When in doubt, tell the truth. - Mark Twain
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 120, 27 June 1994

                              RUSSIA

BOTH HOUSES APPROVE 1994 BUDGET. In a fourth ballot on 24 June,
the State Duma finally mustered the majority required to pass the
Russian budget for 1994, Interfax reported. The vote was 277 to
80, with 8 abstentions. A few hours later, the Federation Council
voted, 100 to 19, to give the budget final approval. The
Federation Council opted to forego debate or any attempt to amend,
despite earlier threats to raise defense spending from 40 trillion
to 55 trillion rubles, as military lobbies had urged. The budget
now needs only President Boris Yeltsin's signature to take force.
As proposed by the finance ministry, the budget plans revenues of
124.4 trillion rubles ($65 trillion) and spending of 194.4
trillion rubles ($102 billion). The deficit of 70 trillion rubles
($37 billion) amounts to 36% of spending and 9.6% of GDP. Many
proreform deputies, including Grigorii Yavlinsky's Yabloko
faction, voted against the budget, on the grounds that its revenue
and spending targets are impossible to achieve. Only 10% of the
taxes due in the first half of 1994 have been collected, Yavlinsky
said, making revenue plans for the year "completely unrealistic."
Egor Gaidar's Russia's Choice, however, reversed its stance and
voted for the budget on 24 June, arguing that there is no hope
that the parliament, as currently constituted, can produce a
better budget. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

DUMA ADOPTS LAW ON CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. The Russian State Duma
adopted a law on the functioning of the Constitutional Court, an
RFE/RL correspondent reported from Moscow on 24 June. The court's
chief mandate is to decide whether federal laws, parliamentary
acts, and presidential decrees conform with the Russian
constitution. The new law says the Constitutional Court will
include 19 judges appointed by the Federation Council on the
recommendation of the Russian president. The Federation Council
also demands the right to appoint the court's chairman, but the
law stipulates that the chairman is elected by the judges. The new
law gives the court far fewer rights than did the previous law on
the Constitutional Court. (The earlier court and law were
suspended by President Yeltsin in the fall of 1993.) Vera Tolz,
RFE/RL, Inc

FIGHT OVER ORGANIZED CRIME MEASURES AND ANTI-CORRUPTION
LEGISLATION. Yeltsin's decree on combating organized crime
violates both the Russian Constitution and the Criminal Code,
Chairman of the Presidential Human Rights Committee Sergei Kovalev
told Izvestiya on 24 June. The decree, which was prepared by the
Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK) and the MVD, gives to
law enforcement agencies very broad prerogatives, including the
right to detain suspects for up to 30 days without making formal
charges and the right to search commercial and private premises.
Moskovskie novosti, Izvestiya, Nezavisimaya gazeta, and Russian
television on 24 and 25 June all criticized Yeltsin's decree.
Deputy MVD Minister Mikhail Egorov said however that the decree
will be implemented despite the fact it was suspended by the
Russian parliament last week. Meanwhile, Boris Yeltsin, in his
turn, is suspending the anti-corruption legislation prepared by
the Russian parliament. In his letter to Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin,
Yeltsin complained that the anti-corruption law was unusually
broad. One of the main provisions of the law is the mandatory
declaration of income by civil servants.  Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL,
Inc.

RUSSIAN TROOPS MARCH IN BERLIN. Some 1,500 Russian troops marched
through the streets of Berlin on 25 June before what was described
by Reuters as an unexpectedly large and enthusiastic crowd of
40,000. The event, marking the withdrawal of the Russian troops
from Germany, followed by one week a ceremony for departing
Western troops. Russian forces had originally hoped to take part
in a common ceremony with allied troops, and the refusal of
Western leaders to support that proposal left many of the Russians
bitter. Western agencies reported that the Russian ceremony had a
more martial air than the allied ceremony that preceded it; the
procession was said to have included scores of anti-aircraft
batteries and small tanks. The last of the Russian troops are to
leave Germany in September.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

INDIAN PRIME MINISTER TO RUSSIA. AFP reported on 27 June that
talks on defense cooperation would be high on the agenda during a
visit to Russia by Indian Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao. He is
scheduled to arrive in Moscow on 29 June. India's Minister of
State for External Affairs, R.L. Bhatia, who will accompany Rao,
was quoted as saying that "India has been quite dependent on
Russia for defense material" and that the visit "will be an
occasion to discuss spare parts that India needs urgently." Bhatia
also noted that India had once been one of the USSR's closest
allies and suggested that it would be in Moscow's interest to once
again balance its foreign policy between East and West. AFP
reported that although shipment of spare parts to India has
resumed, New Delhi hopes that delivery can be accelerated. The
issue of India's accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
remains one of area of possible tension between the two countries;
Russia would like India to sign the Treaty but, Bhatia said, India
intends to indicate firmly that it considers the Treaty to
discriminate between nuclear haves and have-nots.  Stephen Foye,
RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA DENIES CHEMICAL WEAPONS CHARGE. Reuters reported on 24 June
that US Secretary of State Warren Christopher had been told by
Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin that there was "no
chemical weapons development going on in Russia." The denial was
in reaction to a report published in the New York Times on 23
June, and congressional testimony by CIA Director James Woolsey on
the same day, suggesting that "contradictions" in Russian data on
chemical weapons raised suspicions that development of binary
chemical weapons was continuing. On 24 June ITAR-TASS quoted a
"highly placed" Russian Foreign Ministry official who criticized
"public polemics over unclear questions" and noted that Russia
also "has serious questions" about US data. The diplomat expressed
hope that these would be addressed at a joint US-Russian meeting
on the issue.  John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

                               CIS

RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS DEPLOYED ALONG INGURI RIVER. Following the
clearance by Russian engineers of mines from the banks of the
Inguri river, which marks the frontier between Abkhazia and the
rest of Georgia, the setting up of control points on the Inguri
bridge to monitor the return of Georgian refugees to their homes
in Abkhazia, and the introduction of a curfew in the 12-kilometer
security zone, two battalions of Russian troops began taking up
their positions in the security zone on 24 June, Interfax and
Western agencies reported. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Boris
Pastukhov, who discussed the peacekeeping operation and the
prospects for a political settlement of the conflict with Abkhaz
parliament chairman Vladislav Ardzinba on 24 June, told AFP on 26
June that both Georgian and Abkhaz troops and heavy artillery were
already being withdrawn from the buffer zone; intermittent
skirmishing continues, however, in the Kodori gorge in
north-eastern Abkhazia, where a UN monitor recently came under
artillery fire.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

ARMENIAN OUTMIGRATION TO RUSSIA. Some 10,000 Armenians have
registered with the Russian Embassy in Erevan as wishing to apply
for Russian citizenship as a preliminary to emigrating to the
Russian Federation, Russian Ambassador Vladimir Stupishin told
Interfax on 24 June. Of Armenia's total population (over three
million), an estimated 20 percent have left the country over the
past two years to escape economic hardship.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL,
Inc.

RUSSIAN-MOLDOVAN AGREEMENT ON INTELLIGENCE. The head of Russia's
Federal Counterintelligence Service, Sergei Stepashin, and
Moldova's National Security Minister, Vasile Calmoi, signed on 24
June in Chisinau an agreement for cooperation among the two
agencies in sharing information, preventing illegal migration
westwards across their countries, and combating cross-border crime
including smuggling, terrorism, and arms and drug trafficking. The
two agencies shall also refrain from using force or subversion
against each other, Basapress, Interfax, and ITAR-TASS reported.
Stepashin said at a news briefing that "the very signing of the
agreement proves" that Russia plans no hostile acts against
Moldova and that it recognizes its independence and territorial
integrity; and added that his agency will, "within its legal
competency, contribute to a peaceful resolution of the Dniester
conflict." Stepashin also met separately with President Mircea
Snegur and with Lt.-General Aleksandr Lebed, commander of Russia's
14th Army. Moldova has had a comparable agreement with Ukraine
since 1993.  Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN-IRANIAN TALKS ON KARABAKH. Russian special envoy for the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict Vladimir Kazimirov held talks in Tehran
on 25 June with senior Iranian foreign minister official Morteza
Banq on the rival Russian and CSCE Karabakh peace plans, ITAR-TASS
reported. The Iranian side reportedly approved Russia's peace
initiative as "close to the requirements of reality." Also on 25
June, Kazimirov met in Baku with Azerbaijani President Heidar
Aliev, who continues to insist on unifying the attempts of Russia,
the CSCE, Iran, and Turkey in the search for a solution to the
Karabakh conflict. Meanwhile Russian President Boris Yeltsin's
request on 23 June on the eve of the EU summit in Corfu for an
endorsement of CIS peacekeeeping activities under the aegis of the
UN was rejected, according to AFP of 24 June.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL,
Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

GEORGIAN CP REVIVED. The founding congress of the renewed Georgian
Communist Party (not to be confused with either the Georgian
Communist Workers' Party or the Alliance of Communists of Georgia)
took place in Tbilisi on 25 June, Interfax reported. Its leader is
Major-General Panteleimon Giorgadze, father of Georgian Minister
of National Security, Igor Giorgadze. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

TAJIK TALKS ENDING WITHOUT AGREEMENT. Talks in Tehran between
representatives of the Tajik government and the Tajik opposition
in exile headed into their last day on 27 June with little
prospect of even an agreement on a temporary ceasefire being
reached, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 June. Representatives of the two
sides at the talks, the second round of negotiations between the
Tajik government and opposition aimed at ending fighting within
Tajikistan and also on the Tajik-Afghan border, blamed each other
for the lack of progress. A Russian observer told ITAR-TASS that
the opposition might drop its insistence that a ceasefire be
coupled with an amnesty for political prisoners and restoration of
a free press and the rights of political parties.  Bess Brown,
RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

PRELIMINARY ELECTION RESULTS IN UKRAINE. Early results in
Ukraine's presidential elections suggest that President Leonid
Kravchuk and former Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma will compete for
office in the second round on 10 July. According to Interfax and
the independent Ukrainian press agency "Haryacha Liniya," voter
participation ranged from a high of 95.7% in Ivano-Frankivsk
oblast to 66.5% in Crimea. In all, 69% of the electorate (or 25.8
million people) cast ballots. Kravchuk did well in western
Ukraine, where he received 82% of the vote in Ternopil oblast and
70% in Rovno. As expected, Kuchma fared better in eastern Ukraine
and Crimea; in Crimea, he won 82.5% of the vote while Kravchuk
received only 7.4%. In Kiev, preliminary results show Kravchuk
leading with 42%, followed by Volodymyr Lanovy, with 26%; Kuchma,
19%; and Oleksandr Moroz, 8%. The remaining 5% went to the other
three candidates: Valerii Babich, Ivan Plyushch, and Petro
Talanchuk. Runoff elections are to be held if, as is anticipated,
no candidate wins 50% in the first round. Citing preliminary
results, ITAR-TASS reports that Kravchuk has finished ahead of
Kuchma, "with a minimal lead." PAP reports from Kiev that Lanovy
appears to have played a significant role, finishing second in
many regions to either Kravchuk or Kuchma but too far behind
overall to qualify for the second round.  Ustina Markus and Louisa
Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUSIANS CHOOSE COMMUNIST MAVERICK. Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who
seems set to defeat prime minister Vyacheslau Kebich two weeks
from now in Belarus's presidential runoff election, has at least a
three-year record of rocking the political establishment. In June
1991, on the eve of the failed Soviet coup, he openly denounced
the Belarusian Communist Party leadership for being out of touch
with the people and attempted to launch a "reform" movement within
the CP. One year ago, Kebich's government encouraged Lukashenka to
turn his crusading zeal against then head of state Stanislau
Shushkevich, with the result that Shushkevich was removed from the
post of Supreme Council chairman last January. Lukashenka then
"got out of control," as one Belarusian newspaper has written, and
directed his attacks against the prime minister and dozens of his
ministers and officials. Lukashenka has been a leading member of
the procommunist and pro-Russian "Belarus" faction in parliament.
Kathy Mihalisko, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN COALITION PACT SIGNED, CABINET CHOSEN. MTI reported on
24 June that the Hungarian Socialist Party (HSP) and the Alliance
of Free Democrats (AFD) had signed a government coalition
agreement after three weeks of negotiations. They also agreed on
the makeup of the 14-member government. HSP Chairman Gyula Horn,
62, whose party received 53% of the votes in the general
elections, will be prime minister. The newly created post of
deputy prime minister goes to the AFD's Gabor Kuncze, 44, his
party's candidate for prime minister. Kuncze will also have the
important interior minister job. Two additional ministries,
transportation and education, will also be headed by the AFD; the
HSP gets the rest. The HSP's Laszlo Bekesi, 52, will head the
ministry of finance. Bekesi held the same post in the reform
communist government headed by Miklos Nemeth in 1989-1990. The
congresses of both parties ratified the coalition agreement on 26
June. The parties also agreed to replace the head of the National
Bank of Hungary, the respected Peter Akos Bod, who was a Hungarian
Democratic Forum official. "The time has come that instead of
divisive opposition and past grievances, we turn our attention to
the future and to common goals," said Horn, commenting on the
coalition agreement. AFD Chairman Ivan Peto hailed the agreement
as a good one for his party, which received about 20% of the vote
and said that the AFD's liberal economic ideas survived the
coalition negotiations. The new government is expected to be in
operation by mid-July.  Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc.

GERMAN PRESIDENT MAKES FAREWELL VISIT TO POLAND. In a gesture
meant to underline the reconciliation achieved between Germany and
Poland since 1989, German President Richard von Weizsaecker chose
Warsaw as the destination for his final foreign visit before
leaving office on 1 July. Von Weizsaecker presented President Lech
Walesa with the highest German order on 25 June; Walesa
reciprocated. Walesa thanked von Weizsaecker for promoting
friendly cooperation with Poland from the start of its democratic
transition. Von Weizsaecker thanked Poland for spearheading the
liberation of Europe. Speaking at a Warsaw conference on a "New
Germany in a New World," von Weizsaecker argued that close
cooperation among Germany, France, and Poland is the key to
European security. Germany wishes to take a "pioneering" role in
expanding the EU to encompass new states, including Poland. German
TV reports that von Weizsaecker's successor, Roman Herzog, may
make Poland the destination for his first foreign visit, to mark
the Warsaw Uprising. The chairman of a Polish-German government
commission predicted on 24 June that German investment in Poland
will surge from the current total of $370 million to $800 million
in 1994, PAP reports. Although Germany is Poland's largest trading
partner, it ranks only fourth or fifth in terms of investment. A
stable legal framework is expected to encourage a new flood of
capital this year.  Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

SHAKE-UP IN POLISH FINANCE MINISTRY. Citing well-informed
government sources, PAP reports that Finance Minister Grzegorz
Kolodko plans to remove two veteran deputy finance ministers from
their posts. Deputy Minister Henryk Chmielak confirmed on 24 June
that he intends to leave for new job in the business world.
Chmielak ran the ministry after Marek Borowski resigned in March.
More important, rumors swept Warsaw on 24 June that Wojciech
Misiag, the deputy minister with chief responsibility for drafting
the annual budget, will also be ousted. Misiag is the last
high-ranking official at the finance ministry who dates from the
era of economic reform architect Leszek Balcerowicz. His
number-crunching skills are legendary. (Former Labor Minister
Jacek Kuron once noted that Misiag "talks about taxes the way
Baudelaire talks about women.") Gazeta Wyborcza commented on 25
June that "the ease with which [Prime Minister Waldemar] Pawlak's
team disposes of the best professionals at every level of the
government and ministerial administration prompts amazement and
dismay." Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

STORM OVER SKUBISZEWSKI IN SEJM. "A scandal without precedent" and
"an unacceptable act of political revenge" was how the opposition
Freedom Union described the work of a Sejm subcommittee set up to
review the hiring practices of Foreign Affairs Minister Krzysztof
Skubiszewski in 1989-93. The subcommittee, formed at the urging of
postcommunist deputies, presented its report, along with a
controversial addendum, to the Sejm's foreign affairs committee on
22 June. The addendum is a compilation of anonymous grievances
from communist-era ministry employees who charge Skubiszewski with
conducting "purges" in a "Stalinist style," PAP reports. After
stormy debate, the foreign affairs committee voted to suppress the
addendum but accept the report, which charges Skubiszewski with
selecting subordinates on the basis of acquaintance rather than
professional criteria. The subcommittee's work reflects the
postcommunist parties' attempt to relativize communist rule by
suggesting that four years of Solidarity governments offered more
of the same, or even worse. Foreign Affairs Minister Andrzej
Olechowski called the report "unpleasant and shameful." In an
alarmed letter to Olechowski on 23 June, President Lech Walesa
expressed his "unwavering trust" in both the foreign minister and
the entire diplomatic corps. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAKIA SIGNS DEBT AGREEMENT WITH RUSSIA. On 24 June Slovak
Deputy Premier Brigita Schmoegnerova returned from Moscow
following the signing of an agreement with her Russian counterpart
Yuri Yarov to settle the former Soviet Union's debts to Slovakia.
The governmental debt to Slovakia totals $1.6 billion, while the
debt of enterprises will be set only after Slovak and Czech claims
are clarified in bilateral discussions. Schmoegnerova said that
many products manufactured in Slovakia were sold to the Soviet
Union by foreign trade companies based in Prague, and the Czech
Republic now claims debts resulting from these sales which Russia
agreed to repay in a recent agreement with the Czech Republic.
Schmoegnerova said that Slovak-Czech talks should be held as soon
as possible to discuss the approximately $140 million which should
allegedly be paid to Slovak rather than to Czech firms. Slovakia
and Russia also signed an agreement to eliminate double taxation,
TASR reported. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK CABINET MARKS FIRST HUNDRED DAYS IN OFFICE. On the occasion
of the present government's first 100 days in office, the Slovak
TV program Kroky featured a debate between the chairmen of
Slovakia's political parties on 26 June. Premier and Democratic
Union Chairman Jozef Moravcik noted that in 100 days his
government has shown that it is possible to solve basic social
problems within the framework of parliamentary democracy. Moravcik
stressed the importance of solving the problems of the ethnic
minorities in Slovakia and promoting greater cooperation with
Hungary. He also encouraged the ethnic Hungarian parties to
cooperate with their Slovak counterparts rather than to focus on
minority issues. He noted the difficult economic situation his
cabinet faced upon taking office, which he blamed on the previous
government's policies. Movement for a Democratic Slovakia Chairman
and former Premier Vladimir Meciar characterized the present
coalition government as "an experiment" that is not sustainable,
claiming it came to power in a parliamentary putsch. He said it
would take a year to repair the present government's mistakes.
Moravcik responded by calling Meciar's statements "typical Meciar.
Three lies can be found in each word." Slovak National Party
Chairman Jan Slota also took part in the debate, criticizing the
present government's economic policies and arguing that the ethnic
Hungarian parties, rather than the SNP, are extremist. Sharon
Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH PREMIER REJECTS CESKY DENIK CHARGES. Czech Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus reacted angrily to accusations published in Cesky
Denik on 23 June that a former KGB agent is among his closest
friends. The charges appeared in an article by Josef Kudlacek, the
daily's publisher, who has recently founded a political party
strongly opposed to Klaus's Civic Democratic Party. Kudlacek
alleged that former Czech intelligence agent Karel Koecher, who in
1985 was convicted in the US on charges of spying against CIA and
later exchanged for Anatolii Scharanski, is among Klaus's best
friends. Kudlacek further wrote that Klaus has close ties to
Fidelius Schlee, a newspaper publisher, alleging that the two men
are jointly involved in a luxury construction project in
Switzerland. Kudlacek also wrote that two top Czech politicians,
whose identities he would not reveal, are KGB agents. In a reply
to Kudlacek published in Cesky Denik on 25 June, Klaus noted he
had never spoken with Koecher, his former colleague at the
Institute of Forecasting, and he termed as "a lie" the allegations
of close contacts between him and Schlee. "The assertions of Mr.
Kudlacek are so absurd and patently senseless that it almost makes
no sense to challenge them," wrote the premier. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL,
Inc.

HAVEL ON NATO. In his regular radio address Czech President Vaclav
Havel said on 26 June that NATO-Russian cooperation is inevitable
and in the world's best interests, but he praised Western nations
for not giving Russia special status within NATO's Partnership for
Peace plan. Havel said Moscow should not feel threatened by NATO's
possible expansion, "which would expand the zone of democracy and
peace." He rejected as "almost senseless" the idea of Russian
membership in NATO.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

ETHNIC HUNGARIANS PROTEST IN CLUJ. Several thousand ethnic
Hungarians staged a demonstration in the Romanian city of Cluj on
24 June to protest plans by the city's nationalist mayor, Gheorghe
Funar, to conduct archeological digs at the site of a monument to
a medieval Hungarian king, Western agencies report. The ethnic
Hungarians fear that the excavations are a pretext to remove the
statue of King Mathias permanently. The tension over the statue is
only the latest in a series conflicts between the Hungarian
minority, which comprises roughly one-fourth of the population of
Cluj, and the city's mayor. A spokesman for President Ion Iliescu
told reporters on 24 June that the president wants a peaceful
solution to the ethnic tension in Cluj but dismissed the dispute
over the planned excavation as "artificial." Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL, Inc.

BOSNIA CEASE-FIRE TALKS SCRAPPED . . . On 25 June international
media reported that talks scheduled for that day between Bosnia's
warring sides had broken down over disputes about who would and
could participate. The central objective of the talks was to have
been to find a way to make the 10 June cease-fire workable and
extend it beyond the 8 July expiration point. In other
developments, AFP and DPA reported that on 24 June Bosnian Muslim
and Croat forces signed an accord in Gornji Vakuf specifying the
terms of troop withdrawals from former battle lines.  Stan
Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . AS HEAVY FIGHTING CONTINUES. Meanwhile, on 26 and 27 June
international media report that Bosnian government forces have
wrested territory from the Bosnian Serb side in heavy fighting
raging throughout the north-central part of the country. According
to reports, a UN spokesman in Sarajevo has said that advancing
Bosnian government forces have gained Serb-controlled territory
south of Doboj, in addition to territories around Zavidovici.
Officials of the five-member "contact group," consisting of
Western and Russian negotiators, are to meet in Paris on 27 June
to iron out a peace-plan proposal for Bosnia, which would see 51%
of the country granted to the Muslim-Croat federation. Recent
developments have once again made any general acceptance of the
peace plan unlikely. On 26 June Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic, speaking in the Serb-held town of Banja Luka, said he
doubted that Bosnian Serbs would accept the terms of the current
proposal. His remarks were reported by SRNA, and are carried in
Politika on 27 June. Finally, on 24 June Oslobodjenje reported
that Bosnian army General Rasim Delic said that Serb battlefield
losses showed that "a war of liberation" was now a distinct
possibility with the tide of events favoring the Muslim-Croat
side.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

SERB SOLDIERS IN MACEDONIA. On 26 June international media
reported that Serb soldiers have moved into Macedonia, where they
have dug trenches and are refusing to leave. According to a
Reuters report, UN sources say that twelve Serb soldiers have
erected tents on a hill that Macedonian officials say is at least
some 150 meters inside Macedonia's territory. Rump Yugoslavia's
foreign ministry, however, has denied the charge that Serb
soldiers are encroaching on Macedonian territory, issuing a
statement calling the allegation "groundless." The rump Yugoslavia
has a documented history, however, of committing border violations
against Macedonia.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

SWEDEN'S KING RECEIVES BALTIC VETERANS. Karl XVI Gustav received
39 World War II veterans from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, LETA
reported on 21 and 22 June. Later on 21 June they were also
received by Foreign Minister Margaretha Af Ugglas. The receptions
were given to honor the veterans and to make amends for a highly
controversial decision by the Swedish government in 1945 to deport
to the Soviet Union Baltic soldiers who had sought refuge in
Sweden at the end of World War II. Most of the deported soldiers,
who had been conscripted into the German armed forces, did not
survive the repressions that they subsequently suffered from the
Soviet regime. Ugglas called the deportations "one of the darker
sides of the history of Sweden," BNS reported on 25 May.  Dzintra
Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

LATVIA TO END EXCHANGE OF LATVIAN RUBLES. BNS reported on 22 June
that the Bank of Latvia will end on 30 June the exchange of the
Latvian ruble--which served as interim currency in the transition
from the Russian ruble to Latvia's own currency--at its central
office in Riga and its branch offices in Daugavpils, Rezekne,
Jelgava, Liepaja, and Valmiera. The exchange rate is one 1 lats
for 200 Latvian rubles. The bank has issued a total of
28,510,345,000 Latvian rubles since May 1992. The introduction of
Latvia's permanent currency, the lats, began on 5 March 1993 and
the lats became Latvia's only legal tender on 18 October 1993.
Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

POPULARITY POLL IN LITHUANIA. A poll conducted by the
British-Lithuanian Baltic Studies on 8 to 15 June of 1,183 people
in 104 localities indicated that President Algirdas Brazauskas
remains the most popular political figure in Lithuania, Interfax
reported on 24 June, quoting the newspaper Respublika. His rating
rose from 53 points in May to 55 in June. Parliament Deputy
Chairman Egidijus Bickauskas was second with 49 points in both
months. Center Union Chairman Romualdas Ozolas was third with 43
points, an increase of 1 point from May. Former Prime Minister
Gediminas Vagnorius's rating increased from 29 points in May to 34
in June, the same total that his Homeland Union colleague Vytautas
Landsbergis had in both months.  Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

  [As of 1200 CET]
  Compiled by Suzanne Crow and Louisa Vinton
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1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
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Updated: 1998-11-

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Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole