I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed. - Booker T. Washington
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 160, 24 August 1994

                              RUSSIA

LATEST ON PLUTONIUM SMUGGLING. Bernd Schmidbauer, German
Chancellor Helmut Kohl's intelligence services coordinator, was
quoted by Reuters on 23 August as playing down fears that
Mafia-style crime syndicates were behind Germany's recent rash of
nuclear smuggling cases. Schmidbauer said that the perpetrators
were believed to include "groups from organized crime, arms
dealers, and arms smugglers . . . There are also indications that
former intelligence services are involved." His remarks came
following several days of talks in Moscow. Meanwhile, officials at
the Kurchatov Institute, a leading Russian nuclear research
facility, have denied that any nuclear material was missing from
their center but have pledged nonetheless to carry out a careful
investigation. AFP quoted institute leaders as admitting that it
was impossible to be "absolutely" sure that materials seized in
Germany had not come from their facility and that the security
systems at the institute and throughout Russia as a whole are in
need of modernization. Institute experts were also reportedly
angered at not being included in the Russian-German talks that
took place in Moscow. Finally, Interfax on 23 August quoted a
Russian presidential aide for national security, Vladimir
Klimenko, as charging that the furor over the smuggling cases was
being deliberately whipped up "by third forces" with the aim of
harming German-Russian relations.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUMORS OF DEFENSE MINISTRY SHAKE-UP. Komsomolskaya pravda of 24
August reported rumors of an imminent personnel shake-up atop the
Russian Defense Ministry that would eliminate existing posts now
occupied by Deputy Defense Ministers Boris Gromov and Valerii
Mironov and that would greatly curtail the responsibilities of a
third Deputy Defense Minister, Vladimir Toporov. A group of four
to five new deputy defense minister ships would reportedly be
created in place of those eliminated, with the current commander
of Russian forces in Germany, Matvei Burlakov, and North Caucasus
Military District commander Aleksei Mityukhin said to be among the
primary candidates for the new slots. The Russian government
commission overseeing appointments to top military ranks is
reportedly also examining the idea of increasing civilian
representation within the Defense Ministry; among the options said
to be under consideration is one which would have the generals
currently serving--or under consideration for top posts--resign as
officers and serve as civilians. The report said that the
commission has also twice refused proposals to give the Defense
Minister the rank of Marshal and to increase the number of Army
Generals among his deputies. In March 1994 Moskovsky komsomolets
reported rumors of a similar shake-up. (See RFE/RL Daily Report of
29 March).  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

LEBED UNDER MOUNTING PRESSURE. Russia's Defense Ministry and
possibly the Russian government appear to have stepped up the
pressure on Lt.-General Aleksandr Lebed, commander of Russia's
14th Army in Moldova, who has recently criticized President Boris
Yeltsin and Defense Minister Pavel Grachev. Lebed was urgently
summoned to Moscow for a meeting with the General Staff Chief,
Col.-General Mikhail Kolesnikov, on 22 August at which "various
options for Lebed's future work were considered," the Ministry's
chief spokesman told Interfax and ITAR-TASS. He withheld an
official announcement "until a decision is made regarding Lebed's
transfer." Ministry sources told Russian TV that Lebed may,
however, "try to see Yeltsin" at the latter's vacation retreat in
Sochi. Lebed has rejected an offer, endorsed by Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin, to serve as Defense Minister of Tajikistan or
commander of CIS forces in that country. Lebed's supporters see
that offer as designed to "send him packing" from the Russian
army, entrap him in an impossible assignment, and remove him from
contention for higher posts in Russia.  Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL,
Inc.

AN UNNATURAL CONSTITUENCY FOR LEBED. Long admired by "red-brown"
political circles, and recently topping a popularity poll among
Moscow officers, Lebed is currently enjoying considerable support
among Russia's liberal political class and "most liberal media,"
as Kuranty, the pro-Yeltsin and pro-reform weekly, commented on 18
August. While old-line communists increasingly suspect Lebed of
"Bonapartism," large sections of the liberal intelligentsia yearn
for a Russian Pinochet and for a new empire-saver a la Kolchak and
see Lebed as apt for those roles, Kuranty wrote. Vladimir Socor,
RFE/RL, Inc.

TRIAL OF ALLEGED HIJACKERS OPENS IN STAVROPOL. The trial of three
Chechens charged with terrorism opened in Stavropol on 23 August.
Ostankino Television news said the accused had seized a busload of
passengers in the North Caucasian resort of Mineralnye Vody three
months earlier and demanded a ransom of $1 million; the
hostage-taking was ended by the "Alfa" anti-terrorist squad. The
trial involves the second of three attempted hijackings that have
occurred in Mineralnye Vody in 1994. In every case the hijackers
were Chechens. Recently the Stavropol court sentenced to death
those responsible for the first hijacking attempt. Julia
Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

GOVERNMENT LIMITS COMPENSATION TO POLITICAL PRISONERS. On 23
August Western news agencies reported details of the Russian
government's recent resolution to compensate victims of Soviet
political repression. On 22 August reports appeared that the
government was preparing a resolution ordering that former
political prisoners be compensated for loss of property. (See
RFE/RL Daily Report of 23 August.) On 23 August AFP quoted Deputy
Minister of Justice Anatolii Stepanov as saying that there would
be no compensation for property which was nationalized or placed
under municipal control. Stepanov also told a news conference in
Moscow that the maximum compensation would be two million rubles.
In the late 1950s, when Nikita Khrushchev started the process of
rehabilitating millions of Soviet citizens who fell victim to the
Stalinist terror, a decision was taken not to compensate victims
of the terror for all property lost in the course of arrests and
deportations but merely to reimburse them for the loss of their
two final salaries. This ruling was in force until August 1994.
Vera Tolz and Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA TO ASK WEST TO SUPPORT EASING SANCTIONS AGAINST RUMP
YUGOSLAVIA? On 23 August AFP and Reuters reported that Russian
foreign ministry officials have determined that sanctions imposed
against rump Yugoslavia for its role in the Bosnian conflict have
become an anachronism since Belgrade broke with the Bosnian Serb
leadership. According to the reports, Moscow government officials
will endeavor to convince Russia's Western partners in the
"Contact Group" to "support Serbia" now that it has cut off trade
with Bosnia's Serbs. How and whether Moscow will attempt to
pressure its "Contact Group" partners to ease sanctions appears to
be an open question. The partners have linked discussions on the
easing of the sanctions to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's
willingness to accept international monitors along the Serbian
border with Bosnia. Russia's latest calls for easing the sanctions
comes in the wake of a spate of diplomatic activity between
Belgrade and Moscow. On 23 August Serbia's prime minister, Mirko
Marjanovic, met with his Russian counterpart, Viktor Chernomyrdin,
in Moscow. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev is slated to
visit Belgrade on 27 and 28 August.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

AZERBAIJAN'S RUSSIAN SPEAKERS PROTEST DISCRIMINATION.
Representatives of the Russian-speaking community in Azerbaijan
have written to President Heidar Aliev to protest what they
consider linguistic discrimination against Russian speakers,
Interfax reported on 23 August. Specifically, the signatories
complain that Russian-language education and radio and TV
broadcasts are being reduced, and that Russian-speakers are
frequently passed over for promotion. In an interview published in
Rossiiskaya gazeta of 20 August, Aliev had denied at length that
Azerbaijan's Russian speakers were at any disadvantage; he further
claimed that the number of Russian language TV broadcasts was
increasing, and that the Azerbaijani ministries of defense and
foreign affairs compiled all their documentation in Russian.  Liz
Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

TURKMENISTAN, IRAN SIGN GAS PIPELINE DEAL. The official Iranian
news agency IRNA reported on 24 August that Iranian President
Hashemi Rafsanjani has signed a deal with Turkmenistan's President
Saparmurad Niyazov, currently on an official visit to Tehran, to
build a pipeline to ship Turkmen natural gas across Iran.
Discussion between the two countries of such a pipeline has gone
on since Turkmenistan gained its independence; Western governments
have expressed displeasure at Turkmenistan's close association
with Iran on this and other issues. Agreement on the deal was
reached during the recent visit of Iran's foreign minister to
Ashgabat. Outside observers have questioned whether Iran and
Turkmenistan can raise the funds necessary for the project.  Bess
Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

                               CIS

RUSSIA CONTENT WITH STALEMATE IN MOLDOVA? Asked by Reuters in
Chisinau on 22 August what terms of settlement of the
Moldova-"Dniester" conflict would suit Russia, the Russian special
envoy and mediator Vladimir Kitaev reiterated, "with a broad
smile," that "whatever the sides agree on will suit Russia."
Kitaev was reacting to "Dniester" leader Igor Smirnov's
reaffirmation of the demand for a separate state with its own
army, currency, and other sovereign attributes, in a nominal
confederation with Moldova. Kitaev's stance reflects the strategy
of allowing the "Dniester republic" to prolong a political
deadlock through demands known to be unacceptable to Moldova and
internationally and thus block the Russian 14th Army's withdrawal,
which Russia conditions on the settlement of the conflict. Kitaev
is also Russia's chief delegate to the troop talks with Moldova.
Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN CALL FOR CIS CUSTOMS UNION. CIS Coordinating-Consultative
Committee staffers told Interfax on 23 August that the CCC is
preparing proposals for the creation of a Customs Union of CIS
member states and its subsequent "gradual transformation into a
European Union-like arrangement." The idea would entail
abridgements of sovereignty. The proposals are to be submitted to
a meeting of prime ministers of the CIS member states in Moscow in
September.  Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

KUCHMA ON RUSSIAN, UKRAINIAN, BELARUSIAN, KAZAKH CONFEDERATION.
Following questions by a number of Ukrainian deputies regarding
President Leonid Kuchma's position on a possible confederation of
Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, the president's press
service has issued a statement clarifying Kuchma's position,
Ukrainian radio reported on 22 August. According to the statement,
Kuchma has never discussed the possible confederation and is
against supranational structures within the framework of the CIS.
The deputies had demanded the explanation after Ostankino TV
reported that such a confederation was under discussion. Ustina
Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

ABDIC BELIEVED TO BE IN KRAJINA. Tanjug reported that on 23 August
Ilija Prijic, the interior minister of the self-styled Republic of
Serbian Krajina, announced that defeated Bosnian Muslim rebel
leader Fikret Abdic has sought refuge in Krajina's Kordun region,
which borders on the Bihac pocket. Tanjug reports that Krajina's
president, Milan Martic, has contacted UN Secretary-General
Boutros Boutros-Ghali with a request for emergency aid to cope
with the influx of refugees from Abdic's erstwhile Bihac
stronghold, estimated by Martic to number some 60,000, and a third
of whom reportedly lack shelter and basic foodstuffs. In an
unrelated story, AFP reported on 23 August that the UN children's
Fund estimates that at least 16,000 children have been killed in
fighting since the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina erupted in April
1992.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

". . . BOTH PEACE AND A 'GREATER SERBIA'" is how today's Borba
headlines reporting on a recent survey conducted on 11 and 12
August of 500 Belgrade residents. With many questions revolving
around current developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the
international community's peace plan, the Medijum polling agency
found that a great majority--some 79% of respondents--thought that
the Bosnian Serbs should accept peace, but that they should also
benefit from peace conditions by being permitted to join some type
of political union with rump Yugoslavia.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL,
Inc.

KARADZIC PREDICTS PEACE PLAN DESTINED FOR DUST BIN. On 23 August
Reuters reported that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic stated,
in a television broadcast, that an upcoming referendum to be held
on Bosnian Serb-controlled territory will seal the fate of the
recent international community's peace plan for Bosnia and
Herzegovina, which confers control of 49% of the country to the
Bosnian Serbs. According to Karadzic, the public mood is such that
a rejection of the terms of the peace plan by some 90-95% of
voters seems inevitable.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

KARADZIC ISOLATED? On 22 August British dailies speculated that
recent contacts between Bosnian Serb Radovan Karadzic and leaders
of the breakaway Republic of Serbian Krajina show Karadzic's
continued isolation by fellow Serbs outside of Bosnia. While
Karadzic secured from Krajina Serb leaders, notably RSK President
Milan Martic, who is generally regarded as a follower of Serbian
President Milosevic, an agreement in principle that
Serb-controlled Bosnia and Krajina ought to forge a political
union, that seeming victory was negated by the fact that Martic
purportedly said a union should follow after the present war in
Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Daily Telegraph observes that telling
Karadzic to wait for war's end was tantamount to endorsing
Milosevic's blockade of the Bosnian Serbs, or "an implicit but
clear-cut request that he [Karadzic] should accept the UN peace
plan for Bosnia." For his part, Karadzic has suggested that he
supports the idea of a gradual union between Serb-controlled areas
of Bosnia and Krajina, and on 22 August was quoted by Politika as
saying that the main reason a rapid unification was dangerous and
undesirable was because it might provide Zagreb with a pretext for
going to war with the RSK.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

GREEK-ALBANIAN CRISIS DEEPENS. Relations between Athens and Tirana
have reached a new low following a series of incidents linked to
the ongoing trial against five ethnic Greeks, whom Albanian
authorities are charging with espionage and illegal arms
possession. The trial resumed on 23 August with prosecutors
presenting videotapes intended to show that the defendants were
not, as four of them claim, coerced to confess their crimes. One
day earlier the Albanian government recalled its ambassador to
Greece in protest at the distribution over Albanian territory by a
Greek civilian plane of leaflets calling for the overthrow of the
Tirana government. Western agencies say Albania's foreign and
defense ministers have also written to NATO, the EU, the CSCE, and
other institutions, asking that they put pressure on Athens to end
its "provocative acts." On 23 August Albanian President Sali
Berisha publicly accused the Greek government of launching a "cold
war," but said his country is capable of retaliating. The remark
should probably be seen as a response to statements by his Greek
counterpart Constantine Karamanlis, who on the previous day had
warned Albania that it is "acting thoughtlessly and [that] it will
not be long before it regrets it." Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLAND'S MASS PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM IN DANGER. Polish Prime
Minister Waldemar Pawlak is expected to sign off this week, after
three months of procrastination, the third group of 105 companies
slated for participation in the mass privatization program.
Quoting sources in the privatization ministry, Warsaw dailies
wrote on 23 August that Pawlak intends to begin by distributing
free shares to pensioners and employees paid from the state budget
as a form of compensation for lost allowances dating back to 1991
and 1992. Privatization officials fear that after distribution to
all those entitled to compensation there will be no shares left
for the general public to purchase. Fewer people would be able to
take advantage of the program and budget revenue from the sales
would be substantially reduced. The delay has already led to a
drop in the value of the shares and caused potential investors to
lose interest. Finance Minister Grzegorz Kolodko told Polish TV on
24 August that he would insist on a public sale of shares in the
first instance with compensatory distribution coming second.
Gazeta Wyborcza's economic commentator said the government's
tactics appeared aimed to upset the program and amounted to "a
step-by-step withdrawal from the program of systemic
transformation." Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

CRACKDOWN ON POLISH TV PIRATES. On 23 August the State
Radiocommunications Agency notified the Warsaw prosecutor's office
that 12 television stations belonging to Nicola Grauso's Polonia 1
network and Jacek Zelezik's Top Canal were acting in violation of
the law by broadcasting without a license and on restricted
channels not available to commercial broadcasters, PAP reports.
The prosecutor's office promised energetic action. The move is the
result of a 19 August meeting between Justice Minister Wlodzimierz
Cimoszewicz, members of the National Broadcasting Council, and
interior, defense and communications ministry officials. The
formal conclusion of the first leg of the lengthy licensing
procedure on 18 August prompted the justice minister to coordinate
action against the pirates after months of turning a blind eye to
their activities.  Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

ISRAEL'S CHIEF RABBI IN POLAND. Israeli Chief Rabbi Israel Meir
Lau and New York Rabbi Michael Schudrich officiated at three-day
observances of the fiftieth anniversary of the liquidation of the
Lodz ghetto, PAP reported on 22 August. Lodz was an important
center of Jewish life before the Nazi invasion of Poland. More
than 200,000 Jews from Poland and other European countries were
held in the ghetto on their way to the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
Only 830 survived. Some 200 survivors took part in the
commemoration. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

OPINION POLLS IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC. According to an opinion poll
conducted by the Center for Empirical Research (STEM), Czech
President Vaclav Havel continues to be the most trusted official
among top representatives of the country; 64% of the respondents
said they trusted Havel. A survey of all politicians revealed that
Trade and Industry Minister Vladimir Dlouhy continues to be the
most popular Czech politician; 83% of respondents said they
trusted him. He was followed by former Foreign Minister Jiri
Dienstbier with 71% and by current Foreign Minister Josef
Zieleniec with 69%. Premier Vaclav Klaus came fourth with 65% of
respondents saying they trusted him. Some 60% of the respondents
believed that the country was developing in the right direction
and that it had managed to build the foundations of democracy,
while 18% of the respondents said they were "absolutely
dissatisfied" with politics in the Czech Republic, and 41% said
they were "rather dissatisfied." Even more disturbing were the
findings that only 31% of the respondents believe that courts are
objective; only 27% trust the police; and only 38% trust the army.
CTK reported the results on 23 August.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

MECIAR AGAIN TOPS SLOVAK POLL. According to an opinion poll taken
by the Slovak Statistical Office on 6-16 August, Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia Chairman and former Premier Vladimir Meciar
remains the most trusted Slovak politician, with the support of
25% of respondents. Following Meciar were Premier and Democratic
Union Chairman Jozef Moravcik with 19%, President Michal Kovac and
Party of the Democratic Left Chairman Peter Weiss, each with 15%,
parliament chairman Ivan Gasparovic with 14%, and Christian
Democratic Movement Chairman Jan Carnogursky with 6%. A total of
28.1% of respondents said they would vote for the coalition of the
MDS and the Peasant Party, compared with 19.3% for the Common
Choice (a coalition of the PDL and three other left-wing parties),
9.4% for the CDM, 7.8% for the Hungarian coalition, 6.3% for the
Slovak National Party and 5.4% for the DU. Falling just below the
5% cutoff were the Association of Workers of Slovakia, with 4.5%,
and the Democratic Party, with 4.3%. According to the poll, 74%
said they plan to vote in the upcoming elections, scheduled for 30
September and 1 October, down from 80% in July. The poll results
were reported by TASR on 23 August.  Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN MEDIA LAW DRAFTED. MTI reported on 23 August that the
Hungarian parliament's legal committee has finally completed work
on a draft media law regulating Hungarian radio and television.
Elaborate negotiations are expected between the political parties
and media interest groups about the final shape of the law. A vote
is planned at the end of September. The proposal includes three
options with regard to foreign ownership of radio and television
companies: a minimum Hungarian ownership of 33%, 51%, or
unrestricted foreign ownership.  Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN ECONOMIC RESULTS FOR THE FIRST HALF YEAR. Industrial
production rose by 8% in the first six months of 1994, compared to
the first half of 1993, MTI reported, citing the Central
Statistical Office. Energy consumption decreased by 5%. The
consumer price index rose 17.5%. Foreign trade registered a $1.7
billion deficit. The budget deficit in the first half of 1994
reached 184 billion forint, or about $1.8 billion, an increase of
150% over the same period of 1993.  Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL,
Inc.

HUNGARIAN ARMY FACES CUTS. Defense ministry spokesman Lt. Col.
Lajos Erdelyi told Magyar Hirlap on 23 August that financial
constraints will force the Hungarian Army to reduce in the next
one-and-half to two years the number of its conscripts by 10,000
to 12,000--a 15% drop from the present 60,000. Thus some 20,000
conscripts will start their service this week, 2,000 less than a
year ago. The ministry also plans to reduce in the near future the
length of military service from 12 to 10 months, and prepare a
list of military units and installations to be eliminated as part
of a long-term crisis management program.  Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL,
Inc.

BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS DEMAND DEFENSE MINISTER'S RESIGNATION.
Dailies report on 24 August that the Bulgarian Socialist Party has
decided to seek the resignation of Defense Minister Valentin
Aleksandrov. Following a meeting of the BSP's Executive Bureau on
23 August, party leader Jean Videnov said a decision by
Aleksandrov to send some 300 colonels into retirement is
sufficient to disqualify him as a top civil servant. Duma writes
that the Defense Ministry, the General Staff, and the main
political parties had for several months been edging toward a
compromise solution on how many colonels to retain on duty despite
the fact that they have reached retirement age [of 50], but that
Aleksandrov went ahead and issued the order after finding out
about an additional 300 colonels whose retirement is overdue. In
an interview with Standart, Chief of the General Staff Gen. Lyuben
Petrov agreed that the number of officers has to decrease so that
the distorted officer-enlisted man ratio is rectified, but not at
the price of a lower defense capability. It is unclear whether the
order can be implemented without Gen. Petrov's signature.  Kjell
Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

GREATER ROMANIA PARTY MAY JOIN COALITION. Officials from the Party
of Social Democracy in Romania were quoted by Reuters on 23 August
as saying the party was prepared to enter talks with the
extreme-nationalist Greater Romania Party to enlarge the
coalition. Victor Neagu, a vice chairman of the PSDR, told a news
conference in Bucharest that the GRP's demands for ministerial
portfolios were "natural," since the party had supported the
government of Nicolae Vacaroiu in parliament since 1992. Last week
the GRP made further support for the government conditional upon
officially joining the coalition. The demands were aired one day
after another extreme-nationalist formation, the Party of Romanian
National Unity, joined the cabinet. A spokesman for the PSDR,
Dumitru Paslaru, said there were no plans for any new cabinet
changes in the near future, and that initial talks with the GRP
would focus on issues, not personnel.  Michael Shafir, RFE/RL,
Inc.

KING MICHAEL RECALLS ATTEMPTS TO QUIT WORLD WAR II. Romanian's
exiled king Michael says he had started trying to pull the country
out of World War II in 1943, but was successful only a year later,
when Romania switched sides to join the Allies on 23 August 1994.
In an interview with RFE/RL marking the 50th anniversary of the
event, the former king said Romania's Communists were unhappy when
he ordered the army to switch sides, although that made Romanian
soldiers the allies of the Russians. The Communists, Michael said,
hoped the Russians would let the Germans destroy Romania's
democratic leadership, as they had allowed the Germans to do with
the Polish Home Army in Warsaw. He said the result would have been
a Communist-led regime already in 1944. As it was, the Communists
had to wait until March 1946 to set up a communist-led coalition,
sending the king into exile in December 1947. Michael described
how he tried to persuade Romania's wartime leader Ion Antonescu to
pull the country out of the war but Antonescu insisted on getting
permission from Adolf Hitler and therefore he had had Antonescu
arrested. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

COUNCIL VOTES SEVASTOPOL A RUSSIAN CITY. The Sevastopol City
Council held an emergency session on 23 August and voted to
recognize the "Russian legal status" of Sevastopol, Interfax and
Reuters report. The resolution was backed by 36 of the council's
42 members. Deputies said the decision was taken because of the
"absence of concrete decisions on the town's status and on the
Black Sea Fleet." The city council also maintained that Sevastopol
should be the main base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. In July
1993 the Russian parliament declared Sevastopol a Russian city. In
June 1994, 89% of the residents and Black Sea Fleet servicemen
voted in favor of Sevastopol remaining the main base of the
Russian Black Sea Fleet and the city's Russian status. President
Leonid Kuchma is reportedly not planning any drastic reaction to
the decision, while Crimean President Yurii Meshkov cautioned that
it would prompt Kiev to make decisions regarding the peninsula
without consulting Crimean or Sevastopol residents. Ustina Markus,
RFE/RL, Inc.

MORE APPOINTMENTS IN UKRAINE. On 23 August President Leonid Kuchma
issued decrees appointing new cabinet ministers, Interfax
reported. Serhii Osyka was appointed Minister for Foreign Economic
Relations and Volodymyr Bobrov was appointed Minister of Health.
Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW ESTONIAN REPRESENTATIVE AT UN. Former Estonian Foreign
Minister Trivimi Velliste will assume the post of Estonia's
permanent representative at the United Nations from 1 September,
BNS reported on 19 August. Velliste, born in 1947, was chairman of
the Estonian Heritage Society, a deputy to the Congress of
Estonia, and vice chairman of the Citizens Committee. He was
elected to parliament in 1992 as a member of Pro Patria. He served
as foreign minister from October 1992 to January 1994 when he was
replaced by Juri Luik. The current UN representative Ernst
Jaakson, born in 1905, will remain as an advisor to the Estonian
delegation. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

COST OF LIVING RISES IN LATVIA. According to the Latvian Free
Trade Unions Association, the "crisis level" monthly subsistence
minimum on 23 August was 41.89 lati ( 23.22 lati for food, 13.25
lati for utilities and rent, and 5.42 lati for other expenses),
while the normal monthly subsistence was 67.51 lati, Diena and BNS
reported the same day compared with a subsistence minimum of 41.81
lati on 3 August. The LFTUA blames the rise on inflation and the
poor economic planning and policies of the government. Currently
the minimal wage, set by the government, is just 22.50 lati, while
the average monthly wage in Latvia is 78.79 lati, according to
figures from the State Statistics Committee.  Dzintra Bungs,
RFE/RL, Inc.

  [As of 1200 CET]
  Compiled by Bess Brown and Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka
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1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
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Updated: 1998-11-

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Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole