|The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. - Eden Phillpotts|
No. 77, 22 April 1994
RUSSIA WHO WILL SIGN CIVIC ACCORD AGREEMENT ON 28 APRIL? President Yeltsin's press secretary, Vyacheslav Kostikov, told a news conference on 21 April that the Civic Accord proposed by Yeltsin earlier this year will be signed in the Kremlin on 28 April, news agencies and TV news reported. Kostikov expressed the hope that even representatives of the hard-line opposition in the Duma would sign the Accord. Meanwhile, the opposition and reformists seemed to have split while discussing the amended draft Civic Accord in the Duma earlier that day. The pro-reform Russia's Choice, the Party of Russian Unity and Concord, and the Women of Russia faction expressed willingness to sign the Accord. Zhirinovsky's faction said that it would join the Accord only if several key ministers, including foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev, were dismissed from the government. The communists, the Agrarian Party, the centrist Democratic Party of Russia, and the liberal bloc Yabloko appeared reluctant to join the Accord. Speaking on behalf of the latter, deputy Vyacheslav Shostakovsky said that the mere signing of a document could hardly bring accord in society. The proposed Civic Accord, Shostakovsky argued, "would only divert the legislature and the government from genuine politics and genuine reform." Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN DISCUSSES CIVIC ACCORD WITH LEADERS OF REPUBLICS. On 21 April, President Yeltsin met with leaders of Russia's ethnic republics to discuss with them the draft Civic Accord, Russian Television and ITAR-TASS reported. According to the Russian media, the leaders supported the idea of signing the document. ITAR-TASS quoted a statement signed by the republican top officials as saying "the Accord should show Russians that their political leaders and institutions are capable of finding common positions." On 22 April, Yeltsin is expected to meet with members of the parliament to discuss the Accord. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. DRAFT CIVIC ACCORD AMENDED. Amendments introduced by the presidential apparatus in the draft Civic Accord were discussed on 21 April by Interfax and Ostankino TV "Novosti." On 21 April, deputies in the State Duma received for review a new text of the Accord; at least two controversial provisions were excluded from the original draft. One called for sanctions to be taken against those who would violate the Accord and the other stipulated a ban on using the attempted coup of August 1991 and the disturbances of September-October 1993 as arguments in political struggle. Some other provisions, which elicited criticism by various political groups in Russia, remained in the text, however. These included a ban on amending the constitution and on calling for early parliamentary and presidential elections. The newly added provisions to the draft included a detailed list of laws that the State Duma and the Council of the Federation would have to adopt in the near future. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. TWO COMMUNIST MEETINGS IN ST.PETERSBURG. The Russian Communist Party organized two meetings in St. Petersburg, Echo of Moscow radio station reported on 21 April. About two hundred people participated in both gatherings. The demonstrators demanded that the city's mayor, Anatolii Sobchak, and President Boris Yeltsin step down; they also called for improvement of the situation of war veterans and pensioners. Meanwhile, workers employed in the textile industry held a demonstration in front of the building of the Russian Council of Ministers in Moscow, Russian Television reported on 21 April. They demanded payment of wages without delay as well as revision of the government's taxation policy. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN MEETS WITH TRADE UNION LEADER. On 21 April, President Yeltsin met in the Kremlin with the chairman of the Independent Trade Unions of Russia, Mikhail Shmakov, ITAR-TASS reported. They discussed how to combat unemployment and how to ensure regular payment of wages to workers. Shmakov also told Yeltsin that trade unions support the plan to sign the Civic Accord. Meanwhile, on 21 April the Russian government approved a draft of the federal program for ensuring better employment prospects for the people. The program includes measures aimed at reducing unemployment and oulines benefits for those who have lost work, Ostankino TV reported Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. MFA: NO MAJOR DIFFERENCES ON BOSNIA . . . Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Demurin denied on 21 April the existence of deep disagreements among Russia's policy-makers on Bosnia. He said that rumors about heated disputes were pure conjecture, and he noted that Russian President Boris Yeltsin takes into account a range of views on the subject before making any major statements or decisions. Demurin said that statements by Deputy Foreign Minister Vitalii Churkin had been "incorrectly interpreted" and explained that Churkin had meant to say that discussions with the Bosnian Serbs over Gorazde should be stopped, not that Russia should wash its hands of the Bosnian Serbs altogether, Interfax reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. . . . A SUBGROUP OF SERBS? In the same briefing, Demurin said that "there are people with obviously militarist thinking among the Bosnian Serbs and in Belgrade . . . The sober-minded Serbs in Bosnia and in the [rump Yugoslavia] should distance themselves from them. We shall support any efforts aimed at resolving the crisis in Bosnia peacefully." This statement suggests that Russia may seek to salvage its policy of standing by the Serbs by making a distinction between Serbs who want to continue the war effort and those who want to resolve the crisis. The tendency toward this policy could already be detected in the formulation used by Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev following his frustrating visit to the former Yugoslavia on 16-17 April. Kozyrev blamed attacks on Russian peacekeepers in Bosnia on irresponsible "Serb fighters" in an attempt to refrain from criticizing the Bosnian Serbs as a whole. Vitalii Churkin was also tempted to make this distinction on occasion. But Churkin has more often evinced skepticism that any of the Serbs are willing to stop the war effort. In an interview with Russian Television's "Details" program on 20 April, Churkin said that his experience led him to "the quite distinct feeling that the Serbs are on the brink of a catastrophe--not only the Bosnian Serbs, but all the Serbs." Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA PRESSES AHEAD WITH MEDIATION. Russian President Boris Yeltsin has convinced the United States to hold a high-level meeting on the situation in the former Yugoslavia, Vyacheslav Kostikov, his press secretary, said on 21 April. The meeting, which is to include representatives of the European Union and the United Nations, could be held as early as May; the location has not yet been named, ITAR-TASS reported. By pressing for this meeting, it appears that Yeltsin's policy is aimed at saving Russia's prestige not only as a mediator in the Balkans but as an actor in international diplomacy in general. While Yeltsin and Kozyrev appear to believe that the Balkans is a good place to do this and that a sober-minded group of Serbs will help Russia in its efforts, others in Moscow apparently fear that Russia will be burned, again, by Serbian unwillingness to make peace until its war ambitions have been fulfilled. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. SHUMEIKO VISITS TAMAN DIVISION. The speaker of the Council of the Federation, Vladimir Shumeiko, has payed a visit to the Taman special troops division located near Moscow, Mayak "Novosti" reported on 21 April. He told servicemen of that division that the army should be strengthened and suggested that those legal provisions that deal with military conscript questions will be altered. Shumeiko was accompanied by the Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Troops, General Vladimir Semenov. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. SOSKOVETS LEANS ON COMMERCIAL BANKS. At a banking conference on 21 April, First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets scolded Russia's commercial banks for making a quick ruble on foreign exchange operations while neglecting domestic industry, Reuters reported. He implied that the government may pressure the banks to correct the current acute shortage of investment capital: "Banks must invest a percentage of their revenues in state industries." Russian Central Bank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko, who has recently and uncharacteristically sided with the angels, dismissed Soskovets' proposal: "In Russia today, you cannot get much done with a stick." Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. SHOKHIN ON FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS. At a news conference on 21 April, Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Shokhin denied that a value-added tax would be imposed on imported capital, Interfax reported. He blamed reports of this tax, which have alarmed the foreign business comunity mightily, on a "misinterpretation" of the presidential decree of 22 December. Shokhin went on to repeat the Russian government's desire that the G-7 summit in Naples turn into a G-8 meeting. He announced that Russia would be seeking up to $5.7 billion in new credits during 1994, but did not elaborate on how much of the estimated $28 billion in principal and interest due to creditors in 1994 would be repaid. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS NO PROGRESS IN BLACK SEA FLEET TALKS. Talks on the division of the Black Sea Fleet between Russian defense minister Pavel Grachev and Ukrainian defense minister Vitalii Radetsky ended without results on 21 April, Ukrainian radio reported. The two sides could not come to an agreement on the issue of basing the fleet. Grachev said that the Black Sea Fleet and Ukrainian navy should be based separately, with the fleet's headquarters remaining in Sevastopol; Radetsky insisted that the Ukrainian navy must have its headquarters in that city and suggested that the fleet and Ukrainian navy be based in separate quarters in Sevastopol. Interfax also reported that a Ukrainian official refuted a statement made by the Black Sea Fleet commander, Eduard Baltin, on 20 April, that Ukraine had already taken over 35% of the fleet's ships so only 65% of the fleet needed to be divided. According to Interfax, the official said Ukraine's ships have been built in Ukraine's shipyards and have nothing to do with the Black Sea Fleet, which is to be divided on a 50:50 basis. The vessels which exceed Ukraine's defense needs may be sold to any country, including Russia. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA CHINESE PREMIER IN TURKMENISTAN. On the second leg of his trip through Central Asia, Chinese Prime MInister Li Peng held talks with Turkmenistan's President Saparmurad Niyazov in Ashgabat on 21 April, Russian and Western news agencies reported. The main topic of discussion was Chinese support for construction of a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through China to Japan. Niyazov is seeking foreign help to export Turkmen gas as widely as possible; China is interested in buying Turkmen cotton. According to a Reuters report, Li received support from Niyazov for China's anti-separatist policies aimed at Uigur nationalists in Xinjiang. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE SERBS GIVE ULTIMATUM TO GORAZDE. Reuters late on 21 April quoted Bosnian Ambassador to the UN Muhamed Sacirbey as saying that there was house-to-house fighting in the embattled east Bosnian Muslim enclave. The Washington Post on 22 April reports that to date the latest Serb offensive has yielded 436 dead and 1,467 wounded. The paper quoted a local doctor as saying that shells were falling on the hospital every 10 seconds and that Serbs were deliberately firing on patients and medical personnel. The Bosnian authorities reported that the Serbs had given them an ultimatum to withdraw to one side of the Drina and to stop firing or else Gorazde would be leveled "to the ground." The Serbs, whose apparently organized civilian roadblocks prevented a UN convoy from reaching the town, denied that they had issued such a challenge. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. NATO MAY FAVOR LARGE-SCALE BOMBING. The Washington Post on 22 April says that a tentative NATO plan for protecting the six "safe areas" in Bosnia calls for heavy air strikes rather than the earlier "surgical" approach. Targets would include ammunition dumps, supply routes, command centers, and supply depots. One official noted that "when you're talking to a deaf guy, you have to scream loudly." Meanwhile in Paris, the non-governmental organizations Doctors of the World and Lawyers without Borders called for Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic to be tried for war crimes as a result of his "behavior consisting of ordering systematic bombardments aimed at women and children, hospitals, and other civilian targets." Reuters carried the report on 21 April. Finally, on 22 April the daily Milliyet's respected commentator Sami Kohen reports of increasing anxiety in Turkey and warns that the offensive against Gorazde is just part of a larger scheme to set up a greater Serbia and that this would lead to a domino effect bringing into the war Kosovo and Macedonia. Patrick Moore and Yalcin Tokgozoglu, RFE/RL, Inc. MESIC AND MANOLIC LAUNCH FRONTAL ASSAULT ON TUDJMAN. The Croatian papers are a-buzz with reporting and speculation on the country's political future following the split in the ruling Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) earlier this week. The liberal wing, led by upper house speaker Josip Manolic and his lower house counterpart Stipe Mesic, bolted after months of public feuding with President Franjo Tudjman over his Bosnian policy and his authoritarian style. The two men have founded the Croatian Independent Democrats (HND) and have made it clear in interviews with Vjesnik on 22 April and Berlin's Tageszeitung on the previous day that Tudjman must go. They specifically hold him responsible not only for a totally unnecessary war with the Muslims but also for setting up concentration camps and for the destruction of Mostar. They argue that "it is now necessary to answer for excesses." The split in the HDZ may force new legislative elections, but Tudjman's presidential term runs until 1997. The constitution was written for Tudjman and ensures a strong presidency. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. MONTENEGRO'S LEKIC OPPOSES NEW STRUCTURE FOR RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. In an interview given to the Kosovar Albanian newspaper Zeri, Montenegrin Foreign Minister Miodrag Lekic opposed plans of a new division of rump Yugoslavia into five regions, as well as other plans for setting up a greater Serbian state. Lekic said that "Belgrade's idea according to which Montenegro would lose its separate statehood is unacceptable to us," adding that he also considers "all theories about new constitutions based on regional divisions not serious." He also stated that relations with Albania had improved, noting that he advocates solving the Kosovo problem by taking into account the wishes of all its citizens and that he supports the region's autonomy. Lekic said that a "serious dialogue" should start soon. Borba carried the story on 21 April. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. ALBANIAN POLICE ARREST MEMBERS OF GREEK MINORITY. AFP on 21 April reports on the latest incidents in the ongoing war of nerves between Athens and Tirana. In a series of raids, eleven men were arrested on political charges such as conducting "anti constitutional activities" and promoting "Greek expansionist designs and plans to annex parts of Albania." There were also charges involving arms and drugs. One of the men is an official of the Greek minority's Omonia party and is based in Gjirokaster. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. BELGRADE'S UNRELENTING MEDIA CRACKDOWN. Despite growing international opposition to its ban on foreign journalists and media, Belgrade appears to be showing no signs of backing down. In remarks carried by Borba on 21 April, Sanja Mikovic, an aid to rump Yugoslav Minister of Information Slobodan Ignjatovic, reiterated the official government position, stressing that the Minister of Information has the legal "discretionary right" to ban foreign media if they are suspected of biased reporting. Meanwhile, on 21 April AFP reported that the French government was among the latest critics of Belgrade's media ban. A foreign ministry spokesman described Belgrade's actions as "contrary to freedom of the press and information" and the ministry urged rump Yugoslav authorities to reinstate those French journalists and agencies affected by the crackdown. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. CRANS MONTANA CONFERENCE, PERES-ARAFAT TALKS IN BUCHAREST. On 21 April Romania's President Ion Iliescu opened the proceedings of a four-day conference of the Crans Montana Forum, staged in Bucharest. The inaugural session was also addressed by the forum's president Jean-Paul Carteron and by former Council of Europe Secretary-General Catherine Lalumiere, who stressed the importance of international cooperation in view of the dramatic changes in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union since 1989. The first working session of the conference was devoted to "Security and Cooperation in the Black Sea Region." Romanian and Western media reported extensively on the talks between Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, who are participating in the international conference. This was the first high-level contact between the two sides in almost three months. The two suggested that a final Palestinian-Israeli agreement might be concluded in the near future. The Crans Montana Forum was set up in 1989 to foster political and economic contacts between the West and the fledgling democracies in Eastern Europe. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. GERMANY REAFFIRMS ITS SUPPORT FOR HUNGARY. During a one-day official visit to Budapest on 21 April, Chancellor Helmut Kohl held talks with Premier Peter Boross and President Arpad Goncz, MTI and Radio Budapest report. At a press conference, Kohl said Germany would support "with advice and deeds" Hungary's admission into the European Union and recommend, after becoming EU chairman on 1 July 1994, that Hungary's representatives be allowed to join the deliberations of the European Assembly and that the heads of states of those countries wishing to join the EU be invited annually to the meeting of the EU leaders. Goncz told Kohl Hungary counted on German support and investments and that the good ties between Budapest and Bonn would continue under any government formed after Hungary's general elections next month. Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN SOCIALISTS READY FOR COALITION WITH ALLIANCE OF FREE DEMOCRATS. Zoltan Gal, parliamentary faction leader of the Hungarian Socialist Party, told an electoral rally that his party was preparing to form a coalition government with the liberal opposition party the Alliance of Free Democrats, Nepszabadsag reported on 21 April. According to Gal, the HSP's program was close to that of the liberal parties. The other major liberal party, the Alliance of Young Democrats led by Viktor Orban, however, distrusts the socialists and rejects a coalition with them. At another rally, Zoltan Kiraly, chairman of the reunited Hungarian Social Democratic Party, deplored the lack of a dialogue between the parties of the left and accused the HSP of appropriating for itself the ideals of social democracy and of trying to "trample upon" his party. Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS' PASTORAL LETTER ON ELECTIONS. In a pastoral letter Hungary's Bench of Roman Catholic Bishops expressed its opposition to any efforts that would "put back the Church within church walls" and prevent it from "fulfilling its social mission," MTI reported on 21 April. The Church had to examine not only the promises but also the views and actions of various parties in the past four years in parliament and local governments in such matters as facultative religious instruction in schools, and the creation and support of church schools. The letter reminds Christians of their moral duty to take part in the election and, without endorsing any party, expresses its confidence that the faithful will find "those parties and representatives to whom they can entrust with good conscience the future of our country and Church." Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. WALESA VETOES ELECTION LAW, SEJM ACQUIESCENT. PAP reports that President Lech Walesa has followed through on his earlier threat to veto the local government electoral law on the grounds that the new provisions would overly politicize the elections and that the ban on campaigning in places of worship violated the churches' right to autonomy within their own grounds. His decision not to endorse the law was communicated to the Sejm on 20 April; on 21 April the Sejm voted by 166 votes to 30, with 107 abstentions to sustain the veto. The coalition was split, with the Democratic Left Alliance largely supporting the law and the Polish Peasant Party abstaining. The large number of abstentions reflected a desire to avoid a legal imbroglio over which law should be used in the forthcoming local government elections, rather than support for the president's views. Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak, intent on early elections, forced the Sejm's hand by calling the elections for 19 June on the basis of the old election law three days before the president vetoed the new one. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. STRIFE IN POLISH BROWN-COAL MINES. A 48-hour strike sponsored by the Solidarity union began on 21 April in Poland's brown-coal mines, PAP reports. The strikers are protesting against the government's restructuring plans, which propose the creation of three holdings in the brown-coal energy sector, whose production is systematically dropping. The industry ministry offered to suspend the offending decree naming plenipotentiaries for the planned holdings pending the outcome of negotiations between employees and Industry Minister Marek Pol as soon as the latter returns from abroad on 22 April, if the strike were called off. Prime Minister Pawlak appealed in person to Solidarity leader Marian Krzaklewski, who was with the strikers on Thursday, to accept the ministry's offer, but Krzaklewski said the strike would continue until the government offered "serious negotiations" on the future of the brown-coal energy sector, meaning withdrawal of the current restructuring plans. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. KLAUS IN SOUTH AMERICA. Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus continued his 10-day tour of South America, arriving in Chile on the evening of 20 April to discuss trade relations with Chilean officials, CTK reports. Klaus began his trip on 18 April in Argentina, and he will continue on to Brazil on 22 April. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. POPULARITY OF MECIAR'S PARTY SKYROCKETS. According to the latest opinion poll of the Slovak Statistical Office, released on 21 April, 32% of respondents said they would vote for the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, compared with 24% in March, and less than 20% throughout the previous year. The Party of the Democratic Left was second with 13%, followed by the Christian Democratic Movement with 8%, the Coexistence-Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement and the Democratic Union of Slovakia (formerly the Alternative of Political Realism) each with 7%, the Slovak National Party with 4%, the Democratic Party and the Slovak Social Democratic Party each with 3%, and the Green Party, the Association of Slovak Workers, the Alliance of Democrats and the National Democratic Party each with 2%. Other parties had the combined support of 3% of respondents, while 12% said they were undecided. A total of 76% of respondents said they would likely take part in elections. Meanwhile, on 21 April CDM Deputy Chairman Ivan Simko announced that an alliance of non-leftist parties is expected to be established on 26 April and should include the CDM, the DUS, the DP, the AD, the NDP and the Party of Businessmen. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. TOWARD A BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT RESHUFFLE. The Bulgarian press on 22 April carries numerous reports and commentaries speculating about the upcoming cabinet reshuffle, envisaged by Prime Minister Lyuben Berov. Despite being hospitalized due to liver problems following a by-pass operation last month, Berov has lately held talks with the leaders of all pro-government parliamentary groups to prepare the ground for a cabinet reorganization. Whereas MRF Chairman Ahmed Dogan on 21 April told BTA that talks are progressing well and that a partly new government and program may be presented by early May, several dailies are more skeptical. Various papers cite differences between the MRF, the BSP and two smaller caucuses over which of the present ministers should be replaced, suggesting that one struggle will be about whether to replace Berov's deputy supervising economic reforms, Valentin Karabashev. Industry Minister Rumen Bikov, Agriculture Minister Georgi Tanev, and Transport Minister Kiril Ermenkov are apparently also controversial, but BSP daily Duma writes that so far only the resignation of Defense Minister Valentin Aleksandrov is certain, which might indicate that the Socialists consider his dismissal a sine qua non condition for continued support. Finally, Berov told Bulgarian radio on 21 April that he intends to resume his duties on 25 April. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. PARLIAMENT TO TIGHTEN CONTROL OVER BTA. On 21 April the parliamentary Committee on Radio and Television endorsed a proposal designed to increase the influence of parliament over the Bulgarian state news agency BTA, the agency reports. The proposal provides for the National Assembly to appoint and dismiss the agency's Director as well as to decide on the overall organization, while the Committee on Radio and Television would assume some management functions. The Committee also approved a passage saying that BTA as a national medium may not publish "slander or untrue allegations" regarding the National Assembly, the President, the government, or other state institutions. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. ULMANIS TO MOSCOW ON 30 APRIL. Diena reported on 21 April that a Latvian delegation, headed by President Guntis Ulmanis, plans to go to Moscow on 30 April. During a telephone conversation between Ulmanis and Russian President Yeltsin, the two leaders spoke of signing the principal accords regarding the withdrawal of Russian troops from Latvia and leaving the other accords to be signed by the prime ministers. Although Yeltsin's press secretary Vyacheslav Kostikov and Russian delegation head for talks with Latvia Sergei Zotov insisted that all four accords, initialed in March, would have to be signed as a package, it is not clear if Ulmanis will indeed sign the controversial accord on the retired military living in Latvia--earlier Ulmanis indicated that he was prepared to sign the other three accords. In a related development, the government of Premier Valdis Birkavs obtained a vote of confidence from the 100-member Saeima on 21 April after a lengthy and contentious debate on the Russian-Latvian accords the previous day, with 51 of the 87 deputies present endorsing the government. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINE SAYS IT CANNOT CLOSE CHORNOBYL REACTORS. Ukraine's deputy prime minister, Valerii Shmarov, told a meeting of nuclear experts from 15 countries at Vienna that Ukraine has no plans to shut down the two working reactors at Chornobyl because the country needs the electricity they generate. He also said that Ukraine considers the level of risk the reactors pose to be no worse than any other Chornobyl-type reactor. David Kyd, spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the meeting that an IAEA report from March found many safety deficiencies at the plant and considers the oldest reactor to be unsafe. He conceded that Ukraine (which already spends 15% of its annual budget on cleaning up the aftermath of the 1986 Chornobyl accident), will require financial assistance from the West in order to close down the Chornobyl plant, but the money could be discussed at the next stage of the process, after solutions to Ukraine's energy problem are worked out. Among the proposals are plans to speed up the completion of pressurized-water reactors being built in Ukraine (five are to be finished by the year 2000), in order to replace the Chornobyl-type graphite-moderated reactors. The meeting also considered subsidies to increase the pay of the staff and make technical modifications to the reactors. Over the past year 150 skilled staff members, mostly Russians, have left the plant and moved to Russia because of low pay and deteriorating economic conditions in Ukraine, Reuters and an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 21 April. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Roman Solchanyk & Edith Oltay The RFE/RL DAILY REPORT, 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, is available through electronic mail by subscribing to RFERL-L at LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU. 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