When in doubt, tell the truth. - Mark Twain
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 30, 14 February 1994

RUSSIA

CHURKIN IN BELGRADE. Deputy Foreign Minister Vitalii Churkin conferred in 
his capacity as special envoy on Bosnia with Serbian President Slobodan 
Milosevic in Belgrade on 13 February. Churkin told reporters after the 
meeting that his trip was meant to prevent the use of NATO air power to 
take out Serb artillery positions around Sarajevo. In an attempt to defend 
the stance of the Bosnian Serbs, Churkin said that they have made "many 
concessions." He also proposed that efforts to resolve the Bosnian 
conflict should focus on a new territorial division of Bosnia. Churkin 
accused the West of interpreting UN Security Council resolutions "in its 
own way" and said that Western states' preference to act through NATO 
reflected their fear of a Russian veto in the UNSC. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, 
Inc. 

YELTSIN, CLINTON CONFER BY TELEPHONE. After a series of failed attempts, 
US President Bill Clinton and President Boris Yeltsin connected by 
telephone on the evening of 11 February (Moscow time) to discuss the 
conflict in Bosnia. Russian news agency reports say the results of the 
call were negligible: the two leaders agreed to step up work to bring the 
parties to the conflict in Bosnia together. There was speculation in the 
West that the difficulty of arranging a telephone connection between 
Clinton and Yeltsin resulted from political differences rather than from 
technical or scheduling difficulties. Russian sources claimed that Yeltsin 
had been kept waiting for 90 minutes by Clinton, but at a briefing on 10 
February, White House spokeswoman Dee Dee Myers denied this. Suzanne Crow, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

GROMOV ON AFGHAN WAR ANNIVERSARY, TAJIKISTAN. In a ceremony marking the 
fifth anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, Russian 
Deputy Defense Minister Boris Gromov said that Moscow had to do more to 
win the release of 293 former Soviet soldiers--two-thirds of them Russian 
citizens--that he said were still held prisoner in Afghanistan; he also 
warned that Tajikistan could become "another Afghanistan" for Russia. 
Gromov, who as commander of the Soviet 40th Army oversaw the final 
withdrawal from Afghanistan in February 1989, said that Russian society 
must pay its debt to the veterans of that war and their families. On 
Tajikistan, he was quoted by Interfax as saying that "generally speaking, 
Tajikistan should solve its problems by itself . . . [but] since it is a 
member of the CIS and has signed the Treaty on Collective Security, it 
should be given aid." Such aid, he said, should be of a coalition 
character. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. 

SHAIMIEV IN FAVOR OF PARTICIPATION IN ELECTIONS TO RUSSIAN FEDERAL 
ASSEMBLY. Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev told the Tatarstan 
parliament on 11 February that he was in favor of the republic's 
population taking an active part in the elections of deputies to the 
Russian Federal Assembly scheduled for 13 March, ITAR-TASS and Ostankino 
television reported. The elections had to be rescheduled after not enough 
candidates were nominated or the turnout was too low for deputies to be 
elected from Tatarstan on 12 December. The sabotaging of the elections on 
12 December was partly the result of opposition from Tatar nationalist 
forces and partly the result of the tacit disapproval of the Tatarstan 
leadership. Shaimiev now seems to have decided that it is a mistake for 
Tatarstan not to be represented in the Federal Assembly. Ann Sheehy, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

CHANGES IN GOVERNMENT. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin plans to reduce 
the number of deputy prime ministers and to enhance the status of 
ministries, federal organs, and leading industrial companies, Russian TV's 
"Vesti" reported on 11 February. There is speculation in Moscow that 
Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais, a reformer, may be a candidate for 
removal. Meanwhile, Yeltsin decreed the inclusion of Sergei Shakhrai, the 
Minister for Nationalities' Affairs and Regional Policy, into the 
Government's Presidium, ITAR-TASS reported on 13 February. Thus Shakhrai's 
demand to be subordinated directly to Chernomyrdin, not to another deputy 
prime minister, has been fulfilled. Shakhrai wanted to become the highest 
official responsible for regional policy in Russia. Alexander Rahr, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

BANKRUPTCIES IN 1994? After considerable delay in introducing and 
implementing bankruptcy legislation, it appears that insolvency 
proceedings will get under way on a large scale in 1994. Sergei Belyaev, 
the director general of the Federal Bankruptcy Agency and first deputy 
chairman of the State Property Committee, announced on 11 February that 
over 50 bankruptcy cases were now being considered in arbitration courts, 
Interfax reported. Many factories in the Nizhny Novgorod, Omsk, and 
Voronezh regions have been classified as insolvent. Belyaev reckoned that 
over 8,000 state-owned and privatized enterprises might be subject to 
bankruptcy proceedings this year. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. 

HIGHER TAXES ON THE RICH. Employment Minister Gennadii Melikyan told 
Interfax on 12 February that his department plans a package of "unpopular" 
measures to "contain" the wages of persons with incomes that are "too 
high." On 11 December Rossiiskaya gazeta reported a "keen" debate within 
the cabinet on the subject of higher individual tax rates, and Melikyan 
has frequently referred to his intention of "soaking the rich." On 4 
February his ministry's report on wages and income in 1993 claimed that 
some managers were paid 100 times more than their workers. Keith Bush, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

SOVIET WHALING DECEPTION ALLEGED. According to a study published in The 
Guardian of 12 February, Soviet whalers systematically slaughtered a large 
part of the world's protected whale population for some forty years. Some 
of the meat was illegally sold to Japan. The Soviet Ministry of Fishing 
regularly falsified its reports made to the International Whaling 
Commission (IWC) on the numbers of whales killed. The disclosures will, it 
is said, oblige the IWC to revise its catch figures for the past forty 
years and its calculations of the world's whale population. The secretary 
of the IWC is quoted as saying that "the enormity of the deception is 
staggering." Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. 

CIS

SABUROV TO BECOME CRIMEAN PRIME MINISTER. Evgenii Saburov, a well-known 
Russian economist affiliated with Russia's powerful "industrial lobby", 
will become the Prime Minister of the Crimea, Nezavisimoe TV's "Itogi" 
reported on 13 February. Saburov had been economics minister in the first 
Russian Federation government of Ivan Silaev (1990-91) and was the chief 
architect of the economic program of the centrist-oriented Civic Union in 
1992. Saburov told journalist that he will try to "overcome the 
artificial, abnormal isolation of the economy of Ukraine from the economy 
of Russia" and create a single economic space of Russia, Crimea, and 
Ukraine. He said that "what formally was called the economy of Ukraine is 
ceasing to exist" because of what he termed the breakup of Ukraine's 
economic ties with Russia. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

CRIMEAN DEVELOPMENTS. Appearing on Ostankino TV on 13 February at the end 
of his visit to Moscow, newly-elected Crimean president Yurii Meshkov 
expressed satisfaction with his talks in the Russian capital. He confirmed 
that he is determined to push ahead with a referendum on 27 March on the 
independence of the Crimean Autonomous Republic and said that he wants the 
peninsula to be "united with the economic zone of Russia, the other CIS 
states, and Ukraine, but on a fundamentally new basis." Meanwhile, the 
Ukrainian defense minister Vitalii Radetsky visited Sevastopol to take 
part in a ceremony to mark the addition of a new ship, the Lutsk, to the 
Ukrainian navy, UNIAR reported on 13 February. Responding to journalists, 
he reportedly told them that Meshkov does not have the competence to 
decide on military issues connected with Crimea and that only the 
Ukrainian president and parliament can take decisions on such matters. 
Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc.

UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON UKRAINIAN NAVY. In Sevastopol, Radetsky 
answered journalists' questions regarding the national navy, Ukrainian 
television reported on 12 February. He said that an inventory of the 
assets of the Black Sea Fleet from 6 December 1991 should be taken in 
order to obtain a realistic estimate of what Ukraine and Russia can expect 
as their share of the fleet once it is divided. He maintained that the 
headquarters of the Ukrainian naval forces is, and will remain, 
Sevastopol; and that the head of the Sevastopol garrison should be 
appointed by the Ukrainian army command and not be accountable to either 
the Ukrainian navy command or the command of the Black Sea Fleet. Ustina 
Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

SHEVARDNADZE TAKES OVER DEFENSE MINISTRY. On 11 February Georgian 
parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze accepted the resignation submitted 
ten days earlier by defense minister Giorgi Karkarashvili, Western 
agencies and Interfax reported. Karkarashvili subsequently told a press 
conference that he had resigned because of lack of experience, and because 
he blamed himself for the fall of Sukhumi to Abkhaz forces last September 
and the resulting mass exodus of ethnic Georgians from Abkhazia. 
Shevardnadze subsequently stated that he will temporarily assume the 
functions of defense minister. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. 

NAZARBAEV TO US. Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev flew to the US 
on 13 February for a five-day official visit which he hopes, he told 
journalists before leaving Almaty, will place bilateral political and 
economic relations on a new level. Western and Russian agencies reported 
that the two countries plan to create a business cooperation council to 
discuss joint ventures, and that agreements on defense issues and 
scientific cooperation are to be signed during this visit. Nazarbaev also 
seeks what he describes as a fair share of US compensation to former 
Soviet republics for the destruction of nuclear weapons on their soil. 
Sources in Almaty have reported that Nazarbaev regards the US visit as 
having immense significance for Kazakhstan; he appears to regard close 
ties to the US as a valuable counterweight to his country's necessarily 
close ties to Russia. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

IZVESTIYA: KAZAKH NUCLEAR WEAPONS UNSAFE. Citing sources in the Russian 
Defense Ministry, Izvestiya on 12 February alleged that strategic nuclear 
weapons based in Kazakhstan were poorly maintained and becoming dangerous. 
Reuters said the report charged that the situation at the Dzerzhavinsk and 
Zhanghiz-Tobe ballistic sites was especially worrisome and that, in 
general, security and morale at the main rocket bases had sunk 
precipitously. "The professionalism is at such a low level that the only 
surprising thing is that up to now no one has stolen a single atomic 
bomb," the newspaper said. The charges, coming as President Nazarbaev 
arrived in Washington, are similar to those that have been leveled at 
various times by Russian military authorities against Ukraine. Stephen 
Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. 

KAZAKH OFFICIAL REJECTS NUCLEAR SAFETY CHARGES. Kazakhstani presidential 
advisor Tulegen Zhukeev rejected charges just published in Izvestiya that 
nuclear weapons in Kazakhstan are in an unsafe condition, ITAR-TASS 
reported on 13 February. Zhukeev told a press conference in Almaty that 
the charges originated with unspecified persons who are unhappy that 
Kazakhstan has stopped shipping its nuclear missiles to Russia after only 
twelve had been sent. He attributed this stoppage to the unresolved issue 
of compensation for the enriched uranium in the warheads, saying that half 
the uranium had been mined in Kazakhstan. He added that during Russian 
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev's recent visit to Almaty the two countries 
had agreed to further discussions to resolve outstanding disagreements. 
Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. 

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

WESTERN OFFICIALS PULL OUT OF BELGRADE. On 14 February international media 
report that embassy officials from several Western countries have been 
ordered to leave Belgrade. On 12 February AFP reported that US diplomatic 
staff people and their families received the order to leave; on the same 
day, nine British officials were evacuated. On 13 February officials from 
the Dutch embassy began leaving. On 14 February The Washington Post says 
that Germany and Canada are also among the growing number of Western 
nations to be evacuating diplomatic staff. It adds that the withdrawal of 
diplomatic staff is in part a reaction to the anticipated Western backlash 
that many Serb nationalists may promote if NATO airstrikes are carried out 
against the Bosnian Serbs on or after 21 February. On 13 February AFP 
reported that France's foreign minister, Alain Juppe, announced Paris 
would not be pulling its embassy staff out of Belgrade for the time being. 
Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

MILOSEVIC MEETS CHURKIN, ARMY REACTS TO NATO ULTIMATUM. International 
media report that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic met on 13 February 
with the Russian envoy to the former Yugoslavia, Vitaly Churkin, to 
discuss the Bosnian crisis and the implications of the NATO ultimatum 
against the Bosnian Serbs. According to ITAR-TASS and Tanjug reports, both 
Churkin and Milosevic stressed that decreasing tension levels around the 
Bosnian capital Sarajevo would constitute the major step towards a 
peaceful solution to the Bosnian war, and Churkin reaffirmed his 
commitment to seeking a diplomatic solution to the Bosnian crisis. 
Meanwhile, on 11 February Radio Belgrade reported that Col. Dragan Vuksic, 
representative of the rump Yugoslav army, told reporters that rump 
Yugoslav forces may not sit by idly if NATO were to carry out the air 
strikes against Bosnia's Serbs. AFP quotes Vuksic as saying that the army 
may "react to events that occur in its environment." Belgrade, however, 
denies having its forces in Bosnia. In other news, on 11 February 
Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek told a press conference that 
Ljubljana endorses the NATO ultimatum, and said he hopes Bosnia's Serbs 
would accept its terms. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. 

MUSLIMS SAY THEY WILL NOT EXPLOIT NATO THREAT. AFP on 13 February quotes 
Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic as saying that he well understands 
that the NATO ultimatum to the Serbs does not give his government "carte 
blanche for retaking territory." He rejected Bosnian Serb demands that the 
Muslims put their infantry and light arms under UN control if the Serbs 
put their big guns under international supervision or withdraw them. 
Silajdzic pointed out that infantry and light arms are not mentioned in 
NATO's 9 February ultimatum, but said that his forces would not risk their 
credibility by taking advantage of the situation. He also suggested that 
his government is considering a compromise political solution, saying "we 
have agreed to reorganize our country." Silajdzic maintains, however, that 
some mainly Muslim areas taken by the Serbs, such as Zvornik, be placed 
under UN control for the balance of the war. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. 

CROATIA OFFERS TO WITHDRAW TROOPS. The BBC on 13 February said that Zagreb 
has told the United Nations that it will withdraw its forces serving in 
Bosnia-Herzegovina if the UN will protect Croatian communities in central 
Bosnia. UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has said that there are 
about 3,000 Croatia army (HV) men serving in the neighboring republic, and 
Western press accounts charge that young men are being dragooned in 
Croatia for fighting in Bosnia. The Croatian authorities maintain that the 
only HV men in Bosnia are either serving along the two republics' common 
southern border by mutual agreement or are demobilized volunteers or 
Bosnian Croat origin. Elsewhere, Reuters said on 13 February that Serbs 
from around the former Yugoslavia, who were not invited to Lillehammer, 
are holding their own winter Olympic events on sites of the 1984 Sarajevo 
games now under their control. Events include target-shooting, and one 
Bosnian Serb sports official predicted that "the Serbs will win." Patrick 
Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

NO NATO SURVEILLANCE PLANES OVER HUNGARY. According to an 11 February 
Reuters report, Hungarian Prime Minister Peter Boross told reporters that 
Hungary will not allow NATO surveillance planes to enter its airspace 
during any airstrikes on Bosnian Serb positions. Budapest currently allows 
NATO's surveillance aircraft to operate over Hungary to monitor adherence 
to the no-fly zone in former Yugoslavia. Since a large Hungarian minority 
lives in Vojvodina, the Hungarian government is afraid of getting involved 
in any way in the Yugoslav conflict, which might explain the prime 
minister's latest statement. Judith Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc. 

BULGARIANS UNEASY ABOUT BOSNIA. Bulgarian dailies on 14 February report 
extensively of the domestic debate regarding recent events in Bosnia and 
the NATO ultimatum. In Otechestven vestnik, UDF leader Filip Dimitrov 
reiterates that the Bosnian crisis must be resolved by international 
institutions in order to avoid old Balkan rivalries to reemerge. At the 
same time several dailies criticize Sofia's position from different 
viewpoints. Whereas a Standart editorial calls Sofia's Bosnian policy 
"timid and inconclusive," 24 Chasa argues that the looming disunity among 
Bulgarian politicians is more dangerous than the possible consequences of 
Western airstrikes. Meanwhile, 24 Chasa also quotes President Zhelyu 
Zhelev, on his way to sign the Partnership for Peace scheme in Brussels, 
as saying that it would be "incorrect" for Bulgaria to have an official 
position on the airstrikes since the country will not participate in 
military actions. In an interview with Balgarska armiya, Chief of General 
Staff Gen. Lyuben Petrov says it would be exaggerated to speak about a 
imminent danger to national security, but Bulgaria experiences mounting 
"uncertainty." Petrov points out that this is due also to the fact that 
most neighbors have larger military capabilities than Bulgaria. Kjell 
Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. 

HAVEL COMMENTS ON BOSNIA. Speaking to reporters in Bangkok on 13 February, 
Czech President Vaclav Havel said he fully supports the fact that NATO has 
shown it is serious about ending the fighting in Bosnia. His position 
differs from that of Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus who on 10 February 
said he preferred a negotiated settlement to an outside intervention in 
Bosnia and warned that the war could escalate should NATO launch air 
strikes. On 14 February Havel returns to the Czech Republic from his trip 
to India and Thailand. On 12 February he met with Thai Prime Minister 
Chuan Leekpai and with Parliament Chairman Marut Bunnag. During his visit, 
Czech and Thai officials signed agreements on trade, the protection and 
promotion of investments, and limitation of double taxation. Jiri Pehe, 
RFE/RL, Inc. 

MACEDONIAN ALBANIAN PARTY SPLITS. The Party of Democratic Prosperity split 
at the extraordinary party congress in Tetovo on 12 and 13 February, Flaka 
and Nova Makedonija reported on 13 February. First came controversies over 
the voting procedure for the presidency and the party statute, along with 
charges of irregularities regarding the list of delegates. Then, a number 
of delegates, among whom are members of the Macedonian government, walked 
out of the hall and continued to hold a congress elsewhere. The 
extraordinary congress followed the collective resignation of the party 
leadership in December 1993 in response to pressure from the nationalist 
wing. The nationalists charged the leadership with failing to achieve 
their basic goal of a special constitutional status for the Albanians, and 
with too close cooperation with their coalition partners in the Macedonian 
government. Nonetheless, some delegates insisted on the participation of 
the former party leader Nevzat Halili and his central committee at the 
extraordinary congress. Flaka described the split as "definitive" and 
added that Halili allegedly appeared at the break-away congress after the 
walk-out. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. 

VOTE OF NO-CONFIDENCE IN MECIAR EXPECTED . . . Following the recent 
defection of twelve deputies of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia 
(ten have joined a new faction called the Alternative of Political Realism 
(APR), while two have established the National Social-Democratic faction), 
Premier Vladimir Meciar's grip on power seems to be loosening. Opposition 
deputies said that a vote of no-confidence in the Meciar government could 
take place as early as 16 February, Reuters reported on 11 February. On 
that day, the parliament will reconvene following its closure on 4 
February, when six Slovak National Party deputies switched to the 
opposition, leaving Meciar with the support of only 75 out of 150 deputies 
and the parliament in a stalemate. Now opposition parties could claim as 
many as 87 seats, making a no-confidence vote likely. Sharon Fisher, 
RFE/RL, Inc. 

. . . AS TOP SLOVAK OFFICIALS JOIN OPPOSITION. Foreign Minister Jozef 
Moravcik and Deputy Premier Roman Kovac, both MDS members, have come out 
in support of the APR, which calls for a broad coalition of all 
parliamentary parties except those of the Hungarian minority and a cabinet 
of politically non-aligned experts. On 11 February Meciar said on Slovak 
Radio that Moravcik and Kovac should resign for working to topple the 
government and called the formation of a new government "thievery." 
Meeting on 12 February in Modra to discuss the crisis, the MDS leadership 
rejected the statement of the APR deputies. Following a no-confidence vote 
in Moravcik and Kovac, the MDS proposed that they be expelled from the 
party. Meciar said that defections by MDS members are part of a healing 
process, since "only what is ill falls off." On 13 February, Moravcik and 
Kovac said they would not resign and would instead wait for Meciar to ask 
the president to dismiss them. That same day, Meciar said he supports 
early elections, which could be held as early as this summer, to resolve 
the present crisis. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. 

ARRESTS CONTINUE IN THE 1956 HUNGARIAN MASSACRE CASES. On 11 February the 
Budapest Central District Court has ordered the arrests of four 
individuals charged with firing into defenseless crowds during the 1956 
revolution in Mosonmagyarovar and Salgotarjan, MTI reports. Five people 
arrested in a similar case in Eger recently were released by the local 
courts because there was no imminent threat that they would leave the 
country to avoid being tried. The court ordered that the four people 
arrested on 11 February be kept in jail for 30 days, to avoid attempts to 
get rid of evidence connected with their cases. Judith Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc.

ENERGY PRICE HIKES IN POLAND. Polish gas and electricity prices will rise 
10% on 15 February, PAP reports. Further increases are planned for June 
and September. In announcing the February hikes, the finance ministry 
stressed that the increases are lower than planned in the draft budget for 
1994. Electricity prices are to rise 37% overall in 1994 (rather than 
41%), while gas is to increase 35% (rather than 45%). In scaling back the 
hikes, the government has attempted to ease public dissatisfaction while 
still keeping pace with inflation and bringing Polish energy prices 
gradually to world levels, as agreed with the World Bank. Louisa Vinton, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

POLISH COAL STRIKE ENDS. The 40,000 miners on strike in seven mines in the 
Jastrzebie complex returned to work on 14 February after a week-long 
strike, PAP reports. The strikers won pay hikes of 7.2% for January and 
10% for February, PAP reports. They will also receive pay for the days on 
strike, on the condition that they work off strike losses by November. 
Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

WORKERS' PROTESTS IN ROMANIA. About three thousand railway repair workers 
attacked the building of the Transports Ministry in Bucharest on 11 
February. The demonstrators, who were protesting unpaid wages, as well as 
hard working and living conditions, stoned the building and smashed its 
windows. Several policemen were injured in the incident, Radio Bucharest 
reported. The protest was ostensibly sparked by the effects of a severe 
financial blockage in Romania caused by 4,200 billion lei ($2.8 billion) 
of unpaid debts between enterprises. It ended only after Transports 
Minister Paul Teodoru and other senior officials promised that wages would 
be paid within the next days. In a separate development, a group of angry 
workers disrupted a visit by President Ion Iliescu at the Electroputere 
electrical equipment plant in the town of Craiova. The loss-making 
industrial giant, which had been recently split into several enterprises, 
is plagued by chronic financial difficulties. Meanwhile, coal miners in 
Romania's Jiu Valley announced they will begin a strike on 14 February 
that will continue until their demands are met. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES CRACK DOWN ON PARAMILITARY GROUP. On 12 February the 
authorities in Kiev raided the headquarters of the paramilitary 
ultra-nationalist Ukrainian National Self-Defense Organization (UNSO) and 
detained as many as 30 of its activists in the region, Ukrainian and 
Western agencies reported. The UNSO, the paramilitary wing of the radical 
nationalist Ukrainian National Assembly (UNA), claims to have several 
thousand members and gained notoriety last year by sending members to 
fight on the Georgian side against "Russian imperialism" in the conflict 
in Abkhazia. Last November the Ukrainian parliament banned radical 
paramilitary formations but UNSO has defied this ruling and begun 
campaigning for the parliamentary elections due on 27 March. On 13 
February the Lviv regional organization of UNSO went ahead and held a 
conference in Lviv, UNIAR reported. Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA REVOKES GAS SUPPLY CONTRACT WITH BALTICS. According to BNS of 10 
February, Gazprom recently sent letters to the Baltic gas consortiums 
informing them that the previously negotiated contracts have been revoked 
and that new contracts must be negotiated. Baltic representatives are 
expected to go to Moscow this week to find out the reasons for Gazprom's 
actions. Estonia owes about 10.5 billion rubles, Latvia--about 32 billion 
rubles, and Lithuania--about 51 billion rubles, Western media reported on 
12 February. Latvian Energy Minister Andris Kreslins told the press that 
the previous contract dated as recently as 12 January and that a Gazprom 
delegation is expected in Riga on 21 February. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

CSCE REPRESENTATIVE ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN ESTONIA. Timo Lahelma, chairman of 
the CSCE Mission of Human Rights in Estonia, told Interfax on 11 February 
that there are no flagrant violations of human rights in that country, 
"only minor shortcomings, typical of many other democracies." He added 
that the aim of the mission was not so much to expose violations as to 
forestall such a possibility by helping draft the proper laws. Lahelma 
urged the Estonian authorities to issue internationally recognized 
documents to non-citizens residing permanently in Estonia that would allow 
them to travel freely in and out of the country, and to finance 
Estonian-language courses for its ethnic communities. The mission has been 
in Estonia for a year and has been asked by the government to extend its 
stay until the Russian troops leave Estonia. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

LATVIAN COMMUNIST LEADER DIES IN MOSCOW. Diena reported on 11 February 
that Augusts Voss, first secretary of the Latvian Communist Party from 
1966 to 1984, died in the Russian capital on 10 February. He was born on 
30 October 1916. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT IN NORWAY. On 11 February Algirdas Brazauskas flew to 
Norway to participate in the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, 
Radio Lithuania reports. In Oslo, at meetings with Norwegian Prime 
Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, Foreign Minister Bjorn Tore Godal, and 
members of the parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Brazauskas 
discussed forging closer ties between the Baltic Assembly and the Nordic 
Council of Ministers, Norway's assistance for Lithuania's bid for full 
membership in NATO, and Lithuania's relations with Russia, Ukraine, and 
Belarus. In Lillehammer he met King Harald V and high foreign officials. 
Brazauskas will return to Lithuania on 14 February. Saulius Girnius, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Vladimir Socor and Michael Shafir The RFE/RL Daily Report is 
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