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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 assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division (NCA). The report is available by electronic mail via LISTSERV (RFERL-L@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU), on the Sovset' computer bulletin board, by fax, and by postal mail. For inquiries about specific news items, subscriptions, or additional copies, please contact: in North America: Mr. Brian Reed, RFE/RL, Inc., 1201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036 Telephone: (202) 457-6912 or -6907; Fax: (202) 457-6992 or 828-8783; Internet: RIDC@RFERL.ORG or Elsewhere: Ms. Helga Hofer, Publications Department, RFE/RL Research Institute, Oettingenstrasse 67, 8000 Munich 22, Germany;.Telephone: (+49 89) 2102-2631 or -2624; Fax: (+49 89) 2102-2648, Internet: PD@RFERL.ORG 1993, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.
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