В двадцать лет царит чувство, в тридцать - талант, в сорок - разум. - Грасиан
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 5, 10 January 1994

CIS

US, UKRAINE, RUSSIA NEAR DEAL ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Reports from Western 
press agencies on 9 January indicate that a deal on the transfer of, and 
payment for, nuclear weapons from Ukraine to Russia is imminent. Most of 
the Ukrainian delegation returned to Kiev on 7 January after meeting with 
President Clinton, reportedly with a draft agreement in hand, while Deputy 
Prime Minister Valerii Shmarov stayed in Washington to continue 
negotiations. While Vice President Al Gore and Secretary of State Warren 
Christopher warned on 9 January that complete agreement had not been 
reached, President Clinton said in Brussels that "a terrific amount of 
progress" had been made. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

DETAILS OF PROPOSED DEAL. According to Western press reports, the deal 
could provide up to $12 billion to Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and 
Belarus in exchange for the dilution and sale of some 50 metric tons of 
highly enriched uranium (HEU) from former Soviet nuclear weapons. A 
Washington Post article of 9 January reports that the US Tennessee Valley 
Authority (TVA), a government-operated power utility, will pay Russia $60 
million after the agreement is reached, with the money being used to pay 
for immediate nuclear fuel deliveries to Ukraine. Some of the HEU from 
Ukrainian weapons will be returned to Ukraine as nuclear reactor fuel, 
while Russia will reportedly cancel some or all of Ukraine's estimated $2 
billion debt for past energy purchases. All weapons would be removed 
within three years, with the HEU being diluted in Russia before being sold 
to the US. The deal reportedly also includes a formal recognition by 
Russia and the US of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, one 
of the key conditions set by the Ukrainian parliament in its ratification 
of START-1. Reuters reported that the agreement is designed so that it 
will not require ratification by the Ukrainian (and presumably Russian) 
parliament but instead can be implemented by executive orders. Whether the 
Ukrainian parliament will allow such a sensitive matter to be decided 
without its input remains unclear, however. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

CLINTON TO KIEV? AFP reported on 10 January that Ukrainian officials were 
claiming that President Clinton might meet President Kravchuk in Kiev on 
12 January to sign the nuclear weapons agreement. Other Western reports, 
citing administration officials, have suggested that a meeting is possible 
if the warhead deal is finalized. A joint signing of the deal by 
presidents Clinton, Kravchuk, and Yeltsin in Moscow has reportedly been 
discussed within the Clinton administration, but the location may be 
unacceptable to Kravchuk. Clinton's current agenda pointedly avoids 
Ukraine. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA

OPPOSITION DEMONSTRATES OUTSIDE WHITE HOUSE. The Russian All-People's 
Union (RAPU), which is led by Sergei Baburin, recently elected to the new 
parliament, held a rally outside the building of the former parliament on 
9 January. Reports put the number of participants at between 2,000 
(Ostankino TV "Novosti") and 10,000 (ITAR-TASS). The rally commemorated 
the victims of the forced dissolution of the former parliament in early 
October and called for an official investigation into the events. Among 
the speakers were well-known members of the hardline opposition such as 
Sazhi Umalatova and Viktor Alksnis. Mikhail Astafev, leader of the 
Constitutional Democratic Party, and Nikolai Pavlov of the RAPU alleged 
that the United States had coordinated the suspension of the parliament in 
October. Wendy Slater, RFE/RL, Inc.

COMMUNIST PARTY PREPARES FOR OPENING OF PARLIAMENT. Some 60 deputies to 
the Federal Assembly elected from the Communist Party of the Russian 
Federation held a meeting on 9 January to prepare for the opening of the 
parliament on 11 January, ITAR-TASS reported. CP-RF leader Gennadii 
Zyuganov told Interfax that the party had prepared 16 bills covering 
economic reforms, anti-corruption measures, and the consequences of the 
December 1991 agreement dissolving the Soviet Union. Zyuganov was elected 
chairman of the faction. Among the speakers were representatives of other 
parties, including Vladimir Isakov of the Agrarian Party who was prominent 
in the old parliament, and the former Minister of Foreign Economics 
Relations Sergei Glazyev of the Democratic Party of Russia. Wendy Slater, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

GAIDAR WARNS OF NATIONALIST-COMMUNIST FRONT. First Deputy Prime Minister, 
Egor Gaidar, told Ekho Moskvy radio on 7 January that he feared the 
emergence of a bloc formed by the main anti-reform parties in the new 
parliament. The Communist Party, the Agrarians, and the extreme right 
Liberal Democratic Party together control some 182 of the seats in the 
450-seat lower house, the State Duma. Gaidar said that his pro-reform 
party, Russia's Choice, which has 96 seats, was withdrawing from the 
negotiations between these four largest parties over the nomination of the 
speaker of the State Duma. Wendy Slater, RFE/RL, Inc.

DEMOCRATS REJECT FURTHER NEGOTIATIONS WITH RADICALS. The chief coordinator 
of the pro-democratic parliamentary faction Russia's Choice, Gennadii 
Burbulis, told Interfax on 8 January that his faction regards further 
negotiations with communists and pro-fascist forces as useless. He said 
the appetite of the communist faction and the pro-fascist faction of 
Vladimir Zhirinovsky has grown. The latter, for example, claims the 
chairmanship of the parliamentary committee for international relations. 
Communists want to see their representative heading the committees for 
defense and security. Another coordinator of Russia's Choice, Arkadii 
Murashov, told the RFE/RL Research Institute on 2 January that his faction 
will claim control over the parliamentary committees dealing with economic 
reform. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

BURBULIS STRESSES NEED FOR DEMOCRATS TO UNITE. The chief coordinator of 
Russia's Choice, Gennadii Burbulis, told the RFE/RL Research Institute on 
3 January that Russia's Choice must first of all become a strong political 
party capable of winning elections even without the support of President 
Boris Yeltsin. He said the new party must act independently from Yeltsin 
and build up new strong leaders. He stated that Russia's Choice should 
start searching for a suitable candidate for the presidential elections in 
1996. In the opinion of Burbulis and some other democratic leaders, 
Western fears about possible influence of Vladimir Zhirinovsky on Russian 
politics are exaggerated. Democratic leaders think that Yeltsin is now 
fully in control over the executive. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN WAGES IN DOLLAR TERMS RISE SIGNIFICANTLY. According to the 
government's Center for Economic Reform, the value of Russian wages more 
than doubled in dollar terms over 1993, Reuters reported on 7 January. At 
market exchange rates, the average monthly wage increased from $40 in 
December 1992 to $104 in December 1993. Nominal ruble wages have been 
keeping up with the general increase in the level of prices over 1993 of 
around 900%, while the ruble dollar exchange has increased only 200%. 
Andrei Illarionov, deputy director of the Center noted that the increase 
in the ruble's real exchange value with the dollar was making Russian 
goods less price competitive internationally and would increase pressure 
for projectionist measures. Erik Whitlock, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW CUSTOMS DUTIES FOR INDIVIDUALS INTRODUCED. Effective 1 January of this 
year, Russia introduced new customs regulations on goods imported and 
exported by individuals, Aleksandr Vasiliev, head of the Administration of 
the Organization of Customs Control under the Russian Federation's 
Custom's Committee, told journalists in Moscow on 5 January, according to 
ITAR-TASS and Russian television. Imported goods valued at more than 
US$2,000 and exported goods valued above 50 times the Russian monthly 
minimum wage would be subject to customs duties. Separate thresholds for 
imported cars, according to engine size, were introduced. These 
regulations apply to goods intended for personal consumption, not 
commercial use. Erik Whitlock, RFE/RL, Inc.

MVD GAINS AGAINST FSK. According to the Deputy Director of newly created 
Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK), Sergei Stepashin, as quoted by 
Ostankino television and Western agencies on 6 January, his agency will 
have 75,000 officers or 46% less personnel than the disbanded Ministry of 
Security. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) headed by Yeltsin 
loyalist Viktor Erin, will take over several elements of its disbanded KGB 
predecessor. They include the infamous Lefortovo Security prison, the 
Investigative Branch, and the Administration for Combating Corruption and 
Contraband. The planned innovations may face serious criticism from the 
opposition. First, the MVD is considered one of the most corrupt 
organizations in the country and itself is in need of reform. Second, the 
Lefortovo prison currently houses Aleksandr Rutskoi, Ruslan Khasbulatov, 
and the other leaders of anti-Yeltsin armed mutiny which occurred in 
October 1993. The Minister of Internal Affairs, Viktor Erin, is reputed to 
be a personal arch-enemy of the arrested. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

KAZAKHSTAN FREES PRICES. On 5 January all prices in Kazakhstan except that 
for bread were freed after having been frozen for two months in the wake 
of the country's introduction of its own currency, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 
January. This action followed the publication of a government decree 
ordering that in the future, wages must be dependent on quantity and 
quality of work. According to the report, this innovation is being 
described by journalists in Kazakhstan as "shock therapy." Journalists 
sympathetic to the proponents of a market economy were quoted as saying 
that Russia survived the freeing of prices and Kazakhstan could do the 
same. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

PAKISTAN AND UZBEKISTAN TO WORK FOR AFGHAN CEASEFIRE. Pakistan's Foreign 
Minister Assef Ahmad Ali told a press conference in Tashkent on 8 January 
that his country would coordinate policy with Uzbekistan in an effort to 
arrange a permanent ceasefire among factions fighting in Afghanistan, 
Western news agencies reported. The Pakistani minister said that he would 
try to persuade the leadership of Turkmenistan, the next stop on his tour 
of Central Asian countries, to join the peacemaking efforts in 
Afghanistan. Uzbekistan is believed to have great influence in northern 
Afghanistan as a result of its support for the ethnic Uzbek Afghan General 
Abdul Rashid Dostum, whose forces have been attacking those of Afghan 
President Burhanuddin Rabbani. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

PROSPECTS FOR RUSSIAN-IRANIAN JOINT KARABAKH MEDIATION. In the wake of 
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati's statement that Iran is ready 
to resume mediating the Karabakh conflict (see RFE/RL Daily Report, 5 
January 1994), Russia's special envoy for Karabakh, Vladimir Kazimirov, 
has traveled to Tehran for talks with Iranian Foreign Ministry officials 
at the request of both the Armenian and the Azerbaijani leaderships. On 9 
January Reuters quoted Kazimirov and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister 
Mahmoud Vaezi as affirming their readiness to cooperate in seeking a 
solution to the conflict. Azerbaijan has in recent months repeatedly 
distanced itself from the ongoing CSCE mediation effort which it condemns 
as fruitless. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

CLINTON'S OPENING REMARKS. At the start of his eight-day trip to Europe 
and parts of the former Soviet Union, US President Bill Clinton told an 
audience in Brussels on 9 January that "Europe remains central to the 
interests of the United States" and that "we will help to work with our 
partners in seizing the opportunities before us all." Clinton said that 
"the coming months and years may decide whether the Russian people 
continue to develop a peaceful market democracy or whether, in 
frustration, they elect leaders who incline back toward authoritarianism 
and empire." Clinton linked Russia's development to the ability of 
Russia's neighbors "to thrive in freedom and join the ranks of non-nuclear 
states or founder under the strain of reform," Reuters reported. Suzanne 
Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

HAVEL ON NATO, VISEGRAD. In an interview with Czech Television on 9 
January, President Vaclav Havel said that he hopes his meeting on 11 
January with US President Bill Clinton will be open and that he will have 
a chance to give the Czech view on a variety of issues. Havel said he 
believes that NATO should be a "kind of stabilizing core of all European 
security." According to him, NATO has realized that in post-Cold War 
Europe its doctrine, position, and role have to change and said that the 
alliance has been seeking to do so. But Havel said that from the Czech 
point of view it may seem that this change has gone too slowly. Speaking 
on Czech Radio on 9 January, Havel argued against the efforts of the world 
community to view post-communist countries as belonging to various 
groupings, rather than as independent, individual states. Havel said that 
the Czech Republic is of the opinion that that each post-communist state 
must pursue its particular interests, which "does not mean that we cannot 
have the best of relations with our neighbors." Also on the 9th, the US 
Ambassador to the United States, Czech-born Madeleine Albright, and 
General John Shalikashvili, chiarman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, 
arrived in Prague to discuss the NATO's Partnership for Peace Plan with 
Czech leaders. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARY ACCEPTS PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE PLAN. On 8 January Hungary became 
the first country to agree to participate in the US plan that will allow 
East European countries to work more closely with NATO on military and 
security affairs but does not grant them security guarantees, MTI and 
Western news agencies report. The agreement came following a visit to 
Budapest by Albright and Shalikashvili. Prime Minister Peter Boross, 
Defense Minister Lajos Fur, and Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky stressed 
that they regarded the Partnership for Peace plan only as a step toward 
full NATO membership. Fur warned in Warsaw on 7 January that the plan 
should not be used to delay the membership of East European countries in 
NATO. Jeszenszky also emphasized that "in the long run, there are no valid 
historical, political, or strategic reasons to keep Hungary out of NATO." 
Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc.

US DELEGATION GETS TEPID RECEPTION IN WARSAW. Albright and Shalikashvili 
assured Polish officials in Warsaw on 7 January that Poland's security is 
of "direct and material interest" to the US. They also indicated that the 
NATO summit will issue a statement "welcoming the extension of the 
alliance to the democracies to the East." The two envoys stressed, 
however, that NATO does not intend to extend any security guarantees or 
set a timetable or define criteria for future membership. The 
"partnership" formula is not a first step toward membership, they added, 
although they suggested that enthusiastic participation might make 
eventual membership more likely. Polish leaders remained skeptical. 
Continuing his effort to provoke explicit commitments from NATO, President 
Lech Walesa admonished the US envoys, arguing that Europe ought now to 
"leap forward" rather than "crawl." In an interview with French Television 
on 9 January, Walesa added that the US plan resembled "blackmail" more 
than partnership. Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak commented that the 
"partnership" plan is vague and the only clear detail is its name. The 
Polish cabinet, meeting with Walesa present, will issue an official 
statement on the plan on 10 January, PAP reports. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, 
Inc.

VISEGRAD MINISTERS GRUDGINGLY APPROVE NATO PLAN. During their one-day 
visit, the US envoys also met with defense officials from Hungary, 
Slovakia and the Czech Republic, who gathered in Warsaw on 7 January to 
discuss the upcoming NATO summit. In an official statement, the four 
Visegrad defense officials called the Partnership for Peace plan a "step 
in the right direction" but demanded explicit assurances that full 
membership will be extended in the future. Addressing the meeting, Walesa 
expressed the hope that the Visegrad four "will speak with a single voice" 
wherever possible. The Czech Republic signaled its willingness to 
negotiate independently, however, by sending only a deputy defense 
minister to the Warsaw gathering. Czech Deputy Defense Minister Jiri 
Pospisil told reporters that his country is ready to act either alone or 
with the other Visegrad governments, depending on which approach is most 
promising. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

ALBRIGHT AND SHALIKASHVILI VISIT SLOVAKIA. On 9 January Albright and 
Shalikashvili visited Bratislava as part of their tour through Central and 
Eastern Europe, TASR reports. Albright stated that Slovakia is now among 
the first countries which are ready to sign NATO's Partnership for Peace 
Declaration. President Michal Kovac said that while Slovakia supports the 
initiative, Slovakia would like to become a full member of NATO. In a 7 
January interview with RFE/RL, Kovac said that the Visegrad nations 
"cannot be left without a timetable and specific criteria" for NATO 
membership. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

UKRAINE SUPPORTS NATO PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE PLAN. Leading Ukrainian 
diplomats have expressed support for the NATO Partnership for Peace Plan. 
Foreign Minister Anatolii Zlenko has told Reuters that "Ukraine backs the 
US initiative and intends to play an active part in it," the news agency 
reported on 9 January. Ukraine's ambassador in Brussels and to NATO, 
Volodymyr Vassylenko, explained in an interview published in the European 
edition of the Wall Street Journal on 7-8 January that "we are against a 
partial NATO enlargement" as this would leave Ukraine in a "gray zone 
between an enlarged NATO and Russia." This, he said, "would be dangerous 
not just for Ukraine but for Europe as well." Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIA AND NATO. President Ion Iliescu reiterated on 7 January his 
country's strong desire to join NATO, an RFE/RL correspondent and Rompres 
reported from Bucharest. In a letter to Secretary-General Manfred Woerner 
and leaders of the 16 member states, Iliescu said "Romania's rightful 
place is with NATO" and membership would provide the "necessary security 
guarantees to create appropriate conditions for the implementation of 
democratic changes and economic reforms." Iliescu said Romania regards the 
Partnership for Peace plan as "an important preliminary step" toward 
eventual alliance membership. Also on 7 January, presidential spokesman 
Train Chebeleu said in a statement broadcast by Radio Bucharest that 
Romania welcomes Vice President Al Gore's recent statement on NATO. 
Romania, Chebeleu said, views it as an American "assumption of 
responsibility" vis-a-vis its own security, as well as that of other 
states from this part of Europe. Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu said on 
the same day in an interview summarized by Radio Bucharest that "drawing 
new boundaries by selecting [only] certain countries" of East and Central 
Europe for NATO membership would "re-create tensions." The Partnership for 
Peace plan, on the other hand, is a "half-open door" that will give all 
the new democracies a fair chance at eventual membership in the alliance. 
On 9 January, National Defense Minister Nicolae Spiroiu told Reuters the 
Partners for Peace plan is a "viable and acceptable solution for all," but 
added that Russia's interests should be taken into consideration to avoid 
any possible perception by Russia of NATO as a growing threat. Michael 
Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

IZETBEGOVIC AND TUDJMAN OPEN TALKS IN BONN. The BBC on 10 January 
described the Yugoslav crisis as the "ghost at t he feast" in Brussels, 
where participants are expected to hear calls from France and others for 
the US to commit ground troops in Bosnia and for air strikes against Serb 
targets. Meanwhile, however, international media on the previous day 
reported on the opening of talks between the Bosnian and Croatian 
presidents in Bonn. The main issues are: a ceasefire; Muslim access to the 
sea; control of Mostar; and boundaries in central Bosnia, where Croatian 
forces continue to be hard pressed by a Muslim offensive. Izetbegovic's 
departure from Sarajevo was delayed by intense shelling by Serb forces in 
violation of their own ceasefire. The Bosnian president later told Reuters 
that he did not "expect any big progress" from the talks because of his 
previous experience in "negotiations with Croatians." Elsewhere, the 
Croatian dailies on 8 and 10 January devote much space to the talks and to 
the plight of the Croatian communities in central Bosnia. Patrick Moore, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

STEPPED UP MEDIA COVERAGE FOR KRAJINA ELECTIONS. On 5 January Politika 
reported that voters in the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina 
will have a choice when it comes to media coverage of run-off presidential 
elections scheduled for 23 January. Until 4 January, viewers had to rely 
on TV Krajina, controlled by elements supportive of Milan Babic's 
presidential bid. Yet a rival TV station, preparing to give favorable 
coverage to Milan Martic's campaign, is now set to broadcast. Martic is 
backed by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, and the new TV station may 
be viewed as an attempt by Milosevic to influence the outcome of the 
balloting. In the previous election held on 12 December, Babic won just 
under 50% of the vote, while Martic garnered just over a quarter. Krajina, 
which is composed of about a third of Croatia's territory, lacks 
international recognition, and the elections have been denounced as 
illegal by Zagreb authorities. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

ALBANIAN REPORTEDLY SHOT BY SERBS. An Albanian farmer was reportedly shot 
by border guards in Serbia when he strayed across the border at Zapod near 
Kukes on 3 January 1994, ATA said . Another Albanian was wounded in the 
incident. According to the report, 21 Albanians have been killed or 
injured recently by forces across the border in rump Yugoslavia. Ismije 
Beshiri, RFE/RL, Inc.

GREECE TONES DOWN DEMANDS REGARDING MACEDONIA. Theodoros Pangalos, 
Greece's European Affairs Minister, in an interview carried by Le Figaro 
on 8 January, indicated that Greece would cease blocking Macedonia's 
admission to the CSCE if Skopje discontinues use of the flag, the 
centerpiece of which is the 16-pointed star of Vergina, a symbol claimed 
by Greece as a national treasure. Pangalos added that the issue of 
Macedonia's name has been set aside; however he suggested that a gesture 
such as this from Macedonia could lead to overcoming other impediments. 
Duncan Perry, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAKIA'S ETHNIC HUNGARIANS MEET IN KOMARNO. On 8 January 3,000 ethnic 
Hungarians gathered in the southern Slovak town of Komarno to discuss 
territorial autonomy, TASR reports. The meeting was organized by the 
Association of the Zitny Ostrov Towns and Villages and by the two ethnic 
Hungarian political parties represented in the Slovak parliament. 
Attracting over 260 journalists from 15 countries, the gathering was also 
attended by Secretary General of the Council of Europe Catherine 
Lalumiere, despite earlier reports that she would not be present. The only 
Slovak official to attend was a representative of the Office of the 
President. Following the meeting a statement was issued criticizing the 
Slovak government's plans for territorial reorganization, which would 
divide ethnic Hungarians into five territorial and administrative units. 
Participants at the meeting discussed two possible alternatives: the 
creation of one administrative unit stretching across southern Slovakia 
which would include 511 villages and towns of more than 800,000 citizens, 
500,000 of which are Hungarian; or the creation of three separate 
administrative units. The group's statement also included demands that 
ethnic Hungarians be able to use their language in speaking and writing 
and in communication with state authorities, that bilingual official signs 
be allowed, and that the Hungarian language be made the official language 
along with Slovak in areas where Hungarians represent the majority. 
Despite a bomb threat, the meeting progressed peacefully. Sharon Fisher, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

ZHIRINOVSKY INVITED TO POLAND? Gazeta Wyborcza reports on 10 January that 
Janusz Bryczkowski, a sinister figure on the Polish political scene with 
ties to both the national-communist Grunwald Patriotic Association and the 
radical-populist Self-Defense farmers' union, has invited Vladimir 
Zhirinovsky to tour Warsaw, Cracow, Oswiecim (Auschwitz), and Zakopane in 
mid-January. Bryczkowski has in the past boasted of close contacts with 
the KGB. A spokesman for President Lech Walesa on 9 January ruled out any 
meeting with Zhirinovsky. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

ZHELEV NOT TO RUN FOR ANOTHER TERM. In an interview with Bulgarian Radio 
on 9 January, President Zhelyu Zhelev stated that he has no intention to 
run for another term. He said that he had to be persuaded to become a 
candidate in the January 1992 presidential election -- which he won with 
the support of the Union of Democratic Forces -- and that over the past 
two years he occasionally had contemplated resigning. However, Zhelev said 
he now hopes to complete the current term, which ends in 1997. Regarding 
recent criticism of several of his advisors, Zhelev rejected the term 
"anti-presidential campaign" as too strong but agreed that his office 
repeatedly has been the subject of politically inspired attacks. Two days 
earlier a presidential spokesman had sharply condemned Bulgarian dailies 
for lending credence to the alleged "intrigues of political headquarters 
and groupings" claiming that the Military Cabinet attached to the Office 
of the President is seeking to take over the functions of the General 
Staff. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

BBOR FEDERATIONS PLAN PROTEST ACTION. The leaders of Romania's three large 
labor union federations said on 7 January they will start a series of 
coordinated, nationwide protests at the end of this month. They told 
reporters in Bucharest the first action will be a one-hour warning strike 
on 28 January, an RFE/RL correspondent and Radio Bucharest reported on the 
same day. The warning strike will be followed by a one-day strike on 4 
February. Bogdan Hossu, president of the Alfa confederation, said if these 
actions bring no results, an unlimited general strike will start on 16 
February. The union leaders demand a new coalition government, social 
protection and speedier and more efficient economic reforms. Michael 
Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

KRAVCHUK ACCUSED OF CONCEALING INFORMATION FROM PARLIAMENT. A member of 
the Presidium of the Ukrainian parliament has accused President Leonid 
Kravchuk of withholding from legislators documents which he signed at the 
recent CIS summit in Ashgabat. Les Tanyuk, who is also one of the leaders 
of the Rukh democratic opposition party, claims that this is giving rise 
to concern about what the Ukrainian president actually agreed to at the 
meeting, UNIAR reported on 8 January in its newscast on the independent TV 
Channel 7. Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc.

ESTONIAN PREMIER PROPOSES MINISTERIAL CHANGES. On 6 January Estonian Prime 
Minister Mart Laar proposed to President Lennart Meri his candidates to 
replace Foreign Minister Trivimi Velliste, Finance Minister Madis Uurike, 
Economics Minister Toomas Sildmae, and Defense Minister Juri Luik. Laar 
nominated Juri Luik for the position of foreign minister; Heiki Kranich as 
finance minister; Toivo Jurgenson as economics minister, and Indrek Kannik 
as defense minister. Meri's office announced on 8 January that he had 
concurred with the proposed new positions for Laar and Kannik and had 
relieved the finance minister of his duties but did not endorse the 
candidates for economics and finance ministers. This has left Estonia 
without a finance minister and led to dispute over whether the president 
has not exceeded the authority granted him by the constitution. Dzintra 
Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

CSCE COMMISSIONER IN LATVIA. CSCE High Commissioner on Minorities Max van 
der Stoel did not find any human rights infringements during his visit to 
Latvia last week, Baltic media reported on 7 January. Van der Stoel was 
especially interested in the withdrawal of Russian troops from Latvia and 
the draft law on citizenship and naturalization that is under 
consideration by the Saeima. He supported the requirement of knowledge of 
Latvian by candidates for citizenship, but expressed reservations about 
plans to grant citizenship on a quota basis. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Patrick Moore & Suzanne Crow

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

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Updated: 1998-11-

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