Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece. - Vladimir Nabokov
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 32, 17 February 1993

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.





RUSSIA



REFERENDUM ISSUES. President Boris Yeltsin and parliamentary
speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov agreed at their meeting on 16 February
to form a conciliation group to find a way out of the constitutional
crisis, Russian TV "Vesti" reported the same day. The legislative
branch will be represented in the group by deputy speaker Nikolai
Ryabov; the executive, by First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir
Shumeiko. They will work out a clear division of powers for a
period of stabilization. Yeltsin and Khasbulatov were said not
to have moved from the idea of holding a referendum on the future
Russian Constitution but seem to be concerned about its possible
results. Meanwhile the head of the presidential staff Sergei
Filatov said that 84% of the presidential envoys in the regions
support the idea of the referendum. -Alexander Rahr

KOZYREV TO PROPOSE ARMS DEAL TO US. Russian Foreign Minister
Andrei Kozyrev intends to propose to his American counterpart
an "arms sales for arms conversion" plan that would aim at opening
up arms markets long dominated by Western firms, the Financial
Times reported on 16 February. The deal, to be put to US Secretary
of State Warren Christopher in Geneva at the end of February,
calls for contracts to be deliberately opened to Russian bidding
in the "more than 100 countries" where arms trading is sanctioned.
Moscow, in turn, would reportedly use the proceeds "not to boost
the military industrial complex" but to finance the conversion
of defense plants to civilian production. Kozyrev will reportedly
argue that such an arrangement would be a less humiliating form
of aid to Russia. Juxtaposing carrot with stick, he cautioned
that some Russian arms suppliers were talking of selling systems
"up to and including strategic weapons," a development which,
he said, could lead to a "chaotic" proliferation of arms. -Stephen
Foye

CHUBAIS: PARLIAMENT THREATENS PRIVATIZATION. Deputy Prime Minister
Anatolii Chubais told parliamentary deputies representing the
"Reform of the Army" faction that forthcoming proposed amendments
to the government's privatization program threaten to derail
the whole process, according to ITAR-TASS on 16 February. He
cited, in particular, the so-called "fourth variant of privatization"
due for consideration by parliament soon. Enterprises choosing
the "fourth variant" would be bought out by their own managers
and workers over time from earned profits. Chubais has criticized
allowing such an option as it would restrict the use of vouchers
in the purchase of enterprise assets and give undue privileges
to enterprises' worker collectives. -Erik Whitlock

DECENTRALIZATION REJECTED IN TOMSK. Participants in a meeting
of the interregional association, "Siberian Accord" in Tomsk
on 16 February spoke out against the decentralization of political
power in Russia, ITAR-TASS reported. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin,
on a three-day visit to the region, rejected the idea that regional
power needed to be strengthened. "We don't need strong regions
but conditions in which workers in any region of Russian can
live equally well," he said. Other speakers warned against shifting
the responsibility for economic reform from the center to the
regions. At the same meeting, Chernomyrdin also confirmed the
government's intention to invest more resources in the fuel and
energy complex, an important sector of Siberia's economy. -Erik
Whitlock

CIVIC UNION CO-LEADER VISITS ST. PETERSBURG. The co-leader of
the Civic Union, Aleksandr Vladislavlev, has visited St. Petersburg
in order to promote the centrist opposition group's political
position, St. Petersburg TV reported on 16 February. He met with
the city's leading political figures and economic managers and
gave a press conference at which he endorsed the Civic Union's
proposals for solving the constitutional and economic crises
in Russia. -Alexander Rahr

INDUSTRIAL LOBBY IN BASHKORTOSTAN. The leader of the Russian
Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Arkadii Volsky, has
set up a similar organization in Bashkortostan, Kommersant Daily
reported on 16 February. In his speech in Ufa to some 200-industrialists
and businessmen from Bashkortostan, Volsky criticized the government
of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, calling its full-scale
privatization program "absurd." He also spoke out against the
introduction of the law on bankruptcy. Volsky revealed that he
has received a letter from Deputy Prime Minister Boris Fedorov,
now in charge of economic policy, suggesting cooperation between
the government and Russian industrialists. -Alexander Rahr

NEW INVESTMENT FUND FOR AGRICULTURE. President Yeltsin has signed
a decree to establish an international fund for land and agro-industrial
reform, ITAR-TASS reported on 16 February. The aim of the fund
is to attract domestic and foreign investment and credits for
the development of the agricultural sector. The State Committee
for Property will be involved in setting up the fund, and the
government will initially contribute 2 billion rubles to it.
Radio Rossii quotes a representative of the Ministry for Agriculture
and Food as saying that the fund will serve as a sort of investment
bank for the financing of various projects in the agricultural
sector. Talks are being held with the European Bank for Reconstruction
and Development (EBRD) on the possibility of its joining the
fund, which would then act as a guarantor for foreign credits
and raise funds from other sources. -Sheila Marnie

CENTRAL BANK MOVES TO TAKE OVER SBERBANK. Directors of Russia's
near-monopoly savings bank, Sberbank, have accused the Central
Bank of an unjustified attempt at takeover, the Financial Times
and Kommersant reported on 16 and 17 February respectively. According
to Sberbank management, the Central Bank has proposed limiting
Sberbank's authority to issue credit and to set its own interest
rates. The directors were at a loss to explain the action. The
chairman of a Moscow division of the savings bank said that the
action was "anti-popular" and designed only to "satisfy the bureaucratic
interests of the Central Bank and its chairman." The Central
Bank has apparently not yet announced its proposal publicly.
-Erik Whitlock

BLACK MARKET EXCHANGE RATES. The official exchange rate is currently
559 rubles to the dollar, but a survey of black market dealers
on Moscow's Pushkin Square, reported by BISNES-TASS on 16 February,
reveals that on the streets the dollar is being bought for 640-rubles
and sold for 660 rubles, with smaller amounts being bought for
slightly less (625-rubles for up to 50 dollars). The deutschmark
is bought for 370-375 rubles and sold for 395-400 rubles, but
overall trading in deutschmarks is not significant. The recent
rise in the black market exchange rates has coincided with an
expected increase in the demand for dollars at the official exchange,
and experts suggest that this could herald another drop in the
official exchange rate. -Sheila Marnie

NORTH KOREA TO CEASE HIRING RUSSIAN SCIENTISTS. A Japanese newspaper
reported on 16-February that North Korea has agreed to a demand
from Moscow that Pyongyang discontinue efforts to hire Russian
nuclear and missile scientists and engineers. According to a
Reuters dispatch on 17 February summarizing the report, the assurances
were given to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Georgii Kunadze
during his visit to North Korea last month. Kunadze reportedly
warned that efforts to hire Russian specialists served to justify
international concerns that North Korea is attempting to develop
nuclear weapons. Quoting unnamed US government officials, the
Japanese newspaper reported that Kunadze had threatened to sever
diplomatic relations with North Korea if it refused Moscow's
demands. -Stephen Foye

DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN AIR FORCE. The transfer of several
thousand pilots to Russia from other former Soviet states has
meant that the Russian Air Force is now able to man its aircraft
uniformly with highly-trained crews, the Air Force Commander-in-Chief
told ITAR-TASS on 16 February. On the negative side, however,
Col. Gen. Petr Deinekin said that shortages of fuel and spare
parts had adversely affected training routines. Like all the
services, he added, the Air Force also faced a severe shortage
of conscript soldiers, a result of problems in the military draft
system. -Stephen Foye

NORTH OSSETIAN-INGUSH TALKS RESUME. The third round of talks
between North Ossetia and Ingushetia on settling their conflict
began in Kislovodsk on 16-February, an RFE/RL correspondent in
Moscow and ITAR-TASS reported. Mediators from Russia's State
Committee for Nationalities Policy and from Dagestan and Stavropol
krai are attending the talks, as they did the previous two rounds.
The main item on the agenda is the refugee problem. At the same
time, the North Ossetian delegation said it intended to protest
against the decision of the Ingush electoral commission to include
part of Vladikavkaz and the Prigorodnyi raion of North Ossetia
in the list of electoral districts for the Ingush presidential
elections. -Ann Sheehy

YELTSIN, TATARSTAN PRESIDENT'S MEETING POSTPONED. Talks scheduled
for 16-February between Russian President Yeltsin and Tatarstan
President Mintimer Shaimiev were postponed because of Yeltsin's
vacation, an RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow was told on 16 February.
A spokesman for Shaimiev, Anas Khasanov, said that Shaimiev was
ready to fly to Moscow any time and that the meeting could take
place during Yeltsin's 12-day vacation. Khasanov said that the
two sides planned to discuss the bilateral treaty being negotiated
between Russia and Tatarstan, economic and environmental agreements,
and how much oil Tatarstan will be allowed to export. -Ann Sheehy


TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



AKAEV APPEALS FOR COOPERATION BETWEEN LEGISLATURE AND GOVERNMENT.
Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akaev told leaders of the country's
democratic parties and movements on 16 February that government
and legislature should not waste time in fighting each other,
as they are in Russia, but should cooperate to find ways out
of Kyrgyzstan's economic crisis, Kyrgyzkabar-TASS reported. Akaev
warned that it will be necessary to use very strict methods-some
members of the democratic opposition had earlier criticized him
for "dictatorial actions." The president asked that the Supreme
Soviet complete its debate on the new constitution so that a
multiparty coalition government can be created and make progress
in solving the country's problems. -Bess Brown

UZBEKISTAN READY TO INTRODUCE OWN CURRENCY. The chairman of the
board of Uzbekistan's Central Bank was quoted by Radio Rossii
on 16 February as saying that his country is prepared to introduce
its own currency any day, but will make the transition to its
own currency only if the CIS ruble zone disintegrates. According
to the report, banks in Uzbekistan have already been supplied
with the national currency. -Bess Brown

UZBEK AUTHORITIES BAN PROTEST MEETING. Muhammad Salih, chairman
of the opposition Erk Democratic Party of Uzbekistan, told an
RFE/RL correspondent on 16-February that the Uzbek State Prosecutor's
Office has banned a protest meeting which opposition groups had
planned to stage at the end of the month. Organizers were warned
that if they ignored the prohibition, they would be charged with
attempting to disrupt the state system, a crime punishable by
10-15 years in prison. Salih said that the protest, sponsored
by Erk and the opposition Birlik Movement, would be deferred
until March. -Bess Brown

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



ARE BOSNIANS RESORTING TO CANNIBALISM? BOSNIA'S UN AMBASSADOR,
MUHAMED SACIRBEY, TOLD REPORTERS IN NEW YORK ON 16 FEBRUARY,
THAT SOME BESIEGED MUSLIMS IN EASTERN BOSNIA HAVE TURNED TO CANNIBALISM
TO SURVIVE. There is no independent confirmation of Sacirbey's
claim. Bosnian Serbs continue to block a UN aid convoy headed
for Cerska, while allowing another to pass on to Goradze. Bosnian
officials are continuing to refuse to distribute relief supplies
in Sarajevo and Tuzla, in hopes of pressuring the UN to take
action. Reuter reports on 16 February that Sarajevo's six-day
boycott of UN aid has wide support among the public. CNN reports
on 16 February that Cyrus Vance is planning to resign in late
March as UN mediator for the peace talks on the former Yugoslavia.
Vance emphasized he will not leave "in the middle of these negotiations."
Radio Bosnia reports that Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic
won the 1993 King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam
for his defense of Bosnia. -Milan Andrejevich

…ZAL IN SOFIA. On the second day of his visit to Bulgaria, Turkish
President Turgut …zal held talks with politicians from all three
parliamentary factions on the situation in rump Yugoslavia and
the danger of a wider conflagration. Whereas representatives
of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and Union of Democratic Forces
expressed strong reservations about Turkish participation in
peace-keeping missions to former Yugoslavia-an idea recently
launched by Ankara-the mainly Turkish Movement for Rights and
Freedoms told BTA that the final decision must be left to the
United Nations. On the previous day Bulgarian President Zhelyu
Zhelev said that bilateral relations have now reached an "unprecedented
level." During a meeting with Turkish businessmen, Deputy Premier
Valentin Karabashev revealed that last year's trade balance ended
5 to 1 in Turkey's favor ($250 to $50 million). After this visit-the
first by a Turkish head of state to Bulgaria in 10 years-…zal
travels on to Macedonia and Albania. -Kjell Engelbrekt

ILIESCU REPORTS EMBARGO LOSSES. President Ion Iliescu said that
Romania faces big economic losses from applying the United Nation
sanctions against rump Yugoslavia. He dismissed accusations that
Romania was flouting the embargo, Reuter reported from Bucharest
on 16 February. In an interview with Cronica Romana, Iliescu
said his country observed the embargo to the letter, adding,
however, that it has avoided "introducing elements likely to
aggravate the situation" and involve Romania in a conflict with
Yugoslavia. Romanian officials have cited losses of up to $7
billion from the embargo, but Western diplomats said this was
implausible and the figure must be lower. Meanwhile, it was announced
in Bucharest that Romanian and Ukrainian officials will meet
in the Romanian capital on 18 February to discuss enforcing the
embargo. A spokesman for the foreign ministry said Ukraine will
be asked not to allow the loading of cargo into Serb barges which
reached Ukraine on 15 February. -Michael Shafir

KOSOVO PRESIDENT PROPOSES PEACE PLAN. Radio Croatia reports on
16 and 17-February that Ibrahim Rugova, president of the self-declared
Republic of Kosovo, has proposed a ten-point peace plan aimed
at preventing the war in Bosnia from spreading into Kosovo, which
is under Serbian control. The plan, unveiled in Washington, calls
for a no-fly zone over Kosovo, the immediate deployment of UN
peacekeepers, the disarming of Serbian militia, and the convening
of the republic's elected assembly in Pristina. Rugova and Kosovo's
prime minister Bujar Bukoshi are in the US to lobby their cause;
Rugova met with members of Congress and State Department officials.
-Milan Andrejevich

COSIC REJECTS ALLEGATIONS OF RAPE BY SERBS. Dobrica Cosic, president
of rump Yugoslavia, denied allegations that Bosnian Serbs systematically
raped Muslim and Croat women in Bosnia-Herzegovina. According
to Radio Serbia on 15 February, Cosic said that he does not remember
if "any nation has ever been accused of such crimes as the Serbs
are today," and added "this is the last crime which can be ascribed
to the Serbian people." International organizations charge, however,
that more than 20,000 women have been raped during the war in
Bosnia; most of the victims are Muslims attacked by Serbs. -Milan
Andrejevich

CONFERENCE ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION CALLS FOR JOINT MEASURES. A
two-day conference on illegal immigration in Budapest ended on
16 February with an agreement among European government officials
to wage a joint war on professional gangs smuggling illegal immigrants
across borders. The final document adopted at the conference
calls for the creation of special police units to hunt smugglers,
the use of modern communications equipment to coordinate police
activity, introduction of special equipment to detect forged
papers, and new legislation making human smuggling a criminal
offense. According to MTI and Western agencies, Hungarian Minister
of Interior Peter Boross and other East European officials complained
that the meeting had failed to agree on a system of financial
assistance for East European countries who bear the main burdens
of implementing the immigration decisions. Polish TV reported
that a regional conference devoted to the repatriation of failed
asylum-seekers is now scheduled for March in Prague. -Edith Oltay


NEW HUNGARIAN LAWS ON COMMUNIST CRIMES. The Hungarian parliament
passed two laws and a declaration on 16 February designed to
settle accounts for past communist crimes, MTI reports. The first
law declares certain crimes committed during the 1956 revolution
"war crimes and crimes against humanity," making the prosecution
of those responsible possible. It points out that such crimes
were also punishable under legislation existing at the time.
The second law allows the courts to consider whether the statute
of limitations has in fact expired for "serious crimes" committed
between 1944 and 1989. Under the law, the statute of limitations
no longer provides a basis for refusing the investigation of
past crimes. The declaration states that the period during which
the state failed to exercise its power to prosecute crimes is
not subject to the statute of limitations. This is the government's
second attempt to call former communists to account. Legislation
dating from 1991 that extended the statute of limitations for
certain crimes was declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional
Court on the grounds that it created legal insecurity. -Edith
Oltay

CZECH GOVERNMENT WANTS TO COMPLETE TEMELIN. After a meeting of
the Czech government on 16 February, Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus
told journalists that the cabinet had reached a consensus in
favor of completing the construction of the Temelin nuclear power
plant. CTK quoted Klaus as saying that by opening the Temelin
power plant, the Czech Republic will be able to close heavily
polluting brown coal-fired power plants in northern Bohemia by
1997. Klaus ruled out the possibility of holding a referendum
on the future of Temelin. The construction of the Temelin plant,
originally designed under Czechoslovakia's communist regime,
was put on hold after the "velvet revolution" of 1989 following
domestic and international protests. Austria has repeatedly asked
the Czech and Czechoslovak governments to give up the project.
Temelin is located 50 kilometers from the Austrian border. -Jan
Obrman

DEVALUATION DISCUSSION CONTINUES IN SLOVAKIA. Slovak media reported
on 15 and 16-February that the discussion about a devaluation
of the new Slovak currency is continuing among Slovak officials.
While Finance Minister Julius Toth categorically opposes such
a move, the Minister of Economy, Ludovit Cernak, argued that
a devaluation of 10 to 15% would keep the Slovak koruna convertible.
According to various sources, the Slovak National Bank favors
a much more significant devaluation of up to 30%. After a meeting
of the Slovak government on 16 February, Slovak Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar said in an interview with Slovak Television that
the Slovak koruna would not be devalued if he finds that Slovak
exports are still exceeding imports. Meciar urged Slovak industrial
managers to limit imports as much as possible and buy Slovak-made
goods. He said that he intends to prevent a devaluation of the
Slovak currency as such a move would simultaneously "devalue
our work." -Jan Obrman

IMF SATISFIED WITH CZECH FINANCIAL POLICY. The IMF's permanent
representative in Prague, James Carter, said that the Czech Republic's
monetary and fiscal policies are sound, CTK reported on 16 February.
Carter said 1993 will be a difficult year for the republic because
of the disintegration of Czechoslovakia and the introduction
of a new taxation system; he added that this will cause bankruptcies
and consequent social problems. At the same time, however, Carter
said that he expects an increase in exports and a further revival
of the economy. The IMF representative said that his mission
has reached agreement with the Czech government on all key issues
of cooperation. -Jan Obrman

POLISH GROWTH CONTINUES. Poland continues to emerge from recession.
The central planning office reported on 16 February that industrial
production in January was 5.7% higher than in the same month
in 1992. Labor productivity was up nearly 11%. Inflation and
unemployment were higher as well, with prices rising 4.1% in
January and unemployment climbing to 14% of the work force. Central
planning minister Jerzy Kropiwnicki predicted at a press conference
on 16-February that industrial production will grow 4% in 1993
and GDP will rise at least 2%. The private sector will account
for over 50% of GDP, while inflation will remain below 40%. Economic
growth may not be sufficient to improve the public mood, however,
as real wages will drop an average of 2% in 1993 and income disparities
will become more pronounced. Housing construction will also slow
and agricultural production is expected to drop 4-7% because
of the 1992 drought. -Louisa Vinton

SLOVAKIA CUTS SUBSIDIES TO CULTURAL PUBLICATIONS. At a press
conference in Bratislava on 16-February, the editors of four
Slovak cultural journals announced that the Slovak Ministry of
Culture had cut off their subsidies, CTK reports. The editors
of Slovenske pohlady, Fragment, Kulturny zivot, and Arena charged
that the decision was motivated by politics and was "undemocratic."
Seven of the eleven cultural journals published in Slovakia received
10 million koruny from the culture ministry while the remaining
four got nothing. The editors said this was because their journals
strove to remain politically independent. They doubted their
journals could survive without state funds. In a joint statement,
the editors charged the culture ministry with attempting to "liquidate
all forces that paved the way to democratic transformation."
Oleg Pastier, the editor-in-chief of Fragment, announced that
his staff was considering publishing the journal as samizdat.
-Jan Obrman

UKRAINIAN RATIFICATION OF START-1; TALKS WITH GERMANY. A Ukrainian
parliamentary representative sitting on the special commission
that is reviewing the START-1 Treaty told an RFE/RL correspondent
in Kiev on 16 February that debate by the full parliament on
ratification of the treaty will not begin this week. Ihor Derkach
said that most members of the commission believe that a special
protocol to START-1 is needed to define the issue of ownership
of the nuclear warheads and delivery systems on Ukrainian territory.
Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel ended a two day
official visit to Ukraine on 16-February with the announcement
that Germany intends to participate in the destruction of missile
fuel in Ukraine and will aid in the destruction of ammunition
as well. According to ADN, he said that Ukraine ought to be given
assistance from the G-7 fund that is to be set up to assist in
the elimination of weapons of mass destruction in the CIS states.
Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk told Kinkel that Ukraine
hoped for the early elimination of nuclear weapons on its territory,
ITAR-TASS reported on 16 February. -Stephen Foye

KRAVCHUK CALLS FOR NEW CONSTITUTION. Ukrainian President Leonid
Kravchuk, arriving for a visit in the Luhansk region (the Donbass)
on 16-February, said that Ukraine needs a new constitution and,
on its basis, a new parliament. If the people so desire, he added,
new presidential elections could also be held. Kravchuk's remarks
were reported by Radio Ukraine. -Roman Solchanyk

FOUNDING CONGRESS OF COMMUNISTS-BOLSHEVIKS IN UKRAINE. The founding
conference of the Party of Communists-Bolsheviks of Ukraine concluded
its work in Donetsk, Ukrinform-TASS reports on 16 February. About
70 representatives from 13-oblasts adopted a charter, program,
and other documents but could not agree on a party leader. The
party aims to establish the "dictatorship of the proletariat"
and build a "classless society. -Roman Solchanyk

NATO COMMANDER VISITS HUNGARY. NATO Supreme Allied Commander
Europe, Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, paid a three-day official
visit to Hungary from 14 to 16 February at the invitation of
Hungarian Defense Minister Lajos Fur, MTI and Western news agencies
report. Shalikashvili met Premier Jozsef Antall, Foreign Minister
Geza Jeszenszky, defense minister officials and army command
leaders. At a joint press conference with Fur on 16-February,
Shalikashvili termed relations between Hungary and NATO "very
good" and said that the Southern Slav crisis was one of the major
topics of discussion. He expressed "NATO's appreciation to Hungary"
for allowing NATO to use Hungarian airspace to monitor air activity
in Bosnia-Herzegovina. -Edith Oltay

MOLDOVA OBJECTS TO ROMANIA'S ENVOY. Moldovan government officials
told the RFE/RL Research Institute that Moldova has asked Romania
to replace its envoy to Chisinau, Ion Bistreanu, because of his
recent public statements treating Moldova in effect as a temporary
state and a prospective part of Romania. The Romanian side has
acceded to Moldova's request, the officials said. Although Romania
was the first state anywhere to recognize Moldova and establish
diplomatic relations, it has never appointed an ambassador but
kept the level of its representation to that of charge d'affaire,
reflecting Bucharest's second thoughts about Moldova's independence.
-Vladimir Socor

NIXON VISITS LATVIA. On 15 February former US President Richard
Nixon discussed Latvian-Russian relations with Latvian Supreme
Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs emphasizing that any differences
should be decided through negotiations. He said that Russian
President Boris Yeltsin was Latvia's best friend and needed its
support against hard-line conservative opposition. At a press
conference on 16 February after meetings with government and
parliamentary officials, Nixon said he would suggest that American
experts participate as observers in the talks on Russian troop
withdrawals. He also disagreed with recent articles in Life and
The Guardian that accused the Latvian authorities of backing
anti-Semitism. -Saulius Girnius

ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN TRADE WAR IN THE OFFING? ESTONIAN PRIME MINISTER
MART LAAR BELIEVES RUSSIA MAY BE TRYING TO PROVOKE A TRADE WAR
WITH ESTONIA. According to BNS of 16-February, Laar said Russia's
recent announcement that it would increase customs tariffs with
Estonia by 50% seems intended to exert pressure on its neighbor.
"I hope that Russia will realize the harmful effect of such steps,"
Laar said, adding that Estonia would not give in. The increased
duties were supposed to take effect on 15 February, but reportedly
have not yet been implemented. -Riina Kionka

ESTONIA'S RUSSIANS: COOPERATION TOWARD PROSPERITY. The Representative
Assembly of the Russian-Speakers in Estonia held its inaugural
plenary session on 16-February in Tallinn, BNS reports. The Assembly,
formed two weeks ago, adopted two statements. The first, issued
to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia,
called on Estonians and Russian-speakers to join forces in "fruitful,
creative activities" toward building prosperity for the next
75 years. The second called for restoring a recently vandalized
memorial plaque to Soviet soldiers killed in Tallinn in WW II.
-Riina Kionka

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Wendy Slater and Louisa Vinton









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