The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none. - Thomas Carlyle 1975-1881
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 17, 27 January 1993







RUSSIA



RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE STATEMENT ON WEAPONS PROLIFERATION. The
Russian Foreign Intelligence Agency will, for the first time,
present to the public a wide- ranging analysis on the danger
of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons proliferation, Nezavisimaya
gazeta reported on 27 January. The document is to be presented
by the agency's head, Evgenii Primakov, at a press conference
in the Foreign Ministry on 28 January. The analysis is expected
to show the extent to which third world countries are developing
their own nuclear weapons. According to information obtained
by Nezavisimaya gazeta, the document also warns of a lack of
international control over the proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction. -Alexander Rahr

KOZYREV URGES PARLIAMENT TO RATIFY START-2. Russian Foreign Minister
Andrei Kozyrev urged the ratification of the START- 2 strategic
arms reduction treaty in 26 January testimony before the Russian
parliament's committee for international affairs and foreign
economic relations. According to Interfax, he proposed that joint
hearings in the Russian parliament and the U.S. Senate should
be organized. Kozyrev suggested that Russia had "nearly approached
the limits of [arms] cuts...." and said that priority should
now be shifted to the tasks of preventing the proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction, and in confidence-building measures
to ensure international security and stability. Doug Clarke

KOZYREV ADDRESSES PARLIAMENT. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev offered the Russian parliament on 26 January a summary
of Russia's latest foreign policy activities and a glimpse into
the future. Among other things, Kozyrev noted that the number
of official visits abroad will be reduced and that Russia will
be receiving more foreign officials in Moscow. In any case, President
Yeltsin will travel to Japan, "if Japan does not put too much
pressure on Russia during the discussion of the Kuril problem."
Yeltsin will also travel to Brussels to conclude an agreement
with the European Community, ITAR- TASS reported on 26 January.
-Suzanne Crow

CONTROVERSY OVER YELTSIN'S SUPPORT FOR FRIENDLY TV COMPANY. Representatives
of the Russian media have criticized President Yeltsin's recent
decree stipulating that the All-Russian State TV and Radio Broadcasting
Company will begin showing its programs on the first TV channel.
The first channel has been occupied by Ostankino TV, whereas
the All-Russian TV has been broadcasting on the second. The first
TV channel is far more widely received in the Russian Federation
and in most new countries of the former Soviet Union than the
second channel. On 26-January, Komsomolskaya pravda reported
that despite the fact that Ostankino's audience will be reduced
because of the change, its popularity might increase, since it
has already begun to acquire a reputation of a "suffering dissident."
Ostankino's reporting is usually more critical of the policies
of the Russian leadership then those of the All-Russian State
TV. Vera Tolz

YUSHENKOV APPOINTED TO FEDERAL INFORMATION CENTER. Interfax reported
on 26-January that the deputy head of the new Federal Information
Center (FIC), a media supervisory body, would be Sergei Yushenkov,
a leader of the Radical Democrats parliamentary faction and a
member of the parliamentary committee on the media. The FIC has
been described as "illegal" by parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov,
and parliament is scheduled on 28 January to debate a motion
calling on the Constitutional Court to examine President Yeltsin's
December 1992 decree establishing the FIC. Meanwhile, Vladimir
Lisin, newly-appointed chairman of parliamentary committee on
the media, told Interfax that the committee had recommended against
holding a parliamentary debate on a draft resolution covering
economic and legal support for the media, and that he favored
transferring responsibility for some media funding from the parliament
to the press minister. Wendy Slater

THE PRICE OF RUSSIAN OIL. On 1 January, Interfax reported the
substance of a telegram from the Ministry of Fuel and Power Engineering
to the effect that Russia was selling oil and gas to the former
Soviet republics at world prices in dollars or in rubles at the
commercial rate of exchange. This was widely reported and caused
a stir. Mikhail Berger in Izvestiya of 15-January explains that
the amounts of oil and gas involved are relatively small, since
the arrangement covers only direct agreements between Russian
producers and their foreign customers. The overwhelming bulk
of oil and gas deliveries are covered by special intergovernment
agreements based not on dollars or convertible rubles but on
clearing. -Keith Bush

RUSSIA'S EXTERNAL DEBT. A Russian government official participating
in the Russian-Japanese trade talks in Tokyo announced that Russia's
external debt at the beginning of 1993 amounted to $75.8 billion,
ITAR-TASS reported on 21 January. This appears to be the most
recent and authoritative estimate of Russia's foreign debt. The
official claimed that Russia had appropriated $16.6 billion to
service its debts in 1992. On the credit side, Deputy Prime Minister
Aleksandr Shokhin told a news conference in Moscow on 20-January
that the debts owed to the former Soviet Union [mostly by insolvent
client states and other third-world countries] totaled $146 billion
at the official exchange rate in 1991, Russian TV reported. Many
debtor nations were proposing that current exchange rates be
used to assess the debt, according to Shokhin. Keith Bush

RUBLE PLUNGES. On the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange on 26
January, the ruble fell to 568 rubles to the dollar, down from
493 rubles on 21 January. The initial demand was $99 million
and the initial offer was $51 million. Turnover amounted to $85
million. The steep decline was attributed by Russian and Western
agencies to a variety of factors: the fear of imminent hyperinflation;
the perennial rumors of monetary reform, this time sparked by
the issue of new banknotes on 26 January; the Russian Central
Bank's plans to limit hard-currency trade; and Finance Minister
Vasilii Barchuk's projection of a 1993 budget deficit of 3.5-trillion
rubles. Meanwhile, the Russian Central Bank announced that it
is preparing designs for 50,000 and 100,000 ruble banknotes.
Keith Bush

DUDAEV PROTESTS DUTCH VISA REQUIREMENTS. The Chechen press agency
has distributed a report saying that Chechen president Dzhokhar
Dudaev was unable to attend the third session of the general
assembly of the Organization of Unrepresented Peoples in The
Hague because of "artificial obstacles" created by the Dutch
consulate in Turkey, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 January. In a statement
sent to the Dutch government and the participants of the assembly
session, Dudaev says that the demand that the visa application
be submitted through Russia's consular offices and that a Russian
citizen's passport be presented was an attempt to impose the
citizenship of another state on representatives of the sovereign
Chechen republic and interference in its internal affairs. Ann
Sheehy

AEROFLOT FLIGHTS TO GROZNYI TO BE RESUMED? INTERFAX REPORTED
ON 26 JANUARY THAT TWICE-WEEKLY AEROFLOT FLIGHTS FROM MOSCOW
TO THE CHECHEN CAPITAL GROZNYI WOULD BE RESUMED IN FEBRUARY IF
CHECHNYA GUARANTEED THE SAFETY OF THE FLIGHTS. The flights had
been stopped some months ago after a series of highjackings.
Resumption of the flights was one of the chief demands of the
Chechen authorities, and can be seen as part of Russia's current
efforts to improve relations with Chechnya in the interests of
stabilizing the situation in the North Caucasus as a whole. Ann
Sheehy

DATE SET FOR COUP TRIAL. Various western and Russian media reported
that 14 April had been named as the opening day in the trial
of participants in the failed coup of August 1991. Anatolii Ukolov,
deputy chairman of the Russian Supreme Court's military division,
which was handling the case, provided details at a press conference
on 26 January. The 12-defendants have been formally accused of
treason by plotting to seize power, and at least five of them
also face a charge of abuse of power. The trial will be held
in open session in Russia's Supreme Court, with eight prosecutors
and 21 defense lawyers. At least 120 witnesses are to be called,
including ex-USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev, Russian parliamentary
speaker Khasbulatov and Russian Vice-President Rutskoi, but not,
initially, President Yeltsin. The last four defendants in the
case to remain in prison were released on 26 January, pending
the trial. Wendy Slater

RUSSIA'S CRIME RATE UP IN 1992. The Russian Federation General
Public Prosecutor's Office has reported that there were 2,760,000
crimes registered in Russia in 1992, according to Interfax on
26 January. This represents a 27% increase over 1991. Thefts
were the most frequently committed crime. The incidence of theft
as a whole went up by 30.4%, and apartment burglaries by 48.3%.
There was a 47.7% increase in murders and attempted murders.
The number of reported rapes went down in 1992, but this is attributed
to the fact that rape victims are not reporting the crimes rather
than an actual drop in the instance of rape. -Sheila Marnie

MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX CUTS 600,000 JOBS. During 1992 the
number of workers employed in Russia's military-industrial complex
declined by 600,000 according to figures revealed during a recent
conference of defense industry officials. In a report published
on 26 January, Interfax added that state orders for military
hardware had decreased by 68% in the same year. It quoted conference
participants as saying that one out of five defense enterprises
had to either curtail or halt production entirely. As a result,
they said, wages at military- industrial enterprises were 62%
lower than those in other industries. They felt that the downward
trend in production would continue this year. Doug Clarke


TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



KYRGYZSTAN TO FIGHT BUDGET DEFICIT WITH OPIUM? BUSINESSMEN IN
KYRGYZSTAN HAVE PROPOSED OVERCOMING THAT COUNTRY'S IMMENSE BUDGET
DEFICIT BY GROWING OPIUM POPPIES, KYRGYZ VICE-PRESIDENT FELIKS
KULOV TOLD THE DAILY SLOVO KYRGYZSTANA ACCORDING TO A 26-JANUARY
NEWS REPORT ON EKHO MOSKVY. The proposal was made in response
to President Askar Akaev's call for emergency measures to prevent
the total collapse of Kyrgyzstan's economy. According to the
radio report, the newspaper had commented that there are more
opponents than supporters of the opium plan. But reports from
the Central Asian states during 1992 indicated that many people
have gone into the drug-producing business on their own. Bess
Brown

AZERBAIJANI PRIME MINISTER REPLACED. Azerbaijani Prime Minister
Ragim Guseinov has resigned for unspecified reasons, ITAR-TASS
reported on 26 January. In a decree of the same date, Azerbaijani
President Abulfaz El'chibey appointed as Guseinov's successor
his first deputy, the 40-year-old economist Ali Masimov, who
had also held the position of chairman of the Azerbaijani State
Committee for Economics and Planning. Liz Fuller

UZBEKISTAN DEFINES MILITARY DOCTRINE. Uzbekistan's Defense Ministry
has nearly completed a document setting out the country's military
doctrine, Interfax reported on 22-January. The doctrine, according
to the report, takes into account Uzbekistan's signature of the
CIS collective security agreement in 1992 and is predicated on
a rejection of war as a means of resolving international disputes
and disputes between CIS states. It also declares that Uzbekistan
has no territorial claims on any other state, rejects first use
of force, and intends to remain non-nuclear. Bess Brown

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



HAVEL ELECTED CZECH PRESIDENT. After a stormy session of the
Czech parliament on 26 January, the playwright and first president
of postcommunist Czechoslovakia Vaclav Havel was elected the
President of the Czech Republic. In a secret ballot Havel received
the support of 109 deputies in the 200-member parliament (the
ruling right-of-center coalition that proposed Havel has a total
of 105 deputies). Havel will be inaugurated for his five-year
term on 2 February. The other two candidates, Marie Stiborova
(proposed by the Communist Party) and the leader of the extreme-right
Republican Party, Miroslav Sladek, won 49 and 14-votes, respectively.
Many commentators described the election process itself as unworthy
of a civilized country. The Republicans delivered a series of
lengthy speeches attacking and personally insulting Havel, thus
postponing the vote by four hours. A bomb threat also delayed
the proceedings. Shortly after the election, the new president
announced that the strengthening of relations with Slovakia will
be among his top priorities. -Jan Obrman

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT FAILS TO ELECT PRESIDENT IN FIRST ROUND. Meanwhile,
the Slovak parliament has failed to agree on one of the four
presidential candidates proposed by various parties represented
in the National Council. Unlike the Czech Republic, where the
president is elected by a simple majority of the deputies, in
Slovakia the constitution requires a three-fifths majority in
Parliament. Roman Kovac, the candidate of the ruling Movement
for a Democratic Slovakia, won 69 votes (in the 150- member parliament)
and Milan Ftacnik, supported by the excommunist Party of the
Democratic Left, received the support of 30-deputies. Anton Neuwirth
and Jozef Prokes received fewer votes and did not qualify for
the second round of the election, which is to be held on 27 January.
Given the fact that at least five MDS deputies voted against
the official candidate of their party, some observers have noted
that resistance to Prime Minister Meciar is growing within his
own party. It is yet unclear whether the second round of voting
will produce a winner. -Jan Obrman

CROATIA FIGHTING ESCALATING. Croatia's offensive against Serbian
militiamen around the Adriatic port of Zadar continued on 26
January despite a UN resolution calling for the Croats to withdraw
from the UN-controlled area. Fighting also spread into areas
of the self-proclaimed Serbian Republic of Krajina. Croatian
President Franjo Tudjman told reporters after a meeting with
military and police leaders that Croatian troops will withdraw
from the Zadar area on condition that Serb forces give up their
heavy weapons seized in depots controlled by the UN and allow
Croatian police to control the region to ensure a return to normal
life. Belgrade TV described Croat artillery barrages on Serb
positions in the Zadar area as "unprecedented" and "incessant"
and said that Serb reinforcements were coming in from all over
Krajina. The news agency ISKRA of the "Serbian Republic of Krajina"
claims more than 500 civilians, mostly women and children, were
killed in an Croatian offensive that began on 22 January. -Milan
Andrejevich

SERBIAN REACTIONS. The commander of the Novi Sad Corps of the
federal Yugoslav army said on 25-January that the army is ready
to react in case of a Croat army attack on Serb-held eastern
Slavonia, Baranja, or Srem regions. Federal President Dobrica
Cosic told Greek TV on 26 January that "Croatia has launched
an all-out war against the Serbs in Krajina. What's going on
there is a genocidal war. "Bosnian Serbs promised on 26 January
to give the UN time to end the fighting in Croatia before they
intervene. The Serb National Council of Bosnian Krajina today
urged Belgrade to intervene militarily in order to halt Croatian
army attacks. Radio Serbia carried the reports. -Milan Andrejevich


ARE BOSNIAN PEACE TALKS PROGRESSING? FRED ECKHARD, SPOKESMAN
FOR THE UN- EC TALKS, SAID ON 26-JANUARY THAT "DEFINITE PROGRESS"
WAS MADE AFTER A RARE JOINT MEETING BETWEEN BOSNIAN PRESIDENT
ALIJA IZETBEGOVIC AND BOSNIAN SERB LEADER RADOVAN KARADZIC IN
GENEVA. Karadzic said his side has accepted a plan put forth
by mediators Cyrus Vance and Lord Owen for a central coordinating
body to govern Sarajevo during the runup period to adopting a
new constitution for Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Serbs also agreed
to setting up a municipal body for Sarajevo with three representatives
each from the Serb, Muslim, and Croat communities. Serbs and
Muslims would administer the surrounding province on the basis
of consensus, he said. Karadzic felt the proposal "could end
the war in Sarajevo immediately if it is accepted." But Izetbegovic
showed no sign of agreeing to the proposals after his 80-minute
meeting with Karadzic. He described the talks as "Only a discussion,
without any results." Karadzic and Izetbegovic will resume talks
on 27-January, according to Radio Serbia. -Milan Andrejevich


US REACTS TO EMBARGO VIOLATIONS. The United States has called
for strict enforcement of the embargo imposed against rump Yugoslavia,
Western agencies reported on 26 January. State Department spokesman
Richard Boucher said the US has again told the governments of
Bulgaria and Romania that they have the authority, as well as
the responsibility, to stop Danube vessels suspected of sanction-busting.
Boucher added that the UN Security Council Committee on Sanctions,
which convened last weekend, is of the same opinion. He also
revealed the State Department has been in contact with Ukraine,
which is believed to have provided the fuel. Meanwhile, early
on 27 January, agencies report that the fuel convoy led by the
tugboat Bihac has already reached Serbian waters. Reporting from
the Bulgarian port of Ruse, BTA named three more tugboats pulling
barges and "navigating without impediment" on the Danube. -Kjell
Engelbrekt

MACEDONIAN RECOGNITION IN SIGHT? ON 25-JANUARY GREEK FOREIGN
MINISTER MICHAEL PAPACONSTANTINOU ANNOUNCED THAT HIS GOVERNMENT
IS PREPARED IN PRINCIPLE TO ACCEPT A PLAN THAT WOULD ENABLE THE
UN SECURITY COUNCIL TO RECOMMEND ADMISSION TO THE UN FOR THE
REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA. Western sources reported that the plan,
coauthored by France, Great Britain, and Spain, calls for Macedonia's
admission under the name "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia."
Both Greece and Macedonia would then be expected to negotiate
resolution of their differences. Macedonia is likely to accept
this compromise as the IMF and the World Bank already admitted
the new republic using this name. On 26 January, Kiro Gligorov,
President of the Republic of Macedonia, invited Greek Prime Minister
Constantine Mitsotakis to meet with him to discuss and resolve
their countries' differences. -Duncan Perry

POLAND ADAPTS TO EC NORMS. The government on 26 January approved
an adaptation program designed to bring the Polish legal system
into conformity with EC norms. The program includes the adoption
or revision of 61 laws and 53 other legal acts. Priority is given
to economic legislation, including customs regulations, financial
services, industrial law, copyright protection, and environmental
preservation. According to experts quoted by Polish TV on 26-January,
the gaps between Polish and EC standards vary greatly; laws governing
corporate activity are already on a European level, while environmental
regulations lag far behind. Adaptation to EC norms is one of
the areas for which the government has requested "special powers."
A draft bill enabling the government to issue decrees with the
force of law reached the Sejm on 26 January, with a request for
urgent action. -Louisa Vinton

WALESA SLANDER TRIAL RESUMES. The trial of two adherents of the
fringe Freedom Party resumed in Brzeg on 26 January. The two
students admit they shouted "Down with Walesa-SB (secret police)
agent!" at a number of rallies in 1992. Their attorneys contend
that a verdict cannot be handed down until the prosecutor proves
that Walesa had no ties with the SB. A number of former luminaries
of the Solidarity movement, including Andrzej Gwiazda, Anna Walentynowicz,
Kornel Morawiecki, and Kazimierz Switon, appeared in court or
submitted statements asking that their names be added to the
indictment, as they too contend that Walesa was an SB agent.
All four bear grudges against Walesa and have long voiced extremist
political views. Legal observers commenting on the case for Polish
TV lamented that the legal system provides no effective mechanism
to protect public figures from slander and character assassination.
-Louisa Vinton

ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN TALKS. A Hungarian Foreign Ministry delegation
arrived in Bucharest on 26-January for talks on the draft of
a bilateral treaty. Radio Bucharest did not elaborate on the
delegation's agenda, but said that the meeting is part of a Romanian
initiative to spur relations to Hungary. Disputes between the
two country's have often centered on treatment of Romania's large
Hungarian minority. On the other hand, Romania insists that the
new treaty should include a clause stipulating that Hungary had
no territorial claims on Romania. -Dan Ionescu

HUNDREDS MARK CEAUSESCU'S BIRTHDAY. Between 200 and 500 people
commemorated Nicolae Ceausescu's 75th birthday at his graveside
on 26 January. Western agencies report that the nondescript grave
in Ghencea cemetery, generally accepted as Ceausescu's burial
site, was adorned with a new headstone displaying a red star
and an inscription hailing the former communist dictator as "great
national hero." Participants in the ceremony, most of whom were
elderly and staunch communists, said that life was better under
Ceausescu, who, they claimed, was killed by "agents of the Western
imperialist forces." -Dan Ionescu

ALBANIA FAILS IN BID TO JOIN NATO. Reuters reported on 26 January
that NATO has quietly rejected Albania's request to join the
organization, the first former Warsaw Pact country formally to
apply. Albania was advised to pursue closer links through the
North Atlantic Consultative Council, set up to foster links with
former Warsaw Pact countries. President Sali Berisha, concerned
about the possible spread of the Balkan war, applied for membership
last month. Meanwhile, Reuters also reports that Albanian Defense
Minister Safet Zhulali met in Budapest on the 26th with his Hungarian
counterpart Lajos Fur and received an offer from Hungary to help
train Albanian officers and share its experience in reforming
the military for postcommunist conditions. -Charles Trumbull


UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT OUTLINES PLANS. The Cabinet of Ministers
on 26 January approved a plan of its activities for 1993 intended
to guide the country towards a market economy, Western newspapers
report. The program, which is said to have the support of both
liberals and conservatives in Parliament, includes a stabilization
policy to reduce the budget deficit and calls for rapid privatization
of small enterprises and the transformation of larger enterprises
into joint stock companies. -Roman Solchanyk

SMOLYAKOV ON RELATIONS WITH UKRAINE. Leonid Smolyakov, the Russian
ambassador in Ukraine, is quoted by ITAR-TASS on 25 January as
saying that Russia respects Ukraine's sovereignty and has absolutely
no intention of interfering in its internal affairs. Speaking
with journalists in Simferopol, Smolyakov said that the time
has come to resolve the question of dual citizenship in Ukraine
and that, in accordance with earlier agreements, a Russian consulate
general should be opened in the Crimean capital. -Roman Solchanyk


MOROZOV ON UKRAINIAN MILITARY LOYALTY. According to a 25 January
Reuters report, Ukrainian Defense Minister Konstantin Morozov
criticized officers in the Ukrainian military who swore allegiance
to Ukraine in order to retain their privileges and careers. He
reportedly said that anyone not fully committed to Ukrainian
independence should resign. Morozov's comments were undoubtedly
aimed at the large Russian majority in the Ukrainian officer
corps, many of whom joined the Ukrainian military rather than
facing dismissal or transfer to Russia, where housing is a severe
problem. Ukrainian parliamentarians have also been critical of
Morozov for his handling of the reattestation of officers and
management of the armed forces. -John Lepingwell

UKRAINE REJECTS BLACK SEA FLEET OFFICERS' DEMANDS. The Ukrainian
Defense Ministry said that calls by the officers' assembly of
the Black Sea Fleet to maintain the fleet under joint Ukrainian-Russian
control and withdraw the Ukrainian navy headquarters from Sevastopol
constitute interference in Ukraine's internal affairs. According
to an Interfax report of 26 January Defense Minister Morozov
has expressed his willingness to meet with the fleet's command
to discuss the officers' demands. -John Lepingwell

SHUSHKEVICH ON BELARUSIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS. In an interview with
Interfax on 25-January Parliament Chairman Stanislau Shushkevich
explained his country's position on nuclear weapons. The nuclear
weapons currently deployed in Belarus have been transferred to
Russia and constitute part of the Russian strategic forces, according
to Shushkevich. Belarus has not demanded any compensation for
the transfer of the forces to Russia, and Shushkevich criticized
"the superna•ve judgments of people who have no notion about
fissile materials" who believe that the materials can be used
for nuclear power generation. He further argued that because
the weapons were made in Russia, they should belong to Russia.
Shushkevich also noted that Belarus is not interested in receiving
substantial funds from the US for the dismantling of nuclear
weapons. -John Lepingwell

MORE RUSSIAN TROOPS BROUGHT TO LITHUANIA. On 26 January Lithuanian
government commissioner for Russian troop withdrawal Col. Stasys
Knezys told a press briefing that although Lithuania had given
permission for Russia to bring 207 soldiers to assist in the
troop withdrawal, 929 soldiers were flown to Kedainiai on 19
January, BNS reports. Deputy Foreign Minister Virginijus Papirtis
summoned the Russian ambassador and queried him on the introduction
of more troops to Lithuania, the progress of Russian- Lithuanian
talks, and the return to Lithuania of embassy buildings in Rome
and Paris still occupied by Russian offices. -Saulius Girnius


LAZDIJAI CUSTOMS POST OPEN AGAIN FOR BALTS. Effective 25 January,
new regulations were passed that countermanded the 9 December
1991 Lithuanian government decree restricting passage through
the Lazdijai customs post with Poland for citizens of the Baltic
States, BNS reported on 26 January. These citizens will be able
to go through the post without any special permission while CIS
citizens will be able to cross only with diplomatic passports.
According to Lietuvos rytas the number of cars crossing at the
post increased about 20% the first day. -Saulius Girnius

JOXE ATTENDS BALTIC DEFENSE SEMINAR. French Defense Minister
Pierre Joxe told the press in Riga on 25-January that the presence
of Russian troops in the Baltic States is a destabilizing factor
posing a threat also to the security of Europe. Joxe expressed
interest in closer cooperation between the Baltic States, especially
in the coordination of their positions prior to talks with Russia.
Joxe heads a French delegation to a seminar on Baltic defense
and security issues in Riga; the participants discussed the formation
of a Baltic military alliance, BNS and Diena reported on 25 and
26 January. -Dzintra Bungs

NEW LUTHERAN ARCHBISHOP IN LATVIA. An RFE/RL correspondent in
Riga reported on 26 January that earlier that day the synod of
the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia chose Rev. Janis Vanags,
34, as archbishop. His predecessor, Archbishop Karlis Gailitis,
died in a car accident last November. -Dzintra Bungs

ESTONIAN ECONOMICS MINISTER RESIGNS. According to Postimees of
26 January, Ain Saarman, who took the post in October when Prime
Minister Mart Laar formed his Pro Patria-led government, reportedly
stepped back for reasons of health, but government insiders say
there has been considerable dissatisfaction with Saarman's performance.
BNS reports on 26 January that the front runner to take over
the ministry is Toomas Sildmae, general director of the Finest
Hotel Group, a highly successful Finnish-Estonian joint venture.
Saarman's resignation, the first from Laar's government, sparked
rumors that other ministers-namely those for finance and agriculture-may
follow. -Riina Kionka

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba and Charles Trumbull






[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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