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No. 103, 1 June 1994
RUSSIA RUSSIAN-US MILITARY EXERCISE POSTPONED. A small-scale, joint Russian-US military exercise, scheduled for July in the Orenburg region of Russia, has been postponed and its venue tentatively shifted to the US. The announcement of the change was made by US Senator Sam Nunn, who is heading a Senate delegation currently visiting Moscow. According to The New York Times and The Washington Post, Nunn attributed the postponement to nationalist opposition in the Russian parliament and objections said to be coming from residents near Totskoye, a training area about 100 miles northwest of Orenburg in the southern Urals, not far from the border with Kazakhstan. The New York Times reported that Nunn, who had been told in Washington that the exercises were "back on course," had been surprised to find how politically charged the issue had become in Russia. Western diplomats were quoted as saying the Russian government had requested the postponement and the US side had agreed. Even shifting the exercises to the US may prove problematic, however. Sergei Yushenkov, chairman of the Russian parliament's Defense Committee, suggested that Moscow could balk at the cost of transporting men and equipment to the US and might ask the US for financial help. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL Inc. KOZYREV ON ARMS SALES, KARABAKH. Meeting with the US Senate delegation, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev complained about what he alleged was the West's attempt to restrict Russian arms sales to third countries; he suggested that such actions were contrary to the spirit of partnership that should rule relations between Russia and the West. Referring to the issue of Russian arms sales to Iran, Interfax on 31 May quoted Kozyrev as saying, "Russia has no intention of unilaterally giving up arms exports to third countries without preliminary consultations with the West. Let's work together on general rules for arms exports." Kozyrev rejected Western charges of "neo-imperialism" on the issue of sending peacekeeping forces to Nagorno-Karabakh and accused the West of trying to drive a wedge between Russia and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) Minsk Group in their efforts to resolve the conflict. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL Inc. NATO HESITANT TO ENDORSE SPECIAL TIES WITH RUSSIA. Reuters on 31 May quoted NATO officials as saying that the alliance is likely to reject Moscow's demands for regularized formal consultations on major security issues and to propose instead a much looser "gentlemen's agreement" that would envision seeking Moscow's views on issues that NATO thought appropriate. The Russian proposals were submitted to NATO during Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev's visit a week earlier. The diplomats said that the alliance was not prepared to commit itself to talks with Russia on the issue of expanding NATO to include Eastern European states. A second Russian demand that NATO is said to be unwilling to accept is Moscow's concept of a hierarchical European security structure that would subordinate NATO to CSCE. Alliance officials view CSCE as unwieldy, and prefer to maintain NATO's autonomy, the report said. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL Inc. RUSSIA, US DETARGET STRATEGIC MISSILES. The US Defense Department announced on 31 May that the US had "detargeted" all its strategic missiles formerly aimed at Russia and other places around the world. The announcement followed by one day similar official statements in Moscow and reflected an effort by both countries to lower the nuclear threshold after the Cold War. The UK has also detargeted its nuclear weapons. Reuters quoted US Pentagon spokeswoman Kathleen de Laski as calling the move a "significant milestone." She pointed out that it is in many ways a symbolic step because the missiles can be quickly retargeted using computers. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL Inc. YELTSIN ENDS VISIT TO TATARSTAN. Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev met with journalists in Kazan on 31 May at the end of Yeltsin's two-day visit to the republic, ITAR-TASS reported. Both agreed that the implementation of the recent treaty between Russia and Tatarstan was their most important bilateral task. A bilateral commission headed by Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets (and not Sergei Shakhrai as Shakhrai has earlier suggested) and the Tatarstan prime minister has been set up to supervise implementation. Yeltsin said it was now time to move towards decentralization on the scale of the whole country, but that the treaties with other republics and regions would not be the same as that with Tatarstan, nor would they necessarily be signed this year. Asked about the possibility of using the Russia-Tatarstan treaty with respect to the CIS countries, Yeltsin said it was too early to talk of that; the model must first be developed within Russia. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL Inc. STATE OF EMERGENCY EXTENDED IN NORTH OSSETIA/INGUSHETIA. The Federation Council approved on 31 May Yeltsin's decree extending the state of emergency in parts of North Ossetia and Ingushetia until 31 July, ITAR-TASS reported. The latest decree extends the state of emergency to a number of villages in the Malgobek and Sunzha raions of Ingushetia. Reports of the extension of the state of emergency to these two raions, parts of which are claimed by Chechnya, aroused a hostile reaction on Chechnya's part, but Movladi Udugov, a spokesman for the Chechen government, said on 31 May that Chechnya agrees that the villages affected are part of Ingushetia and the decree does not pose any immediate threat to Chechnya. Udugov added, however, that Chechnya still thinks the state of emergency is unjustified. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL Inc. CIS CIS OFFICIAL IN CENTRAL ASIA. The executive secretary of the CIS, Ivan Korotchenya, has completed a tour of Central Asia (Turkmenistan excepted), and arrived in Georgia on 31 May, Russian media report. Visiting Almaty on 28 May, Korotchenya met Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, who reportedly agreed to send troops to Abkhazia as part of a CIS peacekeeping force. Korotchenya was quoted as saying that Nazarbaev's Eurasian Union idea would be the main item on the agenda at the CIS summit scheduled for September; Nazarbaev's aides had downplayed the idea after it received little support from other CIS leaders. According to Interfax, Korotchenya also met with UN Deputy Secretary General Marek Goulding in Dushanbe on 29 May; the two held talks on coordinating CIS and UN efforts to resolve the civil conflict in Tajikistan. Goulding, who is in Dushanbe to help prepare the next round of Tajik peace talks this month, invited Korotchenya to New York for discussions on granting the CIS observer status in the UN. Keith Martin, RFE/RL Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA RUSSIAN OFFICER ASSASSINATED IN DUSHANBE. A lieutenant-colonel of the Russian border troops in Tajikistan is the latest victim in a wave of assassinations of prominent persons that has taken place in Dushanbe in recent weeks. Russian and Western news agencies reported on 31 May that Vladimir Borisenkov had been shot on his way to work at the headquarters of the border troops. Other victims in the assassination wave, which Tajik government authorities are blaming on the hard-line opposition, have included Tajik officials and a prominent journalist. On 29 May a Russian border guard was killed in the town of Khorog, capital of Gorno-Badakhshan, which has been a stronghold of the Tajik opposition. Bess Brown, RFE/RL Inc. KAZAKH RESPONSE TO SOLZHENITSYN. When Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's proposals for Russian renewal, including a suggestion that Kazakhstan's borders be redrawn, were first published in the Soviet press, infuriated Kazakhs burned the newspapers. Antagonism to the Russian writer remains high in Kazakh intellectual circles. Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 31 May that activists of the Kazakh-nationalist Azat movement, the influential Kazakh Language Society, and the Republican Party intend to hold demonstrations in Pavlodar if Solzhenitsyn visits that city as planned. A group of well-known Kazakh scholars, including historian Manash Kozybaev and demographer Makash Tatimov, told RL's Kazakh Service the same day that Solzhenitsyn is "an extreme Russian chauvinist." Bess Brown TURKEY SETS UP KARABAKH MONITORING CENTER. Addressing the parliamentary faction of her True Path Party in Ankara on 31 May, Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller stated that Turkey is to establish a logistical center east of Erzerum for international monitors of an eventual Karabakh ceasefire, Reuters reported. Ciller reiterated that CSCE should play a prominent role in monitoring a settlement of the Karabakh conflict. The Turkish government has consistently opposed any attempt by Russia to monopolize peacekeeping in the region. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL Inc. ARMENIA DENIES INVADING NAKHICHEVAN. On 31 May Interfax quoted an Azerbaijan Defense Ministry source as claiming that a contingent of 500 Armenian troops backed by armored vehicles attacked a village in Nakhichevan's Sadarak raion on 30 May, killing four Azerbaijani troops and taking several others hostage. An Armenian spokesman denied the report, which he described as intended to sabotage peace talks (whether Russian- or CSCE-mediated was not specified), and claimed that the situation along the Armenian-Nakhichevan border was quiet. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL Inc. TWO OPPOSITION DEPUTIES EXPELLED FROM AZERBAIJAN PARLIAMENT. On 31 May, at the prompting of Azerbaijan parliament speaker Rasul Guliev, former foreign minister Tofik Gasymov and Azerbaijan Popular Front first deputy chairman Ibrahim Ibrahimly, both of whom had criticized the policies of the Aliev regime, were expelled from parliament by a majority of votes, Interfax reported. Interfax further quoted conflicting predictions by sources reportedly close to Aliev, one of whom stated that the parliament would be dissolved in the immediate future and presidential rule introduced, while the second denied that any such measures would be taken. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL Inc. GEORGIA, ABKHAZIA AT ODDS OVER RETURN OF REFUGEES. The most recent round of the quadrilateral talks in Sochi on the return to Abkhazia of Georgian refugees displaced during last autumn's fighting ended in deadlock on 31 May because of the Abkhaz side's insistence that all potential repatriates sign a declaration that they will abide by the laws of the Republic of Abkhazia, ITAR-TASS reported. Abkhazia had previously demanded that any Georgians who had participated in last year's fighting be barred from returning, and that applications for permission to return be limited to 200 per month. The two sides also disagree on the total number of refugees; Georgia estimates it at 290,000, Abkhazia at no more than 185,000. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL Inc. UZBEKISTAN INCREASES WAGES, PRICES. The Uzbek government announced on 30 May that prices for basic goods and energy will go up by as much as 300 percent, effective 1 June, Interfax reported. As a result, bread and flour prices will triple, while the cost of public transport will double. The announcement was made just three days after Uzbek president Islam Karimov signed a decree increasing wages by an average of 50 percent, also effective 1 June, according to Radio Liberty's Uzbek Service. As a result, the minimum wage is to be fixed at 70,000 som-coupons (Uzbekistan's new currency; officially one US dollar trades for 4000 som-coupons, but the unofficial rate is now over 20,000). Students' stipends and pensions are also being raised. By announcing the wage increases first, the Karimov regime seems to be trying to avoid a repeat of the events of January 1992, when students rioted in Tashkent, initially in response to drastic price hikes; two students were killed during the rioting. Keith Martin, RFE/RL Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE ZUBAK, GANIC ELECTED. On 31 May RFE/RL's South Slavic Language Service reported that the Bosnian parliament had officially voted Bosnian Croat leader Kresimir Zubak president of the Bosnian Muslim-Croat federation, while making Ejup Ganic vice-president. The vote, which provided Zubak and Ganic with a unanimous endorsement, was taken at a special constitutional meeting of the parliament. Zubak and Ganic will hold office for an interim term of six months, when national elections are slated. On 31 May Reuters added that Zubak will not displace Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, who is to "remain at the head of the Bosnian state's collective wartime presidency." In related news, on 31 May AFP reported that the Bosnian parliament took a step to make the federation a functioning reality by formally asking Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic to form a cabinet which will have jurisdiction over both Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Muslim-Croat federation. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL Inc. RENEWED FIGHTING IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA. On 1 June international media report that fighting has erupted between Bosnian Serbs and government forces throughout north and west Bosnia. According to Sarajevo Radio, Serb artillery pounded the northeastern town of Gradacac all day on 31 May. In another development, on 31 May Reuters reported that UN officials suspect that Bosnian Serb troops are responsible for removing a heavy gun from a UN collections depot near the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo. It is hoped that representatives from all three warring sides will attend the 2-3 June talks in Geneva aimed at producing a ceasefire, but Bosnian Serb and Muslim officials have already said they feel that little can be resolved in Geneva. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL Inc. CHURKIN VISITS FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. On 30 May an RFE/RL correspondent reported that Russian envoy Vitaly Churkin left for Ljubljana and Zagreb for meetings with Slovenian and Croat officials. On 31 May Churkin arrived in Belgrade where, according to Tanjug, he met with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic for talks focussing on the prospects for a ceasefire in Bosnia. The state of relations between Zagreb and Croatia's rebel Serbs in the self-proclaimed republic of Krajina was also evidently high on Churkin's list of concerns during his visit throughout former Yugoslavia, and on 1 June Politika covers the Churkin visit under the headline "There is a Possibility that Knin and Zagreb Will Continue Talks." Stan Markotich, RFE/RL Inc. DEMOCRATS SCORE VICTORY IN ALBANIAN ELECTIONS. On 31 May ATA and leading Albanian dailies reported that the Democratic Party scored major victories over the leading opposition Socialist Party of Albania (former communists) in elections held in five of the country's communes. According to Rilindja Demokratike, the DP secured 47% of the vote against 32.7% garnered by the Socialists. Rilindja Demokratike observed that the Democrats' win represented a severe blow to the Socialists' demands which have revolved around calls for early national elections. Zeri i Popullit, the Socialists' main daily, alleged electoral improprieties, but provided no evidence to back its claims. Stan Markotich and Louis Zanga, RFE/RL Inc. ATHENS THREATENS "DRASTIC MEASURES" TO PROTECT ALBANIAN GREEKS. Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias told Western agencies on 31 May that Greece is ready to take "drastic measures" to defend the rights of the Greek minority living in Albania. Speaking to journalists before departing on a trip to Moscow, Papoulias refused to detail the warning, but on the previous day he had mentioned the possibility of Greece closing the border if ethnic Greeks continue to be "persecuted" by Tirana. While Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou in an recent interview ruled out any military action at this stage, a tour by Defense Minister Gerasimos Arsenis to postings at the Greek-Albanian border seemed intended to underline the seriousness of Athens' position. Albania has consistently rejected charges that interrogations and arrests of individual leaders of the ethnic Greek Omonia movement are signs of a less tolerant minority policy and has, for its part, accused Athens of "warmongering" in the southern Balkans. Omonia leader Sotir Qiriazati on 30 May called on both governments to show "maturity" and stop issuing recriminatory statements which only serve to reflect negatively on the situation of Albanian Greeks. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL Inc. SLOVAKIA TO RECEIVE STAND-BY LOAN? On 31 May, during the final day of his visit to Slovakia, the executive director of the IMF Belgian Group, William Kiekens, told TASR that the prospects were good for approval of a stand-by loan for Slovakia by the IMF Board of Directors in mid-July. He noted that his talks with Slovak officials were "very constructive" and called the government program "courageous." The cabinet approved its Memorandum on Economic Policy on 31 May. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL Inc. PINOCHET HOLDS TALKS WITH CZECH ARMS TRADERS. On 31 May Chilean Army Chief and former President General Augusto Pinochet continued his visit to the Czech Republic, beginning negotiations with the private arms trading firm Omnipol, which invited the general to the Czech Republic to discuss the possibility of the Chilean army buying Czech military equipment. Omnipol spokesman Antonin Tomecek said the negotiations with the Chilean military delegation headed by Pinochet are taking place near Prague, CTK reported. Czech officials have refused to receive Pinochet. Although it has been rumored that Pinochet will also visit Slovakia, Slovak officials said on 30 May that they had no knowledge of the trip and that they had not received a visa application, TASR reported. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL Inc. RUSSIA AGREES TO REPAY ITS DEBTS TO THE CZECHS. In negotiations in Prague on the evening of 30 May, Russian and Czech officials reached agreement on the settlement of the Russian debt to the Czech Republic, CTK reports. Czech Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Rudlovcak and Russian First Deputy Finance Minister Andrei Vavilov signed an agreement stating that Russia will pay the Czech Republic the equivalent of $3,500 million. The Czech side wanted Russian oil and gas as payment, but the Russians refused; the Czechs might instead be offered shares in Russian enterprises. Russia will begin paying debts owed to the Czech government in 1996. The final agreements are expected to be signed within three weeks. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL Inc. POLAND PLANS CURRENCY REFORM. The Polish government approved draft legislation on 31 May that would cut four zeros from the national currency, starting 1 January 1995, PAP reports. At current exchange rates, this would make a five-zloty coin worth roughly $2. Five new bank notes--worth 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 zloty--are to replace the sixteen notes now in circulation. The grosz will return as the smallest denomination; one zloty will be worth 100 grosz. The old currency will remain valid for two years as it is gradually withdrawn from circulation. The legislation has an "urgent" tag to ensure speedy consideration by the parliament. The printing of new bank notes is expected to cost 100 billion zloty ($4.5 million) less than would new printings of existing notes. The reform has been in preparation for several years but was repeatedly postponed until inflation is securely under control. Deputy National Bank Chairman Witold Kozinski told reporters that the currency reform is expected to have a deflationary impact. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL Inc. POLISH BROADCASTING COUNCIL TUG-OF-WAR CONTINUES. Citing a recent ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal, President Lech Walesa refused on 31 May to accept the resignation of Ryszard Bender as chairman of the National Broadcasting Council, PAP reports. At the urging of fellow council members, Bender offered to resign only as chairman and not as a member, in order to deny Walesa a chance to appoint a hostile "outsider" to the body. Walesa has been at war with the broadcasting council since it awarded the single national private TV license to the PolSat company owned by Zygmunt Solorz. The president dismissed the council's first chairman, Marek Markiewicz, on 1 March and appointed Bender to take his place on 31 March. The Constitutional Tribunal ruled on 11 May that the president's dismissal of Markiewicz was unlawful. Rather than allow Markiewicz to resume the chairman's position, however, Walesa asserted that the tribunal's ruling does not have retroactive effect. The tribunal may rule on this issue as well. Polish TV reports that all council members will henceforth sign all decisions to avoid potential legal challenges. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL Inc. ENERGY PRICES RISE IN POLAND. Electricity will rise 10% in price and gas, 12% on 1 June, PAP reports. The finance ministry said the price hikes are necessary to cover the increased costs of producing and distributing energy, above all, higher coal prices. The 1994 budget initially planned two price increases for electricity (in sum 23%) and gas (37%), to take place in February and July. After consultations with the trade unions, however, the government revised these plans, opting to impose three increases on a smaller scale. Gas and electricity prices rose 10% in February. Further hikes are planned for September. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL Inc. UDF TO BOYCOTT MOST PARLIAMENTARY SESSIONS. Otechestven vestnik reports that the leadership of the Union of Democratic Forces decided on 31 May that the UDF caucus from now on will not participate in the plenary sessions of parliament unless there is a vote on amendments in the constitution or the election law, or changes in the cabinet. UDF Chairman Filip Dimitrov told a press briefing that the decision of the National Coordinating Council should be regarded as a protest against Prime Minister Lyuben Berov, who the coalition thinks should have stepped down after he failed to garner majority support in two crucial parliamentary votes on 19 and 20 May. Berov's cabinet was then rescued by the parliamentary majority in a narrow confidence vote on 27 May. Dimitrov added that the deputies will continue to participate in the work of parliamentary committees. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL Inc. ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES IMF-LINKED BUDGET. After weeks of debates, the Romanian parliament approved on 31 May an austerity budget for 1994, Radio Bucharest reported on the same day. The budget was passed by a vote of 227 for, 72 against, and 31 abstentions. It was drawn by the minority Party of Social Democracy in Romania government, with advice from the International Monetary Fund. The IMF has made approval of a tight state budget a condition for loans to Romania. The government has also agreed to other IMF suggestions for implementing market reforms. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL Inc. CONTROVERSY OVER NEW ROMANIAN LAW ON EDUCATION. The chairman of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania, Bela Marko, told Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Melescanu that the Hungarian community considers the draft law on education, which has been submitted to parliament, as "unacceptable in its present form" and added that this matter is viewed by the Hungarian community as being of "vital importance" Rompres said on 31 May. The new law will be discussed in parliament next week. Education Minister Liviu Maior obliquely criticized the HDFR position on the law at a press conference on 31 May. He said that "separation" of teaching in Romanian and the languages of the national minorities "had only led to conflicts," Radio Bucharest reports. Two versions of a draft law on the minorities, one submitted by the HDFR and the other by members of other national minorities, will soon be discussed in the legislature. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL Inc. FUNAR DOES IT AGAIN. Romanian Education Minister Liviu Maior has criticized a proposal made by the controversial mayor of Cluj, Gheorghe Funar, to change the name of the city's university and drop all Hungarian references from it, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 31 May. Funar has recently said he wants the Cluj Babes-Bolyai University to be changed into "University of Superior Dacia." Earlier, local authorities in Cluj announced that they plan to remove the statue of Mathias Corvin, a Hungarian medieval king, from the city's main square. The Cluj-based Association for Ethnic Dialogue called these plans "absurd" and warned that such measures could lead to "unpredictable results." Michael Shafir, RFE/RL Inc. DEMIREL IN MOLDOVA. Turkish President Suleiman Demirel is paying an official visit to Moldova from 1 to 3 June, accompanied by a delegation of more than 100 officials and businessmen. The sides are to upgrade their reciprocal diplomatic representation to embassy level and to sign an interstate treaty. Demirel is scheduled to visit the Gagauz region in southern Moldova in the company of President Mircea Snegur. Turkey has exercised a moderating influence on Gagauz leaders in their negotiations with Chisinau for autonomy. Turkish companies represented in Demirel's delegation are exploring investment opportunities in food processing, construction, and telecommunications projects in Moldova. Turkey has also expressed interest in the construction of a highway from Chisinau to the Danube, which would enable Moldova to trade with the outside world via the Black Sea. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc. RUSSIA GIVES LATVIA TEMPORARY MOST FAVORED TRADE STATUS. Sergei Zotov, the head of the Russian delegation negotiating with Latvia, said that from 1 June Russia will give Latvia the status of a most favored nation temporarily, Interfax reported on 31 May. The status was envisioned in bilateral agreements signed in November 1992. It will go fully into effect only if the Latvian parliament ratifies the agreements on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Latvia that were signed by the Latvian and Russian presidents on 31 April 1994. Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Birkavs welcomed the Russian action which he expected to help Latvian industrial enterprises and farmers to sell more goods in Russia. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL Inc. OPINION POLLS IN LITHUANIA. An opinion poll conducted from 11 to 18 May by Baltic Surveys among 1, 178 Lithuanians showed that, although the positive rating of President Algirdas Brazauskas dropped 9 points to 53%, he remained the most popular political figure, BNS reported on 31 May. Leaders of the Center Party, Egidijus Bickauskas and Romualdas Ozolas, both dropping 4 points to 49% and 42%, respectively, were next. Opposition leader Vytautas Landsbergis gained 1 point to 34%. Both parliament chairman Ceslovas Jursenas and Foreign Minister Povilas Gylys dropped 5 points to 30% and 18%, respectively. 51% of the respondents favored the opposition's initiative to hold a referendum on unlawful privatization by the current authorities and compensation of savings, while 24% opposed the initiative. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL Inc. SEVEN CANDIDATES QUALIFY IN BELARUSIAN PRESIDENTIAL RACE. The Belarusian Central Electoral Commission announced that seven candidates succeeded in collecting enough signatures to be placed on the 23 June slate, Belarusian radio reported on 31 May. They were: Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich; former chairman of the Supreme Soviet Stanislau Shushkevich; head of the Republican Union of Collective Farms Aleksandr Dubko; head of the former anti-corruption committee Aleksandr Lukashenka; head of the Belarusian Popular Front Zyanon Paznyak; head of the Party of Popular Accord Henadz Karpenka; and head of the Party of Communists of Belarus Vasil Novikau. Kebich and Karpenka were the only two candidates to collect over 70 signatures from parliamentary deputies. Karpenka was the only one failing to collect 100,000 signatures from the electorate; his tally was 86,000. Moreover, several deputies, who had initially signed up to support Karpenka, announced that they were retracting their support. The Central Electoral Commission has not ruled yet whether the deputies have the right to withdraw their signatures at this late date. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL Inc. NOTICE The RFE/RL Daily Report will not appear Thursday, 2 June 1994 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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