|Wherever there is love, there is peace. - Burmese proverb|
No. 44, 4 March 1994
CIS NUCLEAR WARHEAD TRANSFER TO BEGIN? There are conflicting reports about when the transfer of warheads from Ukraine to Russia will begin. On 2 March, Western agencies said a shipment of 120 nuclear fuel rods was en route to Ukraine from Russia, and that the warhead transfer was expected to start as soon as it arrived. The Russian newspaper Segodnya reported on 2 March that 60 warheads had already arrived in Russia, but that report was subsequently denied by both Russian and Ukrainian officials. On 3 March, Interfax quoted Igor Sergeev, commander of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces, as saying withdrawal would begin on 28 March. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk arrived on 3 March in Washington, where he is expected to deliver the instrument of ratification for the START-1 treaty and continue talks on implementation of the trilateral agreement on nuclear arms. According to The Los Angeles Times of 4 March, President Bill Clinton is expected to announce a doubling of aid to Ukraine, including a substantial increase in nuclear disarmament assistance. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc. GAS SUPPLIES REDUCED. On 3 March, Russia's Gazprom started to reduce its deliveries of natural gas to Ukraine and Belarus. It also threatened to halt all supplies by 5 March if payment was not received, Interfax and The Washington Post of 4 March reported. Deliveries to Moldova were maintained in the wake of intergovernmental agreements, and supplies to the Baltic states have not been affected. Differing reports have been received on the scale of arrears for past deliveries and the figures are disputed by the defaulting customers anyway, but Interfax gives ballpark estimates of 1.5 trillion rubles for Ukraine, 400 billion rubles for Belarus, and 80 billion rubles for Moldova. The Ukrainians allegedly continue to siphon off Russian gas on its way to Western Europe. It is not clear how much unused storage capacity is available to Gazprom. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA BUDGET MANEUVERS CONTINUE. On 3 March, the cabinet approved "in principle" the draft budget for 1994, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. ("Agreement in principle" is a weasel phrase that generally denotes violent disagreement. The salient headings of planned revenue and expenditure were given in the RFE/RL Daily Report for 3 March.) Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin called it "probably the first truthful budget," but few observers believe that the projected revenues will be raised or that the projected expenditures will not be exceeded. Six cabinet ministers were reported to have protested the funding allocated to their ministries and sectors. Acting Finance Minister Sergei Dubinin charged that the defense ministry had already placed orders for 1994 with the defense industry worth 28 trillion rubles, while the budget has allocated only 5 trillion rubles for this purpose. First Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin complained that the proposed budget cuts meant that an extra 400,000 servicemen would have to be demobilized, no new armaments purchased, and scientific research stopped. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. SECURITY COUNCIL AND SECURITY SERVICES TO BE REORGANIZED? The role of Russia's Security Council is to be significantly upgraded to allow it to act as a counterweight to both the government and the parliament, according to Kommersant Daily of 3 March. The aim of the reorganization is to give President Boris Yeltsin a power-base outside the government while still allowing him to act within the framework of the constitution. At the same time, further reorganization of the Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK) was predicted by Moskovsky komsomolets on 3 March. Responsibility for counter-espionage would be transferred from the FSK to the Ministry of Justice, while responsibility for military counterintelligence would pass to the General Staff of the Russian Army. However, a spokesman for Yeltsin's Presidential Office called the rumors "fabrications" and said there were no plans to reshuffle the security bodies, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 March. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. DECREE ON REHABILITATION OF THE BALKARS. On 3 March Yeltsin signed a decree "On measures for the rehabilitation of the Balkar people and state support for its revival and development." The text of the decree, which was carried by ITAR-TASS, says that the President supports the proposals of the state organs of the Kabardino-Balkar republic on the need for measures to restore historical justice to the Balkars. The Balkars were deported en masse by Stalin in 1944. Yeltsin's decree calls for the revival of the cultural heritage of the Balkar people, the return of former historical names to settlements and localities, and for measures, to be agreed with the Kazakh and Kyrgyz governments, to repatriate Balkars still living in those republics (3,556 and 2,131 respectively in 1989). It also calls for consideration to be given to special pension arrangements for those who were deported. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN WANTS SECRETS TRIAL DROPPED. Russian TV newscasts of 3 March cited Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev as saying Yeltsin is eager to see an end to the case of Vil Mirzayanov, the Russian scientist who has been accused of divulging secret information concerning Russian weapons production. Writing last year in the liberal weekly Moscow News, and in an interview with The Baltimore Sun, Mirzayanov claimed that Russia was continuing to test chemical and biological weapons in defiance of international agreements. Mirzayanov was released last month but a new investigation was ordered. Kozyrev said the President feels the "whole unfortunate episode" should be closed as soon as legally possible. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. JAPANESE-RUSSIAN SECURITY CONFERENCE. The third in a series of informal conferences between Russian and Japanese defense officials on Asia-Pacific security issues has ended in Tokyo without significant results, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 March. The Russian news agency suggested that the failure to reach some sort of consensus on the issue of promoting collective security in Asia was the result of timidity on the Japanese side. The Russian participants, on the other hand, reportedly emphasized the need to broaden contacts and consultations between Russia and Japan and to begin implementation of bilateral confidence-building measures that would also, over time, incorporate other states in the region. The two sides discussed allegations that North Korea is developing nuclear weapons, with the Russian side urging caution against isolating Pyongyang by introducing sanctions for its failure to allow inspections of its nuclear facilities. The two sides did reportedly agree to meet again this spring, and the Russian delegation, which was led by Maj. Gen. Anatolii Lukyanov, expressed the hope that that meeting might lead eventually to consultations between the defense ministers of the two countries. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN APPOINTS NEW ADVISER. Aleksandr Livshits has been appointed to head the Group of Experts advising President Yeltsin, ITAR-TASS reported on 2 March. Until now, Livshits has been deputy head of the Analytic Center in Yeltsin's administration, where he has recently been a member of a working party on regional policy. Livshits, who is aged 48, is a liberal economist who wrote one of the first Russian textbooks to explain the workings of the market economy from a favorable perspective. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. ZHIRINOVSKY ACCUSED OF FRAUD. Nationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky has appealed against a court decision to annul his election to the State Duma, Western agencies reported on 28 February. Zhirinovsky was elected to the Duma last December on the party list of his Liberal Democratic Party. He was also elected as an individual candidate in the Shchelkovo constituency near Moscow, and chose to take that seat in the Duma. On 25 February, a Russian court ruled that election procedures were violated during the Shchelkovo election, and annulled the election. (There were complaints that Zhirinovsky got more TV time than other candidates. Moreover, Radio Mayak and another Russian station, Radio Galaktika, have complained that Zhirinovsky paid them for air time with forged banknotes.) Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. ZHIRINOVSKY QUESTIONED. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who is under investigation on charges of fomenting war propaganda, denied those charges when questioned on 28 February by a military prosecutor, ITAR-TASS reported on 1 March. Zhirinovsky said that neither in his book, The Last Push to the South, nor in other publications and speeches had he called for war or for the annexation of other states. Meanwhile, Zhirinovsky's party has announced that he plans soon to publish a trilogy entitled Russia's Destiny. A spokesman told AFP on 23 February that the first part, The Lessons of History, would cover the period from the beginning of the Russian Empire until the 1917 Revolution. The second part would consist of the controversial The Last Push to the South; while the final part would be called In My Opinion. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA KARABAKH CEASEFIRE A NON-EVENT? Interviewed in Moscow on 3 March on their return from a trip to Baku and Erevan to implement the memorandum of understanding signed in Moscow on 18 February by the defense ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan and the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Col. Gen. Georgii Kondratev and Special Envoy Vladimir Kazimirov told Interfax that the projected ceasefire, which should have gone into effect on 1 March, "may remain only on paper" unless the warring sides agree to disengage and withdraw their respective heavy artillery 10-15 kilometers from the present frontline, after which 30 mobile observer groups consisting of Russian servicemen will be deployed. According to Kondratev, Armenia and Karabakh had assented to a withdrawal of Armenian forces, while the Azerbaijanis had agreed only to cease hostilities but not to withdraw. On 3 March Baku and Stepanakert each accused the other of violating the ceasefire by launching a new offensive in Fizuli raion, Interfax reported. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. DEMIRCHYAN TO RETURN TO POLITICS? Karen Demirchyan, the notoriously anti-perestroika Armenian Communist Party first secretary who was unceremoniously fired in May 1988 for his failure to quash Armenian support for the transfer of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenian jurisdiction, is being pressured by unnamed political circles to consider a return to active politics, according to Respublika Armeniya of 18 January. Demirchyan, who was appointed director of one of Armenia's largest industrial enterprises in 1991, is said to be the second most popular political figure in Armenia after President Levon Ter-Petrossyan. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE TUDJMAN PRAISES CROATIAN-MUSLIM PACT. On 3 March Croatian President Franjo Tudjman made a major televised address on the preliminary agreement signed in Washington two days earlier between Croatian and Bosnian Muslim officials. The text, as carried by Vjesnik on 4 March, bristles with terms like "vital," "historic," and "paramount." His message is that the pact ensures the survival of Croats throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina and not just in the self-proclaimed Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna. He argues that this is the best solution not just for the Bosnian Croats, but for "the strategic interests of the Croatian state" as well, and claims that the confederation with Croatia guarantees the Muslims "their survival . . . as well as their links to Western civilization and democratic countries." Tudjman notes that Croatia has received in return for its support of the peace process international backing for solving its economic problems as well as for its integration into Europe and into NATO's Partnership for Peace program. He assures the Serbs that the agreement is not directed against them, urges Bosnian Serbs to find their place within a Bosnia encompassing all three peoples, and calls for "normal neighborly relations between the new Croatian-Bosnian Confederative Alliance on the one hand, and Serbia or Yugoslavia on the other." Tudjman again seeks a comprehensive peace agreement with the Serbs, but also warns Belgrade against supporting the Krajina Serbs, specifically mentioning the possible introduction of Belgrade's currency into the area as unacceptable to Zagreb. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. UN WANTS 11,000 MORE PEACE-KEEPERS FOR BOSNIA. The pact with the Muslims under international pressure marks a reversal of Tudjman's well-known preference for partitioning Bosnia with the Serbs, and he now seems determined to make as much political capital as possible out of the changed circumstances. Meanwhile, Newsday on 4 March suggests that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is being nudged by Moscow into yielding territory to the Croats and Muslims in the interests of an overall settlement, and Politika quotes Karadzic as saying that he has nothing against the Croat-Muslim confederation "provided it is not directed against the Serbs." The BBC reported on 3 March, moreover, that top UN officials for the former Yugoslavia want almost 11,000 more UNPROFOR troops to go to Bosnia to help solidify a settlement. Washington, Paris, London, and Moscow quickly indicated, however, that the UN would have to look elsewhere for the men, and on 4 March the BBC said that the UN would now reconsider offers of troops it had previously not accepted from countries with historic links to the Yugoslav area. The BBC reporter had specifically asked a UN official about offers from Turkey and Italy. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. RADIO BROD ENDS BROADCASTING TO FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. After eleven months on the air, the Adriatic-based Radio Brod (Boat) has stopped broadcasting because of financial problems, Borba reported on 2 March. Programs were produced by a team of journalists from the entire Yugoslav area whose goal was to "stop the disinformation" in the media of the Yugoslav successor states. According to Borba, the radio has been attacked by the Croatian government-run media several times for being "Yugonostalgic," whereas Serbian officials dubbed the journalists "ustasa," or Croatian ultra-nationalist. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. MILITARY MOVEMENTS IN KOSOVO. Inhabitants in several Kosovar towns have recently noted movements of the rump Yugoslav army in the region, Rilindja reported on 28 February. The convoys, which were seen near Pristina, Prizren and Podujevo, included tanks. According to Rilindja, recent days have also witnessed increased military flights at Pristina airport and elsewhere. The rump Yugoslav army denies any involvement in the internal conflicts of Kosovo, but there is admittedly a strong police presence there. Meanwhile, Rilindja on 2 March reported several cases of police raids, physical abuse of ethnic Albanians by Serb officials, and arrests of Albanians in Pristina, Pec and other towns. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. SEJM OPENS BUDGET DEBATE. Sejm debate on 3 March preceding the final vote on the 1994 budget suggested that the government has managed merely to defer, rather than dispel, pressures within the ruling coalition for increased deficit spending and more state intervention. The two coalition parties endorsed the budget as a "difficult compromise," while all four opposition parties opposed it. The budget commission avoided motions for additional spending by submitting a resolution requiring the government to try to increase revenues during the year (in part by imposing a tax on stock market transactions) and, at mid-year, to revise the budget. To the dismay of National Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, the commission also proposed fiscal guidelines that would make possible an increase of 169 trillion zloty in the money supply, rather than the 155 trillion proposed by the bank, and would also require the bank to finance more of the budget deficit than it believes wise. Acting Finance Minister Henryk Chmielak defended the budget before the Sejm, while the budget's author, former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Marek Borowski, looked on from the gallery. The Sejm is expected to pass the budget by a wide margin on 5 March. The budget would then move on to the Senate for consideration. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. "WEIMAR TRIANGLE" AGREES ON DEFENSE CONTACTS. Meeting in Paris on 3 March, the defense ministers for France, Germany, and Poland agreed to urge the Western European Union to negotiate an association agreement with Poland. Polish Defense Minister Piotr Kolodziejczyk said the decision could come as early as May. The ministers agreed that cooperation with the WEU should complement rather than overshadow the Partnership for Peace program. Joint Polish-French military mountaineering exercises are planned for 1994, as are exercises involving German, Danish, and Polish troops on the Jutland peninsula. The ministers agreed to hold joint meetings at least once a year, as is already the practice with their countries' foreign ministers. The next meeting is scheduled for July in Warsaw, PAP reports. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAKIA IMPLEMENTS IMPORT SURCHARGE. On 3 March a 10% import surcharge on consumer goods came into effect in Slovakia, TASR reports. According to Slovakia's IMF agreement, however, the duties must be decreased by 50% after six months. Finance Ministry officials said the move was implemented in accordance with the GATT and is targeted at boosting domestic production and easing the country's trade deficit, which stood at 26.7 billion koruny in 1993. (Hard currency reserves of the Slovak National Bank--excluding gold--stood at $330 to 350 million on 15 February.) The move came as a surprise to some observers, since Slovakia agreed on 4 February to speed up trade liberalization with other Visegrad countries. Also, it follows steps taken on 11 February to improve the country's trade balance by implementing new rules which require approval from Slovak authorities for food shipments entering the country. The Czech Republic, which has held a customs union with Slovakia since the two countries' currencies split on 8 February 1993, retaliated by devaluating the Czech koruna by 3% in the clearing system used in bilateral trade. Still, Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus told CTK that the surcharge is "a legitimate act by an independent sovereign state." Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN PREMIER VISITS SLOVAKIA. On 3 March Nicolae Vacaroiu made a one-day official visit to Slovakia, where he met with his Slovak counterpart Vladimir Meciar, Deputy Premier Jozef Prokes and Economy Minister Jan Ducky, TASR reports. During his visit agreements were signed on cooperation in science, education, culture and sports, on trade liberalization, on prevention of double taxation and on protection of investments. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. JACQUES DELORS IN BUDAPEST. European Commission chief started a three-day visit on Thursday, MTI reports. He held talks with Premier Peter Boross, who said that Hungary already achieved a lot in terms of political stability, economic restructuring and advancement in legal matters to prepare the ground for EU membership. Delors cautioned that admission procedures will take long. He also said that work on the so-called Balladur Plan, which would be an all-European final peace agreement, continues. Hungary is expected to officially apply for EU membership in April. Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN MASS PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM TO START IN APRIL. According to Western media, Hungarian government officials announced that a Small Shareholders Program (SSP) will be starting in April. Under the program, advantageous loans will be made available to those interested in purchasing shares in state-owned enterprises slated for privatization. Under the SSP, any citizen over the age of 18 who pays a $19 application fee is eligible to receive 100,000 forint, (about $1,000) worth of state-guaranteed, interest free loans, to be paid back within five years. The loans can be used only in framework of the SSP. Previously issued compensation bonds will also be exchangeable for shares in 70 privatized companies. By abandoning its so-far strictly market-based privatization, the Democratic Forum led government appears to try to boost its chances in the May elections. Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc. NEW RADIO-TELEVISION BILL PARTIALLY PASSED BY ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT. The Chamber of Deputies passed on 1 and 3 March some of the articles of a new radio and television bill, an RFE/RL correspondent and Radio Bucharest reported. The chamber passed by a narrow margin one controversial article stipulating that radio and television must observe the provisions of the constitution. The RFE/RL correspondent said the article was proposed by the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania, and the opposition fears that it is aimed at banning from broadcasting sympathetic references to exiled King Michael, on grounds that Romania is a constitutional republic. The bill would make radio and television independent of political parties, the government and the president, and subordinate them to parliament alone. On 3 March the discussion of the bill was interrupted after the passing of 16 out of the bill's 22 articles. PSDR deputies proposed amendments to the article dealing with the composition of the administrative councils of state radio and television. The amendments would practically do away with parliament's control of the two institutions. They were regarded by the opposition as attempts to introduce political controls via the back door. A similar bill has already been approved by the Senate last year, but it did not include the controversial article approved by the Chamber of Deputies. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CONCERNED OVER RIGHTS IN ROMANIA. The London-based human rights organization Amnesty International says it is concerned that proposed revisions in Romania's penal code may violate international human rights treaties ratified by Bucharest. In a statement released on 2 March, the organization said it had written Chamber of Deputies chairman Adrian Nastase last month, expressing concern that some provisions "would impose arbitrary and excessive restrictions on the right to privacy, the right to free expression, assembly and association with others" and may lead "to imprisonment of people who would be considered prisoners of conscience." The statement cites provisions concerning homosexuality, defamation of the state or nation, and dissemination of false news. It says the provisions regarding defamation and false news "would not only particularly affect the right of journalists in Romania to freedom of expression and their right to impart information and ideas without interference by public authority, but also the right of other Romanians to receive such information and ideas." Amnesty International urged the Chamber of Deputies to reject the proposed changes and abolish the article in the penal code on homosexuality. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. ANTI-MOLDOVAN, ANTI-WESTERN SPEECHES IN ROMANIA'S SENATE. Radio Bucharest carried live on 3 March speeches made in the Romanian Senate in reaction to the heavy defeat of pro-Romanian parties in Moldova's legislative election. Senators across the political spectrum, including those of the democratic opposition, seconded the national-communist keynote speaker Adrian Paunescu, the former court poet of Ceausescu, in denouncing Moldova's leaders as undemocratic, uneducated, anti-Romanian, and pro-Russian. They also regretted that the Romanian government had recognized Moldova instead of demanding its outright reattachment to Romania. Paunescu, who had been an observer to the election, lamented Moldova's "anti-Romanian frame of mind . . . from the high authorities to the common citizen." He and other senators accused the Western observers of condoning or covering up electoral fraud in Moldova and acting against Romanian interests. With most of the votes counted, it appears that the Agrarian Democratic Party, strongly opposed to unification with Romania, will have 55 seats out of 104 in the new parliament, enabling it to govern alone; the pro-Russian Socialist/Interfront bloc possibly 30 seats, and the pro-Romanian parties a total of only some 20 seats. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. BELARUSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BONN. Pyotr Krauchanka told ITAR-TASS on 3 March that Belarus was satisfied with the level of its relations with Germany, which were more solid than with any other country in Western Europe. Krauchanka, who is on an official visit to Germany, signed two agreements, one on cultural cooperation and the other on lessening the effects of the Chernobyl disaster. He said that work had begun on further agreements, which would be signed in the course of forthcoming visits at a higher level. Krauchanka noted that Germany was punctilious in fulfilling its obligations towards Belarus. As evidence of Germany's serious intentions he cited the second part of German government guarantees and credits which were equal to the credit given to Ukraine. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. BELARUS ECONOMY IN DECLINE. Industrial production in Belarus in January 1994 was 37% lower than in the same month the previous year, PAP reported from Minsk on 26 February, citing the state statistical committee. Many of Belarus's major industrial plants did not work at all in January, including the giant "Homsielmash" agricultural machinery factory, where production has been at a standstill for almost three months. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. FREE TRADE TALKS BETWEEN EU AND BALTIC STATES. On 28 February Lithuania held the first round of talks in Brussels with the European Union on a free trade agreement, Reuters reports. Neither side presented formal proposals, but discussed their general positions with agriculture likely to be one of the most difficult points. The next round of talks will be held on 31 March. The talks, expected to conclude by the end of this year, are intended to end with a free trade agreement by 1 January 1995. On 28 February Estonia's top negotiator Priit Kolbre told a press conference in Tallinn that in similar talks on 23 February it was decided that the agreement would consist of three parts, BNS reports. A preamble will set forth the fundamental principles of mutual relations and measures taken in case of breach of the agreement, The second part will abolish all customs duties and quotas on manufactured goods. The third part states that after the agreement is in effect one party will have to obtain the other's approval for establishing a free trade regime with a third country. The second round of talks will be held on 23 March. Latvia held its first round of talks with the EU on 21 February and will hold the second on 21 March. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. ESTONIA REASSESSES RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA. The Estonian cabinet of ministers is expected to discuss on 4 March whether to suspend the troops withdrawal talks with Russia. Russian Foreign Ministry official Aleksandr Udaltsov said that it would be "very sad and shortsighted" if Estonia broke off the talks and stressed that his country had no intention of delaying the setting of the date for the next round of negotiations. Udaltsov also said that Russia might well return to the earlier suggested 31 August 1994 deadline for the pullout of its troops from Estonia if "the Estonian party abides by the conditions already spelled out by Russia." Udaltsov also accused Estonia of anti-Russian sentiment--an accusation that was leveled also by Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Demurin against Estonian president Lennart Meri, BNS reported on 3 March. That same day, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry expressed deep concern about Russia's 2 March statement that it would not withdraw its troops from Estonia by 31 August as promised earlier, and reconfirmed Lithuania's "position that the withdrawal of Russian troops from Latvia and Estonia must be carried in accordance with the requirements of the international community, which are indicated in the 47/21 resolution of the United Nations and article 15 of the CSCE 1992 Final Document." Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc., RFE/RL, Inc. MINISTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS ENDORSED IN LATVIA. On 3 March the Saeima voted to approve the government's nominee, Olafs Bruvers, as the new State Minister for Human Rights. Bruvers, a theologian and a former dissident, is the first to hold this newly created position, placed under the aegis of the Ministry of Justice. That same day, Minister of Welfare Janis Ritenis survived a vote of no-confidence, Latvian media reported. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. 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