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No. 97, 24 May 1994
CIS CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT PASSES CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. On 20 May the Crimean parliament voted 69 to 2 in favor of restoring Crimea's 1992 constitution. Under the constitution Crimea's relations with Ukraine are to be governed by treaties between Kiev and Crimea. It also gives Crimeans the right to dual citizenship and allows the peninsula to have its own armed forces. In reaction to the moves Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk said he would do everything possible to protect Ukraine's territorial integrity and the Ukrainian foreign ministry issued a statement calling the law unconstitutional. That same day the Ukrainian parliament called on Crimea to cancel its constitutional decision within 10 days which the Crimean parliament has refused to do. Ukraine also wrote to the UN and NATO saying it reserved the right to take all necessary measures to safeguard its borders. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. CONFLICTING REPORTS OVER TROOPS IN CRIMEA. On 21 May, following the Crimean parliament's vote, reports began appearing of troops movements on the peninsula. Russian media reported that Ukraine was concentrating troops in Sevastopol and Simferopol while the Ukrainian navy alleged that the Black Sea Fleet was planning to move tanks and anti-aircraft artillery to Sevastopol in the near future. Ukraine has denied reports that it has brought in armored vehicles or put its national guardsmen on alert. Ukrainian Deputy Interior Minister Valentyn Nedryhailo said that 29 armored vehicles did arrive in Simferopol, but their arrival was not connected with the political events as they had been a planned delivery and Kiev has stated that its national guardsmen would patrol Crimea's streets unarmed. Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev said that he does not believe the situation will explode in armed conflict although tensions are high. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. ZVYAHILSKY MEETS CHERNOMYRDIN OVER CRIMEAN CRISIS. In an effort to defuse the situation Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Ukraine's acting Prime Minister, Efim Zvyahilsky, met in Moscow on 23 May to discuss the Crimean problem. Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Valerii Shmarov said the talks focused on the Black Sea Fleet and did not touch on Crimea's status. The two are to continue discussion on 24 May. Crimean President Yurii Meshkov had appealed to Moscow to support his case in talks with Kiev and has said it would be the "least desirable result" if Russia were to refuse to do so. British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, who is due in Kiev on 24 May for discussion with Kravchuk, had discussed the Crimean situation with Russian Foreign Minister, Andrei Kozyrev, in Murmansk on 22 May and said he did not believe Russia would intervene to support Crimea in its efforts towards more autonomy. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN, SHAKHRAI ON CRIMEA. In comments broadcast on Independent TV's (NTV) Itogi program on 22 May, Russian President Boris Yeltsin stated that Kravchuk had promised him that Ukraine would not use force in Crimea. Yeltsin stated that, "Crimea is a sovereign republic, and it has the right to make its own decisions, and that is its business, whatever decisions it makes. The main thing is that neither we, nor Ukraine, meddle [in those decisions]." The comments seem to assert that Russia and Ukraine have equal interests and rights in Crimea, raising questions concerning Yeltsin's approach to the problem. Former Nationalities Minister Sergei Shakhrai has called for the Crimea problem to be resolved along the same lines as Russian relations with Tatarstan, by concluding a special treaty with the republic, according to ITAR-TASS of 23 May. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA HURD ON BALTIC, G-7, EU, NATO, PEACEKEEPING. British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, on a three-day visit to Russia, called on Russia to complete withdrawal of its troops from Estonia before or by the end of August 1994 and to refrain from linking the withdrawal to guarantees for military retirees wishing to reside in that state. Speaking to reporters on 23 May, Hurd said the Group of Seven should be interested in integrating Russia as a member into its work. He said the cooperation agreement between Russia and the EU will be an important step in bringing Russia into the common market by boosting business contacts. Hurd pointed out that the NATO Partnership for Peace program is a self-paced one which offers an individual approach to every country. On peacekeeping in the former USSR, Hurd said that Russia is within its rights to carry out such operations in the former USSR as long as these operations are requested by governments involved and conducted in the spirit of UN and CSCE documents. On 23 May, Hurd met with Yeltsin and gave him a letter from Queen Elizabeth II accepting his invitation to make a state visit to Russia at some point later this year, ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. RUTSKOI'S PARTY HOLDS CONGRESS. The party of former Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi, the People's Party of Free Russia, transformed itself at its second congress into the Russian Social-Democratic People's Party, ITAR-TASS reported on 23 May. Rutskoi called for the recreation of a Great Russia in the boundaries of the former Soviet Union and urged the formation of a new opposition "social-patriotic movement" directed to unite reform-minded communists and nationalists. He stressed his aim to run for the Russian presidency and attacked the present Kremlin leadership as a "police regime." 149 delegates from 60 regional organizations participated at the congress. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. PRESIDENTIAL PACKAGE OF ECONOMIC MEASURES. On 23 May, Yeltsin signed a package of six economic decrees, Russian agencies reported. Five of the measures were aimed at stabilizing and stimulating the economy, while the sixth established a fund to finance road repairs and construction. Coverage was somewhat conflicting but the five stimulation decrees, in order of their listing by the president's economic adviser, appeared to provide for: the scrapping of quotas and licenses for virtually all exports, effective 1 July; the reduction of companies' tax burden by 10-20 percent, and a conditional three-year tax holiday for foreign investors; the partial restoration of state control over enterprises that have not yet been privatized; a sequencing regime for indebted enterprises; and measures to reduce tax evasion. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. INTRODUCTION OF BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS. After a prolonged debate and preparatory period, it appears that concrete measures to introduce bankruptcy proceedings are finally in sight. Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais told a news conference on 20 May that a government resolution has been drawn up establishing the criteria for declaring an enterprise bankrupt, Interfax reported. Under these criteria, more than half of Russia's industrial enterprises would be classified as insolvent. However, according to Chubais, only 5-6 percent of these would be liquidated, while the remainder would be subject to reorganization, arbitration, or change of management. An initial list of 1,150 insolvent enterprises has been prepared. By 15 June, the government will decide which of these will be declared bankrupt and which will be subsidized. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA TO SIGN OECD ACCORD. The Russian Federation is scheduled to sign an accord on technical cooperation with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) at the end of its annual ministerial meeting taking place on 7 and 8 June. The accord establishes a formal framework for relations between Russia and the 25-member OECD with the aim of extending contact and broadening technical assistance. The agreement is similar to those concluded between the organization and Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. The accord gives Russian government officials observer status in OECD committees, AFP reported on 23 May. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN TO MEET CHECHEN PRESIDENT DUDAEV. The head of the president's administration Sergei Filatov confirmed on 21 May that Yeltsin would shortly meet Chechen president Dzhokhar Dudaev, ITAR-TASS reported. Filatov told ITAR-TASS on 23 May that Yeltsin had decided on this step out of concern for the "source of heightened danger" that the situation in Chechnya represents both for its own inhabitants and for the population of adjacent areas, in particular Dagestan and Aatrakhan oblast. Filatov said that no date had yet been fixed for the meeting. He also announced that a new plenipotentiary representative would be appointed to conduct bilateral talks with Chechnya. He confirmed that Sergei Shakhrai, who had been nominated by Chernomyrdin to conduct the talks, had been released from the post of Minister for Nationalities Affairs and Regional Policy in part because of the need to improve relations with Chechnya. Dudaev said he was ready to talk to Yeltsin at any time, but the talks must be properly prepared. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA TAJIK REFUGEES RETURN. Despite continued friction along the Afghan-Tajik border, considerable numbers of Tajik refugees are returning from Afghanistan, ITAR-TASS and The Christian Science Monitor of 19 May report. According to the head of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees' (UNHRC) mission in Tajikistan, some 30,000 refugees have returned to southern Tajikistan, many to the Kurgan-Tyube area, where some of the worst atrocities of the Tajik civil war took place. Almost all of the returnees appear to be women, children, and elderly men. The intense fighting between ethnically Uzbek and Tajik militias in northern Afghanistan has put refugees from Tajikistan in a difficult position; there have been unconfirmed reports that Tajik refugee camps near Qunduz, in northern Afghanistan, were bombed by the forces of Afghan general Rafiq Dustam, an Uzbek. Keith Martin, RFE/RL, Inc. ALIEV HOLDS OUT AGAINST RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS. Some fifty people were arrested in Baku on 21 May when police forcibly dispersed would-be participants in a demonstration convened by opposition parties to protest the proposed introduction of Russian or CIS peacekeeping troops in the Karabakh conflict, Interfax and AFP reported. In a televised address to refugees from Karabakh, Azerbaijani president Heidar Aliev criticized the opposition's actions and affirmed that he continues to consult with the CSCE and the Russian leadership on a settlement to the conflict, and that no Russian troops will be deployed in Azerbaijan, according to Interfax. Meanwhile the Azerbaijani National Assembly is unable to enact legislation since 15 deputies announced a boycott to protest the signing of the Bishkek ceasefire protocol, making a quorum impossible, ITAR-TASS reported. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. SHEVARDNADZE, OPPOSITION, CLASH OVER ABKHAZIA. On 18 May, Georgian parliament deputies again called on the country's leadership to disavow the agreement signed in Moscow on 14 May on a ceasefire in Abkhazia and the disengagement of troops, Interfax reported on 19 May. Radical spokesman Irakli Tsereteli proposed a vote of no confidence in parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze who, in his weekly radio address on 23 May, defended his policy on Abkhazia as "the most realistic solution." At a meeting in Moscow on 23 May it was decided that Russian troops from the Group of Russian Forces in the Transcaucasia will form the backbone of the 3,000 peacekeeping troops to be deployed in Abkhazia, according to Interfax. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN CROAT, MUSLIM, SERB LEADERS MAY MEET IN FRANCE. On 24 May international media report that leaders from the Bosnian Croat, Muslim and Serb sides may meet in France within the next several days in another attempt to bring an end to the fighting in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most recent efforts to establish peace hit a snag when Serb forces reportedly failed to move militia from a three-kilometer zone around Gorazde by 22 May, after agreeing to do so on 21 May. Meanwhile, on 23 May Reuters reported that Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic has categorically rejected a 51-49% split of Bosnia and Herzegovina, stating that his government refuses to be a party to the surrender of its occupied territories. Also on 23 May the Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA reported that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has said his objective is to negotiate a permanent cease-fire. This position has been criticized by the Bosnian Muslim side, which advocates a temporary cease-fire during which territorial disputes could be resolved and which fears that a permanent cease-fire could have the effect of allowing Serb forces to consolidate their grip over the roughly 70% of Bosnia and Herzegovina they now control. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. SERBIAN OPPOSITION LEADERS MEET. On 23 May RFE/RL's South Slavic Language Service reported that leaders from the four main opposition parties in Serbia met, in part to discuss the possibility of forging some common opposition strategy to the governing Socialist Party of Serbia. On 24 May, both Borba and Politika report that at a post-meeting press conference, attended by ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj and DEPOS leader Vuk Draskovic, a consensus was established that rump Yugoslav federal parliament speaker Radoman Bozovic ought to be recalled and that the opposition parties would press for this. Also attending the opposition meeting were representatives from the Democratic Party (DS) and the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS); however, DS leader Zoran Djindjic and DSS leader Vojislav Kostunica did not attend. Signs of an opposition rapprochement were evident on 20 May, when Draskovic and Seselj, two long-time political rivals, told a press conference they were prepared to bury outstanding political differences in order to work to bring down the governing Socialists. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. SERBIAN PATRIARCH ENTHRONED; TUDJMAN ISSUES KRAJINA ULTIMATUM. In other news from the former Yugoslavia, on 22 May Tanjug reported that the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church started its annual meeting on 22 May in Kosovo by ceremonially enthroning Patriarch Pavle. Also on the agenda was a closed-door discussion on whether or not to approve a visit to Belgrade by Pope John Paul. Meanwhile, on 21 May Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, speaking on Croatian TV, issued what appeared to be an ultimatum to Serbs in the breakaway republic of Krajina. Tudjman insisted that all of Krajina be handed back to Zagreb within four months, and restated that it was Zagreb's aim to reincorporate all its occupied territories. Tudjman condemned what he dubbed Serb efforts to integrate Krajina into a Greater Serbia. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. ALBANIAN-MACEDONIAN TALKS. The Presidents of Albania and Macedonia, Sali Berisha and Kiro Gligorov, met on 22 May in Podgradec, Albania and Ohrid, Macedonia, both on their common border. They said the discussions were useful. Among the issues discussed were greater economic cooperation and dropping visa requirements for nationals of both countries according to MILS and AFP. Berisha urged the participation of Albanian political parties in Macedonian government and hailed Skopje's decision to hold a national census in June. For his part, Gligorov expressed the wish to know the size of the Macedonian population in Albania. Duncan Perry, RFE/RL, Inc. POLLS SHOW HUNGARIAN SOCIALISTS WITHIN REACH OF ABSOLUTE MAJORITY. According to polls conducted by the Szonda Ipsos survey group and published in Nepszabadsag of 20 May, the former reform communists, the Hungarian Socialist Party, could win between 175 and 208 seats after the second round of the national elections on 29 May. The survey found that the HSP will most likely gain 193 seats in the new parliament, which is half of the parliamentary seats. In the first round of the elections on 8 May, the HSP took a third of the votes for the regional party lists, won two individual districts, and led in 158 of 174 others. The poll found that the liberal opposition party the Alliance of Free Democrats, which placed second on 8 May, will win between 67 and 86 seats, with 77 the most probable total. Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. NO FOUL PLAY IN HORN ACCIDENT. A communique issued by Hungarian National Police Headquarters on 20 May stated that an investigation of the preelection car accident of HSP chairman Gyula Horn found no evidence of foul play, MTI reports. Horn suffered a broken vertebra and severe concussion on 5 May when his car crashed into a disabled truck. Police launched proceedings against Horn's chauffeur for negligence. Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. SUDETEN GERMANS WANT "DIALOGUE" WITH CZECHS. High-ranking German and Austrian politicians and spokespeople for various Sudeten German organizations called for a dialogue between representatives of the expelled Germans and Prague. At the annual Sudeten German Congress in Nuremberg 21-23 May, German Interior Minister Manfred Kanther stressed that Sudeten Germans should be allowed to participate in solving Czech-German problems of the past, Lidove noviny reported on 23 May. Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber and German Finance Minister Theo Waigel criticized the Prague government for refusing to enter a "dialogue" with Sudeten Germans and called for the abolition of the so-called Benes decrees on which the expulsion of the estimated 3 million Germans from Czechoslovakia and the confiscation of their property was based. Austrian Foreign Minister Alois Mock, who was given the highest Sudeten German award at the congress, again called on the Czech government to "talk to elected representatives of the Sudeten Germans." Mock again indirectly compared the expulsion with the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, although he was criticized for similar statements by Czech officials last week. Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc. REACTIONS TO SUDETEN GERMAN CONGRESS. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus said that the congress produced "nothing new" and did thus not require a new political "counteroffensive" by the Czechs, Mlada fronta reported on 24 May. Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec rejected all demands made during the meeting by German politicians, saying that giving in to them would change the results of World War II. According to Ladislav Spacek, the President's spokesman, Vaclav Havel is opposed to abolishing the "Benes decrees." Ivan Pilip, the chairman of the Christian Democratic Party which belongs to the ruling coalition, said at a press conference that he did not consider the invitation to attend the congress a "provocation," as it had been termed by Klaus, but as "an invitation to a dialogue," Rude pravo reported on 23 May. Daniel Kroupa, the deputy chairman of the Civic Democratic Alliance--another coalition member--complained that the ruling coalition has failed to formulate a clear policy towards the Sudeten Germans, Lidove noviny reported on 23 May. He said his party favors the continuation of the dialogue between citizens, but warned that talks on an official level would be "dangerous." Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK PARTIES GEAR UP FOR ELECTIONS. On 21 May the Democratic Party and the Party of Entrepreneurs agreed to form a coalition for the upcoming parliamentary elections, which will be held on 30 September and 1 October, TASR reported. On 23 May the DS-PE offered a pre-election coalition to the Christian Democratic Movement in an effort to unite non-leftist parties and to ensure representation in the parliament. The CDM has offered parties of the political right the opportunity to be included on the CDM party list. On 23 May four parties of the political left, including the Party of the Democratic Left, the Social Democratic Party of Slovakia, the Slovak Farmers Movement and the Green Party of Slovakia, signed a coalition agreement. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK DEFENSE DEVELOPMENTS. Slovak Defense Minister Pavol Kanis and US Secretary of Defense William Perry signed a bilateral agreement on defense and military cooperation on 20 May at the Pentagon, TASR reported. The agreement entails exchanges of military attaches and other defense leaders, assistance in reform and modernization of the Slovak army and its transfer to civilian control, as well as intensified cooperation within the Partnership for Peace plan. US assistance in the conversion of Slovakia's defense industry was also discussed. In other developments, on 21 May 300 Pakistani soldiers arrived in Slovakia to attend a training session before taking part in the UN peace-keeping forces in former Yugoslavia. Approximately 900 Pakistani soldiers are expected in Slovakia before the end of June. Finally, on 22 May, Lynn Davis, US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, arrived in Slovakia for a three-day visit. On 23 May Davis met with Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan to discuss Slovakia's upcoming elections and its participation in the Partnership for Peace plan. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. POLAND DEBATES DEFENSE ORGANIZATION. At its inaugural meeting on 19 May, the Polish government's "committee on defense matters" (KSORM) proposed maintaining the current constitutional arrangement that subordinates the General Staff chief to the defense minister, rather than putting the president directly in charge of the military, PAP reports. (Clear civilian control over the armed forces is viewed in Poland as a precondition for NATO membership.) The committee also moved to set up a "crisis group" to monitor threats to national security. Defense Minister Piotr Kolodziejczyk said the concentration of Russian troops in the Kaliningrad region is one of the biggest such threats. He told reporters that Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev had pledged to reduce forces there, with the eventual aim of stationing no more than 25,000 soldiers. But Kolodziejczyk seemed skeptical that this would actually happen. Kolodziejczyk said that Poland could achieve Western military standards by 2010 if it devoted at least 3% of GDP per year to defense spending. Current spending is about 2.5%, Gazeta Wyborcza reports. He also noted that the Polish army has no strategic reserves of fuel or foodstuffs. President Lech Walesa told reporters on 19 May that he will continue to lobby for direct presidential supervision of the army. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. DELORS: POLAND IN EU BY 2000. European Commission Chairman Jacques Delors made a three-day official visit to Poland on 19-21 May, PAP reports. Delors told reporters that Poland could join the EU by 2000 but warned that membership entails risks, especially to an economy still in transition. Speaking to parliamentarians, Delors argued that "no one is closing doors" to Poland but admitted that the European recession has slowed economic integration. President Lech Walesa decorated Delors with the Polish national service cross on 20 May. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. POLAND AGREES DEBT ARRANGEMENT WITH LONDON CLUB. Polish and London Club negotiators have agreed on how the Polish debt reduction agreement of 10 March is to be implemented, Polish negotiator Krzysztof Krowacki told PAP on 23 May. The buy-back price was set at 41 cents per dollar for the principal and unpaid interest, and at 38 cents for revolving credits. The Polish side has also proposed to the private creditor banks that part of the debt be converted to shares in the Polish economy. The banks have until 29 June to decide whether to accept the proposed terms. Specific agreements would be signed in September, enabling finalization of the debt reduction procedure in October. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. BULGARIA HEADING FOR ELECTIONS DURING AUTUMN? Having failed to gain sufficient parliamentary support for his planned government reshuffle on 20 May, Prime Minister Lyuben Berov is reportedly seeking to persuade the major political parties to agree on a date for new elections in the autumn, but also to ensure that crucial reform legislation is adopted in the coming weeks and months. On 23 May BTA quoted BSP and MRF leaders Jean Videnov and Ahmed Dogan as saying that they have received a document in which Berov proposes the signing of an agreement setting a date for early general elections, establishing an interim government in which all five parliamentary groups would have "observers," and committing parties to help pass new legislation on bankruptcy, labor relations and privatization. Videnov remarked that the document serves to "eliminate old contradictions, though it creates new problems." The idea of a political accord across party lines was raised by President Zhelyu Zhelev on 20 May, in a statement qualifying the political bickering around the reorganization of Berov's cabinet as "a farce." Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. ALIA TRIAL OPENS; ALBANIAN GREEKS CHARGED. On 21 May former Albanian President and Communist Party chief Ramiz Alia and nine other previous top officials went on trial in Tirana, on several counts of power abuse. Reuters reported that state prosecutor Neshat Fana presented the court with several charges; that the defendants while in office had upheld the 1967 ban on religion, a shoot-to-kill order against people trying to cross the border, as well as the practice of sending opponents into internal exile. He also said they had misappropriated public funds. Alia, who ruled the country between the death of his predecessor Enver Hoxha in 1985 and 1992, pleaded not guilty and said the accusations were unclear. The trial was adjourned until 27 May. Meanwhile, Albanian authorities have reportedly charged six Greeks and members of the Omonia minority party with fomenting separatism, espionage and illegal possession of weapons. Athens, which over past months often has accused Albania of oppressing the rights of ethnic Greeks, said on 21 May it has lodged protests with the UN, the EU and the US. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIA AND THE WORLD BANK. The World Bank announced on 20 May that it approved a $175 million loan to help Romania's fledgling private sector, Western and Romanian media report. The program will focus on boosting the private sector's share in industrial production and exports. It will also help strengthen Romania's banking system. On 21 May a WB delegation headed by Vice President Wilfried Thalwitz arrived in Bucharest for talks on economic reforms. Thalwitz, who was received by Romanian President Ion Iliescu on the same day, praised the country's recent progress in stabilizing its currency and cutting inflation. In a related development, the WB staged on 22 May in Snagov a seminar on accelerating Romania's privatization. The conference was attended by members of Romania's cabinet and of organizations in charge with privatizing the national economy, as well as by representatives of international financial institutions. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. MOLDOVA TO BAN ROMANIAN FINANCING OF MOLDOVAN PAPERS. The chairman of the Moldovan Parliament's Mass Media Commission, Valeriu Senic, told Infotag on 20 May that the newly elected parliament is preparing legislation to forbid foreign financing of newspapers that oppose Moldovan statehood. The move targets Romanian financing of such papers, Senic said. Official Bucharest has recently acknowledged subsidizing several Moldovan political weeklies and cultural periodicals. Moreover, Chisinau believes that Bucharest also subsidizes the weeklies of Moldova's two main opposition parties. All these publications promote Moldova's merger with Romania. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. SIGNATURES COLLECTED FOR LITHUANIAN REFERENDUM. On 23 May Gediminas Vagnorius, chairman of the board of the Homeland Union (Conservatives of Lithuania), told a press conference that the required 300,000 signatures had been gathered to hold a referendum on unlawful privatization and compensation of people's savings, BNS reports. He mentioned recent public opinion poll results suggesting that 68.5% of the population disagree with the economic and political policy of the present government and 72.5% of the respondents oppose the privatization process and "property division" carried out by the ruling Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party. He called "groundless" the supposition that inflation would soar if the people's savings were indexed and said that the government would soon have to devalue the litas. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Saulius Girnius 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. Requests for permission to reprint or retransmit this material should be addressed to PD@RFERL.ORG and will generally be granted on the condition that the material is clearly attributed to the RFE/RL DAILY REPORT. Inquiries about specific news items or subscriptions to RFE/RL publications should be directed as follows (please include your full postal address when inquiring about subscriptions): In North America: Mr. Brian Reed RFE/RL, Inc. 1201 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036 Telephone: (202) 457-6912 or -6907 Fax: (202) 457-6992 or 828-8783 Internet: RI-DC@RFERL.ORG Elsewhere: Ms. Helga Hofer Publications Department RFE/RL Research Institute Oettingenstrasse 67 80538 Munich Germany Telephone: (+49 89) 2102-2631 or -2624 Fax: (+49 89) 2102-2648 Internet: PD@RFERL.ORG Copyright 1994, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.
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