Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened. - Sir Winston Churchill
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 158, 22 August 1994

                              RUSSIA

SITUATION IN CHECHNYA. A spokesman for the Chechen opposition said
his side was continuing to recruit fighters and gather military
equipment to defend against any attack from government forces,
Interfax reported on 20 August. On 21 August about 10,000 people
rallied in the Chechen capital Groznyi in support of President
Dzhokhar Dudaev. Demonstrators called for the expulsion of all
opposition leaders to Moscow, ITAR-TASS reported. Meanwhile,
former Russian parliament speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov sent personal
representatives to try to persuade all armed groups to sign a
peace accord. Khasbulatov's representatives met on 21 August with
Provisional Council head Umar Avturkhanov. (The opposition treats
Khasbulatov with caution, whereas Dudaev's government completely
rejects his offer of mediation.) Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN-GERMAN NUCLEAR SMUGGLING TALKS. The Chief of the Federal
Counterintelligence Service (FSK), Sergei Stepashin, said after
his meeting in Moscow with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl's aide
for security matters, Bernd Schmidbauer, and German security
service chiefs, that his agency will cooperate with the West in
preventing nuclear smuggling. The Russian nuclear and security
experts still believe that the nuclear materials confiscated in
Germany did not originate from Russia, FSK spokesman Aleksandr
Mikhailov told Russian television on 21 August. Foreign
Intelligence Service spokeswoman Tatyana Samolis said that the
samples of confiscated plutonium brought to Moscow by Schmidbauer
"prove nothing". Samolis also quoted American scientists from the
Los Alamos nuclear center, who were unable to confirm that the
plutonium was of Russian origin. President Yeltsin declined to
meet with Schmidbauer, but has agreed to discuss the problem of
non-proliferation with Chancellor Kohl and President Clinton at
the Russian-American summit later this year, according to
ITAR-TASS of 21 August. The basis for this discussion should be
how to place under international control the nuclear materials of
the all countries that comprise the "nuclear club", added
ITAR-TASS. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc.

AUGUST 1991 ANNIVERSARY ROUNDUP. Only a few hundred citizens
showed up in front of the Russian White House on 19 August to
celebrate the third anniversary of their resistance to the coup
attempt by reactionary Soviet leaders against Mikhail Gorbachev.
They were outnumbered by shareholders of the MMM pyramid stock
company who rallied at the same place in defense of the imprisoned
MMM president, Sergei Mavrodi. Police dispersed the MMM
demonstration with truncheons in order to clear the square for
those who had defended the White House on the name of freedom and
democracy between 19-21 August 1991. Also on 19 August, the coup
organizers, including the former speaker of the Soviet parliament,
Anatolii Lukyanov, addressed a rally of hard-core communists,
swearing to restore the Soviet Union and the communist regime. In
order to raise the spirits of his supporters, on 20 August
President Yeltsin issued a decree, making 22 August a state
holiday in honor of the Russian flag--thus marking the anniversary
of the restoration in democratic Russia of the White-Blue-Red
banner of the Russian Empire. In his letter to participants of a
conference to commemorate the coup on 20 August Yeltsin wrote that
the whole truth about the event has yet to be told.  Julia
Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

LEBED KEEPS SNIPING AT YELTSIN . . . "There was no putsch as such"
in August 1991, Lt.-General Aleksandr Lebed, a possible contender
in Russia's next presidential election, told ITAR-TASS on 19
August, the third anniversary of the event. "There was only a
brilliantly planned and executed, large-scale, unprecedented
provocation, in which the roles were scripted for the intelligent
and the stupid, all of whom consciously or unconsciously played
their parts." The provocation "made it possible at one stroke to
crush the communist party and the power ministries and ultimately
to liquidate the great country, 73% of whose citizens had
unequivocally said in the March referendum, 'the Union must be'."
Lebed, who had switched to Yeltsin's side in mid-coup and did help
defend the Russian White House, now told ITAR-TASS that "he does
not count himself among the defenders of the White House" and
regards the event as "the most shameful page in the Russian
state's history." Lebed's remarks not only strike at the core of
Yeltsin's democratic image but also endorse the hardline
opposition's view of Yeltsin as responsible for the collapse of
the USSR. Yeltsin's recent intercession to save Lebed's post as
commander of Russia's 14th Army has apparently not earned the
President immunity from Lebed's attacks.  Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL,
Inc.

. . . AND HINTS HE MAY RUN FOR PRESIDENT. Questioned in an
interview in Moskovskie novosti, no. 33 (14-21 August) about his
possible candidacy for the presidency of Russia, Lebed replied:
"We shall talk about it in detail if they force me to take off my
epaulettes." He also commented that he is "a military man but not
a subservient one." In the same interview, Lebed clearly implied
that he considered Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, "whose job
requires him to protect the interests of the state," responsible
for the recent attempt to dislodge him from his Army's command. In
the same issue of Moskovskie novosti, a correspondent reports from
14th Army headquarters that "politicians are telephoning from
Moscow seeking to draft Lebed into the ranks of their supporters."
Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

GORBACHEV SUPPORTS DEMOCRATIC ALTERNATIVE PARTY BUT UNWILLING TO
LEAD IT? On 19 August Interfax quoted Gorbachev's spokesman
Aleksandr Likhotal as having denied that former Soviet President
Mikhail Gorbachev had any intention of forming a democratic
opposition party in Russia. In a formal statement transmitted to
Interfax earlier that day, Likhotal dismissed the rumors to the
contrary as "an inadequate interpretation" of Gorbachev's calls
for the creation of a broad democratic movement and Gorbachev's
stated willingness to assist such a movement. The misunderstanding
was caused by Gorbachev's interview with ITAR-TASS on 18 August in
which Gorbachev was quoted as saying that he had opted "to form a
democratic movement, alternative to the current regime." It is
possible that Gorbachev had thus implicitly expressed his support
for the party with the working title of "Party of the Democratic
Alternative", reportedly to be formed by supporters of the
economist Grigorii Yavlinsky.  Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

DEFENSE MINISTRY ON REFORM EFFORTS, BUDGET. In remarks broadcast
by Radio Mayak on 19 August, Russian Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev defended the military leadership's decision in 1992 to put
off a structural reorganization of the Russian armed forces until
1996 and to concentrate its efforts instead on managing the
withdrawal to Russia of hundreds of thousands of troops and
dependents from abroad. Grachev criticized the government's
decision to reduce the strength of the armed forces to 1.5 million
troops, arguing that the nation would be better served by an army
of 1.9 or 2.1 million. But he said that the troop reductions would
compel the army to move from the current five-branch force
structure to a four-branch structure, with the possibility of a
further reduction to three services sometime in the future.
Meanwhile, Interfax on 20 August quoted a communique issued by the
Defense Ministry's press office which said that Russian arms
procurement had fallen by more than 80% since 1991. The communique
also complained that through the first eight months of this year
the government had continuously underfinanced orders for military
hardware placed with defense enterprises.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL,
Inc.

COMMUNISTS MAY DISRUPT RUSSIAN-US JOINT EXERCISE. In protest
actions conducted on 19 and 21 August, pro-Communist activists
criticized the Russian military leadership for its intention to
take part in a joint Russian-US peacekeeping exercise scheduled
for early September, Interfax reported. Protest leaders also
threatened to send protesters to the Totsk training ground, where
the maneuvers are to take place, with the aim of disrupting the
exercise. One right-wing leader said that the protesters would
adopt the tactics of the environmental protection organization
Greenpeace and suggested that clashes with law enforcement forces
could result.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

WITHDRAWING TROOPS "TAKING EVERYTHING WITH THEM." The commander of
the small contingent of Russian forces remaining in the former
East Germany has admitted to the German newspaper Bild that he has
ordered his troops to take everything possible with them as they
return to Russia. According to Reuters of 19 August, Col. Gen.
Matvei Burlakov said that material taken from Germany could be of
use at new bases in Russia and, in some cases, might even be
swapped with local authorities for pigs, calves, or other needed
items. The result, according to the report, is that apartment
houses inhabited by the troops have been stripped bare and, in one
case, a small airport runway was loaded piece by piece onto
railway cars and taken away. While German officials have
reportedly expressed surprise at the troops' broad interpretation
of the term "transportable" objects in the withdrawal agreement,
they have not objected and have focused their attention more on
the smoothness of the withdrawal operation. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL,
Inc.

HOW POWERFUL IS BARKASHOV'S NEO-NAZI PARTY? The neo-Nazi party of
the Russian National Unity (RNU) led by Aleksandr Barkashov may be
more powerful than initially believed, judging by a letter to the
editor of Izvestiya, published on 18 August under the pseudonym
"Andrei Khudokormov". Khudokormov says the RNU consists of over
10,000 full members, 500 of them in Moscow alone. Apart from the
full members, the party has the support of numerous sympathizers,
many of whom reportedly belong to the top layers of the military,
police and other governmental circles. He depicts the RNU as so
influential that it was able to arrange the firings of active
democrats, anti-Fascists, and communist supporters of Gennadii
Zyuganov, as well as Jews, Ukrainians and Lithuanians from "some
military units, institutes of higher education and factories." The
RNU paramilitary troopers are well-trained and highly disciplined
youths, who, Khudokormov claims, are rewarded for their service
with free food, free training in wrestling, free uniforms and free
travel across the whole of Russia. Apart from the storm troopers,
the RNU is said to have a formidable clandestine
counterintelligence service, to which, Kudokormov says, he himself
belongs.  Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

MAJOR CLASH ON TAJIK-AFGHAN BORDER. At least 50 Tajik opposition
fighters and seven Russian border guards were killed in the
largest-scale opposition attack on the Tajik-Afghan border to
occur in months, Russian and Western agencies reported on 19
August. Russian forces finally overwhelmed their opponents by
calling in helicopter gunships. According to officers of the
Russian border troops, the guards were attacked not only from
across the border by Tajik opposition forces, with the assistance
of Afghan supporters and Arab mercenaries, but also by Tajik
opposition forces within Tajikistan. The Russian Foreign Ministry
lodged a protest with the government of Afghanistan, and on 21
August Uzbekistan's newly-appointed Foreign Minister Abdulaziz
Kamilov announced that his country was prepared to send more
military aid to the government of Tajikistan to help it fight the
opposition.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

ABDIC DEFEATED. On 21 and 22 August international media reported
that rebel Bosnian Muslim leader Fikret Abdic's 11-month revolt
ended on 21 August as Bosnian government troops entered his
stronghold of Velika Kladusa in the Bihac pocket with what one UN
official described as "no great difficulty." Some media accounts
reported violent clashes had erupted between government forces and
Abdic loyalists on 19 August. Reports of Abdic's surrender that
same day proved to be premature. On 21 August Reuters and AFP
reported that talks between Abdic and Bosnian government leaders,
in part dealing with the possibility of an Abdic surrender,
collapsed after Abdic steadfastly refused to declare "null and
void" the autonomy of his self-styled Bihac enclave. On 22 August
Politika speculated on Abdic's whereabouts and well-being, which
at the moment remain unknown, although the rebel leader is not
unlikely to be seeking refuge in the neighboring Serb-held section
of Croatia, commonly known as Krajina. A serious fallout of
Abdic's defeat appears to be a massive refugee wave: Borba
estimates that up to 50,000 are in flight. Most are attempting to
gain entry into parts of Croatia controlled by Zagreb, but are
currently being held at bay. Fears exist that the Bosnian
government will seek reprisals despite the fact that, according to
Radio Sarajevo reports, the Bosnian government has offered
amnesty.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

LILIC ATTACKS KARADZIC. On 20 August the president of rump
Yugoslavia, Zoran Lilic, told Politika that Bosnian Serb leader
Radovan Karadzic was warmongering for personal gain and glory.
Lilic also reiterated Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's
now-familiar refrain that Belgrade could not support the policies
of such Bosnian leaders. In an apparent response to Lilic's
remarks, Karadzic met on the same day with Milan Martic, leader of
the self-styled Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK), in Krajina for
discussions on the possibility of some sort of political union
between the RSK and Serb-held territories in Bosnia. Karadzic also
planned a rally in the Bosnian town of Banja Luka, which arguably
had the twin purpose of demonstrating Karadzic's continued
resistance to Belgrade's seeming willingness to isolate the
Bosnian Serbs, and to garner support for the defiant policies of
the Bosnian Serb leadership. On 22 August Politika's coverage of
the Banja Luka visit noted that Karadzic, perhaps in a bid to not
be overshadowed by Milosevic's maneuvering, used the occasion to
stress that Bosnian Serbs were willing and eager to make peace,
even to bargain over territory, but not to do so in such a way
that would jeopardize or undermine Bosnian Serb interests.  Stan
Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

BOSNIAN OFFICIAL SHOT. On 20 August Reuters reported that Bosnian
Deputy Trade Minister Dzemal Cabanavdic was shot in the head and
seriously injured while travelling the Igman road, a stretch of
road "skirting Serb front-lines outside Sarajevo." As yet, no
culprits have been identified.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

SERBIAN CHURCH OFFICIAL WARNS OF RISKS OF PAPAL VISIT. On 21
August Reuters reported that a Serbian Orthodox church official,
Metropolitan Jovan, warned the Vatican about the possibility of
security risks that may mar a 12-hour visit by Pope John Paul II
to Sarajevo, tentatively scheduled for 8 September. Jovan,
underscoring earlier statements made by Bosnian Serb leader
Radovan Karadzic, stressed it would be difficult to guarantee the
Pontiff's safety. Jovan was quick to add that his remarks should
not be construed as opposition to the visit, but noted that the
occasion would be "valid" only if the Vatican were to use the
occasion to condemn all parties for war atrocities.  Stan
Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

GREEK-ALBANIAN DEVELOPMENTS. The ongoing trial against five
Albanian Greeks in Tirana continues to be a source of bilateral
friction, with another round of sharp diplomatic exchanges in
recent days. On 19 August the Greek parliament adopted an appeal
to all European Union legislatures, demanding their "immediate
intervention" into what they described as a "flagrant violation of
minority and human rights of the Greeks in Albania." On 21 August,
however, Albania's Foreign Minister Alfred Serreqi attacked Athens
both for using violence when expelling large groups of Albanian
illegal immigrants over the past days, and for dispatching a
civilian plane to drop leaflets calling for the overthrow of the
Tirana government in violation of Albanian air space. Greek
authorities later admitted having deported some 4,000 Albanians
between 19 and 21 August, though they argued that such expulsions
are routine. They denied any official involvement in the airplane
incident, which was said to have been the initiative of a
crop-dusting pilot who was subsequently suspended from duty.
Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

CENTRAL EUROPEAN PRESIDENTS MEET IN AUSTRIA. The presidents of
Austria and its neighbors began a two-day summit in Albach on 21
August, devoted to minority issues, regional security, and the
Eastward expansion of the EU. The nine countries represented are:
Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Italy, Switzerland, Slovakia, the
Czech Republic, Slovenia and Hungary. Jacques Santer, who will
become president of the EU Executive Commission next year, is also
present. Austrian President Thomas Klestil opened the meeting by
urging gradual entry of East European countries into the EU,
saying that if the EU "does not face this challenge," it "would be
condemned to fail," international media reported.  Sharon Fisher,
RFE/RL, Inc.

SECRET POLICE GENERALS ACQUITTED . . . Former security police
chief General Wladyslaw Ciaston and the head of the department
that kept tabs on the Church and the opposition, General Zenon
Platek, were acquitted on 19 August of instigating the October
1984 murder of Father Jerzy Popieluszko and aiding the
perpetrators, PAP reports. In the course of the trial, which
lasted two years, the Warsaw Voivodship Court heard the testimony
of 80 witnesses, including the four perpetrators who were
convicted in 1985. The proceedings revealed the complexity of ties
within the secret police and the unlawful nature of many of its
activities. Nonetheless, the presiding judge said it had proven
impossible to establish the truth of the matter. The case, as
presented by the prosecutors was only one of the possible versions
of what had happened but it could not be considered as proven in
the absence of substantive evidence. Spectators who had followed
closely the entire proceedings left the court in protest at the
verdict, shouting "Shame!" Both of the accused had refused to
testify in court and pleaded not-guilty. The sentence was not
passed unanimously and is subject to appeal.  Anna
Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . AND CONVICTED MURDERER APPLIES FOR PAROLE. On 18 August PAP
reported that the principal perpetrator of the crime, former
Captain Grzegorz Piotrowski, whose original sentence was cut from
25 years to 15, has applied for parole after serving two-thirds of
his sentence. Polish TV said the request would likely be granted
because it was accompanied by a positive assessment from prison
officials who praised his conduct and commended his critical
attitude to his crime, as well as from the Ursuline nun who visits
the prison. Ten years after the murder Polish public opinion is
still unable to come to terms with it. The prospect of parole for
Piotrowski and the court's inability to bring the security police
to answer for its crimes will increase disappointment with the
system of justice. The inevitable appeal proceedings may lead to
further probing.  Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN ECONOMIC CHAMBER CRITICIZES GOVERNMENT. In a joint
statement issued on 19 August the Hungarian Economic Chamber and
the Employers' Federation criticized the Hungarian government for
failing to institute measures to spur economic growth, MTI
reports. According to representatives of the two organizations,
the government's measures focus one-sidedly on reducing the budget
deficit and do not outline a strategy for economic growth that
would enable entrepreneurs to plan for the 1995 business year. The
current restrictive economic policy, which seeks to reduce
internal consumption, keep interest rates high, and increase
taxes, will bring only temporary and artificial relief, the
organizations warned. They stressed that economic growth is the
driving force behind an economic recovery, and declared that they
will oppose the introduction of central wage controls in the
upcoming talks on a "social pact" between the government, workers,
and employers. Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAKIA FIGHTS ORGANIZED CRIME. On 19 August the Slovak
parliament approved a bill to fight money laundering by organized
criminals, TASR and Reuters reported. The new law, which requires
banks to notify law enforcement agents of all deposits over
245,000 koruny, is a follow-up to a recent law requiring
participants in privatization to prove the origin of their funds.
On 18 August the parliament passed amendments to the crime law,
increasing sentences for organized criminals. Interior Ministry
State Secretary Roman Vavrik said the ministry expects to
establish a special force to deal with cases of money laundering.
Deputy Premier Ivan Simko said the new laws would give criminal
prosecutors and society a powerful weapon to fight crime.  Sharon
Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAKIA TO EXPAND HIGHWAYS. Transport and Communications Minister
Mikulas Dzurinda has recently confirmed Slovakia's interest in
linking the country to a highway stretching from the Baltic Sea to
the Adriatic. The first priority will be to connect Bratislava to
the Austrian border, which was guaranteed by a recent bilateral
agreement. Construction of this highway as well as a modern border
crossing is expected to be completed in 1997. Dzurinda also
received an informal promise from his Polish counterpart to
connect the Polish highway network with Slovakia, Sme reported on
20 August. Since 1969 only 6-7 km of highways have been built per
year in Slovakia, but Dzurinda said he would like to reach the
European standard of 18-30 km per year. Dzurinda said Slovakia
hopes to build 453 km of highways; one km costs about 200 million
koruny.  Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

US JEWISH GROUP PROTESTS AT TEREZIN. Six American Jews led by New
York Rabbi Avraham Weiss demonstrated on 19 August against the
presence of Christian symbols at the site of the former Nazi
concentration camp at Terezin (Theresienstadt) in northern
Bohemia. CTK reported that the demonstrators attached a sign to a
cemetery cross, saying its presence was "Holocaust revisionism."
Local officials at Terezin tried to explain to the protesters that
those buried in the cemetery were not only Jews, but also victims
from a gestapo prison at Mala Pevnost. The protest was held
without incident.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

SECOND EXTREMIST PARTY WANTS TO JOIN ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT. The
Greater Romania Party announced on 19 August that it wants
officially to join the Vacaroiu cabinet, which it has supported in
parliament since 1992. The party's chairman, Senator Corneliu
Vadim Tudor, revealed at a press conference broadcast by Radio
Bucharest on the same day that he has made future backing for the
cabinet conditional on being offered two ministerial portfolios
and several posts in the central and local administration, as well
as in the foreign service. The move follows the reshuffle of the
government announced on 18 August, when the extremist Party of
Romanian National Unity joined the Vacaroiu cabinet. The executive
secretary of the PRNU, Valer Suian, revealed at a press conference
on 18 August that the PRNU is represented in the government by
four, rather than two ministers as hitherto thought. Suian said
that the Minister of Justice, Iosif Gavril Chuizbaian, is a member
of the PRNU (a fact which was hidden from the public on
Chiuzbaian's appointment in 1992) and that the Minister of
Transportation, Aurel Novac, is a "sympathizer" of the party. The
leadership of the opposition National Peasant Party Christian
Democratic protested against the government reshuffle on 19
August. The NPPCD said the "aberrant symbiosis between a formation
calling itself democratic and a fascist party" was likely to harm
Romania's image in the world.  Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

RESULTS OF PRICE INCREASES IN BELARUS. Recent increases in bread
and milk prices have resulted in a decline in production levels of
the two commodities, Belarusian radio reported on 19 August.
According to the Ministry of Trade, milk production declined by
20% in the last week, while bread production was down by 10-15%.
Officials say the decline is related to the fact that the
compensation payments to cushion the effects of the rises have not
yet been fully distributed. On 20 August Interfax reported that
last week's reduction of Belarusian banknote denominations to
their face values, and the corresponding price reductions caused
some confusion in marketplaces which were emptier than usual. The
measure has not caused the Belarusian ruble to drop in value
against the Russian ruble or the US dollar. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL,
Inc.

KUCHMA DISMISSES 3 MINISTERS. Ukrainian television reported on 19
August that President Leonid Kuchma issued decrees dismissing
three of his ministers. Ivan Dzyuba was relieved from the post of
Minister of Culture in connection with his retirement; Oleh
Slyepichev was dismissed as the Minister of Foreign Economic
Relations because he is being transferred to a new job; and
Volodymyr Maltsev was dismissed as Minister of Health because of
his transfer to a new job.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY NEWS. On 19 August the commander of
NATO naval forces in the Atlantic, Admiral Paul David Miller,
ended an official two-day visit to Ukraine. At a press conference
Defense Minister Vitalii Radetsky said the two discussed Ukraine's
nuclear disarmament and problems surrounding the division of the
Black Sea Fleet, as well as NATO's Partnership for Peace Program.
Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

UDALTSOV: TROOPS MAY LEAVE ESTONIA BEFORE ACCORDS RATIFIED.
Russian Foreign Ministry official Aleksandr Udaltsov told Interfax
on 18 August that the ministry does not rule out the possibility
that Russia might pull its troops out of Estonia before all of the
Estonian-Russian agreements related to the withdrawal of Russian
forces are ratified by the Estonian parliament. Udaltsov was
referring in particular to the accord signed by Estonian President
Lennart Meri and Russian President Boris Yeltsin in July
concerning the 10,500 retired Russian servicemen living in
Estonia. According to the other accords endorsed by the two
presidents, the Russian troops are to be withdrawn from Estonia by
31 August 1994. The delay in ratification can be attributed partly
to the refusal of Estonian parliamentarians to consider the
agreements on the grounds that an official version of the
agreements exists only in Russian. Udaltsov said the Estonian
refusal was "far-fetched." In the meanwhile, BNS reported on 20
August that Russian army property was continuing to be withdrawn
from Estonia.  Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

ULMANIS: YELTSIN'S REACTION TOO SHARP. Latvian President Guntis
Ulmanis told Russian journalists that Russian president Yeltsin's
recent remarks on Latvia's citizenship law were "too sharp and
unjust," and suggested that such views in Moscow may have come
from a careless reading of the law, Interfax reported on 19
August. Ulmanis said the law provides ample opportunity for those
who wished to become Latvian citizens. Reproaching Russia for
paying insufficient attention to the Russian people, victims of 50
years of the reigning Soviet policy and ideology, Ulmanis urged a
Russian program of assistance to those wishing to return to their
ethnic homeland. At the same time, Ulmanis reiterated that Latvia
does not plan forcibly to deport residents who are not Latvian
citizens, nor to make life difficult for them. Dzintra Bungs,
RFE/RL, Inc.

COST OF ENVIRONMENTAL CLEAN-UP IN ESTONIA. The Estonian
Environment Ministry distributed a report on damage to the
environment caused by the 50 years of Soviet-Russian military
occupation, BNS reported on 19 August. The cost of repairing the
damage was set at 54.75 billion kroons ($4.4 billion) of which
about 40 billion kroons would be for cleaning up radioactive
pollution from the nuclear reactors at the Paldiski submarine
base. More than 11 billion kroons are needed to clean up former
Soviet military airfields and artillery ranges and 1.7 billion
kroons to remove radioactive waste at the Sillamae uranium plant.
The Soviet military had maintained 570 military installations in
Estonia encompassing 83,651 hectares or almost 2% of the republic.
There was no indication of how the work would be financed. Saulius
Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

  [As of 1200 CET]

  Compiled by Liz Fuller and Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka
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Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole