Some things have to be believed to be seen. - Ralph Hodgson
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 200, 18 October 1993



Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.





RUSSIA



YELTSIN DECREES CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM. President Boris Yeltsin
announced during an interview on Russian TV "Vesti" on 15 October
that the new draft constitution of the Russian Federation will
be put to referendum on 12 December (the date of elections to
a new parliament). The version of the constitution to be put
to referendum will be that approved by the president's Constitutional
Assembly. The text of this new constitution, which is still undergoing
revision, will be published by 10 November. The text of Yeltsin's
decree was carried by ITAR-TASS on 16-October. Voters will be
asked simply: "Do you accept the Constitution of the Russian
Federation?" Earlier in the month it had been thought that the
new parliament would debate and adopt the new constitution. -Wendy
Slater

SIMPLE MAJORITY TO SUFFICE FOR ADOPTION OF CONSTITUTION. According
to the statute on the referendum on the constitution scheduled
for 12 December 1993, issued by ITAR-TASS on 15 October, the
constitution will be considered adopted if at least 50-percent
of the electorate vote and over 50 percent of those voting vote
in favor. In other words, the motion could be carried by a "yes"
vote of just over 25 percent of the electorate. There is no requirement
that the motion must be approved by a given number of regions
or republics. -Ann Sheehy

PARLIAMENT'S LEADERS CHARGED. The leaders of the disbanded parliament,
in prison since their arrest on 4 October, have been charged
under article 79 of the Criminal Code with "organizing mass disturbances
with severe consequences," Petersburg TV reported on 15-October.
Those charged are parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov; ex-Vice
President Aleksandr Rutskoi; the rival Security, Interior, and
Defense Ministers appointed by the parliament: Viktor Barannikov,
Andrei Dunaev, and Vladislav Achalov respectively; and Viktor
Anpilov, leader of the banned "Working Russia" and the Russian
Communist Workers' Party, which were participants in the demonstrations
on 3 October. Aleksandr Barkashov, the leader of another proscribed
party, Russian National Unity, is still on the run. Interfax
reported that Barannikov, at least, will plead not guilty. -Wendy
Slater

YELTSIN NOT SIGNING CONTROVERSIAL DECREE. President Yeltsin told
Russian TV "Vesti" on 15-October that he will not sign a controversial
decree on hardening presidential rule in the country. A draft
of the decree "On Measures to Secure Law and Order for the Period
of the Gradual Implementation of Constitutional Reform" had been
published before in the Russian press (see: RFE/RL Daily Report
no. 198.) It would have limited a number of civil rights and
widened the influence of the "power" ministries. Yeltsin indicated
that he may sign the decree in a different form. -Alexander Rahr


RUSSIA'S CHOICE MEETS. At its founding conference, the democratic
bloc "Russia' choice" selected its candidates for parliamentary
elections, ITAR-TASS reported on 18 October. Since President
Boris Yeltsin had decreed earlier that government ministers may
run for elections, the bloc chose First Deputy Prime Minister
Egor Gaidar as its top candidate. First Deputy Prime Minister
Vladimir Shumeiko said that the bloc may transform itself into
a ruling party. Yeltsin did not attend the conference and his
spokesman, Vyacheslav Kostikov, stated that Yeltsin is not considering
joining any parties because he does not want to link himself
with a particular political group. The Movement "Democratic Russia"
joined "Russia's choice" on the condition that it remains a bloc
and will not become a party. -Alexander Rahr

YELTSIN'S SUPPORTERS SPEAK AGAINST EARLIER PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
Addressing a founding congress of the "Russia's choice" bloc,
Vladimir Shumeiko said there was no need to hold earlier presidential
elections in June, as proposed by president Yeltsin. In turn,
Egor Gaidar told the congress that earlier presidential elections
were "a matter for discussion," ITAR-TASS and Radio Rossii reported
on 16 October. ITAR-TASS also quoted chief of the presidential
apparatus Sergei Filatov as saying that earlier presidential
elections were proposed by Yeltsin as a compromise "under pressure
from certain forces." But he said those forces were gone now,
so more thought would have to be given to whether earlier presidential
elections were needed. -Vera Tolz

SHAKHRAI'S PARTY HOLDS CONGRESS. The founding Congress of the
Party for Russian Unity and Concord was held in Novgorod, Radio
Mayak reported on 16-October. A number of regional politicians
attended the congress. Participants of the congress spoke out
against forming a coalition with "Russia' choice." The Party
of Russian Unity and Concord stands for a decentralized Russian
state and will support regional representatives for parliamentary
elections. The leader of the party, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei
Shakhrai, said in his speech that Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
and First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets-two leading centrists-will
cooperate with his party. The congress was also attended by Deputy
Prime Minister Aleksandr Shokhin and presidential advisor Sergei
Stankevich. -Alexander Rahr

MILITARY PROCUREMENT ORDERS TO RISE? THE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE
HAS ASKED FOR A 50% INCREASE IN MILITARY PROCUREMENT ORDERS IN
1994. This was disclosed by Sergei Vasiliev, the head of the
Center for Economic Reform, in an interview with the Christian
Science Monitor of 15 October. The projected jump in defense
orders would follow a reported 67% decline in military procurements
in 1992 and an anticipated 10% increase in 1993. The military-industrial
complex is expected to gain all or most of this increase in the
light of the army's key role in resolving the power crisis. -Keith
Bush

KOZYREV ON POLICIES. In an interview with Interfax published
on 15 October, Russian Foreign Minister Kozyrev said, "let's
wait and see," when asked about the influence of the military
establishment on Russian politics. He said the source of Yeltsin's
power comes from the people's mandate and not from the military.
In response to a question about East European membership in NATO,
Kozyrev reiterated Russia's dual stance-that Russia recognizes
these states' sovereignty but does not support their admission
to NATO. Kozyrev also linked the question of NATO membership
to the ethnic conflicts in the former Soviet Union, asking how
Polish membership in NATO would help to settle local conflicts
in Abkhazia or in Yugoslavia, for that matter. Kozyrev indicated
that with the entry of the new Russian legislature into power,
some shifts in Russian foreign policy were possible. -Suzanne
Crow

TOKYO PROTESTS RUSSIAN NUCLEAR DUMPING. Only days after the conclusion
of a ground-breaking visit by Boris Yeltsin to Tokyo, senior
Japanese government officials on 17-18 October protested what
they believe is the resumed dumping by the Russian navy of radioactive
waste in the Sea of Japan. According to Russian and Western news
agencies, the environmental group Greenpeace first raised the
alarm on 16 October when one of its vessels discovered the Russian
naval convoy heading toward the dumpsite. Japanese Prime Minister
Morihiro Hosokawa was quoted on 18 October as saying that Tokyo
found the dumping "extremely regrettable," and that it intended
to lodge a protest with the Russian government. The dumping would
appear to violate the 1983 London Convention and assurances reportedly
given by Moscow to Tokyo that such dumping would not take place.
It also raises at least the possibility that Russian naval commanders,
or other forces in Russia opposed to making concessions on the
Kurils Islands dispute, acted independently in hopes of cooling
recently improved relations between the two countries. -Stephen
Foye

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



GAMSAKHURDIA SUPPORTERS TAKE SAMTREDIA. On 17 October the private
army of ousted president Zviad Gamsakhurdia launched a surprise
offensive against the strategic rail junction of Samtredia, which
had been subjected to artillery bombardment for several days,
and took the town after fierce fighting in which numerous government
troops and civilians were killed, Western agencies reported.
Georgian National Guard Commander Dzhemal Chumburidze attributed
the fall of Samtredia to lack of discipline among Georgian government
troops; parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze has ordered all
available reinforcements to Kutaisi. Also on 17 October, Gamsakhurdia's
troops launched a new attack on the town of Khoni, which they
had ceded to government troops on 15 October; according to Tbilisi
Radio, the town was still in government control late on 17 October.
-Liz Fuller

UKRAINIAN AIR CREWS EVACUATING GEORGIAN REFUGEES. Ukrainian helicopter
crews, at the request of Georgian Parliament Chairman Eduard
Shevardnadze, have begun helping evacuate some 7,000 refugees
from Abkhazia, Reuters reported on 14 October. The refugees are
being flown to Kutaisi in Georgia. Shevardnadze has twice asked
Ukraine to mediate in Georgia's dispute with Abkhazia's separatists.
-Ustina Markus

TURKEY OFFERS RUSSIA USE OF BLACK SEA PORT. At the opening session
of a meeting of the Russian-Turkish Business Council in Sochi
on 16 October, which was attended by 120-Turkish and 200 Russian
businessmen, Russian representatives offered Turkey cooperation
in the sphere of military technology, in particular placing Turkish
military orders at Russian defense plants. Turkey offered Russia,
which currently has no outlet to the Black Sea, use of port facilities
at Trabzon for the transit shipment of merchandise intended for
Russian cities, RIA reported on 16 October. -Liz Fuller

RAFSANJANI TO TASHKENT. On 18 October Iranian President Ali-Akbar
Rafsanjani is to travel to Tashkent on the first stop of a nine-day
tour of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan as head of a
delegation of some 200 government officials and businessmen,
Western agencies reported. Reuters quoted the Iranian Ambassador
to Uzbekistan as affirming that the aim of the visit is to strengthen
economic, political, and cultural relations; he stressed that
"we are not going to proselytize our religious ideas." Rafsanjani
is expected to sign agreements on trade, cultural agreements
and transport cooperation in all three countries. -Liz Fuller


UZBEKISTAN JOINS IFC. On 15 October Uzbekistan became the ninth
former Soviet republic to join the International Finance Corporation,
the branch of the World Bank that deals with the private sector.
Speaking at a press conference in Tashkent, IFC executive vice-president
Sir William Ryrie said that the IFC would assist the Uzbek government
in drawing up policies to attract foreign investment and arrange
financing for joint ventures in the mineral, oil, gas, tourism
and agro-industrial sectors, according to an RFE/RL correspondent.
Concluding a visit to Tashkent during which he signed agreements
on cultural and diplomatic exchanges and on tax breaks, on 16
October British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth
Affairs Douglas Hogg noted that "there are large commercial opportunities
in Uzbekistan" given its natural resources and the fact that
the country is solvent, Reuters reported. -Liz Fuller

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



SERBS RESUME SHELLING OF SARAJEVO. On 16-October, Bosnian Serb
artillery resumed the shelling of Sarajevo, killing at least
12 civilians, international media report. Bosnian President Alija
Izetbegovic protested the shelling in a letter to the UN Security
Council. He also called for the holding of a Balkan Conference
that would "globally" tackle the region's problems. The renewed
attack comes one week after Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic
said his forces would launch no new attacks on the besieged city.
Meanwhile, Bosnian Muslims continued to fight each other in the
northwestern Bosnian enclave of Cazinska Krajina, known as the
Bihac Pocket. Radio Croatia reports on 16-October that government
troops recaptured the town of Cazin from rebel Muslim forces
loyal to Fikret Abdic, who proclaimed the region's autonomy on
27-September. -Milan Andrejevich

NO CONFIDENCE VOTE IN SERBIA? A VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE IN THE
SOCIALIST GOVERNMENT OF NIKOLA SAINOVIC COULD TAKE PLACE ON 18
OCTOBER, BELGRADE MEDIA REPORT. Debate in the 250-seat Serbian
parliament on a motion by the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) to
oust the government began on 7 October. More than 100 deputies
have taken the floor and mutual recriminations between government
supporters and the opposition have dominated the proceedings.
126 votes are needed to pass the no-confidence vote. The SRS
and the opposition coalition DEPOS, whose largest party is the
Serbian Renewal Movement, have a total of 123 votes. On 14-October,
deputies of the coalition bloc DEPOS threatened to support the
dismissal motion unless Interior Minister Zoran Sokolovic resigns.
DEPOS accused Sokolovic of widespread acts of repression. Sokolovic
apologized in parliament but DEPOS deputies retorted that his
statement is not enough and does not solve the problem of police
brutality and increased crime. -Milan Andrejevich

TUDJMAN REAFFIRMS GRIP ON POLITICS. The second convention of
the ruling Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) overwhelmingly
reelected Franjo Tudjman as party president on 16 October, reaffirming
his political control despite discontent over economic woes and
Serb rebels. Tudjman also demonstrated his personal power within
the party and his quest for a more democratic image by leaning
on right-wing hard-liners such as Vice Premier Vladimir Seks
and Branimir Glavas to withdraw their candidacies for the HDZ
executive body in favor of moderates. Elected as the five vice
presidents were Mate Granic, Gojko Susak (the only hard-liner
of the group), Franjo Greguric, Nikica Valentic, and Marijan
Sunjic, while Djuro Brodarac, Djuro Decak, Antun Vrdoljak, Hrvoje
Hitrec, and Ivic Pasalic were elected Presidium members. A new
party program was also adopted and all other central party bodies
were dissolved. The new program defines the HDZ as a "Christian
democratic party," according to Radio Croatia. The party reaffirmed
commitments to privatizing the economy and toward renewing UN-mediated
talks with the Serbs before resorting to war to regain territory.
-Milan Andrejevich

GREECE WITHDRAWS FROM TALKS WITH MACEDONIA. Andreas Papandreou,
Greece's newly elected prime minister, has categorically refused
to continue UN-sponsored talks with the Republic of Macedonia
on the official name of the new state, AFP reports. How the Greek
action will affect bilateral relations is unclear. MILS reports
that the Papandreou government has issued a protest to Beijing
over the Chinese government's recent decision to recognize Macedonia
under the name Republic of Macedonia. The Greek press has sharply
criticized China's move. -Duncan Perry

SUCHOCKA RESIGNS, WALESA TO NAME PAWLAK. President Lech Walesa
accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka and
her cabinet on 18 October, reports PAP. His office announced
that he will name the coalition's candidate, Polish Peasant Party
(PSL) leader Waldemar Pawlak, as prime minister later in the
day. Gazeta Wyborcza had speculated on 16 October that Walesa
was stalling in order to win concessions from the coalition on
the three ministries over which he has the right of general supervision:
defense, internal affairs, and foreign affairs. The paper also
reported that the PSL and the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD)
have yet to resolve their differences over which party is to
get control over the public administration and certain vital
economic ministries, including finance and labor. -Louisa Vinton


POLISH SENATE HOLDS INAUGURAL SESSION. The upper house of the
Polish parliament elected Adam Struzik of the Polish Peasant
Party (PSL) as Senate speaker during its opening session on 15
October, PAP reports. The vote was 87 to 6 with 5 abstentions.
Struzik, a 36-year-old physician, runs a regional hospital in
Plock; he is a member of the Solidarity trade union. The PSL
was granted control over the Senate speaker's post as part of
the coalition agreement with the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD).
The coalition parties together control 73 of 100 Senate seats
but took pains to ensure that the other parties represented in
the Senate won a place in the leadership. The three deputy speaker's
posts went to: Ryszard Czarny (SLD), Stefan Jurczak (Solidarity,
9-seats), and Zofia Kuratowska (Democratic Union, 4-seats). -Louisa
Vinton

US COURT ACQUITS POLISH ARMS DEALERS. A New York jury handed
down a "not guilty" verdict on 15-October in the trial of five
Polish citizens accused of conspiring to smuggle arms to Iraq,
PAP reports. The Poles, four of them former high-ranking communist
officials, were arrested in March 1992 in Frankfurt in a "sting"
operation run by US customs agents. The Poles contended that
the arms were bound for the Philippines rather than Iraq. Despite
repeated protests by the Polish government, Germany extradited
five of the Poles to the US in November. The sixth, a deputy
director of the Lucznik arms plant, was returned to Poland for
health reasons; he won a Senate seat in the 1993 elections. During
the trial, the Polish foreign ministry twice interceded with
"friend of the court" briefs, arguing that the US did not have
jurisdiction in the case. Several of the defendants were nonetheless
critical of the government's efforts. On their return to Warsaw
on 17 October, the five Poles were greeted at the airport by
the prime minister's press secretary and Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski.
They were later received by newly-elected Sejm Speaker Jozef
Oleksy. -Louisa Vinton

KLAUS ON NATO, WESTERN TRADE. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus
ended his visit to the US on 16-October and flew to Guatemala,
where he met with Vice President Artur Herbruger Asturias. On
17 October, Klaus began a five-day visit of Mexico. Before leaving
the US, Klaus told reporters on 15 October that the US supports,
in principle, the Czech Republic's desire to become a member
of NATO, but that he and Vice President Al Gore agreed that this
would be "a long and complex process." Klaus also said that his
country is ready to join NATO but that he does not think that
Russia should be considered for the alliance. Klaus argued that
NATO should include "stable democracies, clearly defined countries."
He said he is not sure Russia is one or will be in the future.
Klaus also urged Western countries to open their markets to former
communist countries instead of giving them aid. -Jiri Pehe

HAVEL HOLDS TALKS WITH KOHL. On 15 October Czech President Vaclav
Havel met with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in the German city
of Speyer, CTK reports. Czech media report Havel's one-day "private
visit" was initiated by Kohl in the spring of 1993. After his
return, Havel told journalists that he discussed bilateral relations
with Kohl, including the controversial issues of Czech policy
toward the expelled Sudeten Germans and German compensation for
Czech victims of Nazism. Havel said that Kohl supports the "continuation
and intensification of informal talks" between the two sides,
but that such a dialogue is not a precondition for the compensation
of Czech victims of Nazism. Havel also said that Kohl strongly
favors the quick admission of the Czech Republic into the EC
and NATO. -Jan Obrman

HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER UNDERGOES OPERATION. Hungarian Prime
Minister Jozsef Antall, who suffers from Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma,
underwent a blood cell transplant operation on 14 October in
Cologne, MTI and AFP reported on 15 October. Antall received
intensive chemotherapy before the operation. Antall's doctor
reported that the prime minister was in satisfactory condition.
The next report on Antall's health is expected in ten days. The
fact that an operation was necessary, despite reports to the
contrary released just a few weeks ago, suggests that Antall's
condition has deteriorated. -Judith Pataki

FIRST MIG-29S ARRIVE IN HUNGARY. On 15 October, eight MiG-29
fighter jets arrived at a rural base in Kecskemet, 80 kilometers
southeast of Budapest, MTI reported. The jets are the first of
the 28 Soviet-designed MiG-29s that Russia is handing over to
Hungary as partial settlement of the former Soviet debt. Hungarian
Defense Minister Lajos Fur, who was present at the arrival ceremony,
said that he hopes that the aircraft will never have to be used
in combat. Fur also denied that Hungary is rearming. -Judith
Pataki

HUNGARIAN ECONOMIC NEWS. Data released by the Central Statistical
Office on 15 October show the consumer price index rose 2.9%
in September, bringing the yearly price rise to 23%. The September
jump in prices followed a period of relatively low inflation
between May and August this year. In July, for example, prices
rose only 0.3%. In a separate economic report, Minister without
Portfolio Tamas Szabo, who is in charge of privatization, told
MTI on 14-October that the government plans to launch a large-scale
privatization program for small investors and for people with
compensation vouchers. As part of the program, the government
plans to privatize 70 enterprises and release some 100 billion
forint worth of stocks. -Judith Pataki

SLOVAK PREMIER VISITS ROME. Vladimir Meciar arrived in Rome for
an official visit on 17 October, TASR reports. The first day
of his trip included a visit to the Slovak Institute of St. Cyril
and St. Methodius, which was celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Meciar is scheduled to meet with Italian President Oscar Luigi
Scalfaro, Italian Premier Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, and Cardinal
Angelo Sodano, a senior official at the Vatican. -Sharon Fisher


MINORITIES CONFERENCE IN BRATISLAVA. The 18th Conference on National
Minorities was concluded in Bratislava on 17 October, TASR reports.
The conference was attended by over 140 delegates representing
ethnic minorities in Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary,
the Czech Republic, and Slovakia and was aimed at evaluating
the development of culture and the preservation of national identity
for minority groups in Central Europe. Meanwhile, Parliament
Chairman Ivan Gasparovic met in Washington with US Congressman
Steny Hoyer to discuss human rights in Slovakia. The two discussed
a recent US Senate report, which negatively assessed the treatment
of ethnic minorities in Slovakia. -Sharon Fisher

EC PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR ROMANIAN REFORMS. The European Community
pledged support for Romania's free market reforms and promised
to help it move toward eventual EC membership, Radio Bucharest
and Reuters reported on 14 October. Alain Mayhew, head of an
EC delegation to Bucharest, said at the same time that Romania
must back this support through "its own efforts" to implement
reforms. He spoke at a meeting of a joint Romanian-EC committee
assessing the state of the country's economy. In a related development,
a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said on 14 October that
Cocom president F.A. Engering will begin a four day visit to
Romania on 17 October and that Bucharest hopes for further concessions
on strategic Western imports. Romania benefited from a first
stage of liberalization of Cocom's strategic exports last January.
-Michael Shafir

JAILED ROMANIAN COMMUNISTS APPEAL FOR PARDON. Seventeen former
communist party leaders serving jail terms for complicity in
mass murder have asked the Romanian parliament to pardon them.
The general secretary of the Chamber of Deputies told an RFE/RL
correspondent on 15 October that a letter requesting pardons
had been received from the convicts. They said they were "old
and worn out" and that the pardoning of "political prisoners,"
as they called themselves, would serve national unity and improve
Romania's image abroad. The signers of the letter include former
Foreign Minister Stefan Andrei, former chief ideologist Dumitru
Popescu, and former Trade Minister Ana Muresan. They and fourteen
others are serving prison terms of up to sixteen years for complicity
in the attempt to suppress the revolt that led to the overthrow
of the Ceausescu regime. -Michael Shafir

EXTREMIST ROMANIAN GROUP PLANS VIOLENCE. An extremist group calling
itself Gypsy Skinners is planning a campaign of violence against
Romania's gypsies, Reuters reported on 15 October, quoting the
daily Evenimentul zilei. The group was set up in the Black Sea
port of Constanta. A leader said the group plans to "skin the
Gypsies," "take their eyeballs out, smash their teeth, and cut
off their noses," and that there will also be "some hangings."
A similar organization, modeled on the Ku Klux Klan, surfaced
in June in the city of Ploiesti. -Michael Shafir

KOZYREV SUGGESTS CONTINUITY IN RUSSIA'S MOLDOVA POLICY. At a
news conference on 15-October, as requested by Moldova's embassy
in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev elaborated
on his recent distinction between the Dniester "criminals" who
fought in the Moscow rebellion and the "real defenders of Dniester
interests." According to Interfax, Kozyrev said that people in
Transdniester, "concerned over Chisinau's failure to take into
account the region's specific traits...have the lawful right
to protect their interests, preferably without the use of arms,
of course." Blaming the Dniester conflict "partly on our Moldovan
friends' early mistakes," Kozyrev declined to compare Tiraspol's
and Chisinau's respective positions on reforms and on the recent
events in Russia, and called for a "special status" for the Dniester
region within Moldova, without mentioning Chisinau's position.
Kozyrev's reply will disappoint Moldovans who had hoped for a
change in Moscow's position after Tiraspol assisted the rebellion
while Chisinau supported Yeltsin. -Vladimir Socor

RUSSIAN TROOP WITHDRAWALS FROM LITHUANIA, LATVIA. Col. Stasys
Knezys told the press on 14 October that Russian troop withdrawals
from Lithuania are proceeding more quickly than anticipated.
He said that all but 40 Russian officers and soldiers have left
the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda and that about 130 Russian servicemen
are still in Lithuania guarding ammunition. He noted, however,
some delays in the transfer of military factories and a hospital
in Vilnius to Lithuanian authorities. Another round of negotiations
on the withdrawal of the 18,000 Russian troops still in Latvia
is to open in Moscow on 18 October. Swedish Prime Minister Carl
Bildt told his Latvian counterpart Valdis Birkavs in Stockholm
on 15 October that a quick pullout of Russian troops from Latvia
would be a major confidence-building signal and that Sweden must
make it clear to Moscow that the time has come to withdraw the
troops, Baltic and Western media reported. -Dzintra Bungs

9,000 CANDIDATES IN ESTONIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS. On 17 October,
8,738 candidates contended for 3,427 seats on 12 city councils
and 241 district councils. Final results are not yet available.
870,041 persons had registered to vote; of these, about 80% are
citizens and 20% permanent residents of Estonia. These are the
first local elections held in Estonia since it regained independence
in 1991. Because the law requires that elected officials be Estonian
citizens, 14 candidates-all members of the Russian Assembly-requested
and were quickly granted Estonian citizenship before the elections,
Aleksey Semyonov of the Russian Assembly told BNS on 15 October.
-Dzintra Bungs

ELECTION CAMPAIGN BEGINS IN CRIMEA. With parliamentary elections
in the autonomous republic of Crimea set for 27 March, and presidential
elections set for 16 January, the parliament has amended its
election laws, Ukrinform reported on 14 October. After heated
debates, new quotas were set for the representation of Crimea's
"deported" peoples. Deputies agreed to establish four national
election districts for Armenians, Bulgarians, Greeks, and Germans,
who are to have one seat each. Karaims and Krymchaks were excluded
from the new quotas although they are recognized as deported
peoples, while the Crimean Tatars were allotted 14-parliamentary
seats. The deputies also passed a presidential law outlining
the president's duties. It says the president will be the highest-ranking
official in Crimea, the term of office is four years, and candidates
must by Crimeans who are at least 35 years old. The parliamentary
elections are set to coincide with elections to Ukraine's national
parliament. -Ustina Markus

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Stephen Foye and Louisa Vinton







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