|Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece. - Vladimir Nabokov|
No. 45, 7 March 1994
RUSSIA YELTSIN ON AMNESTY OF COUP LEADERS. Speaking at an expanded cabinet meeting in the Kremlin on 4 March, President Boris Yeltsin said the amnesty recently approved by the State Duma "seriously violated the Constitution, the law and moral standards," ITAR-TASS reported. The amnesty covered those responsible for the 1991 attempted coup as well as the disturbances in Moscow in October 1993. Members of Yeltsin's administration have argued that in fact the act of the State Duma was not an amnesty but a pardon since it applied to specific individuals, not certain categories of crimes. According to the constitution, only the president can pardon individuals, whereas amnesty is a prerogative of the lower chamber of the parliament and the president cannot veto the State Duma's decision on amnesty. Although maintaining that the State Duma violated the Constitution, Yeltsin said he would accept the Duma's decision on the amnesty in order to avoid confrontation with the new parliament. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. CHERNOMYRDIN ON THE ECONOMY. To judge from the summaries carried by ITAR-TASS and Interfax, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's much-delayed and long-awaited speech on 4 March to the extended cabinet meeting did not offer viable solutions to the most urgent problems facing the economy. He blamed key ministries and the Russian Central Bank (RCB) for inaction over the arrears crisis, but did not suggest a way out. Chernomyrdin rebuked RCB Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko by name for his profligacy with soft credits and for his tolerance of high rates of inflation. He criticized the internal revenue structure for a 30% shortfall in revenues in 1993 (in January, the shortfall was reported to be 50%). The prime minister also implied that the agricultural lobby's demands for subsidies were excessive, that further legislation on bankruptcy was forthcoming, and that citizens whose savings were virtually wiped out in January 1992 would receive further compensation beyond the threefold indexation recently announced. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN PARATROOPERS READY FOR BOSNIA. An official from the headquarters of the Russian Airborne Forces told ITAR-TASS on 4 March that Russia is prepared to airlift 300 paratroopers to Bosnia to reinforce its peacekeeping forces already on the ground there. The same official reportedly expressed surprise over a statement by a French general suggesting that only American, British, or French servicemen were capable of operating rapidly and professionally in Bosnia. The official said that Russian forces had proved their mettle during their recent redeployment from Croatia to Bosnia. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE TAKES OFFENSIVE IN AMES AFFAIR. Spokeswoman of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Tatyana Samolis said that her agency hopes that Ames affair does not obstruct the Russian-American relations and that the "spy scandal" will be tackled during Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev's meeting with US Secretary of State Warren Christopher later in March. In an interview on Ostankino television on 6 March, Samolis said that Ames had not harmed US "secrets" but only helped Russia to keep its "secrets" safe from American "intelligence penetration." Russia like the US has its own national interests and can defend them by any means including intelligence techniques, noted Samolis. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. FOREIGN MINISTRY SEMINAR ON RUSSIAN-SPEAKERS. On 4 March, the Russian Foreign Ministry held a seminar on the issue of Russians and Russian speakers in the CIS and Baltic countries. According to Leonid Drachevsky, head of the MFA's department for CIS affairs, only integration within the framework of the CIS can assuage the controversy around the problems of the Russian-speaking population. According to Gennadii Mozhaev, a representative from the Association for the Ties with Foreign Compatriots, the strategic task of Russia is "to keep all Eurasian territory of the former Soviet Union if not under control, then under strong influence . . . From this point of view it's an advantage for us to have a big number of Russians in the near abroad." The Baltic states should not be excluded from the discussion according to Aleksandr Denisov, identified by Interfax as Russia's senior adviser at the United Nations. Denisov also ruled out the idea of migration of ethnic Russians from CIS countries. "The Russians must stay wherever they are historically strong and should be only economically supported." Former First Deputy Foreign Minister Fedor Shelov-Kovedyaev, a co-chairman of The Russian Club, rejected the use of these Russian-speakers as a fifth-column, but said that they should be supported "in every way to forestall their massive migration." Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS WARHEAD TRANSFER TO RUSSIA BEGINS. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk announced on 4 March that a train carrying 60 warheads from ICBMs had departed for a dismantling site in Russia, according to Western press agencies. Kravchuk's announcement came after a meeting with President Clinton, and followed days of speculation as to when, or whether, the shipment of warheads would begin. One potential hitch was the timing of Russia's delivery of nuclear fuel to Ukrainian nuclear power plants, but Reuters reported on 4 March that Russian Minatom officials had announced that the first such shipment had been sent. However, the New York Times reported on 7 March that Kravchuk had warned that further warhead transfers were dependent upon Russia's actions, particularly Russian threats to cut natural gas supplies to Ukraine in a dispute over payment. There have been no reports that Kravchuk has formally deposited the START-1 ratification instruments, an action that would finally complete the ratification process. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc. FURTHER CUTS IN GAS SUPPLIES. Further cuts in the supply of Russian natural gas to Ukraine were reported by Russian and Western agencies on 4 and 6 March, and deliveries by 6 March were said to be down to one-fifth of the normal level. However, although Ukraine does not appear to have transferred any funds towards meeting its arrears--estimated at around 1.5 trillion rubles--supplies were not completely halted, as had been threatened. Russian and Ukrainian officials are due to meet in Moscow on 10 March to discuss the repayment of the Ukrainian debt to Gazprom. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. PEACEKEEPING AND THE CIS AS AN INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION. Interfax reported on 4 March that Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev sent a message to the foreign ministers of the CIS states underscoring the importance of the CIS gaining the status of an observer international organization at the United Nations. He pointed out that all official CIS documents should be forwarded to the UN Secretariat for registration and circulation as official UN documents. Kozyrev also urged that efforts be made for the CIS to gain recognition as a regional organization by European structures such as the EU and the CSCE. The reason such a status is important for the CIS is related to Russia's peacekeeping efforts. Vladimir Shustov, head of Russia's delegation to the CSCE in Vienna, said in a speech in February that Article 52 of the United Nations charter allows regional organizations to take action to maintain peace and security and there is no need for Russia or the CIS to seek the approval of CSCE or any other international organization for its peacemaking operations within the CIS. Russia has pressed with increasing frequency in the last few months for the CIS to be recognized as an international organization. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA KAZAKHSTAN ELECTION PROCEDURES CRITICIZED. Criticism of Kazakhstan's election law and of the country's electoral commissions increased in the last few days before the 7 March parliamentary election, Western and Russian news agencies reported on 6 and 7 March. More than 120 foreign observers are in Kazakhstan to monitor the election, and some complained that the rules for registering a candidacy are too complicated and too much power is given to election commissions in individual electoral districts. Two hundred would-be candidates were refused registration. Russian groups believe that Kazakhs will take most of the seats in the new legislature, thereby exacerbating relations between the country's two major ethnic groups, since only 128 Russian candidates registered, compared to 566 Kazakhs. According to some reports, apathy is widespread among voters and some districts may not achieve the 50% turnout needed for the poll to be valid. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. TAJIK OPPOSITION AGREES TO TALK TO GOVERNMENT. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Anatolii Adamishin, in Tehran for talks with Tajik opposition leaders in exile, reported after a first round of discussions on 6 March that opposition leaders had agreed to negotiate directly with Tajikistan's government, Russian and Western sources reported. None of the reports gave the names of the leaders who spoke for the Tajik opposition; recently the former chief Muslim clergyman of Tajikistan, Akbar Turadzhonzoda, now one of the most important leaders of the opposition in exile, told Iranian journalists that he would never agree to negotiations with the present Tajik government. AFP reported that Adamishin had met with the Islamic National Movement of Tajikistan and the Coordination Center of the Democratic Opposition. The 6 March issue of the semi-official Tehran Times was quoted by AFP as criticizing Russia for supporting the present government in Tajikistan. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. HARASSMENT OF OPPOSITION CONTINUES IN UZBEKISTAN. RFE/RL learned on 4 March that several officials of Uzbekistan's opposition Erk Party had been detained for questioning by officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Erk spokeswoman Dilarom Ishaqqizi reported that she and another female Erk activist, Qubanay Rahimova, had been questioned and accused of distributing Erk's banned newspaper, but both were later released. Erk secretaries Abdulhay Mavlanov and Humudulla Nurmuhammedov, former secretary Atanazar Aripov and writer Muhamadali Mahmudov were also picked up for questioning and were accused of distributing the Erk newspaper and a book by party chairman Muhammad Salih. Erk, the only genuine opposition political party in Uzbekistan (the opposition Birlik movement was never able to register as a party) lost its registration in late 1993; official harassment of the group has increased in recent weeks. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. MILITARY AGREEMENT BETWEEN KYRGYZSTAN AND RUSSIA. Officials of Kyrgyzstan and the Russian Federation signed an agreement on 4 March regulating the service of Russian citizens in the armed forces of Kyrgyzstan, Ostankino TV reported in 5 March. Russians make up a large share of Kyrgyzstan's officer corps. Under the agreement, Russian citizens will have individual contracts with Kyrgyzstan's Ministry of Defense. When their contracts expire, the ministry will be obligated to buy them housing anywhere they choose in Russia except St Petersburg or Moscow. If they prefer to remain in Kyrgyzstan, they will be given without cost ownership of whatever quarters they occupy. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE CROATS AND MUSLIMS CONTINUE TALKS, SET UP JOINT CHECKPOINTS. International media reported on 4 March that Croatian and Bosnian representatives resumed their talks, this time at the US embassy in Vienna. Previous rounds culminated in an agreement signed on 1 March in Washington to set up a joint state in Bosnia and to link it in a confederation with Croatia. Reuters on 5 March quoted Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic as saying that peace could come as early as April, provided that Russia puts pressure on Bosnian Serbs to end the conflict, although Bosnian Serb officials have said in recent days that they want no part in the agreement. The text of the pact signed in Washington has not been published, but reports suggest that it could work either with or without the Serbs. Some Croatian observers apparently would prefer that the Serbs stay out, lest the resulting confederation be a first step toward resurrecting a larger Yugoslavia. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports on 6 March that Croat and Muslim forces have already begun setting up joint checkpoints at Zepce, while news agencies added that the Croats have begun turning over some of their heavy guns to the UN. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. ARE THE SERBS TESTING THE UN? International media reported on 5 and 6 March that Serb forces have blockaded seven aid convoys in Bosnia and have pressed on with their shelling near Maglaj. On 5 March Serbs fired on French UN troops in Sarajevo, and UN spokesmen confirmed that same day that there were still Serb heavy weapons in the area not under UN control. AFP on 6 March quoted Bosnian military sources as saying that Serb planes bombed Maglaj early that morning, while Sarajevo Radio claimed that "in the bestial bombing, the chetniks destroyed the old bridge in Maglaj." Finally, the French news agency added that German prosecutors are looking into the situations of a dozen suspected Serbian war criminals in Germany, following the arrest of Dusan Tadic on 13 February. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. SERBIAN OPPOSITION TO JOIN SOCIALISTS? On 5 March Politika reported that Serbia's recently appointed prime minister, Mirko Marjanovic of the Socialist Party of Serbia, plans to constitute a government of "national unity" that may include members of three parliamentary parties--the SPS, the Democratic Party, and New Democracy. According to Marjanovic, only two parties, the Serbian Radical Party and the Democratic Party of Serbia, have unilaterally "closed the door" to participation in the government. Meanwhile, on 7 March Borba reports that the role, if any, that some parties may play in the government remains vague. Borba notes that Democratic Party leader Zoran Djindjic has himself hinted that conditional support may yet be extended to the SPS, remarking "the door is not closed to a government of national unity." However, Djindjic also added that "the Democratic Party will not join Marjanovic's government" since an acceptable formula for building a government "at present has not been realized." Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH SEJM PASSES 1994 BUDGET. By a vote of 289 to 115 with 27 abstentions, the Sejm approved the government's proposed 1994 budget on 5 March, PAP reports. The budget sets the deficit at 83 trillion zloty ($3.8 billion), or 4.1% of GDP. All attempts to increase spending over government-proposed limits were rejected. The vote followed party lines, with all four opposition parties voting against or abstaining. Despite fears of "unionist" defections, only four coalition deputies, all from the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), voted against the budget; they were promptly expelled from their party caucus. To compensate for the strict spending limits, the Sejm adopted a resolution binding the government to seek new revenues and, if possible, revise the budget in June. It also adopted monetary guidelines that the National Bank has criticized as likely to generate high inflation. In a motion backed by the SLD but opposed by the Polish Peasant Party (PSL), the Sejm voted to postpone recapitalizing Poland's huge agricultural crediting bank (BGZ) until it is restructured as a corporation. The Sejm also rejected several PSL amendments to the "privatization guidelines" that seemed to be intended to limit the government's ability to sell off state firms. The Senate's approval of the budget is still needed before the president can sign it into law. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. POLAND'S DEMOCRATIC UNION TO MERGE WITH LIBERALS. At an extraordinary congress on 5-6 March, Poland's largest opposition party, the Democratic Union (UD), voted 318 to 4 to approve a merger with the Liberal Democratic Congress (KLD), PAP reports. The KLD suffered a crushing defeat in the September elections. The unification congress to create a new "party of the center" is scheduled for April, with the UD sending 2.7 delegates for every one from the KLD. UD Chairman Tadeusz Mazowiecki reversed an earlier decision to step down and announced he would stay on to head the party after the merger. Although Mazowiecki warned that he would no longer be a "safety pin" holding the UD's left and right wings together, no decision was made on whether to forbid factions in the new party. Mazowiecki's withdrawal had prompted a movement to draft reform architect Leszek Balcerowicz to head the new party. Though reviled by the ruling coalition, Balcerowicz recently won support from 5,864 viewers and criticism from only 1274 on a television call-in program. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK CONSERVATIVE PARTIES UNITE. The Conservative Democratic Party and the Democratic Party, two parties representing Slovakia's political right, officially merged on 6 March to form the new Democratic Party, TASR reports. Pavol Hagyari, former CDP chairman, was elected chairman of the DP, while former Privatization Minister Ivan Miklos was elected deputy chairman. Hagyari said he hoped that the fusion of the two extraparliamentary parties would enable rightists to return to the parliament when new elections are held. Criticizing the current government's economic policy, Miklos said a major goal of the DP is quick privatization, giving equal opportunity to all those interested. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAKS AND HUNGARIANS DISAGREE AT CEI MEETING. In a meeting of the 10-member Central European Initiative held from 4 to 5 March in Trieste, Slovaks and Hungarians squabbled over minority rights issues, Reuters reported on 4 March. In a repeat of the CEI summit held in Budapest in July 1993, Slovakia, backed by the Czech Republic, said the CEI's plans to finalize a document setting standards on the rights of ethnic groups should be delayed until the Council of Europe has made its own agreement. The Slovak delegation, led by Deputy Premier and Slovak National Party Honorary Chairman Jozef Prokes (Prokes was recently rejected by the president for the post of Foreign Minister), expressed dissatisfaction that political issues had gained more importance in the CEI program, while the original aim of intensifying economic cooperation was deemphasized, TASR reported on 6 March. The CEI is a regional cooperation forum whose members include Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Macedonia. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN RADIO CRIPPLED BY INTERNAL FIGHTS. Following the 4 March dismissal of 129 radio journalists, strikes and chaos crippled some weekend broadcasts at Radio Budapest, MTI and international media report. The acting head of the Radio, Laszlo Csucs, had government approval to reduce the over 2000 strong staff by 129 journalists in order to save money. The opposition parties claim, however, that the reductions, which occurred some two months ahead of the national elections, were politically motivated; Csucs removed such prominent journalists as the head of an investigative weekly political magazine. The fact that the parliament failed to pass a media law in December 1992 makes the situation at Radio Budapest difficult to handle. The Hungarian Socialist Party has already indicated that if it wins the upcoming elections, it will reinstate the journalists to their former positions. Judith Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc. SHEVARDNADZE IN PRAGUE. Georgian Parliament Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze, on his way to the US., visited Prague on 6 March. CTK reports that Shevardnadze met briefly with Czech President Vaclav Havel. After the meeting, Havel told journalists that both states will be opening diplomatic missions in their capitals. Shevardnadze said that peace in the Transcaucasian Region is impossible without "the decisive participation of Russia." He also repeated that Georgia must be part of the Commonwealth of Independent States, saying economic and other contacts in the CIS will help Georgia survive as a nation. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. BULGARIAN CONVOY VIOLATES DANUBE BLOCKADE. On 6 March a river convoy towed by a Bulgarian tugboat violated the UN embargo against rump Yugoslavia and reached the Serbian port of Prahovo, BTA reports. The convoy, carrying an estimated cargo of 6,000 tons of fuel, slipped through the blockade by defying orders to halt and threatening to set the convoy ablaze. Bulgarian customs officials told journalists that a group of armed men standing on deck had also pointed guns at some crew members as if the tugboat had been hijacked; but they said the scene may have been posed. Patrol boats of both the Bulgarian border troops and the West European Union were involved in attempts to force the convoy to turn back. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT RESHUFFLE. In a governmental reshuffle announced by Radio Bucharest on 6 March, President Ion Iliescu appointed civilians to head the Defense and Interior Ministries. Gheorghe Tinca, a career diplomat who is an expert on disarmament, became the first ever civilian to head the Defense Ministry, replacing Lieutenant General Nicolae Spiroiu. Spiroiu had been under attack for some time by the Greater Romania Party, which eventually secured the support from the Party of Romanian National Unity and the Socialist Labor Party on this matter. Doru Ioan Taracila, a Senator representing the Party of Social Democracy in Romania, replaced Major General George Ioan Danescu as Interior Minister. In two other changes, Iosif Gavril Chiuzbaian, a magistrate, replaced Petru Ninosu as Justice Minister, and Aurel Novac replaced Paul Teodoru, whose ministry has been at the core of a shipping scandal, as Minister of Transportation. Iliescu said Spiroiu would be sent to Brussels to help in Romania's effort to integrate its security structures with NATO's Partnership for Peace plan. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN COALITION TRAVAILS. Emil Constantinescu, president of the Democratic Convention of Romania (the opposition centrist alliance) said that the DCR will not back a minority government of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania in its present form, Radio Bucharest reported on 4 March. On the other hand, venues remain open for the possibility of backing a PSDR government different from the one now ruling the country, he said. The conditions set by the DCR appear to have been accepted by the PSDR, according to what its executive president, Adrian Nastase, said in an interview with Radio Bucharest on 5 March. Nastase said the new minority PSDR government must be "rapidly" formed and that it was necessary to bring in new, "more competent" ministers. This was the "only alternative to new elections," and it meant a "changed government" that "enjoys the backing of both sides represented in the parliament." It is doubtful, however, whether the changes in the government announced on 6 March are what the opposition had in mind when demanding personnel changes in the executive. Reuters quoted Ion Diaconescu, vice-chairman of the National Peasant Party Christian Democratic, as terming the changes "cosmetic." Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. BAN ON LATIN SCRIPT NOW COMPLETE IN "DNIESTER" SCHOOLS. The "Dniester republic" authorities have announced a decision to ban the Latin script from the last three Moldovan schools--located in the cities of Tiraspol, Rabnita, and Bendery--that were still allowed to use it, Basapress reported on 3 and 5 March. Two of the school directors were fired for refusing to comply. Moldovan parents are picketing the Tiraspol school to defend the director (an ethnic Bulgarian), while the Rabnita school's teachers and students went on strike following a decision of the parental committee. The other Moldovan schools in Transdniester have been forbidden to use the Latin script since 1992, although a few have continued to teach it surreptitiously. The measure's timing suggests an attempt to increase tension between Chisinau and Tiraspol before the resumption of Russian-mediated negotiations. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. KRAVCHUK CONCLUDES US VISIT. On 5 March Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk concluded his official visit to Washington, which included meetings with US President Bill Clinton, top administration officials and influential senators, as well as a visit to the Pentagon and discussions with business leaders. Economic issues were at the forefront of the visit; US aid for Ukraine's economy and funds for the dismantling of its nuclear arsenal were doubled, increasing to approximately $700 million, US and Ukrainian media reported. Both Clinton and Kravchuk expressed satisfaction with the visit, which was said to mark a new stage in US-Ukrainian relations. On 6 September, Kravchuk flew to New York for discussions at the United Nations, the official opening of the Ukrainian consulate general and meetings with representatives of the Ukrainian and Jewish communities. Roman Solchanyk, RFE/RL, Inc. BELARUSIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES. Interfax reported on 5 March that a number of parties and organizations have been nominating their candidates for the new post of president, even though an election date has not yet been set. The Belarusian Scientific and Industrial Congress has reportedly proposed the candidacy of Aleksandr Sanchukausky, the manager of the Horizont amalgamation. The Party of Popular Accord, a centrist party, has advanced the candidacy of Henadz Karpenka. The Belarusian Social Democrats, along with the United Democratic Party and other parties, have formed an election bloc and proposed the former chairman of the Supreme Soviet, Stanislau Shushkevich as their candidate. The position of the Belarusian Popular Front still remains uncertain. It is not clear whether they will support Shushkevich or their own leader, Zyanon Paznyak. Other possible contenders for the post include CIS Executive Secretary Ivan Karotchenya, chairman of parliament's commission for combating corruption, Aleksandr Lukashenka, and Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich. On 1 March the Belarusian parliament voted to create the post of national president, who will be elected by popular vote. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. BELARUS CUTS BACK ON MILITARY PRODUCTION. On 5 March Interfax reported a sharp decline in military production in Belarus. According to the first deputy defense minister, Aleksandr Tushinsky, production rates have been reduced by 65-70% compared with 1991. Tushinsky blamed the decline on the "uncontrolled growth of prices of raw materials, fuel and energy, steep salary increases and other factors" which have raised production costs. Unemployment in the defense sector has risen with as many as 24,800 "highly qualified experts" (12.9% of the defense workforce) discharged from defense enterprises, and a further 8,200 dismissed from military research institutes and design bureaus. Between 1988 and 1992, Tushinsky said 14 defense enterprises have entirely stopped producing a number of "special products." Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA'S GAZPROM TO SUPPLY GAS TO THE BALTICS. Valerii Remizov, deputy chairman of Russia's Gazprom, told the press on 3 March that Russia has no plans to cut off gas supplies to the Baltic States. Earlier that day he signed a deal in Vilnius to supply 2,700 million cubic meters of gas (at $75 per 1,000 cubic meters) to Lithuania in 1994; Lithuania agreed to settle its debts to Gazprom, which total about $32 million. A similar agreement with Estonia for 1994 supplies of 900 million cubic meters of gas was made a few days before, while an agreement for supplying gas to Latvia was signed in Moscow on 5 March. Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Birkavs told Interfax that day that his country would repay its $23 million debt to Gazprom through a loan from the OECD. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA'S PUBLIC CHAMBER DRAFTS ON RUSSIANS IN BALTIC STATES. On 6 March Russia's Public Chamber, a body that makes recommendations to President Yeltsin, approved "in principle" three documents on ethnic Russians in the Baltic States, ITAR-TASS reports. The documents avow that "numerous violations of the rights of compatriots take place" in Estonia and Latvia, where hundreds of thousands of non-citizens do not have the right to own land and real estate, are forbidden to change their flats, are barred from public service, and are socially deprived. Deputy Foreign Minister Vitalii Churkin told the chamber that his ministry considers the protection of rights and interests of Russians in Latvia and Estonia a "priority task," but is striving to show maximum flexibility in solving the problem. He said, however, that "normal conditions have been created for people of Russian origin" in Lithuania. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Bess Brown and Sharon Fisher The RFE/RL Daily Report is produced by the RFE/RL Research Institute (a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.) with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division (NCA). The report is available by electronic mail by subscribing to RFERL-L at LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU, on the Sovset' computer bulletin board, by fax, and by postal mail. Requests for permission to reprint or retransmit this material should be addressed to PD@RFERL.ORG. Such requests will generally be granted on the condition that the material is clearly attributed to the RFE/RL Daily Report. For inquiries about specific news items, subscriptions, or additional copies, please contact: In North America: Mr. Brian Reed RFE/RL, Inc. 1201 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036 Telephone: (202) 457-6912 or -6907 Fax: (202) 457-6992 or 828-8783 Internet: RI-DC@RFERL.ORG Elsewhere: Ms. Helga Hofer Publications Department RFE/RL Research Institute Oettingenstrasse 67 80538 Munich Germany Telephone: (+49 89) 2102-2631 or -2624 Fax: (+49 89) 2102-2648 Internet: PD@RFERL.ORG Copyright 1994, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.
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