Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece. - Vladimir Nabokov
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 76, 23 April 1993







RUSSIA



GRACHEV, BURBULIS TO BE QUESTIONED ON CORRUPTION CASES. Acting
on the report on corruption which Russian Vice President Aleksandr
Rutskoi made to the parliament on 16 April, the office of the
Procurator General has brought at least two criminal charges
involving top Yeltsin associates. ITAR-TASS revealed on 22 April
that the office has started an investigation concerning export
of the mysterious "red mercury" substance and that it intends
to question former State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis, members
of the Russian government, and employees of Yeltsin's apparatus
in connection with the case. Rutskoi had accused Burbulis of
having encouraged a private firm based in Ekaterinburg to produce
and export the "red mercury" which is allegedly used as a component
of nuclear weapons. ITAR-TASS also quoted the office of the Procurator
General as saying that they suspect Minister of Defense Pavel
Grachev and other top military officials of being implicated
in a swindle involving property belonging to former Soviet troops
based in East Germany. -Julia Wishnevsky

IAEA EXPERTS REFUTE "RED MERCURY" CLAIMS. The "red mercury" corruption
charges rest partly on claims that the substance is of use in
either conventional or nuclear explosives, hence its great value.
Yet most western weapons experts stress that while there are
some compounds of mercury that are red, they are not of use in
weapons production. Instead, "red mercury" has been primarily
used in hoaxes and sting operations. David Kyd, a spokesman for
the International Atomic Energy Agency, denied that the material
is used in explosives, according to an RFE/RL correspondent.
He observed that because of its interest in nuclear weapons materials,
"red mercury" dealers had flocked to Iraq, but that the Iraqis
"just laugh[ed] at it as completely spurious." Nevertheless,
some members of the Russian government may have believed the
claims and acted improperly upon those beliefs. Hence, the question
of whether there was corruption may be independent of whether
the material had any real value. -John Lepingwell and George
Stein

ALLEGATIONS OF VOTE RIGGING AND IMMINENT PRESIDENTIAL RULE. President
Boris Yeltsin's office denied on 22 April allegations made in
an unsigned statement released the same day by the parliament's
press office that Yeltsin plans to introduce presidential rule
immediately after the referendum, the results of which, the statement
claims, the presidential side is planning to falsify because
the Security Ministry predicts that Yeltsin can expect to gain
only 32-40% of the vote. The statement warned that the parliament
and local legislatures would thereafter be stripped of power
and left with "a merely decorative role." An RFE/RL correspondent
reported that the Security Ministry had denied being the source
of the information contained in the statement. Meanwhile, Yeltsin,
visiting Udmurtia on 22 April, stated his intention to take "firm
and tough measures" if he gains a vote of confidence in the referendum
and there is insufficient support for early parliamentary elections,
according to ITAR-TASS. -Wendy Slater

RUTSKOI REFUSES INVITATION TO APPEAR ON TV. Vice President Aleksandr
Rutskoi turned down an invitation from the chairman of Ostankino
TV, Vyacheslav Bragin, to appear live in a special issue of the
popular talk show "Vzglyad" scheduled for 23 April in order to
prove his allegations of high-level corruption among President
Yeltsin's entourage, Russian TV reported on 22 April. Rutskoi
had demanded live air-time to substantiate his allegations which
he first made in a speech to parliament on 16 April. He characterized
the invitation as a propaganda exercise connected with the forthcoming
referendum. First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko, Deputy
Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais, Constitutional Court Chairman
Valerii Zorkin, and parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov
had also been invited to participate. -Wendy Slater

TRAVKIN PREPARES FOR ELECTIONS. The leader of the Russian Democratic
Party, Nikolai Travkin, told journalists on 22 April that President
Boris Yeltsin will not have the power to introduce emergency
rule , ITAR-TASS reported. He was speaking at the opening of
his party's fund set up for the electoral campaign which is expected
to start soon. Travkin referred to Yeltsin's comments made in
Izhevsk (Udmurtia) on taking "tough measures" if he wins the
referendum. He stated that early presidential and parliamentary
elections were inevitable, although he thinks that both questions
related to this issue will fail to gain the required majority
of votes from eligible voters. In his opinion, even if a majority
of voters support Yeltsin and his economic reform program, the
votes on these two questions will not be legally binding. -Alexander
Rahr

SHUMEIKO ON YELTSIN OPPOSITION. First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir
Shumeiko told Literaturnaya gazeta (no. 16) that Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin has offered the leader of the communist faction
in the parliament, Sergei Baburin, a position in his government
but that the latter refused because he was not prepared to take
on this responsibility. Shumeiko said that officials of the former
CPSU Central Committee apparatus orchestrated the scenario of
the past three Congresses of People's Deputies. He accused parliamentary
speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov and his deputies of playing along
with that scenario. He also said that he does not believe the
centrist Civic Union is a strong political force. -Alexander
Rahr

GRACHEV CONTINUES TOUR. On 22 April, Russian Defense Minister
Pavel Grachev arrived in Novosibirsk to meet with commanders
and troops. The Russian TV "Vesti" news program of 23 April noted
that Grachev discussed measures to improve the living conditions
and combat readiness of the troops there, including Yeltsin's
decision on 19 April to grant a pay increase to servicemen. Grachev
also denied the recent allegations by the Russian procurator
general that he was involved in the illegal sale of property
and equipment from the Western Group of Forces. There have been
continual reports that Grachev is not highly regarded within
the forces, and this tour of the Far East, Transbaikal, and Siberian
military districts may be designed to both check the condition
of the forces and to enhance Grachev's authority within them
during a period of growing political tension. While Grachev has
noted that the military must stay neutral in the ongoing political
battles, he has also stated that he personally favors voting
in favor of Yeltsin in the forthcoming referendum. -John Lepingwell


STEPASHIN CALLS FOR MILITARY NEUTRALITY. The head of the Russian
parliament's Committee on Defense and Security, Sergei Stepashin,
noted that the committee holds a "centrist position" and argued
that the military must not be drawn into the political confrontation.
The committee is now primarily concerned with the task of developing
a Russian military doctrine, according to Stepashin, whose comments
were reported by ITAR-TASS on 23 April, based on an interview
in Krasnaya zvezda of the same date. -John Lepingwell

TROOPS OUTSIDE RUSSIA TO VOTE IN REFERENDUM? ON 22 APRIL, PRESIDENT
YELTSIN SIGNED A DIRECTIVE PROVIDING FOR RUSSIAN SERVICEMEN DEPLOYED
OUTSIDE RUSSIA TO PARTICIPATE IN THE REFERENDUM, ACCORDING TO
RUSSIAN TV "VESTI." ITAR-TASS reported that Col. Gen. Valerii
Mironov noted that there are 260,000 Russian troops involved
and that units of the Black Sea Fleet will not be included, with
the exception of one unit based in Novorossiisk in Russia. -John
Lepingwell

AGREEMENTS WITH NORWAY. Talks between Russian Foreign Minister
Andrei Kozyrev and his Norwegian counterpart, Johan Jorgen Holst,
ended on 22 April with the signing of several cooperation agreements,
ITAR-TASS reported. The talks started in Arkhangelsk on 21 April
and ended on 22 April in Moscow. Apparently no agreement was
reached on the long-standing dispute over fishing and oil exploration
rights in the Barents Sea. A joint protocol highlighted vast
changes in Russo-Norwegian relations in recent years. At the
press conference following talks with Holst, Kozyrev said that
Russian policy, both foreign and domestic, "is acquiring a more
stable and irreversible character." -Suzanne Crow

CORRUPTION FIGURES PUBLISHED BY MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR. The
latest figures on corruption published by the Russian Ministry
of the Interior suggest that state officials have become increasing
involved in corruption, according to Reuters on 22 April. Two-thirds
of all corruption cases in 1992 are reported to have involved
civil servants; 900 officials were found guilty of corruption,
of whom almost 200 were police officials, while 49 elected officials
were charged with corruption. -Sheila Marnie

DUDAEV SHOULD RESIGN, OPPOSITION LEADER SAYS. Abdulah Bugaev,
a leader of the Chechen opposition, told Western and Russian
news agencies on 22 April that the only reasonable thing President
Dzhokhar Dudaev can do now is resign. Last week, Dudaev decreed
the dissolution of the government and parliament and imposed
presidential rule in his North Caucasian republic which declared
independence from Russia in 1991. Bugaev said that a round-the-clock
demonstration was being held in the Chechen capital of Groznyi
demanding Dudaev step down. Bugaev also reaffirmed the opposition's
readiness to negotiate with Dudaev, on condition that it be given
access to the media. -Vera Tolz

COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES



CIS MILITARY DELEGATION VISITS INDIA. AFP reported on 22 April
that a delegation of CIS military representatives had arrived
in New Delhi to begin talks with Indian leaders on expanding
cooperation in the area of defense production and arms transfers.
The delegation, which reportedly included representatives from
the Central Asian republics, nevertheless appeared to be dominated
by Moscow. It was headed by the Commander in Chief of the Russian
Air Forces, Col. Gen. Petr Deinekin. Talks will reportedly focus
on the provision of badly needed spare parts to India, which
prior to the breakup of the USSR had been a major purchaser of
Soviet arms. The two sides are also to discuss joint production
of advanced Russian Sukhoi-27 and MiG-29 aircraft. -Stephen Foye


TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



WESTERN HELP SOUGHT FOR KAZAKH OIL DEVELOPMENT. Kazakh Minister
of Energy and Fuel Resources Kadyr Baikenov told a news conference
in Washington on 23 April that Kazakhstan is seeking further
Western aid to develop offshore oil and gas deposits in the Caspian
Sea, a RFE/RL correspondent reported. He expressed the hope that
a consortium would be set up by September to explore more than
100,000 square kilometers of the Caspian sea shelf which belong
to Kazakhstan. It is expected that the study will be completed
within three years. The Kazakh areas of the shelf will then be
divided up and leased to one or more oil companies to conduct
exploration, drilling, and pumping. The companies that participate
in the study consortium will be given the first option to lease
drilling areas. -Robert Lyle and Keith Bush

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



CLINTON RECEIVES KOVAC. . . On 21 April Slovak President Michal
Kovac met with US President Bill Clinton. A White House spokesman
told TASR after the meeting that the two presidents discussed
the evolution of Slovak-American relations and the situation
in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Kovac officially invited Clinton to visit
Slovakia in 1994, when Slovakia will commemorate the 50th anniversary
of the Slovak National Uprising against Nazi Germany. Also on
the 21st members of Kovac's delegation met with International
Monetary Fund officials. On 22 April Kovac participated in the
Holocaust Memorial dedication ceremonies and gave a press conference
at the National Press Club. Responding to criticism from some
quarters that the new Slovak state has not done enough to distance
itself from the Nazi puppet regime in Slovakia in 1939-45, Kovac
emphasized that the current state "has nothing in common with
the wartime Slovak state," TASR reports -Jiri Pehe

. . . AND GONCZ. Hungarian President Arpad Goncz met with President
Clinton, Radio Budapest reported on 22 April. Clinton told Goncz
that the US is aware of the difficulties Hungary is facing because
of the Yugoslav embargo. Goncz said that the military situation
in the region is unpredictable and Hungary is worried about the
situation of the Hungarian minority in Vojvodina. Goncz was of
the opinion that the West should give the region of Eastern Europe
technical and monetary assistance and provide it with market
potential. Talking about the Magyar minority in Romania, Goncz
said that it would increase trust if a Hungarian university and
a Hungarian consulate in Cluj could be opened. -Judith Pataki


CONTRETEMPS WITH ZHELEV'S DELEGATION. In a meeting with Bulgarian
President Zhelyu Zhelev on 22-April, US Vice President Al Gore
apologized for the unintentional omission of Bulgaria from the
list of countries that played a role in saving Jews during World
War II mentioned in a ceremony honoring the liberators and rescuers
of Jews. Earlier Zhelev abruptly announced that Bulgaria would
not participate in the Holocaust Memorial dedication, and a letter
of protest was sent from the delegation to Harvey Meyerhoff,
chairman of the US Holocaust Memorial Council. In his remarks
at the dedication ceremony, which Zhelev did attend, Gore pointedly
mentioned Bulgaria's role in saving some 50,000 Jews from Nazi
persecution during the war. An RFE/RL correspondent in Washington
reports the story. -Charles Trumbull

"THEY ARE ALL MUSLIM VILLAGES WHICH ARE BURNING." The 23 April
Washington Post quotes a British officer using these words to
describe the destruction in central Bosnia in the Travnik-Vitez-Zenica
area. The officer added: "And I am sure they didn't do it themselves"
as he discussed what the Croats had done in the village of Ahinici.
Reuters of 22 April and the New York Times of 23 April quote
other British witnesses as describing how bands of 15 to 20-drunken
Croatian masked gunmen went through the village of Santici "lobbing
grenades through windows and shooting people as they rushed out
of the burning houses." The Washington Post and the BBC note,
however, that the Muslims have taken the strategic heights around
Vitez and said of the Croats below: "Now we've got them." Meanwhile,
AFP on 22 April carried the story that the Muslims have taken
Travnik, an historic, mainly Muslim town assigned to the Croats
by the Vance-Owen plan. Fighting also continued on the second
Muslim-Croat front, namely in the Jablanica-Konjic area of eastern
Herzegovina. The New York Times says that Croatian commanders
are helping direct Serbian artillery fire by radio, and Politika
also of 23 April describes in detail not only the fighting but
in addition the strategic value of Konjic with its military installations
including an underground complex. That Belgrade daily adds that
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman is trying to put an end to
the fighting, and that another meeting of the Bosnian president
and that republic's Croat leader is slated for 24-April in Zagreb.
-Patrick Moore

SLOVAK, CZECH CASUALTIES IN CROATIA. The Czech and Slovak Ministries
of Defense announced on 22 April that a Slovak member of the
joint Czech-Slovak battalion, which is part of UNPROFOR forces
in Croatia, was killed and a Czech was wounded during an exchange
of fire between Croatian and Serbian forces near the Croatian
town of Likci Osik. CTK and TASR report that Czech and Slovak
officials have expressed alarm over the incident. Also on the
22nd several hundred people demonstrated in Prague for a more
resolute international response to the war in Bosnia. -Jiri Pehe


SERBIAN OPPOSITION DIVIDED ON BOSNIAN PEACE PLAN. Radio and TV
Serbia on 22-April report that leaders of the opposition Democratic
Party and the Democratic Party of Serbia as well as members of
the opposition coalition DEPOS said that talks must have priority
over military action for settling the crisis in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Democratic Party leader Dragoljub Micunovic said that talks in
Belgrade between international mediator Lord Owen and Serbian
officials on 21-April was a proof that talks still had the priority.
However, Micunovic added that the Bosnian Serb negotiators must
not give up the corridor that links Bosnian Serb territory with
Serbia and the Krajina in Croatia. Vojislav Kostunica, leader
of the Democratic Party of Serbia and DEPOS member, also pointed
out the need for settling the question of the corridor. He added
that the map proposed by Cyrus Vance and Lord Owen does not constitute
a guarantee for the Bosnian Serbs and that it should not be signed.
Prominent Serbian intellectuals and independent members of DEPOS
urged that the Vance-Owen plan be immediately signed saying that
by signing the plan the Serbian people would not commit national
suicide. On the contrary, they believe that a refusal to sign
it would bring agony and untold hardship. They further argued
that signing the plan would not mark a capitulation of the Serbian
people but a capitulation of the regime. -Milan Andrejevich

CROATIAN UPDATE. The 23 April Croatian papers cover a variety
of domestic as well as war-related stories. Globus reports that
the opposition Liberals have closed the gap between themselves
and President Tudjman's party to within two percentage points,
and add that the Liberals command a majority in public opinion
polls in Slavonia and Split. Tudjman's Croatian Democratic Community
is in the lead only in Zagreb, and the various third parties
taken together account for less than 15% of the electorate. Elsewhere,
Croatian officials report in Vecernji list that the country now
supports a total of 640,000 refugees, while that same daily carries
a story about Slovenian nuclear waste stored near the Croatian
border. Finally, Slobodna Dalmacija reports on the Roman Catholic
Church's plans to expand its work in the media for Croatia, including
setting up a news agency. -Patrick Moore

MECIAR SPEAKS ON THE GOVERNMENT PROGRAM. In a two-hour report
on the fulfillment of the Slovak government's program, Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar told parliament on 22 April that, despite
some unexpected developments, basic goals of the program have
been achieved. TASR and Slovak TV report that Meciar accused
Czech leaders of causing the disintegration of Czechoslovakia.
He said that some of the current problems of Slovakia are caused
by the fact that in the last four months the Slovak government
has been trying to cope with the split of Czechoslovakia, for
which it was not prepared. In Meciar's opinion, Czech leaders
had been preparing for the split for at least two years prior
to the federation's breakup, and that is why the Czech Republic
is now in a better position than Slovakia. The Czech republic
has also taken over most federal institutions, experts, and know-how,
he said. In a discussion that followed Meciar's speech, ethnic
Hungarian deputies accused the government of violating rights
of minorities. They claimed, for example, that Slovak authorities
have been reluctant to issue birth certificates with Hungarian
names and have removed signposts bearing names of towns and villages
in Hungarian. -Jiri Pehe

EC LIMITS IMPORTS OF SLOVAK, CZECH STEEL. Despite efforts by
Sir Leon Brittan, the EC Trade Commissioner, to increase imports
of steel from Slovakia and the Czech Republic, the European Commission
decided on 22 April to limit imports of steel from the two countries
over the next two years. International media report that the
decision is part of an effort to protect the EC's struggling
steel industry against cheap imports from Eastern Europe. The
commission announced that imports would be increased in 1995,
"balancing the twin imperatives of restructuring for the EC steel
industry and gradual opening of trade with East and Central Europe."
-Jiri Pehe

CZECH BANKRUPTCY LAW GOES INTO EFFECT. On 22 April the long-awaited
law came into effect in the Czech Republic. Observers predict
that hundreds of companies could fold in the next few months.
The RFE/RL corespondent in Prague reports that, according to
conservative estimates, two-thirds of Czech industry is insolvent,
including 80% of the country's biggest and most important producers.
The new law establishes a protective period of three to six months
during which debtors and creditors can attempt to reach a settlement.
Debtors have 15 days to apply for three months' protection and
creditors have 30 days to file claims, after which time they
are deemed to have waived their claims. The bankruptcy law, twice
delayed last year, has been hailed as a real make-or-break of
the so-far successful economic reform. The daily Mlada Fronta
dnes wrote on 22 April that "it could be said rhetorically that
today, when the law comes into effect, the Czech economic fairy
tale is over." A rapid rise in unemployment is expected in the
next few months. -Jiri Pehe

ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES 1993 BUDGET. On 21 April the two chambers
of the Romanian Parliament passed in a joint session the state
budget for 1993 by a 224 to 150 vote with three abstentions.
Representatives of the ruling Democratic National Salvation Front
and its allies in parliament (the Party of Romanian National
Unity, the Greater Romania Party and the Socialist Labor Party)
voted for the budget, while the Democratic Convention of Romania,
the National Salvation Front and the HDFR voted against it. In
a statement released through Radio Bucharest, Gheorghe Cristea,
a deputy for the National Peasant Party Christian Democratic,
criticized the fact that the austerity budget presented by Nicolae
Vacaroiu's cabinet provides for extensive cuts in expenses for
health, education, and culture, while it continues a policy of
subsidizing inefficient industries inherited from the Communist
era. -Dan Ionescu

TENSION OVER ROMANIAN PREFECTS ESCALATES. Gabor Kozsokar, a deputy
in the Romanian Parliament representing the Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania, said on 22 April that local officials
in Covasna county plan to resign if the ethnic Romanian prefect
recently appointed by the government is not replaced. The appointment
of Romanian prefects in the counties of Harghita and Covasna,
where ethnic Hungarians are in the majority, has sparked a wave
of protests by the HDFR, which sees the move as discriminatory.
Rompres quoted Kozsokar as saying that all Covasna mayors and
county councilors have refused to cooperate with the new prefect,
Vlad Casuneanu. -Dan Ionescu

TALKS ON ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN TREATY IN LIMBO. Romania's Foreign
Ministry issued on 22 April a statement accusing Hungary of delaying
negotiations on a friendship treaty between the two countries
and refusing to give border guarantees. The statement also criticized
Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef Antall for having recently insisted
that a bilateral treaty should include guarantees for Romania's
ethnic Magyar minority. The document described Antall's stance
as a "unilateral setting of conditions" and as "unacceptable"
for the Romanian part. Ion Popp, a Romanian negotiator, told
Reuters that Hungary has so far refused to include in the treaty
a clause saying that the current borders are unchangeable. Talks
on the treaty began in May 1991 but have stalled, mainly because
disagreements over the rights of the Hungarian minority in Romania.
-Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN ECONOMIC DECLINE BOTTOMING OUT? IN 1992 BULGARIA'S
GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT FELL BY A RELATIVELY SMALL AMOUNT-7.7%-Bulgarian
National Bank officials told Reuters on 22 April. The BNB estimates
put last year's GDP at 195 billion leva [$7.4-billion], which
would signify a radical slowing of economic decline. Bulgaria's
GDP has practically halved during the last three years, and BNB
says the country experienced a 16.7% drop in 1991. Although the
National Statistical Institute in January suggested that last
year's GDP had fallen as much as 13%, some experts argue that
only the BNB has the methodology to measure the growth of the
private sector. Bank officials say private business in 1992 accounted
for 15.6% of GDP. -Kjell Engelbrekt

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT FAILS TO ADOPT MILITARY DOCTRINE. A proposal
that would have banned Ukraine from storing, manufacturing, or
using nuclear weapons was narrowly defeated in parliament, Reuters
reported on 22 April. Deputies leaving a closed session of parliament
reported that only 189 of 450-members approved the draft doctrine,
37-short of the required majority. Deputies opposed to the doctrine
demanded that Ukraine's position as a nuclear state be clarified.
While the doctrine renounced Ukraine's status as a nuclear nation
in the long run, its interim status of a country with nuclear
weapons deployed on its territory is less clear. While the majority
of deputies favor Ukraine eventually becoming a nonnuclear nation,
a growing minority feels the retention of these weapons is the
best deterrence against Russia. -Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CONCLUDES US VISIT. Petr Krauchenka
has concluded his official visit to Washington, Radiefakt reported
on 22 April. During the visit he met with the Secretary of State
Warren Christopher and discussed economic issues in Belarus,
problems related to disarming the nuclear weapons, and collective
security within the CIS. -Ustina Markus

STANKEVICH WARNS LATVIANS. The Latvian Supreme Council's intention
to change existing procedures for issuing temporary residence
permits for persons affiliated with the Russian military in Latvia
and the concomitant temporary suspension of the issuance of the
permits has elicited a strong protest from Russian Presidential
Advisor Sergei Stankevich. He told the press that the proposed
changes are a political time bomb and warned that Russia would
have to respond if the bill, stipulating that residence permits
are valid for one year, is adopted. Stankevich also claimed that
such a bill would pave way for mass deportations of ethnic Russians,
BNS reported on 22 April. -Dzintra Bungs

RUSSIAN ARMY PRACTICES TAKEOVER OF STRATEGIC FACILITIES IN BALTICS.
The Northwestern Group of Forces started four-day staff exercises
on how to capture strategic facilities in the Baltic States,
Estonia's defense officials told BNS on 22 April. The exercises
were carried out under the command of NWGF commander Leonid Mayorov.
The participating units, including the Tallinn-based 144th Motorized
Infantry Division, were brought to full combat readiness on 20-April.
The Baltic governments were not officially informed of the exercises.
-Dzintra Bungs

KUDOS FOR LATVIAN ECONOMIC REFORMS. While visiting Riga, Dutch
Foreign Minister Pieter Hendrick Kooijman praised Latvia for
its financial reforms, which, he said, closely follow the recommendations
of the International Monetary Fund. Latvia is continuing to issue
its new currency. On 22 April the new 50-santimi coin (100 santimi
= 1 lats) was first circulated. BNS also reported on 15 April
that the inflation rate was down to 2.4% in March, though unemployment
rose to 3.4% on 1 April. Unemployment may reach 12% this year,
according to Latvian government estimates. -Dzintra Bungs

LITHUANIAN POLICEMEN STAGE JOB ACTION. Baltic media reported
on 21 April that about 80 policemen of the Vilnius Patrol Service
stopped work for several hours in order to protest low wages
and the conviction of a colleague for abuse of power. The policemen
are also unhappy because in most cases they have no right to
use force or weapons, a situation they find disadvantageous in
trying to apprehend criminals. -Dzintra Bungs

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Wendy Slater and Charles Trumbull











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