Peace is indivisible. - Maxim Litvino
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 162, 26 August 1994

                              RUSSIA

SITUATION IN CHECHNYA. Hundreds of armed followers of Chechen
President Dzhokhar Dudaev held a rally marked by anti-Russian
slogans in the center of the capital, Groznyi, on 25 August, an
RFE/RL correspondent reported from Chechnya. Dudaev addressed the
rally, swearing to continue his struggle for independence; he
called his opponents "Judases who sold their country for thirty
pieces of Russian silver." The demonstrators also criticized the
Chechen opposition Provisional Council and former Russian
parliament speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov. The latter is offering to
mediate between Moscow and Groznyi and is closely associated with
the Provisional Council. Chechen government officials told the
RFE/RL correspondent that Groznyi's central square and all roads
leading to the capital were guarded by forces loyal to Dudaev.
Meanwhile, Khasbulatov organized an anti-Dudaev demonstration in
the village of Staraya Sunzha, five kilometers outside Groznyi,
ITAR-TASS reported on 25 August. Khasbulatov threatened to try
Dudaev and his allies in accord with the Muslim religious law. The
opposition Provisional Council held a rally the same day in the
council's stronghold of Znamenskoe. The Russian government issued
a statement on 25 August, asserting that Chechnya is an integral
part of the Russian Federation and that all the goings on in this
Caucasian republic are an internal Russian affair. According to
the "Vesti" newscast, this statement was made in response to
interference in the civil conflict in Chechnya by members of the
North Caucasian diaspora in some Middle Eastern countries. The
same day, the leader of the Chechen Provisional Council confirmed
for the first time that the activities of his self-proclaimed
government are financed by the Russian state purse. Vera Tolz and
Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN: "DANGER OF RUSSIA'S DISINTEGRATION IS OVER." On 26 August
the Russian daily Trud contained a long interview with Russian
President Boris Yeltsin, recalling his recent travel across the
Volga River, in which Yeltsin says that his trip convinced him
that there is no danger of the disintegration of the Russian
Federation. He added that there are still problems and they
require a new model for relations between the regions and the
central authorities. Yeltsin also denied that the Russian people
are fed up with politics, saying that he had witnessed the
opposite during his trip. Citizens are making new demands of
politics, Yeltsin said, but some politicians are incapable of
meeting them.  Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . AND GORBACHEV IS EVEN MORE OPTIMISTIC. In an article
published in the Italian daily La Stampa on 25 August, former
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev predicted that the states of
the former Soviet Union will move towards reunification. Gorbachev
added that the process will be gradual and should not alarm the
West. Gorbachev termed "wise" a remark of US President Bill
Clinton that the West would not mind reintegration of the former
USSR, providing that the will of people is respected and if
reforms continue.  Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

CASE OF LIBERAL PRIEST'S MURDER CLOSED. The office of the Moscow
prosecutor has closed the investigation of the murder of Father
Aleksandr Men, Russian TV news reported on 25 August. A Russian
Orthodox priest who converted from Judaism, Father Aleksandr
played a key role in the revival of religion in Russia under
Leonid Brezhnev. From the early 1960s until his tragic death in
1990, Father Aleksandr was the spiritual head of the liberal
community of intellectuals, including author Nadezhda Mandelshtam.
Some of his younger followers were imprisoned for their religious
activities, and Father Aleksandr was routinely harassed by the
KGB. He was murdered in September 1990. Both Soviet President
Gorbachev and his Russian counterpart, Boris Yeltsin, intervened
personally in the investigation of this case with requests that
the murderer be identified and punished.  Julia Wishnevsky,
RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN SUBS REAPPEAR IN NORTH ATLANTIC. Senior Icelandic
officials were quoted by Reuters on 25 August as saying that,
after an absence of some two years, submarines from the Russian
Northern Fleet have again been observed patrolling the waters of
the North Atlantic. The officials said that the subs did not
appear to pose a threat, and they speculated that Moscow may
simply "be trying to keep the fleet active" and the submarines
from "going rusty." Icelandic leaders were said to be more
concerned by the possibility of accidents involving the
nuclear-powered submarines than by the military threat that they
represent. In the midst of economic upheaval and falling defense
budgets, Russia has over the past few years given greater priority
to the Northern Fleet than to its other fleets; however, even the
Northern Fleet has not escaped a serious deterioration of its
combat capabilities.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

US COMPANY WINS RUSSIAN HOUSING CONTRACT. A Delaware subsidiary of
the California-based Ralph M. Parsons Company has been awarded a
$68-million federal contract to build 2,500 housing units
throughout Russia for demobilized military officers, the Los
Angeles Daily News reported on 25 August. The construction, aimed
at providing housing for between 7,500 and 10,000 people, is part
of the US economic assistance program to Russia and was developed
as part of a pilot project program under the Russian Officer
Resettlement Program, the newspaper said. The US program was
described as similar to a German plan which will provide about
15,000 housing units for Russian troops returning from the former
East Germany. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN CONSCRIPTION IN MOLDOVA. Lt.-General Stanislav Khazheev,
defense minister of the "Dniester republic," was quoted in
Rossiiskaya vesti of 23 August as saying that his forces and
Russia's 14th Army jointly conduct military conscription in
eastern Moldova, despite political tensions between the Army
command and the "Dniester" leadership. Under an arrangement
between the two forces, the fittest serve in the 14th Army on
contract and the rest are drafted into the "Dniester" forces where
they acquire skills for later service with the 14th Army.
Khazheev's remarks corroborate several statements to the same
effect by the 14th Army's commander, Lt.-General Aleksandr Lebed,
who has also disclosed that those serving with the 14th Army are
given Russian citizenship. Despite violation of international law
which forbids recruitment by armies in foreign territories and the
unilateral grant of another state's citizenship to local
residents, Moldova has shied away from raising these issues in
international forums.  Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW DEMAND FOR BASING RIGHTS IN MOLDOVA. In the same issue of
Rossiiskaya vesti, Lebed contended that transporting his army's
massive arms and ammunition stockpiles from Moldova to Russia
would be prohibitively expensive. He predicted that Russia will
not foot the bill, demanded that Moldova do so "because it needs
the withdrawal more [than Russia does]," and admitted that Moldova
can not afford it either. "Since we cannot solve the problem of
withdrawing the troops, we should come to an agreement on the
conditions for keeping the troops here." Interviewed in
Dnestrovskaya pravda of 25 August, as cited by Basapress, Lebed
said that "Russia retains the role of a great power and guarantor
of peace on its border and the border of its neighbors in the
Dniester region." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

KOZYREV FOR STRENGTHENING SANCTIONS AGAINST BOSNIAN SERBS. On 25
August Reuters reported that Russian Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev told media that Russia is interested in seeing Serbia be
rewarded for supporting the international community's peace plan
for Bosnia and Herzegovina with an easing of the sanctions against
rump Yugoslavia, adding that the Bosnian Serbs should be dealt
even harsher sanctions precisely for continuing to reject the
peace plan. Kozyrev added that Serbia's current position on the
Bosnian peace plan warrants an "immediate" lifting of some
sanctions against rump Yugoslavia. Meanwhile, on 26 August Reuters
also reported that "major powers" are prepared to "reward" Serbia
with an easing of sanctions if President Milosevic accepts
international monitors on Serbia's border with Bosnia, an
eventuality Milosevic has so far rejected as a violation of
Serbia's sovereignty.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

RUSSIAN MILITARY SANATORIUM IN GUDAUTA ATTACKED. Russian Deputy
Defense Minister Georgii Kondratyev and Deputy Foreign Minister
Boris Pastukhov escaped unharmed when the Russian military
sanatorium in Gudauta was subjected to automatic fire during the
early morning of 25 August, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported. The
unidentified attackers escaped. An Abkhaz spokesman suggested that
the shooting had resulted from a brawl between a local resident
and Russian servicemen; Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Georgii
Karasin refuted speculation that the incident constituted an
assassination attempt. Kondratyev and Pastukhov are part of the
Russian delegation currently negotiating the deployment of
additional Russian peacekeeping troops in Abkhazia. Liz Fuller,
RFE/RL, Inc.

RADICAL OPPOSITION HOLDS CONFERENCE IN TBILISI. At a recent
conference in Tbilisi, 37 Georgian opposition parties, including
those still loyal to the late president Zviad Gamsakhurdia and the
National Independence Party, signed a convention denouncing the
current Georgian leadership as illegal and characterizing Georgia
as a state "occupied by Russia"; they pledged to defend Georgia's
independence, according to Interfax.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

KOZYREV IN TASHKENT. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev began
an official visit to Uzbekistan on 25 August, Russian and Western
news agencies reported. One of the main topics discussed was the
situation in Tajikistan; Kozyrev told a press conference that
Russia would use "the language of war" in dealing with the Tajik
opposition if that was the opposition's choice, but that Russia
prefers for the two sides in the Tajik conflict to resume their
talks. Interfax reported having learned that Otakhon Latifi, head
of the opposition delegation to earlier talks with the Tajik
government, is prepared to go to Tashkent. Kozyrev also said that
Russia supports the holding of the presidential election scheduled
for 25 September; the opposition has called for a boycott. Sergei
Stepashin, head of Russia's Federal Counterintelligence Service
who is part of the delegation accompanying Kozyrev, told Interfax
after the first Russian-Uzbek meeting that there are no
differences in the Russian and Uzbek positions on Tajikistan.
Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

                               CIS

RUSSIA TO PROPOSE ECONOMIC CENTRALIZATION IN CIS. Izvestiya made
public on 25 August details of proposals to be submitted by Russia
to a meeting of Prime Ministers of CIS member states scheduled for
9 September in Moscow. A draft agreement to establish a Payments
Union, with mutual convertibility of national currencies, would
make it "inadmissible for individual republics to limit on their
territories the circulation and use of the partners' currencies as
instruments of payment." The arrangement is likely in practice to
ensure the supremacy of the Russian ruble and, in a follow-up
stage, "become the basis for establishing a Currency Union." An
accompanying proposal would turn the existing
Consultative-Coordinating Committee into an Intergovernmental
Economic Committee as a "controlling and decision-making" body,
issuing "binding decisions in transnational spheres: transport,
communications, oil and gas pipelines." Creation of the IEC
allegedly reflects "the objective need to create supranational
organs of the CIS." Participating states would be expected to
"renounce some of their national prerogatives and turn them over
to the supranational body." The authors of the plan expect only 4
or 5 member states to go along at this stage, with others to
follow suit later on.  Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

US CONGRESS APPROVES MOVE OF RFE/RL TO PRAGUE. In a statement
issued in Washington on 25 August, the chairman of the US Board
for International Broadcasting (BIB), Daniel Mica, announced that
the board had received congressional approval for the move of
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty from Munich to Prague. Mica said
the move "opens a new era for RFE/RL." US President Clinton had
approved the move on 5 July, subject to congressional approval.
Preparations to relocate the stations had been on hold pending
approval from the six committees and subcommittees in each house
of the congress which authorize and appropriate the money granted
to operate the radios each year. That final approval of the
relocation plan came on 25 August. Mica said the move should be
completed by mid-1995 and that broadcasting from the new location
could begin within six months. He expressed gratitude to the Czech
government for its "generous offer" of the former federal
parliament building in Prague as the new home for RFE/RL.  RFE/RL
News and Current Affairs, RFE/RL, Inc.

OPPOSITION PARTIES ATTACK MILOSEVIC. On 25 and 26 August Serbian
media reported on a 25 August special session of the Serbian
parliament, convened at the opposition parties' insistence and
dealing with the international community's peace plan for Bosnia
and Herzegovina. Proceedings opened with a statement by Serbian
Premier Mirko Marjanovic, who slammed the Bosnian Serb leadership
for failing to accept peace, a move that he said was making it
difficult to have sanctions removed against rump Yugoslavia.
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic was criticized by the
ultranationalist leader of the Serbian Radical Party Vojislav
Seselj for what he suggested was a sell-out of the Bosnian Serbs.
Democratic Party leader Zoran Djindjic, according to AFP, said it
was improper for Milosevic to be blockading and exerting pressure
on the Bosnian Serbs to accept the peace plan before Bosnian Serb
territories could be united with Serbia. While the extraordinary
parliamentary session did not shake Milosevic's or his party's
hold on power, it may have been calculated to lend Bosnian Serb
leader Radovan Karadzic a measure of moral support: Bosnian Serbs
are slated go to the polls on 27 and 28 August in a referendum to
vote on whether to accept the peace plan.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL,
Inc.

UN SEEKS CROATIA'S HELP WITH REFUGEES. On 25 August Reuters
reported that the UN had asked Zagreb to accommodate hundreds of
refugees fleeing Bosnia's Bihac pocket in the wake of rebel Muslim
leader Fikret Abdic's defeat. Some 800 have found their way into
what has been described as a no man's land between the Croatian
army and Serb-held territory in Croatia commonly known as Krajina.
This latest group of 800 joins another 800 who have been stranded
there since 21 August. Zagreb has called on the refugees to return
to Bihac.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

UN SAYS SERBS NOW RESPECT MACEDONIAN BORDER. The UN Protection
Force Commander in Macedonia, Brig. Gen. Trigve Teleffsen,
confirmed on 25 August that tensions along the Serbian-Macedonian
border had decreased in recent weeks. Earlier in 1994 the UN
complained of repeated incursions by Serb patrols and incidents in
which peacekeepers were temporarily detained, but Teleffsen said
the attitude among Serb forces had changed following meetings
between the Macedonian and Serb authorities. At the same time he
urged both sides to create a joint commission to decide on exactly
where the border should run, since this remains unclarified. In
the Macedonian town of Tetovo, police reportedly clashed with
ethnic Albanian soccer fans. The town has been the scene of ethnic
tension on several occasions in recent years. Western agencies
carried the stories.  Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

TRANSPORT CEILINGS THREATEN POLISH EXPORTS. Poland's transport
ministry has found itself increasingly under attack since Poland
exhausted its 1994 quota of permits for goods trucks entering
Germany at the beginning of August and the German authorities
simultaneously announced new ceilings on Polish barges. On 24
August Polish carriers warned the Sejm's transport commission that
exports would suffer and companies unable to fulfill contracts
already signed would face bankruptcy, PAP reports. The deputies
called for clear criteria to regulate allocation of permits and
demanded a formal statement from transport minister Boguslaw
Liberadzki. The quota arrangement was instituted two years ago in
order to ensure parity, protect German companies against
undercutting by the cheaper Polish carriers, and limit pollution.
The Poles have so far accounted for some two-thirds of the
traffic, however. Negotiations between the two governments
resulted on 12 August in a temporary raising of the ceiling and
extra permits for "green lorries." A group of former ministry
officials who lost their jobs after the postcommunist government
took over accused the new team of ignoring warnings,
indiscriminately allocating permits, and favoring the
predominantly postcommunist International Carriers Association.
Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

STRAK POLLS LOCAL AUTHORITIES ON DECENTRALIZATION. Head of
Poland's Council of Ministers' Office, Michal Strak, circulated a
questionnaire to local government authorities concerning the
division of powers between the local and central government
administration, and the possibility of changes in the
administrative and territorial division, in particular the
introduction of the powiat or intermediary level of local
government between the gmina and the voivodship. Over 40 of
Poland's largest municipalities, which have been participating in
a pilot scheme to take over administrative functions that would
accrue to the powiat, described their experiences as positive,
according to a government document. Strak himself and the Polish
Peasant Party, to which he belongs, are known as opponents of the
scheme, preferring to keep central control over public
administration. Strak told reporters at a 24 August press
conference that the results of the questionnaire would not be
binding on the government.  Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECHS ON BRIBERY, CORRUPTION. According to an opinion poll
conducted by the Institute for Public Opinion Research in July,
87% of Czechs believe that bribery is a "very serious" problem. Of
the 1,097 respondents, 89% thought that standards of morality had
fallen and 90% were concerned about cases of corruption within the
country's voucher privatization scheme. The results of the poll
were reported by Czech and international media on 24 August.  Jiri
Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAKIA PREPARES FOR ANNIVERSARY. Slovakia is preparing to
celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising, to
be held in Banska Bystrica on 27 August. More than 80,000 Slovaks
participated in the uprising, which began on 29 August 1944 and
marked Slovakia's fight against fascism. Guests from at least 22
foreign countries are expected to attend the festivities,
including the presidents of Slovakia's immediate neighbors and
other high-ranking officials from East and West. Veterans of the
uprising will be honored. Since 1989 a large number of studies
have been devoted to the uprising. Although most assessments have
been positive, nationalist groups in Slovakia have accused the
insurgents of fighting against their own state. The present
government has favored the positive interpretation, but the
opposition Slovak National Party has taken the opposite view. In a
recent poll conducted by the Slovak Statistical Office, 71% of
respondents said they viewed the uprising positively, while only
5% had a negative view. A total of 67% said they thought it was
supported by a majority of Slovaks, while 13% said it was a
conspiracy led by the communists. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

BUDGET CHANGES IN HUNGARY. Finance Minister Laszlo Bekesi
announced amendments to the budget, MTI reported on 25 August. The
changes, necessitated by falling revenues and increased
expenditures, are intended to keep the deficit at the projected,
record-high level of 330 billion forint ($3 billion). The 50
billion forint ($462 million) package provides cuts totaling 37
billion forint and 13 billion forint in new revenues. On the
revenue side, the turnover tax will be increased from 10% to 12%,
on 1 October. Telephone and hotel services will be subject to a
25% turnover tax. Consumer tax on luxury items and fuel will be
increased by 15% but the 10% tax on income from interest on
savings accounts will be eliminated. The revised budget will also
include an additional 11 billion forint for wheat purchase
subsidies. The amendments will be submitted to parliament on 9
September, Bekesi said.  Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIA REORGANIZES FOREIGN INVESTMENT AGENCY. On 25 August the
Bulgarian government adopted a set of statutes which alter the
character and functions of the Commission on Foreign Investments,
BTA reports. The CFI, which was set up in 1992, will from now on
be subordinated to the cabinet and implement government policy in
the field of foreign investments. To underline that point, Deputy
Premier and Trade Minister Kiril Tsochev was selected to chair the
reorganized agency. The CFI has also been charged with
coordinating the actions of different state bodies. It will seek
to resolve concrete problems involving foreign investors. The
adoption of the statutes is evidently a response to criticism that
Bulgaria's liberal investment law is not enough to attract
investors, but that it has to be accompanied by an institutional
framework to facilitate the activities of investors. Statistics
show that Bulgaria received merely $498 million worth of direct
investments between 1 January 1990 and 4 August 1994, which is
less than one tenth of the sum invested in Hungary or roughly one
fifth of that in the Czech Republic.  Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL,
Inc.

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT OPENS PARLEYS WITH NATIONAL-COMMUNISTS.
Leaders of the parties represented in the coalition held on 25
August a first round of talks with representatives of the extreme
nationalist Greater Romania Party (GRP) and the Socialist Labor
Party (SLP), the heir to the Romanian Communist Party. Both
parties are considered to be "national-communist" in outlook.
Rompres said the purpose of the meeting was to "reach a political
agreement" that would constitute a "basis for collaboration at
legislative and executive levels." The two parties have supported
the Vacaroiu government in parliament since 1992. After the
extreme nationalist Party of Romanian National Unity joined the
coalition last week, the GRP said future support of the ruling
Party of Social Democracy in Romania would be conditional on its
joining the coalition, too. Opposition parties criticized the
talks. Ioan Diaconescu, Vice-Chairman of the National Peasant
Party-Christian Democratic, said the presence of the GRP and the
SLP in the government would further damage Romania's credibility.
The Vice-Chairman of the Democratic Party-National Salvation
Front, Adrian Vilau, said that if these plans materialized, the
country would be ruled by a "very red cabinet." Michael Shafir,
RFE/RL, Inc.

ALBANIA TO CONTROL ABORTIONS. Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 25
August that Tirana will soon draft a law to control abortion which
has become a widespread practice. This move is apparently related
to the forthcoming UN population conference in Cairo. A government
official told the daily that a sharp increase in abortions took
place after the Communists liberalized their policy in 1990. The
number of abortions for recent years has been 30,000 per year
(Albania's population is 3.3 million). In Tirana alone it equals
the number of births at 30 per day. The same official reported a
downward trend in abortions as a result of the policy of family
planning which was introduced two years ago. The new law would
allow abortions up to the twelfth week of pregnancy, and not
without preliminary sociological and psychological consultations.
The various religious denominations will be consulted. The
Catholic Bishop Frano Ilia is said to have called on other
religious communities, the government and the parliament to oppose
abortion.  Louis Zanga, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW ACTING FOREIGN MINISTER APPOINTED IN UKRAINE. On 25 August
President Leonid Kuchma appointed Hennadii Udovenka acting foreign
minister, various agencies reported. Udovenko replaces Anatolii
Zlenko, who had been foreign minister since 1990. Prior to his
appointment Udovenko had represented Ukraine in the United Nations
in Geneva and New York, and served as Ukraine's ambassador to
Poland since 1992. Udovenko said one of his policy priorities will
be normalizing relations with Russia.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

LUKASHENKA DISMISSES POLICE CHIEFS AND ORDERS INQUIRY INTO BORDER
GUARD. Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has dismissed
the chiefs of police in Minsk and all of the country's regions on
the same day, Interfax reported on 25 August. He also ordered an
inquiry into the activities of the country's border guards. The
move was prompted by the growing number of border violations
involving illegal migrants. Over 2,000 illegal migrants were
detained on Belarus's western border last year and it is reported
that as many as 300,000 people may be living illegally in the
country. Most are nationals of Asian and African countries
traveling from Russia in an attempt to enter western Europe
through Belarus and Poland or Lithuania.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL,
Inc.

VODKA PRICES RISE BY 75% IN BELARUS. As of 25 August vodka prices
are to rise by 75% in Belarus, Belarusian radio reported. This
means prices for a half liter bottle will cost close to 5,000
rubles. In July the average wage in Belarus stood at 879,191
rubles per month. Reuters reported that the move caused popular
dissatisfaction.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

70% OF MINSK SCHOOLS WILL BE TEACHING IN BELARUSIAN. On 24 August
Belarusian radio reported that 70% of Minks's 230 schools will be
teaching in the Belarusian language this academic year. This is in
accordance with the Law on Language which aims to make Belarusian
the official language. To date Russian is still widely used in the
armed forces and is the language of most parliamentary debates.
Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

LITHUANIAN REFERENDUM. Chairman of the Lithuanian Chief Elections
Commission Zenonas Vaigauskas announced that 2,552,000 people in
Lithuania are eligible to vote in the 27 August referendum on
illegal privatization, devalued bank deposits and shares, and
violations of the law, Radio Lithuania reported on 26 August.
There will be separate votes for the referendum's 8 points each of
which will be passed only if it receives support from more than
half of the eligible voters. President Algirdas Brazauskas, the
ruling Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party, and several smaller
parties expressed their opposition to the referendum, and it seems
unlikely that enough voters will participate to pass any of its
points.  Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

UPDATE ON RUSSIAN TROOP DEPARTURES FROM LATVIA. Although Russian
troops and military equipment--reports vary as to their
numbers--are being steadily pulled out of Latvia, it is still
unclear whether the 31 August deadline for the completion of this
process will be met. First Deputy Commander of Russia's
Northwestern Group of Forces in Riga, Fedor Melnichuk, said that
the remaining Russian forces--only 97 officers, 50 conscript
soldiers and 8 armored personnel carriers--would be pulled out of
Latvia before 31 August. But, according to Ludis Povilonis of the
Latvian office monitoring the troop withdrawals, delays may occur
as a consequence of unpaid debts by the Russian military for
electricity, heating, hot water, and land tax, and Moscow's
inability to provide departing officers with housing in Russia. In
such cases, the officers could stay on in Latvia until 31
December, LETA and BNS reported on 22 and 23 August. Povilonis's
office said that there are 1,358 Russian servicemen in Latvia who
must leave by the end of August; they are stationed in 8
facilities that have still not been handed over to Latvia. The
Russian military has not yet vacated resorts in Majori and
Jurmala, a section of the Riga airport, the Tosmare ship repair
works in Liepaja, and the aviation equipment factory in Riga. The
Russian radar station at Skrunda with a personnel of 699 and
thousands of Russian military pensioners, will remain for five
years.  Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Bess Brown and Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka
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
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developments throughout the Institute's area of interest.
Longer analyses are available in a monograph series, RFE/RL
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Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole