The only thing one knows about human nature is that it changes. - Oscar Wilde
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 43, 3 March 1994

RUSSIA

RUSSIA READY TO JOIN NATO PARTNERSHIP? According to a 2 March AFP report, 
government leaders in Moscow have told NATO representatives that Russia 
will "soon" sign up to participate in the NATO "Partnership for Peace" 
program. NATO ambassadors from the US, Britain, and Spain, who visited 
Moscow on 1-2 March to discuss the program, were quoted as saying that the 
Russian reaction had been "very positive" and that they were "very 
satisfied" with the results of their visit. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

BASHKORTOSTAN TO SIGN TREATY WITH RUSSIA SOON? Bashkortostan President 
Murtaza Rakhimov told Ostankino TV on 2 March that negotiations on a 
treaty between Russia and Bashkortostan, similar to the one Russia 
recently signed with Tatarstan, had recently been resumed, and that the 
treaty would probably be signed at the end of March or beginning of April. 
The treaty was discussed at a session of the Bashkortostan Supreme Soviet 
which decided that the new Bashkortostan parliament, the kurultai, would 
consist of two chambers with a total of about 200 deputies and that 
elections would be held at the end of 1994. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. 

ANOTHER CALL FOR POSTPONEMENT OF LOCAL ELECTIONS. Meeting in Moscow, 
representatives of the Union of Small Towns have called for postponement 
of the local elections due to be held in the spring, ITAR-TASS reported on 
1 March. Participants said the rights of the regions are not yet 
adequately defined by law and that elections to new local government 
bodies should not be held until a legal framework has been put in place, 
in particular, relating to taxation. Addressing the conference, Yeltsin's 
chief adviser on regional affairs, Nikolai Medvedev, acknowledged that 
Russia's new constitution is vague regarding local government and that the 
only existing guidelines are presidential decrees that are silent about 
even such important matters as the form local government should take at 
district (raion) level. Medvedev said there is a need for a new federal 
law on local government that would be complemented by local legislation 
providing for regional differences. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. 

KARELIAN SPEAKER CONDEMNS POSTPONEMENT PROPOSAL. The speaker of the 
Karelian parliament, Viktor Stepanov, told Interfax in an exclusive 
interview published on 2 March that the recommendation of the public 
chamber recently created by Yeltsin that local elections be postponed was 
a step on the way to administrative dictatorship. Yeltsin's entourage is 
worried that the democrats will not do well if elections are held in the 
near future. Stepanov said no one forced Yeltsin to dissolve the councils 
and the absence of local legislative authorities in the provinces cannot 
be called democracy. Stepanov said that if Yeltsin backed the postponement 
of the elections he would have to address the parliament with his 
objections. Stepanov expressed his approval of the recent political 
amnesty of Khasbulatov and others. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.

STEPASHIN APPROVED AS COUNTERINTELLIGENCE CHIEF. President Boris Yeltsin 
has appointed Sergei Stepashin as Director of the Federal 
Counterintelligence Service (FSK), ITAR-TASS reported on 3 March. He will 
also join the Security Council. Stepashin had since 1991 been Deputy 
Minister of Security and since December 1993 Deputy Director of the FSK. 
He graduated from the Higher Political School of the USSR Ministry of 
Internal Affairs (MVD) and served as a political officer in the speznaz 
(commando forces) of the MVD Internal Troops. In 1990-1993, Stepashin 
chaired the Committee for Defense and Security of the Russian Supreme 
Soviet, and in September 1991 he headed the state commission that tried 
(unsuccessfully) to investigate the role of the KGB in the abortive coup 
of August 1991. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. 

RUSSIAN ARMY, CHURCH SIGN JOINT STATEMENT. Patriarch Alexii II of Moscow 
and Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev signed a joint statement on 2 
March that provides for the creation of a committee to oversee cooperation 
between the army and the Russian Orthodox Church. Interfax reported that 
the action was aimed at reviving spiritual and patriotic traditions in the 
army. Priests will be encouraged to visit garrisons and to organize 
educational religious conferences; Grachev was quoted as saying that "the 
younger generation's spiritual education has never been so important." 
Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

DRAFT FEDERAL BUDGET FOR 1994. The Ministry of Finance has released some 
of the details of its proposed draft federal budget for 1994, Interfax 
reported on 2 March. The implicit GDP is projected at 481 trillion 
rubles--presumably in prices of the first quarter. Revenues are planned at 
120.7 trillion rubles, expenditures at 182.2 trillion rubles, and the 
budget deficit at 61.5 trillion rubles, or 12.8% of GDP. Although the 
ministry employs the formulation that the deficit will be brought down to 
10.2% of GDP by the end of the year (on an annualized basis), this 
projected deficit appears to be well above earlier pledges and beyond the 
guidelines set by international financial institutions. Defense 
expenditure remains set at 37.1 trillion rubles, or 7.7% of GDP. Keith 
Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

BUDGET OUTTURN IN 1993. An implicit GDP of 162 trillion rubles is given 
for 1993--presumably in prices of the last quarter of that year. The 
budget deficit in 1993 was claimed to be 17 trillion rubles, or 10.5% of 
GDP. However, this does not take into account the deficit of nearly 8 
trillion rubles that was reportedly carried over to 1994. The true deficit 
for 1993 thus appears to have been equivalent to 15.5% of GDP. Keith Bush, 
RFE/RL, Inc. 

STRIKE UPDATE. Coalminers throughout Russia returned to work on 2 March, 
ITAR-TASS reported, after their one-day strike the preceding day. However, 
oil and gas workers announced on 2 March that they were giving the 
government until 15 March: if overdue salary payments were not made by 
that date, the energy workers would call a widespread strike. Elizabeth 
Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. 

RUSSIAN REACTION TO MUSLIM-CROAT AGREEMENT. In response to the 
Muslim-Croat agreement reached late on 1 March in Washington, Russian 
Deputy Foreign Minister and special envoy Vitalii Churkin pointed out on 2 
March that the negotiations and agreement had failed include the Bosnian 
Serbs. At the same time, Churkin offered praise for the efforts of the 
United States in settling the conflict. Churkin said he could not comment 
on the agreement yet as he had not fully studied it, but remarked that it 
could prove "useful" if it was "correctly incorporated within the general 
context of a settlement in Bosnia," Russian media reported. Suzanne Crow, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

INDIA DISCUSSES MILITARY COOPERATION. ITAR-TASS reported on 1 March that a 
high-ranking Indian military leader had arrived in Moscow for an 8-day 
visit to discuss military-technical cooperation between the two countries. 
During the Soviet period India was a major purchaser of military hardware 
from Moscow, and Russian military and civilian leaders have made 
reconstruction of that relationship a priority. The importance of the 
current visit to Moscow was apparent by the itinerary; the Indian 
delegation was scheduled to meet with Russia's General Staff Chief, as 
well as the Commander-in-Chiefs of Russian Ground Forces, Navy, and 
Airforce. Delhi is reported to be especially concerned about assuring 
supplies of spare parts from Russia, and has also expressed interest in 
acquiring modern tanks, artillery systems, and military aircraft. Stephen 
Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. 

JAPAN-RUSSIA UPDATE. Japan's recently named ambassador to Russia, Koji 
Watanabe, told Russian journalists on 2 March that Tokyo's priorities 
vis-a-vis Russia were to solve the Kuril Islands territorial dispute, sign 
a peace treaty with Russia, and normalize fully relations between the two 
countries. Watanabe said Japan was prepared, along with other G-7 nations, 
to promote Russian political and economic reform and that Japan was in 
fact third only to the US and Germany in providing economic assistance to 
Russia. He also said that Tokyo was trying to discourage Japanese boats 
from fishing in the waters off the south Kuril Islands, despite the fact 
that Japan does not agree with Moscow that those waters constitute Russian 
territory. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

KHASBULATOV GIVEN HERO'S WELCOME IN CHECHNYA. Ruslan Khasbulatov, the 
former speaker of the Russian parliament who was recently released from 
prison under the political amnesty, received a hero's welcome when he 
returned to his home region of Chechnya on 2 March to visit his 
83-year-old mother and other members of his family, Russian media 
reported. ITAR-TASS said thousands of supporters, including 
representatives of Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev, greeted him at 
Groznyi airport, and fireworks and tracer bullets accompanied his 
motorcade to his mother's house. Khasbulatov said he had come on a private 
visit and would refrain from making any political statements or actions. 
When Khasbulatov was still speaker of the Russian parliament he was not 
persona grata with Dudaev. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. 

KAZANNIK CRITICIZES YELTSIN. Yeltsin is incapable of rising beyond the 
capacities of a provincial official, former Prosecutor-General Aleksei 
Kazannik charged in an interview published in the Madrid daily El Pais on 
2 March and reported by AFP. "He was and remains the first secretary of a 
CPSU obkom," said Kazannik, who resigned on 26 February rather than obey 
instructions from Yeltsin's aides not to implement the amnesty for members 
of last year's parliamentary revolt. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. 

MOSCOW RUNNING OUT OF CASH. Moscow mayor Yurii Luzhkov says that, unless 
the Russian government pays its debts, the city of Moscow will soon have 
no cash left to pay even for garbage collection. Luzhkov told a municipal 
meeting on 1 March that the government owes the city 250,000 million 
rubles, but that acting Finance Minister Sergei Dubinin is refusing to 
pay. As reported by Reuters, Luzhkov commented, "We might as well move the 
capital to somewhere else." Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. 

CIS

GAS SUPPLIES TO UKRAINE, BELARUS, MOLDOVA THREATENED. The Russian natural 
gas concern Gazprom was reported by Russian and Western agencies on 2 
March to be making one more attempt to collect payment from Ukraine, 
Belarus, and Moldova for its supplies of natural gas. Unless payment is 
forthcoming, Gazprom has threatened to cut off supplies completely. 
Gazprom has accused Ukraine of tapping the gas transit lines to Western 
Europe. A senior official of the Ukrainian gas company "Ukrhazprom" denied 
this charge on 2 March, but admitted that Ukraine might be obliged to do 
so in future if its own supplies from Russia were cut. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, 
Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

UZBEK-RUSSIAN ECONOMIC AGREEMENT SIGNED. On 2 March, the first day of an 
official visit to Moscow by Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov, the 
Uzbek leader met with his Russian counterpart Boris Yeltsin and the two 
heads of state signed an agreement on economic integration, Russian media 
reported. The agreement provides for Uzbekistan and Russia to coordinate 
economic reforms and fiscal policies, encourages ties between enterprises 
in the two countries, and ensures the mutual convertibility of the two 
currencies. Karimov, who has been pressured by Russian officials to accept 
the concept of dual citizenship, was reported to have said that 
introduction of dual citizenship might be counterproductive for Russia. 
The Uzbek president emphasized the importance to Uzbekistan of its 
relationship with Russia, stressing his country's dependence on Russian 
military and technical expertise. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. 

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

CROATIAN MEDIA GIVE CAUTIOUS WELCOME TO PACT. Major Croatian dailies and 
weeklies greet the new Croat-Muslim agreement but raise a series of 
questions as well. The 3 March Vecernji list calls the latest developments 
a "real shock" and notes that at least ten agreements have already come 
and gone between the two sides. The article concludes that the pact was 
the price President Franjo Tudjman had to pay to return to the West's good 
graces. Novi list of 2 March raises a question also brought up by Vecernji 
list, namely whether the Croat-Muslim confederation might be a part of 
some foreign scheme to reconstruct a Yugoslav state. Be that as it may, 
Nedjeljna Dalmacija adds that the agreement of the Serbs is necessary to 
make any project for Bosnia work, while Vjesnik of 3 March quotes many 
leading opposition politicians to the same effect. Turning to the shape of 
the new confederation, Vecernji list notes that the text of the pact has 
not been published, but speculates as to what the Croats' share of the new 
entity might look like. Globus of 4 March runs two articles on the 
subject, one looking back at the poor track record of Croatia's Bosnian 
policy to date, and the other reviewing the political and economic reasons 
for the change in policy. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

OTHER REACTIONS TO THE CROAT-MUSLIM PACT. International media reported on 
2 March that Hungary and Turkey both welcomed the project, while in 
Belgrade the 3 March dailies record much skepticism. One article in Borba 
calls it "Switzerland, Balkan style," and concludes that the project is 
doomed, while Politika reports that the opposition Serbian Renewal 
Movement sees a "latter-day Yalta" in the making as Washington and Moscow 
move to carve up the Balkans into new spheres of influence. Western 
dailies raise all manner of questions, including whether the project can 
work without Serb participation or whether it is indeed designed to save a 
Croat-Muslim entity in the face of an inevitable Greater Serbia. Other 
issues include whether the agreement can be made to stick in the unruly 
remote corners of Bosnia, and whether the Croats and Muslims can live 
side-by-side again, especially if refugees driven from their homes by 
ethnic cleansing are indeed allowed to return. Meanwhile in Moscow, 
Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic attended a soccer game with 
ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and The Los Angeles Times quotes 
the Russian as saying that he and the Serb "understand each other quite 
well." Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. 

SERBIA POLITICAL UPDATE. On 3 March Politika reports that the new 
Socialist Party of Serbia prime minister, Mirko Marjanovic, appears to 
have garnered some opposition party support in his bid to lead a 
government of "national unity." Members of New Democracy, a Democratic 
Opposition of Serbia (DEPOS) coalition partner, have expressed interest in 
backing Marjanovic and reportedly may be angling for influence over the 
culture and finance portfolios. No other DEPOS members have broken ranks 
and say they intend to stay in opposition. Politika, suggesting that the 
leader of the Democratic Party may be about to support the SPS, runs the 
headline "Djindjic Did Not Say No' to Marjanovic." Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, 
Inc.

MACEDONIA UNDER ECONOMIC SIEGE, EU TAKES NO ACTION. With Greece strictly 
enforcing its 16 February economic embargo, Macedonia is feeling the pinch 
as oil supplies decrease and price increases for certain scarce 
commodities. To add to its woes, Reuters and Vecer reports, rump 
Yugoslavia, very likely as a means of supporting its ally Greece, has 
closed its airspace to Macedonian airlines. Belgrade explained the move by 
Macedonia's failure to pay debts (which could not be paid because of 
Macedonia's adherence to the UN sanctions imposed on the rump state). 
Meanwhile, the European Union has decided not to take legal action against 
Greece in the hope of resolving the dispute through negotiations. 
Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov stated his republic's willingness to 
enter discussions but will not accept any preconditions. Greece says it 
will not enter discussions unless certain preconditions are met, including 
changing the states name, constitution and flag Duncan Perry, RFE/RL, Inc.

KOSOVAR SOCIAL DEMOCRATS DENY SPLIT. The leadership of the Social 
Democratic Party of Kosovo has denied reports that the party has split, 
Rilindja said on 28 February. The Belgrade daily Borba on 8 and 9 February 
said that the resignation of party leader Shkelzen Maliqi shows that the 
much-celebrated harmony of Kosovar Albanian parties is history. Borba 
quoted an article by Maliqi originally published in Bujku, in which he 
said that the Kosovar shadow state is just a semblance of democratic 
political life in an authoritarian set-up. The Social Democrats have since 
charged Borba with spreading lies in order to create "a tense atmosphere" 
in Kosovo and say differences within the party have, in fact, diminished. 
Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. 

SOLIDARITY STEPS UP PRESSURE ON GOVERNMENT. The Solidarity trade union 
announced plans for a nationwide strike on 7 March by workers in mining, 
the steel industry, railways, communications, and selected other 
industries and regions, Polish TV reports. The strike threat is part of 
the union's strategy of gradually stepping up pressure on the government. 
Solidarity's spokesman said the union would call off the strike if the 
government agreed to open negotiations on the draft budget for 1994. The 
government has offered to negotiate with Solidarity, but not on this 
year's budget. Instead, it has urged the union to join in talks on "social 
guarantees" that are now in progress, with most of Poland's other major 
unions taking part. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLISH COALITION CLOSES RANKS ON BUDGET. The 1994 budget is scheduled to 
come to a vote in the Sejm on 4 March. The budget commission has 
recommended approval of the government's original proposals, but coalition 
leaders fear defections among their own deputies, especially as the Sejm 
moves to consider "minority" motions proposing a total of 30 trillion 
zloty ($1.4 billion) in new spending. Both coalition parties have imposed 
discipline for the budget vote; the two caucuses held their first joint 
meeting on 2 March to drive home the point. During a separate session on 1 
March, the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) resolved to expel any deputy who 
votes against the government's budget or fails to show up. PAP reports 
that 10-15 SLD "unionist" deputies have threatened to vote against the 
budget anyway, although the OPZZ federation opted on 2 March to support 
it. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. 

WALESA CONTINUES ATTACK ON BROADCASTING COUNCIL. Departing for a five-day 
visit to India on 2 March, President Lech Walesa told reporters that he 
intends to name a new chairman of the National Broadcasting Council 
(KRRiT) as soon as he returns. Walesa dismissed Marek Markiewicz as 
chairman on 1 March but did not try to remove him from the council. Walesa 
said the new chairman would not be a current KRRiT member. As the 
president can only name a chairman from among council members, one of his 
appointees would have to step down to make Walesa's solution possible. 
Acting KRRiT Chairman Maciej Ilowiecki announced he will not resign, but 
the third Walesa appointee, the conservative Catholic Ryszard Bender, told 
Polish TV he is considering leaving because he feels overburdened. Walesa 
was rumored to have urged Bender to resign during a meeting on 28 
February. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. 

SLOVAK PRESIDENT ACCEPTS RESIGNATION OF ROMAN KOVAC. On 2 March President 
Michal Kovac accepted the resignation of Roman Kovac from his post as 
deputy premier, TASR reports. Roman Kovac submitted his resignation on 25 
February, after breaking away from Premier Vladimir Meciar's Movement for 
a Democratic Slovakia to form the Alternative of Political Realism. The 
resignation of Foreign Minister Jozef Moravcik, who joined Kovac in 
forming the APR, has not yet been accepted by the president, who said he 
is waiting until Meciar proposes an acceptable replacement. Meanwhile, 
Deputy Premier Jozef Prokes, whom Kovac rejected as a replacement for 
Moravcik, will head the Slovak delegation at the session of foreign 
ministers of the Central European Initiative to be held in Italy from 4 to 
5 March. According to a ministry spokeswoman, State Secretary Jan Lisuch 
is now in charge of day-to-day business at the ministry. Sharon Fisher, 
RFE/RL, Inc. 

CZECH-AUSTRIAN CONTROVERSY OVER TEMELIN INTENSIFIES. Speaking to 
journalists in Prague on 2 March, Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus said that the 
Czech government "has been watching with a degree of alarm" various steps 
by Austria aimed at preventing the completion of the nuclear power plant 
in Temelin. Klaus said that on 1 March the Austrian Ambassador to the US 
visited the president of the EXIM Bank that had agreed to guarantee some 
$317 million in commercial loans that the US Westinghouse company needs to 
complete the Temelin project. According to Klaus, the Austrian Ambassador 
also sent letters with a 500-page enclosure challenging the project to 
some US Congressmen. The members of the Congress have until 3 March to 
raise objections to the project. The EXIM Bank is to make the final 
decision on the loan guarantees on 10 March. CTK reported on 2 March that 
ten members of the House of Representatives, led by Joseph Kennedy, sent a 
letter to the EXIM Bank, arguing that the bank should not approve the loan 
guarantees until a thorough ecological and security analysis of the 
Temelin project is done. However, the EXIM bank spokesman told CTK on 2 
March that the bank "has not received any new information that could 
influence the bank's intention to guarantee the loan." Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, 
Inc.

HUNGARIAN ARMY HAS NEW COMMANDER. President Arpad Goncz on 1 March 1 
invested Lt. General Janos Deak as the new Commander of the Hungarian 
army, replacing Col. General Kalman Lorincz, who reached the mandatory 
retirement age of 55 in February. Deak will also keep his current post of 
Army Chief of Staff. Earlier this year, Hungary's army command and defense 
ministry were merged under the defense minister in order to keep the 
military under permanent civilian control in both peace and war time, MTI 
reports. Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIA CRITICIZES BISHOP TOKES, HDFR. A Romanian foreign ministry 
spokesman said on 2 March that a declaration released on 28 February by 
the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania was "extremist" and 
"anti-Romanian," an RFE/RL correspondent and Radio Bucharest reported on 
the same day. The spokesman said the declaration "embraced" all the 
accusations at the address of the authorities included in a letter 
addressed to the HDFR leadership by its honorary president, bishop Laszlo 
Toekes. The HDFR declaration of 28 February accused the authorities of 
lacking the "political will" to implement the recommendations made by the 
Council of Europe. The spokesman said it was "high time" for the HDFR to 
realize that its complaints should be addressed to Romanian authorities 
and not to foreign bodies. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIAN EXTREMIST PARTIES REACT TO NEW REALITIES. The Party of Romanian 
National Unity and the Greater Romania Party appear to react confusedly to 
the emerging political arrangement of a Party of Social Democracy in 
Romania backed in parliament by the democratic opposition. Radio Bucharest 
on 2 March quoted PRNU deputy chairman Ioan Gavra as saying that his 
party's leadership had decided to "stop the clock" on 1 March and await 
"normalization of social and political life in Romania." At the same time, 
Gavra said, the PRNU was still willing to participate in a new coalition. 
On the other hand, the PRNU chairman, Gheorghe Funar, said his party was 
still favoring the so-called "pentagonal" arrangement that envisaged a new 
coalition formed by the PSDR, the PRNU, the GRP, the Socialist Labor Party 
and the Democratic Agrarian Party. Funar met on 2 March the GRP leader 
Corneliu Vadim Tudor and both said they were still supporting Prime 
Minister Vacaroiu personally, but also wanted to have new elections. 
Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIAN DEFENSE MINISTER RECEIVE PROTESTING OFFICERS. Bulgarian Defense 
Minister Valentin Aleksandrov on 2 March held talks with top Bulgarian 
officers and representatives of the Rakovski Legion to consider the 
progress of reforms in the armed forces, BTA reports. During the meeting, 
both problems related to restructuring the Bulgarian Army and specific 
problems regarding officers' salaries and living conditions were 
discussed. A few days earlier the Rakovski Legion--an interest 
organization which to some extent functions as an officers' trade 
union--had organized a petition against what it regards as dangerously low 
military expenses in the recently adopted 1994 budget. Aleksandrov had 
first reacted angrily to that initiative, charging on 28 February the 
Rakovski Legion with having violated the army's Disciplinary Code by 
organizing a collective protest. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN WRITES TO "DNIESTER" PRESIDENT. Basapress distributed on 1 March 
excerpts from a purported letter from Boris Yeltsin to Dniester Russian 
leader Igor Smirnov, which had just been published in full in the 
"Dniester republic" press. On the same day ITAR-TASS summarized Yeltsin's 
letter also based on the "Dniester" press. Couched in a highly deferential 
tone toward Smirnov, the letter outlines a framework for a political 
settlement of the Dniester conflict: "a wide autonomy for the Dniester 
region as part of the Republic of Moldova;" a single army, security 
service, and financial system; and a role for Russia "together with other 
countries" in guaranteeing the eventual settlement. An envoy of Yeltsin 
would shortly hand over to Smirnov a set of proposals on the region's 
special status, to serve as a basis for negotiations among the "parties to 
the conflict." The published text does not mention Russia's 14th Army, but 
the Russian side conditions any withdrawal on a political settlement of 
the Dniester conflict. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. 

ESTONIA'S ECONOMY IN JANUARY. According to customs statistics, in January 
Estonia had a trade deficit of 321 million kroons ($24 million) with 
imports worth 1,610.8 million kroons and exports 1,289.8 million kroons, 
BNS reported on 1 March. Compared to December, exports fell by 133.3 
million kroons while imports rose by 61.1 million kroons. According to a 
poll by the EMOR market and opinion research company, the gross income of 
Estonian families in January declined by 15.6% from December to 833.12 
kroons per family member, with consumption in nominal prices declining by 
18.6% from December to 612.73 kroons per person. A positive development in 
January was the collection of revenues to the state budget of 486.2 
million kroons (greater than the planned monthly revenues of 475 million 
kroons) while budget expenditures were 322.4 million kroons. Saulius 
Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. 

TWO LATVIAN-ISRAELI ACCORDS SIGNED. While on an official visit to Israel, 
Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Birkavs signed with his Israeli counterpart 
Yitzhak Rabin two interstate accords: "On the Protection and Encouragement 
of Investments," and "On Cooperation in Education, Science, and Culture." 
Other purposes of this visit were to arrange for Latvia to purchase 
Israeli security equipment for border guards and the police and to study 
Israel's border protection system. An Israeli delegation is expected in 
Latvia in April, Diena reported on 28 February. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, 
Inc. 

RUSSIA BACKTRACKS ON DATE OF TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM ESTONIA. The 
seventeenth round of Estonian-Russian negotiations ended in a stalemate on 
2 March, Baltic and Western media reported. The Russian side insisted on 
linking other issues, especially "social guarantees" for the retired 
Russian and Soviet military living in Estonia, with the main accord on the 
troop withdrawal, while the Estonian side found such linkage to be 
contrary to earlier agreements. Furthermore, the Russian side claimed that 
Estonia was not honoring its promise to provide funds for the construction 
of housing for departing Russian troops--a promise that the Estonian side 
says it never made. Russian delegation head Vasilii Svirin stated at the 
conclusion of the negotiations that the date of 31 August 1994 for the 
complete pullout of Russian troops from Estonia "was no longer valid," 
thus endorsing a 28 February statement by Russian Foreign Ministry 
official Vladimir Udaltsov. Estonian Foreign Minister Juri Luik described 
this as "blackmail" and called for "strong international pressure" to make 
sure that Russian troops left Estonia. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. 

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Elizabeth Teague and Dan Ionescu The RFE/RL Daily Report is 
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