He who knows nothing is nearer the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors. - Thomas Jefferson
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 35, 21 February 1994

RUSSIA

GRACHEV, PERRY CONFER ON BOSNIA. Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev 
and his American counterpart, Defense Secretary William Perry, conducted a 
lengthy telephone conversation on the night of 20 February over the 
situation in Bosnia. According to Interfax and Reuters, Perry assured 
Grachev that there would be no NATO air strikes launched against Bosnian 
Serbs on 21 February. Grachev was quoted as telling Perry that "all 
political-diplomatic measures are far from being exhausted . . . [and] 
Russia is doing its best not to permit bloodshed." Grachev said that a 
Russian UN military contingent that was redeploying to Sarajevo could be 
among the victims of any airstrike. He also reportedly made clear that 
Moscow was prepared to send an additional contingent of up to 300 men if 
such a decision were approved by the Russian parliament. The Russian force 
in Sarajevo currently numbers some 400 men. According to Interfax, 
Airborne Forces Evgenii Podkolzin and a group of Russian Defense Ministry 
officials are also in the city. On 19 February Russian Defense Ministry 
spokesmen denied a statement issued by the Airborne Forces press service 
that had said that Russia would not deploy its troops to positions near 
Sarajevo unless NATO abandoned its threat of air strikes. Stephen Foye, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN TREATMENT OF BOSNIA INITIATIVE. The withdrawal of heavy weapons 
from in and around Sarajevo by Bosnian Serbs in the three days before the 
NATO deadline was treated in Moscow as a Russian diplomatic victory. 
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said on 18 February upon arriving in 
Prague, "we do not link our actions with the NATO ultimatum and believe 
that it has a very indirect relationship to us." Deputy Foreign Minister 
and special envoy Vitalii Churkin said the key to securing the withdrawal 
had been that Russian President Boris Yeltsin had personally requested the 
withdrawal and that Russia had guaranteed the Bosnian Serbs that 
additional Russian peacekeeping forces would be supplied. The next step on 
Russia's diplomatic agenda, according to Churkin, is to put Sarajevo under 
U.N. control, as Russia has long proposed, Russian agencies reported. 
Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. 

MILITARY NEWSPAPER ON RUSSIAN ROLE. Russia's main Defense Ministry 
newspaper, Krasnaya zvezda, said on 19 February that Russia's diplomatic 
breakthrough in Bosnia reaffirmed Russia's status as a world power with a 
key role to play in the former Yugoslavia, Reuters reports. In a 
front-page article the newspaper was quoted as saying that "if the West 
really wants peace in the Balkans, it must understand and accept the 
position of Russia: it must be seen as a great power and an equal 
partner." The newspaper also reportedly said that it was the trust of 
Bosnian Serbs in Russia, and not fear of NATO strikes, that had played the 
key role in reaching agreement on the withdrawal of weapons. Stephen Foye, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

DUMA SPEAKER IN BULGARIA. Russian State Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin arrived 
on a state visit to Bulgaria on 19 February to discuss bilateral relations 
and the crisis in Bosnia. On Bosnia, Rybkin said it is necessary to solve 
the Bosnian conflict "at the table of diplomatic negotiations and without 
military interference." He assured that Boris Yeltsin had given his 
blessing to the visit and said that the trip was aimed at improving 
bilateral cooperation and "preserving everything positive which had been 
accumulated earlier," ITAR-TASS reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. 

CONTROLS TIGHTENED ON ARMS EXPORTS. The newly created state arms export 
organization, "Rosvooruzhenie," is to control all arms exports in order to 
extract "maximum profits" and to prevent "dubious" deals. This was 
announced by Marshal Evgenii Shaposhnikov, President Yeltsin's personal 
representative in "Rosvooruzhenie," in an interview with Izvestiya cited 
by Reuters on 20 February. The organization was formed, according to the 
marshal, because the three state bodies that previously had the right to 
export arms had begun to compete against each other. Exporting enterprises 
had demonstrated "commercial incompetence," and thus arms exports had 
shrunk. Russian arms exports have declined in recent years. Their value in 
1993 has been variously estimated at between $1.5 billion and $4 billion: 
an authoritative estimate in Segodnya on 27 January put the figure at $2.1 
billion. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA'S CHOICE FACES PROBLEMS IN BECOMING A PARTY. Former Prime Minister 
Egor Gaidar has proposed the transformation of the movement, Russia's 
Choice, into a genuine political party, ITAR-TASS reported on 19 February. 
Gaidar stated that the race for the presidency has begun and democrats 
need to build the necessary structures to win in future elections. He said 
the party should fight fascism in Russia. Gaidar rejected the idea of 
becoming a purely presidential party for Boris Yeltsin. The Democratic 
Russia Movement--a broader association of democrats--rejected Gaidar's 
offer to join the new party arguing against becoming a new "nomenklatura 
party." Other reformers, such as Gennadii Burbulis or Mikhail Poltoranin, 
also distanced themselves from Gaidar. The only leading reformer who 
supported Gaidar was Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais. Alexander 
Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. 

FILATOV SAYS LOCAL ELECTIONS MIGHT BE POSTPONED. The head of the 
presidential apparatus, Sergei Filatov, told Izvestiya on 18 February that 
the elections to Russia's regional councils might be postponed. The 
elections are currently scheduled for the spring, but Filatov said that 
they might be delayed until the summer or fall to give the Russian 
parliament time to adopt new legislation on elections. Several Russian 
regions have held elections to their legislatures that were marked by the 
strong showing of pro-communist forces. In his interview, Filatov implied 
that this might also be a reason for postponing the local elections. Vera 
Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

STATE DUMA GETS FORMER GOSPLAN BUILDING. Boris Yeltsin signed a decree on 
18 February making the former State Planning Committee building the new 
home of the State Duma. RFE/RL's correspondent in Moscow quoted officials 
in Yeltsin's office as saying that during reconstruction of the building, 
the Duma will temporarily meet in a building of the Russian Management 
Academy. Last month the Duma voted down government plans to spend 500 
million dollars to build a new parliament building and Yeltsin suspended 
the construction plans. Many deputies are opposed to moving into the 
former GOSPLAN building, saying the State Duma should be located either in 
the old parliament building or even in the Kremlin. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

OPEL PASSENGER CAR TO BE PRODUCED AT TOLYATTI. General Motors Europe and 
the Russian Automobile Alliance are expected to form a joint venture to 
manufacture a new model of passenger car at Tolyatti, Interfax reported on 
16 February. The factory, estimated to cost some $3 billion, will produce 
up to 300,000 units a year by 1997: the basic production model will be the 
latest version of the Opel "Corsa." Total output of passenger cars in 1993 
was reported to be 956,000 units but production fell sharply in January 
1994 when AvtoVAZ virtually closed down because of arrears in payments and 
shortages of components. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. 

INDUSTRIAL LOBBY EMPHASIZES NEED FOR MARKET REFORM. The centrist Union of 
Industrialists and Entrepreneurs has issued a statement criticizing 
Western statements concerning the alleged end of market reforms in Russia, 
ITAR-TASS reported on 19 February. The Union, led by the well-known 
centrist politician Arkadii Volsky, argued that the aim of the government 
is to divert some resources into the social sphere and to establish the 
necessary law and order in the country's economy in order to attract 
Western investment. It said the government is by no means departing from 
reform. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

CIS

UKRAINIANS IN CRIMEA COMPLAIN ABOUT RIGHTS' VIOLATIONS. In an interview on 
Ukrainian Radio on 20 February regarding the positive assessment of 
Ukraine's policy towards national minorities given last week by CSCE High 
Commissioner for National Minorities Max van der Stoel, Deputy Foreign 
Minister Borys Tarasyuk noted that the violation of the rights of 
Ukrainians in Crimea should be a matter for concern. He said that an 
appeal to Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk from the recent 
Extraordinary Congress of the Ukrainian Civil Congress of Crimea 
protesting "human rights violations" in the Autonomous Crimean State 
showed that, despite "unfounded" claims sometimes heard in Moscow about 
the alleged violation of the rights of Ukraine's "Russian-speaking 
population," "the opposite" was actually happening in Crimea. Ukrainians 
constitute about 25 per cent of Crimea's population (the Russians 67 per 
cent) and for years have complained about opposition from the 
Russian-dominated local authorities to the opening of Ukrainian schools, 
newspapers, "anti-Ukrainian propaganda," and censorship of TV and radio 
broadcasts from Kiev. Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN AGREE ON KARABAKH CEASEFIRE. At a meeting in Moscow on 
18 February mediated by Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, the 
defense ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan and a representative from the 
self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic agreed on a total regional 
ceasefire, but did not specify the date it would take effect or the 
duration, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported. Meeting in Ankara on 18 
February with Jan Eliasson, the new chairman of the CSCE Minsk Group, 
Turkish Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin argued that further mediation 
sessions by the Minsk group should be suspended until Armenian troops 
withdraw unconditionally from occupied Azerbaijani territory, AFP 
reported. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

PRESS DISPUTE IN KAZAKHSTAN. Government interference has convinced 
Almaty's independent information media that freedom of the press is under 
attack in Kazakhstan, ITAR-TASS reported on 18 February. Almaty 
authorities officially closed down the popular private TV and radio 
station Max on 14 February; it has continued to broadcast clandestinely. 
The vice-president of Max believes the harassment resulted from charges 
made by the station that the Almaty authorities are violating the election 
laws. Independent publications involved in the parliamentary election 
campaign report harassment by the authorities; a favorite tactic is for 
the fire department to close down printing facilities on days independent 
publications are to be printed. Almaty's most popular weekly, Karavan, has 
to be published in Bishkek. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

TURKMENISTAN AGAIN THREATENS TO TURN OFF GAS. Turkmenistan is again 
threatening to shut off supplies of its gas to Georgia and Ukraine unless 
the two states pay their debts, Western and Russian news agencies reported 
on 19 February. Turkmenistan reached accords on gas supplies with both 
countries in 1993 after having shut off gas supplies for brief periods. 
About 35% of Ukraine's gas imports are from Turkmenistan; Turkmen 
officials claim that Ukraine is the CIS state most seriously in arrears 
with payments. Georgia already owes Turkmenistan $37 million for gas 
supplies in 1994, in addition to $200 million for 1993, Turkmen Minister 
of Oil and Gas Nazar Soyunov told ITAR-TASS, and he believes that Georgia 
has no alternate source of gas. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. 

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

OFFICIAL SAYS "NO NEED FOR AIR STRIKES" AGAINST BOSNIAN SERBS. On 20 and 
21 February international media reported extensively on NATO's 
preparedness to launch air strikes against Bosnian Serb positions should 
the Serbs fail to remove heavy artillery stationed around Sarajevo. Yet on 
21 February The New York Times quotes UN envoy to former Yugoslavia, 
Yasushi Akashi, as saying "there is no need for air strikes." Akashi on 20 
February stated that the Bosnian Serb side was making progress in meeting 
the withdrawal deadline of 21 February (0100 local time), but that efforts 
were being hampered by poor weather conditions. On 21 February the BBC 
reported that the commander of UN forces in Bosnia, Lt. Gen. Sir Michael 
Rose, also agreed that while all weapons had evidently not yet been 
withdrawn, enough progress towards meeting the ultimatum conditions had 
been made to avert the air strikes. On 21 February NATO Secretary General 
Manfred Woerner also agreed that for the time being air strikes were not 
necessary. Yet Woerner, in his statement released at NATO headquarters, 
stressed that the alliance would be vigilant and would remain committed to 
seeing an end to the fighting around Sarajevo. Indications that air 
strikes might be avoided came in the early evening of 20 February, as 
Russian defense minister Pavel Grachev, cited by ITAR-TASS, reported that 
he had spoken with his US counterpart, William Perry, who reportedly said 
that overnight air strikes would not be launched. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, 
Inc.

SERB WITHDRAWAL HAMPERED . . . On 21 February the Serbian press states 
that the Bosnian Serbs, reportedly ready and willing to comply with the 
terms of the UN ultimatum, had efforts to withdraw their heavy artillery 
from around Sarajevo hampered by heavy snow. Borba's headline "Snow 
Hampers Withdrawal" summed up the Serbian position on why a complete 
withdrawal had not been managed by the ultimatum deadline. On 20 February 
RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported that Bosnian Foreign Minister Irfan 
Ljubijankic agreed that the Bosnian Serbs had some difficulties in meeting 
the NATO ultimatum deadline because poor weather conditions were adversely 
affecting the rate at which heavy artillery could be withdrawn from around 
Sarajevo. Earlier, however, Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, cited by 
Radio Sarajevo, indicated that poor weather was no excuse for failure to 
comply with UN deadline, and that the Serbs had been given ample time to 
act on the ultimatum. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . AND MUSLIMS HARBOR FEARS, WHILE SERBS CHEER RUSSIANS. On 20 February 
Reuters reported that Bosnian Muslim leaders feared that moving Serb 
artillery away from Sarajevo in itself did not guarantee an end to 
hostilities. Bosnian Gen. Jovan Divjak told Reuters that heavy weapons 
once around Sarajevo were being "taken to the Olovo and Gorazde 
battlefields." On the same day, Reuters reported that at least five 
suspected Serb shells fell on the city of Tuzla, wounding at least three. 
Meanwhile, on 20 February international media reported that Bosnian Serbs 
cheered as some 400 Russian peace keepers drove through Pale, on the way 
to Sarajevo. AFP reported that Bosnian President Izetbegovic also sounded 
a note of optimism about the Russians' arrival, as he said the Bosnian 
government supports the Russian initiative, and hopes the Russian troops 
will, in accordance with their stated purpose, behave in a neutral fashion 
towards all sides. Previously, Radio Sarajevo had reported that Bosnian 
Muslim officials were critical of the Russian initiative to send troops to 
Sarajevo, fearing that the Russians would behave in a too pro-Serb manner. 
Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

GRANIC, SILAJDZIC MEET. On 19 February Western agencies reported that 
Croatian foreign minister Mate Granic and Bosnian prime minister Silajdzic 
held talks in Frankfurt-Main. In a joint declaration, the two leaders said 
progress had been made in bilateral Croatian-Bosnian relations, but failed 
to give specifics. In a separate interview with Reuters, however, Granic 
said that discussion focused on such issues as the division of Bosnia into 
ethnic mini-states, but Bosnian Muslim officials have reportedly not 
confirmed Granic's interpretation of the meetings. Talks are slated to 
continue between Muslim and Croatian officials in Zagreb, and Croatian and 
Bosnian representatives are also to meet with US special envoy to former 
Yugoslavia, Charles Redman. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

MACEDONIA AND THE GREEK EMBARGO. The effects of the Greek trade embargo 
were already being felt in Macedonia, reported Nova Makedonija of 18 
February. Six EU countries called upon Greece to end the blockade but AFP 
said Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos on 18 February 
stated that Athens will not succumb to outside pressure on the matter, 
although many European leaders regard it as a hindrance to European 
integration and a destabilizing factor in Macedonia and the Balkans. 
Reuters on 20 February reports that the US fears the Greek action may 
drive Macedonia to loosen sanction enforcement against Serbia. Duncan 
Perry, RFE/RL, Inc.

ALBANIA AND MACEDONIA. Rilindja Demokratike and Nova Makedonija on 19 
February report that Macedonian Foreign Minister Stevo Crvenkovski ended a 
visit to Tirana amid reports that both sides were pleased with the 
outcome. Albanian President Sali Berisha reiterated that "Albania is very 
interested in the stability of Macedonia and considers it very important 
for regional stability." According to Zeri i Popullit on 19 February, 
Tirana has offered Skopje use of its roads as well as the Adriatic port of 
Durres. In an interview with RFE/RL on 2 February Berisha noted that 
Albania "would give Macedonia 11 facilities" and stated that completion of 
a transport route that would connect Italy, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria 
and Turkey was extremely important. Any strengthening of 
Macedonian-Albanian ties will very likely further strain Albanian-Greek 
relations. Robert Austin, RFE/RL, Inc. 

CZECH MINISTER PRESENTS HIS PLAN FOR BOSNIA. Czech Defense Minister 
Antonin Baudys surprised the Czech public and his government colleagues 
with what he described as a solution for the Bosnian crisis, Czech media 
reported over the weekend. At a press briefing on 19 February, Baudys told 
journalists that the basic idea of his proposal is to take the religious 
background of the conflict as a starting point. He suggested the creation 
of a "goodwill committee" at the United Nations in which Russia and Greece 
would represent the interests of Orthodox Serbia; Turkey and Pakistan 
would represent the interests of the Bosnian Muslims; and France and Italy 
those of Catholic Croats. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus and other government 
members criticized Baudys for presenting the plan without having consulted 
them. One parliament deputy complained that the Defense Minister "outlined 
the recipe for World War Three." Meanwhile, on 20 February, Baudys left 
for a three-day working visit to Turkey. Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc. 

ROMANIA PRAISES RUSSIAN-SERB ACCORD. Presidential spokesman Traian 
Chebeleu said on 18 February that the Serb-Russian agreement on a 
withdrawal of heavy weapons around Sarajevo was "a positive action that 
contributes to encouraging the peace process," an RFE/RL correspondent 
reported from Bucharest on the same day. Chebeleu added that the 
involvement of Russia, the Balkan states and the international community 
in the crisis in Bosnia-Herzegovina was "beneficial to a peaceful solution 
of the conflict." In a declaration broadcast by Radio Bucharest on the 
same day, Romania's government "saluted" the agreement. The statement 
added that "under the prevailing conditions, a possible military 
intervention could have unpredictable results, which might be even 
contradictory to the aims pursued." The Romanian government said it 
continued to be "ready to contribute to the political solution of the 
conflict, alongside other countries neighboring former Yugoslavia and 
other interested states." Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

KOZYREV IN PRAGUE. Russian Foreign Minister Kozyrev, on an official visit 
to the Czech Republic from 19 to 20 February discussed bilateral ties; the 
Bosnian war; and NATO's Partnership for Peace program, CTK reports. He 
told journalists on 18 February that Russia will not try to deny any 
country the right to join the partnership and that Russia will participate 
in the program itself. President Vaclav Havel told the press after a 
meeting with Kozyrev that Russian rhetoric claiming the Czech Republic 
should belong to the Russian sphere of interest "causes anxiety and 
concern among Czechs." Kozyrev responded that if such language reminds the 
Czechs of the past, he will stop using it. In meetings with Prime Minister 
Vaclav Klaus and Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec, Kozyrev discussed 
bilateral cooperation, the creation of new security structures in Europe, 
and the war in Bosnia. Klaus said that Czech-Russian economic ties will 
grow soon after a "certain stabilization of economic reform in Russia. Jan 
Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.

MORE SCANDAL OVER POLISH BANK PRIVATIZATION. Poland's Securities 
Commission on 17 February revoked the brokerage license of the recently 
privatized Bank Slaski and asked prosecutors to investigate alleged 
stock-price manipulation by the bank's management. The brokerage, the 
largest in the country, is accused of having slowed down the process of 
issuing certificates to shareholders, meaning effectively that bank 
employees, who were among the first to be in possession of certificates, 
were among a minority able to take advantage of first-day trading and sell 
shares at a breathtaking 13.5 times the issue value. Only 10% of the 
800,000 shareholders were able to participate in the first day of trading. 
Since then the value of the shares has dropped somewhat. The bank has 
vowed to appeal the securities commission's ruling. Gazeta Wyborcza on 18 
February quoted Bank Slaski chairman Marian Rajczyk as denying that any of 
the bank's employees had sold "large packets" of shares. The finance 
ministry proposed on 18 February that the Warsaw exchange suspend trading 
in Bank Slaski shares until all ownership certificates are issued. The 
uproar over Bank Slaski's debut has already claimed several victims, 
including Deputy Prime Minister Marek Borowski, who resigned on 4 
February. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka and Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT WANTS INVESTIGATION OF MECIAR. According to a CTK report 
of 18 February, the main Slovak opposition group in the parliament, the 
Party of the Democratic Left, asked the Slovak prosecutor general to check 
whether Prime Minister Meciar and Finance Minister Toth broke the law in 
approving some privatization projects. By the same token, Meciar told TASR 
on 19 February that he would ask the prosecutor to investigate the PDL for 
alleged pressure tactics against him. Meciar's government came under 
attack for approving more privatization projects within four days before 
the parliament passed amendments to the privatization law, than within the 
entire last year. Opposition deputies complained that the prime minister 
used privatization as a means to strengthen his power by favoring 
privatization projects of his political allies. Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc. 

SLOVAK NATIONAL PARTY SPLITS. A split in the Slovak National Party (SNP), 
the coalition partner of the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, 
heralded more trouble for Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar. At a party 
conference held on 20 February in Zilina, Party Chairman Ludovit Cernak 
and about 50 of the 182 delegates present walked out, announcing that they 
would form a new party, Slovak radio reported on 20 February. Cernak, who 
tried to transform the SNP into a moderate conservative party and was 
opposed to forming a coalition with Meciar, was, along with his 
supporters, immediately expelled from the SNP. He announced that he 
intends to create a new "centrist party" soon. The SNP meanwhile elected 
the Mayor of Zilina, Jan Slota, as its new chairman. Slota said that the 
SNP has now "cleansed itself of people who had been dividing it." It 
remains unclear, how many of the 15 SNP deputies in the Slovak parliament 
will follow Cernak. Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN DEMOCRATIC FORUM ELECTS NEW CHAIRMAN. Hungary's largest ruling 
party elected at its seventh national congress on 19 February Defense 
Minister Lajos Fur as its new chairman to succeed Prime Minister Jozsef 
Antall who died in December 1993, MTI and Western news agencies report. 
Fur was the only candidate, and was elected chairman by 685 of the 729 
congress delegates. The delegates also decided to split the post of party 
chairman and prime minister to allow Prime Minister Peter Boross to run as 
the HDF's prime minister candidate in the national elections scheduled for 
May. Fur pledged to complete Hungary's transformation into a 
market-oriented parliamentary democracy, and warned that a return to power 
by the former reform communists would slow down the process of democratic 
transformation. Opinion polls indicate that if elections were held now 
less than 10% of the voters would vote for the HDF while the former reform 
communists, the Hungarian Socialist Party, could count on some 25% of the 
votes. This makes the HSP the most popular party in Hungary today. Edith 
Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc.

RADICAL RIGHT-WING PARTIES HOLD MASS RALLY. Istvan Csurka, the co-chairman 
of the Hungarian Justice and Life Party and Jozsef Torgyan, the chairman 
of the Independent Smallholders Party, held on 20 February their first 
joint rally in the Budapest Sports Stadium in the presence of an estimated 
15,000 to 20,000 enthusiastic supporters, MTI and Western news agencies 
report. The major theme of the two party leaders was that a real change of 
regime has not taken place since the 1990 national elections. Csurka read 
a list of important economic posts held by former top communist officials 
to illustrate how former communists "converted their political power into 
economic power and still run the country." Torgyan accused the current 
government of "selling out the country," and warned that his party will 
"sweep away the communists" at the May national elections. Csurka founded 
his party when he was expelled from the HDF last summer because of his 
radical views. Torgyan's party left the governing coalition in 1992. Edith 
Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIAN MINERS' STRIKE. The strike of the coal miners of the Jiu valley 
continues, as talks between the government and the strikers ended 
inconclusively on 19 February in the capital, Radio Bucharest and foreign 
agencies report. Miners' union negotiator Lica Crisan said that while many 
issues had been solved, there was no agreement on demands for the 
resignation of what he called "corrupt management" in the Jiu valley 
mines. At the end of the talks in Bucharest it was announced that a 
governmental commission will come to Gorj on 21 February to examine the 
matter. Miners' leader Miron Cosma told the strikers In Targu Jiu to 
reassemble on the same day at noon if the commission does not arrive as 
promised. On 18 February, an RFE/RL correspondent reported that in an 
unprecedented step, the director of the Romanian Intelligence Service, 
Virgil Magureanu, came to the valley and urged the miners, who were 
threatening to descend on Bucharest, to remain calm and await the outcome 
of the negotiations with the government. The miners have been on strike 
since 14 February, demanding bonuses, new investments and the resignation 
of managers for alleged abuses. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. 

RUSSIA WANTS TO KEEP TROOPS, GAIN BASES IN MOLDOVA. Col.-General Georgi 
Kondratev, Russian Deputy Defense Minister responsible for "peacekeeping" 
troops, visited Russian forces in Moldova on 16 and 17 February "to 
determine their needs," ITAR-TASS and Moldovan media reported. Kondratev 
additionally met with the Russian-dominated armistice control commission 
and with "Dniester republic" political and military leaders. While 
averring that the "peace keepers cannot remain here forever," Kondratev 
called for Russian-Moldovan "military cooperation on a bilateral basis" 
and for giving Russia's 14th Army--which has no peacekeeping mandate--the 
status of an "operational army group" with basing rights in Tiraspol, 
Ribnita, and Slobozia, Basapress reported on 18 February. The commander of 
the 14th Army's Tiraspol garrison told Reuters on 20 February that "Russia 
will never withdraw the 14th Army from here because it is a stabilizing 
force." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

BALTIC ENERGY MINISTERS MEET. On 18 February the energy ministers of the 
Baltic States, Algimantas Stasiukynas (Lithuania), Andris Kreslins 
(Latvia), and Arvo Nittenberg (Estonia) met in Tallinn to discuss gas 
supplies for the three countries, BNS reports. They discussed prospects 
for the joint operation of the gas supply tanks at Incukalns in Latvia and 
the possibility of building a gas pipeline to the West and of connecting 
the electricity networks of the Baltic States to the central European 
networks. They also coordinated their positions before signing new 
agreements with Russia's Gazprom to whom all three countries have large 
debts. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Saulius Girnius and Dan Ionescu The RFE/RL Daily Report is 
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