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No. 101, 30 May 1994
RUSSIA YELTSIN TO TATARSTAN. President Boris Yeltsin will start a two-day working visit to Tatarstan on 30 May, ITAR-TASS reported. On 30 May he will visit the giant KamAZ truck plant in Naberezhnye Chelni and on 31 May he will meet with the Tatarstan leadership in Kazan. It will be the first meeting between Yeltsin and the Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev since the treaty between Russia and Tatarstan was signed in February. According to Deputy Premier Sergei Shakhrai, during the course of Yeltsin's visit a control commission to supervise the implementation of the treaty will be set up, which Shakhrai expects to head from the Russian side. Shakhrai told ITAR-TASS that the question of Russian guarantees for commercial and foreign investment in Tatarstan's automobile industry and agriculture would also be discussed. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. ATTEMPT ON DUDAEV'S LIFE. Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev escaped unharmed on 27 May when a car-bomb threw his car ten meters. Chechen Interior Minister Magomed Eldiev, his deputy, Said Ali Bateev, and their driver, who were traveling in another car in Dudaev's motorcade, were all killed in the attack, ITAR-TASS and other Russian media reported on 28 May. Speaking on local television on 28 May, Dudaev described the attack as a carefully organized diversion behind which stood forces opposed to a thaw in Russian-Chechen relations. Ostankino television reported on 27 May that, according to Dudaev's press service, close contact had been established with Yeltsin's administration and preparations for a meeting between Yeltsin and Dudaev were in full swing. Yaragi Mamodaev, the head of the government of national accord, which is not recognized by Dudaev, condemned the assassination attempt, which he described as part of the process of self-destruction of the Chechen people. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. GAIDAR ON DEFENSE CUTS. With an observation that will not endear him to the military-industrial complex, most of his erstwhile cabinet colleagues, or some leading presidential hopefuls, Egor Gaidar has asserted that the country cannot afford the current size of its armed forces, Interfax reported on 29 May. According to Gaidar, Russia's Choice does not support the growing campaign to raise the defense budget from 37.1 to 55 trillion rubles, and will instead insist on cuts in the number of servicemen. Having inherited the concept of massive ground forces from the Soviet Union, Russia has been trying ever since to raise the number of conscripts to match that of generals, Gaidar said, rather than culling the hordes of generals. [37.1 trillion rubles would represent 6 percent of anticipated GDP, while 55 trillion rubles would be equivalent to nearly 9 per-cent of anticipated GDP--a much higher share than any other major industrialized country spends on defense.] Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. CHERNOMYRDIN WINDS UP VISIT TO CHINA. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin returned to Russia on 29 May after a four-day visit to China that was described by both sides as friendly and successful. While in Beijing Chernomyrdin met with Chinese President and Communist Party General Secretary Jiang Zemin, and with Prime Minister Li Peng. According to XINHUA and Western agencies, seven agreements were signed during the visit, covering such issues as border management, marine transport, natural resources protection and fishery resources protection. The two sides announced their intention to continue strengthening military-technical cooperation and were quoted as having given "a positive appraisal to the ongoing negotiations on borders and on cutting military forces in the border areas." A joint communique at the conclusion of the visit said both sides were "determined to move Sino-Russian relations to a new high," AFP reported. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. OPPOSITION TO FORM SHADOW CABINET. A meeting of the "Accord for Russia" movement was held in Moscow on 28 May and attended by representatives of those parties--including communists and Russian nationalists--that refused to sign Yeltsin's Civic Accord last month. Interfax said those present decided to convene an "Assembly of National Unity" in the fall to approve the formation of a shadow cabinet and formulate a program of action of the united opposition. In the meantime, the meeting agreed to set up a coordinating council which will decide on the composition of the shadow cabinet. The council includes former Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi; the leader of the Russian Communist Party, Gennadii Zyuganov; and the chairman of the State Duma's committee on economic policy, Sergei Glazyev. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. SOLZHENITSYN SAYS RUSSIA DOES NOT HAVE REAL DEMOCRACY. Speaking in Vladivostok at his first news conference after returning to his homeland, Alexander Solzhenitsyn said only "pseudo-democracy" exists in Russia and that ordinary people still have no real control over their lives, Western media reported. Solzhenitsyn expressed doubts about the applicability to Russia of Western democratic institutions, saying "only monkeys carry things about from one place to another." He was also critical of what he described as the "abandoning" of territory by Russia to other former Soviet republics, specifically Ukraine and Kazakhstan. But he declined to comment on the policies of President Yeltsin, who sent him a welcoming telegram. Solzhenitsyn said he would comment on Russia's current leadership only after he had spent more time in the country. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS BLACK SEA FLEET UPDATE. Russian and Ukrainian delegations are to meet in Kiev in 10-15 days' time to continue discussions over the division of the Black Sea Fleet, Ukrainian radio reported on 26 May. Talks held in Moscow on 24-26 May stalled over the issue of the fleet's basing, but the actual division of the fleet did not cause any conflict. According to Interfax on 28 May, the Ukrainian navy commander, Volodymyr Bezkorovainy, said that agreement was reached on dividing the fleet's aircraft and land-based troops into two equal parts. It was also reported that Ukraine had put forward five different proposals for the fleet's basing, but the Russians would not budge from their position. The two sides have agreed not to comment on the course of the negotiations or to divulge any details of the basing proposals. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. MOLDOVA BACKS UKRAINE ON CRIMEA. Interviewed by Interfax on 27 May, Moldovan President Mircea Snegur said Moldova has "close, good-neighborly relations" with Ukraine and "cannot regard with indifference" the situation in Crimea, which "constitutes an internal affair of independent and sovereign Ukraine." As quoted in a press release from the presidential office, carried by ITAR-TASS and Basapress on 27 May, Snegur went on to say that "Outside interference is impermissible as it may lead to grave consequences. Ukraine can and must resolve the situation on its own on the basis of its constitution. It is essential that Ukraine . . . preserve its territorial integrity." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. MOLDOVA'S STRATEGIC SIGNIFICANCE. Addressing an international conference in Chisinau on regional security issues, sponsored by the Euro-Atlantic Center, Ambassador Richard Samuel, chief of the CSCE mission to Moldova, said "Moldova constitutes an area of critical strategic importance in Europe, an area in which many interests overlap, and where it is extremely important to find ways to reduce tensions," ITAR-TASS and Basapress reported on 27 May. Samuel said CSCE's recommendations (which Moldova has accepted but the "Dniester republic" has not) for a political resolution of the Dniester conflict would give Transdniester autonomy within an integral Moldova. While acknowledging Russia's role in the negotiations to settle the conflict, Samuel said CSCE would "not approve of any settlement that would define Transdniester's political status outside Moldova." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA KAZAKHSTANI PARLIAMENT ATTACKS GOVERNMENT. Kazakhstan's Supreme Soviet passed a vote of no confidence in the government's economic, social and legal policies, Russian news agencies reported on 27 May. The vote cannot affect the government, however, because under the Constitution only the president can remove the prime minister and his cabinet. The no confidence motion was presented by the Progress faction, who asserted that Prime Minister Sergei Tereshchenko's anti-crisis program has resulted in economic chaos. The support garnered by the motion--111 of the 139 deputies present voted for it--indicates that President Nursultan Nazarbaev may find the new professional legislature less tractable than he expected. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. KAZAKHSTAN JOINS NATO PARTNERSHIP. Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Kanat Saudbaev signed his country up for the NATO Partnership for Peace program on 27 May, Western agencies reported. Talking to journalists later, Saudbaev said that Russia's demand for special status in the program should not be honored. Kazakhstan is the second Central Asian state to join the program; the first was Turkmenistan. Both Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have expressed interest in it. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. ADAMISHIN CRITICIZES TAJIK OPPOSITION. In an interview with Interfax on 27 May, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Anatolii Adamishin made a blunt attack on the Tajik opposition, and on the UN's special emissary for Tajikistan, Ramirez Piris-Bollon. Adamishin accused the opposition of intensifying raids across the Tajik-Afghan border and of being involved in the recent spate of killings in Tajikistan. He said the Russian Foreign Ministry "was informed" that the Tajik opposition would try to use upcoming talks with the Tajik government to put forth more demands, rather than trying to find a compromise; he gave no source for this information. Adamishin complained that Piris-Bollon had announced the site and date of the next talks (Tehran, 7 June) between the Tajik government and opposition, in which Russia, Pakistan and Iran will act as mediators, without consulting the authorities in Dushanbe. Adamishin's statement indicates why the Tajik opposition views Moscow's "mediation" with skepticism. Keith Martin, RFE/RL, Inc. AGA KHAN ON TAJIKISTAN. The Aga Khan, leader of the world's 25 million Ismailis, has expressed hope that a solution will be found to Tajikistan's civil conflict. The answer, he suggested in remarks made in Boston on 27 May and reported by Western media, lies in combining Islamic values, Western science and democracy, and the Communist social safety net. The Aga Khan Foundation is involved in emergency relief operations in Tajikistan and northern Afghanistan, and reportedly plans to open an office in Dushanbe later this year. Tajikistan is home to a significant Ismaili minority, many of whom were prominent members of the democratic opposition which lost the 1992 civil war; their leader, Davlat Khudonazarov, is in exile in the US. (Ismailis believe the Aga Khan to be a direct descendant of Muhammed but, while their religion is a branch of Shi'i Islam, orthodox Shi'is and Sunnis do not recognize the Ismailis as fellow Muslims.) Keith Martin, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE FORMER COMMUNISTS GET ABSOLUTE MAJORITY IN HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT. Preliminary voting results of the second round of the Hungarian national elections held on 30 May show that the Hungarian Socialist Party (HSP) led by Gyula Horn has received an absolute majority and will hold 209 seats in the 386-member legislature, Hungarian and foreign media report. This means that the former communists won 54% of the votes, the center left opposition party Alliance of Free Democrats came in second with 18%, and the former ruling party Hungarian Democratic Forum was distant third with 9.8%. The Independent Smallholders' Party received 6.8%, the Christian Democratic Peoples' Party 5.8%, and the Alliance of Young Democrats, came in last with only 5.3% of the votes counted. The results show that the HSP does not need a coalition partner in order to govern, although it is said that Horn would like to form a coalition with either the Free Democrats or one of the smaller parties in order to share the burden of responsibility for government decisions. Should the HSP and the Free Democrats form a coalition, they could have a two-thirds parliamentary majority and could even change the constitution without the consent of the other parties. Judith Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc. BOSNIAN PARLIAMENT TO MEET. On 30 May international agencies report that the Bosnian parliament is to convene on 30 May. High on the agenda will be the ratification of the Muslim-Croat federation, as well as the selection of new officials who will hold office for a sixth-month term, until elections are held. It is widely speculated that the Bosnian Croat leader Kresimir Zubak will be named President, while Ejup Ganic is expected to become vice-president. Haris Silajdzic, current prime minister, will likely retain his post. In other news, on 28 May AFP reported that representatives from the Bosnian Croat, Muslim and Serb sides have been invited to talks in Geneva on 2-3 June, with the aim of securing an immediate ceasefire. On 28 and 29 May RFE/RL's South Slavic Language Service reported that fighting between Bosnian Muslims, aided by their Croat allies, and Bosnian Serbs has been observed throughout northern Bosnia. Finally, on 28 May Reuters reported that 342 Serbs left Sarajevo that day on a bus bound for Serb-controlled Bosnian territory. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. CROATIA ADOPTS KUNA. On 30 May international media report that on that day, Croatia's national day, the Croatian government will adopt a new currency, called the kuna, while doing away with the dinar. The new currency, which is to have a value of approximately 20 US cents, is shrouded in controversy. Its name was previously used by Croatia's Second World War fascist regime, and thus the restoration of the name has led to protests from Croatia's Serbian and Jewish communities (as well as from Croatian opposition leaders), which were victimized by fascist authorities during the Second World War. On 29 May Reuters quoted Croatian President Franjo Tudjman as defending the kuna by arguing that its adoption shows "proof of Croatian sovereignty." The Serbian media, meanwhile, argue that the kuna's restoration demonstrates at the very least Zagreb's lack of judgement. On 30 May the Belgrade daily Politika covers the story under the headline "What Kind of Croatia is Shown by the Kuna." Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. UPDATE ON GREEK-ALBANIAN ROW. Sharp exchanges have taken place between Athens and Tirana after a number of Albanian Greeks reportedly were taken in for questioning by Albanian authorities. The row broke out on 26 May when Greek Foreign Minister Karalos Papoulias said several Greek minority rights activists had been arrested and "strongly warned" Albania not to ignore the rights of ethnic Greeks. Addressing the Paris conference on stability in Europe on the next day, Albanian Foreign Minister Alfred Serreqi denied the charges and accused Athens of spreading disinformation about the situation of Greeks. Back in Athens, ambassadors of the 11 other European Union states were summoned to the Foreign Ministry and called upon to help settle the dispute. Daily Telegraph of 28 May quoted New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert as saying that "war is possible." While Albanian President Sali Berisha in an interview with Voice of America on 29 May spoke of the possibilities of resuming dialogue, the next day the Tirana Foreign Ministry issued a statement warning that Athens will bear the responsibility if another conflict erupts in the Balkans. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. INDIAN PRESIDENT IN BULGARIA. On 26 May Indian President Shanker Dayal Sharma arrived on a visit to Bulgaria. On the first day of the visit, Sharma met with his Bulgarian counterpart Zhelyu Zhelev and attended a ceremony where ministers signed five bilateral accords on cooperation in the fields of tourism, customs, fighting organized crime, terrorism, drug- and arms-trafficking, as well as a double taxation agreement. After speaking to the National Assembly about the traditions of Indian parliamentarism on 27 May, he went on to have discussions with Bulgarian Indologists and businessmen. Shanker then traveled to Varna for a two-day unofficial visit to the Black Sea coast. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. CZECH-FRENCH MILITARY EXERCISES BEGIN. Joint Czech-French military exercises began on 29 May in both France and the Czech Republic, Czech TV reported. While French troops will be involved in exercises in South Bohemia, Czech soldiers and officers will train in Clermont-Ferrand in France. The Czech Defense Ministry has said that one of the objectives of the joint exercises is to demonstrate the ability of the Czech Army to cooperate with NATO forces. Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES LAW ON NAMES. On 27 May the Slovak parliament approved the cabinet's version of the amendment to the law on names, allowing ethnic minorities in Slovakia to omit the "-ova" suffix from female surnames and permitting the use of Hungarian versions of first names, TASR and CTK reported. Of 124 deputies present, 72 voted in favor and 48 voted against. The controversial amendment has been a subject of dispute between Slovaks and ethnic Hungarians. Before the vote, members of the Slovak National Party walked out of the parliament, while members of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia left in protest after the outcome of the vote was announced. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN CRITICIZES KOVAC. Slovak parliament Ivan Gasparovic, a member of the opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, on 29 May criticized President Michal Kovac for having "complicated" the political situation through involvement in "hard politics," thus preventing the previous government from carrying out is program. Kovac's speech to the parliament on 9 March had sparked the no-confidence vote in the government of former Premier and MDS Chairman Vladimir Meciar. Gasparovic also criticized the current parliament, saying it is torn by "conflicts and disagreements" and is "unable to make unambiguous, progressive decisions." In other political news, on 28 May the Democratic Union decided to participate in the fall parliamentary elections as an independent entity. Roman Kovac will be the party leader for eastern Slovakia, Jozef Moravcik for central Slovakia, Rudolf Filkus for western Slovakia and Milan Knazko for Bratislava. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH SEJM SUPPORTS LIBERAL ABORTION PROVISIONS. The Sejm voted by a wide margin to give accelerated treatment to proposals to liberalize Poland's restrictive abortion legislation, but the lack of a quorum on 28 May prevented a final vote. Draft amendments to the penal code would legalize abortion in cases when the pregnant woman faces a difficult material or personal situation. They would also allow abortions to be performed in private clinics as well as state facilities. Arguing in favor of the changes, the Freedom Union's Barbara Labuda called existing restrictions "unfair, crime-promoting, and demoralizing." They serve only to fuel "abortion tourism," she argued, with poor women traveling east and wealthy women traveling west. A motion to reject the amendments failed by a vote of 109 to 215, with 33 abstentions. Passage thus seems assured, with only the timing now in question. President Lech Walesa told Polish TV on 29 May that he plans to veto the amendments. In this event, the Sejm would need a two-thirds majority to override the veto. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. NO VOTE ON POLISH WAGE CONTROLS. The lack of a quorum also prevented a final Sejm vote on wage control provisions for state firms, PAP reports. This legislation, designed to replace a bill vetoed by President Lech Walesa in March, has already faced considerable delay. A final vote may have to wait another two weeks, and Walesa has hinted he will veto the new bill as well. Poland is now ending its second month without wage controls; economists remain divided over the potential inflationary impact. In other parliamentary business, the Sejm approved a bill requiring competitive bidding for all government contracts. The vote was a resounding 358 to 1. This measure is designed to fight corruption. The Sejm also approved legislation to allow banks to treat reserves formed to offset accumulated "bad debts" as costs rather than assets for tax purposes. This measure will cut government revenues by 1.7 trillion zloty but improve the financial condition of banks. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. SOLIDARITY STAGES PROTEST MARCH. According to police estimates, about 10,000 unionists took part in a protest march organized by Solidarity in Warsaw on 27 May as part of the union's campaign to put pressure on the government. Turnout fell far short of the union leadership's expectations. Protesters shouted anti-communist and anti-government slogans. Gazeta Wyborcza reports, in addition, that protesters heckled the private Radio Zet with anti-Semitic chants and shouted "Thieves, thieves!" at the Stock Exchange (located in former communist party headquarters). Demonstrators refused to meet with a waiting government delegation or to accept a government document prepared for the occasion, PAP reports. This document restated the government's refusal to hold separate, bilateral talks with Solidarity and instead endorsed ongoing negotiations in the Tripartite Commission. The government also argued that most of the union's demands are already the subject of official negotiations. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. POLAND'S OPZZ PROCLAIMS INDEPENDENCE. The former official OPZZ trade union federation, which held its third congress in Warsaw on 27-29 May, treated the Solidarity march as an affront. OPZZ delegates reelected Ewa Spychalska to a second four-year term as union chairman; she easily defeated a radical challenger, Stanislaw Wisniewski. Spychalska vowed that the OPZZ, which is the second largest force in the ruling Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), will not provide a protective "umbrella" for any government or political party. Government officials, guests at the congress, used the occasion to praise the OPZZ's "creative" stance and criticize Solidarity for clinging to the tactics of protest. Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak rejected criticism of government public relations, arguing that concrete facts are the best "information policy." Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Grzegorz Kolodko unveiled his long-term economic "strategy for Poland," which predicts 22% GDP growth and 15% consumption growth in the coming four years. SLD leader Aleksander Kwasniewski also addressed the proceedings. The OPZZ, formed in 1984 as a controlled substitute for banned Solidarity, is the largest union organization in Poland, with 4.5 million members. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH TOUR DIRECTOR RESURFACES, MINUS CASH. Stefan Sulimierski, the "Mazovia" travel operator who vanished mysteriously in Rome during the 50th anniversary commemorations of the battle of Monte Cassino, resurfaced in Warsaw on 31 May. Sulimierski disappeared on 14 May with at least $50,000 in cash meant to fund tour expenses for several thousand elderly veterans who traveled to Italy by bus. In an incoherent interview with Polish TV on 31 May, Sulimierski claimed he had been kidnapped, drugged, and taken to Tunisia. "The money is gone," he said. The Monte Cassino events have become a scandal in Poland, as the government is perceived as having neglected veterans. Veterans' associations reportedly selected the Mazovia firm on the recommendation of officials in the Veterans' Office, who allegedly had private ties with Sulimierski. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. GYPSY "EMPEROR" ARRESTED IN ROMANIA. Romanian police announced on 27 May the arrest of Iulian Radulescu, who calls himself "Emperor of Gypsies Everywhere." A police officer told Reuters in a telephone interview from Sibiu that Radulescu had been detained one day earlier, after returning from a European Gypsy congress in Spain. He is suspected of involvement in the theft of 30 tons of copper bars and 100 kilograms of gold-bearing mud from a plant in Zlatna, central Transylvania. Hours before his arrest Radulescu denied in an interview with a Sibiu news agency that he was in any way involved in the Zlatna theft. He told Reuters the accusations were "a communist-type ploy" used by the authorities against the Gypsies. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIA'S FOREIGN DEBT RISES. Romanian media reported on 28 May that the country's total foreign debt at the end of March was $ 3,500 million. Most of the debt is owed to the International Monetary Fund, which this month approved new loans for Romania, totaling nearly $ 500 million. Romania also owes large sums to the World Bank and to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. LATVIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ADMITS KGB TIES. Georgs Andrejevs, one of the five parliament deputies suspended in April because of accusations of having cooperated with the KGB, in a letter published in Diena of 28 May admitted that he was recruited by the KGB in 1963. He wrote that he had reported on his trips abroad and on different scientific events, but denied supplying information detrimental to his colleagues. Andrejevs argued that the most active KGB collaborators remain unknown since their files were destroyed and that only lower-level informers like himself were vulnerable to censure and public humiliation. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. ESTONIAN FOREIGN TRADE IN APRIL. The Customs Department announced that in April Estonia had a trade deficit of 432.3 million kroons ($23 million) [imports, 1,726.8 million kroons and exports, 1,294.5 million kroons], a decline of 71.4 million kroons over March, BNS reported on 27 May. Finland, Russia, and Sweden were the leading trade partners. Farm products, fuels, and vehicles were the largest imports with farm products, wood, and non-precious metals the largest exports. The statistics, based on customs declarations, do not include data on the movement of cash or goods shipped through pipelines or electric wires. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. ESTONIAN PRIME MINISTER VISITS SLOVENIA. On 26 May Mart Laar, accompanied by his private secretary Toomas Kiho and Foreign Ministry official Tonis Idarand, flew to Slovenia for a series of meetings with the country's leaders. On 27 May at a meeting in Ljubljana with his Slovenian counterpart Janez Drnovsek, Laar announced that Sven Jurgenson, Estonia's charge d'affaires in Vienna, would be his country's diplomatic representative in Slovenia. The prime ministers signed a road traffic agreement and a declaration on starting free trade talks between two countries. Laar also met parliament chairman Herman Rigelnik and Ljubljana mayor Joze Stigar. On 28 May Laar visited the towns of Piran and Strunjan, BNS reports. He returned to Estonia on 29 May. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. BELARUSIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION UPDATE. The Minsk oblast electoral commission has finished checking the signatures in support of presidential candidates, Belarusian television reported on 26 May. According to their findings the prime minister, Vyacheslau Kebich, succeeded in collecting 59,920 signatures in the oblast; the leader of the Party of Communists of Belarus, Vasil Novikau, collected 39,305; the BPF opposition leader, Zyanon Paznyak, collected 23,995; the leader of the Party of Popular Accord, Henadz Karpenka, had 17,579 signatures in his support; Aleksandr Dubko, chairman of the Republican Union of Collective Farms, received 13,525; and Aleksandr Lukashenka, head of the former anti-corruption commission, had 10,522 signatures to his name. Dubko had 36% of the signatures he collected invalidated, the largest number of any of the candidates. In other news, the pro-Russian Slavic Assembly "Belaya Rus" has appealed to the conservative candidates--Dubko, Kebich, Lukashenka and Novikau--to come to some agreement amongst themselves and have only one of them run for president so as not to split the Russian-oriented vote. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Elizabeth Teague and Jan de Weydenthal 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. 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