|The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none. - Thomas Carlyle 1975-1881|
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 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. RFE/RL NEWS BRIEFS, an edited compendium of items first published in the Daily Report, is distributed along with the RFE/RL RESEARCH REPORT, a weekly journal providing topical analyses of political, economic and security developments throughout the Institute's area of interest. Longer analyses are available in a monograph series, RFE/RL STUDIES, and brief analytic summaries appear monthly in the RESEARCH BULLETIN. 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