|Standing, as I do, in the view of God and eternity, I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness toward anyone. - Edith Cavell 1865-1915 (Spoken to the chaplain who attended her before her execution by firing squad, 12 Oct. 1915.)|
No. 36, 22 February 1994
RUSSIA MORE GRACHEV REMARKS ON BOSNIA. In what was described by Reuters as a "remarkable telephone call watched by millions" of Russian television viewers, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev suggested to US Defense Secretary William Perry on 21 February that the US should send ground forces to Muslim-populated areas of Sarajevo. Grachev, who had also conferred with Perry by telephone on 20 February, said that a US military presence would reduce the danger of provocations being committed against Russian peacekeepers by Muslim forces. Perry apparently rejected the proposal, leading Grachev instead to suggest that England, France, or Germany deploy peacekeeping contingents in Sarajevo. The publicity accorded the conversation appeared to reflect the Russian Defense Minister's sense of triumph over developments to date in Bosnia; it apparently had its comic side when the phone line went dead during the conversation and Grachev had to redial. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA TO SEND MORE TROOPS? Following his conversation with Perry, Grachev told journalists that peacekeepers from the army's 27th and 46th motor rifle divisions could be deployed to the Sarajevo region if necessary, Interfax reported. According to Russian television on 21 February, the Russian government intends in the near future to ask the Russian parliament to approve the deployment of an additional contingent of troops to Bosnia. In addition, as reported by ITAR-TASS on the same day, Russia has asked UN Secretary-General Boutros-Boutros Ghali for permission to send another 400 troops to Sarajevo to augment the 400 troops already deployed there by Russia. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. DIFFERENT LESSONS OF SARAJEVO. Viewing the NATO ultimatum as the key to breaking the siege of Sarajevo, Western officials are now discussing the extension of the strategy to other parts of Bosnia. Lt. Gen. Sir Michael Rose, commander of the UN peacekeeping troops in Bosnia, was quoted by The New York Times as saying that the logic applied to Sarajevo would "certainly be applicable elsewhere." US Secretary of State Warren Christopher indicated that Washington was considering this option, and French Foreign Minister Allain Juppe has said that the West should "extend our action to all safe areas or all besieged towns in Bosnia." Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, on the other hand, stated on 21 February in Budapest that there should be "no more ultimatums or similar devices," Western and Russian media reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA TO JOIN PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE? Interfax quoted a senior Russian Foreign Ministry official on 21 February as saying that Russia was preparing for negotiations to join NATO's Partnership for Peace program. The official indicated that Russia wished to "clarify some issues" before joining the program. Russia's position on membership remains unclear. On 19 February during a visit to Prague, Foreign Minister Kozyrev was quoted by Czech radio as saying "Russia will join this program." Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN'S ADDRESS TO NATION READY. President Boris Yeltsin's state of the nation address to be delivered to the Federal Assembly on 24 February has been completed and the text will be handed out in the parliament beforehand, ITAR-TASS reported on 22 February. The speech, which will outline domestic and foreign policy priorities, was prepared by presidential aides Yurii Baturin, Aleksandr Lifshits, Georgii Satarov, Emil Pain, Leonid Smirnyagin, and the Minister for Nationalities' and Regional Policy, Sergei Shakhrai. Observers expect Yeltsin to make a decisive assessment on future economic reform. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin is reportedly planning to introduce price controls in economic sectors dominated by state enterprises, according to a document obtained by Tokyo Kyodo (reported on 22 February.) Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. 1994 BUDGET TAKES SHAPE. An expanded collegium of the Finance Ministry worked on the draft budget for 1994 on 21 February, ITAR-TASS reported. Income is estimated at 118 trillion rubles (about $75 billion), although a shortfall in tax revenues of 4.5 trillion rubles is expected in February alone. Planned expenditures were cut from 243 trillion to 174 trillion rubles. Of the projected deficit of 56 trillion rubles, 37 trillion will be covered by Central Bank credits and 19 trillion by foreign credits. It is still hoped to bring the monthly inflation rate down to 10% by the end of 1994. One of the participants, First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets, asserted that there is no lobbying for the interests of various sectors in the government. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. PAYMENTS ARREARS MOUNT. Acting Finance Minister Sergei Dubinin says the amount of payments arrears in the fuel and energy complex has risen to 16 trillion rubles, Interfax reported on 21 February. This is in addition to the more than 22 trillion rubles (about $14 billion) owed by the state to industrial enterprises. The crisis of nonpayments has led to closures and short-time working at enterprises throughout the economy, and was largely responsible for the sharp drop in output recorded in January. No viable solution has yet been aired, although the topic will presumably be addressed by Yeltsin and/or Chernomyrdin in their forthcoming presentations. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. ALUMINUM OUTPUT CUTS SUSPENDED. In January Deputy Foreign Trade Minister Georgii Gabuniya announced that Russia would cut its annual aluminum output by 500,000 tons or 15% as part of an unprecedented trade deal by the world's leading aluminum producers (see The Financial Times of 31 January). On 21 February, an official of the Aluminii producers' group told Reuters that Russia has suspended further cuts because it is not satisfied that Western producers are honoring their side of the agreement. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. TOWARDS GATT MEMBERSHIP. On 21 February Minister of Foreign Economic Relations Oleg Davydov formally presented a memorandum outlining Russia's trade policies to the Director General of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Reuters reported. GATT officials will review the policies to see if they conform to the rules of the organization. Russia applied for GATT membership in June 1993. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA-JAPAN UPDATE. On 21 February Russian and Japanese officials opened two days of talks in Moscow aimed at resolving the Kuril Island territorial dispute. This is the first bilateral meeting on the issue since last October and, given the political climate in Russia, little progress is expected. RFE/RL's Moscow correspondent reports that the Russian delegation is headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Panov and the Japanese delegation by Deputy Foreign Minister Hiroshi Fukuda; the talks are aimed at paving the way for a subsequent visit to Moscow by Japanese Foreign Minister Tsutomu Hata. Meanwhile, on 19 February AFP, quoting a Japanese news source, reported that Russian territories in the Far East have been the targets of attacks in computer-simulated military drills by Japanese self-defense forces. The drills are expected to raise controversy because the actions of Japan's armed forces are legally limited only to defensive operations. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. MINERS PLAN MASS ACTION ON 1 MARCH. Coal miners in Vorkuta met on 21 February and announced a mass strike for 1 March to demand payment of back wages. Seven miners stayed underground overnight on a hunger strike. Local construction and drilling workers have also joined the strike. At their meeting the miners decided to put forward political demands, but could not agree whether to demand the sacking only of "certain" (unidentified) cabinet ministers or the resignation of the entire government, and/or the holding of pre-term presidential elections. A final decision will be made on 24 February, Russian TV reported. This is the second coal strike in Vorkuta this month. Earlier, miners ended a 6-day walkout when the government agreed to pay back wages, but workers' leaders say the 4.7 billion rubles put up by the government was insufficient to pay all the wages owed. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS NEW CHARGES AGAINST UKRAINE ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Col. Gen. Igor Sergeev, the commander-in-chief of Russia's Strategic Missile Forces, has sent to Grachev an official letter charging that actions recently taken by Ukrainian authorities have undermined the safety regime of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Izvestiya reported on 22 February. Sergeev's charges focus especially on what he claims are a series of personnel changes in the command staff of the 43rd missile army (the strategic rocket forces located in Ukraine), and in Ukraine's alleged failure to maintain the minimum manpower levels in the same army necessary for safe maintenance of its weapons' systems. According to the same report, Grachev has sent a coded message to Ukraine's Defense Minister warning him that unilateral actions by Kiev "hinder the fulfillment of agreements reached in Moscow by the presidents of Russia, the US, and Ukraine and the Massandra accord." Similar charges have been leveled against Ukraine by Russian military authorities in the past. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA GEORGIA'S EX-DEFENSE MINISTER UNDER A CLOUD. Two separate Interfax reports of 21 February implicate Georgia's ex-defense minister, Giorgi Karkarashvili, in embezzlement and supplying information to Abkhaz intelligence. Georgian parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze has ordered an investigation into the embezzlement of state funds by unnamed defense ministry officials. Interfax cites Abkhaz defense minister Sultan Sosnaliev as stating that Karkarashvili was one of the most credible sources of information to Abkhaz intelligence, and an article by Abkhaz intelligence chief Musa Daurov in Severny Kavkaz claiming that an Abkhaz intelligence officer posing as a businessman won Karkarashvili's trust and gave him gifts to the value of $75 million in return for information that proved to be "85 per cent accurate." Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. TAJIKISTAN THREATENS AFGHANISTAN. Tajikistan's Foreign Ministry has warned Afghanistan's government to expect retaliation if Tajik opposition forces continue attacks on Tajik territory from bases in Afghanistan, Western agencies reported on 21 February. During the night of 19-20 February, a Tajik border post was shelled and a Russian serviceman was wounded. The head of the CIS peacekeeping forces in Tajikistan Col.General Boris Pyankov, told Interfax on 21 February that Tajik opposition leaders in Moscow had asked that the CIS peacekeepers remain in Tajikistan to prevent another outbreak of civil war and said that they are ready to negotiate with the Dushanbe government, but fear to travel to Tajikistan to do so. Pyankov said he had offered to guarantee their safety. He was doubtful about the possibility of UN-sponsored peace talks beginning anytime soon. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. TURKMENISTAN TURNS OFF GAS TO UKRAINE. Turkmenistan's Minister of Oil and Gas Nazar Suyunov was quoted by Interfax on 21 February as saying that deliveries of natural gas to Ukraine would stop on 22 February. An earlier warning that Ukraine's gas supply would be cut off if that country did not at least start paying its bills to Turkmenistan was ignored, according to Suyunov. Ukraine, the CIS state reported to have the largest debt for gas from Turkmenistan, has paid only $3.4 million of a debt of $154.1 million for gas supplied in 1994 alone. Bills from 1993 also remain unpaid, and Suyunov commented that it would be better for Turkmenistan to close wells than work for nothing. Another Turkmen oil and gas official told Reuters that Ukraine had appealed for a delay in the gas cutoff and had promised to pay the debt. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE OFFICIALS SEEK TO EXPAND SARAJEVO SOLUTION . . . On 21 and 22 February international media report that officials from the US, the EU, and Russia may seek to expand their apparent success in halting fighting around Sarajevo by pressing for a general solution to the conflict throughout Bosnia. Reuters says British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd has called the ceasefire around Sarajevo "the beginning of the end" for the Bosnian war, while US President Bill Clinton urged the international community to "build on this week's progress and create a lasting and workable peace." Western and Russian officials are to meet in Bonn on 22 February to work towards a Bosnian settlement. On 22 February The New York Times reports that some Bosnian Serbian heavy artillery remains around Sarajevo; however, Serb officials maintain that a full withdrawal is hampered by bad weather and it appears that air strikes will not be used against these positions. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. . . . WHILE FIGHTING CONTINUES IN BOSNIA. While the situation has calmed around Sarajevo, reports suggest that fighting in other parts of Bosnia has in fact stepped up. On 21 February, Reuters and AFP said that artillery was exchanged between Serb and Muslim forces around Tuzla. HINA, meanwhile, states in an unconfirmed report that two people were killed by Bosnian government forces in Vitez. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. POSSIBLE CROAT-MUSLIM AGREEMENT. On 22 February The New York Times reports that in recent weeks Croat and Bosnian Muslim officials have been meeting, often with US mediators, to come to a possible agreement on the configuration of a post-war Bosnian state. Evidently US special envoy Charles Redman is currently taking the leading role as mediator in the former Yugoslavia in talks between the Croatian and Bosnian Muslim sides. Redman met with Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic and Croatia's Foreign Minister Mate Granic on 19 February. On 22 February Vjesnik reported that Redman was in Zagreb the day before for talks with officials, including Croatian President Franjo Tudjman. International media say that Silajdzic met with US Secretary of State Warren Christopher on 21 February to discuss future Croat-Muslim relations. To date, no formal agreement on any concrete issue has been reached between the two sides. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. BAUDYS'S PEACE PLAN FOR BOSNIA FACES HEAVY CRITICISM. CTK reports that on 21 February Turkish Defense Minister Mehmet Golhan rejected the peace plan for Bosnia unveiled on 20 February by Czech Defense Minister Antonin Baudys. The plan calls for creation of "an executive committee of good will" that would include representatives of the parties involved in the conflict as well as countries that are religiously and culturally related to the warring parties; for example, Russia, Turkey, and Pakistan. Golhan said that the idea of handing over power to a goodwill committee was inadequate because it would involve the division of Bosnia, and Turkey opposes it. At home, Baudys, who unveiled his initiative without prior consultations with the government and the leadership of his Christian Democratic Union, has come under heavy criticism. The Czech Foreign Ministry said on 21 February it disagreed with Baudys's course of action and warned that "Baudys's tactics go beyond the powers of a cabinet member." Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. WALESA SLAMS "PARTIFIED" PARLIAMENT. Polish President Lech Walesa responded angrily on 18 February to the Sejm's rejection of his two proposals on the drafting of a new constitution. A spokesman charged the Sejm with a "shocking lack of courage and responsibility" and said that the vote reflects a "conflict between a partified' parliament and a president who wants to enable all political forces and citizens to take real part in the discussion of the constitution." Walesa also threatened to withdraw his representative from the parliamentary commission charged with drafting the new constitution. Walesa had proposed that groups of 100,000 citizens be able to submit their own constitutional drafts and that the parliament be dissolved if its constitution failed to win public support in a referendum. Most deputies from the two ruling parties voted against Walesa's proposals. Coalition leaders expressed alarm at the possibility of retaliation from Walesa and stressed that the Sejm wants good relations with the president. Walesa had hinted before the vote that he may refuse to appoint the government's choice for new finance minister. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. IMF APPROVES POLAND'S PERFORMANCE. Poland has met all the conditions stipulated in its stand-by agreement with the IMF for 1993, clearing the way for $500 million in new loans and a second major reduction (of 20%, or $8 billion) in its debt to the Paris Club of government creditors, PAP reports. Michael Deppler, the deputy director of the IMF's European department, made this announcement after meeting with Premier Waldemar Pawlak on 21 February. The stand-by agreement, negotiated in November 1992, was Poland's third but the first successfully fulfilled. It runs until the end of March 1994. Negotiations are now underway on a new agreement for the rest of 1994, and Deppler praised the budget and monetary policy proposed for the coming year as a "reasonable balance between fiscal stabilization and the government's social goals." He noted, however, that the new government's medium- and long-term policies, especially on agriculture, privatization, and social insurance, remain too undefined for the IMF to begin talks now on a new stand-by arrangement. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. CZECH PARLIAMENT FAILS TO PASS JEWISH PROPERTY BILL. The Czech parliament voted down a draft bill on the restitution of Jewish property, Czech TV reported on 18 February. The legislation received three votes less than necessary after deputies of the two Christian Democratic parties and the Civic Democratic Alliance walked out in protest against the fact that the draft was not far-reaching enough. The deputies pointed out that Jewish communities should be given all their former property that was confiscated by the Nazis and the Communists. In a statement issued on 21 February, the Czech Federation of Jewish Communities criticized parliament's rejection of the law. The Federation's chairman, Jiri Danicek, said that the parliament missed "an opportunity to close a sad chapter of Czech history." Danicek blamed for the failure to pass the law mainly the deputies of Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party, who introduced last-minute amendments unacceptable to other ruling coalition parties. Jan Obrman and Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. MECIAR'S PARTY LAUNCHES PETITION FOR EARLY ELECTIONS. Following its failure on 16 February to persuade the Slovak parliament to back its call for early elections in June, Slovakia's embattled ruling party--the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia--launched a petition on 21 February for a referendum in support of early elections, international and Slovak media report. The party needs to collect 350,000 signatures to be able to call the referendum. The MDS has suffered a series of defections since the parliamentary elections in June 1992, which have cut its strength from 74 to 56 deputies in the 150-member parliament. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BUDAPEST. On the second stop of his tour of the Visegrad countries Andrei Kozyrev met with Hungarian Prime Minister Peter Boross, President Arpad Goncz, and Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky, MTI reports. Jeszenszky and Kozyrev told reporters that their discussions focused on laying new foundations for bilateral economic relations. Seeking to diffuse East European anxieties over a possible threat from Russia, Kozyrev stressed that "we have no hegemonic or aggressive intentions and want friendship [with our neighbors]." He also declared that Moscow is ready for cooperation within the framework of NATO's "partnership for peace" program. Kozyrev said that Russia would support air strikes to defend UN peacekeeping forces in Bosnia if they are attacked, Western news agencies report. Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARY SENDS LETTER TO NATO SECRETARY GENERAL. In a letter to NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner on 18 February, Premier Peter Boross has asked the alliance's AWACS reconnaissance planes now monitoring the UN's no-flight ban over Bosnia to leave Hungary's air space during eventual air strikes in Bosnia, MTI reported. Budapest's decision, in line which the original Hungarian parliamentary mandate that authorizes observation flights only, was aimed at reassuring rump Yugoslavia. The parliamentary consensus was that any indirect Hungarian involvement in any military action in former Yugoslavia had to be avoided in order to ensure the safety of the some 400,000-strong Magyar minority in Vojvodina and Slavonia. Hungary is confident it can stay out of the conflict without impairing its relations with NATO, whose Partnership for Peace offer it has just formally accepted. State Secretary Gyula Kodolanyi told Nepszabadsag on 19 February that NATO's "higher political circles" had expressed no disapproval of Hungary's stand on the AWACS flights. Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN MINERS STOP STRIKE. Following the arrival to Targu Jiu of a governmental commission of investigation empowered to look into the miners' accusations of corruption in management, the leader of the miners' union, Miron Cosma, announced the strike was being "indefinitely suspended" and called on the strikers to go back to work on the next day, Radio Bucharest reported on 21 February. At the same time, however, Cosma said the union was rejecting the ruling of a local court that the strike was illegal, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on the same day. Cosma said the decision was the result of political pressure exerted on the judges. Another union leader told reporters that the union would appeal the decision. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN EXTREMIST PARTIES "SUSPEND" COALITION TALKS. At a press conference reported by Radio Bucharest on 18 February, Greater Romania Party leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor announced that his formation had "suspended" talks for joining the coalition. Tudor read out the contents of an open letter addressed by the GRP to President Ion Iliescu, accusing him of not doing enough to obliterate the "negative phenomena" affecting Romanian society, such as poverty, corruption and "traffic of influence." At a press conference on 21 February, Gheorghe Cazan, the secretary general of the Socialist Labor Party, said his formation was also suspending parleys on the coalition until the elucidation of the accusations brought by Tudor against leading cadres of the Romanian army (including Defense Minister Nicolae Spiroiu). On 21 February, the government released a communique expressing confidence in all its members. The communique said accusations against ministers are "carelessly" being published in the press and that only the judiciary is entitled to determine whether or not legal proceedings are warranted. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. RYBKIN IN BULGARIA. On 21 February the Speaker of the Russian State Duma, Ivan Rybkin, met with Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev, Prime Minister Lyuben Berov and parliamentary factions to discuss the Bosnian war and bilateral ties. Whereas Rybkin told Berov the Russian Duma highly appreciates the Bulgarian position to avoid becoming involved in conflicts in neighboring ex-Yugoslavia, deputies of the Union of Democratic Forces welcomed Moscow's renewed diplomatic efforts to help solve the crisis. Regarding trade relations and the problem of clearing old debts, it was agreed that a joint commission should try and find a solution in the next couple of months. Asked whether Bulgaria intends to support Russia's candidacy for the Council of Europe, UDF deputy and member of the CE Parliamentary Assembly Asparuh Panov said that European integration is "unthinkable" without Russia but that the process will evidently take time. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. MORE ON RUSSIAN MILITARY DEMANDS ON MOLDOVA. Moldovan Defense Ministry officials have informed the RFE/RL Research Institute on the visit to Tiraspol on 17 and 18 February of Col. Gen. Georgii Kondratev, Russian Deputy Defense Minister responsible for "peacekeeping" forces (see RFE/RL Daily Report, 20 February). Addressing an assembly of the Russian 14th Army's officers, Kondratev reaffirmed that "the Russian army has been, is, and will be here" and that Russia is asking Moldova for basing rights. His remarks suggested that Moscow seeks bases in Transdniester as a minimal objective and on both banks of the Dniester as a maximal objective. Addressing a meeting of the tripartite (Russia-Moldova-Transdniester) armistice control commission, which supervises the tripartite peacekeeping troops, Kondratev proposed that the three sides reduce their peacekeeping contingents and begin transferring peacekeeping functions to the 14th Army. The proposal reflects the ongoing attempts to confer a peacekeeping mandate on the 14th Army for justifying its continuing stationing in Moldova. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN MILITARY CHECKPOINT IN ESTONIA ATTACKED. On 21 February five armed men forced their way into the guardhouse of the Russian air base at Amari (Suurkula), searched for weapons, and burned down the post, BNS reports. The base has the last airfield still under Russian military control from which combat aircraft have been removed, but is still frequently used by military transport planes. The Russian Foreign Ministry delivered an official protest to Estonian Ambassador Juri Kahn, demanding exhaustive explanations from Estonia and punishment for the organizers and participants in the attack that was described as an "extremely dangerous deliberate action which may lead to unpredictable consequences." Officials at the Central Staff of Estonia's armed forces said that they had no information on possible participation of Estonian military or paramilitary in the attack. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN PROPOSES TALKS WITH ULMANIS IN MOSCOW. On 21 February Russia's Ambassador to Latvia Aleksandr Rannikh presented a letter from President Boris Yeltsin to Latvia's President Guntis Ulmanis. In the letter, Yeltsin expressed his readiness to meet with Ulmanis in Moscow to discuss various bilateral issues, including the withdrawal of Russian troops from Latvia, the situation of Russians residing in Latvia, as well as ways of strengthening economic and political cooperation between the two countries. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. ESTONIA, LATVIA SIGN ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ACCORD. On 18 February Latvia's Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Girts Lukins and Estonia's Environmental Minister Andres Tarand signed in Riga a cooperation agreement on environmental protection, BNS reported that day. Under the accord, the two countries will exchange experts, scientific and technical information, and work together on joint projects, such as waste processing. Lithuania did not join the accord because it does not have an environmental ministry yet. A planned all-Baltic pact is likely to be signed this spring. On 19 March the Baltic representatives intend to coordinate their plans for the environmental conference on 21-26 March in Geneva, where they want to propose a ban on toxic waste transit from developed to developing countries. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINIAN LAWMAKERS DISCUSS CATASTROPHIC ECONOMIC SITUATION. The Ukrainian parliament reconvened on 22 February against the background of a fast deteriorating economic situation and strikes by miners and university students and teachers. Reporting on conditions in their constituencies, lawmakers presented a bleak picture of industry grinding to a halt and some workers and farmers not having received their wages for two or three months. The Ukrainian government is proposing to issue credits worth about $1.3 million to head off a payments crisis and the collapse of industry. The proceedings are being broadcast live by Ukrainian Radio. Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc. PRODUCTION DECLINE OF LITHUANIAN INDUSTRY. The Lithuanian Statistics Department announced that the republic's industry manufactured and sold 12% less production in January than in December, BNS reported on 19 February. Production of sugar decreased by 86%, of tape recorders and mineral fertilizers by 65%, of vacuum cleaners by 60%, of bicycles by 55%, of canned fish by 38%, and of linen fabrics by 26%. There were only minor changes in the distribution of the products. Exports to former Soviet republics dropped from 41.6% in December to 40.6% in January, but internal sales in Lithuania rose from 48.3% to 48.5% as did sales to other countries from 10.1% to 10.9%. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Saulius Girnius and Dan Ionescu 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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