|The person who knows how to laugh at himself will never cease to be amused. - Shirley MacLaine|
No. 93, 17 May 1994
RUSSIA KOZYREV OPTIMISTIC ABOUT SERBS. Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev told reporters on 16 May that the response of the warring sides to the results of the ministerial meeting on the Bosnian crisis held 13 May in Geneva was positive. Contacts with the Bosnian Muslim side had shown that "considerable scope for work on a settlement based on the adopted document emerged." As for the Bosnian Serb side, Kozyrev claimed that "signals of a readiness to embark on talks without preconditions are forthcoming." Unidentified contacts at the Russian Foreign Ministry said another ministerial-level meeting will be held on Bosnia after a map has been drawn up, after which President Boris Yeltsin will push for a summit on Bosnia, Russian media reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. CHURKIN IN BELGRADE. Special envoy Vitalii Churkin met in Belgrade on 16 May with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Following talks, Churkin told reporters that he had communicated the results of the 13 May ministerial meeting in Geneva. He described the Geneva document as one opening up "a real oppor-tunity" for the completion of a political settlement of the crisis in Bosnia in keeping with the interests of all sides. He also highlighted the possibility of lifting the sanctions against rump Yugoslavia, a move that the Russian State Duma supports. Despite the disappointment Churkin had bitterly expressed with the Serbs only recently, he voiced optimism that the Serbian side is ready to immediately sign an agreement on ending hostilities in Bosnia, Russian TV reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. MILITARY BUDGET A BLOW TO GRACHEV? Kommersant-Daily on 14 March suggested that the State Duma's preliminary approval of a military budget far lower than that requested by the Defense Ministry is likely to undermine Defense Minister Pavel Grachev's authority within the military bureaucracy. Noting that the Duma's decision came while Grachev was abroad, the newspaper also claimed that Defense Ministry representatives were attributing the "fiasco" to Grachev's "strategic error" of failing to court the deputies, even as he won public expressions of support for higher defense spending from the President and Prime Minister. The newspaper also suggested that Grachev had failed to take into account Yeltsin's increasingly obvious efforts to avoid confrontation with the parliament and the fact that Yeltsin's statements in favor of a higher level of defense expenditures thus had little real influence in the parliament. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. MILITARY BUDGET SAID TO IMPERIL STRATEGIC FORCES. ITAR-TASS on 16 May said defense officials continued to predict disaster if defense spending is not increased. They claim that the Duma-approved military budget would cover only 10% of the funding needed by the nation's strategic nuclear forces and that it could eventually deprive Russia of its strategic deterrent altogether. The experts reportedly argued that under these conditions discussion and ratification of the START-1 and START-2 Treaties would be largely academic, because the reductions envisioned therein would be exceeded "automatically." (This appeal seems designed to exploit sentiment within the Duma against ratification of the treaties). The same report quotes the head of the Defense Ministry's main budget administration as saying that the funding currently earmarked for the army would scarcely suffice to settle debts for electricity, food, property services, and municipal charges. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. PACIFIC FLEET COMMANDER DISMISSED. Only one year after his appointment, the commander of Russia's Pacific Fleet, Admiral Georgii Gurinov, has been relieved of his post, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 May. The dismissal, which was attributed to a sharp deterioration in the fleet's combat capabilities, also followed by only days a huge blast at a Pacific Fleet arms depot that occurred on 13 May. Gurinov was named to replace then Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Gennadii Khvatov on 1 April 1993, shortly after an incident on the Far Eastern island of Russky that left four navy conscripts dead of malnutrition. Initial reports of Gurinov's character and performance were glowing, but the fleet's enduring problems and, perhaps, Gurinov's own political inclinations, may have done him in. As was the case when Khvatov was dismissed, reports also suggested that Gurinov had health problems. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. SHAKHRAI DISMISSED AS NATIONALITIES MINISTER. The Presidential Press Service confirmed on 16 May that Yeltsin had replaced Sergei Shakhrai as Minister for Nationalities Affairs and Regional Policy, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. Shakhrai remains a deputy premier but it is reported that he may announce his resignation from that position as well at a press conference on 17 May. It would not be the first time that he had resigned from the government. The parliamentary faction of Shakhrai's party is also expected to discuss his situation. Shakhrai complained that he had learnt of his coming dismissal from his ministerial post from the press, and told Interfax that he did not think anyone understood nationalities policy better than he did. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. SUGGESTED REASONS FOR DISMISSAL. Most commentators have suggested that Shakhrai lost his miniterial post because he was an obstacle to a Russian-Chechen agreement. He had set preconditions for such an agreement, and Chechen President Dzhokhar had refused to conduct talks with him. Dudaev's stance, however, seems to have been based not only on antipathy to Shakhrai but also his contention that as an independent state Chechnya should deal either directly with the Russian president or at least through Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Federation Council chairman Vladimir Shumeiko, who is now expected to play a greater role as regards talks with Chechnya, said on Russian TV on 16 May that an agreement with Chechnya was vital to the solution of other problems in the North Caucasus, and that Yeltsin should meet Chechen president Dzhokhar Dudaev shortly. Dudaev is still insisting that Russia recognized Chechnya's independence. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. NEW NATIONALITIES MINISTER. The new minister is Nikolai Egorov, hitherto head of administration of Krasnodar krai, which borders on the North Caucasus. Egorov, at 42 four years Shakhrai's senior and like Shakhrai an ethnic Cossack, is credited with ruling Krasnodar krai with a firm hand. He is probably the personal choice of Yeltsin, who is said to have spent five hours talking to him when he was recently in the area, whereas Shakhrai was lately seen as one of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's men. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. ROSSEL REFUSES TO ABANDON IDEA OF URALS REPUBLIC. Eduard Rossel, chairman of the Sverdlovsk oblast duma, said at a press conference on 13 May that he had no intention of giving up the idea of turning the oblast into the Urals republic, ITAR-TASS reported. Rossel was earlier removed by Yeltsin as head of administration of the oblast for pursuing this idea. Rossel said that he and the oblast duma would act in favor of a territorial division of Russia (i.e. for the abolition of ethnically-based republics). He also said that they intended to use the "constitution of the Urals Republic" as the basis for the oblast's charter. Under this document the head of the oblast executive would be elected and not appointed by the Russian president. Rossel added that the oblast duma would shortly adopt a law on the local budget, something that had not been done anywhere else up to now. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. INDUSTRIAL SLUMP ACCELERATES. The State Statistical Committee (Roskomstat) says industrial production in January-April 1994 was 25.4 percent lower than the same period in 1993, Interfax reported on 16 May. [It was not immediately clear whether the drop referred to the four-month period or to the month of April]. This followed declines of 23.1, 24.1, and 24.9 percent respectively for the first three months of 1994. Output in the machine-building branch was down by 45 percent; the consumer goods industry produced 39 percent less; and the production of tractors, cars, and trucks was down by 80, 28, and 66 percent respectively. The deepening slump provoked renewed calls for an economic state of emergency. Arkady Volsky, the president of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, announced that about 5,000 enterprises had been closed or were on the verge of closure, and urged the "regulation of the transition to a free market." Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. GRAIN IMPORTS IN 1994. The head of the Federal Agricultural Monitoring Center reckons that a total of 7 million tons of grain may be imported in 1994. Andrei Sizov was quoted by The Journal of Commerce of 16 May as basing this on the latest projection of the domestic grain harvest at around 88-89 million tons. Earlier assertions by Yeltsin, Deputy Prime Minister Zaveryukha, and others that Russia would be largely self-sufficient in grain this year were predicated on an anticipated domestic harvest of some 94 million tons. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA KARABAKH CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT SIGNED. At a meeting in Moscow on 16 May under the chairmanship of Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, apparently designed to exclude the CSCE Minsk group from the Karabakh mediation process, the Defense Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan and the head of the armed forces of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic signed an agreement on a ceasefire in the Karabakh conflict, beginning at midnight on 16 May, to be followed by the disengagement of the warring sides to a distance of 5-10 km. This is to be followed by the deployment beginning on 24 May of observers from Russia, the CIS, and the conflicting sides, at 49 posts in the resulting buffer zone, safeguarded by some 1,800 CIS troops, primarily Russians, under the command of Russian First Deputy Defense Minister Georgii Kondratev, according to Interfax. The costs of the peacekeeping operation are to be shared equally between Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Nagorno-Karabakh, according to ITAR-TASS. The Armenian Foreign Ministry welcomed the agreement; the Los Angeles Times of 17 May quoted a Russian expert as describing it as "an extraordinary achievement."A similar ceasefire agreement, albeit without the deployment of observers and peacekeeping forces, was brokered by Grachev in February, but never went into effect. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. PRIVATIZATION IN TURKMENISTAN. Turkmenistan's President Saparmurad Niyazov has signed a series of resolutions which will launch the privatization of retail trade and industrial enterprises on 1 June, Russian agencies reported on 14 and 16 May. Enterprises with less than 100 employees are to be sold to the employees or auctioned off to citizens of Turkmenistan or foreigners. Money obtained from the sales is to be transferred to the country's budget. Larger enterprises are to become joint stock companies, with the government retaining a controlling number of shares. Turkmenistan has lagged significantly behind other Central Asian states in beginning privatization on even a limited scale. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS ALL NUCLEAR WARHEADS OUT OF UKRAINE IN 3-4 YEARS. Ukrainian Defense Minister Vitalii Radetsky told reporters that all nuclear warheads will be withdrawn from Ukraine in three to four years, Interfax reported on 16 May. There had been no official confirmation of a withdrawal timetable previously, but unofficial sources indicated that a two-year schedule had been agreed upon. Radetsky confirmed that the current pace of withdrawal of approximately 60 warheads per month would be maintained, a pace which is consistent with his timetable. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE FIGHTING GOES ON AROUND BOSNIA. On 16 May RFE/RL's Balkan Service reported that "increasingly intense fighting" is taking place around Tuzla and elsewhere. UN observers listed Bihac, Gorazde, Jablanica, and Mostar as scenes of the action, and a particular struggle seems to be under way for a Serb communications relay station on Mt. Majevica. Reuters noted that Muslim forces have been massing in the vicinity of Turbe, near Travnik in central Bosnia, and that the UN is concerned about a similar build-up on Mt. Igman, near Sarajevo. In Brussels, EU foreign ministers met and approved the new international Bosnian package agreed upon in Geneva on 13 May, but the 16 May Neues Deutschland suggests that the intensification of the fighting is the Serbs' and Muslims' own answer to the Geneva agreement. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. MILOSEVIC MEETS CHURKIN, PATRIARCH ALEXEI. On 16 May Radio Belgrade reported that Serbian President Milosevic met in Belgrade with Russia's special envoy to the former Yugoslavia Churkin. Discussions centered around the war in Bosnia, with Churkin stressing that it was important for all sides in the Bosnian conflict to begin implementing the latest Geneva agreement. On 17 May Borba reports that Churkin and Milosevic also discussed the likelihood of international sanctions against rump Yugoslavia being lifted. On 17 May Politika reported that Milosevic also met with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II, who used the occasion to draw attention to the historical and cultural bonds uniting Russia and Serbia. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. GREECE, MACEDONIA VIOLATE UN EMBARGO ON SERBIA? According to UN sources cited by the 16 May Washington Post, on 21 April some 8,350 tons of oil and 400 tons of ammonium nitrate were shipped from Greece across Macedonia into Serbia, in violation of the UN trade embargo against the former Yugoslavia. Evidently not an isolated phenomenon, UN observers report that for the two week period ending on 7 May, 167 oil tank cars crossed Macedonia and entered Serbia. UN personnel, while not permitted to inspect the contents of the rolling stock, said "we have good reason to think (the rail cars) didn't contain milk or water." UN sources also suspect what they termed "high-level collusion" among officials in Greece, Macedonia, and the former Yugoslavia. Duncan Perry, RFE/RL, Inc. SMUGGLING FROM ALBANIA TO MONTENEGRO CONTINUES. Albanian police have detained 13 people who tried to smuggle oil to Montenegro via Lake Shkodra, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 13 May. After the financial police discovered six road-tankers returning empty from the Montenegrin border, they arrested the border guard at the Miriqani crossing and the drivers of the road-tankers. The trucks reportedly came from the Albanian-Italian oil company AIP. Two other trucks crossed the Yugoslav-Albanian border in Pulaj and six Albanian border guards were charged with letting the tankers through. Gazeta Shqiptare alleges that AIP delivers 80-90 percent of its oil to Shkodra near the Montenegrin border, and that smuggling makes up "a good part of the activities of AIP." Meanwhile in Durres police blocked a ship loaded with 3,300 tons of sugar, which they suspected was bound for Montenegro. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK PREMIER VISITS FRANCE. Jozef Moravcik arrived in France on 15 May for a two-day visit, TASR reported. Talks with his French counterpart Edouard Balladur on 16 May centered on possibilities for economic cooperation and Slovakia's integration into European structures. Moravcik also met with the general secretary of the OECD, Jean Claude Paye, to discuss Slovakia's membership in that group. Meeting with French business leaders, Moravcik attempted to calm fears that Slovak policies are ambiguous, encouraging their participation in Slovakia's next round of privatization. The visit will conclude on 17 May. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. KOVAC IN AUSTRIA. On 16 May Slovak President Michal Kovac began an official two-day visit to Austria After a welcoming ceremony in Vienna, Kovac delivered a speech to more than 200 members of Austria's business community, urging foreign investment in Slovakia. Kovac noted that Slovakia has the lowest wages of the four Visegrad countries and also offers tax breaks to foreign investors. Austrian President Thomas Klestil expressed his country's support for Slovak reforms, noting that 30% of foreign investment in Slovakia comes from Austria. Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky reiterated his country's reservations about the operation of nuclear power plants. Kovac said a nuclear-free Central Europe is Slovakia's long-term goal. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. ZHIRINOVSKY TO VISIT SLOVAKIA? Vladimir Zhirinovsky, chairman of the Russian Liberal Democratic Party, is planning a two-day private visit to Slovakia, beginning on 21 May, TASR reports. He was invited by businessman Ladislav Mojzis and by Jozef Lauko, who had attended the LDP party congress in April. A spokesman for Zhirinovsky's party told CTK that the trip might be canceled if the position of Slovak authorities is strongly negative. Russian citizens do not need a visa to enter Slovakia. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. CZECH DEFENSE MINISTER ON VISEGRAD, RUSSIA. On 16 May, speaking at a seminar in Prague on Security in Central Europe, Czech Defense Minister Antonin Baudys said that Russia's efforts to gain special status in relations with NATO must be respected. At the same time Baudys argued that the Partnership for Peace project must be based on equality of all participants, implying that Russia's special status should not apply to the project. Baudys stressed that Russia is still a superpower that "has always been an important factor in [maintaining] the Eurasian balance of power." Baudys said "it is in the interest of entire Europe that Russia continue playing this role." The Czech defense minister further said that the so-called Visegrad group (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic) should not be seen as "a political tool" for putting pressure on NATO. Baudys said the Visegrad group also cannot play the role of preparing its members for NATO membership. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACTIVISTS CRITICIZE PAWLAK. Michal Kulesza, the Polish official responsible for local government reform, resigned on 16 May, PAP reports. Appointed in 1992 by Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka, Kulesza was one of the few officials from the Solidarity governments who was not removed after the 1993 elections. Speaking at the Second Local Government Congress in Poznan on 15 May, Kulesza accused the current government of blocking the decentralizing reforms embarked upon in 1989. Kulesza charged the two-party coalition with attempting to rebuild the nomenklatura. Kulesza's charges were echoed by local government activists present at the congress, who shouted down a representative from the public administration ministry. On the same day, Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak attended an "alternative" local government congress staged in Warsaw by his own Polish Peasant Party. Deputies at the Poznan gathering criticized Pawlak for attempting to divide the local government movement on strictly political lines. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. COUNCIL OF EUROPE DEBATES RUSSIA IN WARSAW. The Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly opened its three-day "spring meeting" in Warsaw on 16 May. The assembly's political commission agreed Russian membership is unlikely in 1994; it stressed that standards cannot be lowered simply to admit Russia to the Council of Europe. Polish Sejm Speaker Jozef Oleksy said that Poland is inclined to support Russian membership, Polish TV reports. Assembly Chairman Miguel Martinez met with President Lech Walesa and told reporters that Poland should be "an engine of European integration." The two largest Polish opposition parties, the Union of Freedom (UW) and the Confederation for an Independent Poland (KPN), announced on 16 May that they will resume participation in the Council of Europe. The two parties had withdrawn in protest, after a former communist, Tadeusz Iwinski, was elected chairman of the Polish delegation. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. CONTROVERSY AROUND HUNGARIAN PARTY LEADER'S CAR ACCIDENT. In reference to an earlier statement by Socialist Party chairman Gyula Horn implying that the car accident Horn suffered in early May may not have been fortuitous, Interior Minister Imre Konya said on 16 May that the police had no information supporting this hypothesis; should Horn have any additional evidence, he should give it to the police, Konya added. In a 16 April press statement, the HSP termed Konya's statement "inadmissible" and asked him not to engage in "public speculations" about the accident but let the police provide detailed information about the circumstances of the car crash, MTI reports. Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. BULGARIAN UNION PREPARES FOR GENERAL STRIKE. On 16 May leaders of the Confederation of Trade Unions in Bulgaria reaffirmed threats of a general strike, of which the first wave has been scheduled for 18 through 20 May. BTA reports that most public transport employees in Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second city, participated on 17 May in a two-hour warning strike which caused major traffic disruptions. Meanwhile in Sofia, CITUB negotiators are continuing talks with government representatives and have promised to submit a package of minimum demands before the general strike breaks out. CITUB leader Krastyu Petkov nevertheless seemed skeptical that progress could be made, saying that the cabinet has not yet made a counter-proposal regarding key questions such as compensation for the devaluation of wages and savings, adjustments in the government concept for privatizing state companies, and protection of Bulgarian businesses against cheap foreign imports. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. COUNCIL OF EUROPE POSTPONES DISCUSSING ROMANIA. The Political Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe postponed debates on a report on Romania's adjustment to European standards and values, Radio Bucharest reported on 16 May. The report, prepared by Friedrich Koenig and Gunnar Jansson, was scheduled to be presented during a Council of Europe General Assembly's meeting in Warsaw this week. Its discussion will now take place in Sofia on 7 June. According to a Danish deputy quoted by Radio Bucharest, the report includes several "very serious charges" at Romania's address. Romanian Senator Florin Radulescu-Botica spoke instead of "a series of erroneous information and judgments without coverage," and expressed "surprise" at the decision to delay the debates. Romania was admitted as a full member to the Council of Europe in October 1993 under the condition that Bucharest's compliance with its European obligations would continue to be closely monitored in the future. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIA MORE ACTIVE IN MOLDOVA, NORTH BUKOVINA. Adrian Nastase, chairman of Romania's Chamber of Deputies and executive chairman of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania, conferred on 13 May in Bucharest with Iurie Rosca, head of Moldova's opposition Popular Front which calls for unification with Romania. Nastase told Radio Bucharest and Romanian TV that the talks dealt in part with Romanian support for certain Moldovan newspapers. Following Moldova's recent legislative elections, which the Popular Front lost heavily, the Romanian government announced that it would subsidize several pro-Romanian newspapers in Chisinau. The governmental Romanian Cultural Foundation for its part launched on 14 May at a ceremony in Bucharest the first issue of Glasul Bucovinei, a periodical edited by pro-Romanian activists in Ukraine's Chernovtsy oblast, Basapress reported from Bucharest. The Foundation reportedly also supports the newspaper Plai romanesc, edited by the same group in Chernovtsy and currently threatened with closure on charges of undermining Ukraine's territorial integrity. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. MOLDOVAN REFORMS PRAISED BY IMF. In a press release on 13 May, cited by Basapress, the International Monetary Fund's mission in Chisinau pointed out that Moldova's monetary, financial, and credit policies have sharply reduced the inflation rate and are stabilizing the national currency. "The [Moldovan] government's and National Bank's reform program is beginning to show results . . . [Foreign] investor interest in Moldova's economy is growing," the release noted, pledging continued financial support for Moldova's reforms by the IMF and the World Bank. Moldovan National Bank officials told the domestic media on 13 May that Moldova has "permanently renounced such practices as preferential credits or supplementary currency emissions" and that it will continue implementing the stipulations of the October 1993 Memorandum signed by Andrei Sangheli's government with the IMF, as "the reforms, including monetary policies, are our only chance." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. INCIDENT BETWEEN ARMED FORCES IN CRIMEA. On 15 May there was a minor incident involving militia from the ministry of defense of the Republic of Crimea and servicemen from the Ukrainian National Guard in Simferopol. As a result of the conflict the national guardsmen were arrested by the Crimean militia. Both representatives of the Ukrainian National Guard and the Crimean defense ministry have said that the incident was the fault of the national guards, Ukrainian radio reported on 16 May. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. BELARUSIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES. On 15 May the campaign to collect signatures in support of candidates for the presidency ended in Belarus. The official results should be released by the end of the week. So far it has been reported that six candidates have succeeded in collecting the required 100,000 signatures of voters or 70 signatures of deputies. These are: Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich; the head of the former parliamentary anti-corruption commission, Aleksandr Lukashenka; the leader of the Belarusian Popular Front, Zyanon Paznyak; the head of the Party of Communists of Belarus, Vasil Novikau; the former chairman of the Supreme Soviet, Stanislau Shushkevich; the leader of the Popular Accord Party, Henadz Karpenka; and the head of the Belarusian Agrarian Union, Aleksandr Dubko, Interfax reported on 16 May. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES. On 16 May Interfax reported that the Ukrainian Central Electoral Commission is to register presidential candidates on May 17. Seven candidates will reportedly be submitting the signatures they collected for approval. These are: President Leonid Kravchuk; the former speaker of parliament Ivan Plyushch; former prime minister, Leonid Kuchma; minister of education, Petro Talanchuk; the leader of the Socialist Party, Oleksandr Moroz; the head of the market reform center, Volodymyr Lanovy; and the head of the Ukrainian financial group, Valerii Babych. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. SHMAROV ON CHORNOBYL CLOSURE. Ukrainian deputy prime minister Valerii Shmarov told a press conference that it would take 10 years to close the Chornobyl nuclear power station and cost $6-8 billion, ITAR-TASS reported on 16 May. A final decision on the plant's closure will be taken this summer. Ukraine has come under international pressure to close the power station after parliament decided not to shut it down after 1993, and to keep the plant running because of the energy crisis in the country. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN NAVY TO LEAVE LATVIA BY 1 JUNE? On 12 May Russian ambassador Aleksandr Rannikh presented to Latvian Premier Valdis Birkavs a more detailed schedule of the withdrawal of Russian military forces from Latvia. Under that schedule Russia intends to withdraw all its military ships from the Latvian ports of Liepaja and Ventspils by 1 June and the remaining forces by 31 August. The schedule also indicates that there are 14 more Russian military units in Latvia than were listed in the previous withdrawal schedule which had been produced by Russia on 30 April; Latvian officials had complained that the first schedule had listed only a part of the Russian forces in Latvia. An even more detailed schedule is to be provided by 1 June, LETA reported on 13 and 16 May. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. LITHUANIAN PREMIER: SLOW DEVELOPMENT OF RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA. Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius told the press in Vilnius on 12 May that there is too little improvement in relations with Russia, Interfax reported. He criticized Russia for sending to joint Lithuanian-Russian meetings too few representatives or representatives that had insufficient decision-making authority. He complained that the Lithuanian-Russian accord of 1993 on granting each other the most-favored-nation trading status has still not been implemented and of the very high tariffs that Russia has set recently on Baltic goods. Slezevicius renewed his call for a dialogue to be carried out at the level of heads of government. Other Lithuanian officials have expressed dissatisfaction over Russia's delays in settling issues related to Russian military transports to and from Kaliningrad via Lithuania. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Vladimir Socor and Michael Shafir 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. RFE/RL NEWS BRIEFS, an edited compendium of items first published in the Daily Report, is distributed along with the RFE/RL RESEARCH REPORT, a weekly journal providing topical analyses of political, economic and security developments throughout the Institute's area of interest. Longer analyses are available in a monograph series, RFE/RL STUDIES, and brief analytic summaries appear monthly in the RESEARCH BULLETIN. 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