One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love. - Sophocles
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 25, 7 February 1994

RUSSIA

KOHL, RIFKIND SAY RUSSIA SHOULD RESPECT NEIGHBORS. German Chancellor 
Helmut Kohl told participants at an international security conference in 
Munich on 5 February that Russia should respect the sovereignty of the 
republics along its borders and should work at building trust among them 
rather than attempting to create spheres of influence. Reuters reported 
that Kohl said that NATO had refrained from accepting Eastern European 
states as members for the time being out of respect for Russia's security 
concerns, and that NATO hoped to develop a cooperative relationship with 
Russia. He was quoted as saying: "In return, however, we expect Russia to 
continue a foreign policy marked by constructive participation in solving 
international problems." Kohl said that Boris Yeltsin had only recently 
confirmed in a letter that the Russian leadership would "not listen to 
those who call for Russia to adopt a nationalistic or even imperialist 
policy," AFP reported. British Defense Minister Malcolm Rifkind, 
meanwhile, said that the most immediate threat to security in the near 
term was not the extension of NATO eastward, as some in Moscow have 
maintained, but renewed Russian attempts to assert control over 
neighboring states. According to AFP, Rifkind warned that even Russian 
moderates like Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev sometimes spoke in such 
terms. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. 

FRANCO-RUSSIAN MILITARY ACCORDS; GRACHEV REMARKS ON PEACEKEEPING, BOSNIA. 
The Russian and French Defense Ministers, Pavel Grachev and Francois 
Leotard, respectively, on 4 February signed two defense agreements in 
Moscow, one aimed at promoting officer exchanges and joint exercises, the 
other at increasing cooperation in the arms industry, Reuters reported. 
Grachev termed the defense industrial agreement "the first of its type" 
with a Western European country. In other remarks made to Leotard, Grachev 
again appealed for the UN to grant Russia a mandate for the conduct of 
peacekeeping operations on the territory of the former USSR; he said that 
Russia currently had 16,000 troops carrying out such operations, and 
suggested that Moscow hoped to concentrate its efforts on the former USSR 
rather than send peacekeepers to troublespots in other parts of the world. 
Finally, Grachev said that he was opposed to bombing Serbian positions in 
Bosnia, arguing that such a decision should be made only by the UN 
Security Council. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. 

SOSKOVETS: ENERGY PRICES SURPASS WORLD LEVELS. First Deputy Prime Minister 
Oleg Soskovets told Rossiiskie vesti on 4 February that domestic prices of 
energy products have jumped above world levels and are "choking the entire 
economy," ITAR-TASS and Russian TV reported. He claimed that with the 
ruble not depreciating in line with domestic cost inflation, the prime 
cost of producing a ton of oil had reached $192 as compared with the 
selling price on the world market of $88. The prices of many energy 
carriers were freed from central control in 1993, but remained under the 
influence of regional authorities, resulting in price setting that 
Soskovets described as "essentially chaotic." He said that the government 
was considering reintroducing increased regulation of prices in the form 
of "cartel agreements;" the details of these were not provided, however. 
Erik Whitlock, RFE/RL, Inc. 

PROBLEM OF NONPAYMENTS HIGHLIGHTED. Addressing the parliament on 4 
February, acting Finance Minister Sergei Dubinin put the total value of 
nonpayments in the economy at 14-15 trillion rubles, ITAR-TASS and 
Interfax reported. Intriguingly, he went on to reassure the legislators 
that mutual indebtedness in 1993 represented a smaller share of GDP than 
in 1992, which showed a positive trend. Other authoritative spokesmen have 
given higher estimates and have warned of dire consequences. Dubinin 
offered three proposed solutions: first, a massive extension of credits, 
which would fuel inflation; second, the introduction of promissory 
notes--if these were not honored, then bankruptcy proceedings against the 
debtors could be initiated; third, part of the revenues of defaulting 
enterprises could be sequestered and transferred to tax collectors, 
suppliers, and the enterprises' workers. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOW INTRODUCTION OF BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS. The problem with Dubinin's 
second proposal is that although bankruptcy proceedings have been 
authorized for nearly one year, they have rarely been applied. According 
to the State Statistics Committee, there are now over 8,000 enterprises 
that might officially be recognized as being insolvent (Interfax, 4 
February). But, according to Economic News Agency of 27 January, only 8 
enterprises had been ruled as bankrupt by the end of 1993. The principal 
reasons for the slow implementation of bankruptcy legislation appear to be 
the political unacceptability of massive, open unemployment, the lack of 
an effective social safety net, and the fact that many unprofitable 
enterprises provide kindergartens, clinics, etc., that would disappear 
with the plants' closure. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

SHAKHRAI PREDICTS CRISIS IN MAY. Sergei Shakhrai, minister for 
nationalities and regional policy, said at a 5 February meeting of the 
Party of Russian Unity and Concord which he leads, that he expects a new 
political crisis to emerge in Russia in May, ITAR-TASS reported. He said 
that possible industrial action, the fall of the ruble, and the rise of 
nationalism and separatism posed a serious danger, and he called upon 
government, parliament and major political parties to conduct "a political 
and social cease fire" for at least two years. Ekho Moskvy on 4 February 
quoted him as saying that, as Communists fight with democrats and 
nationalists for power in the center, a new wave of economic separatism is 
building on the local level. Shakhrai predicted that if the ruble were to 
fall, the federation would collapse. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

ZHIRINOVSKY ON RUSSIAN PRESIDENCY AND SERBIA. The leader of the extreme 
right Liberal Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, addressing a rally 
in Moscow on 5 February, predicted that presidential elections in Russia 
would be held before their scheduled date of June 1996, and claimed that 
the LDP could complete its hold on power this year, Interfax and Western 
agencies reported. The rally of between 500 and 1,000 people heard 
Zhirinovsky accuse the Russian government of conniving with the West, 
which "is testing mechanisms for destroying Russia" in Serbia. The LDP 
leader, who recently returned from a tour of the former Yugoslavia, 
described the fighting there as "the third world war being waged against 
the Slavs and the Orthodox Church by the USA, West Germany and the 
Vatican." Wendy Slater, RFE/RL, Inc. 

IRKUTSK REFUSES TO PAY TAXES. Following the recent announcement by the 
governor of Khabarovsk Krai that his region cannot afford to pay its 
federal taxes, the governor of Siberia's Irkutsk Oblast has announced that 
his region also plans to withhold money it owes to the federal budget. The 
governor, Yurii Nozhikov, was quoted by Izvestiya on 1 February as saying 
his region faces a cash-flow crisis and must use what cash it has to pay 
the salaries of municipal workers: busdrivers, schoolteachers, medical 
staff and so on. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc.

CAPITAL FLIGHT PROBE SHELVED. The investigation by the US corporate 
private investigators, Kroll Associates, into capital flight from the 
former Soviet Union has been shelved, The Financial Times reported on 7 
February. One investigator was quoted as saying that the file compiled 
from talking with Western banks and companies raised "suspicions about 
certain players and institutions [in the former Soviet Union]. Our problem 
is that when we sent it to Moscow, it was never followed up." The 
Institute of International Finance has estimated the current scale of 
capital flight from Russia to be at least $1 billion a month, although 
this includes foreign currency legally deposited by Russian companies into 
Russian banks which place it overseas. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

OLD LEADERS AT HEAD OF COUNTERINTELLIGENCE. President Yeltsin has 
appointed Andrei Bykov, Aleksandr Strelkov and Valerii Timofeev as deputy 
directors of the newly created Federal Agency of Counterintelligence, 
Radio Rossii "Novosti" reported on 4 February. All three were deputy 
ministers in the former Ministry of Security. Bykov is a former government 
official responsible for technological transfer. Strelkov until 1992 
headed one of the major departments responsible for labor camps in the 
Soviet Union. Timofeev was formerly the regional KGB chief in Gorky, the 
city to which academician Andrei Sakharov was exiled in 1979. Alexander 
Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

DAGESTAN HAS RUSSIA'S HIGHEST JOBLESS RATE. Dagestan, where 4% of the 
working population are registered as unemployed, has the highest 
unemployment rate in the Russian Federation, Russian TV reported on 4 
February. This is four times higher than the official rate for Russia as a 
whole, which is about 1%. (In its latest report on unemployment in Russia, 
the International Labor Office rejected the official figures as much too 
low; the ILO said that the scarcity of employment bureaux in Russia, 
coupled with the low rate of unemployment benefit, deters many jobless 
people from registering.) Russian TV said 23,000 workers are on enforced 
vacation in Dagestan and that there are 30 applicants for every vacancy; 
it did not explain why Dagestan should be worse off than anywhere else in 
Russia, but the northern Caucasus had high numbers of jobless people even 
during the Soviet period when unemployment was officially supposed not to 
exist. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN ANNULS DECREE ON PARLIAMENT BUILDING. President Yeltsin signed a 
decree on 4 February revoking the government's decision to spend an 
estimated $500 million on a new parliament building, Interfax and 
ITAR-TASS reported. The plan had met opposition within the government, 
having been cited by former Fist Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar as one 
of the reasons for his resignation in mid-January. The State Duma had also 
passed a resolution condemning the plan. Yeltsin's decree called for the 
decision to be reviewed in two years' time. Wendy Slater, RFE/RL, Inc.

CIS

MEETING OF CIS PRIME MINISTERS POSTPONED. A meeting of heads of government 
of the CIS states, originally set for mid-March, has been postponed, ITAR 
TASS reported on 4 February. The postponement was announced after a 
meeting between Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and CIS 
Executive Secretary Ivan Korotchenya, at which the two agreed that more 
preparatory work was needed between CIS members on various economic 
questions. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc.

NO DATE SET FOR CHERNOMYRDIN'S MINSK VISIT. On 4 February an RFE/RL 
correspondent reported that no date has been set for the postponed visit 
of Prime Minister Chernomyrdin to Belarus. Officials in the Russian 
government press office said that the visit has been delayed because 
Chernomyrdin and President Yeltsin have not yet resolved all of the issues 
surrounding the proposed monetary union between Russia and Belarus. The 
questions which remain to be decided concern the correlation of the 
Belarusian and Russian currencies, the right of the Belarusian national 
bank to its own currency emission, and the coordination of energy prices 
in both countries. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. 

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

AFGHANISTAN ACCUSES UZBEKISTAN OF INTERFERENCE. Afghanistan's Foreign 
Ministry has accused Uzbekistan of interfering in Afghan internal affairs 
and has demanded that the interference stop, Western and Russian news 
agencies reported on 4 and 5 February. The charge was broadcast on Radio 
Kabul on 4 February. Earlier in the week, a spokesman for Afghanistan's 
President Burhanuddin Rabbani said that Uzbekistan has been helping Afghan 
Uzbek General Abdulrashid Dostum, who has been fighting Afghan government 
forces. On 5 February Uzbekistan's embassy in Moscow denied allegations 
that the Uzbek government has either given weapons or technical help to 
Dostum or interfered in Afghanistan's internal affairs. Bess Brown, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

SHELLING OF SARAJEVO CALLED "THE DEADLIEST ATTACK." On 6 February a 
Reuters report, describing the carnage in Sarajevo after a 5 February 
mortar attack on civilians in a public market claiming the lives of at 
least 68 people and wounding an estimated 200, referred to the incident as 
"the deadliest attack in 22 months of war in the Bosnian capital." The 
mortar attack came while representatives of Bosnia's three warring sides 
were holding talks at Sarajevo airport in preparation for the next round 
of Geneva talks; international media report that Bosnian Prime Minister 
Haris Silajdzic left the table upon hearing of the attack. The public 
market massacre came just one day after several shells fell into a crowd 
of people waiting for aid, killing at least eight and wounding about 20. 
According to the Bosnian Muslim government, the Bosnian Serb side is 
responsible for all the shelling, but UN officials suggest it will be 
difficult if not impossible to prove who is culpable. The British 
commander of UN forces in Bosnia, Gen. Michael Rose, has stated that it 
will probably not be possible to provide definitive proof for the 
contention that the Serbian side is to blame, but he also called the 
Bosnian Serb claim that the shelling was the fault of the Bosnian Muslim 
side unlikely. "Meanwhile, Bosnian Muslim officials have expressed despair 
at what they regard as the international community's muted response to the 
incident." Bosnia's President Alija Izetbegovic, in a 6 February press 
conference, told reporters that he felt the UN is deliberately avoiding 
blaming Bosnian Serbs in order to avoid a direct confrontation with them. 
Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE TO SARAJEVO SHELLING. Nonetheless, the 
international press reports that the world community's response to the 
shelling of the Sarajevo marketplace was swift and condemning of the 
violence. UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has requested NATO in 
the future to support airstrikes against positions from which Sarajevo 
civilians are being attacked. Moreover, international media report that 
the ambassadors of the NATO countries will meet on 7 February to discuss 
the situation in Bosnia and the possible use of airstrikes. European Union 
foreign ministers are scheduled to meet in Brussels on the same day to 
discuss, in part, the escalating violence in Bosnia. France has emerged as 
a strong advocate of air power; on 7 February AFP reports that the French 
government is prepared to back an ultimatum asking all sides involved in 
the Sarajevo fighting to give up their heavy artillery or run the risk of 
serious consequences, including aerial bombing. Germany, Belgium and Italy 
have also called for more decisive action. Condemnation of the Sarajevo 
shelling has come from all quarters. According to ITAR-TASS, Russia's 
foreign ministry has called for those responsible for the attack to be 
"severely punished." Even foreign ministry officials in the rump 
Yugoslavia, reports Tanjug, described the event as "a heavy blow to the 
peace process," but called on the international community to investigate 
the incident in an "unbiased" manner. In the US, Bill Clinton cautioned 
that airstrikes could only be considered if it is established which force 
was responsible for the mortar attack, while British Foreign Minister 
Douglas Hurd warned that a direct military response by the West might 
jeopardize the peace process. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

POSSIBLE SANCTIONS AGAINST CROATIA. According to Reuters, European Union 
foreign ministers, scheduled to meet on 7 February, are expected to 
discuss the implementation of sanctions against Croatia for its alleged 
sending of troops into Bosnia to support the Bosnian Croat side. On 3 
February, the UN Security Council stated that it will allow Croatia two 
weeks to remove its troops from Bosnia before it may opt to consider 
sanctions. Responding to suggestions that Croatia may be slapped with an 
economic embargo, Croatia's UN ambassador, Mario Nobilio, threatened, 
according to Reuters on 4 February, that sanctions could lead Croatia to 
wage attacks against Croatia's Serbian minority in Krajina. Peace in 
Krajina is currently kept by about 15,000 UN troops, whose mandate runs 
out in March and who may be asked to leave by Zagreb in retaliation for 
sanctions. Nobilio also repeated the official Zagreb line, stressing there 
were no Croat troops in Bosnia. Other Croatian officials have also hinted 
that sanctions could force Zagreb to expel some 300,000 Muslim refugees to 
those countries supporting the sanctions, since under economic duress 
Croatian officials have said that their country would not be able to 
support them. Germany, which in the past has been reluctant to criticize 
Croatian policies, appears increasingly irritated with Zagreb. On 4 
February German Chancellor Helmut Kohl told German TV that Croatia broke 
its word when it became involved militarily in Bosnia and called this "a 
scandal that must be condemned." Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. 

TEN ALBANIANS INDICTED IN MACEDONIA. On 3 February ten ethnic Albanians 
were indicted for anti-state activities according to a report filed by 
MIC. Among those indicated are Mithat Emini, former General Secretary of 
the largest Albanian political party, the Party for Democratic Prosperity, 
and Husein Haskaj, a deputy Defense Minister. They are charged in 
connection with a secret organization allegedly founded to undermine the 
state, the "All Albanian Army," exposed by the government in November 
1993. The trial is likely to be held behind closed doors and, if 
convicted, each faces a 5-15 year sentence. Duncan Perry, RFE/RL, Inc. 

POLAND'S FINANCE MINISTER RESIGNS. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance 
Minister Marek Borowski resigned in protest on 4 February, plunging 
Poland's two-party ruling coalition into crisis. Borowski told reporters 
that cooperation with Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak had become 
impossible. Borowski represents the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and 
initially embodied that party's control over economic policy; Pawlak heads 
the Polish Peasant Party (PSL). The conflict within the coalition emerged 
into the open with Pawlak's decision to fire Deputy Finance Minister 
Stefan Kawalec on 28 January, over Borowski's objections. Speaking to 
reporters, Borowski explained that his resignation was prompted by more 
general problems within the coalition, including the prime minister's 
criticism of policies emanating from the finance ministry and his failure 
to consult on important decisions. This amounted to a "vote of no 
confidence," Borowski said. The announcement followed lengthy talks among 
Borowski, Pawlak, and SLD leader Aleksander Kwasniewski. PAP reports that 
Borowski presented Pawlak with five conditions, including making a clear 
division of responsibilities within the cabinet, setting a procedure for 
the selection of deputy ministers and voivodship chiefs, the subordination 
of the customs office to the finance ministry, and the mandatory review of 
all economic decisions by the government's economic commission (which 
Borowski heads) before their promulgation. Pawlak rejected these 
conditions. The prime minister's press office was characteristically 
taciturn, saying only that Pawlak is "analyzing" the situation. Borowski's 
resignation has not yet been formally accepted. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLISH COALITION IN CRISIS. The coalition parties are expected to meet on 
7 February to hash out the issue, although the SLD seemed far more anxious 
for a meeting than the PSL. The conflict comes at a bad time for the 
government, as it is attempting to push the tight budget it has proposed 
for 1994 through the parliament. SLD and PSL leaders were in agreement 
that there is no majority alternative to the current two-party coalition. 
(The SLD controls 171 seats in the Sejm while the PSL has 132 of a total 
460.) But SLD leader Aleksander Kwasniewski indicated that while his party 
may grudgingly accept Borowski's departure, it will still demand that the 
PSL accept the conditions he presented. Should Borowski leave the cabinet, 
Poland's standing in the West would suffer, as the deputy prime minister 
had successfully reassured the international community that Poland would 
remain on its "liberal" economic course. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. 

VISEGRAD COUNTRIES TO SPEED UP FREE TRADE TIMETABLE. Meeting in Prague on 
4 February, economic ministers of Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and the Czech 
Republic agreed to speed up by three years the implementation of their 
Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA). The declaration signed by 
the ministers calls for liberalizing trade among the four Visegrad 
countries within the next five years. CEFTA had previously called for the 
liberalization of trade within 8 years. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. 

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT PLANS FOR RECESS. In order to solve the deadlock 
resulting from the departure of Movement for a Democratic Slovakia and 
Slovak National Party deputies during the 3 February parliamentary 
session, parliamentary leaders called for a recess until 16 February, TASR 
reports. On the morning of 4 February chairmen of all parliamentary 
parties met to try to resolve the deadlock, but Premier and MDS Chairman 
Vladimir Meciar refused to negotiate in the presence of Alliance of 
Democrats Chairman Milan Knazko, claiming that Knazko was not "a 
legitimate parliamentary deputy." (Meciar is trying to pass a bill which 
would require parliamentary deputies, like Knazko, who left their parties, 
to be replaced.) Because the other chairmen refused to accept Meciar's 
demand, Meciar declared the 4 February parliamentary session "illegitimate 
and unconstitutional." Parliament Chairman and MDS member Ivan Gasparovic 
said the MDS and SNP would not take part in the 4 February session and 
commissioned Party of the Democratic Left Chairman Peter Weiss to chair 
the session. Because there were only 75 deputies present, however, it was 
agreed that parliament would be postponed until 16 February. Sharon 
Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. 

HUNGARIAN GENERAL ELECTION DATE SET. On 4 February Hungarian President 
Arpad Goncz announced that 8 May will be the date of the first round of 
the next general election, MTI reported. That 8 May is a Sunday is a 
disappointment to the Hungarian Socialist Party, which wanted the election 
to be scheduled on a normal week day, apparently hoping that last-minute 
campaigning at the work place by its ally, the MSZOSZ trade union, would 
make a difference. The HSP and the MSZOSZ signed an election support 
agreement in 1993. The run-off election date will be announced later by 
the National Election Board. Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc. 

ILIESCU SPOKESMAN CRITICIZES HUNGARIAN PARTY. At a press conference on 4 
February, presidential spokesman Traian Chebeleu criticized the Hungarian 
Democratic Federation of Romania. In a reference to Iliescu's latest round 
of talks with HDFR leaders on 1 February, Chebeleu spoke of a package of 
"so-called demands" presented by the ethnic party to the president. He 
quoted Iliescu as saying that he could not accept unconstitutional claims, 
and mentioned requests for "community autonomy" and "collective rights" in 
this context. Radio Bucharest reported that Chebeleu further attacked the 
HDFR for having recently addressed a memorandum to the Council of Europe 
saying that Romania has done nothing to follow the Council's 
recommendations with regard to the treatment of minorities. Iliescu's 
spokesman described the HDFR complaints as "untimely and tendentious," 
adding that that party had "no right to judge the way" Romania responds to 
suggestions from the Council of Europe. Leaders of Romania's Magyar 
minority say they suffer from discrimination and demand greater autonomy 
in areas where they form the majority. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. 

STRIKES IN ROMANIA. Hundreds of thousands of Romanian workers held an 
eight-hour warning strike on 4 February, Radio Bucharest reports. Romulus 
Nita, spokesman for the Alfa Cartel, one of Romania's largest labor 
confederations, said that 80% of Alfa's estimated 1.2 million members took 
part in the strike but that they were also joined by non-members. Nita 
said the strike affected the steel, mining, electronics, transport, food 
and military industries. He nevertheless expressed disappointment that 
another major labor confederation, the National Labor Bloc, had not joined 
the strike, thus reducing its impact. The Alfa Cartel, which is demanding 
a new government, faster economic reforms and greater social protection, 
announced that it will go ahead with plans to launch a regular national 
strike on 16 January unless the government meets its demands. Dan Ionescu, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUS TO STOP IMPORTING KAZAKH GRAIN. Anatoli Hrytsai, head of the 
Belarusian government's grain department, told Reuters on 4 February that 
Belarus intends to buy grain from Western Europe instead of Kazakhstan 
because Kazakh grain has become too expensive. Belarus was under contract 
to buy one million tons of Kazakh grain but had not received any before a 
price increase to $115 per ton was announced. Although Belarus has a 
shortage of convertible currency for western purchases, the country has 
already bought 35,000 ton of grain from Britain and Finland using a $4 
million loan from the World Bank. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

GAZPROM CUTS GAS TO UKRAINE. The Russian gas company, Gazprom, reduced gas 
supplies to Ukraine on 3 February because of Kiev's failure to pay its 
debt, Interfax reported on 4 February. Ukraine's debt is reported to be 
over 1 trillion rubles and Gazprom officials told Interfax that Ukraine 
did not pay "even a single ruble for last month's supply of gas, let alone 
service its last year's debt." Kiev's default dominated the agenda of a 3 
February meeting of senior Gazprom officials who called for the debt issue 
to be taken up with an arbitration court and for contracts signed with gas 
consumers to be used as a legal mechanism to recover the debt. In total, 
Russia is owed 3.6 trillion rubles for its gas by Ukraine, Moldova and 
Belarus. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

CSCE COMMISSIONER ON LATVIA'S DRAFT LAW ON CITIZENSHIP. An RFE/RL 
correspondent in Vienna reported on 4 February that Max Van Der Stoel, 
CSCE High Commissioner for Minorities, has submitted his recommendations 
related to a law on citizenship and naturalization that is being 
considered by the Latvian parliament. The commissioner recommends that all 
non-Latvians, except those who constitute a clear threat to the vital 
interests of Latvia, have the right to become Latvian citizens, if they 
express the desire to do so and accept three conditions: basic knowledge 
of the Latvian language, knowledge of the basic principles of the 
Constitution, and an oath of loyalty to the Republic of Latvia. While 
expressing reservations about quotas on granting citizenship (stipulated 
in the draft law) and about the notion of granting citizenship on a very 
restrictive basis (as advocated by some Latvian politicians), the 
commissioner did not, however, endorse the unconditional granting of 
citizenship to those who want it. These recommendations, submitted to the 
Latvian Foreign Ministry, resulted after a visit to Latvia in December 
1993 when Van Der Stoel once again looked into the situation of minority 
rights in Latvia and complaints by Russians that the draft citizenship law 
discriminates against them. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. 

LITHUANIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS. Lithuanian Prime Minister Adolfas 
Slezevicius said that he was not satisfied with his country's relations 
with Russia, Interfax reported on 4 February. Slezevicius noted that 
although he had signed a most-favored-nation trade treaty with his Russian 
counterpart Viktor Chernomyrdin on 18 November, it had not yet gone into 
effect. Moreover, his repeated attempts to contact Chernomyrdin had been 
unsuccessful. Slezevicius said he suspects that Russia wants to link trade 
problems with other areas of relationships between the two countries, such 
as ties between Lithuania and the Kaliningrad Region. After border talks 
between the Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister, Vladislovas Domarkas, and 
the deputy head of the Kaliningrad Oblast administration, Garri Chmykov, 
on 27-28 January, Domarkas said that it appeared that Russia was stalling 
negotiations in order to improve its bargaining position. Economic 
interests are believed to play the major role in determining the sea 
border, as both sides are claiming the area of an oil field near the 
Kursiai peninsula. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Wendy Slater and Kjell Engelbrekt The RFE/RL Daily Report is 
produced by the RFE/RL Research Institute (a division of Radio Free 
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