|You see things and you say 'Why?' But I dream thing that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'. - Geroge Bernard Shaw|
No. 98, 25 May 1994
CIS MOVEMENT IN CRIMEAN TALKS . . . On 24 May talks began in Kiev between Crimean and Ukrainian officials to defuse the crisis in the peninsula, various agencies reported. The Ukrainian side was led by deputy Borys Olinyk and the Crimean side by its parliamentary speaker, Serhii Tsekov. Olinyk later said the talks were constructive. Both sides agreed to establish a joint working group which is to meet in Simferopol to try to resolve the Crimean issue and both sides agreed not to undertake any action to implement decisions adopted earlier. That same day it was reported that Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk criticized his Russian counterpart, Boris Yeltsin, for violating international law by intervening in the crisis between Kiev and Crimea by issuing baseless warnings. According to Kravchuk, Crimea is an internal Ukrainian affair and while Yeltsin can issue warnings to his own government bodies he may not do so to other countries. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. . . . AND PROGRESS OVER BLACK SEA FLEET. Some progress was reported during talks between Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Ukrainian Acting Prime Minister Efim Zvyahilsky in Moscow regarding the division of the Black Sea Fleet, various agencies reported. Agreement was reportedly reached on the division of the fleet, but negotiations remain deadlocked over the issue of basing. Moscow wants to retain the base at Sevastopol as well as four other Crimean ports, while Kiev insists that only Sevastopol can serve as its main base and wants to restrict Russia to only one base. Neither side made any comments regarding the situation in Crimea. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN POLITICIANS ON CRIMEAN CRISIS. Russian media have claimed that responsibility for the Crimean crisis rests with Kiev, not Simferopol. On 23 May Ostankino TVs main evening news program (which is received throughout Ukraine as well as Russia) broadcast comments from both Russian State Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin and presidential assistant Sergei Filatov implying that Kravchuk was exploiting the crisis so he could retain the presidency. On 24 May, Kravchuk responded, questioning whether Rybkin represented the position of the Russian state, according to a report from AFP. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc. OSTANKINO TV HAS PRESS CREDENTIALS REVOKED. On 24 May, Ostankino TVs news program announced that the Ukrainian government had revoked its press credentials, alleging biased reporting on the Crimean crisis. Reuters confirmed on 25 May that Kravchuk had denounced the Russian media for spreading rabid and dishonest information and had revoked the credentials of at least three Ostankino TV reporters. Part of the reason may have been an unusual commentary by Genrikh Borovik, broadcast on 23 May, who opined that politicians main interest is remaining in power, compared the situation in Crimea to that at the beginning of the war over Nagorno-Karabakh, called for a peaceful resolution, and concluded that Yeltsin was perhaps the only figure able to avert a tragedy. While Boroviks plea for peace was evidently genuine, it could also have been interpreted in Ukraine as an attempt to deter any assertive Ukrainian move and undermine Ukraines position on the Crimea issue. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINIAN SENTENCED TO DEATH IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH. A Ukrainian pilot was sentenced to death in Nagorno-Karabakh, ITAR-TASS reported on 24 May. Capt. Yurii Bylychenko was sentenced by a military tribunal for flying 16 bombing missions over civilian centers in Nagorno-Karabakh in Azeri planes in August 1992 which resulted in the deaths and casualties of numerous civilians. Bylychenko has the right to ask the Supreme Soviet of Nagorno-Karabakh for clemency and intends to do so. That same day Interfax reported that Russia has appealed to all countries, especially CIS states, to take measures to prevent the hiring of Russian citizens as mercenaries. A Russian is also to be tried for similar activities in Nagorno-Karabakh. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA PRELIMINARY ASSURANCES TO NATO. In remarks to reporters following talks in Brussels with NATO defense officials on 24 May, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev said that Russia was prepared to sign NATOs Partnership for Peace program without demanding special considerations. Reuters quoted Grachev as saying that Moscow would not set forth any conditions . . . Yeltsin . . . has instructed me to make clear that Russia will sign the Partnership for Peace. Grachev did not indicate when Russia would sign the partnership plan, however, and, according to The New York Times, said that he would put forward a more comprehensive proposal for cooperation between Russia and NATO during a second round of talks scheduled for 25 May. For their part, NATO officials, including US Defense Secretary William Perry, emphasized that Russia would not be granted special status within the partnership, although they left open the possibility that a separate NATO-Russian agreement might be in the offing aimed at accommodating Moscows desire to stand on a more equal footing with NATO. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. RYBKIN NAMED TO SECURITY COUNCIL. Speaker of the Russian State Duma Ivan Rybkin was made a member of the Russian Security Council according to a decree signed by Boris Yeltsin on 24 May, Russian agencies reported. Rybkin is the first member of parliament to take a seat on the Security Council since the body was reformed following the December 1993 elections. In its first incarnation (prior to the passage of the new constitution) the Security Councils statutory members included the first deputy chairman of the Supreme Soviet (now defunct). Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. AMBARTSUMOV TO MEXICO. Evgenii Ambartsumov, a deputy in the Russian State Duma and former chairman of the Supreme Soviet Committee on International Affairs and Foreign Economic Ties, was named by Boris Yeltsin on 24 May ambassador to Mexico. Throughout 1992-93, Ambartsumov was an ardent foe of any Western-orientation in Russian foreign policy and a sharp critic of Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev. Prior to the collapse of the USSR, Ambartsumov, born in 1929, worked as the head of the section on political problems at the Institute of Economics of the World Socialist System. He was also a publicist and supported economic reform. His ambassadorial appointment suggests either that he has grown weary of the political struggles in Moscow and therefore sought a new job for himself or that he was effectively removed from the scene in Moscow by those who fear his influence in domestic and foreign political affairs. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. WAGE CONTROLS PROPOSED. Labor Minister Gennadii Melikyan told a news conference on 20 May that his staff and the Ministries of Finance and Economics had prepared a draft decree on top salaries, Interfax reported. If the decree is approved, maximum monthly earnings would be limited to 14 times the minimum wage which, in July, is expected to be 20,000 rubles. Penal tax rates would be levied on those enterprises that granted wage hikes of more than 70 percent of the increase in the retail price index. On the same day, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin denied reports that the government was planning a wage freeze: all that was intended, he claimed, was the regulation of super-high wages. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. PROGRESS AND SETBACKS IN THE PRIVATIZATION PROCESS. In an interview with RFE/RL on 24 May, Deputy Prime Minister and State Property Committee Chairman Anatolii Chubais said that a detailed plan for the privatization of land will be completed this week and sent to the State Duma. On the same day, The Guardian reported that the higher arbitration court had dismissed an appeal by one of the best known commercial investment funds, Neft-Almaz-Invest, to regain its operating license that was suspended in March. This would appear to mean that hundreds of thousands of Russians who have invested their vouchers in the fund, have lost their money, damaging the credibility of the privatization program. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. REDUCTION OF AGRICULTURAL SUBSIDIES? Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Zaveryukha confirmed that the agricultural lobby had managed to raise the level of farm support in the draft budget for 1994 from 9 to 18.1 trillion rubles, Interfax reported on 20 May. The minister in charge of agriculture, nevertheless, intimated that the government plans to move away from direct subsidies to the agricultural sector to other measures. These include the restructuring of loss-making farms, the reduction of state purchases of agricultural products, and the recently announced switch to a large-scale wholesale and retail network for foodstuffs. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAS FIVE ARMIES. Chief of the Russian Armys General Staff Mikhail Kolesnikov complained at a closed meeting of the parliamentary Committee on Defense about the existence of parallel armies in the country, Komsomolskaya pravda reported on 24 May. Kolesnikov stated that there are currently 4 million persons under arms in Russia. He said that Russia now has five armies since apart from the armed forces, which consist of 2.3 million men, other government institutions, such as the Federal Counterintelligence Service, the Ministry for Emergency Events, the Federal Agency of Government Communications, and the Presidential Guard have created their own military formations. Kolesnikov affirmed that Russias budget cannot afford to support five armies. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA UZBEK SECRET POLICE TRY AGAIN. The Union of Councils for Soviet Jews (UCSJ) released a statement on 20 May, confirming reports that the Uzbek secret police attempted to abduct five Uzbek human rights activists attending a UCSJ-sponsored conference in Almaty, Kazakhstan. According to the statement, an Uzbek lieutenant colonel made inquiries about the five delegates at the Kazakhstan Hotel, whereupon a witness reported the incident to the conference. Later that day (17 May), Kazakhstans Deputy Interior Minister and Deputy Procurator jointly announced to the conference that four Uzbek security officers had been deported. The five Uzbek activists included Abdumannob Pulatov, whom the Uzbek secret police had kidnapped from a similar conference in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in December 1992. Several other Uzbeks were prevented from attending the Almaty conference by being jailed or placed under house arrest; one of them, Vasiliya Inoyatova, was arrested on Kazakh territory and taken back to Uzbekistan. Keith Martin, RFE/RL, Inc. COMPLAINT OF CENSORSHIP IN KYRGYZSTAN. A recently adopted law on protecting state secrets in Kyrgyzstan is causing journalists in that country to protest that the provisions of the law are tantamount to a restoration of censorship, according to a Russian TV news report of 21 May. Kyrgyzstani journalists raised an outcry earlier in the year over an attempt by the government to institute censorship of information media, which have been among the freest in Central Asia. An editor of the newspaper Respublika, who described the new law as a curtailment of democracy, listed for Russian TV some of the topics that can no longer be discussed in the media: condition of roads, epidemics, livestock deaths, and shifts in prices. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. GAMSAKHURDIAS SUPPORTERS ANNOUNCE COMEBACK. Members of the seven parties represented in deceased Georgian president Zviad Gamsakhurdias Round Table/Free Georgia coalition announced at a news conference in Tbilisi on 23 May that they were reconstituting the coalition with the aim of overthrowing the existing Shevardnadze leadership by exclusively peaceful means, Interfax reported on 23 May. A prominent Gamsakhurdia supporter had been arrested in Tbilisi on 19 May and charged with treason, inciting inter-ethnic conflict and organizing armed resistance against the authorities, according to Interfax. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN LEADERS TO DISCUSS PEACE IN FRANCE. On 24 May RFE/RLs South Slavic Language Service reported that Bosnian Croat, Muslim, and Serb leaders are separately to meet with mediators from France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, and the United States in the French resort town of Talloires in a bid to bring peace to war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina. Early indications suggest the talks may be difficult; on 24 May Reuters reported that Momcilo Krajisnik, speaker of the self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb parliament implied that the Bosnian Serb side would not attend the meetings with a conciliation mind and quotes him as saying that The pressure is put only on the Serbs . . . The Serbs are the only ones harmed, who have sanctions upon them. Meanwhile, Reuters and AFP both report that French Foreign minister Alain Juppe has said that if the Talloires talks fail, France would consider withdrawing its peacekeepers from Bosnia. On 24 May NATO defense ministers resolved at a Brussels meeting that there ought to be no unilateral pullout of peacekeepers. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. CROATIA, SERBIA UPDATE. On 25 May the Croatian press reports that on 24 May Stipe Mesic was officially relieved of duties as parliamentary speaker, and replaced by Nedjeljko Mihanovic. In other news, on 24 May RFE/RLs South Slavic Language Service reported that rump Yugoslavia is not invited to a meeting of non-aligned countries to be held in Cairo from 31 May to 3 June. According to sources in the Egyptian foreign ministry, the decision to not invite Belgrade was made by Egypt and Indonesia, currently holding the Presidency of the movement, since rump Yugoslavia is not regarded as the successor state of socialist Yugoslavia. Socialist Yugoslavia was a founding member of the non-aligned movement, which was established in Belgrade in 1961. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN SOCIALISTS TO NAME PRIME MINISTER CANDIDATE IN JUNE. Hungarian Socialist Party managing deputy chairman Imre Szekeres told a press conference on 24 May that the party will decide about its prime minister candidate at an extraordinary congress on June 4, MTI reports. Among the possible candidates are: HSP chairman Gyula Horn, HSP economic expert Laszlo Bekesi, and the political scientist Mihaly Bihari. Szekeres said that the HSP leadership has not asked former reform communist prime minister Miklos Nemeth to be its candidate. The person of the prime minister will play a very important role in possible coalition talks between the HSP and the Alliance of Free Democrats. The AFD has rejected Horn as prime minister in favor of its own prime minister candidate Gabor Kuncze and has stated that there is little chance that it will enter into a coalition with the HSP if the HSP gains an absolute majority in the second round of elections on 29 May. Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. FOREIGN INVESTORS ALARMED BY THE RETURN OF THE FORMER COMMUNISTS IN HUNGARY. MTI reported on 20 May that a 15 billion forint ($150 million) government debt issue has been undersubscribed and that foreigners bought only 1%. Total subscription amounted to 58% of the offering. The Financial Times reported that US investors in particular have been alarmed by the resurgence of the Hungarian Socialist Party and the prospect of their return to office after the second and decisive round of voting on 29 May. The underwriting failure may have been caused also by the new nature of this government security, because the issue was the first ever forint-nominated government debt issue. Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc. MORE FRICTION OVER POLISH ARMY COMMAND. A government debate on revisions of the military command structure was cut short after only 12 minutes on 24 May, PAP reports. President Lech Walesa, who was present, insisted that the government send its reform plans to the National Defense Committee (KOK) for review before taking action on them. The governments plans were drafted by the defense ministry and approved by a special government defense commission at its inaugural session on 19 May. Walesa opposes them, as they would subordinate the General Staff chief to the defense minister, rather than directly to the president. Walesa has also long striven to make the KOK, an ill-defined institution inherited from the communist period that he chairs, the chief body responsible for defense matters. The tug-of-war over the defense command has given rise to rumors that Defense Minister Piotr Kolodziejczyk plans to resign. Kolodziejczyk denied these rumors on 24 May. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. FREEDOM UNION BUILDS SHADOW CABINET? The National Council of the Freedom Union, formed in April as a result of the merger between the Democratic Union and the Liberal Democratic Congress, voted on 21 May to set up 11 secretariats to monitor government policy and activities in specific areas, and named national secretaries to head them, PAP reports. The 11 areas are: economic policy, economic system, foreign affairs, agriculture, local government, social policy, culture, education, ecology, health, and security. The idea was hotly debated within the national council, with opponents claiming that party rank-and-file had not been consulted, and advocates arguing that the secretariats would enliven the partys programmatic discussions, give it new impetus, and enhance its public image before the imminent local elections. The party leadership tried to counter the impression, caused by press leaks in advance of the meeting, that the secretariats were conceived as a shadow cabinet. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH COPYRIGHT LAW TAKES EFFECT. A copyright law protecting intellectual property rights, extending them to computer software, and providing fiscal and penal sanctions for their abuse took effect in Poland on 23 May. Intellectual piracy first appeared in Poland on a large scale after 1989, and Poland came under strong pressure from the US-based International Intellectual Property Alliance to bring its legislation and practice in line with world standards. Nicholas Garnett, Director General of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, told a press conference in Warsaw on 23 May that it was a great day for artists in Poland, signaling to the entire world that Poland is going in the right direction, PAP said. Polish artists and experts welcomed the law but expressed skepticism as to its ability to curb piracy. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK CABINET REEVALUATES 1994 BUDGET. On 24 May Finance Minister Rudolf Filkus announced in a press conference that the cabinet approved a proposal to implement measures to keep the 1994 state budget deficit within 4% of GDP. The measures include increasing VAT from 6 to 25% on 10% of all goods beginning on 1 June. Also on 1 June, consumer taxes on beer, alcohol, tobacco and some crude oil products would be raised by 10 to 15%. The cabinet would also reevaluate tax deductible income and increase efforts to enforce collection of taxes, customs fees and fines. These measures, which were approved as a result of negotiations with the IMF concerning a stand-by loan, would increase the state budget income by approximately 5.5 billion koruny. Concerning expenditures, the cabinet proposed to cut subsidies for agriculture, energy, transport, the National Insurance Fund and defense in order to reduce 1994 budget expenditures by about 2.54 billion koruny. In another development, the cabinet voted to approve a temporary social fund, which will be drawn from profits of enterprises to provide social loans to employees. The law will be submitted to the parliament later this month. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. BULGARIA, GREECE DISCUSS MACEDONIA. Stanislav Daskalov, Bulgarias Foreign Minister, is on a three-day visit to Greece and on 24 May he met with his counterpart Karolos Papoulias to discuss Balkan security and especially issues related to the Republic of Macedonia. Bulgarian political leaders have repeatedly made it clear that they disapprove of Greeces present trade embargo against Macedonia, aimed at pressuring Skopje to remove what Athens regards as irredentist language from its constitution and a Hellenic symbol from its flag. Western agencies quoted Daskalov as stressing that all problems should be settled in negotiations. He pointed out that Macedonian independence is in the interest of Bulgaria as well as in that of other Balkan states. At the same time, he indirectly reproached Macedonia by calling on its leaders to speed up the democratization process. Papoulias said Athens wants both the existence of the Skopje state and normalization in relations with its government, but not until the latter has abandoned its extreme positions. Daskalov met separately with Greek President Constantine Karamanlis and Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. ALEXEI II ENDS BULGARIAN VISIT. On 23 May Russias Patriarch Alexei II ended a five-day visit to Bulgaria, during which he met with many of the countrys spiritual and political leaders. Bulgarian Patriarch Maksim expressed support for Alexeis idea to convene a conference of all confessions in Sarajevo, aimed at ending the Bosnian war. Alexei said his visit had served to reaffirm the traditionally good relations between the two churches, but deplored that his efforts to mediate in the postcommunist schism in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church--between top clerics appointed during communist times and dissident priests--had failed. BTA quoted him as calling the rift a tragedy for all [Bulgarian] believers. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. SOME 60% OF THE WORK FORCE UNEMPLOYED IN TIRANA. The Statistical Institute of Albania recently published new figures about the employment rate in the capital. According to the data, among the 186,600 people of working age, about 73,500 or 40% are employed, whereas 113,100 or about 60% are unemployed. The institute claims that the study is based on analytic criteria of the International Labor Organization. Among the employed, 26% work in the private sector. Unemployment is especially high among the uneducated or poorly educated and among those over 49. Gazeta Shqiptare carried the figures on 15 May. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. LABOR UNREST LOOMING IN ROMANIA. Reuters quoted on 24 May a Romanian miners trade union leader as saying that thousands of coal miners threaten to travel to Bucharest to press the government for more social guarantees against redundancies. Romanian miners have been involved in violence in Bucharest several times during the past four years. In a separate development, teachers announced they plan to stage a special type of strike on 25 May, refusing to enter grades into school records until their demands for better pay and more money for education in general are met. On 24 May teachers from the town of Constanta joined a march aimed at drawing public attention to the serious situation in Romanias education sector, Radio Bucharest reported. The new wave of labor protests comes less than one week after 22,000 Romanian roadworkers had staged a two-hour strike for pay rises of 50% on 19 May. On the same day, some 2,000 teachers had demonstrated in Bucharest to demand more spending on education. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN GET-RICH-QUICK SCHEME CLOSES. In an open letter published by Romanian media on 19 May, Ion Stoica, owner of the controversial Caritas money-spinning scheme, said he is closing it. Stoica added that he would do his best to repay depositors, but he did not say how many would receive how much money or when. He further blamed the press for the end of the program. Millions of Romanian are reported to have invested in Caritas, whose repayments have been interrupted in recent months. On 20 May some 2,000 people attended a meeting in Baia Mare in the hope of getting some of their investments back from the Caritas. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. DNIESTER LEADERS EXPOSED AS RUSSIAN FEDERATION CITIZENS. In a statement issued on 23 May, the command of Russias 14th Army in Moldova revealed that practically all the leaders of the Dniester republic have secretly received Russian citizenship, ITAR-TASS reported. The army command asked the Russian Federations government to withdraw that citizenship from Igor Smirnov and other Dniester leaders for their involvement in Mafia-type activities, arms traffic, misuse of their Russian passports for illicit business abroad, and support for anti-government forces in the fighting in Moscow in October 1993. Interviewed by Basapress in Tiraspol on 23 May, Dniester presidential spokesman Viktor Biryukov acknowledged that some Dniester republic leaders are indeed citizens of the Russian Federation. The armys statement is but the latest of Lt.-Gen. Aleksandr Lebeds as yet unsuccessful attempts to persuade the Russian government to change horses in Tiraspol. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. MOLDOVA EMBRACES FRENCH-WEU STABILITY PLAN. In a statement released on 20 May, Moldovas Foreign Ministry strongly endorsed Frances Balladur plan, promoted by the West European Union, for a Pact for Stability in Europe. Viewing it as having the potential of an epoch-making initiative, comparable only to the CSCE process, Moldova expects the Pact to establish an effective mechanism for defusing conflicts generated by frontier or ethnic problems, the Ministry said. It announced that Moldova will participate in the preparation of the document beginning with the inaugural session scheduled for 26-27 May in Paris. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. HURD IN UKRAINE. British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd arrived in Kiev on 24 May for talks with Ukrainian leaders, various agencies reported. During the visit Hurd met with President Leonid Kravchuk and urged that Ukrainian and Crimea find a negotiated solution to their problems. Hurd also said that Britain recognized that Crimea is a part of Ukraine. The visit followed Hurds three-day visit to Russia. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. KOZYREV MEETS ESTONIAN LEADERS. On 24 May in Tallinn Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev met for two hours with Estonian President Lennart Meri and Foreign Minister Juri Luik, Reuters reports. The talks focused on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Estonia by 31 August 1994 and Russian concerns about getting social guarantees for retired servicemen. Meri said that progress had been made toward a solution, noting judging by the atmosphere that we had, I have not the slightest doubt that this deadline will be met. Kozyrev is in Tallinn for the two-day meeting of the ten foreign ministers of the Council of the Baltic Sea States that began that evening. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT CONFLICT CONTINUES. Baltic media reported on 22-24 May that following a request by Prime Minister Mart Laar, Estonian President Lennart Meri had dismissed on 21 May both Defense Minister Indrek Kannik and Justice Minister Kaido Kama. The dismissal of the two ministers stems from discord within the cabinet, as well as within Laars Pro Patria political party. Pro Patria has nominated Urmas Arumae for justice minister and Raul Opik for defense minister. Finance Minister and Liberal Democratic Party member Heiki Kranich said that he too cannot continue as a member of Prime Minister Laars Cabinet, though he would fulfill his duties until the Pro Patria party congress, scheduled for 11 June. The Estonian parliaments coalition council is considering what to do should Laar not be reelected as Pro Patria party chairman and be forced to resign from the position of prime minister. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. CRIME RATE IN ESTONIA HIGHEST AMONG THE BALTICS. Estonian Police Chief Uuno Ellen told BNS on 18 May that the current crime rate in Estonia per 10,000 residents is 74,2, in Latvia--50.0 and in Lithuania--46.2. The overall number of crimes committed in the Baltics from January through April of this year as compared with the figures for the same period in 1993 declined by 14.1% in Estonia, 32.7% in Latvia, and 20.3% in Lithuania. Ellen said that the rate of violent crimes, fraud, blackmail, and illegal possession of weapons had increased substantially in Estonia during the first four months of this year as against the same period last year. In the town of Narva, at the Russian border, car thefts rose by 112%, while for Estonia as a whole the increase was 23%. Dzintra Bungs, 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. 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