Be willing to have it so; acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune. - William James
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 59, 26 March 1993



RUSSIA



CONGRESS SEEKS WAYS TO PRESERVE CONSTITUTIONAL SYSTEM. The ninth
extraordinary session of the Congress of People's Deputies opened
in the Kremlin on 26 March. Its proceedings are broadcast live
on Russian radio and TV. The agenda proposed by the parliament--"on
urgent measures to defend the constitutional structure"-- was
approved; the Congress added another point, proposed by a nationalist
deputy--"on the termination of political censorship of state
TV." Subsequently, chairman of the Constitutional Court Valerii
Zorkin delivered an address, in which he justified the court's
actions to preserve legislative and judicial powers in the aftermath
of Yeltsin's TV address of 20 March, introducing special rule.
Zorkin recommended the Congress to amend the constitution to
enable Russian citizens to elect a Western-style bicameral parliament
by the fall of 1993. Zorkin termed the appeals to remove Yeltsin
from power "extremist." Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN ADDRESSES THE CONGRESS. In his address to the Congress
in the afternoon on 26 March, Yeltsin said that he agreed with
many of Zorkin's suggestions. According to Yeltsin, 1993 must
become "a year of the economy," adding that many measures undertaken
[by his government] had caused problems for the Russian economy.
Among the reasons for its decline, he mentioned "excessive expectations
of foreign aid." Yeltsin promised to introduce changes in his
cabinet, asking local leaders and "responsible political factions"
(presumably Civic Union) to name their candidates. He called
on his opponents to avoid "politically and morally questionable
methods in their disputes with him. According to Yeltsin, the
only purpose of the current session may be the deputies' eventual
desire to put to a referendum not only the question of confidence
in the president, but that on confidence in the Congress as well.
Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN ON THE ECONOMY. In his speech to the Congress, Yeltsin
was particularly critical of the Central Bank, blaming it for
the rapid inflation. He stated that he would be signing a range
of economic measures within the next few days including: measures
to stabilize living standards, support farmers, social support
for servicemen, special incentives for enterprises providing
"social goods" for the military, increases in the minimum wages
and stipends, more rights for citizens in the privatization process,
measures to support foreign investment, and measures to strengthen
ties to other CIS states. Yeltsin noted that he agreed that it
was necessary to strengthen the government in order to ensure
the implementation of the program. These measures are similar
to those mentioned in his decree on special rule and appears
to promise something for everyone. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.


YELTSIN SHAKES UP CABINET OF MINISTERS. President Boris Yeltsin
has issued decrees relieving three major ministers of their posts.
According to an ITAR-TASS report on 26 March, Economy Minister
Andrei Nechaev and Finance Minister Vasilii Barchuk are to be
shifted to other unspecified offices. No replacement was mentioned
for Nechaev. Deputy Prime Minister Boris Fedorov is to take over
Barchuk's portfolio. The decrees also relieved Boris Saltykov
of his post of deputy prime minister and appointed him minister
of science and technical policy. The implications of the reshuffle
remain unclear pending the appointment of replacements. Erik
Whitlock, RFE/RL, Inc.

KHASBULATOV OPENS CONGRESS. In his opening address to the 26
March session of the Congress, parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov
said that the purpose of that session was to "preserve democracy"
in Russia. Without mentioning Yeltsin's name, he warned against
those who used "democratic demagoguery" to concentrate all executive,
legislative, and judicial powers in the hands of one man. Khasbulatov
added that some tend to explain the current constitutional crisis
in Russia in terms of a personal struggle between the president
and himself. "In this case," he went on to say, "I would resign
any moment." Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN ADDRESSES NATION. In his address to the nation on the
eve of the Congress broadcast on Ostankino TV on 25 March, Yeltsin
accused the leadership of the parliament of secretly plotting
to oust him. He appealed to the deputies to listen not to conservative
parliamentary leaders but to the voice of ordinary people who
support the president. He noted that instead of creating laws
for governing the state, most of the deputies are only seeking
for "enemies". He said he will not abandon his idea of holding
a vote on confidence in the president and criticized the Constitutional
Court for its hasty ruling on his previous address, which was
only a "political speech." He added that the court should have
had waited to make its decision until the decree was published.
Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

ARMY VS YELTSIN? DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER SERGEI SHAKHRAI TOLD AFP
ON 24 MARCH THAT IF HARDLINERS OUST THE PRESIDENT, "THEY WILL
HAVE TO USE FORCE OR OTHER MEANS" TO REMOVE BORIS YELTSIN FROM
THE KREMLIN. Yeltsin had made it known that he would ignore the
impeachment. Observers believe that the military may enter the
political scene. NATO experts, such as Chris Donnelly, told Reuters
on 25 March that they have evidence that the authority of Defense
Minister Pavel Grachev is diminishing in the Russian armed forces
because he is perceived as being too close to Yeltsin. The same
sources claim that Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi is currently
lobbying for support in the military. They stated however that
the military leadership does not support parliamentary speaker
Khasbulatov. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

KHASBULATOV SEEKS HARDLINE SUPPORT. Parliamentary speaker Ruslan
Khasbulatov suggested on Russian TV on 25 March that the presidency
may be abolished and a strong parliamentary republic created
in Russia. He said he favors a strong cabinet of ministers subordinated
to the parliament. In a clear attempt to gain support from conservatives,
he criticized President Yeltsin's policy for being subordinate
to Western interests and described a scenario whereby international
peacekeeping forces may be called to fight unrest in Russia.
He stated that he advocates a "pro-Russian policy," adding that
the Russian state should first of all serve the interests of
ethnic Russians. He called for the recovery of Russia as a great
power and accused Yeltsin's leadership of stirring up tensions
by bringing miners to Moscow for demonstrations and by supporting
Cossack demands for autonomy. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

ARMY GROUPS BACK YELTSIN. Several pro-reform military organizations,
meeting in Moscow on 25 March, criticized the reactionary "Officers
Union" for its efforts to politicize the army, and said that
the armed forces should stay out of the current political struggle
in Moscow. AFP quoted Aleksandr Zhilin, editor of the independent
military newspaper Rossiiskaya armiya, as saying that the army
would nevertheless not permit the Congress to oust Boris Yeltsin
before the 25 April referendum. Participants in the meeting also
said that they supported Defense Minister Pavel Grachev. These
groups have in the past criticized Grachev for what they allege
to be his failure to promote military reform. The meeting was
reported by a number of Russian and Western agencies. Stephen
Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

DEFENSE MINISTRY ISSUES APPEAL. The collegium of the Russian
Defense Ministry issued an appeal on 25 March urging servicemen
once again to avoid becoming involved in politics, ITAR-TASS
reported. Commanders were ordered to observe the law prohibiting
political activities and agitation in their units. Stephen Foye,
RFE/RL, Inc.

JUDGE SAYS CONSTITUTIONAL COURT HAS VIOLATED LAW. One of the
judges of the Constitutional Court, Ernest Ametistov, accused
the court and its chairman Valerii Zorkin of violating the law
in its handling of Yeltsin's 20 March declaration of special
rule. In an eight-page document released on 25 March, Ametistov
said the court had violated the law on the Constitutional Court
and several articles of the constitution. According to ITAR-TASS,
Ametistov said that Yeltsin's TV declaration was a political
document and that legislation bars the court from examining political
documents. Ametistov also said that Zorkin violated the law by
making statements on the case before the official ruling of the
court was made public. Similar accusations against the court
and its chairman were leveled by the Russian press and several
Moscow politicians. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

ZORKIN RESPONDS TO CRITICISM. In his speech to the Congress on
26 March, Zorkin rejected the suggestion that Yeltsin's speech
was a political document. He pointed out that in his TV speech,
the president read the text of the decree on the introduction
of special rule and said he had already signed this decree. The
published text of the decree omitted those passages announced
in the TV speech that were criticized as unconstitutional in
the Constitutional Court ruling. Zorkin also rejected as false
the accusations that the Court failed to invite relevant politicians
to its discussion of Yeltsin's speech. Zorkin said that several
key politicians, including Yeltsin, in fact ignored the repeated
invitations of the court. Zorkin also complained that Yeltsin
ignored the court's request to provide it with the text of the
main decree. The package of documents that the court received
from the president only on the evening of 23 March failed to
include this text, Zorkin said. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

ZORKIN: YELTSIN'S ADDRESS CAUSED CONFRONTATION. Zorkin continued
his speech saying that the existent law on the Constitutional
Court does not work in extreme situations. He also complained
of the libelous campaign unleashed against the court and him
personally in the media. According to the court's chairman, Yeltsin's
TV address increased confrontation in Russian society. To this
effect he cited an excerpt from an appeal from a club of voters
who requested Yeltsin to intern Vice President Rutskoi, Khasbulatov,
Zorkin, secretary of the Security Council Skokov and the Procurator
General Valentin Stepankov. All these officials had opposed Yeltsin's
introduction of special rule. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.


SKOKOV'S RESIGNATION DENIED. The Russian Security Council denied
on 25 March rumors about the resignation of Council Secretary
Yurii Skokov. Quoting the press service of the Security Council,
ITAR-TASS said: "such reports are without any foundation and
at best represent a provocative fabrication." Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL,
Inc.

ROUNDUP OF REACTIONS. First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko
warned in an interview with Izvestiya of 25 March that an attempt
by the Congress to oust Yeltsin would split society since "most
Russians will come out on the side of the president." He claimed
that the idea was not supported in the localities, and had originated
in the parliament. An RFE/RL correspondent reported that Deputy
Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai had affirmed at a press conference
on 25 March that Yeltsin was determined to hold the plebiscite
planned for 25 April. The president of Moscow's main stock exchange,
Konstantin Borovoi, was quoted by ITAR-TASS on 25 March as saying
that only Yeltsin's reform policies could lead to an improvement
in Russia's economy. The capital's financial exchanges threatened
to stop work if Yeltsin were ousted. Wendy Slater, RFE/RL, Inc.


US PREPARES RUSSIAN AID PACKAGE. US government officials have
announced that President Clinton will propose a package of aid
measures at his meeting with Russian President Yeltsin in the
first week of April, according to various Western news agencies
on 26 March. The package, which US Secretary of State Warren
Christopher described as "practical, tangible, down-to-earth,
and non-ideological" before a House appropriations subcommittee,
will target the private sector for financial and technical assistance
with particular stress on the energy and housing sectors. The
package will also include food and medical assistance. Beyond
these bilateral measures, the US is pushing for multilateral
aid together with other G-7 nations. In a related story, Japanese
news sources, according to AFP, reported that the G-7 nations
will formally approve a plan to reschedule up to $17 billion
of debt that Russia owes Western creditors next month. Erik Whitlock,
RFE/RL, Inc.

POLITICAL TURMOIL HINDERS WORLD BANK/IMF AID. World Bank President
Lewis Preston told a private New York-based foreign policy association
on 25 March that the current political turmoil in Moscow is preventing
institutions like the bank from extending aid to Russia. The
IMF, he said, has an additional $3 billion of loans in the pipeline
for Russia this year, but has been unable to work out an acceptable
reform plan with the country. He also stated that the disbursement
of loans already approved by the World Bank is being held up
by inaction on the part of the Russian parliament. Preston said
that the drive to reform is "faltering in the face of hyperinflation
and political opposition" and that the major obstacle to progress
is "the lack of political consensus" for action. Robert Lyle
and Erik Whitlock, RFE/RL, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS CITIZENSHIP LAW, DESIGNATES ABKHAZ
STATE LANGUAGE. Possibly in an attempt to counter increasingly
frequent reports of human rights violations in Georgia, on 25
March the Georgian parliament adopted a law on citizenship that
guarantees Georgian citizenship for all persons currently living
in Georgia who are prepared to sign the citizenship oath and
who do not reject citizenship in writing within three months,
ITAR-TASS reported. The parliament also made Abkhaz a state language
in Abkhazia parallel to Georgian, according to Reuters. Liz Fuller,
RFE/RL, Inc.

KAZAKHSTAN ASKS UN TO DISCUSS ASIAN SECURITY PROPOSAL. Kazakhstan
has asked that interested UN member states discuss the proposal
of Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev for the creation
of an Asian counterpart to the Conference on Security and Cooperation
in Europe, ITAR-TASS reported on 25 March. Nazarbaev presented
his proposal to the General Assembly in the fall of 1992; he
had first suggested an Asian counterpart to the CSCE even before
the collapse of the USSR and Kazakhstan's independent status.
A conference of representatives of the foreign ministries of
20 Asian states, the UN, and the CSCE is to be held in Alma-Ata
at the end of March to discuss the proposal; Kazakhstan's UN
mission wants to discuss the proposal with its Asian counterparts
immediately after the conference. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

TURKMENISTAN GRANTED MFN STATUS. Turkmenistan's President Saparmurad
Niyazov, on an unofficial visit to the US, has signed an agreement
that gives most favored nation status to his country, ITAR-TASS
reported on 25 March. According to the report, the only successor
states to the USSR that have not received MFN status are Tajikistan,
Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Apparently no questions about
Turkmenistan's human rights record were raised. Bess Brown, RFE/RL,
Inc.

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



BOSNIAN MUSLIMS ACCEPT VANCE-OWEN PLAN. The BBC reported on 26
March that President Alija Izetbegovic the previous day agreed
to sign the UN peace proposal to divide the republic into ten
highly autonomous cantons based primarily on ethnic criteria.
He said that signing the document is the least harmful of a series
of bad options confronting the hard-pressed Muslims, adding that
Bosnia was now the problem of the international community. The
26 March New York Times notes that the Bosnian Serbs remain the
sole party to the conflict who have yet to accept the proposal
and states that the US is putting pressure on the Serbs to agree
to it by hinting that Washington might support an end to the
embargo on arms sales to the Muslims. The same paper also quotes
Serbian opposition leader Vuk Draskovic as saying that President
Slobodan Milosevic and other hard-liners are hoping for the fall
of Yeltsin and the coming to power of a more pro-Serbian government
as a way of ending the Serbs' isolation. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL,
Inc.

MORE BOSNIAN HORRORS. The BBC on 25 March quoted a series of
UN officials on the increasingly grim situation in eastern Bosnia,
which is the object of a tough Serb offensive. One noted that
"village after village" is falling to the attackers, generating
a "torrent of displaced persons" in "a new season of ethnic cleansing."
A World Health Organization official described the "health horror"
confronting Bosnia, noting that some problems regarding infections
and disease will get worse once winter ends and warm weather
arrives. UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali referred
to a "human tragedy" in the making in eastern Bosnia, and Western
news agencies reported on the thorough ethnic cleansing in Bijeljina.
They said that the Serbs blew up six mosques, including one more
than 400 years old, and immediately planted trees on the sites.
Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

CROATIA WILLING TO EXTEND UN MANDATE IF A TIMETABLE IS SET. Addressing
the first joint session of both houses of parliament, President
Franjo Tudjman said on 23 March that Zagreb could agree to prolong
the UN forces' mandate by six months provided it includes a fixed
schedule for implementing the goals set in the Vance peace plan
that went into effect at the start of 1992. The Croats have complained
that the UN has not achieved anything more than a cease-fire,
and that it has not returned refugees or Croatian administration
to Serb-held areas, but Tudjman and others have recently begun
hinting about a conditional extension to the mandate that soon
runs out. Vjesnik carried the full speech on 24 March. Meanwhile,
Western news agencies reported on 25 March that Croatia wants
the Security Council to discuss Serb shelling of the Adriatic
coast, and that UN peace-keepers in Croatia have protested to
rump Yugoslavia over a war-games exercise that brought Serbian
troops into a UN-protected part of Croatia. Finally, UN officials
in Croatia charged Zagreb authorities with censoring UN broadcasts
in the local language, pointing out that the Sarajevo and Belgrade
authorities do not tamper with the UN's programming. Patrick
Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK PREMIER IN MOSCOW. Vladimir Meciar and Russian Prime Viktor
Chernomyrdin signed an economic and technical cooperation agreement
in Moscow on 25 March. Meciar also met with President Boris Yeltsin.
Russian media quote Meciar as saying that his visit is the beginning
of a new kind of friendship between Slovakia and Russia and an
expression of confidence in President Boris Yeltsin and the Russian
government. Speaking at a press conference in Moscow after his
meeting with Yeltsin, Meciar emphasized that Slovakia and all
of Eastern Europe are dependent on stability in Russia. He referred
to the effects that instability in Russia could have on Russia's
oil and gas exports, and its large stockpile of weapons. Meciar
also said that Slovakia wants a separate agreement from the Czech
Republic on Russia's debt to the former Czechoslovakia, which
is estimated at about $5 billion. He argued that there should
be a realistic division of Russia's debt into Czech and Slovak
parts, citing as the main reason Slovakia's "poor experience
with the Czechs." Meciar said that Russia will announce within
two weeks its proposals for debt repayments to Slovakia Jiri
Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH FOREIGN MINISTER IN MOSCOW. Josef Zieleniec arrived in
Moscow on 25 March for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev and Deputy Prime Minister Aleksander Shokhin about Russia's
debt to the former Czechoslovakia. CTK reports that Czech Prime
Minister Vaclav Klaus told a cabinet meeting in Prague on 25
March that it is necessary for the Paris Club of creditor nations
to assume Czech claims against Russia. According to Klaus, the
Czech Republic's chances of getting compensation on its own are
"slim." Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

MORE RESIGNATIONS ANNOUNCED AT CZECH RADIO. The director of the
foreign broadcasts department, Richard Seeman, and his deputy
offered their resignations to the director of Czech Radio director,
Ivan Mejstrik, on 25 March, CTK reports. On the 24th Mejstrik
himself as well as Zbynek Honys, the director of one of the stations
operated by Czech Radio, announced their resignations, citing
disagreements with the Board for Radio Broadcasting, which supervises
Czech Radio. Honys also accused the board of interfering with
radios' newscasts. Seeman and his deputy, too, cited the activities
of the board as a reason for their decision. The Board for Radio
Broadcasting rejected Mejstrik's resignation on 24 March, and
Zdenek Susa, the chairman of the board, resigned on the same
day, without giving reasons. The board is expected to deal with
the situation at Czech Radio and within its own ranks on 26 March.
Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLISH MASS PRIVATIZATION: NEW MOMENTUM? SPEAKING IN WARSAW AT
A MEETING OF DIRECTORS AND WORKERS' REPRESENTATIVES FROM FIRMS
SLATED FOR MASS PRIVATIZATION, PRIME MINISTER HANNA SUCHOCKA
PLEDGED THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT ABANDON THE PROGRAM, NOR
DILUTE ITS ESSENTIALS. Suchocka's party, the Democratic Union
(UD), organized the meeting on 25 March to urge firms to lobby
the Sejm to approve the program. UD deputy Wladyslaw Frasyniuk
argued that this industrial lobby could shift the Sejm's attention
from issues of "eternal salvation" to the economy. Privatization
Minister Janusz Lewandowski said he will leave the government
if the Sejm votes down the program again, PAP reports. Government
revisions dividing mass privatization into two stages have won
cautious support from opposition parties; both the former communist
Democratic Left and the Polish Peasant Party recently announced
they will consider voting for the program. Public disapproval
for the Sejm's negative vote on mass privatization seems to be
substantial. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

WALESA: "TOO MUCH TALK." Polish President Lech Walesa made a
visit to the legendary Cegielski railway car factory in Poznan
on 25 March, apparently to launch a series of meetings with industrial
workers. He complained that "there is too much talk and too little
action" in Poland, Polish TV reports. Popular dissatisfaction
is putting pressure on the president to become "more political,"
Walesa said, and he intends to take up this challenge. He dismissed
suggestions that he intends to set up a "presidential party,"
however. The president also met with EC commissioner Sir Leon
Brittan on 25 March and expressed disappointment at the slow
pace of ratification of Poland's association agreement. In a
separate meeting with Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka, Brittan
made the usual pledges of support for greater Polish access to
EC markets, but also urged patience because of the recession
in Europe. Suchocka warned that Poland's trade deficit with the
EC countries may prompt the government to impose new duties on
EC imports. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIAN PREMIER TOURS COUNTIES. On 25 March Nicolae Vacaroiu
began a three-day tour through the counties of Dolj, Gorj, Hunedoara
and Sibiu, in southern and central Romania. In the town of Craiova
Vacaroiu visited an aviation and an electric equipment factory,
where he discussed with experts, trade union leaders and workers
the serious economic difficulties the two factories are currently
facing. In the afternoon Vacaroiu visited an open-pit coal mine
in the Gorj county and had talks in Tirgu-Jiu with representatives
of the local administration, the local coal exploitation company
and the miners' unions. The main purpose of Vacaroiu's tour through
the provinces was described by Radio Bucharest as that of finding
ways to halt the economic decline in the country. A series of
similar visits earlier this year drew accusations from the opposition
that Vacaroiu was trying to revive the communist-style system
of "working visits" designed to serve as a propaganda device.
Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIAN NATIONALIST PARTY TO SUE TOKES. A spokesman for the
Party of Romanian National Unity announced on 25 March that the
organization is planning to sue Laszlo Tokes, the ethnic Hungarian
Reformed bishop. Reuters reports that the spokesman called Tokes
"a traitor" and "disloyal person who brought moral prejudice
against Romania" and said that the PRNU is gathering evidence
against Tokes and will ask the prosecutors next week to put him
on trial. The accusations were apparently leveled in connection
with statements Tokes made during a recent visit to Washington
charging the Romanian authorities with continuing some human
rights abuses of the old communist regime and with failing to
improve conditions for ethnic minorities. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL,
Inc.

UKRAINE URGED TO RATIFY START-1. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Anatolii
Zlenko met with President Clinton on 25 March, and gave him a
letter from President Leonid Kravchuk that reportedly proposes
a meeting in the near future. The meeting focused on the START-1
treaty. According to an RFE/RL correspondent, Zlenko claimed
that the US understands his country's position and noted that
"Ukraine is not willing to leave the nuclear club under pressure
at the expense of its national security interests and suffering
of the people trapped in the crisis of the transitional period."
Ukraine is now estimating that the cost of denuclearization could
reach $2.8 billion, but Secretary of State Warren Christopher
has emphasized that the US offer of $175 million in assistance
will not increased. According to AFP, Clinton urged ratification
of the START-1 treaty, noting that "this START treaty is a precondition
to a long-term successful relationship and I think [Ukraine]
should . . . give up nuclear weapons." John Lepingwell, RFE/RL,
Inc.

CHIEF OF MAIN STAFF NAMED IN UKRAINE. Ukrinform-TASS reported
on 25 March that Col. Gen. Anatolii Lopata has been named chief
of the main staff and a first deputy defense minister of the
Ukrainian armed forces. According to the report, he has been
serving since February of this year as acting chief. Earlier
Lopata served as deputy defense minister. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL,
Inc.

STORMY SESSION OF CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT. The Crimean parliament,
which opened a new session on 24 March, set a new record by devoting
the entire day to arguments over the agenda, Ukrinform-TASS reports.
At issue were the proposals to discuss draft legislation on election
of the president of the autonomous republic and the parliamentary
speaker. More than half of the deputies refused, which is in
violation of legislation adopted in Kiev regarding the executive
and legislative branches of the Crimea's government. Roman Solchanyk,
RFE/RL, Inc.

LATVIAN DEFENSE FORCES' TRAINING SESSION FINISHED. Radio Riga
reported that the two-day training session for the staff of Latvia's
defense forces ended on 25 March. The session, which had been
scheduled well before the current crisis in Russia began, was
intended to teach the principles of command, improve coordination
among the various defense forces, and test their combat readiness.
Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs and Commander of
the Armed Forces Dainis Turlais were in charge. Dzintra Bungs,
RFE/RL, Inc.

LAAR ON FIRST MONTHS IN OFFICE, UNREST IN RUSSIA. Prime Minister
Mart Laar told the press on 25 March that since he took office
five months ago, Estonia has lowered the rate of inflation, pursued
a tough monetary policy, reoriented the economy from the East
to the West, increased foreign investments, and improved its
reputation abroad. Laar noted that among the biggest problems
are the continuing economic recession, and the crisis in agriculture.
Regarding the uncertain situation in Russia, Laar said that Estonia
might invite UN troops to the Baltics should conflicts break
out in Russia, BNS reported on 25 March. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL,
Inc.

RUSSIAN NAVY TO LEAVE ESTONIAN PORT BY SEPTEMBER? ADM. Yurii
Belov, head of the Russian garrison in Tallinn, has told the
Estonian premier that troops from the former Soviet naval areas
on Tallinn's Kopli and Paljassaare peninsulas will be withdrawn
by August or September 1993. The Estonian authorities are concerned
about the environmental threat posed by six sunken ships in the
port of Tallinn, ammunition depots at Kopli, and the fuel storage
facilities at Paljassaare, BNS reported on 24 March. Dzintra
Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

CRISIS IN VILNIUS CITY GOVERNMENT. On 24 March the Vilnius City
Council accepted the resignation of its chairman Arunas Grumadas,
who had handed in his resignation on 17 March after 38 city deputies
signed a statement expressing lack of confidence in him. BNS
reported on 25 March that Grumadas will remain the council's
acting chairman until 1 April. According to Respublika, a special
commission of the Seimas established to investigate the situation
in the Vilnius government has prepared a draft decree to be discussed
next week. They urge dissolving the council, dismissing the mayor
and vice-mayors, and introducing direct rule in Vilnius for a
year by a government-appointed commissioner. Saulius Girnius,
RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Wendy Slater and Charles Trumbull

THE RFE/RL DAILY REPORT IS PRODUCED BY THE RFE/RL RESEARCH INSTITUTE
(A DIVISION OF RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, INC.) with the
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or additional copies, please contact: in North America: Mr. Brian
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Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole