RFE/RL Daily Report
No. 48, 10 March 1994
YELTSIN SNUBS NIXON. In spontaneous remarks to reporters during a
wreath-laying ceremony on 9 March, President Boris Yeltsin was visibly
angry when he discussed meetings with Russian opposition figures by former
US President Richard Nixon, Western and Russian agencies reported. He
announced that he would not go ahead with a previously scheduled
appointment with Nixon "and the government won't either. And (chief of
staff) Filatov won't either." Mr. Nixon's appointments with Messrs.
Chernomyrdin, Grachev, Soskovets, Gaidar, and Filatov were subsequently
cancelled. A Kremlin-provided limousine and security detail for
ex-President Nixon was also withdrawn, although reports differ on who
initiated this move. Yeltsin was reported to be particularly incensed by
Nixon's meeting with former Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi: this was a
late addition to Mr. Nixon's itinerary. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.
PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE REQUESTS RESUMPTION OF 1991 COUP TRIAL. The office of
the Russian Prosecutor-General has asked the Supreme Court to restart the
trial of those accused of organizing the August 1991 coup. A spokesman for
the Prosecutor's Office, Aleksandr Zvyagintsev, told an RFE/RL
correspondent on 9 March that the request was filed by Deputy Prosecutor
General Eduard Dneprov. The military branch of the Supreme Court stopped
the trial against the coup plotters following the State Duma's amnesty.
Zvyagintsev said Dneprov had formally requested that the court resume the
trial. The spokesman said the request was motivated by the fact that the
trial had not been concluded and that, according to the law, the trial has
to continue until a verdict is reached. Only then can the amnesty come
into force. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.
YELTSIN PROPOSES CIVIC ACCORD CHARTER. President Yeltsin has proposed that
a "charter of civic accord" be signed by Russia's political leaders,
Interfax reported on 9 March. Yeltsin maintained that such a document is
vitally needed to keep Russia on the path of reform. He said that a draft
charter, which could be drawn up in two weeks, should be discussed by the
public before it is signed. Yeltsin wants to meet leaders of the
parliamentary factions and other party leaders to discuss the proposed
charter on 10 March. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.
GAIDAR DENIES ASKING WEST NOT TO AID CHERNOMYRDIN GOVERNMENT. Russian TV
news reported on 9 March that former First Deputy Prime Minister Egor
Gaidar had denied rumors that he had appealed to the West to stop giving
aid to Russia while it is governed by leaders such as Yeltsin and Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. In fact, Gaidar told a news conference, he
had merely said that Russia does not need so much foreign aid since the
pace of reform has slowed. According to Gaidar, among those who spread the
false rumor was a fellow democratic deputy of the State Duma, Sergei
Shakhrai. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.
YELTSIN MEETS HEADS OF RADIO AND TELEVISION. According to Russian
television newscasts on 8 March, Yeltsin met with the chairmen of the two
largest radio and television companies, Aleksandr Yakovlev of Ostankino
and Oleg Poptsov of Russian Television (RTV) and confirmed his earlier
decision that both Ostankino and RTV should remain in state ownership.
Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.
DELAY IN APPROVAL OF 1994 BUDGET. Aleksandr Pochinok, deputy chairman of
the Duma's Committee on Budget, Taxes, Banks, and Finance, told a news
conference on 9 March that final approval of the 1994 federal budget
cannot be expected until July at the earliest, AFP reported. He reckoned
that "at best" some 40 days will be needed to get the draft budget through
the Duma. It will then have to be approved by the Federation Council
before being submitted to the president for consideration and final
approval. Pochinok called on the government to come up with a
"mini-budget" to cover the second quarter of the year. Keith Bush, RFE/RL,
YELTSIN TO ISSUE DECREE ON OVERDUE WAGES. The Independent Miners' Union of
Russia has told RFE/RL's Moscow correspondent that President Yeltsin will
soon issue a decree threatening judicial sanctions for any enterprise
director who holds up the payment of workers' wages. The union said it
helped draft the decree. Workers in the gas, oil and coal industries have
threatened widespread strikes later this month if they do not begin
receiving overdue wages. While it may not always be the fault of
enterprise directors if they do not have enough cash to pay their workers,
Anders Aslund, the Swedish economist who acted as adviser to the
government of Egor Gaidar, told Western journalists recently that part of
the problem with overdue wages stems from the fact that some enterprise
directors still treat their workers like "slaves." Elizabeth Teague,
PARLIAMENTARIANS OPPOSED TO RUSSIA'S NATO MEMBERSHIP. Members of a Russian
parliamentary delegation, in Washington at the invitation of their US
counterparts, have suggested that the parliament has serious reservations
about Russian participation in the NATO "Partnership for Peace" program.
Following a meeting with US Defense Secretary William Perry on 9 March,
one member of the Russian delegation, Sergei Yushenkov, was quoted by
Interfax as saying that since the "framework agreements [of the
partnership program] were drawn up without our participation and are not
consistent with the status of Russia," the State Duma must protest against
Russian participation. Yushenkov suggested that Russia was suspicious of
the program because, as he said Perry had admitted, the program "provides
for the future standardization of weapons based on NATO technology." [NATO
expansion may therefore be viewed as a threat to Russia's already
struggling defense enterprises.] Recently representatives of Russia's
Foreign and Defense Ministries had spoken more positively of Russia's
participation in the NATO program. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.
SPLIT IN LEADERSHIP IN NIZHNII NOVGOROD. The harmony of views existing
between local leaders in Nizhnii Novgorod region is often cited to explain
why this region has been able to move ahead with market reforms so much
faster than many other Russian regions. But Rabochaya tribuna reported on
6 March that as local elections approach there has been a falling-out
between the region's two leading politicians--regional governor Boris
Nemtsov and the mayor of the city of Nizhnii Novgorod, Dmitrii Bednyakov.
Nemtsov is said to have announced that, in the elections to be held on 27
March, his preferred candidate is no longer Bednyakov but the chairman of
the former Oblast Soviet, Evgenii Krestyaninov. The newspaper says it is
not known what contributed to the cooling of relations between Bednyakov
and Nemtsov. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc.
BASHKORTOSTAN OFFICIAL KILLED BY BOMB. A deputy chairman of the
Bashkortostan parliament, Razil Musin, has been killed by a bomb, an
RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow reported on 9 March. Musin was reported to
have been killed when a bomb exploded at the door of his house in
Dyurtyuli, northeast of the Bashkortostan capital of Ufa. The police have
started an investigation. No official statement on the assassination is
yet available. ITAR-TASS reported on 9 March that Musin was appointed last
week to the additional post of the head of administration of the Dyurtyuli
district over the objection of local leaders. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.
GAS TRADE UPDATE. On 9 March, Ukraine made a payment of $9 million towards
its outstanding debt of around 1.5 trillion rubles (about $900 million)
owed to Russia for past deliveries of natural gas, Russian and Western
agencies reported. Ukrainian Deputy Economics Minister Vasyl Hureyev was
quoted as saying that Ukraine plans to offer equipment for the Russian gas
sector to pay off one-third of its outstanding debt during the
negotiations due to open in Moscow on 10 March. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.
TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA
KAZAKHSTAN ELECTION CENSURED. A delegation sent by the CSCE to observe the
7 March election in Kazakhstan has censured the conduct of the election,
Western and Russian news agencies reported on 8 and 9 March. The head of
the delegation, Dutch parliamentarian Jan van Houwelingen, told a news
conference in Almaty that election procedures did not meet internationally
accepted standards. He cited in particular a "presidential list" of
candidates picked by President Nursultan Nazarbaev to contest 42 reserved
seats; arbitrary disqualification of candidates by local election
commissions; and harassment of the media for criticizing election rules.
Some observers attributed the problems to shortcomings in the
recently-adopted law on the elections and widespread unfamiliarity with
democratic election procedures. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
IMBROGLIO OVER BOSNIAN SERBS' FUTURE CONTINUES. Borba of 10 March quotes
Bosnian Serb parliament chairman Momcilo Krajisnik as saying that his
people will not join a confederation with the Muslims and Croats "even if
forced." Other Bosnian Serb leaders, including Radovan Karadzic, have made
similar statements since the Muslim-Croat agreement was signed on 1 March,
adding that they prefer to join rump Yugoslavia instead. Vjesnik, however,
quotes Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic as saying that his side will
not agree to the Serbs "taking off a piece of Bosnia and bringing it to
Serbia," although he added that the Bosnian Serbs can join in the
Muslim-Croat agreement if they want. Izetbegovic denied that anyone has
seriously raised the idea of setting up a new Yugoslav state, but said
that the Croat-Muslim pact, which has US and EU support, "implicitly"
requires everyone to return conquered territory. Karadzic has suggested
that his side might give up or trade some of its gains, but not all.
Meanwhile in Moscow, the Croatian and Russian foreign ministers met with
the Bosnian premier on 9 March, and Vecernji list of the 10 March quotes
Russia's Andrei Kozyrev as saying that he does not think that either
Zagreb or Belgrade wants to partition Bosnia. He pointed out that Russia
supports the territorial integrity of all former Yugoslav republics.
Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.
UN NEEDS MORE TROOPS FOR BOSNIA, CONDEMNS SERBS FOR ETHNIC CLEANSING.
Reuters reported from UN headquarters on 9 March that the world body has
offers of 4,000 more troops for Bosnia, including 1,000 from Turkey. Given
the historic animosity between Turks and Serbs, Ankara has offered its men
for duty between Croat and Muslim positions. Those two sides have
reportedly accepted the proposal, but the UN has yet to do so.
International media quoted US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, John
Shalikashvili, as saying that about 50,000 troops would be needed to
enforce any Bosnian peace. Reuters notes that the UN currently has 28,350
troops in the former Yugoslavia, some 13,000 of whom are in Bosnia.
Meanwhile at the UN offices in Geneva, the Human Rights Commission
condemned all sides for human rights violations in the Yugoslav conflicts,
but singled out the Bosnian Serbs and their backers in Belgrade for ethnic
cleansing and other crimes. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.
CZECH SOLDIERS TO JOIN UN FORCES IN BOSNIA. The Czech government decided
on 10 March that a 120-member Czech army unit will be moved from Croatia
to Bosnia. CTK reports that the decision is the Czech government's
response to the United Nations' recent request to send soldiers to Bosnia.
The unit will be stationed north of Sarajevo. Speaking at a press
conference after the government meeting, Premier Vaclav Klaus said that
the Czech government sees the current situation in Bosnia "as a positive
breakthrough" and is glad that Czech soldiers can contribute to this
development. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.
SERBIAN PARTIES URGE BAN ON SANDZAK MUSLIM PARTY. All delegates of the
Serbian parties in the local assembly of Bijelopolje urged the prohibition
of the ethnic Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) in the region of
Sandzak, which is divided between Serbia and Montenegro, Borba reported on
7 and 8 March. The party is linked to the Bosnian Muslim organization of
the same name. Meanwhile, further arrests of Sandzak SDA activists took
place, and the public prosecutor at Bijelopolje extended investigations of
members of the party who allegedly planned an armed uprising, built up a
paramilitary formation, and collected large quantities of weapons. Fabian
Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc.
SERBIA'S DEMOCRATIC PARTY LOSES SUPPORTER. On 10 March Politika reports
that Slobodan Radulovic, a member of Zoran Djindjic's Democratic Party
(DS) and a sitting representative in Serbia's parliament, has left the DS
only one day after confirming that he would join Premier Mirko
Marjanovic's cabinet. Djindjic has stated for the record that the DS as a
whole will not at present consider supporting a government dominated by
the Socialist Party of Serbia, but it remains unclear whether Radulovic's
abrupt resignation is in any way connected to a disagreement with his
former leader. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.
A YEAR OF QUESTIONS FOR CROATIAN CATHOLICS. For some weeks Croatian papers
have been speculating on two questions affecting the life of the
republic's at least nominally Roman Catholic majority. The first involves
a possible papal visit in September to mark the 900th anniversary of the
Zagreb diocese. Part of the uncertainty is whether such a trip would be
linked to one to Sarajevo, which the pope has long wanted to visit, and to
Belgrade as well, which leaves many Croats uneasy because they want to
deny any connection between themselves and Serbia. The second question is
whether the primate, Cardinal Franjo Kuharic, will step down as his 75th
birthday approaches. The cardinal is widely respected and has played a
public role in criticizing the government's policy against the Muslims
since last May. The Vatican may rule that this is not the right time for
Kuharic to leave office, or it may seek a successor after all. One
candidate widely mentioned is a Bosnian archbishop, who, like the Vatican
and Kuharic, believes that good relations with the Muslims are necessary
for the welfare of all Catholics in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Patrick Moore,
GREEK MINISTER SUPPORTS EMBARGO AGAINST MACEDONIA. On 9 March Date: Thu,
10 Mar 1994 13:20:01 +0100
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Western media reported that Greek Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias
defended Athens' economic embargo against Macedonia before the parliament
of the European Union. According to AFP, Papoulias stressed that his
government would resist international pressure aimed at having Greece lift
the embargo and emphasized that Macedonia had to make concessions, which
include changing its name, before Athens would be willing to negotiate. On
10 March the Serbian daily Politika notes that Papoulias is scheduled to
meet UN envoy Cyrus Vance on 10 March, and it is expected that the two
will discuss options for easing tensions between Greece and Macedonia.
Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.
POLICE CORRUPTION SCANDAL ROCKS POLAND. Polish police commander Zenon
Smolarek told a Sejm commission on 9 March that he will step down as soon
as an official inquiry into allegations of police corruption in Poznan is
completed. Smolarek is the first casualty in a widening scandal. Gazeta
Wyborcza broke the story with a front-page article on 5 March, alleging
that the Poznan economic crimes squad is on the payroll of local business
mafias involved in bootleg liquor production and smuggling stolen autos.
The paper accused Smolarek, who comes from Poznan, of accepting household
appliances as bribes. Internal Affairs Minister Andrzej Milczanowski set
up a special commission to investigate the allegations but refused to
suspend the officials named by the paper. Smolarek has denied all charges
and claimed that unspecified "political forces" are out to get him. Louisa
Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.
SOLIDARITY ESCALATES STRIKE PRESSURE. As Solidarity's strike campaign
continued to expand, union leaders complained on 9 March that the
government is responding with intimidation "reminiscent of the 1980s."
Solidarity's national leadership threatened to stage a general strike to
defend the union rights it claims the government is violating. On 9 March
strikes were held at some 250 plants, mostly in Silesia. The response to
the strike call in Lodz was weak. A public transportation strike planned
for Katowice was called off at the last minute on the grounds that the
union's protest is directed against the state administration, not local
residents. Transport workers did strike for three hours in Koszalin,
however. A two-hour miners' strike is scheduled for 10 March, and a
ten-hour railway strike for 11 March. Railway management called the
planned strike illegal, while the industry ministry vowed that striking
miners will receive "not a single zloty" for missed working time, PAP
reports. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.
SLOVAK PRESIDENT ATTACKS MECIAR IN SPEECH . . . In his Report on the State
of the Slovak Republic, delivered to the parliament on 9 March, Michal
Kovac sharply attacked Premier Vladimir Meciar, accusing him of
incompetence, obstruction of democracy, and populism, TASR reports. Kovac
said the Meciar government "is losing its moral claim to legitimacy, which
in democracies is an inseparable part of the right to be in power." He
continued that while he is not against Meciar's party--the Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia--or against the government, he has "serious
reservations about the style and ethics of Mr. Meciar's politics." One
example given by Kovac concerned Meciar's proposed privatization minister,
Ivan Lexa, whom Kovac rejected last November. Kovac said that Meciar told
him he wanted a political ally in the post who could get money from
privatization for the MDS. Although the president has repeatedly called
for the creation of a new government, this was the first time that he
explicitly criticized Meciar. Kovac did not demand Meciar's resignation,
but he appealed to members of the parliament to "unite forces" and agree
on early elections. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.
. . . SPARKING CALLS FOR THE PREMIER'S DISMISSAL. Following Kovac's
speech, several opposition parties said they would call a no-confidence
vote in the Meciar government (the opposition has had enough deputies to
pass the vote since mid-February, when a group of MDS deputies left the
party). Christian Democratic Movement Chairman Jan Carnogursky said that
if Meciar did not step down himself, the CDM would initiate the vote, CTK
reports. Alliance of Democrats Chairman Milan Knazko said "the president's
speech is more than enough reason to dismiss the government," while Party
of the Democratic Left deputy Robert Fico said "the reasons which the
president put forward are sufficient for every normal deputy to express no
confidence in the government." Deputies from the two ethnic Hungarian
parties also said they favored the government's dismissal, TASR reports.
Kovac, Meciar and other top officials met after the speech, but no
agreement was reached since Meciar was unwilling to compromise. Thus, a
proposal by CDM deputy Ladislav Pittner to hold a no-confidence vote in
the government won the support of 78 of the 142 parliamentary deputies
present. When asked to respond to Kovac's address, Meciar refused, saying
he was unfamiliar with it since he was not there when the speech was
given. The parliament thus decided to wait until 10 March to hold the
no-confidence vote, allowing Meciar to familiarize himself with the
president's address and respond to the charges. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL,
HUNGARY RECEIVES GERMAN MILITARY PARTS. On 9 March, Germany signed an
agreement with the Hungarian Defense Ministry to supply parts for the
upkeep of Hungarian military's helicopters free of charge, MTI reports.
The parts will not contain weapons, and the delivery will not be in
contradiction to military agreements Hungary has signed with any other
country. The parts come from the former East German military and are much
needed for the upkeep of helicopters in Hungary. The report mentioned that
Hungary has already received 150 million DM worth of equipment from
Germany but did not put a value on the military parts to be received in
the future. Judith Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc.
BULGARIAN LEV CONTINUES TO FALL. Over the past weeks the Bulgaria currency
has plunged steeply against the US dollar, with commercial banks stopping
publication of exchange rates on 9 March. After the close of business on
that day, Bulgarian National Bank Deputy Chairman Mileti Mladenov told BTA
that a decision had been made to set the exchange rate at 44.092 leva
against the US dollar. The new rate represents a record low, almost 20
leva below the January 1993 rate and 10 leva below that of January 1994.
Instead of intervening to purchase dollars as in similar cases in the
past, the BNB doubled interest rates on short-term deposits. Mladenov
argued that the continued fall in production and lagging privatization and
economic restructuring were the main reasons for this round of currency
turmoil, but other analysts seem to believe that the present crisis also
reflects lack of confidence in the newly adopted budget and in the
stability of the government. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.
ILIESCU IN SOUTH KOREA. On 9 March Romanian President Ion Iliescu began an
official three-day visit to South Korea, Radio Bucharest reports. A
statement issued after talks with South Korean President Kim Young-Sam
said that the two agreed on expanding economic ties, including cooperation
in such sectors as energy, electronics, auto manufacturing,
communications, construction and shipbuilding. The visit is the first paid
by a Romanian head of state to the Asian country. Romania and South Korea
established diplomatic ties in 1990. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.
ROMANIA DENIES AGREEMENT ON DEPORTEES FROM GERMANY. At a press conference
on 9 March, a spokesman for the Romanian foreign ministry denied reports
that Bucharest had agreed to allow refugees from Serbia deported from
Germany to return home via the Romanian airport of Timisoara. According to
German media, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia decided to deport some
640 Serbian asylum-seekers whose applications had been refused. Both North
Rhine-Westphalian and German federal officials announced the same day that
the first flight had to be canceled pending clarification on the part of
the Romanian authorities. German human right groups and churches have
warned that many refugees face persecution in their country of origin,
especially the thousands of men who deserted the Serbian army, as well as
ethnic Albanians from Kosovo and Hungarians from Vojvodina. Dan Ionescu,
MOLDOVAN PLEBISCITE FOR INDEPENDENCE. The results of the "popular
consultation," held on 6 March to confirm Moldova's independence, were
released on 9 March. The question was: "Are you in favor of the
development of Moldova as an independent state, whole and indivisible,
within the borders valid on the date of the proclamation of sovereignty
and recognized by the UN, pursuing neutrality, cooperating for mutual
advantage with all countries of the world, and guaranteeing the rights of
all its citizens in accordance with international norms?" Voter turnout
was 75.1%, lowered by the boycott in the "Dniester republic" where 18% of
Moldova's population reside. The votes cast were: 95.4% yes, 2% no and
2.6% invalid. Moldova's top leaders had urged the people to show that the
country wants to be "neither a Russian gubernia nor a Romanian province."
Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.
BELARUS FINDS TERMS FOR MONETARY UNION UNACCEPTABLE. The chairman of the
National Bank of Belarus, Stanislau Bahdankevich, said that Belarus will
not enter into a monetary union with Russia under the conditions Russia is
proposing, Reuters and Interfax reported on 9 March. Belarus had hoped to
stay in the ruble zone under favorable terms. These included the exchange
of its weaker currency for the Russian ruble on a one-to-one basis and the
ability to buy Russian oil and gas at domestic Russian prices. The union
was supposed to be signed in February during an anticipated visit by
Russian Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin to Minsk. Instead, the visit was
delayed while negotiations on the terms for the monetary union continued.
According to Bahdankevich, Russia is now demanding that the system of
mutual account-clearing be kept in place, a single budget be formed for
Russia and Belarus, and the National Bank of Belarus be replaced by a
branch of the Central Bank of Russia in Minsk. Russia is also refusing to
bring energy prices for Belarus down to those of its own internal market.
Under these terms Bahdankevich said the economic situation in Belarus
would only worsen and that the signing of a monetary union was now delayed
for an "unforeseen period." Interfax reported that should the agreement
not be signed, it is possible that Belarus would shift its foreign policy
orientation away from Moscow. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.
DANISH DEFENSE MINISTER IN LITHUANIA. On 9 March an official delegation
headed by Hans Haekkerup arrived in Vilnius for a three-day visit, Radio
Lithuania reports. Haekkerup held talks with President Algirdas
Brazauskas, Seimas chairman Ceslovas Jursenas. Defense Minister Linas
Linkevicius, and members of the parliament's National Security Committee.
The Danes will later visit the Lithuanian fleet in Klaipeda. The main aim
of the visit is the signing of a defense agreement, focusing on the
training of officers and participation in the Partnership for Peace
Program. Denmark will help in the training of a joint Baltic peacekeeping
battalion at a base near Alytus. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.
RECORD LOW GROWTH OF ESTONIAN CURRENCY RESERVES. The Bank of Estonia
reported that in February its gold and hard currency reserves increased by
32.5 million kroons to 5,373.7 million kroons ($392 million), BNS reported
on 9 March. The monthly growth is the lowest since the introduction of the
kroon in July 1992 and less than half of the previous record low of 72.5
million kroons in February 1993. In 1993 the average monthly growth was
227.9 million kroons. In February 1994 the bank issued 15.6 million kroons
in cash, bringing the total currency in circulation to 2,793.9 million
kroons. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.
LATVIA ASKS FOR CLARIFICATION ON CHRISTOPHER'S COMMENTS. Baltic media
reported on 9 March that the Latvian Foreign Ministry sent a note asking
for clarification from the US State Department on comments made by
Secretary of State Warren Christopher to the Congress about Russians in
Latvia. Christopher allegedly said that about one million Russian-speaking
people were deprived of the right to vote in Latvia. The Latvian Foreign
Ministry pointed out that only 722,486 ethnic Russians reside in Latvia,
of whom 278,087 are citizens of Latvia, and expressed concern about the
effect of such remarks on Moscow, which could construe them as an approval
of its attempts to dictate to Riga its policy on citizenship and
naturalization. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.
RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER STONEWALLS ON BALTIC WITHDRAWAL. Russian Defense
Minister Pavel Grachev, in Bonn on an official visit, dismissed calls from
German and Baltic leaders for Russia to withdraw the last of its military
personnel from Estonia and Latvia by the end of August. According to
Reuters and ITAR-TASS reports on 9 March, Grachev suggested that the
rights of the Russian minority must be guaranteed before the withdrawal
could take place, and called the pullout an internal Russian affair. While
German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel was quoted as saying that the Baltic
States should reassure Russia about the welfare of the Russian minority,
he rejected linking the military withdrawal to such issues and called for
a "speedy and final withdrawal of former Soviet troops from Estonia and
Latvia." Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.
[As of 1200 CET]
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