|Life is what happens to us while we're making other plans. - John Lennon|
No. 167, 2 September 1994
RUSSIA DUDAEV SUPPORTERS, OPPOSITION CLASH IN CHECHNYA. Opposition forces led by Beslan Gantemirov, a supporter of Provisional Council chairman Umar Avturkhanov, and troops loyal to Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev clashed in Urus-Martan Raion on 1 September, according to Interfax and ITAR-TASS, which cited diverse figures for the number of killed (7-11) and wounded (5-11); Dudaev's troops were constrained to withdraw, leaving the opposition in control of the raion. A spokesman for Ruslan Khasbulatov told Interfax that the opposition troops have been put on a state of alert, but that there was still "serious discord in the sphere of political and military strategy and tactics" between Khasbulatov and Avturkhanov; according to the Provisional Council, its forces are blocking the entrance to Grozny on the left bank of the Terek. Meanwhile, the Chechen Foreign Ministry has sent an invitation to Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev to attend the celebrations on 6 September to mark the third anniversary of Chechnya's independence. In an interview given to Segodnya on 1 September and summarized by ITAR-TASS, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai said that attempts to influence the situation in Chechnya by using force were "useless" and that "there will be no military intervention by Russia." Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. GOVERNMENT DRAFTS LAW ON TV COMMERCIALS. Legislation drawn up by the Russian government on advertisements in the media places a number of restrictions on television commercials, Russian TV newscasts reported on 1 September. The draft law requires television commercials to be truthful, responsible, and decent; it bans advertising by unlicensed firms as well as indirect advertising and limits advertisements of medicines, alcohol, and tobacco. According to the newscasts, the draft also provides for amendments to be made to the Russian Criminal Code. The move was prompted by a series of scandals involving financial companies such as MMM, the Russian House Selenga, and Tibet, all of which have been heavily advertised on Russian television. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. FEDOROV CRITICIZES GAIDAR FOR "IMPOSING YELTSIN" AS JOINT DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE. Boris Fedorov, who held the post of minister of finance in the government chaired by Egor Gaidar and is now leader of the December 12 Liberal Democratic Union group in the State Duma, was cited by Interfax on 31 August as suggesting that Russian democratic politicians hold a conference in October or November 1994 to work out a mechanism for nominating a joint candidate for the 1996 presidential elections. According to Interfax, Fedorov criticized Gaidar, leader of the Russia's Democratic Choice party, for calling on democrats to nominate the current president, Boris Yeltsin. By so doing, Fedorov said, Gaidar "was in a way imposing a specific candidate on the democratic forces" without having discussed "the essence of the matter." Fedorov believes the best way to choose a common candidate would be either to poll the electorate in five or ten regions to find out who is the most popular contender or to hold primaries on the US model. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN SAID TO HAVE APPOINTED "FASCIST" AS PRESS MINISTER. Issue no. 35 of the liberal weekly Moscow News contains an article entitled "Fascist Minister in the Government of [Viktor] Chernomyrdin." The article is yet another portrait of Boris Mironov, the chairman of the State Committee on the Press, who has recently emerged as the man the Russian intelligentsia most loves to hate. The article consists of quotes from Mironov, who allegedly identified himself as "a Fascist" in one of his lectures in Orenburg. Mironov is quoted as saying that he is "a hard-core Russian nationalist," an opponent of democracy and press freedom, and an advocate of strict governmental control over the media. He reportedly believes that "the media are even more important for the state than the army, therefore a strict hierarchy in the press is necessary." He is also on record as having subsidized publications of overtly anti-Semitic books while refusing financial aid for publications of schoolbooks and scientific and technical literature. On 1 September an RFE/RL Moscow correspondent quoted Mironov as saying that Yeltsin had recommended him for the post and that his policies had been "approved by the very top [Russian leadership]." Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. ANOTHER MAJOR ARMS PLANT FORCED TO SHUT DOWN. According to ITAR-TASS of 1 September, the Tula Arms Factory has stopped production for the first time in 300 years. Its workers have been put on leave until the first of next month. They received no pay in July and August, and only 40% were paid in June. The report said the government owed the factory more than 15 billion rubles (about $7 million.) It had been producing AK-47 assault rifles, but had tried to switch to products for the civilian market. Its production is reported to have fallen off by 97% over the past three years. Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. TROOPS GATHER FOR CONTROVERSIAL EXERCISE. A parade and the playing of the Russian and American national anthems on 1 September at a military airfield near Totsk set the stage for a joint Russian-American military exercise to run from 2 to 10 September. According to ITAR-TASS, none of the 500 soldiers involved will have any weapons. Named "Peacekeeper 94," the exercise has had a stormy history. It was originally scheduled for July, but right-wing opposition in the Russian parliament prompted Yeltsin to waver in his support. At one time it was to be moved to the United States, but it was finally rescheduled for September in the Totsk military complex in the Southern Urals--the site of a 1954 Soviet atomic weapons test. A contingent of procommunist protesters is expected to picket the exercise. Viktor Anpilov, leader of the Working Russian movement, told Interfax that 350,000 people had signed a petition protesting the presence of foreign troops on Russian soil. Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. FIRE AT RUSSIAN NUCLEAR INSTALLATION. A fire that broke out at the nuclear reprocessing plant Mayak on 31 August was rapidly brought under control, a spokesman for the State Committee for Nuclear Safety, Yurii Rogozin, told ITAR-TASS on 1 September. Rogozin said the incident posed no danger to the plant's personnel or to the environment. The fire broke out during the reprocessing of a nuclear fuel cassette at the Mayak plant in the city of Seversk near Chelyabinsk. According to Mayak's management, the amount of radiation released was below the danger level; and the fire is not considered a "serious accident" on the international scale. Mayak is one of three main nuclear weapons plants in Russia. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. INGUSH CONGRESS CALLS FOR FEDERAL RULE. In a letter sent to Yeltsin on 1 September, Ruslan Pliev, chairman of the Ingush People's Congress, asked the Russian president to implement measures to stabilize the situation in the region disputed between Ingushetia and North Ossetia, which is currently under a state of emergency. Specifically, Pliev requested that a legal assessment be made of the clashes two years ago in Prigorodnyi Raion and Vladikavkaz, which resulted in heavy casualties, and that a permanent commission of the Federal Assembly be sent to the region to monitor the implementation of presidential decrees. Pliev also asked Yeltsin to reject any attempt to link the repatriation of Ingush refugees to the situation in Chechnya. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA KARABAKH TALKS RESUME. A further round of Russian-mediated talks on a settlement of the Karabakh conflict opened in Moscow on 1 September, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported; attending were deputy foreign ministers from Armenia and Azerbaijan, the permanent representative in Armenia of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Russian special ambassador Vladimir Kazimirov, and representatives from the CSCE Minsk group and the CIS Executive secretariat. Although the previous talks last month culminated in agreement on nine of a total of 17 points of a draft settlement, the accord will not be valid until agreement is reached on all points, according to a senior Azerbaijani diplomat quoted by Interfax. Moreover, the CSCE is seeking to modify some of the points in the draft. In a statement issued on 1 September and summarized by ITAR-TASS, the Russian Foreign Ministry welcomed the willingness of all sides in the conflict to continue to observe the cease-fire concluded in May, but warned that "a flexible approach and balanced mutual concessions" were needed in order to achieve a political solution to the conflict. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. GEORGIAN-ABKHAZ TALKS FOCUS ON REFUGEES. The UN-sponsored talks in Geneva on a political settlement in Abkhazia resumed on 31 August without either Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Pastukhov who had hitherto represented Russia, or Dzhaba Ioseliani, the head of the Georgian delegation. According to Interfax of 1 September, Ioseliani had refused "on principle" to participate unless the Abkhaz authorities allow the repatriation of Georgian refugees to Abkhazia, and had pronounced his readiness to head a spontaneous march of refugees across the border. On 1 September agreement was reached in Geneva on a draft document stipulating conditions for the refugees' return, Western agencies reported. US Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright was quoted after meeting in Tbilisi on 1 September with Georgian parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze that Abkhazia must allow the refugees to return in order to pave the way for an agreement of Abkhazia's future status within Georgia; she further affirmed that the deployment of Russian peacekeepers in Georgia must be temporary and their actions kept under international scrutiny. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. UZBEK DISSIDENT THREATENED WITH TRIAL. Vasilya Inoyatova, one of the few leaders of the opposition Uzbek democratic-nationalist movement Birlik to remain active in Uzbekistan, has told foreign journalists that officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs have accused her of "anti-state activities" and warned her to prepare to face trial, Reuters reported on 1 September. The charge, under Article 60 of the Uzbek Criminal Code, results from police having caught Inoyatova in possession of two sacks containing copies of the newspaper published illegally by the Erk Party, another Uzbek group that, like Birlik, has been refused registration by the Uzbek authorities and may therefore neither function legally nor distribute its publications in Uzbekistan. Inoyatova was sentenced to a prison term in 1993 after having been found guilty of slandering President Islam Karimov, but was immediately amnestied. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. TAJIKISTAN UPDATE. In an interview with Interfax on 1 September, Tajikistan's head of state, Supreme Soviet Chairman Imomali Rakhmonov, said an amnesty had been decreed by the presidium of the Tajik parliament on 25 August that covered some members of the Tajik opposition who have been accused by the present regime of inciting civil war in 1992. Such an amnesty was one of the conditions placed by the Tajik opposition in exile on resuming talks with the government on ending the fighting between government and opposition forces in Tajikistan and on the Tajik-Afghan border. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE KARADZIC THREATENS TO BLOCKADE BOSNIAN MUSLIMS. On 2 September Borba and international agencies report that the previous day Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic told the assembly of the self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb republic that in a matter of days Bosnian Serb forces would blockade Bosnian Muslim enclaves. Karadzic, noting that Belgrade's own embargo against the Bosnian Serbs had prompted the threat, said: "We have the full right to impose sanctions against the Muslims, to prevent even a bird from flying to them, until the world compels [rump] Yugoslavia to lift economic sanctions." Meanwhile, the assembly called on the international community to formulate a new peace proposal. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. BULAJIC: RUMP YUGOSLAVIA WILL NOT AGREE TO MONITORS. Meeting with his Czech counterpart in Belgrade on 1 September, rump Yugoslav Deputy Foreign Minister Radoslav Bulajic said Yugoslavia did not agree to having international observers on its border with Bosnia. It has been proposed that observers monitor traffic between Serbia and Bosnian Serb-held territory in Bosnia. CTK reports Bulajic as saying that Yugoslavia did not need observers because it was "a trustworthy state." He added that their presence would violate the sovereignty of Yugoslavia. Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Vondra replied that the Czech Republic supported the UN Security Council's view that placing observers at the border was necessary. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. PAPAL VISIT TO SARAJEVO CONFIRMED. On 1 September Hina reported that the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sarajevo, Vinko Puljic, received Vatican confirmation of Pope John Paul II's visit to the Bosnian capital. The pontiff is scheduled to arrive in Bosnia on 8 September and will meet with leaders of the Orthodox, Muslim, and Jewish communities. Puljic told a press conference that the highlight of the papal visit would be the celebration of Mass in the former Olympic speed-skating stadium, which can accommodate some 20, 000 people. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. ABDIC REFUSES TO HELP WITH REPATRIATION EFFORTS. According to Reuters on 1 September, defeated rebel Bosnian Muslim leader Fikret Abdic is still declining to urge fellow refugees, numbering some 25,000, to return to the Bihac enclave in Bosnia. Abdic has justified his refusal by saying he has no control over the refugees, the majority of whom are on Serb-controlled Croatian territory. Meanwhile, international agencies report that Adbic's loyalists continue to fuel fears of reprisals at the hands of the Bosnian government forces and are thereby frustrating the repatriation process. Borba of 2 September reports that the UN has persuaded 45 people to travel to Velika Kladusa under UN escort in order to determine whether they should return. Moreover, UN observers have reportedly found no cases of atrocities or human rights violations committed by the Bosnian government forces in the Bihac pocket. Fears exist that as long as Abdic and his supporters continue to make it difficult for such information to be disseminated, the refugee problem will persist. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. TIRANA ACCUSES ATHENS OF DECLARING "COLD WAR." President Sali Berisha's ruling Democratic Party has issued a declaration titled "Albania and the Albanian Question Are Holy," Rilindja reports on 30 August. The document criticizes Athens for the current conflict between the two countries, triggered by an espionage trial of five ethnic Greeks. It says that Greece has "declared cold war on Albania" and lambasts "certain" Albanian politicians and forces that have joined ranks with the Greek "ultranationalists." In particular, it accuses leaders of the opposition Socialist Party of being "deeply anti-Albanian and anti-democratic" for taking the side of the five ethnic Greeks standing trial. The aim of the declaration may be to deepen a split within the Socialist Party caused by the pro-Greek stand of some of its leaders on the current Athens-Tirana conflict. Meanwhile, Western agencies report that Berisha on 1 September appealed to members of the UN Security Council to intervene with Athens to stop the ongoing expulsion of illegal Albanian immigrants. Louis Zanga, RFE/RL, Inc. SEJM UPHOLDS ABORTION VETO. The Sejm has failed to override President Lech Walesa's veto on amendments to the Penal Code that would have allowed abortion on economic and social grounds, PAP reports on 2 September. The pro-abortion lobby failed by 42 votes to achieve the two-thirds majority necessary to reject a presidential veto. The result was expected to be closer after an acrimonious debate the previous day over the implementation of the January 1993 law on family planning, protection of the human fetus, and abortion. All four ministries (health, education, labor, and justice) involved in its implementation were criticized for their performance. Although the law remains in force, emotions are likely to continue running high. The left-wing Labor Union has already announced its intention to revive the idea of a national referendum on abortion. The Freedom Union, the only party to have recommended a free vote on the issue, is on the verge of a split, as a result of the party Presidium's efforts to prevent the militant pro-abortion campaigner Barbara Labuda from spoiling the middle-of-the-road image that the party strives to project. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. WARSAW PROSECUTOR REBUKED. At a press conference on 30 August, Deputy Prosecutor General Stanislaw Iwanicki criticized the Warsaw Prosecutor's Office for failing to follow up immediately on press revelations about the activities of protection gangs in Warsaw's Old Town. PAP quoted Iwanicki as saying that statements made by restaurant owners should have prompted immediate investigations. As this was not the case, available evidence is insufficient to bring charges against suspected racketeers. A representative of the Katowice Prosecutor's Office, responsible for investigating charges of corruption at the highest levels of the Poznan police force, said the findings so far largely confirmed the allegations, first made by Gazeta Wyborcza in March 1994. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. MECIAR MEETS WITH FOREIGN JOURNALISTS. On the occasion of the incumbent Slovak parliament's final session, former Premier Vladimir Meciar met with foreign journalists, CTK reported on 1 September. Criticizing the current government's privatization program, which includes a second wave of coupon privatization, Meciar said he would have to "start over again" after the elections. He said the coupon method did not create real owners, adding that he preferred management and employee buy-outs. Stressing the importance of strong ties with the Czech Republic, Meciar said Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus had "confirmed his deep sense of democracy" by negotiating with the government "legitimately elected" rather than the one that took power after a parliamentary "putsch." Meciar said the current government had done nothing to improve Slovak-Hungarian relations and stressed the need for Hungary's recognition of the current border. Meciar also criticized the Slovak Constitution, according to which the president is elected by the parliament. He emphasized that the president--who, he said, is not subject to control under the present system--should be reduced to a figurehead or a presidential system should be introduced whereby he would be popularly elected. On the upcoming elections, Meciar said his party was "stronger than in 1992" and was likely to win enough votes to avoid having to form a coalition government. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN DRUGS FOR UKRAINIAN ARMS. The Hungarian and Ukrainian defense ministers initialed an agreement in Budapest on 31 August calling for Hungary to trade drugs worth 30-40 million forint ($275,000 to $370,000) for military spare parts from Ukraine. As reported by Reuters, Hungarian Defense Minister Gyorgy Keleti explained the barter deal was more favorable to Hungary than paying in dollars. Keleti also said the two countries planned to hold small joint military exercises. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Anatolii Lopata was quoted as saying that the two wanted to strengthen their friendship "not just in the short term but for centuries." Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN STEEL WORKERS ON STRIKE. Some 1,400 steel workers at the Otel Inox plant in Tirgoviste (about 80 kilometers northwest of Bucharest) went on strike on 31 August, an RFE/RL correspondent in Bucharest reported. The strikers, who are demanding more pay, claim they earn less than workers in similar industries elsewhere in Romania. A spokesman for the steel plant said the company could not afford to increase wages, since it was making a loss. Negotiations between management and strikers continued on 1 September, but Radio Bucharest reported that no agreement had been reached so far. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. TURKISH BROADCASTS UPSET BULGARIANS. In a statement released on 1 September, Bulgaria's Telecommunications Committee accuses Turkey of broadcasting in violation of international agreements. The committee says it turned down five Turkish requests regarding frequencies in early 1994, but it notes that the Turkish authorities seem to be allowing the broadcasts to take place. The Bulgarian press has repeatedly reported that Turkish TV and radio can be received loud and clear in southeastern Bulgaria and that the broadcasts sometimes interfere with local programs. Also controversial are the apparently illegal rebroadcasting installations set up in many areas in Bulgaria inhabited by ethnic Turks. Bulgarian nationalists say these installations must be torn down. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINE TO PARTICIPATE IN NATO EXERCISES. On 1 September Ukrinform-TASS reported that a mechanized unit from the Transcarpathian Military District was to participate in military exercises in Poland within the framework of NATO's Partnership for Peace. Units from 13 countries will be participating in the exercise. The Ukrainian unit will be cooperating directly with English, Dutch, and Romanian units. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. BRIEFING FROM UKRAINE'S PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION. Dmytro Tabachnyk, head of the president's administration, held a briefing on 31 August at which he summarized President Leonid Kuchma's latest decrees, Ukrainian Radio reported. According to Tabachnyk, on 23 August Kuchma issued a decree on corruption and other economic crimes. The decree created a special operation unit and the Council of National Security, both of which are to tackle economic offenses. Kuchma has also passed decrees regulating external economic activity and increasing servicemen's pay by one-and-a-half times. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. LUKASHENKA DISMISSES KGB DEPUTY CHAIRMEN. Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has issued a decree dismissing the first deputy chairman of the KGB, Valery Artsikau, and another deputy chairman, Ivan Minko, Belarusian Television reports on 31 August. The decree did not specify who would be replacing them. Also, Interfax reported on 1 September that the KGB had resumed its investigation into the alleged assassination attempt against Lukashenka in June during the election campaign. At the time, the KGB and law enforcement agencies dismissed the shooting as a publicity stunt on Lukashenka's part. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. EBRD APPROVES ENERGY CONSERVATION PROJECTS IN BELARUS. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has agreed to finance energy conservation projects in Belarus, Belarusian Television reported on 30 August. Belarus is in the midst of an energy crisis because it cannot afford to pay for its gas and oil supplies. However, as much as 30-35% of these resources are wasted since enterprises are not fuel efficient and no conservation measures have been introduced. Conservation plans are to be drawn up and sent to the bank's headquarters in London for approval. It is hoped that credits for the projects will be granted by next spring. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN-MOLDOVAN BORDER INCIDENT. On 30 August Romanian Senator and Socialist Labor Party leader Adrian Paunescu caused a disturbance at the Romanian-Moldovan border at Leuseni, the main crossing point, the press service of Moldova's National Security Ministry (responsible for border guards) said on 1 September. When asked by the Moldovans to show his passport and to tone down his companions' rowdy behavior, Paunescu, seconded by a busload of Romanian supporters, shouted "traitors to Romania" and "Soviet swines" at Moldovan border guards and customs officials. He also threatened to "hang the officers on border posts after the reunification [of Moldova with Romania]." They obstructed international traffic for three hours before returning to Romania, spitting at Moldovan border guards as they left. Romania's Minister-Counsellor in Chisinau, Mihai Rujoiu, who was called to the scene, "used language not much different from that of the scandalmongers." Addressing Romania's Senate on 1 September, Paunescu accused Moldova of waging an "anti-Romanian campaign" and persecuting pro-Romanian circles. Paunescu, formerly Nicolae Ceausescu's court poet, is now a press baron and influential politician allied with President Ion Iliescu and his government. He had been accompanied to the border by journalists for both government and presidential dailies. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN OIL SHIPMENTS TO LITHUANIA RESUME. On 30 August Lithuanian Energy Minister Algimantas Stasiukynas and Bronislovas Vainora, the director general of the Mazeikiai oil refinery, held talks in Moscow with Lukoil President Vadim Alegperov and Russian Energy Minister Yurii Shafranik, Radio Lithuania reported on 31 August. The refinery ceased operations on 20 August, when Lukoil cut off supplies of crude oil owing to difficulties in Russia's oil industry. It was agreed that Lukoil would supply Mazeikiai with 300,000 tons of oil each month for the rest of the year. The refinery is expected to resume operations on 3 September. Although a contract was signed with Lukoil for 6 million tons of oil in 1994, it appears the refinery will receive only 2 million tons this year. The energy ministers also agreed that Lithuania would supply electricity to Kaliningrad, receiving 0.3 cubic meters of natural gas for each kilowatt of electricity. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. LITHUANIA, GERMANY SIGN MILITARY COOPERATION AGREEMENT. On 1 September Lithuanian and German Defense Ministers Linas Linkevicius and Volker Ruehe signed in Bonn a military cooperation agreement on the exchange of information and military training, Radio Lithuania reports. Germany has signed similar agreements with eight other East European countries (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, and Ukraine) and plans to do the same with Latvia and Estonia. The ministers stressed the importance of the withdrawal of Russian troops from their countries. Ruehe was quoted as saying that it is now important to cooperate with Russia on the basis of friendly relations. The NATO Partnership for Peace initiative, he said, should assume central importance. Two Lithuanian military officers are now training at the Bundeswehr Leadership Academy in Hamburg, and five more will attend next year. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. MORE THAN 2,000 RUSSIAN TROOPS STILL IN LATVIA. Diena reports that according to Latvian estimates, more than 2,000 Russian soldiers and military specialists remained in the country on 1 September. As Ludis Povilonis of the office monitoring the pullout of Russian troops from Latvia told Diena, it is impossible to provide an exact figure because the Russian authorities have not reported, for example, the number of specialists and troops at the Skrunda radar station or how many soldiers and sailors decommissioned in Latvia after 28 January 1992 had not returned to Russia. Before his departure for Russia, First Deputy Commander of Russia's Northwestern Group of Forces Lt. Gen. Fedor Melnichuk assured Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis that these people and their families would be withdrawn by the end of the year. However, this task will be complicated by the fact that some soldiers and officers decommissioned in Latvia have illegally obtained Latvian residence permits. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN OFFICIALS ON RATIFICATION OF TREATIES WITH ESTONIA, LATVIA. On 1 September senior Russian officials told Interfax that they expected the Russian Duma to ratify the treaties with Estonia and Latvia on the withdrawal of Russian troops from those countries and the status of Russian military pensioners there. They said that if Estonia and Latvia failed to ratify those accords, it would be considered an unfriendly act and Moscow would react accordingly. Mark Urnov of President Boris Yeltsin's office said that if the Latvian and Estonian parliaments did not ratify the agreements, one possibility would be to introduce economic sanctions, as well as "international political measures," against both countries. He said such measures were more effective than maintaining some kind of military presence in the Baltics. The same day an unnamed Russian Foreign Ministry official told Interfax that while there were no guarantees that the Russian, Estonian, and Latvian parliaments would ratify all bilateral agreements, he believed the Duma would endorse the documents. He pointed out that Moscow's reaction depended on "subsequent moves by Estonia's and Latvia's leadership." Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Penny Morvant and Jan Cleave The RFE/RL DAILY REPORT, produced by the RFE/RL Research Institute (a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.) with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division, is available through electronic mail by subscribing to RFERL-L at LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU. This report is also available by postal mail, as are the other publications of the Institute, and by fax. 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