|Wherever there is love, there is peace. - Burmese proverb|
No. 119, 24 June 1994
RUSSIA YELTSIN AT EU SUMMIT. Russian President Boris Yeltsin arrived at the Greek island of Corfu on 23 June to attend sessions of the European Union summit and sign a cooperation agreement long in the works between Russia and the EU. Yeltsin hailed the agreement, which is to be signed on 24 June, as a "document [which] opens new possibilities for the construction of a genuinely integral, prosperous, and safe Europe." Following the signing, Yeltsin will remain in Greece for a short vacation, ITAR-TASS reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA'S EU AGREEMENT. Unlike the association agreements signed with East European countries, Russia's "partnership and cooperation" agreement stops short of setting full EU membership as an eventual goal. (In this, it resembles the accord signed with Ukraine on 14 June.) The agreement lifts some trade barriers, but talks on Russia's inclusion in a free trade zone are set only for 1998, and only on condition that Russia continues market reforms. The agreement declares Russia's economy to be "transitional" rather than state-controlled. Russia agrees to allow EU firms to invest freely and repatriate profits, and to apply to them the same rules used for domestic firms. The banking sector is to be opened gradually to EU participation. The EU agrees to lift quotas on Russian imports (with the exception of steel, textiles, and uranium) and lower tariffs; but imports of "unfairly subsidized or dumped products" can be halted. Russia is given leeway in lifting its tariffs on EU imports, and is permitted to impose temporary quotas if domestic industries are endangered. The EU ran a $4 billion deficit in trade with Russia in 1993. PAP reported that diplomats from Ukraine and other Eastern European countries privately accused the EU of "double standards," as Russia's agreement does not contain a clause specifically requiring the protection of minority rights. Such clauses were included in all EU agreements signed with Eastern states since 11 May 1992. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. CHERNOMYRDIN WRAPS UP PRODUCTIVE US VISIT. Following several days of talks in Washington that included a meeting with President Bill Clinton, on 23 June Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and US Vice President Albert Gore announced the signing of some 22 documents aimed at advancing cooperation between the two governments in a variety of areas. Among the most important of the documents signed were a $10 billion deal to develop and exploit several oil and gas fields off the coast of Sakhalin, an agreement on cooperation in space and the development of a joint space station, and an agreement on the gradual halting of Russian weapons-grade plutonium production. RFE/RL's Washington correspondent reported that Chernomyrdin would also be returning to Moscow with approval of an $820 million World Bank loan and, perhaps of equal importance, with an enhanced personal standing among US leaders. The same report quoted US officials as characterizing Chernomyrdin as an able and persuasive leader; others recognized his importance in Russian politics and the fact that he could one day succeed President Yeltsin. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. VORONTSOV TO BECOME AMBASSADOR TO US. On 23 June, the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee expressed its approval of Yulii Vorontsov as Russia's ambassador to the United States, Interfax reported. (Boris Yeltsin submitted the names of Vorontsov and other prospective ambassadors to the committee for approval. The Russian constitution stipulates that diplomatic personnel are named at the discretion of the president following consultation with the relevant legislative committee.) Vorontsov, currently Russia's permanent representative to the United Nations, was a protege of Anatolii Dobrynin, long-time Soviet ambassador to the United States. Vorontsov served as deputy foreign minister during the Gorbachev period, and since his appointment as ambassador to the UN has simultaneously acted as a special adviser to Boris Yeltsin on foreign policy matters. Vorontsov was mooted as a possible replacement for Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev in 1992, but Russian sources suggested Vorontsov preferred to keep his distance from Moscow politics and remain abroad. The post of Russian ambassador to the US has been vacant since Vladimir Lukin departed in December 1993. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. CONTROVERSY OVER NOMINATION OF COURT CHAIRMAN. A disagreement has arisen between the State Duma and the Council of the Federation of Russia's Federal Assembly over the procedure for nominating the chairman of the Constitutional Court. (The court's activities were suspended by President Yeltsin last year, and the court has not yet started functioning.) A new draft law on the Constitutional Court, approved by the State Duma in its first reading in May, stipulates that the court's chairman is to be elected by judges of the court, but on 23 June the Council of the Federation demanded the right to name the court's chairman, Interfax reported. The State Duma is expected to discuss the proposal of the upper chamber on 24 June. The chairman of the State Duma Committee on Legislation and Judicial Reform, a member of the Communist faction, Vladimir Isakov, told Interfax his committee would recommend that the Duma turns down the proposal. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. SAKHA PRESIDENT SAYS REGIONS AGAINST EXTENDING POWERS OF PARLIAMENT. The President of Sakha (Yakutia) Mikhail Nikolaev and a deputy of the Federation Council told Interfax on 23 June that the republics of the Russian Federation would not support the proposal by the chairman of the Federation Council Vladimir Shumeiko that the life of the present parliament should be extended from two to four years. He said the republics were also against giving the Federation Council the right to adopt federal constitutional laws independently. Nikolaev argued that they should not start talking of amending the constitution when they had hardly begun to work under it. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL BANK REPORT ON UNEMPLOYMENT. The number of unemployed registered by Russian employment agencies increased by 50 percent in 1993, reaching 7.8 million or 10.4 percent of the able-bodied population, according to the Russian Central Bank's report to parliament as cited by Interfax on 22 June. Even so, the bank's report stated, the rate of growth of unemployment was lower than the rate of decline in industrial production. The bank blamed the retention of excess labor for the decline in industrial efficiency. The rate of unemployment is highest in the Ingush republic, and in the Ivanovo, Pskov, Yaroslavl, and Volga-Vyatka regions, with the latter accounting for more than 10 percent of the total of unemployed. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. AGREEMENT ON PLUTONIUM PRODUCTION HALT. The US and Russian governments signed an agreement on 23 June under which the remaining plutonium production reactors at Tomsk and Krasnoyarsk will be shut down. The agreement, announced by Vice President Albert Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin at a press conference in Washington, apparently includes provisions calling for the US to compensate Russia for costs involved in the shutdown. It remains unclear exactly when the plants will be closed, as the reactors also produce heating for neighboring towns and to replace them new power plants will be required. An agreement in principle on the shutdown was reached in March 1994, see the RFE/RL Daily Report of 18 March 1994. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS BLACK SEA FLEET NEGOTIATIONS. ITAR-TASS on 23 June carried a statement issued by the Russian Navy which claimed that recent comments by the commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Vice Admiral Volodymyr Bezkorovainy concerning the "temporary basing" of the Russian portion of the fleet at Sevastopol for 15-20 years represented a "maximalist position" and had prevented further progress in negotiations. The statement expressed the hope that Bezkorovainy's views were "personal" and did not reflect the Ukrainian government's position. Interfax reported on the same day that Ukrainian Defense Minister Vitalii Radetsky had refused to comment on suggestions made by parliamentary speaker and presidential candidate Oleksandr Moroz to the effect that a "unified command" for the fleet might be established. Radetsky noted that it was up to politicians to make agreements, and the military to execute them. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN TROOPS SAID TO STAY IN MOLDOVA FOR THE MONEY. In an interview for Sovetskaya Rossiya, reported by RFE/RL's correspondent on 23 June, "Dniester republic" president Igor Smirnov said that the command and personnel of Russia's 14th Army are keen on staying in Moldova because they receive inordinately high pay in an area of relatively low prices, and would forfeit those advantages by relocating to Russia. Smirnov reaffirmed Tiraspol's readiness to host the 14th Army but also claimed the lion's share of the equipment in the event of the army's withdrawal. Smirnov, a citizen of the Russian Federation, was in Moscow to defend Russian peacemaking at an international conference organized for the purpose by the Russian government. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA CONSIDERS LEASING SARY-SHAGAN TEST SITE. Discussions of a Russian lease of the Sary-Shagan missile test site in Kazakhstan are underway and sources in Dzhezkazgan Oblast, where the huge Sary-Shagan complex is located, have told ITAR-TASS that Kazakhstani authorities will agree to the lease if the Russian side agrees to clean up the site, the news agency reported on 23 June. Fragments of missiles and a variety of pollutants are scattered over some 165,000 square kilometers, and neither local authorities nor those in Almaty have the money to finance a cleanup of the site. Kazakh intellectuals have been deeply disturbed over reports that the Kazakhstani government is negotiating for a long-term Russian lease on the site. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA KARIMOV IN TURKEY. Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov arrived in Turkey on 23 June for an official visit that is to include the signing of a number of cooperation agreements between the two countries, Russian and Western sources reported. Upon arrival Karimov thanked Turkey for its political and financial support, which is reported to have totaled $340 million in credits, loans and humanitarian assistance since Uzbekistan gained independence. Turkish sources noted that there has been a recent cooling of relations between the two countries, with Uzbekistan withdrawing its ambassador after Uzbek opposition leader Muhammad Salih sought asylum in Turkey. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. TAJIK TALKS GOING NOWHERE. Negotiations in Tehran between Tajik government and opposition representatives have been underway since 18 June without producing any positive results that would lead to an end of hostilities in Tajikistan, Russian agencies reported on 23 June. According to opposition sources, the government side has proposed unilateral disarmament of the opposition's armed groups, and the opposition has suggested bilateral disarmament supervised by the UN, CSCE, Russia, Iran, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan. Opposition leader and former head of Tajikistan's Muslims Akbar Turadzhonzoda told Interfax that the opposition side is also demanding legalization of all political parties, the right to publish newspapers, and release of political prisoners. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN UPDATE. Reuters reported on 23 June that Bosnian government forces are closing in on Bihac warlord Fikret Abdic's stronghold of Velika Kladusa. Abdic predicted he would hold off the attackers, but added that "the number of victims will be horrific." Meanwhile, UNPROFOR headquarters said it is having difficulties contacting Bosnian Serb commanders and does not expect the meeting of military leaders slated for 25 June to come off. Elsewhere in Sarajevo, the Bosnian parliament, acting in its capacity as interim parliament for the new Croat-Muslim federation, approved the new government that will formally assume power once an overall Bosnian settlement is reached. Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic told legislators, however, that the Serbs are not ready for peace and so the Muslims and Croats must be prepared for war. Finally, the Bosnian army and the Croat militia are expected to sign an agreement on 24 June to withdraw their respective forces from their former battle lines. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. IS A NEW WAR IN THE OFFING IN CROATIA? The Washington Post on 24 June runs an article suggesting that Croatia and the Balkans stand on the brink of a major conflict that could go beyond the scope of the previous clashes in the Wars of the Yugoslav Succession. It could well break out in the Serb-held areas of Croatia, since, as one diplomat put it, the Serbs "simply are not interested in negotiations." US Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith noted that he considers "war a very real danger. If there is another Serb-Croat war, it is going to be unlike what we've seen so far. It could escalate to air raids on cities, rocket attacks, and large-scale tank and artillery assaults. Such a war could lead to the direct involvement of the [rump] Yugoslav army. It is precisely such a catastrophe that our negotiating efforts have sought to forestall." Meanwhile on 23 June, Reuters reported that the UN accused the Serb rebels of "a clear and direct violation of the March 19 cease-fire agreement" by bringing troops into a buffer zone. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. SERBIAN MINISTER WARNS OF INFLATION. On 24 June Politika reports under the headline: "Government of Serbia Is Not For Increasing the Price of Wheat," that Serbia's Agriculture Minister Ivko Djonovic has said for the record that state compensation to farmers for their grain surpluses should remain relatively modest. Djonovic cautioned that government expenditures on agricultural purchases should not exceed federal spending targets projected last March, hinting that any such increases may help drive up prices for other commodities, an eventuality that could in turn result in the destabilization of the dinar. Djonovic's remarks appear to signal that rump Yugoslav authorities may be concerned about having to brace for another bout of hyperinflation. Belgrade is preparing to compensate farmers with a gold-coin currency, which is to have its value pegged to the price of gold on world markets. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. BELARUS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. On 23 June about 79% of eligible voters participated in the presidential elections. The expectations that no one would win since there were six candidates proved true. Preliminary election results indicate that the clear leader was Alyaksandr Lukashenka, former chairman of the parliamentary anti-corruption commission, who received about 45% of the votes, the RFE/RL Belarusian Service reports. In the second round on either 7, 10, or 17 July he will face Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich who won about 17% of the votes. Popular Front Chairman Zyanon Paznyak was third with 13%, followed by former parliament chairman Stanislau Shushkevich with 10%, Agrarian Party Chairman Alyaksandr Dubko with 6%, and Belarus Communist Party Central Committee secretary Vasil' Novikau with 5%. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH SEJM DEBATES ECONOMIC POLICY. The long-term economic strategy drafted by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Grzegorz Kolodko received a lukewarm reception during Sejm debate on 23 June. The Freedom Union was clearly torn between applauding the promarket goals reflected in the program and criticizing the "wishful thinking" or "hypocrisy" they seemed to reveal, given the coalition's past election promises and current spending practices. Leftist deputies, both from the coalition and the Labor Union (the loyal opposition), also showed mixed feelings, criticizing Kolodko's apparent determination to give priority to reducing inflation (to under 10% in 1997) rather than unemployment (from 16% to 14% in 1997). The mood was calmer, however, than when Kolodko first presented his program; on 9 June the opposition staged a walkout when the coalition voted to hold the debate only after the local elections. Kolodko appealed to the opposition parties to help build a broad national consensus behind the program. The Sejm voted, 244 to 87 with 13 abstentions, to approve the program on 24 June, PAP reports. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH ECONOMY ROLLS ON. Statistics on Poland's economic performance in May suggest that the absence of wage controls has not prompted a surge in salaries, PAP reports. Gross wages rose only 0.1% from April to May; net real wages dropped 1.8%. Moreover, the Main Statistical Office reported on 22 June that wages generally rose only in firms that would be unaffected by wage control legislation awaiting the president's signature. Economic growth remained strong: industrial production was up 11.5% over May 1993 and 1.9% higher than in April 1994. Enterprise finances continued to improve, and the contribution of the private sector to total turnover rose from 29.4% a year ago to 33.6% in May. Prices rose 1.9% in May, down from the disturbing 2.9% reported in April. Unemployment continued to decline from its peak of 16.1% in February, reaching 15.5% in May. Poland's trade balance, though still negative, improved as well; the deficit dropped from $1.4 billion a year ago to $885 million in April. Exports grew 12.2% in the first fourth months of 1994, while imports were up only 0.5%. Five months into 1994, the budget deficit amounts to only 21.2% of the sum planned for the entire year. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT DEBT FAILED TO ATTRACT INVESTORS. MTI reported on 21 June that a 10 billion forint, or $100 million, domestic government debt issue package drew only about 20% of the total. The financial setback came just weeks after Hungary's first forint-nominated debt issue for foreigners also failed to attract investors, indicating the magnitude of the financial problems the new Socialist-Liberal coalition government will face. Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc. NATO PROJECT IN EX-SOVIET BASE IN HUNGARY. NATO scientists proposed during a three-day meeting in Budapest that a former Soviet army base in Komarom, in northern Hungary, be used to test ways of cleaning up environmental damage left behind by Soviet troops, Western media reported on 20 June. The coordinator of the project on behalf of a NATO science committee advisory panel, Peter Richter, said that the Komarom base will be used as a testing ground for new technologies to help clean up such bases in a cheaper, faster, and safer way. The project is expected to cost between $1 to 2 million, and will be managed by Hungary's National Technological Development Committee. The meeting marks the first time NATO scientists have met in a former East bloc state now eager to build stronger ties to NATO. Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK PREMIER ON DIVISION OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA. Speaking at a press conference in Bratislava on 23 June, Slovak Premier Jozef Moravcik said that the division of Czechoslovakia is "only temporary" in that both the Czech Republic and Slovakia will probably become members of the European Union by the year 2000 and "will again have the closest possible contacts." Moravcik pointed out that before the parliamentary elections in June 1992, no Slovak political group, with the exception of the Slovak National Party, had advocated the split of Czechoslovakia and that more than half of Slovak citizens had been opposed to a split. According to Moravcik, the division was a compromise solution to "the permanent crisis" caused by endless Czech-Slovak debates on the forms of future coexistence. He said that the Czechoslovak federation was built on the principles of "communist federalism" and, as a result, Czech-Slovak relations were unhealthy. The premier emphasized that he himself voted for the split. Moravcik defended the need for building Slovak national identity but, at the same time, strongly advocated Slovakia's future EU membership and closer Czech-Slovak cooperation based on European values. The fact that both states will be part of "the great European community" will not undermine their national identity, said the premier. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. FOREIGN OWNERSHIP OF CZECH PRESS. According to a survey published by the Czech daily Denni Telegraf on 23 June, more than 50% of the Czech press is currently owned by foreign companies. Foreign media companies with the biggest share of the Czech media market are Ringier of Switzerland, which has a majority share in Lidove Noviny and several other periodicals; Socpresse of France which backs Mlada Fronta Dnes and several regional newspapers; and Passauer Neuer Presse of Germany, which controls a majority of regional newspapers. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. CZECH REPUBLIC SUFFERS DECLINE IN FOREIGN INVESTMENT. According to the 20 June issue of the Journal of Commerce, the Czech Republic suffered a 43% decline in direct investment by foreign firms in 1993. Quoting a report of the Czech National Bank, the paper said that the plunge from $1 billion in 1992 to $568 million in 1993 places the Czech Republic third in the region behind Hungary and Poland. Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc. ZHELEV APPROVES CHANGES IN PRIVATIZATION LAW. On 23 June President Zhelyu Zhelev formally approved a series of amendments to the law on privatization, paving the way for ordinary citizens to participate in the selling off of state enterprises. The mass privatization scheme, as elaborated by a team under Prime Minister Lyuben Berov, is widely regarded to have significant weaknesses, but Zhelev said he signed the law because its implementation will be of critical importance for the country's further economic development. Addressing a press conference together with Czech President Vaclav Havel, who is on a one-day visit to Sofia, he spoke of the need to benefit from the rich experience of the Czech Republic, since that country was the first to launch a mass privatization program based on vouchers. Elsewhere in Sofia, the Czech minister of National Economics and Privatization held a lecture in which he emphasized that privatization needs to take place quickly even if this means the prices of companies will not reflect their real value. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. COUNCIL OF EUROPE MEMORANDUM STIRS CONTROVERSY IN BULGARIA. A memorandum discussing Bulgaria's fulfillment of its obligations under Council of Europe conventions and agreements has been received very differently by the country's leading political parties, BTA reported on 23 June. The parliamentary Committee of Foreign Policy, which is dominated by the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, issued a statement stressing that, while Bulgaria's transition to democratic rule has prompted "serious problems," these do not constitute a violation of the country's commitments as a member of the CE. The committee specifically rejected criticism of the recently adopted law on the judiciary--which contains a requirement that all top jurists need to have served five years as judges or prosecutors--and said the memorandum reflects exclusively the views of the opposition. In protest, the deputies of the Union of Democratic Forces demonstratively walked out of the proceedings. Later, UDF representatives to the CE met and issued a separate statement in which they explicitly agreed with the observations of the memorandum. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN OPPOSITION FILES NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION. Romania's main opposition parties announced on 23 June that they had formally filed a motion of censure in Nicolae Vacaroiu's left-wing minority cabinet. The motion was presented by the Democratic Convention of Romania, the country's main opposition alliance. It charges the government with corruption and worsening the economic crisis. The motion will probably be debated during a joint session of the two-house parliament on 27 June. In a separate development, opposition leaders rejected an offer by the president's office to discuss a campaign to impeach President Ion Iliescu for alleged violation of judicial independence on property disputes. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES PASSES EDUCATION BILL. Radio Bucharest reported on 23 June that the Chamber of Deputies approved the draft of a new education bill by a 206-39-16 vote. The Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania, which feels that the law discriminates against ethnic minorities, voted against it. They were supported by deputies from the Liberal Party 1993 and by some members of the Parliamentary Group of National Minorities (other than the Magyar one). The ultra-nationalist Party of Romanian National Unity expressed satisfaction with the new law and the vote's outcome. The law still has to be approved by the Senate. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN INDEPENDENT TV STATION SHUTS DOWN. Soti TV, Romania's first independent TV station, shut down after 30 months of operation, Western media reported on 23 June. Soti managers said the main reasons for the closure are financial woes, including a lack of advertising revenues, as well as competition from a number of private satellite TV systems and red-tape restrictions imposed by the National Audio-Visual Committee. Soti was generally seen as an opposition voice in competition with the pro-government national TV programs. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. EUROPEAN UNION TOWARD CLOSER TIES WITH BALTICS. On 22 June the Executive Commission of the European Union signed in Brussels a preliminary free trade accord with Latvia, BNS reported. The commission said it expects to finalize the agreement with Latvia by 1 January on setting up a free trade zone for industrial goods within four years. During those years, Latvian products will freely enter the 12-nation trade grouping. Latvia may retain some export and import restrictions on some industrial products and farm goods. Furthermore, negotiations with Estonia on establishing a free trade zone there by 31 December are nearing completion. That would overcome a difficulty created by Finland's plans to join the EU on 1 January, as Finland already has a free trade accord with Estonia. These agreements are part of a wider EU effort to expand links and improve relations with the formerly communist-dominated states of Eastern Europe. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. LITHUANIAN PRIME MINISTER'S PRESS CONFERENCE. On 23 June Adolfas Slezevicius noted that the free trade agreement with the EU that Lithuania would initial on 27 June would actually be more like a most favored nation trade agreement, the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service reports. Lithuania would impose duties on some imports from the EU which in turn would impose quotas for some Lithuanian exports. He noted that his new government program would be presented to the Seimas next week. The program would not differ substantially from his previous program although more attention would be paid to the "family and woman, youth, and national minorities." In an effort to increase foreign investment he would recommend that the constitution be amended to allow foreigners to purchase land in Lithuania. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINE TO VOTE FOR PRESIDENT ON 26 JUNE. On 26 June seven candidates will compete in elections for Ukraine's president. It appears likely that no one will win a majority so that a second round will be held on 10 July between the two top finishers. According to all polls they are likely to be President Leonid Kravchuk and former Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma. The other candidates are president of the Center for Market Reforms in Kiev Volodymyr Lanovyi, parliament chairman Oleksandr Moroz, former parliament chairman Ivan Pliusch, president of the Ukraine Financial Group stock company Valerii Babych, and Minister of Education Pyor Talanchuk. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINE'S FOREIGN DEBT IS $6 BILLION. Deputy Finance Minister Boris Sobolev reported that his country's debts to Western creditors and former Soviet republics is $6 billion, Interfax said on 22 June. The debts to CIS countries slightly exceeds $4.3 billion. While the debts to the West are repaid on time, those to the CIS countries are not repaid regularly, in part due to problems in settling the division of former Soviet Union assets and liabilities. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. 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