Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born. - Anaiis Nin
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 20, 31 January 1994

RUSSIA

SKOKOV SUPPORTS CHERNOMYRDIN. The leader of the Federation of
Consumer Good Producers and former Secretary of the Security
Council, Yurii Skokov, told Nezavisimaya gazeta on 28 January that
he will support the government of Viktor Chernomyrdin.  He said
his Federation will cooperate with the newly created parliamentary
faction in the State Duma--the "New regional policy", headed by
the head of the Union of the Oil Producers, Vladimir Medvedev.
Skokov stated that reform will now be conducted by regional
political and industrial leaders who will also be responsible for
solving social matters. The government, he claimed has no levers
to administer economy from above and also lacks financial means.
Skokov, who is regarded as a possible future candidate for the
state presidency, lambasted radical reform policy for having
destroyed the country's financial system.  Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL,
Inc.

CHERNOMYRDIN AFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO REFORM. Addressing the World
Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on 30 January, Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin pledged adherence to the economic reform
program announced last August under the previous government,
according to various Russian and Western news agencies.
Chernomyrdin said that inflation remained the number one economic
problem in Russian and would be tackled through strict fiscal and
monetary policies. The recently announced shift towards "more
active structural-investment" policies was to take place within
the framework of this financial stabilization, the prime minister
explained.  The emphasis and tone of Chernomyrdin's speech to the
international audience contrasted sharply with the "end of reform
romanticism" motif he has used at home. Erik Whitlock, RFE/RL,
Inc.

NEW ECONOMIC PROGRAM IN THE OFFING? While Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin was assuring the World Economic forum in Davos that
the Russian government is adhering to the reform program adopted
in August 1993 (see Delovoi mir, of 13 August 1993), Izvestiya of
29 January reported that a new program drawn up by members of ten
research institutes would be submitted to the government shortly.
Among the luminaries responsible for the document are Leonid
Abalkin, Nikolai Petrakov, and Stanislav Shatalin.  The new
blueprint is said to envisage an extended, almost leisurely,
transition to the market. In an interview with Interfax of 29
January, Kirill Ignatiev of "Russia's Choice" dismissed the
program as "economic Gorbachevism," by which he meant a lot of
talk about reforms but little or no action. Other, unconfirmed,
reports from Moscow suggest that Chernomyrdin has already adopted
the gradualist reform program authored by centrist economist
Evgenii Yasin.  Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

KOZYREV WRAPS UP CHINA VISIT. Foreign Minister Kozyrev said during
his return trip from China to Russia on 29 January that relations
between the two countries were based on normal cooperation, and
there is no need for any "further steering together" of the
partners. During a news conference in China on 28 January, Kozyrev
stressed that "China and Russia are two great regional powers,
moreover in several regions simultaneously, whether it be central,
western, or southeast Asia. Our regional cooperation embraces half
the world." The Russian minister said that trade relations between
the two countries should be expected to improve so that "higher"
and "more stable" forms of cooperation could be pursued, Russian
and Western agencies reported. Prime Minister Chernomyrdin is
expected to travel to China in the third quarter of 1994 to
prepare for a Chinese-Russian summit in Moscow later in the year.
Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN-CHINESE BORDER TRADE PACT. During his visit to Beijing
last week, Kozyrev and his Chinese counterpart signed an agreement
covering 21 border crossings, The Financial Times reported on 28
January. The agreement is intended to facilitate the flourishing
two-way trade that was worth nearly $8 billion in 1993: some 80%
of the total trade is channeled through border crossings along the
remote frontier.  Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

ZHIRINOVSKY GOES TO SERBIA, SKIPS POLAND. Russian LDP leader
Vladimir Zhirinovsky left the Slovenian resort city Bled on 29
January after police complained that he and his entourage had
destroyed property and started fights.  Before leaving Slovenia,
Zhirinovsky signed a pledge to cooperate with a local nationalist
leader. The LDP leader then canceled a trip to Poland and went to
Serbia, where he reportedly brought crowds of Serbs to tears with
his assurances that Russia would always support their country. At
a news conference in Belgrade on 30 January, he said that a NATO
air strike against Bosnian Serbs would be tantamount to a
declaration of war against Russia.  Asked how he would divide
Bosnia, Zhirinovsky said: "Muslims do not exist.  Let it be
Greater Croatia and Greater Serbia," Western agencies reported.
Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

DEMOCRATIC REFORM MOVEMENT CONGRESS.  The Russian Democratic
Reform Movement (RDRM) held its second national congress on 29 and
30 January.  The RDRM, which was formed two years ago and is led
by former Moscow Mayor Gavriil Popov, failed to have its
representatives elected to the State Duma, although its members
include prominent politicians such as St. Petersburg Mayor
Anatolii Sobchak.  In his speech to the congress, Popov said that
the December elections proved that Russia had rejected the
policies pursued by the government after the attempted coup of
August 1991, and he called for "the most dangerous measures of the
Western reform model" to be dropped.  The congress approved a call
for the development of a long-term alternative program to turn
Russia into "a postindustrial society." Wendy Slater, RFE/RL, Inc.

REFORM OF STATE SECURITY ORGANS AND MVD CONTINUES.  The Commission
of the Russian Security Council for Reform of the Security
Services has approved the appointment of divisional chiefs within
the Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK), Segodnya, reported
on 27 January and Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 28 January. The
Commission, headed by the Secretary of the Security Council Oleg
Lobov, is in charge of screening officers of the former Ministry
of Security selected for the new service. The Commission did not
report the names of the new chiefs of functional divisions, but
stated that most officers of the former Ministry have no problems
in passing the procedure because of their high professional
standards.  The Commission also reported that the regional
administration of the FSK will have more liberty than in the past
in defining their own structure and selecting personnel.
Meanwhile, the Minister of the MVD, Viktor Erin, stated that his
agency will be the next candidate for reorganization, Russian
television reported on 29 January. According to Erin, the number
of administrations of the MVD will be reduced and some
departments, including the internal troops, will probably be
subordinated directly to the President.  Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL,
Inc.

UPROAR OVER ALLEGED NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS.  The Russian
Defense Ministry and General Staff have angrily denied a report
published in the Japanese weekly Shukan Bunshun that alleged that
North Korea has, with the help of Russian scientists, developed
several nuclear warheads and the missiles with which to deliver
them. The Japanese newspaper apparently used as its source what it
claimed was a top secret Russian General Staff assessment of North
Korea's nuclear weapons program. Izvestiya on 27 January published
its own report on the allegations, suggesting that the document
quoted by the Japanese newspaper was authentic, but questioning
the conclusions that were said to have been reached by the General
Staff.  Krasnaya zvezda on 28 January carried a rebuttal by
Russian General Staff Chief Mikhail Kolesnikov in which he
criticized Izvestiya for lending credence to a document that he
said was obviously phony.  On the same day, according to Interfax,
a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman described the report as a
"flagrant fabrication." Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

FAR EASTERN LEADER OPPOSES MILITARY DRAWDOWN; NIKOLAEV TO JAPAN.
The governor of Sakhalin, Evgenii Krasnoyarov, has urged the
Russian government to resist calls for further reductions in the
armed forces based on Sakhalin and on the disputed Kuril Islands,
Interfax reported on 28 January. Krasnoyarov, citing recent
alleged incursions of Japanese fishing boats into Russian waters,
suggested that reductions in Russia's regional military presence
would constitute an invitation to Japanese fisherman to engage in
more encroachments.  He claimed that the withdrawal of an air
force regiment from Iterup, one of the four disputed islands, has
had exactly that effect.  Meanwhile, Interfax also reported that
the commander of Russian Border Forces, General Andrei Nikolaev,
departed on 29 January for an official visit to Japan.  It was not
clear if the visit was related to the recent tensions over the
alleged incursions.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

REFERENDUM IN KYRGYZSTAN.  Reuters reported on 31 January that an
official in the office of Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akaev told
the agency's correspondent in Bishkek that the vote in the 30
January referendum on Akaev's leadership had been 96% in favor of
the president.  Voter turnout, according to Western and Russian
news agencies, was over 95%. The referendum, which asked only if
Akaev should finish out his term of office, which ends in 1996,
was seen by the president himself as a question of public
confidence in his economic reform program. Members of the Kyrgyz
nationalist opposition and Communists in the legislature have
criticized Akaev's program of rapid privatization for causing
severe disruption to the economy and a sharp decline in living
standards.  In fact, disruption of Soviet-era economic relations
have played the largest role in Kyrgyzstan's economic woes. Bess
Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

NAZARBAEV IN DAVOS ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Kazakhstan's President
Nursultan Nazarbaev was quoted by ITAR-TASS on 30 January as
saying that his country intends to honor the agreements on nuclear
weapons that it has signed, adding that Kazakhstan never wanted to
be a nuclear power. Nazarbaev said that Kazakhstan has received
guarantees from the nuclear states, including China, that it will
not be a target of nuclear attack, and that the US and Russia have
agreed that Kazakhstan will be compensated for the enriched
uranium from the warheads of its nuclear missiles that are to be
scrapped.  Nazarbaev also said that agreement had been reached on
his country's economic integration with the West. His statements
contradicted an assertion by an Iranian newspaper that
Kazakhstan's ambassador in Iran had said that Kazakhstan will not
give up its nuclear missiles. The ambassador denied having made
the statement.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

                               CIS

SHUMEIKO OFFERED SHUSHKEVICH CIS POST. It was reported that the
speaker of the Council of the Federation Vladimir Shumeiko called
the ousted Belarus head of state Stanislau Shushkevich shortly
after the latter lost the confidence vote in the parliament and
offered him the job of head of the Interparliamentary Assembly of
the CIS, Nezavisimaya gazeta on 28 January quoted an unnamed aide
of Shushkevich as saying. The post of head of the
Interparliamentary Assembly became vacant after the departure of
Russian parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov last October.
Khasbulatov wanted to use his position in the Interparliamentary
Assembly to rebuild the Soviet Union. Shumeiko reportedly told
Shushkevich that he had cleared the latter's candidacy for that
post with the parliamentary leaders of the other CIS states. In an
interview with Interfax on 28 January Shumeiko denied having made
such an offer.  Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

RUSSIAN NATIONALIST WINS CRIMEAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.  On 31
January Radio Ukraine announced the result of the runoff
presidential election in Crimea.  The pro-Russia candidate Yurii
Meshkov, who has opposed both Ukrainian control of Crimea and
recognition of the rights of the Crimean Tatars, won 72.9% of the
votes; his opponent, the chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the
Autonomous Crimean Republic and former regional Communist Party
leader, Mykola Bagrov, who campaigned for retaining the status quo
in relations between Ukraine and Crimea, obtained around 23%.  The
voter turnout was over 75%. Meshkov, who in the final stages of
the elections, moderated his initial call for Crimea to be
rejoined to Russia, proposes to hold a referendum on 27 March in
which voters will be asked if they are for "an independent Crimean
republic in a union with other states." According to the 1989
Soviet census, Russians constituted about 67% of the 2.7 million
population of Crimea, and Ukrainians 26%. In recent years, about
280,000 Crimean Tatars have returned to Crimea from which they
were forcibly deported in 1944.  Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc.

THREE JOURNALISTS, ONE AID WORKER KILLED IN BOSNIA.  On 29 January
Reuters reported that Bosnian Croat forces admitted to the killing
of three Italian TV journalists on 28 January. According to media
reports, the three died during a mortar attack on the city of
Mostar, where Muslim forces have been allegedly shelling Croat
troops. In a separate incident, on 28 January the international
media reported that three British aid workers were abducted when
their vehicle was apprehended near Zenica, in a Muslim-controlled
section of Bosnia. One of the men was killed, while the other two,
wounded, managed to escape. In response to this incident, Great
Britain halted its participation in UN aid convoys, but is
expected to take part once again in aid deliveries starting 31
January.  Also on 28 January UN Secretary-General Boutros
Boutros-Ghali stated he would condone the use of air strikes in
Bosnia if UN peacekeepers were attacked.  Boutros-Ghali made his
views known in a letter to the Security Council, and has evidently
authorized his representative in the former Yugoslavia, Yashushi
Akashi, to request the use of air power in the event that the UN
command in Bosnia deems it necessary. Boutros-Ghali suggested that
air power could be used, for example, at Tuzla, where the airport
has been closed because of Bosnian Serb attacks, and where UN
soldiers could be attacked as they attempt to re-open the airport.
Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

CROATIA'S FORCES IN BOSNIA.  According to international media reports, 
troops from Croatia appear to be entering Bosnian
territory in order to support Bosnian Croatian forces. Bosnian
Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic has estimated that at least 12,000
Croatian troops from Croatia have entered Bosnia, while in an AFP
report of 30 January Bosnian General Jovan Divjak suggested that
at least 14,000 soldiers from Croatia, with about 40 tanks and
aircraft had come to support the Bosnian Croats. In an official
statement issued on 29 January, the Croatian government flatly
denied that any troops were being sent into Bosnia.  Drago Krpina,
head of the political department of the Croatian army, told
reporters that any suggestions to the effect that Croatia was
sending troops to support Bosnian Croats were utter fabrications.
UN officials in Zagreb, however, have reported that some 3,000
soldiers bearing Croatia's military insignia had crossed over into
Bosnia.  Krpina has described these soldiers as "volunteers," who
may have neglected to remove their military insignias.In a related
story, officials in Belgrade have denied charges that forces from
rump Yugoslavia have been sent to Bosnia.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL,
Inc.

AUTONOMY FOR VOJVODINA HUNGARIANS?  On 28 January Politika
reported that Hungarian foreign minister Geza Jeszenszky had
arrived in Belgrade for a two-day visit that would include talks
with ranking rump Yugoslav officials including Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic and foreign minister Vladislav Jovanovic. After
concluding talks with the Serbian president, Jeszenszky told
reporters that he was hopeful that relations with rump Yugoslavia,
strained since the Serbian province of Vojvodina, which is home to
a large Hungarian minority, lost its autonomy in 1990, could
improve. According to a Reuters report of 28 January, Jeszenszky
suggested that Milosevic, perhaps in a bid to improve relations
with Hungary, was prepared to allow Serbia's ethnic Hungarian
minority to exercise autonomy, at least in the spheres of culture
and education.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

OFFICIAL'S FIRING DIVIDES POLISH COALITION. Prime Minister
Waldemar Pawlak dismissed Stefan Kawalec, the deputy finance
minister responsible for the privatization of Bank Slaski
[Silesian Bank], on 28 January, PAP reports.  The firing set off a
conflict within the two-party government. Kawalec, a member of the
original Balcerowicz team, had served in the finance ministry for
four years. The prime minister's press secretary initially refused
all comment; a subsequent statement attributed the firing to "an
overall assessment" of Kawalec's performance. Polish media
immediately assumed that Kawalec was being made a scapegoat for
the controversial debut of Bank Slaski on the Warsaw stock
exchange on 25 January, when shares were fixed at 1,350% of the
issue price. Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Marek
Borowski was not consulted on the firing; he expressed
astonishment and told reporters that Pawlak's move violated both
the "principle of cooperation among cabinet members" and the
coalition agreement between his own Democratic Left Alliance (SLD)
and Pawlak's Polish Peasant Party.  The coalition agreement
guarantees the SLD leadership a say in all major personnel
decisions.  Opposition leaders criticized Pawlak's move as a bad
omen for privatization and a reversion to the discredited methods
of the past.  Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLAND MARKS 4% GROWTH IN 1993.  The Main Statistical Office (GUS)
confirmed on 28 January that Poland recorded 4% GDP growth in
1993, PAP reports. Industrial production was up 6.2% but still
below 1989 and 1990 figures. Industrial firms' finances improved,
with 3 zloty in profits for every 1,000 zloty of turnover, well
ahead of the 15 zloty in losses recorded in 1992. Housing
construction collapsed, however.  Agricultural production rose
2.2%.  Prices rose 35.3%, an average of 2.7% per month.  Although
the purchasing power of wages declined 1.8% and of pensions, 2.6%,
consumption rose 6-7% in 1993, as the public borrowed or drew on
savings. Unemployment rose to 15.7% in December.  The budget
deficit of 43.8 trillion zloty (just over $2 billion) was 54% less
than the planned amount of 81 trillion zloty.  Revenues were 5.9%
higher than planned, while spending was 2.3% lower. By the end of
September, the trade deficit had reached $3.5 billion, in large
part because of a 47% rise in imports attributed to the
introduction of the VAT.  Exports rose by 24.1%.  Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL, Inc.

POLAND, GERMANY PLAN JOINT MILITARY EXERCISES. Polish Defense
Minister Piotr Kolodziejczyk made a one-day working visit to
Germany on 28 January, PAP reports.  German Defense Minister
Volker Ruehe agreed that joint maneuvers are one good way to
implement the Partnership for Peace plan.  Kolodziejczyk announced
that 77 joint Polish-German military activities are planned for
1994, including land and sea exercises with Denmark on the Jutland
Peninsula; marine rescue exercises with other Baltic states; and
computer war simulations. Poland will strive to have exercises
held on its territory in order to limit costs. The two defense
ministers did not discuss the possible transfer of former East
German military hardware to Poland; Kolodziejczyk explained that,
"We must have our honor; the issue has been dropped." Louisa
Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

KLAUS IN DAVOS.  Speaking to reporters at the World Economic Forum
meeting in Davos on 28 January, Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus
said that the Czech Republic has nearly completed its
transformation to a free-market economy. In Klaus's opinion, the
Czech Republic has crossed over from "the old political, social
and economic system" to a new one. He argued that the Czech
Republic is the first former East Bloc state to do so. "The Year
1994 will be the end of spectacular, visible, huge reform
measures," Klaus said.  He predicted that economic growth in 1994
will be 2-3% and inflation less than 10%.  Unemployment is
expected to rise slightly from the current 3.5%, but Klaus argued
that it would stay relatively low through the creation of new
jobs.  During a discussion at the World Economic Forum on 29
January, Klaus said his country will take part in NATO's
Partnership for Peace initiative, but is still interested in
becoming a full NATO member. Also on the 29th, Klaus and Estonian
Prime Minister Mart Laar agreed that their two countries should
sign a free trade agreement, CTK reported.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL,
Inc.

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT REJECTS LAW ON BILINGUAL SIGNS.  In its 28
January session, the Slovak parliament rejected a law allowing for
bilingual city names in areas with large ethnic minorities, TASR
reports. Needing only a simple majority, the law failed by only 3
votes; of 132 representatives of the 150-member parliament present
for the vote, 64 voted in favor, 35 voted against, and 33
abstained. The law has been supported by members of the Hungarian
minority, and its passage was recommended by the Council of Europe
when Slovakia joined the organization in June 1993. Ivo Hlavacek,
director of the international law and legislative section at the
Foreign Ministry told TASR on 28 January that the CE
recommendations are not "obligatory" or "binding." Sharon Fisher,
RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARY'S FREE DEMOCRATS ADOPT PROGRAM.  The conference of
delegates of Hungary's largest opposition liberal party, the
Alliance of Free Democrats, adopted on 30 January with only two
abstentions the party's electoral program, MTI reports.  According
to the AFD's prime minister candidate Gabor Kuncze the program
aims to trim bureaucracy, cut corporate taxes to stimulate growth,
provide incentives for foreign investors and enterprises creating
jobs. The program also promises greater independence and more
money to local governments. Characterizing the AFD as a "social
liberal party of the center," party chairman Ivan Peto told the
conference that the most important goal is to achieve a majority
for the liberal parties at the national elections.  He described
the Hungarian Socialist Party, the former reform communists who
now lead the polls, as the AFD's political opponent whom the party
is determined to defeat in the elections.  Edith Oltay, RFE/RL,
Inc.

WARNING STRIKE IN ROMANIA. Three of Romania's main trade union
confederations on 28 January called a one-hour warning strike to
protest what they see as the government's inability to cope with
Romania's economic and social problems.  The strike affected
factories, transportation, national television, the post office
department and other branches.  Radio Bucharest reported that not
all members of the three union organizations, which together claim
a membership of over 5 million, joined. The warning strike was the
first in a series of planned labor actions, including a one-day
walkout and a general strike in February. Also on 28 January coal
miners at Rovinari and Motru decided to suspend a one-week-old
strike for 30 days. The decision followed a ruling of Romania's
Supreme Court of Justice against the strike.  Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL,
Inc.

NEW BELARUSIAN LEADER ELECTED.  On 28 January the Belarusian
parliament elected Myachyslau Hryb as the new Chairman of the
Supreme Soviet, various agencies reported. Other candidates for
the post included Mikhail Marynich, deputy chairman of the state
committee for foreign economic relations, and Viktor Hanchar,
deputy chairman of the Molodechnensk city council. All three
candidates are considered conservatives. Hanchar dropped out of
the race after coming in last in the first round of voting. Hryb
was elected over Marynich in the next round by a 183 to 55 vote.
As Belarus does not have a presidency, the Chairman of the Supreme
Soviet is the head of state under the present Soviet-era
constitution.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

WHO IS MYACHYSLAU HRYB?  The new Belarusian leader, Myacheslau
Hryb, was educated as a legal expert and made his career in the
Belarusian interior ministry.  Prior to his election he was a
parliamentary deputy and headed a committee on national security,
defense and law enforcement. His candidacy was supported by the
conservative "Belarus" faction in parliament.  Observers have said
that while he is "a good professional, he is no politician," The
Guardian reported on 29 January.  Real power is considered to be
held by the Prime Minister, Vyacheslau Kebich, the most probable
contender for the post of president, if it should be introduced.
Following his election, Hryb said there were no major foreign
policy differences between him and his predecessor, Stanislau
Shushkevich. Their views differ mainly with regard to the CIS
collective security pact.  Shushkevich had been opposed to the
pact, while Hryb favored the treaty. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

MORE ON CHURKIN'S VIEWS ON THE BALTICS. At a press conference on
27 January in Moscow, according to Interfax and Western agencies,
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Vitalii Churkin said that "we
have major problems with the Baltic States" but that "we want to
solve our problems without the use of force." While admitting that
the Soviet takeover of the Baltic States in 1940 "was, of course,
a mistake," Churkin claimed that "from the legal aspect, the 1940
events cannot be interpreted as an invasion or occupation" and
added that "today's international law does not apply to the
situation before.  .  .  ." World War II. Accusing Estonia and
Latvia of violating the rights of ethnic Russians living there, he
insisted that the Baltic States, rather than Russia, had been
linking the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Baltics to the
situation of Russians living there. Regarding Estonia's
territorial claims to several areas in Russia's Pskov Region,
Churkin noted that "there is no need to create additional
irritants, which, as a matter of fact, will bring no practical
results. We can take retaliatory measures, and our Estonian
partners will not like it." He felt that "the territorial issue is
clear.  This is Russian territory, it is controlled by Russia, and
our present border with Estonia has the status of state frontier."
Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

ESTONIA RESPONDS TO CHURKIN'S VEILED THREAT. The Estonian Foreign
Ministry, in a first response on 28 January, expressed hope that
Churkin's statements "do not represent a new, even more
confrontational and threatening line in Russian foreign policy."
The ministry said Estonia would like to view Russia as a normal
state but that this would require Russia to "refrain from making
statements which make its smaller neighbors nervous about Russia's
true geopolitical intentions." The statement also disputed
Churkin's interpretation of the 1940 Soviet takeover of the Baltic
States, stressing that "international law did not, as Mr. Churkin
claims, have its origins in 1945." Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

DEVELOPMENTS IN ALBANIA. According to Rilindja Demokratike on 30
January, the United States is planning to send two reconnaissance
planes to the country with a view to providing information on Serb
positions in Bosnia. In other developments, Albanian president
Sali Berisha has concluded his trip to Malaysia and Brunei.
Opposition media, especially Zeri i Popullit on 30 January, are
ridiculing the trip as foolish at a time when the country should
be placing emphasis on continued European integration and not on
expanding ties with places so far away.  Robert Austin, RFE/RL,
Inc.

RFE TO CONTINUE BROADCASTS TO SLOVAKIA. Following 11 hours of
talks on 28 January between RFE Deputy Director Gary Thatcher and
Slovak Telecommunications Director Vladimir Ondrovic, ST agreed to
cancel its earlier decision to terminate the contract with RFE by
31 January. Thatcher told reporters that RFE is willing to help
resolve technical and legal questions, but he insisted that
Slovakia abide by the contract signed by RFE and the former
Czechoslovakia which allows RFE to use Slovak transmitters until
the end of 1995.  Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

  Compiled  by  Ustina Markus and Kjell Engelbrekt
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