The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none. - Thomas Carlyle 1975-1881
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 137, 21 July 1994

                              RUSSIA

YELTSIN: ECONOMIC WEALTH KEY TO WORLD POWER STATUS . . . In an
interview with Interfax on 20 July (published in Izvestiya on 21
July), President Boris Yeltsin voiced the current mood of national
self-assertion by arguing that "Russia can implement radical
economic transformations by relying primarily on its own efforts."
The central aim of Russia's reforms, Yeltsin indicated, is to
complement the nation's existing military might with the economic
vitality needed to raise living standards to "lofty" levels and
provide the foundations for democracy and a civil society. Yeltsin
vowed to continue pursuing the "anti-inflationary strategy" that
has already helped stabilize prices and dampen inflationary
expectations. While not ruling out "flexibility and tactical
maneuvers" in fiscal policy, Yeltsin stressed that budgetary
guidelines and deficit limits must be respected. At the same time,
however, Yeltsin pledged to bolster agricultural subsidies; build
"temporary" tariff barriers to protect domestic agriculture and
industry; and wage war on poverty and unemployment. To eliminate
income disparities, which Yeltsin suggested were excessive, taxes
on the rich would also be raised.  Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . AND: RUSSIA IS "NERVE CENTER OF WORLD CHANGE." Yeltsin tied
Russia's economic and political transformation to Moscow's status
in the world community and its ability to conduct "a vigorous
foreign policy . . . above all in the CIS." He depicted the
presidential election results in Ukraine and Belarus as an
indication of the desire in these countries for rapprochement with
Russia and said that Russia should hold bilateral or multilateral
talks with the leaders of these countries, and of other CIS
states, to discuss the newly emerging situation on the territory
of the former USSR. Yeltsin added that the Russian government
should formulate a medium-term concept (covering 18-24 months) for
a policy of integration within the CIS. Yeltsin also said that
predictions both of Russia's own dissolution and of its relegation
to the ranks of peripheral countries had been proven groundless,
and he suggested that recent Russian diplomatic successes had
turned Moscow into a "nerve center of world change." Yeltsin
lamented the erosion of Russia's high technology industries, and
suggested that the production and export of "dual-use
technologies" offered one way out of this dilemma; he also said
that "what has been allocated to the defense complex in the budget
must be paid out in full." Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN: "BAD DEBTS," CORRUPTION IMPEDE PROGRESS. In the Interfax
interview, Yeltsin identified inter-enterprise debt and the
"non-payments crisis" as the biggest economic problems now facing
Russia. But he limited his diagnosis to corruption among
enterprise directors; some had become "Russian sheiks at the
state's expense." Yeltsin pledged a crackdown on enterprise
directors who failed to obey government directives and indicated
that a special government fund is being created to compensate
workers at enterprises where wage arrears have mounted. Yeltsin
said "tough measures" were required to stem the flight of capital
from Russia but acknowledged that investment incentives would be a
more effective means than an administrative ban. Yeltsin also
defended his controversial decree on fighting organized crime. The
interview revealed an underlying frustration that presidential
decrees and government directives often go unheeded or
unimplemented.  Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN EXTENDS PRIVATIZATION VOUCHERS. As anticipated, President
Yeltsin signed a decree on 20 July extending the validity of
unused privatization vouchers for a three-month period beginning
on 1 September. The vouchers will apparently be valid for use in
the purchase of shares of state assets put up for auction during
the next stage of privatization. Privatization Minister Anatolii
Chubais indicated that a deadline of 15 August has been set for
investment funds to redeem all the vouchers they have collected
from the public. An audit of these funds will follow, to be
completed by 1 September. Meanwhile, Yabloko parliamentary faction
leader Grigorii Yavlinsky told Interfax on 20 July that Chubais
had agreed to accept some of the revisions proposed by State Duma
committees to the government's post-voucher privatization
legislation. The Duma is set to hold a second debate on the
program on 21 July, as the government makes a second attempt to
gain approval for the bill in its first reading. Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL, Inc.

MORE TOUGH TALK FROM MOSCOW ON TROOP WITHDRAWAL. President Yeltsin
on 20 July tied Russia's military withdrawal from Estonia directly
to the treatment of the Russian minority in that country. As
reported by AFP, ITAR-TASS quoted Yeltsin as saying: "We have no
intention of withdrawing our troops as long as Estonia does not
conform with international human rights law." Meanwhile, Reuters
quoted the head of Yeltsin's Commission on Citizenship Matters,
Abdulakh Mikitaev, as branding Estonia's policy on ethnic Russians
as "apartheid and racism." Mikitaev also warned that a failure by
Estonia to accommodate its Russian population could lead Estonia's
Russians to seek autonomy and might provoke Russia to offer
blanket citizenship to them. Mikitaev apparently suggested that
such a development would give Moscow a legal right to protect
them. Such inflammatory statements, whether representative of
official policy or not, are unlikely to ease tensions between
Russia and Estonia.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

SOLZHENITSYN TO ARRIVE IN MOSCOW ON 21 JULY. The writer Aleksandr
Solzhenitsyn is scheduled to arrive in Moscow during the late
evening of 21 July, Russian media reported. Winner of the 1970
Nobel prize for literature for his novels exposing Stalinist
terror, Solzhenitsyn landed in Vladivostok on 27 May after having
spent 20 years of exile in the US. In the weeks following his
return to Russia, he has visited the sites of former camps for
political prisoners and met crowds of people in many cities in the
Russian Far East, Siberia, and elsewhere.  Julia Wishnevsky,
RFE/RL, Inc.

ACTING PRIME MINISTER APPOINTED IN BASHKORTOSTAN. First Deputy
Prime Minister Rim Bakeev has been appointed acting prime minister
of Bashkortostan, Interfax reported on 20 July. Bakeev replaced
Anatolii Kopsov who resigned earlier in the week after being
accused of corruption. Interfax said that two other top government
officials in Bashkortostan also lost their jobs. They are Forestry
Minister Marat Gabitov and Minister for Material Resources and
Regional Contacts Aleksandr Rykov.  Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA-TURKEY. Continuing his official visit to Turkey, Russian
First Deputy Premier Oleg Soskovets met in Ankara on 19 July with
Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin
and President Suleyman Demirel. In an attempt to play down the
deterioration in Russian-Turkish relations resulting from the
unilateral Turkish restrictions on shipping through the Turkish
straits and the recent affirmation by the Turkish Chief of Staff
General Dogan Gures that "Russia has become a serious threat to
Turkey", Soskovets affirmed that Russia regards relations with
Turkey as a "strategic partnership". Ciller again extended an
official invitation to President Yeltsin (who was to have visited
Ankara during the spring of this year) and to Prime Minister
Chernomyrdin to visit Turkey. Agreement was reached on the annual
sale to Turkey of 2 bn cubic meters of natural gas, and on
repayment of the Russian debt to Turkey, partly in cash and partly
through the transfer to Turkey of military equipment, Reuters and
ITAR-TASS reported.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

TAJIK PARLIAMENT SETS DATE FOR ELECTION, REFERENDUM. On 20 July
Tajikistan's Supreme Soviet adopted a draft of a new constitution
which restores the office of president. At the same time, the
legislature set 25 September as the date for a presidential
election and popular referendum on the new constitution, Russian
sources reported. Tajikistan's current head of state, Supreme
Soviet chairman Imomali Rakhmonov, called on the legislature to
combine the offices of parliament chairman and president of the
country. The presidency was abolished by the Supreme Soviet at the
end of 1992 after the second holder of the office, Rakhmon Nabiev,
tried to regain the post of president after having been forced to
resign by gun-wielding oppositionists. An alternative draft
constitution submitted by the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast,
which would have made Tajikistan a federal state, was rejected by
Rakhmonov. Proposals to make Russian and Uzbek additional official
languages were also rejected.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

KARIMOV ON ZHIRINOVSKY, COMMUNISTS. In an interview published in
the 25 July edition of the American magazine Time, Uzbekistan's
president, Islam Karimov, asserted that the re-emergence of
Communists within the republic is a grave danger, citing the
comparative lack of political sophistication of his people. Given
the difficult economic situation, a Zhirinovsky-type "Bolshevik"
might try to take power, Karimov stated, adding, "We will see that
it never happens here." He also excused the repressive measures
his government has taken against Islamic movements (or anything so
perceived) by claiming that no other options existed. Karimov, who
has repeatedly had problems with the US over human rights issues,
said that while he wants to see an expanded American presence in
the region, the US should provide assistance, rather than assuming
"moralistic poses." Finally, Karimov expressed concern about the
lack of opposition Russian nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky faces
in Russia's State Duma; he said he had asked President Yeltsin "to
take a stand against these xenophobic and anti-Semitic statements.
I must know where the state stands on this issue." Keith Martin,
RFE/RL, Inc.

AZERBAIJAN WANTS CFE LIMITS REVISED UPWARDS. Azerbaijan is
considering requesting that the limits on the number of weapons
that can be stationed in the country under the CFE Treaty be
lifted, Azerbaijani presidential advisor on military affairs
Nureddin Sadykhov told Interfax on 20 July. He pointed out that
although Azerbaijan is several times larger than Armenia and its
population is double the size, all three Transcaucasus states were
allocated an equal number of tanks, armored vehicles, and aircraft
from the former Soviet arsenal.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

                               CIS

LEBED ON DNIESTER CONFLICT. Interviewed in Izvestiya on 20 July,
Lt.-Gen. Aleksandr Lebed, commander of Russia's 14th Army in
Moldova, described "Dniester" Russians as more Catholic than the
Pope, the most Slav among the Slavs, and standing up for Russia's
interests more than the Russians who live in Russia do. Lebed
termed it "tragic" that Dniester Russians (a ruling minority of
25% of the region's population) "do not have the possibility to
return to their historic homeland." Regarding his Army's return to
Russia, Lebed termed it both unfeasible and inadvisable and said
that Russia's military leadership opposes it.  Vladimir Socor,
RFE/RL, Inc.

LEBED PRAISES PINOCHET, CALLS FOR STRONG ARMY. General Lebed was
also quoted in the Izvestiya interview as praising the regime of
Chile's former military ruler, Augusto Pinochet, saying that only
a strong army could maintain stability in Russia and ensure the
country's integrity. Lebed also described as "stupid" the notion
that Russia should reduce its armed forces to 1.5 million
soldiers, arguing that Russia's size and its current technical
inability to ensure the army's mobility precluded such a swift
reduction of forces. He also criticized the current military
budget and urged that Russia's defense industrial capabilities be
preserved. Lebed, believed to be very popular within the officer
corps, did not rule out his rising to the post of Defense
Minister, and said that in Russia's current conditions it was
impossible for generals to avoid involvement in politics.  Stephen
Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

SERBS REJECT BOSNIAN PEACE PLAN. International media reported on
20 July that Bosnian Serbs had effectively rejected the "contact
group's" proposal. The mediators had expected the Serbs to try to
finesse their response as a "yes, but," and were apparently
surprised when, as one diplomat told the 21 July Washington Post,
"there wasn't a 'yes' involved here." The key issue was the
partition map, which negotiators dubbed "a reasonable balance."
The Serbs have said all along they regard it, however, as a basis
for further talks at best. Now they have stated explicitly that
"the map would need further work." In response, the Russian,
American, German, British and French mediators replied: "the map
is the map." The immediate Serb concerns with the map are believed
to involve at least the status of Sarajevo and an outlet to the
sea for Serb territories. Their additional conditions center on
the status of their supply corridor across northern Bosnia; the
timing of the easing of economic sanctions on Serbia-Montenegro;
and their own future constitutional status separate from the
Croats and Muslims.  Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

FOREIGN MINISTERS TO CONSIDER THEIR RESPONSE. International media
also reported on 20 and 21 July that the foreign ministers of the
five "contact group" countries will meet in Geneva on 30 July to
decide what to do next. One diplomat told Reuters that the
mediators "realize that their bluff has been called." Russia's
foreign minister seemed to suggest that negotiations might still
be possible. The new measures against the Serbs are likely to be
imposed in stages and could include: expanding the UN's exclusion
zones around Muslim or Croat settlements; tightening sanctions
against Serbia-Montenegro; and lifting the arms embargo against
the Muslims. The last measure is likely to be the most effective
in practical terms, but support for it is limited chiefly to some
American circles.  Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

OTHER NEWS FROM BOSNIA AND CROATIA. News agencies reported on 20
July that the UN airlift to Sarajevo had been suspended after a US
Air Force cargo plane took a hit. Such disruptions used to be
frequent, but have been rare since early this year when the UN
with NATO support managed to bring about a tolerably effective
cease-fire around the Bosnian capital. Elsewhere in Sarajevo, UN
human rights investigator Tadeusz Mazowiecki met with Bosnian
President Alija Izetbegovic, who told him about the latest Serb
efforts at ethnic cleansing. Hina quotes Izetbegovic as saying
that only 10 percent of Banja Luka's prewar Muslim and Croat
population still remains there. Meanwhile in Croatia, UN chief
envoy Yasushi Akashi may seek Security Council action against that
republic, Reuters said. He blames the authorities there for at
least condoning the blockade by Croat refugees of UNPROFOR posts
between the hostile armies. Finally, the satirical weekly Feral
Tribune has responded to President Franjo Tudjman's government's
attempts to drive it out of business by slapping a tough
pornography tax on the outspoken paper: Feral has published a
cover photo of a naked Tudjman.  Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

SERBIAN PRESS SAYS CROATIA MAY HAVE "PATRIOTS." On 21 July
Politika headlines an uncorroborated story on "The Secret Purchase
of 'Russian Patriots' for the Defense of Zagreb." According to the
story, Zagreb may have acquired, from sources in Ukraine, a
Russian version of the patriot missile, namely "the anti-missile
system C-300." Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLISH OPPOSITION SAYS GOVERNMENT IMPEDING PRIVATIZATION. In an
interview with Sztandar Mlodych on 20 July, Deputy Prime Minister
and Finance Minister Grzegorz Kolodko indignantly rebutted charges
from the opposition that the government is dragging its feet on
privatization. Calling Privatization Minister Wieslaw Kaczmarek a
"Stakhanovite" of privatization, Kolodko argued that the current
government had collected more revenues from privatization in the
first half of 1994 than the previous government had done in the
same period of 1993, when Janusz Lewandowski was in charge of the
process. Kolodko also insisted that mass privatization is
proceeding according to plan. Coming in the wake of Prime Minister
Waldemar Pawlak's refusal to give the go-ahead for the final group
of 105 firms slated for participation, Kolodko's remarks captured
the economic schizophrenia that seems to afflict the ruling
coalition. At a press conference on 20 July, Lewandowski (now a
Freedom Union member) charged that the current government is
merely "reaping the harvest" sown by its predecessors, who
actively sought new investors. Privatization had become yet
another realm for coalition to "divvy up the spoils;" mass
privatization had been blocked on the pretext of improving it; and
the pace of privatization had slowed by half since the ouster of
the Suchocka government, Lewandowski charged. Former Finance
Minister Jerzy Osiatynski criticized the current government's
performance in fighting inflation. He predicted that inflation
will amount to 28-29% for 1994, rather than the target of 24% that
is set in the 1994 budget.  Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

US INVESTIGATORS IN PRAGUE. CTK reports that on 17 July a group of
representatives of the US's Office of Independent Counsel arrived
in Prague to investigate reports that in 1992, during the US
presidential campaign, some Czech institutions and citizens
provided then President George Bush's team with information, the
purpose of which was to damage presidential candidate Bill
Clinton. In the past, some Czech officials accused the Federal
Bureau for Intelligence and Security (FBIS) of supplying Bush's
team with what was perceived as potentially damaging information
about Clinton's visit to Prague in 1970. Stanislav Devaty,
director of the Bureau for Intelligence and Security (a successor
to the FBIS, which ceased to exist after the split of
Czechoslovakia), has denied the charges. CTK reports that the US
Embassy in Prague confirmed that the group of US investigators is
in Prague to examine the charges. A spokesman for Internal Affairs
Minister Jan Ruml told CTK on 20 July that the minister agreed to
the investigators' mission but ruled that all interviews and
contacts with Czech citizens must occur on "a voluntary basis."
Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK COALITION COUNCIL DISCUSSES PRIORITIES. On 20 July the
Slovak coalition council, consisting of the four parties joined in
the governing coalition, met to discuss legislative priorities,
TASR reports. Christian Democratic Movement Chairman Jan
Carnogursky informed the press that the coalition partners agreed
to present bills on the limitation of expenditures by political
parties in the electoral campaign, a package of penal laws, a law
on insurance and amendments to the laws on universities and
schools. Carnogursky said that amendments to the law on the
Information Service and to the lustration law will most likely not
be discussed until after the elections.  Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL,
Inc.

MECIAR LEADS OPINION POLLS. In an opinion poll released by the
Slovak Statistical Office on 19 July, former Premier and Movement
for a Democratic Slovakia Chairman Vladimir Meciar is considered
the most trusted politician by 25% of respondents, with his
support coming mainly from MDS supporters (80%), people aged 50-59
(36%), workers (29%), residents of towns with 50,000-100,000
inhabitants (35%) and citizens living in Central Slovakia (32%).
President Michal Kovac is second, with the trust of 21%, coming
mainly from Christian Democratic Movement sympathizers (44%),
ethnic Hungarians (35%), university graduates (27%), businessmen
(26%) and residents of towns with 2,000-10,000 inhabitants (26%).
Premier Jozef Moravcik, with 16%, is supported by sympathizers of
the Democratic Union (70%), CDM (27%), Party of the Democratic
Left (21%), university graduates (24%) and businessmen (28%). The
percentage not trusting anyone fell from 42% in June to 27% in
July. The poll was carried out between 1-10 July and surveyed
1,254 respondents.  Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW CONFLICT OVER HUNGARY'S ELECTRONIC MEDIA. Ongoing talks
between the governing coalition and parliamentary opposition
parties were interrupted on 16 and 17 July when it was learned
that Prime Minister Gyula Horn had already appointed Adam Horvath
and Janos Sziranyi as the new chairmen of Hungarian Television and
Hungarian Radio, respectively, replacing Elemer Hankiss and Csaba
Gombar. The opposition parties lodged a protest against the move
and asked President Arpad Goncz not to confirm the nominations.
The Community of Hungarian Journalists called the appointments
undemocratic and a threat to freedom of the press. On 18 July the
parliament's cultural committee, with the opposition party members
absent, approved the nominations, which were countersigned by
Goncz on 20 July, MTI reported.  Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc.

CHANGES IN OFFICE FOR HUNGARIANS ABROAD. The Office for Hungarians
Abroad, whose chairman Geza Entz was relieved of his post on 15
July, will be headed by vice chairman Istvan Zalatnay until
September when Laszlo Labody will become its new head, MTI
reported on 20 July. From now on, the Office (which Horn
originally wanted to eliminate) will no longer be supervised by
the foreign ministry but, together with the Office for National
and Ethnic Minorities, by the Council of Minister's Political
State Secretary, Csaba Tabajdi (Socialist Party). Tabajdi on 19
July told the visiting chairman of Slovakia's Hungarian Civic
Party that he wanted to maintain good relations with all
legitimate political and cultural Hungarian organizations of
Slovakia.  Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc.

MOLDOVAN-ROMANIAN DIFFERENCES DEEPEN. On 19 July in Chisinau, the
fourth regular session of Romania's and Moldova's interministerial
committees for cooperation was marked by open disagreements.
Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu repeatedly used the
phrase "two Romanian states" known to be objectionable to his
hosts; warned the Moldovans publicly against "distorting [the
facts of] our ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and cultural unity;"
and urged the Moldovans to "avoid prejudice, suspicion, and
tendentious interpretations" in their relations with Romania.
Melescanu also declared that "certain Moldovan official statements
have thrown our cooperation into doubt," causing Romania to
eliminate from its budget the (however meager) Moldova Aid Fund.
Bucharest awaits "clarifications" from Chisinau, Melescanu said as
quoted by Radio Bucharest on 19 July.  Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL,
Inc.

BRITISH COUPLE FREED ON BAIL IN BUCHAREST. A British couple facing
charges of trying to smuggle out a five-month-old baby girl out of
Romania was released on bail on 19 July, Radio Bucharest and
Western agencies report. Adrian and Bernadette Mooney were taken
to custody on 6 July after custom officers discovered the baby in
their car trunk at a Romanian-Hungarian border crossing. Five
Romanians, including the baby's parents, were also detained. The
Mooneys, who reportedly paid some $6,000 to traffickers, described
their own action as "a stupid mistake." They were released from
jail after paying a rather symbolic bail of 100,000 lei (some
$60). The Mooneys' trial, which is scheduled for the end of this
month, may result in jail terms for up to five years. The case has
received extensive coverage in both British and Romanian media.
Romania is trying to stem a baby-trafficking boom which followed
the collapse of the communist regime in December 1989.  Dan
Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

COMMISSION SUPPORTS DIGS IN CLUJ. In a communique read on Radio
Bucharest on 20 July, a special commission set up by Romania's
Ministry of Culture said that archaeological investigation in
important historical areas were not only "legitimate but also
absolutely binding." According to the commission, which visited
Cluj on 15-16 July, digs in the central square there would not
affect either King Matthias Corvinus' statue or Saint Michael
cathedral. The communique warned against what it termed as
"politicizing" the issue in an "irresponsible" way.  Dan Ionescu,
RFE/RL, Inc.

PERRY IN GREECE, ALBANIA. On his extensive visit to the Balkans,
US Defense Secretary William Perry on 20 July made stops in Athens
and Tirana. In Greece he met with Prime Minister Andreas
Papandreou and Defense Minister Gerasimos Arsenis to discuss that
country's view of the Bosnian war and other regional affairs.
While Greek radio echoed an official assessment that the visit had
served to restore close bilateral defense relations, Western
agencies said Perry during his 75-minute-long meeting with
Papandreou had warned about a possible escalation of regional
violence resulting from Greece's economic blockade against
Macedonia and its tough stance against Tirana. In Albania Perry
was received by President Sali Berisha and other top officials.
After declaring that the US is willing to help reorganize the
country's military under civilian rule, he pledged concrete
support in terms of excess US equipment from socks and earplugs to
ambulances and trucks. A defense official accompanying Perry told
Reuters that the visit to Tirana in terms of Balkan security could
be the most important of the entire trip, since the Albanian
government has considerable influence over ethnic Albanians living
in Macedonia and Kosovo.  Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIAN PROSECUTORS INVESTIGATE DOGAN. Bulgarian dailies report
on 21 July that the Office of Bulgaria's Prosecutor General has
launched a preliminary investigation against Ahmed Dogan, Chairman
of the mainly Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms. According
to a statement of the prosecutor's office on 20 July, Dogan is
being investigated for allegedly having said--at a rally in the
town of Kardzhali on 2 July--that the MRF would call on ethnic
Turks serving in the army to disobey orders in case the Bulgarian
language is made compulsory for soldiers carrying out their
duties. The investigation aims at gathering enough evidence to
persuade a majority of deputies to lift Dogan's parliamentary
immunity, before charges can be raised in court.  Kjell
Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

LUKASHENKA NOMINATES MINISTERS. Following his inauguration on 20
July, Belarus's new president, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, proposed his
nominees for key government posts, Belinform-TASS reported.
According to the country's new constitution the president may
nominate, but it is up to parliament to confirm. A 45-year-old
banker, Mikhail Chyhir, was Lukashenka's choice for the
premiership. In addition, four candidates were put forward as
deputy prime ministers: Mikhail Myasnikovich and Syarhey Ling
(both of whom had served in former prime minister Vyacheslau
Kebich's cabinet), and newcomers Uladzimir Harkun, head of the
Supreme Soviet agrarian commission, and Viktar Hanchar, a close
associate of Lukashenka Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

MIKITAEV ON AUTONOMOUS REGION IN ESTONIA. Abdullah Mikitayev,
chairman of the Russian president's committee on citizenship,
believes that an autonomous region may be formed in Northeastern
Estonia in the near future, BNS reported on 20 July. At a press
conference in Moscow on 18 July Mikitaev said the process had
already started in Narva and Sillamae, where a referendum was held
on 16 and 17 July on the question of national and territorial
autonomy in the Estonian Republic. Mikitaev said that though most
residents of the two towns supported autonomy, the Estonian
Supreme Court's board for constitutional supervision annulled the
referendum as incompatible with the constitution of Estonia.
Mikitaev also proposed the formation of autonomous regions in
Latvia and Lithuania and criticized what he described the
disregard for the human rights of the Russian-speaking population
in Estonia and Latvia.  Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

ESTONIAN, RUSSIAN OFFICIALS MEET IN HELSINKI. The fifth round of
consultations between Deputy Chancellor of the Estonian Foreign
Ministry Raul Malk and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vitalii
Churkin took place in Helsinki on 19 and 20 July and dealt with
issues related to the withdrawal of Russian troops from Estonia.
These meetings at the deputy foreign minister level were
instituted after the official Russian-Estonian talks became
deadlocked earlier this year. Though slight progress was made on
clarifying questions related to the Paldiski submarine base and
the nuclear reactors there, both Churkin and Malk did not qualify
the meeting a success. The most serious point of disagreement is
over the status of the approximately 10,500 Russian military
pensioners in Estonia, Interfax reported on 20 July.  Dzintra
Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

  [As of 1200 CET]

  Compiled by Keith Martin and Stan Markotich
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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