The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited. - Plutarch
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 242, 20 December 1993







RUSSIA

FINAL REFERENDUM RESULTS. On 20 December the Central Electoral
Commission reported final figures on the vote on the proposed
new Russian constitution: 54-percent of Russia's 106,170,335
eligible voters took part in the referendum, and 58.4% of those
voting supported the draft. The delay in reporting the final
results, as well as differing reports on the number of eligible
voters, had caused rumors of vote tampering to spread. Even with
the highest number of reported eligible voters (107.6 million),
however, turnout would have been sufficient for the referendum
to be valid. -John Lepingwell

CHERNOMYRDIN CRITICIZES GAIDAR AND CHUBAIS. In an interview with
Trud on 18-December that was widely cited by agencies and the
press, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin blamed Egor Gaidar
and Anatolii Chubais by name for the disappointing showing of
reformist groupings in the 12 December election. "We should face
the truth and admit that many people voted against the hardships
and the mistakes of the current reforms . . . The election defeat
is a personal evaluation of Gaidar. The same goes for Chubais.
They have a lot to think about now." Chernomyrdin ruled out any
further "shock therapy," and emphasized the need for investment
in industry and the restoration of output growth. -Keith Bush


FORMATION OF ANTI-FASCIST FRONT. Representatives of public organizations,
politicians and the intelligentsia at a meeting in Moscow on
18 December announced the creation of an anti-fascist movement
and adopted several statements, including an appeal "to save
Russia from fascism." Among the political organizations which
participated were Russia's Choice, the Agrarian Party, and the
Democratic Russia Movement, Interfax reported. They expressed
concern over the apparent willingness of the presidential apparatus
to look for "a consensus" with the extreme-right Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP). However, although the meeting was called in response
to the election victory of the LDP, Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii
Chubais stressed that the movement should oppose all manifestations
of fascism in Russia. -Wendy Slater

COMMUNISTS COURTING INDEPENDENT DEPUTIES. Gennadii Zyuganov,
leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, was
quoted by Interfax on 16-December as saying that Communist deputies
to the new parliament will ally with deputies from the Agrarian
Party but that the Communist block is also sounding out each
independent deputy individually to determine possibilities for
future cooperation on specific issues. -Elizabeth Teague

PARLIAMENTARY AGENDA. Meeting on 16 December, a presidential
commission drew up a list of 60-proposals to be put to the new
parliament when it meets in January. Mikhail Mityukov, chairman
of the president's commission for legislative proposals, told
RFE/RL's Moscow correspondent that priority should be given to
bills on the introduction of a state of emergency and martial
law, the Supreme and Constitutional Courts, public associations,
rallies and demonstrations, and citizens' appeals to state bodies,
among others. The commission has proposed that the new parliament
set up committees on constitutional and legal reform, human rights,
defense, security, and international affairs. -Elizabeth Teague


ARBITRATION COURT ON CAMPAIGN ABUSES. The Arbitration Court set
up by President Yeltsin to monitor conduct during the Russian
election campaign issued a statement on 17-December saying violations
of campaign regulations had been committed by the media and individual
candidates. The statement singled out for criticism an Ostankino
TV program which depicted Vladimir Zhirinovsky in a negative
light on the eve of the elections. The court said the program
should not have been broadcast because it insulted Zhirinovsky.
In an interview with the Moscow newspaper, Kuranty, the same
day, former chairman of Ostankino Vyacheslav Bragin defended
the program saying it was shown to "sober up" people who might
be tempted to vote for Zhirinovsky. But Bragin's critics say
the tactic backfired, and instead worked to Zhirinovsky's benefit.
The court's statement also said that some election candidates
committed "illegal acts," Interfax reported. -Vera Tolz

YELTSIN CREATES OWN SECURITY SERVICE. President Yeltsin signed
a decree on the creation of a Presidential Security Service headed
by Maj.-Gen. Aleksandr Korzhakov, Radio Rossia reported on 17
December. The new entity will be independent of the Main Administration
for Government Protection (MAGP ) headed by Mikhail Barsukov.
During 1993, the MAGP, which is the successor of the KGB Ninth
Main Administration was responsible not only for the protection
of Yeltsin and the central government, but also for the security
of Russian regional executives. Following the October events,
the Ministry of Security pressed Yeltsin to return the task of
providing protection of regional authorities to the Ministry
of Security. -Victor Yasmann

KOZYREV SEEKS GERMAN SUPPORT. Following talks with German Foreign
Minister Klaus Kinkel near Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev called on Germany to continue supporting Russian reforms
following the strong showing of Vladimir Zhirinovsky. According
to unnamed aides to Kinkel, Kozyrev expressed fears that Russia
would become internationally isolated because of the surge of
support for the LDP. The two foreign ministers met in Suzdal
on 18-19 December to discuss the Russian elections, the NATO
summit scheduled for January, the situation in the former Yugoslavia,
and Ukraine's stance on nuclear weapons, AFP reported. -Suzanne
Crow

RUSSIA OPPOSES UN SANCTIONS FOR DPRK. Russian Deputy Foreign
Minister Georgii Kunadze was quoted in a South Korean press report
on 19 December as saying that Russia opposes the use of United
Nations sanctions to pressure North Korea into accepting international
inspections of its nuclear facilities. According to Yonhap, as
reported by AFP, Kunadze said that UN sanctions applied to the
DPRK could lead to war, explaining that Pyongyang has said in
the past that it would take self-defensive measures against this
kind of action by the United Nations. Kunadze argued that the
dialogue underway between the United States and North Korea would
not be aided by the discussion of sanctions. -Suzanne Crow

NEW AGRICULTURAL CREDITS AND INFLATION. President Yeltsin has
authorized a new package of subsidized loans to agriculture totaling
$120 million, the New York Times and Reuters reported, citing
Interfax, on 17 December. The inflationary implications of the
measure were noted. In addition to what seems to be a relaxation
of its economic austerity policy, evidence is mounting that the
government will miss its year-end inflation target. After a decline
from 24.5% in October to 17% in November, according to the government's
Center on the Economic Business Cycle, the weekly rate of Russian
inflation for the first week of December is reported (in Izvestiya
15 December) to be 2.9%. While one of the year's lowest, it is
higher than that recorded for the last week of November and,
if not reduced in the remaining weeks of December, will mean
that the government's year-end goal for monthly inflation of
10% or less will not be achieved. -Erik Whitlock

WORKERS AT NUCLEAR PLANTS DISSATISFIED. The trade union leader
at Arzamas-16-told Interfax on 17-December that workers at the
nuclear weapons research center are still dissatisfied, even
though the government has taken steps to pay their overdue wages.
He said the workers have no guarantee that wages will not be
held up again in January, and that the deputy director of the
center will hold talks in Moscow with the government on 20 December.
During the summer, workers at Arzamas-16 and at Chelyabinsk-70,
another nuclear weapons center, threatened to strike, and on
30 November they issued a joint appeal for increased state spending
to finance the work of their centers. -Elizabeth Teague

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM APPROVED-MORE OR LESS. On 17 December,
the presidium of the cabinet approved "in principle" the draft
program for privatizing state-owned and municipal enterprises.
According to ITAR-TASS, qualified approval was given only after
two-and-a-half hours of heated debate. Among the critical voices
raised were those of Igor Shurchkov, the chief of the Committee
for Industrial Politics, and Oleg Lobov, the secretary of the
Security Council. The document is to be finalized within one
week and then submitted for approval by President Yeltsin. -Keith
Bush

ABKHAZIA-GEORGIA ROUNDUP. Talks in Moscow on a potential
political settlement to the Abkhaz conflict ended on 17 December
in "total failure", an aide to Georgian parliament chairman Eduard
Shevardnadze told Interfax. The warring sides held an exchange
of prisoners on 19 December as provided for under the terms of
the UN-mediated Memorandum of Understanding signed in Geneva
earlier this month. According to Interfax the Georgian Defense
Ministry rejected as "misinformation" Abkhaz claims that 25 Georgians
were killed when Georgian troops who crossed the River Inguri
into Abkhaz territory on the night of 18-19 December were beaten
back by Abkhaz forces. -Liz Fuller

TAJIK PRIME MINISTER RESIGNS. Tajikistan's Prime Minister Abdumalik
Abdullodzhanov resigned on 18-December, Russian and Western news
agencies reported the following day. Abdullodzhanov, who has
been active in arranging Russian aid for Tajikistan's civil war-ravaged
economy, was proposed for the vacant post of Tajik ambassador
to the Russian Federation. Some observers in Tajikistan suspect
that the former businessman from Leninabad Oblast, one of the
few government officials to retain his post after the Communist
restoration in December 1992, may have been one of the targets
of an accusation in the press by National Security Committee
(formerly KGB) Chairman Saidamir Zukhurov that a top-ranking
official is involved in corruption. -Bess Brown

CIS UKRAINE,
RUSSIA, US DISCUSS ARMS URANIUM. Western press agency reports
that an agreement has been reached on compensating Ukraine for
the value of the fissile material in the nuclear warheads on
its territory appear to be premature. Ukrainian TV and radio
reports, citing presidential advisor Anatolii Buteiko and Deputy
Prime Minister Valerii Shmarov indicate that there were substantial
discussions with a team consisting of US Deputy Defense Secretary
William Perry, US Ambassador at Large Strobe Talbott, and Russian
Deputy Defense Minister Georgii Mamedov on 17 December. However,
no final agreements on the issue appear to have been reached,
although there was apparently some progress on the topic of compensation
for tactical warheads removed from Ukraine in 1992. -John Lepingwell


CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BELARUS TO PREPARE FOR MONETARY UNION WITH RUSSIA. A Belarusian-Russian
bilateral commission meeting in Minsk on 17 December has called
on Belarus to modify, by the beginning of the new year, economic
legislation relevant to achieving monetary union with Russia,
ITAR-TASS reported. The commission instructed the Central Bank
of Russia and the National Bank of Belarus to produce a draft
agreement by 28 December, under which the two nations' currencies
would be held at a stable exchange rate for a period preceding
currency union, and the mechanism for subsequently replacing
the Belarusian ruble with the Russian ruble. The finance ministries
of the two nations have also been instructed to prepare a draft
agreement on unifying state fiscal arrangements as required by
the currency union. No target date for the currency union was
provided. -Erik Whitlock

SERBIAN ELECTION RETURNS. On 19 December citizens of Serbia went
to the polls to elect representatives to the republic's 250-seat
parliament. According to Reuters, early returns suggest that
President Slobodan Milosevic's ruling Socialist Party of Serbia
will emerge as the single largest party, but will probably fail
to secure an absolute majority. Statements issued by the campaign
office of coalition Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DEPOS) leader
Vuk Draskovic suggest that the SPS has taken the early lead,
securing about 30% of the vote. Belgrade TV reported that voter
turnout was low, but officials from the electoral office estimated
that some 20-25% of Serbia's eligible 7 million voters turned
out during the first three hours of balloting. Official results
are not expected before 21 December. -Stan Markotich

KOSOVO ALBANIANS BOYCOTT SERB ELECTIONS. AFP reported on 19 December
that Kosovo's more than 90% ethnic Albanian majority appears
to have followed the Kosovar political leadership's call for
a boycott of the Serb elections. Ibrahim Rugova, the president
of the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo, has argued that the
Serbs under Milosevic destroyed the legal bond between Kosovo
and Serbia in 1990 when Belgrade eliminated the autonomy Kosovo
enjoyed under the 1974 Yugoslav constitution. Consequently, the
Albanian leadership refuses to take part in Serbian political
life, insisting that Kosovar politics are now independent of
the Serbian framework. The Albanians have since set up a shadow
state, and it appears that at least half of the official Serb
government polling stations did not even bother to open for the
election. No station opened at all in Glogovac, which is 99%
Albanian, and all of Kosovo's 24 seats in parliament are likely
to go to Serbs. Ethnic Turks and Slavic Muslims also seem to
have followed their own leaders' calls for a boycott. -Fabian
Schmidt

SERBS AND MONTENEGRINS RESETTLE FROM ALBANIA TO RUMP YUGOSLAVIA.
More than 1,000 Serbs and Montenegrins have recently migrated
from Albania to Montenegro, Borba reported on 15 December. The
Yugoslav federal government and the Serbian state plan to build
some 350 houses to accommodate them. According to the paper,
the refugees, who fled "over the walls of the Italian, French,
German and Greek embassies," refused to live together with Albanians
in Yugoslavia, because "they already experienced such a life
in Albania." The situation of the tiny Serb minority in Albania
was the subject of a conference in Sremski Karlovci on 26 September,
when the rump Yugoslav Minister for Human Rights and Minorities,
Margit Savovic, claimed that "Tirana has recognized only now
that there are Serbs in Albania." -Fabian Schmidt

HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER LAID TO FINAL REST. More than 200,000
people filed past the coffin of Jozsef Antall as it lay in state
in parliament on 17 December, and thousands more lined the streets
as Antall's body was carried to the Budapest Kerepesi cemetery
on 18-December, MTI and Western news agencies report. Leaders
from Eastern and Western Europe paid tribute to Antall, including
US Vice President Albert Gore, Britain's former Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcher, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Polish President
Lech Walesa, Israel's Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, and Czech
Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus. Foreign leaders and Hungarian speakers
praised Antall for leading the most stable post-communist government
in the region, and for his efforts to integrate Hungary into
European economic and political structures. National Assembly
Chairman Gyorgy Szabad told the crowd of mourners that "What
Jozsef Antall has sown, the nation may harvest." The writer Andras
Suto, an ethnic Hungarian from Romania, praised Antall for supporting
the rights of ethnic Hungarians in neighboring countries pointing
out that "no one who succeeds him [Antall] can surpass him in
what he did for the Hungarian community beyond the country's
borders." President Arpad Goncz plans to nominate caretaker prime
minister and interior minister Peter Boross as Antall's successor
on 20-December. -Edith Oltay

KRAVCHUK ATTENDS ANTALL'S FUNERAL, MEETS WITH GORE. Ukrainian
president Leonid Kravchuk attended the funeral of Antall, Ukrainian
media reported on 18 December. While in Budapest he met with
US Vice President Gore, the president of Hungary and the president
and prime minister of Slovakia. According to Ukrainian media,
improving bilateral economic relations and the issue of Ukraine's
nuclear disarmament were the main topics of Kravchuk's discussions
with Gore. -Bohdan Nahaylo

SLOVAK PRESIDENT HOLDS MEETINGS ON HUNGARIAN ISSUE. On 17 December
Michal Kovac met with a delegation of ethnic Hungarian mayors
from the Association of Zitny Ostrov Towns and Villages, which
recently demanded self-rule for southern Slovakia. The purpose
of the meeting was to explain to Kovac the goals of the association.
Komarno mayor Stefan Pasztor, who heads the group, said he appreciated
Kovac's willingness to attend, noting that he was "the first
state official to officially notice the existence of their association,"
TASR reports. Presidential spokesman Anton Bodis later told journalists
that Kovac said the group's complaints are "justified" since
the government has never paid attention to their demands. The
president asked the group to make two concessions-to forget the
idea of establishing a Hungarian province in Slovakia and to
postpone the meeting scheduled for 8-January to further discuss
autonomy. On 18 December Kovac held a meeting with his Hungarian
counterpart Arpad Goncz in Budapest to discuss minority rights,
and on 19-December Kovac met with deputies from Slovakia's parliamentary
parties to discuss modifications in minority legislation. Meanwhile,
during a 18 and 19 December visit to Bratislava, Hungarian Socialist
Party Chairman Gyula Horn told TASR that he "can see problems
in bilateral relations between Slovakia and Hungary." Horn said
his party would like to conclude a basic treaty between the two
countries stating that each country will "secure all rights for
national minorities," including educational and cultural autonomy
and the right to self-administration. -Sharon Fisher

WESTERN GROUP BUYS STAKES IN HUNGARIAN MATAV. Hungary's Minister
for Transportation and Telecommunications Gyorgy Schamschula
told a press conference on 19-December that the Hungarian government
has approved a German-US group's bid to pay $875 million for
a stake in MATAV, Hungary's state telecommunications company,
MTI and Western news agencies report. MTI described the purchase
by Deutsche Bundespost Telekom and the Ameritech corporation
of a 30% stake in MATAV as the biggest privatization deal in
Eastern Europe to date. According to the Hungarian Minister in
charge of privatization Tamas Szabo, the deal represents more
than half of the annual investment capital flow into Hungary.
Around $ 400 million of the revenue will remain with MATAV via
a capital increase that will help finance modernizing Hungary's
outdated telephone system and ensure that every village is tied
into the international communications network by 1996. -Edith
Oltay

CZECH MINISTER MEETS VW CHIEF. On 17 December, Czech Industry
and Trade Minister Vladimir Dlouhy met with the Chairman of Volkswagen's
Board of Directors, Ferdinand Piech, in the Bavarian town of
Ingolstadt to discuss VW's intention to cut by almost half its
originally planned 7 billion mark investment in the Czech automaker
Skoda. Dlouhy told journalists after the meeting that he understands
VW's decision in view of the difficult economic situation but
that even with smaller investment VW can fulfill its pledge to
modernize and diversify Skoda's production in the Czech Republic.
Piech said that the Skoda plant in Mlada Boleslav is the only
one in Europe which can compete with the Japanese in cost terms
and that VW will therefore use the plant "in excess." According
to Dlouhy, the 1991 agreement between the Czech government and
VW will have to be renegotiated in light of VW's decision. -Jiri
Pehe

RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE OPERATES IN CZECH REPUBLIC. In an interview
with CTK on 17 December, a spokesman for Russia's intelligence
service, Yuri Kobaladze said that Russian intelligence officers
continue to operate in the Czech Republic. According to Kobaladze,
the officers use only civilized methods in gathering information.
He said that blackmail and bribery are not used and that Russia
has not been working to change the Czech government. He revealed
that information is sometimes purchased from volunteers, and
that collaborators are sometimes recruited from among local people.
Kobaladze stressed that "everything is voluntary" and no pressure
or compromising materials are used. -Jiri Pehe

POLISH SEJM ABOLISHES EXCESS WAGES TAX. The Sejm voted on 17
December to abolish the controversial "tax on excess wages" [popiwek]
as of 1 April 1994, PAP reports. Yielding to government pleas,
the Sejm rejected demands from trade unionist deputies to lift
the tax immediately and agreed to the delay in order to give
the government time to propose an alternative method to limit
wage growth. The abolition of the tax was the first piece of
legislation in the new Sejm proposed by a group of deputies;
it threatened to open a rift between the "liberals" and the "socialists"
in the ruling Democratic Left Alliance and Polish Peasant Party.
Finance Minister Marek Borowski argued that the immediate removal
of the tax would prompt a new surge of inflation. Despite the
three months' respite granted the government, it is not clear
what alternative wage-control method it will propose, nor whether
this proposal will win the Sejm's approval. Several deputies
argued during the debate that doing away with the tax without
anything prepared to replace it was like "leaping into an empty
swimming pool." -Louisa Vinton

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT NARROWLY SURVIVES NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE. Nicolae
Vacaroiu's minority left-wing government on 17 December narrowly
survived the third no-confidence vote since it came to office
a year ago. The stormy parliamentary session ended with a 236
to 223 vote against the motion, which had been introduced by
the centrist Democratic Convention and the Democratic Party-National
Salvation Front. In a key address broadcast by Radio Bucharest,
Vacaroiu defended his cabinet against accusations that it has
stalled the reform process and created economic chaos in Romania.
He tried to blame many of the country's economic problems, including
rampant inflation and unemployment, on the previous two post-communist
governments. The vote's narrow margin exposed a recent erosion
of support from the traditional allies of the ruling Party of
Social Democracy of Romania, and especially from the ultra-nationalist
Party of Romanian National Unity. In a related development, the
PRNU announced on 19 December the setting up of a close alliance
with the Democratic Agrarian Party, another group known for having
supported the PSDR in the past. The leaders of the two parties
criticized the government, suggesting that the newly created
National Unity Bloc will call another motion of no-confidence
in February. Mircea Druc, the chairman of the Party of National
Reunification, which advocates Romania's unification with the
Republic of Moldova, said that his party was contemplating the
idea of joining the bloc. -Dan Ionescu

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN THE USA. Teodor Melescanu paid three-day
official visit to the United States. On 16 December he met with
US Secretary of State Warren Christopher and other senior US
officials. Speaking to reporters, Melescanu pledged that Romania
will respect CSCE standards on human rights and combat extreme
nationalism and intolerance. At a conference staged by the Center
for Strategic and International Studies on the same day, the
Romanian foreign minister reiterated his country's interest in
joining NATO, citing the outcome of the recent Russian elections
as a strong argument in favor of NATO membership. Melescanu signed
a bilateral agreement on boosting and protecting investments.
In an interview with Radio Bucharest on 19 December, Melescanu
described the visit as "probably the most important action" of
the Romanian diplomacy in 1993. -Dan Ionescu

CSCE MEDIATORS URGE TIRASPOL TO ALLOW NEW TRIAL FOR ILASCU. A
four-member team of CSCE mediators met with Tiraspol authorities
on 17 December, AFP reported, and urged that the pro-Romanian
Moldovan Popular Front activist Ilie Ilascu, whom a Tiraspol
court recently sentenced to death in the case of the "Tiraspol
Six" for "terrorism," be given a new trial (See RFE/RL Daily
Report, no.238). There has been international concern about the
fairness and legitimacy of the trial of the "Tiraspol Six" in
the self-proclaimed Dniester Republic. -Bohdan Nahaylo

BALTIC PRIME MINISTERS MEET IN VILNIUS. On 17-December Estonian,
Latvian, and Lithuanian Prime Ministers Mart Laar, Valdis Birkavs,
and Adolfas Slezevicius discussed the recent Russian elections
and efforts to strengthen economic, political, and military cooperation
with NATO and the European Union, BNS reports. They concluded
a memorandum on regulating consular relations and decided to
introduce stricter control over their eastern borders while simplifying
border regulations among themselves. Latvia and Lithuania signed
an agreement on avoiding double taxation as well as a protocol
of intentions on forming a joint company for constructing an
oil terminal in Liepaja, Latvia, and discussed their sea borders.
Lithuania retained the right to build an oil terminal at Butinge.
-Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENTARY LEADER IN POLAND. During a two-day visit
to Warsaw on 16-17-December, Lithuanian parliamentary chairman
Ceslovas Jursenas met with Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak and
other government and parliamentary officials, PAP reports. Jursenas
predicted that the much-delayed bilateral treaty on friendship
and cooperation will be signed in the first weeks of 1994 but
stressed his country's demand for an explicit guarantee of Lithuania's
"territorial integrity" and its control over Vilnius. Progress
on the treaty has been delayed in the past by Lithuania's demand
for a formal condemnation of the "invasion" of Vilnius by Polish
troops in 1920. During an address to the Polish Sejm on 17-December,
Jursenas urged the two nations to look to the future rather than
to dramatize the conflicts of the past. Lithuania's Prime Minister
Adolfas Slezevicius is scheduled to make a working visit to Poland
on 21 December. -Louisa Vinton

SAJUDIS HOLDS 4TH CONGRESS. On 18 December the 4th Congress of
Sajudis, attended by about 500-delegates, decided to transform
itself from a public political movement into a public organization,
the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service reported on 19 September. Sajudis
adopted a new program and charter, and elected 56year old assistant
professor of history at the Vilnius Pedagogical University Romas
Batura as chairman of its 15member council. The charter says
that members of other political and public organizations can
join Sajudis, but excludes members of the ruling Lithuanian Democratic
Labor Party and persons who did not end their ties with the Communist
Party and KGB after Lithuanian independence was restored. Sajudis
has about 12,000 members, many of whom joined the Homeland Union
(Conservatives of Lithuania) that was founded on 1 May 1993.
-Saulius Girnius

6TH CONGRESS OF POPULAR FRONT OF LATVIA. On 18 December in Riga
the extraordinary 6th Congress of the Popular Front of Latvia
decided not to disband or become a political party, Diena reports.
The front that had played such an important role in achieving
Latvia's independence failed to have any of its candidates elected
to the parliament. Front chairman Uldis Augstkalns said that
the front should together with the Movement for Latvia's National
Independence and other parties unite the country's conservative
forces for the local government elections. The Congress expressed
its opposition to the policies of the current ruling coalition
of Latvia's Way and the Farmers' Union. -Saulius Girnius

SHUSHKEVICH BACK FROM HOSPITAL. The Belarusian Chairman of the
Supreme Soviet, Stanislau Shushkevich, was discharged from the
hospital and is home in satisfactory condition, Reuters and Interfax
reported on 17 December. Shushkevich was rushed to the hospital
on 16 December, and diagnosed as suffering from hypertension
after a parliamentary session during which he was accused of
corruption by the head of a committee investigating businesses
run by central and local authorities, Aleksandr Lukashenka. Shushkevich
had denied the charges. -Ustina Markus

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by John Lepingwell and Edith Oltay









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