It is easier to love humanity than to love one's neighbor. - Eric Hoffer
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 22, 2 February 1994

RUSSIA

YELTSIN AIDE SAYS PRESIDENTIAL PARTY BEING FORMED. Sergei Filatov,
head of Yeltsin's presidential administration, was quoted by
ITAR-TASS on 1 February as saying preparations have begun on
forming a political party to support Boris Yeltsin in the
presidential election due to be held in 1996. Filatov said the
president's regional representatives will soon launch a campaign
to promote the new party, but that the founding of the party,
which has been mooted on many previous occasions, is still several
months away. Meanwhile, former finance minister Boris Fedorov told
CNN on 1 February that Yeltsin is now a brake on the reform
process and that supporters of reform must act quickly to select
and groom a new candidate for the 1996 elections.  If the reform
lobby cannot agree on a new presidential candidate this year,
Fedorov warned, they will lose all chances of winning the 1996
presidential election.  Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc.

OSTANKINO LAUNCHES "PRESIDENTIAL PROGRAM." Ostankino television
has introduced a weekly program which will "explain presidential
decrees to the public," ITAR-TASS reported on 1 February.  The
program is broadcast every Monday and is moderated by the chief of
the presidential administration, Sergei Filatov. President Yeltsin
and his team have been complaining that presidential decrees are
often ignored, especially at the regional level.  The program is
supposed to contribute toward better implementation of the
decrees.  Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

FURTHER CONCERN OVER LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS. Nikolai Medvedev,
President Yeltsin's chief aide on relations with Russia's regions,
has added his voice to those of other presidential staffers (see
RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 21) who are warning that reform-oriented
parties risk defeat in Russia's upcoming local elections.  (On 22
October 1993 Yeltsin ordered that elections be held by March this
year to new, streamlined local government bodies in all of
Russia's krais and oblasts.) Medvedev told ITAR-TASS on 1 February
that reformist parties which scored poorly in last December's
parliamentary elections are even less organized at regional than
at national level, whereas anti-reform parties such as the
Communist and Agrarian Parties have strong regional networks.
Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLTORANIN DENIES CHARGES OF ANTI-SEMITISM.  The chairman of the
Duma's committee on information, Mikhail Poltoranin, denied
charges of anti-semitism leveled against him in the liberal
Russian media after his controversial interview with Ostankino on
23 January.  In the interview, Poltoranin said that many
journalists today write in what he called "camp Hebrew'--an
explosive mixture of Russophobia, hatred for traditions, lies, and
contempt for human dignity." "If this continues, the country will
blow up and there will be a huge counter wave of anti-Semitism,"
Poltoranin stated. This was interpreted as an allegation that Jews
dominate the Russian media--a position endorsed by the LDP leader
Vladimir Zhirinovsky.  On 1 February Poltoranin apologized for his
remarks, but told Interfax that they were "taken out of context
and misinterpreted." Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA ON AIR STRIKES.  Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
met with international Yugoslavia mediators Lord David Owen and
Thorvald Stoltenberg in Moscow on 1 February. Speaking to
reporters after the talks, Kozyrev said that the use of air
strikes in Bosnia would be an "extreme step" that Russia hopes to
prevent.  He pointed out that air strikes would require the
advance agreement of all members of the UN Security Council.
Kozyrev noted that if air strikes were to occur, they should not
be aimed only at Bosnian Serb forces. Russian Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin spoke in clearer tones, saying that Russia
opposes the use of air strikes. Vladimir Lukin, the new chairman
of the State Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee said that the Duma
would not support air strikes and that the initiation of
discussion of military action outside the UN undermines the
authority of that body, Western and Russian agencies reported.
Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

KOZYREV ON ZHIRINOVSKY.  Attempting to soothe concerns about the
most recent round of statements by Russian LDP leader Vladimir
Zhirinovsky, Andrei Kozyrev told visiting Yugoslav mediators on 1
February that Zhirinovsky was a "medical problem" rather than a
political one. In an attempt to keep the record straight on
Russia's position on the Yugoslav conflict, Thorvald Stoltenberg
correctly noted that Russia's positions on Yugoslavia were not
different before the December elections and the triumph of
ultra-nationalist forces, Western agencies reported.  Suzanne
Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

SHARP DROP IN JANUARY INDUSTRIAL OUTPUT. The State Committee for
Statistics is reporting an abnormally large drop in industrial
output for January, Reuters and Interfax reported on 1 February.
There is traditionally a dip in industrial production at the
beginning of the year owing to seasonal factors. This year's fall
of 25.5%, however, compares with an 18% tumble in 1993 and 16% in
1992. No explanation was provided for the severity of the slide.
Erik Whitlock, RFE/RL, Inc.

MODEST RETROACTIVE INDEXATION OF SAVINGS. After an acrimonious
debate lasting two years, a decision has been reached on the
degree of compensation for the dramatic decline in the value of
savings deposits that occurred after 2 January 1991. According to
the Los Angeles Times of 2 February, citing Russian TV, a
presidential decree provides for a retroactive indexation of these
deposits by a factor of three. In the meantime, as the newspaper
points out, retail prices have risen by about 234 times since 2
January 1991.  For certain consumer durables, the prices have
risen even further.  For instance, someone with 10,000 rubles in a
savings account in 1990 could have bought a new "Zhiguli,"
provided that his or her name was high enough on the waiting list.
Now the "Zhiguli" retails for between 8 and 12 million rubles,
depending upon the model.  Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

IMF TEAM IN MOSCOW.  A team from the International Monetary Fund
has started discussions with the Ministry of Finances on "Russia's
economic reform and stabilization plans," Russian and Western
agencies reported on 2 February.  (A separate IMF team was in
Moscow in January to recommend improvements in the social safety
net). Its findings will influence the timing of the disbursement
of the second tranche of $1.5 billion, the prospects for a further
loan to the value of $4 billion, and the possible implementation
of a $6 billion stabilization fund. First Deputy Prime Minister
Oleg Soskovets did his best to poison the atmosphere, however.
According to Interfax of 1 February, he told the Committee on
Machinery Construction that "it is unrealistic to expect any
serious economic aid from the West," as the West is afraid of
"Russia's potential competitive capacity." Keith Bush, RFE/RL,
Inc.

IMF DEFENDS ITS RECORD.  At a news conference on 1 February, IMF
Managing Director Michel Camdessus gave a spirited defense of the
Fund's performance as the point man in disbursing Western aid to
Russia, Western agencies reported.  Referring to the stated
intentions of the new administration in Moscow, he uttered the
mild understatement that "what we hear from the new government . .
. seems somewhat new or distanced from the course of reform on
which we agreed with the previous government." Camdessus will draw
comfort from what appears to be the new line of the US
administration towards the Fund. According to the International
Herald Tribune of 2 February, Washington now backs the IMF's
insistence on tough preconditions for further aid, even if it has
reservations about the Fund's lack of clout and persistence.
Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

                  TRANSAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

FIRST STEPS OF CENTRAL ASIAN ECONOMIC UNION. Kazakhstan,
Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan took the first step in setting up a
previously agreed on Central Asian economic union on 1 February by
removing customs on the common borders of the three countries,
ITAR-TASS reported.  Earlier attempts to set up a Central Asian
common market have had little effect; the current effort to create
an economic union appears to have a greater chance of success
because of its more limited initial focus on customs union.  Bess
Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

GEORGIAN DEFENSE MINISTER TENDERS RESIGNATION. Georgian Defense
Minister Giorgi Karkarashvili offered to resign on 1 February, one
day before a scheduled meeting with his Russian counterpart Pavel
Grachev, Western agencies reported. It is not known whether
Georgian parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze has accepted the
resignation. Karkarashvili, who was appointed defense minister in
May 1993, has twice offered to resign over policy differences; his
public brawl last December with Security Minister Igor Georgadze,
who had blamed him for Georgia's military debacle in Abkhazia,
gave rise to rumors that he planned to defect to the political
opposition.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

                               CIS

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT DELAYS NPT VOTE. Parliamentary Speaker Ivan
Plyushch told Reuters on 1 February that no vote on accession to
the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) will be taken until
after a new parliament is elected in March. Plyushch also stated
that a majority of deputies now supports the agreement.  Reuters
also reported that Dmytro Pavlychko, head of the parliamentary
committee on international affairs, confirmed that support for the
trilateral agreement is increasing amongst parliamentarians and
that it is likely to be approved.  Pavlychko noted that under the
terms of the trilateral agreement, Russia recognizes Ukraine's
sovereignty and territorial integrity within its current borders,
an important clause in the wake of the victory of a pro-Russian
candidate in the Crimean elections.  The security guarantees
offered Ukraine in the trilateral agreement are conditional,
however, upon its accession to the NPT. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL,
Inc.

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY DENOUNCES TREND OF RUSSIAN FOREIGN
POLICY.  On 1 February, at the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry's weekly
press briefing, the head of the ministry's information department,
Yurii Serheev, told journalists that Ukraine was "concerned" by
recent statements made by Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
and what it regards as a "hardening" of Russia's policy towards
the newly independent states which emerged after the collapse of
the USSR, Radio Ukraine reported. The official said that Ukraine
respects the rights of all national minorities but "categorically
opposes" linking the protection of the rights of such groups with
the presence of foreign troops on the territory of other states.
Serheev noted that at the recent CSCE meeting in Rome foreign
ministers had called for the prompt removal of the Russian 14th
army from Moldova as well as the remaining Russian forces in the
Baltic states and agreed that their withdrawal should not be
linked to other issues. Russia, he argued, was claiming that the
"aggressive nationalism" of the non-Russians was the main threat
to regional peace and security, whereas in reality Russia's policy
was exacerbating tensions by "provoking .  . . national
intolerance" among ethnic Russians living in other states. The
official said that Ukraine would oppose Russia's attempts to
promote a policy, wherein, "under the banner of defending rights .
.  . in essence the ideology of great-state chauvinism is being
revived." Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

CROATIAN UPPER HOUSE ENDORSES PACT WITH BELGRADE. After a long and
stormy discussion, the upper house voted late 31 January to
support the 19 January Croatian-Serbian declaration as "a step
toward peace." The final resolution, carried by Slobodna Dalmacija
on 2 February, frequently uses the words "step toward," indicating
that real agreement is still a long way off. Politika adds that
the measure passed only by the ruling HDZ's enforcing party
discipline in the face of opposition charges that Zagreb has no
business talking with Belgrade unless the latter recognizes
Croatia within its Tito-era frontiers. The opposition also
stresses the importance of rebuilding the alliance with the
Muslims, but the resolution as passed urges a review of
Zagreb-Sarajevo relations if the Muslims do not cease their
attacks on Croats in central Bosnia, a call made earlier by
Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic.  Borba, meanwhile, reports
that railway personnel are ready to resume Zagreb-Belgrade rail
links and are just waiting for the politicians on both sides to
reach an agreement. But Vecernji list of 1 February runs a poll
that shows that, while respondents show more support for than
opposition to the 19 January declaration, pessimism prevails as to
eventual implementation.  Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

CLAIMS AND DENIALS OVER BOSNIAN WAR PREPARATIONS. International
media in recent days have reported on the mainly-Muslim Bosnian
army's growing strength and self-confidence and have speculated
that the Muslims may now try for a victory over the Serbs and
Croats, who are suffering from morale problems and desertions.
The 2 February Washington Post quotes Bosnia's ambassador to the
UN, Mohamed Sacirbey, as joining President Alija Izetbegovic in
resisting pressure to sign a peace treaty that their side
considers unjust, adding that: "we're not engaged in this for
military victory, but we have learned that successful actions on
the battlefield are the best diplomacy." Elsewhere, the Los
Angeles Times quotes UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali as
confirming accounts that Croatian soldiers had crossed into
Bosnian territory, an issue on which Politika also reports.
Vjesnik on 31 January, however, quoted a top Republic of Croatia
military political affairs spokesman as denying that any Croatian
units are in Bosnia, while Politika carried an interview with the
rump Yugoslav chief-of-staff, who made the same claim for his
side. Western media accounts have suggested that Belgrade's armed
forces are openly operating in Bosnia, and it is widely believed
that the distinction between Zagreb's military and that of the
"Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna" is purely formal.  Patrick
Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

DRAGAN TOMIC LEADS SERBIAN PARLIAMENT. On 2 February Politika
reports on the efforts of the parties in Serbia's parliament to
form a government. Tomic, a member of President Slobodan
Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia, captured 125 votes from the
250 deputies in his successful bid to become president of the
Serbian legislature. Politika stresses that the efforts to form a
government have been hampered by disagreements.  As a result of
the 19 December 1993 elections, the Socialists hold 123 seats to
the opposition's 127.  Politika notes that the six opposition
parties, fiercely divided amongst themselves, are also seemingly
unable to cooperate with the Socialists. The daily says
representatives from three parliamentary parties had the onerous
task of "informing .  .  . the public" that recent talks aimed at
forging a government failed to produce a "political understanding"
or to break the political impasse.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

PROMINENT ALBANIAN ARRESTED IN MACEDONIA.  Mithat Emini, former
secretary general of the largest Albanian political party in
Macedonia, the Party for Democratic Prosperity, was arrested on 29
January in connection with the "All Albanian Army" plot uncovered
by authorities in November 1993, according to MIC.  While the
charges against Emini are not yet clear, he is allegedly linked
with a group of Albanians who sought to smuggle arms into
Macedonia to be used against the state. Emini lost his party post
in a recent shakeup; he was regarded by radicals as too
conciliatory to the Skopje government.  Emini was transferred from
prison to a hospital because of a heart condition.  Duncan Perry,
RFE/RL, Inc.

ALBANIAN JOURNALISTS ARRESTED.  The editor in chief of Koha Jone,
a daily which the government views as a socialist organ, and a
journalist working there, were arrested early on the morning of 21
February. The two men, Alexander Frangaj and Martin Leka, were
jailed under the country's old penal code for publishing articles
last year which allegedly disclosed secrets of the Ministry of
Defense. The arrests have triggered much controversy and
opposition member Teodor Keko has declared, "this is war,"
claiming that the opposition "will give a good lesson to the
state." Koha Jone, which carried the story along with Zeri i
Popullit, has sent an appeal to an number of international bodies
arguing that such action poses danger to the fragile Albanian
democracy.  Robert Austin and Duncan Perry, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW CONFLICT IN POLISH COALITION.  Prime Minister Waldemar
Pawlak's unilateral decision to fire Deputy Finance Minister
Stefan Kawalec, apparently to take the blame for the "Bank Slaski
affair," continues to raise hackles within the two-party Polish
coalition. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Marek
Borowski, who was not consulted on the decision, told Polish TV on
1 February that he had not yet received the written explanation he
had demanded from Pawlak.  Pawlak, on the other hand, told
reporters that the explanation had been provided. The prime
minister's press secretary later said that the reasons were given
orally rather than on paper. Borowski indicated late in the
evening that this approach was unsatisfactory. Meanwhile, the
chairman of the Sejm's defense commission, Jerzy Szmajdzinski,
demanded on 1 February that Pawlak take immediate action to
clarify the position of another controversial figure, Deputy
Defense Minister Jerzy Milewski, who simultaneously heads the
president's national security office.  The Democratic Left
Alliance (SLD) objects to this linking of posts, while the Polish
Peasant Party (PSL) has acquiesced in order to maintain the
president's good will.  Szmajdzinski and Borowski both represent
the SLD; Pawlak heads the PSL. SLD and PSL leaders met for more
than two hours late on 1 February but failed to issue a statement.
Journalists were barred from the building in which the meeting was
held, PAP reports.  Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

BANKING, FUNDING PROBLEMS FOR POLISH GOVERNMENT. The Polish media
have also attributed Kawalec's removal to the Polish Peasant
Party's determination to gain influence in the finance ministry
and channel additional subsidies to farmers. Kawalec apparently
opposed the government's decision to recapitalize the Bank
Gospodarki Zywnosciowej (BGZ), an agrarian bank that oversees
Poland's network of highly-indebted cooperative banks that lend to
farmers, without requiring the restructuring that was demanded as
a precondition for support by the ousted government of Prime
Minister Hanna Suchocka. On taking office, Pawlak provided the BGZ
with more than 4 trillion zloty ($182 million) in new funds; the
bank also expects to receive the lion's share of the 19 trillion
zloty allocated to the banking system in the proposed 1994 budget.
The BGZ is now under investigation for irresponsible loan
policies, Polish TV reports.  In other financial news, Labor
Minister Leszek Miller abandoned his demand for a 0.5% tax on
stock market transactions as a way of funding additional social
welfare programs after meeting with investors' representatives on
1 February.  The investors argued that the proposed "transaction
fee" would discourage investment and ultimately drain more funds
from the budget than the tax would bring in. Share prices on the
Warsaw stock market declined significantly for the second session
in a row on 1 February.  Brokers differed over whether this
represented a market "correction" preceding a further rise or the
beginning of a crash.  Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

PAWLAK CONTINUES PURGE OF LOCAL OFFICIALS. Prime Minister Pawlak
fired the voivodship chief in Kielce and accepted the resignation
of his counterpart in Bielsko-Biala on 1 February, Polish TV
reports. The two officials were appointed in 1990 by the first
Solidarity government headed by Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki.
Pawlak removed several other voivodship chiefs over the weekend.
Since taking office in October, the prime minister has replaced 16
of 49 voivodship heads with figures supported by the two ruling
parties.  Michal Strak, the public administration minister,
recently proposed that voivodship chiefs share the term of office
of the prime minister who appointed them. The government's
approach has prompted criticism from the opposition parties, which
argue that voivodship posts should be apolitical.  Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK CABINET URGES CANCELLATION OF LIBEL LAW. In a 1 February
session, the Slovak cabinet approved a proposal for a
parliamentary bill which would cancel articles 102 and 103 of the
penal code, TASR reports. These articles, left over from the
communist era in Czechoslovakia, make it illegal to defame the
president and the state. Deputy Premier Roman Kovac said the
cabinet's decision complies with recommendations of Amnesty
International and the Helsinki Committee.  The articles were put
into practice in December when cabinet member and state secretary
of the Privatization Ministry, Ivan Lexa, was charged with
defamation of the state and its president.  Lexa had heavily
criticized President Michal Kovac following the president's
refusal to appoint him as Privatization Minister.  The two
articles remain in the criminal code of the Czech Republic, even
after the law was revised in November.  Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL,
Inc.

ROMANIAN COALITION GOVERNMENT UPDATE.  Gheorghe Funar, chairman of
the ultra-nationalist Party of Romanian National Unity, on 1
February told an RFE/RL correspondent in Bucharest that
negotiations are complete for his party to join a coalition
government with the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania.
According to Funar, the PRNU could start participating in the
government in a couple of days, while three other parties (the
Greater Romanian Party, the Socialist Labor Party and the Romanian
Democratic Agrarian Party) would join the cabinet by 1 March.
However, Senator Ion Solcanu, who is also PSDR vice-president,
gave a different timetable at a press conference on the same day.
He said that all four parties will probably not enter the new
coalition until 1 March, after a consensus on an anti-crisis
governing program has been reached.  Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIAN TURKS LEAVE MRF CAUCUS.  On 1 January Mehmed Hodzha and
Redzheb Chinar announced they are leaving the faction of the
Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) and will henceforth be
acting independently.  Hodzha and Redzheb, who for several months
have been openly critical of the MRF leadership, told Bulgarian
media that they are defecting in protest over the party's close
ties with the Bulgarian Socialist Party, successor of the
Communist Party responsible for a forced assimilation campaign
against Turks in the late 1980s. The legislators claimed the
present government of unaffiliated Lyuben Berov, which is jointly
backed by the BSP and MRF parliamentary groups, has lately
appointed scores of government officials associated with the
attempts to assimilate ethnic Turks.  But they also called
Chairman Ahmed Dogan's leadership style "authoritarian" and
alleged that prominent MRF members take bribes.  In a comment, MRF
caucus leader Yunal Lyutfi flatly rejected the charges and
suggested that the defectors had been influenced by the opposition
Union of Democratic Forces.  On the same day, the Supreme Court
postponed the upcoming trial against ex-President and Communist
Party leader Todor Zhivkov, former Prime Minister Georgi Atanasov
and former Interior Minister Dimitar Stoyanov, accused of having
instigated the assimilation program. The proceedings were
originally scheduled for 8 February.  Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL,
Inc.

HRYB ADDRESSES PARLIAMENT.  On 1 February the new Chairman of the
Belarusian Supreme Soviet, Mechyslau Hryb, addressed parliament,
Belinform-TASS reported. Hryb stressed that a change in Belarusian
leadership did not mean there would be any changes in the
country's political or economic reforms.  Belarus would continue
working toward its goals of being a nuclear-free and neutral
state.  In addition, the republic would soon restructure its
government and will either become a parliamentary state or
introduce a presidency. Thus, the adoption of a new constitution
will be parliament's primary task. Hryb also stated that he would
do everything possible to introduce reforms which would create a
market economy in Belarus.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES STATE BUDGET FOR 1994. On 1
February, the Ukrainian parliament finally approved a budget for
1994, Ukrainian Radio reported.  Legislators have still to decide
whether or not a referendum will be held on 27 March, the same day
as the parliamentary elections, on the basic principles of
Ukraine's political system. Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc.

MOLDOVA ACCEPTS CSCE'S CONFLICT SETTLEMENT PLAN. Moldova's Acting
Foreign Minister, Ion Botnaru, officially informed the new head of
CSCE's mission in Moldova, Ambassador Richard Samuel (Britain)
that the CSCE plan for settling the Dniester conflict "has been
examined and accepted at the highest level as the basis for
negotiations" by the Moldovan side. At the same time Botnaru ruled
out "federalization or partition," Basapress reported on 1
February. The CSCE plan, worked out by its Mission to Moldova and
endorsed by the CSCE Foreign Ministers' meeting in Rome last
December, is designed as a "basis for negotiations" and proposes a
far-reaching degree of autonomy for Transdniester short of
federalization. The "Dniester republic" leaders for their part
have in recent statements continued to insist on full-fledged
statehood for Transdniester in a nominal confederation with
Moldova.  Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

US RENEWS SUPPORT FOR RUSSIAN TROOP PULLOUT FROM LATVIA.  On 1
February a twelve-member Latvian delegation, led by Foreign
Minister Georgs Andrejevs, concluded its US visit and left for
Stockholm.  While in Washington, the Latvians met with Secretary
of State Warren Christopher and other top US officials and members
of the Congress to discuss primarily Latvian-Russian relations.
Christopher reiterated that "the United States places a very high
importance on the prompt and unconditional withdrawal of the
Russian troops from Latvia," and counseled the Latvians to show
"concern and sensitivity for the Russian minority" in Latvia.
Details of the various discussions have not been announced and it
is, therefore, not possible to clarify the US views and possible
role in seeking a resolution of the question of continued Russian
control of the Skrunda radar in Latvia--one of the principal
obstacles to the signing of a formal accord on the pullout of
Russian troops from Latvia. Andrejevs told the press that "without
US help, not a single guarantee is good enough for Latvia."
Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIANS IN ESTONIA.  According to data of the Russian embassy in
Tallinn, thus far 42,300 persons have registered as citizens of
Russia living in Estonia, BNS reported on 24 January.  Estonia's
Minister of Population Peeter Olesk noted that since the embassy
does not reveal the names of these Russians, however, it is not
clear whether some of the Russians might be citizens of both
Estonia and Russia (Russian law allows for dual citizenship).
Olesk said that since Estonia regained its independence about
11,000 persons have become naturalized citizens of Estonia.
Russians, who comprise about 30% of the total population of about
1.5 million, have via their principal organization--the Assembly
of the Russian-Speaking Population of Estonia--periodically been
issuing complaints of discrimination by the Estonian authorities
against the Russophone population. At its latest meeting on 29
January, the organization proposed commemorating the fiftieth
anniversary of "Estonia's liberation from fascist occupation" and
demanded that Estonia's 1938 law on citizenship and
naturalization--which contrary to existing legislation does not
require applicants for citizenship to pass an Estonian language
test--be enforced in full, BNS reported on 1 February. Dzintra
Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

  [As of 1200 CET]

  Compiled   by  Ustina  Markus  and  Kjell  Engelbrekt
The RFE/RL Daily Report is produced by the RFE/RL Research
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