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

No. 217, 11 November 1993



Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.





RUSSIA



THIRTEEN PARTIES TO PARTICIPATE IN ELECTIONS. The Central Electoral
Commission declared on 10 November that it had registered 13
political parties and blocs to take part in the elections to
the Federal Assembly on December 12, Western and Russian agencies
reported. The parties will present lists of candidates to compete
for half the seats in the 450-mandate lower chamber, the State
Duma. Originally, 21 parties had presented petitions of at least
100,000 signatures to qualify for registration; on checking,
eight parties were found to have violated the rules for collecting
signatures. Chairman of the Electoral Commission Nikolai Ryabov,
said that the most common violation had been to exceed the limit
of 15% of the signatures to be collected from any one region.
Ryabov also said that the competing parties represented "the
whole spectrum of political forces in Russia."--Wendy Slater


PARTIES PARTICIPATING IN ELECTIONS. The following is a list of
the thirteen parties which have qualified to stand for election
by proportional representation, together with the number of people
on their federal lists of candidates to the State Duma: Constructive
Ecological Movement "Cedar" (44 people); Liberal Democratic Party
(156); Agrarian Party (145); "Civic Union for Stability, Justice,
and Progress" bloc (184); "Dignity and Charity" bloc (58); "Women
of Russia" bloc (36); Russian Movement for Democratic Reforms
(153); Communist Party of the Russian Federation (151); "Russia's
Future-New Names" bloc (95); Democratic Party of Russia (167);
Party of Russian Unity and Concord (193); "Russia's Choice" bloc
(212); "Yavlinsky-Boldyrev-Lukin" bloc (172). The list was carried
by Interfax and Reuters of 10 November. -Wendy Slater

CIVIC UNION WANTS COALITION GOVERNMENT. The Civic Union bloc
would like to see the creation, after the parliamentary elections,
of a new centrist government uniting leading reformers, according
to one of the new coleaders of the bloc, publicist Fedor Burlatsky.
Burlatsky was quoted by Ekho Moskvy on 9-November as saying that
the future government should include such politicians as Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, economist Grigorii Yavlinsky, industrialists'
leader Arkadii Volsky, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai
and First Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar. Burlatsky's proposal
may signal the Civic Union's preparedness to seek a coalition
with the two liberal-centrist blocs of Yavlinsky and Shakhrai.
-Alexander Rahr

CIVIC UNION, RUSSIA'S CHOICE CAMPAIGN. The coleader of the Civic
Union, Aleksandr Vladislavlev, is quoted by ITAR-TASS on 10 November
as saying that the goal of his organization was to restore the
former Soviet Union by peaceful means. He said the Civic Union
is conducting negotiations with the blocs of Sergei Shakhrai,
Grigorii Yavlinsky and Nikolai Travkin on future cooperation.
In a campaign speech in Krasnoyarsk, Egor Gaidar, the leader
of the pro-Yeltsin bloc "Russia's choice", deplored the split
in the democrats' ranks, according to Ostankino TV on 10 November.
He stated that his bloc continues to offer cooperation to the
blocs of Yavlinsky and Shakhrai. Gaidar said that the government
would bring down inflation to 9-12% this month in order to make
available the necessary capital for investment in production.
-Alexander Rahr

"WOMEN OF RUSSIA'" BLOC GIVES PRESS CONFERENCE. The leader of
the "Women of Russia" electoral bloc, Olevtina Fedulova, told
a news conference that, although women make up 53 percent of
the population, they are excluded from politics, Reuters reported
on 9-November. Only 30 percent of the deputies of the Soviet
Congress and 6 percent of the Russian Congress of People's Deputies
were women. She criticized other blocs for putting very few women
on their lists of candidates. Fedulova said her bloc hopes to
get at least 5 percent of the vote in the elections and thus
bring half of its 44 female candidates into the State Duma. She
denied that the sole goal of her bloc was to get more women into
parliament just to solve women's issues and stated that her aims
include a softer approach to market reforms and more social benefits
for the poorer elements of society. -Alexander Rahr

IF THE CONSTITUTION IS NOT ADOPTED . . . First Deputy Prime Minister
Vladimir Shumeiko said at a press conference reported by Ostankino
TV on 10-November that, if the new constitution is not endorsed
in the 12-December referendum, elections to the State Duma and
the Council of the Federation would automatically be invalidated
because these bodies do not figure in the present constitution,
which remains in force until a new one is adopted. Shumeiko said
that, if the new constitution is rejected by the voters, the
State Duma should transform itself into a Constitutional Assembly
and draw up a new constitution. Shumeiko also spoke in favor
of subordinating the Federal Information Center, which is now
under the jurisdiction of the President, to the government. -Alexander
Rahr

YELTSIN FIRES SVERDLOVSK REGION GOVERNOR. President Boris Yeltsin
fired Eduard Rossel, the head of the Sverdlovsk regional administration,
for his role in the region's self-proclamation as the "Ural Republic"
last month, Radio Rossii reported on 10 November. Rossel closely
cooperated with the regional soviet in upgrading the region's
status. A statement released by Yeltsin's press service said
Rossel failed to carry out presidential edicts and considerably
exceeded his authority. Radio Rossii said Rossel's deputy Valerii
Tushnikov has been appointed acting head of the Sverdlovsk regional
administration. -Vera Tolz

STRATEGIC ROCKET FORCES COMMANDER ON START-2. In a report broadcast
on Ostankino radio on 9 November, Col. General Igor Sergeev endorsed
the START-2 treaty. In doing so, however, he claimed that the
US now has strategic superiority over Russia and noted that the
treaty would equalize the two sides' forces. Sergeev stated that
some 180,000 troops currently serve in the Strategic Rocket Forces,
but that personnel shortfalls are now running at 50%. As a result,
missile launch crews are on alert duty some 18 days per month
on average, which is more than usual. The report also indicated
that a number of sites for the destruction of missiles had been
created and that some missiles had already been destroyed. While
the SRF and the Airborne troops are to receive priority in the
fall draft allocations and financing, the situation in the force
has greatly deteriorated since the days of the Soviet Union.
-John Lepingwell

FINALIZED DRAFT BUDGET FOR 1993 SUBMITTED. On 10 November Finance
Minister Boris Fedorov submitted to the government the finalized
budgets for the fourth quarter of 1993 and for the year as a
whole, Interfax reported. Planned expenditures are set at 43.9-trillion
rubles and revenues at 25.3 trillion rubles. The projected maximum
deficit of 17-trillion rubles is said to be equivalent to 10%
of GDP. The deficit will be partially covered by the issue of
short- and mid-term bonds and gold certificates. Fedorov did
not anticipate receiving further Western credits to refinance
the deficit before the end of the year. -Keith Bush

NEW CHANGES IN TAX COLLECTION. The Council of Ministers issued
a resolution calling for measures to increase tax compliance,
ITAR-TASS reported on 10 November. The resolution proposes tougher
actions against violations of tax payment regulations, closer
supervision of government extra-budgetary funds and more exact
specification of tax privileges in tax legislation. On the same
day, Interfax reported that, according to Sergei Almazov, head
of the Russian Federation's Department of the Tax Police, 25%
of the firms audited by his agency this year had failed to pay
taxes. From January to September the department recovered 400
billion rubles (about 1.5% of the latest planned revenue for
the 1993 Russian state budget). -Erik Whitlock

SEA DUMPING OF RADIOACTIVE WASTE TO CONTINUE. Environment Minister
Viktor Danilov-Danilyan told a London conference on nuclear pollution
of the oceans on 10-November that Russia must continue to dump
low-level radioactive waste into the sea at least until the end
of 1994 and possibly through 1996, Western agencies reported.
If, however, Western financial aid were forthcoming to help finance
the building of land storage facilities, Russia could stop the
sea dumping by the end of 1994. Danilov-Danilyan accused the
Russian navy of acting "recklessly" in connection with the October
dumping incident and he referred to other internal forces without
being more specific. -Keith Bush

SPECIAL UNITS TO BE TRANSFERRED TO THE SECURITY MINISTRY? MOSKOVSKY
KOMSOMOLETS ON 10-NOVEMBER REPORTED THAT THE ALFA ANTI-TERRORISM
AND VYMPEL SPECIAL FORCES UNITS ARE TO BE SUBORDINATED TO THE
SECURITY MINISTRY. Both units played a role in the storming of
the White House and are currently subordinate to the president's
Main Protection Administration. According to the report, the
troops in these units will suffer a 30% pay cut as a result of
the transfer, raising concerns that the most experienced members
will depart and necessitating the reconstitution of the units.
-John Lepingwell

MAKAROV RESIGNS FROM CORRUPTION COMMISSION. Andrei Makarov, the
head of a commission of the Russian Security Council responsible
for investigating corruption has resigned, ITAR-TASS and Interfax
reported on 10 November. Makarov (not to be confused with Deputy
Procurator General Nikolai Makarov, who prepared a report for
the parliament which implicated the president's advisors in corruption)
had charged that the former Russian Procurator General Valentin
Stepankov had tried to have him killed. He also charged Vice
President Rutskoi with maintaining a secret Swiss bank account.
Makarov was recently nominated as a candidate for the new Russian
parliament by the "Russia's Choice" bloc headed by Egor Gaidar.
-John Lepingwell

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



SHEVARDNADZE CALLS FOR GEORGIAN REUNIFICATION. Eduard Shevardnadze,
chairman of Georgia's parliament, said in a speech to the nation
broadcast on Radio Tbilisi on 11 November that Georgia, including
separatist Abkhazia, must be reunited. He described a Georgian
return to Abkhazia as a goal for the immediate future. Shevardnadze,
who was speaking from Senaki in western Georgia, said that the
situation in the west is stabilizing since government forces
drove troops loyal to ousted president Zviad Gamsakhurdia out
of the town of Zugdidi, and praised the help provided by Russian
marines who have restored order in the town of Poti. He said
that he would have preferred for Georgia to be able to restore
stability without outside help, but he was not ashamed that he
had asked Russia's aid in preventing Georgia's disintegration.--Bess
Brown

KAZAKH-UZBEK CURRENCIES TO BE ISSUED SIMULTANEOUSLY. On 10 November
in Almaty Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev and Uzbek President
Islam Karimov signed joint documents relating to the introduction
of new national currencies, various Russian and Western news
agencies reported. The countries have agreed to introduce these
currencies simultaneously in an effort to prevent the "invasion
of old rubles" into one country were the other to change over
to a new currency first. The date for the issue of the new currencies
was unspecified, but the agreement may delay Kazakhstan's shift
as Uzbekistan seems less prepared for the action. The two leaders
signed agreements on economic trade and policy coordination as
well. -Erik Whitlock

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



BOSNIAN MUSLIMS ASK FOR SPECIAL STATUS FOR MOSTAR. Reuters reports
on 10 November that the Muslim-led Bosnian government wrote to
the UN following the destruction of Mostar's historic Old Bridge
by Croat gunners the previous day. The Sarajevo authorities asked
that Mostar be given special status and made a "safe area." They
also wrote to UNESCO, which had listed the bridge as an international
cultural heritage monument, saying that its destruction should
make the UN realize the difference between "Croat aggression
and Muslim defense of freedom." The Croats claim the Muslims
were using the structure for military purposes, but some observers
are already saying that demolishing the world-famous bridge may
well prove to be the most politically self-damaging act committed
by the Croats in the course of the conflict. According to Vecernji
list of 11 November, the Croats are not admitting responsibility
for destroying the bridge but rather present it as a tragedy
that somehow just happened. -Patrick Moore

SESELJ'S POPULARITY FALLING. Politika writes on 10 November that
the popularity of Serbian Radical Party (SRS) and its leader
Vojislav Seselj is waning. Meanwhile, internal divisions have
emerged, and its leadership appears disoriented following sharp
criticism from the ruling Socialists and arrests of key regional
leaders of the SRS and the Serbian Chetnik Movement, the party's
paramilitary arm. Politika commented: "Seselj's story resembles
a comet flashing brilliantly for a second and then disappearing
in the dark from which it emerged." All recent polls show that
the popularity of Seselj and the SRS has drastically fallen.
Some polls indicate that the SRS, the second largest party in
the parliament after winning 73 seats in the December 1992 elections,
might win only 30 seats in the 19 December parliamentary elections.
Milosevic dissolved the parliament on 20-October. -Milan Andrejevich


YUGOSLAV INDUSTRY AT A NEAR STANDSTILL. According to a survey
conducted in October by the Belgrade Institute for Market Research
reported by Radio Serbia on 8 November, most industries in Serbia-Montenegro
used only 25-30% of their production capacities because of a
lack of necessary materials, while 32% of all production was
at a standstill. A total of 81% of all factories had insufficient
stocks of materials, and 62% operated with interruptions for
as long as two weeks. Belgrade's Institute of Economic Sciences
released data on 10 November showing that about 70% of the population
in Yugoslavia cannot meet their basic daily requirements for
the purchase of food and other essential products; the average
monthly salary in October was slightly more than $15, while inflation
was at 1,800%. The report says the population survives on additional
income from the black market. Federal Foreign Trade Minister
Milorad Unkovic wrote in the latest issue of the Review of International
Affairs that Yugoslavia lost some $25 billion in revenue because
of the sanctions imposed 18 months ago. -Milan Andrejevich

ALBANIAN SEPARATISTS IN MACEDONIA. In a news conference on 10
November, Macedonian Interior Minister Ljubomir Frckovski indicated
that there is no evidence connecting the ethnic Albanian Party
for Democratic Prosperity with the Albanians arrested for arms
smuggling between 5 and 8 November, reported Vecer. Among those
arrested was Husein Hofkaj, a deputy defense minister. He and
his compatriots were charged with organizing paramilitary forces
and seeking to subvert the state between 1991 and the present,
according to MIC. Frckovski indicated that authorities found
some 35 Chinese-made automatic rifles, among other weapons. He
noted that the arms were probably smuggled into Macedonia from
Albania; Tirana denies any connection with the group. The arrests
virtually coincided with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's
press conference of 9 November wherein he claimed knowledge of
an Albanian separatist movement in Macedonia. -Duncan Perry

ALBANIAN TV STARTS SATELLITE TRANSMISSION. On 9 November Albanian
Television launched experimental broadcasts via EUTELSAT 2, Rilindja
reported the previous day. The trial period will run until 14-November
between 18:30 and 20:30 CET, with regular programming expected
to start on 15 November. According to Rilindja the broadcast
is a joint project of Radio-Television Albania and Radio-Television
Pristina. The government of the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo
"provides material means for studio equipment and the satellite
transmission." The program "seeks to promote the information
and cultural integration of the ethnic Albanian territory." This
is clearly a challenge to the Serbian authorities, who have previously
managed to control or eliminate Albanian-language media in Kosovo.
-Fabian Schmidt

POLISH GOVERNMENT PONDERS NEW TAXES. At a press conference following
the Sejm's confidence vote on 10 November, Premier Waldemar Pawlak
said the new government's first priority is to complete the draft
1994 budget. The Sejm voted that same day to postpone the deadline
for submission of the budget to 20 December, as requested by
the government. Economic officials were evasive about the sources
of new revenues to fund the government's plans for increased
spending on social needs. Deputy Premier and Finance Minister
Marek Borowski acknowledged that the government's proposals will
be "controversial." Asked who will pay more to fund new programs,
Borowski answered only, "those who have money." Polish TV reports
that the finance ministry is considering a one-time tax on those
in the highest income bracket, a lump-sum tax on private businesses,
and a tax on "outward signs of wealth" (apparently meant to fight
conspicuous consumption). Pawlak indicated the government plans
to serve out its entire four-year term. Louisa Vinton

POLISH CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULES ON JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE. In
a ruling handed down on 9 November, the Constitutional Tribunal
declared unconstitutional a legal clause allowing the removal
of judges who "violate the principle of judicial independence,"
PAP reports. The clause was designed to eliminate judges who
had compromised themselves under communism. The tribunal did
not reject the idea behind the law but urged the parliament to
find better means to redress past abuses. The ruling must still
be confirmed by the Sejm. The case was brought before the tribunal
by the civil rights spokesman, who argued that the clause infringed
on the "apolitical" nature of the legal system. The new justice
minister, Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, supported him in this protest,
although his predecessor, Jan Piatkowski, had rejected it. Cimoszewicz
has already revoked several controversial personnel decisions
made by Piatkowski, PAP reports. -Louisa Vinton

MECIAR CRITICIZES KOVAC. In a speech to the new members of the
Slovak government during a swearing-in ceremony at the Bratislava
Castle on 10 November, Premier Vladimir Meciar said that the
coalition government can count on the support of a majority of
the parliament's deputies and that he would "appreciate it if
the government could also count on the support of the president."
Slovak media report that Meciar further said he would appreciate
it if pledges made by the president one day would also be valid
the next. Kovac interrupted Meciar's speech at that point, saying
that his pledges were valid. (Later, Kovac told Slovak Radio
he had never promised Meciar that he would accept his government
nominees en bloc and that he had even threatened to resign should
Meciar insist on naming Ivan Lexa as the new privatization minister).
The premier expressed regret over the fact that Kovac refused
to approve all government nominees, thus making the government
incomplete. Meciar also suggested that it is not clear "what
sort of wisdom" the president used in refusing to accept all
of the nominations. In an interview with CTK after the ceremony,
parliament chairman Ivan Gasparovic said Meciar "did not mean
to be confrontational. It is simply his style of speaking, and
we have to see it as such." -Jiri Pehe

HAVEL IN SLOVENIA. Czech President Vaclav Havel arrived in Ljublana
for a two-day official visit on 10-November, where he met with
Slovene President Milan Kucan. The two presidents said they hope
to form a free trade zone between their countries and Slovakia
by the end of 1993. Jiri Pehe

CZECH PARLIAMENTS APPROVES IMPORTANT LAWS. In what represents
a political defeat for Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party,
on 9 November the parliament passed a resolution submitted by
opposition parties requiring the government to submit as soon
as possible a draft constitutional law on a new administrative
division of the Czech Republic. Such a division, including the
creation of several regions, is envisaged by the Czech Constitution
adopted last year. On 6-December, the CDP leadership voted to
postpone addressing the issue of a new regional arrangement until
after the local government elections scheduled for the fall of
1994. CTK reports that deputies representing two coalition partners
of the CDP joined the opposition in supporting the resolution.
Also on 9 November, the parliament approved a law abolishing
the system of state prosecutors, which dates back to the communist
era, replacing it with a system of public attorneys, whose main
function will be to represent the state in courts of law as public
plaintiffs. The law takes affect on 1 January 1994. -Jiri Pehe


WESTERN EUROPEAN UNION DELEGATION IN HUNGARY. On 10 November
a WEU delegation led by Dudley Smith arrived in Budapest for
talks with members of the Hungarian parliament's foreign relations
committee, MTI reports. According to the deputy chairman of the
foreign relations committee Gyorgy Csoti, Smith was cautiously
optimistic about the Visegrad countries' chances of joining NATO
and opined that an associated membership for those countries
in the WEU would promote their integration into NATO. Smith admitted
that cooperation between Hungary and the WEU had stagnated somewhat
but said he expected an "upswing" following the January NATO
summit, which will set guidelines for the WEU's development.
Csoti regretted that Smith was only recently informed that a
substantial number of ethnic Hungarians live in Romania and Slovakia
and stressed that the consequences of the Trianon Peace Treaty
have to be discussed more at home as well as abroad. -Edith Oltay


HUNGARIAN MINORITY PARTY IN ROMANIA CRITICIZES POLITICAL ALLY.
Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania President Bela Marko
said his group disagrees with the National Peasant Party Christian
Democratic on the issue of minority rights, an RFE/RL correspondent
reports on 10 November. The HDFR and the NPPCD are both members
of the opposition alliance, the Democratic Convention of Romania.
HDFR Executive Chairman Csaba Takacs told reporters in Bucharest
that the NPPCD changed its views after last year's general election
and has drifted from the principles that governed Romania after
the 1918 unification with Transylvania, which formed the basis
for an agreement between the two parties. The HDFR seeks self-determination
for Hungarian-speaking communities, while the NPPCD opposes it.
-Michael Shafir

ROMANIA HINTS IT WILL REFUSE ENTRY TO FORMER KING. A Foreign
Ministry spokesman said his country "salutes" former King Michael's
declaration that he will not question the present constitutional
order in Romania during his intended attendance of the national
day ceremonies on 1 December. At the same time, the spokesman
was quoted by Radio Bucharest on 10-November as saying the authorities
find it "difficult to comprehend" why the former monarch did
not first inform the authorities of his intention to attend the
celebrations and qualified as "tendentious" King Michael's statement
that he has "decided to join all Romanians in Alba Iulia, for
our celebrations on 1 December." -Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT SEEKING TO DISCIPLINE JUDICIARY? ON 10 NOVEMBER
THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY PASSED ON FIRST READING LEGAL AMENDMENTS
WHICH, IF ADOPTED, WOULD LEAD TO THE DISMISSAL OF TWO OF THE
COUNTRY'S TOP JURISTS, BTA REPORTS. Deputies who introduced the
proposals to parliament said the fact that the amendments will
affect the present Supreme Court chairman Ivan Grigorov and Prosecutor
General Ivan Tatarchev, who both are politically close to the
opposition Union of Democratic Forces, is merely a coincidence.
Neither Grigorov nor Tatarchev fulfill the proposed requirement
of having served 5 or, according to a variant of the proposal,
10 years as a judge or public prosecutor. In Demokratsiya of
the same day, Grigorov wrote he has no doubt that the true aim
of the government-backed by a parliamentary majority-is to purge
the Supreme Judicial Council from anti-communist jurists. He
also rejected accusations by Justice Minister Petar Kornazhev,
who on the previous day said Grigorov had "slandered Bulgaria"
at a recent meeting of top European jurists in Strasbourg. Grigorov
said his criticism was relatively moderate and was exclusively
directed at "the Berov government and his ex-communist supporters."
Kjell Engelbrekt

LEADER OF "WHITE BROTHERHOOD" ARRESTED IN UKRAINE. The leaders
of the "White Brotherhood" cult, Maria Tsvyhun and her husband
Yurii Krivonohov, were arrested in Kiev following a skirmish
with police inside St. Sophia's cathedral, various agencies reported
on 11 November. Cultists had been gathering in Kiev over the
last week in anticipation of the suicide and resurrection of
Tsyhun, known as Maria Devi Khrystos to her followers. Some 40
sect members had managed to enter the cathedral posing as tourists
and began dancing and chanting. When police arrived the cultists
grabbed fire extinguishers and sprayed them throughout the cathedral,
damaging a number of priceless icons. Police had already detained
over 600 members of the sect before the incident. Last week,
the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry accused Moscow of failing to stop
the cross-border influx of the movement's mainly Russian members.
-Ustina Markus

UKRAINE ADOPTS NEW ELECTION LAW. On 10-November the Ukrainian
parliament passed on first reading a new election law, Ukrainian
television reports. Of the four drafts proposed, the deputies
chose the variant offered by the committee on legislation and
legality, whereby all 450 seats in the new parliament will be
in single mandate electoral districts according to the majoritarian
system. The national democratic opposition favors a mixed system,
which guarantees a certain portion of seats to the political
parties. A final version of the law will be voted on early next
week. -Roman Solchanyk

UKRAINE DEACTIVATES 20 SS-19 MISSILES. Interfax on 9 November
quoted the head of Ukraine's armaments and disarmament department,
Kostyantyn Hryshchenko as saying that 20 of Ukraine's SS-19 missiles
have been deactivated and can no longer be used; the missiles
are to be dismantled in the near future. He said the more modern
SS-24s "will be dismantled last of all, whatever the circumstances."
-Ustina Markus

TRANSCARPATHIAN ECONOMIC FREE ZONE REJECTED. The Ukrainian parliament
balked at establishing a free economic zone in the Zakarpattya
Oblast, following long negotiations between Uzhhorod and Kiev.
Deputies argued that the project was too expensive and, moreover,
that such a zone would stimulate separatist tendencies. A final
decision on the matter was postponed until next week. -Roman
Solchanyk

BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT SUSPENDS SESSION. The Belarusian Supreme
Soviet suspended its session on 10-November because deputies
could not agree on the order in which topics should be discussed,
Belinform reported. A number of deputies wanted to discuss the
social and economic situation in the republic first and leave
the question of drafting a new constitution for later, while
the Presidium wanted to discuss the new constitution first. The
Chairman of the Supreme Soviet, Stanislau Shushkevich, and Prime
Minister Vyacheslau Kebich asked for two days to prepare a report
on the economic situation and the ratification of agreements
with Russia. In the meantime, Shushkevich suggested that parliament
debate the draft constitution. Deputies refused to do so. The
session is set to reconvene on 12-November. -Ustina Markus

AGRICULTURAL CRISIS IN LATVIA. Agriculture ministry official
Juris Kuzma said the overall situation of Latvia's agriculture
is still declining. He mentioned the following factors as having
a negative impact on agriculture: the low sales price of milk,
which does not even cover production costs; cows suffering from
a leucosis; government indebtedness of 6.2-million lats to the
farmers for produce delivered earlier this year; and sowing of
only 30% of the planned winter crops this fall, which could lead
to a massive shortage of wheat next year. -Dzintra Bungs

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Ann Sheehy and Sharon Fisher







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