Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece. - Vladimir Nabokov
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 50, 14 March 1994

RUSSIA

SUPREME COURT ORDERS RESUMPTION OF 1991 COUP TRIAL. The Supreme Court 
responded positively to the request of the Prosecutor General to resume 
the trial of the organizers of the 1991 August coup, Interfax and 
ITAR-TASS reported on 11 March. The trial was halted in early March in 
response to an amnesty of the trial's defendants declared by the State 
Duma in February. The Prosecutor's Office said the Supreme Court's move 
violated the Russian law stipulating that any trial that has been started 
must be brought to an end; only after a verdict is passed can an amnesty 
be declared. A Supreme Court spokesman said the date for the resumed trial 
would be decided later. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. 

GAIDAR ON POSSIBLE COMEBACK. The leader of the radical reformist 
parliamentary faction Russia's Choice, Egor Gaidar, told journalists on 
his arrival in Perm that he does not exclude his return to the government 
"in the longer term", ITAR-TASS reported on 13 March. He stated that 
Russia's biggest problem was the slowing down of the process of 
transformation of social life. He added that when the reform process was 
reactivated, he would be prepared to return to the government. Gaidar's 
authority as leader of Russia's reformers is being questioned, however. 
Leading activists of Russia's Choice told the RFE/RL Research Institute on 
5 March that Gaidar may soon be replaced at the helm another radical 
reformer, such as Boris Fedorov. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON BOROVOI. The leader of the pro-reformist Party of 
Economic Freedom and prominent businessman, Konstantin Borovoi, survived 
an attempt on his life on 12 March during his trip to Kostroma, Interfax 
reported. Borovoi had met voters in Kostroma. On the way back, shots were 
fired at his car on the border between Kostroma and Yaroslav oblasts but 
he managed to get out of the car before it exploded. Borovoi said that the 
attack was in response to his struggle against "left radicals". He said he 
had found out that the head of administration of Lipetsk was organizing a 
plot against President Boris Yeltsin. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

CHERNOMYRDIN BACKS LAND REFORM. Addressing a conference on agricultural 
reform in Nizhny Novgorod on 10 March, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin 
praised the pilot project in that region aimed at breaking up the 
kolkhozes into many smaller private holdings, Russian and Western agencies 
reported. After attending an auction of farm machinery, Chernomyrdin 
hinted that the Nizhny Novgorod decentralization model--drawn up with the 
assistance of the International Finance Corporation--might be adopted 
throughout Russia and that a presidential decree to that effect might be 
forthcoming soon. Supportive noises were also heard from Aleksandr 
Zaveryukha, the deputy prime minister in charge of the agricultural 
sector. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. 

GRACHEV ON BALTIC WITHDRAWAL, NATO AND CSCE. In a partial reversal of 
statements made several days earlier, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, in 
Germany on an official visit, suggested on 11 March that Russian troops 
would withdraw from the Baltic States by 31 August, Reuters reported. 
Earlier in the week Grachev had reacted negatively to a request by German 
Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel to meet the previously agreed upon deadline. 
Grachev nevertheless insisted that Russian troops in Estonia and Latvia 
would leave with dignity and that they would "not tolerate being played 
around with." He also once again implicitly linked the withdrawal to 
alleged mistreatment of the Russian minorities in these two countries, 
comparing conditions there to "apartheid." Meanwhile, on the last day of 
his visit, Grachev told reporters in Berlin that the CSCE should be the 
"main peacemaking organization" in Europe; he seemed to suggest that a 
restructured NATO might also play a subordinate role. Stephen Foye, 
RFE/RL, Inc. 

DEFENSE LEADERS AGAINST BUDGET CUTS. Representatives of Russia's defense 
enterprises, meeting with government leaders in Moscow on 11 and 12 March, 
criticized proposed reductions in Russia's arms procurement budget for 
1994, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported. Conference participants, who were 
said to include First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets, former CIS 
Joint Forces Commander Evgenii Shaposhnikov, and First Deputy Defense 
Minister Andrei Kokoshin, warned that the reductions could hurt some 15-20 
million Russian employees of the defense industries and undermine national 
security. Interfax reported that a sitting chaired by Soskovets on 11 
March had adopted a decision to maintain the volume of last year's 
procurement, but it was unclear if that was a decision binding upon the 
government. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. 

YELTSIN SIGNS DETARGETING DECREE. Interfax reported on 12 March that 
President Boris Yeltsin has signed a decree calling for Russian missiles 
to be "detargeted" by the end of May, as agreed by Presidents Clinton and 
Yeltsin at the Moscow summit in January. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

ON KOZYREV'S MIDEAST TRIP. The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement 
following Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev's trips to Tunisia and Israel 
ending on 12 March. According to the statement, "As a result of talks and 
conversations, an important political decision was reached: The Palestine 
Liberation Organization has undertaken to resume talks," a step that 
"required great political courage." The statement then urged the UN 
Security Council to adopt its draft resolution on the Hebron massacre. The 
statement also pointed out that Russia will continue its efforts and will 
discuss the situation in meetings with representatives of the United 
States on 14 March in Vladivostok, ITAR-TASS reported. Suzanne Crow, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

ANOTHER RUSSIAN CITIZEN ACCUSED OF ESPIONAGE. A spokesman of the Federal 
Counterintelligence Service (FSK), Aleksandr Mikhailov, said that his 
agency had arrested an agent of the German foreign Intelligence, BND, 
ITAR-TASS reported on 11 March. Mikhailov confirmed that the agent was a 
Russian citizen, but refused to release his name or more details of the 
case. On 1 March, the FSK arrested a senior official of the defense 
concern "SMM", Vadim Sintsov, who was accused of espionage for the British 
secret service. On 21 December last year the military tribunal sentenced a 
colonel of Russian military intelligence, the GRU, to six years for 
espionage for the United States. In all three cases the accused were 
Russian citizens. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. 

SHUMEIKO ON STATUS OF KALININGRAD. During a visit to Kaliningrad, 
Federation Council Chairman Vladimir Shumeiko noted that a campaign has 
been started in connection with the fiftieth anniversary of the Potsdam 
Conference to detach the oblast from Russia, ITAR-TASS reported on 9 
March. He said that Russia would never agree to this, but welcomed a 
proposal to create a free economic zone in the oblast. The oblast 
administration is drafting a law on the Russian exclave's status and plans 
to send it to the Legislation Committee of the Federation Council for 
consideration by 15 March. If such a law comes into force, the region 
might enter into a treaty with the federal government, which, Kaliningrad 
leaders believe, would be the first treaty of this kind signed within the 
Russian Federation. Yeltsin's chief of staff Sergei Filatov told ITAR-TASS 
the same day that Kaliningrad Oblast should be granted "additional powers" 
to build up ties with neighboring countries. Izvestiya reported on 11 
March that during his visit to Bonn Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev 
told his German counterpart that Russia's military contingent in 
Kaliningrad Oblast would be reduced and reorganized. Alexander Rahr, 
Dzintra Bungs and Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. 

TATARSTAN TURNOUT ENOUGH TO VALIDATE ELECTIONS. About 68 percent of the 
Tatarstan electorate voted in the elections to Russia's Federal Assembly 
on 13 March, ITAR-TASS reported on 14 March. A 25 percent turnout out was 
enough for the elections to be valid. In December the elections either 
could not be held because of insufficient candidates or were invalid 
because of the low turnout. In the interim Tatarstan has signed a treaty 
on power-sharing with Russia and this time the Tatarstan leadership urged 
voters to take part in the elections. Tatar nationalists again called for 
a boycott, and the turnout was lowest in the Naberezhnye chelni 
constituency where their influence is strongest. Preliminary results show 
that Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev and Prime Minister Muhammat 
Sabirov were elected to the Federation Council. The results of the 
elections to the State Duma are not yet known. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. 

KALMYK PRESIDENT PROPOSES SUSPENSION OF KALMYK CONSTITUTION. Kalmyk 
President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov stated in the Kalmyk parliament on 11 March 
that the Kalmyk constitution would be abolished and that Kalmykia 
recognized only the Russian constitution as valid on its territory, 
ITAR-TASS reported. He proposed that the constitution be suspended on 25 
March, and that a delegation be sent to ask Yeltsin to name him or someone 
else "president, governor, or head of the republic for 5-10 years." 
ITAR-TASS reported on 12 March that a protest rally had been held in the 
Kalmyk capital, Elista, to protest his action. David Kugultinov, the 
Kalmyk national poet and chairman of the Council of Elders, described 
Ilyumzhinov's statement as ill-thought-out. Kugultinov said the Kalmyk 
people should be consulted and he did not think they would approve. Ann 
Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. 

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

RUSSIAN MONITORS CRITICIZE KAZAKHSTAN ELECTION. Kazakhstan's parliamentary 
election on 7 March was described as unfair by the head of a group of 
Russian legislators who monitored the election, Reuters and Russian TV 
reported on 11 March. Konstantin Zatulin, Chairman of the State Duma's 
Committee on the CIS, was particularly critical of the rules governing the 
election, which had earlier been criticized by a group of CSCE observers; 
their criticism of election procedures was sharply rejected by the head of 
Kazakhstan's Election Commission, Karatai Turysov. Zatulin also criticized 
the "ethnocratization" of power in Kazakhstan, noting that Kazakhs will 
have 58% of the seats in the new parliament thought they make up only 42% 
of the population of the country. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

MORE ON ASSASSINATION OF TAJIK DEPUTY PREMIER. On 12 March ITAR-TASS 
reported that Tajik law enforcement agencies have arrested two people in 
connection with assassination of Deputy Prime Minister Maiansho Nazarshoev 
on 10 March. A government source asserted that the assassination of 
Nazarshoev, who was to have headed a Tajik government negotiating team in 
talks with the Tajik opposition in Moscow, was the work of a group of 
supporters of the opposition Islamic Renaissance Party. The group, headed 
by influential opposition leader Mullah Kasym, is active in the Kofarnihon 
Raion near Dushanbe. Opposition spokesmen denied having had anything to do 
with the killing, pointing out that the upcoming negotiations are in the 
opposition's interest. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

CIS

GROMOV ON BLACK SEA FLEET. The commander of the Russian navy, Feliks 
Gromov, has asserted that Russia still considers the Massandra agreement 
(under which Ukraine agreed to consider transferring most of the Black Sea 
Fleet to Russia in exchange for debt relief) to be the basis for further 
negotiations over the fleet. Gromov was reacting to recent statements by 
the commander of the Ukrainian navy suggesting that Ukraine prefers to 
split the fleet between Ukraine and Russia. According to the Interfax 
report of 12 March, Gromov also criticized the Ukrainian side for delaying 
the drawing up of an inventory of the fleet's assets, a necessary first 
step before any sale or division can occur. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

MECIAR AND HIS GOVERNMENT OUSTED BY PARLIAMENT. After a stormy two-day 
session, on 11 March the Slovak parliament removed Premier Vladimir Meciar 
and his government in a vote of no-confidence, Slovak TV reported. 
Although a number of opposition deputies were not present, 78 out of the 
150 members of parliament supported the ouster. Only two deputies voted 
against Meciar's removal, while 56 members of Meciar's Movement for a 
Democratic Slovakia and its coalition partner, the Slovak National Party, 
abstained from the vote. The vote of confidence came after President 
Michal Kovac criticized Meciar and his government for inefficiency and 
corruption in a parliamentary address on 9 March. It is expected that the 
president will officially dismiss Meciar on 14 March. Many observers 
predict that Roman Kovac, previously a close ally of Meciar who was purged 
from the MDS only recently, is the likely successor of Meciar as premier 
of the transitional government, which is expected to last only until new 
elections can be held. Once before, in April 1991, Meciar was removed from 
his office as premier by the Presidium of the Slovak parliament only to 
return to power after an election victory in June 1992. Jan Obrman, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECHS CONSIDERED ATTACK ON SLOVAKIA, MECIAR CLAIMS. On the morning of 11 
March, Meciar presented a lengthy and emotional address to parliament, 
full of threats and personal slurs. Besides numerous attacks on the 
president and the opposition, he suggested that in late 1992, the General 
Staff of the Czechoslovak Army was preparing a military intervention in 
Slovakia, Slovak and Czech media reported over the weekend. Meciar claimed 
that during a meeting shortly before the disintegration of Czechoslovakia, 
he had asked the former Chief of the General Staff, General Karel Pezl, to 
give him his word of honor that the military was not preparing operations 
against Slovakia. He then recalled that Pezl began "sweating heavily" and 
refused to answer. Meciar added that thanks to Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus 
it was possible to resolve the situation "politically" within 24 hours. 
Klaus reacted by saying that the charge was so absurd that it does not 
merit a response, pointing out that he never discussed any such topic with 
Meciar. Retired General Pezl said in an interview with CTK on 11 March 
that when asked, he gave Meciar his word of honor that the army was not 
preparing an intervention in Slovakia. Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.

CROATS AND MUSLIMS REACH POLITICAL AND MILITARY AGREEMENTS. International 
media reported on 13 March that the two sides completed another stage of 
political talks in Vienna under American guidance. They agreed on a 
52-page constitution for a federation based on Swiss-style cantons linked 
with Croatia in a loose confederation, filling out somewhat an initial 
pact Date:	Mon, 14 Mar 1994 13:09:13 +0100
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announced in Washington on 1 March. The tricky problem of borders of the 
individual cantons remains to be solved, but the New York Times reported 
on 13 March that separate military talks in Split the previous day led to 
an agreement on the first steps toward setting up a common army. US and 
Russian diplomats will now concentrate efforts on bringing the Bosnian 
Serbs into the peace process, Reuters said on 14 March, but it is clear 
that the Croats and Muslims, at least, are prepared to go ahead with or 
without the Serbs. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

AIRSTRIKE AGAINST SERBS NARROWLY AVERTED. International media reported on 
13 March that Serbs again attacked French positions near Bihac the 
previous day, prompting the UN to request a NATO airstrike. The move was 
then called off when the Serbs withdrew their guns, and as bad weather 
made visibility difficult. Tanjug reported that Bosnian Serb commander 
Gen. Ratko Mladic warned the UN that the French were effectively siding 
with the Muslims, which could lead to "serious incidents." Undeterred, the 
French premier and defense minister arrived in Croatia and Bosnia on 13 
March to inspect French troops. Meanwhile in Sarajevo, international media 
reported that Muslims celebrated Bajram, marking the end of Ramadan, for 
the first time in two years without shelling or sniping. Patrick Moore, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

SANDZAK MUSLIMS WANT TO JOIN CROATIAN-MUSLIM TALKS. The leader of the 
ethnic Muslim Party of Democratic Action in Sandzak, Rasim Ljajic, 
described the Croat-Muslim agreement as a "necessary evil for Croatian 
President Franjo Tudjman to build up a military counterbalance to the 
Serbs," Borba reported on 10 March. Ljajic said that he expects the Serbs 
either to participate in a confederation or to be forced to give up "a 
good part of their territory," adding that "for the Muslims in Sandzak it 
is important to participate in the Bosnian-Croatian negotiations as equal 
partners." The vice president of the European movement in Serbia, Sefka 
Alomerovic, said that the agreement contradicts the interests of the 
Muslims in Sandzak, adding that "the Bosnian leaders just use them in the 
negotiations to tilt the balance in their own favor." Finally the leader 
of the leftist Reformists in Sandzak called the Croat-Muslim confederation 
an "a-natural marriage," but added that "the Sandzak [for its part] must 
keep Muslims, Serbs, and Montenegrins together." Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, 
Inc.

SERBIA RETURNS BULGARIAN CONVOY. On 13 March agencies reported that the 
Bulgarian river convoy, which one week earlier crossed the border with 
Serbia carrying nearly 6,000 tons of fuel, has returned to Bulgarian 
waters, though without its cargo. After arriving in the Danube port of 
Vidin, the 21-member convoy crew was apprehended by police, suspected of 
having violated the UN embargo against Serbia and Montenegro. Western 
agencies say the tugboat has been involved in previous attempts to smuggle 
fuel. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

SERBS DENY THAT ALBANIAN INSTITUTE HAS CLOSED. "Neither did any state 
organ of Serbia . . . close the Institute for Albanian Studies in 
Pristina, nor does a proposal for any closure exist." This is how Veljko 
Odalovic, the president of the commission for the reconstruction of the 
Institute, countered charges by Albanian university employees, Borba 
reported on 10 March. The president of the prominent Albanian national 
center, Sadri Fetiu, charged the Serbian police with closing it on 8 March 
and with "beating professors and assistants in a brutal manner and 
throwing them out on the street," the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 
reported on 10 March. The Institute for Albanian Studies was the last 
major remaining ethnic Albanian educational institution in Kosovo after 
the Belgrade authorities introduced a centralized program of instruction 
for the University of Pristina in 1990. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc.

ZHIRINOVSKY'S POLISH VISIT A NON-EVENT. "Boring Zhirinovsky," was Gazeta 
Wyborcza's summary verdict on 14 March, at the end of the 
Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia leader's two-day visit to Poland. The 
only excitement was provided by a minor scuffle at the airport on his 
arrival, involving riot police and journalists. Vladimir Zhirinovsky came 
to Poland privately as the guest of Janusz Bryczkowski, a Polish 
businessman who believes that trade with Russia is the key to all Poland's 
problems. Bryczkowski seceded from Andrzej Lepper's militant Self-Defense 
Farmer's Union and formed his own political party, the National 
Self-Defense Front. Zhirinovsky attended that party's first congress. The 
congress changed the party's name to the Polish National Front and founded 
a paramilitary youth section called the Polish Legion, whose members, 
mostly skinheads, dress in Nazi-style uniforms, wear black face masks, and 
carry baseball bats. Bryczkowski hoped that the Russian's visit might 
boost interest in his fringe party, which has negligible support and 
influence in Poland. Avoiding the aggressive rhetoric of his earlier 
foreign visits, Zhirinovsky said that he was not interested in any border 
changes to the West of Russia and said that the Baltic Sea was the best 
place for a Russian-Polish-German border. He promoted his idea of a 
pan-Slavic military and economic alliance, saying that NATO was only 
interested in Poland as a source of cannon fodder and a theater for 
possible conflict with Russia: "You will be cleaning boots for Western 
officers," he told Poles. No other Polish politician took the opportunity 
to meet with Zhirinovsky. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

GLEMP REELECTED TO HEAD POLISH EPISCOPATE. Poland's Roman Catholic 
Primate, Cardinal Jozef Glemp was reelected Chairman of the Polish 
Bishops' Conference for another five-year term, PAP reported on 10 March. 
The post was traditionally held ex officio by the Polish primate until 
statutory changes in 1986 made it subject to election. Glemp was elected 
in 1989 as the only candidate for the post. This time, several other 
candidates--whose identities were not disclosed--were also put forward by 
the bishops, but Glemp won a clear majority in the first round of voting. 
The result is seen as an affirmation of Glemp's traditionalist course and 
a closing of Episcopal ranks in the face of continuing anticlericalism in 
Poland. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. 

DISAPPOINTING HUNGARIAN 1993 FOREIGN TRADE RESULTS. The Central 
Statistical Office announced that Hungary registered a $3.6 billion trade 
deficit in 1993, MTI reported on 13 March. Imports grew by 30% to $12.2 
billion, while exports, worth $8.6 billion, declined 3% in value and 10% 
in volume compared to 1992. On the import side, two Boeing passenger 
planes, a 30% increase in food imports and a 16% rise in consumer goods 
imports were the major factors. Exports, which registered recovery in the 
last two months of 1993, were weakened by a 20% decline in agricultural 
products. Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc.

BEROV'S CONDITION "STABLE." Bulgarian dailies on 14 March quote medical 
personnel as saying that Premier Lyuben Berov's condition has stabilized 
following a five-hour by-pass operation on 11 March. Berov, who as a 
result of heart failure was hospitalized on 8 March, is being replaced by 
Deputy Premier Evgeni Matinchev during his sick leave. Kjell Engelbrekt, 
RFE/RL, Inc. 

ILIESCU IN CHINA. Romanian President Ion Iliescu arrived on 11 March at 
Shenzhen in southern China, after concluding a three-day official visit to 
South Korea. Iliescu's unofficial Chinese tour is aimed at exploring ways 
for closer economic cooperation with the special economic zones 
established in the Guangdong Province. Radio Bucharest on 11 and 12 March 
quoted Iliescu as saying that Romania should learn from the Shenzhen 
economic experiment with an eye on setting up its own free trade zones. 
Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIAN COUNTER-INTELLIGENCE CHIEF REPORTEDLY SACKED. Romania's 
top-selling daily Evenimentul zilei said on 12 March that Maj. Gen. 
Gheorghe Diaconescu, head of the counter-intelligence division of the 
Romanian Intelligence Service, had been sacked earlier that week. 
According to the daily, RIS chief Virgil Magureanu had ordered a thorough 
probe into Diaconescu's activities. Citing sources in the RIS, Evenimentul 
zilei described the reason for the general's dismissal as "complicated." 
In a dispatch from Bucharest, Reuters recalled accusations of spying 
leveled by the nationalist Greater Romanian Party against several top 
Romanian officials, adding that such charges could not be substantiated. 
Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. 

MOLDOVA STILL HURTING FROM RUSSIAN TRADE RESTRICTIONS. In negotiations in 
Chisinau with a delegation from Russia's Gazprom, Moldova agreed to 
promptly repay its debt of 126 billion rubles for Russian gas received in 
recent months. Moldova will use loans from international financial 
organizations to pay 96 billion rubles and will ship another 30 billion 
rubles worth of "high-quality" agricultural produce to Russia. The arrears 
were largely caused by prohibitive customs and excise taxes imposed by 
Russia on traditional imports from Moldova after the latter failed to 
ratify CIS documents in August 1993; Moldova was thus deprived of the 
means to pay for Russian fuel. President Mircea Snegur told the Gazprom 
delegation that to prevent such situations from recurring, the CIS should 
remove all trade barriers between its member states, Interfax reported on 
11 March. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUS SIGNS MILITARY AGREEMENT WITH RUSSIA. ITAR-TASS reported on 11 
March that a treaty on coordinating military activities was signed between 
Belarus and Russia. The treaty has a five year term during which time the 
two sides will cooperate in the military sphere and consult each other in 
the event of an attack. Other provisions include: the preservation of 
links in the manufacture of military equipment; the exchange of documents 
and information on scientific developments in this sphere; a provision 
regarding cooperation in the export of military equipment to other 
countries; joint training of military cadres; an agreement to safeguard 
the social and labor guarantees of servicemen located in or moving through 
each others' territory; an agreement to maintain the existing set-up of 
the air network and communication systems; and an agreement to share the 
cost of maintaining military cantonments. The document was signed by 
Hryhori Tarazevich, the Belarusian first deputy foreign minister, and Igor 
Saprykin, the Russian ambassador to Minsk. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. 

BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT TO DISCUSS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. A bill on 
presidential elections has been submitted to the parliament for approval, 
Interfax reported on 12 March. The bill would allow any Belarusian 
resident aged 35 and over to run for president, as long as the candidate 
had the backing of at least 70 deputies or 100,000 voters. The term of 
office would be five years, with a limit of two successive terms. The bill 
also stipulates that election campaigns and the election itself would be 
funded by the state; foreign or local donations would be strictly 
forbidden. The new constitution which provides for a presidency is due to 
be approved as a whole after 15 March. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. 

ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN ESTONIA AND LITHUANIA. On 10 March, after 
talks in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Kozyrev, Beniamino Andreatta 
traveled to Tallinn, where he met with Estonian President Lennart Meri, 
Premier Mart Laar, Foreign Minister Juri Luik, and members of the Russian 
community, BNS reported on 12 March. Meri accepted an invitation to visit 
Italy, where he is expected to sign four economic agreements. Andreatta 
told a press conference in Tallinn that it is not the content but the 
application of Estonian laws that have created strains with the ethnic 
minorities. On 12 March he traveled to Vilnius for talks with President 
Algirdas Brazauskas, deputy foreign ministers Albinas Januskas and 
Vladislovas Domarkas, and Premier Adolfas Slezevcius, with whom he signed 
an agreement on economic, industrial, and technical cooperation. Andreatta 
urged Lithuania to assist Latvia and Estonia in easing their tensions with 
Russia. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

LATVIAN FOREIGN MINISTER'S VISIT TO HUNGARY. On 12 March Georgs Andrejevs 
said at a press briefing at Riga's airport that his meetings with 
Hungarian President Arpad Goncz and Foreign Minister Geza Jeszensky 
allowed the signing of an agreement providing for mutual consultations on 
coordinated actions in international organizations, BNS reports. He also 
handed over draft agreements on investment protection, avoidance of double 
taxation, and legal cooperation. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. 

LATVIANS PROTEST RUSSIAN CONTROL OVER SKUNDRA. On 12 March about 1,000 
people participated in a rally at the Doms Square in Riga, organized by 
the Popular Front of Latvia and the Homeland and Freedom Association, BNS 
reports. The front's deputy chairman, Juris Kokins, said that the next 
round of talks with Russia, beginning on 14 March in Moscow, was expected 
to result in a treaty according to which Russia would withdraw its troops 
from Latvia by 31 August if allowed to retain its Skrunda radar base for 
four years with an additional 18 months for dismantling it. The rally 
attendees protested the signing of such a treaty, asserting that Russia 
wanted the Skrunda radar not as a technical installation, but as a 
military base where it would keep troops that could be used for various 
political purposes. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW CHIEF OF LATVIA'S CITIZENSHIP DEPARTMENT. Baltic media reported on 8 
and 10 March the appointment of Ints Zitars as director of the Citizenship 
and Immigration Department of Latvia's Ministry of Internal Affairs. He 
replaces the controversial Maris Plavnieks, who was dismissed in November 
1993. From 1978 to 1992 Zitars (born in 1944) was a research scientist 
with the Solid State Physics Institute of the University of Latvia, and 
from 1992 he headed the information center of the Citizenship and 
Immigration Department. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. 

[As of 1200 CET]
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Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole