Человек никогда не бывает так несчастен, как ему кажется, или так счастлив, как ему хочется. - Ф. Ларошфуко
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 144, 30 July 1993







RUSSIA



GERASHCHENKO SUSPECTED OF FRAUD. A Western adviser to the Russian
government has accused Russian Central Bank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko
of malfeasance in ordering the currency reform, the Los Angeles
Times of 30 July and Western agencies reported. At a regular
news conference by the Center for Economic Reform in Moscow,
Anders Aslund presented what he called "circumstantial evidence"
that the Bank had given cash credits of some 588 billion rubles
to former Soviet republics in April-June 1993, presumably in
return for kickbacks to bank officials. Aslund suggested that
the currency reform was an attempt to cover up the missing money.
Asked whether he was accusing Gerashchenko of fraud, Aslund replied:
"I suspect him of it. I think that it's the only rational explanation
, because something very fishy is going on." -Keith Bush

YELTSIN, CHERNOMYRDIN APPEAL TO NORTH OSSETIANS, INGUSH. Yeltsin
and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin issued a joint
appeal to the peoples of North Ossetia and Ingushetia on 29 July
in which they expressed concern at the situation in the areas
of the two republics where a state of emergency is in force,
ITAR-TASS reported. The appeal was issued after a working meeting
between the two and the North Ossetian and Ingush leaders, Akhsarbek
Galazov and Ruslan Aushev. The decree called for a moratorium
on frontier changes. It also said that the first Ingush refugees
and involuntary resettlers would start returning in August to
places of compact settlement in North Ossetia where they would
be granted full civil rights, Delays in the return of the refugees
to North Ossetia due to North Ossetian objections had led Aushev
to threaten on 28 July that Ingushetia would declare its independence.
-Ann Sheehy

WARNING STRIKE AT DEFENSE INDUSTRY PLANTS. An RFE/RL correspondent
reports that workers at dozens of defense enterprises in the
Urals region held a one-hour warning strike on 29 July to demand
pay increases, new tariff agreements, better credit conditions,
and the adoption of a "state military doctrine." According to
Russian Television, the coordinating council of manufacturers
and trade unions of the defense industry met on 27-July, and
in a draft resolution issued an ultimatum to the government,
demanding that the latter pay for work carried out on the design
and production of arms and military technology. If the government
fails to meet this and other demands by 6-August the work collectives
will cease work on state orders and the trade unions will start
gathering signatures for a petition demanding that the government
step down. -Sheila Marnie

DIMINISHED ROLE OF RUSSIAN SECURITY COUNCIL. In an interview
published in the 28 July issue of Megapolis-Ekspress Secretary
of the Russian Security Council Evgenii Shaposhnikov claimed
that the formerly powerful council now has little influence on
the course of political events in Russia. Shaposhnikov also suggested
that Boris Yeltsin does not familiarize himself with the details
of Russian security policy and at least partly for that reason
the council should not be reduced to an advisory role, but should
serve as the coordinating organ for defense decision-making.
Shaposhnikov also implied that the Ministers of Foreign Affairs,
Defense, Internal Affairs, and Security were among those who
wanted to see the council eliminated. Shaposhnikov said that
in Yeltsin's absence he did not have the authority to convene
the council and suggested that confusion was one result. Shaposhnikov,
until mid-June the Commander-in-Chief of the CIS Joint Armed
Forces, called once again for implementation of the CIS Collective
Security Agreement. -Stephen Foye

RESERVATIONS ON START-2 TREATY. Krasnaya zvezda, official organ
of the Russian Ministry of Defense, carries a commentary on 29
July in which an expert on arms control issues argues for revisions
in the START-2 Treaty. According to Gennadii Khromov, the START-2
Treaty is, first of all, dependent upon implementation of the
START-1 agreement, which he suggests is unlikely to be ratified
by Ukraine. Second, and of greater importance, he argues that
the START-2 Treaty is likely to face significant opposition in
the Russian parliament. To help make the treaty more palatable,
he calls for several revisions. He notes that, given Russia's
deteriorating economy, Moscow will face difficulties both in
destroying arms that remain serviceable and in manufacturing
the new weapons systems allowable under the treaty's terms. He
therefore urges the US to consider agreeing to a postponement
on the elimination of ICBMs with multiple reentry warheads and
on reaching limitations on the total number of warheads for ICBMs
and SLBMs called for in the treaty. -Stephen Foye

SHORTFALLS IN TAX COLLECTION. The head of the state taxation
service told the cabinet on 29 July that the shortfall in overall
tax collection is running at about 15% and not the 30-40% widely
believed, ITAR-TASS and Western agencies reported. Vladimir Gusev
said that companies engaged in foreign trade had failed to pay
some $10 billion due in taxes in 1992. His service was promised
additional personnel and help in computerization. (In 1992, the
taxation service was authorized to hire an additional 100,000
inspectors, and was expected to hire many of these from among
demobilized officers). -Keith Bush

MID-YEAR ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE AND YEAR-END FORECASTS. The Russian
State Committee on Statistics reports that in the first half
of 1993 GDP dropped 14%, exports increased 3% and imports fell
49% in comparison with the same period last year, according to
ITAR-TASS on 29 July. Moskovskie novosti reported Deputy Prime
Minister Anatolii Chubais as saying that a third of the total
number of enterprises in the country are now privatized. The
Center for Economic Reform announced at a news conference in
Moscow that an inflation rate by year-end of 10% was achievable
if the current strict monetary policy was adhered to, ITAR-TASS
reported the same day. The Center was less sanguine about developments
in enterprise finance and industrial performance. The Center
views the recent decrease in unemployment rates as a sign that
budget constraints are not hardening adequately. It also sees
no improvement in the rate of decline in industrial production.
Erik Whitlock

LATEST FIGURES ON UNEMPLOYMENT AND POVERTY. According to figures
released by the Russian State Statistical Committee (Roskomstat)
for the first half of 1993, there are over 1 million registered
jobseekers, and over 700,000 registered unemployed; 65.7% of
the latter are in receipt of unemployment benefits. About 70%
of the unemployed are women, and one third are under 30 years
old. However, the number of registered unemployed dropped by
approximately 10,000 in June, and the number of registered job
vacancies has increased by 1.7 times since the beginning of the
year. The minimum subsistence level for July was 16,000 rubles
(per person, per month), and more than one third of the population
currently lives below this level. The figures were reported by
ITAR-TASS on 28 and 29-July. Meanwhile, a resolution of the Russian
parliament, published in Ekonomika i zhizn no.30, raises the
minimum monthly pension to 14,620 rubles from 1-August. -Sheila
Marnie

MALAYSIA TO PAY PALM OIL FOR MIGS? AFP REPORTED ON 29 JULY THAT
MALAYSIA WOULD LIKE TO ARRANGE A DEAL WHEREBY IT PAYS FOR 18
RUSSIAN MIG-29 JET FIGHTERS WITH APPROXIMATELY $1-BILLION WORTH
OF PALM OIL OVER A PERIOD OF FIVE YEARS. Malaysian trade officials
admitted, however, that the Russian Defense Ministry was likely
to push for more cash and less palm oil to settle the deal, estimated
to be worth approximately $1.8 billion. Negotiations on the exact
terms of the sale are to begin soon, according to Malaysian officials.
-Stephen Foye

SPECIAL HARVEST MEASURES. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
has issued an order to support the large harvest expected this
year, ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported. Chernomyrdin has instructed
the Ministries of the Economy, Finance, and Fuel and Energy to
take appropriate measure to ensure that adequate storage, transportation
facilities and fuel are provided. The order follows recent parliamentary
urging for such action. -Erik Whitlock

TRANCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

NAGORNO-KARABAKH UPDATE. Defense and Foreign Ministry officials
from Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh agreed at their meeting
on 28 July to extend the three-day ceasefire that went into effect
on 26 July for a further five days in order to allow for high-level
talks on a possible settlement, Reuters and ITAR-TASS reported.
On 29 July the UN Security Council passed a resolution condemning
the occupation of Agdam and other territory in Azerbaijan and
calling for the immediate withdrawal of the occupying forces;
it urged the Armenian government to use its influence to persuade
the Karabakh Armenian authorities to end hostilities and accept
the CSCE peace proposal, according to an RFE/RL correspondent.
On 29-July the Azerbaijan National Assembly voted to hold a nation-wide
referendum on 28-August on public confidence in President Abulfaz
Elchibey, who fled Baku on 18 June, ITAR-TASS reported. -Liz
Fuller

AMNESTY IN TAJIKISTAN. Tajikistan's Supreme Soviet has decreed
an amnesty that covers oppositionists fighting the government
inside Tajikistan or from Afghanistan provided they leave their
armed groups by 9-September, Khovar-TASS and Russian agencies
reported on 29-July. The amnesty, which is officially pegged
to the second anniversary of Tajikistan's independence, is the
first sign that the country's present leadership might be softening
its refusal to seek reconciliation with the armed opposition.
In the last few days the Tajik leadership has come under strong
pressure from its CIS allies to negotiate with the opposition;
the same day that the amnesty was proclaimed, the presidents
of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan told a news conference in Almaty
that they had called on the Tajik leadership to meet with the
opposition. -Bess Brown

TURKMENISTAN STIFFENS CUSTOMS. President of Turkmenistan Saparmurad
Niyazov issued a resolution on 29 July establishing tougher customs
control on its borders, ITAR-TASS reported. Among other measures,
the resolution explicitly forbids the import of ruble bills printed
between 1961 and 1992. The republic fears a large influx of the
old-style rubles as Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and other
ruble zone nations are removing or soon will remove them from
circulation. Turkmenistan has insisted on maintaining these old-style
rubles as legal tender until later this fall when it plans to
introduce its own national currency. Erik Whitlock

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



"UNION OF REPUBLICS" PROPOSED IN BOSNIAN PEACE TALKS. Thorvald
Stoltenberg and Lord Owen, the mediators in the Geneva negotiations,
proposed a plan that would divide the republic into three parts
with a minimal central government responsible for foreign affairs,
international media report on 29 July. There has been no official
announcement of the plan for a "Union of Republics," but reports
say that none of the three "republics" would have armed forces,
and a clause would bar any of them from leaving the union. It
is unclear whether the collective Bosnian presidency will accept
the plan. Officials said President Alija Izetbegovic appeared
unhappy with the proposal and sought a recess in the talks. The
political leaders in Geneva ordered a new cease-fire on 29 July,
and the military commanders are scheduled to meet on 30 July
in Sarajevo. Meanwhile, shelling continued on Mount Zuc north
of Sarajevo, and Radio Sarajevo reported Serb attacks around
Brcko, Tesanj, Maglaj and the regions of Doboj and Gorazde. Now
that Travnik, Kakanj, Fojnica and Bugojno have fallen to Bosnian
government troops, Gornij Vakuf seems their next target in central
Bosnia. -Fabian Schmidt

CROATIA MOVES AGAINST MUSLIM REFUGEES. The BBC's Croatian Service
on 30 July quotes Radio Bosnia-Herzegovina as saying that Croatian
authorities the previous day arrested about 100 Bosnian Muslim
refugees and incarcerated them in a sports center. American,
German, Turkish, and Bosnian diplomats reportedly protested to
the Croatian authorities, but the latter said it was normal practice
in dealing with undocumented aliens. Croatia is currently host
to about 250,000 Muslim refugees, but the government has been
under political pressure especially since the outbreak of Muslim-Croat
fighting this spring to withdraw the welcome mat. Many Croats
feel that the Muslims are a drain on an already strained economy
and a potential long-term demographic threat, while West European
countries fear that expulsion of the Muslims would lead to a
wave of refugees fleeing to the more prosperous parts of the
continent. At his 5-July press conference, President Franjo Tudjman
confirmed long-standing rumors that Zagreb is indeed considering
a change in policy toward the Muslims, especially since Croat
refugees are now arriving as a result of ethnic cleansing by
Muslim forces. Meanwhile, Reuters on 29 July said that Croatia
has asked the UN Security Council to help protect Bosnian Croats,
while Hina reported the arrival in Tomislavgrad of large numbers
of elderly, women, children, and invalids. The refugees reached
Croat-held territory in Herzegovina with Serbian help. -Patrick
Moore

WILL THE CROATS WITHDRAW FROM MASLENICA? THE CROATIAN FOREIGN
MINISTER TOLD THE BBC'S CROATIAN SERVICE ON 29 JULY THAT CROATIAN
TROOPS WILL NOT EVACUATE THE MASLENICA BRIDGE AND ZEMUNIK AIRPORT
THIS WEEKEND AS PLANNED UNLESS THE LOCAL SERBS GIVE UP THEIR
HEAVY ARTILLERY. The 16 July UN-sponsored agreement does not
make any such linkage, but the surrender of Serb heavy weaponry
to the UN is covered in the original 1992 Vance plan. The bridge
was reopened to automobile traffic on 29 July after considerable
delay in paving it. The Croatian government is apparently anxious
to show an impatient public that it is able to stand and hold
its ground on the question of recovering the 25% of Croatian
territory under rebel Serb control. Meanwhile, Reuters reported
on 27 July that Croat troops were burning houses and crops in
the area scheduled to be evacuated and placed under UN control.
-Patrick Moore

SERBIA'S CRISIS IN HEALTH-.-.-. On 28 July Velibor Popovic, the
health minister of rump federal Yugoslavia warned of grave consequences
if humanitarian aid is not exempted from international sanctions.
Popovic stated that the mortality rate and incidence of illness
are rising dramatically. Humanitarian aid shipments require approval
of the UN sanctions committee, and Popovic accused Muslim members
of the committee of turning down all humanitarian requests. Veljko
Djerkovic, the assistant director of Belgrade's Health Protection
Institute, recently told Vreme that government officials and
doctors are surprised that the country has not had more epidemics
in the past year. The influx of refugees into Belgrade from areas
with higher rates of epidemics poses a serious threat to public
health, he said, and much food is being sold in Belgrade without
basic inspection. Some people are bringing meat from war-torn
areas in Bosnia where health conditions are catastrophic. Djerkovic
also called attention to contaminated ice cream being sold to
children. -Milan Andrejevich

.-.-.-AND ECONOMICS. Belgrade TV on 28 July reported that Serbia
is in the grips of "monetary chaos." Bank customers often must
wait in long lines for as many as six hours to withdraw money.
The federal mint is working two and sometimes three shifts to
print more money. Some stores raise prices on some goods 100-700%
twice a day. The unofficial daily inflation rate is now reported
at 20%. The Federal Statistical Office estimates that if the
current rate continues, Serbia-Montenegro could face annual inflation
of 1 billion percent. On 29 July the government announced a price
freeze on certain foodstuffs and household items, a move that
has been widely criticized. For example, Vojislav Seselj, leader
of the Serbian Radical Party, reiterated his threat to topple
both the federal and Serbian governments in the autumn. Meanwhile,
Milorad Vujasinovic, head of the pro-Milosevic Federation of
Independent Trade Unions announced that an agreement with the
government is within reach, however the union presidium on 26
July called a general strike for 5-August. Serbia's Independent
Trade Unions also backs a general strike call. -Milan Andrejevich


CROATIA RESTORES WORLD WAR II-ERA CURRENCY. Hina reported on
29 July that the legislature passed a package of measures dealing
with banking and finance, including replacing the transitional
dinar with a permanent kuna at an unspecified date. Many speakers
argued for calling the new currency "kruna" instead, since the
kuna was used by the pro-Axis Ustasa regime during World War
II and would be bad for Croatia's image abroad. Croatia in fact
has a mixed record in dealing with the Ustasa legacy, although
Tudjman has ruled out rehabilitating its leader Ante Pavelic
and has often personally intervened to prevent streets and squares
being renamed after leading Ustasa-era personalities. He has
also kept the Tito-era "day of antifascist struggle" as a national
holiday. Other actions, however, such as the reintroduction of
the kuna, reinforce the image that the Zagreb government is politically
insensitive to international opinion and the feelings of domestic
minorities who suffered under the Ustasa's brutal policies. -Patrick
Moore

WALESA BOOED ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL-.-.-. Polish President Lech Walesa
was greeted with faint applause and loud catcalls when he arrived
in the town of Wrzesnia to meet with supporters from his presidential
campaign on 28 July, Gazeta Wyborcza reports. Shifting into populist
mode, Walesa mocked the Polish political system as a "caricature"
of democracy. "There is democracy," the president said, "but
only in the struggle for cushy positions." He criticized the
government's privatization program for breeding crime and spawning
scandals but praised Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka as "the only
man in the government." Despite his criticism of the current
system, Walesa once again endorsed elections as the only way
to move the country forward. -Louisa Vinton

.-.-.-AND FAULTED FOR COURTING POLICE AND MILITARY. On 26 July,
during a meeting with high-ranking police officials that was
closed to the press, Walesa warned that the current political
situation is a boon to extremists and called for full mobilization
on the part of the police. He pledged to protect the police from
unfair screening procedures. In remarks not included in the official
communique but reported by Gazeta Wyborcza, Walesa also urged
police officials to support his Nonparty Reform Bloc (BBWR) as
an alternative to the established parties. The prominence of
military and police officers on the BBWR ticket has raised concern
that the apolitical status of the military and police may be
compromised. Under Polish law, police and military officers are
not allowed to join political parties. They may run for office
only if they take a leave of absence; they may not campaign in
uniform or on military bases. Rzeczpospolita suggested on 28
July that the president is attempting to give his bloc a "uniformed
leg." -Louisa Vinton

APOLOGIES FOR POLISH "AGENTS." The Internal Affairs Ministry
(MSW) apologized in two major Polish dailies on 29 July to former
Sejm deputy and Rural Solidarity activist Antoni Furtak for having
placed his name on the list of alleged communist "agents" that
was released to the parliament in June 1992. Apologies are pending
for former Justice Minister Aleksander Bentkowski, two former
Sejm deputies, and a former deputy foreign minister. Seven additional
court cases have been filed against the MSW. The release of the
"agents" list led to the abrupt dismissal of the government headed
by Prime Minister Jan Olszewski. The list was the work of former
Internal Affairs Minister Antoni Macierewicz, who is now under
investigation for allegedly revealing state secrets. A right-wing
newspaper, Gazeta Polska, also faces charges for having published
its own "agents" list in 1993. The courts have ruled on the issue
of defamation of character rather than collaboration itself,
as the MSW has refused to turn over the secret police archives.
-Louisa Vinton

DID FEDERAL INTELLIGENCE SERVICE SPY ON HAVEL, KLAUS? CZECH TV
REPORTED ON 29 JULY THAT THE FORMER FEDERAL SECURITY AND INFORMATION
OFFICE, FOUNDED TO PROTECT THE CONSTITUTIONAL ORDER IN POST-1989
CZECHOSLOVAKIA, SPIED ON LEADING CZECHOSLOVAK POLITICIANS, INCLUDING
VACLAV HAVEL AND VACLAV KLAUS. Czech TV claimed that this spying
activity was launched on 22-January 1992, when the intelligence
service was led by Stefan Bacinsky. Bacinsky is now an employee
of the Czech Ministry of Internal Affairs. Stanislav Devaty,
the current director of the Czech Security and Information Service,
became Bacinsky's deputy on 21 August 1992. Devaty has claimed
that the gathering of compromising information about private
lives of leading politicians was a private initiative of an FBIS
agent Vaclav Wallis, who earlier this year sold the information
to Viktor Kozeny, chairman of the Harvard Investment Fund, the
largest such fund in the Czech Republic. Wallis is now facing
criminal charges. However, Czech TV cast doubt on Devaty's statements,
claiming that the spying was done by the Federal Security and
Information Service as such. -Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK PRESIDENT CALLS A MEETING OF POLITICIANS. In an effort
to seek a way out of the current parliamentary crisis, President
Michal Kovac called meetings on 28 and 29 July of representatives
of leading political parties in Slovakia. During the talks, Kovac
emphasized the need for political cooperation of all parties,
but no agreement was reached. In a statement issued after the
talks, a spokesman said that the president "is convinced that
there are no intentions in Slovakia to solve the current political
crisis through illegal and unconstitutional means that would
lead to changes in the government." Also on the 29th, Slovak
National Party Chairman Ludovit Cernak told CTK that coalition
talks with the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia have
failed. Cernak is skeptical about holding early elections because,
in his opinion, there are not enough votes (90 are needed) in
the 150-member parliament to call new elections. However, TASR
quotes Milan Ftacnik, vice president of the Party of the Democratic
Left, as saying that events are moving in the direction of new
elections. Christian Democratic Movement Chairman Jan Carnogursky
told TASR that either the MDS changes its policies or there will
be new elections. -Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK BANK APPOINTMENT SURROUNDED BY CONTROVERSY. On 29 July
President Michal Kovac officially appointed Vladimir Masar as
governor and Marian Tkac as vice-governor of the Slovak National
Bank. Both officials were elected by parliament in the middle
of July. Tkac's appointment took place amid charges in the weekly
Domino that the bank's new vice governor was registered as a
secret police agent under the communist regime. Although Tkac
has received an official certificate from the former federal
Ministry of Internal Affairs that he was not a collaborator,
the Domino article claims that the certificate is false and that
documents seen by parliament's screening commission prove beyond
a doubt that Tkac was a secret police agent. In an interview
with CTK on 29 July, Tkac resolutely denied the charges. -Jiri
Pehe

HUNGARIAN AUDIT AGENCY CRITICIZES PRIVATIZATION, STATE HOLDING
ORGANIZATIONS. A report by the State Audit Agency (SAS) says
the State Asset Handling Company, which supervises most of Hungary's
state-owned enterprises, made guarantees to many firms that it
cannot back up financially, Hungarian Radio reports. Similar
charges were leveled at the State Property Agency, the main organization
for privatization. The SAS found the financial records of both
organizations in shambles, and said they are unable to account
for their properties. The SAS was unable to determine whether
privatization prices represent real values or not. SPA spending
on consulting fees was also found to be too high; one unnamed
consulting firm received payments of 400 million forint (about
$5 million). -Karoly Okolicsanyi

BEROV SURVIVES ANOTHER NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE. According to an RFE/RL
correspondent, on 29-July Bulgarian Premier Lyuben Berov and
his cabinet survived yet another no-confidence vote by a margin
of 141-to-80 in a secret ballot. The motion, backed by the opposition
Union of Democratic Forces coalition, was called to challenge
a government decree depriving municipal authorities of the right
to impose local taxes. Berov said the coalition is "trying to
flog a dead horse" since his government has already promised
to revise the decree. This was the third attempt by the UDF to
force the ouster of the Berov government in the past two months.
On 22 July Berov comfortably survived a vote by a margin of 147-to-81.
-Stan Markotich

STRIKE IN ROMANIA'S JIU VALLEY. Striking miners besieged the
mines administration headquarters in Petrosani on 29 July, RFE/RL
and Radio Bucharest report. A strike that started on 27 July
in Lupeni later spread to other mines in Jiu Valley. Between
two and three thousand miners demonstrated on 29 July outside
the administration's headquarters. They claimed that the average
70% pay increase they were promised this month is not enough
and that too much of the funds made available goes to white-collar
workers. The miners said that they are directing their protest
against the administration, not against the government. Meanwhile
in Bucharest, the government said the miners' demands would cause
unjustified imbalances with other sectors of the economy and
are financially impossible. The miners called for union leader
Miron Cosma, who spent the day in Bucharest negotiating with
the government, to return to the valley. Cosma's fame dates back
to the days of the miners' rampage of Bucharest in June 1990,
and he was active in the violent protests that led to the resignation
of Petre Roman's government in September 1991. -Michael Shafir


ROMANIAN BANK GOVERNOR QUESTIONS CHANCE OF IMF AGREEMENT. Mugur
Isarescu says he is uncertain whether Romania will be able to
conclude a new agreement with the IMF in September. An RFE/RL
correspondent in Bucharest reports about a press conference on
29 July at which Isarescu cited disagreements over the inflation
rate and the pace of economic reform. In contrast to Isarescu's
pessimistic views, in an address to the country's prefects the
same day, Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu said that there are
good chances for an agreement to be concluded. Romania, Vacaroiu
said, cannot "nod to the IMF" on everything, however, and must
take into consideration the country's specific situation, including
social costs. Vacaroiu harshly criticized some media and political
personalities for statements on the economy that, he claimed,
hurt Romania's image abroad and make negotiations unnecessarily
difficult. -Michael Shafir

BELARUS GRANTED FIRST IMF CREDIT. The Executive Directorate of
the IMF decided on 28 July to grant Belarus a credit of around
$98 million, thus giving the green light to the first IMF project
in the republic, ITAR-TASS reported on 29 July. The credit, which
is from the fund specially set up three months ago to further
market reforms in the newly independent states of the former
Soviet Union, is for one year and is to be used to reduce the
monthly inflation rate from 30% to 5%, improve the balance of
payments, and reduce the annual drop in the volume of gross domestic
product from about 15% to 5%. If Belarus succeeds in realizing
these aims, a second credit will be forthcoming from the same
source. If the republic should embark on a more radical market
program, then the fund is prepared to grant it a standard large-scale
credit. -Ann Sheehy

INTERNATIONAL TRANSPORT CONFERENCE IN VILNIUS. On 29 July a two-day
conference on integrating the Baltic transport system into that
of the European Community opened in Vilnius, Radio Lithuania
reports. The transport ministers of the three Baltic States as
well as representatives and experts from the EC, the G-24 states,
the World Bank, the European Investment Bank, and the EBRD are
participating. -Saulius Girnius

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Bess Brown and Charles Trumbull







THE RFE/RL DAILY REPORT IS PRODUCED BY THE RFE/RL RESEARCH INSTITUTE
(A DIVISION OF RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, INC.) with the
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