It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. - Samuel Johnson
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 168, 5 September 1994

                              RUSSIA

MORE ARMED CLASHES IN CHECHNYA . . . A column of tanks belonging
to the forces of Provisional Council Chairman Umar Avturkhanov was
halted by government troops 30 km north of Grozny on 2 September,
Russian and Western agencies reported; several were killed and
others injured in the clash. The Russian Defense Ministry rejected
charges by the Chechen Ministry of Information that the tanks were
supported by Russian helicopter gunships. A Provisional Council
spokesman told Interfax that the advance was merely "a
reconnaissance in force," rather than an attempt to take Grozny.
Further clashes took place on 4 September near the town of Argun
between government forces and units loyal to Chechen President
Dzhokhar Dudaev's former bodyguard, Ruslan Labazanov, ITAR-TASS
reported; nine of Labazanov's men were killed. There were no
casualties in a second attack by Dudaev's troops on units loyal to
the Provisional Council in the village of Ken-Yurt, 20 km from
Grozny. Also on 4 September, former Russian parliament speaker
Ruslan Khasbulatov told ITAR-TASS he would form his own
paramilitary units which would be subordinate to the Provisional
Council.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . AS WAR OF WORDS ESCALATES . . . On 2 September the Provisional
Council issued a statement calling for Dudaev's ouster by military
means as the only alternative to civil war, according to
ITAR-TASS. On 3 September the Russian government issued an "Appeal
to the Chechen People" to maintain calm in the face of what were
termed "provocations" by Dudaev's leadership, and called on Dudaev
himself to resign in order to avert further bloodshed and civil
war. Also on 3 September, Sergei Filatov, the head of Boris
Yeltsin's presidential apparatus, criticized as "dictatorial" the
order issued the previous day by the Chechen government to all
Russian journalists to leave Chechnya within 24 hours. Russian
Federation Council Deputy Chairman Ramazan Abdulatipov ruled out
negotiations between Dudaev and the federal authorities on the
grounds that Dudaev had totally discredited himself; Chechen Vice
President Zelimkhan Yanarbiev similarly told Interfax that talks
between the Chechen leadership and the opposition were
"impossible"; he reiterated that "Chechnya will not be a part of
Russia." Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . BUT AT LEAST NO DANGER OF NUKES. On 2 September Trud carried
an unsigned article quoting unidentified sources within the
Russian Ministry of Defense as rejecting as untrue the statement
made to Postfaktum on 1 September by a member of the Chechen
military leadership that even after the withdrawal of Russian
troops from Chechnya in 1992 Russia still maintained a secret
nuclear airbase in the mountain village of Bamut, where there was
a total of 24 nuclear warheads to which Chechnya might have access
in the event of a military confrontation with Russia.  Liz Fuller,
RFE/RL, Inc.

SECRET SERVICE OPENS CASE AGAINST DUDAEV. The director of the
Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK), Sergei Stepashin, said
that he had asked the Russian Prosecutor's Office to initiate
criminal proceedings against Chechen President Dudaev, ITAR-TASS
reported on 2 September. Stepashin confirmed earlier reports that
an FSK colonel had been arrested by Dudaev's security service and
accused of "espionage." Stepashin said the Chechen authorities had
subjected the arrested officer to heavy pressure to extract
confessions that could "compromise the position" of Russia. He
added that the accusation of spying was absurd because Chechnya
was de jure a territory of the Russian Federation. Meanwhile,
Galina Starovoitova, one of the leaders of Democratic Russia and a
former adviser to President Yeltsin, said that outright military
and political support on the part of the Kremlin for the
anti-Dudaev opposition could be counterproductive. In an interview
with RFE/RL on 4 September, Starovoitova said that a massive
anti-Chechen campaign in the Russian media could incite the other
peoples of the Caucasus against Russia.  Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL,
Inc.

RUSSIA, CHINA NOT TO AIM MISSILES AT EACH OTHER. At their Kremlin
summit on 3 September, Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Chinese
President Jiang Zemin pledged not to target strategic nuclear
weapons against the other's country. According to the text of the
agreement as broadcast by the Chinese Xinhua news agency, the two
leaders also promised that neither country would be the first to
use nuclear weapons against the other. In addition, they agreed to
speed up the negotiations on reducing military forces along their
mutual border, ultimately cutting them "to the lowest possible
level." Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA SPEAKS OUT ON BEHALF OF CHINESE POLITICAL
PRISONERS. Galina Starovoitova, Gleb Yakunin, and Lev Ponomarev,
co-chairpersons of the Democratic Russia movement, called on
President Yeltsin to raise the issue of human rights violations in
China during Chinese President Jiang Zemin's state visit to
Russia. Jiang Zemin, who arrived in Moscow on 2 September, is the
first Chinese president to visit Russia for 37 years. ITAR-TASS
said that on the opening day of his visit the leaders of
Democratic Russia issued an appeal expressing concern about the
fates of "hundreds of political prisoners currently suffering in
Chinese prisons." While welcoming the improvements in Sino-Russian
relations, they said President Yeltsin should urge his Chinese
counterpart to proclaim a general amnesty for all political
prisoners in China.  Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

SMOOTH START TO JOINT MILITARY EXERCISE. The joint
Russian/American peacekeeping exercise being conducted on the
Totsk training ground in the Southern Urals got off to a smooth
start on 4 September despite the presence of a few protesters.
Interfax reported on 3 September that an American officer had
answered questions from the protesters at a meeting "held in a
tactful atmosphere." ITAR-TASS on 4 September said that the
exercise participants were acting as a peacekeeping force in the
hypothetical state of "Atlantis" and were simulating such actions
as countering terrorists and even handling drunks. In a 4
September statement reported by Reuters, former Vice President
Aleksandr Rutskoi denounced the maneuvers as a violation of
Russian sovereignty and the first step toward permanently
stationing US troops in the country. He contended that Washington
and the Russian leadership wanted to use Russian soldiers "against
the fraternal Serb People." Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

GRACHEV: RAPID WITHDRAWAL OF TROOPS FROM GERMANY A "BLUNDER." At a
3 September Moscow press conference reported by Interfax, Russian
Defense Minister Pavel Grachev described the decision by former
Soviet leaders Mikhail Gorbachev and Eduard Shevardnadze to
repatriate the Western Group of Forces from Germany in only four
years as "the crudest political blunder." However, once given the
order, he said the military carried out the withdrawal
successfully. "We did not run from Germany," he said, "but left it
in the scheduled time with a proudly raised head." Grachev pointed
to the lack of housing for the returning troops as a most serious
problem and disclosed that he had appointed Colonel General Matvei
Burlakov--his new deputy and the former commander of the WGF--to
be in charge of this issue. Burlakov said that all officers and
NCOs from Germany would be provided with flats in 1994-1995, while
Grachev indicated that the military's housing problems would be
largely overcome by late 1996.  Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN, CHERNOMYRDIN FIRE "FASCIST" MINISTER. Boris Mironov, the
notorious chairman of the State Committee on the Press (see RFE/RL
Daily Report of 2 September), was fired by a presidential decree
later on 2 September. At a news conference the same day, Yeltsin's
spokesman, Vyacheslav Kostikov, branded Mironov's actions in
office "odious," "chauvinistic," and "almost Fascist." Citing
articles criticizing the press minister, Kostikov termed Mironov's
removal "a great victory for the democratic press." This step,
Kostikov added, must be seen as an indication of future political
developments in Russia--that is, that Yeltsin has chosen the
democratic option. Although Mironov was removed by presidential
decree, Russian TV newscasts were careful to point out that the
decision had been made jointly by the president and the prime
minister, Viktor Chernomyrdin. Mironov, a protege of Mikhail
Poltoranin, a longtime Yeltsin ally, is on record as claiming that
his views enjoyed the support of both leaders.  Julia Wishnevsky,
RFE/RL, Inc.

CHERNOMYRDIN APPOINTS NEW PRESS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN. The Russian
prime minister has made Mironov's first deputy, Vladimir Volodin,
the new chairman of the State Committee on the Press, Western
agencies reported on 3 September. Volodin's appointment seems to
reflect a lack of coordination at the top. The previous day
presidential spokesman Kostikov had told Russian TV that no
replacement for Mironov would be named and that Mironov's removal
would probably be followed by a reorganization of the entire
information system.  Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN ARMS EXPORTS UP IN 1994. Gennadii Yampolsky, the deputy
chairman of the State Committee on the Defense Industry, told a 1
September Moscow press conference that the value of Russian arms
exports in 1994 would be 40% higher than the $2 billion figure for
1993. As reported by Interfax, he pointed to the recent arms
contracts with Malaysia and Kuwait as the major achievements.
Yampolsky also announced that several new weapons systems would be
displayed publicly for the first time at an arms exhibition to
open on 11 September in Nizhnii Novgorod. He said that 230 Russian
defense enterprises would have products on display.  Doug Clarke,
RFE/RL, Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

KYRGYZ DEPUTIES REFUSE TO ATTEND PARLIAMENT SESSION. One hundred
forty-three of the 323 deputies to Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Soviet
have announced that they will boycott the session scheduled to
begin on 27 September, thereby depriving the legislature of a
quorum, Interfax reported on 2 September. The boycotters assert
that the legislature has lost its authority and become an arena
for political intrigues. On 3 September there were more calls for
a boycott of the present Supreme Soviet and for the election of a
professional parliament. During its upcoming session, Kyrgyzstan's
Supreme Soviet was supposed to set a date for the election of a
new parliament; most deputies want the election to be held in
February or March 1995, while others want it to be held in
December 1994. President Askar Akaev, who will have to set the
date if the parliament does not, has called the present Supreme
Soviet an irresponsible Communist-era relic and has shut down the
parliamentary newspaper.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

RAKHMONOV PROTESTS PRESENCE OF MERCENARIES. Tajikistan's head of
state, parliament chairman Imomali Rakhmonov, has protested the
use of mercenaries by Tajik opposition forces based in Afghanistan
who are trying to overthrow the present Tajik government,
ITAR-TASS reported on 2 September. In a statement distributed in
the UN Security Council, Rakhmonov asserted that the use of
mercenaries was worsening the conflict in Tajikistan and
endangering stability throughout Central Asia. Fighters from
Algeria, Afghanistan, Sudan, "and other states" were cited in the
complaint. Russian sources have said that some mercenaries
fighting for the Tajik opposition are from various Arab countries.
Rakhmonov appealed to the states whose citizens are serving as
mercenaries to stop the practice and support the resolution of the
conflict in Tajikistan by peaceful means.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL,
Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT TENDERS RESIGNATION . . . On 2 September,
Bulgaria's longest-serving postcommunist cabinet, headed by
economic historian Lyuben Berov, announced it would offer its
resignation to the parliament. In an address carried by BTA,
Premier Berov urged the National Assembly to accept the
resignation and the fact that early general elections were
unavoidable. He defended the government's record over the past 19
months and noted that, since winning a vote of confidence on 26
May, it had been able to pass important legislation on debt
rescheduling and mass privatization. As early as May, Berov had
promised to step down in the fall to pave the way for new
elections.  Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . REPLACES TOP MILITARY LEADER . . . Also on 2 September, the
government replaced Chief of General Staff Gen. Lyuben Petrov.
Petrov has recently been involved in a dispute with Defense
Minister Valentin Aleksandrov over the retirement of some 330
colonels, whom Petrov felt should be retained, despite the fact
they were past retirement age. The same day President Zhelyu
Zhelev approved the decision, as required by the constitution, and
appointed Col. Gen. (promoted from Lt. Gen.) Tsvetan Totomirov as
chief of the General Staff.  Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . BUT CONSEQUENCES UNCLEAR. It is nevertheless uncertain
whether the parliament will approve the cabinet's resignation and
if Bulgaria will have early elections. The National Assembly is
due to debate these related issues on 7 September, but Bulgarian
dailies of 5 September suggest that a wide range of scenarios is
possible. Even if Berov's resignation were accepted, the
parliament could either chose to select a new government or let
President Zhelev appoint a caretaker cabinet. Especially the
smaller parliamentary groups appear to be opposed to elections,
since they fear being pushed to the political sidelines by the
Union of Democratic Forces and the Bulgarian Socialist Party. With
regard to future civil-military relations, it is also unclear to
what extent the appointment of Col. Gen. Totomirov will help to
reduce tensions. Gen. Petrov grudgingly signed the order approving
the retirement of 330 colonels before being replaced, but
Totomirov has told Standart there will be no more staff reductions
or replacements this year. The paper quotes former presidential
advisor Gen. Stoyan Andreev as predicting that the crisis in the
army will continue.  Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

BOSNIAN SERBS INTENSIFY "ETHNIC CLEANSING." International media
report that Bosnian Serbs have intensified their ethnic cleansing
campaigns. On 4 September, an estimated 800 Muslim refugees from
the town of Bijeljina--mostly elderly citizens, women, and
children--arrived in Tuzla, which is under Bosnian government
control. Some 100 men accompanying the refugees were taken by
Serbian troops to an unknown location. On 3 September, the
Croatian agency Hina reported that some 500 to 700 refugees, all
victims of the ethnic cleansing campaign, had arrived in the
central Bosnian town of Travnik and had been subsequently
transferred to Bugojno.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

PAPAL VISIT TO SARAJEVO STILL UNCERTAIN. After meetings with a
papal envoy, officials of the self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb
government say it is still uncertain whether Pope John Paul II
will visit Sarajevo on 8 September. According to Borba of 5
September, Bosnian Serb officials have said the pontiff's safety
cannot be guaranteed; Vatican officials, however, have requested
such a guarantee. In recent days, there have been reports of
increased violence and sniping activity in and around Sarajevo.
Serbian gunners recently opened fire, less than half an hour
before the arrival of UN inspectors, at the stadium where the pope
is expected to celebrate Mass. Also, in the past few days Serbian
guns have shot at planes landing at the airport where the pope may
arrive.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

MILOSEVIC MEETS OWEN, STOLTENBERG. On 5 September Politika reports
that the previous day Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic met
with EU mediator Lord Owen and UN envoy Thorvald Stoltenberg. High
on the agenda was the continuing crisis in Bosnia and the
international sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia. The
mediators' meeting with Milosevic was the first in the latest
round of talks with leaders throughout the former Yugoslavia. Owen
and Stoltenberg also plan to meet with Montenegrin President Momir
Bulatovic before traveling to Zagreb for talks with Croatian
President Franjo Tudjman.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

WALESA COURTS FARMERS. Addressing some 100,000 farmers at the
annual harvest thanksgiving festival at the national shrine of the
Black Madonna in Czestochowa, President Lech Walesa defended
Poland's peasant farmers against accusations of not moving with
the times and against what he described as attempts to blame them
for the inefficient rural structure and faulty agricultural
policies. Commending family farms for having ensured "bread for
the nation" at a time of political and economic change, Walesa
said Polish peasant farmers had borne the brunt of Polish reforms,
although they had paid and were still paying dearly for this. He
warned that economic reform was "neither a political caprice nor
an economic experiment" but a national necessity, and he called on
the farmers to take advantage of the fact that they had their own
peasant party prime minister in Warsaw.  Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka,
RFE/RL, Inc.

POLISH BARGES BLOCK TRAFFIC ON RIVER ODER. Polish barges have been
blocking river traffic in the Szczecin area since 1 September in
protest at the German government's decision to introduce the same
day a ceiling on the number of Polish barges transporting goods on
German territory and to ban those barges from entering German
waters. Transport Minister Boguslaw Liberadzki told PAP that the
German decision contravened the bilateral agreement of November
1993, which provided no such ceiling. The Germans side claims,
however, that the Poles account for some 85% of the river traffic
between the two countries, thereby contravening the principle of
parity on which the 1993 agreement is based. The Poles argue that
the tonnage of goods transported is more or less equal but that
the smaller-capacity Polish barges have to make more trips to
transport the same amount of goods. Polish transporters fear
bankruptcy. The protesters allowed a German passenger ferry
through on 3 September as a goodwill gesture. Negotiations between
Polish and German government officials have so far failed to
resolve the crisis.  Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECHS TO APPLY FOR EU MEMBERSHIP IN 1996? At a meeting of
European politicians and economists in the Italian town of
Cernobbio, Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus said he saw the year 1996 as
"optimal" for the Czech Republic's application to join the
European Union, Czech Radio reports. He noted that the
"psychological attitudes" of EU members toward integrating Central
European countries into the EU were changing. The membership of
countries such as the Czech Republic, "which seemed far off some
time ago," was now a "foregone conclusion," Klaus said. Several
influential European politicians also expressed interest in
speeding up the integration process.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

MECIAR INTRODUCES POST-ELECTION STRATEGY. Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia (MDS) Chairman and former Slovak Premier
Vladimir Meciar has revealed his party's post-election goals, TASR
reports. With regard to the economy, Meciar said he favored
abandoning the current cabinet's restrictive monetary and
budgetary policies and pursuing instead an economic course that
would lead to growth in GDP, a decline in inflation to 12%, a fall
in unemployment to 10%, and a budget deficit of 3% of GDP. Meciar
said he was not against foreign firms participating in
privatization, but only if domestic investors were uninterested.
On the media, Meciar said his party planned to introduce changes
in the cabinet's press and information department and to revise
the media policy of the Ministry of Culture. Meciar also commented
that if the MDS gained enough seats to set up a cabinet but the
president refused to accept the elections results, this would
constitute a violation of the constitution. "We will have to look
for another movement or another president," he said.  Sharon
Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

SPLIT EMERGING IN SLOVAKIA'S PDL? On 2 September, Lubomir Fogas, a
member of the Party of the Democratic Left (PDL) and the party 's
leading candidate in the West Slovak region, said that while the
leaders of certain political parties did not get along, their
members were able to cooperate. Cooperation among party leaders
would be a "grand gesture that would help Slovakia out of its
political crisis," Fogas said. He went on to say that the PDL
would welcome a continuation of the present wide coalition
government if its current coalition partners garnered enough
support in the elections. He also denied that a split was emerging
within the PDL between supporters of Chairman Peter Weiss and
those of Defense Minister Pavol Kanis. Similarly, PDL member
Robert Fico denied that he belonged to a faction within the PDL
that was leaning toward the MDS. On the possibility of cooperation
with the PDL, MDS Chairman Vladimir Meciar said on 2 September
that the PDL had blocked cooperation with the MDS in the past,
thus making the party an "unreliable partner." He also said he did
not know of any PDL experts whom he could imagine taking part in
the new government.  Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN-BRITISH MILITARY EXERCISES. Some 140 British soldiers
have arrived in the Hungarian town of Kecskemet to take part in
military exercises with some 230 Hungarian troops, MTI reports.
Organized within the framework of the Partnership for Peace
initiative and expected to last three weeks, these are the first
exercises involving Hungarian and foreign troops to take place in
Hungary since the Soviet troops withdrew three years ago. The
purpose of the exercises is to learn how to protect peacekeepers
and safeguard aid sent to war-torn areas.  Judith Pataki, RFE/RL,
Inc.

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS ETHNIC HUNGARIAN LEADERS. On 2
September Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu met with a
delegation from the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania
(HDFR) to discuss talks on a Hungarian-Romanian treaty due to
start in Budapest on 5 September. Radio Bucharest quoted
presidential spokesman Traian Chebeleu as saying Melescanu had a
mandate for "maximum openness" so that the treaty between the two
countries could be concluded. But after meeting with the foreign
minister, HDFR leaders were pessimistic. HDFR Honorary President
Bishop Laszlo Tokes said there was no reason to "have confidence
in the sincerity of the Romanian government." He noted that in
keeping with past communist practice, the Romanian side wished to
conclude the treaty at state level, without taking into
consideration the Hungarian minority's aspirations and refusing to
involve it in the negotiations. HDFR President Bela Marko said
Melescanu had rejected an HDFR suggestion that the text of the
treaty be accompanied by a detailed protocol specifying the rights
of the Hungarian minority.  Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIA RENEWS CALL FOR EASING SANCTIONS AGAINST SERBIA. On 2
September, Western agencies quoted Romanian Foreign Minister
Teodor Melescanu as saying Serbia had demonstrated its good will
by severing political and economic relations with the Bosnian
Serbs. He added that the five-nation "contact group" dealing with
the Bosnian situation must now ease UN sanctions against Serbia.
He again called for compensation to all Serbian neighbors hurt by
the sanctions. Bucharest claims the embargo has cost Romania
several billion dollars.  Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

PROBLEMS WITH UKRAINE'S BUDGET. Ukrainian Finance Minister Petro
Hermanchuk announced that Ukraine's budget limited the country's
possibilities for development, Ukrainian TV reported on 1
September. He said that in the first half of 1994, expenditures
totaled 25 trillion karbovantsy; while this was less than planned,
the government had failed to collect much of the revenue it had
anticipated. Hermanchuk pointed out that the state had made a
meager profit from privatization and arms sales. Hermanchuk
calculated that by year's end, the budget deficit would reach 196
trillion karbovantsy, owing to inflation.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL,
Inc.

BELARUSIAN RESERVE OFFICERS MAY BE CALLED UP. On 2 September,
Belarusian Radio reported that the Defense Ministry had issued a
clarification on reports that the defense minister, Anatol
Kastanka, had ordered several hundred reserve officers to serve in
the armed forces. According to the press office of the Defense
Ministry, a directive issued on 15 July by the government stated
that reserve officers under 28 who had not served on active duty
might be called up during peace time if the government decided
they were needed for the officers' corps. The order affects
reserve officers from the armed forces, the border guard, and the
Interior Ministry troops. As the Defense Ministry is training
young specialists, the report say it is unlikely that young
reserve officers will be called up.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

ENERGY PRICES RISE IN BELARUS. On 1 September the price of fuel
rose sharply in Belarus, Belarusian Radio reported the next day.
Gasoline jumped 30-40%, while fuel went up 50%. A week earlier
Gazprom had threatened to cut gas supplies to Belarus in September
if the country did not pay its August debt. Gazprom has not made
any such cuts, but the Belarusian government has said enterprises
that fail to pay their bills will be disconnected from the energy
supply system. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

MOLDOVAN LEADER ON ROMANIAN "DREAMS." Interviewed in the weekly
Pamant si Oameni, as cited by Basapress of 3 September, Dumitru
Motpan, the deputy chairman of Moldova's parliament and chairman
of the ruling Agrarian Democratic Party, called Moldova's
pro-Romanian opposition parties "a fifth column." "Unlike the
situation in other countries, our opposition rejects the very
existence of Moldova as a state" by calling for a merger with
Romania, he said. The Romanian government, Motpan said, "is trying
to lecture us as to how to live in our own country. . . . Some
Romanian official circles stoop to the level of our revanchist
opposition forces, as they keep dreaming about uniting Moldova
with Romania." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

REGULATIONS ON MILITARY TRANSIT THROUGH LITHUANIA. On 31 August
Virgilijus Bulovas, the head of the Lithuanian working group for
talks with the CIS, said regulations on foreign military transit
through Lithuania should be ready by late September, BNS reported
on 1 September. The 10th version of the regulations, already
approved by the government, has been sent for comment to experts
in Northern and Western Europe. According to this version, written
applications for transit of military cargoes must be submitted to
the Lithuanian government in Lithuanian, Russian, and English 15
days in advance. Permits to transport military personnel and
combat equipment can be issued only with the approval of the
parliament. The transportation of nuclear, chemical, and
bacteriological arms and their components is prohibited. Military
transit is to be carried out by rail; only in exceptional cases is
transportation by road to be allowed.  Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL,
Inc.

TEACHERS HOLD WARNING STRIKE IN LATVIA. On 2 September, some
47,000 teachers and school employees staged a warning strike over
low salaries and the unresolved problems in Latvia's education
system. According to their trade union chairman, Agris Olmanis,
participation throughout the country was about 90%. Olmanis also
told Diena that if solutions to the problems were not actively
sought, a meeting would be held on 13 September with medical and
cultural workers to consider the possibility of holding a joint
strike.  Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

BIRKAVS ON LATVIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS. On 2 September, the
incumbent Latvian prime minister, Valdis Birkavs, who may serve as
foreign affairs minister in the new government, commented on key
elements in Latvian-Russian relations, Interfax reported. On the
issue of Latvian territory appropriated by the RSFSR after World
War II, Birkavs said that, "It is necessary to hold bilateral
negotiations on the demarcation of the border between Latvia and
Russia before raising this issue." Birkavs dismissed as impossible
Latvian-Russian cooperation in the sphere of defense but stressed
the necessity of normal, good-neighborly relations between the two
countries in other spheres. Birkavs called for the prompt
withdrawal from Latvia of the remaining Russian servicemen,
especially those who retired after 28 January 1992. These and
other issues are expected to be discussed by Latvian and Russian
representatives at a meeting on 5 September. Dzintra Bungs,
RFE/RL, Inc.

  [As of 1200 CET]
  Compiled by Penny Morvant and Jan Cleave
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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