It matters if you don't just give up. - Stephen Hawking
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 141, 27 July 1994

                              RUSSIA

ESTONIA-RUSSIA AGREEMENT: RUSSIAN PERSPECTIVE. A number of Western
press reports noted that the signing of the Estonian-Russian troop
withdrawal agreement had to some degree been unexpected because
the lead-up to the negotiations had been so acrimonious. According
to The New York Times, Clinton administration officials expressed
surprise and delight at the agreement; they said that Russian
negotiators had been intransigent and dismissive until the 26 July
meeting between the Estonian and Russian leaders and that they
feared the talks might turn into "a train wreck." The newspaper
also noted that Moscow had been pressured to meet its commitment
on the troop withdrawal both by a recent Senate decision to link
US aid to the pull-out and by warnings from the White House that a
delay could mar the next Russian-US summit meeting, scheduled for
September. US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott had
reportedly made that point clear during talks with Russian Foreign
Minister Andrei Kozyrev at the recent ASEAN meeting in Bangkok. In
remarks reported by Interfax on 26 July, Kozyrev nevertheless had
warned that the US should not encourage the Estonians to believe
that Russia would turn a blind eye to the violation of the rights
of military pensioners in Estonia. On the same day Duma Speaker
Ivan Rybkin said that the Duma had supported President Boris
Yeltsin's measure to suspend the troop withdrawal from Estonia,
and criticized the Estonian authorities for alleged human rights
violations. ITAR-TASS reports of the agreement, quoting Yeltsin,
generally emphasized that Moscow had won equal treatment for
Russian military pensioners remaining in Estonia and suggested
that the withdrawal agreement had been contingent upon that
success.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL Inc.

KOZYREV ON RESULTS OF ASEAN CONFERENCE. Talking with reporters on
26 July, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev described as a
"pleasant surprise" the fact that, in his words, the recent ASEAN
conference had adopted many of the proposals for
confidence-building measures that Russia had proposed at the
previous year's meeting. According to Interfax, Kozyrev also said
that Malaysia's decision to buy Russian fighter aircraft had not
antagonized other ASEAN states, but that "Western arms dealers are
not too happy" about the deal. Kozyrev suggested that Russia was
discussing further arms sales with other ASEAN nations, but
provided no details. He qualified Moscow's arms peddling efforts
in the region, however, saying that "fighting for [arms] markets
is not the same thing as stirring up the arms race. Russia is not
going to make profits on war." Kozyrev was also quoted as saying
that Moscow's relations with Tokyo had normalized, but that
Japan's currently unsettled domestic political situation was
making further progress difficult. A senior Russian diplomat
reportedly told Interfax that Kozyrev would not visit Japan until
the political situation had stabilized in Japan.  Stephen Foye,
RFE/RL Inc.

RYBKIN SUPPORTS POSTPONEMENT OF ELECTIONS. The speaker of the
State Duma, Ivan Rybkin, told reporters on 26 July that he, too,
would favor a delay in Russia's parliamentary and presidential
elections, Reuters reported. The idea was first promoted by
Vladimir Shumeiko, the speaker of the parliament's upper chamber,
the Council of the Federation. The next parliamentary elections
are scheduled for the fall of 1995 and presidential elections for
1996. Shumeiko and Rybkin propose a two-year delay for both.
Rybkin said that Russians were tired of voting and would welcome a
period of stability. He said the postponement could be arranged if
regional, republican and federal legislatures as well as the
president agree. When last month Shumeiko first started to
advocate the postponement, the majority of state and government
officials in Moscow rejected the idea. President Boris Yeltsin has
not yet made any formal statement on the issue, however.  Vera
Tolz, RFE/RL Inc.

RUSSIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION ISSUES REPORT ON VIOLATIONS.
Nezavisimaya gazeta on 22-26 July published excerpts from the
report on the human rights situation in the Russian Federation,
issued by the Human Rights Commission chaired by former political
prisoner Sergei Kovalev and attached to the office of the Russian
President. The report stated that the number of human rights
violations in Russia had not decreased in the last two years.
Among other criticisms, the report targets the retention in
Russia's big cities of the propiska system (residence permit),
despite the enactment last year of a law stipulating its
abolition. The report also gives an extensive description of human
rights violations in Moscow during the state of emergency in the
fall of 1993. It notes that many state and government officials at
the federal, regional, and local levels ingore the existing
legislation concerning human rights. Izvestiya of 22 July said
that it was not clear whether the report was forwarded to Yeltsin,
as members of the presidential administration were trying to
shelve it. Meanwhile on 21 July the State Duma approved in the
first reading a law creating the position of Commissioner for
Human Rights, who will be answerable to the legislature, not to
the president as is now the case.  Vera Tolz, RFE/RL Inc.

MIXED SIGNALS ON BANKRUPTCY. Russian officials continue to give
mixed signals on new bankruptcy provisions designed to shut down
economically unsound firms and redistribute their assets. Petr
Karpov, the deputy director of the federal insolvency office, told
Rossiiskie vesti on 21 July that half of all state firms in Russia
are currently unable to meet their financial obligations and thus
qualify for liquidation under the terms of the bankruptcy law. But
only 60 firms have been included on the list of insolvent firms
drafted by his office; and the government has so far initiated
proceedings against only three of them. This restraint stems
largely from concern for the fate of employees, but mutual
indebtedness also makes enterprise solvency difficult to assess.
In his address to the cabinet session on 15 July, Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin pledged that the government would take action
against as many as 2,000 firms in 1994. But the political will may
still be lacking, especially where industrial standard-bearers are
concerned. President Boris Yeltsin himself may have fueled some
illusions when, after meeting with the director of the ZIL auto
plant on 21 July, he vowed to keep the plant afloat. "We shall
never let such a factory as ZIL become bankrupt," Yeltsin pledged,
according to an Interfax report on 21 July. Brushing aside
proposals reportedly made by the insolvency bureau to initiate
proceedings against ZIL, Yeltsin instead instructed Chernomyrdin
to draft a bailout plan.  Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL Inc.

INVESTORS PANIC IN MOSCOW. A crowd of up to 3,000 nervous
investors lined up outside the Moscow headquarters of the MMM
investment company on 26 July, in an attempt to sell their shares
before the feared collapse of the firm, Interfax reported. MMM
shut down operations at all but its central office on 26 July,
citing a cash shortage and the crush of shareholders. The panic
began after the finance ministry issued a public reminder on 22
July that the government does not guarantee investments in
companies such as MMM and warned of the danger of fraudulent
promises. MMM is the best known of many companies offering
sky-high returns; many observers fear these are merely pyramid
schemes destined for collapse. The anti-monopoly committee had
urged federal broadcasting chiefs on 18 July to stop airing MMM
advertisements, on the ground that the investment company's
promises were misleading.Taxation authorities announced on 22 July
that an MMM affiliate was under investigation for tax fraud.
Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

MORE ON TAJIK FIGHTING. In response to the capture of 56 Tajik
government soldiers in the Tavil-Dara region of Tajikistan, east
of Dushanbe, CIS and Tajik government forces launched operations
against the Tajik rebels who are holding the captives. According
to Russian and Western sources, SU-25 planes bombed the area on 25
July and destroyed the vehicles which the rebels had captured; it
is unclear if the planes are under Uzbek or Russian command. The
commander of the CIS collective peacekeeping force, Russian
general Valerii Patrikeyev, told Interfax that his forces were
conducting the search, and that his assistant is holding talks
with local rebel leaders. Meanwhile, the whereabouts of the 56
captives remains a mystery; the government of the autonomous
region of Gorno Badakhshon (an opposition stronghold, much of
which is out of Tajik government control) denied that the
prisoners were on its territory, while Patrikeyev stated that they
might have been taken into Afghanistan. Any involvement by CIS
peacekeeping forces against rebels within Tajikistan would violate
repeated assurances by CIS commanders and Russian government
officials that the forces are only there to protect the
Tajik-Afghan border, not to interfere in Tajikistan's internal
affairs. Keith Martin, RFE/RL Inc.

KAZAKHSTAN SIGNS NUCLEAR AGREEMENT. On 26 July, Kazakhstan's prime
minister Sergei Tereshchenko signed an agreement with the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), under which IAEA
inspectors would be allowed to check that state's adherence to the
nuclear non-proliferation treaty which it signed in December 1993,
various agencies report. IAEA Director Hans Blix told a news
conference that the agreement would help prevent smuggling of
plutonium and other substances from Kazakhstan's 104 SS-18 ICBMs;
the ICBMs are to be dismantled and destroyed. Blix was quoted by
Reuters as saying that Kazakhstan needed "to strengthen [its]
verification system further." He also said that an IAEA team
traveling with him had found no unusual levels of radiation in the
area around the former Soviet nuclear test site at Semipalatinsk,
though it might also be possible that there had been high levels
before, and that underground radiation might be higher as well.
The Kazakh government and anti-nuclear groups have long charged
that the Soviet-era tests are responsible for birth defects and
high cancer rates in the area.  Keith Martin, RFE/RL Inc.

CALL FOR DISSOLUTION OF KYRGYZSTAN'S PARLIAMENT. Five deputies to
Kyrgyzstan's parliament, supported by 100 local officials, have
called for the legislature to dissolve itself and have appealed
for a referendum on the creation of a professional parliament,
Interfax reported on 26 July. The deputies asserted that
parliament chief Medetkan Sherimkulov and the parliamentary
newspaper Svobodnye gory are involved in intrigues to overthrow
President Askar Akaev, who has called for the closure of the
newspaper. There have been a number of instances in which the
present parliament, elected in 1990 and retaining a considerable
Communist membership, has thwarted Akaev's reform program,
including forcing the resignation of his hand-picked prime
minister. A law on elections to a professional parliament will go
into effect on 1 October.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL Inc.

                               CIS

RUSSIA PROPOSES CUTS IN DNIESTER PEACEMAKING FORCE. A spokesman
for Russia's Foreign Ministry told journalists at an official
briefing that Russia proposes reducing the size of the peacemaking
force in Moldova, Interfax reported on 26 July. The spokesman said
that a reduction would be warranted by "the improvement in the
political climate and the relative stabilization of the military
situation." Deployed in July 1992, the formally tripartite
(Russian-Moldovan-"Dniester") force has in fact been dominated by
its 1,800-strong Russian contingent which has condoned "Dniester"
gains in the demilitarized zone, particularly in the right-bank
city of Bendery. Considering its military inferiority in relation
to Transdniester, Chisinau may be less than enthusiastic about the
proposal to reduce the interposition force.  Vladimir Socor,
RFE/RL Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

RUSSIA AGREES TO PULL OUT TROOPS FROM ESTONIA. After almost five
hours of "difficult" talks in the Kremlin on 26 July, Estonian
President Lennart Meri and his Russian counterpart Boris Yeltsin
signed two agreements, Western agencies report. Russia agreed to
withdraw its remaining 2,000 troops from Estonia by 31 August
while Estonia agreed that the 10,000 military pensioners would
have the same rights as Estonian citizens. Previous Estonian laws
allowed Russian servicemen to obtain residency only if they were
born before 1930, retired from the army before 20 August 1991, or
had a spouse or children with a residency permit. Foreign Minister
Juri Luik, however, noted that the Estonian government would deny
residence permits to people whom it considered a danger to
Estonia's security, but that the commission examining the
applications would include a representative of the CSCE "to
guarantee fair play." The agreements should defuse a potential
conflict with the US created by a Senate resolution linking $839
million aid to Russia with the troop withdrawal by 31 August. The
presidents discussed the dismantling of the two nuclear reactors
at the Paldiski submarine base, but left the matter open for
further discussions by the respective foreign ministries. Saulius
Girnius, RFE/RL Inc.

SERBS CUT LAND ROUTE TO SARAJEVO. International media reported on
26 July that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic sent a letter to
the UN announcing that his forces would allow only UN vehicles to
use the "blue route" to the Bosnian capital as of 27 July. He
accused the Muslims of bringing in arms and ammunition via that
road, but Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic slammed the Serb
move, denying the arms charge and accusing the Serbs of trying to
starve Sarajevo and kill the peace process. A UN spokesperson said
that "we will try to convince the Serbs that this is not the best
course of action." Elsewhere, Reuters reports that Bosnian Serb
forces in Gorazde have taken the head of UN aid operations hostage
to exchange him for Serbs in the Muslim enclave. Finally, UN human
rights envoy Tadeusz Mazowiecki accused the Serb-backed rebel
Muslim forces under Bihac kingpin Fikret Abdic of brutalizing
prisoners. Mazowiecki's charges included sending men and women to
do forced labor on the front lines. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL Inc.

MYSTERY SHROUDS GRACHEV'S VISIT TO SERBIA. International and
Serbian media seem at a loss for words to report on the 26 July
visit to the Serbian capital by the Russian defense minister and
special envoy Vitalii Churkin. Pavel Grachev did say in public,
however, that there is no need to pull UNPROFOR out of Bosnia and
that NATO is unsuited to a mission there, Borba notes. The two
Russians met with Karadzic and with Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic, as well as with top military officials, including
Bosnian Serb commander Gen. Ratko Mladic. Borba reports that the
Russians may be trying to make a deal whereby the Serbs accept the
Contact Group's peace plan in return for being allowed to join
Serbia-Montenegro. Reuters quotes the speaker of the Bosnian Serb
parliament, Momcilo Krajisnik, as not ruling out a new session of
that body to reconsider the plan. The New York Times, however, has
apparently run out of patience with Karadzic and his crew, and
calls today in its editorial for lifting the arms embargo against
the Muslims: "it is the only sanction the Bosnian Serbs are likely
to take seriously." Patrick Moore, RFE/RL Inc.

TUDJMAN AGAIN WILL NOT RULE OUT MILITARY OPTION. Vjesnik reports
on 27 July that Croatian President Franjo Tudjman spoke at a
military exercise and would not exclude "other steps" if a
peaceful approach fails to free the 30% of Croatian territory
under Serb occupation. This is Tudjman's long-standing position,
but most observers feel that the Serbs could beat the Croats in
the field since they could call upon reserves of manpower from
Serbia and elsewhere. Tudjman also reminded his audience that
Croatia has "friends and allies around the world," which might be
a gentle reminder to militant types that Croatia's friends expect
it to follow a peaceful path.  Patrick Moore, RFE/RL Inc.

NEW TRIALS IN SANDZAK. Some 21 members of the mainly Muslim Party
of Democratic Action (SDA) in Sandzak were charged with
secessionism, AFP reported on 24 July. The charge was drawn up
against them by the public prosecutor of Bijelo Polje in the
Montenegrin part of Sandzak. The trial will begin at the end of
August or in early September. The defendants allegedly tried to
"create a state of Sandzak through force of arms" and gave
military training in Turkey to more than 700 Muslim youths from
both the Serbian and Montenegrin part of Sandzak. Allegedly
rifles, ammunition and explosives were found. The accused have
been in jail since January and face trial along with 25 other
Muslims, arrested in Serbian Sandzak. The Belgrade-based
Humanitarian Law Fund reported in March that in several cases
Muslim citizens have been threatened with torture and forced to
buy weapons in order to surrender them to the police.  Fabian
Schmidt, RFE/RL Inc.

LUCCHINI STEEL STRIKE ENDS. Workers at the Lucchini steel mill
returned to work on 27 July, after 48 days on strike, PAP reports.
The Italian owners--the Lucchini concern--agreed to open talks on
wage increases on the same day. The strikers had initially
demanded 30% pay increases and the immediate modernization of the
plant, but Lucchini refused to negotiate until the strikers
returned to work. The owners also argued that investment could not
begin until outstanding title issues were resolved, but pledged to
initiate a planned overhaul in September. In a major departure,
the strike was jointly organized by Solidarity and the former
official OPZZ federation. The government assiduously avoided any
participation; mediation was provided by opposition deputy Jacek
Kuron and Archbishop Tadeusz Goclowski. Strike committee
representatives are scheduled to meet with President Lech Walesa,
along with officials from the ministries of privatization,
industry, and finance, on 29 July, apparently to present their
grievances concerning the privatization of the mill. Employees
have not yet received the 10% free shares they were promised.
Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL Inc.

POLISH BUDGET BANKS ON PRIVATIZATION INCOME. The cabinet on 26
July accepted guidelines for the 1995 budget proposed by Finance
Minister Grzegorz Kolodko, PAP reports. The budget plan assumes
that revenues will increase by 7% and the deficit will drop, while
spending will decline 2% in real terms as the government is forced
to devote a full three-quarters of the budget to "fixed outlays,"
in particular to the financing of domestic and foreign debt. At
the same time, however, the government plans a number of changes
that will significantly reduce income. Tax brackets are to drop
back to 20%, 30%, and 40% from higher levels in 1994; this will
reduce revenues by 8 trillion zloty. The government also plans to
forego an increase in the VAT for energy, from 7% to 22%, that was
to have taken effect at the start of 1995. Kolodko's draft budget
assumes that revenues from privatization will make up the
difference. Rzeczpospolita reports that privatization is expected
to generate 29 trillion zloty in 1995, a three-fold increase over
1994. Editorial comment criticized this plan as unrealistic unless
the government adopts an unambiguously "pro-privatization" stance.
Given the Polish Peasant Party's hostility to the process, such a
shift appears unlikely. The cabinet has until 20 October to submit
the draft budget to the Sejm.  Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL Inc.

MAJOR POLISH FIRM GOES BUST. The Kasprzak radio electronics plant,
a former giant that once employed 7,000 workers, was declared
bankrupt by a Warsaw court on 25 July, Rzeczpospolita reported the
following day. The case offers an example of the ability of
failing enterprises to survive despite an overwhelming debt burden
and no recovery prospects. Kasprzak has been a loss-maker since
1990; its total indebtedness amounts to over 700 billion zloty
($31 million), Polish TV reported. By law, the plant's director
was required to initiate bankruptcy proceedings in 1992, but he
opted instead to keep the firm running by selling off assets,
renting out state premises, and cutting employment, which now
stands at only 900. Even during the hearing, the director argued
that the plant could readily be restored to profitability,
provided Kasprzak received defense orders for new military
production. The court urged the prosecutor to initiate proceedings
against Kasprzak's director for mismanagement. Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL Inc.

PRE-ELECTION DEVELOPMENTS IN SLOVAKIA. After failing to form a
coalition with the Democratic Union, the Democratic Party and the
Party of Entrepreneurs announced on 26 July that they will enter
the elections together as a single entity, with PE candidates
included on the DP candidate list at a 1:1 ratio, TASR reported.
Had the two parties formed a coalition, they would have had to win
at least 7% of the vote to enter the parliament. The two parties
do not have much time to prepare their candidate list, as it must
be completed by 1 August. Like several other Slovak parties, the
DP-PE has said they will screen their candidates according to the
lustration law, prohibiting those with previous secret police
contacts from entering the parliament. Concerning the Movement for
a Democratic Slovakia, on 26 July the party sent an announcement
to TASR saying that recent reports in several Slovak dailies that
the MDS promised the Romany parties one million koruny if they
unify are untrue. MDS spokesman Dusan Kleiman did admit, however,
that the MDS supported the unification of Romany organizations and
had given a loan of 50,000 and use of a car until 31 December
1994. In another development, Paolo Molinaro, an Italian
parliamentary deputy from Forza Italia, recently lectured MDS
members on election campaign tactics, TASR reported on 24 July.
Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL Inc.

CONTROVERSY AROUND HUNGARIAN-SLOVAK TREATY, GABCIKOVO DAM. The
leaders of two Magyar ethnic parties in Slovakia, Coexistence and
the Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement, said that they were
not consulted on the Slovak draft of the state treaty with Hungary
forwarded on 22 July by Bratislava to Budapest. The ethnic leaders
fear that Hungarian Premier Gyula Horn may hastily sign a treaty
with Slovakia during his 5 August visit to Bratislava. Horn's
declared intention to possibly revise Hungary's position on the
Gabcikovo dam, another contentious issue with Slovakia, has
aroused protests from Hungary's opposition parties and ecological
movements, such as the Danube Circle, which are calling for the
maintenance of the status quo and oppose any withdrawal of
Hungary's suit filed with the International Court of Justice at
the Hague, MTI and Magyar Hirlap reported on 26 July. Alfred
Reisch, RFE/RL Inc.

HORN MEETS WITH EUROPEAN UNION AMBASSADORS. At a 26 July meeting
with the ambassadors of the EU countries in Hungary, Premier Horn
said full EU membership remained his country's strategic aim, with
the relevant talks starting in 1996 or early 1997 at the latest,
MTI announced. According to Horn, Hungary does not want to
re-negotiate its association treaty with the EU but to exploit the
possibilities it offers to the fullest. The envoys welcomed
Budapest's desire to sign state treaties with Slovakia and
Romania, with Horn saying that those treaties should guarantee
both the inviolability of borders and the rights of national
minorities. Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL Inc.

ELIE WIESEL IN ROMANIA. Radio Bucharest and Romanian television
announced on 25 July that Nobel prize winner Elie Wiesel, who is
of Romanian-Hungarian Jewish origin, arrived to the northwestern
town of Baia Mare. At the airport he was received by presidential
spokesman Traian Chebeleu and local officials. Wiesel, whose works
on the Jewish Holocaust have been translated in many languages,
was harshly criticized by the Romanian ultra-nationalists after
his denunciations of inter-war Romanian anti-semitism and Marshal
Ion Antonescu. The presence of Chebeleu at the reception ceremony
seems to indicate that the authorities are now attempting to
soothe the writer. Wiesel will participate in ceremonies marking
the 50th anniversary of the deportation of Transylvanian Jewry to
extermination camps by the Hungarians and the Nazis. He will also
shoot a documentary on his life.  Michael Shafir, RFE/RL Inc.

BULGARIAN OPPOSITION FALLING APART? The Union of Democratic Forces
(UDF), which won the October 1991 elections but since losing
control over government a year later has been caught up in painful
internal struggles, appears to have propelled itself into its most
serious crisis so far. Bulgarian newspapers say on 27 July that
the UDF's National Coordinating Council on the previous day froze
the membership of the Democratic Party (DP), its largest member
organization, on grounds that its leaders have refused to carry
out instructions from the executive and thereby threatened the
unity of the coalition. At the ensuing press conference, UDF
Chairman Filip Dimitrov said the decision to freeze the party's
membership, rather than expelling it, had been taken to prevent
further tension in local branches and the central bureaucracy,
hinting that he expects some DP members to join other UDF
organizations. DP and caucus leader Stefan Savov, however, warned
that he and his supporters were not prepared to leave the
coalition, insisting that "we are the UDF." While 10 member
organizations were reported to have backed the decision,
three--the Radical Democratic Party, the United Christian
Democratic Party and the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union "Nikola
Petkov"--voted against.  Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL Inc.

LITHUANIA TALKS WITH EUROPEAN UNION. On 26 July, Daniel
Guggenbuhl, Director of the Department of Eastern and Central
European Countries and Baltic States of the EU First General
Directorate, arrived in Vilnius for a three-day visit heading an
EU delegation, Radio Lithuania reports. The delegation will hold
talks with a Lithuanian team headed by Deputy Foreign Minister
Albinas Januska, on preparing an agreement on Lithuania's
associate membership in the EU. Lithuania signed a free trade
agreement with the EU on 18 July and expects to become an
associate member before the end of the year.  Saulius Girnius,
RFE/RL Inc.

MOLDOVA, EU SIGN PARTNERSHIP. The European Commission's
Vice-Chairman, Sir Leon Brittan, and Moldova's Foreign Minister
Mihai Popov initialed on 26 July in Brussels an agreement for
partnership and cooperation between the European Union and
Moldova. According to the communiqu~, issued by Moldova's Foreign
Ministry to the media, Brittan praised Moldova's economic and
political reforms as "an example for the region." and pledged EU
support for their continuation. On the same day, the EU extended
to Moldova a loan of 45 million ECU for balance of payment
support. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc.

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER MEETS CHERNOMYRDIN. On 26 July
Ukrainian parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz began a two day
visit to Moscow, ITAR-TASS reported on 27 July. During the visit
Moroz met with Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. The
meeting, which took place behind closed doors, reportedly focused
on economic issues. Both sides said they hoped to expand
Russian-Ukrainian trade and settle the issue of mutual payments.
Russia's first deputy finance minister, Andrei Vavilov, and the
Ukrainian finance minister, Hryhorii Pyatachenko, also
participated in the discussions.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL Inc.

BRAWL IN UKRAINE'S PARLIAMENT OVER LANGUAGE ISSUE. A fist fight
broke out on 26 July in the Ukrainian parliament during a debate
over the use of Russian as a language in the parliament, Interfax
reported. A draft law proposes that deputies who do not speak
Ukrainian submit the text of their speeches so these can be
translated into Ukrainian. An insulting remark about the Ukrainian
language dropped during the debate, prompted a Rukh deputy from
Lviv, Yaroslav Kendzior, to shout that even an elephant could
learn Ukrainian in 4 years. This in turn prompted a socialist
deputy from Kharkiv, Oleksandr Chupakhin, to respond with
obscenities and a brawl erupted. After the fight, the Socialists
demanded that Kendzior be reprimanded, while the Rukh leader,
Vyacheslav Chornovil, condemned the Socialists' behavior. Debate
over the law is to continue on 27 July. Parliament had earlier
voted against a proposal making Russian a working language in
parliament along with Ukrainian.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL Inc.

  [As of 1200 CET]
  Compiled by Vladimir Socor and Dan Ionescu
The RFE/RL DAILY REPORT, produced by the RFE/RL Research
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