Love cures people--both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it. - Karl Menninger
RFE/RL Daily Report

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--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- 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.

-BUILDS PRIVATIZATION COMPROMISE- 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
," 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.

-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



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