Increase The Peace. - John Singleton
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 95, 19 May 1994

RUSSIA

DRAFT GUIDELINES FOR SUPPORTING RUSSIANS IN FSU. Foreign Ministry
Spokesman Grigorii Karasin announced on 18 May that his ministry
had produced a draft set of guidelines on supporting Russians in
the other Soviet successor states as well as a draft program on
urgent measures to be undertaken during the course of 1994. The
stated aim is to bring about the integration of Russians into the
life of the host state while preserving the Russians' own cultural
identity. The guidelines include coordination of work with other
concerned Russian ministries, Karasin said. Also being discussed
is the creation of a governmental commission composed of various
ministries, parliamentary committees, and public organizations
concerned with ethnic Russians in the former Soviet republics,
Interfax reported.  Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN'S MESSAGE ON CAUCASIAN WAR ANNIVERSARY. On 18 May
ITAR-TASS carried the text of a message from Russian President
Boris Yeltsin to the peoples of the Caucasus marking the 130th
anniversary of the end of the 25-year Caucasian war of conquest of
the North Caucasus by Tsarist Russia. The president's
administration evidently thought it politic that he mark the
anniversary, but the message recalls the unwillingness of the
Soviet Union to acknowledge the reality of the conquest. Yeltsin
states that not only the Russian empire, but Great Britain,
France, Iran, and Turkey bear their share of moral responsibility
for the sufferings of the mountain peoples. Referring to the
frequent rewritings of the history of the war in the Soviet
period, he says that it is now possible to give an objective
treatment of the war as a valiant struggle by the peoples of the
Caucasus not only for survival on their native soil but also for
the preservation of their culture. In other words, he completely
fails to mention that it was a struggle to maintain their
independence. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.

GOVERNMENT RESHUFFLE ON THE HORIZON? Several leading Russian
newspapers on 18 May speculated on more upcoming personnel changes
in the executive branch. Nezavisimaya gazeta suggested that
Presidential Administration head Sergei Filatov may soon be
replaced by the Secretary of the Security Council, Oleg Lobov.
Komsomolskaya pravda reported that Marshal Evgenii Shaposhnikov,
who defended President Yeltsin from the hard-line putschists in
August 1991, may become Deputy Prime Minister in charge of
military affairs. Rossiiskie vesti says the leader of the
Democratic Party of Russia, Nikolai Travkin, recently appointed
minister without portfolio, is going to replace Aleksandr
Zaveryukha as Deputy Prime Minister in charge of agriculture.
Federation Council chairman Vladimir Shumeiko, who played a role
in the recent replacement of the Minister for Nationalities and
Regional Policy Sergei Shakhrai, proposed that Travkin's status in
the government be enhanced.  Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

SOLZHENITSYN AND RUSSIAN DEMOCRATS. Galina Starovoitova, a
co-leader of the reformist "Democratic Russia Movement" told Radio
Mayak on 15 May that she welcomes the return of the writer and
Nobel Prize Winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to Russia. She stated
that Solzhenitsyn may promote the emergence of a non-extremist
patriotism in Russia. She said that the members of former
"Interregional Group of Soviet Deputies"--the first official
political organization of democrats in the former USSR, set up in
1989 by the late Andrei Sakharov and Boris Yeltsin, among
others--decided to hold a revival meeting in Moscow soon and
invite Solzhenitsyn as a guest speaker.  Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL,
Inc.

SAFETY OF MOSCOW'S RESEARCH NUCLEAR REACTORS. More than 50
research nuclear reactors are currently functioning in Moscow.
None of them is equipped with safety features such as containment
shields. This was disclosed by the former head of the Moscow
inspection unit of the State Atomic Supervision Committee at a
news conference on 18 May, Interfax reported. The former official,
Vladimir Kuznetsov, termed the situation with respect to safety
precautions at the Moscow reactors "disastrous." It was not
reported why Kuznetsov had left the inspection unit.  Keith Bush,
RFE/RL, Inc.

INCIDENCE OF DRUG ADDICTION IN FSU. The International Association
for the Struggle Against Drug Addiction and Narkobusiness
announced that there are 6 million registered drug addicts in the
former Soviet Union but estimated that the actual total is ten
times greater, ITAR-TASS reported on 18 May, citing Nezavisimaya
gazeta. The Moscow-based, nongovernmental association further
estimated that, during the past ten years, the number of
drug-related crimes had tripled, while the quantity of drugs
confiscated had risen by a factor of thirty.  Keith Bush, RFE/RL,
Inc.

CONFLICTING REPORTS ON PILOTS' STRIKE. The union representing most
flight personnel in Russia claimed that its members had commenced
an open-ended walkout at 22 airports on 18 May, while the Ministry
of Transportation asserted that only 38 out of 1,200 scheduled
flights had been delayed, Russian and Western agencies reported.
The Prosecutor General's office filed a lawsuit against the union
on the grounds that the strike was illegal.  Keith Bush, RFE/RL,
Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

KARABAKH MEDIATION UPDATE. In a statement issued on 18 May,
Azerbaijan's Minister of Defense reaffirmed that the sole reason
for his failure to sign the protocol on a ceasefire in Karabakh
signed by his Armenian, Karabakh, and Russian counterparts in
Moscow on 16 May was "technical insufficiencies" that were being
clarified by groups of experts, reports ITAR-TASS. Meanwhile in
the course of an Azerbaijani parliament debate, parliament speaker
Rasul Guliev defended his decision to sign the Bishkek protocol on
Karabakh, which has been criticized by the opposition as bestowing
de facto recognition on the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh
Republic. Guliev argued that it is merely a statement of intent
and does not need to be ratified by the parliament. In Moscow,
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Georgii Kondratev told Interfax
that there will be no further meeting between the Armenian,
Azerbaijani and Russian defense ministers; Kondratev reiterated
his Minister Grachev's threat that Russia will give up all
attempts at mediation if Azerbaijan declines to sign the ceasefire
protocol.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

GERMANY EXTENDS DM10 MILLION CREDIT TO GEORGIA. Germany has
granted Georgia the first instalment of a DM10 million credit
earmarked for support of the agroindustrial complex, Interfax
reported on 18 May. This in turn is the first instalment of the DM
30 million credit that Germany agreed to extend to Georgia last
year.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

TAJIK-RUSSIAN RUBLE ZONE EXPECTED IN JUNE. The chairman of
Tajikistan's National Bank, Kayum Kavmidinov, told ITAR-TASS on 18
May that he expects a ruble zone embracing Russia and Tajikistan
to be set up by mid-June. Kavmidinov based his prediction on the
outcome of talks between Tajikistan's head of state and top
Russian leaders in April. He denied that the bank plans to issue a
national currency with national symbols; earlier in the week
Russia's Acting Minister of Finance encouraged Tajikistan to issue
"national coupons" and expressed strong reservations about the
planned Tajik-Russian monetary union.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

UZBEKISTAN SEEKING JAPANESE INVESTMENT. Uzbekistan's President
Islam Karimov, in Japan on an official visit, called on that
country to invest in the development of Uzbekistan's natural
resources and tourism, AFP reported on 18 May. He appealed for
Japan to apply its advanced technology in developing mining
industries, citing specifically gold, copper and zinc extraction
and claiming that Uzbekistan's mineral resources are worth more
than $3 trillion. Karimov was quoted as saying that he had also
discussed the opening of an air route between the two countries as
a means of increasing economic ties.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

MORE ON UZBEK ARRESTS. Mamura Usmanova, head of the Tumaris
women's group associated with the Uzbek opposition movement
Birlik, told RFE/RL on 18 May that contrary to a statement by the
head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's press department, she had
not been detained by Uzbek authorities. The Russian official had
expressed the ministry's concern that four Uzbek opposition
activists were reportely detained to prevent their participation
in a human rights conference in Kazakhstan. Usmanova said Birlik
activist Talib Yakubov and Mikhail Ardzhinov, head of a human
rights group in Uzbekistan were indeed arrested; Usmanova did not
know if the fourth activist mentioned in the Foreign Ministry
statement had been detained.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

                               CIS

BELARUS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ON MERGER WITH RUSSIA. One of the
frontrunners in the presidential race in Belarus, Aleksandr
Lukashenko, called in a speech to the Russian State Duma for
reuniting Russia, Ukraine and Belarus into a single state,
ITAR-TASS reported on 18 May. He also called for "acknowledging"
that the creation of the CIS had been a "mistake." The chairman of
the Duma's Committee for CIS Affairs, Konstantin Zatulin,
distanced himself publicly in the Duma's name from Lukashenko's
remarks, as did the liberal-reformist Russia's Choice faction.
Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

MOLDOVA TO "COMPROMISE" ON RUSSIAN TROOPS? The ninth round of
negotiations on "the status and the terms of withdrawal" of
Russian troops, scheduled for mid-May, has been postponed by
several weeks, Interfax reported on 18 May. Fitful for the past
two years, the talks are deadlocked over the Russian side's
political and other conditions. In an unprecedented announcement,
Chisinau said that it might accept certain (unspecified)
"compromises" in order to unblock the talks. Losing confidence in
the prospect of an internationally-backed solution, vulnerable to
economic leverage, and facing Russia one-on-one in the
negotiations, elements in the Moldovan leadership consider
settling for a treaty-regulated "temporary" stationing of Russian
troops as relatively preferable to the current fait accompli of an
unregulated, open-ended troop presence. President Mircea Snegur's
recent statements indicate that he for one insists on an early and
unconditional withdrawal.  Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

KAZAKHSTAN, RUSSIA SIGN INTELLIGENCE AGREEMENT. The heads of
Russia's Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK) and of
Kazakhstan's National Security Committee signed in Almaty on 17
May an agreement to increase bilateral cooperation in areas
related to counterintelligence, terrorism, drug trafficking, and
corruption. The agreement is seen as a deepening of an initial
agreement signed in Moscow in March 1992, and may also signal a
warming of relations between the two governments. ITAR-TASS quoted
FSK head Sergei Stepashin as saying that, unless Russia aided
other CIS states in the building of counterintelligence services,
"others" would do so. At a press conference both officials
acknowledged that numerous obstacles to greater cooperation
remain, but did not describe them. Kazakhstan's President
Nursultan Nazarbayev termed the agreement an important example of
greater cooperation that should be continued in other areas of
Russian-Kazakhstani relations. Keith Martin, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

FRENCH CHARITY RANSOMS AID WORKERS FROM BOSNIAN SERBS. RFE/RL's
South Slavic Language Service reported on 18 May that a private
French aid group paid $44,000 to free 11 of its workers held by
Bosnian Serbs, although the French government was opposed to the
deal. The Serbs said they freed the hostages as a gesture to help
renew friendship with France, a traditional ally of Serbia.
Meanwhile, the UN canceled three flights to Tuzla following the
Serb shelling of the newly reopened airport and the subsequent
refusal by civilian pilots to fly there. Elsewhere, on the eve of
a gathering in Washington by US, UN, EU, and Russian diplomats to
discuss the "peace process," the speaker of the Bosnian Serb
parliament made it clear that his side does not accept the new
territorial arrangements brought by mediators Lord Owen and
Thorvald Stoltenberg. Momcilo Krajisnik said that the plan favors
the Muslims and Croats.  Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

SHADOW BOXING CONTINUES IN CROATIAN PARLIAMENT. Zagreb and
Belgrade dailies report on 19 May on the current session of the
Croatian Sabor, now entering its third day. The governing Croatian
Democratic Community (HDZ) is trying to replace the speakers of
both houses of the legislature, who broke away from the HDZ in
April to form the Croatian Independent Democrats (HND). They were
joined by some other deputies and have attracted great attention
in the media, although the HDZ continues to top the opinion polls.
The HDZ still has a majority in parliament, too, but its
preponderance is greatly reduced and the reinvigorated opposition
is backing the HND leaders Stipe Mesic and Josip Manolic. In an
interview with Vecernji list, Mesic suggested that he might leave
the speaker's post but on his own terms. The legislative session
is important because it could lead to the emergence of new
political constellations, particularly if additional HDZ left-wing
or centrist deputies back Mesic and Manolic.  Patrick Moore,
RFE/RL, Inc.

"SESELJ: WE WILL POUR WATER ON BOZOVIC UNTIL HE COOLS OFF." This
is how Borba of 19 May headlines its coverage of an incident,
which nearly erupted into a full blown fist fight between Serbian
Radical Party (SRS) and Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) deputies
in the federal parliament of rump Yugoslavia the previous day.
What triggered the incident was the decision by parliamentary
president Radoman Bozovic to deny SRS deputy Drasko Markovic
access to a microphone after the SRS deputy began implicating
Socialist deputies in political and criminal scandals. Out of
desperation, Markovic reportedly dowsed Bozovic with a glass of
water, causing SRS leader Vojislav Seselj, present during the
exchange, to defend the action, thereby escalating tensions. In a
post-incident press statement Seselj said, in response to the
charge that efforts were underway to bar him from the federal
parliament: "There is no basis for doing this. Throwing water on
someone is not a criminal affair and [Serbian President] Slobodan
Milosevic can send tanks to the parliament . . . to throw me out."
Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

PATRIARCHS VISIT MONTENEGRO. On 18 May RFE/RL's South Slavic
Service reported that Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II, and
his Serbian counterpart Pavle, visited Montenegro where Alexei met
with Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic. In the capital Cetinje
the Patriarchs were met by about 2,000 protesters objecting to
what they felt was the political role of the Serbian Orthodox
Church in defending what a protest letter labeled "Serbia's
communist regime." Montenegro's own Orthodox Church, founded in
Cetinje in 1993, has as yet not won recognition from any other
Orthodox Church.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUGOVA MEETS BERISHA IN ALBANIA. Dita Information reported that
Albanian President Sali Berisha and Ibrahim Rugova, President of
the self proclaimed Republic of Kosovo, met in Tirana on 17 May.
They discussed the situation in Kosovo and the Balkans and agreed
that dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade is critical, though
they noted that such dialogue must be mediated by some third
party. They also noted that the preservation of an independent
Macedonia is essential for regional stability. Ismije Beshiri,
RFE/RL, Inc.

GREEK-MACEDONIAN DELIBERATIONS HALTED. The second round of talks
mediated by UN negotiator Cyrus Vance has been halted until after
13 June, following the completion of European Parliament
elections, according to Nova Makedonija's 19 May edition. That
same issue carried a story that the US has proposed a package
solution to the Greek-Macedonian dispute which includes officially
calling the Republic of Macedonia "North Macedonia." MILS said on
18 May that US President Bill Clinton telephoned Greek Prime
Minister Andreas Papandreou seeking his approval of the proposed
compromise.  Duncan Perry, RFE/RL, Inc.

MOCK REACTS TO ZIELENIEC REMARKS. Austrian Foreign Minister Alois
Mock said that he fully supports the position of Czech President
Vaclav Havel on the expulsion of the German minority from
Czechoslovakia after WW II, the Austrian Press Agency reported on
18 May. In March 1993 Havel said that the expulsion of Germans
"was based on the principle of collective guilt" and is thus
comparable to the "violent deportations of Jews, Tatars and other
nationalities, or to the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia." Mock pointed
out that remarks of that sort gained Havel a moral authority
throughout the world. The Austrian foreign minister was reacting
to Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec's remarks of 17 May in which
he expressed dismay about comparisons between the expulsion and
the ethnic cleansing made by Mock in a recent interview with the
Sudetendeutsche Zeitung. Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.

MAJORITY OF CZECHS FAVORS NATO MEMBERSHIP. According to a new
survey conducted by the STEM agency, a majority of Czechs supports
NATO membership, Mlada fronta dnes reported on 19 May. More than
56% of the respondents said that they favor the Czech Republic's
membership in the organization, while 43% said that they are
opposed (of which 12.6% are "categorically opposed"). While 40% of
those asked said that they do not want the Czech Republic to
become a neutral state, 19% were in favor of neutrality. In a
similar survey conducted in March 1990, 67% of the Czechs
supported neutrality, 9.2% said the country should remain member
of the now defunct Warsaw Pact, and only 5.6% were in favor of
joining NATO.  Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.

"SCREENING" IN FULL SWING BEFORE ELECTIONS. The Czech Interior
Ministry is expecting a flood of applications for screening
candidates who are competing in the upcoming local elections for
possible ties with the former State Security Agency (StB), Rude
pravo reported on 19 May. According to the report, about 80,000
new applications are expected in the next three months, as
candidates are legally required to present a report on whether
they were StB collaborators or not. So far, the Interior Ministry
has handled 240,000 individual requests for such reports by Czech
citizens because many employers demand them. About 4% of the
applicants were identified as "agents" or "collaborators" of the
StB.  Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK OPINION POLL RESULTS. In an opinion poll conducted by the
Slovak Statistical Office from 2-10 May, 75% of respondents said
they would certainly or probably take part in the elections, TASR
reported on 18 May. Respondents were asked which party they would
support if elections were to be held in May, and five parties
reached the 5% limit needed to gain representation in the
parliament. The Movement for a Democratic Slovakia had the support
of 27% (down from 32% in April), followed by the Party of the
Democratic Left with 16%, the Christian Democratic Movement with
11%, the Coexistence-Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement
coalition with 7% and the Democratic Union of Slovakia (DEUS) with
5%. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for 30 September and 1
October.  Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAKIA'S POLITICAL PARTIES PREPARE FOR ELECTIONS. Reacting to
the decision of the Christian Democratic Movement of 30 April to
allow members of other right-wing parties to run on its list, the
Entrepreneurs Party on 18 May declined the offer. The party's
deputy chairman, Ivan Sykora, said the CDM's initiative "does not
represent a real basis for unification of the right-wing parties"
and said his party would have to find other partners. Meanwhile,
Pal Csaky of the HCDM expressed concern that the CDM's plan might
cause the party to lose potential voters and encouraged the
right-wing parties to establish a wide, open coalition. NDP
Chairman Ludovit Cernak announced that his party would decide in
June whether to join a pre-election coalition with DEUS or to be
listed on the CDM's ticket. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER ON FORMER COMMUNISTS. Peter Boross told a
press conference on 18 May that influential Western political
circles, whom he did not name, are unhappy about the victory of
the former reform communists, the Hungarian Socialist Party, in
the first round of the elections, MTI reports. He said that while
he sought to reassure these circles that the process of reform
would not be reversed, he himself was worried about a return of
old-style communists under an HSP government. Referring to
struggles between reform oriented technocrats and old party
apparatchiks in the HSP, Boross said that he was watching with
great interest how the HSP will be able to resolve its internal
conflicts. He warned that if the new government follows the
example of the communist government of 1988-1989 and fails to take
unpopular economic measures it will ruin the country again.  Edith
Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLISH AMBASSADOR REJECTS ALLEGATIONS. PAP reported on 18 May that
Poland's ambassador to Russia since November 1989, Stanislaw
Ciosek, has denied that he ever advocated intervention by Warsaw
Pact forces to quell the Solidarity movement in 1980-81, and has
formally asked the prosecutor general to examine the allegations
leveled against him in an article in the daily Zycie Warszawy on
17 May. The allegations, which could give rise to treason charges,
are apparently based on information contained in a special report
on East German Stasi archives that is to be presented by the Gauck
Commission to the German Bundestag on 17 June. The Ministry of
Justice, which has not yet taken an official stand in the case, is
considering applying to the German government for a copy of the
Gauck report. Ciosek, who belonged to the top communist party
leadership in the 1980s, does not deny he had contacts with East
German diplomats but rejected suggestions that he had advocated
intervention as imprecise and a distorted interpretation of his
intentions at the time.  Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

WALESA AT MONTE CASSINO: EUROPE'S DEBT TO POLAND. Speaking at
Monte Cassino on the 50th anniversary of the Polish victory on 18
May, President Lech Walesa noted that the graves of Polish
soldiers there are evidence that Poland is owed its rightful place
in Europe. This theme was echoed in a special message from Pope
John Paul II, who stressed that Poles fought in 1944 for a free
Europe as the key to an independent Poland. Prime Minister
Waldemar Pawlak, Cardinal Jozef Glemp, and several thousand
veterans attended the ceremonies. In Rome, Walesa met afterward
with Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro. Mishaps plagued the
anniversary. The "Mazovia" tour operator who organized travel for
most veterans disappeared on 14 May in Rome with at least $50,000
in cash; he was being sought by Interpol. Elderly veterans who
paid $300 to travel to Italy reported spending 30 hours on a bus
without pausing for meals or rest. Pawlak's automobile was
involved in a fender-bender in the torrential downpour that
accompanied the ceremonies. A Sejm commission demanded an
investigation into the funding of the ceremonies and the selection
of participants in the government delegation.  Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL, Inc.

WHILE BULGARIA'S GOVERNMENT CRISIS DEEPENS . . . On 18 May Prime
Minister Lyuben Berov submitted his long-awaited, revised
government line-up for approval by the National Assembly. To the
surprise of many deputies, Berov proposed as his deputy Rumen
Gechev, an economist and a member of the Bulgarian Socialist
Party, whose name had been dropped during previous consultations;
he had also selected two largely unknown personalities for the
positions of trade and justice ministers. Berov also said there
would be two new ministries, one for power supply and one for
communication. After the session, the caucuses of the Movement for
Rights and Freedoms--which originally provided Berov with the
mandate--and the New Union for Democracy stated in a joint
declaration that they could not accept the proposal which
transforms the current "government of experts" into a cabinet of
the BSP. Early on 19 May, BTA quoted Deputy Premier Evgeni
Matinchev as saying that if the parliamentary majority backing the
present cabinet can not unite on a common formula today, Berov can
chose between suggesting another set of changes or handing in his
resignation right away. A non-confidence vote against Berov is
also scheduled for 19 May. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . THOUSANDS OF BULGARIANS JOIN STRIKE. Meanwhile, the
Confederation of Trade Unions in Bulgaria has launched nationwide
strikes, with employees in the public transport, health care and
trade sectors, as well as the light, chemical and arms industries,
laying down their tools for one or several hours. Agencies quote
CITUB officials as putting the number of participants in the
strikes to 130,000, not counting people who joined protest rallies
in cities and towns. BTA reports that the second major union
organization, Podkrepa, is not backing the CITUB's demands for the
government to offer compensation for growing inflation, saying
that in the long run the strikes will contribute to a further
decrease in real wages. However, the smaller Independent Trade
Unions--originally a splinter group of Podkrepa--called on its
members to support the strikes.  Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT ELECTS SPEAKER. On 18 May Oleksander Moroz,
the leader of the Ukrainian Socialist Party and a presidential
candidate, was elected speaker of the new Ukrainian parliament
after receiving 171 votes out of 322 cast. His closest rival was
Vasyl Durdinets, a close ally of President Leonid Kravchuk, who
got 103 votes. After his election Moroz said he did not exclude
the possibility of moving the presidential elections to a later
date, which the leftist bloc, which the Socialist Party belongs
to, has so far opposed. According to Ukrainian radio, there are
rumors in the Supreme Council that the leader of the national
democrats, Vyacheslav Chornovil, and Moroz have come to an
agreement to postpone the elections. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES RATED. On 18 May Belarusian
radio broadcast the analysis of the Belarusian Institute of
Scientific and Technical information on the popularity rating of
the country's presidential candidates. The prime minister,
Vyachelsau Kebich, led with an 18.3% approval rating; Aleksandr
Lukashenka came in second with 17.1%; the leader of the Party of
Communists of Belarus, Vasil Novilau, came in third with 6.7%;
Stanislau Shushkevich followed with 5.1%; the opposition leader
Zyanon Paznyak was approved of by only 4.6% of the respondents;
the leader of the Party of Popular Accord was supported by 2%.
Over one third of those polled said they had not yet made up their
mind as to who they would support.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

KOZYREV ON BALTIC TERRITORIAL CLAIMS AGAINST RUSSIA. BNS reported
on 18 May that Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev wants to
raise the issue of Baltic territorial claims against Russia at the
meeting of the Council of the Baltic Sea States in Tallinn on 24
and 25 May. Kozyrev told the press that the Baltic States should
not have any territorial claims against his country, regardless of
the historical background of those claims. After World War II,
some territory from Estonia and Latvia was unilaterally
transferred by Moscow to the Russian Federation and this has been
one of the issues in the recent Estonian-Russian and
Latvian-Russian negotiations. Kozyrev also spoke
unenthusiastically about Finnish mediation in these talks, saying
that Russia needs no mediation, but participation.  Dzintra Bungs,
RFE/RL, Inc.

GOVERNMENT RESHUFFLES LIKELY IN THE BALTICS. Changes in government
are being seriously considered in all three Baltic States. In
Lithuania, plans have been drawn up to add 5 new ministerial
positions to the government structure. In Latvia, criticism of the
government of Prime Minister Valdis Birkavs has increased and
there is strife among the members of the ruling coalition in the
parliament: Latvia's Way (which Birkavs represents) and the
Farmers' Union. Instability also grew as a consequence of the
accusations that two members of Birkavs government had cooperated
with the KGB. In Estonia, Prime Minister Mart Laar wants to sack
Defense Minister Indrek Kannik and Laar is being backed by the Pro
Patria parliamentary faction, BNS reported on 18 May. The Pro
Patria party council, however, wants all of the members of the
Laar government to resign. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.


[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Vladimir Socor and Michael Shafir
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1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
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Updated: 1998-11-

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Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole