|Love cures people--both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it. - Karl Menninger|
No. 62, 31 March 1993
RUSSIA YELTSIN MEETS DEPUTIES. On 30 March President Boris Yeltsin met a group of his supporters among the deputies at their request to discuss the recent Ninth Congress. A statement from Yeltsin's press office carried by ITAR-TASS said that the deputies had urged the president to refer the decisions of the Congress to the Constitutional Court, since many of them had infringed various laws and constitutional norms. Yeltsin was quoted as saying that the Congress had failed to achieve its aim of ousting the president and damaging the close working relationship between the president and the government. ITAR-TASS also reported that Yeltsin and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin had held an extended meeting on 30 March to discuss "the social and economic situation." -Wendy Slater, RFE/RL, Inc. CONFLICTING ADVICE FOR YELTSIN ON REFERENDUM. Yeltsin's main legal advisor, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai, told reporters on 30 March that the president may still go ahead with a parallel plebiscite on 25 April because the terms of the referendum as set by the Congress are impossible, Reuters reported. The head of the presidential staff, Sergei Filatov, was also quoted as saying that the Congress could not prevent Yeltsin from holding his own plebiscite. Deputies who attended the meeting with Yeltsin, however, told Western agencies that they had advised against a separate vote and that Yeltsin was more likely to challenge the legality and terms of the referendum as proposed by the Congress in the Constitutional Court. The Russian law on referenda specifically bans votes on economic questions; Yeltsin's advisors therefore suggest that the second of the four proposed questions is invalid. Meanwhile, the parliament on 30 March approved a budget of 20.4 billion rubles to cover the costs of the referendum. -Wendy Slater, RFE/RL, Inc. IMF PESSIMISTIC ABOUT NEW LOANS. The IMF's resident representative in Moscow, Jean Foglizzo, told a news conference on 30 March that a new aid program to Russia is unlikely to be approved soon while uncertainty remains over who is in charge of the country, Reuters reported. He expressed concern over the Russian government's failure to meet the IMF target of a budget deficit not exceeding 5-6% of GDP in 1992 or in the projected budget for 1993. Foglizzo said that the IMF was not ready to approve a proposed $6 billion stabilization fund: creating a stabilization fund now would merely be a way of subsidizing imports "and you don't know whether you would be subsidizing useful imports or imports of luxury goods." -Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. GOVERNMENT MOVES TO LIMIT CREDITS TO CIS. The battle between the government and the Central Bank over control of Russian monetary policy, which had been limited largely to vitriolic verbal exchanges, seems to be moving to a new level of conflict. The government commission on credit policy is currently working to establish limits on how much credit may be extended to other countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States, ITAR-TASS reported on 30 March. Extending such credits has previously been the prerogative of the Russian Central Bank which the government has accused of excessive and inflationary credit emission. The government commission's plan should be ready within the week. -Erik Whitlock, RFE/RL, Inc. MEETING OF CIS REPRESENTATIVES IN MINSK. At a meeting of CIS government representatives in Minsk on 30 March, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Shokhin expressed bewilderment that only four CIS states-Russia, Belarus, Armenia, and Moldova-were represented at the level of deputy premier, ITAR-TASS reported. The meeting was held to discuss the statute of the all-important Coordinating Consultative Committee, which is to be the executive body of the CIS, and also the statute of the CIS executive secretariat, and the agenda for CIS summits for the rest of 1993. Most of the other states were represented by their permanent representatives to the CIS coordinating bodies in Minsk. The Uzbekistan representative even suggested that permanent representatives be given the right to represent their governments on the Consultative Committee, although at the last meeting of CIS heads of government it had been agreed that representation would be at the level of Deputy Prime Minister. -Ann Sheehy , RFE/RL, Inc. MARCH INFLATION RATE DOWN? THE MONTHLY INFLATION RATE IN MARCH FELL TO 12%, AFTER RISES IN PRICES OF ABOUT 25% IN BOTH JANUARY AND FEBRUARY, ACCORDING TO RADIO MOSCOW, AS CITED BY THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE OF 31 MARCH. The report claimed that "the government has been taking tough measures to prevent a slide to hyperinflation... The granting of state credits has been limited. Loss-making enterprises will receive no credits at all. Emission is also being reduced." The newspaper points out that this alleged improvement runs counter to other Russian projections and may be aimed at "putting the best face on Russia's undisciplined monetary policy in advance of upcoming meetings with Western leaders on financial aid for the troubled country." -Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. MINIMUM WAGE RAISED. On 30 March, the parliament voted for an increase in the minimum wage to 4,275 rubles per month effective from 1 April, ITAR-TASS reported. This brings the minimum wage up to the level of the minimum pension which was raised from 1 February. The minimum wage does not include supplements, bonuses, and incentive payments. It appears that the new minimum wage scale will be paid in full by budget enterprises and organizations, but that extrabudgetary organizations will pay it in accordance with their means. Students' stipends will also be raised. -Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. DEPUTY DISCUSSES DECLINE IN YELTSIN'S AUTHORITY IN THE CONGRESS. A leading reformist deputy, Viktor Sheinis, described at a seminar of the RFE/RL Research Institute on 30 March how support for President Yeltsin in the Congress of People's Deputies has declined over 1992 and early 1993. Sheinis stated that while at the Seventh Congress in December 1992 only 352 deputies voted to include the question of removing the president from his post on the Congress' agenda, at the Eighth Congress in early March 1993 that proposal gathered 418 deputies' votes; at the beginning of the Ninth Congress at the end of March-475 votes; and by the end of the session-594 votes. In the ballot itself, 617-deputies voted to oust the president. -Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. UNEVEN SUPPORT FOR YELTSIN AND GRACHEV. Middle level officers in the Moscow Military District are among the most politicized in Russia and many harbor anti-Yeltsin feelings, Komsomolskaya pravda reported on 30 March. The newspaper said that sentiments among officers serving in the Defense Ministry staff and on the staffs of the service branches were roughly the same. Support for Defense Minister Pavel Grachev within the military leadership was also reported to be spotty. The newspaper claimed, however, that military commanders have thus far been loath to criticize Grachev, primarily because many served with him in Afghanistan or because they owe their jobs to him. It said that Yeltsin had made great efforts to win the favor of the generals and suggested that, among other things, he had closed his eyes to widespread corruption in the military for that reason. -Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. US CONSIDERS AID TO HOUSE RUSSIAN OFFICERS. US Secretary of State Warren Christopher told a Senate subcommittee on 30 March that the US administration is considering providing aid to Moscow that would be directed at the construction of housing for demobilized officers returning to Russia, the Boston Globe reported the next day. Christopher provided no details on the proposal, however, suggesting that the administration has not yet decided how it intends to structure the aid. -Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. CONGRESS IGNORED PROPOSAL ON CREATION OF COUNCIL OF THE FEDERATION. The proposal to create a consultative Council of the Federation embracing the heads of the republics and the heads of the administrations of the krais and oblasts, put forward during the Ninth Congress of People's Deputies by the governor of Nizhegorod oblast Boris Nemtsov and the chairman of the oblast soviet Evgenii Krestyaninov, failed to win the approval of the Congress although the idea was endorsed by Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi, Chairman of the Security Council Yurii Skokov, and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 30-March. According to the newspaper, Nemtsov attributed this partly to fear on the part of parliamentary chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov that the council could be a threat to his powers. The newspaper warned of the dangers of deputies' being unwilling to recognize where real power lies. -Ann Sheehy , RFE/RL, Inc. STATE OF EMERGENCY PROLONGED IN PARTS OF NORTH OSSETIA AND INGUSHETIA. On 30 March the Russian parliament approved Yeltsin's decree prolonging until 31 May the state of emergency in the Prigorodnyi raion and adjacent areas of North Ossetia and in part of the Nazran raion of Ingushetia, ITAR-TASS reported. Speaking in the Russian parliament, Ingushetia's president Ruslan Aushev said he hoped that the Russian troops on the disputed frontier between Ingushetia and Chechnya would now be withdrawn to the area where the state of emergency will still be in force. Aushev, who has been pressing for the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from Ingushetia, seemed well satisfied with the decision to reduce the area covered by the state of emergency. He maintains that Chechnya and Ingushetia will be able to decide on their mutual frontier amicably between themselves. -Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA ANTIGOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATIONS PLANNED IN BAKU. The radical Azerbaijan National Independence Party headed by Etibar Mamedov has called for a series of demonstrations in Baku beginning on 31 March to demand that the government resign as it is incapable of solving the country's economic problems or ending the war in Karabakh, according to Azertadzh and an RFE/RL correspondent's report. Mamedov also demanded that a date be set for new parliamentary elections which the leadership of Abulfaz Elchibey had promised would be held in spring 1993, and protested at the "aggressive and insulting" behavior of Interior Minister Iskander Hamidov toward participants in a live TV discussion last weekend. -Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. TAJIK POPULAR FRONT LEADERS KILLED IN MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES. Sangak Safarov, head of the procommunist Tajik People's Front, and Faisuli Saidov, one of his military commanders, were killed in the southern town of Kurgan-Tyube during the night of 29-30-March, Western agencies reported. The circumstances of their deaths are unclear: Tajik Interior Ministry officials claim that the two men were shot during a violent quarrel, while the Tajik parliament presidium issued a statement that the two men had been killed by hired assassins; an ITAR-TASS dispatch said that they died in a car crash. Dushanbe was reported to be tense on 31 March with police patrolling the streets. -Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN UPDATE. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vitalii Churkin arrived in Belgrade on 30 March for three days of talks with Serb leaders. International media report that he will try to convince President Slobodan Milosevic and Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to back the Vance-Owen plan for Bosnia. The 31 March New York Times, however, says that Washington is having its doubts about aligning its own policy too closely to a plan that many feel is doomed to fail. Meanwhile in Bosnia itself, on 30 March most of a UN aid convoy reached Srebrenica from Serbia after Serbs blocked two trucks carrying tents, which the Serbs said are not humanitarian aid. International media also reported that two Serb soldiers accused of rape and other war crimes were sentenced to death by a Bosnian military court in Sarajevo. -Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. WEU PLANS DANUBE PATROLS. The president of the West European Union, Hartmut Soell of Luxembourg, is scheduled to arrive in Bucharest on 31 March to discuss how to tighten controls on shipping in the Danube, Western media report. The talks with Romanian officials will focus on tightening the sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro. The WEU is planning its own Danube patrols. WEU foreign ministers will meet in Luxembourg on 5 April to decide details on the patrols. While Hungary did not originally ask for boats and the situation is normal on its sector of the Danube, neither does it oppose patrol boats or the use German crews, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Janos Martonyi told MTI on 30 March. -Michael Shafir and Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. MACEDONIAN SEMANTICS CAUSE CONFUSION. The Macedonian government rejected the United Nations proposal on a temporary name on 30 March, according to Western agencies. In fact, in a hair-splitting exercise, the government rejected the notion that the proposed interim descriptor, "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," is a name at all. Instead, the Macedonians argue that it is a description The distinction, according to the MILS news agency, was no doubt prompted by political considerations at home. That evening, President Kiro Gligorov appeared on national TV to assure the public that UN recognition will soon be forthcoming. Also on the 30th Greek officials indicated their readiness in principle to accept the UN plan but inserted the caveat that Macedonia's flag, which bears the star of Vergina, an ancient symbol claimed by Greece, not be flown outside the UN building in New York. -Duncan Perry, RFE/RL, Inc. MORE BALTIC REACTION TO GRACHEV. On 30 March the Latvian Supreme Council decided to discuss in a plenary session this week Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev's 29 March declaration that troop withdrawals from the Baltics will be suspended. Latvian Defense Minister Talavs Jundzis pointed out that because Grachev's statement resembles Boris Yeltsin's decree of last October and does not appear to say anything new it may not affect the actual process of the Russian troops returning home. Still, the fact that Grachev made such a statement at this time gives cause for concern, he said. Similarly, on 30 March Lithuanian National Defense Minister Audrius Butkevicius told the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service that there is often a difference between official Russian policy and statements made by various officials, and he still believes that the Russian troop withdrawal from Lithuania will be completed on schedule. Estonian Prime Minister Mart Laar told the press on 30 March that while Russia made similar statements earlier, troop withdrawals actually continued. In light of the inner political struggle in Russia, however, it is not clear what the significance of such statements may be, and Laar said he will tend to take Grachev's words more seriously. -Dzintra Bungs and Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. LATVIA RATIFIES EXTRADITION TREATY. Radio Riga reports that on 30 March the Supreme Council ratified a Latvian-Russian accord providing for allowing convicts to serve their sentences in their homeland. The accord must also still be ratified by the Russian Supreme Soviet. This step on the part of Latvia will not affect the decision of the Latvian prosecutor general's office concerning the extradition to Lithuania of convicted OMON leader Sergei Parfenov, currently serving a sentence in Riga. The final decision on this question, BNS reports, may be announced on 31 March. -Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK PRESIDENT IN PRAGUE. Michal Kovac arrived in Prague on 30 March for a two-day official visit. He met with Czech President Havel and other officials. After his talks with Havel, Kovac told reporters that he and Havel agreed that an early settlement of the division of those assets of former Czechoslovakia which have yet not been divided between Slovakia and the Czech Republic is necessary to ensure "friendly relations." Czech-Slovak relations have been soured recently by the unsettled property issues. Kovac and Havel also discussed the need for tighter border controls between the two countries. Kovac told journalists that it is necessary "to set up border check points between the two countries to control the movement of foreigners," but that he and Havel agree that such border controls must not result in restricting the movement of Czech and Slovak citizens. Havel told reporters that the Czech Republic has no interest in building "a new iron curtain, to cut Slovakia off from Europe." -Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. KNAZKO ON HIS NEW PARTY. In an interview with RFE/RL on 30 March, former Slovak Foreign Minister Milan Knazko, who resigned from Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia on 29-March, said that he hopes to draw away "promising people" from the ruling party into the new party he is forming. Knazko emphasized that the MDS is not "just prime minister, but includes a broad scale of opinions and people." After the resignation of Knazko from the party, the MDS has 73 seats in the 150-member Slovak parliament, but it is estimated that as many as 17 deputies may join Knazko's new party. Also on 30th, Slovak and international media report that results of an opinion poll conducted in mid-March by the Bratislava-based Center for Social Analysis show that the popularity of Meciar has fallen to a low of 22.1% from 44% in December 1992. President Michal Kovac was ranked as the most popular politician in Slovakia, with 34.8%. According to the poll only 18.6% of Slovaks favor the MDS. In the June 1992 elections, the party won 37% of the vote. -Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. ILIESCU URGES RESTRAINT BY MAGYARS. In a statement carried by Radio Bucharest on 30 March, a spokesman said President Ion Iliescu is urging ethnic Hungarians to show restraint over the nominations of ethnic Romanians as prefects for the heavily Magyar counties of Harghita and Covasna. Iliescu said the leaders of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania must refrain from fueling "artificial tensions" and observe the law. The statement came after Karoly Kiraly, a HDFR leader, said tensions are very high in the area and protest rallies are planned if the decision is not changed. Local government officials from the two counties announced on 30-March that "civil disobedience" action will be launched beginning on 2 April. But the spokesman repeated that the decision was final. Meanwhile, it was announced in Bucharest on 30 March that the long-delayed Council for National Minorities will start functioning within five days. -Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. ETHNIC MAGYAR LEADERS IN BUDAPEST. The chairmen of two Magyar political movements in Slovakia, Miklos Duray (Coexistence) and Bela Bugar (Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement) held talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef Antall in Budapest on 29 March, MTI reports. At a press conference, the two leaders said Slovakia's Magyars favored a local and regional self-government system and the creation of a relationship of equal partners or "conations" among the various ethnic groups in Central Europe similar to that which is developing in Western Europe. The said the two movements were working on a set of legal norms to achieve this aim. -Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. KARBOVANETS CRASHES. The Ukrainian currency lost 46% of its value vis-ˆ-vis the dollar on 30 March, according to Reuters. The report cited sources close to the government that blamed the collapse on the Central Bank increasing the money supply in February and March enormously. The karbovanets has been similarly, if less dramatically, depreciating against the ruble. The Central Bank reported on 29 March that the karbovanets had fallen 42% against the ruble over the past week and a half. -Erik Whitlock, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ON LESSONS OF STRUGGLE IN RUSSIA. Speaking at an improvised press conference in Kiev on 30 March shown on Ukrainian TV, President Leonid Kravchuk said that although Ukraine is watching the power struggle in Moscow very closely, the events at the Russian Congress of People's Deputies were a "Russian affair," and the main lesson for Ukrainian politicians is not to allow such a political conflict to develop in Ukraine. He urged Ukraine's political parties and political leaders to avoid confrontation and proposed that during this period of grave economic crisis they jointly declare a moratorium on demonstrations and strikes. The president stressed that the adoption of a new constitution is of paramount importance and urged lawmakers to not to delay any further with considering the revised draft of the document. -Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc. KRAVCHUK CRITICIZES WASHINGTON'S CONCENTRATION ON RUSSIA. The Ukrainian president also said that his country's "strategic political course" is not about to change because of the situation in Russia. Kravchuk, however, went on to criticize US and Western policy in unusually outspoken terms for what he claimed is their concentration on Russia and disregard for the other former Soviet republics. He claimed that Washington has still not developed a new foreign policy that recognizes that "the world has changed and that the [Soviet] Union no longer exists" and said that he feels that Washington still concentrates on Moscow "out of inertia." "You see how the G-7 meetings are held? Everything is directed towards Moscow. But today this means only Russia, and not the Soviet Union. What about the other states, such as Ukraine?" he asked -Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINE TIGHTENS VISA RESTRICTIONS. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry announced on 30 March that Ukraine has decided to tighten its visa procedures from 1 April in an attempt to stem the tide of asylum-seekers moving westward, an RFE/RL correspondent in Kiev reported. -Bohdan Nahaylo., RFE/RL, Inc. COMMUNIST, PRO-RUSSIA FORCES IN BELARUS UNITE. Following the decision in February by the Supreme Soviet to lift the ban on the Communist Party of Belarus, familiar figures from that organization, including former First Secretary Anatolii Malafeeu, have joined forces with other communist groups that remained active after August 1991. No fewer than 18 like-minded parties and organizations met on 18 March in Minsk to launch the "People's Movement of Belarus," billed as a left-centrist bloc. Its founders include the Belarus Communist Party, the Party of Communists of Belarus, the Movement for Democracy, Social Progress and Justice, and Slavyanskii sobor, a pan-Slav organization that opposes de-Russification. Though the communists and the "soborniki" owe allegiance to different ideologies, a recently completed study by an independent Belarusian sociological center showed that the two regard themselves as natural allies. -Kathy Mihalisko, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH COALITION MODIFIES MASS PRIVATIZATION-É THE CABINET APPROVED A REVISED VERSION OF THE MASS PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM ON 30 MARCH, POLISH TV REPORTS. The program is now divided into two stages. In the first, national investment funds will take control of a first group of 200 firms that are already prepared for the operation, with the shares going to pensioners and public servants as compensation for benefits lost in 1991. Shares in a second group of 400 firms will be available to all adult citizens who pay a small "processing fee," now reduced from 10% to 5% of the average wage. Employees of the affected firms will receive 15% of the shares free of charge, an increase from 10% originally planned. The coalition decided to try to get the legislation onto the agenda of the Sejm session that begins on 1 April. The government hopes to accelerate debate to secure a final vote by 3 April. -Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. É-BUILDS PRIVATIZATION COMPROMISE-É IN ANTICIPATION OF A CLOSE VOTE ON PRIVATIZATION, THE GOVERNMENT MOVED TO SMOOTH RUFFLED FEATHERS IN VARIOUS POLITICAL CAMPS. Privatization Minister Janusz Lewandowski toned down his earlier scorn for the privatization concept endorsed by the Network (Solidarity locals from large firms) and President Lech Walesa, and even pledged to consider putting it into practice. The Network proposes providing every citizen with an "investment coupon" for use in purchasing state assets such as apartments, land, or small firms. The coupons would have a face value of 300 million zloty but could not be exchanged for cash. They would be treated as low-interest loans requiring repayment in twenty years. At a joint meeting with Network members and the privatization minister on 30 March, Walesa expressed his support for both mass privatization programs. Lewandowski "is obviously right to build this brutal and crude capitalism É," Walesa said, "but in the process we are leaving poor Poles behind." In remarks to Polish TV, Lewandowski said his chief reservation is that the public will expect cash rather than low-interest loans. -Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. É-AND APPROVES LIMITS ON FOOD IMPORTS. Finally, the cabinet approved a draft law designed to impose "equalizing payments" on certain agricultural imports. The bill, intended to protect Polish farmers from "dishonest competition" from subsidized foreign agriculture, would require importers to pay the state treasury the difference between foreign and domestic prices on a limited list of food products. Discounting charges that this measure will hurt consumers, the agriculture ministry predicted that it will cause food prices to rise only 1.6% in 1993. The measure was long a source of contention between liberals and protectionists in the cabinet, and its approval on 30 March was apparently necessary to keep the Peasant Alliance in the seven-party coalition. This compromise in turn enabled the coalition to rally in united support of the liberal privatization minister, Janusz Lewandowski, who may face a vote of no confidence during the coming Sejm session. -Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. BULGARIA'S FOREIGN DEBT MAY BE REDUCED. At a meeting between Deutsche Bank officials and a Bulgarian delegation last week in Frankfurt, Western bankers offered to reduce Bulgaria's foreign debt by 38%, according to information obtained by an RFE/RL correspondent. In November 1992 Bulgaria requested a 75% reduction, however, which proved unacceptable to Western bankers, who are now awaiting a Bulgarian response to their proposal. In a related matter, a spokesman for the Deutsche Bank, denied rumors that Western banks would have forgiven 70-80% of Bulgaria's debt if the government of Filip Dimitrov had remained in power. -Chuck Lambeth and Duncan Perry, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN BUDGET DEBATE. Debate began in parliament on 30 March on the 1993 budget bill submitted by the Vacaroiu government. Finance Minister Florin Georgescu told the deputies the proposed budget is one of austerity to end economic recession. He added that in a departure from previous postcommunist budgets, this year's deficit is aimed at relaunching public investments. Georgescu said the government will raise the indexed salaries and pensions. The budget sets state revenue at 2.151 trillion lei ($3.6 billion) and expenditures at 2.577-trillion lei ($4.3 billion), with a total deficit of 426 billion lei. The deficit would be about 4% of GNP-up from 2.3% last year. The parliament is expected to vote on the budget this week. -Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN OFFICIAL EXPECTS ECONOMY TO GROW. According to Peter Akos Bod, chairman of the Hungarian National Bank, the country's GDP can be expected to grow in real terms in 1993 by 2-3% compared to last year, MTI announced on 29 March. Bod said Hungary's ability to maintain its financial solvency despite declining economic performance in the past three years is an important achievement. With regard to unemployment, which stood at 13.6% at the end of February, with over 705,000 jobless people registered, Bod said the predicted 16-17% unemployment level is a pessimistic forecast, as the growth of the services sector is continuing this year and should absorb part of the unemployed work force. -Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. LITHUANIAN TRADE IN FEBRUARY. A report by the Lithuanian Customs department on trade showed that in February Lithuania exported goods worth 40.01 billion coupons ($82.9 million) and imported goods worth 18.28-billion coupons ($37.9 million), BNS reported on 26 March. Actual imports are greater since the figures do not include energy resources imported through oil pipelines, gas mains, and electric lines. Exports went primarily to Russia (25%) and Germany (13%) followed closely by Latvia, Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine. Imports were from Russia (21%), Germany (20%), Belarus, Ukraine, and Italy. -Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. IGNALINA ATOMIC PLANT SHUT DOWN. On 29 March after abnormal vibrations were detected in an electrical power generator at the nuclear power plant in Ignalina, the two reactors were shut down, Radio Lithuania reports. There is no danger of release of radiation, but the plant will be closed for repairs for at least six days. -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.RFE/RL Daily Report
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