History is made out of the failures and heroism of each insignificant moment. - Franz Kafka
RFE/RL Daily Report

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
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