The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. - Dolly Parton
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 72, 15 April 1994

RUSSIA

RUSSIA POISED TO REJECT NATO PARTNERSHIP? In remarks made to
reporters on 14 April, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev suggested that recent NATO airstrikes in Bosnia and
other complications have led Moscow to reconsider its
participation in the NATO Partnership for Peace program.
Indeed, AFP quoted an unnamed Western diplomat in Moscow as
saying that "Russia will never sign the partnership
agreement," because "NATO will never give in to Moscow's
demands and Moscow will not drop those demands." The diplomat
also suggested that by the year 2000 most East European
states would be full-fledged members of NATO, while Russia
would remain outside the alliance. Given the mixed signals
that Moscow has been sending on this and other foreign policy
issues, such categorical conclusions may be premature.
Kozyrev nevertheless gave grounds for thinking that a turning
point of sorts may been reached in Moscow; he was quoted by
AFP as saying that "Russia's partners in the West, especially
in NATO, have not yet found correct solutions" to accommodate
Moscow's participation in the program. AFP reported out of
Washington on 15 April that US State Department officials had
expressed concern over the significance of Kozyrev's remarks.
Meanwhile, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 14 April that
four committees of the Russian Duma--all dominated by
deputies from Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party
and from the Communist Party--have expressed their opposition
to Russian participation in the NATO partnership. Stephen
Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

CHERNAYEV: KOZYREV DOCTRINE IS A PROVOCATION. Anatolii
Chernayev, formerly a foreign policy adviser to then Soviet
president Mikhail Gorbachev, wrote in the 14 April edition of
the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the "Kozyrev doctrine
. . . reeks of Zhirinovsky." Chernayev said the type of
foreign policy that would best meet Russia's national
interests is one which is oriented toward supporting economic
reforms. The idea of accumulating political and other kinds
of presence "now here, soon there" will result only in the
appearance of being a great power, but not in a true great
power status. "True greatness can be achieved only through
unflagging efforts to achieve the material well-being of the
country and to renew of its sense of spiritual worth. Only
then can civilized, even good relations between Great Russia
and the near and far abroad . . . take shape." Suzanne Crow,
RFE/RL, Inc., RFE/RL, Inc.

ARBATOV WARNS OF COLD WAR REVIVAL. The 14 April Nezavisimaya
gazeta contained an article by Georgii Arbatov, the director
of the Russian Academy of Sciences' USA and Canada Institute.
According to Arbatov, the cold war between Russia and the
West is not yet completely over and may be resumed again.
Arbatov thinks it unwise for the US to evaluate the prospects
for Russian-American relations solely in terms of
personalities in the Russian government or economic
indicators. He believes that Western policy makers would be
better advised to consider other processes underway in the
country: including the state of Russia's armed forces;
Moscow's policy toward other former Soviet Union republics;
the development of democracy and free speech; the level of
openness in Russian politics; and the state of the
disarmament treaties between Russia and the US as well as the
chances of their ratification by the parliament. Julia
Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

REFORMERS SET UP LIBERAL-DEMOCRATIC UNION. "Vladimir
Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party has acquired a
namesake," Russian TV "Vesti" announced on 14 April. The
newscast was referring to a decision by the "12 December"
parliamentary faction to transform itself into the Liberal
Democratic Union. The change was announced at a news
conference held by the faction's leaders--former Russian
Minister of Finances Boris Fedorov and businesswoman Irina
Khakamada--held in the State Duma earlier that day. According
to the "Vesti" anchor, the leaders of the Union have chosen
its name deliberately, with the goal of rehabilitating a
concept of liberal democracy which has been compromised by
Zhirinovsky and his allies. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

LITTLE PROGRESS AT NORTH OSSETIAN-INGUSH TALKS. The second
round of talks between North Ossetian President Akhsarbek
Galqazov and Ingush President Ruslan Aushev in Nalchik on 14
April on the implementation of Yeltsin's decree of 13
December 1993 on the return of Ingush refugees to the
Prigorodnyi raion of North Ossetia produced little in the way
of results. A member of the working group from North Ossetia
told ITAR-TASS that the main outcome was a detailed
discussion of the preamble of an agreement on the principles
of implementing the decree. This would seem to present an
insuperable stumbling block since North Ossetia is insisting
that Ingushetia renounce any claims to the Prigorodnyi raion
of North Ossetia, which Ingushetia is unwilling to do. The
talks are to be continued later. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN DEPUTY MINISTER CALLS FOR RECOGNITION OF DUDAEV.
Russian Deputy Minister of Economics Valerii Fateev suggested
in an interview with Interfax on 14 April that the Federation
Council must recognize the legitimate character of the rule
of Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev, arguing that Dudaev has
been in power for three years now. He also called for an
urgent renewal of talks between Russia and Chechnya. Fateev,
who headed a Russian parliamentary delegation that recently
visited the zone of the Ossetian-Ingush conflict, met Dudaev
on his own initiative. He described attempts by the Russian
leadership to negotiate with the Chechen opposition and to
make the signing of a bilateral agreement conditional on
early parliamentary and presidential elections in Chechnya as
"of no use to Russia." Ann Sheehy , RFE/RL, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

RUSSIAN SPOKESMAN ARRESTED IN KAZAKHSTAN. Journalist Boris
Suprunyuk, who has been active as a spokesman for the Russian
community in North Kazakhstan Oblast, has been arrested in
the oblast capital Petropavlovsk on a charge of inciting
interethnic discord, Western and Russian sources reported on
13 and 14 April. The charge was raised in July 1993 but
Suprunyuk ignored it and continued his journalistic
activities. Most recently Suprunyuk had reported on tensions
between Cossack villagers and Kazakh authorities in Taldy
Kurgan Oblast. Siberian Cossack leader Viktor Ochkasov was
quoted by Interfax as predicting that Suprunyuk's arrest
would cause a further deterioration in relations between
Kazakhs and Russians in Kazakhstan. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

CIS

CIS FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET . . . On 14 April the Council of
CIS Foreign Ministers met in Moscow to discuss a draft
declaration on the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and
inviolability of borders of CIS member-states. ITAR-TASS and
Interfax said that Armenia, which drafted and proposed
signing an alternative declaration, would likely refrain from
signing the Council's declaration. Russian Foreign Minister
Andrei Kozyrev described the declaration as "a useful
document giving lie to the speculations that the CIS is some
kind of neoimperialist club." Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . FAIL TO AGREE ON MINORITY RIGHTS. At the same meeting,
the Council of Foreign Ministers discussed a draft convention
on the protection of the rights of national minorities, but
significant controversy arose, once again, over the purpose
of the document. A number of CIS members view the convention
with suspicion, believing it could give Russia a blank check
to use force for the protection of ethnic Russians outside of
the Russian Federation when it deems their rights have been
violated. Andrei Kozyrev remarked, "we are getting closer to
approval of the convention, although it is a painful and
difficult process." According to ITAR-TASS, the ministers
decided the draft convention needed more study. Suzanne Crow,
RFE/RL, Inc.

CIS FLAG? The flag proposed by the CIS Interparliamentary
Assembly was accepted by the CIS Council of Foreign Ministers
on 14 April. The Council will recommend the flag be approved
at the summit meeting of the CIS heads of state on 15 April.
According to Andrei Kozyrev, the flag is "something like the
United Nations flag," as it symbolizes "humanitarian ideals,
unity and common goals," Interfax reported. Suzanne Crow,
RFE/RL, Inc.

DEFENSE MINISTERS MEET ON CIS SECURITY, NATO. Delegations
representing the Defense Ministries of eleven CIS states
(Moldova was absent) met in Moscow on 14 April under the
chairmanship of Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev.
According to Interfax, participants adopted documents on the
establishment and functioning of what the report called the
CIS Common Security Council. The heads of delegations of
those states party to the CIS Collective Security Treaty also
reportedly adopted a draft joint declaration that provides
for increased defense-related cooperation and that states
their position on participation in the NATO Partnership for
Peace Program. On that second point, the declaration was
described as characterizing the partnership program as a real
alternative to the enlargement of NATO; it envisions the CIS
Collective Security Treaty as eventually being included in an
integrated European security system and as part of an
analogous system in Asia. The documents adopted at the
meeting were expected to be approved by the CIS heads of
state on 15 April. Interfax reported that the heads of state
would also consider the appointment of a new CIS commander of
peacekeeping forces in Tajikistan--Col. Gen. Valerii
Patrikeev (former commander of the Transcaucasus Military
District)--who would replace the current commander, Boris
Pyankov. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

CIS SUMMIT OPENS IN MOSCOW. The 12 member-states of the CIS
gathered in Moscow on 15 April to discuss economic and trade
agreements, cooperation between the CIS and other
international organizations, stabilization of the situation
in Tajikistan, the establishment of collective peacekeeping
and the naming of a commander of these forces, and the
protection of borders and human rights. Heads of all CIS
states except Kazakhstan attended. Kazakh President Nursultan
Nazarbaev, claiming illness, sent Vice President Yerik
Asanbayev to represent his Central Asian country, ITAR-TASS
reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

EURASIAN UNION IDEA FAILS. While claiming to be ill,
Nazarbaev's absence can perhaps be understood as a quiet
protest to Russia for rejecting his idea, put forth in March
1994, to create a Eurasian Union. According to Nazarbaev, by
establishing a new organization to succeed the
organizationally weak CIS, a new level of cooperation and
integration could be achieved. The response of Russian
officials was, for the most part, unenthusiastic. Deputy
Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai supported the idea and drafted
a confederacy agreement. Significantly, Shakhrai was not on
the list of representatives of Russia to attend the CIS
summit, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. Suzanne Crow ,
RFE/RL, Inc.

BLACK SEA FLEET: MORE ALLEGATIONS AND DENIALS. Russian
television Ostankino reported that Ukraine's foreign
minister, Anatolii Zlenko, said in an interview that the
Odessa incident was the fault of Odessa municipal
authorities. The press service of the Ukrainian Foreign
Ministry issued a statement denying that Zlenko had made such
a remark or that the interview had even taken place,
Ukrainian television reported on 14 April. That same day
ITAR-TASS reported that Ukrainian authorities in Odessa
evicted from their apartments eighteen naval officers of the
disbanded 318th division and their families because the
officers had refused to swear allegiance to Ukraine. Ukraine
then purportedly denied a Black Sea Fleet vessel, dispatched
to pick up the families, access to the port. The press
service of the Ukrainian navy has characterized this account
as a misrepresentation of events and has said that Ukraine's
defense ministry is taking responsibility for evacuating the
families. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERBS MOVE AGAINST UN PERSONNEL. International media
reported on 14 April that Serb forces were detaining or
holding at least 155 UN troops or officials, including a
group of 14 Canadian peacekeepers. They also trapped between
20 and 30 soldiers at Krivoglavci near Sarajevo by putting
mines around them. The Bosnian Serb authorities banned
American journalists from their territories, and declared UN
commander Gen. Sir Michael Rose persona non grata. Serb
forces continued trying to retake their heavy weapons
previously placed under UN control, and brought up a tank
into the exclusion zone in an effort to intimidate the
peacekeepers. The Los Angeles Times quoted a UN official as
saying "It is time to use massive force against the Serbs."
Patrick Moore , RFE/RL, Inc.

CLINTON TELLS SERBS NOT TO REGARD UN AND NATO AS COMBATANTS.
International media on 14 April quoted the American president
as telling Serbs they would be "making a mistake" in treating
those two organizations as enemies. He said they were simply
trying to protect "safe areas" and were not taking a partisan
role in the conflict. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vitaly
Churkin met with Serbian leaders including President Slobodan
Milosevic and said he now had a "good foundation" for an
overall ceasefire. Similar optimism was expressed by
international negotiators Lord Owen and Thorvald Stoltenberg,
whom the Serbs appear to have welcomed back to the
negotiating process, but a BBC commentator was skeptical.
Meanwhile in Bosnia itself, NATO warplanes flew low over the
besieged Muslim enclave of Tuzla, which eventually put an end
to Serb shelling. Bosnian Vice President Ejup Ganic in
Washington remarked that NATO should now turn to bombing Serb
arms supply routes, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. Patrick
Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

GREEK-ALBANIAN TENSIONS EASE. Reuters reported on 14 April
that Albanian President Sali Berisha, in a letter to the EU,
distanced himself from earlier claims that the Greek
government was involved in the incident on 10 April in which
a Greek band killed two Albanian soldiers. He agreed to a
Greek proposal for an investigation, but appears to want not
a bilateral effort as Athens had proposed but rather an
independent one by the EU. A Greek government spokesman
called Berisha's statements "undoubtedly positive." Patrick
Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

SERBIA'S MEDIA BAN. Following ultra-nationalist groups which
articulated support for Belgrade's 12 April announcement
banning the US network CNN and the French news agency AFP,
other extremist groups, notably the Serbian communist party,
have voiced support for Belgrade's action. On 14 April The
Guardian reported that other foreign journalists may also be
thrown out of rump Yugoslavia. On 15 April, an essay in
Vecernji novosti, entitled "Poison in the Pen," tried to
prove the international media, primarily Western dailies,
have falsified or intentionally distorted the Serb role in
the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, echoing remarks by
Information Minister Slobodan Ignjatovic. Stan Markotich,
RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT ALLOWS UNPROFOR EQUIPMENT. On 15 April
the National Assembly voted to endorse a UN request for a
one-time transit through Bulgaria of equipment destined for
the UNPROFOR forces in Macedonia. Following strong protests
from some politicians--arguing that the question affects
national security--the issue was submitted to parliament,
even though the request was initially endorsed by the
government. BTA says 117 deputies voted in favor, and 92
against. Whereas the UDF, the MRF, and the recently formed
Independence parliamentary groups supported the request, the
BSP opposed it. Meanwhile, in Macedonia, the Bulgarian
Education and Science Minister Marko Todorov prematurely
ended a visit after having refused to sign an official
protocol differentiating between the Bulgarian and Macedonian
languages. While recognizing the state as such, Bulgaria
rejects the notion that Macedonians constitute a separate
nationality. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

KINKEL IN ALBANIA. German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel
visited Albania on 14 April, international media report.
Germany had supported Albania's accession to the CSCE, and
now Kinkel has endorsed the integration of Albania into the
Western European Union, the European Union (EU) and NATO, the
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on 13 April. Since
November 1992 Albania has had a trade and cooperation treaty
with the EU. Albania also wants membership in the Council of
Europe, but a stable legal system is a precondition. FAZ said
Kinkel would urge Tirana to follow a policy of moderation in
the Kosovo conflict. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc.

KOSOVO UPDATE. The president of the Kosovar "shadow state,"
Ibrahim Rugova, met with officials from Albanian local
councils and urged that his and other parties cooperate more
closely with these bodies, Rilindja reported on 13 April. The
Kosovar Parliament's President Ilaz Ramajlin said in an
interview, published in the same paper the day before, that
since the Kosovar parliament has not met since 24 May 1992,
it should either do so soon or else transfer its powers to
Rugova. The legislators have so far met only in small groups
due to harassment by the Serb authorities. Fabian Schmidt,
RFE/RL, Inc.

KOHL ENDORSES POLAND'S UE, NATO QUEST. At the start of Polish
Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak's two-day official visit to
Bonn on 14 April, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl pledged his
country's wholehearted support for Polish membership in the
European Union and NATO. Pawlak expressed concern that
Poland's imports from Germany exceed the value of its
exports. Germany is Poland's largest trading partner; total
trade turnover between the two countries rose from DM 6
billion in 1989 to DM 18.3 billion in 1993, PAP reports.
Construction Minister Barbara Blida accompanied Pawlak, in
the hope of persuading the German government to ease the high
payments that were imposed on Polish building firms operating
in Germany to prevent them from undercutting domestic
competition. Since 1992 the number of Polish construction
workers employed in Germany has dropped from 40,000 to
10,000, Polish TV reports. Pawlak also met with German
parliamentarians and business representatives on 14 April and
is scheduled to solicit investment in Poland's auto industry
during a visit to a Daimler-Benz plant on 15 April. Louisa
Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

ECONOMIC CONFUSION IN POLISH COALITION. A series of reversals
on wage controls has underlined the ruling coalition's
inability to settle on a coherent economic policy. After
Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak reversed his own stance and
announced on 13 April that the government would not submit to
the parliament a new version of the tax on excess wages for
at least a month, sixteen deputies from Pawlak's Polish
Peasant Party (PSL) submitted on 14 April legislation
identical to that prepared by the government. The PSL
deputies said they are worried that the lack of any wage
controls in state firms could fuel inflation. They claimed
not to have informed Pawlak before taking action. Polish TV
reported, however, that coalition leaders had in fact
secretly agreed on 12 April to have the deputies rather than
the government submit the new popiwek legislation, perhaps to
enable Pawlak to evade trade union anger. Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL, Inc.

PARIS CLUB REDUCES POLAND'S DEBT. The Paris Club of
government creditors formally reduced Poland's foreign debt
of $33 billion by a further 20%, (about $8 billion) on 15
April, PAP reports. This was the second stage in the 50% debt
reduction agreement reached in 1991. Approval for the second
stage depended on Poland's compliance with its standby
arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for
March 1993-April 1994. The IMF gave official approval on 25
March, but the Paris Club delayed its decision for two weeks.
No official reason for the delay was given, but press reports
indicated that the Paris Club was awaiting the signing of the
1994 budget and comparing the terms it offered with Poland's
recent debt-reduction agreement with the London Club of
commercial creditors, which agreed on 11 March to reduce
Poland's $13.2 billion debt by 45%. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL,
Inc.

KLAUS ON RESTITUTION OF JEWISH PROPERTY. At a press
conference in Prague on 13 April, Czech Prime Minster Vaclav
Klaus said the government had prepared a bill to return
property seized from Jews by the Nazis. The bill would affect
only persons who can prove their property was seized for
"reasons of racial persecution" and who filed a claim for
reparation after 1946. That year a law to return property
taken by the Nazis was passed but never implemented because
of the communist putsch in 1948. Under the government bill,
only property that is currently in the possession of the
state would be returned; persons whose property is now in the
possession of municipalities or has been privatized would
receive financial compensation. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK ECONOMIC STATISTICS. According to a Slovak Statistical
Office report released on 13 April, industrial production
fell by 2.3% in February, compared with the previous month,
but was 3.2% higher than in February 1993. Production in the
construction industry dropped 6.4% in comparison with January
1994 and 14.9%--with February 1993. The volume of cargo
transport increased by 1.1% in February, compared with the
previous month, and retail sales were 20.4% higher than in
February 1993. The share of private firms in industrial
production reached 21.7% in February, up from 20.3% in
January; in the construction industry, this figure rose from
61 to 62.9%. Employment in industry as a whole rose 0.8% over
January's figures and in private firms 4%. In February the
average monthly salary in firms with more than 25 workers
fell 2.6% from the previous month to 5,409 koruny. Real wages
fell by 3.3% in industry, 4% in construction, 1.5% in trade
and 4.7% in transport in comparison with January. On 14 April
Finance Minister Rudolf Filkus stated that 18,161 billion
koruny were owed in outstanding taxes and said the cabinet
would work on controlling the tax system and preventing tax
evasion. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN FRIENDSHIP TREATY NEGOTIATIONS.
Delegations of the Hungarian Socialists Party, led by Gyula
Horn, and the Party of Social Democracy of Romania, led by
Oliviu Gherman, met in Hungary on 14 April to discuss the
bilateral friendship treaty that has become bogged down over
wording concerning guarantees for the Hungarian minority in
Romania and inviolacy of borders. MTI reported that the two
parties were confident they could resolve the problems,
although that same day Magyar Nemzet reported Hungarian
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Janos Herman as denying that
Hungary had received any new wording suggestions, counter to
what his Romanian counterpart Mircea Geoana had said one day
earlier. Judith Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc.

PARIS CLUB APPROVES RESCHEDULING OF BULGARIAN DEBT. Early on
14 April negotiators representing the Paris Club of creditors
agreed to defer payment on Bulgaria's approximately $1.5
billion government debt, BTA reports. According to the
country's third such agreement with the Paris Club, the debt
will be rescheduled over 11 years, following a 7 year grace
period during which Bulgaria will only pay interest.
Previous, unpaid interest installments are being transferred
to the principal debt. The governor of Bulgaria's central
bank, Todor Valchev, said in a radio interview that the terms
of the agreement reached shows that both creditors and the
international financial institutions supported the deal.
Former Finance Minister and UDF's deputy faction leader Ivan
Kostov predicted that a framework agreement on Bulgaria's
$9.3 commercial debt would be pending within the next few
days. Kostov also acknowledged the delegation's success in
persuading the creditors not to write up the government debt,
which could have happened if the issue of Bulgaria's loans
with the former GDR had been raised. The deal will have to be
ratified by each creditor government separately. Kjell
Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIA CRITICIZES MOLDOVA'S DECISION TO JOIN CIS. Reuters
reported on 14 April that the Romanian government had
criticized neighboring Moldova for its decision to join the
Commonwealth of Independent States. It quoted a statement
released by the foreign ministry in Bucharest saying that
"the natural place of the Republic of Moldova as an
independent and sovereign state is in the big family of
European nations and by no means in Euro-Asian structures."
The statement added that "the foreign policy acts recently
adopted by the parliament of Moldova seem to show a tendency
towards the latter." The newly-elected Moldovan parliament
voted last week to join the CIS. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

TRANSDNIESTER REPRESENTATIVE IN MOLDOVAN CIS DELEGATION. For
the first time a representative of the self-styled
Transdniester republic--Vice-Premier Viktor Sinev--has been
included in the Moldovan delegation to a CIS summit, Interfax
reported on 14 April. Transdniester State Secretary Valerii
Litskai said agreement had been reached on this at the talks
between Moldovan president Mircea Snegur and Transdniester
leader Igor Smirnov on 9 April and was due to the need for
joint actions in solving economic problems. Litskai suggested
that Moldova's ratification of the republic's membership in
the CIS and the CIS economic union had made it possible. Ann
Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT ADDRESSES CE. On 14 April Algirdas
Brazauskas became the first Baltic president to make a speech
at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Radio
Lithuania reports. Introducing Brazauskas, its president
Miguel Martinez said Lithuania had successfully arranged the
withdrawal of Russian troops from its territory and should
serve as an example for other countries on how to solve
ethnic problems. Brazauskas stressed that "Lithuanian
security is inseparable from European security." He regretted
that "while claiming to defend the rights of
Russian-speakers, Russia is using economic levers and in fact
exacerbating their economic condition." The two countries
signed a most-favored nation trade agreement in November, but
Russia has not yet ratified it and by imposing higher duties
has made the export of many goods impossible. Brazauskas
urged accepting Latvia to the CE and said "the withdrawal of
Russian troops from Latvia and Estonia by 31 August would be
an adequate reflection of Russia's willingness to seek a
peaceful settlement of disputable issues with its neighbors."
Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

ESTONIA ACCUSED OF PLANNING TO DEPORT RUSSIAN-SPEAKERS. On 13
April speakers from Estonia at a meeting in Moscow of the
Congress of Russian Communities claimed that the Estonian
government had plans to start deporting Russian-speakers and
establishing a concentration camp at Rummu, BNS reported on
14 April. They criticized the complexity of the application
process for permanent resident status, which includes
numerous questionnaires and compulsory AIDS and psychiatric
tests. The speakers said they face dismissals from jobs,
deprivation of property, and direct deportation, and asked
the Congress "not to allow a serious inter-ethnic conflict to
break out in Estonia." Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

KUCHMA THROWS DOWN GAUNTLET. While 112 out of 450 seats in
the Ukrainian parliament still have to be filled in a third
round of voting, the campaign for the presidential election
on 26 June has effectively begun. On 14 April the Ukrainian
Union of Industrialists and Businessmen (UUIB) held an
extraordinary congress in Kiev at which it nominated former
prime minister Leonid Kuchma as its candidate, Ukrainian
media reported. In his speech to the congress, Kuchma, who is
the president of the UUIB, accused the current leadership of
Ukraine of "economic nationalism." The congress issued an
appeal to the Ukrainian delegation at the forthcoming CIS
summit in Moscow to negotiate Ukraine's entry to the CIS
economic union as a full, and not simply associate, member.
Though often depicted as a reformer, Kuchma's record as prime
minister was disappointing and his approach to reform remains
cautious, being based on cementing closer economic ties with
Russia. A representative of the military-industrial complex,
he enjoys considerable support among industrial directors and
the Russian-speaking population. With his popularity
currently riding high, Kuchma is considered a leading
contender for the Ukrainian presidency. Meanwhile, UNIAN
reported that the Kiev branch of the Union of [Military]
Officers of Ukraine, a national democratic pressure group
which has 7 representatives so far in the new parliament,
announced on 14 April that it intends to nominate former
defense minister Kostyantyn Morozov as its candidate for
president. Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc., RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Stephen Foye & Anna Swidlicka
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