If you are not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don't want to go there. - Martin Luther
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 61, 29 March 1994

CIS

AGREEMENT ON BAIKONUR SIGNED. On 28 March, the first day of an
official visit to Moscow, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan
Nazarbaev signed twenty-three agreements regulating relations
between Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation, among them an
agreement on the future of the Baikonur space center, Russian and
Western news agencies reported. Under the terms of the Baikonur
agreement, Russia will lease the complex for twenty years for $115
million annually, with an option to prolong the lease for an
additional ten years. The agreement provides for the cost of the
lease to be deducted from Kazakhstan's debt to Russia. Russian
military and civilian personnel employed at Baikonur will be
subject to Russian law.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

                              RUSSIA

LOCAL ELECTIONS FAVOR CONSERVATIVES. Interfax reported on 28 March
that officials close to Boris Yeltsin expect pro-communist
candidates to win the majority of votes cast in local elections
held on 27 March. Initial results from the elections were being
tallied on 28 March. According to Ostankino TV news broadcasts,
turnout for the elections was low with approximately 30-40% of
eligible voters casting votes. Turnout was reportedly highest in
the more conservative rural areas. In Kemerovo oblast, the
chairman of the local legislature, Aman Tuleev won reelection with
88.5% of the votes, and his supporters won a majority in the local
parliament. Tuleev has been a champion of greater Siberian
regional cooperation, and opposed Yeltsin in the 1991 presidential
elections.  John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

CHUVASHIA REMAINS WITHOUT A PARLIAMENT. The second round of
elections to the Chuvash parliament on 27 March filled a further
21 of the new legislature's 47 seats, in addition to the seven
filled in the first round, Interfax reported. However, the total
number of deputies elected so far falls short of the minimum of 32
necessary to make the new parliament's decisions valid. A
spokesman for the Chuvash Central Electoral Commission said that,
with the former parliament dissolved, Chuvashia will be without a
legislature for an indefinite period. Legislative authority will
be vested temporarily in the speaker of the previous parliament,
Eduard Kubarev.  Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.

CIS OFFICER SLAMS PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE. The Secretary of the
Council of CIS Defense Ministers, Lieutenant General Leonid
Ivashov (de facto, the head of the CIS joint staff) harshly
criticized the NATO Partnership for Peace program in an interview
published in Rossiiskaya gazeta on 25 March. Ivashov argued that
the program is largely a screen for the expansion of NATO
eastwards, to build up its infrastructure on Russia's borders. He
derided the idea that Russia and NATO should participate in joint
peacekeeping exercises, and asserted that the program conflicted
with the Tashkent treaty on CIS collective security. While Ivashov
does not hold a position of influence and has no military forces
under his direct control, he also is not subordinate to the
Russian Ministry of Defense, perhaps giving him greater freedom to
articulate his views than other senior military officers. John
Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

MINISTRY OF DEFENSE DEFENDS NATO PROGRAM. The official line of the
Russian Defense Ministry is supportive of Partnership for Peace.
In an Interfax report of 28 March, a "high ranking official" from
the defense ministry argued that it was necessary to participate
in the creation of a new security regime in Europe, but noted that
one element of this regime should be "the official recognition by
NATO partners of the special responsibility of Russia for
maintaining peace in the CIS." If this is to be an explicit
condition for Russian participation in the program, it may well
prove to be a major stumbling block.  John Lepingwell, RFE/RL,
Inc.

SHAKE-UP AT DEFENSE MINISTRY? Moskovsky komsomolets reported on 25
March that Defense Minister Pavel Grachev intends in the near
future to cut the number of Russian Deputy and First Deputy
Defense Ministers from seven to four. The report singled out Boris
Gromov (viewed by Grachev as a rival) and Vladimir Toporov as the
two most likely to go. Gromov's official duties involve
disarmament and the withdrawal of troops from abroad, and he has
also been active as Russia's representative in various CIS
security forums. Toporov is in charge of rear services and the
quartering of troops. Valerii Mironov's dismissal was also said to
be a possibility. Mironov oversees personnel policy in the Defense
Ministry and, according to other reports, has been blamed by
Grachev for the fact that Vladimir Zhirinovsky received a
significant portion of the military vote in last December's
elections. Interfax reported later on 25 March that Russian
Defense Ministry spokeswoman Elena Agapova had denied that a
shake-up was imminent.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CHARGE DENIED. On 28 March the Russian Ministry
of Defense denied a story published by The Times alleging that
work on biological weapons had been conducted by the Soviet Union
and Russia in violation of international treaties. According to
ITAR-TASS, the ministry stated that it is neither developing nor
producing biological weapons.  John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

DETAILS ON ROCKET FORCES SHOOTING. The Russian Ministry of Defense
has confirmed that on 10 March a private in the Strategic Rocket
Forces killed his patrol commander and one other soldier, and
seriously wounded two others. Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported on
26 March that the private was taken into custody and that there
was no threat to the nuclear weapons located at the base.  John
Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN CRITICIZES IMPORT TAX. Speaking to reporters before he
left Sochi on 27 March, President Yeltsin volunteered the comment
that the increase of import duties, effective 15 March, was a
mistake and will be reviewed by the government, ITAR-TASS
reported. The president added, intriguingly, that the raised
import tax was one of a series of errors made by the government
that must be corrected: he did not spell out the other mistakes.
The measure has been deplored not only by the mayors of Russia's
three largest cities, but also by the chairman of the antimonopoly
committee, Leonid Bochin (Mayak Radio, 17 March) and, almost
certainly, by the visiting IMF delegation. Its principal
proponent, Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Zaveryukha, stoutly
defended the imposition of import duties on foodstuffs in
Rossiiskaya gazeta of 24 March on the grounds that this will
protect Russian peasants and that it is scheduled to last only
until 1 September. Zaveryukha conceded that he might not last long
in charge of agriculture.  Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

TURKEY TO BUY MORE RUSSIAN GAS. Russian supplies of natural gas to
Turkey in 1998 will be more than doubled from the originally
agreed 2 Bn cubic meters to 4.5 Bn cubic meters, Interfax reported
on 28 March. In addition, negotiations are proceeding on a
long-term agreement whereby Russia will supply Turkey with coking
coal and Turkey will help develop Russia's Black Sea ports. A
draft agreement has been reached on the joint modernization of
Russian oil refineries.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN-CHECHEN TALKS COME TO NAUGHT. Talks between Sergei
Filatov, the head of the Russian president's administration, and
Chechen State Secretary Aslanbek Akbulatov in Moscow on 25 March
foundered when Chechnya rejected Moscow's demand that Chechnya
acknowledge that it is part of Russia, Interfax reported. Filatov
told the radio station Ekho Moskvy that he had made three
stipulations for a start to negotiations: that Chechnya stop
slandering Russia, that the talks be held on the basis of Chechnya
being a republic of the Russian Federation, and that the Chechen
side study the recent treaty between Russia and Tatarstan as a
basis for negotiations. Following his return to Chechnya,
Akbulatov told Interfax on 28 March that Chechnya was open to
compromise but would insist on its sovereignty. He described his
meeting with Filatov as useful, and expressed confidence that the
negotiations would resume in the near future.  Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL,
Inc.

KARACHAI-CHERKESS ELECTIONS POSTPONED. An emergency session of the
Karachai-Cherkess parliament on 28 March decided to postpone the
elections to the republic's People's Assembly and a referendum on
the presidency scheduled for 24 April, Interfax reported. The
agency gave no reason for the postponement of the elections, but
stated that the decision had "caused a very negative reaction"
among the republic's public movements and parties.  Ann Sheehy,
RFE/RL, Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

ABKHAZ TALKS TO RESUME. Following the renewal of hostilities in
eastern Abkhazia in which, according to Georgian officials, at
least ten people were killed, unofficial talks between Abkhaz and
Georgian representatives are to take place in Moscow this week
with the participation of Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Boris
Pastukhov, who mediated last July's ill-fated Abkhaz ceasefire,
Interfax reported on 28 March. Georgian parliament chairman Eduard
Shevardnadze likewise told Interfax that he welcomed the Russian
government's offer of 26 March to resume formal mediation on a
settlement of the Abkhaz conflict. Shevardnadze expressed
bewilderment that the UN observers currently stationed in Abkhazia
had made no comment on the renewed fighting. Georgian Foreign
Minister Aleksandre Chikvaidze told Interfax that the swift
deployment of a peacekeeping force, whether Russian or UN, was
essential to prevent a further deterioration of the situation.
Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

RESULTS OF FIRST ROUND OF PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS IN UKRAINE. The
voter turnout in Ukraine's parliamentary election on 27 March was
greater than originally reported by the Central Election
Commission and reached a surprisingly high average of about 75%,
Ukrainian and Western media report. The results that became
available on 28 March confirmed that runoffs will be necessary in
the majority of the 450 constituencies. Just under 50 candidates
are so far known to have been elected representing a broad mixture
of national democrats, centrists and communists. Among those
elected were: former prime minister Leonid Kuchma, the speaker of
parliament Ivan Plyushch, Rukh leader Vyacheslav Chornovil,
economic reformers Volodymyr Lanovy and Viktor Pynzenyk,
democratic activists Serhii Holovaty and Les Tanyuk, radical
nationalist Stepan Khmara, and Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU)
leader Petro Symonenko. The CPU and its allies have won 14 seats
so far but Chornovil told a press conference on 28 March that
democratic candidates appeared to be doing better than expected.
International observers from the CSCE announced that the elections
had been generally successful despite some apparent minor
irregularities. The high turnout, and the convincing victories by
potential presidential candidates Kuchma and Plyushch, are being
seen as a blow to Ukrainian president Leonid Kravchuk, who had
anticipated voter apathy necessitating the postponement of the
presidential elections scheduled for June.  Bohdan Nahaylo,
RFE/RL, Inc.

KIEV CHALLENGED BY RESULTS OF CRIMEAN AND DONBAS PLEBISCITES.
Western media report that the non-binding plebiscites conducted in
Crimea and the south eastern Ukrainian oblasts of Donetsk and
Luhansk during the parliamentary elections have produced massive
votes in favor, essentially, of maximizing Crimea's already
considerable autonomy, closer ties with Russia and the CIS and
limiting the gradual Ukrainianization of these regions as
envisaged in the 1989 Law of Languages. The results are hardly a
surprise; alarmed by the growth of centrifugal forces, the Kiev
authorities had sought to ban the plebiscites, arguing that they
were unconstitutional.  Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc.

BOSNIAN UPDATE. International media reported on 28 March that the
Bosnian parliament has postponed for one day its vote on the new
Croat-Muslim federation. Some Croat legislators were delayed on
the way to Sarajevo but are expected in town by the 29th.
Croatia's ambassador to Bosnia, Zdravko Sancevic, told parliament
that "blood was shed by those who wanted to fight. But sizable
proportions of the Croat and Muslim people in Bosnia never
fought." Meanwhile in Belgrade, Borba on 29 March reports on the
work of the group "To Live in Sarajevo," which is made up chiefly
of Serbs pledged to maintaining Bosnia's multi-ethnic and
multi-cultural way of life. The paper also runs a message from
Serbian opposition leader Vuk Draskovic to the Serbs of Sarajevo
who are committed to a multi-national society. He calls them "the
greatest victims and heroes." Finally, Politika on 26 March
included in its death notices one Ana Mladic, who appears to be
the daughter of Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic.  Patrick
Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW YUGOSLAV-ORIENTED DAILY TO BE LAUNCHED. Some prominent
professional journalists from the former Yugoslavia plan to begin
publishing soon a new daily, Nova Politika, which will seek to
promote intelligent and objective discussion of the situation in
that area. Among the editors is Rajko Djuric, head of the Romany
PEN Club, who now lives in exile in Berlin and plans to publish
the paper in Frankfurt. Djuric was a long-time editor of Politika
in Belgrade but was purged when Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic
took control of the republic's media. He told RFE/RL that the new
paper will seek constructive solutions to the region's problems
and will firmly oppose nationalism and ethnic hatred.  Patrick
Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVENIAN DEFENSE MINISTER SACKED. RFE/RL's South Slavic Service
reports that the unruly Janez Jansa lost the defense portfolio in
the Ljubljana government on 28 March following the mistreatment of
some Slovenian citizens by his police. Jansa has been openly
fighting with President Milan Kucan and his other superiors on a
more or less permanent basis amid a string of political, economic,
and military scandals that have plagued that republic since
gaining independence in 1991. Slovenia has virtually none of the
ethnically-rooted social and political problems that beset other
former Yugoslav republics, but scandals and political in-fighting
have offset the official portrayal of the country as "the sunny
side of the Alps." Some Slovenes jokingly remark that the scandals
indicate how far they have come in such a short time to being like
their West European neighbors, Italy and Austria.  Patrick Moore,
RFE/RL, Inc.

POLISH STANDOFF CONTINUES. The Polish coalition's nominee for the
vacant posts of finance minister and deputy prime minister, the
economist Dariusz Rosati, told Polish TV on 28 March that he
intends to withdraw his candidacy. President Lech Walesa rejected
the nomination on 25 March. Rosati said he will first consult with
Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak and Democratic Left Alliance (SLD)
leader Aleksander Kwasniewski but added that the finance minister
cannot work effectively if he is at odds with the president.
Pawlak and Kwasniewski met on 28 March. Kwasniewski afterward said
that Rosati remains the official candidate of both the prime
minister and the SLD. Walesa's office announced that the president
would present Pawlak with the reasons for his decision but
stressed that he was within his constitutional rights and has no
need to justify anything. The candidate Walesa has tipped for the
finance ministry post, Securities Commission Chairman Leslaw Paga,
told Polish TV that it was "always a pleasure for a state official
to hear kind words about him from the president." Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL, Inc.

IMF APPROVES POLAND'S PERFORMANCE. On 25 March the IMF's executive
council formally approved the fulfillment of Poland's stand-by
arrangement from March 1993 to April 1994. This is the first of
three such agreements that Poland has successfully implemented.
IMF approval clears the way for a 20% reduction in Poland's $33
billion debt to foreign creditor governments, to take place on 1
April. The Paris Club reduced Poland's debt by 30% in 1991.
Together with the agreement reached on 11 March with the London
Club to reduce Poland's commercial debt of $13.2 billion by 45%,
IMF approval goes a long way toward restoring Poland's
international financial credibility and is expected to spur an
investment boom. Acting finance minister Henryk Chmielak told
reporters on 28 March that "the agreements Poland has reached with
international financial organizations are convincing foreign
businesses that Poland is a country with which they can cooperate
and in which they can invest and develop trade." Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT IN WARSAW. Polish and Hungarian officials
stressed the complete harmony between the two countries on all
issues on 28 March, the first day of a three-day visit to Poland
by Hungarian President Arpad Goncz. The two presidents decorated
each other with their respective country's highest order. They
endorsed cooperation in the Visegrad group, and foreign ministry
officials said the two countries plan to submit jointly their
applications for membership in the EU. Talks focused on the need
to dynamize Polish-Hungarian trade, which declined sharply with
the collapse of the CMEA. Despite a slight rise in 1993, total
annual turnover amounted to only $330 million, PAP reports. Goncz
is to visit Poznan on 29 March, Polish TV reports.  Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL, Inc.

GRACHEV SIGNS TREATY IN ROMANIA. Visiting Russian Defense Minister
Pavel Grachev and his Romanian counterpart, Gheorghe Tinca, signed
on 28 March a military cooperation agreement, Radio Bucharest
reported on the same day. Tinca described the treaty as a
five-year "framework" accord that would cover exchanges of defense
delegations and information, as well as other types of contacts.
Romanian officials played down the significance of the agreement.
Tinca stressed the agreement was not one between the two
countries, but rather between the two defense ministries. He also
said the accord was similar to those Romania had already signed
with the other countries bordering it, naming Hungary, Ukraine and
Bulgaria, and reflected Romania's wish to have good military
relations with all its neighbors. In an interview with Radio
Bucharest on 28 March Deputy Defense Minister Ioan Mircea Pascu
obliquely dismissed a statement by a Grachev spokesman, according
to which the agreement with Romania was "the first of its kind."
Upon his arrival in Bucharest Grachev was asked about Romania's
desire to join NATO and replied he did not think this would happen
soon.  Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

COUNCIL OF EUROPE RAPPORTEURS IN ROMANIA. Friedrich Koenig and
Gunnar Jannson, the two rapporteurs on Romania for the Council of
Europe, began on 28 March their visit to Romania aimed at
preparing a report on the country's fulfillment of obligations
undertaken when Romania was admitted to the council six months
ago, Radio Bucharest reported on the same day. They met
representatives of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania,
who complained about the non-fulfillment of several obligations
and about the passing by parliament of legislation viewed by them
as "discriminatory." Koenig and Jansson also met representatives
of the Roma community and of the National Minorities Council, as
well as members of the opposition parties. Later in the day they
met with representatives of the extremist parties who criticized
the HDFR positions, and with the chairmen of the parliament's two
houses.  Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIA, GERMANY SIGN MILITARY AGREEMENT. On 28 March DPA
reported that Bulgarian Minister of Defense Valentin Alexandrov,
and his German counterpart, Volker Ruehe, met in Sofia and signed
a military cooperation agreement on 28 March. Reuters reports that
the accord will permit both armies to exchange information and
staff on a regular basis. Reuters also adds that Ruehe stressed
that Germany could help Bulgaria foster closer ties with
international organizations such as NATO. Ruehe, who arrived in
Bulgaria on 28 March, continues his official three-day visit. In
other news, international media report that Bulgarian President
Zhelyu Zhelev arrived in London on 28 March, where he is scheduled
to meet with British Prime Minister John Major and Albanian
President Sali Berisha.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIAN MEDIA PROTEST TAX. On 28 March RFE/RL's Bulgarian
service reported that Bulgaria's major newspapers ceased
publishing altogether on 28 March as a means of protesting a
national 18% value-added tax, slated to go into effect on 1 April.
The tax will apply to newspaper advertising and subscriptions
which, newspaper officials contend, will do their industry
financial harm. Meanwhile, on 28 March Reuters reported that six
private radio stations throughout Sofia have taken part in the
"media strike" in order to launch their own protest of the
government tax. The radios stopped broadcasting on 28 March, and
are expected to remain off the air for two days. Finally, Reuters
also notes that theater operators are threatening to join the
burgeoning tax revolt on 31 March by showing only pornographic
films if mainstream cinema releases are not exempted from the 18%
tax.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

ALBANIA PROTESTS BORDER INCIDENT. According to Rilindja
Demokratike on 29 March, the Albanian Foreign Ministry has
protested a 21 March incident when an Albanian citizen was shot
and killed by Greek border forces. The protest noted that the
tragic act damaged Greek-Albanian relations and created
unwarranted tension.  Robert Austin, RFE/RL, Inc.

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT IN LONDON. According to Rilindja Demokratike on
29 March, after arriving in London on 27 March, Albanian President
Sali Berisha met with British Prime Minister John Major on 28
March. Talks focused on regional problems as well as trade and
investment. According to Western reports, Berisha expressed to
Major Tirana's desire to have international sanctions currently
applied to the rump Yugoslavia also be tied to the question of
autonomy for Kosovo. Sanctions were initially applied against
Belgrade for its role in fomenting the war in Bosnia and
Herzegovina, and on 28 March Danish Foreign Minister Niels Helveg
Petersen announced during a Tirana press conference that the EU
would consider supporting the easing of sanctions if Belgrade were
to agree to territorial concessions in Bosnia, Reuters reports.
Finally, Berisha is scheduled to meet with Queen Elizabeth on 29
March.  Robert Austin and Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

MONTENEGRIN TOURISM MINISTER VISITS TIRANA. Montenegrin Tourism
Minister Dragan Milic has met with his Albanian counterpart Edmond
Spaho, Rilindja reported on 26 March. They talked about possible
cooperation of hotels, travel agencies and enterprises, as well as
about the transit of tourists through Albania and about an
extension of tourism between both countries. A Mediterranean
tourist fair is scheduled to take place in the Montenegrin town of
Budva at the end of April. Nonetheless, Albania still observes the
international trade embargo against rump-Yugoslavia.  Fabian
Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUSIAN OFFICIALS TO CHARGE LUKASHENKA WITH LIBEL . . .
Belarusian Defense Minister Paval Kazlouski has denied charges of
corruption, Interfax reported on 28 March. The charges were
leveled against him by the head of the interim anti-corruption
committee, Aleksandr Lukashenka. According to Kazlouski, although
some defense ministry officials have engaged in unlawful
commercial activities, he personally was not guilty of such
dealings. Kazlouski went on to say he planned to ask for a formal
investigation into the corruption charges being raised by
Lukashenka and file a libel suit if these turned out to be false.
Government spokesman Uladzimir Zamyatalin said five other
government officials are also planning to file libel suits against
Lukashenka.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . WHILE LUKASHENKA RAISES MORE CHARGES. For his part,
Lukashenka accused the prime minister, Vyacheslau Kebich, of using
government funds to finance his own campaign for the presidency
during an interview with Interfax on 26 March. According to
Lukashenka, Kebich began an unofficial election campaign six weeks
ago. At that time he agreed to grant local subsidies which he had
previously suspended to regional administrators in exchange for
promises to back his candidacy. Lukashenka, who is also running
for the presidency, described himself as "the poorest presidential
candidate" and said he wanted to address the nation for financial
support.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

MORE ON BELARUSIAN-RUSSIAN MONETARY UNION. As the debate over a
Russian-Belarusian monetary union continues in the Russian State
Duma, it is apparent that there are serious differences and
expectations regarding the agreement between the two sides (see
RFE/RL Daily Report of 24 and 25 March). According to
Postfaktumradio on 24 March, representatives of Russia's central
bank and officials from the Russian ministry of economic relations
feel a monetary merger is possible only if there is a union
between the two countries. Interfax reported on 25 March that the
chairman of the State Duma's Committee for CIS Affairs, Konstantin
Zatulin, said the delay in Russian-Belarusian talks on the
unification of the monetary systems has had a negative impact on
relations between these countries. He suggested that referendums
might be held in Russia and Belarus to see how the publics felt
about the issue. The leader of the Russia's Choice faction, Yegor
Gaidar, said that an agreement on a customs union between Russia
an Belarus is far more important than the unification of the
monetary systems.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

LATVIAN FARMERS' UNION ELECTS NEW CHAIRMAN. On 26 March the
Latvian Farmers' Union held its congress in Riga and elected
Andris Rozentals, the party's parliamentary faction leader, as its
chairman, replacing Aivars Berkis, the Saeima's deputy chairman,
BNS reported on 28 March. Entrepreneur Ivars Bardins and deputy
secretary of the Saeima presidium Zigurds Tomins were elected as
deputy chairmen. The congress passed a resolution urging the
government to ban the import of farm goods produced in Latvia.
Farmers' Union is the partner with Latvia's Way in the current
ruling coalition and some speakers even suggested ending the
coalition if the situation in rural areas is not improved.
Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

ESTONIA ENDS OSTANKINO TV BROADCASTS. On 28 March Estonia ceased
broadcasting Russia's Ostankino television programs, BNS reports.
The sole exception will be the popular Mexican soap opera "Simply
Maria" which will run until 31 March. Ostankino owes Estonian
Telecom about 2.5 million kroons ($185,000) for the last quarter
of 1993 and first quarter of 1994 for the transmissions. On 11
March, as a warning, Estonia reduced Ostankino broadcasts to four
hours on weekdays and nine hours on weekends. Ostankino has even
larger debts to Latvia and Lithuania who have also threatened to
end its broadcasts if they are not paid. Ostankino is the only
Russian language television in the Baltic States and its
termination will likely be missed by the large numbers of Russians
in Estonia and Latvia who have not learned the local languages.
Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

ESTONIAN TRADE BALANCE IN FEBRUARY. Estonian customs officials
announced that in February the country exported goods for 1,160.4
million kroons ($86 million) while importing goods for 1,311.7
million kroons, BNS reported on 28 March. Russia received 25.8% of
the exports, Finland, 20.8%, and Sweden, 10.4%. Estonia's imports
mainly came from Finland (39.0%), Sweden (12.2%), and Russia
(10.0%.). Farming produce was both the leading export (25.1%) and
import (18.1%) item. Garments (11.3%) and non-precious metals
(8.8%) were the next most important exports with equipment (10.6%)
and vehicles (10.5%) having a similar role for imports. The
figures do not include oil and gas imports through pipelines or
exports of electricity.  Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

  Compiled by Liz Fuller and Stan Markotich
The RFE/RL Daily Report is produced by the RFE/RL Research
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