I'm going to turn on the light, and we'll be two people in a room looking at each other and wondering why on earth we were afraid of the dark. - Gale Wilhelm
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 56, 23 March 1993



RUSSIA



CONSTITUTIONAL COURT STARTS HEARING ON YELTSIN'S ADDRESS. The
hearing on Yeltsin's "actions and statements" opened in the Russian
Constitutional Court on 22 March. The Constitutional Court is
considering Yeltsin's TV address of 20 March introducing "a special
regime" in Russia, but not his decree, the text of which has
not yet been published. At a news conference held later that
evening, the court's chairman Valerii Zorkin rebuffed his critics,
particularly Yeltsin's spokesman Vyacheslav Kostikov, who had
attacked Zorkin and the Constitutional Court for the former's
condemnation of Yeltsin's TV address. Zorkin reiterated that
he had criticized the president after consultations with other
judges, rather than unilaterally as Kostikov had claimed, adding
that neither he nor the court were "in Khasbulatov's pocket"
or that of Yeltsin's opponents. Zorkin also said that he had
appealed to Yeltsin to reach a compromise with the legislature.
Julia Wishnevsky

CONSTITUTIONAL COURT REMAINS SILENT. According to several Western
news agency reports on 23 March, the Constitutional Court sitting
defied President Boris Yeltsin's move to introduce special rule.
However, the court seems to be split on the issue. The majority
of judges have reportedly proclaimed Yeltsin's decree to be anti-constitutional,
but some have supported Yeltsin and others have abstained. The
decision of the Constitutional Court has, however, not yet been
published and thus remains without legal force. The Constitutional
Court is obviously waiting for Yeltsin to publish his decree
first. Alexander Rahr

RUTSKOI RENEWS CRITICISM OF YELTSIN. Russian and Western news
agencies reported on 22 March that Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi,
who stands to succeed Yeltsin as president for three months until
fresh elections if the latter is impeached, had issued a further
statement severely criticizing Yeltsin for introducing special
rule. He identified the government's reform plans as being the
main source of the current confrontation between executive and
legislature, and criticized the economic reforms as being based
too much on "mythical western aid and not on Russia's own potential."
Rutskoi accused Yeltsin's advisors of having provoked the recent
measures for fear that they would be called to account for the
political and economic situation in Russia. Rutskoi's statement
drew an angry response from the presidential side, which issued
a warning that the planned 25 April plebiscite would include
a vote of no-confidence in Rutskoi, unless he retracted his criticism.
Wendy Slater

YELTSIN'S DECREE ON MASS MEDIA. President Yeltsin has issued
a decree "protecting the independence of the mass media," ITAR-TASS
reported on 22 March. The decree is aimed at preventing a "monopolization
of the media" and "illegal interference" in the operation of
radio, TV, news agencies and periodicals. At its latest session
the Congress of People's Deputies debated subjecting radio, TV,
and ITAR-TASS to parliamentary control. The decree orders the
Russian Interior Ministry to take "necessary measures" to defend
the premises of radio and TV broadcasters as well as information
agencies and publishing houses. Meanwhile, on 22 March, the Russian
parliament criticized the TV coverage of the parliament's reaction
to Yeltsin's decree introducing special rule. ITAR-TASS quoted
the parliament as saying the media have no right to "try to convince
the people that nothing has happened." Vera Tolz

YELTSIN ORDERS ASSESSMENT OF HIS REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVES. President
Yeltsin has ordered an assessment of his representatives in Russia's
regions and the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg, ITAR-TASS
reported on 22 March. The inspection process will be held in
May and June. The report said that presidential envoys will be
assessed from the point of view of their "ability to represent
the president in a proper way and uphold the interests of the
state." The wording makes it clear that the main criterion of
the assessment will be the envoy's loyalty to the president.
The very existence of the institution of presidential envoys
is opposed by local governments in many regions of the Russian
Federation. Vera Tolz

REPUBLICS REACT NEGATIVELY. Reactions in the republics to Yeltsin's
decree, as reported in the Russian and Western media on 22 March,
have been generally negative. A joint session of the presidiums
of the Karelian parliament and council of ministers said that
the introduction of special rule could further destabilize the
situation and undermine the basis of the state. A statement issued
by the Bashkortostan government maintained that the existing
constitution and federal treaty were adequate to implement reforms
and that the introduction of special measures should be seen
as an attempt to establish an authoritarian regime or a political
maneuver to escape responsibility. The authorities in Sakha also
expressed alarm over the crisis in Moscow, stressing the need
for strict observance of the Russian constitution, and further
criticism came from Tuva. Ann Sheehy

DEMOCRATS SUPPORT YELTSIN. Russian democrats held a rally in
Moscow's October Cinema on 22 March in support of President Boris
Yeltsin's actions, Russian news agencies reported. The meeting
was presided over by First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko--a
former associate of the centrist Civic Union who has now allied
himself with democrats. Shumeiko strongly criticized Vice President
Rutskoi for "always betraying the president." He promised that
Yeltsin's decree introducing special rule will be published "very
soon" and stated that the "international opinion" may become
the "arbiter" in the Russian state crisis. Also present at the
rally were Yeltsin's chief of staff Sergei Filatov and former
State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis. The latter said that a return
to "monstrous communism" was unimaginable. Alexander Rahr

DZHERZHINSKY DIVISION REMAINING IN MOSCOW. According to an AFP
report of 23 March, the Interior Ministry has ordered the Dzherzhinsky
Division, a unit trained for riot control and law enforcement,
to remain in Moscow. The unit was reportedly scheduled to leave
for North Ossetia on Tuesday to relieve other troops stationed
there. John Lepingwell

YELTSIN CALLS FOR EMERGENCY ECONOMIC MEASURES. As part of his
special rule announced on 20 March, Yeltsin instructed Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin to introduce a series of important
economic measures over the next two weeks. They include 1) introducing
privatization vouchers for the purchase of land; 2) guaranteeing
ownership of property newly transferred from state to private
hands; 3) creating financial and technical support for small
and medium-sized businesses; 4) developing public works programs
and measures to strengthen job security as bankruptcy and plant
closures appear increasing likely; and 5) establishing fixed
limits on money creation to counter inflation. Yeltsin also confirmed
the government's intention to compensate citizens' savings eroded
by inflation and emphasized action to combat corruption in state
organizations. Chernomyrdin, who spoke before parliament the
following day, while expressing support for the president, gave
no indication that he had been party to formulating these measures
or knew of Yeltsin's intentions in advance. Erik Whitlock

START-2 STALLED. The political crisis in Russia has brought the
START-2 ratification process to a halt. Radio Moscow--1 reported
on 22 March that hearings on the treaty would begin that day,
but Radio Mayak later reported that they had been canceled. These
reports conflict with previous reports which indicated that hearings
were not scheduled to resume until 29 March. The Supreme Soviet
has been meeting in committees on 22-23 March while awaiting
the Constitutional Court's decision on Yeltsin's moves, but it
is highly unlikely that it will consider the treaty until the
constitutional crisis is resolved. John Lepingwell

FEDOROV ATTACKS CENTRAL BANK. Despite the resolution passed on
12 March by the Congress of People's Deputies designed to increase
the government's influence on Central Bank policy-making, the
two bodies continue to attack one another. In the latest clash,
according to Izvestiya on 23 March, Deputy Prime Minister Boris
Fedorov has sent a formal castigation of Central Bank leadership
to parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov. The Central Bank's
recently released a policy program for the year, entitled "Basic
Directions of Credit and Monetary Regulation for 1993," which
contradicts the government's economic plans, Fedorov insists.
He claims the Central Bank program represents a continuation
of the highly inflationary policy of the past instead of the
return to financial austerity promised by the government. Erik
Whitlock

G-7 MINISTERIAL MEETING ON AID TO RUSSIA. US Secretary of State
Warren Christopher announced on 22 March that Japan will invite
Russian President Boris Yeltsin to attend the G-7 ministerial
meeting in Tokyo that is to focus on aid to Russia, an RFE/RL
correspondent and Western agencies reported. The meeting is scheduled
for April, but no firm date has been set. Japanese Finance Minister
Yoshiro Hayashi said on 23 March that the meeting may take place
one week earlier than the originally proposed date of 20 April,
but that such a meeting will be of little use if the G-7 fails
to come up with a concrete plan for providing aid. Reuters on
22 March reported that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Boris Fedorov
had presented the G-7 sherpas' meeting in Hong Kong earlier this
month with a detailed request for assistance, bearing a price
tag of more than $20 billion, including a $6 billion stabilization
fund and up to $7 billion for industrial restructuring. Keith
Bush

MORE FINANCIAL PREFERENCES TO RUSSIAN ENERGY INDUSTRY. To counter
the expected continued decline in the production of gas and oil
this year, the Russian government has taken new action to increase
resources to the sector. Oil and gas exports will be duty free
with the cost savings to be reinvested in production, various
news agencies reported on 16 March. Last week President Yeltsin
signed a decree freeing the energy sector from mandatory resale
of its hard currency earnings to the state, ITAR-TASS reported
on 22 March. These measures follow the state's granting hundreds
of billions of rubles worth of low-interest investment credits
to the industry. Erik Whitlock

RUSSIAN CHURCH APPEALS FOR RESTRAINT. Bishops of the Russian
Orthodox Church appealed to the leaders of the Russian Federation
in a letter calling on them to halt their confrontation, even
if this cost them their "political careers." Presumably for fear
of eventual bloodshed, the authors also instructed their flock
to pray for the country's rulers and soldiers. The appeal was
read in the course of the 22 March Russian TV "Vesti" newscast
by Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk. Julia Wishnevsky

US, RUSSIAN SUBS COLLIDE. A US attack submarine collided with
a Russian ballistic-missile submarine in the Barents Sea early
on the morning of 20 March, according to Western and Russian
press agencies. Both submarines sustained only minor damage and
returned to their bases without incident. Russian sources claimed
that the submarine was a Delta III class vessel, while the New
York Times reported that the submarine was a more modern Delta
IV. US submarines routinely monitor and track the movements of
Russian subs. John Lepingwell

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



NIYAZOV VISITS US. Turkmenistan's President Saparmurad Niyazov
is on an unofficial visit to the US this week organized by former
US Secretary of State Alexander Haig's consulting firm, Worldwide
Associates. A Washington Post article of 23 March reported that
Niyazov has chosen Haig's firm to represent Turkmenistan in the
US and one of Haig's firms is seeking a contract to review foreign
investment proposals for the Central Asian state. On 22 March
ITAR-TASS reported that Niyazov had met with UN Secretary-General
Butros Butros-Ghali. The Washington Post quoted Washington officials
as saying that meetings with high-level US officials will not
be arranged unless Turkmenistan reverses its refusal to grant
visas to three Turkmen human-rights activists who have been invited
to a conference at the University of Wisconsin in April. Bess
Brown

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



BALTIC LEADERS' STATEMENT ON RUSSIA. On 22 March the three Baltic
heads of state--Lennart Meri of Estonia, Anatolijs Gorbunovs
of Latvia, and Algirdas Brazauskas of Lithuania--issued a joint
statement expressing concern about the serious political crisis
in Russia, which, they said, poses a threat not only for democratic
reforms in Russia itself, but jeopardizes also the stability
and security of Europe and Asia. They stressed that the Baltic
States have always supported the democratic forces in Russia
and believe that Russia's historic transition from totalitarianism
to democracy is the best guarantee for good-neighborly relations
based on mutual respect, international law, and international
accords. They also expressed the conviction that the people and
leadership of Russia will overcome the current crisis by nonviolent
means, Baltic media reported on 22 March. Dzintra Bungs

UKRAINIAN POLITICAL PARTIES SUPPORT YELTSIN. Ukrainian TV on
22 March reports that most political parties and movements in
Ukraine are supporting Russian President Boris Yeltsin in his
conflict with the people's deputies. According to the report,
the Ukrainian parties see the conflict as one between supporters
of democracy and those forces interested in bringing back a communist
regime. The Socialist Party of Ukraine (former communists) blames
Yeltsin's economic reform program for the political conflict.
Roman Solchanyk

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT ON RUSSIAN CRISIS. The Romanian government
issued a statement on 22 March saying it supports the continuation
of the democratization process in Russia, which is "powerfully
marked by president Boris Yeltsin's personality." The statement,
carried by Radio Bucharest, said Russian reform was important
to Romania, Europe and the world. The hope was expressed that
the situation in Russia would be resolved without confrontation.
Romania's president, Ion Iliescu, said he backs the government's
statement. Earlier on 22 March Rompres quoted the chairman of
the Democratic Convention of Romania, Emil Constantinescu, as
saying the confrontation in Russia is a "struggle between the
past and the future." Corneliu Coposu, leader of the National
Peasant Party Christian Democratic, said there is a dangerous
revival of conservatism and sabotage of the democratization launched
by Yeltsin in Russia, adding that extreme left forces in Romania
are eagerly awaiting a signal from Moscow. The DCR as a whole
said it firmly supports the democratization process in Russia.
On the other hand, the Socialist Labor Party, the heir of the
Communist party, said it opposes "any interference in the internal
affairs of another country." [Note: Petre Roman, who is the leader
of Romania's opposition National Salvation Front, was erroneously
identified in yesterday's RFE/RL Daily Report.] Michael Shafir


SERBS STEP UP SHELLING OF SARAJEVO. The 23 March Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung reports that Serbian forces subjected the
Bosnian capital to massive shelling on 21 and 22 March. The paper
quotes UN headquarters there as saying that 2400 shells hit the
city the first day alone, with over 400 of them directed at the
historic old town, where no Bosnian forces are stationed. The
UN deputy commander for that embattled republic charged the Serbs
with deliberately pounding nonmilitary targets. Meanwhile at
the UN in New York, international media reported on 22 and 23
March that Russia has lodged some last-minute objections to a
pending measure aimed at enforcing a no-fly zone over Bosnia.
The BBC said that Russian domestic political considerations probably
were behind the delaying tactics. Also at the UN, pessimism spread
regarding the chances that the Bosnian Serbs will ever sign the
Vance-Owen peace plan. Finally at the Hague, Bosnian authorities
on 22 March filed a suit with the World Court against rump Yugoslavia,
which Bosnia accuses of war crimes. Patrick Moore

DALMATIA UNDER MASSIVE POWER CUTS. Croatia's coastal region continues
to be without electricity for most of the day, laming industry
and dampening hopes for an early recovery of the vital tourist
trade. The government is using its hold over the media to promote
a search for scapegoats other than itself, with the Bosnian Muslims
and their electric power resources being one target. In another
development, the formerly independent Split daily, Slobodna Dalmacija,
was the subject of a recent concerted takeover by forces close
to the ruling party and is increasingly coming to resemble Zagreb's
tame papers. Patrick Moore

FLAP IN CROATIA OVER BUDAK. Jewish leaders on 22 March protested
plans to rename a street in Zagreb after Mile Budak, a prewar
Croatian author who subsequently held top positions in the ustasha
government under Nazi sponsorship. Western news agencies quoted
the leaders as saying that Budak remains for them a war criminal
because of his involvement with the ustashas' anti-Semitic policies,
adding that the Jews fear a revival of anti-Semitism in independent
Croatia. Government spokesmen have said that Budak, who became
a convert to Croatian nationalism after being beaten up by Serbian
police, is being honored as an author and a patriot. Whatever
the case, many observers regard the rehabilitation of Budak as
yet another political blunder in dealing with minorities by a
government whose president has been known to make anti-Semitic
and anti-Serbian remarks in public. Patrick Moore

GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER ENDS BULGARIAN VISIT. After a three-day
visit, on 22 March Ioannis Varvitsiotis left Bulgaria, BTA reports.
Varvitsiotis and his Bulgarian counterpart Valentin Aleksandrov
told a news conference in Sofia that they had discussed bilateral
and regional problems, as well as Sofia's wish to develop closer
ties with NATO. The Greek minister said he would bring that message
to Brussels next week. Varvitsiotis also met with President Zhelyu
Zhelev and Prime Minister Lyuben Berov. Kjell Engelbrekt

DEMOKRATSIYA: BULGARIAN MUSLIMS BEING "TURKIFIED." Reports in
the press organ of the Union of Democratic Forces say Bulgarian
Muslims in some regions are being pressured to repudiate their
ethnic identity. In articles on 20 and 22 March, Demokratsiya
claims that activists of the mainly Turkish Movement for Rights
and Freedoms are behind a campaign to "Turkify" those ethnic
Bulgarians who follow Islam. According to the reports, local
MRF activists are exerting pressure on the population in Muslim
villages near Gotse Delchev to change their Bulgarian names and
learn Turkish. Contrary to most other dailies, Demokratsiya has
previously treated minority issues with care, but that policy
appears to be changing following the breakdown of the UDF-MRF
parliamentary alliance last autumn. Kjell Engelbrekt

POLISH COALITION TO TRY AGAIN. Meeting in special session on
22 March, the Polish cabinet voted unanimously to resubmit its
mass privatization program to the Sejm. Prime Minister Hanna
Suchocka told Polish TV that "we cannot permit political games
to undermine reform." An official communique said that the program
will now be divided into two stages. Initially, some 200 firms
will be privatized; shares in the mutual investment funds set
up to manage them will be distributed to pensioners and public
servants as compensation for benefits suspended in 1991 and reinstated
by the Constitutional Tribunal in 1992. In the second phase,
shares in mutual investment funds set up to manage 400 additional
firms will be distributed to the general public. These revisions
are designed to court votes from the former communist Democratic
Left Alliance, which has demanded that the government attempt
a limited pilot program before making larger experiments. Suchocka
also announced that the government will begin the program--on
the basis of existing legislation--without waiting for the Sejm's
approval. Mass privatization was also the subject of President
Lech Walesa's meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Henryk Goryszewski
on 22 March. Walesa urged the government to push ahead with its
economic reform plans, PAP reports. Louisa Vinton

POLAND'S FORMER COMMUNISTS UNREPENTANT. Aleksander Kwasniewski
was reelected chairman of the Social Democracy of the Polish
Republic (SdRP) at the party's second congress on 20-21 March.
The SdRP, the direct successor to the communist party, dominates
the Democratic Left Alliance, the largest caucus in the Sejm.
It has 60,000 dues-paying members. Most delegates expressed satisfaction
that the party has defied predictions that it would vanish from
the political scene. In the interests of unity, the congress
decided not to adopt a motion designed to settle accounts with
the party's past. SdRP leaders said the party will remain in
the opposition until new elections, but that this does not preclude
supporting the government on specific issues. Louisa Vinton

KLAUS IN GERMANY. The Czech Prime Minister arrived in Munich
on 22 March on a two-day visit of Germany. He met with Bavarian
Prime Minister Max Streibl and other officials. Streibl told
reporters after his meeting with Klaus that Bavaria attaches
great importance to creating a stable economic zone in the center
of Europe and improving traffic infrastructure along the Czech-Bavarian
border. He also said that both sides agreed on closer cooperation
to cope with problems such as organized crime and smuggling of
asylum seekers from the Czech Republic into Bavaria. Klaus repeated
Prague's rejection of the demands by Sudeten Germans for compensation
of the losses which they suffered when they were forcibly expelled
from Czechoslovakia after World War II. Jiri Pehe

CZECH, HUNGARIAN DEFENSE MINISTERS MEET. Speaking at a press
conference in Prague on 22 March after his meeting with Hungarian
Defense Minister Lajos Fur, Czech Defense Minister Antonin Baudys
told reporters that "relations between the Czech and Hungarian
armies are free of conflict." Baudys stressed that the two sides
have identical opinions about the situation in former Yugoslavia
and Russia as well as about cooperation within the Visegrad group
and relations with NATO. Fur said that his country is following
with great interest developments in Russia because "what is happening
in Russia may prove to be of decisive importance for Hungary."
According to Radio Budapest, the topics discussed included implementation
of the 1991 Hungarian-Czechoslovak military cooperation agreement,
the two armies' aging Soviet-made military hardware, and ways
to coordinate the two countries' goal of becoming members of
NATO. A possible first meeting of the Visegrad Quadrangle's defense
ministers in the near future was also mentioned. Jiri Pehe &
Alfred Reisch

BUDAPEST CHIEF RABBI CRITICIZED. MTI reported on 18 March 1993
that the Jewish Religious Council expressed shock and sharply
criticized a public statement by Chief Rabbi Gyorgy Landeszmann.
In a 26 February press interview Landeszmann said that without
Jewish contributions, Hungarian culture amounted to little more
than "leather pants and apricot brandy." The council accepted
the Chief Rabbi's apologies and asked him to take steps to repair
the damage. The incident led to an exchange of letters between
Prime Minister Jozsef Antall, who is concerned about the possibility
of an outgrowth of anti-Semitism, and David Kraus, Israeli Ambassador
to Hungary, who called Landeszmann's statement a "mistake." Karoly
Okolicsanyi

UKRAINIAN-MOLDOVAN ACCORDS. Ukrainian Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma
with a large governmental delegation paid a two-day visit to
Moldova for talks with President Mircea Snegur, Prime Minister
Andrei Sangheli, and other Moldovan officials, Moldovan media
reported on 20 March. Kuchma said Moldova is "one of Ukraine's
principal partners, both economically and politically," and an
"ally" of Ukraine (the two countries recently concluded a comprehensive
military agreement). He contrasted Ukrainian-Moldovan relations
and "Russia's chosen path, that of interstate conflicts, which
leads us nowhere." Both sides complained of a "Russian fuel blockade"
and said that they are discouraged about investing in Siberian
oil development through direct deals with the regions because
of the risk that Russia would say after a while that everything
belongs to her. The two sides granted each other most-favored-nation
status and signed agreements on cooperation in transport, energy,
telecommunications, finance, culture, and education. Ukraine
will partly make up for shortfalls in Russian fuel deliveries
to Moldova through supplementary deliveries of Ukrainian coal
in exchange for Moldovan agricultural produce. Vladimir Socor


MOLDOVAN, "DNIESTER" LEADERS MEET. In yet another conciliatory
gesture, Moldovan Parliament chairman Petru Lucinschi and Prime
Minister Andrei Sangheli met near Bendery with "Dniester republic"
president Igor Smirnov, Moldovan and Russian media reported on
18 and 22 March. The sides agreed to pursue a political dialogue
and to focus at this stage on restoring economic links, which
the "Dniester" side conditions on Moldova's renunciation of its
intent to introduce a national currency in place of the ruble.
On 22 March President Mircea Snegur told a news conference that
Chisinau urges Tiraspol to sign an agreement on the inadmissibility
of using force under any circumstances. Chisinau will keep negotiating
despite escalating demands from the "Dniestr republic" for republican
status, entry into the CIS, and now open claim to eventually
join the Russian Federation. Chisinau offers administrative-territorial
autonomy to the Transdniester and the Gagauz. Vladimir Socor


LITHUANIA GETS EC LOAN. On 22 March European Community Economics
Affairs Commissioner Henning Christophersen and Lithuanian Finance
Minister Eduardas Vilkelis signed an agreement for a 100-million-ecu
($119million) loan, Reuters reports. Half of the sum will be
released immediately and the other half by the middle of the
year. The deal is part of the $285-million loan from the G-24
industrialized nations. Christophersen commended the Lithuanian
authorities for the reforms they have implemented and urged them
not to slow down or deviate from them. Saulius Girnius

NEW ELECTION COALITION IN LATVIA. Another election coalition,
will field candidates for the parliamentary elections on 5-6
June. Among the participants in the left-of-center coalition
are Latvia's Support Foundation, led by former foreign minister
Janis Jurkans, Union of Latvia's Youth for Progress (former Komsomol),
Latvia's Agrarian Association, the Central Alliance of Latvia's
Employers, and the Fishermen's Union. Two spokesmen for Conciliation
for Latvia-Rebirth for the Economy are deputies Vilnis Edvins
Bresis and Edvins Kide, who are also members of the board of
Latvia's Democratic Labor Party. Upon learning about the coalition,
the LDDP leadership expressed objections to the candidature of
its members on other election lists, Diena reported on 19 March.
Dzintra Bungs

CONGRESS OF ESTONIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY. On 20-21 March
the Estonian Social Democratic Party held its third congress,
BNS reported on 22 March. Party chairman Marju Lauristin read
a report on the party's activities, noting that the party would
have to state its positions on the main issues in Estonia's political
life clearly because the party's close cooperation with right-of-center
political forces has raised questions. She said that the party
supports Russian democrats and intends to establish contacts
with them. Swedish Social Democratic Party Chairman former Prime
Minister Ingvar Carllson attended the congress as a guest. The
party is small, having only 212 members and 58 associate members
at the opening of the Congress. Saulius Girnius

NEW ESTONIAN OIL TERMINAL STARTS OPERATION. On 22 March the first
complex of facilities at the new oil terminal at Muuga, Tallinn
was opened, BNS reports. The terminal belongs to the Finnish-Estonian
joint venture Estonian Transoil in which Finland's Neste owns
a 55% stake and the fuel company Eesti Kutus, 45%. With its eight
tanks and storage capacity of 4,000 cubic meters, the facility
should make Estonia less dependent on oil from the CIS. Another
terminal for crude and heating oil, belonging to Pakterminal
Ltd., will be opened in Muuga on 24 March. Saulius Girnius

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Wendy Slater and Charles Trumbull

























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