Величайшие истины - самые простые. - Л.Н. Толстой
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 122, 30 June 1993







RUSSIA



CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY TO MEET ON 12-JULY. First Deputy Prime
Minister Vladimir Shumeiko said that the Constitutional Assembly
will meet for its last plenary session on 12 July, ITAR-TASS
reported on 29 June. Shumeiko said the session would discuss
the single draft constitution which had emerged from the assembly's
working groups over the past few weeks. Meanwhile, the Civic
Union bloc issued a statement saying that it was premature to
adopt a new constitution when Russia's political life was so
chaotic. Russian Television quoted the Union's statement as saying
the Constitutional Assembly simply should work out an amendment
to the existing constitution on the distribution of powers between
the president and the parliament. The Civic Union suggested that
the next Congress of People's Deputies take a decision on earlier
parliamentary and presidential elections to be held in the spring
of 1994. -Vera Tolz

STANKEVICH ON CONSTITUTION AND FUTURE POLITICS. Presidential
advisor Sergei Stankevich told Ekho Moskvy on 28 June that he
disagreed with President Boris Yeltsin's constitutional project
on the role of the parliament saying that, according to the draft,
Yeltsin position vis-€-vis the legislature was too dominant.
Asked about his participation in future politics, Stankevich
distanced himself from the new electoral block set up by Democratic
Russia and said that he favors the region-oriented platform of
the block set up by Deputy Premier Sergei Shakhrai. -Alexander
Rahr

STANKEVICH ON REGIONAL POLITICS. Stankevich also told Ekho Moskvy
that, if the center were wise, it would guarantee the republics
and regions some of the rights they had appropriated. But there
were certain matters, such as the existence of a federal tax
system, on which the center should not compromise, Stankevich
said. When republics were not willing to yield to the center
on these matters, the center should sign nothing, adopt the constitution
without them, and wait ten or fifteen years until sufficiently
responsible leaders willing to acknowledge the interests of Russia
came to power in these republics. -Ann Sheehy

CURRENCY EXCHANGE REGULATIONS TO BE RELAXED. Reuters on 29 June
quoted from a letter from the Russian Central Bank (RCB) to exporters
and commercial banks informing them of a projected change in
convertible currency regulations. Under the new rules, enterprises
will no longer have to sell 30% of convertible currency earnings
to the RCB and transfer a further 20% to banks to be exchanged
for rubles. The move is presumably designed to stimulate exports
and to reduce the scale of capital flight. -Keith Bush

RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT CONDEMNS US BOMBING. The parliament adopted
a statement on 29 June calling the US bombing of Iraqi intelligence
headquarters "counter to the principle of international law"
and demanded the United States solve problems by "civilized political
methods." First Deputy Foreign Minister Anatolii Adamishin attempted
to explain the Russian leadership's support of the US action
by citing Iraq's involvement in terrorism, its refusal to recognize
the legal existence of Kuwait, and its continued attempts to
produce chemical weapons. Adamishin described Russia's position
as one which sought to bring Iraq back into the family of nations
and end its role as an outcast. Adamishin noted that Russian
support of the US military strikes extended only to this specific
incident and did not necessarily guarantee support for such actions
in the future, ITAR-TASS reported. -Suzanne Crow

YELTSIN IN GREECE. President Yeltsin traveled to Athens on 29
June for an official visit. Presidential press secretary Vyacheslav
Kostikov noted that his talks with Greek President Constantine
Karamanlis shortly after arrival were held in a "very warm and
friendly atmosphere." Yeltsin expressed interest in learning
about Greece's experience making the transition from dictatorship
to democracy, ITAR-TASS reported. -Suzanne Crow

BURBULIS NOT HURT IN SHIP EXPLOSION. An explosion aboard a pleasure
ship carrying former State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis and his
family near St. Petersburg on 28 June created speculation of
sabotage, ITAR-TASS reported. Burbulis's son and a Russian entrepreneur
were hurt. The St. Petersburg military prosecutor-general has
started to investigate the case. Preliminary findings indicate
that the explosion was probably caused by exhaust gases from
the ship's engine mixing with gas leaking from the ship's galley.
Burbulis came to St. Petersburg to campaign for support for the
newly created pro-Yeltsin reform bloc. His visit has been accompanied
with protests from some hardliners who accused him of having
destroyed the Soviet empire. -Alexander Rahr

MAKAROV MADE IN CHARGE OF FIGHTING CORRUPTION. Andrei Makarov,
Yeltsin's chief attorney during the Constitutional Court hearings
on the Communist Party last year, has been appointed chief of
the Administration for Securing the Work of the Interdepartmental
Commission of the Security Council for Fighting Crime and Corruption,
ITAR-TASS reported on 29 June. Previously, the work of that commission
had been administrated by Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi. Because
of his attacks against Yeltsin's policy, Rutskoi was released
of practically all his duties. Alexander Rahr

TOWARDS AUTARKY IN FOODSTUFFS. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
told the congress of the Agricultural Union of Russia on 29 June
that the country plans to reduce its imports of foodstuffs, ITAR-TASS
reported. After importing 26 million tons of grain in 1992, it
is planned to import about 14 million tons in 1993, and reduce
the volume to 5-6 million tons a year in the future. The union
reelected Vasilii Starodubtsev as its chairman: he is one of
the accused leaders of the coup attempt of August 1991. Keith
Bush

SHAPOSHNIKOV INFORMALLY REJECTED BY PARLIAMENT. Ostankino television
reported on 30-June that the parliament had voted against the
appointment of Marshal Evgenii Shaposhnikov for the position
of secretary of the Russian security council. After the vote
speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov decided that parliamentary procedures
had been violated because no discussion had preceded the vote.
A second vote, presumably after a speech by Shaposhnikov and
a debate, is to be scheduled. The initial vote suggests that
Shaposhnikov is likely to have a tough time getting confirmed.
-John Lepingwell

US CONCERN OVER INDIAN ROCKET DEAL SAID "EXCESSIVE." Foreign
Ministry spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky said on 29 June that
Moscow was keenly aware of the need to insure non-proliferation
of nuclear arms and missile technology, but he characterized
US concern over a proposed Russian sale of rocket boosters to
India as "excessive," ITAR-TASS and AFP reported. Yastrzhembsky,
who said that Russia wanted the issue settled as quickly as possible,
claimed that Moscow had offered to submit the issue to an international
forum for a ruling, but suggested that the US side had demurred.
First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Shokhin suggested that
the US stood to lose as well if the deal were nixed. Prime Minister
Chernomyrdin has twice canceled visits to the US over the disagreement.
-Stephen Foye

NEW HEAD OF ADMINISTRATION IN NORTH OSSETIA /INGUSHETIA. Victor
Polyanichko, formerly political adviser to the President of Afghanistan
Najibullah and later Second Secretary of the Azerbaijan Communist
Party, has been appointed head of the provisional administration
in the areas of a state of emergency in North Ossetia and Ingushetia
with the rank of deputy prime minister by a decree of the Russian
government of 26 June, ITAR-TASS and Ekho Moskvy reported on
29 June. Polyanichko is the fifth head of the provisional administration
since it was established in early November 1992 after armed clashes
between Ossetians and Ingush. Ingush president Ruslan Aushev
commented to Ekho Moskvy that the previous four had achieved
little and it remained to be seen if Polyanichko would be more
successful. Polyanichko's appointment came as part of a decree
aimed at settling the vexed problem of the return of Ingush refugees
to North Ossetia. -Ann Sheehy

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



ABKHAZ SUPREME SOVIET CHAIRMAN ARDZINBA STATES TERMS FOR CONFLICT
RESOLUTION. In an interview on 28 June with Russian Television,
Chairman of the separatist Abkhaz Supreme Soviet Vladislav Ardzinba
stated that the parliament stands by its appeal to the Russian
Supreme Soviet to become either a constituent part, or protectorate,
of the Russian Federation, ITAR-TASS reported. Ardzinba compared
the position of Abkhazia to that of Kuwait and declared that
even if the Abkhaz appeal is rejected, the Russian government
should at least support Abkhazia's effort to determine its own
fate. Asked how the conflict could be resolved, Ardzinba stated
that no compromise would be possible until all Georgian troops
are withdrawn from Abkhazia, and that in addition to other measures,
Georgia must compensate Abkhazia for losses incurred during the
war. Catherine Dale

CIS

EC AIDING NUCLEAR SAFETY IN RUSSIA AND UKRAINE. The European
Community has sent teams of 4-6-nuclear safety specialists to
each of 6 facilities in Russia and 2-in Ukraine. This was announced
by EC Trade Commissioner Sir Leon Brittan at a news conference
on 29-June, Western agencies reported. The teams will spend 6-12
months on site to improve safety and to help install new equipment.
The names of the designated reactors were not given. The EC has
set aside a total of over $500 million during the period 1991-93
to improve nuclear safety in the former Soviet Union and Eastern
Europe. The dispatch of the teams was delayed because Russia
and Ukraine had not agreed until now to compensate the specialists
for losses in the event of a nuclear accident. -Keith Bush

BLACK SEA FLEET OFFICERS REJECT AGREEMENT. Meeting in Sevastopol
on 29 June, the officers' assembly of the Black Sea Fleet decided
to reject the Moscow agreement that calls for it to be split
between Ukraine and Russia starting in September. They also called
for Russia to take full command of the fleet during the negotiations
over its future and it endorsed a call to hoist the Russian naval
ensign on 1 July, according to ITAR-TASS and Western press agency
reports of 29-June. In a related move, the Russian parliament
has decided to examine the question of the status of Sevastopol
this week, according to an Ekho Moskvy report on 29 June. Raising
the Russian flag is likely to meet with strong protests from
the Ukrainian government, and may provoke yet another crisis
requiring high-level mediation. However, these decisions, also
indicate that the politician's are losing their ability to postpone
solving the issue of the fleet by concluding vague agreements
and avoiding the core problems. -John Lepingwell

UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN NUCLEAR AGREEMENT DELAYED? CONFUSION SURROUNDS
THE CURRENT STATUS OF UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN TALKS ON THE DISPOSITION
OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS LOCATED IN UKRAINE. An RFE/RL correspondent
in Moscow reported on 29 June that a Ukrainian diplomat stated
that the signing of an agreement on dismantling the weapons was
delayed at the last moment when Russian Deputy Defense Minister
Boris Gromov refused to sign it. However, on 30 June, Ukrainian
Deputy Foreign Minister Borys Tarasiuk informed an RFE/RL correspondent
in Kiev that Russian reports of an agreement were inaccurate,
and that Russian sources were exaggerating the progress of the
negotiations. Tarasiuk noted that additional issues had to be
resolved before an agreement on dismantling could be signed.
It is likely, however, that an agreement on ICBM maintenance,
may be ready. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk stated on 17
June on Radio Ukraine that he and Yeltsin had reached an agreement
on maintenance issues, although they apparently did not sign
a document to this effect. -John Lepingwell

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



STILL NO ARMS FOR BOSNIAN MUSLIMS. The BBC's Serbian Service
reported on 30 June that the Security Council the previous day
failed to pass a resolution aimed at partially lifting the arms
embargo on the Muslims, who are greatly outgunned by their Serb
and Croat opponents. The United States voted with five other
countries in favor, while Russia, China, Britain, France, and
Spain were among the nine countries abstaining, CNN notes. Those
last three countries say that they fear for the safety of their
peace-keeping troops in Bosnia if the embargo is lifted. The
Los Angeles Times says this is the first time "the United States
and its European allies split over Bosnian policy at the United
Nations." Elsewhere, the BBC's Serbian Service reported on 29
June that Serbian armor made significant gains at Muslim expense
in the Maglaj area south of Serb-held Doboj on the road south
to Sarajevo. Meanwhile, the Bosnian presidency met for two hours
in Sarajevo that same day but agreed only to seek a united position
on the Serb-Croat plan to set up a loose confederation of three
ethnically-based units and did not discuss the project itself.
Finally, the 29-June Washington Post carries a commentary by
the German ambassador to the US against the "legend" that the
European Community's recognition of Croatia and Slovenia a year
an a half ago helped to dismember Yugoslavia. He points out that
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic had already destroyed the
federation, and that it soon became necessary "to demonstrate
to Milosevic the futility of his expectation that the international
community would eventually accept the 'realities' created by
Serb guns." Patrick Moore

GREEK-ALBANIAN RELATIONS CONTINUE TO SOUR. Tensions between Greece
and Albania have been worsening since the Albanian expulsion
on 25-June of an Orthodox priest and the subsequent deportation
of thousands of Albanians from Greece. Now, Albanian President
Sali Berisha, in a strongly worded letter to UN Secretary-General
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, appealed for UN intervention to end the
deportations. In the letter, released by ATA on 28 June, he added
that the migrants "had been indiscriminately seized, maltreated,
literally beaten. . . . " As for the expelled cleric, Berisha
claimed he had "openly expressed territorial claims [on southern
Albania]." Western agencies report on 29 June that Albania has
recalled its ambassador to Greece "for consultations." Greece,
which has cancelled three planned official visits to Albania,
has made it clear that the expulsions will continue until all
illegal Albanian immigrants are returned. Relations between the
two countries, which had improved somewhat with the demise of
Albanian communism, still remain subject to considerable ups
and downs. These latest incidents go a long way toward undermining
any past achievements. -Robert Austin

SLOVAK ENTRY INTO THE CE MAY BE BLOCKED BY HUNGARY. The Council
of Europe's 212 member parliamentary assembly recommended Czech
and Slovak membership following 29 June discussions. The former
Czechoslovakia was a member until the split on 1 January 1993.
While the vote for both countries was unanimous, the Hungarian
delegates chose to abstain on the Slovak vote due to concerns
over the country's treatment of its Hungarian minority. Although
the Council approved two of four amendments which Hungary proposed
as conditions for Slovakia's membership, The RFE/RL correspondent
in Strasbourg reports that the Hungarian ambassador to the CE
Janos Perenyi is expected to veto Slovak membership in the final
vote which takes place on 30-June. The amendments which were
approved include one which will monitor the situation of the
Hungarian minority at 6 month intervals and another which deals
with Hungarian property confiscated by Czechoslovakia after World
War II, TASR reports. If Hungary does vote against Slovakia,
it will be the first time an existing member has vetoed a new
applicant's membership in the CE. -Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PRESIDENT VISITS UKRAINE. Slovak President Michal Kovac
began a two-day visit to Ukraine on 29 June. TASR reports the
trip is aimed at greater political and economic cooperation between
the two neighboring states. During the first day of the visit
Kovac met with Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Anatoli Zlenko
and President Leonid Kravchuk and signed a Ukrainian-Slovak friendship
and cooperation treaty. Kovac and Zlenko discussed a Ukrainian
proposal for a new security zone in Eastern and Central Europe,
while Kovac spoke with Kravchuk about minority issues. On 30
June Kovac will meet with Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma. Sharon
Fisher

CZECH PRIME MINISTER DRAWS PARALLEL WITH US-IRAQI RELATIONS.
In an interview for the Czech Radio program Radiozurnal on 29
June, Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus commented on several issues
including the American missile strike against Iraq. "I do not
want to immediately extol or criticize this American action,"
Klaus observed, but "I have a feeling that if I reasoned in a
similar manner, for example about relations between the Czechs
and the Slovaks, then we would probably be unable to live in
mutual peace with Slovakia." -Milada Vachudova

CZECH LEFT WING PARTIES FORM COOPERATIVE BLOCK. Representatives
of the Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD), the Liberal Social
Union (LSU) and the Christian Social Union (KSU) signed a political
agreement in Prague on 29 June, creating the so-called "Realistic
Block." The agreement calls for the coordination of political
platforms, of parliamentary activity and of preparations for
local and national elections, CTK reports. The Block's purpose
is to consolidate and strengthen the moderate Czech left, creating
an alternative to the right-wing governing coalition as well
as to the communists on the far left. Within the framework of
the Block, working groups will be established to craft alternative
conceptions to current government policies. Social Democratic
Party Chairman Milos Zeman has excluded the participation of
the newly formed Party of the Democratic Left, whose members
quit the Communist Party at its Congress on 26-27 June to protest
its continued Marxist-Leninist policies. Zeman as well as LSU
Chairman Frantisek Trnka believe that the new party will still
be too far left to be an acceptable partner in the Realistic
Block. -Milada Vachudova

POLAND "CLOSER TO NATO." On his return from an unofficial visit
to the US between 24-26 June, Defense Minister Janusz Onyszkiewicz
told PAP that the prospect of broadening NATO to include Poland,
Hungary, the Czech lands, and Slovakia was beginning to be discussed
in US administration circles. He welcomed the fact that the voice
of Poland and the other interested countries was being heard
in the US and expressed the hope that it would influence US policy
in this regard. Onyszkiewicz, who was attending an international
conference in Washington, met with top Pentagon officials, including
Defense Secretary, Les Aspin; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, General Colin Powell; and National Security Advisor Anthony
Lake; as well as CIA Director James Woollsey, and Republican
Richard Lugar of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee. -Anna
Sabbat-Swidlicka

ILIESCU DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN SHIP SALE. Radio Bucharest broadcast
on 29 June a statement by President Ion Iliescu's spokesman denying
any presidential involvement in a controversial shipping deal.
The deal, which involves the sale of a 51% stake in the Petronim
state shipping firm to the Greek company Forum Maritime of Piraeus,
has been widely criticized in the media for allegedly running
counter Romania's interests. Iliescu's denial followed debates
in parliament on 28 June in which Transport Minister Paul Teodoru
defended the transaction against accusations of being a sell-off
of Romanian strategic assets. A parliamentary commission has
ordered some amendments to strengthen guarantees for the Romanian
side. Negotiators for the two companies are scheduled to meet
on 30 June to discuss possible changes in the deal. -Dan Ionescu


NEWS AGENCY SET UP IN CLUJ, TRANSYLVANIA. Recently, a new news
agency started operating in Cluj-Napoca, the main town in Transylvania.
Transstar News is an independent body set up with assistance
from the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, a British organization
trying to strengthen democratic forces in countries which have
just emerged from authoritarian rule. Transstar is jointly headed
by an ethnic Romanian and an ethnic Hungarian journalist (Carol
Harsan and Tibor Szatmari). It provides news on regional developments,
including inter-ethnic relations, in Romanian, Hungarian, and
English. Dan Ionescu

US SIXTH FLEET COMMANDER TO ROMANIA. Radio Bucharest reported
on 23 June that the cruiser Belknap, flagship of the sixth US
fleet, arrived in the Black Sea port of Constanta for a courtesy
visit to last until 25 June. On the same day, Vice Admiral Joseph
Lopez, commander of the Sixth Fleet, was received in Bucharest
by Col. Gen. Vasile Ionel, presidential counselor. Lopez told
journalists after the meeting that the visit aimed at improving
relations between the US and Romania. He also said that Romania's
ties to the NATO were expanding, but that the rapprochement needed
time. -Dan Ionescu

SECOND CEAUSESCU AIDE FREED IN ONE WEEK. On 25 June, Silviu Curticeanu,
a former top Romanian Communist Party official, was let out of
prison for at least a year for medical treatment. The 58-year-old
Curticeanu was serving a 16-year sentence for having supported
Nicolae Ceausescu's order to violently suppress the December
1989 revolt. Another Ceausescu top aide, Emil Bobu, had been
freed from jail on health grounds on 18 June. Out of a group
of 23 former high-ranking communist officials, condemned in 1990
on charges of complicity to genocide, only eight are known to
be still in prison. -Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN-ROMANIAN RELATIONS STAGNATE. At a meeting of Moldovan
and Romanian government delegations in Chisinau on 28 June, Romanian
Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu was cited by Radio Bucharest
as complaining over: Moldova's failure to open a Romanian cultural
center in Chisinau; the absence of a trade agreement; continuing
customs "blockages"; failure to normalize cross-border traffic;
draft agreements "still awaiting signature"; and nonexecution
of signed agreements. These issues have been under discussion
for nearly two years. Moldovan President Mircea Snegur for his
part renewed his proposal for an experimental free trade zone
in a sector of the common border-an idea cold-shouldered by Romania.
Snegur also called for a meeting with Iliescu "to clear up certain
artificially created problems" in political relations. -Vladimir
Socor

MOLDOVAN WINE INDUSTRY SEEKS ALTERNATIVE MARKETS. Moldovan wines
and liquors, which accounted for one third of the ex-USSR's total
output, are being driven from Russia's market by prohibitive
customs tariffs, the Director of Moldova's State Department for
the Wine Industry told Kishinevskie Novosti of 26 June, as cited
by Basapress. The move greatly increases Moldova's trade deficit
vis-€-vis Russia and leaves an exportable surplus of some 10-million
decaliters of wine and 2 million decaliters of cognac and liquors
annually. Without giving up on the Russian market, Moldova hopes
to interest Western importers and advertisers in developing access
to Western markets for its quality wines, the official said.
-Vladimir Socor

SUGAREV ENDS HUNGER STRIKE. According to RFE/RL's Sofia Bureau,
on 27 June Bulgarian parliamentary deputy Edvin Sugarev ended
his hunger strike, apparently heeding President Zhelyu Zhelev's
call for solving problems through political involvement rather
than through passive resistance. Stefan Savov, chairman of the
UDF parliamentary coalition, stated that because Sugarov has
ended his strike, UDF deputies might agree to reconsider their
decision to abstain from parliamentary debates. According to
Savov, Sugarev's action accomplished the key objective of convincing
members of the political community, including Zhelev, that early
parliamentary elections are needed. -Stan Markotich

ESTONIAN PRIME MINISTER IN GERMANY. On 28-June Mart Laar began
a three-day visit to Germany, the first such trip by an Estonian
premier since the restoration of independence. He is joined by
Economics Minister Toomas Sildmae and Bank of Estonia President
Siim Kallas. Laar discussed Estonia's integration into Europe
and the withdrawal of Russian troops with German Chancellor Helmut
Kohl and Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel as well as meeting Social
and Youth Affairs Minister Angela Merkel, Baltic and Western
media report. The same day he opened the Estonian embassy in
Bonn, spoke at the German Institute of Foreign Policy, and met
with the chairman of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Gert Langhuth.
On 29-June Laar travelled to Hamburg for meetings with Mayor
Henning Voscherau and visits to the Hamburg Land Bank and the
Chamber of Commerce and Industry. On 30 June, before returning
to Tallinn, he will meet with the leader of the German-Baltic
parliament group Wolfgang von Stetten, Stuttgart mayor Manfred
Rommel, and the Wuerth Company. -Saulius Girnius

GAS SUPPLIES TO BALTIC STATES FROM RUSSIA. On 29 June Russia
restored the shipment of gas to Estonia that had been stopped
on 25 June after reaching an agreement on payments for the existing
debt, Baltic media report. Latvian Gas Director General Adrians
Davis revealed that Russia had stopped gas shipments to Latvia
on 26 June due to a debt of $4.5-million. Latvia, however, was
using its winter gas reserves at Incukalns to supply customers.
Due to debts of more than $40 million, gas to Lithuania was also
halted on 27 June. Lithuania agreed to allow the shipment of
500,000 cubic meters of gas per day through its territory to
the Kaliningrad Region and is discussing the restoration of shipments
to customers able to pay. Existing reserves will allow Lithuania
to supply gas to homes and some establishments deemed crucial
until the middle of July. -Saulius Girnius

VILNIUS CITY COUNCIL DECLINES JOINT VENTURE FOR CITY WATER. After
a year of debate the Vilnius City Council decided to decline
a proposal by the French company Lyonnaise des Eaux-Dumez to
establish a joint venture for supplying the capital with drinking
water, BNS reported on 25 June. The French would have provided
investment for reconstructing the city's water mains and a system
for improving the quality of the drinking water. The council
decided to form a group of experts to evaluate the condition
of the water system and set priorities for its reconstruction.
Reacting to criticism that Lithuania was selling off its natural
resources, the Council announced that competitive bids for a
joint venture would be accepted until 15 October. -Saulius Girnius


BELARUS AND THE RUBLE. The Belarusian TV program "Nika" reported
on 23 June that Belarus does not intend to leave the ruble zone.
A Belapan correspondent said this information came from someone
at the Belarusian National Bank who wished to remain anonymous.
Belarus will, however, ask Russia to soften the terms the Russian
Central Bank had issued as a fiat to regulate Belarus' continued
participation in the ruble zone. -Ustina Markus

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Saulius Girnius and Patrick Moore







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