A disagreement may be the shortest cut between two minds. - Kahlil Gibran
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 158, 19 August 1993



RUSSIA



YELTSIN HOLDS NEWS CONFERENCE. President Boris Yeltsin' news
conference marking the second anniversary of the attempted coup
was broadcast live on Russian TV on 19 August. In his speech,
Yeltsin lambasted the Russian parliament for blocking reforms
and the constitutional process and, in answer to a question,
he said that the greatest error he had committed in the two years
since August 1991 had been not to call parliamentary elections
immediately after the coup. He called the parliament "anti-democratic"
and a threat to national security. He said that although the
results of the April referendum had effectively decided the outcome
of the fight between the legislative and executive structures,
the struggle had escalated in the succeeding months. The ideal
solution, Yeltsin said, would be fresh parliamentary elections
and the promulgation of a new constitution in the fall, but this
was unlikely to happen as a gradualist approach was needed. Answering
a question about his predictions for the new parliament, Yeltsin
said he expected it to be "businesslike and intellectual," and
described the proposed Federation Council as a prototype of the
upper house. Wendy Slater, RFE/RL, Inc.

SHUMEIKO JUSTIFIES PRESIDENTIAL DECREE ON ELECTIONS. First Deputy
Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko said at a news conference on
18 August, reported by ITAR-TASS, that President Yeltsin would
be fully justified in calling early parliamentary elections by
decree if the Russian parliament refused to call them itself.
Shumeiko gave as the reason for this assertion the results of
the April referendum, which demonstrated that the people supported
the president, but not the legislature. Since the people were
the basis of democracy in the Russian Federation, according to
the Constitution, the President could legitimately call fresh
elections, especially as "further political confrontation will
affect the security of the state." Shumeiko suggested that elections
could thus precede the promulgation of a new constitution. Wendy
Slater, RFE/RL, Inc.

KHASBULATOV ON PRESIDENCY, LAW ENFORCEMENT. Parliamentary chairman
Ruslan Khasbulatov appeared live on Russian TV on 18 August to
answer viewers' questions. When asked whether the Congress of
People's Deputies planned to rescind its decision introducing
the presidency, he said he believed "only the parliament and
a strong prime minister are needed," but qualified this by stating
that the deputies were not "extreme revolutionaries" nor trying
to remove the president. Khasbulatov said that funds earmarked
by the parliament for fighting crime were being used by the Interior
Ministry instead for organizing "shock units...trained to combat
street demonstrations and marches." He criticized the parliamentary
committees for defense and security and for fighting crime as
"extensions of the corresponding ministries," which left parliament,
"the only factor capable of stabilizing the situation in the
country," unable to exercise control over the Defense, Interior,
and Security Ministries. Wendy Slater, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUTSKOI AND STEPANKOV ACCUSED BY CRIME COMMISSION. Russian Vice-President
Alexander Rutskoi was officially accused of corruption by President
Yeltsin's anti-crime commission, ITAR-TASS reported on 18 August.
Justice Minister Yuri Kalmykov told a news conference that Rutskoi
had deposited "large sums of government funds" in a Swiss bank
account and that the commission's evidence had been forwarded
to the Constitutional Court. The country's highest court could
recommend the vice-president's removal from office. Rutskoi,
who has repeatedly levelled accusations of corruption against
several of Yeltsin's closest advisors, angrily denied the charges
and said that the commission was made up of "swindlers." At the
news conference the commission's secretary, lawyer Andrei Makarov,
said that he had a tape recording of a conversation in which
the Prosecutor-General Valentin Stepankov plotted to have him
killed. Makarov said that the commission would ask the Russian
Parliament to dismiss Stepankov. Dominic Gualtieri. , RFE/RL,
Inc.

SHAKHRAI ON HIS NEW PARTY. In an interview with Izvestiya, reported
by ITAR-TASS on 18 August, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai
described his new party, the Party of Russian Unity and Concord
("Provincial"). He said the party would be active in the new
parliament, and would be oriented toward the average city dweller
who was "sick to death" of political mud-slinging, and wanted
a strong, stable state. The first session of the committee formed
in support of the party had been held on 13 July and had been
attended by the heads of administration of several Russian regions.
The founding congress would be held in September. Shakhrai promised
his party's support for the President and the government for
as long as they carried out reformist policies. Wendy Slater,
RFE/RL, Inc.

SHARP CUT IN COMMODITY EXPORT LICENSES. The collegium of the
Ministry of Foreign Trade has decided sharply to reduce the number
of licenses granted to enterprises exporting oil, petroleum products,
nonferrous metals, and other commodities, ITAR-TASS and other
agencies reported on 18 August. The total number of licences
has been cut from 246 to 14. The declared aims of the reduction
were to "bring order into the field of foreign economic relations
and to raise the effectiveness of exports," but other considerations
could include a clampdown on capital flight and on illicit export
deals. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

NATIONWIDE PROGRAM OF VACCINATION AGAINST DIPHTHERIA. Deputy
Chief Epidemiologist Vadim Monisov told a news conference in
Moscow that a nationwide program of vaccination against diphtheria
is planned, Reuters of 18 August and The Financial Times of 19
August reported. The goal of the program is to protect 90% of
children and 75% of adults against the disease by 1995. This
delay in the face of a virtual epidemic seems to be attributable
to inadequate supplies of domestically produced vaccine, reluctance
or inability to import additional supplies, and, perhaps, to
a shortage of disposable syringes.Monisov advised that visitors
receive vaccination before they travel to Russia. He reported
106 deaths from diphtheria so far this year, compared with 127
during the whole of 1992. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

SUPPORT FOR NUCLEAR SCIENTISTS DELAYED. Reuters on 18 August
reported continuing delays in establishing the International
Center for Science and Technology, which is intended to support
the conversion of the Russian nuclear weapons industry. The Center
is to be funded with over $70 million from the US, Japan, Canada,
and the EC and is to finance joint projects between Western and
Russian scientists in developing science and technology for peaceful
purposes. But although the center was to be opened in the summer
of 1992, it has encountered a number of delays regarding both
its location and funding activities. According to Reuters, the
Russian parliament has been delaying approval of the agreement
establishing the center and, until that is done, no funding can
be released. A similar program that is to be established in Ukraine,
with $13.5 million in financing, is reportedly even further from
realization. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN ON KURILS. During his press conference on 19 August,
transmitted live on Russian TV, President Yeltsin noted that
his visit to Japan would not be postponed, and that the Russian
and Japanese governments were considering "many variations" on
possible solutions to the Kuril islands dispute. He went on to
note that Prime Minister Chernomyrdin's recent comment that the
islands were not an issue was just "one of the variations" being
considered. Yeltsin's comments clearly suggested that his position
on the dispute is likely to be somewhat more flexible than that
of Chernomyrdin. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

TRANSCAUCAUSUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

NAGORNO-KARABAKH UPDATE. The town of Fizuli, south-east of Nagorno-Karabakh,
fell to Armenian forces on 18 June, Western news agencies reported.
Turan quoted Azerbaijani parliament chairman Geidar Aliev as
telling Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Velayati on 18 August
that Russian troops had participated in the fighting on the Armenian
side. Karabakh officials in Stepanakert announced that a new
5-day ceasefire was due to go into effect on 18 August, but the
Azerbaijani presidential press service denied this, according
to Turan. On 18 August the UN Security Council again condemned
the ongoing hostilities in Azerbaijan and called for the immediate
and unconditional withdrawal of occupying forces; it asked Armenia
to use its "unique influence" to persuade the Nagorno-Karabakh
authorities to resume negotiations, an RFE/RL correspondent reported.
In Geneva, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
expressed alarm that thousands of Azerbaijani refugeees from
the current fighting are fleeing towards the Azerbaijani-Iranian
frontier. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

GERMAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN KAZAKHSTAN. German Defense Minister
Volker Ruehe is the latest high-ranking foreign visitor to Kazakhstan
whom President Nursultan Nazarbaev has told that his country
does not want to be a nuclear power but insists on security guarantees
from the major powers before it will give up its nuclear weapons,
Russian and Western agencies reported on 19 August. Ruehe is
in Kazakhstan to sign an agreement on military cooperation and
discuss the security situation in the region, as well as the
strategic nuclear missiles that Kazakhstan inherited when the
USSR collapsed. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

UZBEK OPPOSITION LEADER RESENTENCED; TURKMEN HARASSED.Pulat Akhunov,
a leader of the Uzbek opposition movement Birlik, has been given
an additional sentence of three years, RFE/RL learned on 18 August.
Akhunov was charged on 10 February with possessing narcotics
in his cell while serving a one-year prison sentence for accusing
President Islam Karimov of having played a role in the failed
August 1991 coup in Russia. Akhunov has denied the narcotics
charge. RFE/RL also learned on 18 August that several leaders
of the Turkmen opposition movement Agzybirlik were detained briefly
in Ashgabat after meeting with US Congressman Robert Torricelli.
The Agzybirlik leaders were reported to have been released after
being warned not to slander the Turkmen republic. Yalcin Tokgozoglu.,
RFE/RL, Inc.

CIS

UKRAINIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENSE REFUTES BBC CLAIMS. As part of
a recent interview with Ukraine's First Deputy Defense Minister,
Col. Gen. Ivan Bizhan, the BBC reported that the general said
Ukraine was capable of blocking Moscow's control over the 176
ICBMs on its territory and was close to breaking the codes which
would enable it to gain operational control over the missiles.
Ukrainian Radio on 18 August reported that the press service
of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense officially announced that
Bizhan had not made such a statement to the BBC correspondent.
Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUS, UKRAINE, RUSSIA MEET TO DISCUSS WW II COMPENSATION FROM
GERMANY. Delegations from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia met in
Minsk on 18 August to discuss distributing among themselves the
German funds compensating World War II victims, ITAR-TASS reported.
On 30 March this year, Germany agreed to set up a compensation
fund for former Soviet citizens who suffered physically or experienced
material losses as a result of Nazi actions. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL,
Inc.

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



BOSNIAN AGREEMENT REACHED IN GENEVA. The 18 August Geneva peace
talks produced a formal agreement by which Sarajevo will be placed
under UN control for two years, international media report. The
plan would go into effect only as a part of an overall peace
settlement. The UN governor would consult with an advisory panel
of four Muslims, three Serbs, two Croats and one representative
of other minorities. The key power centers under the interim
pact appear to be the nine district councils, which are allowed
to have their own police forces that would be monitored by a
UN "large civilian police element." The UN forces, between 3,000
and 9,000, are to ensure that the local forces allow refugees
to return to their homes and do not harass anyone. During the
two-year period the three factions are supposed to agree on a
long-term solution for Sarajevo. The Bosnians want the city to
be unified while the Serbs want to partition it "like Beirut,"
as Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic said. Elsewhere, a UN
official said that about 250 Serb troops still are on Mt. Igman
that should have withdrawn by 14 August. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL,
Inc.

CROATS AND MUSLIMS CLASH OVER BORDERS. As fighting continued
in downtown Mostar between the two former allies, Croatian and
Muslim delegations failed to agree in Geneva on frontiers between
their respective future republics within Bosnia. The BBC's Serbian
and Croatian Services reported on 18 August that the main points
of contention are: central Bosnia, where both sides dispute ownership
of Travnik; the Mostar area, which the Croats consider their
capital but which the Muslims want as a divided open city; and
the small port of Neum, Bosnia's only outlet to the sea, which
the Croats refuse to give up on the grounds that it has never
been anything but Croatian. Meanwhile in Split, Slobodna Dalmacija
has launched a media campaign to free one of its journalists
whom the Muslims arrested and imprisoned in Bugojno. Hina carried
the report on 18 August. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARY PROTESTS AGAINST DETENTION OF SHIPS BY SERBIA. Foreign
Ministry spokesman Janos Herman told MTI on 18 August that the
holding of three Hungarian cargo vessels on the Danube is an
illegal act that is being supported by the Serbian authorities.
Talks with members of the Serbian government, Hermann said, have
made it clear that the Serbian authorities have either directly
or indirectly supported these acts against Hungarian individuals
and property, and the Serbian minister in charge of navigation
matters has himself said that he ordered the vessels stopped.
Judith Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc.

CROATIA TRIES TO PRESSURE THE UN. Ever since the Vance plan was
signed in January 1992, Zagreb has vainly expected the UN to
carry out provisions for the return of Croatian authority and
civilians to the Serb-held 25% of that republic. Popular impatience
has increased pressure on a government that is itself disenchanted
with the world organization, and Croatia has repeated its demands
each time it has renewed UNPROFOR's mandate. The Zagreb dailies
on 19 August suggest that Croatia is considering new measures
to make its impatience known, including insisting on splitting
UNPROFOR in Croatia administratively from similar bodies in Bosnia
and Macedonia, as well as declaring UN civilian administrator
Cedric Thornberry persona non grata. A Vjesnik editorial replies
to UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's statement that
UN cannot do more than it is currently doing by asking rhetorically:
"is the world organization really that powerless?" Finally, Reuters
runs a report on the plight of mainly elderly Croatian civilians
remaining in the Serb-held areas. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.


CROATIAN CONSPIRACY THEORIES. In keeping with the traditional
political culture of the Balkans, ideas have abounded in the
Yugoslav area about alleged foreign plots behind the conflict
that began in 1991. The Serbian media have stressed a supposed
master strategy of Germany, together with the Vatican, Austria,
Hungary, and others, to destroy the former Yugoslavia and cripple
Serbia. The Croatian media, for their part, have cast suspicious
glances toward Serbia's traditional allies, namely Russia, France,
and Britain, as being behind a purported scheme to deny Croatia
its independence and restore Yugoslavia. Now Globus of 13 August
runs a poll of Croatian attitudes toward such theories. Some
43% of the respondents believe there is "a secret international
conspiracy against Croatia and the Croatian state," with 33%
denying such a possibility. Of the 43%, 17% say Russia is behind
it, 16% blame "Serbian secret agencies," 13% look to persons
at home still loyal to a Yugoslavia, 12% suspect "the alliance
of Eastern Orthodox countries," and 11% are most wary of Britain
and France. Far behind come more traditional objects of conspiracy
theories, with the Masons taking 7%, "the CIA and other secret
services" 4%, and "the Jews" 2%. Among foreign politicians, the
one regarded as most "anti-Croatian" is UN Secretary General
Boutros-Ghali. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELGRADE ANNOUNCES NEW ECONOMIC MEASURES. In an effort to revive
an economy wracked by international sanctions and failed economic
policies, on 18 August the federal government of rump Yugoslavia
declared war on speculators and announced that prices of staple
goods will come under direct government control. The new measures
are aimed at reducing four-digit monthly inflation rates to 50%
by the end of this year. Yugoslav Prime Minister Radoje Kontic
told reporters, "if this is not done it will be impossible to
avoid an economic collapse." The monthly rate of inflation reached
430% in July and is expected to reach several thousand percent
in August. Economists have projected an annual inflation rate
of well over one billion percent. Fearing social unrest, the
government has been printing money round the clock to finance
its deficits, but has only succeeded in fueling inflation. Kontic
said the government will step up its efforts to fight speculators
and profiteers who have emptied many store shelves. National
Bank of Yugoslavia Deputy Governor Zarko Trbojevic backed the
plan and announced the dinar had been devalued by almost 93%
against the US dollar and the German mark, bringing the official
foreign exchange rates more in line with soaring black-market
rates. More than half of the work force has been idled. The average
monthly salary for those still working has dropped to less than
$20. Serbian radio and TV carried the report. Milan Andrejevich,
RFE/RL, Inc.

POLISH PRIVATIZATION MINISTRY UNDER FIRE. Privatization Minister
Janusz Lewandowski threatened on 18 August to take the head of
the state auditing agency to court for slandering the ministry
and its employees, Polish TV reports. Supreme Control Chamber
(NIK) chief Lech Kaczynski has charged the privatization ministry
with corrupt practices and deliberately selling state firms for
less than their value. At a press conference in Warsaw, Lewandowski
denied these charges. He also countered a number of similar accusations
made by opposition political parties. "The dissonance between
politics and the needs of the economy has never been greater,"
Lewandowski said. He warned that "lies and calumny" about privatization
could undermine economic reform. In an interview with Nowa Gazeta
on 18 August, Kaczynski acknowledged that he intends to use NIK
materials to compromise the government parties in the election
campaign. Kaczynski's twin brother, Jaroslaw, heads the opposition
Center Alliance party. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

GASPAROVIC ON RUSSIAN TREATY, CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. In an 18 August
press conference of the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia,
Parliament Chairman Ivan Gasparovic said Article 4 of the Slovak-Russian
friendship treaty could be modified. The controversial article
states that neither country will allow its territory to be used
by other countries in case of a military conflict involving either
signatory and a third country. Although some political parties
have requested a session of parliament devoted to discussion
of the treaty, Gasparovic said the parliament will not have a
chance to discuss the agreement until after it has been signed
by the Slovak and Russian presidents. Gasparovic maintained that
"Russia is an important country internationally, and it is necessary
to respect its opinions," TASR reports. Regarding recent debates
over capital punishment, Gasparovic stated "its influence on
lowering the crime rate is insignificant" and that it would only
be considered "as a last resort." Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.


CZECH ECONOMIC STATISTICS. According to data released on 18 August
by the Czech Statistical Office, the republic's gross domestic
product was 0.5%-1.3% lower and industrial production 5% lower
during the first six months of 1993 than during the same period
of 1992. Prices grew by 12.1% from January to June 1993. Wages
were 36.8% higher and consumer spending 39% higher in June 1993
than in June 1992. The unemployment rate in June 1993 was 2.63%,
but it has grown slightly since then--there were 138,581 officially
registered unemployed people in June 1993; at the same time,
there were 74,000 officially registered employment opportunities.
Also on 18 August CTK carried results of an opinion poll conducted
in July by the Center for Empirical Research. The results indicate
that 23.9% of Czechs are "worried" about future economic developments,
38% are "somewhat worried," 29.7% are "more unworried than worried,"
and 8% are not worried at all. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

VAN DER STOEL IN BUCHAREST. Max Van der Stoel, the CSCE High
Commissioner for National Minorities, arrived in Bucharest for
what a foreign affairs ministry spokesman called a two-day "documentation
visit." Van der Stoel was last in Bucharest in June, and this
visit is a continuation of his earlier discussions. Van der Stoel
addressed a meeting of the Council of National Minorities., where
a draft law on bilingual signs in communities with large ethnic
minorities was discussed. Radio Bucharest reported the developments
on 18 August. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

RAILWAY STRIKE OVER, LABOR UNREST PERSISTS IN ROMANIA. Transport
Minister Paul Teodoru said in an interview with Radio Bucharest
on 18 August that the railway strike was over, despite scattered
resistance from individuals. Some strikers tried to stop locomotives
from leaving depots, he said, but order was restored by other
railway workers, and police intervention was not necessary. Teodoru
also said that most of the hunger strikers in Brasov have started
to eat again. An RFE/RL correspondent in Brasov reported there
were no hunger strikers in the depot. But on the same day, some
2,000 railroad construction workers marched through Bucharest
demanding job security and asking the government to invest in
the country's railroads. A delegation of the railway construction
workers' union was received by Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu,
Radio Bucharest said. The radio also reported that the government
promised to seek funds for the railways and roads and to provide
a guarantee to help the transport ministry get a loan of 15,000
million lei (nearly $19 million) for this purpose. The government
also agreed to provide 17 million lei ($212,000) to pay workers
for work done on a highway linking Bucharest to Fetesti. Michael
Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIAN TRUCK DRIVERS ON STRIKE. On 18 August several hundred
drivers went on strike to protest plans to privatize their company,
SOMAT Ltd., as one single entity. Reuters quotes a statement
by the strike committee of the company's Hadzhi Dimitar branch
in Sofia that the government scheme violates previous commitments
by the Ministry of Transport to offer its management more independence,
but would also contradict the interests of the staff. The state-owned
SOMAT is represented in 22 different countries and owns 3,400
transport trucks, 2,972 refrigerated trailers, and a dozen ships
and river boats. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

LUIK NAMED ESTONIAN DEFENSE MINISTER. BNS reports on 19 August
that Prime Minister Mart Laar has appointed Juri Luik as minister
of defense. Luik, heretofore minister without portfolio and head
of the Estonian delegation for talks with Russia, replaces Hain
Rebas, who resigned from the position on 5 August. The appointment,
made with the agreement of the ruling parliamentary coalition,
must be still approved by President Lennart Meri. Dzintra Bungs,
RFE/RL, Inc.

NO CLARITY ON TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM LITHUANIA. Although the Russian
Defense Ministry has declared that the withdrawal of Russian
troops has been suspended, Lithuania has not received any official
notification of it, Radio Lithuania reported on 18 August. Foreign
Minister Povilas Gylys asked the Russian Embassy in Vilnius for
the official position on the matter, but has not received a reply.
Some of the remaining 40 units with about 2,500 troops are continuing
to withdraw. The Lithuanian delegation on troop withdrawal met
and drafted a statement for President Algirdas Brazauskas to
present to President Yeltsin at their planned meeting. Russian
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev added to the confusion by declaring
that the troop withdrawal will not conclude before an agreement
on it is signed. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

CONFLICTING REPORTS ON TAKEOVER OF PALDISKI. Russian Foreign
Ministry spokesman Grigorii Karasin told the press on 17 August
that the delay in the completion of the Estonian takeover of
the Russian base in Paldiski is not due to technical problems
as reported earlier. Karasin said that the issue of troop withdrawal
from Estonia, including the transfer of the naval training base
at Paldiski, is subject to bilateral talks and that until the
necessary accords are signed, the Russian side will set the timetable
for handing over various facilities to Estonia, Baltic media
reported on 17 August. Earlier it was reported that Estonia would
take over the Paldiski base on 10 August. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL,
Inc.

LITHUANIAN-POLISH TALKS. On 17-18 August Lithuanian Deputy Foreign
Minister Vladislavas Domarkas and his Polish counterpart Iwo
Byczewski held talks on a cooperation and good neighbor treaty,
Radio Lithuania reports. The talks were described as intensive,
with full agreement being reached on 20 of the 26 points of the
treaty. The preamble and a planned declaration on "historical
questions" were not discussed. Another round of talks will be
held later this month, and it is not yet clear whether the treaty
will be signed before 1 September, when Polish Prime Minister
Hanna Suchocka is expected in Lithuania to attend ceremonies
opening the Kalvarija-Budziski customs post. Saulius Girnius,
RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUS FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS LATVIA. Belarusian Foreign Minister
Pyotr Krauchanka met with President Guntis Ulmanis and other
Latvian leaders as well as representatives of the Belarusian
community (about 120,000 Belarusians live in Latvia), Latvian
media reported on 18 August. Among the topics discussed was greater
Latvian subsidies for Belarusian radio and TV programs, as well
as the designation of a high school in Riga to specialize in
Belarusian studies. Ulmanis, in turn, asked for improvements
in the cultural life of the approximately 3,000 Latvians living
in Belarus. Concerning borders, Krauchanka and the Latvian leaders
agreed that the pre-World War II borders could be maintained
and discussed ways to ease the border crossing procedures. Concerning
the repatriation of Belarusians, Krauchanka said that 130 families
of Russian (or former Soviet) military officers from Belarus
living in Latvia would soon return to Belarus. Dzintra Bungs,
RFE/RL, Inc.

DIPHTHERIA IN UKRAINE. Like Russia, Ukraine is experiencing a
sharp increase in the incidence of diphtheria, Reuters reported
on 18 August. So far this year 320 cases have been reported,
compared with 1,000 in the past two years combined. In Kiev seven
people have died from the disease, and the city's chief epidemiologist
Lyubov Nekrasova, blames reduced inoculations. In 1988 the media
began warning that vaccinations were unsafe, and some parents
were discouraged from having their children inoculated. Nekrasova
called for a mass inoculation campaign as the only way to fight
the disease. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

UKRAINIANS PUT PREMIUM ON SOCIAL STABILITY. According to the
results of a countrywide poll conducted by the National Institute
of Strategic Studies and published on 17 August in Demokratychna
Ukraina, 55% of the population believes that "guaranteeing social
stability" should be the foremost priority of Ukrainian society
today. The second most-cited priority was "building a strong
state," chosen by 45% of respondents. The secondary importance
attached to the introduction of Western-style institutions was
reflected in the finding that 31% view the "development of market
relations," and just 18% "the development of democracy," as the
main tasks facing Ukraine. The survey, based on a representative
sample of 1461 respondents, also showed significant regional
differences in attitudes toward the CIS and Ukraine's independence.
If a referendum on independence were to be held in the near future,
82% of people in Galicia would vote in favor versus 52% in Kiev,
38% in the Donbas, and a mere 18% in the conflict-ridden Crimea.
Kathy Mihalisko, RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Vladimir Socor and Charles Trumbull





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