No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear. - Edmund Burke
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 64, 02 April 1993



RUSSIA



CLINTON SPEECH ON AID TO RUSSIA. In an address to the American
Society of Newspaper Editors on 1 April, US President Bill Clinton
said "we cannot stop investing in the peace now that we have
obtained it." In an attempt to reconcile the contradiction between
a large aid package to Russia and enormous domestic spending
cuts at home, Clinton said financial assistance for Russia is
"not an act of charity," but an "investment in our own future."
Describing Russia as being "at the heart of" the situation in
the former Soviet Union, Clinton said, "the burning question
today is whether Russia's progress toward democracy and free
markets will continue or be thwarted." Details of a substantial
US aid package to Russia are expected to be unveiled during the
3-4 April Vancouver summit, Western agencies reported. Suzanne
Crow

PARLIAMENT SENDS YELTSIN'S DECREES TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. The
Russian parliament voted on 1 April to refer three presidential
decrees to the Constitutional Court in accordance with the 29
March resolution of the recent Congress of People's Deputies,
ITAR-TASS and various Western agencies reported. The decrees,
issued in February and March, cover the reorganization of military
forces in the North Caucasus and support for the Cossacks there,
the appointment of presidential representatives to the regions,
and, most importantly, the 20 March decree "on the actions of
executive bodies until the settlement of the crisis of power,"
which provided among other things for a vote of confidence in
the president. The decree, published only on 24 March, differed
from Yeltsin's TV broadcast of 20 March in omitting the reference
to "special rule". The Constitutional Court issued a ruling on
Yeltsin's TV address on 23 March, in which it detailed several
constitutional infringements. Wendy Slater

CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING REFERENDUM. Mikhail Poltoranin, a Yeltsin
ally and the head of the Federal Information Center (which the
recent Congress session ordered to be disbanded), told reporters
on 1 April that President Boris Yeltsin had finally abandoned
any plans to hold a separate plebiscite from the one scheduled
by the Congress for 25 April. Instead, he suggested, Yeltsin's
supporters should begin a petition campaign to hold a referendum
on the future constitution. The parliament, meanwhile, refused
on 1 April to amend the law on referenda to comply with the Congress'
decision that over 50% of eligible voters had to vote in favor
of the first two questions on the referendum for the results
to be valid. The questions ask whether voters trust President
Yeltsin and approve of his economic policies. Some deputies objected
that the amendments were intended to ensure a negative result
for Yeltsin in the referendum. Wendy Slater

YELTSIN MEETS LEADERS OF INDUSTRIAL LOBBY. President Yeltsin
met leaders of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs
in the Kremlin on 1 April, ITAR-TASS reported. He urged them
to play a consolidating role in politics and to support his reforms.
The industrialists' leaders, among them the co-leader of the
Civic Union, Arkadii Volsky, and the chief coordinator of the
All-Russian Union "Renewal," Aleksandr Vladislavlev, said that,
in principle, they support Yeltsin's policy of social and economic
reforms. Meanwhile the head of the presidential staff, Sergei
Filatov, described rumors that the government plans to increase
oil prices and conduct mass redundancies at industrial enterprises
as "provocation" aimed at weakening Yeltsin's position in the
forthcoming referendum. Alexander Rahr

CHERNOMYRDIN CRITICIZES CHUBAIS. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
has suggested that the privatization program being managed by
Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais is proceeding too quickly,
Reuters reported on 1 April. Speaking at a meeting with defense
factory managers in St. Petersburg, Chernomyrdin compared the
campaign with Stalin's collectivization program of the 1930's
and said that the current law on privatization should be changed.
However, Chernomyrdin gave no details of the modifications he
would like to see. Meanwhile, privatization goes on apace in
Russia. Voucher auctions for shares in one of the largest state
enterprises, Uralmash, will begin tomorrow in Yekaterinburg,
various news agencies reported. Erik Whitlock

GRACHEV OPPOSES NO-FLY ZONE, TROOPS. Russian Defense Minister
Pavel Grachev told ITAR-TASS on 1 April that he had doubts about
the advisability of enforcing a no-fly zone in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
He reportedly disagreed even more strongly with plans to introduce
additional multi-national troop contingents in the territory
of former Yugoslavia, and said that Russia should not take part
in any such action. He said that Russia "does not need a second
Afghanistan," and that the Defense Ministry will work to prevent
Russia from being drawn into a war that, in his view, has the
potential to spread beyond the limits of the Balkan region. Stephen
Foye

PARLIAMENT ADOPTS LAW ON STATE FRONTIER. On 1 April the Russian
parliament reexamined the law on the state frontier which Yeltsin
had returned with his amendments, all of which were accepted,
ITAR-TASS reported. The law, which was adopted by the parliament
and comes into force from the day of publication, gives the frontier
of the Russian Federation the status of state frontier until
frontier treaties are concluded with the adjacent former Union
republics of the USSR. The Russian government is instructed to
report to parliament by 1 August on the course of talks with
the former Union republics on the status and length of stay of
Russian frontier troop units on their territory and on urgent
measures to install them on the state frontier of the Russian
Federation. At present there are little or no frontier installations
on most of Russia's frontiers with the other republics. Ann Sheehy


RUSSIA'S GOLD RESERVES UP. Yevgenii Bychkov, the head of the
Precious Metals and Stones Committee, told the Financial Times
of 1 April that the country's official gold reserves had risen
to 320 tons. Of the total, 170 tons were held by Bychkov's committee
and the remainder by the Russian Central Bank. This level should
be compared with the low point of 240 tons at the end of 1991--a
figure revealed by Grigorii Yavlinsky in Moscow News, No. 46,
1991. His revelation was subsequently condemned by Valentin Pavlov.
Keith Bush

SUSPENSION OF OPPOSITION ST. PETERSBURG TV SHOW. On 1 April,
the Russian parliament ordered the reinstatement of controversial
St. Petersburg TV journalist Aleksandr Nevzorov, ITAR-TASS reported.
Nevzorov was suspended as presenter of the "600 Seconds" news
show last week by the head of the St. Petersburg TV channel,
Bella Kurkova, when he came under investigation by the city procurator's
office for alleged infringements of the law on the media. (In
his show, Nevzorov regularly makes nationalistic and xenophobic
statements and attacks the Russian central and St. Petersburg
leadership.) An RFE/RL correspondent reported on 31 March that
Nevzorov had refused to agree to a condition that he submit for
approval a full videotape an hour before the broadcasts if he
wished to resume his post. The St. Petersburg deputy prosecutor
has denied that his office initiated a case against Nevzorov,
while the journalist himself has claimed his show was suspended
after he criticized President Yeltsin's 20 March TV speech. The
reinstatement of Nevzorov is the first instance of parliament's
attempting to exercise direct control over TV, after the Congress'
adoption of a resolution stipulating parliamentary control over
the electronic media. The Constitutional Court has yet to rule
on the resolution's legality. Vera Tolz

RETURN OF PARLIAMENTARY GUARDS. The first deputy chairman of
the Federal Information Center, Sergei Yushenkov, claimed that
the Presidium of the Russian parliament at a closed meeting on
30 March had discussed the creation of a strengthened parliamentary
guard, according to ITAR-TASS on 1 April. He stated that the
formation of the guard could mean the final stage of the establishment
of a dictatorship in Russia, but he also said that the plan to
set up the guard has not yet been implemented and is currently
being debated in parliamentary committees and commissions. Last
October, members of the parliamentary guard were involved in
street battles in Moscow and President Yeltsin dissolved the
guards by decree. The parliamentary leadership however wants
to reestablish them. Alexander Rahr

RATING OF POLITICIANS. Nezavisimaya gazeta on 1 April continued
its program to monitor the fluctuations in Russian politics by
using a list of the 100 most influential politicians in Russia
as determined by a group of political scientists and journalists.
The most recent list starts with President Boris Yeltsin, followed
by parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov, Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin, Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi, and First Deputy
Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko. Defense Minister Pavel Grachev
holds 11th place, and Security Minister Viktor Barannikov, 14th.
Communist leader Gennadii Zyuganov is mentioned in 18th place,
his associate Sergei Baburin is in 24th position. The most influential
regional politician seems to be St. Petersburg mayor Anatolii
Sobchak who ranks 27th. Alexander Rahr

US BLAMED FOR SUB ACCIDENT. Saying that the world was 20 meters
away from a nuclear catastrophe, Rossiiskaya gazeta on 1 April
quoted Russian investigators as saying that the blame for the
20 March collision in the Barents Sea between the US Grayling
attack submarine and a Russian Delta III submarine "rested wholly
and entirely with the commander of the Grayling." The investigators
alleged that the Grayling hit the Russian sub only 20 meters
away from its conning tower. They claimed that had the Delta's
conning tower or hull been ruptured its nuclear reactors would
have been flooded by sea water which would have overheated and
produced a steam explosion, scattering the radioactive material
from the reactor core into the ocean. The investigators were
also critical of the fact that the Grayling did not surface after
the incident to determine whether the Delta needed assistance.
Stephen Foye & John Lepingwell

NEW PACIFIC FLEET COMMANDER APPOINTED. Vice-Admiral Georgii Gurinov
was formally appointed Commander of the Pacific Fleet by President
Yeltsin in a decree signed on 1 April. At the same time, Yeltsin
signed a decree removing Admiral Khvatov from his post and discharging
him from the Russian Navy. Khvatov had been harshly criticized
in the wake of the deaths of four conscripts from malnutrition.
John Lepingwell

REHABILITATION OF RUSSIAN KOREANS. On 1 April the Russian parliament
adopted a resolution declaring illegal all the decrees adopted
from 1937 regarding the Russian Koreans, which served as the
basis for political repressions against them, ITAR-TASS reported.
The Korean population of the Soviet Far East was deported en
masse in 1937 to sparsely-inhabited areas of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan
on the pretext of "preventing the penetration of Japanese espionage."
The resolution says that the Koreans have the right to return
on an individual basis to where they lived before, and that the
local authorities are to give them practical assistance. Most
of the deported Koreans and their descendants are still living
in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The 107,000 Koreans recorded as
living in the Russian Federation at the time of the 1989 census
consist mainly of Koreans brought to Sakhalin by the Japanese
in World War II, and North Korean Gastarbeiter. Ann Sheehy

STANKEVICH ABOUT HIS FUTURE PLANS. Presidential advisor Sergei
Stankevich told Poisk (no.13) that he is considering resigning
from his present post and writing a book on the issue of building
Russia's statehood. He complained that President Yeltsin is not
making use of his potential as advisor. He said that the emergence
of a new "democratic wave" is inevitable, but asserted that most
current political parties are not properly organized and hinted
that he is thinking about creating his own political party. Stankevich
stated that Russia should reject any expansionist ideas and focus
on its own spiritual and economic revival. Alexander Rahr

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



NAGORNO-KARABAKH ROUNDUP. Armenian forces advanced to within
a few miles of Kelbadzhar on 1 April and subjected the town and
surrounding villages to artillery bombardment; ITAR-TASS reported
that two people were killed and 19 injured when a helicopter
evacuating civilians from the town crashed due to overloading.
A spokesman for the Nagorno-Karabakh administration argued that
the offensive was launched in response to an attempt by Azerbaijani
forces to cut the Lachin humanitarian supply corridor between
Karabakh and Armenia, according to ITAR-TASS. The presidium of
the parliament of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
addressed a statement to the Supreme Soviet and people of Azerbaijan
calling for negotiations on an end to the war and what it termed
"a halt to the aggression against the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic."
Informal talks on the Karabakh conflict are due to resume on
2 April in Geneva under the aegis of the CSCE. Liz Fuller

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



BOSNIAN SERBS VOTE ON VANCE-OWEN PLAN. The legislature of the
Bosnian Serbs' self-proclaimed "Serbian Republic" meets on 2
April in Bileca to decide whether to approve the UN proposal
to divide Bosnia-Herzegovina into 10 autonomous regions. The
plan would mean that the Serbs, who make up a third of the republic's
population but have conquered 70% of its territory, would have
to be content with 40% of the total land area. The 2 April Borba
says that chances that the Serbs will agree to the proposal are
about nil. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vitalii Churkin will
attend the session as he ends three days of talks with top Serbian
leaders. Borba summed up the conclusion of his 1 April meeting
with rump Yugoslav President Dobrica Cosic as saying that the
"situation in Bosnia is difficult but not hopeless." Politika
says on 2 April that the UN will take no more initiatives against
Serbia until the Russian referendum, while the 1 April Christian
Science Monitor writes of Serbian hard-liners' sympathies for
Yeltsin's opponents. Patrick Moore

SERBS DENOUNCE UN RESOLUTION ON ENFORCING NO-FLY ZONE. Western
news agencies and Serbian media report that Bosnian Serb leader
Radovan Karadzic reacted angrily on 1 April to the 31 March vote.
Borba on 2 April quotes him as calling the resolution "unnecessary,"
since the Serbs deny they are violating the ban, while Politika
has Karadzic dubbing the move a "dangerous escalation" of UN
pressures against Serbia. Western news agencies on 1 April describe
him as being even more blunt, saying "if the third world war
starts here, this resolution will be the cause of it." Meanwhile,
the UN has protested to the Bosnian Serbs against their reported
decision to block further aid shipments to beleaguered Srebrenica
except for empty trucks to evacuate Muslims. Finally, the 2 April
Borba announces price rises for bread, cooking oil, and sugar
in Serbia, while Politika reports on the effects of sanctions
in an article headlined "the peasants have no fuel and the people
have no money." Patrick Moore

GORE PRAISES ROMANIAN, BULGARIAN POSITION ON EMBARGO. At a meeting
in Washington attended by the ambassadors of Romania and Bulgaria,
Vice President Al Gore praised the position of the two countries
on the sanctions against rump Yugoslavia and said the effects
of the sanctions are beginning to show up. Radio Bucharest said
on 1 April that Gore handed the two diplomats photographs of
the speed boats sent by the US to the their countries. The boats
will arrive next week. Michael Shafir

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN THE US. Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky
held talks on 31 March in Washington with Vice President Albert
Gore, National Security Advisor Anthony Lake, Deputy Secretary
of State Clifton Wharton, and AFL-CIO Chairman Lane Kirkland,
Nepszabadsag reports. In a letter to President Bill Clinton,
Premier Jozsef Antall, who is expected to visit the US sometime
this fall, invited the US to take part in the 1996 World Fair
in Budapest. In his talks with Lake, Jeszenszky suggested that
Hungary could contribute to assistance for Russia in the form
of goods and know-how. Asked about Istvan Csurka's nationalist
views in Hungary, he said the Csurka phenomenon should be "neither
underestimated nor overestimated"; Democratic Congressman Tom
Lantos, who is of Hungarian origin, said that he was satisfied
with the steps taken by Budapest against extremist manifestations.
Alfred Reisch

HUNGARY AND GABCIKOVO. In a letter sent to the EC Commission,
State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Janos Martonyi confirmed
on 31 March that Hungary is ready to sign in a week the joint
request with Slovakia to submit the dispute over the Gabcikovo
hydroelectric project to the International Court of Justice in
the Hague, as suggested by the EC. According to Radio Budapest,
Martonyi expressed regret over the fact that Slovakia has still
not announced its acceptance of the text of the joint submission
request. Alfred Reisch

PILOT PROBLEMS IN HUNGARY'S AIR FORCE. On 31 March Maj. Gen.
Janos Urban, the Army's Chief Inspector for Aviation, informed
the parliamentary defense committee about the start of in-country
air force officers' training, MTI reports. Most Hungarian pilots
used to be trained in the former USSR, and some in Slovakia.
The first helicopter pilots will graduate from the Aviation Technical
College in Szolnok in 1996, and the first fighter plane pilots
a year later. The domestic pilot training program is urgently
needed as 29 pilots left the air force last year and 17 so far
this year, some for health reasons but most of them to work for
private domestic or foreign companies. Hungary's air force plans
to enroll 50 fighter pilot candidates annually and negotiations
to purchase planes for training purposes are in an advanced stage.
Alfred Reisch

ETHNIC HUNGARIANS PROTEST IN ROMANIA. On 1 April thousands of
ethnic Hungarians in Romania protested against a government decision
to nominate ethnic Romanians as prefects in the counties of Hargita
and Covasna, which have ethnic Hungarian majorities. A Romanian
Interior Ministry spokesman told Reuters that about 7,000 people
took part in rallies in four towns in Covasna. The chairman of
the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania, Bela Marko, was
quoted by Radio Bucharest on 1 April as saying that tension is
running high in the region. Marko said the government is using
nationalism to distract people's attention from the poor performance
of the economy. The protests, he added, will continue until the
government shows "good will and receptivity towards our problems."
Michael Shafir

ROMANIA'S QUEEN AND THE HOLOCAUST. Romania's former chief rabbi,
Alexandru Safran, announced that the Yad Va'Shem Holocaust Memorial
in Jerusalem has decided to confer posthumously on former Queen
Elena the title of "Righteous of the World." The title is a distinction
given to non-Jewish people who distinguished themselves in attempts
to save Jews during World War II. At that time, Elena, the mother
of King Michael, was queen-mother. The announcement was carried
on 31 March by Radio Bucharest, which quoted a spokesman for
the king. Michael Shafir

POLISH PRIVATIZATION MINISTER SURVIVES CONFIDENCE VOTE. The Sejm
voted down a motion by the Confederation for an Independent Poland
(KPN) to remove Privatization Minister Janusz Lewandowski from
office on 2 April. The vote was 147 to 175, with 51 abstentions.
The KPN has long criticized the privatization ministry as a center
of corruption and malfeasance, and this was only the latest in
a series of attempts to remove Lewandowski. The minister's party,
the Polish Liberal Program, had threatened to leave the governing
coalition in the event of Lewandowski's ouster. Some coalition
deputies, mainly from the conservative Christian National Union,
failed to support Lewandowski in the vote, however. The Sejm
began debating the government's revised version of its mass privatization
program on 2 April. Lewandowski met with the opposition Polish
Peasant Party on 1 April to try to persuade them to support the
program. With the same aim, Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka met
with parliamentary caucus leaders on 31 March. The three opposition
parties associated with former Prime Minister Jan Olszewski boycotted
this meeting, arguing that the government was "pacting with postcommunists."
Louisa Vinton

SHUSHKEVICH CHASTISES FOREIGN AND PRIME MINISTERS. In a speech
to the Belarus Supreme Soviet on 31 March, Chairman Stanislau
Shushkevich accused the republic's Foreign Ministry of not only
failing to pursue the interests of Belarus abroad but of representing
a risk to those interests, according to Reuters. Shushkevich
accused the ministry of inactivity, poor diplomatic skills, insufficient
attention to the other states of the CIS, and lack of a foreign
policy concept. He noted that a policy document presented to
parliament's leadership by Foreign Minister Petr Krauchenka has
been rejected. Krauchenka seemed puzzled by the accusations.
On 1 April, as reported by the RFE/RL Belarusian Service, Krauchenka
said that Shushkevich "wishes to establish daily control" over
the work of the Foreign Ministry. Shushkevich has also criticized
Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich's recent call to engage in an
economic and military union with Russia. The Supreme Soviet chairman
was quoted on 31 March by Reuters as saying that bringing Belarus
into a "collective security" arrangement with Russia would only
hurt the country's interests and "could lead even a stronger
state into a dead end." Shushkevich added that neutrality and
nonnuclear status must guide Belarusian policy for the next century.
Kathy Mihalisko

BELARUS MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX BACKS "COLLECTIVE SECURITY."
Spokesmen for Belarus's military industries are warning that
their sector will collapse in the very near future if parliament
does not endorse economic and military union with Russia, according
to Belarusian press reports. A source quoted in Zvyazda on 26
March maintains that officials in Russia's Ministry of the Economy
will not go out on a limb for Belarus if Minsk does not also
accept a collective security arrangement. Belarus's military
authorities are urging a reexamination of neutrality as well.
At a conference last week, Chief of the General Staff of the
Belarusian Armed Forces Maj. Gen. Mikalai Churkin named Austria,
Finland, and Sweden as examples of countries that are "rethinking
their neutral status." The parliament is expected next week to
review the question of collective security and a budget that
would favor the military-industrial complex, according to a RFE/RL
correspondent in Minsk. Kathy Mihalisko

SHUSHKEVICH CALLS FOR WEAK BELARUSIAN PRESIDENCY. Shushkevich,
whose chairmanship of the Belarusian Supreme Soviet appears to
be increasingly tenuous, suffered a set-back on 1 April when
parliament's conservative majority prevented discussion of his
commentary on presidential power. Shushkevich said the draft
constitution presently under discussion gives the Belarusian
president more powers than a US president, as reported that day
by an RFE/RL correspondent. Shushkevich is known to fear the
emergence of authoritarianism in Belarus under the guise of a
strong presidency. Kathy Mihalisko

UKRAINIAN DIPLOMATS CONFER; HEAR WARNING ABOUT RUSSIA. Senior
diplomats stationed abroad held three days of consultations in
Kiev this week, Ukrainian Radio reports. The meetings examined
various aspects of foreign policy and were addressed by various
ministers as well as President Leonid Kravchuk and Parliament
Speaker Ivan Plyushch. Among the participants was the ambassador
to Moscow, Volodymyr Kryzhanivsky, who, according to Ukrainian
TV of 1 April, warned his colleagues that President Yeltsin's
success in his struggle with the Russian parliament does not
mean that Russia's attitude toward Ukraine will soften. He said
that there are several groups within the Russian leadership that
have an influence on the development of Ukrainian-Russian relations.
According to the ambassador, these include: "isolationists (Nechaev,
Shokin, and others), who attempt not to notice Ukraine, and national-radicals
seeking to bring Ukraine to her knees." Bohdan Nahaylo

RUSSIANS STILL SUPPLYING GAS TO LITHUANIA. On 1 April Zenonas
Vistinis, the director general of Lietuvos Dujos, said that Lithuania
is still receiving natural gas at the normal rate of 9 million
cubic meters per day, Radio Lithuania reports. This was the case,
he said, despite threats by the St. Petersburg company Lentransgaz
to halve its exports if debts for gas received earlier this year
were not paid by 31 March. Lietuvos Dujos owes Lentransgaz about
21-22 billion coupons ($43-45 million), but is owed 11 billion
coupons by its customers. On 2 April in St. Petersburg a Lithuanian
delegation headed by Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius proposed
that the debt with Lentransgaz be balanced by Russia's debts
to Lithuania for transit and energy to Kaliningrad. Lentransgaz
rejected the offer but agreed to give Lithuania two more weeks
to pay off the debt. Slezevicius will also hold talks with his
Russian counterpart Viktor Chernomyrdin on trade relations. Saulius
Girnius

NO CHANGE IN TROOP WITHDRAWAL RATE. On 31 March Major General
Sergei Petrov, commissioner of the Russian Defense Ministry for
troop withdrawal from Lithuania, told his Lithuanian counterpart
Col. Stasys Knezys that the military leadership in Moscow had
not sent any orders to suspend the troop withdrawal, BNS reported
on 1 April. Knezys said that about 14,000 Russian troops still
remained in Lithuania and the Russian military had asked to send
additional unarmed troops to Lithuania to speed up the withdrawal.
Saulius Girnius

PARFENOV INVESTIGATION MUST BE COMPLETED BEFORE EXTRADITION.
Latvia's chief prosecutor Janis Skrastins told the press in Vilnius
that imprisoned OMON leader Sergei Parfenov will not be allowed
to return to Russia until the investigation proves that he is
not an accomplice in the killing of Lithuanian customs guards
in Medininkai, Diena reported on 1 April. Dzintra Bungs

LAW ON TOXIC WASTES ADOPTED IN LATVIA. The Supreme Council has
adopted a law that prohibits the import, storage, processing,
and liquidation of toxic wastes generated outside the country
and regulates the treatment of such wastes produced on Latvian
territory, BNS reported on 30 March. On a related matter, local
media reported on 26-29 March that the authorities are also concerned
about the dangers from both the decomposition and the burning
of rocket fuel that has not been removed by the departing Russian
troops from bases in western Latvia. One private firm is trying
to sell some of the rocket fuel to private citizens in eastern
Latvia to be used for heating purposes. The Latvian authorities
are warning the populace of the high toxicity of such fuels.
Dzintra Bungs

HUNGER STRIKE FOR BACK PAY. Radio Riga reported on 1 April that
trade union activist Lidija Upmale is in the fourth day of a
hunger strike. She seeks to draw government and public attention
to the plight of thousands of workers in enterprises under Latvia's
Ministry of Light Industry who have not been paid for several
months. There are about 60 mismanaged and faltering enterprises
that owe over 800 million Latvian rubles in back pay to workers.
The matter was brought up also at the Supreme Council plenary
session, but no immediate solution to the problem was found.
Dzintra Bungs

ESTONIAN PRESIDENT MERI IN ENGLAND. On 31 March in a speech at
the Royal Institute for International Affairs in London Lennart
Meri noted that pressure by Russia's extremist forces on Estonia
has grown sharply, BNS reported on 1 April. Meri arrived in England
on 30 March on an unofficial visit and held talks with President
of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Jacques
Attali on 1 April. On the 2nd Meri will fly to Geneva for meetings
with political, industry, and banking figures and will return
to Estonia on 4 April. Saulius Girnius

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Wenndy Slater and Charles Trumbull



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