We have to understand the world can only be grasped by action, not by comtemplation. The hand is more important than the eye....The hand is the cutting edge of the mind. - J. Bronowski
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 88, 9 May 1994

RUSSIA

GRACHEV ON STATE OF RUSSIA ARMY; WITHDRAWAL FROM ABROAD . . . At a
6 May press conference marking the second anniversary of the
Russian army, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev lamented the
sorry state of the armed forces and urged the government to do
more to help the Defense Ministry solve its problems. According to
AFP, Grachev again criticized the proposed military budget, saying
that it was hardly enough to cover the Defense Ministry's debts.
He also charged that poor living conditions and lowered morale was
causing recruits to flee the army and had led to a sharp increase
in the number of suicides. Grachev suggested that problems facing
Russia's naval forces--especially the Pacific Fleet--were severe
and claimed that by 1992 some two-thirds of Russia's naval vessels
needed to be replaced. AFP also reported that Grachev had admitted
that the actual strength of the armed forces was now about 1.5
million; he said that the preferred strength of the army was two
million. Interfax of 6 May quoted Grachev as saying that by 1
September 1994 Russia will have withdrawn all its military
forces--some 32,000 troops--from abroad, with the exception of
those deployed in states with which Russia has basing agreements.
Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . THREATENS ESTONIA WITH REINFORCEMENTS. In other remarks made
on 6 May, Grachev compared the policies of Estonian authorities
toward the nation's ethnic Russians to "apartheid" and warned that
Moscow would consider increasing its military presence in Estonia
if alleged discrimination did not cease. Contradicting once again
Russia's nominal policy of not linking its military withdrawal to
the treatment of Estonia's Russian minority, Grachev was quoted by
Reuters as saying that the "withdrawal of [Russia's troops] is
closely linked to guarantees of normal life for the
Russian-speaking population. If [withdrawal] talks stall, Russia
will keep its 2,500 servicemen there. If the situation changes it
won't take long to send reinforcements." According to the same
Reuters report, Russia's chief negotiator, Vasilii Svirin, echoed
Grachev from Tallinn, saying that if "Estonia does not conclude
the additional agreements on [military] pensioners Russia will
pull out when it pleases." Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . ON JOINT EXERCISE WITH US; NATO PARTNERSHIP. Grachev also
told reporters that he continued to support a joint military
exercise with US forces, scheduled for July on Russian territory,
although, according to the newspaper Newsday, he suggested that it
might have to be postponed until the autumn. His remarks came
following two days of talks with US defense officials. On a less
positive note, however, Grachev again expressed Moscow's
reservations toward participation in the NATO Partnership for
Peace Program, saying that Russian authorities would draft their
own concept for participation and, according to Reuters, present
it to NATO on 24 May in Brussels. Grachev apparently gave no
details, but said that the new plan, to be finished by 15 May,
would first be approved by Boris Yeltsin and the Russian Security
Council. According to Interfax, Grachev said that, on the strength
of its geopolitical position, Russia should play a unifying role
in efforts to build collective security structures in Europe and
Asia. In a separate interview, with Interfax, Russian Foreign
Minister Andrei Kozyrev spoke in similar terms with respect to
NATO.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

DEFENSE LOBBYIST APPOINTED TO CABINET. Details have emerged of
changes at the top following Prime Minister Chernomyrdin's public
rebukes to reformist ministers on 5 May (see RFE/RL Daily Report
for 6 May). Nikolai Travkin, head of the Democratic Party of
Russia and a former lobbyist for the military-industrial complex,
was named on 7 May as minister without portfolio, Russian and
Western agencies reported. Dmitrii Vasilev, a deputy chairman of
the State Committee for the Management of State Property (GKI),
has been dismissed, while two of the most outspoken liberals,
deputy ministers for finance and economy, Sergei Aleksashenko and
Yakov Urinson, have been reprimanded. Travkin's appointment is
expected to strengthen the hand of the defense lobby ahead of the
renewed debate in the State Duma on the 1994 federal budget,
expected to begin on 10 May. The lobby is seeking to boost defense
expenditure from 37.1 trillion to about 82 trillion rubles in
1994.  Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUTSKOI DEMANDS POLITICAL REHABILITATION. Former Vice-President
Aleksandr Rutskoi said he wanted a military tribunal to review his
forced retirement from the armed forces, AFP reported on 8 May.
After the October 1993 disturbances in Moscow, President Yeltsin
issued a decree forcing Rutskoi out of the military on the grounds
that by having instigated the disturbances he had "violated
military honor." Rutskoi said that though he would not seek
reinstatement into the armed force as long as Yeltsin was
president, he did want to restore his prestige within the military
by asking the tribunal to examine the reasons for his forced
retirement.  Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

YAVLINSKY FOR CIS INTEGRATION. The leader of the moderate
reform-bloc YABLOKO in the State Duma, Grigorii Yavlinsky, said in
an interview with Komsomolskaya pravda on 5 May that he regards
the break-up of the economic ties between the former Soviet
republics as the main reason for the overall economic decline in
the former Soviet republics. He stated that the present political
elite must be replaced by new elites which would start again the
process of economic integration. He repeated his intention to run
for the Russian presidency and added that demagogic politicians
like Vladimir Zhirinovsky could have received 20% of the votes
also in elections in Western states. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

OPPOSITION LEADER WINS SUIT AGAINST FORMER KGB GENERAL. The leader
of parliamentary conservative opposition Sergei Baburin has won a
libel suit both against former KGB General Oleg Kalugin and the
newspaper Izvestiya, RFE/RL correspondent reported on 4 May. In
1992, Izvestiya quoted Kalugin as saying that Baburin had been
recruited as a KGB secret agent, and subsequently Baburin sued for
libel. At the trial, the defense did not substantiate the
accusation, but argued that serving as a KGB secret agent is not
disgraceful, and, therefore, Kalugin's allegations about Baburin
could not be considered libelous under Russian law. The court of
the Kuntsevo district in Moscow apparently disagreed and Kalugin
was sentenced to pay 1,500,000 rubles as damages to Baburin and
200,000 rubles to the state. Izvestiya must pay 2 million rubles
to Baburin and 200,000 to the state.  Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL,
Inc.

MALAYSIA TO FINALIZE PURCHASE OF MiG'S. Malaysian authorities
announced on 6 May that they were ready to finalize a deal on the
purchase of 18 MiG-29 fighter jets that has been in the works for
nearly a year. AFP quoted Malaysia's Defense Minister as saying
that negotiations in Kuala Lumpur with Russian Deputy Foreign
Minister Aleksandr Panov were in their final stages and that he
expected the agreement to be signed within "a matter of days." As
Reuters suggested on 7 May, the last impediment to the deal
appears to involve the proportion of the payment to be made in
cash; Malaysia had earlier proposed paying a significant portion
of the cost in palm oil. There have also been objections to the
sale in Malaysia, which is predominantly Moslem, because of
Russia's support for Serbia. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

SELF-SUFFICIENCY IN GRAIN? Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr
Zaveryukha has again stated that Russia will require hardly any
imported grain this year. During a news conference in Kazan on 6
May, he claimed that state stocks of grain amount to 18 million
tons, which will keep the population and livestock inventories
supplied through December [i.e., when this year's harvest will be
in], Interfax reported. President Yeltsin and other leading
figures have proudly asserted that Russia has reattained
self-sufficiency in grain, apart from a few million tons to be
shipped directly to the Far East and a small quantity of feed
grains, while exporting a few million tons to other former Soviet
republics. Yet although the reduced livestock inventories will
require less feed grains, it is difficult to see how imports can
be avoided if the domestic harvest falls below 90 million tons, as
is widely expected. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

CALM BEING RESTORED IN DERBENT. The situation was gradually
returning to normal in Derbent in southern Dagestan on 7 May after
the leaders of the Lezgin, Azerbaijani, and Tabasaran national
movements called for an end to the meetings that had followed the
killing of two Lezgins by Azerbaijanis, ITAR-TASS reported. The
rallies were demanding an end to the rampant crime in the area,
and the Azerbaijanis were calling for changes in the local
government bodies, insisting that they had "traditionally" been
headed by Azerbaijanis, Interfax reported on 6 May. The republican
authorities have replaced the head of the Derbent administration
and the local department of internal affairs.  Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL,
Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

RAKHMONOV IN MOSCOW. Tajikistan's head of state, Supreme Soviet
Chairman Imomali Rakhmonov, spent 5 and 6 May in Moscow discussing
Russian assistance to his country with Russian President Boris
Yeltsin, Russian Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin and Russian Foreign
Minister Andrei Kozyrev. On 8 May Dushanbe Radio broadcast the
text of a communique issued at the end of the visit indicating
that alleviation of Tajikistan's severe economic problems was one
of the cardinal points under discussion. Rakhmonov appealed for
the process of unifying the two countries' monetary systems to be
accelerated. After Rakhmonov's meeting with Kozyrev, Interfax
reported that the Russian Foreign Ministry had issued a statement
on 7 May warning that Russia will take whatever steps are
necessary to secure the Tajik-Afghan border and accusing the Tajik
Islamic opposition of planning a spring offensive from
Afghanistan.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

                               CIS

CIS STAFF CHIEF SERIOUSLY INJURED. ITAR-TASS reported on 4 May
that General Viktor Samsonov, CIS armed forces Chief of Staff (and
de facto the highest ranking officer in the current nebulous CIS
military hierarchy), was seriously injured in a traffic accident
on 2 May. He had just returned from Brussels, where he was part of
a CIS military delegation that met with NATO leaders.  Stephen
Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

STATUS OF START. Several reports in the Russian and Western press
have provided information on the disarmament process. Izvestiya on
4 May cited Colonel General Igor Sergeev, the commander of the
Strategic Rocket Forces, as stating that all SS-24s in Ukraine
have been deactivated and their warheads removed. Sergeev also
noted that some 302 launchers in Russia have been "liquidated" as
called for under START-1. (The treaty has not yet legally entered
into force, as instruments of ratification have not been
exchanged, but the parties are implementing its provisions.)
Reuters quoted on 4 May a Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman as
saying that there are only a few SS-24 missiles left to
deactivate. Some 180 nuclear warheads have now been removed
Ukraine. SS-25 mobile missiles have been withdrawn from two bases
in Belarus (Lida and Mozyr) with some of them being redeployed at
the Yoshkar-Ola base (formerly an SS-13 base) according to a
Russian TV report of 20 April. The approximately 54 remaining
missiles in Belarus are to be removed by the end of 1994. John
Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

EX-COMMUNISTS RETURN TO POWER IN HUNGARY. According to preliminary
counts, the Hungarian Socialist Party (HSP) received over 32% of
the votes in the first round of the national election held on 8
May, MTI reported. The liberal Alliance of Free Democrats gained
19%, while the presently ruling Hungarian Democratic Forum came in
third with 12% of the votes. The Independent Smallholders Party
received over 8%, while the Alliance of Young Democrats and the
Christian Democratic Peoples' Party gained the support of 7% of
the voters each. The next parliament will be made up of the same
six parties as the previous parliament as none of the other
parties received the 5% support necessary for representation in
parliament. The second round of voting will be held on 29 May;
polls show that the HSP is leading in 158 out of 176 districts.
Should this trend be confirmed, the HSP could rule the country
without a coalition partner.  Judith Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc.

MUSLIM-CROAT TALKS CONTINUE. International media reported on 9 May
that negotiations between the new Bosnian federation partners have
gone into a third day at the US embassy in Vienna. Many issues
have apparently been cleared up, but the key problem of the
borders between Croat and Muslim cantons remains. It is also not
clear who will be the new state's first president and prime
minister. Meanwhile in Brcko, UN observers took up positions
behind Serb lines on 8 May, having previously deployed on the
Croatian side. Serb forces, however, continued to block a UN
medical convoy heading for Gorazde, while in Paris the French
foreign minister said that the continuing Serb detention of 11
French aid workers is "unacceptable." AFP reported on 7 May that
UN aid officials are planning to pull out of Gorazde, Srebrenica,
and Zepa. Finally, the Washington Post on 8 May carried an article
on the case of the missing Serb tank, or "this week's tragicomedy
in the mountains around Sarajevo." The incident, by which some
Serb tanks were allowed to cross through the exclusion zone with
the approval of UN envoy Yasushi Akashi, led to a strain in
relations between the US and the UN and to Muslim demands for
Akashi's resignation.  Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELGRADE BANS ZHIRINOVSKY RALLY. On 7 May RFE/RL's South Slavic
Service reported that Belgrade police authorities have banned a
rally scheduled for 9 May which was to feature an appearance by
Russian ultranationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky. According to
Tanjug, event organizers, members of the ultranationalist Serbian
People's Renewal Party, describe Belgrade's move as "a political
ban" and have said the rally, ostensibly to be held to commemorate
Serbia's role in defeating the fascist powers during World War
Two, will go ahead as scheduled. Meanwhile, Belgrade police have
said the ban is necessary to preserve public order. In other news,
Serbian media continue their probe of the scandal surrounding the
now-defunct Dafiment Bank, once the rump Yugoslavia's largest
private financial institution. On 9 May Politika resumes its
coverage of the ongoing scandal under the headline, "How Much
Money Disappeared from the Dafiment Bank" and also publishes an
account of Dafina Milanovic's, the bank owner's, past dubious
business practices.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

KRAVCHUK ON UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. Ukrainian President
Leonid Kravchuk said that the issue of delineating the authority
and balance of power between governing structures and economic
reforms should head the agenda of the new parliament's first
session which is scheduled for 11 May, ITAR-TASS reported on 7
May. Kravchuk also reiterated his opposition to holding elections
before a constitution is passed and presidential powers defined.
Interfax reported on 6 May that the leader of the Communist Party,
Petro Symonenko, has said that the bloc of left-wing forces would
not support Kravchuk's calls for delaying the elections. The bloc
comprises Communists, Socialists and the Agrarian Party and
controls over a third of the parliament's 388 elected seats which
means it can derail any amendments it finds undesirable to the
national constitution. Although the communists have said that they
oppose the institution of a presidency in principle, they will
support the candidate of the left-wing bloc, the leader of the
Socialist Party, Oleksandr Moroz.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

SOLIDARITY SHOWS ITS MUSCLE. "Solidarity's protest action can go
on for months, even years, because the union is fighting for a
system in which the citizen is the master of his fate," Solidarity
leader Marian Krzaklewski told strikers at the Gdansk Shipyard on
6 May, PAP reports. Krzaklewski claimed that 100 plants held
strikes, with 200,000 workers taking part in the "culmination" of
the union's national protest on 6 May. Some 20 plants struck for 8
hours in the Gdansk region. Government estimates on participation
were lower. As 1,000 defense industry employees marched in Warsaw,
Krzaklewski again threatened to paralyze Poland's energy
production. He also said that the union will give consideration to
a proposal from Zygmunt Wrzodak, the radical Solidarity leader at
the Ursus tractor factory, to form a shadow government. Strikes
continued in 19 hard-coal and 3 zinc and lead mines over the
weekend. Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak observed on 6 May that the
mass media are giving wide coverage to the strikes while their
impact is in fact quite limited. Deputy Prime Minister Grzegorz
Kolodko strongly criticized the strikes, charging that they will
lead only to higher prices and taxes. While Solidarity does not
appear strong enough to force the government's hand, the strikes
show the union still has considerable disruptive power. Louisa
Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK-GERMAN RELATIONS STRENGTHENED. Returning from a two-day
visit to Germany on 6 May, Slovak Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan
said that his German counterpart Klaus Kinkel guaranteed his
support for Slovakia's membership in European organizations, TASR
reported. The two met on 5 May to discuss bilateral economic
relations and European integration. During the visit, Kukan also
met with German Defense Minister Volker Ruehe to discuss
Slovakia's efforts to join European security structures. In
business news, a spokesman at the Slovensky energeticky podnik
(Slovak energy company) said that on 5 May an agreement was signed
with the German firm Siemens on the reconstruction of the
Jaslovske Bohunice nuclear plant in western Slovakia. Siemens,
along with the French firm Electricite de France, is already
involved in the construction of a second Slovak nuclear plant at
Mochovce.  Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAKIA'S ROMANIES FORM ELECTION BLOC. On 8 May the Party of
Social Democracy of Romanies announced that it will create a bloc
of Romany election unity for the fall parliamentary elections,
TASR reports. The bloc is open to Romany political parties, as
well as independent Romany cultural representatives, businessmen
and intelligentsia. The announcement followed a 6 May conference
on "Romanies in Slovakia and Europe," which was held in
cooperation with the Helsinki Committee and the Council of Europe
and was attended by 37 Slovak Romany organizations, which are
seeking a solution to the difficult social and political position
of Romanies.  Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN AIR FORCE INTRODUCES IDENTIFICATION-FRIEND-FOE SYSTEM.
In the presence of the US ambassador, Hungary inaugurated the
first of its national air force units equipped with an IFF system
in Kecskemet on 4 May. MTI said the IFF system is the first
instance of high-tech US military equipment to be put into
operation in Hungary. The IFF system reportedly cost 1.1 billion
forint and will be used in 113 Hungarian Air Force planes by the
end of this year. The IFF system will be extended later to other
Central and East European states.  Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL,
Inc.

ROMANIA'S CHIEF RABBI DEAD. Romania's Chief Rabbi Moses Rosen died
on 6 May, Romanian and Western media reported. Rosen, who was 81
years old, suffered a severe stroke three weeks ago and died of
heart failure. President Ion Iliescu and the Romanian government
praised Rosen's personality and condoled the Jewish minority.
Iliescu said the authorities will continue to "fight with all
energy against extremism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism." An
official of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania said
that after Rosen's death it will be difficult to ensure the
cohesion of the community, particularly in view of the advanced
age of most of the 14,000 Jews left in Romania. A memorial service
for Rosen was attended by Iliescu on 8 May at the Choral Temple in
Bucharest. His body will be flown to Jerusalem for burial. An
official Romanian delegation headed by Minister of Justice Iosif
Gavril Chiuzbaian will participate in the burial ceremonies.
Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

GERMANY PLEDGES SUPPORT TO ROMANIA. The German government has
pledged increased support to Romania's path to a market economy.
The pledge is contained in a framework agreement on economic
cooperation and development signed in Bucharest on 6 May by
Economic Cooperation Minister Carl-Dieter Spranger and Romanian
Minister of State for Economic Reform and Strategy, Mircea Cosea,
Radio Bucharest reported. The accord regulates the work of German
experts and advisers. The German support will concentrate on
consultation and help with the privatization of state enterprises.
Bonn will also provide DM10 million to help Romanians establish
new businesses and an additional 5 million for advising them.
Another major area of German aid is agriculture. Michael Shafir,
RFE/RL, Inc.

BEROV ON CABINET REORGANIZATION. In an interview aired on
Bulgarian National Radio on 8 May, Prime Minister Lyuben Berov
said he will submit his proposed cabinet reorganization for
approval by parliament on 11 May. Although refusing to detail his
plans, Berov revealed that he wants to transform the present
government Committee on Energy, headed by Nikita Shervashidze,
into a Ministry of Energy, as well as to reintroduce the death
penalty to stem the rise in crime. Reuters points out that Justice
Minister Petar Kornazhev, who strongly opposes the death penalty,
is likely to resign if the moratorium on executions--in effect
since 1990--is lifted. Berov also said he intends to appoint a
former prominent member of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Dimitar
Gechev, as his deputy in charge of economic reform. Gechev, a
37-year-old economics teacher, would in that capacity succeed
Valentin Karabashev who resigned on 28 April after Berov in
parliament had criticized his performance. Kjell Engelbrekt,
RFE/RL, Inc.

ALBANIAN FARMERS OCCUPY TOWN HALL. Farmers started a hunger strike
after clashing with police in the northeastern Albanian town of
Kukes, international media reported on 7 May. About 150 farmers
occupied the town hall there earlier, demanding compensation for
homes they lost in a flood caused by a hydroelectric project in
the communist era, when 26 villages disappeared under a lake. An
unspecified number of people were injured in the clashes between 5
and 6 May when the farmers defied police. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL,
Inc.

MOTORWAY BETWEEN DURRES AND TIRANA TO BE BUILT SOON. On 9 May
construction will begin on the motorway from the Albanian Adriatic
town of Durres to Tirana, Lajmi i dites reported on 30 April. The
project is the first Albanian major highway and the first part of
a larger route which will connect Durres with Skopje, Sofia, and
Istanbul. This will considerably reduce Macedonia's economic
dependence on Serbia and Greece. Representatives of the European
Union, together with those of Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Greece
and Romania, agreed on the project in Thessaloniki in early March
1994. The investments for the whole route will be provided by the
PHARE program, which is designed to promote economic development
in Central and Eastern Europe, but the first five kilometers will
be paid for by the Albanian state. Another highway included in the
project will connect Pomahon in Greece with the Bulgarian border
checkpoint of Kulata and Romania.  Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN-ESTONIAN TALKS DEADLOCKED. The nineteenth round of
Estonian-Russian negotiations ended on 6 May in Lohusalu without
any progress on the two major issues: date for the withdrawal of
Russian troops from Estonia and social guarantees for military
Russian pensioners in Estonia. Russia wants to link the two
issues, while Estonia considers that they are separate matters.
Prime Minister Mart Laar said that his country now aims to achieve
a Russian troop pullout like Lithuania, i.e. without a formal
agreement. Russia, however, would like Estonia to follow Latvia's
example and sign accords both on troops withdrawal and on military
pensioners at the same time. Responding to remarks of Russian
Defense Minister Pavel Grachev on 6 May about keeping Russian
troops in Estonia, Estonian president Lennart Meri cut short his
visit to Portugal. Estonian Foreign Ministry official Raul Malk
told BNS on 8 May that the Russian attitude to the troop
withdrawal is a challenge both to the UN and the CSCE.  Dzintra
Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW VAT CAUSES CONFUSION IN LITHUANIA. The 18% value-added tax
(VAT), which came into effect on 1 May, has caused considerable
confusion in Lithuania. Finance Minister Eduardas Vilkelis
admitted the new tax had "evoked a shock," since the prices of
many foodstuffs and basic commodities jumped by about 20%. Seimas
deputy Audrius Rudys told BNS on 4 May, that not enough
explanatory work was done prior to the introduction of the new
tax, which is expected to increase the state budget receipts by
about 3%. BNS also reported that customs officers were not
well-informed about the tax and stopped all incoming cargo at the
border. At some service stations gasoline prices jumped by 25%,
and bread prices rose by 20%. Nonetheless, no prices changes were
reported in the first days of May in most stores in the Lithuanian
capital of Vilnius. According to Interfax of 6 May, the
Anti-Economic Crime Committee of the Seimas has asked Prime
Minister Adolfas Slezevicius to oblige Vilkelis to correct the
situation.  Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

LATVIA'S DEMOCRATIC PARTY PICKS NEW LEADER. On 4 May the
Democratic Party's Council asked Juris Celmins to perform the
duties of the party's leader until Aivars Kreituss, who was
heretofore the leader, regains his mandate in the Saeima. Kreituss
temporarily lost his mandate as a consequence of a decision in the
Saeima that the State Prosecutor's office should investigate
accusations that he and four other parliamentary deputies had a
record of cooperating with the KGB. Investigations against all
five all currently under way. In a related development, the
Latvian parliament adopted on 5 May bills concerning state
security institutions; another bill on former KGB collaborators
may be passed before the end of this month, Diena reported.
Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

LUKASHENKA'S RATINGS AS BELARUSIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.
According to Belarusian radio on 6 May, social problems rate
highly as an election issue in Belarus and Aleksandr Lukashenka is
considered to have the most popular support on these issues from
among the presidential hopefuls. The prime minister, Vyacheslau
Kebich, follows in the ratings, and then the leader of the Party
of Popular Accord, Henadz Karpenka. Kebich is reportedly concerned
about Lukashenka's rising popularity. Lukashenka's pre-election
campaign was based on his anti-corruption in government crusade.
In January he had used corruption charges as a basis for removing
the former chairman of the Supreme Soviet, Stanisalu Shushkevich,
from office. Kebich's campaign is based on the theme that Belarus
can only be rescued economically through a union with Russia. So
far only Kebich and the leader of the Party of Communists of
Belarus, Vasil Novikau, have gathered enough signatures to be
placed on the slate on 23 June.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

  [As of 1200 CET]

  Compiled by Dzintra Bungs and Jan Obrman
The RFE/RL DAILY REPORT, produced by the RFE/RL Research
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