If we are to live together in peace, we must first come to know each other better. - Lyndon B. Johnson
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 160, 23 August 1993







RUSSIA



YELTSIN FORMALLY REQUESTS EARLY ELECTIONS; KHASBULATOV REFUSES.
President Boris Yeltsin initiated his plan to abolish the current
parliament with a formal request to the parliament for early
elections, agencies reported on 20 August. He claimed that the
results of the April referendum justified pre-term elections.
Parliamentary chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov swiftly rejected Yeltsin's
request and said that he had withdrawn his "offer" to hold simultaneous
legislative and presidential elections. However, he promised
to organize presidential elections if Yeltsin still wished to
stand. The council of parliamentary factions, meanwhile, reiterated
the demand made on 13 August by most of its members for a meeting
with Yeltsin to persuade him against parliamentary elections.
-Wendy Slater

RYABOV CRITICIZES PARLIAMENTARY LEADERSHIP. Deputy parliamentary
speaker Nikolai Ryabov again demonstrated his shift to the presidential
camp when he said on 20-August that part of the parliamentary
leadership, including Ruslan Khasbulatov, was trying to implement
the slogan of "all power to the soviets." This, Ryabov said,
would lead to the "Bolshevization" of the country and ran counter
to democracy in Russia. Together with the head of the presidential
administration, Sergei Filatov, Ryabov organized a meeting on
21-August of regional leaders who voiced support for the idea
of a Federation Council, as proposed by Yeltsin. Recently, opposition
parliamentary factions have called for Ryabov's resignation.
-Wendy Slater

FEDOTOV RESIGNS. Press and Information Minister Mikhail Fedotov
has resigned from his post on 20 August, Russian television reported
on 21 August. Fedotov indicated that he resigned to protest the
drastic amendments to the Law on Mass Media made recently by
the parliament, which foresees the setting up of special supervisory
councils for the media. His resignation, however, followed two
weeks of speculation in the Russian media that Yeltsin had wanted
to replace Fedotov with his close ally, Mikhail Poltoranin. Media
chiefs had previously accused Fedotov of failing to resist political
pressure from parliament. Early on 22-August, shots were fired
at the building of the Press and Information Ministry. Nobody
was hurt and Fedotov commented that the shots may have been a
warning to him. Fedotov said that he plans to set up an all-Russian
strike committee to defend the freedom of the press. -Alexander
Rahr and Julia Wishnevsky

CORRUPTION CHARGES SPREAD; FOREIGN TRADE MINISTER RESIGNS. Summoned
back to Moscow on corruption charges only hours after his departure
on an official five-nation African trip on 21 August, Minister
for Foreign Economic Relations Sergei Glazyev submitted his resignation.
According to Reuters, Glazyev charged in his resignation letter
that he had been hounded from office by Justice Minister Yurii
Kalmykov and First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko, at
least in part because the Ministry had recently attempted to
impose stricter controls on the export of strategic raw materials
and military technology. Glazyev was appointed to his post in
December of 1992, when he replaced the relatively liberal Petr
Aven. In early February of this year, Boris Yeltsin said that
Aven's failure to promote Russian arms exports had cost him his
job, and he threatened Glazyev with the same fate. Glazyev's
dismissal appears to have been the result of Moscow's enduring
failure to increase arms exports, of continuing charges that
the Trade Ministry was corrupt, and of Yeltsin's efforts to consolidate
the forces around him in anticipation of an impending political
showdown with the opposition. -Stephen Foye

RUSSIAN NUCLEAR INDUSTRY PROBLEMS. In his interview with Nezavisimaya
gazeta on 18 August, Minister of Atomic Energy Viktor Mikhailov
claimed that Russian nuclear reactors had a better safety record
for the year than those in France, England, Germany, and especially
the US. According to Mikhailov, only Japan had a better record.
He went on to note that his ministry employed almost one million
workers, even though the central apparatus numbered only some
900 people. Of the total workforce, only 15% are reportedly directly
engaged in nuclear weapons work. At the Arzamas-16 nuclear center,
average pay was increased on 1 July from 40,000 to 74,000 rubles
per month, although there was insufficient money to actually
pay the increased salary. (The increase was prompted by a workers'
strike threat in June.) Despite these financial difficulties,
though, he denied that there was a "brain drain" of workers from
the nuclear weapons sector to other countries, even though in
8-months in 1992 approximately 30,000 workers had left the ministry.
-John Lepingwell

SOUTH KOREA OFFERED RUSSIAN WEAPONS DEAL. Deputy Prime Minister
Aleksandr Shokhin, who arrived in South Korea on 22 August to
begin a 4-day visit, will offer Seoul a deal whereby Russia would
supply South Korea with military hardware as payment for interest
on some $1.47 billion in loans extended by South Korea to Russia
since 1988. Russia is apparently unable at present to repay the
loans or the interest on them. According to reports by AFP and
a South Korean newspaper, Shokhin is prepared to offer missiles,
fighter aircraft and other ultra-modern weapons systems. The
proposal could cause tension in Washington; the US has long been
South Korea's major weapons' supplier. Shokhin is also scheduled
to meet with South Korea's President and will reportedly invite
him to Moscow to meet with Boris Yeltsin. -Stephen Foye

RUSSIA TO STAGE MAJOR ARMS SHOW. Some 215-Russian defense enterprises
plan to display their wares, included non-military goods produced
by converted defense plants, at an arms fair to be held in Nizhnyi-Novgorod
(formerly the closed city of Gorky) from 8-13 September, AFP
and ITAR-TASS reported. The organizers, who include the Russian
Defense Ministry and local government officials, claimed that
15-governments had already pledged to send representatives; the
short notice nevertheless suggests that the fair has been put
together hastily. A Foreign Ministry spokesman emphasized that
prospective sales would be carefully reviewed by the Russian
government. -Stephen Foye

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



NEW GEORGIAN PRIME MINISTER APPOINTED. On 20 August the Georgian
parliament approved by 126-votes to 17 with 6 abstentions the
appointment as Prime Minister of Otar Patsatsia, Western agencies
reported. Born in 1929, Patsatsia graduated from the Leningrad
Technological Institute. In 1965 he was appointed director of
a major cellulose and paper plant in Zugdidi; during the 1980s
he was repeatedly praised by the Georgian Party leadership for
innovations aimed at improving living conditions of the plant's
workers. His most recent position was as head of the local administration
in Zugdidi. Patsatsia was praised by Shevardnadze as "a man of
his word" with a gift for personal relations and resolving economic
problems. -Liz Fuller

ARMENIA-AZERBAIJAN UPDATE. On 20 August ITAR-TASS quoted the
Azerbaijani defense ministry as saying that artillery shells
fired from Armenian positions near the Azerbaijani-Iranian frontier
hit Iranian territory. On 21 August, the Azerbaijan Ministry
of Defense claimed to have retaken Dzhebrail and to have repulsed
several new Armenian offensives, according to Radio Baku. Also
on 21 August, Turan quoted the Russian special emissary to the
CSCE Karabakh negotiations criticizing the CSCE negotiation effort
as ineffective as "it has no experience of large peacekeeping
operations." -Liz Fuller

ASALA THREATENS TO SABOTAGE AZERBAIJANI-TURKISH OIL PIPELINE.
In a statement issued in Beirut and summarized by AFP on 22 August,
the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA)
stated that it "would not allow" the passing of the planned oil
pipeline from Baku to Yumurtalik on Turkey's Mediterranean coast
through what it termed "occupied Armenian territories" in Eastern
Turkey. ASALA also issued unspecified threats against the consortium
of eight Western oil companies currently engaged in renegotiating
with Azerbaijan on exploitation of three major offshore oil fields.
-Liz Fuller

NEW TURKMEN CURRENCY TO REPLACE THE RUBLE. President Saparmurad
Niyazov announced that Turkmenistan would replace the ruble fully
with its own currency, the manat, on 1 November, Russian and
Western agencies reported on 19 August. The rate of exchange
will initially be fixed at one manat to the dollar. On 1 September
Turkmenistan will begin phasing out the ruble, allowing citizens
to exchange up to 30,000 rubles (about $30) in cash, at the rate
of 1,000-rubles for one manat. Niyazov asserted that the Russian
Central Bank's unexpected decision to remove old rubles from
circulation last month hastened the introduction of the manat.
Niyazov also promised that the minimum monthly wage would be
150 manats ($150), and the average pay the equivalent of $370
to $400 after Turkmenistan leaves the ruble zone. -Yalcin Tokgozoglu


CIS

CIS DEFENSE CHIEFS TO MEET. The Council of CIS Defense Ministers
was scheduled to begin a two-day meeting in Moscow on 23 August,
ITAR-TASS reported. The situation on the Afghan-Tajik border
and a reorganization of the CIS command structure were among
the key issues scheduled to be discussed. According to ITAR-TASS,
Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev was expected to chair
the meeting. An invitation was also extended to former CIS Commander-in-Chief
Evgenii Shaposhnikov, but he reportedly declined to attend. His
departure is expected to be formalized at the meeting. -Stephen
Foye

SHUSHKEVICH-YELTSIN MEETING. The main outcome of the 19 August
meeting between Belarusian Supreme Soviet Chairman Stanislau
Shushkevich and Russian President Boris Yeltsin appears to be
the transformation of technical credits issued by the Central
Bank of Russia into Belarusian sovereign debt owed to the Russian
state. It is hoped that this arrangement will stabilize the value
of the Belarusian rubel which has been falling recently in value
against the ruble, and open new credit lines for purchasing gas
and oil from Russia, Postfaktumradie and ITAR-TASS reported.
Despite Shushkevich's positive pronouncements on the outcome
of the meeting, this cannot be seen as a special concession to
Belarus since Russia has also transformed debt into technical
credits for Armenia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan and Turkmenistan in bilateral agreements during the
past few days, ITAR-TASS reported on 20 August. At a press conference
Shushkevich was quoted as saying, "If we do not put an end to
our squandering and disorder no amount of oil or gas will help
us." -Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN LEADER WARY OF PROPOSED NEW ECONOMIC UNION. In his
keynote address before the country's other leaders at a meeting
in Kiev on 21-August to mark the second anniversary of Ukraine's
declaration of independence, Parliamentary speaker Ivan Plyushch
declared that the republic remains opposed to any "attempts to
transform the Commonwealth of Independent States into a new supra
state." According to Radio Ukraine, he warned that the proposed
new economic union of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine "is an attempt
to restore not only a single economic space, but also a single
citizenship, and a single state administration," and would be
"absolutely unacceptable" in this form for his country. Meanwhile,
a roundtable of Communist and pro-Communist parties and groups,
which was held in Kiev on 20 August, urged that Ukraine form
an economic union with its two neighboring Slavic states, Ukrainian
TV reported. -Bohdan Nahaylo

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



IZETBEGOVIC REJECTS PEACE PLAN. International media report on
22 and 23 August that Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic has
called a meeting of Bosnian legislators and other officials for
27 August in Zenica to discuss the package announced in Geneva
on 20 August, but added that he will advise that the plan be
rejected and renegotiated. Serb and Croat leaders who have accepted
the deal, have, however, joined international negotiators in
describing the offer as take-it-or-leave-it. The Serbs have also
warned the Muslims that they stand to get less land in the future
if they reject the current package now. The plan calls for: a
new constitutional system of three loosely linked ethnically
based republics; a cease-fire to be followed by withdrawals and
then by total demilitarization; a renewal of humanitarian efforts,
including the return to their homes of people driven out in ethnic
cleansing; and access to the sea for Bosnia via Croatia. The
Serbs will have to give up some of their conquests under the
deal, but the Muslims say it still effectively sanctions the
results of ethnic cleansing. -Patrick Moore

STARVATION IMMINENT IN MOSTAR. UN officials told international
media on 22 August that people are likely to begin dying of hunger
in the embattled Herzegovinian city by the end of the week unless
Croat forces let aid convoys through. A symbolic delivery was
made on 21-August, but subsequent attempts to bring in massive
aid were blocked. Some 55,000 people are trapped in Mostar, including
30,000 Muslims, and CNN notes on 23-August that the UN is now
considering trying to approach the area via Serb-held territory.
Elsewhere, in another humanitarian mission, some 21 Jews left
Sarajevo for Israel and other destinations on 21-August, Reuters
said. The Bosnian capital's once-thriving, mainly Sephardic,
community has been reduced to less than 1,000 by the Holocaust
and by evacuations during the current conflict. Meanwhile, the
BBC on 23 August reports intensified combat between Serbs and
Muslims near Maglaj and between Croats and Muslims in central
Bosnia and around Mostar in an apparent scramble to consolidate
positions. Hina adds on 22 August that Krajina Serb forces renewed
shelling near Sinj and Drnis in the Dalmatian hinterland. -Patrick
Moore

BORDER INCIDENT BETWEEN ALBANIA AND KOSOVO. The government of
rump Yugoslavia accused Albania of responsibility for a border
incident in which a Serbian border guard was killed, Tanjug reported
on 20 August. Tirana rejected the accusations as "slander and
lies," a government spokesman said on 22-August. He said the
accusations were "Serb propaganda" aimed at increasing tension
in the Balkans. On 20 August Albania called again for international
intervention in Kosovo to prevent the expansion of the Balkan
conflict. The Democratic League of Kosovo leader Ibrahim Rugova
urged making Kosovo an international protectorate in order to
help reach a political solution of the Kosovo problem, Rilindija
reports on 20 August. Rugova was detained by Serbian police on
20 August, ATA adds. Elsewhere, Western news agencies noted over
the weekend that the UN sub-commission on human rights called
on Serbian authorities to immediately halt discrimination, including
"arbitrary detentions, torture and massive expulsions from work,"
and demanded that the government allow international mediators
to investigate the reported violations. Meanwhile, UNESCO called
for a new round of negotiations between the Serbs and Albanians
on the schooling problem. The Serbs effectively abolished Albanian-language
instruction in 1990, but since then the Albanians have built
up an underground school system, Borba reports on 20-August.
-Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIANS IN KOSOVO DO NOT WANT PASSPORTS. The decision of the
Macedonian foreign ministry to require passports on the border
with rump Yugoslavia has provoked discontent and protests among
the Albanians in Kosovo, Borba reports on 19 August. In an official
announcement, the LDK warns that the new rule could cut personal
and family ties between the Albanians in Kosovo and Macedonia
and cause new tensions in the region because the Serbian government
does not issue passports to every Albanian. But Borba says that
about half of the Albanians do not have passports because their
political leaders advised them not to apply for the document,
lest the Serb authorities use this as a means to encourage Albanians
to leave the country. Until 23 August the border could be crossed
with Yugoslav identity cards. -Fabian Schmidt

BULGARIA REITERATES COMMITMENT TO RESOLUTION 820. On 20 August
Prime Minister Lyuben Berov rejected speculations that Bulgaria
was considering the possibility of ignoring the United Nations
embargo against rump Yugoslavia because of lost trade revenues,
BTA reports. After a meeting with Western ambassadors, Berov
said Bulgaria has neither the intention nor the capability to
defy UN decisions. He nevertheless declared that the government
has not given up the idea of a transport corridor through Serbia
to Western markets, arguing that resolution 820 would allow for
such exceptions. Berov said several Western countries have promised
to try and help alleviate Bulgaria's increasingly precarious
trade and transport situation. Meanwhile, presidential spokesman
Ivaylo Trifonov told private Darik Radio that the issue of compensation
will be the top priority of the Bulgarian delegation when the
next session of the UN General Assembly begins in late September.
-Kjell Engelbrekt

BILINGUAL ROAD SIGNS CONTROVERSY IN ROMANIA. The extreme nationalist
Greater Romania Party has joined the Party of Romanian National
Unity in castigating the draft law on bilingual road signs. The
party's leader, Corneliu Vadim Tudor, demanded at a press conference
held on 20 August the immediate dismissal of the governmental
coordinator of the Council for National Minorities, where the
draft originated. Radio Bucharest reported that Tudor accused
Viorel Hrebenciuc of "high treason" and threatened that unless
he was dismissed, his party would withdraw any support from the
government and organize nationwide protest meetings and demonstrations.
On the other hand, presidential spokesman Traian Chebeleu said
at a press conference on the same day that the government will
not decide on the draft according to "party considerations,"
but in line with "the national interest" which requires "interethnic
harmony." -Michael Shafir

HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER ON HORTHY. In an interview with the
television program "A Het" (the week) Prime Minister Jozsef Antall
discussed Admiral Miklos Horthy's role during World War II, MTI
reported on 22 August. Antall said that Horthy had faced a "most
cunning and best trained" enemy in Nazi Germany, and Hungary
would probably have gotten entangled in the war even if Horthy
had not entered it in 1941. Antall said that if a resistance
movement against Hitler had been organized as early as 1942 and
1943, millions of Hungarians would have perished, Jews would
have been eradicated, and Hungary would have been economically
ruined. Horthy had tried to avoid this as no statesman wants
to sacrifice his country, Antall stressed. Addressing Horthy's
attempt to break away from Nazi Germany on 15 October 1944, Antall
spoke of the dilemma Horthy had faced as he, an anti-communist,
had to turn to the Soviet Union for an armistice instead of the
Western powers. Antall praised Horthy for attaining in autumn
1944 the release of Hungarian politicians imprisoned by the Gestapo.
Horthy is to be reburied in Hungary on 4 September. Several government
members are expected to attend the reburial as private persons.
-Edith Oltay

RUSSIA BREAKS OFF TROOP WITHDRAWAL TALKS WITH LITHUANIA. On 22
August the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying
that it was breaking off troop withdrawal talks with Lithuania,
which had rejected its proposed document setting out the legal
framework for the withdrawal, Radio Lithuania reports. The statement
said that the Russian troops would eventually leave in accordance
with the norms of international law, but within a timetable suitable
for Russia, about which Lithuania would be informed. It also
noted that in the event of provocations or any other reckless
action against Russian servicemen, their families, or other Russian
citizens, Russia would respond "quickly, practically, and decisively."
Presidential press spokesman Nerijus Maliukevicius denied Russian
media reports that Lithuania was demanding $146 billion compensation
for damages since 1940, noting that Lithuania had not officially
proposed any specific figure, but sought the compensation as
a matter of principle. -Saulius Girnius

MAYOROV: RUSSIAN TROOP PULLOUTS NOT LIKELY BY 1994. The commander
of Russia's Northwestern Group of Forces, Col. Gen. Leonid Mayorov,
told the press in Riga that owing to delays in reaching agreements
on details concerning the pullout of Russian troops from the
Baltic States, it would be nearly impossible for Russia to meet
the pledge to complete the pullout of its forces from the Baltics
by the end of 1994. He stressed that the withdrawal of Russian
troops from Eastern Europe had taken place only after treaties
had been signed with the affected states. Mayorov claimed that
Lithuania had unilaterally added to the draft treaty new demands
for financial compensation, which had caught the Russian side
by surprise; for this reason, he blamed Lithuania for the current
stalemate and the suspension of troop withdrawal from that country,
Russian and Baltic media reported on 21 August. -Dzintra Bungs


BRAZAUSKAS-YELTSIN MEETING CANCELLED. On 22 August Lithuanian
President Algirdas Brazauskas called off his meeting with Boris
Yeltsin in Moscow, scheduled for 23-August, Radio Lithuania reports.
He made the decision after receiving reports on unsuccessful
preparatory talks from Lithuanian officials who met in Moscow
on 21 August with Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vitalii
Churkin. In a televised speech Brazauskas said he would soon
invite an international organization or another country to act
as mediator on Russian troop withdrawal and compensation questions.
He regretted that Russia was not complying with its international
obligations, but maintained that the two countries "must preserve
friendly, good-neighborly relations in all aspects." He suggested
that Lithuania should reconsider its strong demands for financial
compensation. -Saulius Girnius

POLISH POSTCOMMUNIST PARTIES GAIN IN POLLS. With less than a
month to go until the Polish elections, the latest opinion poll
on voter preferences, from mid-August, shows the former official
Polish Peasant Party leading the pack with 16% (12% in July)
and the former communist Democratic Left Alliance close behind
with 14% (10% in July). The Democratic Union remained stable
at 13%, but dropped from first to third place as the two postcommunist
parties advanced. President Lech Walesa's Nonparty Reform Bloc
(BBWR) dropped from 11% in July to only 6% in August. The leftist
Union of Labor had 6%; the radical-populist Confederation for
an Independent Poland, 5%. The remaining parties-Solidarity,
Party X, the Liberal Democratic Congress, and both the Catholic
and anticommunist right-wing coalitions-all polled below the
5% threshold. 23% of the respondents remained undecided. Turnout
was estimated at 46%. The poll was conducted by the Center for
Public Opinion Research (CBOS) and reported by PAP. -Louisa Vinton


DEMOCRATIC LEFT TRIUMPHS IN POLISH "PRIMARY." The former communist
Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) scored a clear victory in a "primary"
election held on 22-August in the Polish town of Wrzesnia. Organized
by the liberal weekly Wprost and the Pentor polling organization,
the "primary" invited the town's 30,000 residents to cast mock
ballots for fifteen parties competing nationwide in the 19 September
elections. The town was chosen because the balloting there in
the 1991 elections roughly matched the results nationwide. Of
the 4,014 ballots cast on 22-August, 34% went to the SLD, 17%
to the Democratic Union, 14% to the Union of Labor, 10% to the
Liberal Democratic Congress, 8%-to the libertarian Union of Real
Politics, and 6% to Party X. The other parties, including Walesa's
BBWR, Solidarity, and the Polish Peasant Party, were well below
the 5% threshold. Several right-wing parties questioned the results
and lodged protests because they had not agreed to participate
in the "primary." The Wrzesnia results differ dramatically from
all opinion polls conducted so far but are still likely to be
a shock for the governing parties. -Louisa Vinton

COMMEMORATIONS OF THE PRAGUE SPRING. Low-key gatherings and speeches
by leading politicians marked the 25th anniversary of the Soviet-led
invasion of Czechoslovakia on 21 August 1968. In Prague, a memorial
plaque was placed at the offices of Czech Radio, where 18 people
died in 1968 at a rally protesting the invasion. Similar ceremonies
were held in Prostejov and the Moravian capital of Brno. Several
thousand people attended an anniversary gathering in Wenceslas
Square in Prague. In a speech on Czech Radio and Television on
20 August, President Vaclav Havel said that "the brave uprising
of our society at that time remains living proof of the beneficent
powers that lie dormant in it." Also on 20-August, General Staff
Chief Jiri Nekvasil apologized in the name of the Czech armed
forces for what he called the "misuse of the army against anti-communist
demonstrations in Czechoslovakia in 1969." The Czechoslovak army
did not intervene in the 1968 invasion; however, it sent about
20,000 troops to quell demonstrations in several Czechoslovak
towns a year later, on 21 August 1969. On 20 August a national
gathering commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 1968 Soviet
invasion of Czechoslovakia took place in Bratislava's Slovak
National Uprising Square. The gathering was attended by Movement
for a Democratic Slovakia Deputy Chairman Roman Kovac, Slovak
National Party Deputy Chairman Anton Hrnko and Party of the Democratic
Left Deputy Chairman Alzbeta Borzova, TASR reports. On 21 August
another event took place in Bratislava organized by the Slovak
Social Democratic Party, of which Prague Spring leader Alexander
Dubcek was a member until his death last November. The event
was attended by former Prime Minister Oldrich Cernik and Former
Foreign Minister Jiri Hajek. -Jiri Pehe and Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK-RUSSIAN TREATY REVISED. TASR reports that the Slovak-Russian
Treaty was approved by representatives of Slovak political parties
on 22 August, after the controversial Article 4 was omitted.
The preamble condemns totalitarianism as well as the 1968 Soviet
invasion and occupation of Czechoslovakia. The treaty is expected
to be signed by Russian President Boris Yeltsin during his 26
August visit to Slovakia. -Sharon Fisher

UKRAINIAN LEADER CALLS FOR EARLY ELECTIONS. In his address on
21 August in connection with the second anniversary of the declaration
of Ukrainian independence, which was reported by Ukrainian and
western media, Parliamentary Speaker Ivan Plyushch gave a sober
appraisal of the difficult economic and political situation in
which the new state now finds itself. He said that the last two
years had been "marked by a series of missed opportunities" and
proposed, as a way around the present political impasse, that
when parliament reconvenes on 26 August it adopt a new electoral
law and agree to hold local elections later this year and parliamentary
elections next March. Significantly, Plyushch stressed that the
decision to hold a referendum on 26 September on confidence in
the parliament and president had been made "under pressure from
the miners" and that "now it has become apparent that this was
not the best decision." The Speaker also rejected criticism of
delays in the parliament's ratification of the START-1 treaty,
saying that the Supreme Council had first to ensure that "the
interests of safeguarding Ukraine's security" were met. -Bohdan
Nahaylo

UKRAINIAN NAVY TO BE CREATED IN FIVE YEARS. The Ukrainian Defense
Minister, Konstantin Morozov, had ordered his staff to study
the problem of building a Ukrainian navy within the next five
years, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 21 August. According
to Morozov, the navy should be constructed on the basis of Ukraine's
share of the Black Sea Fleet, with additional ships to be built.
He proposed that each oblast in Ukraine finance the construction
of one vessel for the navy. In other naval news, Reuters reported
on 20-August that six women have been accepted into Ukraine's
new naval academy. Women currently serve in some positions in
the army in both Ukraine and Russia, but until now have been
denied positions in the navy. -Ustina Markus

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Ustina Markus and Michael Shafir





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