|If you are not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don't want to go there. - Martin Luther|
No. 90, 11 May 1994
RUSSIA YELTSIN'S VISIT TO GERMANY. Reuters reported on 10 May that German Chancellor Helmut Kohl may offer to drop a controversial ceremony, scheduled to be held in Weimar on 31 August, aimed at marking the final withdrawal of Russian troops from the former East Germany. The same report, coming on the eve of Russian President Boris Yeltsin's arrival in Germany, said that German officials nevertheless continued to insist that Russian forces be given a send-off separate from that given to withdrawing Western troops. An RFE/RL correspondent reported out of Bonn on 10 May, however, that several groups, in both parts of the formerly divided country, have objected to the government's unwillingness to sanction a ceremony in which all four former occupying powers would participate. Meanwhile, Interfax reported on 10 May that, in addition to meeting with Kohl, Yeltsin is scheduled to hold talks with German President Richard von Weizsaecker, Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, Social Democratic Party chairman Rudolf Sharping, and others. Among the non-military issues to be discussed are Russia's large debts to Germany. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. KALININGRAD ALSO TO BE ON AGENDA? A "high-ranking" Russian diplomat has told Interfax that the issue of Kaliningrad may also be discussed during Yeltsin's visit, although he emphasized that Moscow's attitude toward the region remains unchanged: "This is Russian land, and we shall surrender it to no one." The diplomat charged that while Germany had not raised the issue on an official level, various German public organizations were "striving to re-Germanize the territory that used to be German" and that "some circles in Germany are trying to kindle the issue . . . in the hope that in the future it will become possible to raise it officially." Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. GERMAN INSTITUTES WARN AGAINST FURTHER CREDITS TO RUSSIA. On the eve of Yeltsin's visit to Germany, three prominent German economic institutes have warned against extending further credits to Russia, Reuters reported on 10 May. In a report commissioned by the German government, the institutes noted the accelerating fall in Russian industrial output, and judged a complete collapse of the industrial output to be possible. They recommended that the Russian government reduce subsidies and close loss-making enterprises. Outstanding Russian debts to Germany are estimated at nearly $50 billion, and commercial arrears are put at $1.2 billion. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. UPDATE ON RUSSIAN-US JOINT MILITARY EXERCISE. ITAR-TASS on 10 May quoted the Chairman of the State Duma defense committee, Sergei Yushchenkov, as saying that conduct of a Russian-US joint military exercise, scheduled for July, is a prerogative of the executive branch, and that Yeltsin's earlier acquiescence to opposition in the legislature "testifies to the weakness" of the president's office. Presidential spokesman Vyacheslav Kostikov replied, in turn, that Yeltsin was simply trying to build consensus and denied that the President had made any concessions. Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Federation Council, Vladimir Shumeiko, told ITAR-TASS that he favored holding the exercise as scheduled on Russian soil, arguing that the US "is not an occupant but an ally." Defense Minister Pavel Grachev also spoke in favor once again of the exercise, describing it as a small but symbolic act of US-Russian cooperation. "We must hold the drill for the sake of those we are striving to protect by our peace-keeping operations," he was quoted as saying. Finally, Deputy Secretary of the Security Council, Lt. Gen. Valerii Manilov proposed that the drill be held in Germany or on Russia's Pacific coast. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA OBJECTS TO BRCKO RESOLUTION. Reuters reported on 10 May that the Russian Ambassador to the UN, Yulii Vorontsov, has objected to a draft resolution that would require Bosnian Serbs to freeze their positions around Brcko or be subject to air strikes. Vorontsov reportedly called for the UN to send observers into the region around the city and the corridor instead. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc. SPEAKER OF STATE DUMA ON RUTSKOI'S SPEECH. Ivan Rybkin, the State Duma's speaker, called on the Prosecutor's Office to "look into" former Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi's speech on 9 May. Addressing an opposition rally on the 49th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany, Rutskoi called for the ouster of "Yeltsin's regime." The radio station, Echo of Moscow, quoted Rybkin as saying on 10 May that in February of this year the State Duma approved amnesty of the organizers of the October 1993 disturbances, one of whom was Rutskoi, on the condition that they won't be involved in destabilizing activities upon their release from prison. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. CASE OF THE AUGUST 1991 COUP LEADERS CLOSED. The court proceedings have been ended against all of the accused leaders of the August 1991 coup except Army General Valentin Varennikov, Russian TV newscasts and Interfax reported on 10 May. It is the final closure of the case. The military collegium of the Russian Supreme Court, which had tried the former top Soviet officials for having attempted to oust the then USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev in August 1991, stopped the proceedings earlier this year, due to the amnesty declared by the State Duma. The prosecution, however, protested the decision and the case was reopened. In the meantime, Varennikov, issued a statement rejecting the amnesty. On 10 May, a new military judge, Viktor Yaskin, confirmed the earlier decision to apply the amnesty to all of the accused except Varennikov. According to Interfax, Yaskin is currently studying the 152 volumes of evidence in order to prepare for Varennikov's trial. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. CONFLICTING REPORTS ON BOOST TO DEFENSE EXPENDITURE. A "well-informed source" in the State Duma's Committee on Budget, Taxation, Banking, and Finance Committee told Interfax on 10 May that the Duma's defense committee had recommended a boost in defense expenditure in 1994 from 37.1 to 55 trillion rubles. The recommendation was said to have been approved by President Yeltsin. Other sources in the budget committee confirmed this in interviews with an RFE/RL correspondent, and officials in the president's administration told RFE/RL that the increase had been coordinated with the legislature and with the Ministries of Economy and Defense last week. However, an unnamed high-ranking official in the government assured RFE/RL that there would be no change in defense expenditure in 1994. Parliament had been scheduled to debate the draft budget for 1994 beginning on 11 May, but this may be delayed because of disagreements and the lack of a quorum in the budget committee on 10 May. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA TURKMENISTAN JOINS NATO PARTNERSHIP. Turkmenistan joined the NATO Partnership for Peace program on 10 May, becoming the first Central Asian state to do so, Western and Russian news agencies reported. Turkmen Vice-Premier Boris Shikhmuradov, who signed the Partnership documents at NATO headquarters, was quoted by ITAR-TASS as saying that Turkmenistan was not looking for help from NATO but rather for partnership on the basis of mutual benefit, and sees membership in the Partnership program as a further confirmation of its independence and acceptance by the international community. Turkmenistan is already discussing training of officers and other types of military cooperation with NATO members, according to Shikhmuradov. Other Central Asian states are still weighing membership in the program. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS SENIOR DUMA OFFICIAL ON POLICY IN "NEAR ABROAD." Interviewed in Nezavisimaya Gazeta of 5 May, Konstantin Zatulin, Chairman of the Duma's Committee for CIS affairs, introduced himself as "an admirer of empire if this means imperial peace . . . [and] a tool for peacekeeping." A policy based on "spheres of influence . . . is unrelated to whether one is a democrat or not . . . Policy toward CIS is Russia's internal policy," he added. He called for bilateral "special treaties that would codify the special relations of the near abroad states with Russia." Besides protecting ethnic Russians in those states, Russia must see to it that "where ethnic minorities reside compactly, they must be granted autonomy and the state must become federative. The special status of regions inhabited by ethnic minorities must be backed by Moscow's guarantees." Zatulin specifically targeted Abkhazia, South Ossetia, eastern and southern Moldova, eastern Ukraine, Crimea, and northern Kazakhstan; and implied that the settlements should be accompanied by bilateral alliance treaties between Russia and Moldova and Ukraine on the Russian-Georgian model. While still mistrustful of Russia's Foreign Ministry, Zatulin observed that the "Foreign Ministry has sharply changed its position, and our official positions are practically the same." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. BLACK SEA FLEET PRESS CENTER ACCUSED OF DISINFORMATION. In a very unusual report in its 6 May issue, Izvestiya accused the fleet's press center of spreading false reports in order to inflame tensions on the peninsula. The article focused on a report of an assault on fleet commander Admiral Baltin's wife, which had led Baltin to threaten that the fleet would find the alleged assailants itself. According to Izvestiya the report was false, but was played up by the fleet's press center. Izvestiya further claims that the fleet's press center "sorts" journalists according to whether they are favorable or unfavorable to the fleet's interests--falling into the latter camp are Radio Liberty, Reuters, CNN, Ukrainian press agencies, and presumably Izvestiya as well. In conclusion, the article claimed that the fleet's chief spokesman, Andrei Grachev was a "source of untrustworthy information" and that his press center attempted to "manipulate" press agencies in order to raise tensions between Russia and Ukraine. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc. "WAR OF NERVES" OVER FLEET CONTINUES. What Izvestiya termed a "war of nerves" continues over the Black Sea Fleet. Negotiations over the basing of the Russian share of the fleet have bogged down and on 10 May in an interview broadcast on Radio Moscow, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev reasserted his stance that Sevastopol should be the main base for the Russian fleet, with additional bases at Balaklava, Feodosiya, Kerch, and Donuzlav--Ukraine has been insisting that it only be based at Sevastopol. A small conflict also arose over the 9 May celebrations--Admiral Kasatonov, the former commander of the Black Sea Fleet (and now First Deputy Commander of the Russian Navy) had been invited to attend the ceremonies, but Ukrainian authorities denied him an entry visa, Interfax reported on 6 May. In a telegram to the Sevastopol authorities sent in honor of the anniversary, President Yeltsin noted that the city "is one of the national sacred places for all Russians" while Crimean President Yuri Meshkov on 9 May reportedly called Sevastopol the "glory" of Crimea, Russia, and the Black Sea Fleet, and called for calm in the peninsula Interfax reported on 7 May and 9 May respectively. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE UN SAYS SERBS VIOLATE GORAZDE STATUS. RFE/RL's Balkan Service reported on 10 May that UN spokesmen said that Bosnian Serbs are still blocking a UN medical convoy headed for the besieged eastern Muslim enclave. The Serbs are also keeping troops and heavy weapons in the exclusion zone. UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi has urged Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to respect the zone against further "deterioration." On 11 May, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that troops loyal to western Bosnian kingpin Fikret Abdic are attacking Bosnian government troops near Bihac. They are using heavy weapons apparently supplied by the Serbs. Elsewhere, Serb news agencies reported alleged Muslim and Croat attacks on Serb-held Brcko. The Guardian suggested on 9 May, however, that the Serbs are trying to convince Western journalists that they are in danger of being attacked in their vital supply corridor in north Bosnia, although UN sources have suggested that it is the Serbs who are getting ready for an offensive. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. BOSNIA PLANS TO PROSECUTE WAR CRIMINALS. AFP reported on 11 May that the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina is moving ahead in compiling evidence about war crimes during the two-year-old conflict. The government's official commission has bureaus in half a dozen European cities to collect data. They are primarily concerned with the principal policy makers who actually issue the orders, such as Radovan Karadzic, General Ratko Mladic, parliament speaker Momcilo Krajisnik, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, and Serb paramilitary leaders Vojislav Seselj and "Arkan." They have also targeted Yugoslav army commanders General Zivota Panic and General Blagoje Adzic. Finally, Newsday reported on the new French film, "Bosna!", which charges that President Francois Mitterrand knew about the Serb concentration camps in Bosnia but did nothing. President Alija Izetbegovic reportedly told him about the camps five weeks before Newsday broke the story in August 1992. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. SANDZAK MUSLIMS AND SERB PARTY MOVE CLOSER TOGETHER. The leaders of the opposition Serb Renewal Movement in Sandzak (SPO), Tihomir Petrovic and Branislav Ivanovic, have demanded guaranties for the safe return of the leader of the Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) in Sandzak, Sulejman Ugljanin. Politika carried the report on 11 May. Ugljanin has been in exile since police issued a warrant for his arrest early last year. According to Politika, the Serb Radical Party of the internationally-wanted war criminal Vojislav Seselj charged the SPO with moving close to the SDA. Both the SPO and SDA expressed the same opinion about the trial of 25 Sandzak Muslims, who are charged with organizing separatist plots. Ivanovic said that the Serb regime has deliberately exaggerated the danger of an armed uprising by Sandzak Muslims. Meanwhile, defense lawyer and former Kosovo Albanian politician Azem Vllasi agreed, saying that only "stupid people could want to found a state in that ravine from Pesteri to Novi Pazar." Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. SERBS REPEAT CALL FOR ARREST OF RUGOVA. Milos Simovic, the Serb administrator of Kosovo, has called for the arrest of the president of the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova, international media reported on 11 May. Simovic also urged a ban on the main Albanian political grouping, the Democratic League of Kosovo, arguing that the party was guilty of "four years of anti-constitutional and anti-Serb activities." He added that Rugova had in effect invited "occupation forces" by calling for an international protectorate and UN peacekeepers for Kosovo. Recently Rugova has modified this position, saying that he wanted a "civil protectorate" but did not say what he meant by "civil." Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. BELGRADE BANK OFFICIAL INTERVIEWED. On 11 May the daily Borba reported on an interview with the rump Yugoslavia's national bank deputy governor, Ratko Banovic, under the headline "To Liquidity Overnight." Banovic, using the interview as forum for defending the bank's anti-inflation policies, stressed the now-familiar refrain that the "super-dinar", the national currency launched on 24 January 1994 and pegged the deutsche mark at a value of one-to-one, remains the key to the country's financial and economic stability. Banovic emphasized that the new currency is now "much stronger." Western economists have argued, however, that with rump Yugoslavia's industrial production lagging and the international sanctions in place it may be only a matter of time before hyperinflation resurfaces as the defining characteristic of the rump Yugoslav economy. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. NON-STOP COAL TALKS IN WARSAW. Talks lasting through the night of 10-11 May failed to yield agreement in efforts to settle strikes affecting 19 hard-coal mines, PAP reports. Representatives of five unions are taking part in talks at the industry ministry. The sticking point appears to be Solidarity's demand that striking miners receive normal pay for strike days. Mining management wants the miners to treat the strike as vacation. When Solidarity unionists hinted that a dozen buses full of angry miners were approaching Warsaw, police cordons were erected in front of the ministry. These buses never arrived, but in Katowice several hundred miners occupied mining administration headquarters and remained there overnight. Meeting in Gdansk on 10 May, Solidarity's national leadership resolved to lodge a formal complaint before the International Labor Organization, on the grounds that the government has failed to fulfill its obligation to limit unemployment. The union is to decide on 11 May whether to attempt a showdown with the government, continue its current "creeping" protest, or suspend the strikes until July. Returning from a two-day visit to Estonia, President Lech Walesa said that he is willing to mediate between Solidarity and the government. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH GOVERNMENT CHOOSES ECONOMIC PLAN. Meeting at a wooded government resort for a second day of closed deliberations on 10 May, the Polish government chose the "basic" version from among different economic plans presented for 1994-97. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Grzegorz Kolodko told journalists that this version provides for 22% growth in GDP in the next four years. Along with "dynamic" growth, the program projects expansion of export, lower inflation (14% in 1997) and unemployment (14% in 1997), and higher real wages. Kolodko said the program will emphasize "investments in human capital" and macroeconomic stabilization, to be achieved through "fiscal discipline" (the deficit in 1997 is to be less than 2% of GDP). This time it was Health Minister Jacek Zochowski who bicycled out to reporters waiting outside the fence surrounding the resort grounds, to convey the government's priority concern for culture, health care, science and education. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. LOT TEAMS UP WITH AMERICAN. After months of talks with various international airlines, the Polish national carrier LOT has chosen American Airlines as its "strategic partner." A memorandum of understanding signed in Warsaw on 10 May provides for extensive cooperation in scheduling, reservations, advertising, servicing, promotion, and training. Peter A. Pappas, president of AMR (AA's European affiliate), told reporters that AA plans to treat Warsaw, rather than larger airports such as London or Frankfurt, as its "gateway to Eastern Europe." AA will not itself fly to Warsaw but instead make use of LOT connections. LOT has 37 aircraft and 4,300 employees; it flies 1.2 million passengers per year and serves 53 destinations, PAP reported. LOT pilots staged a two-hour warning strike at Okecie Airport on 11 May, demanding better pay and benefits. The strike delayed 10 flights. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. KLAUS: CZECHS A NON-LEFTIST' ISLAND. Speaking on Czech Radio on 11 May, Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus said that the Czech Republic is becoming a "non-leftist island" in Central Europe following the victory of former communists in the first round of Hungary's parliamentary elections. In Klaus's view, the defeat of Hungary's center-right coalition was due to uninspiring politicians and a lack of policies to carry through the transformation from communism. The prime minister further argued that the victory of leftists in Hungary was not due to "the strength of their ideas" but, rather, bad policies "of the other side of the political spectrum." According to Klaus, the results of the Hungarian elections must be respected. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK CABINET ON MINORITIES AND BUDGET. At a press conference on 10 May, the Slovak cabinet announced that it had approved an amendment to the law on the country's official language, allowing towns and villages with a minority population reaching 20% or more to post bilingual signs. According to Interior Minister Ladislav Pittner, the bill meets the standards established by the Council of Europe upon Slovakia's admittance last June. The bill will concern 549 towns and villages, and 6.6 million koruny have been designated from the state budget for its implementation. It will now move on to the parliament for discussion. At the same press conference, Finance Minister Rudolf Filkus stated that the 1993 budget deficit, which officially amounted to 23 billion koruny, actually reached 31.8 billion koruny because of the settlement of the negative trade balance with the Czech Republic, as well as extra spending needed for health and education. Filkus said the cabinet is considering issuing state bonds, TASR reports. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. VACAROIU BEGINS LATIN AMERICAN TOUR . . . On 10 May Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu left Bucharest for a ten-day tour of Brazil, Paraguay and Peru. He is accompanied by a delegation of mainly economic experts and businessmen. In an interview with Radio Bucharest, Vacaroiu said the main purpose of his trip is to look for new markets for Romanian products. "We must compensate for the loss we suffered with the abolition of the CMEA and replace it with an intensified activity in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia," Vacaroiu said. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. . . . AS OPPOSITION ANNOUNCES INTENTION TO SUE HIM. Romania's opposition Liberal Party 93 plans to sue Prime Minister Vacaroiu and Finance Minister Florin Georgescu, an RFE/RL correspondent and Radio Bucharest reported on 10 May. The party Chairman Horia Rusu accused Vacaroiu and Georgescu of misusing public funds by delaying the passage of this year's state budget. The budget is now being discussed in the parliament. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN REACTION TO HUNGARIAN ELECTIONS. The Executive Chairman of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania, Adrian Nastase, said the good showing of the Socialist Party in the first round of the Hungarian elections was likely to bring about an improvement in the relations between the two countries, an RFE/RL correspondent and Radio Bucharest reported on 10 May. At a press conference in Bucharest, Nastase expressed the hope that the new Hungarian government will be easier to deal with in concluding the pending friendship and cooperation treaty between the two countries. A passage of the treaty has so far been prevented by controversies over the Hungarian demand for a provision on the protection of minorities in Romania and a Romanian demand for a clause on the inviolability of borders. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. IRAQ AGREES TO REPAY $1.5 BILLION DEBT TO BULGARIA. Bulgarian government officials told Reuters on 10 May that Iraq has declared its intention to repay a $1.5 billion debt which accumulated during the 1980s. Deputy Trade Minister Nikola Nikolov said Baghdad, which ceased all payments to international creditors during the Gulf War, has agreed to resume repaying its debts to Bulgaria as soon as the United Nations embargo against Iraq is lifted. In accordance with an agreement reached in 1990, the bulk of the debt is to be repaid in the form of oil deliveries. Nikolov made the statement after a session of the joint Bulgarian and Iraqi Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation, which began in Sofia on the same day. In April, Sofia signed economic cooperation accords with Libya and Iran. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. ESTONIAN PRESIDENT CALLS IN RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR. On 9 March Estonian President Lennart Meri summoned Russian ambassador Aleksandr Trofimov to demand an explanation of the comments made by Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev on 6 May that Russian troops will not be withdrawn from Estonia before an agreement on social guarantees for military pensioners is signed, Interfax reported. Trofimov said that he will try to obtain the required explanation as soon as possible. In another development, Estonian Prime Minister Mart Laar departed for a working visit to Great Britain where he will meet with Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Douglas Hogg, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and members of the British-Baltic parliamentary group. The discussions will focus on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Estonia. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. WALESA CONCLUDES VISIT TO ESTONIA. Polish President Lech Walesa left for Warsaw on 10 May after a two-day visit of Estonia. Speaking in Tartu that day, he said that the current problems of the Russian-speaking population in the former Soviet republics were due to Stalin's ethnic policy; he stressed that ethnic minorities must be loyal to the countries in which they live. Walesa also urged Russia to move away from a policy of dictate toward a policy of partnership in its relations with Estonia. The Polish President reportedly also discussed with his Estonian counterpart Lennart Meri ways to expand Polish-Estonian cooperation. Meri thanked Walesa for his support for Estonia's demand for a Russian troop withdrawal by 31 August, Interfax reported on 10 May. Earlier this spring, Walesa visited Latvia and Lithuania. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. HEAD OF ESTONIAN NAVY APPOINTED. Western and Baltic media reported on 10 May that a retired naval officer of the Swedish Navy, Lieutenant Commander Veljo Paerli, had been appointed by Estonian President Lennart Meri to be chief of staff of Estonia's Navy. Paerli (61), who was born in Estonia, had reportedly been in charge of the Swedish Navy intelligence service in the port of Visby on Gotland at a time when the Soviet fleet was very active in the Baltic Sea. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. BELARUSIAN MILITARY DELEGATION IN US. A military delegation led by the Belarusian Chief-of-Staff, General Mikala Churkin, will be visiting the US from 11-17 May, Belarusian Television reported on 10 May. The purpose of the visit is for the Belarusians to become familiar with the duties of the US National Guard and reserve forces. The delegation is to meet with the Chairman of the Joint-Chiefs-of-Staff, General John Shalikashvili, and the Commander of the US Army, General Gordon Sullivan. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT MEETS. The newly elected Ukrainian parliament met for the first time on 11 May, Ukrainian Radio reported. It is expected that President Leonid Kravchuk will ask deputies to delay the presidential elections, a move which the Leftist Bloc has said it will try to prevent. The collection of signatures in support of presidential candidates ended on 6 May. According to Interfax from 10 May, five candidates received the necessary number of signatures (100,000 in all the 27 electoral districts and at least 1500 in 18) to be placed on the 26 June slate. These include Kravchuk, the former Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma, the former Speaker of Parliament Ivan Plyushch, the Minister of Education Petro Talanchuk and the leader of the Socialist Party Oleksandr Moroz. In other news, Ukrainian Radio reported that a parliamentary centrist bloc has been formed. The bloc includes the Rukh group, and two other groups called "Derzhavnist," (Statehood) and "Za Reformy Dlya Narodu" (For Reforms for the People). Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT MEETS. The first session of the Crimean parliament met on 10 May, Ukrainian Radio reported. The session was opened by the deputy from Sevastopol, Oleksandr Kruhlov, who voiced the rhetorical question, "How long will we continue to put up with the artificial detachment of Crimea from its motherland Russia?" The newly elected speaker of the Crimean parliament is the head of the Republican Party of Crimea, Serhii Tsekov. He advocates statehood for Crimea and its integration with the CIS which he believes should be transformed into a federation or confederation. The parliament also began forming its working groups. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. NOTICE: The RFE/RL Daily Report will not appear tomorrow, 12 May 1994. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Dzintra Bungs 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. 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