|There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. - Graham Greene|
No. 34, 18 February 1994
RUSSIA RUSSIAN MEDIATION IN BOSNIA. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vitalii Churkin and Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic announced on 17 February that Bosnian Serb forces were withdrawing heavy weapons from Sarajevo. Karadzic, terming the withdrawal a consent to "Russian demands," greeted Moscow's participation in the international efforts for settlement and said this "means certain guarantees for us." Russia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement urging the United States and the EU "to exert the necessary influence on the Bosnian government." Scarcely veiling its criticism of Western approaches, the Russian statement added that Russia was able to achieve results with a "firm and consistent line and without recourse to ultimatums," Russian and Western agencies reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA TO SEND ADDITIONAL TROOPS. Attempting to demonstrate its commitment to international settlement efforts, Russia offered to transfer 400 of its UN peacekeeping troops from Croatia to Sarajevo as well as to dispatch an additional 400 peacekeeping troops from Russia. The offer, if accepted, would effectively interpose Russia between the Bosnian Serbs and UN-mandated or NATO air strikes, should such strikes turn out to be necessary at a later date. Russia has stipulated for now that these troops would not be deployed until after the current deadline for Serbian military withdrawal runs out (on 21 February), Russian and Western agencies reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTER EMPHASIZES RUSSIA'S "PEACEKEEPING" ROLE. Deputy Defense Georgii Kondratev, who made clear in remarks reported by ITAR-TASS on 16 February that he "answers for Russia's peace-keeping forces," outlined the Russian Defense Ministry's views toward such operations in a long article published by Krasnaya zvezda on the same day. In broad terms, Kondratev's remarks restate the policy preferences vis-a-vis other former Soviet states suggested by Russia's military doctrine and made explicit in statements by Foreign Ministry spokesmen. He writes that "Russia remains the only state possessing the military and technical resources for the conduct of operations aimed at maintaining and restoring peace" and that "no international organization or group of states will replace our peace-keeping forces on the territory of the former USSR." Kondratev complains that there is still no firm legal basis in Russia for peace-keeping operations and that such operations are now being financed out of the Defense Ministry's budget. He calls for the UN to contribute funding to Russian peace-keeping operations and to confer upon them a CSCE mandate. Kondratev is currently inspecting Russian "peacekeeping" troops in the "Dniester republic" where he met with the latter's would-be president Igor Smirnov on 16 February Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN POLITICS AND BOSNIA. President Boris Yeltsin's associate Mikhail Poltoranin suggests that Yeltsin chose to postpone his speech to the Duma, originally scheduled for 18 February, in order to focus on Bosnia, The Christian Science Monitor reported on 17 February. In his speech, now rescheduled for the 24th, Yeltsin probably hopes to stress Russian diplomacy's role in preventing NATO air strikes against Bosnian Serb forces. Meanwhile, Russian Communist leader Gennadii Zyuganov, sharing Vladimir Zhirinovski's viewpoint, said that NATO's airstrikes against Bosnian Serbs would lead to World War III as they would be considered an attack on Russia and that Russia would defend its "orthodox brothers." Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. BODYGUARD OF KHASBULATOV AND RUTSKOI ARRESTED. Estonian police has with Russian assistance arrested in Estonia Aleksandr Denisov, a former bodyguard of the leaders of the October 1993 disturbances, Ruslan Khasbulatov and Aleksandr Rutskoi, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 February. Denisov was instrumental in the flight of some 20 rebels from Moscow to the Russian-settled area of northeastern Estonia. Estonian authorities are reportedly considering Denisov's extradition to Russia. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. LDP'S PROPOSAL FOR AMNESTY IS VOTED DOWN BY DUMA. The majority of deputies in the State Duma on 17 February voted down a proposal by Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic faction to drop charges against the organizers of the abortive coup in August 1991 and of the October 1993 disturbances in Moscow, ITAR-TASS reported. The faction's spokesman, Viktor Vishnyakov, said in both instances those on trial were defending the existing constitution. The faction also called for an end to the investigation into the clashes between the police and communist demonstrators on 1 May 1993, in which a number of people were killed and injured. Vishnyakov said these clashes were a provocation staged by the authorities. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. ZHIRINOVSKY DENIES SPLIT IN HIS PARTY. Vladimir Zhirinovsky told journalists on 17 February that there was no split in the ranks of his party. He was quoted by Reuters as saying that what had appeared to be a split yesterday had been a ploy of "special services." He claimed that "all intelligence services in the world are pitted against our party," trying to provoke conflicts within its ranks. Zhirinovsky was accompanied by a senior member of the party, Viktor Kobelev, who said he had reversed his decision to quit the LDP and now would stay on after reaching an agreement with Zhirinovsky. Kobelev said Zhirinovsky now promised to consult him, before taking decisions. It was not immediately clear what was the position of another top member of the party, Aleksandr Pronin, who also announced his resignation from the party on 16 February (see RFE/RL Daily Report, 17 February). Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. DUMA APPROVES RESOLUTION ON MEDIA COVERAGE. The Duma approved a resolution "On the Coverage of the Work of the State Duma by Federal TV and Radio Companies." The resolution instructed the Duma's Committee on Informational Policy to prepare a legislation on the coverage by the state media of the work of state and government organs of power. It also stipulated the creation of a press center, which would prepare information on the Duma's activities for journalists, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 February. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. GORBACHEV DENIES COUP PLOT ALLEGATION. Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was quoted by Interfax on 17 February as strongly denying allegations that he supported the plan to impose a state of emergency in parts of the USSR in August 1991. The agency quoted Gorbachev as saying it would have been "madness" on his part to impose the state of emergency just before the planned signing of a new Union Treaty. The allegation against Gorbachev was made earlier this week by a former CPSU Central Committee secretary, Oleg Shenin, who is on trial for his role in organizing the abortive coup in August 1991. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. MORE ON RUSSIA-TATARSTAN TREATY. The text of the treaty signed by the Russian and Tatarstan presidents and prime ministers on 15 February, which was published in Rossiiskaya gazeta on 17 February, indicates that Russia ceded very little, if anything, of substance. Thus Article 4 of the treaty on the powers of the federal authorities is identical to Article 71 of the new Russian constitution, which in turn was a very slightly edited version of Article 1 of the Federal Treaty, which Tatarstan refused to sign. Both parties are, however, acclaiming the treaty. Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev, who had earlier described the new Russian constitution as the constitution of a unitary state, said on 16 February that the treaty had fully clarified relations between Russia and Tatarstan, Interfax reported. Shaimiev said the treaty will come into force on 24 February; it does not require ratification since it is not an international treaty. Commentators have pointed out that the treaty does not fully resolve the contradictions between the Russian and Tatarstan constitutions and there could well be further friction. It will certainly be opposed by nationalist parties in Tatarstan and conservative forces in Russia. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. KOMI ADOPTS NEW CONSTITUTION. An extraordinary session of the Komi Supreme Soviet adopted a new constitution for the republic of Komi on 17 February, ITAR-TASS reported. The document describes the republic as a democratic state within the Russian Federation and is said to be in accord with the Russian constitution. The head of state will apparently bear the title of head of the republic rather than president. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. US-RUSSIAN PHARMACEUTICAL AGREEMENT. The Clinton Administration announced on 16 February an agreement whereby US-made pharmaceuticals will be given speedier and greater access to the Russian market. Of late, Russia has been importing drugs to the value of up to $400 million annually; the American share has been about $7 million. The agreement is said to assure that medications meeting US safety and efficacy standards will receive virtually automatic entry into Russia. Details of the agreement and its implications are treated in The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times of 17 February. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS THE AGING CIS POPULATION. On 17 February Interfax reported that the CIS statistics committee predicted a decline in the populations of most CIS states. According to its analysis the total population in the CIS member states will be 279.1 million by 1995, and 281.5 million by 2000. In 1993 the population was 278.4 million. Rates of population growth for the entire CIS area will continue to drop. While the population grew annually by 2 million in the eighties, it will only increase by 900,000 in the first half of the nineties and by only 500,000 in the second half of the decade. The populations of Russia and of Ukraine will actually decrease due to declining birth rates and rising mortality rates. Most migrants within the CIS will head for Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Tajikistan will experience the highest outflow but the republic will preserve the greatest growth in population totaling 27.4 people per 1000 citizens over the 1993-1999 period. By 2000 Russia will be the most urbanized country in the CIS with 72% of its population living in urban areas. Tajikistan will have the lowest level of urban population (23%). Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine are experiencing the most intensive ageing of their populations. The purported trends indicate that by 2015 the population of Moldova, Belarus, and Ukraine will be "the oldest," with the proportion of old people constituting 20-23% of their populations. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA RUSSIA TO HELP REACTIVATE ARMENIAN NUCLEAR POWER STATION. Under the terms of an agreement reached on 17 February during talks between Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets and Armenian Prime Minister Hrant Bagratyan, Russia will provide the equipment and specialists for work to reactivate the Medzamor nuclear power station; Armenia will provide the finance for the project, Interfax reported. The station, with a generating capacity of 800 mW, was closed in 1989 in the aftermath of the Armenian earthquake, crippling Armenia's energy base: households in Erevan are currently supplied with electricity for no more than 2 hours per day, and industry is at a virtual standstill. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. NAZARBAEV ON KAZAKHSTAN'S OIL FUTURE. Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev told a news conference in New York that his country aspires to be a major oil producer and exporter, but lacks facilities to transport its potential output, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 February. Kazakhstan presently uses a Russian pipeline for its relatively modest oil exports, which has caused some nervousness in the Central Asian state over possible Russian pressure on Kazakhstan's petroleum industry. During Nazarbaev's stay in Washington journalists asked him if there had been Western interest in a possible pipeline for Kazakhstani oil via Iran. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE SERBS WELCOME, MUSLIMS CRITICIZE RUSSIAN OFFER. Bosnian Serbs reacted quickly and positively to Russia's offer to contribute peace-keepers to Sarajevo in return for the Serbs moving their heavy weapons out of the NATO 20-kilometer exclusion zone. The proposal enables the Serbs to save face by meeting the terms of the NATO ultimatum while claiming to actually be agreeing to a friendly Russian offer, international media noted on 17 and 18 February. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic told the press that "we do think that the war in Sarajevo is finally over," while the British UN commander, Sir Michael Rose, described the initial withdrawal on 17 February of Serb heavy weapons as "an exodus." The Muslims, however, were less upbeat in their assessment, partly because of a historical mistrust of Russia, which they regard as a Serb ally. News agencies quoted Bosnian Vice President Ejup Ganic as saying that Russian troops "are not neutral," and the republic's ambassador to the UN, Muhamed Sacirbey, said that a larger Russian role "could only lead to a worsening of the situation." The Muslims would have long liked to see their historic partner, Turkey, be more involved on the ground, but the Serbs have repeatedly vetoed any move by Ankara. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. UN SAYS CROAT TROOPS STILL IN BOSNIA. Reuters and The New York Times report on 18 February UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali wrote the Security Council the previous day to say that some 5,000 Croatian regular army (HV) troops might still be in the embattled neighboring republic. On 3 February the Council warned Croatia to take the men out or face "serious measures," which was generally taken to mean economic sanctions. Croatia claims that it has some men along the Croatian-Herzegovinian border above Dubrovnik by mutual agreement, and that some 2,000 demobilized HV men of Bosnian origin might be serving with the Bosnian Croat forces (HVO) of their own free will. Most observers, however, have long regarded any distinction between the HV and HVO as existing purely on paper, and The Daily Telegraph on 2 February said that both Serbia and Croatia are dragooning men to fight in Bosnia. In his latest letter, Boutros-Ghali noted that the HV men were trying to disguise their presence by painting over HV emblems and changing them to HVO ones. War, dislocation, mismanagement, and loss of tourist revenues have already battered the Croatian economy, and the country can ill afford to risk UN sanctions. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. MOVEMENT IN SERBIAN PARLIAMENT. On 17 and 18 February the Serbian press gave extensive coverage to domestic developments, noting that a measure of progress is being made in constituting a working government out of Serbia's deadlocked and divided parliament. On 18 February Borba reports that 10 working parliamentary committees, out of a total of 23, have been constituted since the 19 December elections. In the Serbian media's continuing coverage of the international community's reactions to the NATO ultimatum to the Bosnian Serbs, Borba on 17 February reported that Slovenian President Milan Kucan stated that the crisis should end peacefully, stressing he "did not believe the Serbs . . . would risk a confrontation with the international community." Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. ANGRY REACTIONS TO GREECE'S BLOCKADE OF MACEDONIA. The US State Department, the EU Commission, individual EU member states and Turkey have all reacted angrily to Greece's imposition of an economic blockade against the Republic of Macedonia, Western agencies reported on 17 and 18 February. While EU Commission President Jacques Delors said Athens' behavior is bad for the European "family spirit," Denmark explicitly asked Greece to lift the trade embargo, but was rebuffed. In Skopje, officials decried the act as counter to the UN charter and international law, according to Nova Makedonija. Reuters also reports that Bulgaria, Macedonia's eastern neighbor, has already offered the Black Sea port of Burgas as a substitute for the now off limits Greek port of Thessaloniki. Oil shipments are the main targets of the Greek blockade which Athens says it will apply strictly. Duncan Perry and Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. NEW ALBANIAN PARTY LEADER ELECTED IN MACEDONIA. On 13 February Dr. Xheladin Murati, the deputy president of the Macedonian parliament, was elected leader of the leading ethnic Albanian Party of Democratic Prosperity, Rilindja reports on 16 February. At the extraordinary party congress on 12 and 13 February in Tetovo, the party split into relatively moderate and militant factions. At that point, a number of more moderate delegates, among whom were members of the Macedonian government and parliament, walked out and continued to hold their own congress elsewhere. According to Rilindja, Murati was elected by this break-away congress which was backed by 137 delegates, who claim to be the legitimate and legal continuation of the congress, operating according to the party statutes. The walkout was prompted by the militant-dominated credentials committee's failure to allow former party leader Nevzat Halili and the former central committee, which resigned collectively in December, to take part in the congress. The moderates thereupon said that the militants had violated the party's statutes, and the moderates walked out. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK OPPOSITION'S PROPOSED ELECTION LAW FAILS. On 17 February TASR reported that the parliament did not approve the opposition's proposal to hold early elections in November (the previous day, the government's proposal to hold early elections in June failed, as did the opposition's version of the government bill). Although winning 83 votes, the proposal needed 90 votes to pass, since amendments to the constitution require a three-fifths majority. The opposition does have the simple majority necessary to pass a vote of no-confidence in Premier Vladimir Meciar; however, Party of the Democratic Left Chairman Peter Weiss said he was reluctant to take that step before early elections were approved. Christian Democratic Movement Deputy Chairman Frantisek Miklosko said he is considering issuing a parliamentary declaration which would require the president to call a referendum on the question of November elections (the other way to call a referendum is by collecting votes of at least 350,000 citizens). Meanwhile, CDM Deputy Chairman Emil Komarik said his party is prepared to participate in a new coalition cabinet, which should demonstrate that Slovakia can be governed without "permanent conflicts." Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK PARLIAMENT ON PRIVATIZATION, TELEVISION. During its 17 February session the Slovak parliament approved amendments to the large-scale privatization law and elected a new director of Slovak Television (STV), TASR reports. The new privatization amendments will break ties between the cabinet and the National Property Fund (NPF) and will end the term of the current members of the NPF Presidium and Supervisory Board. The amendments also separate the NPF's income and expenditures from the state budget. Members of the new presidium and supervisory board will be elected and dismissed by the parliament; the deputies decided against a government proposal which would have placed Meciar and other ministers on the presidium and supervisory board. Meanwhile, Ivan Stadtrucker was elected the new director of STV, with the approval of 102 deputies. Stadtrucker replaced Peter Malec, who resigned on 19 November. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. WALESA'S CONSTITUTION BILLS REJECTED. Two bills submitted to the Sejm by President Lech Walesa were rejected by the deputies on 18 February, by 206 votes to 101, with 45 abstentions, PAP reports. The bills would have made it possible for citizens to submit their own drafts of the constitution, and provided for the dissolution of parliament in the event of non-ratification of the constitution in a national referendum. At a press conference after the bills' first reading on 17 February, Walesa said that his initiative was prompted by the desire to give the people a platform for participation in public life since the current parliament is not fully representative. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. UDF LEADER BLASTS "RECOMMUNIZATION" OF JUDICIARY. In a statement released on 17 February, the Chairman of the opposition Union of Democratic Forces, Filip Dimitrov, issued a strongly worded protest against new legislation making only judges and prosecutors with a 5-year experience eligible for higher positions in the Bulgarian judiciary, adding that he was considering leaving parliament as a result. Himself a lawyer by profession, Dimitrov said the law, which was adopted on 15 February, solidified the power of former communists in the judiciary and signified an attempt at "Communist counterrevolution" in Bulgarian politics. Other UDF leaders told BTA the decision whether Dimitrov would leave the National Assembly had to be taken by the party executive. Meanwhile, Chairman of the Supreme Court Ivan Grigorov--a lawyer who because of the law would have to step down after his first mandate--cautioned that the Constitutional Court could strike down the new legislation before it is implemented. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. LABOR UNREST IN ROMANIA. Coal miners in the Jiu Valley announced their intention to go ahead with a strike which started on 14 February, Radio Bucharest reports. The controversial union leader Miron Cosma said that his fellow miners are prepared to travel to Bucharest for anti-government demonstrations in case President Ion Iliescu does not find a solution to the conflict. The miners demand back pay and bonuses, and better working conditions. In a statement issued on 17 February, Romania's government threatened to take legal action against Cosma for inciting to public disorder. Several thousand miners had on 16 February stormed the Lignite Company headquarters in Targu Jiu. The attack left seven policemen injured. Meanwhile, the government and the Presidency continued negotiations with representatives of Romania's three main trade union confederations in an attempt to defuse a general strike planned for later this month. The National Confederation of Romania's Free Trade Unions-Fratia, the Alfa Trade Union Cartel and the National Labor Bloc say a new cabinet is needed to solve the country's current economic and social crisis. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN JOURNALIST DETAINED FOR ALLEGED INSULT TO ILIESCU. Radio Bucharest reported on 17 February that a journalist had been jailed to face charges of having insulted Iliescu. Nicolae Andrei, 31, was taken into custody in Craiova for having published in a local paper in December two fables entitled "The Story of the Pig--A Christmas Tale" and "The Animal's Tale." The allegories, which reportedly do not mention Iliescu by name, were described by the chairman of the Romanian Journalists' Association Petre Mihai Bacanu as "totally harmless." Bacanu further said that Andrei's detention was unjustified and represented an "unprecedented case" of official overreaction in post-communist Romania. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN LEFTIST PARTY JOINS ATTACK AGAINST DEFENSE MINISTER. The Socialist Labor Party, Romania's re-born communist party, joined on 17 February previous attacks by the ultranationalist Greater Romania Party against Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Nicolae Spiroiu. In a statement issued to the press, the SLP menaced to withdraw its support for "a cabinet whose defense minister is gravely compromised" and demanded that the government "purifies its ranks without delay." GRP had accused Spiroiu of corruption and of betraying Romania's national interests. Spiroiu denies the accusations. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. MOLDOVAN LEADERS PLEDGE GAGAUZ REGIONAL AUTONOMY. In yet another trip to the Gagauz administrative center Comrat for conciliation talks, Moldovan President Mircea Snegur, Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli, and the chairman of the Agrarian Party (Moldova's largest) Dumitru Motpan conferred with the "Gagauz republic" leaders and with representatives of the Gagauz-populated districts on 15-17 February, Basapress reports. The Moldovan leaders promised to resubmit and personally support the draft law on creating a Gagauz autonomous region to the new parliament following the upcoming election. The draft law concedes more than any East European state has in terms of ethnic-territorial autonomy. It had been submitted to the outgoing parliament in June 1993 with the Moldovan leadership's support but was withdrawn when it became clear that it could not garner the two-thirds majority required for passage. The "Gagauz Supreme Soviet" voted on 17 February to consent to the holding of the parliamentary election in Gagauz-inhabited areas. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. MOLDOVAN VIEW OF UKRAINE'S ROLE. Ion Borsevici, Moldova's Ambassador to Ukraine and a confidant of President Mircea Snegur, said in Chisinau on 15 February as cited by Basapress that "Ukraine's wish to defend its independence plays an exceptionally important role for the defense of our own country's interests." "Ukrainian-Moldovan good neighborly relations transcend the framework of merely state-to-state relations," as "Ukraine provides an umbrella against those forces which want to bring down our independence and bring us into a neo-Soviet brotherhood.'" Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. AFTERMATH OF BELARUSIAN STRIKES. Uladzimir Zametalin, the press secretary of Belarusian Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich, said the 15 February political strike was a failure, Interfax reported on 17 February. He denied that workers had rallied to the strike call. Meanwhile the head of the strike committee's press center, Aleksandr Lysenka, has reported that the authorities are detaining the strike movement's leaders. Some 30,000 people had demonstrated in front of the Belarusian parliament in response to the strike call. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. BELARUS MAY JOIN NATO PARTNERSHIP. The chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Belarus, Mechyslau Hryb, told journalists that Belarus does not rule out the possibility of joining NATO's Partnership for Peace program, Interfax reported on 17 February. The issue is to be discussed by the Belarusian National Security Council. According to Hryb there is no possibility of restoring the USSR at this time, and any future unification would not be the former Soviet Union. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. LITHUANIA-BELARUS RELATIONS. On 16 February chairman of the Lithuanian parliament Ceslovas Jursenas and his Belarusian counterpart, Hryb, attended the opening ceremonies of the Lithuanian embassy in Minsk. Jursenas also held talks with other high Belarus officials. He expressed satisfaction with the successful development of economic and cultural cooperation between the two countries, noting that certain problems remained in bilateral relations, such as the delineation of the border. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. LATVIAN-RUSSIAN TALKS ON TROOP PULLOUT END INCONCLUSIVELY. Baltic media reported on 17 February that the latest round of Latvian-Russian negotiations on the withdrawal of Russian troops and military equipment from Latvia ended without signing any specific agreements. While the two sides agreed that Russia could maintain the Skrunda radar for another 4 years and take 18 months to dismantle it, agreement was not reached on the specifics, such as the costs of leasing the property and dismantling the radar. The two sides also failed to reach an accord on the status and social security of Soviet and Russian military pensioners in Latvia after the Russian troops depart, presumably by 31 August 1994. The next negotiations are scheduled for 28 February in Moscow. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. ESTONIAN, RUSSIAN PLANS TO EXPAND BALTIC PORT FACILITIES. As a part of a recently approved Russian government plan, the Baltport joint stock company has started to study the feasibility of constructing an oil terminal in the vicinity of Primorsk, in the Vytborg District. As Interfax noted on 17 February, Russia no longer has its own large oil terminal in the Baltic Sea, since Lithuania (with its port of Klaipeda) and Latvia (with its port of Ventspils) regained their independence. BNS reported on the same day that the second stage of the construction of the port of Muuga (near Tallinn) in Estonia is to be completed in five years; the expansion will increase Muuga's capacity fivefold. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. CORRECTION. In yesterday's "Serbia Update" item, the fourth and fifth line should read "strikes against Bosnian Serb positions" instead of Muslim positions. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Vladimir Socor and Michael Shafir The RFE/RL Daily Report is produced by the RFE/RL Research Institute (a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.) with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division (NCA). The report is available by electronic mail by subscribing to RFERL-L at LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU, on the Sovset' computer bulletin board, by fax, and by postal mail. Requests for permission to reprint or retransmit this material should be addressed to PD@RFERL.ORG. Such requests will generally be granted on the condition that the material is clearly attributed to the RFE/RL Daily Report. 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