|The business of art lies just in this--to make that understood and felt which, in the form of an argument, might be incomprehensible and inaccessible. - Leo Tolstoy|
No. 84, 3 May 1994
RUSSIA YELTSIN ON NEAR ABROAD, RELATIONS WITH WEST. In a speech to leaders of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, reported by Rossiiskaya gazeta on 29 April, President Boris Yeltsin once again emphasized Moscow's intention to pursue a more assertive foreign policy vis-a-vis both the West and the nations of the "near abroad." On the former count, Yeltsin said that Russia must henceforth distinguish between partnership and attempts to dominate Russia and to impose upon Moscow "actions that run counter to Russia's interests." He dismissed Western concerns that Russia's assertiveness toward the states of the former Soviet Union represented a form of neo-imperialism and emphasized that Russia viewed these nations as areas of vital interest and would step up its efforts to promote their integration with Russia. Yeltsin also claimed that forces within both the states of the former USSR and in the West are attempting to use the charge of neo-imperialism to exacerbate tensions between Russia and its neighbors. He said that Russia would vigorously protect the interests of Russians living in the former Soviet republics. Finally, Yeltsin suggested that "at a time when military budgets are being cut" the role of the Foreign Intelligence Service as a guarantor of Russian security would increase. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. KOZYREV ON ASSERTIVENESS OF RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICY. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev has reportedly stated in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs that "a firm and sometimes aggressive policy of defending one's national interests is not incompatible with partnership [with the West]," according to AFP on 1 May. "Russian foreign policy inevitably has to be of an independent and assertive nature," he was also quoted as saying, adding that "if Russian democrats fail to achieve it, they will be swept away by a wave of aggressive nationalism." Kozyrev characterized Russia as the "stabilizing factor" and "engine of economic reform" in the former USSR, defended Russia's intention to promote the "gradual reintegration-primarily economic reintegration-of the post-Soviet space on a voluntary and equal basis," and said that Russian peacekeeping operations in Georgia and Tajikistan had been undertaken in "complete accordance with the principles of international law." "The US does not have the capacity to rule alone. Russia . . . retains the inherent characteristics of a great power," he wrote. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN ON NEXT RUSSIAN PRESIDENT. In an interview with Le Figaro published on 2 May, President Yeltsin said that the "real danger" for Russia is who its next president will be after the 1996 elections. He did not name any particular candidate, however. Yeltsin dismissed the prospect of Vladimir Zhirinovsky becoming president. He predicted Zhirinovsky would leave the political scene because of a lack of support. Yeltsin refused to reply to questions about his own plans for the 1996 presidential race. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN CALLS FOR DENUCLEARIZATION AID. In his interview with Le Figaro Yeltsin called for substantial Western aid for the scrapping of Russian nuclear weapons under the START treaties. Echoing sentiments often heard in Ukraine, Yeltsin noted that "We have to eliminate two-thirds of the strategic nuclear missiles as soon as possible, and to do this we need huge sums of money. Of course we don't have the money. If the West wants us not to have these missiles, then support us; if you refuse, if you want to live continuously in fear of these missiles, keep your money!" Russia is to receive an estimated $10 billion from the sale of uranium from dismantled warheads, together with several hundred million dollars in Nunn-Lugar funding for denuclearization. ITAR-TASS reported on 3 May that a delegation from the US Department of Defense, led by Deputy Secretary Ashton Carter will be visiting Moscow on 4-5 May to conduct talks on Russia-US defense cooperation, including the controversial joint peacekeeping exercise planned for this summer. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc. PATRIARCH'S MESSAGE FOR ORTHODOX EASTER. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Aleksei II, sent an Easter message to be read in all Russian Orthodox Churches during the Easter eve vigil. The text of the message was read on Russian television on 30 April. The message called for the unity of Russian people during the "exceptionally complicated and painful process of social and political reform." Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. DECREE ON PRIVATE OWNERSHIP OF LAND. When Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin visited Nizhny Novgorod on 10 March, he surprised many by publicly praising its land privatization pilot program and by announcing that similar schemes would be promulgated throughout the country. The text of his decree "On the Practice of Agrarian Transformations in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast" has appeared in Rossiiskie vesti of 21 April. The decree, which did not require the assent of parliament, provides for kolkhozes and sovkhozes to auction off land to their members as private property. Each kolkhoznik, sovkhoz worker, and pensioner receives a voucher entitling him/her to a part of the land and machinery, and is encouraged to group together with others to form viable units (see the Financial Times of 2 April). Aleksandr Zaveryukha, the deputy prime minister in charge of agriculture, and Anatolii Chubais, his colleague overseeing privatization, are made responsible for monitoring the implementation of the decree. Keith Bush , RFE/RL, Inc. TAX THREAT TO WESTERN LOANS. According to The New York Times of 2 May, several billion dollars' worth of Western credits are at risk because the Russian government has refused to exempt these from a series of new taxes. An official with the fuel and energy ministry is cited as saying that equipment purchases using money from two loans to the oil sector, from the World Bank and the EBRD, would be subject to a 20 percent value-added tax, a related 3 percent special tax, and other taxes for transportation and customs services. An EBRD representative reported that some Russian companies have recently decided not to use the Bank's oil loans, largely because the new taxes made the projects uneconomic. Western oil companies in Russia were already laboring under an export tax of nearly $6 a barrel. Keith Bush , RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA AND JAPAN: COOPERATION ON NUCLEAR WASTE PROCESSING . . . Quoting a Russian official based in the Far East, AFP reported on 29 April that Moscow and Tokyo have agreed in principle on the joint construction of two radioactive waste treatment facilities to process liquid radioactive waste from the Russian Pacific Fleet. Construction is to begin in May. Russia lacks sufficient capacity to process the waste, and dumping by the Pacific Fleet in the Sea of Japan as a means of disposal has raised tension between Moscow and Tokyo. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. . . . CONFRONTATION ON FISHING RIGHTS. Meanwhile, confrontation continues to be the order of the day on the issue of foreign boats--mainly Japanese--that Russia charges have been illegally fishing in Russian waters off the disputed Kuril Islands. According to an ITAR-TASS report of 2 May, the Pacific Fleet press office has announced that the fleet command has tasked seven navy vessels to assist border forces in efforts aimed at thwarting illegal fishing activities near the Kurils. A day earlier, according to AFP, the head of the Sakhalin regional administration ordered local authorities, border guards and counter-intelligence staff to enforce stricter controls on land and sea activities within five kilometers of the Sakhalin coast and the Kuril Islands. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. RIVAL MUSLIM ORGANIZATION CREATED. On 30 April a new Supreme Coordinating Center of the Spiritual Boards of the Muslims of Russia was presented to the public in Moscow, ITAR-TASS reported. The agency said that the majority of the areas of the country where Muslims live are represented in the new body, which had been formed by "the muftis and imams of Tataria, Bashkiria, the Crimea, the Volga region, and Transcaucasia." The leader of the Tatar Muslims, Sheikh Gabdula Galiula, was elected Supreme Mufti of Russia. The creation of the coordinating center appears to mark a new stage in the attempts to set up a rival organization to the long-established Muslim Religious Board for European Russia and Siberia headed by Mufti Talgat Tadzhudin. The coordinating center describes itself as a purely religious organization with no political aims. It remains to be seen whether the majority of Muslim parishes will support the new mufti. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA PLANE INCIDENT IN TAJIKISTAN UNDER INVESTIGATION. A special commission has been set up by the Tajik government to investigate reports that an Uzbek military plane's cargo was either seized by or delivered to a Tajik opposition group in Gorno-Badakhshan on 1 May, Russian news agencies reported on 2 May. Tajik Minister of Security Saidamir Zukhurov told Interfax that the plane's arrival had not been cleared with Tajik authorities and its cargo had been unloaded by unknown persons, but "informed government sources" quoted by ITAR-TASS asserted that the flight, delivering humanitarian aid, had been scheduled and that members of the opposition had not been present at Khorog airport when it landed. This account was contradicted by sources in the Tajik security services. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. COSSACKS COMPLAIN TO NAZARBAEV. A Brotherhood (zemlyachestvo) of Siberian Cossacks residing in northern Kazakhstan has sent a letter to Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev complaining that the government's refusal to enter into constructive dialog with the Cossack movement in the country amounts to "gentle genocide," ITAR-TASS, quoting the Russian-language weekly Panorama, reported on 2 May. The letter also objected to Kazakhstani authorities' inclination to automatically associate the Cossacks with separatism, though the Cossacks have offered to cooperate in resolving problems affecting the registration and activities of their associations. The authors of the letter urged that Cossack associations be designated public organizations, which would enable them to register. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. EMERGENCY DECLARED IN ALMATY. A state of emergency was declared in Almaty on 2 May as a result of a severe lack of fuel in the city, ITAR-TASS reported. Fuel deliveries are being limited to only the most essential organizations and the electricity supply is drastically curtailed. Almaty's unpopular mayor, Zamanbek Nurkadilov, appeared on Kazakhstani TV with a complaint that neither Prime Minister Sergei Tereshchenko nor his deputies would agree to meet with Nurkadilov to discuss the situation in the capital, and appealed for help to officials in coal, oil and gas producing regions of Kazakhstan. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE FRANCE AND GERMANY WANT POSSIBLE AIR STRIKES FOR BRCKO. International media reported on 2 May that Germany has joined French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe in urging the UN to make the north Bosnian town of Brcko a "safe area." This would allow for airstrikes, as Juppe put it, "in response to the first Serbian shell" to hit the embattled mainly Muslim town. Serbian forces are converging on the region to expand the land corridor that connects Serbia with its conquests in Bosnia and Croatia. The Muslims are also on the scene to try to break that land bridge, while Reuters notes that Croatian forces are there as well. Croatian President Franjo Tudjman has been under heavy criticism at home for allegedly neglecting the interests of the heavily Croatian Posavina area northwest of Brcko, and some have charged him with willingly surrendering it to the Serbs as part of a secret overall deal. The Croatian military may now be trying to offset that image. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. NATO STOPS SERB ATTEMPT TO RETAKE GUNS. The Washington Post reports on 3 May that a NATO jet the previous day buzzed Serb forces near Sarajevo. They were trying to retrieve heavy weaponry they had earlier left with French UN forces in response to the Alliance's ultimatums to them in February. The move ended a four-hour standoff, but international media report continuing cease-fire violations in and around both Sarajevo and Gorazde. >From Paris, Reuters said on 2 May that Bosnian Serbs will put three French aid workers on trial for allegedly trying to smuggle arms to the Muslims. The Serbs had previously tried to exchange their hostages for Serbian prisoners held in Sarajevo. Finally, UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali in New York issued an order to UN officials to stop criticizing American policy toward Bosnia. The move followed a public exchange of accusations between his chief representative in Bosnia, Yasushi Akashi, and US Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright. Akashi is slated to arrive in Sarajevo on 3 May for political talks with Muslim and Serb leaders, while UNESCO's director-general will also go there to discuss rebuilding the National Library, the university, and other landmarks destroyed by Serb shelling. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. DEVELOPMENTS IN CROAT-MUSLIM RELATIONS. Vecernji list of 3 May runs a commentary on the future of the Croat-Muslim federation in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the wake of President Alija Izetbegovic's 30 April letter to Tudjman. The editorial raises a number of doubts and questions regarding the agreements signed in March, and accuses the Muslims of continuing to regard Bosnia as their own state. The article also suggests that American diplomatic initiatives in the area have run out of steam. Many in the opposition in Croatia have charged that Tudjman did not sign the agreements in good faith and would back out of them at the first opportunity, but it remains to be seen whether the editorial in a paper close to his party is a hint that the agreements' days may be numbered. Elsewhere, that same daily carries remarks by the Croatian Party of [Historic] Rights (HSP) following the 30 April incident in Siroki Brijeg in Herzegovina, in which HSP leaders were attacked with hammers. The party charges that this was an action by "circles of criminals and war profiteers who do not like the idea of cooperating with the Muslims." Both the HSP and the Herzegovinian leaders of the self-styled Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna are considered to be on the far Right of the political spectrum, but the HSP backs close links with the Muslims while the Herceg-Bosna group enthusiastically fought them. Many observers have been predicting that the Herceg-Bosna supporters would do whatever they could to wreck the Washington agreements. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. CROATIAN POLITICAL REALIGNMENT IN THE OFFING? RFE/RL's Balkan Service reported from Zagreb on 2 May on a possible rearrangement of the political spectrum following the founding of the center-left Croatian Independent Democrats (HND) on 30 April. The group was formerly the left wing of the broad-based governing Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ), and speculation has abounded as to how this development will affect the overall political picture besides probably forcing early elections. The broadcast noted that there is now "crowding in the Center" of the spectrum, where there are numerous possibilities for coalitions and mergers. It also suggested that the right wing of the HDZ may either seek to dominate the party or else join up with other right-wing groups. On the Left, moves have been afoot for some time to forge a bloc out of several parties, but the various social democrats and reformed communists are a negligible force and might not even win any parliamentary seats. Perhaps uniquely in Eastern Europe, the Left has little or no popular appeal in Croatia, although most leaders on the Right and in the Center are former communists and the HDZ in particular is heavy with previous members of the nomenklatura. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. ALBANIA CALLS ON GREECE TO SHOW GOODWILL. An Albanian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on 2 April that Tirana is ready to discuss "everything that stands between us" at a meeting of the Greek and Albanian foreign ministers in Zurich on 3 May. Fatmir Cela told Reuters that Alfred Serreqi, Albania's Foreign Minister, will be bent on improving relations with Greece during the meeting but that Athens--represented by Karalos Papoulias--must show some goodwill, too. The meeting was called off on 30 April after Greece accused Albania of prohibiting the traditional Orthodox Easter celebrations. But the following day Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou said the meeting could go ahead since Tirana subsequently had lifted the ban. Cela said Papoulias and Serreqi are to talk about the development of bilateral ties in general, the problem of Albanian migrants in Greece, Greek embassy staffing in Albania, the recent killing of two Albanian soldiers by Greek terrorists, and other topics. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. POSITIVE REACTION ABROAD TO LATVIAN-RUSSIAN ACCORDS. US President Bill Clinton told the press on 30 April that he welcomed the signing of the accords on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Latvia and noted that they were made possible, in part, by American support and resolve. Similarly positive reactions have also come from the Estonian and Lithuanian governments and parliaments. On 3 May the presidents of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania will meet near Riga to coordinate the policies of their countries toward Russia. Latvia's President Guntis Ulmanis is expected to give a detailed report on the signing of the troop withdrawal accords in Moscow. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. SOLIDARITY ON STRIKE ALERT. The Solidarity branch representing teachers, health-care workers, and other employees paid from the state budget (budzetowka) declared a "strike alert" on 2 May, PAP reports. The union branch threatened to take more drastic action if its demands are not included in the deliberations of the tripartite government-union-employer commission that is to meet on 4 May. A strike by state employees provided the pretext for Solidarity's no-confidence vote in the last government in May 1993. Also on 2 May, Solidarity's mining branch charged the government with "manipulative" behavior and "playing for time." Mining branch chairman Krzysztof Mlodzik criticized as too limited the accord signed on 30 April by striking brown-coal miners, and admitted that there were problems with "discipline" within the union. Appearing on the private TV channel PolSat, Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak predicted that Solidarity's call for new strikes on 4 May will meet with public indifference. He criticized the union for concentrating on "symbols" rather than realistic measures. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH BISHOPS DEFEND CONCORDAT. In a statement issued on 29 April, the Polish bishops' conference called for swift ratification of the concordat with the Vatican. The last government signed the concordat on 28 July 1993; despite disagreement on the issue between the two current coalition partners, the government voted on 8 March to submit it to the Sejm for ratification. The episcopate expressed distress at attempts to use the concordat to "antagonize society," and endorsed the government's argument that the concordat does not violate the constitution. In comments directed at the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), which opposes ratification until the new constitution is adopted, the bishops criticized the imposition of party discipline for the ratification vote as a "totalitarian" practice. "Party discipline cannot be more important than . . . conscience's moral judgment." The bishops said opposition to the concordat reflected the legacy of communist ideology, and suggested that SLD members could earn democratic credentials by supporting ratification. The bishops also criticized the "promotion of people with compromised pasts" in culture, an apparent reference to the culture ministry's decision to fund a cultural weekly edited by Krzysztof Teodor Toeplitz. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH LEADERS AT GRABSKI MONUMENT. Informal talks among coalition, opposition, and Church leaders were held at the headquarters of Bishop Alojzy Orszulik in Lowicz on 2 May, Polish TV reports. The talks, apparently focusing on the concordat, took place after ceremonies to unveil a monument to Wladyslaw Grabski, who was twice Poland's prime minister in the 1920s. Grabski was the author of Poland's successful currency reform of 1924 that introduced the zloty and stifled hyperinflation; he also founded the national bank. As prime minister, he was responsible for Poland's original concordat with the Vatican in 1925. The ceremonies were attended by Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak, Cardinal Jozef Glemp, the speakers of the Sejm and Senate, former Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki, former Sejm Speaker Wieslaw Chrzanowski, and a high-ranking official in the president's office. There was no public report on the results of the informal talks. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAKS AND CZECHS SIGN DEFENSE AGREEMENT. On 2 May Slovak and Czech Defense Ministers Pavol Kanis and Antonin Baudys, respectively, signed a cooperation agreement in Bratislava, TASR reported. The agreement covers 24 points, including the provision of social benefits to former Czechoslovak soldiers, as well as cooperation in transforming the armies, construction of new equipment, budgetary matters, legislation and education. The two ministers also discussed cooperation among the Visegrad countries on entry into West European security structures and the division of archival documents from the former federal army. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. NEW CZECH EDUCATION MINISTER NOMINATED. CTK reported on 2 May that Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus nominated Ivan Pilip as education minister. The nomination has to be formally approved by President Vaclav Havel, who is expected to do so on 3 May. Pilip, deputy education minister until now, is to replace Petr Pitha, who resigned for health reasons at the end of April. In December 1993 Pilip was elected chairman of the Christian Democratic Party, one of the four parties that form the coalition government. Pitha is a member of Pilip's party. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. GERMANY REMAINS CZECH REPUBLIC'S MOST IMPORTANT ECONOMIC PARTNER. According to a report in the Journal of Commerce of 28 April, Germany is the most important economic partner of the Czech Republic and the situation is unlikely to change. German firms have already invested $641 million since 1990, which amounts to 31% of total foreign investment. While the German presence in the country is only 3% larger than that of the United States in dollar terms, German enterprises number more than 2,000 compared with roughly 400 American companies in the country. Germany also remains the Czech Republic's most important trading partner, logging more than 25% of all imports and exports. Moreover, according to a poll taken among German managers, up to a third of German companies are considering moving parts or all of their operations to the East over the next few years. A full 47% of these selected the Czech Republic as their target, the Journal of Commerce says. The paper quoted Carl Hahn, the President of the Czech-German Chamber of Commerce, as saying that "there is a high-quality labor force, and excellent engineers" in the country which makes the transfer of operations to Asian cheap-labor countries unnecessary. Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK RIGHT-OF-CENTER PARTIES TO COOPERATE? During the 30 April session of the Christian Democratic Movement council, the party agreed to allow other right-of-center parties to join its candidate list in the upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for 30 September and 1 October, TASR reports. This would give small parties which would not otherwise surpass the 5% hurdle the opportunity to be represented in the parliament and would help to strengthen the right-of-center. It is unsure whether the other parties will accept the offer. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN SOCIALISTS ACCUSE TV OF DIRTY METHODS. On 30 April, only a week before the first round of the Hungarian general elections, Imre Szekeres, the Vice President of the Hungarian Socialist Party (HSP) accused Hungarian Television of broadcasting false and libelous charges against his party and against HSP leaders, MTI reported. While Szekeres offered no details to substantiate his charges, other HSP officials said that Documentum and Panorama, two popular TV programs, featured accusations against HSP Chairman Gyula Horn, a former member of the Workers' Guards, who allegedly kicked a man in the face during an investigation of a border crossing attempt in 1957. Szekeres said that Hungarian television has been conducting a campaign without precedent in recent days to defame and discredit the HSP. The HSP leader demanded that the president of Hungarian TV distances himself from the "false charges", starts disciplinary procedures against the directors of a number of programs and issues a public apology to the HSP. Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc. CONTRACT SIGNED FOR HUNGARY'S M5 HIGHWAY. The Humi consortium, led by the French construction group Bouygues, has won a 35-year concession to finance, upgrade and operate Hungary's M5 highway, which connects Budapest with Belgrade. The contract was signed by Gyorgy Schamschule, Minister for Transport, Telecommunication and Water Management, MTI reported on 2 May. The German Commerzbank, the Austrian Bau Holding construction company and several Hungarian construction companies are members of the Humi consortium. The project will reportedly cost about $350 million. The first part of the highway, connecting Budapest with the outskirts of Kecskemet, is scheduled to be completed by January 1996. Another 40 km are planned to be opened to traffic by the end of 1997. There are no concrete plans yet to finish the remaining 60 km to the Serbian border. Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc. BULGARIA HOSTS CONFERENCE ON COMPUTER VIRUSES. On 2 May the second International Conference on Computer Viruses opened in a holiday resort outside the city of Varna. BTA reported that the conference will deal with the specific problem of computer viruses, as well as with the broader issues of protecting electronically stored data and computer software. As the biggest East European manufacturer of personal computers in the 1980s, Bulgaria educated thousands of top-level specialists but often failed to make good use of that expertise in the domestic computer industry. Western researchers estimate that 10% of all computer viruses have originated in Bulgaria, and some believe the lack of an outlet for their creativity was what prompted Bulgarian computer scientists to start designing viruses. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. MOLDOVAN LEADERS DISCUSS DNIESTER REPUBLIC. Moldova's three top leaders again met on 28 April near Tiraspol with the leaders of the "Dniester Republic." The meeting was attended by Russian mediator Vladlen Vasev and the British CSCE Chief of Mission in Chisinau, Richard Samuel. In a series of meetings, this was the first to produce a political document. Signed by President Mircea Snegur and "Dniester" leader Igor Smirnov and published by the Moldovan media on 1 May, the document provides for continued negotiations to define "Transdniester's future statehood under law" under Russian mediation and taking into account Russian and CSCE views. Neither of those have recommended statehood for Transdniester, however. Moldovan officials claimed in several interviews that the concession was meant to facilitate an accord. Vladimir Socor , RFE/RL, Inc. ESTONIA WANTS TO EXTEND DEADLINE FOR RESIDENCE PERMITS. BNS reported on 30 April that Estonia is facing an increasing wave of protests from various organizations of the Russian-speaking population over the slow granting of residence permits. Meeting with Russian representatives on 30 April, Prime Minister Mart Laar said that the problems stem mostly from insufficient information about the procedures that need to be followed. He warned that the responsible officials must not interpret the relevant laws willfully, but act strictly in compliance with the law. Laar also said that the ruling coalition will seek to extend the deadline for residency applications for another year and ease some of the procedures and requirements. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by John Lepingwell and Jan Obrman 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. This report is also available by postal mail, as are the other publications of the Institute, and by fax. 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