Poetry must be human. If it is not human, it is not poetry. - Vicente Aleixandre
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 246, 27 December 1993



CIS

CIS SUMMIT AGREEMENTS. The fourteenth summit meeting of CIS member
states in Ashgabat on 24 December resulted in a number of agreements
but there was little indication of the organization's increased
viability. CIS leaders agreed to start implementing an accord
on economic union, despite the fact that some parliaments still
have not ratified the document, thus reflecting the failure more
than the success of the accord. ITAR-TASS and Western agencies
reported that additional points of agreement included: a resolution
on the organizational-financial aspects of the Commonwealth economic
court; an agreement on state social aid to families of servicemen
killed in Afghanistan; an agreement on pensions and state insurance
for the staff of interior ministries; a resolution on an interstate
radio-navigation system; and an agreement on interstate transportation
of dangerous and hazardous cargo. * Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.


MORE ON CIS SUMMIT. Among the agreements not signed were a Russian
draft accord on rights of national minorities, which was taken
off the agenda because of strong opposition from several CIS
states. According to a dispatch from Reuters, the leaders of
the former Soviet republics spent most of their time holding
separate bilateral meetings, and most of the talks did not include
Russia. The final summit declaration indirectly rebuffed the
policies promoted by Russian nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky
in its warning against "expansionism and chauvinism." * Suzanne
Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW CIS POSTS, ORGANS. The Ashgabat summit elected Boris Yeltsin
chairman of the CIS for a period of six months. The post is a
rotating one which is primarily ceremonial. In addition, Russian
diplomat Gennadii Shabannikov was appointed General Secretary
of the CIS Collective Security Council, also for a period of
six months. (The CIS Collective Security Treaty has yet to be
implemented however, and Russia and Azerbaijan seek to amend
it.) Finally, the summit set up a new body, the Council of Commonwealth
Foreign Ministers, Russian agencies reported. * Suzanne Crow,
RFE/RL, Inc.

CIS AS INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION? ITAR-TASS REPORTED WITHOUT
ELABORATION THAT ONE OF THE RESULTS OF THE CIS SUMMIT WAS AGREEMENT
TO REQUEST THAT THE UN GRANT THE CIS THE STATUS OF AN INTERNATIONAL
ORGANIZATION. The report said only that the Council of Commonwealth
Foreign Ministers would make the request of the UN General Assembly.
The decision suggests that CIS promoter(s) are seeking to strengthen
their organization by recourse to outside bodies in the absence
of sufficient support from CIS member states themselves. * Suzanne
Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

CIS DEFENSE MINISTERS MEET. Reports suggest that the 23 December
meeting of CIS defense ministers in Ashgabat went more smoothly
than most of their previous meetings. Krasnaya zvezda reported
on 24 December that the agreements on forming a joint staff have
been adopted by most parties, with Russia agreeing to pay half
the cost of its upkeep Colonel General Boris Pyankov, commander
of the CIS forces in Tajikistan, urged Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan
to fulfill their commitment to send units to Tajikistan and requested
that the Uzbekistan unit be brought up to full strength. ITAR-TASS
reported on 23 December that a joint meeting of foreign and defense
ministers had agreed to extend the CIS peacekeeping mandate in
Tajikistan for another year-the previous mandate was to expire
on 1 January. Perhaps most important, however, was a bilateral
meeting between Pavel Grachev and Vitalii Radetsky, the new Ukrainian
defense minister, in which they reportedly found common ground
on a number of key security issues. The meeting appears to reflect
improving relations between the two defense ministries in the
wake of an extensive change of personnel in the Ukrainian Defense
Ministry. * John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

YET MORE CONFUSION OVER UKRAINIAN WEAPONS? A REPORT BY THE UNIAR
PRESS AGENCY ON 25 DECEMBER CRITICIZED BOTH THE UNIAN PRESS AGENCY
AND REUTERS FOR ISSUING INACCURATE REPORTS ON THE STATUS OF UKRAINIAN
NUCLEAR WEAPONS. UNIAR claimed that, in fact, warheads are being
removed from SS-19 ICBMs, but not SS-24 ICBMs. UNIAR is the more
"official" of the two agencies, but the apparent denial comes
after the decision to remove the warheads was confirmed by the
Ukrainian foreign ministry and, apparently, by President Kravchuk
as well. No further clarification on this issue appears to have
forthcoming. * John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

UKRAINE NOT TO BLAME IN LAZEBNIKOV'S KILLING. The head of the
General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces, Anatolii Lopata, stated
that neither the Ukrainian navy nor army had anything to do with
the murder of the head of the Black Sea Fleet press service,
Andriy Lazebnikov, UNIAN reported on 23 December. Lazebnikov
was killed on 15 December. According to Lopata the killing was
not politically motivated. Nonetheless, it has contributed considerably
towards embittering the strained relations within the Black Sea
Fleet. * Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA



FINAL RESULTS OF PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. Final official results
of the 12 December parliamentary elections for both party list
voting and single-candidate districts show that the main reform
bloc, Russia's Choice (RC), won the most number of seats (96)
in the 450-seat lower chamber of the parliament, ITAR-TASS reported
on 25 December. The ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP) of Vladimir Zhirinovsky came second with 70 seats. The
Communist Party (CP) came third with 65 seats. The three main
anti-reform blocs (the LDP, the CP and the Agrarian Party ) won
182 altogether, whereas the four pro-reform blocs (the RC, YABLOKO,
the Party of Unity and Concord, and the Russian Movement for
Democratic Reform) received only 164 seats. The Women of Russia
party won a total of 25 seats, while independent candidates took
30 seats altogether. * Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN BRINGS NEWS AGENCIES BACK UNDER GOVERNMENT CONTROL. On
22 December, President Yeltsin issued a decree turning the ITAR-TASS
news agency back into a government agency after less than two
years of independence. It is not clear how much the new status
will change the agency's reporting. Despite the fact that it
was proclaimed independent in the aftermath of the August 1991
attempt coup, ITAR-TASS largely had continued to act as if it
were a government news agency, often endorsing the government's
line in its reporting. On 26 December, Yeltsin brought another
news agency, RIA-Novosti, back under the government control and
ordered its reorganization by the government, according to Interfax.
The presidential decrees on the news agencies are part of a broader
move to strengthen government control over the media in light
of criticism of the media's performance during the parliamentary
election campaign. * Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

CONSTITUTION COMES INTO EFFECT. Russia's new constitution came
into effect with the publication of its full text by the official
ITAR-TASS news agency on 24 December. The document was approved
by 58.4 percent of the voters casting ballots in the 12 December
constitutional referendum. 54.8 percent of Russia's eligible
voters took part. The constitution establishes new relations
between various branches of power, in particular strengthening
the powers of the president. It also includes a wide range of
human rights guarantees and allows private ownership of land.
* Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

HOSTAGE-TAKERS SEIZED. Reuters reported on 27 December that four
hostage-takers have been captured and most of the $10 million
ransom money retrieved. The incident began when four gunmen burst
into a school in Rostov on Don on 23 December and took a number
of schoolchildren hostage. After being provided with ransom and
a helicopter they fled, with intermediate stops, to Dagestan,
where they abandoned the helicopter and attempted to escape by
foot. The longer-term effect of the incident may be to trigger
increased calls for more law and order as well as to reinforce
Russian stereotypes concerning the criminal behavior of non-Russian
nationalities (at least two of the men involved were of Central
Asian origin). * John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

PAYMENT FOR ARMS . . . According to a Radio Mayak report of 24
December, First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets has ordered
the Ministry of Finance to pay off some 600-700 billion rubles
worth of debts incurred by the defense ministry for arms purchases.
The order resolves a dispute that has flared between the two
ministries during recent months, for arms prices have been rising,
while the defense ministry's funds have not kept pace with the
rising costs. As a result, the defense ministry has run up large
debts to defense plants, which the finance ministry has resisted
paying, fearing that a large payment will deepen the budget deficit
and increase inflationary pressures. The move will be welcomed
by defense plants, however, which are suffering severe cash shortages
as a result of the dispute. * John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . AND ARMS INSTEAD OF PAYMENT? Izvestiya reported on 24 December
that after electricity was cut off to a Far East military district
base because of failure to pay its bills, the commander dispatched
a tank to the electricity company to "persuade" it to reconsider
its decision. Power was restored to the base rather hastily.
Other recent media reports, including one on Ostankino TV's news
on 23 December, indicate that conditions in military garrisons
in the Far East are continuing to deteriorate, with late pay
compounding the hardships of winter. * John Lepingwell, RFE/RL,
Inc.

KOZYREV ON US, CIS SUMMITS. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
said the January US-Russian summit will "depict the scheme of
Russian-American cooperation and partnership until the next century."
Kozyrev dismissed concerns that Vladimir Zhirinovsky would negatively
influence relations between Moscow and Washington and affirmed
that his country's leaders would not "yield to the pressure"
posed by Zhirinovsky or others who seek to create friction between
Russia and other countries. Kozyrev praised the results of the
CIS summit in Ashgabat as "the conclusion of a entire historic
stage" in which the former Soviet republics worked through a
"civilized divorce" rather than through a Yugoslav-type war.
Kozyrev also emphasized the readiness of most CIS states to "enter
a new level of integration," Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported.
* Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

FORMER RUSSIAN FINANCE MINISTER ELECTED CHUVASH PRESIDENT. Nikolai
Fedorov, formerly finance minister of the Russian Federation,
was elected president of Chuvashia in repeat elections on 26
December, ITAR-TASS reported on 27 December. Fedorov defeated
Lev Kurakov, rector of Chuvash University, who was supported
by the Communists. Fedorov had led in the first round when there
were seven candidates. * Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.

BASHKORTOSTAN ADOPTS NEW CONSTITUTION. The Bashkortostan parliament
adopted a new constitution on 24 December, ITAR-TASS and Interfax
reported. The new constitution, which was approved by 206 of
the 227 deputies present, is clearly in conflict with the new
Russian constitution, though it appears not to go quite so far
as the Tatarstan constitution.. It states that Bashkortostan
determines and conducts its domestic and foreign policy independently,
that its laws have supremacy throughout its territory, and that
relations with Russia, of which it forms part on a voluntary
and equal basis, are determined by a treaty about the bases of
interstate relations, and by other bilateral agreements. The
new constitution also stipulates that Bashkortostan will allocate
funds to the Russian Federation budget in amounts to be determined
by an annual agreement with Moscow. * Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.


TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



GEORGIAN DEFENSE, SECURITY MINISTERS FEUD. On 24 December a confrontation
took place at Tbilisi airport between Defense Minister Giorgi
Karkarashvili and Security Minister Igor Georgadze as the Georgian
delegation returned from the CIS summit in Ashgabat, Western
agencies reported. Georgadze reportedly accused Karkarashvili
of having lost the war in Abkhazia, and disrupting the signing
of the CIS military agreement in Ashgabat, and threatened to
arrest him, whereupon the two men came to blows, according to
Radio Tbilisi. That night a bomb explosion wrecked the Tbilisi
headquarters of the Security Ministry, injuring two employees.
Georgian parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze on 25 December
established a commission headed by Prime Minister Otar Patsatsia
to investigate the bombing, for which he held the defense ministry
responsible; a defense ministry spokesman has denied the charge.
* Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA-TURKMENISTAN DUAL CITIZENSHIP AGREEMENT. The signing of
an accord on dual citizenship between Russia and Turkmenistan
on 23 December marks the first such agreement on this divisive
issue between two Soviet successor states. Boris Yeltsin signed
the agreement in Ashgabat just prior to the CIS summit in the
Turkmen capital. The agreement allows Turkmenistan's 400,000
ethnic Russians (about 10% of the total population) to hold dual
citizenship, the Financial Times reported on 24 December. Russia
has long pressed for such an agreement, and it may hope that
Turkmenistan's acquiescence heralds the signing of similar accords
between Russia and other former Soviet republics with proportionately
much larger ethnic Russian populations. * Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL,
Inc.

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



BOSNIA CEASEFIRE FAILS TO HOLD. Despite the fact that leaders
from Bosnia's three warring factions negotiated a Christmas cease-fire
that was to last until 15 January, fighting broke out throughout
Bosnia over the Christmas weekend. On 26 December Reuters reported
that heavy fighting broke out between Muslim and Croat forces
in central Bosnia on Christmas Day, while Serb artillery shelled
Sarajevo. According to AFP, Serb shelling on 24 December destroyed
power lines in Sarajevo, leaving many sections of the city without
electricity. The Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA alleged that Serb
forces had suffered serious casualties, and Muslim-controlled
Bosnian radio reported that at least 23 Muslims were killed in
Christmas fighting. Croatian radio reported that on 26 December
Muslim forces shelled Croats near Novi Travnik and Vitez. In
a statement reported by the international press, Germany's foreign
minister, Klaus Kinkel, deplored the violence and suggested that
it appeared as if none of the parties involved in the fighting
were interested in working for peace. International media report
that sporadic fighting is continuing. * Stan Markotich, RFE/RL,
Inc.

CROATS, SERBS ACCUSE MUSLIMS. According to Reuters, Croatia's
President Franjo Tudjman on 23 December accused the Bosnian army
of ordering its troops to slaughter defenseless Bosnian Croatian
civilians. Tudjman communicated this allegation to Bosnian Muslim
President Alija Izetbegovic by letter, and also issued an appeal
to the European Union to put pressure on the Bosnian Muslims
to halt their offensives. The Croatian president informed the
EU of his suspicions about the Bosnian Muslims in a letter to
Belgian Foreign Minister and current EU President, Willy Claes.
According to HINA, Tudjman believes the Bosnian Muslim forces
received their orders over a coded radio broadcast and were instructed
to "Destroy all (Croats) . . . in Novi Travnik, Nova Bila, Vitez
and Busovaca. . . ." Tudjman also reportedly hinted that the
Muslim actions may have a negative impact on the well-being of
Croatia's 250,000 Bosnian refugees. Meanwhile, on 25 December
Borba carried a report in which Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic
observed that as the Serbian side was moving ever closer to a
peaceful political settlement of the Bosnian crisis, the Muslim
side was moving in the opposite direction. * Stan Markotich,
RFE/RL, Inc.

SERBIAN POLITICAL LEADERS TO MEET MILOSEVIC. Serbia's press continues
to dwell on the aftermath of the parliamentary elections held
on 19 December. Tanjug reports that on 28 December leaders of
the major parliamentary parties are to meet with Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic to discuss the composition of the parliamentary
government. DEPOS leader Vuk Draskovic, along with the leaders
of the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party of Serbia, and
the Serbian Radical Party are slated to attend. Milosevic's Socialists,
who won 123 seats in the 250-seat legislature, cannot form a
government without support. Western agencies reported that new
balloting took place at 45 polls on 26 December where electoral
irregularities were observed, but the results are not expected
to alter the official returns. * Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.


POLISH GOVERNMENT APPROVES TIGHT BUDGET. After deliberations
lasting twenty-four hours, the Polish cabinet on 24 December
accepted the draft budget for 1994. The ministers of labor and
culture voted against the draft, Polish TV reports. Formal approval
is expected on 27 December, when the government convenes to conclude
work on its proposed privatization policy for 1994. The final
version of the draft differs little from the original proposals
submitted by the finance ministry. Revenues are set at 610 trillion
zloty ($29 billion); expenditures at 693 trillion zloty ($33
billion), with the financing of Poland's foreign and domestic
debt alone consuming 112 trillion zloty ($5.3 billion). Finance
Minister Marek Borowski succeeded in drawing the line on the
deficit at 83 trillion zloty ($4 billion), or 4.1% of GDP, despite
demands from other cabinet members for additional spending amounting,
at least initially, to double that sum. National Bank chief Hanna
Gronkiewicz-Waltz relented somewhat on her repeated refusals
to fund more than 30 trillion zloty of the deficit, announcing
on 23 December that the bank will "swallow" an additional 5 trillion
zloty, provided inflation does not exceed planned levels. After
the cabinet session, Borowski told PAP that "the budget is very
tight and must be fulfilled in a very disciplined fashion; economic
policy in the coming year must be conducted so as to prevent
higher inflation." Although Borowski was optimistic about the
budget's chances in the Sejm, the ruling coalition may face a
rebellion by many of its own deputies, as the budget suggests
the government has opted to maintain a tight fiscal policy and
thus forego many spending pledges made during the recent election
campaign. * Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

GLEMP'S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE. In a message to believers broadcast
to the nation on Christmas Eve, Poland's Roman Catholic Primate,
Cardinal Jozef Glemp, said that in today's world people were
surrounded by war, hatred, violence, hunger, homelessness, alcohol
and drug abuse, profanity, and economic and sexual exploitation,
but that one should not overlook the many signs of positive action
and human solidarity, and not succumb to a purely negative philosophy.
He called on Poles to contribute to the Polish Caritas "coal
for Yugoslavia" appeal. Speaking at a Warsaw parish church on
26 December, celebrated by the Catholic Church as Holy Family
Sunday, Glemp stressed the need for cooperation between the church
and the state in order to defend the family as the basic social
unit against the dangers of today's world, PAP reported. * Anna
Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

GERMAN MINORITY PROTEST AGAINST NEW ELECTION LAW IN HUNGARY.
In a statement given to MTI on 23 December, the leader of the
German minority in Hungary protested strongly against a new election
law just passed by parliament. Geza Hambuch said that the new
law deprives minority groups in Hungary of legislative representation,
despite promises to the contrary. According to the new law, minority
groups cannot themselves elect deputies directly to parliament.
Hambuch also said that the restriction casts dark shadows over
Hungary's attempts to help its minorities in the neighboring
countries and damages Hungary's international reputation. Hambuch
said he is considering challenging the election law in the constitutional
court. * Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc.

ZHIRINOVSKY IRRITATES BULGARIANS. All major Bulgarian dailies
on 27 December condemned statements by Russian nationalist politician
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, in which he suggested that his Bulgarian-born
advisor should replace the country's President Zhelyu Zhelev.
Speaking at a press conference in the city of Sandanski, southwestern
Bulgaria, Zhirinovsky called Zhelev a "transitional figure" and
said Bulgarians should elect Svetoslav Stoilov-described as Zhirinovsky's
consultant on European economic affairs-who would also be "more
beneficial to Russia." In a first reaction, Zhelev qualified
the remarks of the leader of Russia's Liberal Democratic Party
as "the delirious statements of a frivolous politician." He added
that "a serious politician would never allow himself to meddle
in the internal affairs of another country." BTA quoted the Russian
embassy in Sofia as stressing that Zhirinovsky's comments had
"a personal character and do not correspond to Russia's policy
of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries."
Zhirinovsky's visit, which his aides described as private, had
not been advertised in advance. * Kjell Engelbrekt , RFE/RL,
Inc.

ROMANIAN PARTIES TO DISCUSS COALITION GOVERNMENT. A presidential
spokesman said on 23 December that President Ion Iliescu will
start consultations on 27 December with leading political parties
to hear their views on the formation of a possible coalition
government. Spokesman Train Chebeleu was quoted by Radio Bucharest
as saying that Iliescu would try to promote agreement on a social
and political pact, following which there should be no impediment
to setting up a new government. On 22 December Iliescu called
for national reconciliation and urged the parties to negotiate
a coalition government. Chebeleu's statement follows favorable
reactions from opposition parties and the ruling Party of Social
Democracy in Romania. The PSDR executive president, Adrian Nastase,
said a reshuffle of the government was necessary, and Emil Constantinescu,
the president of the Democratic Convention, the main alliance
of the opposition, said his group has decided to participate
in the consultations. The leader of the powerful Fratia trade
union, Miron Mitrea, also backed the idea. On the other hand,
a spokesman for the extreme nationalist Greater Romania Party,
expressed opposition to setting up a coalition, stating that
the PSDR and the main opposition party, the National Peasant
Party Christian Democratic (a member of the Democratic Convention),
have nothing in common. * Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

DNIESTER SEPARATISTS TO HAND OVER MOLDOVANS SENTENCED FOR TERRORISM.
Vasile Grozavu, a spokesman of Moldovan President Mircea Snegur,
told Moldovan and Romanian radios on 24 December that the Dniester
separatists would surrender six Moldovans recently sentenced
for terrorism, Reuters reported. Their forthcoming release was
said to be the result of an initiative by Snegur at the CIS summit
in Ashgabat. Grozavu said all the participants had backed Snegur.
No date was announced for the release of Ilie Ilascu, who was
sentenced to death, and his five co-defendants. The sentences
had raised an international outcry. * Ann Sheehy , RFE/RL, Inc.


ILIESCU WELCOMES DNIESTER DECISION. President Ion Iliescu said
he will welcome Ilie Ilascu and his entire family to Bucharest,
once Ilascu is freed by the Dniester separatists, who sentenced
him to death, Reuters reported on 24 December. * Michael Shafir,
RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIANS PAY TRIBUTE AT CEAUSESCU'S GRAVE. Dozens of people
visited what is thought to be the grave of the executed dictator
Nicolae Ceausescu, marking the fourth anniversary of his execution
by a firing squad on 25 December 1989. Reuters reported from
Bucharest that some of the visitors laid a red flag on the grave,
as a tape recorder played patriotic songs from Ceausescu's era.
The agency quoted some of the people as saying life was better
under Ceausescu and complaining about the hardships brought on
by the transition to a market economy. An argument broke out
between the Ceausescu admirers and a group of young people, who
threw away the flag and had harsh words to say about the former
regime. * Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

LITHUANIA PASSES 1994 BUDGET. On 22 December the Seimas by a
vote of 61 to 26 with 9 abstentions approved the 1994 budget,
Radio Lithuania reports. It envisages a deficit of 163 million
litai ($40 million) with expenditures of 2,945 million litai
exceeding revenues of 2,782 million litai, both about 60% higher
than in 1993. Allocations for public health, education, culture,
and science will be more than doubled while subsidies to industry
will practically cease due to increased privatization and greater
financing through loans. The Seimas decided to extend its autumn
session until February since there are a number of laws that
still have to be passed. * Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

POPULARITY POLL IN LITHUANIA. A poll, taken by the British-Lithuanian
company Baltic Surveys in December, showed that President Algirdas
Brazauskas has once again become the most popular political figure
in Lithuania, BNS reported on 23 December. His rating increased
to 62%, a 2 percentage point improvement over November's figure.
The rating of Seimas deputy chairman Egidijus Bickauskas dropped
5 percentage points to 58%, while that of Center Movement Chairman
Romualdas Ozolas dropped 1 percentage point to 52%. Active campaigning
to increase compensations for savings held in banks in 1991 by
former Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius helped to improve his
rating by 4 percentage points to 35%. * Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL,
Inc.

LATVIAN EMBASSY BUILDING IN PARIS. French Minister on European
Affairs Alain Lamassoure told Latvian Foreign Minister Georgs
Andrejevs on 23 December in Paris that France would change its
neutral position and support Latvia's efforts to regain the Latvian
embassy building currently used by a Russian trade mission, Baltfax
reports. Negotiations will be held between the French and Russian
foreign ministries to resolve the issue. The ministers also discussed
the possible influence of the Russian elections on Latvia's foreign
policy and the withdrawal of Russian armed forces from Latvia.
* Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

CONSERVATIVES CONTINUE TO OPPOSE SHUSHKEVICH. The conservative
parliamentary faction "Belarus" is continuing to collect signatures
for the inclusion of the issue of confidence in the Chairman
of the Supreme Soviet, Stanislau Shushkevich, on the parliament's
agenda when it resumes its session in mid-January, Interfax reported
on 23 December. One of the reasons the conservatives have been
calling for the confidence vote is Shushkevich's failure to sign
the CIS Collective Security Treaty despite specific parliamentary
instructions to do so. Instead, Shushkevich had sent letters
to the heads of the member-states of the security treaty notifying
them of parliament's decision to join the pact. The parliamentary
majority and government do not consider the letters legally binding.
Shushkevich is currently hospitalized with high blood pressure,
and parliament empowered the conservative Prime Minister, Vyacheslau
Kebich, to sign documents at the Ashgabat summit on behalf of
Belarus. * Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION PAPER UNDER ATTACK. Radiofakt reported
on 24 December that the Belarusian State Secretary for Crime
and National Security, conservative deputy Henadz Danilau, charged
the opposition newspaper Svaboda with slander. The paper was
ordered to print a refutation of the offending statements and
to pay Danilau almost half a million rubles in compensation.
Danilau said the money will be sent to a children's home. * Ustina
Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION ON PARLIAMENT, STRIKES. Zyanon Paznyak,
leader of the opposition Belarusian Popular Front (BPF), accused
the republic's Supreme Soviet and government of following a policy
that could lead to the country's political and economic annexation
by Russia and loss of Belarusian sovereignty, Interfax reported
on 23 December. According to Paznyak, the Supreme Soviet had
decided to break its session from 22 December to January 18 in
order to prevent US President Bill Clinton from appearing in
the parliament during his state visit in Belarus on 15 and 16
January 1994. Paznyak also stated that the opposition intended
to form strike committees throughout the republic and hold nationwide
strikes in support of demands for the resignation of the Supreme
Soviet and the government, as well as early elections. * Ustina
Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Anna Swidlicka and John Lepingwell

RFE/RL Daily Report

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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