Logic, n. The act of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human understanding. - Ambrose Bierce
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 64, 5 April 1994

RUSSIA

YELTSIN READY FOR SECOND PRESIDENTIAL TERM. President Boris
Yeltsin said in an interview with El Pais on 3 April that the
decision whether he will again run for president in 1996 depends
on the emergence of any other politician who could guarantee
stability in the country. Yeltsin stressed that he wants to leave
Russia "in safe and democratic hands." Yeltsin's press secretary
Vyacheslav Kostikov was quoted by Izvestiya on 1 April as saying
that Yeltsin should not be written off as a strong candidate in
the next presidential elections. He stated that large public
groups could endorse Yeltsin's candidacy for a second term.
Yeltsin himself indicated that he wants to sign a civic accord of
peace with all political forces in the country on 28 April. A key
point in the proposed accord is a prohibition of any
constitutional changes during a transitional period and a
rejection of early presidential elections.  Alexander Rahr,
RFE/RL, Inc.

ZHIRINOVSKY'S PARTY HOLDS CONGRESS. The nationalist
Liberal-Democratic Party of Vladimir Zhirinovsky held its party
congress in Moscow 2-3 April, Russian and Western news agencies
reported on 3 April. The congress elected Zhirinovsky as party
leader until the year 2004 and voted in favor of granting him
dictatorial powers in forming the party's leadership. It also
endorsed Zhirinovsky as candidate for presidential elections. In
his speech, Zhirinovsky said that he will restore all democratic
institutions in his party after he wins the presidential
elections. He called for the creation of a new Eastern European
Slavonic Union and said that the idea of democracy "does not
correspondent to the national psyche . . . in Russia." Alexander
Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA'S CHOICE LEADERS MEET YELTSIN. The pro-reformist
parliamentary bloc Russia's Choice has made a final decision to
constitute itself as a political party, ITAR-TASS reported on 1
April. The leader of Russia's choice, Egor Gaidar, met with
Yeltsin and received the President's support for such a move.
Gaidar said after the meeting that he agreed with Yeltsin that "no
other presidential party besides Russia's Choice will be created."
He stressed that the new party will support the president and his
policies. On 4 April, Yeltsin met with leaders of Russia's Choice
in the Kremlin and assured them that he will closely cooperate
with that bloc. He stated, however, that he also will remain the
president of all Russians and indicated that he will not join any
party.  Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

CONTINUED CONFUSION OVER NATO PARTNERSHIP. On 31 March Reuters
quoted presidential aide Vyacheslav Kostikov as saying that Russia
might require another six or seven months to reach a decision on
participation in the NATO "Partnership for Peace" plan. The next
day, however, Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev reiterated that
Russia intended to sign onto the NATO partnership plan in the
second half of April; he said that Kostikov "must have been
misinterpreted." Also on 1 April, Russian Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev was quoted by Interfax as saying that "nobody questions
Russia's integration into NATO's military structures." He
emphasized, however, that participation in the partnership would
not stop Russia from pursuing additional bilateral agreements with
leading NATO member-states. On 4 April Grachev said that Boris
Yeltsin favored joining the partnership.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL,
Inc.

CONCERN OVER RUSSIAN TROOP DEPLOYMENTS. NATO and US officials have
expressed concern over Moscow's redeployment of troops withdrawn
from Central Europe to the St. Petersburg and Caucasus regions
because the forces now based in these areas exceed 1995 levels set
by the CFE Treaty, The New York Times reported on 2 April. Russian
military leaders have long argued that changed geopolitical
realities and, in particular, the outbreak of hostilities on
Russia's southern border justify increased deployments in those
areas. The Scandinavian countries and Turkey have expressed
opposition to the proposed changes and, according to The New York
Times, the issue has emerged as a major irritant in efforts by the
Pentagon to forge closer ties with the Russian military. On 3
April US Defense Secretary William Perry said that NATO would
reject any attempt by Russia to alter the treaty, Reuters
reported.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

FIRST QUARTER RESULTS. The fall in industrial output during the
first quarter of 1994 has been variously reported as 24 and 25
percent when compared with the first quarter of 1993, according to
Interfax of 31 March and Rossiiskie vesti of 2 April. First Deputy
Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets was quoted as commenting that,
despite the decline in output, there was no need to declare an
"economic state of emergency," as had been proposed by
parliamentary leaders. The monthly inflation rate slowed from 22
percent in January, to 9.9 percent in February, to 8.7 percent in
March. In the Rossiiskie vesti article, Economics Minister
Aleksandr Shokhin predicted that the monthly inflation rate would
fall to 3-5 percent by the end of the year. This is appreciably
below other recent projections and well within the IMF guidelines.
Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

LAND REDISTRIBUTION DECREE. On 31 March, the cabinet approved "on
the whole" a draft program on agricultural reform for the period
1994-95, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported. This was, however,
rejected by the agricultural committees of both houses of
parliament, according to Interfax of 4 April. Meanwhile, a
government decree on the redistribution of land, that does not
have to be approved by parliament, was passed on 31 March,
according to the Financial Times of 2 April. This measure extends
the system pioneered in Nizhny Novgorod whereby farm workers and
pensioners each receive a voucher entitling them to part of the
land and the machinery belonging to the parent kolkhoz or sovkhoz.
They are then encouraged to join with other workers to form viable
production units.  Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

NORTH OSSETIAN-INGUSH TALKS. The presidents of North Ossetia and
Ingushetia, Akhsarbek Galazov and Ruslan Aushev, met in the
Kabardino-Balkar capital of Nalchik on 2 and 3 April to discuss
implementation of Yeltsin's decree of 13 December on the return of
Ingush refugees to the Prigorodnyi raion of North Ossetia,
ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. The talks were difficult as
Aushev continued to insist on the immediate return of the
refugees, while Galazov held to the North Ossetian stipulation
that no return would be possible until Ingushetia renounced its
claims to those parts of North Ossetia that were part of
Ingushetia prior to the whole deportation of the Ingush in 1944.
Nonetheless, Galazov expressed satisfaction with the talks, and
Vladimir Lozovoi, head of the provisional administration in North
Ossetia and Ingushetia, stressed the importance of agreement
having been reached on an agenda. The talks are to resume in
Nalchik on 13 and 14 April.  Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.

                               CIS

NUCLEAR FUEL EN ROUTE TO UKRAINE. Russia's Minister of Atomic
Energy, Viktor Mikhailov, informed Interfax on 4 April that a
shipment of 60 fuel rods has been sent to Ukraine in exchange for
the 120 nuclear warheads Ukraine has shipped to Russia. Mikhailov
again complained that the US has not yet paid Russia the $60
million advance payment envisioned in the trilateral agreement,
and noted that the Russian Finance Ministry has not paid the plant
that made the fuel. Further deliveries will depend both upon
Ukraine sending more warheads to Russia, and Russian receipt of US
funding. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

BALTIN ON BLACK SEA FLEET. The commander of the Black Sea Fleet,
Admiral Eduard Baltin, has warned that the fleet is deteriorating
rapidly and may cease to be functional by the turn of the century.
He noted that some 20% of junior officer posts are unfilled, while
many ships, and almost all of the fleet's aircraft, are in need of
repair. Baltin's comments, published in the Ukrainian navy's
newspaper, were reported by Interfax, ITAR-TASS, and AFP. Interfax
on 29 March reported that the fleet's high command had warned
Ukrainian Defense Minister Radetsky that Ukraine has not provided
its share of the fleet's financing in 1994, and hadn't reimbursed
the fleet for costs incurred by Ukrainian naval units using the
fleet's facilities. The fleet's command called for the debt to be
paid by 10 April.  John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

GEORGIA, ABKHAZIA SIGN AGREEMENT ON REPATRIATION OF REFUGEES.
Georgian and Abkhaz representatives signed agreements in Moscow on
3 April in the presence of UN Secretary-General Boutros Ghali and
Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev on an end to the most
recent round of hostilities and the return to their homes of some
of the 250,000 Georgians displaced by fighting last year, Interfax
and ITAR-TASS reported. The first agreement also called for the
deployment of UN peacekeeping troops in Abkhazia. In his weekly
radio broadcast, Georgian Parliament Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze
stated that Georgia had ceded to Abkhaz demands that no Georgians
actively involved in last year's fighting should be permitted to
return; he rejected criticisms of the agreement by opposition
deputies, who argued that it could lead to loss of Georgian
control over Abkhazia.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA, TURKEY, ARMENIA AND THE PKK. A spokesman for the Russian
Ministry of Justice told an RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow on 31
March that Russia cannot outlaw the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
because that organization is not legally registered in Russia.
(The Turkish government had protested a PKK-organized conference
on the history of Kurdistan held in Moscow in February.) On 1
April, Russian Interior Minister Viktor Erin and his Turkish
counterpart Nahit Mentese signed an agreement in Ankara on
increased cooperation between the two countries, especially in
combating international terrorism and drugs trafficking, according
to ITAR-TASS. Also on 1 April, one of the leaders of the Kurdish
community in Armenia told ITAR-TASS that there is no truth to
repeated Turkish official claims that there are PKK military bases
in Armenia.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

RAKHMONOV ON VISIT TO PAKISTAN. After a three-day official visit
to Pakistan, the first by a Tajik head of state since Tajikistan
gained its independence, Tajik Supreme Soviet Chairman Imomali
Rakhmonov told journalists in Dushanbe that Pakistan's government
wants to develop economic ties with his country, ITAR-TASS
reported on 2 April. The Pakistani side is particularly interested
in hydroelectric projects and road building, Rakhmonov said.
Although foreign investors have paid little attention to
Tajikistan because of the civil war in 1992 and continued fighting
on the Tajik-Afghan border, and also because of the potential
instability of the neo-Communist government of Rakhmonov and his
allies, in recent months a few reports have appeared of incipient
foreign interest in Tajikistan's mineral resources.  Bess Brown,
RFE/RL, Inc.

KAZAKHSTAN RESISTS RUSSIAN PRESSURE ON OIL LICENSES. A Kazakhstani
official of the international consortium developing oil resources
on the Caspian Sea shelf was quoted in the 31 March issue of The
Journal of Commerce as saying that during his recent visit to
Moscow Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev did not discuss
a Russian request to join the consortium. The Russian Ministry of
Energy had submitted a memorandum requesting that Russian oil
companies be given priority in the granting of exploration
licenses and to admit a Russian oil company to the existing
consortium. The same official reported that agreement has been
reached between Russian and Kazakhstani authorities on expansion
of the Novorossiisk oil terminal to accommodate increased oil
exports from Kazakhstan.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

MUSLIMS AND CROATS KILLED IN PRIJEDOR AREA. International media
reported over the Easter weekend that Serbs killed 17 Muslims and
two Croats in Prijedor, northwestern Bosnia, a traditional hotbed
of Serbian nationalism. The 2 April Washington Post quoted US
Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith as calling the murders "a
program of Nazi-style reprisal killings" in apparent revenge for
the deaths of six Serb policemen in fighting elsewhere. Bosnian
Serb leader Radovan Karadzic promised to catch and punish those
responsible for the Prijedor murders, in which some elderly people
had been burned alive in their homes, saying they were "criminal
acts of murder, not ethnic killings," the BBC reported on 3 April.
Karadzic later went back on a promise to let any Muslims and
Croats wanting to leave to do so, however, apparently preferring
the ongoing slow but steady exodus to a mass evacuation.  Patrick
Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

BIG SERB OFFENSIVE IN EASTERN BOSNIA. The Washington Post reported
on 3 April that Bosnian Serb forces were launching new attacks on
Gorazde and other besieged Muslim areas in an apparent move to
consolidate Serb conquests. AFP said on 5 April that the Serbs
broke through Muslim lines south of the town the previous night.
Tanjug on 2 April described the fighting as the worst in the area
since the Serbs invaded almost two years ago. UN commander Sir
Michael Rose told the BBC on 3 April that the Serbs "do not pose a
serious threat" to the town, but on 4 April the BBC said Gorazde's
mayor invited Rose to come and see for himself the results of
fighting that left 70 dead and 200 wounded in the town in just six
days.  Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIA--BALKAN'S BROKER? Upon his return from Greece on 1 April,
President Ion Iliescu was quoted by Radio Bucharest as saying that
he had carried a message from Turkish President Suleiman Demirel
to the Greek leadership. Iliescu also said that, having hosted
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman in Bucharest in mid-February,
Romania will host Serbia's President Slobodan Milosevic on 5
April, and Bosnia-Herzegovina's President Alija Izetbegovic at the
end of the month. Iliescu said that Romania was striving to
enhance its role as a "stability-factor" in the Balkans.
Presidential spokesman Traian Chebeleu said on the same day that
Milosevic's visit was "part and parcel of Romania's efforts to
back up and give impetus to the peace process in former
Yugoslavia." He added that Romania was in favor of easing the
embargo against rump Yugoslavia, since the embargo had manifestly
"not helped the search for a peaceful solution in the area."
Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

WALESA VETOES WAGE CONTROLS. President Lech Walesa refused on 31
March to sign into law a liberalized version of the tax on excess
wages (or neopopiwek), PAP reports. The tax, set to take effect on
1 April when the current wage regulations expire, would have
affected firms with at least 80% state ownership. All Polish
governments since 1989 have seen such wage controls as a necessary
evil, designed to curb inflation and prevent wage-driven
bankruptcies. Much of the ruling coalition opposes the tax,
however, and the original popiwek was abolished in December on a
motion from unionists in the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD). The
Sejm may thus fail to muster the two-thirds majority required to
override the president's veto. In explaining his decision, Walesa
cited a controversial clause that would have allowed the
government to extend the tax to private firms should the state's
"financial equilibrium" be jeopardized. The president's motives
appear to be political, however, as the veto is another blow in
his battle with the SLD. Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak withheld
all comment over the holidays, while the SLD's ousted finance
minister and deputy prime minister, Marek Borowski, called
Walesa's decision "a declaration of war." Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL,
Inc.

POLISH PRESIDENTIAL OFFENSIVE CONTINUES. Walesa executed a further
set of maneuvers designed to undermine the Democratic Left
Alliance (SLD) and expand his own influence. On 31 March Walesa
named the conservative Catholic politician Ryszard Bender as
chairman of the National Broadcasting Council. The president had
demoted his first appointee, Marek Markiewicz, on 1 March, in a
gesture of protest against the awarding of the single national
commercial TV license to the PolSat company. The Constitutional
Tribunal is now considering the legality of Walesa's move. Bender
was criticized by some of his colleagues for appearing to assist
Walesa in his attempt to subordinate the council; he assured
reporters, however, that he would welcome Markiewicz's
reinstatement. Walesa also moved to wrest defense matters from the
government's hands. Defense Minister Piotr Kolodziejczyk told
reporters on 31 March that the president will request a ruling
from the Constitutional Tribunal on "parliamentary interference"
in the defense budget. The 1994 budget requires the defense
ministry to spend 300 billion zloty ($14 million) on Polish-made
aircraft. Kolodziejczyk also reneged on an earlier pledge to name
a deputy defense minister from the SLD, arguing that "the
coalition, in voting for the budget, had declared itself against
the state's defense interests." Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH PREMIER IN MOSCOW. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus arrived
in Moscow on 4 April for a two-day visit. On 5 April Klaus is
scheduled to meet Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Premier
Viktor Chernomyrdin. They are to discuss bilateral issues,
including Moscow's estimated $3 billion debt to Prague. Klaus is
also to sign an agreement on trade and to encourage investments
between Russia and the Czech Republic. Prior to his departure,
Klaus told journalists in Prague that he expected Russia to
propose a barter agreement to settle the debt issue.  Jiri Pehe,
RFE/RL, Inc.

SECOND WAVE OF VOUCHER PRIVATIZATION IN SLOVAKIA. Peter Weiss,
chairman of the Democratic Left Party, told journalists in Trencin
on 29 March that the new Slovak government and the parties that
support it plan to begin the second wave of voucher privatization
in August or September 1994. Slovakia participated in the first
wave of voucher privatization in 1992, when it was still part of
Czechoslovakia; however, while the Czech Republic went ahead with
the second wave of voucher privatization after the split, the
government of Vladimir Meciar opted for what it called "standard
forms of privatization," such as direct sales. Weiss said that his
party has always been in favor of another wave of voucher
privatization because it "enables citizens to take part in the
privatization process who would not otherwise have the money to do
so." On 31 March, a spokesman for the privatization ministry told
journalists that the process of privatization in Slovakia has come
to a standstill and the government is considering new methods of
speeding it up. Some 30% of Slovakia's state assets had been
privatized by June 1992, but only 3% since then.  Jiri Pehe,
RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARY APPLIES FOR EUROPEAN UNION MEMBERSHIP. On 1 April Hungary
became the first former communist bloc country to apply officially
for membership in the EU, Western media report. Foreign Minister
Geza Jeszenszky submitted the application to the EU's Greek
presidency in Athens. Jeszenszky told reporters that membership in
the EU "will make our course toward Europe final and assure the
security and integrity of Hungary." Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER IN HUNGARY. At the conclusion of his
two-day official visit to Hungary on 1 April Victor Chernomyrdin
and his Hungarian counterpart Peter Boross signed agreements on
the payment of Russia's debt of $800 million to Hungary and on
excluding double taxation, MTI reports. Under the agreement, part
of the debt will be paid by allowing Hungarian businessmen to
acquire Russian property and participate in Russian privatization.
Negotiations are under way about debt payments through the
delivery of Russian weapons and spare parts. (Russia last year
gave Hungary 28 MiG-29s war planes to settle half of its debt.)
The ministers for foreign trade signed a protocol on trade in
1994. Chernomyrdin expressed the hope that the two countries'
trade turnover would double or triple. In 1993 Hungary ranked
seventh among Russia's economic partners while Russia was
Hungary's second most important partner. Both sides agreed the
agreements were a significant step forward in bilateral relations.
Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW HUNGARIAN CHANNEL BROADCASTS FROM HOLLAND. Circumventing
Hungary's current moratorium on the distribution of frequencies,
the entrepreneur Johann Spischak began on 2 April to broadcast
from Holland to satellite dish owners and cable television
subscribers, MTI and Western media report. The new BP1 channel's
program includes movies, sports, music, and five 30-minute news
broadcasts daily. Spischak said he wants his news programming to
become a reliable source of objective reporting for the whole
region, with subtitles now available on teletext in German,
Slovak, Serb, Croat and Romanian. Some 50% of Hungarian households
are hooked up to cable and satellite TV.  Edith Oltay, RFE/RL,
Inc.

ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN TENSIONS. The Chairman of the Chamber of
Deputies, Adrian Nastase (who is also the executive chairman of
the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania) said in a
declaration released by Rompres on 31 March that Romania should
introduce visa requirements for visiting officials from
neighboring Hungary. Nastase claimed that Hungarian officials
entering Romania as tourists engage in official activities that
should have been cleared with the Romanian authorities ahead of
time, and that this was an infringement of Romanian sovereignty.
He referred specifically to the activities of Geza Enz, a
Hungarian official in charge of Hungarians living in neighboring
countries, who awarded medals to persons of Hungarian origin
during a tour of Transylvania. Nastase accused the Hungarian
government of attempting to make electoral capital in connection
with the forthcoming elections and of extending the campaign
beyond Hungary's borders. At a press conference in Cluj on the
same day, Enz said that his visit to Romania had a private, "but
also an official character," since he had been invited by the
Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania and the Romanian
Foreign Ministry had been duly informed on the invitation.
Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

ZHELEV WITHDRAWS SUPPORT FOR GOVERNMENT. In an interview with
Bulgarian TV on 2 April, Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev said
that the government of Lyuben Berov has failed during its 15-month
reign to implement the chief goals of its program, and that he can
no longer support it politically. Rejecting allegations that he is
seeking to oust Berov--his former economic adviser--Zhelev said he
can not remain indifferent when the government's activities are
beginning to destabilize the country. He particularly criticized
to the slow pace of privatization, the agricultural reform, the
absence of improvements in communications infrastructure, and the
cabinet's failure to deal effectively with the recent dramatic
devaluation of the domestic currency. Zhelev deplored the fact
that Berov had chosen to work closely with the excommunist
Bulgarian Socialist Party, which he said had sought to rule the
country without carrying immediate responsibility for it. Although
acting Premier Evgeni Matinchev on 4 April characterized the
president's as remarks as "largely emotional," statements by the
three key parliamentary factions suggested that the cabinet does
indeed face increasing opposition. While the political executives
of the BSP and the MRF warned that continued backing would rely on
major policy changes, UDF Chairman Filip Dimitrov said Berov
should step down within four or five weeks. Kjell Engelbrekt,
RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIA INTRODUCES VAT, HIGHER POWER CHARGES. On 1 April Bulgaria
introduced an 18-percent value added tax on most goods, plus
higher charges for electricity, power heating and coal. Both
measures have been opposed by part of the population, who fear
they will be an obstacle for businessmen as well as bringing
hardship for many households. According to Pari of 4 April,
several economists are also concerned that such rising costs will
add to the already strong inflationary pressure. Kjell Engelbrekt,
RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN BORDER GUARD KILLED ON ESTONIAN BORDER. Early in the
morning on 1 April two unknown men opened fire when stopped by
three Russian border guards at the Estonian-Russian border near
Pechory, killing private Valerii Tsygankov and wounding the other
two, BNS reports. Estonian ambassador Juri Kahn was called to the
Russian Foreign Ministry and asked for help in apprehending the
perpetrators, who were believed to have fled to Estonia. Kahn said
that Russia considered the incident to have been of a criminal
rather than political nature. The two have not been caught so far.
Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN VISA REQUIRED FOR LITHUANIAN CITIZENS. On 1 April the
Russian embassy in Vilnius sent a document to the Lithuanian
Foreign Ministry announcing that from 28 April Lithuanian citizens
would need visas to travel to Russia, Interfax reports. Citizens
of the former USSR who have not acquired Lithuanian, Russian, or
other CIS state citizenship will be allowed to enter Russia
without a visa until 6 February 1995. Lithuania introduced a visa
regime for Russia and other CIS states in November 1993, but
allowed an invitation registered by its migration services to be
used as a visa. On 24 March Lithuania agreed to postpone the visa
requirement for residents of the Kaliningrad oblast for three more
months.  Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

RESULTS OF RUNOFF ELECTIONS IN UKRAINE. Runoff elections were held
in 29 electoral districts on 2 and 3 April. The latest counts
indicate that the Communists and Socialists won ten more seats
while 19 others went to independent candidates, Interfax reported
on 4 April. A total of 78 parliamentary seats have now been
filled. Of these 20 are held by Communists, four by Socialists and
two by the Peasants' Party, bringing the total number of seats
held by left-wing candidates to 26. Some 15 seats were won by
members of right-wing and democratic groups. The remaining victors
claim to be independent. A new round of voting to the country's
450-seat parliament will be held in the remaining 368 districts on
9 and 10 April. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

UKRAINE SAYS IT HAS PAID GAZPROM. Deputy Prime Minister Valentyn
Landyk told Interfax on 1 April that Ukraine has fulfilled its
obligation to pay Gazprom $100 million by that date. Landyk also
said that President Leonid Kravchuk would soon issue a decree on
setting up a joint stock company, Ukrneftehaz, in which Ukraine
would hold the controlling shares. According to Landyk, Russia
would have no more than 30% of the company's shares and "thus,
nobody can accuse us of selling off Ukraine." The government
intends to continue warning Ukrainian enterprises about the
possibility of cuts in gas supplies from Russia. Talks on gas
supplies between Russia and Ukraine are to resume on 10 April.
Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

SHUSHKEVICH ON BELARUSIAN ELECTION LAW. The former chairman of the
Belarusian Supreme Soviet, Stanislau Shushkevich, has blasted the
new electoral law as undemocratic in nature, Interfax reported on
4 April. On 1 April Belarusian TV reported that Shushkevich was
nominated by the association of democratic parties, "Spring-94,"
to run as their presidential candidate. The new election law
requires candidates to gather the signatures of 70 parliamentary
deputies or 100,000 Belarusian citizens within fourteen days in
order to qualify for the presidential race. As the democratic
opposition holds only 10% of the seats in parliament (out of a
total of 347), Shushkevich may not be able to garner enough
support there. The election law has also been criticized by the
opposition leader Zyanon Paznyak, who says it favors the candidacy
of prime minister Vyacheslau Kebich. The 120 strong conservative
"Belarus" faction in parliament has said it would uphold Kebich's
nomination, which ensures his nomination. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL,
Inc.

BELARUS ON MONETARY UNION. Another round of negotiations on the
proposed Russian-Belarusian monetary union is to be held in Moscow
on 5 April, Interfax reported on 4 April. The Belarusian
government delegation will be led by first Deputy Prime Minister
Mikhail Myasnikovich. According to Myasnikovich, Belarus will
insist that the entire package of documents providing for the
unification of the two monetary systems be signed despite the
opposition of individual Russian officials. Several Russian
officials have opposed the terms Belarus wants for monetary union
as detrimental to the Russian economy.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL,
Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Suzanne Crow and Anna Swidlicka
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