If you're sure you understand everthing that is going on, you're hopelessly confused. - Walter Mondale
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 79, 26 April 1994

RUSSIA

FEDERAL BUDGET DEFICIT RAISED. One day after the Russian
government received guarded praise from the G-7 meeting in
Washington and one month after obtaining the IMF's blessing for
its fiscal sobriety, the Finance Ministry on 25 April sent to the
State Duma a new draft of the 1994 federal budget that sharply
raises the projected deficit. According to Reuters and Interfax,
the new draft foresees a deficit of 68.8 trillion rubles, up from
62.4 trillion in the original draft and 53.8 trillion rubles in
the document presented to the IMF team in March. The latest figure
represents 11.1% of an estimated 1994 GDP of around 620 trillion
rubles, and about 20% of GDP when conventional measures are
applied. Most of the additional spending is attributed to an extra
8 trillion rubles allocated to the agricultural sector, and one
trillion rubles on social spending. A partial offset is expected
to come from an extra 2.7 trillion in revenues from customs
duties. The new draft will be taken up by the Duma on 27 April
where, it is expected, additional expenditure will be authorized
for the military-industrial complex and other vociferous
claimants. Keith Bush , RFE/RL, Inc.

MFA, GRACHEV, CHURKIN ON BOSNIA. The Russian Foreign Ministry said
on 25 April that while the UN Security Council had given a vote of
confidence to NATO military action, "military measures must not
replace the main thing--policies toward a peaceful settlement."
The Ministry stressed the four principal elements of Russia's
program for settlement: tighter regulations for safe areas in
Bosnia on the basis of UN Security Council decisions; an agreement
between Serbs and Muslims for an indefinite and universal
cease-fire; the establishment of a comprehensive peaceful
settlement in Bosnia-Herzegovina which takes into account the
Bosnian Serbs; and the gradual lifting of sanctions against rump
Yugoslavia, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. Meanwhile, Defense
Minister Pavel Grachev said on 25 April that plans for additional
airstrikes against Bosnian Serb targets should be abandoned and
that airstrikes had served no purpose. Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev, on the other hand, admitted that airstrikes had been
effective, but said that military action was of limited value.
These sentiments contrasted with those of Deputy Foreign Minister
Vitalii Churkin who informed Moscow NTV television that he had
told UN representative to the former Yugoslavia Yasushi Akashi
during his recent visit to the area that if "just one [Bosnian
Serb] tank fires, I am giving him a go-ahead . . . to ask for air
support." Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

MORE COOPERATION WITH WEU. On the occasion of the visit of West
European Union Secretary General Willem van Eekkelen to Moscow,
the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed on 25 April its interest in
cooperating more closely with the WEU. The director of the MFA's
department for European Cooperation, Yurii Ushakov, said Russia
"would like to synchronize the pace" of its cooperation with the
European Union and the WEU. Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, who
also met with the WEU chief, stressed the importance of
cooperation and noted that "the military-political situation in
Europe provides for military-technical cooperation, and Russia
must not be out of it," Interfax reported. Suzanne Crow , RFE/RL,
Inc.

RABIN VISITS MOSCOW. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin started
a four-day visit to Russia on 24 April marking the first ever
visit of an Israeli prime minister to Moscow. On 25 April, Rabin
held talks with a number of Russian officials including Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Duma Chairman Ivan Rybkin.
Chernomyrdin said following talks and the signing of several
intergovernmental agreements that Russia "intends to do everything
possible to reach a peace settlement" in the Middle East. He
likened Russia's diplomatic involvement in the region to its
involvement in the Balkans. Rybkin, stressing Russia's commitment
to cooperation, said that Russia "was among those who backed the
creation of the independent Israeli state," Russian and Western
agencies reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN LAMENTS DISCRIMINATION. In an interview carried in the 25
April edition of Der Spiegel, Boris Yeltsin said that he felt the
West was discriminating against Russia, especially in terms of
trade and economic cooperation. Asked to name some specific
examples, Yeltsin said: "I can give you a long list. The Cocom has
now been dissolved, but the Western countries immediately
established other committees to regulate in new ways the export of
goods to the former socialist countries. Why is Russia not
represented in these committees? We were not even invited to the
preparations. This is unjust." Yeltsin said that the European
Union is also discriminating against Russia by putting up more and
more conditions before setting up a cooperation agreement. Suzanne
Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

PARLIAMENT REJECTS YELTSIN'S CHOICE FOR PROSECUTOR-GENERAL. On 25
April the Council of the Federation approved the resignation of
the outgoing Russian Prosecutor-General Aleksei Kazannik. The
house, however, rejected Yeltsin's appointee for the post, the
current acting Prosecutor-General Aleksei Ilyushenko. Only 65
members of the Council of the Federation voted for the appointment
while 72 voted against it. The vote does not necessarily indicate
deputies' opposition to the president, but rather reflects the
poor reputation of the candidate. Many of Yeltsin's supporters
believe Ilyushenko was guilty of forgery meant to incriminate
former Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi of corruption. Julia
Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

COUNCIL OF FEDERATION VOTES FOR CIVIC ACCORD. The Council of the
Federation, approved the draft of the Civic Accord by an
overwhelming majority on 25 April, ITAR-TASS reported. The House
also voted to empower the speaker, Vladimir Shumeiko, to sign the
document on behalf of the Council of Federation. Meanwhile, the
document's fate in the State Duma remains unclear. According to
Interfax of 24 April, only four of 13 factions represented in the
lower chamber have so far agreed to unconditionally sign Civic
Accord. Those are the pro-reform "Russia's Choice"; the Party for
Russian Unity and Concord; and two centrist factions-- namely, the
Democratic Party of Russia and Women of Russia. Julia Wishnevsky,
RFE/RL, Inc.

NATIONAL SALVATION FRONT LEADER SUPPORTS RUTSKOI. Ilya
Konstantinov, a leader of the hard-line opposition group, the
National Salvation Front, told Interfax on 25 April that former
Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi could become leader of the
majority of Russia's opposition groups. Konstantinov argued that
it would be difficult to unite various opposition groups, since it
would require putting an end to their leaders' ideological
differences and ambitions. He said that if Rutskoi showed
readiness to undertake this task, he (Konstantinov) would help
him. Konstantinov was commenting on Rutskoi's statement broadcast
on Russian TV, in which the former vice president said he was
ready to lead a "political mass movement" of opposition to
President Yeltsin. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

MORE FORECASTS OF UNEMPLOYMENT. Deputy Economics Minister Andrei
Shapovaliants told a Moscow conference on 25 April that the number
of unemployed in Russia may reach 5 million by the end of 1994,
Interfax reported. This contrasts with projections given by the
head of the Federal Employment Service, who was cited by RIA on 12
April as forecasting a year-end total of 6.5 million, of whom 3
million would be registered as officially unemployed. Nobody
really knows, of course, for the level of unemployment will depend
on how soon bankruptcy procedures will be introduced and
implemented. According to Boris Fedorov, as quoted in The New York
Times of 26 April, there were only 8 bankruptcies in 1993.
President Yeltsin has recently sent a letter to Prime Minister
Chernomyrdin urging the introduction of bankruptcy procedures,
Ostankino-1 TV reported on 19 April: he thereby assumed political
responsibility for this vital but hugely unpopular stage in the
transition to a market economy. Keith Bush , RFE/RL, Inc.

MAFIA ACCUMULATING PROPERTY. The radio station "Ekho Moskvy"
reported on 22 April that the privatization of state property now
under way in Russia is providing the bosses of Russia's organized
crime circles with an opportunity to accumulate huge amounts of
property and power. Researchers from the Russian Academy of
Sciences have estimated that as much as 55% of financial capital,
and some 80% of shares and vouchers, are already concentrated in
the hands of Russia's so-called mafia. Russia's mafia is also said
to increasingly be building links with gangsters and racketeers in
other countries. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc.

CENTRAL ASIA AND TRANSCAUCASIA

KARABAKH MEDIATION ROUNDUP. Talks in Moscow on 25 April between
Azerbaijan parliament chairman Rasul Guliev and Russian Foreign
Minister Andrei Kozyrev resulted in an agreement on unspecified
"modifications" to the latest draft of the Russian peace plan for
Nagorno-Karabakh, which Azerbaijan has hitherto rejected, Interfax
reported. Interfax also quoted Yeltsin's special envoy for
Karabakh, Vladimir Kazimirov, as expressing dissatisfaction with
Azerbaijan's refusal to acknowledge the Karabakh Armenian
authorities as a party in the conflict. Also on 25 April, Turkish
Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin held talks in Baku with Azerbaijan's
President Geidar Aliev on the Karabakh conflict, Interfax and
ITAR-TASS reported. Cetin reaffirmed Turkey's support for
Azerbaijan's "just struggle to defend its territory." Aliev
accused Armenia of torpedoing the peace process and said the CSCE
and the UN were not doing enough to resolve the conflict. Liz
Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

SHEVARDNADZE MAY OPT FOR CIS PEACEKEEPERS. In his traditional
Monday radio interview, Georgian parliament chairman Eduard
Shevardnadze said on 25 April that if the UN-sponsored talks on
the future political status of Abkhazia due to resume in Moscow on
10 May do not make substantive progress, then he may be
constrained to opt for the deployment of a CIS peacekeeping force
to preclude a resumption of hostilities and ensure the safe return
of Georgian refugees to their homes in Abkhazia, Interfax and AFP
reported. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

CHINESE PREMIER IN KYRGYZSTAN. Communiques issued on 25 April, the
final day of Chinese Premier Li Peng's 4-day visit to Kyrgyzstan,
emphasized the progress made during Li Peng's talks with Kyrgyz
President Askar Akaev and Prime Minister Abbas Dzhamgulov on ways
to expand bilateral relations and political, economic, trade and
cultural cooperation, Xinhua and Interfax reported. Akaev for his
part affirmed that "China has found the right path of
development", according to ITAR-TASS. The two sides will continue
negotiations aimed at resolving the dispute over their common
border. On 25 April Li Peng flew to Almaty for talks with Kazakh
leaders. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

TURKMENISTAN TO JOIN PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE. Turkmen Foreign
Ministry official Enver Rakhmanov told Reuters on 25 April that
Turkmenistan hopes to join NATO's Partnership for Peace (PFP)
program next month; he said the program means real cooperation
between East and West, and will strengthen Turkmenistan's
neutrality. Turkmenistan will be the second former Muslim republic
to join PFP. Azerbaijan, which was originally scheduled to sign
this week, will now sign in early May. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBS BLOCK AID CONVOYS, RESETTLE VILLAGES. International media
report on 26 April that Bosnian Serbs have been blocking UN relief
convoys bringing food and medicine to the besieged town of
Gorazde, where some 65,000 inhabitants and refugees have been
living in desperate conditions. Serb leaders had pledged in
writing to allow the relief shipments to pass. Withdrawing Serb
forces further complicated conditions in the town by blowing up
the water plant. Meanwhile, Serbia's Tanjug news agency said on 25
April that Serb villagers were "returning to their homes" in the
Gorazde area, but Muslims believe that many of these people are
outsiders who are being settled there in a policy of ethnic
cleansing aimed at making the region solidly Serb. Finally, UN
commander Gen. Sir Michael Rose told the BBC that he expects Serb
forces to meet the deadline of 2 am local time on 27 April to pull
their heavy guns back to 20 kilometers from Gorazde. Patrick Moore
, RFE/RL, Inc.

CROATIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH ON THE OFFENSIVE. Most attention on
Croatian politics in recent weeks has been focused on the split in
the ruling party and on developments in Istria and the other
regions, but what could become a major political battle has been
shaping up over the role of the Roman Catholic Church toward the
state and society. The country is overwhelmingly Catholic, but
many nominal Catholics, including President Franjo Tudjman, are
not particularly religious. Polls show, moreover, that a strong
majority of the population does not approve of a growing role for
the Church beyond what it now enjoys. In the past two months,
however, Cardinal Franjo Kuharic and his bishops have sought what
amounts to a special status for the Catholic Church, Vjesnik
reported on 19 March and on 25 April. The agenda includes:
religious education in schools and under the control of the
Church; religious marriage; state aid to the Church; improved
status for religious schools; and a ban on abortion. Novi list on
5 April indicated that many women in particular are prepared for a
political fight over the last point and are concerned over what
they regard as an intolerant and aggressive attitude on the part
of the clergy. The same paper the next day reported that
non-Catholic religious denominations are organizing to ensure that
no one faith receives a privileged position in Croatian law and
society. Patrick Moore , RFE/RL, Inc.

DRASKOVIC AND THE CONGRESS OF SERBIAN INTELLECTUALS. On 26 April
Borba continues its coverage of the just-held Second Congress of
Serbian Intellectuals by publishing remarks that Vuk Draskovic,
leader of Serbia's Democratic Opposition of Serbia coalition,
could not deliver at the gathering. The printed text of
Draskovic's remarks reveals that the DEPOS leader intended to
implicate all ethnic groups, notably the Serbs, throughout the
former Yugoslavia in war crimes and ethnic cleansing campaigns.
His remarks included such charges as "now, sadly, the Serbian name
is written into the pages of the book of shame." Pro-government
media coverage of Draskovic's conference participation, however,
paints an entirely different picture. According to such reporting,
Draskovic was given ample opportunity to deliver his speech
despite the fact that his views were by no means representative.
Vecernje novosti of 26 April, moreover, gives space to Draskovic's
opponents who characterize him as someone who "indicts his own
people" and who has done perhaps more than any individual to
promote the image of "an aggressive Serbian people." Stan
Markotich , RFE/RL, Inc.

GREECE PREPARED TO LIFT EMBARGO IF MACEDONIA MAKES CONCESSIONS.
Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, speaking at a US White
House news conference on 22 April, stated that Athens would lift
its trade embargo against the Republic of Macedonia provided that
the Macedonians eliminate the Star of Vergina symbol from the
state flag and rule that articles of the constitution which Greece
deems unacceptable are invalid. If the Skopje government complies,
Greece would facilitate Macedonia's entry to the CSCE and endorse
a Macedonian-EU agreement, according to AFP. The name of the new
republic would be resolved later. US President Bill Clinton, who
spoke after Papandreou, argued in favor of resolving the
Greek-Macedonian dispute. Duncan Perry, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIANS POLLED ON CRISIS IN FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. According to an
opinion poll published on 23 April, some 79% of the Romanians
recently polled by the Bucharest-based IRSOP institute think that
NATO air strikes would fail to stop the war in former Yugoslavia.
Some 47% believed that the war would engulf all Balkan states if
it continued longer, with 82% feeling that Romania would be
endangered by any widening of the conflict. The poll, whose
outcome was reported by Reuters, showed that the rump Yugoslav
federation ranks first in public favor among Romania's neighbors
(38%), followed by Bulgaria (32%), Russia (12%), and Ukraine and
Hungary, with 9% each. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

SOLIDARITY RAISES STAKES IN COAL STRIKE. Solidarity Chairman
Marian Krzaklewski set the stage for an all-out confrontation on
25 April, when he told striking Belchatow brown-coal miners that
their protest is a "historic opportunity for the union" that
amounts to a demand for "a different social and economic system in
Poland." Silesian hard-coal miners joined the six-day-old strike
on 26 April, PAP reports. Union leaders spurned a new offer of
talks from Industry Minister Marek Pol, despite his suspension of
"decision #30," the directive creating five holdings meant to
begin the restructuring of the energy sector. The strikers
initially demanded that the government annul rather than just
suspend the order, but they indicated on 25 April that only "legal
solutions," including the abolition of all wage controls, will now
suffice to end the strike. Pol refused to annul the decision, as
this would imply that the government has abandoned all intent to
restructure. Pol added that brown-coal miners already have a
two-year employment guarantee, a benefit no other occupational
group enjoys. Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak's only reaction to
the strike so far was his decision on 22 April to fire Deputy
Industry Minister Eugeniusz Morawski--a repeat of the Bank Slaski
scenario, when Pawlak fired a deputy finance minister to find a
quick scapegoat for troubling economic developments. Once again,
the prime minister created the impression of wanting to distance
himself from government economic policy. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL,
Inc.

POLAND PRESENTS PARTNERSHIP OUTLINE. Defense Minister Piotr
Kolodziejczyk submitted Poland's "presentation document"--an
outline of plans for military cooperation under the Partnership
for Peace program--to NATO officials in Brussels on 25 April, PAP
reports. Poland is the first country to submit such plans. NATO
Deputy General Secretary Sergio Balanzino said that NATO will
likely sign a formal bilateral agreement on cooperation with
Poland by August. Western agencies report that the Polish document
outlines 19 military exercises in which Poland wants to
participate with NATO countries, along with a pledge to
consolidate democratic control over the armed forces. The
presentation document, which has not been made public, also
reportedly states that Poland's "strategic goal" is full NATO
membership. Kolodziejczyk said Poland hopes that Russia will "join
the countries of good will" taking part but does not want it to
receive special treatment. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLISH ARMY SHORT OF OFFICERS. The army's newly appointed
personnel chief, General Roman Harmoza, announced a freeze on the
size of the officer corps as a result of financial constraints. At
a press conference in Warsaw on 20 April, Harmoza said there will
be no more automatic promotions; future promotions will take place
as slots become available. Officers will be released on achieving
retirement age, and specialists, such as lawyers and doctors will
no longer enjoy high rank as a matter of course. Over the past
four years over 22,000 officers have left the Polish army,
including 67 generals, and 1,300 colonels, leaving 108 generals
for 89,500 soldiers, the lowest ratio of generals to soldiers in
the world. The shortage of non-commissioned officers is estimated
at 40% of the desired number. By the year 2,000, half the Polish
army should consist of professional soldiers. Anna
Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

SOCIALISTS WIDEN LEAD IN HUNGARIAN ELECTION POLL. Just two weeks
before the national elections, a survey of 1,000 people conducted
by the Szonda-Ipsos polling group and published in Nepszabadsag of
25 April found that 38% of those who would definitely vote if the
elections were held next Sunday would vote for the Hungarian
Socialist Party, the former reform communists. This is an increase
of 5% compared to the first half of March 1994. In second place
was the liberal opposition party Alliance of Free Democrats, with
14%, trailed by the largest governing party the Hungarian
Democratic Forum, with 12%. The other liberal opposition party the
Alliance of Young Democrats scored 10% or 4% less than in the
first half of March. Support for the coalition party Christian
Democratic People's Party remained steady at 9%. The number of
voters who remain undecided or will not cast a ballot decreased
from 40% in the second half of March to 34%. Reacting to the
results of the poll, the co-chairman of the Hungarian Justice and
Life Party, Istvan Csurka, urged a ban on the publishing of
opinion poll results in the media, including Hungarian radio and
television, until the elections. He argued that the polls were
biased in favor of the liberal parties and the HSP. Csurka
objected that Hungarian radio aired an interview with the director
of Szonda-Ipsos, who in his view is known for his left-wing and
liberal orientation, and accused the radio of interfering with the
election campaign. This was reported by MTI. Edith Oltay , RFE/RL,
Inc.

BULGARIAN DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTER RESIGNS. Ahead of a cabinet
reshuffle being prepared by Prime Minister Lyuben Berov, Deputy
Defense Minister Boyko Noev handed in his resignation on 25 April.
Noev, who was appointed last January, told a BTA reporter that he
was leaving his position because of strong pressure from an
influential political party which evidently is dissatisfied with
his performance. Although refusing to mention the party by name,
it was clear that he was referring to the Bulgarian Socialist
Party, which recently has been criticizing Noev's unequivocal
support for allowing the United Nations to transit military
equipment to US and Scandinavian peace keeping contingents in
Macedonia. Noev confirmed that this was one point of difference
with the BSP, but added that some Socialists also seemed to
believe, though incorrectly, that he is the key figure behind the
idea to retire over 4,000 military officers above the age of 50
plus a large portion of the Defense Ministry's 5,000 civilian
staff. The BSP daily Duma wrote on 22 April that Defense Minister
Valentin Aleksandrov is the only cabinet member who is certain to
be dismissed in the forthcoming shakeup. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL,
Inc.

AMNESTY CONCERNED OVER ROMANIAN PENAL CODE. The London-based human
rights organization Amnesty International has expressed concern
over parts of Romania's new penal code, Reuters suggested on 25
April. A recent report by Amnesty International is quoted as
saying that several clauses in the code imposed "arbitrary and
excessive restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression,
assembly and association with others." The report singled out
draft legislation making verbal or printed attacks on public or
state officials a crime punishable by up to three years in jail.
It also said that an article providing jail terms of up to five
years for "persons engaged in homosexual practices that causes a
public scandal" was in conflict with international human rights
standards. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH REPUBLIC SIGNS ECONOMIC ACCORDS WITH BRAZIL. Czech Premier
Vaclav Klaus arrived in Brazil on 22 April for the last leg of his
South American tour, accompanied by over 70 Czech businessmen.
Klaus and Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim signed
agreements on economic cooperation and on the mutual granting of
most-favored-nation trade status and called for increased
bilateral trade and for sharing industrial technology and
expertise. Klaus also met with Brazilian President Itamar Franco,
CTK reports on 26 April. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAKS SPLIT ON MECIAR'S REMOVAL. In an opinion poll released by
the Slovak Statistical Office on 25 April, 44% of respondents said
they approved of the removal of former Premier Vladimir Meciar
from his post, while 39% of respondents said they did not agree
with the move. Another 17% said they did not follow the events.
The respondents endorsing Meciar's removal included 80% of ethnic
Hungarians, as well as high percentages of supporters of the
parties now represented in the broad coalition government. Sharon
Fisher , RFE/RL, Inc.

KRAVCHUK WANTS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS POSTPONED. Ukrainian
President Leonid Kravchuk told Ukrainian radio on 25 April that he
will ask the new parliament, which is scheduled to convene on 15
May, to postpone the presidential elections set for 26 June.
Kravchuk said that the decision to hold early presidential
elections was made under pressure from the parliamentary
opposition, and that it would be pointless to hold elections
without first defining the role of the presidency and adopting a
new constitution. Further, an aide to Kravchuk has reaffirmed that
Kravchuk will not be a candidate for president unless the
elections are postponed and a law is adopted defining the powers
of the executive and legislative branches. Leftist parties, on the
other hand, have been active in nominating candidates. The
Socialist Party nominated its leader Oleksander Moroz; and the
Communist Party nominated its head, Petro Symonenko. Roman
Solchanyk and Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

19 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES REGISTERED IN BELARUS. The registration
of initiative groups who plan to collect signatures for the
nomination of their candidate ended on 24 April with the
registration of 19 groups. The second stage of the Belarusian
presidential election process takes place from 25 April-14 May.
During this time the initiative groups have to collect either 70
signatures from parliamentary deputies in support of their
candidate, or 100,000 signatures from Belarusian citizens.
According to Interfax from 25 April, the proposed candidates
include Prime Minister Vyachelsau Kebich; the former chairman of
the Supreme Soviet, Stanislau Shushkevich; Aleksandr Lukashenka,
head of the former anti-corruption commission; opposition leader
Zyanon Paznyak; head of the Belarusian Communist Party, Vasil
Novikau; Uladzimir Karyahin, head of the Belarusian Union of
Entrepreneurs; Henadz Karpenka, leader of the Party of Popular
Accord; Viktor Tereshchenka, director of the International
Management Institute; Mikola Kalbaska, chairman of the Belarusian
Association of Invalids; Leonid Kozik, chairman of the
parliamentary commission on economic reform; Eduard Akhrem, rector
of the Belarusian Commercial University; Aleksandr Dubka, chairman
of the Republican Union of Collective Farms; Ivan Karavaichik,
general director of the Rostverk enterprise; Aleksandr Koltsau,
head of the Children's Technical Group; Mikola Shelyahovich,
chairman of the cultural group Polesye; Uladzimir Belau, head of
the scientific research laboratory Seismotekhnika; Yevhen Luhin,
chairman of the Belarusian Peasants' Party; Konstantin Buben,
chairman of the scientific industrial cooperative; and Stanislau
Litskevich. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

DATE STILL UNCLEAR FOR ULMANIS-YELTSIN MEETING. Diena reported on
25 April that contrary to earlier reports, it is still not certain
if the Russian and Latvian presidents will meet in Moscow on April
30 or at a slightly later date. In preparation for the meeting,
Russian experts arrived in Riga on 25 April to clear up questions
concerning the four accords that are expected to be signed by the
two presidents in connection with the the withdrawal of Russian
troops from Latvia. Dzintra Bungs , RFE/RL, Inc.

ESTONIA TO COOPERATE WITH UKRAINE, POSSIBLY RUSSIA ON DEFENSE. On
21 April the Estonian and Ukrainian Defense Ministers, Indrek
Kannik and Vitalii Radetsky, signed in Kiev a basic agreement on
cooperation and consultation between their ministries. While in
Kiev on a three-day visit, Estonian defense officials discussed
various defense-related issues with their Ukrainian counterparts,
including NATO's Partnership for Peace program and relations with
Russia. BNS also reported on 21 April that head of the Estonian
defense forces, Maj.Gen. Aleksandr Einseln, is considering the
possibility of sending some Estonian officers for training in
Russia. He told the press that "We don't think our contacts with
the Russian military will stop with the pullout of Russian troops
[from Estonia]. We must look into the future and map out the
course of our cooperation." Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Ustina Markus & Edith Oltay
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