Дружба - это такое святое, сладостное, прочное и постоянное чувство, что его можно сохранить на всю жизнь, если не пытаться просить денег взаймы. - Марк Твен
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 54, 19 March 1993







RUSSIA



KOSTIKOV, BURLATSKY ON POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS. In the opinion
of presidential spokesman Vyacheslav Kostikov, a compromise between
president and parliament has become impossible. ITAR-TASS on
18 March quoted Kostikov as saying that because of the country's
historical experience and the Russian national character, Russia
needs to have a strong presidency. Kostikov stated that Yeltsin
will soon address the nation and propose measures for adopting
a new constitution. Meanwhile, political commentator Fedor Burlatsky
claimed that the Civic Union has now reached the point where
it represents the interests of the majority of the Russian electorate.
According to Burlatsky, the Civic Union should, instead of lobbying
for government positions, raise its own banner in the power struggle
for the Russian presidency. Alexander Rahr

KHASBULATOV WARNS OF FUTURE DICTATORSHIP. Speaker of the Russian
parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, appeared unexpectedly on Ostankino
TV on 18 March with an interview aimed at rebuffing the criticism
of the parliament and the Congress in the media. In the course
of the interview, Khasbulatov dismissed the criticism of the
last session of the Congress for being "pro-communist" and "anti-reformist,"
saying that such accusations were not based on facts. Khasbulatov
also alleged that Yeltsin's supporters are attacking the representative
organs of state power in order to introduce a dictatorship. The
interview replaced the third installment of a series of live
programs on the economic experiment in Nizhnii Novgorod; the
first two installments had been duly broadcast on 16 and 17 March.
At the same time, the second Russian TV channel informed viewers
that the regular show, "Opposition," will no longer be broadcast,
and that the scheduled program would be replaced with a live
round-table discussion from the leaders of three major political
blocks, entitled "Before and After the Congress." Julia Wishnevsky


WORLD BANK LOAN TO RUSSIA ON SCHEDULE. Senior officials of the
World Bank told an RFE/RL correspondent on 18 March that the
Bank's next scheduled loan to Russia is on track and should be
completed by late spring. The loan, for about $500 million, is
to help finance an oil and gas development project in Siberia.
This contradicts an earlier report that negotiations on the loan
were behind schedule (see the RFE/RL Daily Report for 18 March).
Robert Lyle and Keith Bush

G-7 MINISTERIAL MEETING ON AID TO RUSSIA. Japanese Foreign Minister
Michio Watanabe said on 19 March that his country anticipates
hosting a ministerial meeting of the Group of Seven countries
around 19 April to discuss emergency aid to Russia, Kyodo in
English reported. The meeting would take place shortly before
the plebiscite that President Yeltsin wishes to hold on 25 April
(if this indeed goes ahead) and would be intended as a show of
support for the Russian president and his reform program. Watanabe
said that Japan is not considering an emergency G-7 summit separate
from the already scheduled G-7 summit in July in Tokyo. A senior
Russian official will probably be invited to attend the ministerial
meeting. Keith Bush

BOSNIA: "MUST BE A UN OPERATION." Deputy Foreign Minister Vitalii
Churkin said on 18 March that any international military intervention
in Bosnia-Herzegovina must be undertaken under full control of
the United Nations. "We want it to be a UN operation, and a lot
of other countries (including France) support our position. The
UN must not simply be used as cover for the conduct of the operation,
but rather the UN must fully control it." Churkin added that
it would be possible to use some elements of infrastructures
belonging to other organizations such as NATO, ITAR-TASS reported.
Churkin reiterated Russia's potential willingness to take part
in a military operation in Bosnia, in keeping with Yeltsin's
eight-point peace plan presented to the UN on 24 February. Currently
NATO planners are formulating plans for incorporating Russian
military contingents into a potential peacekeeping force for
Bosnia. Suzanne Crow

KHASBULATOV TOUR OF CIS. Russian parliamentary speaker Ruslan
Khasbulatov started a tour of the CIS states on 18 March with
a stop in Minsk. Khasbulatov, who heads a Russian delegation,
traveled in his capacity as chief of the CIS Interparliamentary
Assembly. During talks with Belarusian officials, Khasbulatov
said that economics must serve as the basis for Russo-Belarusian
relations. He added that CIS parliaments should tackle problems
of concern to the population of the Commonwealth. On 19 March,
Khasbulatov is expected in Kiev, Izvestiya and Reuters reported
on 18 March. Suzanne Crow

GORBACHEV AGAINST WEAKENING OF PRESIDENTIAL POWERS. Ex-Soviet
leader Mikhail Gorbachev has criticized the Congress for curtailing
presidential powers. Gorbachev was quoted by ITAR-TASS on 18
March as saying that the weakening of presidential powers does
not correspondent with the country's interests. Gorbachev stated
that it is time to reelect the president and parliament already
this spring "before it is too late". He claimed that the president
and the present deputies have lost the capability to generate
policy and have exhausted themselves. He said that he himself
is not considering submitting his candidacy for any political
positions. Gorbachev went to Nizhnii Novgorod at the invitation
of the local administration in search of possible investments
for the Gorbachev foundation. Alexander Rahr

RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS BOUGHT, STOLEN. Ostankino TV on 18 March
reported that a US team from the Department of Energy was visiting
the Mayak nuclear plant in Chelyabinsk-65 in order to conclude
an agreement to purchase Plutonium-238 for use in nuclear power
reactors for space probes. Plutonium-238 is not usable in bombs,
and the US Department of Energy has been interested in purchasing
the material from Russia because of the purity of the Russian
material. The same broadcast reported that three containers of
Cesium-137 had disappeared from a plant in Ukraine and that the
local police were publishing appeals for the materials to be
returned. The theft of radioactive materials has increased lately
as thieves believe they can be sold for large sums in the West,
even though there is no market for the materials. John Lepingwell


RUSSIA ON NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM. While Russia reacted
immediately to North Korea's withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty on March 12 by expressing its "great concern" and calling
for North Korea to "consider the consequences" and reverse its
position, it has subsequently chosen to conduct quiet diplomacy.
Russia has in the past year pressured North Korea to allow International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections, most recently sending
diplomat Georgii Kunadze to Pyongyang in late January to represent
directly President Yeltsin's concern over the issue. As part
of the Governing Board of the IAEA, Russia has supported recent
attempts to convince North Korea to reconsider its position,
and supported the 19 March decision requiring that IAEA special
inspections be conducted by the end of March. Yet Russia's influence
is somewhat limited, as in the past year Russia has distanced
itself from North Korea by refusing to sell weapons on credit,
refusing to supply offensive weapons, and calling for a renegotiation
of the 1961 Mutual Assistance Treaty, which committed the Soviet
Union to come to North Korea's aid if the latter were attacked.
John Lepingwell

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

ZIL ASSETS AUCTIONED OFF. The largest company yet to be privatized
in Russia began selling off 35% of its assets for vouchers this
week, various Western and Russian news agencies reported. The
company which produces limousines, trucks, buses and refrigerators,
has some fifteen plants and employs more than 100,000 workers
across the country. The auction was also notable as being the
first nationwide sale of assets. One hundred offices have been
opened throughout the country to accept bids from voucher holders.
Dmitrii Vasiliev, deputy chairman of the State Property Fund,
stated on 15 March that the sale of state assets is accelerating,
with twenty enterprises privatized in December, ninety in January,
190 in February and an expected 300 in March. Erik Whitlock

GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT ACCUSES RUSSIA OF WAGING UNDECLARED WAR.
Repeated attempts by Abkhaz forces to launch a new offensive
across the Gumista river north of Sukhumi during the night of
1718 March were repulsed , according to the Press Center of
the Georgian armed forces in Abkhazia, as quoted by ITAR-TASS.
An Abkhaz parliament spokesman claimed that Georgia was deploying
additional forces in preparation for a new offensive. Georgian
parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze sent a personal letter
to Russian President Yeltsin offering to meet with him in Moscow
to discuss the Abkhaz situation. In an appeal to the UN and the
European Parliament, the Georgian parliament accused Russia of
waging an undeclared war against Georgia with the aim of detaching
Abkhazia from the rest of Georgia. Speaking to journalists aboard
a Russian aircraft carrier, Russian Defense Minister Grachev
claimed that Georgia is deploying Su-25 aircraft painted in the
colors of the Russian air force in air raids against civilian
targets in Abkhazia, Reuters reported, quoting ITAR-TASS. Liz
Fuller

KYRGYZ VICE PRESIDENT UNDER INVESTIGATION. A commission, consisting
of members of Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akaev's staff, has
been set up to look into charges that Vice President Feliks Kulov
has been engaged in shady business dealings, ITAR-TASS reported
on 18 March. Kulov, who enjoyed great popularity due to his skillful
defusing of interethnic tensions in the Kyrgyz capital in 1990,
has been at the center of scandal since mid-1992 when he was
accused of exceeding his authority by promising Kyrgyz troops
for peacekeeping duty in Tajikistan without authorization from
the Kyrgyz legislature. Another scandal centered on his sale
of weaponry to Tajikistan. The most recent charges, which were
publicized in Izvestiya and on Russian TV, involve Kulov's role
in the export of metals, including copper, aluminum, steel, and
silver, that are in short supply in Kyrgyzstan. Bess Brown

KYRGYZSTAN TO INTRODUCE OWN CURRENCY? RUSSIAN NEWS AGENCIES QUOTING
"RELIABLE SOURCES" IN KYRGYZSTAN REPORTED ON 18 MARCH THAT A
CLOSED MEETING OF THE COUNTRY'S GOVERNMENT DISCUSSED THE ISSUE
OF INTRODUCING A SEPARATE CURRENCY. According to these reports,
notes have already been printed in London and are waiting to
be picked up by the head of Kyrgyzstan's National Bank. Associates
of President Askar Akaev refused to confirm or deny the stories,
although Akaev had told a group of workers a day earlier that
Kyrgyzstan would definitely introduce its own currency. Akaev
has been a supporter of the ruble zone in the CIS states, not
least because the international financial organizations that
are trying to help Kyrgyzstan overcome the collapse of its economy
have generally discouraged the introduction of a national currency.
Bess Brown

BADAKHSHAN LEGISLATURE MAKES DEMANDS OF DUSHANBE. The legislative
council of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast in the Pamirs
in Tajikistan's southeast corner told the Presidium of Tajikistan's
Supreme Soviet on 18 March that it would support the country's
present government but demanded that government troops not be
sent to Badakhshan without the knowledge and approval of the
council, Khovar-TASS reported. The deputies called for Russian
troops to be sent to the region to help the local authorities
secure the border with Afghanistan. The oblast council also chose
a new chairman, Garibsho Shabozov, to replace Akbarsho Iskandarov,
who had been chairman of Tajikistan's Supreme Soviet prior to
November 1992. Iskandarov is reported to have been named Tajikistan's
first ambassador to Turkmenistan. Bess Brown

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



SEJM REJECTS MASS PRIVATIZATION PLAN. On 18 March by a vote of
203 to 181, with 9 abstentions, the lower house of the Polish
parliament rejected the government's plan to privatize at a single
stroke 600 state-owned enterprises. The vote, which came after
nearly two years of preparations for the mass privatization,
left Poland without any viable legal framework for transferring
large state plants into private hands. The plan was regarded
as the centerpiece of efforts to establish a market economy.
The Sejm's decision has also highlighted the political fragility
of the parliamentary coalition supporting the government: several
coalition deputies, particularly from the nationalistic Christian
National Union, voted against the government on the grounds that
the plan would provide foreigners with excessive power over the
national economy. The plan was also opposed by the former communists
and various right-wing opposition groups. PAP reports on 19 March
that Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka vows to continue efforts to
privatize state enterprises and fight for parliamentary approval
of the plan. Opposition politicians said, however, that the defeat
of the plan could seriously undermine the government's effectiveness
and might open the way for new parliamentary elections. Jan de
Weydenthal

UN RELIEF FAILS TO REACH SREBRENICA. Western agencies reported
on 18 March that a UN relief aid convoy will make another attempt
to take humanitarian aid to the besieged eastern Bosnian town
of Srebrenica. UN officials said Bosnian Serbs, who have been
blocking the convoy, have again given assurances that they will
let it pass. Serb officials explained that UNPROFOR broke an
agreement by traveling without notification on a route on the
Bosnian side of the Drina River instead of taking another road.
Meanwhile, Bosnian Serb forces have launched a major offensive
in the region, prompting Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic
to storm out of UN-mediated peace talks in New York. He told
reporters his delegation will not return to the table until the
Serbs halt their offensive. Radio Bosnia reported earlier that
Izetbegovic is close to signing the Vance-Owen plan but noted
he remains opposed to a Serb role in governing Sarajevo province.
Milan Andrejevich

ROMANIA CALLS FOR TALKS ON THE BALKANS. On a visit in London
on 17 March Foreign Minister Theodor Melescanu suggested that
a full-scale Balkan conference be called to discuss the problems
of the region once a peace agreement settling the future of Bosnia-Herzegovina
has been concluded. The Financial Times wrote on 18 March that
Melescanu suggested the conference should be attended not only
by the Balkan countries, but also by European Community members,
the USA, Russia and other countries concerned with the problems
of former Yugoslavia. In Bucharest it was announced on 18 March
that Melescanu will visit Italy and the Vatican next week. Michael
Shafir

NATO DELEGATION VISITS IRON GATES. A NATO delegation headed by
Jose Lelou, chairman of the NATO subcommission for cooperation
in defense and security matters, visited the Iron Gate Two dam
on the Danube on 18 March, Radio Bucharest reports. Romanian
officials explained problems with the river traffic and the implementation
of the UN embargo against rump Yugoslavia. President Ion Iliescu
received the members of the delegation and confirmed that Romania
respects the embargo. The delegation will present a report to
the North Atlantic Council. Michael Shafir

BANK SCANDAL HITS SERBIAN SOCIALIST PARTY. The Executive Committee
of Serbia's ruling Socialist Party (SPS) ordered the Belgrade
local party organization to return a DM 200,000 (about $125,000)
campaign donation from Jezdimir Vasiljevic, owner of the defunct
Jugoskandik Bank, who fled to Israel last week. The money is
to be refunded to "deceived" depositors, and especially those
with the smallest accounts. Vasiljevic accused the SPS of blackmailing
him into making the donation, but an SPS spokesman denied Vasiljevic's
allegations, calling them "slander." The Jugoskandik affair has
led to the arrest of two recently appointed Serbian government
ministers. Several top officials, including Radoman Bozovic,
chairman of the federal Chamber of Citizens, are under investigation.
Milan Andrejevich

SANCTIONS BITE TANJUG. Politika reported on 18 March that the
Yugoslav news agency is in "serious financial difficulties" due
largely to inflation and overdue customer bills, woes linked
in part to international sanctions. Tanjug reports that it is
unable to pay its bills for the first quarter of 1993 and that
employee salaries are in jeopardy. The agency also warned of
a possible collapse of a large section of the Yugoslav media
and said it might be forced to suspend service to its worst debtors,
which include government offices, embassies, and foreign news
agencies. Milan Andrejevich

HOOLIGANS REIGN IN BELGRADE SCHOOLS. Belgrade media on 16 and
17 March reported extensively on the unsafe conditions in Belgrade's
primary and middle schools. Radio B92 commented that the situation
is like what one sees on American TV news. Politika ekspres writes
that 7th graders in one "respectable" middle school burned text
books and severely beat their teacher because of a dispute over
homework assignments. On a daily basis, police receive calls
from school officials complaining that gangs of fifth and sixth
graders rob classmates of expensive athletic shoes and designer
sportswear. Belgrade school officials have hired private security
agencies to patrol the schools. Police officials say many of
the hooligans are refugees from Croatia and Bosnia. Milan Andrejevich


CERNAK ON SLOVAK ECONOMY. The Slovak economy is "like a car that
is running out of gas," said Economy Minister Ludovit Cernak
on 18 March. Cernak, who is also the chairman of the Slovak National
Party, was speaking to reporters in Bratislava after announcing
earlier in the day that he would resign on 19 March in protest
against some of the policies of the government of Vladimir Meciar.
Cernak said the country's finances are "endangered" and that
Slovakia has a negative foreign trade balance. He argued that
any measures other than the devaluation of the Slovak currency
"only prolong the state of agony." Cernak also cautioned against
the introduction of trade barriers in the form of special tariffs
as planned by the government in an effort to limit imports. He
said Slovakia should not renege on commitments that it has as
a member of international organizations and that it accepted
when it signed a customs union agreement with the Czech Republic.
Jiri Pehe

MECIAR SAYS CZECH DECISION ON SHARES IS BLACKMAIL. Slovak Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar said on 18 March that the Czech government's
decision to postpone issuing shares in privatized Czech firms
to Slovak citizens before some outstanding property issues between
the two republics are solved amounts to blackmail. At a parliament
session Meciar said that the measure is "an unacceptable form
of pressure on our administration and discrimination against
the property of Slovak citizens." He added that the decision
violates international law and agreements between the two countries
on the protection of investments. The Slovak government has also
criticized the measure as unjustified and President Michal Kovac
announced that he plans to take up the issue with his Czech counterpart
Vaclav Havel. Jan Obrman

POPULARITY OF MDS DECREASING DRAMATICALLY. According to an opinion
poll conducted by the Slovak Statistical Office at the end of
February and published on 18 March, the popularity of Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia continues
to decrease. While the MDS received well over 37% of the vote
in the June 1992 elections, it was supported by only 24% in January
and 18% in February of 1993. At the same time, the number of
citizens who favor no political party increased from 31% in January
to 36% in February. While the excommunist Party of the Democratic
Left has stabilized its base of support around 14%, the Slovak
Nationalist Party has been gaining slightly and currently commands
the support of about 9% of the electorate. Earlier opinion polls
have indicated that Meciar's own popularity is also decreasing
continuously while that of other politicians, including President
Michal Kovac and Foreign Minister Milan Knazko, is on the increase.
Jan Obrman

ZHELEV SAYS UDF LEADERS SHOULD RESIGN, NOT HE. Responding to
recent calls by leaders of the Union of Democratic Forces to
step down, Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev said in a TV address
on 18 March that resignation would be more appropriate for those
politicians who "legally won the elections, but later abandoned
the executive power . . . [and] . . . lost their parliamentary
majority." Zhelev, a cofounder of the anticommunist alliance
in December 1989, insisted that the UDF leadership has no one
but itself to blame for having limited the coalition's influence
in Bulgarian society and "turning . . . [it] . . . into a second-rate
political force." On the previous day Vice President Blaga Dimitrova
told Standart she is ready to mediate the conflict, but that
she fears none of the parties is "yet ripe for such a meeting".
Kjell Engelbrekt

BULGARIAN STATE OFFICIALS OUSTED. On 18 March the government
decided to remove two top state officials from their posts. BTA
reports. Government spokesman Raycho Raykov said Stefan Sofiyanski,
head of Bulgarian telecommunications, had been dismissed because
of "disloyalty to the government" as evidenced by his participation
in an antigovernment UDF demonstration on 3 March. A last-minute
appeal on behalf of Sofiyanski by the parliamentary committee
on radio and television--representing all three parties in the
assembly-- had no effect. By contrast, Raykov said the director
of the Committee on Tourism, Slaveyko Bozhinov, had lost his
job due to "lack of professionalism." Prime Minister Lyuben Berov
has also proposed the sacking of BTA Director Ivo Indzhev, but
that decision was postponed until next week. Kjell Engelbrekt


HUNGARIAN RADIO CHAMBER GOES TO COURT. The Radio Chamber, an
organization representing the interests of employees at Hungarian
radio, is seeking a Constitutional Court ruling on a government
resolution concerning the radio and its new by-laws, MTI reported
on 19 March. The chamber says that it is unconstitutional for
the resolution to require that the radio's by-laws be approved
by the government and finds that the by-laws restrict the freedom
of opinion of reporters. Radio Chairman Csaba Gombar recently
resigned under government pressure, and the new by-laws were
worked out by the deputy chairman, who has the government's support.
Edith Oltay

UNEMPLOYMENT IN POLAND. By the end of February the number of
unemployed in Poland reached 2,626,000, or 132,000 more than
in January and 14.2% of the entire work force. According to a
Polish TV report of 17 March, more than 50% of all unemployed
are women. The regions most affected were the agricultural areas
in the north, where almost 22% of the work force could not find
jobs. Jan de Weydenthal

STATE-BUILDING IN THE CRIMEA. The Crimean parliament has begun
hearings devoted to the principles of building constitutional
organs of power in the autonomous republic, Radio Ukraine reported
on 18 March. The hearings, chaired by parliamentary speaker Mykola
Bahrov, focused on three draft laws: on public associations,
elections to parliament, and presidential elections. The report
notes that such hearings are being held for the first time in
the Crimea. Roman Solchanyk

UKRAINE AND RUSSIAN UNABLE TO AGREE ON GAS PRICES. The latest
round of negotiations in Moscow over prices on Ukrainian imports
of Russian natural gas has ended unsuccessfully. According to
Reuters on 18 March, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr
Shokhin said that Ukraine has refused two proposals. Under the
first Ukraine would pay 26,700 rubles per 1,000 cubic meters
(about 60% of the world price) of gas for the next half year
and guarantee transit deliveries to the West. Another proposal
would have had Russia selling to Ukraine for 15,600 rubles (about
35% of the world price) until 30 April with firmer commitments
on deliveries and future prices to be worked out later. According
to Izvestiya on 18 March, Russia sells its natural gas for as
little as 15,000 rubles per 1,000 cubic meters, or about 33%
of the world price, to other signatory states of the CIS customs
union treaty No date for future negotiations between Russia and
Ukraine has been set. Erik Whitlock

ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS DEFENSE PLAN. BNS reported on 18
March that earlier that day a comprehensive defense program failed
to win Parliament's endorsement. The government was asked to
file separate defense bills. Ants Laaneots, chief of general
staff of the Estonian defense forces, commented that for over
a year and a half Estonia "has been building a house without
a blueprint." Some deputies reportedly feel that the rejection
of the program can be interpreted as a demonstration of no-confidence
in Secretary of Defense Hain Rebas. Dzintra Bungs

UN URGES ABSTENTION FROM DECLARATIONS ON PEOPLES IN BALTICS.
Mohammed Ennaceur, chairman of the UN Commission on Human Rights,
has issued an appeal, dated 10 March, urging all concerned parties
to abstain from any official declaration or actions that might
adversely affect confidence-building among people living in the
Baltic States. Heretofore, Russia had wanted the UN to issue
a critical statement concerning the human rights of Russians
living in the Baltic States. He invited everyone concerned to
seek acceptable solutions through peaceful means and said that
such solutions should be in conformity with principles of justice
and international law. Ennaceur added that he is acting at the
request of Estonia and Latvia which, he said, want to strengthen
their political institutions and national cultures. Dzintra Bungs


LATVIAN-RUSSIAN TALKS END INCONCLUSIVELY. Radio Riga reported
that the latest round of Latvian-Russian talks concluded in Moscow
on 18 March with progress on some of the specific issues related
to the withdrawal of Russian troops from Latvia, but not agreement
on a timetable and completion date for the troop pullout. Latvia's
Minister of State Janis Dinevics that the session had been a
stormy one and from the start it was clear that the major agreements
would not be concluded at this time. The next round of talks
is scheduled for 26-28 April in Riga. Dzintra Bungs

LITHUANIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT APPROVED. On 18 March the Seimas
approved the nominations of the five remaining members of the
Constitutional Court, Algirdas Gailiunas, Zigmas Lemnickas, and
Pranas Rasimavicius, proposed by Seimas chairman Ceslovas Jursenas,
and Stasys Staciokas and Teodora Staugaitiene, proposed by Supreme
Court chairman Mindaugas Losys, Radio Lithuania reports. On 16
March it had approved the nominations by President Algirdas Brazauskas
of Kestutis Lapinskas, Vladas Pavilionis, and Stasys Sedbaras
and on 17 February Losys's nomination of Juozas Zilys. The Seimas
still has to approve the chairman of the court, who will be proposed
by Brazauskas. Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA RAISES SALARIES, PENSIONS, AND BENEFITS. On 17 March
the government decided that starting 1 April the salaries of
state employees will increase by an average of 15% , pensions
by 20%, and unemployment, disability, pregnancy, and some other
social benefits by 15%, Radio Lithuania reports. The 5.5 billion
coupons needed for the increases will be taken from planned subsidies
to agriculture. The poverty line will be raised from 2,210 to
2,430 coupons per month and the minimum wage from 2,350 to 2,710.
Saulius Girnius

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Wendy Slater and Charles Trumbull























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