A man seldom thinks with more earnestness of anything than he does of his dinner. - Samuel Johnson
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 247, 28 December 1993



RUSSIA



SCIENTIST TO STAND TRIAL. The Baltimore Sun reported on 28 December
that Russian scientist Vil Mirzayanov will stand trial beginning
on 6 January on charges of divulging state secrets. Mirzayanov
was charged in October 1992 after he told Moscow News and The
Baltimore Sun of evidence of continuing Russian chemical weapons
research and production. Mirzayanov's arrest was protested by
Western human rights and scientists' groups but Russian authorities
were apparently not swayed by their appeals. One of the witnesses
to be called in the trial is Baltimore Sun reporter Will Englund,
who featured Mirzayanov's revelations, and later tribulations,
in a series of articles. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

GOLUSHKO CRITICIZES MINISTRY OF SECURITY'S DISSOLUTION. The head
of the dissolved Ministry of Security, Nikolai Golushko said
that he and his people are concerned about the abolishment of
the Ministry of Security, Russian Television reported on 27 December.
Speaking at a press-conference in Moscow, Golushko said that
such a move was "abrupt" in light of the October events. Golushko
added, however, that he is not criticizing Boris Yeltsin's decision
and will obey it. He revealed that at least 30% of the Security
Ministry's officers will lose their jobs when the Ministry is
transformed into the Federal Counterintelligence Service. Many
officers have already begun to retire. Golushko expressed his
opinion that the dissolution of his agency might have negative
consequences for Russian security. "If you want less efficient
work, start reorganizing," he said. Golushko also expressed hope
that the Border Troops will stay within the new counterintelligence
service and denied any connection between the Ministry of Security
and the leader of ultra-chauvinist Liberal Democratic party,
Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc.

ZHIRINOVSKY COMMENTS ON BULGARIA CONDEMNED. A Russian Foreign
Ministry official said on 27 December that LDP leader Vladimir
Zhirinovsky's recent comments on the leadership of Bulgaria were
"malapropos" and "border on interference into Bulgaria's domestic
affairs," Interfax reported. While on a visit to Bulgaria on
25 December, Zhirinovsky said that his economic advisor, Svetoslav
Stoilov, should become president of Bulgaria. According to BTA
on 26 December, Stoilov was born in Bulgaria and currently lives
in Vienna. Zhirinovsky also said that "Bulgaria and Russia are
closely linked," adding, "Bulgaria and Russia together can help
settle the crisis in the Balkans." Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.


RADIOACTIVE WASTE DUMPING NECESSARY? THE RUSSIAN MINISTER FOR
THE ENVIRONMENT, VIKTOR DANILOV-DANILYAN WARNED ON 27 DECEMBER
THAT URGENT AID WOULD BE NEEDED IF RUSSIA IS TO AVOID DUMPING
RADIOACTIVE WASTE IN THE SEA OF JAPAN. According to ITAR-TASS
and AFP, he suggested that if the Japanese government wanted
to prevent the dumping it would have to build a reprocessing
plant in Russia for the waste, at a cost estimated at some 8
million dollars. On the same day, Interfax reported that a Russian
defense ministry expert warned that the two tankers now holding
the waste are in poor condition, and that the Japanese offer
to provide an additional tanker would only delay the need for
dumping. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

YEAR-END BUDGET REVISED. The Russian government has issued a
resolution approving adjustments to expenditures and revenues
of the 1993 federal budget, according to Interfax and ITAR-TASS
reports of 27 December. The resolution follows a presidential
decree on the 1993 budget raising the fourth quarter federal
government spending target to 22.25 trillion rubles, a jump of
about 1.3 trillion rubles from Finance Ministry projections announced
at the end of October. The new higher expenditures are to be
offset by, in part, with gold sales and increased consumption
taxes so that the resulting deficit would remain at the previously
planned level. Erik Whitlock, RFE/RL, Inc.

ARMS PLANTS SHOULD HAVE EXPORT RIGHTS. A special government committee,
headed by Viktor Glukikh, will recommend to the government that
arms plants be given the right to directly export arms as a means
of reinvigorating arms sales. Under the terms of the recommended
government resolution only approved plants and enterprises would
be given export rights. A licensing and control system would
also be established to prevent the export of certain highly sensitive
weapons and technologies. Glukikh claimed that such a scheme
would not necessarily conflict with other recent moves taken
to centralize the control of arms exports, but did note that
there may be opposition to plans to decentralize the process.
The committee's recommendations were reported by ITAR-TASS on
27 December. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW DECREES ON BANKRUPTCY, GRAIN MARKET. President Yeltsin signed
a decree on 22 December ordering the Federal Administration for
Insolvency Affairs to initiate the process of identifying, registering
and privatizing bankrupt firms, various Russian and Western news
agencies reported. This appears to be the first practical effort
on the part of the government to actively seek out insolvent
firms for bankruptcy proceedings. On 25 December Yeltsin signed
a decree invalidating regional authorities' attempts to restrict
trade in grain and providing for punitive actions that may be
undertaken by the federal government in response to such attempts.
The decree also calls for the privatization of enterprises which
buy, process, or store grain by April of 1994 while allowing
the state to retain a controlling share for a three year period.
Erik Whitlock, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN SIGNS DECREE ON REHABILITATION OF KALMYKS. On 25 December
Yeltsin signed a decree "On measures for the rehabilitation of
the Kalmyk people and state support of its revival and development,"
ITAR-TASS reported on 27 December. The decree stipulates that
a federal program of social and economic development of the Kalmyk
republic and of the national-cultural rebirth of the Kalmyk people
must be drawn up and the sources of its financing determined
by 1 June 1994. The president of Kalmykia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov,
has decreed that 28 December, the fiftieth anniversary of the
wholesale deportation of the Kalmyks to Siberia, be a non-working
day, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 December. Of the 120,000 deported,
only 65,000 returned. A two-day conference devoted to the repressed
peoples and attended by about 150 scholars and public figures
was held in Elista, the Kalmyk capital, on 26-27 December. The
issue of the deported peoples remains a live one, with the peoples
concerned still insisting that not enough had been done to compensate
them for their losses. Ann Sheehy

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



RUSSIAN-GEORGIAN PROTOCOL SIGNED. Georgian Foreign Minister Aleksandre
Chikvaidze and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Anatolii Adamishin
signed a protocol in Tbilisi on 27 December on increased cooperation
between the two ministries, which Russian Ambassador Vladimir
Zemsky described as "a very important document which provides
a legal foundation for cooperation between our two countries",
Interfax reported. Adamishin then held a private meeting with
Georgian parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze. Topics of discussion
during Adamishin's visit included the Abkhaz and South Ossetian
conflicts and the possibility of a visit to Georgia by Russian
President Boris Yeltsin for the signing of a major Russian-Georgian
treaty. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW PRIME MINISTER IN TAJIKISTAN. Tajikistan's Supreme Soviet
confirmed the appointment of economist Abduzhalil Samadov to
the post of prime minister on 27 December, Russian news agencies
reported. Samadov's predecessor Abdumalik Abdullodzhanov was
fired on 18 December, apparently because he had been unable to
reverse the decline of Tajikistan's economy, and was appointed
ambassador to Russia. Samadov, like his relative Abdullodzhanov,
is a native of Leninabad Oblast which has traditionally provided
most of Tajikistan's leadership. Some observers saw the appointment
as countering growing tensions between natives of Kulyab Oblast,
who now dominate the leadership, and those from Leninabad who
feel they are being squeezed out of power. Bess Brown, RFE/RL,
Inc.

NIYAZOV ON CIS SUMMIT. Turkmenistan's President Saparmurad Niyazov,
host of the recent summit of CIS heads of state, told his Cabinet
of Ministers on 27 December that from Turkmenistan's point of
view the bilateral economic agreements signed at the summit were
a great success, ITAR-TASS reported. He cited specifically agreements
with Russia, Georgia, and Ukraine on the delivery of, and payment
for, Turkmenistan's gas. Negotiations are still underway with
Armenia. Turkmenistan has had numerous disputes with CIS neighbors
over payment for its gas, and on several occasions Turkmenistan
has shut off the gas supply to back up its demands. Bess Brown,
RFE/RL, Inc.

AGREEMENT ON RUSSIAN TROOPS IN TURKMENISTAN. While in Turkmenistan
for the CIS summit, President Boris Yeltsin signed an agreement
with the Turkmen government formalizing the status of Russian
troops in that state. Turkmenistan "nationalized" units of the
old Soviet military in 1991, but some of the forces have been
under joint Turkmen-Russian control and while conscripts have
been drawn from Turkmenistan, most of the officer corps is of
Russian origin. According to an Interfax report of 27 December,
the 2,000 Russian officers stationed there will assist Turkmenistan
in building its own military starting on 1 January 1994, and
Turkmenistan will also provide full funding for the Russian officers
starting on the same date. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

CIS

RUSSIA-KAZAKHSTAN AGREEMENT ON BAIKONUR. Krasnaya zvezda and
Interfax on 27 December reported details of the memorandum of
understanding signed by Viktor Chernomyrdin and Kazakhstani Prime
Minister Sergei Tereschchenko on 25 December. Apparently the
agreement covers not only the Baikonur launch facility but also
other military test ranges, presumably including the Semipalatinsk
nuclear testing range and the Sary Shagan air defense missile
test site. These facilities will be leased by Russia, apparently
for a period of up to 99 years. The status of the Russian forces
based at these sites is to be determined by a separate agreement.
The talks also touched on the issue of implementation of the
START-1 and nuclear non-proliferation treaties, with Russia offering
an (unspecified) security guarantee and calling for bilateral
negotiations on the withdrawal of, and compensation for, nuclear
warheads from Kazakhstan. The memorandum of understanding clearly
represents a significant step forward in resolving these issues,
but it also seems that a number of important details, such as
payment and status of forces, must be resolved before a comprehensive
agreement is reached. In the past, such details have often significantly
delayed or prevented similar intra-CIS agreements. John Lepingwell,
RFE/RL, Inc.

SEMIPALATINSK CHIEF DISMISSED. AFP reported on 27 December ,
citing ITAR-TASS, that the head of the nuclear weapons testing
range at Semipalatinsk has been dismissed because of allegations
that he had sold equipment from some of the laboratories and
plants at the site. Kazakhstani authorities are reportedly conducting
an investigation into the allegations. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL,
Inc.

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



SLOVAKIA STOPPING RFE MEDIUM-WAVE BROADCASTS. The Slovak Ministry
of Transportation and Communications has informed Radio Free
Europe that RFE's rights to broadcast on medium-wave transmitters
leased from the state will end as of 31 January 1994. RFE and
Czech and Slovak authorities signed contracts in 1990 allowing
broadcasts on a medium-wave frequency shared with the Czech Republic
until 1996. In explaining the decision, ministry officials argued
that RFE broadcasts over Slovak transmitters are no longer needed
because "Slovakia now enjoys a pluralistic, democratic system
and free public and private media." Before 1990 RFE broadcasts
to Slovakia were via short wave. Reacting to the Slovak government's
decision, Peter Weiss, chairman of the main opposition Democratic
Left Party, told the media on 27 December that "the decision
will neither contribute toward pluralism of media in Slovakia
nor help improve relations between the US and Slovakia." Reactions
by other opposition parties were equally harsh. The Christian
Democratic Movement said in an official statement that the move
is another evidence of "the current government's fear of freedom
of expression." The Alliance of Free Democrats said that the
decision will "further damage the reputation of Slovakia abroad."
Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

DIPLOMATIC RECOGNITION FOR MACEDONIA. According to AFP, France
officially established diplomatic relations with Macedonia on
27 December by dispatching an envoy to Skopje, the capital city.
Reuters reports that France is the fifth country to open an embassy
in Macedonia, following the lead of Slovenia, Turkey, Bulgaria
and Britain, the last of which was the first member of the European
Union to set up a mission in Skopje. All other EU countries,
save for Greece, say they will soon establish formal diplomatic
relations. Meanwhile in Thessaloniki, the Makedonia Press agency
reported that Greek lorry drivers have begun barring petrol-tankers
from Macedonia from entering Greece to load fuel at state owned
refineries. Stan Markotich and Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.


NO END TO BOSNIAN CONFLICT. There is seemingly no end in sight
to the hostilities raging in Bosnia. According to Reuters, Serb
artillery battered the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo on 27 December.
Meanwhile, Croatian and Serbian radio reports provided details
of fighting throughout Bosnia-Hercegovina well into the early
morning hours of 28 December. The UN has announced plans to evacuate
1,000 people from Sarajevo to the Croatian port of Split on 28
December. On 27 December Reuters reported that British Foreign
Secretary Douglas Hurd, in a conversation with the BBC, expressed
his concern over the situation in Bosnia. Hurd noted that the
warring factions in Bosnia could not count on the indefinite
presence of 2,000 British peacekeeping forces which, he said,
would remain as long as they could protect civilians and escort
aid convoys. Government officials throughout the former Yugoslavia
have observed that tensions and hostilities in the region are
not likely to die down. Most recently in a statement published
in Borba on 28 December, Macedonia's Defense Minister, Vlado
Popovski, warned that regional tensions could escalate, and,
should the situation in the Serbian province of Kosovo boil over,
Macedonia could be drawn into a conflict. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL,
Inc.

TUDJMAN'S BOSNIA POLICY QUESTIONED. On 28 December Reuters reported
that opposition to Croatian President Franjo Tudjman's Bosnia
policy is mounting, also in the country's media. At present,
Zagreb supports the strategy of arming Croat fighters in Bosnia
who are competing with Muslim-led forces for control over territory.
Tudjman officially supports the idea of partitioning Bosnia into
three independent republics--one controlled by the Bosnian Croats,
one by the Serbs, and one by Bosnian Muslims. Yet this policy
is regarded by Tudjman's critics as a stepping stone to the eventual
incorporation of theoretically independent Bosnian Croatian lands
into a Greater Croatia and as a precedent which may result in
the eventual partition of Croatia itself. Rebel Serbs control
about one-third of Croatia in the Krajina region, and there are
fears they might join with rump Yugoslavia in a Greater Serbia
if the partition principle is endorsed. Reuters, citing Vjesnik,
observes that some of Tudjman's opponents have asked "Was there
anything else we could have done (with respect to Bosnia)?" Reuters
observes that current opposition is not great enough to either
force a change in the government's Bosnia policy or to threaten
Tudjman's hold on power. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLISH GOVERNMENT ADOPTS PRIVATIZATION GUIDELINES . . . Meeting
on 27 December, the cabinet approved general privatization guidelines
to accompany the draft budget for 1994. The government expects
revenues of 12.3 trillion zloty ($590 million) from privatization
in the coming year, PAP reports. Privatization is to proceed
at least as rapidly as it has done up to this point. Projects
begun by past governments, including mass privatization, restructuring
through debt relief, and the pact on state firms, are to continue.
National investment funds will be established in the first quarter
of 1994, with the distribution of shares to the public scheduled
for the fall. The government also plans to oversee the passage
of "reprivatization" legislation; this will emphasize compensation
in the form of coupons valid for the purchase of state assets
rather than cash payments or the restoration of confiscated property.
Further firms are to be sold through "capital" privatization,
with the number of companies with shares quoted on the stock
market rising to forty by year's end. The government also indicated
that it intends to place greater emphasis than in the past on
the participation of work forces in privatization, in part by
easing the terms for leasing firms. In a related development,
the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) pledged
to provide $850 million to fund Polish privatization and restructuring
in 1994. This announcement was made by former Prime Minister
Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, Poland's EBRD representative, on 27 December.
Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . TAKES HARD LINE ON MINERS' STRIKE. Warning that the government
intends only to "help those that help themselves," Polish Industry
Minister Marek Pol on 27 December dispelled the impression that
the new government will rush to provide subsidies to troubled
state industries. Pol's statement was directed at miners at Boguszow,
Poland's only barite mine, who on 8 December restarted an occupation
strike suspended in October. Sixty-two miners went underground
on 24 December, after industry ministry representatives failed
to meet the strikers' demands for wages equal to the national
average and a "clear vision of the future." The strikers have
now threatened to begin a hunger strike. Pol told a press conference
on 27 December that the Boguszow mine has debts of 110 billion
zloty ($5.2 million) but a market value of only 6 billion zloty
($286,000). Unable to compete with cheaper imported barite, the
mine initiated bankruptcy proceedings in August 1992 to fend
off its creditors, and the government began seeking a buyer.
Pol cautioned that "the chronic strike atmosphere...is scaring
off potential investors" and warned the miners that their choice
is "cooperation or liquidation," Polish TV reports. Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH INTERIOR MINISTER CONSIDERS OPENING SECRET POLICE FILES.
Czech Interior Minister Jan Ruml is contemplating opening the
secret files of the former State Security Police, the Czech daily
Mlada Fronta dnes reports on 27 December. Ruml said in an interview
with the paper that draft legislation on access to the files
had been ready since 1992. The issue of the files has been highly
controversial; some politicians, including President Vaclav Havel,
were opposed to their publication, arguing that such a move would
create human tragedies. Others demanded the publication, claiming
that this was a precondition for a truthful assessment of the
country's communist past. Already in 1990, a small publishing
house published a list of 140,000 alleged State Security collaborators.
The Interior Ministry refused to confirm the accuracy of the
list or comment on the legality of its distribution, however.
Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.

KLAUS JEERED IN OSTRAVA. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus was
jeered and whistled off stage during a sporting event in the
north Moravian town of Ostrava, CTK reports on 27 December. Klaus
was to open the Junior Ice Hockey World Championship when loud
whistling, booing and shouts of "get out" from over 8,000 spectators
greeted him as he took the microphone; he was thus prevented
from speaking to the crowd. Unlike most parts of the Czech Republic,
northern Moravia has been hit by relatively high unemployment.
Moreover, many Moravians and Silesians see Klaus as a main foe
of administrative reform that would grant the region more autonomy.
Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.

US FIRM BUYS PART OF HUNGARIAN RADIO. Hungarian radio reported
on 27 December that Metro Media International purchased 25% of
Juventus Radio for over 40 million forint, or $400,000. Juventus
Radio received its license before the 1990 frequency moratorium.
The majority Hungarian owner said that the new funds will be
spent to enhance the technical capabilities of the radio. Karoly
Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN UNEMPLOYMENT DOWN. The number of registered unemployed
fell to 635,000 in November, 70,000 less than the peak figure
in February 1993, MTI reports. November's unemployment rate of
12.2% was 0.4% lower than in October. Only 330,000 people received
unemployment benefits, however. The rest were either ineligible
for compensation or their period of entitlement had expired.
130,000 people received financial support from local government
authorities. Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc.

ILIESCU OPENS TALKS WITH PARTY LEADERS. Romanian president Ion
Iliescu began consultations on 27 December with the parties represented
in parliament on possibilities of setting up a coalition government,
Radio Bucharest reports. He received leaders of the ruling Party
of Social Democracy in Romania, of the Democratic Party-National
Salvation Front, and of the Democratic Agrarian Party. Consultations
will other political formations will be held later in the week.
Corneliu Coposu, leader of the National Peasant Party Christian
Democratic said at a press conference carried by Radio Bucharest
that his party will not enter negotiations without the Democratic
Convention of Romania, the main opposition alliance. Michael
Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIAN CULTURAL PERSONALITIES LOBBY FOR EX-KING. More than
100 Romanian cultural personalities launched a campaign to persuade
the authorities to restore citizenship to former king Michael,
Reuters reports from Bucharest. In a letter issued on 27 December,
they urged opposition leader Corneliu Coposu to press the government
to cancel the 1948 decree under which the former monarch's citizenship
and nationality were withdrawn, pointing out that under Romania's
constitution, no one born Romanian can lose his or her citizenship.
Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

MORE BULGARIAN REACTIONS TO ZHIRINOVSKY STATEMENTS. Bulgarian
media and politicians on 27 December continued to comment on
the critical remarks made voiced by Russian nationalist leader
Vladimir Zhirinovsky about President Zhelyu Zhelev. The Bulgarian
Foreign Ministry said that "such statements about the policy
and political system of the Republic of Bulgaria are impermissible...and
hark back to the practices of the [Soviet] past." Zhelev himself
said it was now too late to turn Bulgarian into the sixteenth
Soviet republic, a reference to allegations that the country's
communist leader Todor Zhivkov had been prepared to surrender
national sovereignty to Moscow. The Bulgarian media were equally
critical of Zhirinovsky's proposal to end confrontation in former
Yugoslavia by rebuilding a loose Balkan federation and demilitarizing
the region, and giving Bulgaria control over the Republic of
Macedonia. The Union of Democratic Forces issued a statement
saying his plan was "either an attempt at cheap propaganda, or
a deliberate attempt to increase tension in the region and broaden
the conflict." A BTA reporter in the city of Sandanski, where
Zhirinovsky is staying, said she had been told the Russian visitor
would no longer receive Bulgarian journalists because of the
bad press they had given him. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.


BULGARIA, ROMANIA SIGN ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENT. On 27 December
the Bulgarian and Romanian ministers of environment, Valentin
Bosevski and Aurel Ilie, signed a joint memorandum declaring
their countries' intention to expand cooperation in the field
of ecology. The document, which was addressed to the Commission
of the European Union, envisages improving the quality of the
water in the Danube river, boosting nuclear safety--primarily
in Bulgaria's Kozloduy power plant--and reducing air pollution
in the border area. The two governments are seeking financial
assistance from the EU to realize the plans. Kjell Engelbrekt,
RFE/RL, Inc.

ESTONIA ACCEPTS RUSSIAN WITHDRAWAL DEADLINE. On 27 December Estonian
Foreign Minister Trivimi Velliste said that Estonia would accept
the Russian proposal to withdraw its troops by 31 August 1994
if most of the remaining 2,400 servicemen, especially 1,000 assault
troops, were withdrawn early next year, AP reports. Velliste
said that Russia would have to present specific pullout timetables
for its various military units. While demanding that the naval
base at Paldiski be turned over to Estonia, he admitted that
it would be "technically impossible" to dismantle the two nuclear
reactors at the base by this deadline. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL,
Inc.

LATVIAN RESPONSE TO RUSSIAN CHARGES. Aleksandrs Kirsteins, the
chairman of the Saeima Commission for Foreign Affairs, expressed
fears that recent statements by the Russian Foreign Ministry
are aimed at preparing world opinion for delays in Russian troop
withdrawal from the Baltic States, Baltfax reported on 27 December.
Kirsteins deplored Russia's proposal to withdraw the troops by
31 August 1994 only on condition that Latvia accepts Russian
maintenance of its radar station at Skrunda for six more years.
Kirsteins also dismissed Russian charges that the draft law on
local elections discriminates against non-Latvians insofar as
it requires them to know the Latvian language, and noted that
the law is Latvia's internal affair. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL,
Inc.

RUSSIA WATCHES TRIAL IN LITHUANIA. Grigory Karasin, director
of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Information and Press Department,
declared that the ministry would closely monitor the Vilnius
trial of Russian citizens, accused of participating in the bloody
attack on the Vilnius television tower in January 1991, in order
to ascertain that their rights are respected, BNS reported on
27 December. A representative of Russia's Prosecutor General
has visited Lithuania at the request of the defendants to get
acquainted with the documentation in the case. Representatives
of the Russian embassy in Vilnius are attending the trial. Saulius
Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

MINSK CATHEDRAL RESTORED TO BELIEVERS. PAP reported from Minsk
on 27 December that the city's cathedral has been restored to
Belarus' Roman Catholic community by a decision of the Belarusian
government, after a long tug-of-war with local sports officials
who have been using the building since it was rebuilt after partial
destruction during World War II. In 1991 one of the rooms was
made available to the RC church, but Minsk city authorities later
closed the building saying it was unsafe. Since then, the Catholics
have congregated for Sunday Mass in the open air on one of the
city's central squares. Parliamentary Chairman Stanislau Shushkevich
publicly supported the RC church in its struggle to recover the
cathedral to which it has ownership rights. It has been speculated
that the decision to move the Catholics off the streets may have
been connected with US President Bill Clinton's forthcoming visit
in Minsk. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

MOLDOVAN SPEAKER SAYS DNIESTER LEADERS NOT INTERESTED IN REGULATING
CONFLICT. In an interview with ITAR-TASS on 27 December, the
speaker of the Moldovan parliament, Petru Lucinschi, accused
the leaders of the self-styled Dniester republic of not being
interested in solving the Dniester problem. As evidence he cited
the fact that the Dniester delegation at the recent talks mediated
by Yeltsin's special representative, Nikolai Medvedev, was headed
by Vasilii Yakovlev and Anna Volkova who, on the admission of
the Tiraspol leaders themselves, had caused the collapse of earlier
talks by their intransigence. Lucinschi said he hoped Russia,
Ukraine, and other countries would help Moldova solve the problem
on the basis of the recommendations of the CSCE mission In Moldova
which would allow the left bank areas to decide their own fate
should Moldova unite with Romania. Talking to Moldovan entrepreneurs,
Moldovan President Mircea Snegur, said it was impossible to carry
out reforms as long as the Dniester problem was not solved since
37 percent of Moldova's industrial potential is on the left bank,
ITAR-TASS reported on 27 December. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.

CORRECTION: IN THE DAILY REPORT FOR 27 DECEMBER (NUMBER 246),
IN THE ITEM "FORMER RUSSIAN FINANCE MINISTER ELECTED CHUVASH
PRESIDENT" NIKOLAI FEDOROV WAS MISTAKENLY IDENTIFIED AS THE FORMER
RUSSIAN FINANCE MINISTER., whereas he is the former Russian Minister
of Justice.

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Anna Swidlicka & John Lepingwell



THE RFE/RL DAILY REPORT IS PRODUCED BY THE RFE/RL RESEARCH INSTITUTE
(A DIVISION OF RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, INC.) with the
assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division (NCA).
The report is available by electronic mail via LISTSERV (RFERL-L@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU),
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copyright 1993, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved. RFE/RL Daily Report

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