If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them. - Francis Bacon
RFE/RL DAILY REPORT

No. 38, 24 February 1994

                              RUSSIA

YELTSIN ADDRESSES NATION. Russian President Boris Yeltsin's address
to the nation, delivered to the State Duma on 24 February, was
mainly devoted to economic issues and did not contain anything new.
In his speech, broadcast live by Ostankino, Yeltsin emphasized the
need for further radical restructuring of the country's economic
system and for an intensive struggle against corruption and crime.
He criticized the government for moving too slow on the road to
reform. Yeltsin urged the West not to restrict Russia from playing
its traditionally strong role in world politics. He said Russia
will refrain from unilateral military budget cuts in 1994. He
rejected the idea of an enlargement of NATO to the East.
Nezavisimaya gazeta on 23 February reported that Yeltsin wanted to
suggest a change in the Constitution after the transitional period
of two years which would return more power to the legislature, but
that the head of the presidential apparatus, Sergei Filatov,
excluded that part from the speech. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

DUMA AMNESTIES YELTSIN FOES. In its first major decision, the State
Duma on 23 February granted an amnesty to the leaders of the 1991
coup, those responsible for attacks on police at a Moscow
demonstration last May Day, and the leaders of the parliamentary
revolt crushed by Yeltsin in October. People convicted of economic
crimes (i.e., selling for profit) in the Soviet era will also be
freed. Yeltsin adviser Emil Payin told RFE/RL's Moscow
correspondent the amnesty was "an open challenge" to Yeltsin. The
amnesty, which passed by a vote of 252 to 67, was supported by
communist and Liberal Democratic deputies. Article 103 of Russia's
new constitution gives the Duma the sole right to declare an
amnesty, and the president's power to veto laws passed by the Duma
does not apply. Aleksandr Yakovlev, Yeltsin's representative to the
Duma, told Russian TV on 22 February that the president has no
constitutional power to prevent the amnesty. As a result, Ruslan
Khasbulatov and Aleksandr Rutskoi may soon be freed. Khasbulatov
has little support in Russian society, but Rutskoi, who was always
popular, could be even more so now. As a nationalist hero, he could
prove a formidable competitor not only to Yeltsin but also to
Zhirinovsky. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN REACTION ON AMES AFFAIR. The chief of the press bureau of
the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Yurii Kobaladze,
refused to discuss the exposure of Aldrich Hazen Ames and his wife
as Soviet/Russian spies. According to ITAR-TASS of 23 February, his
only comment was that "all questions in this matter must be
addressed to the CIA." The director of the SVR, Evgenii Primakov,
who was on a working visit to Slovakia, and his spokeswoman,
Tatyana Samolis, also refused to comment on the Ames affair,
Primakov noting that he had never heard of Ames. Meanwhile,
Vladimir Nadein writes in Izvestiya of 24 February that by
recruiting Ames the former KGB Foreign Intelligence had made in the
1980s "a breakthrough to [American intelligence] assets of
tremendous value." Nadein added that the reaction of American side
was grounded in "hypocrisy," because "Russia has no less a right to
clandestine activity in the United States that the United States
has in Russia." Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc.

REACTIONS TO SPYING. Russia and the US traded harsh remarks over
the case of a high-level CIA employee who allegedly spied for the
Russian Federation. President Bill Clinton stressed the seriousness
of the case on 23 February, and White House Press Secretary Dee Dee
Myers emphasized at a briefing the same day that Washington did not
"like it one bit." An unnamed senior Russian Foreign Ministry
official told Interfax on 23 February that Washington was blowing
the case out of proportion by being "overly emotional, acting first
and thinking next." The same official questioned the timing of
Washington's release of the information and suggested that
publicizing the case was connected with dissatisfaction over
Russia's Bosnia initiatives. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

BACK TO PEACEKEEPING. In the aftermath of the Bosnia crisis and
Russia's deployment of additional peacekeeping forces there,
Russian officials are stressing once again the role of Russian
peacekeeping efforts in the former Soviet Union. Defense Minister
Pavel Grachev said that Russia's peacekeeping efforts in the
ex-USSR were necessary because other states had not created proper
armies and because "there are numerous Russians residing in
conflict areas and we must protect their interests." Russian
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev stated on 23 February that Russia
did not wish to act alone in peacekeeping operations--neither in
Bosnia nor in the former Soviet Union. He stressed Russia's desire
for "serious help," Russian agencies reported. Suzanne Crow,
RFE/RL, Inc.

KOZYREV ON PEACEKEEPING. In an article appearing in New Times No. 4
1994, Kozyrev discussed Russia's goals in peacekeeping in the
ex-USSR. He said that no international "legislation" of
peacekeeping operations was necessary because Russia's deployments
were already fully legal. He stressed, however, that "a UN mandate
and the presence of UN observers confirm the impartial character of
Russian peacemaking missions." Kozyrev said that the "right moment"
for involvement of UN or CSCE observers was after a cease-fire
agreement had been reached. Kozyrev added, "in this case they can
effectively support Russian troops as a third force." Kozyrev said
that Russia's peacemaking operations were "now traditional" in
terms of UN practices, because "they are carried out in the
territory of neighboring countries where Russia has serious
economic and other interests." Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN MARKS ARMY HOLIDAY. In a speech at the Moscow Suvorov
Military Academy on 23 February, Yeltsin lauded military personnel
for the peacekeeping operations they have conducted in trouble
spots throughout the former Soviet Union and in Bosnia. Calling for
an acceleration of reform in the military, he said that a
fundamental restructuring of the Russian armed forces was in the
offing. Yeltsin pointed to the enormous organizational difficulties
that confronted the armed forces following the breakup of the
Soviet Union and said that Russia was moving toward the creation of
compact, flexible, mobile armed forces equpped with modern weaponry
and manned by highly qualified professionals. He pointedly praised
the valor of Russian soldiers who had fought in the "undeclared"
war in Afghanistan and called for society to pay greater attention
to the social needs of these veterans and those of all current and
former military personnel. As reported by ITAR-TASS, Yeltsin made
no mention of the army's political role. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

GRACHEV PRAISES PEACEKEEPING EFFORTS. In his own holiday remarks,
Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev also singled out Russia's
peacekeeping activities, saying that thanks to such efforts greater
bloodshed had been avoided in Moldova, North Ossetia, Abkhazia, and
Tajikistan. According to ITAR-TASS and Russian television reports,
Grachev said that Russia now had some 16,000 peacekeepers serving
in the "near and far abroad." Grachev also suggested that to date
Russia was the only state on the territory of the former Soviet
Union to have constructed viable, if not yet fully effective, armed
forces. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

GAZ PRIVATIZATION SCANDAL. The December 1993 auction of shares in a
major automobile plant has been annulled by a government
commission, the Financial Times and Reuters of 23 February
reported, quoting Nezavisimaya gazeta and Kommersant. The
commission charged that the director of the GAZ factory and some
colleagues had used long-term state credits to the value of 46.5
billion rubles (about $30 million), provided for the introduction
of a new model of truck, to purchase shares in the company at the
December auction. The director now controls, directly or
indirectly, some 30% of GAZ. A new auction will be scheduled, but
it was unclear whether any action could be taken against the
director and his colleagues under existing legislation. Keith Bush,
RFE/RL, Inc.

SOFT CREDITS FOR CONVERSION. Russian Central Bank First Deputy
Chairman Aleksandr Khandruyev announced that a soft loan of 700
billion rubles has been granted for investment and conversion
projects, Interfax reported on 23 February. The annual interest
rate of 10% cited compares with a current base rate of around 210%.
Khandruyev, however, pledged that the RCB would generally adhere to
a "moderately firm" credit policy in 1994. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

PRIVATIZATION AND FOREIGN INVESTMENT. Aleksandr Ivanenko, the first
deputy chairman of the State Property Committee, said that the new
state privatization program, in effect since 1 January, expands the
possibilities for foreign investors to acquire property in Russia,
Interfax reported on 22 February. The new program, in contrast to
the 1992 legislation, permits foreign individuals and entities to
procure vouchers for the purchase of shares in state enterprises.
Previously, prior permission from the Finance Ministry was needed
for foreign acquisitions. Restrictions are still maintained on the
foreign purchase of shares in the defense and mining sectors, in
the fuel and energy complex, and in certain extractive industries.
Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

VORKUTA MINERS END HUNGER STRIKE. Seven coal miners, who had been
occupying their pits in Vorkuta to protest the government's failure
to pay back wages, on 23 February ended the hunger strike they had
started three days earlier, Interfax reported on 23 February.
Miners all over Russia, however, are said to be preparing for a
countrywide strike due to start on 1 March if the government does
not meet their demands in full. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN SACKS HEAD OF HIS INFORMATION DEPARTMENT. President Yeltsin
sacked Vasilii Kupriyanovsky, the chairman of the Information
Resources Department in the presidential administration, ITAR-TASS
reported on 22 February. The agency said Kupriyanovsky had made a
"critical mistake in performing his duties." It did not elaborate.
Kupriyanovsky was appointed chairman of the department in September
1992. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

                                CIS

RUSSIAN OFFICIAL CALLS FOR RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN ECONOMIC UNION. The
chairman of the Council of the (Russian) Federation Budget
Committee, Nikolai Gonchar, has called for the economic union of
Russia and Ukraine. He said in an interview published on 23
February in Rossiiskaya gazeta and reported by ITAR-TASS and
Ukrainian TV that "in Crimea they have already understood" that
there is "no alternative" to such a union. Sounding nostalgic for
the old Union, he blamed politicians who had exploited "nationalist
hysteria" in order to come to power for impeding the creation of a
"single economic space" and commented that, "indisputably," for
most people, "the parade of sovereignties has had negative
consequences." Gonchar also warned that "in Ukraine things are so
bad" economically that "at any moment there could be an explosion,"
which will reverberate beyond Ukraine's borders. Bohdan Nahaylo,
RFE/RL, Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

ALIEV IN LONDON. On the second day of his four-day visit to
Britain, Azerbaijani President Geidar Aliev met with Prime Minister
John Major and signed nine bilateral agreements, including one on
friendship and cooperation and a second on cooperation in the
energy field, Western agencies reported on 23 February. No progress
was made in negotiations with a consortium led by British Petroleum
on joint exploitation of Azerbaijan's Caspian oil, but an agreement
is expected to be signed very soon. Addressing the Royal Institute
of International Affairs, Aliev called for continued efforts by
international organizations to resolve the Karabakh conflict; he
did not rule out the possibility of a territorial exchange between
Armenia and Azerbaijan. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

AIR STRIKES STILL POSSIBLE IN BOSNIA. On 23 February international
media reported that NATO and UN officials have warned that air
strikes are still possible in Bosnia. According to AFP, an attack
on 22 February near the town of Tuzla that resulted in injuries to
five Swedish peacekeepers may have prompted the warning. US
Secretary of State Warren Christopher also said that the NATO
threat to strike Serbian positions around Sarajevo stands. In other
news, AFP reports that Western leaders have not yet agreed to
attend a conference proposed by Russian President Yeltsin that
would deal with bringing peace to Bosnia. Meanwhile, Ankara has
renewed its offer to send peace keepers to Bosnia. According to
Milliyet of 22 February, Russian officials have said they would
raise no objections to Turkish peace keepers. On 24 February Borba
carried an interview with Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic in
which he expressed pessimism over the prospects of a lasting peace
being brought to Bosnia in the near future. Stan Markotich and
Yalcin Tokgozoglu, RFE/RL, Inc.

CROATIAN-MUSLIM CEASE-FIRE REACHED IN BOSNIA. On 23 February
international media reported that Bosnian Muslim and Croatian
military commanders met in Zagreb and agreed to a ceasefire accord.
Under the terms of the deal, fighting between the two sides would
stop on 25 February and heavy artillery would either be pulled back
from the front lines or placed under UN control by 7 March.
Moreover, on 23 February Croatian Radio quoted Kresmir Zubak, the
leader of the ruling council of the self-proclaimed Bosnian
Croatian state of Herceg-Bosna, as saying that an eventual
partition of Bosnia and Herzegovina into three ethnic ministates
would be less desirable than forming a single federal Muslim and
Bosnian Croatian state. On 24 February, however, the Los Angeles
Times reported that Bosnian Croats, perhaps under pressure from
Zagreb or Belgrade, had "abruptly rejected" the idea of political
cooperation with the Bosnian Muslim side. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL,
Inc.

POLISH, ROMANIAN POSITIONS ON RUSSIAN TROOPS IN BOSNIA. The Polish
and Romanian defense ministers on 23 February expressed
reservations about the presence of Russian troops in
Bosnia-Herzegovina, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from
Bucharest. Visiting Polish Defense Minister Piotr Kolodziejczyk
said after a meeting with his Romanian counterpart, Nicolae
Spiroiu, that a long-term presence of Russian troops in Bosnia
would not contribute to peacekeeping in the area. He said the troop
deployment was a "spectacular success" for Russian diplomacy, but,
at the same time, it was also part of a long-term Russian strategy
to counter the NATO presence in the area. Spiroiu said Russia's
presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina "complicates things" and agreed
that it was a counterweight to NATO influence. This departs from
the views previously expressed in Bucharest on the issue. On 21
February, the Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry had expressed
"satisfaction" with the manner in which the conflicting sides had
accepted "measures aimed at stopping hostilities" in the Sarajevo
region, adding that the Russian troops serving in the UN forces can
"play a positive role" in the "total obliteration of tension" in
the city. At the end of Kolodziejczyk's visit, the two countries
signed a military cooperation accord. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH GOVERNMENT CHIDES BAUDYS. The Czech cabinet has rejected the
peace plan for Bosnia that Defense Minister Antonin Baudys unveiled
on 20 February without consulting the government or the parliament.
But the government opted not to propose removing Baudys. Speaking
at a press conference after the cabinet session on 23 February,
Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus said the government decided to limit
its stance to two sentences: "The government criticized. Baudys
accepted the criticism." PAP reports from Prague that the
government also resolved to regulate the status of military
attaches; in several cases, Baudys conveyed his peace plan to
foreign politicians via these attaches. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

BERISHA SIGNS PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE. Western agencies report that
Albanian President Sali Berisha on 23 February signed in Brussels
the Partnership for Peace program linking up his country with NATO.
Albania is the tenth former communist state to enter the deal.
Speaking to journalists after the signing ceremony, Berisha
reaffirmed Tirana's commitment to the alliance, recalling that
Albania was the first East European country to formally apply for
full NATO membership. He also used the opportunity to call on NATO
and the UN to increase, rather than relax, the pressure on Serbia
and thereby force Belgrade to enter negotiations about the future
status of Kosovo, a part of rump Yugoslavia mainly inhabited by
ethnic Albanians. Berisha said the lifting of UN sanctions would
encourage Serbia to crack down on Kosovo and as a consequence
trigger a wider Balkan war. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLAND'S CONSTITUTIONAL CONFLICT HEATS UP. The president and
leaders of the left-wing coalition traded accusations and insults
after Lech Walesa announced his resolve to do battle with
postcommunist forces on 22 February. In remarks widely interpreted
as opening his reelection campaign, Walesa charged the Sejm with
spurning his efforts to include the public in the drafting of the
new constitution. Walesa threatened to bypass the parliament and
submit his own draft to a referendum. Democratic Left Alliance
leader Aleksander Kwasniewski called "unlawful" the president's
decision to withdraw his representative from the constitutional
commission. Speaking in Riga on 23 February, Walesa responded that
he sees no point in further cooperation with the parliament. He
rebuffed a proposal by Sejm speaker Jozef Oleksy for a meeting to
resolve the conflict. The constitutional commission on 23 February
rejected a motion to postpone work until relations with the
president improve. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLAND OFFERS RUSSIA TRADE PARTNERSHIP. Speaking at a conference on
Polish-Russian relations held on 23 February in Cracow, Russian
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev warned again that the admission of
Central European states to NATO would erect new political barriers
in Europe that are unacceptable to Russia. He called instead for
the creation of an effective pan-European "partnership" based on
the CSCE. Russia and Western Europe would jointly provide Eastern
Europe with security guarantees, he said. "There can be no revival
of empire," Kozyrev added, "but Russia cannot be ignored when major
international diplomatic actions are being considered." Polish
Foreign Minister Andrzej Olechowski later told reporters that
Poland and Russia differ over the best means to promote European
security. Olechowski proposed a "partnership for transformation"
designed to reactivate the trade relations that dissolved along
with the CMEA. Gazeta Wyborcza reports, however, that the Russian
delegation was not interested in any discussion of new cooperative
projects. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

SOLIDARITY TESTS GOVERNMENT RESOLVE. Buoyed by the success of its
protest march in Warsaw on 9 February, Solidarity staged a two-hour
warning strike on parts of the railway network early on 24
February, PAP reports. The union demanded wage increases but
acknowledged that the real aim of the strike was to pressure the
government into halting planned energy price hikes and increasing
social spending in the 1994 budget. The railway management called
the wage demands unrealistic and charged the union with staging a
political strike. Two of Solidarity's regional organizations also
went on strike alert; miners' protests are planned for March.
Meeting to discuss the strike situation on 22 February, the
government pledged to fulfill agreements with the unions but
stressed that the draft budget cannot be amended. Opinion polls
showed that the level of public optimism in February was lower than
before the September elections, which gave a dramatic--but only
temporary--lift to the public mood. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

PRIMAKOV IN SLOVAKIA. Evgenii Primakov, the chief of the Russian
Foreign Intelligence Service, on 22 February arrived in Slovakia
for a two-day visit. Primakov's spokeswoman told the media that his
talks with Slovak officials are not aimed against a third country
and have nothing to do with the current political crisis in
Slovakia. Augustin Marian Huska, a deputy chairman of the Slovak
parliament, told the media after his meeting with Primakov that the
main area of cooperation between the Russian and Slovak
intelligence services is "fighting international crime." Asked by
journalists on 23 February to comment on the case of Aldrich Hazen
Ames, a CIA official arrested on 22 February on charges of spying
for the former Soviet Union and later for Russia, Primakov said he
had never heard of the name before learning about the case from
television and could not comment on it before returning to Russia.
Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK DIPLOMATIC ACTIVITIES. On a five-day visit to China, Slovak
Premier Vladimir Meciar held talks with Chinese President and party
leader Jiang Zemin and Prime Minister Li Peng. Slovak media
reported that Meciar's visit began on 21 February; they also said
that an agreement on economic cooperation between the two countries
was signed in Beijing. In another development, Ukrainian Foreign
Minister Anatolij Zlenko, who had visited Bratislava beginning 21
February, said in an interview with Narodna Obroda that Ukraine
supports further development of economic and trade relations with
Slovakia. Zlenko also warned against ethnic separatism, a problem
faced by both countries. Zlenko's visit took place at the
invitation of his Slovak counterpart, Jozef Moravcik, who has been
recently expelled from Slovakia's ruling party and asked to resign
from his post. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARY CONSIDERS APPLYING FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE EUROPEAN UNION.
Hungarian Prime Minister Peter Boross announced during a visit to
Paris on 23 February that Hungary was considering formally applying
for membership in the EU by July, Western news agencies report.
Boross said that Hungary could not join the EU in its current
economic condition but wished to present an economic program
leading to membership over several years. Boross met with President
Francois Mitterrand, Prime Minister Edouard Balladur, and several
cabinet ministers. After meeting with Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development Secretary General Jean-Claude Paye,
Boross was optimistic that negotiations on Hungary's OECD
membership would take one to two years at the most. Boross said
that full membership in the OECD would be a "crucial milestone" in
Hungary's full political and economic integration into the Western
world. Hungary had formally requested OECD membership in December
1993. A formal request for membership in the EU would be the first
from an East European country. Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIAN RULING PARTY BREAKS OFF NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE GRP.
Reacting to the Greater Romania Party's earlier announcement that
it was suspending negotiations with the Party of Social Democracy
in Romania for setting up a new coalition, the PSDR Central
Executive Bureau said in a press release carried by Radio Bucharest
on 23 February that it no longer made any sense to continue the
negotiations. The PSDR placed the entire responsibility on the
shoulders of the GRP leadership and on Senator Corneliu Vadim Tudor
personally. It said the GRP's "open letter" of 18 February to
President Ion Iliescu was a "true scenario of incitement to
violence" and that the GRP was trying to make electoral capital.
The statement included, however, a plea to GRP parliamentarians to
remember that collaboration in the past had been constructive and
expressed the hope that it could continue, provided they make
"proof of responsibility and adopt reasonable positions." In a
related development, the army's High Military Council said in a
communique that it rejected the "calumnious and insulting" articles
published in GRP publications against Spiroiu and other high
officers. It termed these attacks "gross, irresponsible
misinterpretations" pursuing the "premeditated destabilization" of
the country. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIANS RALLY IN DEFENSE OF HIGHER EDUCATION. Several hundred
Bulgarians demonstrated in front of the government and parliament
buildings on 23 February, urging a more coherent government policy
regarding higher education as well as increased spending. The
demonstrators, chiefly students but also officials of the Bulgarian
Academy of Sciences, especially protested against government plans
in 1994 to allocate 0.7% of the gross domestic product to higher
education, saying 2% are necessary. Some 18,000 Sofia students have
been on strike for one month over the same issue. In early February
most university teachers joined the protest. Kjell Engelbrekt,
RFE/RL, Inc.

MORE RUSSIAN OFFICERS SAID TO JOIN "DNIESTER" FORCES. Aleksandr
Porozhan, a senior official of the "Dniester republic" in Dubasari,
told Kishinevskie Novosti in an interview cited by Basapress on 19
February that some thirty fresh graduates of Russian military
academies in St. Petersburg and Moscow, who are allegedly from
Dubasari, are due to "return" there shortly. Moldovan Defense
Ministry officials, however, dismissed the claim that the officers
were from Dubasari as simply a cover for a possible transfer of
Russian officers into the "Dniester" forces. On 17 February,
Basapress cited security officials in Tiraspol as saying that forty
officers recently dismissed from Russia's revamped Ministry of
National Security had joined the "Dniester" Ministries of State
Security and Internal Affairs, which are already staffed by former
KGB and MVD officers from Russia. "Dniester Republic" Vice
President Aleksandr Karaman in an interview with Basapress refused
to confirm or deny the reports. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLISH PRESIDENT VISITS LATVIA. On 23 February, the first day of a
two-day official visit to Latvia, President Lech Walesa met with
his Latvian counterpart Guntis Ulmanis and signed a political
declaration on friendship and cooperation between their countries.
The two presidents expressed concern about the high concentration
of Russian troops in the Kaliningrad oblast and noted that their
presence endangers the region's security. They also said that
Warsaw and Riga should coordinate their relations and initiatives
in the context of NATO's Partnership for Peace program. That same
day, Latvian Foreign Minister Georgs Andrejevs and Polish Deputy
Foreign Minister Iwo Byczewski signed a declaration resuming the
accords on cooperation between their countries concluded from 1922
to 1938, Baltic media reported Dzintra Bungs., RFE/RL, Inc.

UNAUTHORIZED RUSSIAN MILITARY TRANSIT THROUGH LITHUANIA. On 22
February Lithuanian Foreign Minister Povilas Gylys summoned Nikolai
Obertyshev, Russia's ambassador to Vilnius, to discuss the problem
of unauthorized Russian military transit through Lithuanian
territory, BNS reported on 23 February. On the night of 19-20
February a Russian echelon composed of twenty-six infantry fighting
vehicles escorted by armed Russian soldiers lacking permission to
carry weapons in Lithuania entered the republic from Kaliningrad.
Escorted by Lithuanian troops, the train proceeded to Belarus
without incident. The Lithuanian Christian Democratic Party issued
a statement declaring that no special agreements for Russian
military transit should be signed and international transit
regulations should apply. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

KOSTIKOV: THERE WAS NO SOVIET OCCUPATION OF ESTONIA. On 22 February
the Estonian parliament asked the UN member states to condemn the
1940 Soviet annexation of and aggression against Estonia. On 23
February Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Krylov told
Interfax that Moscow considered that in 1940 "there was no
occupation. If we reexamine the historical documents we will find a
call by the legitimate Estonian authorities of the time for
Estonia's admission into the USSR." Krylov failed to mention that
by the time that the appeal was submitted in 1940 Estonia had
already been occupied by Soviet troops. Krylov added that
Estonian-Russian relations were going through a difficult period.
He cited the recent attack on the Russian security post, saying
that he felt Estonia's conduct did not measure up to "generally
recognized civilized principles." Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

                                                 [As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Saulius Girnius and Dan Ionescu

                               (END)
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