|When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years. - Mark Twain|
No. 146, 3 August 1994
RUSSIA CHERNOMYRDIN TELLS FIRMS TO FEND FOR SELVES. Concluding a three-day trip to Karelia, Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin warned industrial managers "not to expect anyone to solve your problems for you," ITAR-TASS reported on 2 August. He was responding to a request from the head of a Petrozavodsk paper plant for government assistance in marketing its products. Managers also pressed for exemptions from duty on imported equipment and the right to retain foreign currency earnings. The prime minister said he was tired of complaints from industrial managers and constant requests for subsidies. "Enter the world market, look for orders inside the country," Chernomyrdin chided. He told Petrozavodsk residents on 2 August that tax rates may be cut in 1995 in order to spur domestic production. The government plans to implement changes in the tax code by decree, rather than waiting for parliament to approve a new law, but any revisions will not take effect before 1995, Chernomyrdin added. He also noted that the government is preparing a "comprehensive" plan to assist ailing defense industries; he acknowledged that this will require significant spending, according to an Interfax report on 2 August. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS STATISTICS SHOW SEVERE GDP DECLINE. A report from the CIS statistical committee showed GDP in the twelve member countries slumping in the first half of 1994, Interfax reported on 2 August. Belarus experienced the sharpest decline, a 31% drop compared to the same period in 1993. Kazakhstan's GDP fell by 26.9%, while Ukraine's dropped by 26.5%, and Russia's declined by 17%. Overall, GDP for all CIS countries in the first six months of 1994 amounted to only 80% of the 1993 figure; in turn, GDP for the first half of 1993 was 90% of the 1992 figure. Inflation rates for June were low in Ukraine (1%) and Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldova (between 3-5%), but monthly inflation continued to soar elsewhere. In June, prices rose by 20% in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan; by almost 30% in Azerbaijan and Belarus; and by over 40% in Kazakhstan and Armenia. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN MASS MEDIA SEE MILITARY ACTION AGAINST DUDAEV. Russia's official support for the opposition to Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev suggests that Moscow is ready to use military force against Chechnya, writes Segodnya on 3 August. Although Chechens had a long tradition of military resistance to Russian troops in both the 19th and 20th centuries, today's situation is different. If the past experience could be a guide, Dudaev's forces will need a continuous armament supply from a third, neutral territory. Today, however, Russia has already blocked all territories surrounding Chechnya and has enough troops in the region for a quick and successful military operation, the newspaper concluded. While the anti-Dudaev opposition may back Russia's using military force against Chechnya now, the opposition and Dudaev could unite in resistance to the Russian troops at a later time, Nezavisimaya gazeta argued on 3 August. Meanwhile, the Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK) is intensifying its operations against Chechnya, reported Moskovskii komsomolets. A week ago FSK Deputy Director Evgenii Savostyanov covertly arrived in the region, perhaps imagining himself as a kind of Lawrence of Arabia, the newspaper commented. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. CHECHEN OPPOSITION CLAIMS BEING IN POWER. On Ostankino TV news on 2 August, Umar Avturkganov, the leader of the opposition Provisional Council formed in Moscow last week, claimed that the Council controls the entire territory of Chechnya with the exception of a few villages still loyal to president Dudaev. The same evening Russian TV news quoted the Council as saying that the power in Chechnya belongs to them, and that Dudaev had been removed from office. In Groznyi, the newscasts added, Chechen Prosecutor-General filed charges of high treason against Avturkhanov and appealed to Moscow for the extradition of the "state criminal." Meanwhile, Russian Prime Minister Chernomyrdin told a news conference that the time is ripe for Moscow to undertake some unidentified "concrete measures" against Chechnya, but gave assurances that his government would not use force to resolve the deadlock. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. AUSHEV ADDRESSES ACTING PROSECUTOR-GENERAL. Russian TV news of 2 August quoted Ingush president Ruslan Aushev as complaining that Yeltsin's decree of December 1993 had not been implemented. The decree gave Ingush refugees who were displaced in the course of the violent ethnic conflict in 1992-93 the right to return to their former settlements in the neighboring Caucasian republic of North Ossetia. Aushev reportedly asked Acting Prosecutor-General Aleksei Ilyushenko to place the resettlement of the refugees under control of the Prosecutor-General's office. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. HUMAN RIGHTS CHAMPION CRITICIZES YELTSIN'S DECREE. On 2 August Ostankino Television broadcast a 15-minute interview with Sergei Kovalev, chairman of the Human Rights Commission attached to the office of the Russian President. Kovalev said that while Yeltsin had been justified last fall to violate the then Russian Constitution to resolve the conflict with the parliament, his June decree on combatting organized crime violated the new Russian Constitution and infringed on human rights. This was the first time that one of the two TV channels available nationwide criticized the decree. They had previously only broadcast the views of Russian Prosecutor-General Aleksei Ilyushenko and representatives of the counterintelligence service and police who supported the decree. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. BARKASHOV: "KGB INVOLVED IN SETTING UP OPPOSITION ORGANIZATION." Aleksandr Barkashov, the leader of Russian National Unity, widely reputed to be a neo-Nazi paramilitary organization, has indirectly confirmed KGB involvement in creating the extremist opposition to Yeltsin. Barkashov's revelations appeared in the tabloid Inform-600 Seconds, no. 2. When asked about his role in establishing the ultranationalist Russian National Assembly (RNA), led by former KGB General Aleksandr Sterligov. Barkashov said: "Apart from the KGB Fifth Directorate, I was one of the founders of the RNA." It should be noted that when the RNA was formed in 1992, the KGB Fifth Directorate officially did not exist. This unit, responsible for persecuting dissidents under the communism, was renamed Directorate on Combatting Terrorism in the Gorbachev era. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. MOSCOW DENIES DEAL ON HAITI. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigorii Karasin on 2 August denied press reports that Russia colluded secretly with the US by approving the UN endorsement of a US-led armed intervention in Haiti in exchange for Washington's approval of Russian peacekeeping operations in Georgia. Interfax quoted Karasin as saying that there was no link between the two issues and that Moscow's actions were ruled by "principles of settling conflicts and complex situations." He described the situations in Haiti and Georgia (referring specifically to the conflict between Georgia and Abkhazia) as entirely different, and called the UN Security Council resolution on Haiti a "difficult but necessary step." Meanwhile, Interfax also reported that a leader of the communist faction in the Russian State Duma, Viktor Zorkaltsev, denounced the UN Security Council resolution on Haiti, describing it as a cover for American hegemonic ambitions. Zorkaltsev also spoke out against the use of Russian peacekeepers in Haiti and suggested that Russian forces should be withdrawn from Abkhazia as well. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. PAKISTAN CONSIDERING RUSSIAN ARMS? An official of the Russian arms trading company, Rosvooruzhenie reportedly told ITAR-TASS on 2 August that Pakistani authorities have made unofficial inquiries into the possibility of purchasing Russian fighter aircraft. The claim follows a statement by Pakistani President Farooq Ahmed Leghari on 1 August that Pakistan would examine various options for acquiring high-tech aircraft if the US did not lift a ban on supplying already contracted F-16 fighters. As AFP and Reuters noted, Washington stopped delivery on the F-16's in 1990 because of suspicions that Pakistan was working to produce nuclear weapons. In early July Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigorii Karasin was quoted by Interfax as saying that Russia has "no ideological or other prejudices" on the issue of selling arms to Pakistan, but the issue is undoubtedly a delicate one insofar as Russia must be careful to avoid antagonizing India, a rival of Pakistan and traditionally one of Moscow's largest arms customers. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. OTHER ARMS DEVELOPMENTS. On 2 August Kuwaiti Defense Minister Sheik Ahmad Hamoud al-Sabah announced that the Gulf State would soon sign an agreement to purchase Russian weaponry. According to Reuters, he gave no details of the type of weapons to be acquired, but said that the purchase would come within the context of a security pact between the two countries. Reuters had reported on 22 January that Kuwait was negotiating the purchase from Russia of BMP-2 and BMP-3 armored personnel carriers and other unspecified "vehicles." Also on 2 August, AFP and ITAR-TASS quoted a US Pentagon source as denying that the US had supplanted the USSR as the major supplier of weaponry to the Third World. His remarks followed publication of an annual US Congressional Research Service report that said that the US had increased its share of arms sales to the Third World in 1993 to more than 72% of the total. The same report said that Russia was the third largest supplier of military hardware to the Third World, and that Moscow had increased its sales from $1.6 billion in 1992 to $1.8 billion last year. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE MILOSEVIC WARNS BOSNIAN SERBS. On 2 and 3 August international media report that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic has threatened to sever ties with the Bosnian Serbs if they continue to reject the terms of the international community's peace plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Milosevic's warning, which is being described as an "unprecedented" move by some observers, came in the form of a 2 August letter to the Bosnian Serb leadership. The Serbian government statement, which appears in the 3 August issue of Politika, states that the Bosnian Serbs' continued rejection of the peace plan would be tantamount to a "betrayal" of Serbian national interests and notes that it is "not honorable for Serbia and the whole of [the rump] Yugoslavia to wait for the start of the lifting of sanctions" while the Bosnian Serbs delay and attempt to "clarify" the terms of the peace. Belgrade has been threatened with a tightening of the UN-backed sanctions if the Bosnian Serbs continue to reject the peace. Thus far, international reaction to Milosevic's warning has tended to be positive. Washington, however, has expressed some reservation, with a State Department official stating that Belgrade's letter "has to be supported by actions . . . and show something substantial." Finally, SRNA reports that the self-styled Bosnian Serb parliament, in what appears to be a reaction to Belgrade's warning, will meet on 3 August to give some "definitive" response to the peace offer. Some hard-line Bosnian Serb leaders have already publicly condemned Milosevic for the letter, accusing the Serbian President of treason. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. SNIPING TO END IN SARAJEVO. On 2 August Reuters reported that Bosnian Muslims and Serbs have reached an agreement to end sniping in Sarajevo. The accord is to be signed on 3 August, and will go into effect 24 hours thereafter. Bosnian government representative Hasan Muratovic and president of the self-styled Bosnian Serb parliament Momcilo Krajisnik also discussed prisoner exchanges and the possibility of reopening a supply route to the Bosnian capital, but failed to reach any agreement on these issues. Finally, on 2 August Reuters also reports that rebel Serbs in the Croatian region commonly known as Krajina have evidently "plundered" UN weapons depots in order to aid Bosnian Muslim rebel leader Fikret Abdic, who has recently suffered heavy losses against Bosnian forces loyal to Sarajevo. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. MILOSEVIC REMAINS "MOST POPULAR POLITICIAN." On 2 August Politika reports on survey results compiled by the "Partner" agency, which recently conducted a Serbia-wide telephone poll of 500 residents. According to "Partner" controversial Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic remained the most popular political figure in the rump Yugoslav republic during the month of July. The second most popular politician was found to be Democratic Party leader Zoran Djindjic, while Vojislav Kostunica, leader of the Democratic Party of Serbia, was third. The ultra-nationalist leader of the Serbian Radical Party, Vojislav Seselj, ranked fourth while another familiar face on the Serbian political landscape, Serbian Renewal Movement leader Vuk Draskovic, held fifth place. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. FERAL TRIBUNE TO RE-APPEAR NEXT WEEK. On 2 August RFE/RL's South Slavic Language Service reported that the independent Croatian weekly, Feral Tribune, will publish again "next week," after a one-week absence. According to Feral Tribune chief editor Viktor Ivancic, the weekly was not published on 1 August as a protest against a 50% sales tax imposed by Zagreb on each copy of the publication. When the upcoming issue of Feral appears, Ivancic has promised it will include copies of all official documents relating to the tax and will also contain critiques of Education and Culture Minister Vesna Jurkic-Girardi and the ministry. In the past, the 50% tax has applied only to pornographic publications and a rightist magazine. Feral is renowned for its criticism of Zagreb authorities, principally Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, and Ivancic insists the tax levy against Feral is to be seen as a form of censorship. Nenad Pejic and Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. ALBANIAN OIL CONTRABAND TO RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. Gazeta Shqiptare of 29 July carried an interview with Antonio Napolitano, US official in charge with the enforcement of sanctions against rump Yugoslavia, saying that a heavy oil contraband is presently taking place across Lake Shkoder into Montenegro. According to Napolitano, Albania imports double the amount of oil it consumes and efforts are being made to find out who is behind the illegal traffic. Traffic of oil tanker trucks within Albania has increased sharply. The smugglers make good money since the Serbs pay 1 DM per liter over the going price. Napolitano also said that over 90% of the oil is transported in barrels through Lake Shkoder or the Buna river in the north: "the barrels are dragged across the lake by ropes." No exact figures are known, but large quantities of oil reportedly enter Albania from Greece and Italy (12 thousand barrels during the May-June period, or 2 million liters, according to some sources). Louis Zanga, RFE/RL, Inc. POLAND ASSESSES UPRISING CEREMONIES. "We will remember German President Roman Herzog's speech, but we will not remember Sergei Filatov's remarks." This was how Polish Foreign Minister Andrzej Olechowski summed up the discord between the German president's gesture of atonement at the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising on 1 August and the Russian failure to do more than pay homage to the victims. Olechowski called Herzog's gesture "historic" and ranked it with the Polish bishops' appeal of 1965 and Willy Brandt's fall to his knees before the Warsaw Ghetto monument in 1970 as crucial gestures serving reconciliation between the two nations. In contrast, Olechowski expressed "disappointment" at the speech by Filatov, President Boris Yeltsin's chief of staff and special envoy for the occasion. Olechowski brushed aside Filatov's appeal to let historians settle the conflict over the uprising; the facts are there for all to see, Olechowski said. He nonetheless expressed his "personal respect" for Filatov and his confidence that true reconciliation can be achieved between Russia and Poland in the future, Gazeta Wyborcza reports. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA BRISTLES AT POLISH STANCE. Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 3 August that Filatov is viewed in Moscow circles as a friend of the "Polish lobby." During a visit to the graves of Soviet soldiers who fell on Polish territory during World War II, Filatov nonetheless hectored the Poles, charging that the anti-Russian "uproar" surrounding the uprising ceremonies had prompted a negative Russian reaction. Filatov reminded the Poles that Red Army soldiers had "liberated" Poland and Warsaw; "no one should ever forget this," he said. In talks with President Lech Walesa, Filatov stressed the need to build good relations regardless of the ballast of the past. Walesa told Filatov that Poland will continue to press for NATO membership and does not intend to ask anyone for permission. He criticized the Russian approach to NATO; the attempt to secure spheres of influence violates the idea of partnership, he said. In remarks for Polish TV, Walesa expressed regret at the lack of a Russian apology; "even the worst truth, once revealed, can be accepted," he said. Walesa and Filatov agreed to form a presidential consultative committee to deal with urgent bilateral issues. Russian press reports on the uprising anniversary remained unsympathetic; Izvestiya charged on 2 August that "the Poles seem to have forgotten who suppressed the uprising" and insisted that the uprising was "not Katyn." Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. CANDIDATE LISTS PREPARED FOR SLOVAK ELECTIONS. On 2 August the Slovak Interior Ministry provided TASR with a list of candidates set to run in the parliamentary elections scheduled for 30 September and 1 October. The parties had until midnight on 1 August to submit the lists. In Bratislava and Eastern Slovakia 20 parties will compete, and in Western and Central Slovakia 19 will participate. Registered parties include the Common Choice (a coalition of the Party of the Democratic Left, the Social Democratic Party of Slovakia, the Green Party and the Movement of Peasants), the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia-Agricultural Party coalition, the Christian Democratic Movement, the Democratic Union of Slovakia, the Democratic Party, the Slovak National Party, the Association of Workers of Slovakia, the Romany Civic Initiative, a coalition of three ethnic Hungarian parties, the Christian Social Union and New Slovakia, among others. In the last parliamentary elections held in June 1992, 27 Slovak parties participated. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL ORGANIZATIONS WARN HUNGARY. Week-long discussions between World Bank and International Monetary Fund officials and Hungarian government and Hungarian National Bank (HNB) representatives ended on 1 August, MTI reports. The WB and IMF said that as a result of its large current balance of payment and state budget deficits, Hungary had reached the limits of its economic possibilities. Preparations for a three-year financing plan to support the Horn government's program could not be started before "radical and very drastic" corrective economic measures were undertaken. They proposed to reduce this year's BoP deficit (which stood at $1.2 billion at the end of April) to $2 billion, and to $1.5 billion in 1995 and not to allow the state budget deficit, which is expected to reach 8%-9% of Hungary's GDP, to exceed 3%. Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. CONCERN OVER HUNGARY'S GRAVE ECONOMIC SITUATION. According to Finance Minister Laszlo Bekesi, the WB/IMF assessment is similar to that of the Hungarian government but the latter feels it cannot achieve such large-scale improvements soon. Thus it expects the BoP deficit to reach $2 to $2.5 billion in 1995 and the state budget deficit, presently at 184 billion forint ($1=101 forint) to reach 300 billion (or more if not streamlined) by the end of this year. Right now, the government does not know how to finance next year's budget and will discuss on 4 August a finance ministry proposal for heavier consumer taxes on fuels and consumer goods starting 1 October. On 2 August the HNB announced that because it spent more on debt servicing than it took in new credits, Hungary's net foreign debt rose by $900 million in the first four months of 1994 and stood at $16.8 billion, while the gross debt reached $25.6 billion. Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARY'S SLOVAK MINORITY CONSULTED. Csaba Tabajdi, in charge of minority affairs in the prime minister's office, on 1 August discussed the Hungarian-Slovak bilateral treaty with the leaders of Hungary's Slovak minority, MTI reported. He said his government did not want to link the issue of Hungary's Slovak minority with that of the Magyar minority in Slovakia while the Slovak minority leaders said they expected the treaty to slow down the assimilation of Hungary's 110,000 Slovaks and provide more aid for educational purposes. Tabajdi also discussed the treaty with Erzsebet Borza, vice chairman of Slovakia's Democratic Party of the Left and an ethnic Hungarian. They agreed that the signing of the document was an important confidence-building factor and had to guarantee both the inviolability of the two countries' borders and the rights of national minorities as defined by existing international documents and recommendations. Alfred Reisch , RFE/RL, Inc. CRIMES AGAINST PUBLIC ORDER ON THE RISE IN HUNGARY. Although the total number of criminal offenses in Hungary in the first half of 1994 fell by 6.2% to 197,261, the number of crimes against public order amounted within that figure to 22,595, a 93.8% jump compared to the first half of 1993. Violent crimes and acts of disorderly conduct rose by 8% to 13,124, MTI reported on 29 July. Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. MINERS' UNION LEADER THREATENS DESCENT ON BUCHAREST. Miron Cosma, the leader of one of Romania's largest miners' unions, threatened on 2 August to call a general strike by all miners, Reuters reported on the same day. Cosma, who led miners in protests in Bucharest that turned violent in 1990 and 1991, also said he would lead 200,000 miners in a march on the capital if any of the miners staging hunger strikes in Targu Jiu and Deva were to die. In a statement, Cosma said the threats were a response to the government's lack of action over the six-day old strike that began in Rovinari and spread to include nearly all of the country's brown coal miners and some of the copper miners. Radio Bucharest reported on 2 August that the protest demonstrators in Targu Jiu said that if negotiations with the Minister of Industries would not begin by next morning, they would block roads leading in and out of the town and would not de-block them before Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu would personally come to Targu Jiu to negotiate the ending of the labor conflict. The radio also said that some 200 copper miners of the Deva region had barricaded themselves underground. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. CLUJ DIGGING BEGINS. The controversial archaeological diggings in the main square of Cluj were started on 2 August, local media and Reuters reported on the same day. Policemen were stationed near King Mathias' statue, but were later withdrawn since there was no repeat of the scuffles that took place there last month, preventing the start of the excavations. Following the scuffles, the government suspended the diggings and appointed a commission to investigate the matter. The commission said some prospecting that would not endanger the monuments in the square could be carried out. The leadership of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania reacted by saying again that the diggings were illegal because they had not been approved by the local council of Cluj, as well as being "provocative" and anti-Hungarian. The HDFR said it would seek international support to protect monuments of Hungarian culture. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. ZHELEV PARDONS COMMUNIST EX-PREMIER. Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev has pardoned on humanitarian grounds Georgi Atanasov, a former communist Prime Minister who received a 10-year jail sentence last year. 24 Chasa reported on 2 August that Zhelev took the decision immediately after having seen medical certificates confirming that Atanasov is severely ill, and that his condition would worsen if he remained in prison. Together with a former Minister of Economy and Planning, Stoyan Ovcharov, the 61-year-old ex-premier was convicted in September 1993 for having taken 210,000 leva (then worth $100,000) from a fund devoted to the construction of orphanages and distributed them among families of communist activists. In an interview with Standart, Zhelev commented that it would "not be good for democracy" if a former premier dies in prison. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. MOLDOVA'S RUSSIAN PARTY AGAINST INDEPENDENCE? Interviewed in the Moscow weekly Utro Rossii no. 29 of 21-27 July 1994 (the same issue which published Solzhenitsyn's essay on "The Russian Issue"), Vladimir Solonar, leader of Moldova's Socialist Unity Bloc, the second-largest parliamentary grouping, representing primarily the local Russian electorate, outlined the Bloc's goals. He urged the "unification [of the newly independent states] at least in the form of a confederation," Moldova's accession to a "military-political union with the other republics of the CIS" and to a CIS "customs and currency union," and "free movement of labor" within it. Solonar defined the Bloc as "pro-Union" for seeking reunification of ex-Soviet republics in a confederation, and "pro-Russian" because "Russia would form the [confederation's] Center." "Russia is more to me than just the former RSFSR . . . One way or another, our entire state was Russian." Moreover, "the key to economic recovery can only be reintegration with the East." Solonar, a relative moderate and the chairman of the Moldovan Parliament's Commission on Human and Ethnic Rights, did not discuss those issues in his interview. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. LUKASHENKA MEETS YELTSIN. Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is scheduled to meet with Russian President Boris Yeltsin on 3 August, Belarusian television and ITAR-TASS reported on 2 August. The main issue on the agenda of talks between the two will be working out the details of the agreement on their monetary union. The head of the National Bank of Belarus, Stanislau Bahdankevich, remains opposed to the article which stipulates that Belarus cede its right to issue money to the Central Bank of Russia and also relinquish control of credit and currency policies to Russia. Another subject to be discussed is the continued maintenance of 30,000 Russian troops guarding strategic missiles in Belarus. Russia has reportedly asked that their withdrawal be delayed because there is no housing for them in Russia and also because Russia would like to retain some strategic installations in Belarus. Lukashenka has said he will not force the troops to leave. The issue of forming some type of union between some CIS states is also on the agenda. Lukashenka told a press conference that although he was against the dissolution of the Soviet Union, today its re-establishment is unrealistic and any new arrangement would have to correspond to the current situation. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. PARLIAMENT TO RATIFY LAW ON US INVESTMENTS IN BELARUS. The Belarusian Cabinet of Ministers has decided to present an agreement protecting US investments in Belarus to the parliament for ratification at its next session, Belarusian radio reported on 1 August. The next session is to begin on 27 September. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. GORE ENDS UKRAINIAN VISIT. Following his visit to Poland, US Vice President Albert Gore stopped off in Kiev for a six hour visit on 2 August, Ukrainian television and various agencies reported. During the visit Gore met with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, the Prime Minister Vitalii Masol and the parliamentary speaker, Oleksandr Moroz. Gore urged Ukraine to press ahead with economic reforms and praised the country for abiding by its disarmament schedule. He did not appear to pressure officials over the issue of ratifying the Non-Proliferation Treaty agreement but said that Kuchma and other Ukrainian leaders all seemed determined to move forward in signing the agreement. Gore also invited Kuchma to meet with US President Bill Clinton in Washington on 29 November. The US has promised $700 million in aid to Ukraine for this year, making it the country's fourth largest aid recipient after Israel, Egypt and Russia. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. JOHN MAJOR IN LITHUANIA. On 2 August British Prime Minister John Major, accompanied by Deputy Foreign Secretary Douglas Hogg, flew from Warsaw to Vilnius for a five-hour visit, Western agencies report. He had separate meetings with President Algirdas Brazauskas, and Baltic prime ministers Adolfas Slezevicius, Valdis Birkavs, and Mart Laar. At a joint press conference of the four prime ministers, Major welcomed Russia's recent signing of an agreement to withdraw its troops from Estonia and said that Lithuania should allow military transit to and from Kaliningrad. Although stating that he regards the Baltic States as members of the European family, he took the precaution not to mention any date for their admission into the European Union and even noted that quick admission could hurt their economies. He dampened Baltic hopes about being admitted into NATO in the near future, mentioning the need for the gradual development in the balance of military force in Eastern Europe. Hogg traveled to Riga that day and will visit Tallinn on 4 and 5 August for further talks with high officials. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. ESTONIAN DECREE ON INVESTMENT FUNDS. On 2 August Reform Minister Liia Hanni, substituting for the prime minister, told a news conference that the government had passed that day a decree regulating legal acts on investment funds, BNS reports. The investment funds can be formed as joint-stock companies or based on contractual relations. The decree regulates the order and different ways of issuing shares and obligates the Estonian Securities Office to license the funds. The government also granted a five-year loan to the joint-stock company Free Land, the only company in Estonia printing securities, to renew its equipment. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. ALBANIAN GREEKS TO STAND TRIAL. On 2 August an Albanian court announced that five members of the Greek minority will stand trial on 15 August, charged with treason and illegal possession of arms. Reporting from the Albanian capital, Reuters quoted a Tirana district court that the ethnic Greeks were accused of "aiming to annex territory of the Republic of Albania [to Greece] and of serving foreign espionage agencies." The five were arrested in April following an attack on a training camp belonging to the Albanian army, in which two conscripts were killed, though the two incidents do not appear to be linked. Since the accused are members of the ethnic Greek Omonia organization, Athens has consistently argued that the charges are an example of Tirana's anti-Greek minority and foreign policies. Three of the defendants face charges of illegal possession of weapons, which could result in a 15-year jail sentence. If found guilty of treason, the punishment would be from 10 years to a death sentence. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Saulius Girnius and Dan Ionescu RFE/RL RESEARCH INSTITUTE TO CLOSE; NEW INSTITUTE FOUNDED The RFE/RL Research Institute will close at the end of 1994. A new research institute, to be based in Prague in the Czech Republic, will begin operations in October 1994. This new research organization, the Open Media Research Institute (OMRI), is the result of a unique initiative involving the United States Board for International Broadcasting (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's government oversight and funding agency) and the Open Society Institute (a Soros Foundation). It will publish a weekly analytic journal and a daily digest of events in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and selected other countries; provide current analyses and information to RFE/RL broadcasters and others; and undertake, as custodian, the preservation and automation of the RFE/RL archives to make them more accessible to the scholarly community. It will engage in training and other activities in support of democracy and independent media throughout Eastern Europe and the territory of the former Soviet Union. The closure of the RFE/RL Research Institute is part of the reordering of American national priorities after the end of the Cold War. It is a result of the United States International Broadcasting Act of 1994, which mandated a consolidation of all US-funded international broadcasting activities, a drastic reduction in the RFE/RL budget, and the privatization of some RFE/RL operations, including those of the Research Institute. In response to the new law, the Board for International Broadcasting and the Board of Directors of RFE/RL Inc. directed the closure of the Research Institute by 31 December 1994. The institute's weekly RFE/RL Research Report and the RFE/RL Research Bulletin will cease to be published at the end of August 1994. RFE/RL intends to continue publication of the RFE/RL Daily Report until such time as OMRI can begin its daily digest. The RFE/RL Research Institute was established in late 1990, incorporating and building on the operations of several RFE and RL research units. The institute's publications have included the RFE/RL Research Report, the RFE/RL Research Bulletin, the RFE/RL Daily Report, and the RFE/RL Research Studies series. In addition, the institute has issued monitoring bulletins of Eastern broadcasts and the press. It has conducted opinion and audience research in the region, and its extensive press and samizdat archives have been available to scholars. The RFE/RL Research Institute's purpose has been to strengthen the broadcasting of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and contribute to an informed understanding by governments, scholars, journalists, and others of the complicated postcommunist transition in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. We are grateful to our many readers and other friends of the RFE/RL Research Institute and its precursors for their interest, encouragement, and support over many years. Kevin Klose, President, RFE/RL Inc. A. Ross Johnson, Director, RFE/RL Research Institute, 1 August 1994 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. 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