Words that open our eyes to the world are always the easiest to remember. - Ryszard Kapuscinski
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 39, 25 February 1994

RUSSIA

NATIONAL SECURITY AIDE SAYS YELTSIN MAY ANNUL DUMA AMNESTY. In approving 
an amnesty for the organizers of the 1991 August coup and the October 1993 
disturbances in Moscow, the State Duma confused "pardoning" with 
"amnesty," national security aide Yurii Baturin told ITAR-TASS on 24 
February. He said there was a big difference between "pardoning" and 
"amnesty;" an amnesty frees people convicted for certain crimes, whereas 
specific people can be only pardoned. The Duma's ruling applies to 
specific people. By replacing the notion of "pardoning" by "amnesty" the 
Duma exceeded its authority, since only the president can pardon 
individuals, Baturin argued. He added that the Constitution Court could 
have solved the problem, "but as the law on its activities has not yet 
been adopted, the president, as the guarantor of the constitution, has the 
right to demand that the office of the Prosecutor General not fulfill the 
resolution of the State Duma [on amnesty] which does not abide by the 
principles of the constitution and Russian law." St. Petersburg mayor 
Anatolii Sobchak, who is a lawyer by training, also questioned the 
legality of the amnesty by the State Duma. He said an amnesty applies only 
to those who have been tried and convicted of a crime; so far no one has 
been convicted in the cases in question. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

FURTHER REACTIONS TO AMNESTY. In contrast, the presidential representative 
in the State Duma, legal expert Aleksandr Yakovlev, told ITAR-TASS on 24 
February that the Duma's decision on amnesty "fully complied with the 
constitutional norms." Prosecutor General Aleksei Kazannik told reporters 
that once the text of the resolution on amnesty is released, he would stop 
legal proceedings against any defendants who requested it. But Vasilii 
Starodubtsev, one of the accused 1991 coup organizers, told Interfax that 
he and other defendants had not yet decided if they would accept amnesty. 
He said "neither my comrades nor I committed any crime in August 1991. We 
defended the Soviet constitution." Starodubtsev said: "They grant amnesty 
to criminals, and we aren't criminals." Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. 

MIXED REACTION TO YELTSIN'S SPEECH IN PARLIAMENT. A few members of 
Russia's Choice parliamentary faction expressed satisfaction with 
President Yeltsin's speech to parliament on 24 February. For instance, 
Viktor Mironov said he was especially satisfied with Yeltsin's stated 
intention to continue reforms. But the majority of deputies from both 
reformist, communist, and nationalist factions alike complained that the 
president had not been specific enough, when talking about his plans to 
tackle Russia's social and economic problems. Interfax quoted Vladimir 
Lukin, co-leader of the reformist YABLOKO faction, as saying the president 
spent more time speaking about problems than proposing solutions. He said 
he hoped details of Yeltsin's constructive plans would follow soon. In 
turn, ultra-nationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky said Yeltsin told the 
country that it was doing badly but "unfortunately, neither the president 
nor the government say how to do well." Hard-line Agrarian Party member 
Vladimir Isakov said Yeltsin talked about the country's problems as if he 
was not responsible for them. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. 

YELTSIN ON DEFENSE EXPENDITURE AND DEFENSE INDUSTRY. Although the economic 
portion of his address on 24 February outlined the principal shortcomings 
of the economy without providing specific solutions, Yeltsin was explicit 
on defense expenditures. "In 1994, we have to put an end to the vicious 
practice of unilateral concessions. This also relates, inter alia, to the 
defense budget." The president further stated that "producers that are 
highly competitive in the world markets . . . must be given normal state 
support over the next few years." (Russia's defense industry is one of the 
few sectors whose fabricates can and do compete on the world market). 
Yeltsin implied that state debts to defense enterprises will be paid, and 
that conversion/diversification will be speeded up. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, 
Inc.

PROPOSED SOLUTIONS TO PAYMENT ARREARS PROBLEM. The analytical center of 
the president's socio-economic department has suggested ways of resolving 
the economy's paralyzing payment arrears crisis, Interfax reported on 23 
February. These include the identification of firms that are indebted 
because the state has not paid for goods supplied; the identification of 
firms that are keeping hard currency in foreign bank accounts; and the 
identification of firms that are hopelessly unviable. Other suggestions 
are strict limits on the number of ruble and hard-currency bank accounts; 
a crackdown on tax evasion; the netting out of arrears; the issue of 
promissory notes; and the implementation of bankruptcy procedures. Keith 
Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. 

LARGE BUDGET DEFICIT EXPECTED IN FIRST QUARTER. Acting Finance Minister 
Sergei Dubinin has forecast a large deficit in the consolidated budget for 
the first quarter of 1994, Interfax reported on 24 February. Revenues will 
amount to an estimated 8.5 trillion rubles and expenditure to 18.5 
trillion rubles. The deficit of 10 trillion rubles will be covered, in 
large part, by Central Bank emissions. An appreciable portion of planned 
expenditure will consist of credits/subsidies to various sectors and 3.8 
trillion rubles will be attributable to the payment of state arrears to 
enterprises carried over from the last quarter of 1993. The Financial 
Times of 25 February reported that Russia is negotiating to resume gold 
swaps in order to help finance its budget deficit. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, 
Inc. 

SHUMEIKO PROPOSES INTRODUCTION OF EMERGENCY RULE. The speaker of the 
Federation Council, Vladimir Shumeiko, thinks that President Yeltsin 
should consider introducing a state of emergency in the country, Interfax 
reported on 23 February. Supporting Yeltsin's calls for a crackdown on 
crime and corruption, he said that the upper chamber of the parliament 
would consider a draft document to impose state of emergency throughout 
Russia "exclusively with the aim to address crime more effectively." He 
stated that the Federation Council could pass a resolution on that matter 
which Yeltsin may then transform into his own decree. He promised to hold 
special parliamentary sessions on that issue and said that the President's 
address to the nation "offers a coherent plan of action." Alexander Rahr, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN KOZYREV AND CHRISTOPHER. Russian Foreign Minister 
Andrei Kozyrev and his American counterpart Warren Christopher talked on 
24 February by telephone about bilateral issues and Bosnia. No date or 
location has been set for the planned meeting between the two because, as 
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigorii Karasin said according to 
Interfax, "no official invitation has been achieved from the Secretary of 
State." He added "one needs an official invitation for this." Karasin's 
mention of the lack of an invitation, when considered in the context of 
the US outrage over the Ames spy scandal suggests that Washington may be 
using a delay in scheduling to emphasize its displeasure. Suzanne Crow, 
RFE/RL, Inc. 

KGB SUCCESSOR AGENCY TOOK CONTROL OVER GOVERNMENT INFORMATION RESOURCES. 
President Yeltsin abolished the Administration of Information Resources 
(AIR) at the Presidential Office and transferred its functions to the 
Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information (FAPSI), 
Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on 23 February. According to the decree, the 
FAPSI, which is direct successor of the KGB's electronic intelligence and 
telecommunication services, will be responsible for maintaining both 
government and presidential information system and telecommunication 
lines. The FAPSI will thus play the same role as the KGB had in the USSR; 
the KGB held a monopoly not only on government information, but also on 
its channels. After the demise of the Soviet Union, Yeltsin created the 
AIR in order to reduce dependence from the services of former KGB. 
Kommersant-daily on 23 February noted that now the FAPSI has managed to 
restore it former clout. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. 

MINERS SET THE DATE. Russian coal miners will hold a countrywide two-day 
warning strike, starting on 1 March, to demand payment of back wages. The 
strike has been called by Russia's two largest miners' unions, the Union 
of Coal Industry Workers and the Independent Miners' Union. The two unions 
disagree over the appropriate approach to the threat of closures facing 
many Russian coal mines. The deputy chairman of the Coal Industry Union, 
Ivan Mokhmachuk, told RFE/RL's Moscow correspondent on 24 February that 
the unions will work together at mines in Vorkuta and Inta, in northern 
Russia, but that it is not yet known whether the unions will cooperate in 
warning strikes at mines in the Kuzbass in the southern Urals. Elizabeth 
Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. 

CIS

CIS DEFENSE MINISTERS MEET. CIS Defense Ministers met in Moscow on 24 
February. According to Interfax and ITAR-TASS accounts, discussion was to 
be devoted to two main packages of issues: transforming the CIS joint 
armed forces command into a headquarters for the coordination of military 
activities and defining the extent of interaction among signatories to the 
CIS Treaty on Collective Security vis-a-vis stabilizing the situation on 
the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Discussion of peacekeeping 
activities on the territory of the former Soviet Union was also reported 
to be on the agenda. Military delegations from eleven of the twelve CIS 
states were present; only Moldova failed to send representation. The 
Russian delegation was headed by Deputy Defense Minister Boris Gromov. 
Reports are not yet available on the results of the meeting but, according 
to ITAR-TASS, some members had suggested at the start of the convocation 
that centrifugal tendencies in CIS defense affairs have been arrested. 
Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. 

RUSSIAN-TATARSTAN TREATY COMES INTO FORCE. The new Russian-Tatarstan 
treaty came into force on 24 February. Tatarstan president Mintimer 
Shaimiev told RFE/RL it does not need ratification because it is not an 
international treaty. The treaty was signed by Russian and Tatarstan 
presidents and prime ministers on 15 February. The treaty describes 
Tatarstan as a state united with Russia on the basis of the constitutions 
of the two states and the new bilateral treaty. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. 

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

MORE ON BAIKONUR. The deputy-director-general of Kazakhstan's space 
agency, Aisultan Kalybaev, was quoted by Interfax on 24 February as saying 
that Kazakhstan will not agree to lease the Baikonur space center to 
Russia until the status of Russian troops who service the facility has 
been resolved because Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbaev has 
rejected foreign military bases in Kazakhstan. The previous day an 
official of the Russian space agency told Interfax that Russia intended to 
resume talks with Kazakhstan on the future of Baikonur at the beginning of 
March, saying that "only minor points" remain to be clarified before an 
agreement between the two countries can be signed. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

AKAEV EXPANDS LAND REFORM. Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akaev issued a 
decree giving individuals and legal entities the right to lease and 
cultivate plots of land for 49 years, Interfax reported on 24 February. 
During this period the leases of the plots may be sold, exchanged, 
inherited or subleased. As of 1 January 1995, land "owners" will have the 
right to enter into contracts. A specialist on Akaev's staff who helped 
draft the decree said that the innovations, which represent the third 
stage in Akaev's land reform program, were intended to give farmers a 
greater sense of property. He noted that earlier stages of the reform had 
led to the creation of nearly 17,000 individual farms and farmers' 
cooperatives in Kyrgyzstan, but had not brought about a basic change in 
property relations or raised agricultural output. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN MUSLIM-CROAT CEASE-FIRE DEADLINE APPROACHES. International media 
report that the cease-fire deal agreed to between Bosnian Muslim and Croat 
military commanders is to go into effect at 1200 local time on 25 
February. Radio Sarajevo, however, reported on 24 February that fighting 
between Bosnian Croat, Serb and Muslim forces has continued in several 
areas. The radio said that at least five people were killed in a hospital 
in the Muslim enclave of Maglaj when a shell hit the facility; it also 
alleged that Croat forces have been very active in that area. In other 
news, on 24 February Tanjug reported that Bosnian Serb military leader Lt. 
Gen. Ratko Mladic has reiterated his opposition to the re-opening of the 
airport at Tuzla. Mladic fears that opening the airport, which is in 
Muslim-held territory, could open for the Bosnian Muslims a way for 
acquiring arms. The UN has plans to use the airport to bring humanitarian 
aid to Bosnia. Meanwhile, on 25 February The New York Times wrote that 
Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic had said Sarajevo remains in some 
danger since not all Serb heavy artillery has been removed from around the 
city. Finally, Reuters reports that the public market where 68 people were 
killed and about 200 wounded when a shell exploded on 5 February reopened 
on 24 February. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. 

TUDJMAN ENDORSES UNITY WITH MUSLIMS; SERBIAN PREMIER NAMED. Speaking on 
Croatian TV on 24 February, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman endorsed the 
idea of unity with Bosnian Muslims. He articulated support for a federal 
Bosnian Croat and Muslim state, while emphasizing that Croatia had an 
interest in establishing political ties with a federal Bosnia. Tudjman's 
remarks appear to mark a change in Croatian policy, as until recently he 
had endorsed the idea of partitioning Bosnia and Herzegovina into three 
ethnic mini-states. Meanwhile, Belgrade dailies report that movement is 
being made in forming a government in Serbia. On 23 February Borba wrote 
that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic had selected Mirko Marjanovic, a 
Serb from Croatia and a Socialist Party of Serbia member, as the new prime 
minister, replacing Nikola Sainovic. Marjanovic has been charged with the 
task of forming a government of national unity, but not all opposition 
parties have expressed the desire to co-operate with the SPS. Tanjug 
reports that Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj will opt to stay 
in opposition. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER 
RESIGNS. Slovak Foreign Minister Jozef Moravcik submitted his resignation 
to the president on 24 February, PAP reports. President Michal Kovac said 
he will not act on the resignation request until Prime Minister Vladimir 
Meciar returns from abroad. Meciar began a two-day visit to Thailand on 24 
February. Deputy Prime Minister Roman Kovac was reportedly planning to 
resign on 25 February. On 16 February, Meciar asked the president to 
dismiss both men after they were expelled from the ruling Movement for a 
Democratic Slovakia (MDS) for supporting the dissident Alternative of 
Political Realism. The defection of this group deprived the ruling MDS of 
its parliamentary majority. Moravcik told reporters in Bratislava that he 
plans to form a new centrist political bloc, either through the merger of 
existing parties or the creation of an entirely new formation. Louisa 
Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH POLICEMEN CONVICTED FOR 1989 BEATINGS. A Prague court sentenced two 
former police officers on 24 February to prison terms of 3 1/2 and 3 years 
for ordering the brutal crackdown on the student demonstration in Prague 
in November 1989. The crackdown, which left 38 demonstrators injured, 
marked the beginning of the "velvet revolution." The court ruled that the 
two police officers had abused official power by disobeying a directive 
not to intervene in the peaceful protest and ordering the demonstrators 
surrounded and beaten. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH ECONOMIC RESULTS FOR 1993. The Czech statistical office reported on 
24 February that industrial production fell 5.3% in the Czech Republic in 
1993, PAP reports. The average wage rose 23.8% in the same period. Real 
wages grew by 4% but wages still remained 13% below the level for 1990. 
The unemployment rate rose to 3.5%. Consumer prices grew an average of 
18.2%, and inflation for the year was 20.8%. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. 

POLISH BROADCASTING COUNCIL LOSES MEMBER. Ryszard Miazek, one of the nine 
members of Poland's National Broadcasting Council, resigned on 24 
February, citing "pressure from Catholic circles" as the reason. Miazek, a 
Polish Peasant Party member, was one of the Senate's two representatives 
on the council. The Senate still must vote to accept his resignation. The 
broadcasting council has apparently faced criticism from Catholic groups 
because of its decision on 17 February to allocate the two available 
national radio licenses to the popular Warsaw-based Radio "Zet" and the 
Cracow-based RMF. Radio Maryja was granted the right to continue 
broadcasting on several dozens local frequencies, as it has done for 
several years under a special agreement between the government and the 
Polish episcopate, but some apparently saw the radio's failure to receive 
a full national license as a slight. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT ADOPTS NEW RADIO BY-LAWS. Hungarian Radio deputy 
chairman Laszlo Csucs announced on 24 February that the new by-laws aim at 
lowering the exorbitantly high costs of running the radio by reducing the 
number of departments and managers, MTI reports. Csucs said that the names 
of those programmers and managers who will be dismissed or sent into early 
retirement will be made public by mid-March. Representatives of radio 
employees protested the move, and charged that the Csucs's real goal was 
to get rid of those programmers who are critical of the government. Edith 
Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc.

TWO SENATORS QUIT THE GREATER ROMANIA PARTY. Two Senators, Constantin 
Moldovan and Victor Stoicescu, resigned from the Greater Romania Party, 
headed by the extreme nationalist leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor, an RFE/RL 
correspondent and Radio Bucharest reported on 24 February. Moldovan said 
they had resigned because they could no longer back the party's leaders, 
who "create and feed political tension in the country." One day earlier, 
the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania announced that it had 
canceled negotiations with Tudor's party, criticizing both the GRP leader 
and his party's policies. It was Tudor, however, that had earlier 
announced the GRP would "suspend" the coalition talks. The developments 
follow unprecedented attacks by Tudor on the military establishment headed 
by Defense Minister Nicolae Spiroiu, as well as on personalities close to 
President Ion Iliescu, and the negative reactions triggered abroad by the 
prospect of bringing the GRP into a formal coalition. In a related 
development, Iliescu denied a report printed in the daily Evenimentul 
liber, according to which he had called the Socialist Labor Party "the 
main promoter of Communist restoration." The report said Iliescu had 
attacked both the GRP and the SLP at a recent meeting with the leadership 
of the PSDR. Like the GRP, the SLP said last week that it was "suspending" 
talks for setting up a government coalition. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. 

ROMANIAN STRIKES. Tens of thousands of state farm workers held a one-day 
strike throughout Romania on 24 February, an RFE/RL correspondent reported 
on the same day. The strikers called for the privatization of their farms 
and protested against food imports and delayed wages. Elena Spora, general 
secretary of the Agrostar state farms workers union, said a one-week 
strike would begin on 15 March if the government does not reply positively 
to the union's demands. If necessary, she added, the strike would be 
followed by the blocking of roads and border crossings, to prevent food 
imports. Meanwhile, Miron Mitrea, the co-chairman of Fratia, Romania's 
largest labor union federation, told a news conference in Bucharest that 
his union would go ahead with a national strike on 28 February over pay 
and reforms. The RFE/RL correspondent in Bucharest reported that Mitrea 
said two other trade union movements, Cartel Alfa and the National Labor 
Bloc, were also preparing to join the strike. The three unions have a 
combined membership of more than five million--the bulk of Romanian 
industry. Fratia's other co-chairman, Victor Ciorbea, said the decision to 
call the strike followed inconclusive talks with premier Nicolae Vacaroiu. 
He said the government did nothing but create "confusion and diversion in 
order to make the unions give up plans for the strike." Michael Shafir, 
RFE/RL, Inc. 

ROMANIAN JOURNALIST FREED ON BOND. Nicolae Andrei, a journalist who was 
jailed on charges of insulting President Ion Iliescu, was released on bond 
on 18 February, an RFE/RL correspondent reported after talking to him on 
21 February. He spent four days in a Craiova jail, although police had 
previously told him he would have to remain in jail for 30 days, awaiting 
trial. Andrei told the correspondent that living condition in jail were 
"miserable" and that the police had shaved his head. Michael Shafir, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

THE BSP DENIES BEING ANTI-WESTERN. On 24 February the Bulgarian Socialist 
Party sharply protested against a statement by President Zhelyu Zhelev in 
which he accused the BSP of trying to pressure the government and the 
foreign ministry into making Bulgaria's foreign policy less 
Western-oriented. According to BTA, the BSP called such allegations 
"groundless" and said Zhelev's charges might serve to tarnish the 
country's international image. When making the remarks, which were 
broadcast by BBC's Bulgarian Service on the previous day, Zhelev pledged 
to use all his influence not to alter Bulgaria's pro-Western and 
anti-Communist foreign policy course. Part of the Socialist-oriented 
Bulgarian press, and especially the BSP daily Duma, has recently carried 
numerous anti-Western reports. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. 

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT TELLS CRIMEA NOT TO EXCEED ITS PREROGATIVES. Reacting 
after considerable delay to recent developments in Crimea, the Ukrainian 
parliament has passed a resolution calling on the legislature of the 
Crimean Autonomous Republic to bring, within a one month period, its 
Constitution and laws into line with the Ukrainian Constitution and laws, 
and the agreed division of powers between Kiev and Simferopol, Ukrainian 
and Western news agencies reported on 24 February. In particular, the 
resolution reminds the Crimean parliament that, "as an integral part of 
Ukraine," Crimea does not have the rights to declare sovereignty, to enter 
into political relations with other states, to introduce a separate 
citizenship for its inhabitants, to establish its own military formations, 
or to introduce its own currency or financial systems. According to 
Reuters, a spokesman for Crimea's president Yurii Meshkov, Igor Azarov, 
dismissed the resolution as irrelevant. Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc. 

NEW US-UKRAINIAN POLICY GROUP MEETS WITH TALBOTT. Representatives of a new 
private initiative "American-Ukrainian Advisory Committee" met on 24 
February with US Deputy of State Strobe Talbott to discuss recommendation 
for improving US-American relations, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from 
Washington. The American side in the new policy group is headed by 
Zbigniew Brzezinski, and includes Henry Kissinger, Frank Carlucci, George 
Soros and Malcolm Forbes. Among the visiting Ukrainian participants was 
Deputy Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk, chairman of the parliamentary 
foreign relation commission Dmytro Pavlychko, and former Defense Minister 
Kostantyn Morozov. Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc.

TURBULENCE IN UKRAINIAN AIR FORCE COMMAND? On 24 February Ukrainian 
Defense Minister Vitalii Radetsky denied newspaper reports that seven 
Ukrainian Air Force generals had resigned in protest over a plan--said to 
have been backed by Air Force commander General Volodymyr Antonets--that 
would have unified the Ukrainian Air Forces and Air Defense Forces. The 
generals were also said to have had doubts about Antonets' capabilities as 
commander. On 23 February Reuters had reported on a confirmation by 
Ukrainian Defense Ministry officials of a report on the resignations that 
appeared in the Ukrainian newspaper Kievskie vedomosti. Stephen Foye, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

LITHUANIAN CENTRAL PRIVATIZATION COMMISSION RESIGNS. All eleven members of 
the Central Privatization Commission (CPC) have tendered their 
resignations to President Algirdas Brazauskas asking to be released from 
their duties from 1 March, BNS reported on 24 February. CPC Chairman, 
Economics Minister Julius Veselka, in a television interview explained 
that the primary reason for the resignation was the negative evaluation of 
the CPC's work by Brazauskas in his annual report on 10 February. Veselka 
said that the president probably had insufficient information about the 
commission's activities and without asking for any explanations from any 
of its members decided to blame the CPC for the existing problems in 
privatization. Veselka had threatened to resign as Economics Minister 
several times in the past, partly because of his inability to influence 
the government's economic policy. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLISH UNION OF LITHUANIA CONGRESS. On 19 February in Vilnius the Polish 
Union of Lithuania (PUL) held its fourth congress, attended by 340 of the 
408 elected delegates, representing 6,750 members, the RFE/RL Lithuanian 
Service reported on 20 February. There were also about 100 guests 
including Seimas chairman Ceslovas Jursenas, Lithuanian Democratic Labor 
Party Chairman Justinas Karosas, and some 10 Polish parliament members. A 
greeting from Polish Premier Waldemar Pawlak was read. PUL chairman Jan 
Mincewicz expressed his dissatisfaction with actions of the government 
such as not registering the Polish University in Vilnius, liquidating some 
Polish kindergartens and schools, and not returning property that belonged 
to Polish associations. Ryszard Maceijkianiec, the head of the Poliah 
faction in the Seimas, was elected PUL chairman. The congress approved a 
number of resolutions, the most important being a demand to unite all 
Polish inhabited areas into a single administrative unit. Saulius Girnius, 
RFE/RL, Inc. 

ESTONIAN PRESIDENT ASKS FOR APOLOGY ON SOVIET RULE. On the eve of the 76th 
anniversary of Estonia's declaration of independence, President Lennart 
Meri called on Russia to condemn the five decades of Soviet occupation of 
the Baltic States. Meri told the press on 23 February that "Russia has 
done so in regard to Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary," and added that 
if Russia is sincere about her new role as a democracy, then the least it 
could do would be to acknowledge "the aggression, occupation and 
annexation carried out by the USSR," Western media reported. While not 
wanting Russia to humiliate itself, Meri stressed that Russia's statement 
taking responsibility for the Soviet past would help normalize its 
relations with the Baltic States and enhance its international prestige. 
Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. 

WALESA CONCLUDES VISIT TO LATVIA. After addressing the Latvian parliament 
on 24 February, Polish President Lech Walesa and his Latvian counterpart 
Guntis Ulmanis held a press conference. Both leaders stressed their 
similar views on the issues facing their countries. Security issues, and 
especially the departure of Russian troops from the Baltics, figured high 
on the agenda of Walesa's talks with Latvian officials. Polish Foreign 
Minister Andrzej Olechowski, meeting with Latvian Foreign Minister Georgs 
Andrejevs, said that Poland would try to explain the real human rights 
situation in Latvia to the world community. Olechowski also expressed 
satisfaction with the legal status of the Polish minority in Latvia. 
Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. 

LATVIA'S LOCAL ELECTIONS SET FOR 29 MAY. The Central Election Commission 
announced that the elections of city, raion, and county councils will be 
held on 29 May. These will be the first local elections held in Latvia 
since it regained its independence in August 1991. Political parties and 
election coalitions must submit their candidates to the regional election 
commissions during a ten-day period starting on 19 April, Diena reported 
on 22 February. Dzintra Bungs, 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 
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