If there is technological advance without social advance, there is, almost automatically, an increase in human misery. - Michael Harrington
RFE/RL DAILY REPORT

No. 53, 17 March 1994

RUSSIA

GRACHEV PROTESTS DEFENSE BUDGET. At a news conference on 16 March,
Defense Minister Pavel Grachev called for a revision of the defense
allocation in the draft consolidated budget for 1994, Reuters
reported. He complained that the sum earmarked for defense (37.1
trillion rubles) was less than half of the amount requested by the
armed forces (80 trillion rubles) and would mean that the nation's
security and its defense industry would be jeopardized. "We cannot
be accused of militarism; we are only asking for the bare minimum,"
Grachev said. Although his first deputy, Andrei Kokoshin; former
CIS Joint Forces Commander Evgenii Shaposhnikov; and other
prominent members of the military-industrial complex have already
protested the defense allocation for 1994, it is probably
unprecedented for a defense minister to go public with his
disagreement on a cabinet decision. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

GRACHEV ON MANPOWER CUTS, NUCLEAR "BUTTONS." In remarks reported by
"Vesti," Grachev also said that the army's combat capabilities and
the ability of the military leadership to pursue military reform
are being adversely effected by funding shortfalls. He claimed that
because each discharged officer must be paid a separation benefit
of twenty months wages, the army's plans to cut some 400,000
officers would have to be halved. Turning to Russia's nuclear
weapons and recent press speculations over why he had canceled a
scheduled visit to the Leningrad Military District, Grachev said
that he had remained in Moscow because he is in possession of one
of the three so-called "nuclear buttons:" the other two, he said,
are in the possession of the Russian president and the General
Staff chief, both of whom were out of the capital. According to
reports by ITAR-TASS and Pravda on 16-17 March, Grachev also
defended a recent decision by Russia and the US to detarget
strategic nuclear weapons, saying that the decision in no way
harmed Russian security and that it was an indication of mutual
trust and strategic stability. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

CAMDESSUS IN MOSCOW. International Monetary Fund Managing Director
Michel Camdessus is scheduled to start a five-day visit to Moscow
on 17 March, after several postponements. An RFE/RL correspondent
quotes IMF sources in Washington to the effect that a final
decision on the trip was made only on 15 March. Camdessus is
expected to meet Messrs. Chernomyrdin, Soskovets, Shokhin,
Shumeiko, Rybkin, and Gerashchenko, among others. The IMF has been
under renewed pressure from the G-7 nations to expedite the payment
of the second tranche ($1.5 billion) of the systemic transformation
facility, and to look again at the feasibility of extending up to
$4 billion in stand-by credits. Camdessus will find a steeper fall
in output, a shortfall in planned budgetary revenues, intense
pressure to raise budgetary expenditures, a disagreement between
government and parliament on the need for economic emergency
measures, and publicly expressed doubts by the economics minister
on whether a tight money policy is really necessary. Robert Lyle
and Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUTSKOI BACK IN POLITICS. In a statement marking the third
anniversary of the referendum on the preservation of the USSR,
former Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi proposed that the peoples
of the former Soviet republics should vote on whether to form a new
type of a union, ITAR-TASS reported on 16 March. Rutskoi said that
"we are destined by Lord God himself to live as one family, one
nation, one state--a great power." He added that "today people have
fully understood the price of the irresponsible and ill-thought-out
decision to liquidate the USSR" and that "reality itself has proved
that the CIS cannot work." He stated that reunification should
proceed peacefully. Since his release from prison, Rutskoi has
devoted himself fully to rebuilding his People's Party of "Free
Russia." Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN OPPOSITION FORMS FRONT TO SAVE "HISTORIC RUSSIA." Leaders
of three opposition parties--the Russian Communist and Agrarian
Parties, as well as the People's Party of Free Russia headed in the
past by former Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi--have announced the
formation of a united front called Accord for Russia. Reuters
reported on 16 March that the front proclaimed as its main aim the
preservation of "historic Russia" and the halting of what it called
"mindless reforms." Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party did not
join the front. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

LATEST FIGURES ON CONTRACT MILITARY SERVICE. There are currently
more than 160,000 soldiers and sergeants serving voluntarily in the
Russian armed forces on the basis of contracts, according to Lt.
Gen. Aleksandr Litvinov, deputy chief of the Russian General Staff
Organizational-Mobilizational Directorate. His remarks were
reported by Syn Otechestva on 11 March. Previous Defense Ministry
statements had put the number of volunteers at under 120,000, but
Litvinov suggested that this number had been augmented at the end
of 1993 by the signing on of some 50,000 new recruits, including
conscripts eligible for discharge, extended-service personnel, and
previously enlisted women. President Boris Yeltsin has authorized
the recruitment of an additional 150,000 volunteers this year. A
number of reports have suggested that the volunteer contingent
recruited in 1993 was not of the highest quality, and Litvinov
emphasized that commanders would use strict criteria in making this
year's selection. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA PLANNING A NEW SPACEPORT? The commander of the Russian
Military Space Forces is reportedly pushing for the creation of a
new spaceport in the Far East at an SS-11 ICBM base located near
Svobodniy. The site is due to be closed when START reductions are
implemented. The proposal, as reported in Rossiiskaya gazeta on 12
March, was decried by the head of Glavkosmos as being prohibitively
expensive. Nevertheless, ITAR-TASS and Reuters on 16 March claimed
that planning and discussion of the option are continuing. The new
spaceport would be at a lower latitude than the Plesetsk launch
site, and would be able to accommodate Proton boosters, two
significant advantages. Nevertheless, the high cost of creating a
new facility suggests that it might be a Russian negotiating ploy
to obtain better terms from Kazakhstan for use of Baikonur. Ukraine
is also trying to negotiate access to the Baikonur site so it can
launch payloads with its Zenit rocket. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL,
Inc.

SHAKHRAI ON PROSPECTS FOR RUSSIAN GERMAN STATEHOOD. Russia's
Minister for Nationalities and Regional Policy, Sergei Shakhrai,
said at a news conference in the State Duma on 15 March that the
only way that the Russian Germans' statehood could be restored was
by the adoption of a federal law on the creation of new subjects of
the Russian Federation in areas populated predominantly by Germans,
Interfax reported. Shakhrai pointed out that this process might
take several years. The creation of new territorial units based on
ethnicity would, in fact, go against the current aim of phasing out
such units. Shakhrai reiterated that Russia was "interested in
keeping all Russian Germans in Russia." The Russian government was
setting aside 39 billion rubles and the German government 65
million Deutsche marks for assistance to ethnic Germans in Russia
in 1994. Shakhrai said that German emigration from Russia decreased
slightly in 1993, while the number of Germans coming to Russia from
Central Asia and Kazakhstan exceeded the emigration from Russia.
Ann Sheehy. RFE/RL, Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

NAZARBAEV ON NUCLEAR ARMS ACCORDS. Kazakhstan's President Nursultan
Nazarbaev told Western journalists on 16 March that his country is
honoring its promise to dispose of its nuclear warheads, Reuters
reported. Kazakhstan's nuclear arsenal can now be disposed of
because the country has been promised compensation for the enriched
uranium in the warheads, Nazarbaev said. Some Kazakhs have
complained that much of the uranium contained in the weapons was
mined in Kazakhstan, which should therefore retain ownership of the
material. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

KYRGYZ DESERT FROM RUSSIAN BORDER UNITS. Nineteen Kyrgyz soldiers
assigned to Russian border guard units on the Kyrgyz-Chinese
frontier have deserted since the beginning of 1994, ITAR-TASS
reported on 16 March. Unit officers were quoted as attributing the
rate of desertion to friction between Kyrgyz from different regions
of the country, lack of knowledge of Russian by Kyrgyz recruits
from rural areas and lack of knowledge of Kyrgyz by Russian
officers, and the assignment of the best recruits to the National
Guard or the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Russia has just signed
agreements with Armenia and Georgia to use nationals of those
countries in Russian border forces stationed there; the similar use
of Kyrgyz troops was cited as a model. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

                                CIS

CIS FOREIGN MINISTERS' COUNCIL MEETING. On 16 March, the Council of
CIS Foreign Ministers met in Moscow to discuss coordinating major
foreign policy issues. Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan,
Azerbaijan and Georgia sent their foreign ministers. Ukraine,
Belarus, Beliayev, Armenia, Moldova, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan
sent other diplomats or officials. Russia's Andrei Kozyrev, the
chairman of the council, said in a statement following the
closed-door meeting that the council had discussed ways to protect
"the outer borders" of the CIS. A decision was taken at the meeting
to form a consultative commission for settling differences within
the CIS by peaceful means, something Kozyrev called "an important
step toward ensuring onward movement for the CIS." Kozyrev noted
that there is full consensus among the CIS foreign ministers that
the CIS should gain the status of an international organization,
Interfax reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

JOINT SESSION OF CIS FOREIGN AND DEFENSE MINISTERS. Opening a joint
meeting of the CIS foreign and defense ministers, Andrei Kozyrev
said that "Russia has an historic duty to guard [the Tajik-Afghan]
border" because "it is a frontier of the CIS." Kozyrev added, "it
is clear that except for us, no one can resolve these issues." He
linked Russian efforts to resolve the situation in Tajikistan with
the strengthening of the CIS as an international organization and
emphasized that peacekeeping efforts do not require "international
approval," Russian and Western agencies reported. Suzanne Crow,
RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA LEANS ON CIS DEBTORS. A spokesman for the Fuel and Energy
Ministry told Reuters on 16 March that Russia will pressure former
Soviet republics to pay for past supplies of oil and gas. A figure
of 2 trillion rubles (about $1.2 billion) was given as the amount
owed to Russian fuel suppliers by other members of the Commonwealth
of Independent States at the end of 1993. The official indicated
that those debtor nations that do not have the cash may be asked to
transfer property rights instead. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

NUCLEAR FUEL CONFUSION. Interfax reported on 16 March that a
"high-ranking" official of the Ukrainian State Committee for
Nuclear Energy, Viktor Stovbun, stated that Ukraine has not yet
received any nuclear fuel under the terms of the trilateral
agreement. Shmarov confirmed that some fuel has been received from
Russia, but that this fuel was being provided under a separate
contract signed in 1993 and is unrelated to the warhead transfer.
Ukraine has received a letter from Russian Prime Minister
Chernomyrdin stating that fuel will be supplied, and working groups
to finalize the terms of the deal met in early February, but a
complete agreement has not yet been signed. The second shipment of
warheads, expected to be sent to Russia in early March, could be
delayed while the fuel issue is worked out. John Lepingwell,
RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

SLOVAK PRESIDENT SWEARS IN NEW GOVERNMENT. On 16 March Michal Kovac
installed the new government of Prime Minister Jozef Moravcik,
which includes 17 ministers representing the five parties of the
governing coalition, TASR reports. The key post of foreign minister
went to the Slovak ambassador to the UN, Eduard Kukan (who was
nominated by the Alliance of Democrats), while the post of defense
minister went to Party of the Democratic Left (PDL) Deputy Chairman
Pavol Kanis; both are expected to continue Slovakia's integration
with the West. Ladislav Pittner of the Christian Democratic
Movement was appointed interior minister, a post he held from 1990
to June 1992. Alliance of Democrats Deputy Chairman Rudolf Filkus
was given the post of finance minister, and Peter Magvasi was
appointed economy minister by the PDL. Filkus told Reuters that
there is no "third way toward a market economy" and stressed that
privatization needs to be accelerated. The new government includes
some nonpartisan "experts," although some posts were clearly
political appointments. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

MECIAR'S REFERENDUM INVALID. The presidential office announced on
16 March that the petition for a referendum on early elections and
the mandates of those deputies who have left their original party
caucuses which was handed over on 2 March by supporters of former
Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar is invalid, TASR reports. Although
over 420,000 signatures were collected (only 350,000 were needed),
many of the names and addresses were incomplete. Only about 232,000
names were valid. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

RFE/RL TRANSMITTERS IN SLOVAKIA TURNED OFF. Parts of Slovakia were
unable to tune into RFE/RL on 16March, after a government official
ordered its transmitters turned off, news agencies reported on 16
March. Some officials in the government of outgoing Prime Minister
Meciar had complained about the content of RFE/RL broadcasts in the
past. RFE/RL protested the shutdown in a letter to the Ministry of
Transport, Communications, and Public Works. Separately, Slovak
Telecommunications Director Vladimir Ondrovic apologized for the
"willful behavior" of the official who ordered the action, saying
that he was immediately recalled from his post. Ondrovic stressed
that all contracts would be honored in the future. In the late
afternoon of the same day, the transmitters were put back into
service. Mikulas Dzurinda, the new Slovak minister of transport and
communications, said in an interview with CTK on the same day that
he would make sure that such incidents would not repeat themselves
in the future. Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.

UN WANTS TO LIFT MAGLAJ SIEGE. Reuters reports on 16 March about
plans to end the Serb stranglehold on this north-central Bosnian
town whose population is now bloated with mainly Muslim refugees.
Maglaj is one of the "few remaining areas of active warfare" in the
republic, and the UN is considering at least four options to get
aid through. One is with Serb consent, but this has failed so far;
a second is a "more muscular approach" involving declaring Maglaj a
"safe area," which could then be enforced by peacekeepers and air
strikes; a third is a Sarajevo-type brokered cease-fire in which
heavy weapons are neutralized or withdrawn; and the fourth involves
some sort of trade-off between the Serbs surrounding Maglaj and the
Muslims pressuring Doboj, which the Serbs have "cleansed" of its
large Muslim population, to the north. Reuters notes on 17 March
that 4,500 fresh troops stand ready to go to Bosnia, either from
their home countries directly or from units stationed in Croatia.
The largest group is 1,050 from Britain, while other groups include
500 Czechs and 150 Argentines. On another front, the Washington
Post reports that the UN aid mission to Bosnia has now lasted 20
months and has made 11,000 flights for airdrops. Patrick Moore,
RFE/RL, Inc.

BIG DAYS FOR CROATIAN DIPLOMACY. Vjesnik reports on 17 March about
the busy schedule for President Franjo Tudjman, who is on his way
to Washington to sign the Croat-Muslim peace agreement in the White
House on the 18th. He will open the new embassy building on
Massachusetts Avenue and attend a gala with Croatian-Americans and
entertainers from Croatia. Globus of 18 March says that Foreign
Minister Mate Granic is reshuffling the diplomatic corps, while
Vjesnik of 16 March discussed the trials and tribulations of
Zvonimir Markovic, who just arrived in Belgrade to open the new
Croatian bureau there. The Belgrade media in general covered the
story, but official television ignored it and the promised
facilities were not ready when he arrived. Markovic nonetheless
spoke optimistically about his mission. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

CHURKIN IN BELGRADE, B 92 OFF AIR. On 17 March, both Borba and
Politika report extensively on Russian special envoy Vitaly
Churkin's 16 March visit to Belgrade. While in the rump Yugoslav
capitol, Churkin met with Milan Martic, president of the
self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina. Following their
meeting, it was announced that Croatian and Krajina Serb officials
will hold talks in Zagreb on 22 March in an attempt to calm the
dispute over Krajina and thereby enhance prospects for regional
peace. Krajina, which accounts for a third of Croatia's territory,
is claimed by Zagreb as an integral part of Croatia. Meanwhile, on
17 March Borba reports that Belgrade's Radio B 92 has been taken
off the air. The radio, which has been broadcasting for five years,
was one of rump Yugoslavia's few independent media outlets, and was
noted for its criticism of government policies. Stan Markotich,
RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIAN SANCTIONS VIOLATIONS. On 16 March Reuters reported that a
UN official responsible for monitoring sanctions enforcement
against the rump Yugoslavia has alleged that some 200 violations
since the end of 1992 have been committed from Bulgaria. According
to the UN official, "corrupt [Bulgarian] state officials" have been
involved in the violations. The Bulgarian government has evidently
not reacted to the charges. Meanwhile, on 16 March BTA reported
that Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev communicated with UN
Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali in order to outline his
reservations about the possibility of sending Greek and Turkish
peacekeepers to Bosnia. Zhelev stressed that the military
participation of neighboring countries, which may bring with them
deep historic enmities, could increase regional tensions, thereby
heightening rather than halting the potential for conflict. Stan
Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH DEPUTIES SIGN PETITION ON BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA. Thirty-two
deputies in the 200-member Czech parliament signed a petition
asking the Czech government to strive, together with other
countries, "for preserving the existence of Bosnia-Herzegovina
within its historical boundaries and for minimizing [international]
efforts to formally partition the country." The petition was
initiated by Andrej Guric of Premier Vaclav Klaus's Civic
Democratic Party. Klaus himself has been reluctant to support more
resolute Western actions to end the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The
signatories of the petition come from both coalition and opposition
parties. They further demand that the Czech government use its
weight to ensure that all resolutions of the UN Security Council on
Bosnia-Herzegovina are enforced, and they warn that "the future of
European values is being decided in Bosnia-Herzegovina." These
values will be threatened if Europe accepts the results of genocide
and ethnic cleansing, says the petition. The signatories see as
"tragic" the fact that the democratic Europe of the end of the
twentieth century "has tolerated ethnic cleansing, burning of
villages, the creation of concentration camps, and mass exodus of
civilians." Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

EXTREMISM IN MACEDONIA. According to the 16 March issue of Flaka e
Vllazerimit and Nova Makedonija of 17 March, the Mehmet Pasha
Mosque in Titov Veles, a historic building as well as an Islamic
monument, was set on fire at about 2:00 AM on 11 March. The
building was reportedly destroyed. Meanwhile, in Prilep and Bitola,
unknown persons installed wooden crosses atop the clock towers in
the mosque compounds in those two cities. Such acts may well
exacerbate tensions between Muslims and Christians. Ismije Beshiri
and Duncan Perry, RFE/RL, Inc.

PAWLAK APPROVES CANDIDATE FOR FINANCE MINISTER. After meeting on 16
March with the leaders of his coalition partner, the Democratic
Left Alliance (SLD), Premier Waldemar Pawlak approved Dariusz
Rosati, the SLD's candidate to fill the post of deputy premier and
finance minister that has been vacant since the resignation of the
SLD's Marek Borowski on 4 February, PAP reports. Pawlak still needs
to get his own party's endorsement for the candidacy before he
submits the nomination to President Lech Walesa for final approval.
Walesa has already indicated that his approval is an open question.
Rosati has given Pawlak a position paper, in which he insists on
government unanimity on the continuity of market reforms and
consistent privatization. The main tenets of his economic plan are
"strengthening and accelerating the trend for noninflationary
growth" through increased exports and profitable investment. Anna
Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

REPRIEVE FOR BALCEROWICZ ET AL? The Sejm's Constitutional
Responsibility Commission voted on 16 March to recommend that the
Sejm discontinue proceedings against former Premier Jan Krzysztof
Bielecki and five former government ministers, including the
architect of Poland's economic reforms after 1989, Leszek
Balcerowicz. The six were accused by deputies of the Confederation
for an Independent Poland from the previous Sejm of having violated
the budgetary laws of 1990 or 1991 and wasted public money; they
were to have been tried by the State Tribunal. Jerzy Wiatr,
chairman of the Sejm commission which is now dominated by the SLD,
said the decision was "a clear signal that the commission is not,
does not wish to be, and will not be an instrument of political
revenge, regardless of changing political majorities in the Sejm,"
PAP reports. The commission still has to decide whether to
recommend trial before the State Tribunal for General Wojciech
Jaruzelski and other party leaders for having imposed martial law
upon Poland. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT SIGNS PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE... On 16 March at
NATO headquarters in Brussels, Mircea Snegur signed Moldova's
accession to Partnership for Peace. He did not mention the
possibility of Moldova's joining NATO in future, saying only that
Moldova wants to follow a policy of neutrality, a goal which
Moldova has recently emphasized to strengthen its case for the
withdrawal of Russian troops. NATO Secretary-General Manfred
Woerner praised Moldova's political democratization and economic
reforms, as well as the conduct of the recent legislative elections
and plebiscite, Basapress reports. In a separate meeting with West
European Union Secretary-General Willem van Ekelen, Snegur proposed
a WEU-Moldova partnership agreement and invited WEU observers to
Transdniester. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

...SEEKS SUPPORT ON RUSSIAN WITHDRAWAL. Snegur said at NATO that
Moldova particularly values the Partnership's provisions for
consultation if a state considers that its independence, security,
or territorial integrity are threatened. He observed that Russian
troops in Moldova are putting those principles at risk and
constitute the main obstacle to a settlement of the Dniester
conflict, AP reports. Restating Moldova's acceptance of CSCE's plan
for settling the conflict, Snegur called for the unconditional
withdrawal of Russian troops. Woerner said that NATO supports an
"early and complete withdrawal" of Russia's troops from Moldova,
AFP reports. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

ILIESCU SPOKESMAN ON GENERAL PANCEA. On 16 March Traian Chebeleu,
spokesman to Romanian President Ion Iliescu, confirmed that Lt.
Gen. Marin Pancea, secretary of the country's Supreme Defense
Council (Romania's highest military instance headed by Iliescu) had
been put in reserve. Chebeleu, however, dismissed reports in the
media linking the general's removal to a French spy ring as "pure
fabrication". The same day a presidential communiqu~ released
through Radio Bucharest rejected as a "thorough invention" a 15
March report in the top-selling daily Evenimentul zilei claiming
that Iliescu had been asked to postpone his upcoming visit to
France following the "Pancea case." Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIAN-UKRAINIAN DIFFICULTIES. On 16 March a Ukrainian delegation
headed by Defense Minister Vitalii Radetsky completed a visit to
Romania, during which talks were held on a future agreement for
military cooperation. Basapress in Bucharest cites Romanian Deputy
Defense Minister Ion Mircea Pascu, who is also a close adviser to
President Ion Iliescu, as saying that the proposed treaty "does not
hold any particular significance since it is the type of routine
treaty between neighboring states," and it can not affect Romania's
relations with the Russian Federation. Basapress adds that last
year's talks on a bilateral political treaty have not borne fruit,
and Iliescu canceled a planned visit to Kiev, owing to differences
over pre-war Romanian areas which are now in Ukraine. Radio Ukraine
on 15 March quoted Radetsky as saying that Ukraine seeks "friendly
relations with Romania and to resolve all problems by political
means." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

NIXON IN KIEV. Following his visit to Russia, former US president
Richard Nixon went to Ukraine where he met with president Leonid
Kravchuk on 16 March, Ukrainian radio reported. In a press
conference after their discussion, Nixon said the US has no
alternative but to support Ukraine. He also said that Russia's
policies toward Ukraine have become more assertive since the
elections but warned that in the future, there may be occasions
when the US will have to decide between Russia and Ukraine. Nixon
added that he regretted not having had the time to meet with
Ukrainian opposition groups. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

KRAVCHUK MEETS WITH ESTONIAN PRESIDENT. On 16 March Estonian
president Lennart Meri met with Ukrainian president Leonid Kravchuk
in Kiev, Ukrainian radio reported. The two discussed a wide range
of issues, and agreements were signed on cooperation in technical
and cultural matters, a protocol on cooperation and consultation
between their foreign ministries, and an agreement on visa-free
travel for diplomats. Meri also met with the parliamentary speaker
Ivan Plyushch, and the two expressed their readiness to support
each other in the international sphere. The Estonian delegation
will return to Tallinn of 17 March. Ustina Markus and Saulius
Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

CHAIRMAN OF NATO MILITARY COMMITTEE IN BALTIC STATES. On 14 March
Field Marshal Richard Vincent began a tour of the Baltic States in
Riga, where he held talks with Latvian Defense Forces Commander
Dainis Turlais and other officials. On 15 March he traveled to
Tallinn for meetings with Estonian Defense Forces commander Maj.
Gen. Aleksander Einseln and Defense Minister Indrek Kannik, before
moving on to Vilnius on 16 March. In Vilnius, meetings were
scheduled with Lithuanian Armed Forces commander in chief Gen.
Jonas Andriskevicius and President Algirdas Brazauskas, Radio
Lithuania reports. Vincent is the highest ranking NATO official to
visit the Baltic States. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

GAZPROM LOWERS PRICE OF GAS FOR BELARUS. The press secretary of the
cabinet of ministers, Uladzimir Zamyatalin, said that a delegation
headed by Deputy Premier Stanislau Bril returned from Russia
following negotiations with Gazprom officials, Belarusian TV
reported on 15 March. During the talks Gazprom agreed to lower the
price of gas for Belarus from $80 to $50 per thousand cubic meters.
The price reduction is effective retroactively as of 1 January
1994, thus reducing Belarus's 400 billion ruble debt to 250 billion
rubles. On 16 March Belarusian radio reported that Belarus had
begun to receive its normal levels of gas supplies from Russia.
Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

                                                   [As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Ann Sheehy and Sharon Fisher

                               (END)
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