|Forty is the old age of youth; fifty, the youth of old age. - Victor Hugo|
No. 144, 1 August 1994
RUSSIA MMM PYRAMID COMES CRASHING DOWN. Officials from the MMM investment company slashed redemption prices from 115,000 to 950 rubles per share on 29 July, effectively wiping out the "investments" of those who had bought into the pyramid scheme late in the game. Scores of shareholders attempted to storm MMM's Moscow headquarters late on 29 July in a vain attempt to redeem their shares before the bottom dropped out. Riot police repulsed the attack; calm was quickly restored. Despite the crash, on 30 July thousands of customers lined up to buy new MMM shares issued at a selling-price of 1,065 rubles with promises to redeem them at 1,515 rubles in just a week. Agency reports suggested that losing investors were directing much of their ire at the government rather than MMM. The MMM advertising blitz continued, with MMM officials insisting that the firm had "no problems" and blaming government harassment for the dramatic fall in share prices (which are set by MMM itself). Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. OFFICIALS: NO BAILOUT FOR MMM INVESTORS. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin ruled out any government rescue plan to compensate MMM investors for their losses, as any bailout would have to come at the expense of more prudent taxpayers. Speaking in Petrozavodsk on 31 July, Chernomyrdin conceded that the government had been remiss in failing to warn investors of potential hazards. He pledged to draw administrative consequences, but noted that those who had succumbed to MMM's promises of instant riches had been "aware they were investing money in a risky undertaking." Finance ministry officials echoed the prime minister's line, chiding investors for spending their money on "securities" that were little more than pieces of paper. A deputy finance minister reminded TV viewers on 30 July that "market economics means above all the personal responsibility of each individual," according to an Interfax report. A finance ministry statement released the same day said that "one must never trust ads promising dividends more than the average ones on the market or promising that the quotation of shares will be constantly rising." Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. JULY INFLATION REMAINS LOW. Prices in Russia rose 5.1% in July, according to a state statistical committee report carried by Interfax on 29 July. This figure reflected a slight rise over the record low of 4.8% registered in June. Officials said that food prices had risen more slowly than anticipated. Prices rose 90% overall in the first seven months of 1994. Many economists predicted that monthly inflation will surge again and remain at about 10% for the final months of 1994. In other statistical news, the labor ministry reported on 28 July that 24 million Russians, or 16.4% of the population, live below the poverty line of 90,000 rubles ($44) per month. Income disparities are widening, the report said. The richest 10% of the population now control 23% of all money incomes, while the poorest 10% control a mere 3%. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. WAGE ARREARS SPARK LABOR TENSION. Unpaid wages are the leading cause of labor unrest in Russia, according to recent reports from the state statistical committee and the finance ministry. Wage arrears now amount to a total of 3.5 trillion rubles ($1.75 billion) and are increasing by 15% per month, ITAR-TASS reported on 27 July. In the worst-hit regions, workers have not been paid since last August; a delay of one to two months appears now to be standard. The major cause of wage arrears is the chain of unpaid debt and overdue taxes snaking its way through the economy. Finance ministry officials reported on 26 July that only 45 trillion in taxes were collected in the first six months of 1994, although the target for the year is 176 trillion. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. VODKA PRICES TO TRIPLE? The head of Russia's distilling industry told Interfax on 28 July that the price of a bottle of vodka could more than triple by the end of 1994. Vladimir Yarmosh said that sharply higher grain prices this year may cause vodka prices to jump from 4,000 rubles ($2) to 14,000 rubles ($7). Competition from a "flood" of cheap alcohol from neighboring countries has cut into domestic vodka sales, and production for the first half of 1994 amounted to only 61% of the total for the analogous period of 1993. In an effort to counteract smuggling and tax evasion, customs authorities announced on 28 July that excise stamps will be required on all imported tobacco and liquor as of 1 January 1995. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT WARNS CHECHEN LEADERSHIP. On 29 July the Russian government issued a statement, saying that the situation in Chechnya was out of control, ITAR-TASS reports. (Chechnya announced independence from Russia in 1991, but Moscow has not recognized the move.) The statement said that the leadership of President Dzhokhar Dudaev was the main destabilizing factor in the North Caucasus, allowing organized criminal groups to commit crimes across the republic's borders. The statement was issued after Russian troops ended a kidnapping incident in Mineralnye Vody and arrested the kidnappers, identified as Chechen residents. The Russian government said Russia would be obliged to protect Russians and ethnic Chechens "in full accordance with Russian laws." On 30 July the Chechen leadership rejected the Russian government's statement; on 31 July Dudaev said that his republic would not hold any negotiations with the present Russian government. This spring, representatives of the Russian and Chechen governments reportedly reached a tentative agreement on holding negotiations on the division of powers similar to the one reached between Moscow and Tatarstan. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. KOZYREV URGES BOSNIAN SERBS TO ACCEPT PEACE PLAN. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev on 31 July urged the leadership of the Bosnian Serbs to "heed the voice of the world community and the recommendations of both Serbia and Russia" and to accept the latest international Bosnian peace plan, Reuters reported on 1 August. Kozyrev, who had lobbied Western governments to refrain from implementing stricter sanctions against the Bosnian Serbs, also suggested that Bosnian Serb intransigence had left Russia "practically alone" in the international deliberations devoted to the crisis. He said that if the Bosnian Serbs accepted the plan the world community would guarantee equal rights to both sides in the conflict, and that Russia would also be ready to deploy additional peacekeeping forces in those areas of Bosnia where Serbs were most vulnerable. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. JOURNALIST TORTURED FOR CRITICISM OF APPOINTED MAYOR? Komsomolskaya pravda reported in its 22, 26, and 27 July issues that Aleksei Sadykov, an 18-year-old journalist employed by the Vladivostok private radio station VBC, was kidnapped and tortured for having criticized the city's mayor, Konstantin Tolstoshein, who was appointed in March by regional Governor Evgenii Nazdratenko to replace the democratically-elected Viktor Cherepkov. Sadykov had asserted in a broadcast that in the April 1993 elections Tolstoshein had obtained only 1.5% of the vote. Two days after the broadcast, Sadykov was kidnapped by unknown persons, who tortured him to confess that Cherepkov had paid him $100 for the broadcast. According to Komsomolskaya pravda, Sadykov's fingers were crushed in an industrial clamp and burned with a lighter, and he sustained burns from a cigarette and a blowtorch. He was later suffocated with a rope and plastic bag and beaten with iron pipes. This incident, the newspaper says, has terrorized local journalists, who now fear to criticize the local authorities and are reluctant to cooperate with colleagues who visit Vladivostok to investigate the Sadykov case. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. CHAIRMAN OF HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION WARNS OF VIOLATIONS. On 30 July Sergei Kovalev, the respected chairman of the Russian Human Rights Commission attached to the Russian President, addressed the Public Chamber with a report on human rights violations in Russia. Kovalev criticized Yeltsin's decree on combating organized crime, saying that it contained illegal and anti-constitution provisions, demonstrating that the country's law-enforcement bodies were incapable of combating crime by regular methods. Later that day, "Vesti" quoted Kovalev as having warned that "a nomenklatura-bureaucratic regime with elements of the police state" could emerge in Russia, if human rights violations, evident in Russia today, continue. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. EDITOR ATTACKS GOVERNMENT OVER THREATS TO GORBACHEV'S LIFE. In the 29 July issue of Neza-visimaya gazeta, its editor, Vitalii Tretyakov, attacked the Russian leadership for its reluctance to react to publications containing overt incitements to assassinate former USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev. The articles, Tretyakov wrote, had appeared in two newspapers from opposite sides of Russian political spectrum--the radically pro-Yeltsin Kuranty and the hard-line opposition Yuridicheckaya gazeta. The latter claims that the easiest way to get access to the secret Swiss bank account, accumulating enormous funds of the Soviet communist party, would be to kidnap and torture Gorbachev, or, in case of his death, Gorbachev's wife and daughter--the allegation viewed by Tretyakov to have been an overt incitement to murder. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. INDIAN MILITARY DELEGATION ENDS VISIT TO RUSSIA. A high-level Indian delegation, led by Air Force chief Swaroop Krishan Kaul, completed a one-week tour of Russia on 30 July and returned to New Delhi for consultations on the purchase of Russian military aircraft. According to ITAR-TASS of 30 July, no deals were finalized during the visit, at least in part because some members of the Indian delegation favored purchasing Western rather than Russian military technology. During a visit to Russia at the end of June, Indian Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao met with Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin; among the accords that they reached were agreements calling for increased cooperation in defense production and the joint production of military aircraft. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS CIS OFFICIAL TO REQUEST SUPPORT FOR PEACEKEEPING. Ivan Korotchenya, identified as the executive secretary of the CIS, was quoted by Interfax on 29 July as saying that he intended to propose to UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali that a fund be established to support peacekeeping operations in the CIS and to provide humanitarian aid and assistance in the repatriation of refugees. Korotchenya, who left for New York on 29 July to attend a conference of heads of regional UN bodies and international organizations, said that the world community should assume part of the expenditure for CIS peacekeeping activities "because all states are vitally interested in peace and security in this region." He was also quoted as saying that regional security structures, including the CIS, should use "preventative diplomacy" to resolve local conflicts in a non-violent way; such actions, he said, would be comprised primarily of peacekeeping operations carried out with the consent of the conflicting parties. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE CONTACT GROUP "FACES CREDIBILITY PROBLEM REGARDING BOSNIA." This is part of the reaction of the 1 August Washington Post to the Geneva meeting on 30 July. The best that that session could come up with in the face of Bosnian Serb intransigence over the peace plan was to say that the UN could soon consider tightening sanctions if the Serbs persist in rejecting the proposal. This is a "lowest common denominator" approach. The Post quotes an unnamed US official as saying that the meeting opted for a "wishy-washy communique" over "threats no one took seriously [or to] break up in disarray." US Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright said of the Serbs "we have told them to go back and look at the plan again," Reuters noted, and media reports suggest that official Washington is more preoccupied with Rwanda and Haiti at the moment. The Muslims said that the Contact Group's communique lacks teeth. The Post ran an editorial asking rhetorically "why are NATO planes not in the sky over Bosnia," and called the response "woefully deficient, verging on shameful." Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. MILOSEVIC AS ANGEL OF PEACE? Serbian dailies on 31 July ran a statement by President Slobodan Milosevic calling on the Bosnian Serbs to accept the peace plan in the interest of getting sanctions lifted against Serbia. Today's Belgrade papers print accounts by his political party and loyal supporters echoing this appeal. While there may or may not be political problems between the man most responsible for the Wars of the Yugoslav Succession and his lieutenants in Bosnia, it should be recalled that he could cut them off from food and supplies in an instant if he so wanted. It might also be pointed out that the sanctions have proven leaky at best, and that many powerful people in Serbia have profited handsomely from sanctions-busting. Milosevic's party now declares that "Serbian interests should be defended today through peace and not war," Politika reports, but AFP quotes Bosnian Serb parliament spokesman Momcilo Krajisnik as saying that "we cannot commit national suicide by handing back territories which are vital to the [Bosnian] Serb republic." Elsewhere, the 1 August New York Times quotes a Serb former guard at the Susica concentration camp as saying that "in all, about 3,000 [Muslims] were killed" there and that "there is no question the orders came from the highest level. Our army had a strict chain of command from the outset, and [the local rump Yugoslav army major] received orders from above." Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. CROATIAN OPPOSITION WEEKLY STAGES PROTEST STRIKE. Reuters on 31 July and Vjesnik the following day report that the hard-hitting satirical weekly Feral Tribune will not appear today. The staff is calling attention to the government's imposition of a punitive pornography tax on the paper in what many view as an attempt to run an opposition weekly out of business. The staff's statement said that the tax "is an announcement of a total cleansing of Croatian media and is a slap in the face of democratic processes." The authorities have previously used legal and financial pressure to destroy or take over critical periodicals, and they succeeded with Danas and Slobodna Dalmacija. They have failed, however, to silence Feral Tribune and Globus, at least so far. The culture ministry said the tax would be lifted as soon as "Feral restores the concept under which it first registered--to publish satire, politics, economy, culture and sport." It is probably fair to say that Feral frequently transgresses the boundaries of good taste, but, as the editors pointed out in the paper's last issue, other publications do that as well but without being victimized by the pornography tax. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. SESELJ BARRED BY MONTENEGRIN AUTHORITIES. On 1 August Borba reports that ultra-nationalist leader of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) Vojislav Seselj has been thrown out of Montenegro and barred entry into that rump Yugoslav republic. The order barring Seselj was issued by Montenegro's interior ministry, and is reportedly a direct response to offensive remarks made by Seselj during an SRS meeting on 30 July. Borba notes that Seselj will be banned from entering Montenegro until the federal parliament is able to indict the SRS leader. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. WALESA URGES RECONCILIATION AS UPRISING CEREMONIES BEGIN. Speaking to Warsaw Uprising veterans at the Royal Castle in Warsaw on 29 July, President Lech Walesa set the official tone for the 50th anniversary commemorations by urging reconciliation with Germany and Russia. "You are our conscience, our ideal, our pride," Walesa told the veterans. Walesa stressed that Poles will never forget the heroism of the uprising or the brutality with which it was suppressed. "But we cannot live by revenge and hatred alone," the president continued. Explaining his invitation of the German and Russian presidents to attend the ceremonies, Walesa said that "we need reconciliation and friendly cooperation with our neighbors." The anniversary ceremonies opened on 30 July with the military burial of Gen. Tadeusz Bor-Komorowski, the Home Army commander who gave the order to start the uprising on 1 August 1944 and surrendered to the Nazis 63 days later. Bor-Komorowski's remains were repatriated from London on 29 July. Some veterans' groups and right-wing politicians inaugurated "independent" ceremonies to mark the occasion on 31 July, as a protest against the presence of German and Russian officials. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH WAGE CONTROLS TAKE FORCE. A new version of the tax on excess wages--the neopopiwek--took effect on 1 August, as debate continued as to its usefulness in preventing inflationary wage increases. The new tax imposes a 150% penalty on firms that raise wages above a stipulated level; it affects only firms that are at least 80% state-owned, PAP reports. The Sejm's premature abolition of the old tax and the president's veto of an earlier replacement left Poland without wage controls for four months. Government officials disagree over whether this lack prompted the 10.7% surge in wages noted in the second-quarter of 1994. The Main Statistical Office (GUS) argued in a report issued on 28 July that wages rose primarily in firms in poor financial condition, where salaries were very low. GUS failed to see any direct link between this growth and higher than anticipated inflation. In contrast, the Central Planning Office (CUP) on 25 July attributed higher inflation directly to the lack of wage controls. Opposition economist Janusz Lewandowski argued on 27 July that the real problem is the high rate of wage growth in monopolistic sectors such as mining, tobacco, and telecommunications. He charged that this growth reflects an official policy of protecting state industries at the cost of the more vibrant private sector, where employment declined by 20,000 in the first half of 1994. This was the first drop in private sector employment since the economic transformation began in 1989. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. CZECH RIGHT-WING EXTREMISTS MAR MEMORIAL CEREMONY. About twenty members of the far-right Assembly for the Republic/Czechoslovak Republican Party prevented Germans and Czechs from holding a memorial ceremony at the former Nazi concentration camp at Terezin in northern Bohemia. The ceremony, organized by German and Czech groups, was to be held at the local national cemetery and had been officially approved. CTK reports that members of the extreme-right party blocked the entrance to the cemetery, threw eggs at people gathered for the ceremony and destroyed wreaths that were to be placed at a cross. The rightists shouted demands for the Germans to go home. Several policemen were present during the incident but did not interfere. One policeman was quoted as saying that he and his colleagues did not act because they were outnumbered. Another memorial ceremony aimed at reconciliation between Czechs and Germans, held in Usti nad Labem, was not disrupted. At least two major Czech political parties have already expressed their dismay over the incident in Terezin. A spokesman for the Civic Democratic Alliance, a member of the ruling coalition, said that the incident was "a manifestation of hateful intolerance." Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK NATIONALISTS SLAM HUNGARIANS, JEWS. About 1,000 people gathered in Surany on 31 July to protest against various demands of the Hungarian minority in southern Slovakia. Slovak media report that the meeting was organized by the Slovak Heritage Foundation (Matica Slovenska); no government officials were present but Ivan Gasparovic, chairman of the Slovak Parliament and a member of Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, addressed the crowd. Jan Slota, chairman of the Slovak National Party (SNP), told the audience that the Slovak parliament is "not a Slovak one" because it recently adopted a law allowing the use of bilingual signs in municipalities where an ethnic minority constitutes at least 20% of the municipality's inhabitants. On 29 July Slota attempted to distance himself and his party from a special supplement to the pro-Meciar daily Republika published in the name of his party several days earlier, which contained racist and anti-semitic articles. The headline of one of the articles read: "Only Jews Live Well in Slovakia." Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN, ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTERS MEET. Gyorgy Keleti and his Romanian counterpart Gheorghe Tinca met on 29 July in Gyula, Hungary to review bilateral military relations and ways to expand military cooperation, MTI reported. Tinca brought with him ten proposals fitting into the Partnership for Peace program with NATO and which include joint maneuvers, and exchanges of officers at military academies. Tinca stressed the need to strengthen mutual confidence, while Keleti said the Romanian proposals would benefit the Hungarian army training program and invited Tinca to visit Budapest in the fall. Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN FOREIGN TRADE DEFICIT. According to Minister of Industry and Trade Laszlo Pal, Hungary's foreign trade registered a $1.7 billion deficit in the first half of 1994 compared to the same period of last year, MTI announced on 29 July. Exports rose in value by 7.8% to $4.6 billion and imports by 5.4% to $6.3 billion. Industrial goods accounted for 78.4% and foodstuffs for 21.6% of all exports while agricultural products made up 23.6% of all imports. In the first five months of this year, industrial production rose by 8.3% compared to the same period of 1993 and $486 million in foreign capital entered Hungary; the total number of joint enterprises passed the 21,000 mark, an increase of 2,073 during the January-June 1994 period. Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT APPARATUS TO BE STREAMLINED. At a press conference broadcast over Radio Bucharest on 29 July, Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu said about 28% of the central government posts will be eliminated in the next few weeks, in an effort to cut bureaucracy. Among other things, the government will abolish 21 state-secretary (the equivalent of deputy minister) jobs. In addition, nearly 2,500 employees, mostly in economic ministries, are to loose their jobs. The Interior and the Defense Ministries will not be affected by the move, which, Vacaroiu said, aimed at "cutting red tape, boosting work efficiency" and bringing the administrative apparatus in line with "the development of market mechanisms in the country." The Industry Ministry will be the most affected, with seven state secretaries loosing their jobs. Staff in that ministry, as well as in the ministries of Agriculture, Transport, Tourism, Trade and Environment, would be cut by up to 54%. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. ILIESCU DENIES CANCER RUMORS. Speaking on television on 29 July, Romanian President Ion Iliescu told the nation he was recovering well from gallstone surgery and denied reports he had cancer. He thanked people who had sent him letters wishing a speed recovery. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. MINERS STRIKE CONTINUES IN ROMANIA. Talks between management and the leaders of the striking miners in the Jiu valley failed to produce an agreement and the strike at three pits (Rovinari, Pinoasa and Rosia), which began on 29 July, is continuing, Radio Bucharest reported. The demonstration of strikers in front of the company's headquarters in Targu Jiu is also continuing and 28 leaders of the miners' union are on a hunger strike. An official of the miners' union told Radio Bucharest that about 25,000 union members from the oil fields of Ploiesti and from the copper mines in Deva will join the strike on 1 August. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. BULGARIA, ROMANIA TO DISCUSS MUTUAL BORDER. Officials of the Ruse Directorate for the Maintenance of the Navigation Routes, which is responsible, among other things, with keeping records on Danube sailing routes--say Bulgarian and Romanian representatives will meet in early August to try and determine the principles for revising the 1908 border convention. Georgi Georgiev, who heads the directorate, told BTA on 31 July that since the beginning of the century at least five new large islands have been formed in the river, and several others have disappeared. Over the past 10 years, Georgiev said 10 hectares of land have gone lost on the Bulgarian side. The last revision was made in 1986. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. BANK LEAVES BULGARIAN INDUSTRIALIST GROUP. Turistsportbank announced on 29 July that it is leaving the Confederation of Bulgarian Industrialists, the so-called G-13, in protest over recent activities of the influential Multigroup. In a statement distributed by the bank's board of directors, Multigroup and its affiliated companies were accused of resorting to "aggressive and unfair" business methods while pursuing their expansionist strategy. No specific clarification was offered, but Turistsportbank said Multigroup had been taking advantage of its chairmanship in the G-13 to pursue its own ends. Another bank, meanwhile, was celebrating its fourth anniversary. In the January-June period the Parva Chastna Banka [First Private Bank] registered a 625 billion leva ($12 billion) turnover. BTA carried the reports. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. ESTONIA, RUSSIA SIGN AGREEMENT ON PADILSKI. On 30 July in Moscow Deputy Chancellor of the Estonian Foreign Ministry Raul Malk and Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov signed an agreement requiring Russia to complete the removal of two nuclear reactors from the submarine base at Padilski by 30 September, 1995, Western agencies report. Estonia had desired removal in ten months while Russia claimed it needed seventeen months and a compromise of fourteen months was reached. The agreement allows up to 210 Russian specialists to remain at the base that will be considered to be under civil and not military control. The employees and their families, moreover, will be granted residence permits for an additional six months if they have no housing in Russia or have family members undergoing medical treatment. It should be noted that the parliaments still have to ratify this and other agreements signed by the presidents on 26 July and no progress was made in settling differences on the borders. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. LITHUANIA TO FINANCE REFERENDUM WITH WORLD BANK LOAN? The decision by Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius on 27 July to earmark 4.5 million litai ($4.1 million) to pay for the economic referendum on 27 August was criticized by World Bank representatives in Lithuania, Barbara Lee and Ulrich Zachau, Interfax reported on 30 July. They said that World Bank loans can only be used for imports and investments. Slezevicius justified his decision by stating that no other national funds were available. His decision, however, is probably politically motivated. The campaign for the referendum will officially begin on 1 August. He and the ruling Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party oppose the referendum, proposed by the right-wing opposition, asserting that its provisions for compensations for savings and revoking privatizations deemed illegal would result in massive inflation. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT STOPS PRIVATIZATION. On 29 July, the Ukrainian Parliament voted 180-62 to suspend until 1 October the process of privatization in the country. The resolution adopted by the parliament says the State Property Fund, which oversees privatization, should "stop the conclusion of agreements as to buying and selling...until parliament approves the industries and objects which are not to be privatized." The Parliament ordered the government to submit a list for parliament's approval in September of enterprises in the transport, energy and communication industries which should not be privatized "because of their national significance." It also ordered a review of the mechanism by which foreign investors participate in privatization. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. UNEMPLOYMENT IN MINSK. Of the 10,459 officially registered unemployed in Minsk 78% are women, Belarusian radio reported on 28 July. In an attempt to combat the unemployment issue, it was announced that those who fail to qualify for entrance into university or other institutes of education, and are officially registered as unemployed, will have the right to receive training as secretaries, tailors, mechanics, in languages and other skills. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Saulius Girnius and Dan Ionescu 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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