to EC-sponsored
talks between Serbia and Kosovo within the framework of the EC
peace conference for the former Yugoslavia. For well over a year
the Kosovars have been asking in vain for a place at any meetings
dealing with that divided country's future, but it is not yet
clear whether Serbia will agree. Belgrade regards Kosovo as its
internal affair and has destroyed the province's autonomy in
recent years, while Kosovo's 90%-plus Albanian majority has set
up its own shadow government and conducts a campaign of passive
resistance. The G-7 called for talks and the restoration of autonomy,
and British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd wants observers to
monitor the situation in Kosovo. (Patrick Moore)

YUGOSLAV REFUGEES IN HUNGARY. . . Representatives of the Hungarian
parliament's foreign relations and self-government (local government)
committees visited four refugee camps on July 20 to examine the
conditions under which refugees live, MTI and Radio Budapest
report. They told reporters that the refugees are properly cared
for and are generally in good health. Hungary still shoulders
most of the financial burden for the care of the some 50,000
Yugoslav refugees on its territory. This year alone Hungary spent
some 1,68 billion forint for the care of refugees (including
over 70,000 ethnic Hungarian immigrants) exceeding substantially
the one billion forint originally set aside for the purpose,
the representatives reported. Hungary received 500 million forint
in international refugee aid this year and is calling for more
funds. (Edith Oltay)

. . . AND ELSEWHERE. Some 230 refugees from Kosovo, Macedonia,
and Bosnia-Herzegovina arrived in Tallinn en route to Finland.
The refugees, many of whom are women and children, were taken
care of by the Estonian Red Cross. According to BNS on 16 July,
however, it is unclear whether Finland will allow the refugees
passage into Helsinki. On 20 July Finland imposed visa requirements
on refugees from the rump Yugoslavia; Foreign Minister Paavo
Vayrynen said that the 1,800 Yugoslav refugees in his country
were almost all from Kosovo. Western agencies reported of 20
July that Italy and Germany have begun to accept some Bosnian
refugees. (Riina Kionka & Charles Trumbull)

SLOVENIA, HUNGARY SIGN MILITARY ACCORD. Slovenian Defense Minister
Janes Jansa and his Hungarian counterpart Lajos Fur signed a
bilateral military cooperation agreement at the end of a two-day
official visit by Fur, MTI reported on 19 July. The accord, the
first of its kind signed by Slovenia, covers flight safety in
border areas and consultations in the fields of security affairs,
officer and NCO training, information, sports, and culture. (Alfred
Reisch)

NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL IN HUNGARY. Manfred Woerner visited Budapest
on 17 July to receive an honorary doctorate from the Miklos Zrinyi
Military Academy and lecture on the future of NATO, MTI reports.
Woerner also discussed the ties between NATO and Hungary and
the conflict in Yugoslavia in separate talks with Prime Minister
Antall, Defense Minister Fur, and Foreign Minister Jeszenszky.
The Hungarian media noted that while a Hungarian membership in
NATO was not timely, the alliance is paying close attention to
Hungary and would not remain passive should the country come
under attack. (Alfred Reisch)

ROMANIA'S KING WILL NOT RUN FOR PRESIDENT. Romania's exiled king,
Michael I, rejected the offer of the National Liberal Party (NLP)
to be its candidate in the presidential elections scheduled for
27 September. In a statement to RFE/RL's Romanian service on
20 July, the king said he wants to maintain his status of constitutional
monarch who must be "an impartial guarantor of national unity."
Meanwhile criticism continued in Romania of the NLP initiative.
In a statement carried by Rompres, the Democratic Convention
said the initiative aimed at "creating confusion and discord."
Former prime minister Petre Roman said in a statement in the
daily Evenimentul zilei the NLP leader Radu Campeanu is indulging
into "politicking" and showing "disdain for democracy." (Michael
Shafir)

BILAK CHARGED OVER ROLE IN 1968 INVASION. Vasil Bilak, the former
head of the ideology department of the CPCS' Central Committee,
is being charged with crimes against peace for his role in the
Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. According to various
agency reports, senior Prague prosecutor Vladimir Nechanicky
informed journalists on 20 July that Bilak's signature appeared
on a letter to former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in which
a group of orthodox Czechoslovak communists indirectly invited
the Soviets to intervene. Bilak who is facing a prison term of
between one and ten years if convicted, was not taken into custody
because of his health and age. (Jan Obrman)

MORE BULGARIAN COMMUNISTS JAILED. A wave of arrests against former
top-ranking communists, which has already led to the seizure
of three former prime ministers, is continuing. On 20 July Yordan
Yotov, former secretary of the Communist Party, was detained
by the prosecuting authorities. Three days earlier, Yotov's predecessor
and CP Politburo member, Milko Balev, was taken into custody.
Both are accused of gross misappropriation of state funds and
could receive 10 to 20 years imprisonment. According to Bulgarian
media, some sixty former communist officials might face similar
charges. (Kjell Engelbrekt)

NICU CEAUSESCU IN COURT AGAIN. Romania's Supreme Court announced
in a hearing that it would rule on 27 July on the state prosecutor's
appeal of Nicu Ceausescu's conviction of genocide, Romanian and
Western agencies reported on 20 July. Nicu Ceausescu, the son
of the late dictator, was sentenced to 16 years in prison on
3 June 1991. The prosecution wants the charges against him changed
from genocide to a lesser offense, instigation to murder, on
the grounds that the case does not fit the internationally recognized
definition of genocide. (Michael Shafir).

GERMAN PARLIAMENTARIANS IN BULGARIA. A delegation led by Rita
Suessmuth, chairwoman of the Bundestag, arrived in Sofia on 20
July. Their first day was spent visiting the National Assembly,
meeting with parliamentary speaker Stefan Savov and members of
the foreign affairs committee. Committee chairman and leader
of the UDF caucus, Aleksandar Yordanov, explained Bulgaria's
Balkan policy as a multilateral approach aimed at avoiding the
emergence of opposing alliances. Earlier the same day Suessmuth
said Germany appreciated Bulgaria's stability "in the stormy
Balkan sea." On 21 July the German delegation is scheduled for
meetings with President Zhelev and Prime Minister Dimitrov. (Kjell
Engelbrekt)

LITHUANIAN-RUSSIAN TROOP WITHDRAWAL TALKS. The latest round of
talks began on 20 July in the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, Radio
Lithuania reports. The Lithuanian delegation is headed by Deputy
Foreign Affairs Minister Gediminas Serksnys, replacing Minister
without Portfolio Aleksandras Abisala, who will be nominated
on 21 July as prime minister. A communiqué is expected on 22
July. (Saulius Girnius)

1,500 RUSSIAN RECRUITS TO LITHUANIA? On 21 July Radio Lithuania
reports that Deputy Prime Minister Zigmas Vaisvila sent a telegram
to Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev noting that Col. Gen.
Evgenii Podkolzin, head of the Russian Airborne Forces, had asked
the Lithuanian National Defense Ministry to allow the training
for five months of 1,500 new recruits at the 242nd Airborne Training
Division at Jonava. The letter asserted that Grachev had authorized
this exception to his pledge not to send any more recruits to
the Baltic States. Vaisvila asked Grachev for official confirmation
of the letter, also reminding him that Russia is not fulfilling
its promise in a written protocol to withdraw its troops from
Vilnius. (Saulius Girnius)

RUSSIAN PLAN FOR PULLOUT FROM LATVIA. Eriks Tilgass, adviser
to Latvia's Minister of State, told an RFE/RL correspondent in
Riga on 17 July that a detailed plan for troop withdrawals in
1992 from Latvia had been received from the Northwestern Group
of Forces earlier that day. The plan is a follow-up to the Russian
proposals made at the meeting of Latvian and Russian experts
on troop withdrawal on 2 July and calls for the military to vacate
84 facilities (of which about a dozen have been or are being
taken over by Latvia already), including the aviation engineering
schools in Riga and Daugavpils, and to pull out about 13,500
troops, or less than one-fourth of the troops in Latvia. Tilgass
said that Latvia would wait for the complete troop withdrawal
schedule before responding to this plan. (Dzintra Bungs)

RUSSIAN SOLDIERS IN LATVIA GO HOME. Latvia's Defense Minister
Talavs Jundzis told Diena on 17 July that all the 19 Russian
army draftees and soldiers who had been brought to serve in Latvia,
but want to serve in their homelands, had gone home the previous
day. Jundzis said that Russia had shown no interest in settling
this matter diplomatically and that the young men had decided,
therefore, to take matters into their own hands. (Dzintra Bungs)


ESTONIA SUBORDINATES DEFENSE FORCES. The Estonian Defense Council
on 20 July subordinated the defense forces to the Estonian government,
BNS reports. According to the new constitution, the defense forces
are formally headed by the commander-in-chief of the forces in
times of peace. However, the government has not named a commander-in-chief
since 3 July, when the new constitution came into force. As a
result, the defense forces have not been under any definite leadership,
a fact that may contribute to the recent spate of incidents involving
the Russian military. (Riina Kionka)

STOLEN CARS FOUND AT FORMER SOVIET BASE IN POLAND. Suspicions
that former Soviet military bases in Poland have become warehouses
for Russian smugglers were confirmed when Polish inspectors discovered
a cache of stolen cars at the Legnica air base. Zycie Warsawy
reported on 17 July that the local commander reacted to the discovery
by refusing to allow the inspectors to leave and arguing that
the base "belongs to the Russian Federation." Poland retaliated
by banning the takeoff of planes from Legnica. Russian officers
blocked a second inspection on 20 July. Polish authorities fear
the military port in Swinoujscie is also being used to transport
stolen goods to Russia. Zycie Warszawy also suggested that Russian
forces are carrying out a scorched earth policy as they withdraw,
looting anything of value, dismantling runways, and uprooting
electrical systems. (Louisa Vinton)

POLISH STRIKE UPDATE. Most of the 40,000 workers employed in
the Polska Miedz copper combine in Legnica voivodship are taking
part in the general strike that began on 20 July. In contrast
to the wave of wildcat strikes at Upper Silesian coal mines,
the copper miners' strike followed the exhaustion of all legally
mandated forms of collective bargaining. In a referendum 90%
of the work force voted to strike. Unlike the heavily indebted
coal industry, the copper combine turns a profit, and the combine
director has argued that pay raises above those offered by management
would compromise the combine's self- financing status. The director
has threatened a lockout should the strike last more than a week.
Meanwhile, eight Silesian coal mines (eighteen by the organizers'
count) held warning strikes on 20 July. New government talks
are scheduled for 22 July, but officials have already warned
that at least 18 coal mines may have to close this year. (Louisa
Vinton)

[As of 1200 CET]


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