|Esli ne nauchish'sya smeyat'sya nad bedami, v starosti tebe voobsche budet ne nad chem smeyat'sya. - E. U. Hou|
No. 66, 7 April 1994
RUSSIA YELTSIN ENDORSES MILITARY BASES ABROAD. According to Interfax, ITAR-TASS reported on 6 April that Russian President Boris Yeltsin had issued a directive endorsing a Defense Ministry proposal that would allow Moscow to establish military bases in CIS member states and in Latvia for the purpose of maintaining Russian security and for testing new military hardware. Neither the text of the directive nor the original ITAR-TASS report were available however. Interfax quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigorii Karasin as saying he knew nothing about the directive and that all military relations with Latvia at least had been settled on the basis of bilateral agreements, a remark suggesting some confusion in Moscow. That conclusion appears to be corroborated by a subsequent Interfax report alleging that a technical mistake in the wording of the original document was being corrected. On 28 February Russia's General Staff Chief had outlined Moscow's intention to establish 30 military bases abroad on the basis of bilateral agreements with CIS member-states, and the Yeltsin directive would appear to signify approval of that plan. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. PROTEST AGAINST DECREE. On 6 April Maris Riekstins, State Secretary of the Latvian Foreign Ministry, issued a protest to Russian ambassador Aleksandr Rannikh over the signing on 5 April of a presidential decree to create 30 Russian military bases in the territory of CIS states and Latvia, Baltic and Western agencies reported. Rannikh promised to seek clarification from Moscow. After an emergency Cabinet session, Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Birkavs said that the decree contradicted the agreements initialed on 15 March. Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis issued a statement declaring that the decree was a threat to European security and it raised questions about Russia's real aims in negotiations with Latvia. Latvia would never agree to have Russian military bases in its territory, he said. His office reported that Ulmanis had tried unsuccessfully to contact Yeltsin and the Commander of the North-West Group of Forces, General Leonid Mayorov. The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry issued a statement supporting Latvia's desire for the withdrawal of Russian troops and declaring that only Latvia had the right to decide what military bases could be on its territory. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN ON NATO PARTNERSHIP. In an interview with Interfax on 6 April Yeltsin was quoted as saying that Moscow was seeking a "special agreement" under NATO's "Partnership for Peace" program that would take into account Russia's "role and place in world and European affairs--the military strength and nuclear status of our country." He said that the relationship between Russia and NATO "must have a character distinct from that of other countries." While seeming to agree that Russia would shortly sign a "framework agreement" for participation in the partnership program, Yeltsin suggested that implementation would be worked out only at a later date. His remarks appear to be an attempt to reconcile the conflicting views of his Defense and Foreign Ministries, which have generally favored participation, and various parliamentary factions, whose leaders have been outspoken opponents of it. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN ON HIS POLITICAL PRIORITIES. President Boris Yeltsin told Interfax on 6 April that he regards a consideration of his candidacy for a second presidential term as "premature." He stated that the envisioned civic peace accord will hopefully bring an end to the power struggle and added that an increasing number of politicians are expressing their desire to join the accord. In his opinion, political goals should, from now on, be achieved only through democratic elections. Yeltsin said that in the remaining two years of his tenure, he intends to focus on three major problems: first, streamlining the relationship between the executive, legislative and juridicial powers; second, stabilizing the territorial integrity of the Russian federation; and third, solving the country's economic problems. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. PARLIAMENT REJECTS KAZANNIK'S RESIGNATION. In a vote by secret ballot on 6 April, the Council of the Federation refused to approve the resignation of former Prosecutor General, Aleksei Kazannik, who resigned in March to protest what he termed the illegal pressure of Yeltsin and his aides, Yurii Baturin and Georgii Satarov. All three, Kazannik said, had forced him to sabotage the constitution and laws, including the controversial political amnesty, announced by the State Duma in February. The constitution provides that holders of the post are to be appointed by the president and approved by the higher chamber of the parliament. Altogether 145 members of the Council of the Federation took part in the vote on 6 April; 74 of them voted against accepting Kazannik's resignation, and 64 for it. Yeltsin, however, informed the parliament later that day that Aleksei Ilyushenko would continue serving as the Acting Prosecutor-General. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. RUTSKOI GATHERS STRENGTH. Former Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi seems to have strengthened his political positions. His spokesman, Andrei Fedorov, told AFP on 6 April that Rutskoi's new alliance "Concord for Russia" has about one million members. Another spokesman claimed that Rutskoi's alliance has gathered support from 50 percent of the deputies of the State Duma. Fedorov stated that the alliance plans to meet by the end of May to map its strategy. The alliance is considered Rutskoi's major support organization for the next presidential elections. It has been joined by several influential nationalist and communist leaders. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. RUTSKOI ON ZHIRINOVSKY. Former Vice President Rutskoi has called his right-wing competitor for the post of president, nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, "a clinical case." Rutskoi told the French newspaper L'Evenement Du Jeudi on 5 April that one should only listen to Zhirinovsky's statements to find out that "he is above all a clinical case." Nevertheless, Rutskoi did not exclude the possibility of Zhirinovsky becoming Russia's next president "if anarchy takes over in the country." Rutskoi stated that Zhirinovsky is probably really concerned about Russia's fate but that he can't take him seriously as a politician. Rutskoi added that he has never met Zhirinovsky. Meanwhile, it was announced that the LDP leader would be part of the Russian parliamentary delegation to the session of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg next week. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. AIRLINE HEAD DISPUTES AIRBUS STORIES. The head of Russian International Airlines, an Aeroflot offshoot, has disputed a report issued by the Ministry of Transport claiming that the pilot's children were at the controls of the Airbus A-310 which crashed in Siberia. According to an ITAR-TASS report on 6 April, Valerii Eksuzyan told Trud that the black box recordings might have picked up the voices of passengers through the open cockpit door and that further investigation was required to determine the cause of the crash. On the same day Interfax reported that Vladimir Mokrinsky, who heads a subcommission investigating the accident, called the Ministry's statements "absolutely groundless" and noted that investigation results would not be available for at least two weeks. Interfax also reported that if the crew is found responsible for the crash, Russian International Airlines might have to pay approximately $65 million for the aircraft, possibly forcing it into bankruptcy. Indeed, the Financial Times on 6 April reported that the British Aviation Insurance Group, the lead underwriter for the Airbus deal, is waiting for investigation results before deciding whether to raise premiums for the airline. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc. MOSCOW MAYOR SUSPENDS PRIVATIZATION. The mayor of Moscow, Yurii Luzhkov, has temporarily suspended privatization in the city, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported on 5 and 6 April. In a decree issued on 6 April, Luzhkov ordered a halt to the privatization of buildings, installations, and office space until the publication of a long-awaited decree by President Yeltsin on the privatization program in Moscow. Luzhkov has been one of the most prominent and vocal opponents of the nation-wide privatization campaign led by Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais and has insisted on doing his own thing. On 9 February, Interfax quoted Chubais as saying: "I cannot be responsible for Moscow privatization. Privatization in Moscow is run personally by Mayor Luzhkov." As far as is known, President Yeltsin has never come out unequivocally on the side of Chubais in this prolonged dispute. ITAR-TASS on 24 November reported that Yeltsin had instructed Luzhkov to draft a decree on a specific program for privatization in the capital. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. POOR GRAIN HARVEST IN 1994 POSSIBLE. Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Zaveryukha has warned that spring sowing could take place this year "at a low agrotechnical level" and, as a result, "a significant portion of the crop will be lost," Interfax reported on 6 April. The original official projection of this year's grain harvest was 85-89 million tons, but experts were cited as predicting a lower outturn at just over 75 million tons. There is little doubt that conditions and preparations down on the farm are what official spokesmen have chosen to term as "complicated," but Zaveryukha's warning may also be seen as a part of the farm lobby's campaign for a bigger handout from the 1994 federal budget. The leader of the agrarian faction in the State Duma told Interfax on 1 April that he will fight to raise the farm subsidy from 9 to 20 trillion rubles. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. NUCLEAR POWER WORKERS PROTEST. Some 150 workers representing Russia's nuclear power plants staged a protest outside the Russian White House on 5 April, ITAR-TASS reported. They demanded a meeting with President Yeltsin and called on the Russian parliament to pass legislation guaranteeing funding for the nuclear energy sector. A union official said nuclear power workers have not been paid for three months and that an acute shortage of funds is preventing routine repair and maintenance work at nuclear plants. Meanwhile, Russian coalminers have threatened to hold a nationwide strike on 13 April if they have not received the back pay they are owed by then. Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Shokhin has promised that the miners will be paid in full this month. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN-TURKISH TALKS. The possibility of creating an international consortium with Russian, Azerbaijani, Turkish and US participation to construct an oil pipeline between Russia and Turkey was discussed at a meeting between Russian and Turkish government officials in Moscow on 6 April, Russian First Deputy Premier Oleg Soskovets told Interfax on 6 April. Construction of the pipeline, the exact route of which was not disclosed, would resolve the Russian-Turkish tensions that have arisen over Turkey's plans to introduce more stringent regulations for the passage of shipping through the Bosphorus. Also on 6 April, Turkey's Minister for Shipping, Ibrahim Tez, was quoted by Reuters as stating that Turkey advocates revising the terms of the 1936 Treaty of Montreux governing shipping through the Bosphorus. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA AZERBAIJAN TO JOIN PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE. On 6 April Western agencies quoted NATO officials in Brussels as stating that Azerbaijan's President Geidar Aliev will travel to Brussels to enroll his country in NATO's Partnership for Peace program on 27 April. Fourteen former East bloc nations have already joined the program, including Georgia; Armenia has held talks with NATO officials, but not yet come to a decision on participation. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE CROATIAN RULING PARTY SPLITS. Vjesnik reports on 7 April that upper house speaker Josip Manolic and his lower house counterpart Stipe Mesic have founded a new party, the Independent Democrats (ND). This effectively means that the liberal wing of the ruling Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) has left that organization after months of public feuding with President Franjo Tudjman over Bosnian policy and the president's authoritarian style. Manolic was stripped of his HDZ offices just before Easter, and Mesic was widely expected to meet the same fate on 13 April. Depending on how many HDZ deputies join the two speakers, Tudjman's party could lose its majority in one or both houses, thereby prompting new elections, which are not due until 1996. It is not clear how the ND will differ in its program from other center-left parties. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. SERBS BLOCK GEN. ROSE FROM GORAZDE. International media reported on 6 and 7 April that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic halted the UN commander in Bosnia General Michael Rose at the Serb headquarters in Pale. The Serbs nonetheless allowed some of Rose's staff to continue on a fact-finding mission to Gorazde. Rose then returned to Sarajevo to see about setting up an overall ceasefire as Karadzic proposed. Meanwhile in New York, the Security Council said it was "deeply concerned at the continuing violence" in Gorazde, while in Ankara Turkish, Bosnian, and Croatian representatives called for international action to end the Serb assault. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. EU PRESSURES GREECE TO RELINQUISH MACEDONIAN BLOCKADE . . . On 6 April the European Commission urged Greece to end its trade blockade against landlocked Macedonia, or face a court case for violating the EU Treaty. Western agencies quoted EU External Relations Commissioner Hans van den Broek as calling on both countries--which disagree on the name, flag and constitution of the former Yugoslav republic--to resume talks, but at the same time warning Athens that it has only one week to reconsider its policy. If Greece ignores the ultimatum, van den Broek said, the Commission will ask the European Court of Justice to step in. The Greek government, which judging from recent mass demonstrations appears to have the support of a large segment of the population, argues that Macedonia currently represents a threat to its national security and that the economic embargo is a lawful means to defend its interests. In Athens, a spokesman for the Greek Chiefs of Staff rejected claims by Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov that Athens has ordered more troops to the common border. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. . . . WHILE SKOPJE IS COUNTING THE COSTS. The Financial Times of 6 April reports that Macedonian authorities estimate the monthly costs of the blockade at some $80 million. The figure, roughly equivalent to 85% of the country's total export earnings, is the result both of lost trade opportunities and of more expensive transportation. The embargo has already had a negative impact on the industrial and labor market, and fears that the economic crisis may trigger even more serious social and ethnic tensions appear to be growing. Citing evidence of a growing rift between Macedonian Slavs and the minority Albanians, The Times of 6 April says Macedonia "is creeping inexorably towards an internal collapse similar to that which prefaced the war in Bosnia." Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. SANDZAK MUSLIMS DO NOT WANT UNION WITH BOSNIA. The spokesman of the Muslim National Council in Sandzak, Azem Hajdarevic, has denied that the leader of the ethnic Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA), Sulejman Ugljanin, wants to unite the region with Bosnia-Herzegovina. He described such allegations as the "pure imagination of the Serbian and Montenegrin media," according to a 5 April Borba report. Nonetheless, he said that Ugljanin expects Bosnia-Herzegovina, which is the Sandzak Muslims' "motherland," to help save them. Rasim Ljajic, who has led the SDA since Ugljanin left the country in June 1993 to avoid arrest for "endangering the territorial integrity" of rump Yugoslavia, said, however, that "a union of Sandzak and Bosnia is just a wish but no political reality." Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. PAWLAK CALLS ON SEJM TO OVERRIDE VETO. Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak met with the parliamentary caucuses of the two ruling parties on 6 April to urge them to overturn the president's veto on the new tax on excess wages, PAP reports. This tax is designed to prevent inflationary wage growth in state firms. President Lech Walesa vetoed the bill on 31 March, one day before it was to take effect; state firms now face no external controls on wage growth. The Sejm is expected to consider the veto on 7 April. Polish Peasant Party (PSL) officials expressed concern that state firms are already shifting funds earmarked for investment to cover wage increases, but PAP reports that most firms are in fact waiting for the Sejm vote. The vote to override could be very close, as unionist deputies from the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) as well as most opposition parties are expected to endorse the veto. Both the SLD and PSL seemed willing to remove the clause in the bill that would allow the government to extend the tax to private firms; this is the clause Walesa criticized most. Such an amendment can be made only after the bill has become a law, however. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. WALESA ACCEPTS TALKS WITH COALITION. During his two-hour meeting with the SLD caucus, Pawlak apparently dispelled suspicions that he has an implicit pact with the president to undermine the SLD's position in the coalition. The two parties seem to have agreed on a plan of action to deal with Walesa's campaign against the coalition. Pawlak met with Dariusz Rosati, the coalition's candidate for finance minister, on 6 April, PAP reports, but the government's press office withheld all comment on the outcome of the meeting pending the return of SLD leader Aleksander Kwasniewski to Poland. President Lech Walesa is to meet with Sejm Speaker Jozef Oleksy (SLD) on 7 April, but a spokesman ruled out any reconsideration of Rosati's candidacy. A high-ranking presidential official indicated on 6 April that the president plans to veto the local government election law as amended by the coalition parties. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. JARUZELSKI, KISZCZAK OFF THE HOOK? The Sejm's Constitutional Responsibility Commission voted on 6 April to halt proceedings against former President Wojciech Jaruzelski and former Internal Affairs Minister Czeslaw Kiszczak for ordering the destruction of stenographic records of Politburo meetings from 1982-89. The Sejm is expected to endorse the commission's decision. The same commission in the previous Sejm had voted to press charges against Jaruzelski and Kiszczak before the State Tribunal, but the dissolution of the parliament in May intervened. Jaruzelski admits to having ordered the files destroyed in December 1989 but argues that they were unreliable as historical documents. Archivists and historians disagree, as the documents recorded Politburo discussions of the murder of Father Jerzy Popieluszko, for example, as well as the party's relations with the Church and the opposition. Commission Chairman Jerzy Wiatr (SLD) argued that the decision to halt prosecution was based on procedural flaws and denied that the commission had political motives. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. KLAUS ON VICTIMS OF COMMUNISM. Speaking at a press conference in Prague on 6 April, Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus said that the vast majority of damage claims against the former communist regime have been settled by Czech courts. More than 200,000 requests for legal rehabilitation and compensation have been resolved; some 2.7 billion koruny have been paid to the victims of the communist regime. Some 4,800 cases still remain. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK CABINET PRESENTS POLICY STATEMENT. The new Slovak government, which was installed on 16 March, presented its policy statement on 6 April. Deputy premier for economic issues, Brigita Schmoegnerova, said that, despite the large budget deficit inherited from the previous government, the cabinet hoped to meet the macroeconomic goals laid out in the 1994 state budget: zero GDP growth, maximum unemployment of 17%, and annual inflation of 10 to 13%. To increase state budget receipts, the cabinet proposed increasing tax on alcohol and tobacco, and measures to limit tax evasion. According to Schmoegnerova, the most important tasks of the new cabinet are to prevent further economic decline, establish conditions for economic growth, reach macro-economic stability, and enhance the development of small and medium business. Measures to improve infrastructure, tourism and the environment are also planned. On the microeconomic level the cabinet will focus on changes in ownership, support of the private sector, and export policy. The parliament will discuss the statement in a special session on 12 April, TASR reports. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK PRIVATIZATION BODY ELECTED. On 6 April the Slovak parliament approved eight new members for the nine-member Presidium of the National Property Fund (FNM), which administers the privatization process, TASR reports. Rudolf Janac, who was nominated by the Party of the Democratic Left, was elected President, with Viliam Vaskovic, nominated by the center coalition, as Vice President. Voting on the final member of the Presidium will take place at the next parliamentary session, as none of the other candidates received the majority of votes required for election. The parliament rejected the seven new candidates proposed to the FNM's supervisory council. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. BAVARIAN PREMIER PROPOSES PARTIAL EU MEMBERSHIP. On 6 April Edmund Stoiber said during an official visit to Budapest that the European Union should institute partial membership for associate members during the period leading up to full membership, MTI reports. He proposed that partial membership extend to areas where associate members are already able to cooperate on an equal footing with the West, such as foreign and security policy, and refugee affairs. Defense Minister Lajos Fur welcomed the proposal, saying that partial EU membership would be of vital interest to Hungary. At meetings with President Arpad Goncz and Prime Minister Peter Boross, Stoiber reiterated that Bavaria was determined to promote the European integration of Central East European countries. Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES LAND LAW. On 6 April the Hungarian parliament passed, by 149 votes to 62 and 19 abstentions, a law restricting the acquisition of agricultural land, MTI reports. The law limits the size of land that can be bought by private individuals to 300 hectares, and bans the sale of arable land and land in conservation areas to foreign individuals and companies. Firms which are partially foreign owned and have their seats in Hungary are exempted from the ban. Months of emotional debate preceded the passage of the law, with deputies charging that allowing foreigners to acquire arable land would mean the country's sellout to foreign capital. Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. BULGARIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON RETIREMENT OF OFFICERS. At a press conference in Sofia on 6 April, Bulgarian Defense Minister Valentin Aleksandrov corrected recent press reports on sweeping reductions in the officer corps, explaining that the reforms underway do not mean overall staff cuts but early retirement for a total of 2,886 senior and 1,500 non-commissioned officers. Aleksandrov told BTA that senior officers over 50 and NCOs without secondary education will be asked to retire during the next couple of months. He also forecast probable reductions in the ministry's civilian staff of 5,000. At a separate press conference, Socialist Party leader Jean Videnov said the envisaged "shock retirement" of Bulgarian military personnel can improve neither national security nor the quality of the army. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. NATO, BELGIAN OFFICIALS IN BUCHAREST. US General George Joulwan, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, visited Romania on 5 and 6 April. Radio Bucharest said that military cooperation between Romania and NATO, especially the Partnership for Peace program, figured high on Joulwan's agenda. On 6 April the general met Romanian President Ion Iliescu, Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu and Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca. Belgian Foreign Minister Willy Claes also started a three-day official visit to Romania on 6 April. Claes will discuss Romania's relationship with NATO and the Western European Union, as well its integration into the European Union. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN CABINET APPROVES AUSTERITY BUDGET. Romania's government approved on 6 April a draft 1994 budget which sets tight limits on spending while cutting back on expenditure, Radio Bucharest and Western agencies report. A cabinet spokesman said that the budget had been drafted in keeping with recommendations made by the IMF. Radio Bucharest quoted Finance Minister Florin Georgescu as saying that the budget will require reductions among government employees. The planned deficit amounts to 3.5% of Romania's GDP. The budget will give priority to several capital projects including completion by the end of the year of the first reactor at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant. The budget, which was delayed for several months, has to be passed by both chambers of parliament. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINIAN-CRIMEAN TUG OF WAR INTENSIFYING. The war of words and of laws between Kiev and Simferopol has been heating up. On 6 April Ukrainian TV reported that President Leonid Kravchuk issued a decree annulling an earlier one, issued on 31 March by Crimea's President Yurii Meshkov, dismissing the local director of the Ukrainian State Television and Radio Company, Valerii Astakhov. According to Interfax, at a press conference in Kiev that same day, Kravchuk once again accused Meshkov of violating both Ukrainian and Crimean laws and repeated the offer to broaden Crimea's already considerable economic autonomy. Last week Kravchuk appointed a representative of the Ukrainian president in Crimea. On 6 April, Meshkov said on Radio Rossiya that he considered this to be a "political provocation." Radio Rossiya also cited Meshkov's military adviser and former commander of the Soviet forces in Crimea, identified only as General Kuznetsov, as declaring that the peninsula is in essence Russian and that it is "flowing toward Russia." There is no need to declare Crimea's secession from Ukraine, Kuznetsov added; "Ukraine will disintegrate by itself. Economically, it is not capable of existing as a state." Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc. BELARUSIAN ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION DISBANDED. On 1 April the government disbanded the interim parliamentary anti-corruption commission, Belarusian radio reported on 6 April. Earlier the head of the commission, Aleksandr Lukashenka, had alleged that he had documents proving that some 50 top government officials were guilty of abuse of office and corruption. Government spokesman Uladzimir Zamyatalin had denounced the allegations as a means of attracting voter attention and discrediting government officials by Lukashenka, who is making a bid for the presidency. Following the liquidation of the commission, its offices were reportedly searched on 4-5 April. According to the head of the parliamentary legislation commission, Dzmitry Bulakhau, the unidentified searchers could not have found anything significant since the most important papers had been moved to a more secure place. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA RETRACTS ON WITHDRAWAL FROM ESTONIA. The 18th round of negotiations between Estonia and Russia on the withdrawal of Russian troops, held in Moscow on 5-6 April, ended with Russia withdrawing its pledge to depart by 31 August, Western agencies report. Russia's chief negotiator Vasilii Svirin said: "That date is no longer valid. When things are a bit clearer, Russia will set a new date." Russia changed its position because Estonia refused to amend its laws to grant all Russian military retirees permanent residency in Estonia and provide $23 million to construct housing for the withdrawing troops. Estonia's negotiating team head Vaino Reinart said many of the retirees had served in the KGB and were a threat to Estonian security. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. NEW PRIVATIZATION COMMISSION IN LITHUANIA. On 5 April President Algirdas Brazauskas named a new Central Privatization Commission, BNS reported on 6 April. Seven of the twenty members of the commission--including its new chairman, Deputy Economics Minister Kestutis Baranauskas--had been members of the old commission that resigned in February, protesting critical remarks on its work in the president's annual report. The former commission head, Julius Veselka, also resigned as Economics Minister. No replacement has yet been named. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Suzanne Crow and Anna Swidlicka The RFE/RL Daily Report is produced by the RFE/RL Research Institute (a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.) with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division (NCA). 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