It matters if you don't just give up. - Stephen Hawking
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 31, 15 February 1994

RUSSIA

KOZYREV PUTS EASTERN EUROPE INTO SPHERE OF INTEREST. Announcing his plans 
to travel to Greece, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland, Russian Foreign 
Minister Andrei Kozyrev said that "Russia sees [the East European states] 
in its sphere of its vitally important interests, meaning that Moscow is 
vitally interested in development of friendly relations with them," 
Interfax cited him as saying on 14 February. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. 

RESULTS OF UNSC SESSION. The UN Security Council met on 14 February 
(meetings had been cancelled during the previous week due to snow in New 
York) to discuss the situation in Bosnia. UNSC members, with the exception 
of Russia and China, backed NATO air strikes on Serbian positions around 
Sarajevo. Russia, unable to secure enough support to call for a vote on a 
resolution, again voiced its disagreement with the way the decision was 
being handled. Russian UN Ambassador Yulii Vorontsov called for a new 
resolution that would include demands for a ceasefire and withdrawal of 
weapons, Western agencies reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

GENERAL STAFF CHIEF RESIGNS? Komsomolskaya pravda on 15 February reported 
that Russian General Staff Chief Mikhail Kolesnikov has submitted his 
resignation. Kolesnikov was said to have cited differences with Defense 
Minister Pavel Grachev and a desire to alert President Boris Yeltsin to 
the purported disintegration of the army as reasons for his action. 
However, the newspaper reported that it was unable to obtain official 
confirmation of the resignation from the General Staff. No other news 
sources have picked up the story. On 14 February Interfax reported that 
Kolesnikov was among Russia's military leaders scheduled to meet in the 
coming days with the German Armed Forces' Inspector-General Klaus Naumann. 
Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. 

GRACHEV ON RELATIONS WITH GERMANY, BOSNIA, NATO MEMBERSHIP. During 
discussions in Moscow with Naumann (Germany's top military officer), 
Grachev called for military cooperation between the two countries to 
promote European security; he also confirmed that Russia would withdraw 
the last of its military forces from Germany by 31 August of this year. 
According to Interfax and ITAR-TASS reports, Grachev also reiterated his 
opposition to NATO air attacks on Serb positions near Sarajevo, arguing 
that they would result in civilian casualties and might escalate the 
military crisis in the region. He suggested that the Russian peace-keeping 
force in Bosnia would remain regardless of whether the air strikes were 
launched. On the possible expansion of NATO, Grachev said that the Defense 
Ministry supports the Partnership for Peace plan, but that its mechanisms 
have to be better developed and that it should lead ultimately to the 
"integration of European countries into political unions, with the CSCE 
playing the leading role." Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN OFFICIAL: NORTH KOREA HAS NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Vladimir Kumachev, 
identified as an adviser to the director of Russia's Institute of National 
Security and Strategic Research, was quoted by AFP on 14 February as 
saying that North Korea currently possesses both nuclear weapons and the 
missiles with which to deliver them. According to Kumachev, Soviet leaders 
had learned as early as 1985 that North Korea was starting to develop 
nuclear weapons, which, he said, prompted Moscow to withdraw most of its 
specialists from North Korea. He said that Russia still retained about 
fifteen experts in North Korea to monitor its nuclear program; but it was 
not clear from the report if these experts were the source for Kumachev's 
allegations. In late January Russian General Staff spokesmen had strongly 
denied the authenticity of a "secret" assessment published by a Japanese 
newspaper--and allegedly drawn up by the Russian General Staff 
itself--that North Korea had, with the help of Russian scientists, 
developed several nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles. Stephen Foye, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

ZHIRINOVSKY'S DUMA FACTION ON BOSNIA. Aleksei Mitrofanov, a prominent 
figure in Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal-Democratic Party and deputy 
chairman of the State Duma's Committee on International Affairs, said that 
Serbia was ready to join the Russian Federation as a "province" and that 
"all Eastern European states" would issue similar requests to Russia if 
NATO decides to carry out air strikes against Serbian forces in Bosnia, 
Interfax reported on 14 February. Mitrofanov called for a special 
parliamentary session to discuss the situation in Bosnia. He stated that 
the State Duma's Committee on Geopolitics, which consists mainly of 
members of Zhirinovsky's parliamentary group, would organize such a 
session. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. 

GAIDAR WARNS WEST. The leader of the radical reformist movement Russia's 
Choice, Egor Gaidar, who recently resigned as First Deputy Prime Minister, 
told the Austrian daily Die Presse on 14 February that he is convinced 
that Russia ought to veto NATO air strikes in Bosnia in the UN Security 
Council. He warned that "the West must realize that there exist a number 
of sensitive topics for Russia and Russian national pride." He argued that 
air strikes against Serb forces in Bosnia could lead to the rise of 
right-wing extremism in Russia as many Russians would see such strikes as 
a US-supported aggression. Gaidar also said that President Boris Yeltsin 
continues firmly to support reforms. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

FEDOROV OFF TO CHUVASHIA; PAMFILOVA IS ASKED TO STAY. Former Deputy Prime 
Minister and Finance Minister Boris Fedorov, who recently resigned his 
positions, together with Gaidar, in protest over Prime Minister Viktor 
Chernomyrdin's plan to slow down market reforms, has accepted a job as 
economic adviser to Nikolai Fedorov, the newly elected president of the 
Chuvash Autonomous Republic. Fedorov said that Chernomyrdin's government 
was in disarray and without a concept. Meanwhile, Chernomyrdin has 
rejected the resignation offer of Social Affairs Minister Ella Pamfilova, 
a leading member of Russia's Choice, who had quit for similar reasons as 
Gaidar and Fedorov. A government spokesman said that Pamfilova is needed 
in order to needed to conduct a social-oriented reform policy, ITAR-TASS 
reported on 14 February. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

SHARP DROP IN DOMESTIC VODKA PRODUCTION. Interfax on 14 February quoted a 
spokesman for vodka distillers and the relevant bureaucrat on the 
precipitous decline in vodka output. The president of Rosalko announced 
that more than 140 of the Russian Federation's 240 alcohol distilleries 
have ceased operation and sent their workers on unpaid leave, while the 
head of the liquor department at the Ministry of Agriculture reported that 
January's output of vodka and other liquors was down to 55.6% of the plan, 
and production in February to date was running at 30% of the normal 
schedule. Both blamed the 90% excise duty imposed on domestic vodka at the 
end of 1993 which boosted the retail prices above those of imported 
spirits. The government commission on day-to-day management was scheduled 
to examine the vodka excise duty on 14 February. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. 

THE REFITTING AND REPAIRING OF NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS. West European firms 
are threatening to refuse to carry out urgent repairs on nuclear power 
stations in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe until they are 
protected against liability in case of accidents, The Financial Times 
reported on 11 February. Most of the countries operating the RBMK and VVER 
230 reactors have not signed the 1963 Vienna convention which places full 
responsibility for damages caused by accidents on the plant operators. 
Another factor in improving nuclear safety in these countries is the cost. 
According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of 14 February, the 
Foratom grouping of nuclear energy constructors and suppliers estimates 
the annual cost of repairing, refitting, and closing defective reactors at 
over DM10 billion. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. 

CIS

RUSSIA-BELARUS MONETARY UNION. According to Belarusian Prime Minister 
Vyacheslau Kebich, the proposed monetary union between Belarus and Russia 
should not be viewed as a political-economic union, nor does it mean that 
Belarus will advance toward the market the Russian way, Interfax cited him 
as saying on 14 February. The same day Reuters reported that Kebich had 
urged a return to greater state control over the economy, including fixed 
food prices. The monetary union has come under criticism in Russia as 
favoring Belarus at Russia's expense. The relevant documents are currently 
being negotiated in preparation for Russian Prime Minister Viktor 
Chernomyrdin's upcoming visit to Belarus. On 9 February Reuters reported 
that Kebich denied that Russia would lose heavily from the deal. Although 
one of its terms is to be subsidized energy prices to Belarus, Kebich said 
Russia obtains offsetting benefits from Belarus such as the cost of 
maintaining some 30,000 Russian troops currently in Belarus. Ustina 
Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

SHEVARDNADZE AGAIN PLEADS FOR PEACEKEEPING FORCE. In his traditional 
Monday radio address, on 14 February, Georgian parliament chairman Eduard 
Shevardnadze launched an impassioned appeal for the immediate deployment 
in Abkhazia of Russian peacekeeping troops under the aegis of the UN, in 
order to prevent what he termed "the most terrible disaster" and 
widespread bloodshed, Reuters reported. Abkhaz officials have agreed in 
principle to the stationing of peacekeeping troops; the Russian 
authorities have not commented on Shevardnadze's proposal. Liz Fuller, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

NAZARBAEV IN WASHINGTON. On the first day of his official visit to the US, 
Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev handed US President Bill 
Clinton documents on Kazakhstan's accession to the Nuclear 
Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear state and received in return a 
promise of $311 million in economic assistance in 1994, Western news 
agencies reported on 15 February. The aid was described by US officials as 
not only a reward for Kazakhstan's willingness to relinquish its nuclear 
arsenal but also a tribute to the progress of marketization of its 
economy. In addition, Kazakhstan is to receive $85 million to enable it to 
dismantle its nuclear weapons inherited from the Soviet military. During 
his talks with Clinton, Nazarbaev indicated that Kazakhstan would like to 
join NATO's Partnership-for-Peace plan. A protocol was signed that should 
ease Kazakhstan's access to US Export-Import Bank loans. Bess Brown, 
RFE/RL, Inc. 

ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE AT BAIKONUR. Nazarbaev's staff held a meeting with 
environmental specialists on 14 February to assess ecological damage 
caused by the space center at Baikonur, KazTAG-TASS reported. There have 
been many complaints since Kazakhstan's independence that large areas of 
land in the vicinity of the space center have been polluted with toxic 
compounds and metal discarded during spacecraft launches, but if 
Kazakhstani officials have tried to pressure Russian authorities over the 
issue, they have not done so publicly. Now, however, with discussions 
between the two countries over the future of Baikonur seemingly 
deadlocked, and possibly also in reaction to an Izvestiya claim that 
nuclear weapons in Kazakhstan are in an unsafe condition, Kazakhstani 
officials are lodging countercharges of Russian environmental damage. Bess 
Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

ARE THERE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN NATO AND THE UN OVER SERB ARTILLERY? 
The Washington Post and the BBC report at length on 15 February about 
alleged contradictions in the interpretation of the NATO ultimatum by 
representatives of the Atlantic alliance and by the UN commander in 
Bosnia, Lt. Gen. Michael Rose of Great Britain. The reports suggest that 
Rose would be content to monitor Serb guns around Sarajevo, while NATO 
insists that they be rendered inoperative, either by pulling them back 20 
kilometers or by placing them under UN control. Efforts appear to be under 
way to clear up the confusion. Meanwhile at the UN's general debate on 
Bosnia, US Ambassador Madeleine Albright said on 14 February that 
diplomacy alone will not end the killing in that embattled republic unless 
it is "backed by a willingness to use force." The Los Angeles Times 
carried the story the following day. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELGRADE CONDEMNS WITHDRAWAL OF DIPLOMATS. On 14 February AFP and Tanjug 
reported that the rump Yugoslav foreign ministry issued a statement 
protesting the recent withdrawal of Western diplomatic staff. To date, 
American, British, and Dutch embassy staff people and their families have 
been evacuated, while German authorities are suggesting that their embassy 
personnel in Belgrade come home "if they wish," AFP reports. Belgrade has 
deplored the pull out of Western officials, calling it an "unjustified 
measure" and describing it as "a form of political and psychological 
pressure." The rump Yugoslav foreign ministry statement claims that all 
Western diplomats and foreigners are "perfectly safe" on rump Yugoslav 
soil. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. 

GREEK LEADER IN BELGRADE, KONTIC AT THE UN. On 14 February Reuters 
reported that Greek foreign minister Karolos Papoulias will be in Belgrade 
on 15 February to meet with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. 
Papoulias, who is reportedly seeking a way of averting possible NATO 
airstrikes against Bosnian Serb positions, did not tell reporters 
precisely what he will be discussing with Milosevic, but did say he would 
brief representatives of the European Union as soon as possible after the 
meetings with the Serbian president. Athens, which has maintained close 
ties with Serbia, has been critical of the NATO decision to use possible 
airstrikes against the Bosnian Serbs. Meanwhile, on 14 February the 
international media reported that rump Yugoslav prime minister Radoje 
Kontic was headed to New York to meet with UN Secretary-General Boutros 
Boutros-Ghali. Belgrade TV reported that Kontic would try to persuade UN 
officials that NATO airstrikes against the Bosnian Serbs would actually be 
counterproductive, and lead to jeopardizing the peace process in Bosnia. 
Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

MORE UKRAINIAN TROOPS TO SARAJEVO. Ukraine is preparing to send a new 
battalion to join UN peace keepers in Sarajevo in March. The battalion is 
being formed in the Carpathian Military District, Ukrainian Radio reported 
on 14 February. Its main mission will be escorting humanitarian aid to the 
civilian population in the combat area. Ukraine already has 420 troops in 
Sarajevo, and has promised to triple this number to 1,220 by the end of 
the year. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

SERB CONCENTRATION CAMP GUARD ARRESTED ON GENOCIDE CHARGES. Newsday 
reports on 15 February that German authorities in Munich have arrested 
Dusan "Dule" Tadic (42), a cafe owner and karate teacher. He is accused of 
some particularly grisly war crimes as a guard at the Omarska camp in 
Bosnia. It marks the first time that an internationally wanted war 
criminal in the Serbs' ethnic cleansing campaign has actually been 
arrested. Meanwhile, the 14 February issue of the independent Feral 
Tribune quotes former Croatian Foreign Minister Zvonimir Separovic as 
expressing concern that President Franjo Tudjman's policy of rapprochement 
with Serbia could lead to Croatian victims of Serbian aggression being 
forgotten. Other opposition political figures, as well as some within 
Tudjman's own party, have expressed similar views. Croats and Serbs are 
slated to open low-profile bureaus in each other's capitals on 15 
February. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. 

PARTY OF SERBIAN UNITY THREATENS TO ARREST RUGOVA. The ultra-nationalist 
Party of Serbian Unity (SSJ) on 10 February called on the competent organs 
of Serbia to immediately arrest the president of the self-proclaimed 
Republic of Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova. The party, which failed to get a 
single seat in last December's Serbian elections, also wants the 
authorities to start a lawsuit against him and all members of his 
organization, the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), Borba reported on 11 
February. The leader of the SSJ, Zeljko Raznatovic "Arkan," an 
internationally wanted war criminal and petty gangster, threatened to 
arrest Rugova if the Serbian authorities fail to do so. Arkan's deputy 
Borislav Pelevic said: "we will find a way to haul Ibrahim Rugova and all 
members of his hostile organization into a Serbian People's Court and 
suspend their further work," adding that all political forces in Kosovo 
should unite in a "war against Rugova and his organization." Meanwhile the 
police raided the office of the LDK in Pristina on 12 February and 
confiscated several documents, Rilindja reported on 13 February, adding 
that the number of police raids has increased in recent days. Fabian 
Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK PRESIDENT DOUBTS EARLY ELECTIONS WILL BRING STABILITY. Just as most 
major political parties in Slovakia, both in and outside the parliament, 
have come out in support of early elections, President Michal Kovac said 
he fears that political instability will continue even after new 
elections. Speaking on Slovak Radio on 14 February, Kovac said early 
elections should be held "only if other means fail." Premier Vladimir 
Meciar has called for new elections as early as June, while other parties 
prefer to wait until the fall, or even until 1995. Kovac has repeatedly 
called for the creation of a broad coalition government. Sharon Fisher, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMAN KOVAC EXPLAINS HIS GROUP'S POSITION. On 14 February Deputy Premier 
Roman Kovac, who has recently signed on to the Alternative of Political 
Realism, a faction within Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, 
appeared on Slovak Television to explain his group's ideas. Kovac stressed 
that the creation of the APR, which has called for a broad coalition 
government until new elections can be held, is "neither a deviation from 
[MDS] principles nor a betrayal." He said the APR's proposal is necessary 
since the parliament is now unable to pass "important economic and social 
laws that are eagerly awaited by the population." Kovac said early 
elections will give citizens the ability "to decide the direction Slovakia 
is to follow in the future." Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. 

MORAVCIK EXPELLED FROM MECIAR'S PARTY. In a secret ballot vote during a 
session of the district board of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia in 
Bratislava, Foreign Minister Jozef Moravcik was expelled from the party. 
(Moravcik, along with Roman Kovac, has recently joined the APR faction.) 
The board expressed their support for Meciar and parliament chairman Ivan 
Gasparovic, and denounced the APR, TASR reports. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, 
Inc. 

CZECH OFFICIAL ACCUSES SLOVAKIA OF PROTECTIONISM. Czech Industry and Trade 
Minister Vladimir Dlouhy told CTK on 11 February that new rules on food 
imports introduced by the Slovak government earlier that day are aimed at 
lowering Slovakia's trade deficit with the Czech Republic and constitute 
protectionism. The rules require a certificate of approval from Slovak 
authorities for each shipment of food entering the country. Dlouhy said 
this amounted to an "abuse of technical rules in trade." The rules caused 
blockades at Czech-Slovak border crossings. CTK reports that on 14 
February, Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus asked his Slovak counterpart, 
Vladimir Meciar, to cancel the new Slovak rules on importing food items. 
Klaus said that the Czech government considered the Slovak move to be 
"incorrect and unfair," but ruled out retaliatory measures. Jiri Pehe, 
RFE/RL, Inc. 

UNION LEADER LISTED SECOND ON SOCIALISTS' TICKET. On 12 February Sandor 
Nagy, the head of the Association of Hungarian Trade Unions, the heir of 
the former communist union, was placed second on the election list of the 
Hungarian Socialist Party (former Communist) headed by Gyula Horn, MTI 
reports. The unions also pledged to support the economic program of the 
party compiled by HSP deputy Laszlo Bekesi, who was placed third on the 
list. The trade union headed by Nagy has over a million members, large 
assets and a very good infrastructure that can help Horn' party during the 
election campaign for the early May national elections, which is about to 
start. Judith Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc. 

POLISH GOVERNMENT MAKES BUDGET REVISIONS. The Polish government submitted 
its corrections to the draft 1994 budget to the Sejm on 11 February, PAP 
reports. The revisions raise both revenues and spending by 3 trillion 
zloty ($140 million), leaving the deficit untouched at 83 trillion zloty 
($3.9 billion). Although Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak intimated that the 
revisions would provide for increased spending on social welfare, they 
appear merely to reflect minor changes in bookkeeping. German aid to fight 
illegal immigration accounts for 1.4 trillion of the "new" revenues, while 
interest on National Bank reserves is to provide the remaining 1.6 
trillion. The excise tax on cigarettes will be raised to compensate for 
losses resulting from the abolition of the excess wages tax. Meanwhile, 
the Sejm's budget commission took the unusual step on 11 February of 
proposing its own guidelines for monetary policy in 1994, rather than 
discuss those proposed by the National Bank. Sejm deputies want the money 
supply to increase by 169 trillion zloty ($7.9 billion) in 1994, rather 
than the 155 trillion zloty ($7.2 billion) proposed by the bank. Bank 
officials warned that the Sejm's plan would spur inflation. Louisa Vinton, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIA, LATVIA, JOIN PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE PLAN. On 14 February 
President Zhelyu Zhelev in Brussels signed a document making Bulgaria a 
party to NATO's Partnership for Peace plan, Western and Bulgarian media 
report. Although describing the move as "a stage toward integration into 
European and Euro-Atlantic structures," Zhelev stressed that no elements 
of Bulgaria's foreign and security policy could be interpreted as "being 
directed against Russia." In an apparent reference to the nationalist 
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who was expelled from Bulgaria in late December, he 
said he hoped the alliance would find "adequate ways and means of 
involving Russia in European security while keeping at bay the imperialist 
ambitions of aspiring dictators." On 14 February Latvian Prime Minister 
Valdis Birkavs signed in Brussels the documents enrolling his country in 
the NATO program. He noted that now all three Baltic States--Lithuania had 
jointed the program on 27 January and Estonia on 3 February--can cooperate 
together with NATO on maneuvers, peacekeeping missions and humanitarian 
operations, Baltic and Western media reported. Kjell Engelbrekt and 
Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

STRIKES IN ROMANIA. Some five thousand coal miners in the Gorj, Mehedinti 
and Valcea counties on 14 February started a strike to demand back pay and 
bonuses as well as better working conditions. An RFE/RL correspondent in 
Bucharest quoted a trade union leader as saying that the strike would 
continue "as long as necessary." The strikers are affiliated with a labor 
confederation which is said to group some 25% of the region's miners. The 
confederation's controversial leader, Miron Cosma, told Radio Bucharest 
that the mining company was to be blamed for the strike since it failed to 
meet its contractual obligations. In a separate development, Romanian 
police announced that organizers of a protest by railway repair workers on 
11 February were fined 700,000 lei ($473 at the official exchange rate) 
for damages caused by demonstrators to the transports ministry building. 
Those responsible for violence, in which 15 policemen were injured, will 
be prosecuted, a police general said. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA CHALLENGES CSCE'S, UKRAINE'S CALLS TO WITHDRAW FROM MOLDOVA. 
Russia's Foreign Ministry announced on 14 February that it had summoned 
Ukraine's ambassador to object to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry's 
"unfriendly" remarks of 1 February, Interfax reports. Specifically, the 
Russian statement claimed that Kiev had "misinterpreted parts of the 
decision on Moldova made by the CSCE Foreign Ministers' meeting regarding 
Russia's 14th Army." That decision, made at the Rome meeting last 
December, in fact calls unambiguously for the early, complete, orderly, 
and unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops from Moldova. Ukraine's 
Foreign Ministry had referred to that decision in the context of objecting 
to Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev's recent speech on Russia's 
claimed right to station troops in the "near abroad" (see RFE/RL Daily 
Report, no. 2 and 3 February 1994). Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUSIAN LEADER ON PRESIDENCY. In an interview with Interfax on 12 
February, the Chairman of the Belarusian Supreme Soviet, Mechyslau Hryb, 
said the parliament will soon be passing proposals to give wider powers to 
the Belarusian executive branch. According to Hryb, Belarus needs to 
strengthen law and discipline in the country. Therefore, he said, if the 
government of Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich were to ask for extra 
powers, the legislature should oblige. These powers could be later be 
transferred to the president, when one is elected. The main aim of such 
reforms is to create a "highly workable government." When asked when 
presidential elections could he held, Hryb replied that he believed they 
were possible at the end of June, with parliamentary elections following 
in November or December. He added that he himself would not be running for 
the presidency because of his workload as chairman. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, 
Inc. 

BELARUSIAN STRIKES. On 14 February an RFE/RL correspondent reported that 
Viktor Asarou, the chairman of the Federation of Belarusian Trade Unions, 
(the main labor federation in Belarus), said his group would not support 
the general strike called for by the strike committee of the Belarusian 
free trade unions for 15 February. The strike committee called for a 
nation-wide, indefinite strike to force the government to resign and hold 
early parliamentary elections. Asarou said his federation would not 
participate in the 15 February strikes because they were not well 
organized and could lead to clashes with authorities. He added that the 
federation did support the call for early elections and would join the 
strikes if parliament did not set an election date by the end of March. 
Interfax reported that the strike committee spokesman, Aleksandr Lysenka, 
said police were blocking entrances at the Minsk tractor factory to 
prevent people from handing out leaflets calling for the strike. On 12 
February it was reported that police had detained members of the 
Belarusian Popular Front for distributing such leaflets. Ustina Markus, 
RFE/RL, Inc. 

LATVIAN-RUSSIAN TALKS RESUME. On 14 February Latvian and Russian 
delegations met again for three days of talks in Jurmala. The participants 
focused on the details concerning formal accords regarding Russia's 
withdrawal of its troops from Latvia by 31 August 1994. Among the 
principal points requiring agreement is the control and eventual 
dismantling of the Skrunda radar and the "social guarantees" for retired 
Soviet officers and Russian servicemen living in Latvia, Baltic media 
reported. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

ESTONIANS PICKET RUSSIAN NAVY HEADQUARTERS. On 14 February about 200 
people, including some parliamentarians, picketed the Russian Navy 
Headquarters in Tallinn protesting the continued presence of Russian 
troops in the republic, Interfax reports. Tunne Kelam, the chairman of 
Estonia's National Independence Party that plans to hold such pickets 
every Monday, said that the aim is to remind the Russian authorities of 
their pledge to complete the withdrawal by 31 August. Saulius Girnius, 
RFE/RL, Inc. 

LITHUANIA'S ECONOMY IN JANUARY. The Lithuanian Statistics Committee 
announced that in January the consumer price index rose 4.8%, BNS reported 
on 14 February. While this rate is lower than the 6.2% increase in 
December and the 6.8% increase in November, it exceeds the planned annual 
rate of 50% in 1994. 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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