Надо уметь переносить то, чего нельзя избежать. - М. Монтень
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 19, 28 January 1994

RUSSIA

LIFTING OF LENINGRAD BLOCKADE COMMEMORATED. Ceremonies to mark the
fiftieth anniversary of the lifting of the 900-day siege of
Leningrad in World War II were held on 27 January in the city, now
renamed St.  Petersburg. President Boris Yeltsin attended the
ceremonies, but his projected two-day visit was cut short because
of events in Moscow, Western agencies reported.  To mark the
occasion, the some 400,000 survivors of the siege were awarded
increased social benefits equivalent to those given to war
veterans. Mayor of St. Petersburg Anatolii Sobchak told ITAR-TASS
that Yeltsin had promised state aid for the city, including
financial support for new metro lines, and had guaranteed that the
city and naval base of Kronstadt would be turned into a free
economic zone.  Wendy Slater, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN WORRIED ABOUT CONTINUATION OF REFORM. Presidential advisor
Vyacheslav Kostikov said that President Boris Yeltsin was alarmed
by some statements made at the recent meeting of government and
regional leaders in Orel, Ostankino TV "Novosti" reported on 27
January. Kostikov indicated that Yeltsin understood from various
speeches there that the cabinet of Viktor Chernomyrdin may want to
reintroduce some elements of the former administrative-planning
system.  He said that if Yeltsin realizes that Chernomyrdin's
policy will be targeted against reform, he will "destroy that
tendency in its embryonic state." Kostikov emphasized that Yeltsin
continues to favor a strict monetary policy, privatization and a
restructuring of the country's economic system.  Alexander Rahr,
RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA'S CHOICE REPRESENTATIVE CALLS FOR CHERNOMYRDIN'S OUSTER.
Sergei Yushenkov, Russia's Choice executive secretary, said at a
news conference in Moscow on 27 January that Prime Minister
Chernomyrdin had acquired too much power and should be replaced.
Yushenkov said the center of power in Russia had shifted from the
president to the prime minister, whose government was slowing down
reform, Reuters reported.  Yushenkov said Russia's Choice hopes
Yeltsin will offer parliament a candidate other than Chernomyrdin
for prime minister.  Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN PROSECUTOR TO CHECK RUTSKOI'S CASE. The Russian
Prosecutor-General began an investigation of the documents that
had led Moscow prosecutor's office to conclude that former
vice-president Aleksandr Rutskoi had no secret Swiss bank account,
Interfax reported on 27 January. In dismissing the case against
Rutskoi on 20 January the Moscow prosecutors reportedly raised
another charge--that Rutskoi himself had been slandered. Interfax
quoted a representative of the Moscow office as saying that
"taking into account the hidden political motives, the character
and social significance of the case, complex conclusions can be
made." The first allegation that Rutskoi had channeled illegally
obtained money into a secret Swiss bank account was made by four
members of the commission set up by Yeltsin to combat crime and
corruption, including Russian Justice Minister Yurii Kalmykov.  If
found guilty of concocting forged evidence for the false
denunciation, the culprits may be sentenced to up to eight years
of imprisonment.  Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

KHABAROVSK THREATENS TO WITHHOLD PAYMENTS. The governor of
Khabarovsk Krai in Russia's Far East says his region will make no
payments to the Russian budget in January. On 27 January, Interfax
quoted the governor as complaining that the federal authorities
owe the region "thousands of millions" of rubles for manufactured
goods and transportation fees. As a result, the region cannot pay
for all the energy it needs.  Last year, many Russian regions
withheld federal taxes in an effort to assert their independence
from Moscow. Khabarovsk's announcement suggests the struggle may
be reviving.  Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc.

FORMER MOSCOW MAYOR TO INTRODUCE "TRUE RUSSIAN" REFORM.  Gavriil
Popov told a news conference on 27 January that the reforms under
former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and Russian deputy Prime
Minister Egor Gaidar went wrong because they were modeled after a
Western pattern, Russian TV newscasts report.  Popov, the chairman
of the Russian Democratic Reform Movement, said that he would
present an economic reform plan at its congress in Moscow on 29
and 30 January. Popov is cited as claiming that the RDRM reform
would be based on a "true Russian model," similar to those of
economists Grigorii Yavlinsky and Arkadii Volsky. Although the
RDRM failed to win the necessary 5% of the vote to be elected to
the State Duma, Popov and other RDMR leaders are rumored to be
particularly close to Yeltsin and have been appointed to important
posts in the presidential administration after the 12 December
elections.  Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

SECRET ZHIRINOVSKY MEETING WITH MILITARY LEADERS?  Moskovsky
komsomolets on 27 January claimed that, according to a Russian
special services officer, Vladimir Zhirinovsky held a secret
meeting in late December with a number of Moscow area military
commanders, including representatives of an airborne division. The
house in which the meeting occurred was said to have been leased
by Civic Union leader Arkadii Volsky.  The special services
officer claimed that the meeting was "anti-presidential" in
nature, and that the officers had expressed bewilderment over why
they were not called to defend the White House last October.
Zhirinovsky reportedly called on the officers to cooperate with
him and suggested that military leaders work more closely with
certain parliamentary factions. The report of the meeting has not
been substantiated by any other source.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL,
Inc.

VOLKOGONOV RESUMES DUTIES. Long-time Yeltsin-loyalist General
Dmitrii Volkogonov has apparently been reinstated on a
semi-official basis to two posts from which he had, by virtue of a
presidential decree signed on 24 January, been removed.  On 25
January ITAR-TASS reported that Volkogonov would continue to serve
as Boris Yeltsin's military advisor on a "free-lance" and
unsalaried basis.  On 28 January, according to Interfax, Yeltsin
signed another decree that reinstated Volkogonov as head of a
presidential commission charged with investigating the
disappearance of foreigners in the former Soviet Union.
Volkogonov's work in this area will also be unpaid, and will not
have the status of civil service.  As a newly-elected deputy to
the Federal Assembly Volkogonov is prohibited from working in the
executive branch of government.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

REPAYMENT OF EXTERNAL DEBT.  At a meeting in Moscow on 27 January
with representatives of Western creditor banks, both Prime
Minister Chernomyrdin and Deputy Finance Minister Andrei Vavilov
declared that Russia would honor its debts to government and
private creditors, even if this would not prove to be easy,
Interfax and Western agencies reported. Neither of the speakers
specified when this might be done: some observers have recommended
moratoria of up to ten years. A figure of $80 billion was given
for the total sum of Russia's current indebtedness, although many
Western estimates would put this closer to $90 billion.  Former
Finance Minister Boris Fedorov had consistently advocated
repayment in full of the external debt of the former Soviet Union,
while Aleksandr Shokhin, the new Economics Minister, has called
for it to be written off.  Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA AND THE G-7.  A spokesman for German Finance Minister Theo
Waigel announced on 27 January that the finance ministers of the
G-7 nations will meet near Frankfurt on 26 February to discuss,
inter alia, Russia's economic reforms, Western agencies reported.
On the same day, the Italian government confirmed that President
Yeltsin will be invited to attend the G-7 summit in Naples in
July.  Prime Minister Chernomyrdin, during his visit to Italy,
suggested that the G-7 be turned into the G-8--to include
Russia--during the Naples summit.  German Chancellor Helmut Kohl
in his opening address to the World Economic Forum in Davos also
said that there was no alternative but to give Russia permanent
membership in the [hitherto] G-7. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

PRIMARY ALUMINUM OUTPUT TO BE CUT. The government's Operative
Committee has decided to accept recommendations by the State
Metallurgy Committee to reduce the annual output of primary
aluminum by half a million tons, The Journal of Commerce reported
on 27 January.  Russia's production of primary aluminum has
remained high at around 2.7 million tons a year, despite reduced
domestic demand, and the surplus has been flooding the world
markets, depressing prices.  Economics Minister Aleksandr Shokhin
was quoted as saying that unless output was cut [and exports
curtailed], Russia would face restrictive import quotas from
Western Europe and anti-dumping measures from the US, and could
thus lose its two best markets for aluminum. Keith Bush, RFE/RL,
Inc.

KOZYREV'S PARTING WORDS IN CHINA.  On 27 January Russian Foreign
Minister Andrei Kozyrev closed his three-day visit to China with
assurances that Boris Yeltsin would continue with reform and that
Russia's "foreign policy will not undergo profound change." At the
same time, Kozyrev complained about Western interpretations of
Russia's foreign policy: "What the West is saying about Russian
neo-imperialism' is aimed at diverting people from the real
problem, which is how Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent
States can maintain stability." He warned that Russia "will not
listen to [the West's] lessons and lectures." Kozyrev also
declared his country's intention to "strengthen friendly relations
with China," Western agencies reported.  Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL,
Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

IMF LOAN TO KAZAKHSTAN.  The International Monetary Fund announced
on 27 January that it approved $255 million loans to support
Kazakhstan's economic reforms, an RFE/RL correspondent reported
from Washington. Kazakhstan has received more than $1 billion in
commitments from the international financial community to meet its
external financing needs.  The IMF loans include some $85 million
from the Special Facility for Nations in Transformation, available
immediately, and a credit of $170 million on which Kazakhstan can
draw over the next twelve months. The IMF announcement praised
Kazakhstan's reform program, which it said seeks to reduce the
inflation rate through tight monetary policies and to speed up
privatization and banking reform as well as creating a "social
safety net." Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

RAFSANJANI URGES TAJIK LEADERSHIP TO TALK TO OPPOSITION.  On 27
January Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani met with
Tajikistan's Foreign Minister Rashid Alimov, in Tehran for a
meeting of Economic Cooperation Organization foreign ministers,
and urged that Tajikistan's government seek reconciliation with
the Tajik opposition, AFP, quoting Tehran Radio, reported.
Tajikistan's CIS allies have tried to pressure the country's
neocommunist leadership into holding talks with the armed
opposition, which continues to launch attacks on the Tajik-Afghan
border. While some Tajik government leaders have expressed
willingness to meet with representatives of the Tajik refugees in
Afghanistan, they have been rejected dealings with the leadership
of the Islamic-democratic-nationalist opposition in exile.  Alimov
is reported to have said that Tajikistan prefers UN peacemaking
efforts to Iranian mediation.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

AKAEV ON EVE OF REFERENDUM.  Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akaev,
facing a referendum on 30 January on continuation of his
presidency, told journalists on 27 January that he is optimistic
about the outcome, Reuters reported.  Akaev said that a large
majority in his favor would provide an impulse for speeding up
reforms and fighting corruption. Some of Akaev's former supporters
in the Kyrgyz nationalist parties have become disenchanted with
the economic reform process and what they see as Akaev's excessive
friendliness with Russia.  Should Akaev lose the referendum, they
intend to try to replace him with former Vice-President Feliks
Kulov. Former Communist Party chief Turdakun Usubaliev, inspired
by the success of Azerbaijan's Heidar Aliev, is also reported to
be seeking a political comeback.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

WHO WILL SUCCEED SHUSHKEVICH? The Belarusian parliament reconvened
on 27 January, a day after having voted the Chairman of the
Supreme Soviet, Stanislau Shushkevich, out of office, various
agencies reported.  The session began with deputies making
nominations for Shushkevich's permanent replacement.  Nine
candidates are vying for the post, but only two are considered
serious contenders.  The most likely successor is Myachyslau Hryb,
chairman of parliament's defense commission. He is supported by
the conservative "Belarus" faction, the largest association in
parliament, which led the campaign to seek a no-confidence vote in
Shushkevich.  His only serious rival is Mikhail Marinich, deputy
chairman of the foreign economic relations commission and former
head of the Minsk Communist Party.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUS REASSURES RUSSIA . . . Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich
said that Shushkevich's dismissal will not affect the planned
signing of agreements on monetary union between Russia and
Belarus, Belinform-TASS reported on 27 January.  The Russian Prime
Minister, Viktor Chernomyrdin, is due to visit Minsk next week to
iron out the details of the union. Kebich is an advocate of a
Russian-Belarusian economic union.  Reuters reported Henadz
Kazlau, leader of the "Belarus" faction as saying that, "Our aim
is to create a confederation beginning with Russia and Belarus.
Shushkevich's removal is no tragedy." Analysts predict that the
effect of the removal of Shushkevich "would be to make Belarus
less an independent state and more a virtual protectorate of
Russia," the Washington Post reported on 28 January. Ustina
Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

. .  .  AND THE US.  The US State Department reacted immediately
to the news of Shushkevich's removal by issuing a statement
expressing regret over the dismissal.  The statement went on to
say that the US expects Belarus to honor its commitment to
eliminate its nuclear arsenal, AFP reported on 27 January.
Shushkevich had committed Belarus to becoming nuclear free, and
the US has so far promised $100 million toward dismantling the
country's nuclear arsenal.  Recently, Kebich and some deputies
have begun demanding a share of profits from the sale of uranium
extracted from Belarusian warheads, just as Ukraine is to receive.
On 28 January an RFE/RL correspondent and AFP reported that the
Belarusian foreign ministry summoned foreign diplomats to assure

them that the country's commitments to disarmament and transition
to a market economy remain unchanged.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

MOLDOVA TO CONDUCT REFERENDUM ON INDEPENDENCE. Ignoring the
objections of the pro-Romanian opposition, the Moldovan
Parliament's Presidium on 27 January approved a proposal by
President Mircea Snegur to call a referendum confirming the
country's independence. Labeled "popular consultation" in an
apparent reference to the 1991 referendums held in the Baltic
states, the poll is to be conducted simultaneously with the
anticipated legislative elections on 27 February. Snegur and the
parliamentary majority had urged such a referendum since 1991 but
earlier the pro-Romanian minority used its veto power. The
Parliament's decision last October to recess indefinitely and to
delegate legislative authority to a revamped Presidium opened the
way for both the elections and the referendum. Vladimir Socor,
RFE/RL, Inc.

MOLDOVAN LEADER BLASTS PRO-ROMANIAN GROUPS. Parliament Chairman
Petru Lucinschi told a news conference on 27 January that the
unification of Moldova with Romania, as desired by the minority
opposition, would be "a sure way to war," creating what he called
"a second Yugoslavia" in Moldova as well as beyond its borders.
Basapress and an RFE/RL correspondent also report that Lucinschi
reaffirmed Moldova's acceptance of the current Moldovan-Ukrainian
border, which Romania and its local supporters question. He noted
that the West supports regional stability and Moldova's
independence and would therefore welcome an electoral victory by
the ruling Agrarians and other pro-statehood parties. Vladimir
Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

BOSNIAN SERBS TO LAUNCH MAJOR OFFENSIVES? The 28 January New York
Times quotes Sarajevo Radio as saying that Bosnian Serb forces,
which now enjoy the open support of the rump Yugoslav army, are
preparing two major drives in that embattled republic.  The first
is in the area of Brcko in northeast Bosnia and is designed to
open the east-west corridor linking Serbia with the Serb-held
territories in Croatia and in western Bosnia. The second prong is
a drive southward along the Drina via Gorazde and its aim is
similarly to improve links to Serb-held areas in eastern
Herzegovina.  The drive can also be seen as an effort to
consolidate Serb conquests in general in the face of fresh
assertiveness on the part of the Muslim forces and amid growing
morale problems and desertions within the Serb and Croat armies.
In other Bosnia-related developments, international media on 27
January reported that the US Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor
of a non-binding resolution calling for lifting the arms embargo
on the Bosnian government.  The Los Angeles Times on 28 January,
for its part, says that UN investigators have confirmed some
charges of wrongdoing on the part of UN troops or civilian
personnel in Bosnia, but that the major accusations against them
remain unfounded or under investigation.  Patrick Moore, RFE/RL,
Inc.

CROATIA CONTINUES RAPPROCHEMENT WITH SERBIA. Apparently undeterred
by criticism to the effect that Croats should not sit down with
the Serbian aggressor but rather repair ties to their fellow
victims, the Muslims, the government of President Franjo Tudjman
is going ahead with plans to improve links to Belgrade.  The two
governments announced on 27 January in Geneva that they would set
up a joint commission to look into the fate of some 9,000 people
missing since the 1991 war as well as other issues, Reuters said.
Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic noted that he and his rump
Yugoslav counterpart, Zeljko Simic, have opened talks on the main
issue between them, namely the Serb insurrection in Croatia's
territories generally but incorrectly known as Krajina. Vecernji
list on 28 January quotes Granic at length, saying that Serb-Croat
relations are the key to peace.  Nedjeljna Dalmacija of 26 January
takes a similar line.  The weekly defends Tudjman against the
charge that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic is pulling the
wool over his eyes again, arguing instead that Tudjman is simply
trying to explore every avenue toward peace.  Critics have also
accused Tudjman, moreover, of following a blind and cynical policy
of partitioning Bosnia with the Serbs at the expense of the
Croats' "natural allies," the Muslims.  These critics suspect that
the latest contacts with Belgrade are really aimed at striking a
package deal, which, they add, the Serbs will never truly agree
to.  Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

PURGES AND PLOTS AMONG KOSOVO SOCIAL DEMOCRATS.  In the Social
Democratic Party of Kosovo on 24 January, four members of the
steering committee resigned, two were released from office because
they reside permanently abroad, and four were dismissed for
inactivity, Rilindja reported on 25 January. According to the
paper, "recently the impression has been growing that an
unsatisfactory and intolerable atmosphere was on the rise in the
leadership," adding that "the relations within the leadership
worsened to the point that the very existence of the party was in
question." Nonetheless, party leader Luljeta Pula Beqiri and
Shkelzen Maliqi, a member of the steering committee and well-known
intellectual, did not resign. Beqiri charged that the earlier
"blockade" of the steering committee was caused by a group of
members, who organized illegal meetings, and hatched a plot.
Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLAND AWARDS PRIVATE TV LICENSE. The National Broadcasting
Council awarded the single license available for a national
commercial TV station to PolSat, a firm based entirely on Polish
capital, on 27 January. The decision was unanimous despite the
diverse composition of the nine-member council.  There were nine
other contenders for the private TV license. Owned by millionaire
businessman Zygmunt Solorz, PolSat has broadcast to Poland by
satellite from Holland since 1992. The firm's former general
director, Wieslaw Walendziak, was named to head Polish public TV
in November.  During the public hearings that preceded the
council's decision, PolSat proposed to offer programming that
would "complement" rather than compete with Poland's two public TV
stations.  PolSat's initial capital amounts to 250 billion zloty
($11.6 million); two domestic stock offerings are planned to raise
an additional 750 billion zloty ($34.8 million).  The station will
be ready to broadcast within six months, officials said.  The
broadcasting council also announced plans to give Canal Plus (a
Polish-French joint venture) a license to offer coded
pay-television.  Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAKS DISSATISFIED WITH POLITICAL, ECONOMIC SITUATION. In a
recent poll by the Sociological Institute of the Slovak Academy of
Science reported by TASR on 27 January, 85% of the population
expressed "discontent" with the current economic situation, while
80% of Slovaks blamed domestic policy for their economic problems.
Only 28% of respondents said they trust the parliament, while 40%
said they had confidence in the cabinet. A high 73% said they
trusted the institution of the president.  Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL,
Inc.

LEZSAK STEPS BACK AS CANDIDATE FOR HDF CHAIRMANSHIP.  On 27
January the Executive Chairman of the ruling Hungarian Democratic
Forum (HDF), Sandor Lezsak, withdrew his candidacy for the
chairmanship of the party, Hungarian media report.  Following
Prime Minister Antall's death, Lezsak became the number one
politician in the HDF, and, along with Defense Minister Lajos Fur,
was regarded as the most likely candidate for the position as the
party's chairman, to be elected at the party's next congress in
mid-February. At the 27 January meeting of the HDF national
presidium, Lezsak said he would be satisfied with the post as
executive chairman, the number two position in the party, and the
delegates agreed to that request. Reportedly, aside from Fur, five
other candidates are running for the position, but their names
have not yet been made public. As the Present Prime Minister Peter
Boross appears to have no ambitions to lead the HDF--although he
is likely be nominated at the congress--Fur has emerged as the
most likely candidate to win the HDF chairmanship.  Judith Pataki,
RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIAN COALITION TO INCLUDE ALL EXTREMIST PARTIES.  At a press
conference reported by Radio Bucharest and Romanian Television on
28 January, the executive president of the ruling Party of Social
Democracy in Romania, Adrian Nastase, said that his party's
Central Executive Bureau has now decided to form a coalition with
all parties that back the executive in parliament. The coalition
should be set up by 1 March, Nastase said, and it would include,
apart from the PSDR, the Greater Romania Party, the Socialist
Labor Party, as well as the Party of Romanian National Unity and
its ally, the Agrarian Democratic Party.  The coalition members
will be represented in the executive according to their
proportional parliamentary strength. Nastase said the PSDR
leadership could not accept what he termed as the "ultimatum-like"
demands of the PRNU for setting up the coalition previously agreed
on, and specifically referred to the claim to the Ministry of
Justice portfolio. Responding to the statement, PRNU vice chairman
Ioan Gavra said his party would stand by its position to withdraw
parliamentary support from the Vacaroiu government if the
PSDR-PRNU coalition is not set up by 1 February.  Michael Shafir,
RFE/RL, Inc.

CHIEF RABBI WARNS AGAINST ANTI-SEMITIC TIDE IN ROMANIA.  At a
press conference in Bucharest on 27 January, Chief Rabbi Moses
Rosen protested against a program aired by the 2nd TV channel on
24 January.  The program was on Romania's wartime leader, marshal
Ion Antonescu, whose gradual rehabilitation is already underway in
Romania.  Among other things, it was stated that Jews had
assassinated Romanian officers and soldiers in 1940, and that this
explained the anti-Semitic measures subsequently taken by the
Antonescu government. Rabbi Rosen said nothing was being done in
Romania to combat anti-Semitism.  He specifically criticized the
Prosecutor General, who had rejected numerous libel suits against
anti-Semitic publications, and said the democratic forces are
doing nothing to thwart the phenomenon. Rosen also urged the press
not to "stay silent, because that is the worst thing of all."
Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIAN ECONOMY STILL DOMINATED BY STATE SECTOR.  The Bulgarian
economy is still heavily dependent on the state and cooperative
sectors, the National Statistical Institute (NSI) said in a report
made public on 27 January.  In a study of the general economic
trends of 1993, the NSI estimated that the private sector is
currently growing fast enough to make up for production shortfalls
in state companies but remains less significant in terms of the
national income. The report says private businesses control 46% of
the revenues in trade, 22% in construction, 21% in industry, and
7% in transport. Meanwhile in Washington, however, World bank and
Bulgarian economists were agreed that Bulgaria since 1990 has made
considerable achievements in establishing a market economy. Zeljko
Bogetic, a World Bank economist specializing in Bulgaria, told an
RFE/RL correspondent that private sector development has already
altered the country's economic structure. Referring to recent
market studies, Bogetic said put the contribution of the private
sector to 37% of the national economy.  Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL,
Inc.

ESTONIANS IN RUSSIA. On 26 January Reet Tobre, the leader of the
Petserimaa association, a group lobbying for the reunification of
the Petseri/Pechory region with Estonia, told a press conference
that Russian authorities are "putting pressure" on an increasing
number of people in the area who have acquired Estonian
citizenship, BNS reports. Tobre said that the Russians are
demanding that the inhabitants of the Petseri/Pechory region,
which Russia recognized as part of Estonia by the Tartu Treaty of
2 February 1920 but annexed after World War II, who have taken out
Estonian citizenship, give up their Russian citizenship, an act
that would deprive them of the right to own real estate and
require them to apply for a special permit to enter the border
zone. She also said Russia is making it more difficult for these
people to cross the border to Estonia.  Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL,
Inc.

CHURKIN: RUSSIA NO THREAT TO THE BALTIC STATES.  Russia's Deputy
Foreign Minister Vitalii Churkin told Interfax on 27 January that
his country is "absolutely no threat to the Baltic countries," and
added that representatives from Russia and the Baltic States
"simply have to come together and constructively resolve problems
inherited from their common past." Churkin said Russia "has the
impression that some Baltic politicians believe that they can
ensure their national interests by means of confrontation with
Russia." Churkin called this "a great delusion," and said the
Baltic states "can protect their sovereignty in real terms only by
building relations of partnership with Russia.  Russia acts in
precisely this way, and it hopes that this kind of approach will
triumph," he said.  Churkin also stated that Russia has already
pulled out 85% of its troops, insisting that Russia "never linked
the issue of troop withdrawal to changes in the situation of
Russian speakers." Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

LITHUANIA SIGNS PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE. On 27 January in Brussels
President Algirdas Brazauskas signed a document by which his
country formally joined the NATO Partnership for Peace program,
Radio Lithuania reports. Prior to the signing by NATO deputy
secretary-general Amedeo de Franchis and representatives of the 16
NATO member states, Brazauskas said that Lithuania has no
territorial claims on its neighbors. He also criticized Russia for
claiming a security interest in the Baltic States.  While in
Brussels, Brazauskas had meetings with Belgian Prime Minister
Jean-Luc Dehaene, Secretary-General of the West European Union
Willem van Eekelen, and Chairman of the European Commission
Jacques Delors.  Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

  [As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Saulius Girnius and Kjell Engelbrekt
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Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole