I'm going to turn on the light, and we'll be two people in a room looking at each other and wondering why on earth we were afraid of the dark. - Gale Wilhelm
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 147, 4 August 1994

                             RUSSIA

YELTSIN APPROVES LIMITED PENSION INCREASE. Rejecting
parliamentary pressure for a far more substantial increase,
Russian President Boris Yeltsin approved a 15% rise in pensions
in a decree signed on 3 August, ITAR-TASS reports. The State Duma
had ignored government objections and voted in favor of a 40%
pension increase on 14 July. The Federation Council had boosted
this to 50% later in July, despite warnings from the Finance
Ministry that funds to finance the increase would have to be
shifted from other urgent budgetary needs. Some deputies also
argued that a major increase would remain only on paper.
Explaining his decision, Yeltsin argued that the parliament's
proposals were too extravagant for a country attempting to keep
its budget deficit in check. The 15% increase, effective as of 1
August, is consistent with the government's initial proposal to
the parliament.  Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

MMM STANDOFF CONTINUES. The mastermind behind the crumbling MMM
investment scheme, Sergei Mavrodi, failed to appear at a meeting
on 3 August requested by finance, anti-monopoly, and tax
officials. Mavrodi instead sent a lawyer, who was not admitted to
the meeting because he lacked formal authorization to represent
MMM. Government officials continued to pursue their kid-gloves
approach, pressing for full financial disclosure rather than
threatening to shut down the firm outright. "We still insist MMM
register all of its shareholders and announce the value of its
assets," Deputy Finance Minister Andrei Vavilov told journalists
after the plans for a meeting were abandoned. A Finance Ministry
statement issued on 3 August warned that the issue of new share
certificates by MMM is "absolutely illegal" and "violates the
legal rights and interests of citizens." The certificates have
not been registered, as is required by law. An official from the
tax office told Interfax on 2 August that an audit of an MMM
subsidiary, Invest-Consulting, had revealed massive and
systematic tax evasion for which it had been slapped with a bill
for 49 billion rubles ($24 million) in back taxes. Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL, Inc.

CHERNOMYRDIN: INTEREST RATES TO DROP STEADILY. According to a
Reuters report on 3 August, Russian Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin intends to steer government economic policy in such
a way as to permit annual lending rates to fall to 110-120% by
the end of 1994. The Central Bank cut its discount rate from 155%
to 150% on 31 July, Interfax reported the same day. This was the
sixth rate cut since April 1994, the report said; at the
beginning of June, the prime lending rate still stood at 200%.
Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

SITUATION IN CHECHNYA: ROUNDUP. Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev
said on 3 August that he was ready to meet the Russian leadership
for talks on the status of his breakaway republic. Dudaev's
proposal for negotiations was, however, rejected by Moscow. The
chief of the presidential administration, Sergei Filatov, told an
RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow on 3 August that a meeting between
Dudaev and Yeltsin was unlikely at this stage. Moscow is now
supporting the Chechen's opposition Provisional Council, whose
leader on 2 August said that the Council was now in control in
Chechnya. In an interview with AFP on 3 August, Dudaev rejected
the validity of this statement. Indeed, Russian and Western media
reported on 3 August that the Chechen capital of Groznyi was calm
and there were no signs that Dudaev had lost power.  Vera Tolz,
RFE/RL, Inc.

MOSCOW ICES RELATIONS WITH BOSNIAN SERBS, BACKS MILOSEVIC.
Interfax and AFP reported on 3 August that Moscow has officially
"frozen" relations with the Bosnian Serbs in a bid to pressure
them into accepting the latest international community's peace
plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina, which would effectively assign
them 49% of the country. Meanwhile, Moscow has also fully
endorsed the Serbian government's announcement on 2 August that
Belgrade may sever relations with the Bosnian Serbs if they
continue to reject the peace offer. According to one unnamed
Russian diplomatic source, the recent pronouncements by Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic and the Serbian government indicate
that "Belgrade intends to put an end to the blood bath in the
Balkans and break its international isolation." Stan Markotich,
RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN-IRAQI OIL AGREEMENT? On 3 August Interfax reported that
Moscow and Baghdad agreed that Russia would begin work on
developing and updating Iraqi oil fields without waiting for the
lifting of international sanctions against Iraq. An official from
the Russian Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations reportedly
told Interfax that Russian oil workers will start work at three
major oil fields in Iraq and that the project was projected to
cost $2.3 billion. Further information on the project was not
available, nor have other news sources carried the story. Stephen
Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

ON LIFTING SANCTIONS AGAINST BAGHDAD. Moscow continues to urge a
softer policy on the lifting of UN sanctions against Iraq. On 3
August Interfax quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Boris
Kolokolov as saying that the gradual lifting of sanctions against
Iraq depends upon Baghdad's willingness to cooperate with the UN
commission for disarming Iraq and upon Iraq's general compliance
with the basic demands of the world community, including
Baghdad's recognition of Kuwait's independence and its UN
demarcated border. Kolokolov argued, however, that the Iraqi side
"cooperates with the UN commission willingly enough" and that
"while some of our Security Council partners, such as the US, are
categorically against the lifting of sanctions, we say that such
a possibility should be considered." Kolokolov seemed to offer a
narrow interpretation of the relevant UN resolution to argue that
Baghdad's compliance with its disarmament provisions should
result in a lifting of the oil embargo on Iraq.  Stephen Foye,
RFE/RL, Inc.

SOUTH KOREA CONSIDERING WEAPONS FOR DEBT DEAL. Reuters reported
on 4 August that South Korea is negotiating with Russia on
accepting military hardware as partial repayment for some $1.47
billion in loans that Seoul granted to the USSR in 1992.
According to a South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman, Russia
provided a list of weapons that it is willing to supply, but
South Korean "government policy-makers have yet to decide as to
how much and what to take in order to resolve the debt problem."
He said that the government had ruled out the purchase "of any
weapons requiring many parts for servicing, such as fighters or
tanks." In January 1994 there were reports that South Korea,
which buys the bulk of its military hardware from the US, had
refused a Russian offer to exchange arms for debts. Russia's
chronic inability to meet its debt payments to South Korea may,
however, have induced Seoul to reconsider its position.  Stephen
Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

LEBED TO BE REMOVED? A commission of senior officers from
Russia's Defense Ministry, headed by First Deputy Chief of Staff,
Col.-General Eduard Vorobev, arrived in Tiraspol on 2 August.
Participants in discussions with the commission, including
"Dniester" army inspector Maj.-General Stepan Kitsak, Russian
14th Army's commandant in the city of Tiraspol Colonel Mikhail
Bergman, and officers from that Army's headquarters told
Basapress on 3 August that 14th Army Commander Lt.-General
Aleksandr Lebed, now on leave in Moscow, will be removed from his
post shortly. The sources attributed the decision to Russian
Defense Minister Pavel Grachev's displeasure with Lebed's
repeated criticism of him in the Russian media and to "Dniester
republic" President Igor Smirnov's insistent requests to the
Russian Defense Ministry to penalize Lebed for attacking him and
the entire "Dniester" leadership as corrupt and extremist.
Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIANS MOURN ACTOR SMOKTUNOVSKY. On 3 August Russian TV news
opened with an obituary of actor Innokentii Smoktunovsky, who
died of a heart attack at the age of 69. Believed by many to have
been Russia's greatest contemporary actor, Smoktunovsky gained
national fame in the early 1960s while performing Hamlet in
Grigorii Kozintsev's film based on William Shakespeare's play and
Prince Myshkin in the adaptation of Dostoevsky's novel, The
Idiot, in the Leningrad Bolshoi Drama Theater. The priority given
to the death of an actor appears unprecedented for the Russian
broadcasting media; it may indicate public disappointment with
social and political issues and the return to traditional respect
for cultural values. It is thus possible that Smoktunovsky's
funeral on 6 August may turn into a day of national mourning.
Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

                 TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

GEORGIAN OPPOSITION INTENT ON TOPPLING SHEVARDNADZE. Georgian
opposition deputies have collected the 60 signatures needed to
convene an emergency parliamentary session to debate the removal
of Eduard Shevardnadze from the posts of parliament chairman and
head of state, Interfax reported. On 1 August, Irakli Tsereteli,
head of the radical National Independence Party, ended a three
week hunger strike to demand Shevardnadze's resignation,
reportedly after receiving assurances that the emergency
parliament session would take place on 11 August. Possibly in
response to Tsereteli's demand for the release of all Georgian
political prisoners, Shevardnadze instructed the heads of
Georgian law enforcement agencies to review within one month the
cases of all persons claiming to be political prisoners,
ITAR-TASS reported on 28 July. The conclusions reached by the law
enforcement agencies will be passed to the head of state who will
then inform parliament. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

INDIA TO GRANT $20 MILLION CREDIT TO UZBEKISTAN. India will open
the first of two $10 million credit lines to Uzbekistan to
finance joint ventures in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals,
tableware, and packing materials, India's Ambassador in Tashkent,
Dalip Mehta, told Interfax on 3 August. The funds will be
available for a 9-year period at an annual rate of 7.5%; the
second credit line will be opened only when the first has been
exhausted. Ten Indian-Uzbek joint ventures have been registered
to date.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

AZERBAIJAN'S OIL, GAS PRODUCTION FALLING. Having come close to
fulfilling its target for the first six months of this year,
Azerbaijan's state oil company produced only 830,500 tons of
crude in July, which is 9% below target, Interfax reported. Gas
production in July of 511.8 million cubic meters was 27.5% below
the anticipated level. Total gas production for the first six
months of 1994 was 14.8% below target and 11.1% lower than in the
corresponding period in 1993.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

                   CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERBS STALL FOR TIME. International media reported on 3
August that the Bosnian Serb parliament meeting in Pale voted to
put the latest peace plan to a popular vote on 27 and 28 August.
The outcome seems a foregone conclusion, since some 96% of the
electorate turned down the Vance-Owen plan last year and since
voters are constantly bombarded with nationalist propaganda
reflecting their leaders' views. Radovan Karadzic was quoted by
Reuters as saying that, if Serbia makes good on its threat to cut
all support to the Bosnian Serbs, "not even a bird will be
allowed to cross" the frontier. The Bosnian Serb leader added
that "we have to decide [ourselves] on our destiny." Many
observers have noted over the years the circle-the-wagons
mentality of Serbian nationalism, and the BBC said that the
Bosnian Serbs fought their best when they felt they had their
"backs to the wall." Reuters quoted one woman as saying that "all
of us are going to get killed anyway, so why live with [the
Muslims] whey they kill us and slit our throats. It's better that
we were all dead." Elsewhere, in another move apparently designed
to stall for time, Karadzic invited Bosnian President Alija
Izetbegovic for one-on-one talks.  Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

MILOSEVIC FOR THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE? This is how one critical,
not to say sarcastic, commentator in today's Borba reacted to
Milosevic's admonitions of 31 July and 2 August to Bosnian Serb
leaders to accept the plan. The author, Gordana Susa, points out
some legal and other ambiguities in Milosevic's supposed pleas
for peace, which again raises the question as to whether there
actually are real differences--and if so over what?--between
Belgrade and Pale, and for whose consumption the present public
exercise is intended. Die Welt on 3 August asked whether "the
'good' Serb Milosevic" would follow up his tough talk against
Karadzic with deeds, while the BBC pointed out that Milosevic
used a similar tactic last year. It might be recalled that the
Bosnian and Croatian Serbs are totally dependent on Serbia for
supplies. It might also be noted that the former Yugoslavia,
together with the USSR and Hungary, was a world per capita leader
in producing chess grand masters.  Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

SOME FEAR "A LOOMING SHOWDOWN" IN BOSNIA. This is the observation
of the 4 August Los Angeles Times, which points out that Bosnian
Serb gunners may yet make good on their earlier threats to take
back heavy weapons now under UN supervision. Bosnian Prime
Minister Haris Silajdzic is not optimistic, and he told the 3
August Philadelphia Inquirer that "if the West appeases the Serbs
again, the peace process is gone forever. No one will believe a
word they say after that. The only thing we can do now is fight a
low-grade war." His boss, Izetbegovic, already wrote on 2 August
to the UN secretary general to prevent possible fresh Serb
attacks on the Gorazde enclave, AFP said. A UN spokesman admitted
that the Serbs were moving big guns "in and out" of the area.
Finally, The Wall Street Journal argues that the UN might have to
withdraw from Bosnia to enable the Muslims and Croats, properly
rearmed, to remove the Serbs from their conquests: "they will
only give up this land when someone throws them off of it."
Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

THREE PRESIDENTS MEET IN SLOVENIA. RFE/RL's South Slavic Language
Service reported on 3 August that Czech President Vaclav Havel,
his Hungarian counterpart Arpad Goncz, and their host Slovenia's
Milan Kucan met in Kobarid while on vacation. They reportedly
discussed the upcoming Central European summit scheduled for
21-22 August in Alpbach, Austria.  Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

GYPSIES MARK BIRKENAU SLAUGHTER. Some 3,000 Gypsies from Poland,
Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Germany, and
other countries gathered at the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau
death camp on 3 August, Gazeta Wyborcza reports. The gathering
was held to mark the 50th anniversary of the Nazi extermination
on 2 and 3 August 1944 of the remaining Gypsies at the camp. An
estimated 21,000 Romas perished at Auschwitz-Birkenau alone; a
total of 500,000 were killed in executions, labor camps, and gas
chambers during World War II. Polish Prime Minister Waldemar
Pawlak presided over the ceremonies on 3 August; the German and
Israeli ambassadors also attended. In a letter read out by a
representative, President Lech Walesa said that "the tragedy of
the Gypsies is our common tragedy." Walesa acknowledged that the
Nazi genocide against the Romas had long been a "forgotten
Holocaust;" for that reason it required new attention. The Polish
president expressed the hope that "our Republic will also be a
friendly homeland for the Romas." Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH GOVERNMENT APPROVES NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS BILL. On 3
August CTK reported that the Czech government had approved a
long-debated draft law on non-profit organizations. The bill says
that the profits of a non-profit organization must be reinvested
in the organization's activities. Non-profit organizations would
be freed from paying some types of taxes and would be given a
partial income tax relief. The bill has to be approved by the
parliament. An earlier draft had been returned to the ministry of
finance for amending on 13 July. President Vaclav Havel has long
demanded a law on non-profit organizations, arguing that such a
law would help forge civil society in the Czech Republic. Premier
Vaclav Klaus has been skeptical about making distinctions between
non-profit organizations and organizations working for profit.
Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK COALITION COUNCIL ON PRIVATIZATION. During a 3 August
session of the Slovak coalition council, it was decided that a
special meeting of the Slovak parliament will be held this month
for the sole purpose of discussing a draft law requiring Slovaks
who are participating in the privatization process to disclose
the source of their funds, TASR and CTK report. Deputy Premier
Ivan Simko said that the 30 signatures of parliamentary deputies
needed to hold the session would be soon collected, and the
session should be held within 7 days. The bill on privatization
was approved by the cabinet in July, but Slovak deputies voted to
let the population decide in a referendum whether investors must
disclose the source of their funds. The special parliamentary
session will be held to avoid a referendum, which would cost more
than 100 million koruny. The government also wants the
legislation to be passed quickly in order to avoid extra costs.
Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAKIA DENIES EXPORTING ARMS TO YUGOSLAVIA. Slovaks have
reacted angrily to an article recently published in the
Washington Times, which names Slovakia as the third biggest
exporter of arms to former Yugoslavia, after the former Soviet
Union and Germany. The article said that between April 1993 and
April 1994 Slovakia exported arms worth $170 million to the area
(including $100 million in arms to Serbia, $60 million to Croatia
and $10 million to Bosnia), in violation of the UN embargo. On 3
August the Slovak Economy Ministry issued a statement saying that
"from April 1992 to April 1994 the export of arms and military
hardware from Slovakia totaled $4 million." According to the
ministry's Arms Production Department, Slovakia exported arms and
military material worth only $3 million to former Yugoslavia, all
of which was earmarked for UNPROFOR, TASR reported. Slovak
Defense Minister Pavol Kanis also criticized the Washington Times
report.  Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

US GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS HOLD TALKS IN HUNGARY. On 3 August a
delegation of top US officials led by Richard Schifter, head of
the National Security Council's Central East European section,
began talks on Hungary's present economic situation with Finance
Minister Laszlo Bekesi, Labor Minister Magda Kovacs Kosa, and
Industry and Trade Minister Laszlo Pal, MTI reported. Bekesi
asked for US government assistance in ensuring the capital
investments needed for Hungary's modernization (only a modest
$500 million in foreign capital flowed in during the first half
of 1994) and in providing access to Western markets for Hungarian
products. The US officials offered help in the privatization of
small enterprises, the reform of social insurance, unemployment
crisis management and the betterment of marketing.  Alfred
Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc.

PREMIER, FOREIGN MINISTER ADDRESS HUNGARIAN DIPLOMATS. Prime
Minister Gyula Horn and Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs on 3
August outlined the new government's foreign policy objectives to
Hungary's top diplomats, MTI announced. Horn singled out the
upgrading of economic diplomacy as one of the most important
tasks while Kovacs stressed the need for professionalism and the
avoidance of party politics in the foreign service. The foreign
ministry must enhance its coordinating role between various
ministries, and foreign trade offices in various capital cities
should be integrated with Hungary's embassies there. Changes will
take place at the head of 22 foreign missions; the new mission
heads will not include a single political appointee. Kovacs said
he did not consider "hopeless" the making, through the
parliamentary foreign relations committee, of a six-party
consensus on the issue of bilateral treaties with neighboring
countries.  Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIAN MINERS' STRIKE UPDATE. Talks were conducted in Targu Jiu
between Minister of Industries Dumitru Popescu and
representatives of the striking miners on 3 August. The two sides
reached agreement on most points, Radio Bucharest announced on
the same day. Popescu said he had a full mandate from the
government to negotiate the ending of the labor conflict. He did
not agree, however, to the miners' demand to dismiss the director
general of the mining company and to receive an increased bonus
paid on Miners' Day. The striking miners in the Deva region are
also awaiting the arrival of a negotiating team representing the
government. Meanwhile, more copper miners barricaded themselves
in the pits and two of the hunger-strikers had to be taken to
hospital.  Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

UNITY OF DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION OF ROMANIA UNCERTAIN.
Representatives of the parties and grass-root organizations that
make up the Democratic Convention of Romania, the main umbrella
organization of the opposition, discussed on 3 August common
strategies for the 1996 general and presidential elections. In a
press release broadcast over Radio Bucharest, the DCR said it was
agreed to field a single, common candidate in the presidential
elections; to work out a hierarchy for the member parties
reflecting each party's influence in the country for the common
lists in the elections for parliament; and to either rotate or
establish by consensus the leadership in county DCR structures.
Most of these proposals reflect the views of the strongest party
in the convention, the National Peasant Party Christian
Democratic. They were opposed in the past by the Party of Civic
Alliance. Most participants signed a protocol that set up the
date of 15 August as deadline for all members of the convention
to either join the agreement or withdraw from the DCR. The
representative of the PCA said he had no mandate to sign, and his
party would decide whether to do so later or withdraw from the
alliance.  Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

MOLDOVAN REACTIONS TO ROMANIAN DENUNCIATIONS. Awaiting a
statement from their government, Moldovan politicians reacted on
2 August via Basapress to the Romanian government's 1 August
vitriolic attack on Moldova's parliament and new constitution
(see RFE/RL Daily Report, 2 August). Dumitru Diacov, chairman of
the Parliament's Foreign Affairs Commission, said that "the
Romanian government's statement will burden and damage our
relations . . . The statement implies that the Romanian
government will work only with the forces which support
[Moldovan-Romanian] unification . . . Such an approach to
relations with us is tendentious and ignores our realities."
Social-Democrat Party Chairman Oazu Nantoi said that "there is
nothing left to damage in our relations. The statement probably
formalizes the true state of affairs in the relations between
Bucharest and Chisinau." Popular Front Chairman and pro-Romanian
leader Iurie Rosca, however, praised the Romanian government for
the "accurate and correct statement" but implied that Romania had
erred in recognizing Moldova's independence in 1991.  Vladimir
Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIA TO PRIVATIZE STATE TOUR OPERATOR. Financial Times
reports on 4 August that the Bulgarian government intends to sell
off the country's major tour operator, Balkantourist. A top
official of the government Committee on Tourism told the paper
that 51% of the company is to be offered to a single buyer, while
the rest will be divided between smaller investors and, up to
20%, the company employees. Besides large West European operators
such as British Inghams, German TUI, and others, a few local
competitors have also expressed interest. These include
Multigroup, Tron, Turistsport Holding, and Bulvar Holidays.
Meanwhile, 1994 is proving to be a unusually good year for
Bulgarian holiday resorts. By 31 July over 100,000 tourists had
visited the Sunny Beach sea resort, against 105,000 during the
entire season in 1993.  Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

LUKASHENKA SAYS BELARUS NOT READY FOR MONETARY UNION. Following
his 3 August meeting with the Russian President Boris Yeltsin and
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Belarusian President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka announced that the two sides had agreed
that Belarus was not ready for monetary union with Russia,
various agencies reported. During his election campaign
Lukashenka had been a strong advocate of the monetary union and
opposed market reforms. Since his election, however, Lukashenka's
policies have been market-oriented. He has freed the price of
vodka and plans to abolish subsidies on other staples including
meat and bread. As for the monetary union, Lukashenka pointed out
that Belarus's inflation runs at over 40% per month while
Russia's is only 5%, making monetary union unrealistic until the
country's inflation rate is reduced to the Russian level. In
addition, it has been frequently reported that there is
opposition to ceding control of Belarus's currency emission and
monetary policy to Russia. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

KUCHMA ON US AID TO UKRAINE. During US Vice President Albert
Gore's visit to Ukraine, the Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma
voiced dissatisfaction with the slow pace in which the US was
dispensing promised disarmament-related aid, various agencies
reported on 3 August. According to Kuchma, Ukraine has only
received $6 million of the $350 million promised to help the
country disarm. At a press conference in Washington, the
undersecretary of state for arms control and international
security, Lynn Davis, conceded that the US had been slow in
getting money to Ukraine and said it would try to speed up the
aid, although she also noted that part of the reason for the
delay was Ukraine's protracted debates on signing disarmament
treaties. At this time Ukraine is three months ahead of schedule
in dismantling and removing the nuclear weapons on its territory.
Some 300 warheads have already been transferred to Russia and
more than half of the country's ICBM's have been deactivated.
During Gore's visit, the two sides signed twelve agreements
mostly related to dispensing US aid to Ukraine for economic
reforms.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

US TO ALLOT $7 MILLION FOR SKRUNDA DISMANTLING. The Latvian
President Office's Press Center informed BNS on 3 August that
President Bill Clinton in a letter to Guntis Ulmanis had promised
to allot $7 million for the dismantling of the new unfinished
building at the Russian radar station at Skrunda. In line with
the Russian-Latvian troop withdrawal agreement signed on 30
April, Latvia took control of the building on 4 May and decided
that it should be torn down. In his letter, Clinton expressed the
hope that the dismantling could begin as soon as possible.
Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

LITHUANIAN ECONOMIC REFERENDUM. The last three-hour meeting of
the Chief Elections Commission (CEC) indicated that there were
major problems in the preparations for the economic referendum to
be held in Lithuania on 27 August, the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service
reported on 3 August. In many raions it has been very difficult
to find people willing to serve as election commission chairmen,
and in Alytus, for example, the commission has not yet been
formed. CEC chairman Zenonas Vaigauskas wants the referendum
ballot to include the full newspaper page sized text with
separate votes for its eight main points. The referendum
initiators, however, believe that separate votes would only cause
confusion. Since the ruling Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party
that opposes the referendum has a majority in the CEC, it appears
likely that they will support Vaigauskas's position at the next
CEC meeting on 11 August.  Saulius Girnius, 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 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
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Kevin Klose, President, RFE/RL Inc.
A. Ross Johnson, Director, RFE/RL Research Institute
1 August 1994
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