To get rid of an enemy, one must love him. - Leo Tolstoy
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 58, 25 March 1993





RUSSIA



YELTSIN BACKS AWAY FROM CONFRONTATION. President Boris Yeltsin
has published the final version of his decree "On the activities
of executive bodies until the settlement of the crisis of power."
ITAR-TASS on 24 March carried the text of the decree. It contains
no reference to the introduction of "special rule" which had
been mentioned in Yeltsin's TV address of 20 March--a clear sign
that Yeltsin has decided to retreat from serious confrontation
with the parliament and the Constitutional Court. Yeltsin confirms
his intention to hold a referendum on confidence in the president;
the question put on the referendum will, however, not include
a vote of confidence in Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi. Yeltsin
retained the call to hold a plebiscite on a new draft constitution
and on a draft law on elections to a new bicameral legislature.
Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN RETREATS FROM HIS CONSTITUTIONAL DRAFT. Presidential
spokesman Vyacheslav Kostikov told Ostankino TV "Novosti" on
24 March that President Yeltsin will submit to referendum the
constitutional draft prepared by the parliamentary Constitutional
Commission. That draft foresees a strong parliamentary republic.
Although Yeltsin plans to propose some amendments to the draft
regarding the powers of the president, it seems unlikely that
the parliament will accept them. Yeltsin's speech of 20 March,
in which he proclaimed special rule, had given strong hints that
he wanted to submit his draft--which foresees a presidential
republic--to a referendum. Yeltsin has apparently buried his
earlier idea of establishing a Constitutional Assembly which
would adopt the new constitution. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.


KEY PLAYERS MEET IN KREMLIN. President Boris Yeltsin, parliamentary
speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov, the chairman of the Constitutional
Court Valerii Zorkin, and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
met on 24 March in the Kremlin to discuss ways out of the political
crisis following the publication of Yeltsin's final decree. The
meeting ended without results. Khasbulatov later told parliament
that the four men had discussed the possibility of setting up
a government of national consensus. Khasbulatov said that while
Yeltsin favored the idea of holding a referendum, he (Khasbulatov)
advocated early presidential and parliamentary elections. He
also claimed that the Constitutional Court ruling on Yeltsin's
address has reduced the legitimacy of presidential power, and
stated that the Congress may now start the impeachment of the
president. Alexander Rahr , RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN CONDEMNS PARLIAMENT, CRITICIZES CONSTITUTIONAL COURT.
Yeltsin's press service issued a statement on 24 March, reported
by ITAR-TASS and Western agencies, criticizing the parliament's
"hasty" decision to convene the ninth (extraordinary) session
of the Congress of People's Deputies on 26 March as being liable
to "draw the country into a new spiral of political tension."
Parliament confirmed its decision in the afternoon of 24 March
and set an agenda for the Congress which foresaw debate "on urgent
measures to defend the constitutional structure of the Russian
Federation." Yeltsin's statement said that the convocation of
the Congress was based on the "contentious and biased verdict
of the Constitutional Court" which had put its impartiality in
doubt by issuing its conclusions before studying the presidential
decree. The parliamentary leadership, said the statement, was
trying to replace the president and open the way to a restoration
of totalitarian forces. Wendy Slater, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN'S STATEMENT TO PARLIAMENT. The President's press service
released a message from Yeltsin to the Russian parliament on
24 March expressing his concern over the inconsistencies in the
Russian Constitution and the attitude of the legislature and
the Constitutional Court toward it. In the statement, which was
carried by ITAR-TASS, Yeltsin said that a vote of confidence
would give the people the chance to confirm the legitimacy of
elected institutions in a transitional period of Russia's statehood.
He warned the parliament against "creating constitutional illusions
for the people," saying that he, as Russian President, was the
guarantor of constitutionality. Confirming that voting would
go ahead on 25 April on a new constitution, Yeltsin warned "all
bodies of state power, social movements, officials, against attacks
on stability" during the transitional period. Wendy Slater, RFE/RL,
Inc.

KHASBULATOV THREATENS YELTSIN'S LEGAL EXPERTS. Parliamentary
speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov told deputies that he has the impression
that President Yeltsin "did not clearly understand the situation
in Russia." Russian TV "Vesti" on 24 March carried his remarks
made to the parliament. Khasbulatov also said that those aides
of Yeltsin who had drafted the "unconstitutional acts" on the
introduction of special rule should be "punished." The Russian
Procurator General Valentin Stepankov had previously stated that
the authors of Yeltsin's decree (in the version which Yeltsin
quoted in his televised speech on 20 March) should be prosecuted.
Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai told AFP on 22 March that
Anatolii Sliva, deputy head of the president's State-Legal Department,
was one of the authors of the decree on the introduction of special
rule. Shakhrai is also reported to be one of the authors of the
decree. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

KOZYREV'S SPEECH, MEETING WITH CLINTON. In a speech at American
University in Washington on 24 March, Russian Foreign Minister
Andrei Kozyrev said that full-fledged economic partnership between
Russia and the leading industrial nations was a way to resolve
Russia's economic and political crisis. Among other things, Kozyrev
said there should be a set timetable for Russia's admission into
the G- 7. Kozyrev also held talks with US President Bill Clinton.
Following the talks, Kozyrev told reporters that he is convinced
US-Russian relations will grow into "real cooperation across
the board" after the Vancouver summit, Russian and Western agencies
reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

CRACKDOWN ON ANTI-YELTSIN MEDIA. Following President Yeltsin's
decree on "protecting the independence of the mass media," the
president's supporters have acted to contain the most virulent
anti-Yeltsin media. ITAR-TASS reported on 24 March that Information
Minister Mikhail Fedotov had asked a court to ban the hardline
opposition newspapers Den and Sovetskaya Rossiya for violating
the press law. No details on the alleged violations were given.
In a related development, the popular St. Petersburg TV broadcast,
"600 Sekund," appeared on 24 March without its usual presenter,
Aleksandr Nevzorov, who is known for his nationalist views. The
program as broadcast, according to Reuters, expressed support
for Boris Yeltsin and reported favorably on a pro-Yeltsin demonstration
held in St. Petersburg on 23 March. Bella Kurkova, the head of
the St. Petersburg broadcasting company, said that Nevzorov had
been temporarily suspended for suspected violations of Russian
media laws. A demonstration in support of Nevzorov ended without
incident. Wendy Slater, RFE/RL, Inc.

DENIAL THAT ACHALOV CONDUCTING ANTI-YELTSIN ACTIVITIES. Spokesmen
for the Russian Defense Ministry and for the Moscow Military
District have denied reports that former USSR Deputy Defense
Minister Vladislav Achalov has been conducting anti- Yeltsin
agitation among troops in the Moscow region, RFE/RL's Moscow
correspondent reported on 24 March. A member of Yeltsin's Presidential
Council, Vladimir Tikhonov, also told RFE/RL that Achalov's activities
had been discussed at the council's 23 March meeting. Achalov,
currently an aide to Ruslan Khasbulatov, is reported to be the
choice of a number of reactionary groups as a replacement for
current Defense Minister Pavel Grachev. In 1990 Grachev served
under Achalov as first deputy commander of Soviet Airborne Forces,
and replaced Achalov when the latter was named a USSR Deputy
Defense Minister in December of that year. Achalov was arrested
in 1991 for his participation in the August coup but was never
brought to trial. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

DON COSSACKS PROCLAIM SELF-RULE. On the night of 23 March the
grand assembly of Don Cossacks proclaimed self-rule, ITAR- TASS
reported on 24 March. According to ITAR-TASS, the authorities
of Rostov oblast disagree with the move, which came after the
assembly had rejected an accord that would have allowed the gradual
restoration of traditional Cossack privileges. The Cossacks acted
in the wake of a decree by Yeltsin of 15 March on reforming the
military structures in the North Caucasus and state support for
the Cossacks, which "reflected the long-standing desires of the
Cossacks for self-rule and special service in the army." ITAR-TASS
said the atamans had interpreted this as the green light for
immediate action. At the same time the atamans and Union of Cossacks
Hosts of Russia have expressed their unwavering devotion to Yeltsin's
course, ITAR-TASS reported. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.

SOLDIERS SENTENCED FOR SPYING. Krim-TASS reported on 24 March
that four Russian soldiers have been sentenced to hard labor
for selling military secrets to Western intelligence agencies.
Neither the lengths of their sentences nor the Western nations
for which they allegedly spied were disclosed in the report.
The Military Prosecutor's office said that the four had confessed
to the crime. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



INFORMAL PEACE TALKS ON KARABAKH IN GENEVA. Six days of informal
discussions in Geneva between Armenian and Azerbaijani government
officials and Russian, Turkish, US, and Italian diplomatic representatives
ended on 24 March with an agreement to continue negotiations
in April, AFP reported citing UN sources. The Armenian community
of Nagorno-Karabakh did not send representatives to the talks,
apparently fearing that an agreement would be reached that Karabakh
should remain a part of Azerbaijan. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.


EBRD PUBLISHES STRATEGY FOR AZERBAIJAN. On 23 March the European
Bank for Reconstruction and Development unveiled its economic
strategy for Azerbaijan. The statement noted Azerbaijan's potential
in terms of natural resources (oil and gas), development of which
form the basis of the bank's strategy in the short term, but
noted at the same time that a settlement of the Karabakh conflict
was a necessary precondition for the successful exploitation
of the region's economic potential, according to an RFE/RL correspondent's
report. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

ECONOMIC DECLINE IN KAZAKHSTAN. Kazakhstan's State Committee
on Statistics has issued a gloomy report on the country's economic
performance during the first two months of 1993, KazTAG-TASS
reported on 24 March. In comparison with the same period in 1992,
total output was down 14.1%, industrial output was down more
than 10%, and agricultural output declined as well. The report
noted that not only the output of the livestock-raising industry
had declined--meat production is down 15.4% in comparison with
the first two months of 1992 and the output of milk products
is down by nearly a third--but the number of livestock is down
as well. Workers in industry, transport and construction were
reported to have average wages of 14,900 to 17,900 rubles per
month, while persons employed in credit and state insurance institutions
were earning up to 21,000 rubles. Employees of cultural, educational
and health care institutions were averaging only 4,900 to 7,100
rubles per month. There has been little sign of widespread dissatisfaction
with President Nursultan Nazarbaev's economic reform program,
but the official figures suggest that it has yet to show perceptible
results. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

REFUGEE SITUATION IN TAJIKISTAN. Western news agencies quoted
UN officials in Dushanbe and Geneva on 24 March as saying that
8,000 refugees who were sent from the Tajik capital back to their
former homes in the town of Kabodien in the southern part of
the country have finally been allowed to enter the town. Other
townsfolk had refused them entry, presumably because the refugees
were of a different political orientation. According to a report
from Geneva, at least 15 of the refugees had died. International
Red Cross teams were reported to be trying to arrange for food
and shelter. The same day Khovar-TASS quoted a statement by First
Deputy Prime Minister Makhmadsaid Ubaidulloev in the daily Jumhuriyat
that 500,000 refugees have returned to their homes, and almost
none remain in Dushanbe. He apparently made no reference to the
problems of returnees described by the Red Cross. Bess Brown,
RFE/RL, Inc.

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



SERB SHELLING STOPS RESCUE MISSION. The Los Angeles Times reports
on 25 March that the UN the previous day "aborted a rescue mission
for severely wounded Bosnian Muslims  when Serb rebels rained
down artillery shells on three French helicopters as they began
the evacuation from  Srebrenica." The BBC added that the UN
commander in Bosnia, Gen. Philippe Morillon, is on his way to
Belgrade for talks with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.
Morillon hopes to convince Milosevic to make the Bosnian Serbs
cooperate with the evacuation. Meanwhile at the UN in New York,
the Security Council has postponed for another week its vote
on enforcing a no-fly zone in Bosnia. Media reports suggest that
the Western powers agreed to the delay in a concession to Russia,
whose government wants to be seen at home as doing what it can
to promote peace and not following the Western lead in backing
a measure aimed largely at the Serbs. Finally, chances that the
Bosnian Serbs will accept the Vance-Owen peace seem increasingly
remote, and Reuters on 24 March headlined its story: "UN Strategy
for Bosnia in Tatters." Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

DIRECTOR OF CZECH RADIO RESIGNS. Ivan Mejstrik, director of Czech
Radio, announced his resignation on 24 March, citing disagreements
with the Board for Radio Broadcasting, an independent committee
supervising Czech Radio. CTK reports that Zbynek Honys, editor-in-chief
of the Radiozurnal station, which is operated by Czech Radio,
also resigned. Honys told CTK that he is resigning because the
Board for Radio Broadcasting has been interfering with newscasts
of the station and that conditions necessary for smooth functioning
of the station have not been created. Also on 24th, Zdenek Susa,
chairman of the Board for Radio Broadcasting resigned from his
post. Susa said the fact that he is quitting at the same time
as Mejstrik and Honys is "a coincidence," but he did not give
reasons for his decision. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

MECIAR IN MOSCOW. The Slovak Prime Minister arrived in Moscow
on 24 March, where he is to meet Russian Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin and President Boris Yeltsin, Slovak and Russian
media report. Meciar and Chernomyrdin are expected to sign documents
on economic relations between the two countries and on cooperation
between the Russian and Slovak foreign ministers. Jiri Pehe,
RFE/RL, Inc.

SUCHOCKA MEETS KOHL, OPENS HANNOVER TRADE FAIR. Together with
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Polish Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka
opened the "CeBIT '93" trade fair in Hannover on 23 March. CeBIT
is the largest computer trade fair in the world; this year's
theme is cooperation with Eastern Europe. In her opening remarks,
Suchocka encouraged increased Western investment in Poland and
said that Polish reforms cannot succeed without broader East
European access to EC markets. Suchocka also held talks with
Kohl on 23 and 24 March. Western agencies report that Kohl stressed
Germany's readiness to reach a "fair arrangement" with Poland
on the problem of asylum-seekers. He restated his support for
Polish membership in the EC. Polish TV reports that Kohl also
proposed appointing special envoys for contacts between the two
heads of government, as was the practice in 1989-90, as well
as holding monthly telephone consultations with the Polish prime
minister. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

GERMANY RELEASES ARMS DIRECTOR TO POLAND. Citing health grounds,
a German court in Hesse ordered the release of Rajmund Szwonder,
the deputy director of the Lucznik arms plant, on 24 March. Caught
up in a "sting" operation organized by US officials, Szwonder
was arrested in Frankfurt a year ago on charges of attempting
to sell arms to Iraq. He says he was trying to find markets in
the Philippines. Germany had earlier agreed to extradite Szwonder
to New York, but intense Polish diplomatic pressure appears to
have led to a reversal of this decision. Polish Prime Minister
Hanna Suchocka told reporters she raised the issue in talks with
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in Hannover on 23 March, and welcomed
Szwonder's release. Szwonder was greeted on his return to Warsaw
on 24 March by arms plant employees. Five Poles arrested in the
affair still await trial in New York. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL,
Inc.

BULGARIA TO BUILD A SECOND NUCLEAR PLANT? ENERGY OFFICIALS SAY
BULGARIA MAY NEED TO RESTART CONSTRUCTION OF A SECOND NUCLEAR
POWER PLANT AT BELENE BEGUN IN 1982 BUT SUSPENDED IN 1990. Ivan
Sotirov of the National Electric Company told Western newsmen
on 24 March that energy officials are currently investigating
ways to make sure Bulgaria in the future will suffer less from
power shortages. Sotirov said there are other options, such as
participating in a hydroelectric project with Romania, but these
would probably require investments the country presently cannot
afford. Like the Kozloduy atomic power plant, Belene is situated
on the Danube river. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

COMMISSION QUESTIONS BULGARIA'S 1990 ELECTION RESULTS. A parliamentary
commission says that at least 10% of the returns in the general
election held on 10 and 17 June 1990, and won by the ex-communists,
were based on "dubious results." On 24 March several Bulgarian
dailies published excerpts of, and commentaries upon, a parliamentary
report confirming previous suspicion of widespread irregularities
in the data collecting and counting procedures. The commission
also said its findings seem to support the theory that some 500,000
extra votes were cast, as was earlier suggested by two independent
statisticians. After first demanding that the elections be declared
invalid, the opposition parties later accepted the results. Kjell
Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER TO ITALY. On 24 March Romania's Foreign
Minister Teodor Melescanu began an official two-day visit to
Italy and the Vatican. Melescanu will hold talks with his Italian
counterpart, Emilio Colombo, and other top Italian officials,
and will be received by President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro as well
as by Pope John Paul II. In an interview with Radio Bucharest,
Melescanu described the Romanian-Italian ties as "solid and privileged,"
and suggested that the talks will focus on ways to boost bilateral
economic cooperation. He added that the conflicts in former Yugoslavia
and the Russian crisis also figure on his agenda. Melescanu visited
Bonn and London earlier this month. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.


ROMANIAN SAILORS STAGE PROTESTS. Thousands of people rallied
on 24 March in Tulcea to protest the plight of about 500 sailors
on seven Romanian ships detained off the coast of Mauritania.
The government of that West African country is demanding $2 million,
which it says is owed by Romania's formerly state-owned fishing
company. The Romanian government says the company must finance
its own operations. On 23 March the seven ship captains decided
to try to force their way out of Mauritanian waters and head
for the Canary Islands. In a memorandum addressed to the Romanian
authorities, the sailors' trade union insisted that hundreds
of sailors have been stranded for months off Mauritania, South
Korea, and Uruguay, "without food, water, or fuel and with no
protection for their life and health." Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.


MANY ROMANIANS FAVOR DICTATORSHIP. According to a public opinion
poll released on 16 March by the Romanian Institute for Public
Opinion Surveys (IRSOP), more than one in four Romanians (27%)
is in favor of an "iron-handed dictatorial leadership." About
a third of the respondents (37%) would prefer a coalition government
instead of the present government of the Democratic National
Salvation Front, and 13% would want to see the opposition Democratic
Convention of Romania alliance rule the country. Michael Shafir,
RFE/RL, Inc.

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT SUPPORTS RUSSIAN DEMOCRACY. In a statement
on 23 March "expressing the position of Moldova's leadership,"
Mircea Snegur said, "Moldova is directly interested in Russia
becoming a truly democratic country, as only this could permanently
block the restoration of the communist system and of the Soviet
empire. . . . From our own standpoint the fall of Russian democracy
would mean the takeover of power by the organizers of the territorial
dismemberment of Moldova, the promoters of the imperial ideology."
At the same time Snegur urged that "any measures taken to defend
democratic achievements and to unblock radical economic reform
should in no way impair civic rights and freedoms or lead to
violence." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

MORATORIUM ON POLITICAL ACTIVITY IN SEVASTOPOL. The Sevastopol
city council has decreed a three-month moratorium on all forms
of political activity in the city, ITAR-TASS reports on 24 March.
In addition the city lawmakers are reported to have asked Ukrainian
President Leonid Kravchuk to ban the planned congress of Ukrainians
of Sevastopol. The congress is scheduled for 28 March, the same
day that the congress of Russians of Sevastopol is scheduled
to convene. The Sevastopol prosecutor's office reportedly said
that a ban on the congress is illegal. Roman Solchanyk, RFE/RL,
Inc.

UKRAINE ON STRATEGIC BOMBERS. In an article published in Izvestiya
on 23 March, the commander of the Russian Air Force claimed that
Ukraine must turn over its Tu-95 Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack bombers
to Russia. Gen. Petr Deneikin argued that the bombers should
be withdrawn before they become unflightworthy due to insufficient
maintenance. He also said that Ukraine claims ownership of the
bombers and has requested that Russia pay 2 billion rubles for
each aircraft or the transfer of an equivalent value of conventional
military aircraft to Ukraine, a request that Russia has refused.
Previous reports indicated that Ukraine is considering converting
at least some of the bombers into environmental monitoring aircraft.
The bombers are counted under the START treaties, but START-1
does not specifically call for the bombers in Ukraine to be destroyed,
nor does the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The status of the
bombers thus seems to be indeterminate, even if Ukraine ratifies
both treaties. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

ZLENKO, KRAVCHUK ON START-1. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Anatolii
Zlenko arrived in Washington on 24 March and met with Secretary
of State Warren Christopher. According to Western press reports,
Christopher reaffirmed US interest in the ratification of the
START-1 treaty, but Zlenko commented that he does not feel pressured
by the US administration in this regard. Zlenko also noted that
ratification of the treaty is being hindered by the current political
crisis in Russia. According to AFP, Ukrainian President Leonid
Kravchuk on 24 March also reiterated his commitment to ratifying
START-1, despite the possibility of a change in Russian leadership.
However, on 23 March the chairman of the parliamentary Foreign
Affairs Committee, Dmytro Pavlychko, told Reuters that while
he expects START-1 to be approved, he feels that the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty will not be approved. This appears to
confirm recent indications that the two treaties are being considered
separately, perhaps in order to leave an option for Ukraine to
retain some nuclear weapons. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

VELLISTE: RUSSIAN INSTABILITY HAMPERS RELATIONS. Estonia's Foreign
Minister Trivimi Velliste told the press on 24 March that instability
in Russia and the lack of a political force in Moscow that can
actually get things moving are having a negative impact on Estonian-Russian
relations. In reply to criticism that Estonian talks with Russia
should be suspended on account of their hopelessness, Velliste
stressed that while the talks have progressed very slowly, they
do leave open a channel for communication. Velliste said that
the most complicated issue on the agenda is the borders and that
their talks also touch on the withdrawal of Russian troops and
military installations from Estonia, economic relations, matters
related to citizenship, and the rights of Finno-Ugric peoples
in Russia, BNS reported on 24 March. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.


DISMANTLING RUSSIAN MILITARY INSTALLATIONS IN ESTONIA, LATVIA.
Baltic media reported on 24 March that the removal of toxic nuclear
fuels from the reactors at the Russian naval base in Paldiski
has started. Estonian Foreign Minister Trivimi Velliste said
that he will try to obtain the help of international organizations
to speed along the liquidation of the Paldiski facilities. Specialists
have drawn up a list of Russian military installations in Latvia
that are to be dismantled. They have made it clear that they
expect the sites to be left in good order and the soil ready
for cultivation. The list will be submitted to the Russians,
in accordance with an agreement that was made at the latest Latvian-Russian
talks in Moscow. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

CHANGES IN LITHUANIAN NEGOTIATING TEAM. On 24 March the Seimas
foreign affairs committee approved the formation of a new Lithuanian
negotiating team with Russia, headed by Seimas deputy Virgilijus
Bulovas, the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service reports. Only two members
of the previous delegation will remain. The members of the opposition
in the committee refused to participate in the vote. Only one
opposition member, Egidijus Jarasiunas, had been invited to be
in the delegation, but he refused. The delegation will become
official after President Algirdas Brazauskas issues a decree
on its formation and no other changes are expected. Saulius Girnius,
RFE/RL, Inc.

LATVIAN LEGISLATION ON CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY. The Latvian Supreme
Council adopted a series of amendments to the existing criminal
code by specifying severe sentences for persons found guilty
of crimes against humanity and war crimes and waive the statute
of limitation for such crimes. Radio Riga noted that the amendments
were passed on 24 March, the eve of day set aside to remember
the victims of the communist terror. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.


DUTCH-BALTIC TRANSPORT AGREEMENTS. On 23 March in Vilnius Dutch
Minister of Transportation and Social Work Hanja Maij- Weggen
signed agreements on air and sea transport with Communications
Minister Jonas Birziskis. Lithuanian Airlines will begin flights
to Amsterdam on 30 March. On 24 March she signed similar agreements
in Tallinn with Estonian Minister of Transport and Communications
Andi Meister, BNS reports. Estonian Air began flights to Amsterdam
on 8 January and now has flights three times a week. The Dutch
carrier KLM does not plan to have flights to either Baltic capital,
but opened an office in Tallinn which will assist in providing
services and discounts for passengers flying from Europe to the
United States. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

MORE LATI INTRODUCED IN LATVIA. According to Diena of 24 March,
Latvia is continuing the switchover to its own currency that
began on 5 March with the issuing of the five- lati bill. On
25 March the one-lats coin, worth 200 Latvian rubles, is being
introduced. The two-lati and 50 santimi (1 lats = 100 santimi)
coins are scheduled to be introduced in the very near future.
Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

ART CENTER OPENS IN RIGA. BNS reported on 24 March that the Soros
Center of Contemporary Art has opened in the Latvian capital.
The main task of the center is to serve as an information bank
for artists who live or work in Latvia, as well as to provide
scholarships for Latvian art students for study abroad and to
draw public attention to problems of contemporary culture. Similar
centers exist in Tallinn, Budapest, Warsaw, and Prague, and others
are to be opened in other East European capitals. Dzintra Bungs,
RFE/RL, Inc.



[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Wendy Slater and Charles Trumbull

RFE/RL Daily Report

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

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