Forty is the old age of youth; fifty, the youth of old age. - Victor Hugo
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 78, 26 April 1993







RUSSIA



YELTSIN RECEIVES SUPPORT IN REFERENDUM. The head of the electoral
commission, Vasilii Kazakov, told the Presidium of the Russian
parliament that, according to a preliminary estimate, President
Boris Yeltsin won about 60% of the ballot in the vote of confidence
in the referendum, Western news agencies reported on 26 April.
Kazakov said that the referendum vote for early parliamentary
elections fell short of the 50% of the electorate required to
make it legally binding. Western news agencies reported that
Yeltsin received more than 60% of votes in support of his economic
policy and that a huge majority of voters rejected early presidential
elections. The turnout in the referendum was more than 60%; the
turnout in the presidential elections in 1991 had been 75%. -Alexander
Rahr

YELTSIN MAKES PUBLIC KEY POINTS OF NEW CONSTITUTION. Two days
before the referendum, President Yeltsin unveiled the key points
of a new Russian Constitution. On 23-April, the Russian media
quoted Yeltsin as saying that the new constitution will be adopted
if the president wins the referendum. The new constitution stipulates
the abolition of the Congress of People's Deputies and new elections
to a bicameral parliament, the Federal Assembly. It also gives
the president a broad range of powers, including the nomination
of key executive and judicial figures, and leaves the parliament
to approve them. The president would have the right to dissolve
the parliament and call new elections if "a crisis of state power
cannot be solved on the basis of the constitution." The draft
also grants people the right to buy and sell land. -Vera Tolz


YELTSIN'S PRE-REFERENDUM ADDRESS. President Yeltsin made a televised
speech on 24-April urging voters to turn out to the referendum,
and telling them that on its results depended the implementation
of the reform program. He pledged to "act in accordance with
the principle of constitutionality" whatever the results, but
stated that "radical transformations of the bodies of representative
or legislative power are long overdue" and that he regarded a
vote of confidence in him as a mandate to adopt the new constitution.
He made a number of promises such as increased pensions, allotments
of land to retiring military officers, anti-inflation policies,
and protection for staff of bankrupt enterprises. -Wendy Slater


KHASBULATOV, ZORKIN PREDICT AFTERMATH OF REFERENDUM. Russian
parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov said at the polling
booth that there should be no loose interpretation of the referendum
results. He claimed that even if Yeltsin received full support
it would not give him the right to make one-sided changes in
the constitution. Also voting in the referendum the chairman
of the Constitutional Court Valerii Zorkin told reporters that
the referendum would not "dot the i's" and that to clarify the
situation in the country either the president and the parliament
should serve out their terms, or early elections should be held.
He stated that an expression of confidence in the president would
not imply approval of the text of the new constitution. Their
remarks were reported by ITAR-TASS on 25 April. -Wendy Slater


YAVLINSKY FOR PRESIDENT. Economist Grigorii Yavlinsky said in
an interview with Moskovskaya pravda on 23 April that he intends
to run for Russian president in the next presidential elections.
He stated, however, that he thinks Boris Yeltsin will remain
president for the time being because he is likely to win the
referendum. He argued that at the present stage, the president
should be an economic specialist who could make his own decisions
and not always have to rely on different consultants. Yavlinsky
spoke at length about his economic and, particularly, social
achievements during the economic reform "experiment" which he
conducted last year in the region of Nizhnii Novgorod. He indicated
that he has a clear economic program for Russia which would involve
all citizens in the reform process. -Alexander Rahr

YELTSIN SUPPORTERS FOR EARLY PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. Russian
democrats have urged President Boris Yeltsin to move forward
more decisively after his qualified victory at the referendum.
Yeltsin's closest advisors, such as Gennadii Burbulis, Mikhail
Poltoranin, Lev Ponomarev, and Sergei Shakhrai called in their
first statements after the referendum for early parliamentary
elections and the promulgation of a new constitution, ITAR-TASS
reported on 26 April. Foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev said that
Yeltsin should now "use force to establish order and stability"
in the country. Leaders of the hardline National Salvation Front
stated that the referendum results are being "falsified." Communist
Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov claimed that the referendum has
done nothing to stabilize the political situation. -Alexander
Rahr

SHOKHIN-LIPITSKY CONTROVERSY OVER CORRUPTION CHARGES. The People's
Party of Free Russia,set up in 1991 by Vice President Aleksandr
Rutskoi, wants to file a libel suit against Deputy Prime Minister
Aleksandr Shokhin, who alleged in Rossiiskie vesti on 23-April
that the party had diverted international humanitarian aid into
its coffers. The party had participated in the distribution of
some of the aid. Russian agencies quoted the party's leader Vasilii
Lipitsky as denying the charge. Shokhin's counter-charge followed
allegations by Rutskoi a week ago that members of the Russian
government were engaged in large-scale corruption. -Vera Tolz


VOTING IN THE ARMED FORCES. In accordance with President Yeltsin's
directive of 22-April, Russian military personnel both inside
and outside Russia participated in the Russian referendum. Most
military personnel were allowed to vote at polling stations outside
their garrison, but those troops stationed outside Russia voted
at polling stations within their bases. Preliminary and incomplete
reports suggest that support for Yeltsin among servicemen varies
widely. Ostankino TV on 25 April reported that military units
in Kaliningrad had voted 48% for Yeltsin, 42% in favor of his
economic reforms; 37% of the eligible voters favored early presidential
elections and 60% of the eligible voters favored early parliamentary
elections. (The last two questions must be decided by a majority
of eligible voters rather than a simple majority.) Reuters of
26 April reported that most troops in the Russian 14th army located
in Moldova were planning to follow the lead of their commander,
Lieutenant General Aleksandr Lebed, and vote for Yeltsin. -John
Lepingwell

ADDITIONAL REFERENDUM QUESTIONS IN ST.-PETERSBURG. St. Petersburg
Mayor Anatolii Sobchak ordered two questions to be added to the
25-April referendum in the city, Western and Russian agencies
reported. The questions, which were not legally binding, asked
whether Russia should call a convention to adopt a new constitution,
and whether St.-Petersburg should be given equivalent status
to an autonomous republic. St. Petersburg, like Moscow, is currently
a "federal city,"meaning that the municipal administration has
little autonomy from the Russian government. Sobchak has led
the drive by Democratic Russia and the Russian Movement for Democratic
Reforms to call a constituent assembly. -Wendy Slater

MOSCOW'S LATEST CONVERSION INITIATIVE? FIRST DEPUTY ECONOMICS
MINISTER ANDREI SHAPOVALYANTS WAS QUOTED BY KYOTO NEWS AGENCY
ON 25 APRIL AS TELLING A TOKYO CONFERENCE ON EAST-WEST ECONOMIC
AND INDUSTRIAL COOPERATION THAT A NATIONAL AID PROGRAM HAS BEEN
CREATED FOR MAJOR SECTORS OF THE DEFENSE INDUSTRY THAT HAVE BEEN
SELECTED FOR CONVERSION. He added that a "minimum" amount of
military exports will be necessary to prevent the collapse of
the defense industry and to prevent affected enterprises from
going bankrupt. -Keith Bush

GRACHEV ON DRAFT PROBLEMS. Addressing servicemen at a training
center in the Siberian city of Chita on 22 April, Grachev called
for the Russian government to narrow the range of draft deferments
available to young men in Russia and to toughen penalties for
draft dodging. Grachev also repeated an earlier proposal that
the draft age be raised from 18 to 21. Grachev said that only
20-25% of all eligible conscripts were now being drafted, and
claimed that a chronic shortage of conscripts and non-commissioned
officers had lowered military preparedness and discipline within
the army. The proposal to narrow the range of available draft
deferments has emerged as an important political issue. Boris
Yeltsin has supported the high command's position on it, while
the parliament has defied the military leadership and widened
the number of available draft deferments. -Stephen Foye

RUTSKOI FORMALLY REMOVED FROM AGRICULTURAL POST. On 23 April
President Yeltsin signed a decree formally removing Vice President
Aleksandr Rutskoi as head of agricultural reform, ITAR-TASS reported
on 25 April. The decree rescinds that of July 1992 that created
the post and another of February 1993 that gave Rutskoi the powers
to issue decrees on agricultural matters. The post will be given
to an as yet unnamed deputy prime minister. Yeltsin had announced
on 15-April that he planned to relieve Rutskoi of his agricultural
responsibilities. -Keith Bush

RUSSIA SEEKS TO REGULATE EMPLOYMENT OF ITS CITIZENS ABROAD. A
representative of the Federal Migration Service has stated that
Russia is interested in setting up bilateral government agreements
on the employment of Russian workers abroad, since such organized
forms of migration are the only way to discourage illegal migration,
Reuters reported on 22 April. Russia would like to negotiate
precise quotas, working conditions and payments. In 1992 approximately
500,000 Russian worked abroad under such agreements. Russia is
also willing to employ foreign workers, although the influx of
more than 700,000 ethnic Russians from the former Soviet republics
is already putting pressure on the Russian labor market. -Sheila
Marnie

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



DECISIVE DAY FOR THE SERBS. On 24 April the Bosnian Serb leader
Radovan Karadzic once again rejected the Vance-Owen peace plan,
saying that the offer of a UN-protected corridor to link up Serbian
territories in Bosnia and Croatia with Serbia proper is unacceptable.
The Serbs insist instead on controlling a wide swath of territory
themselves and have been fighting for nearly two years first
in Croatia and then in Bosnia to set up such a greater Serbian
state. On 26 April the Bosnian Serb parliament is slated to meet
to make a final decision on the plan, but all indications are
that it will once again turn down the document that it only recently
rejected in a unanimous vote. If, however, the Serbs do not agree,
tougher UN sanctions are scheduled to go into effect on 26 April,
as international media report. The story also dominates the Belgrade
papers of that morning. Reuters on 25 April quoted Karadzic as
saying that the Serbs might try to accept the plan on a temporary,
conditional basis, "which would give us the right to implement
it in accordance with the interests of the Serb nation," but
the mediators and the Croats and Muslims are unlikely to go along
with such a proposal. Elsewhere, the rebel Serb parliaments in
both Bosnia and Croatia agreed to coordinate their policies and
activities increasingly, but proposals to give formal leadership
to a member of the Serbian royal family, Prince Tomislav, appear
to have stalled. -Patrick Moore

MUSLIMS SAY "THERE IS NO OTHER CHOICE." The VOA on 24 April quoted
Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic as saying that the only choice
for the international community in view of Serb intransigence
is either to launch air strikes against Serb guns or lift the
arms embargo on Bosnia to let the Muslims defend themselves.
The New York Times quoted the Bosnian leader as saying that the
Croats and Serbs are now seeking to partition his country, while
Reuters the next day noted his foreign minister's appeals to
the Organization of the Islamic Conference meeting in Pakistan
for military, diplomatic, and financial aid. The BBC said that
King Fahd of Saudi Arabia donated $20 million for humanitarian
assistance, bringing the Saudi total for relief work to $100
million. -Patrick Moore

CROAT-MUSLIM CEASE-FIRE PROVES TENUOUS. Reuters on 24 April reported
that Croats and Muslims in the Mostar area were respecting a
cease-fire signed by their leaders Mate Boban and Izetbegovic.
The BBC the next day, however, said that Croatian guns in central
Bosnia were bombarding Muslim emplacements above Vitez while
Muslims attacked a Croatian village. A local Muslim commander
told reporters that he had not heard of any cease-fire. Meanwhile,
mutual accusations flew between the two sides over the responsibility
for the outbreak of fighting between the nominal allies in recent
weeks. Each side said that the other was trying to grab land
in anticipation of a peace settlement, while the Croatian media
and some Croat officials suggested that the Bosnian army is heavily
infiltrated by agents of the former Yugoslav military intelligence
agency, KOS. The Reuters report made it clear that local fighters
on both sides in Mostar blame the conflict on interference by
outsiders. -Patrick Moore

THE POPE VISITS ALBANIA. On 25 April Pope John Paul II paid a
one-day visit to Albania, the first ever by a reigning pontiff.
He was greeted in Tirana by President Sali Berisha and by Mother
Teresa, who is an ethnic Albanian born in what is now Macedonia.
Berisha cautioned that "Belgrade is waiting for the right moment
to start massacring [Kosovo Albanians] and ethnically cleansing
its territory, which will provoke a Balkan war," Western news
agencies said. The 26 April Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung notes
that the Pope's message stressed the themes of resurrection and
hope following Albania's liberation from communism and at a time
when material prospects in the country appear bleak. "What happened
in Albania is something which has never been seen in history.
Your experience is one of death and resurrection, which belongs
to the entire Church and the whole world." The 26 April Die Presse
says that 100,000 persons welcomed the Pope in Shkoder. -Patrick
Moore

MACEDONIAN UPDATE. Meeting with Macedonian leaders in Skopje
on 23 April Lord David Owen indicated that resolution of the
differences between Greece and Macedonia may occur as early as
1 May, according to MILS. Meantime, the International Monetary
Fund announced that Macedonia has become a member of that organization
retroactive to 1 December 1992. -Duncan Perry

BULGARIAN AUTHORITIES BLOCK PAN-MACEDONIAN RALLIES. Bulgarian
police and special forces on 24 April stopped demonstrations
of Ilinden, the pan-Macedonian organization, BTA reports. Small
groups of Ilinden supporters who gathered near the city of Melnik
to celebrate the anniversary of the death of early 20th-century
revolutionary, Jane Sandanski, were quickly dispersed by the
authorities. The police action was personally supervised by Prosecutor
General Ivan Tatarchev. Eyewitness accounts indicate that in
the village of Loznitsa the police used violence against the
activists. The Ilinden organization holds that much of the population
in southwest Bulgaria-the Pirin area-comprises ethnic Macedonians.
It was declared illegal by a Bulgarian court in August 1990.
-Kjell Engelbrekt

FORBES ON BULGARIAN ARMS TRADE. Forbes magazine says a Bulgarian
arms trading company, Kintex, has during the last three years
continued to do business with countries at war, anti-Western
governments, and terrorist organizations. In its 10 May issue
Forbes writes that in 1992 alone Kintex has concluded $100 million
in arms deals with Iraq, Libya, and the rump Yugoslavia. In all
Kintex says it exported around $250 million in arms last year.
The article also suggests that Bulgaria has become a center of
illegal arms trading with the former Soviet bloc, with Kintex
at the core. In Trud of 26 April, however, Kintex director Anton
Saldzhiyski says his company adheres strictly to international
regulations. -Kjell Engelbrekt

HAVEL IN GERMANY. On 24 April Czech President Vaclav Havel arrived
in Germany for a three-day visit. CTK and international media
report that Havel received the Theodor Heuss Prize, named after
the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany, in recognition
of Havel's struggle for freedom and human rights. Also in Stuttgart
on the 24th, Havel and German President Richard von Weizsaecker
held a public discussion, mainly on East-West relations. Von
Weizsaecker called on the West to be more open to Eastern Europe.
On the 25th Havel visited Hamburg, where he signed the city's
Golden Book. Speaking to journalists, he said that the Czech
Republic wants EC membership but acknowledged that this is going
to take time. The Czech President is scheduled to meet with German
Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Parliament President Rita Suessmuth,
and Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel and 26 April. -Jiri Pehe

KOVAC COMMENTS ON US TRIP. Speaking to journalists in Bratislava
on 24 April, after his return from the first-ever trip of a Slovak
president to the United States, Michal Kovac said that the situation
in Bosnia was a recurring topic during his visit. He said Slovakia
would likely support military intervention there and stressed
that his country supports all steps taken by the UN Security
Council with regard to Bosnia. The president also said that in
his talks with US leaders he succeeded in presenting Slovakia
as a country heading for democracy and a market economy. He said
he assured President Bill Clinton that Slovakia's foreign and
defense policies are oriented towards Western Europe. -Jiri Pehe


SLOVAK PREMIER ON MINORITIES. On 25 April during his regular
TV address, Vladimir Meciar dealt with the question of Slovakia's
admission to the Council of Europe. Meciar said that this issue
is influenced by the Slovak government's policies toward national
minorities. (At the beginning of 1993, ethnic Hungarian parties
represented in the Slovak parliament sent a letter to the Council
of Europe urging the body to reconsider Slovakia's application
for membership in the council in light of what they saw as the
country's unsatisfactory policies toward minorities.) Meciar
stressed that the Constitution fully accepts European standards
regarding minorities and that national minority rights cannot
be in conflict with the rest of Slovak citizens. However, the
premier said that the Constitution is open to change and that
the government will initiate a law that would facilitate the
creation of an impartial institution supervising the observance
of human and civil rights. Meciar further said that he favors
involvement of international agencies in such supervision. -Jiri
Pehe

HUNGARIAN DEFENSE MINISTER VISITS SLOVAKIA. On 23 April Lajos
Fur became the first foreign defense minister to pay a visit
to Bratislava. MTI and the Budapest dailies Nepszabadsag and
Uj Magyarorszag reported that the visit was arranged at the invitation
of Fur's Slovak counterpart, Imrich Andrejcak. The two officials
discussed the future cooperation between the two armies, including
the introduction of the Open Skies" and "open barracks" confidence-building
measures. Hungary presented the text of a bilateral military
cooperation agreement, which the Slovak side will study, and
appointed a military attache in Bratislava. Stressing the importance
of the meeting, Andrejcak said the two countries' border should
be a "frontier of peace and tranquillity"; he also offered Slovakia's
assistance in training Hungarian air force pilots. -Alfred Reisch


HUNGARY: EXPANSION OF VISEGRAD FOUR POSSIBLE. In an interview
in the 23/24-April issue of the German paper Handelsblatt, Hungarian
Minister of International Economic Relations Bela Kadar said
he believes Slovenia, Ukraine, and Croatia will be able to join
the Visegrad Quadrangle cooperation grouping. A precondition
is for the three countries to modernize their economies and,
above all, to free prices on their markets, Kadar said. Should
the EC fail to sufficiently open its markets for East European
products, Kadar said, it would be "catastrophic" for many countries
of the region and endanger both European and international stability.
-Alfred Reisch

EBRD APPROVES LOAN FOR ROMANIA. Reuters reported on 25 April
that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
approved a $80-million loan for Romania to improve some 1,100-km
of roads as well as traffic flows at six border crossing points.
The EBRD said in a statement that the loan is aimed at helping
Romanian economy integrate into European structures. The roads
rehabilitation project will cost a total of 395 million dollars.
The World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the Romanian
government are also participating in the program. A EBRD publication
released on 24 April expressed concern over the pace of economic
reforms in Romania. The bank warned the Romanian government not
to strangle the fledgling private sector by continuing to subsidize
inefficient state-owned companies. Dan Ionescu

ROMANIAN PARTY OF CIVIC ALLIANCE CONGRESS. The Party of Civic
Alliance held its first nationwide congress in Timisoara on 23-25
April. Radio Bucharest, which reported extensively on the event,
said that the convention debated the party's past and future
activity as well as its organization at central and local level.
The congress adopted a new, neoliberal platform and new statutes,
and reelected Nicolae Manolescu, a literary critic, to head the
organization's leadership committee The PCA was founded in July
1991 as the political arm of the Civic Alliance, a centrist intellectual
movement. -Dan Ionescu

MELESCANU MEETS FRENCH, CHINESE COUNTERPARTS. During a stopover
in Paris on 23 April, Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu
held talks with Alain Juppe on bilateral ties and international
affairs, including the crisis in former Yugoslavia. The two ministers
discussed the Security Council decision to tighten the embargo
against rump Yugoslavia. A spokesman for the Romanian Foreign
Ministry said that Bucharest reiterated its offer to mediate
in the Balkan conflict. Melescanu, who recently visited Mexico
City and Washington, was en route to Beijing. On 25-April he
discussed with China's Foreign Minister Qian Qichen ways to boost
economic and other bilateral ties. He will later visit Singapore
and Thailand. -Dan Ionescu

SPAIN'S PRIME MINISTER VISITS WARSAW. During a two-day official
visit to Poland on 23-24 April, Spanish Prime Minister Felipe
González expressed support for Poland's eventual full membership
in the EC but urged patience in awaiting a specific timetable.
Talks with Polish Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka focused on increasing
bilateral trade, valued at $220-million in 1992. González pledged
to consider shifting Poland into the group of countries of "lowest
risk" for investment, PAP reports. He also supported releasing
Poles from visa requirements for travel to Spain, but said the
final decision rests with the Spanish parliament. President Lech
Walesa used his meeting with González to restate earlier proposals
that Western aid to Russia be channeled through investment in
Poland, Hungary, and the Czech and Slovak Republics. -Louisa
Vinton

POLISH PARTIES VIE FOR SUPPORT. Three major political parties-the
Democratic Union (UD), the Confederation for an Independent Poland
(KPN), and the Center Alliance (PC)-staged congresses or meetings
on 24-25 April. At its second congress, held under the slogan
"Stabilization and Growth," the UD reelected former Prime Minister
Tadeusz Mazowiecki as party chairman. Mazowiecki called for "a
serious political dialogue" with all parties to forge agreement
on issues of fundamental importance to the state. The UD urged
the rest of the governing coalition to give Prime Minister Suchocka
freer rein. The PC, plagued with financial and legal problems,
met in Sosnowiec for the second half of its second congress,
held under the slogan "Poland, Time for a Change." The PC turned
its guns on the UD, the current government, and President Walesa,
charging them with "recommunization" and building a "police state."
PC chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski called for new parliamentary and
presidential elections. Meanwhile, the KPN indulged its taste
for paramilitary rhetoric by declaring two code-named "actions"
and warning of impending revolution should the government fail
to step down and call new elections. KPN leader Leszek Moczulski
made veiled threats and announced his party's readiness for "unconventional
solutions." -Louisa Vinton

START-1 FUTURE UNCERTAIN. In the wake of Thursday's defeat of
a proposed military doctrine by the Ukrainian parliament, the
fate of START-1 appears highly uncertain. One of the key objections
to the draft doctrine was its provision for Ukraine becoming
a non-nuclear state by acceding to START-1 and the Nonproliferation
Treaty. On 23 April Reuters reported that 162 parliamentarians
signed a statement calling for no ratification of START-1 unless
Ukraine first clearly claims ownership of the nuclear weapons
on its territory and reaches agreement with Russia on compensation
for the fissile material in the warheads. Negotiations with Russia
on this issue appear to be stalled at present due to the turmoil
in Russia and the widely differing positions of the parties.
ITAR-TASS also reported on 23 April that Yurii Kostenko, head
of the parliamentary commission dealing with nuclear disarmamernt
and head of the Ukrainian negotiating team, claims that Russia
is threatening to cut off provision of nuclear fuel for Ukrainian
power plants if it does not ratify the treaties. Further hearings
on START-1 are to be held but a formal ratification vote may
be delayed until the military doctrine issue is resolved. -John
Lepingwell

SMALL TURNOUT FOR RUSSIAN REFERENDUM IN BALTICS. Initial Baltic
media reports of 25 April suggest that in the Russian referendum
participation of ethnic Russians residing in the Baltic States
was very small. Only about 20% of the Russian citizens living
in Latvia appear to have voted. Radio Riga noted that many ethnic
Russians, showing Soviet passports, had been turned away from
the polling centers because only citizens of Russia could cast
ballots. There are about 900,000 ethnic Russians residing in
Latvia, of whom about 12,000 have obtained Russian citizenship.
In Estonia, there are about 33,000 Russian citizens; by noon,
25 April, about 3,000 voted in Tallinn and about 1,500 in Narva.
In Vilnius about 1,000 Russian citizens had voted by noon; this
represents nearly one-fourth of the 4,500 Russian citizens registered
locally. Russian military in the Baltics voted in their own polling
stations. -Dzintra Bungs

RUSSIAN LEADERS SCORE PROPOSED LATVIAN RESIDENCE PERMITS-.-.-.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin issued a statement on 23 April
claiming that a Latvian Supreme Council resolution, "On Issuance
of Interim Residence Permits to Persons Who Stay in Latvia Due
to the Temporary Deployment of the Russian Armed Forces in the
Latvian Republic" is "actually preparing a basis for ethnic cleansing."
The bill, which is still under consideration but is expected
to be adopted by 28 April, allows persons affiliated with the
Russian military to obtain one-year residence permits in Latvia.
That same day Russian ambassador to Latvia Aleksandr Rannikh
told Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs that
the bill destroys all chances of further talks between the two
countries and allows Moscow to appeal to world public opinion.
On 24 April Sergei Zotov, head of the Russian delegation for
the withdrawal of troops from Latvia, claimed that the resolution
would provide a legal basis for the deportation of tens of thousands
of ethnic Russians from Latvia, Baltic media reported on 23 and
24 April. -Dzintra Bungs

.-.-.-AND THREATEN TO CALL OFF TROOP TALKS. Zotov also told the
press on 24 April that in view of the bill under discussion by
the Latvian Supreme Council, Russia sees no point in holding
the next round of talks on troop withdrawals scheduled for 26-28
April. Zotov also pointed out that during the past year Russia
has reduced its troop strength in Latvia from 57,000 to 22,000.
The Latvian Defense Ministry told the press on 25 April that
there are about 23,000 Russian troops in Latvia, of which about
11,000 are officers and 12,000 are soldiers. The Russian armed
forces have already left 163-military facilities, but about 400
Russian garrisons still remain. -Dzintra Bungs

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







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