Some things have to be believed to be seen. - Ralph Hodgson
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 172, 9 September 1994

                              RUSSIA

CHECHNYA: DUDAEV RULES OUT TALKS WITH OPPOSITION. Speaking at a
press conference in Grozny on 8 September, President Dzhokhar
Dudaev rejected talks with the opposition, whom he described as
"groups of murderers and rapists," according to Reuters. A
spokesman for the opposition Provisional Council told ITAR-TASS
that despite the rout of Ruslan Labazanov's forces by government
troops, the opposition still did not exclude the possibility of
ousting Dudaev by force. In Moscow, the head of the Russian
Presidential Administration, Sergei Filatov, told journalists that
talks between President Boris Yeltsin and Dudaev "were out of the
question"; the deputy chairman of the Federation Council, Ramazan
Abdulatipov, similarly asserted that Dudaev had forfeited the
moral right to claim a dialogue with the Russian president.
ITAR-TASS reported from Stavropol that the number of refugees
fleeing Chechnya had tripled in recent days. Interfax, quoting a
source within the Russian Ministry of Health, claimed that there
were dozens, if not hundreds of cholera cases in Chechnya; Russian
Minister of Public Health Eduard Nechaev has called for strict
quarantine between Chechnya and neighboring Daghestan, where the
cholera outbreak is reported to be waning after claiming at least
a dozen lives.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

MILITARY OPINION SURVEY. A survey of political views among Russian
officers from all service branches, conducted by the Moscow-based
Sinus organization on behalf of the German Social Democratic
Party's Friedrich Ebert Foundation and highlighted in the current
issue (no. 36) of Der Spiegel, finds growing support for
authoritarian rule over society, restiveness in the ranks, and "a
trend toward secret organization." Sixty-two percent of the
overall sample subscribe to the view that Russia requires
"authoritarian rule" to solve its problems; less than half approve
of the government's introduction of market reforms and private
ownership; and 80% aspire to "Russia's restoration as a great
power respected in the entire world." Some individual officers
acknowledged participating in the proceedings of secret,
self-styled "courts" which passed symbolic death sentences on the
commanders of the October 1993 operation that crushed Yeltsin's
adversaries. Absolute majorities of the respondents "do not want
Yeltsin as president" or Pavel Grachev as defense minister. (A
military opinion poll in Moscow in June also found widespread
opposition to Grachev). The Sinus pollsters contrasted the
politicization of the officer corps with the political apathy of
the civilian population.  Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

LEBED WAITING IN THE WINGS? The survey also found that the
officers favored by a wide margin Lieutenant General Aleksandr
Lebed, commander of Russia's 14th Army in Moldova, as the man to
introduce "a strong-arm policy" or even "a Bonapartist solution"
(understood to entail a quest by Lebed for the Presidency). Lebed
has indeed recently signaled interest in the post of defense
minister and the Presidency, and has publicly and repeatedly
criticized both Yeltsin and Grachev. Interviewed in the same issue
of Der Spiegel, Lebed again attacked Grachev for allegedly
understating the extent of the armed forces' problems and for
failing to introduce the promised military reforms; he also
criticized Yeltsin for appointing General Matvei Burlakov as
deputy minister of defense despite the scandal involving the sale
of military material by Russian forces in Germany under Burlakov's
command. At a news conference at his headquarters in Tiraspol on 7
September, reported by an RFE/RL correspondent, Lebed said he
would continue his military career but did not rule out political
involvement "if the circumstances require it." He told a group of
visiting Orthodox clerics from Russia and Serbia: "I am not a
believer but will fight for Russian Orthodoxy." Vladimir Socor,
RFE/RL, Inc.

GRACHEV: RUSSIA WILL NOT JOIN NATO. At a Copenhagen press
conference on 8 September the Russian defense minister said that
Russian membership in NATO had been ruled out. According to
Interfax, he added that Russia would also be "pained" by any
expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance. Russia, along with most
former members of the Warsaw Pact and successor states of the
Soviet Union has joined the NATO-sponsored Partnership for Peace,
but has tried to push the CSCE as Europe's primary security
organization.  Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

FILATOV MEETS CHIEFS OF RUSSIAN MEDIA. At a meeting with chief
editors of Russian newspapers and managers of Russian radio and
television, Yeltsin's head of administration said that the media
"simply must support the president" against the opposition when
the latter mark the first anniversary of the bloody events of
September-October 1993, when Yeltsin dissolved the parliament by
decree and sent in tanks to fire on the building, Russian TV
reported on 8 September. According to "Vesti," the editors, in
turn, complained about the unreasonable financial demands of the
Russian Ministry of Communications, which make it difficult for
them to survive the current economic crisis. The newscast quoted
the chairman of the Moscow Union of Journalists, Pavel Gusev, as
saying that the 1996 election campaign is close and that
journalists expect Yeltsin to make "a lot of promises" to buy
their support, and that thereupon the president "will, of course,
deceive us, as he has always done." Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

MOSCOW MARKS ANNIVERSARY OF PRIEST'S ASSASSINATION. An
international conference marking the fourth anniversary of the
death of Father Aleksandr Men opened in Moscow on 7 September,
ITAR-TASS reported the same day. The conference is being supported
by an exhibition of Father Aleksandr's books at the Moscow Library
of Foreign Literature. Also on 7 September, the library's French
Cultural Center hosted a presentation of the book Aleksandr Men: A
Witness of His Time by the French author Yves Hamand. A Russian
Orthodox priest and prolific writer, Father Aleksandr played a key
role in Russia's religious revival during the last decades of the
communist regime; he also made an invaluable contribution to the
dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and other Christian
confessions. In the 1980s the authorities repeatedly threatened to
arrest Father Aleksandr for publishing abroad. He was killed by an
ax blow on 9 September 1990. Both Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris
Yeltsin promised to personally take charge of the investigation
into his assassination; nonetheless, the murderer has never been
identified, and the case was closed a few weeks ago.  Julia
Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

INTERVIEW WITH SHAIMIEV. In an interview with Sevodnya of 3
September, Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev discussed the
consequences of the treaty concluded with Russia six months ago on
delimiting authority. Shaimiev made the point that the failure of
the Russian Federation Council to vote in favor of increasing the
defense budget has had an adverse effect on the economy of Kazan,
where a very large proportion of the population is employed in the
military industrial complex; but overall, he said, there are "more
pluses than minuses" with respect to the economy. He indicated
that Tatarstan is attracting investment from abroad (without
specifying which countries are involved) and that it has also been
offered credits. He said the agricultural sector was booming
thanks to government support but conceded that there were
"problems" within the parliament, adding: "Of course, we have
various political movements with varying viewpoints, but I would
not say that certain political forces have succeeded in
undermining power to the extent that this has happened in Russia."
Shaimiev endorsed Yeltsin's candidacy in the next Russian
presidential elections despite the fact that relations between
them have been somewhat strained and the negotiations that led to
the signing of the treaty were not exactly a "bed of roses."
Charles Carlson, RFE/RL, Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

ARMENIA TO JOIN PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE. Armenia, one of the last
former Soviet republics not yet to have done so, will sign up for
NATO's Partnership for Peace program on 5 October, according to
AFP of 8 September quoting a NATO spokesman. Armenian Defense
Minister Serzh Sarkisyan had visited Brussels in May 1994 to
discuss possible PFP membership, but the Armenian leadership
reportedly considered that any military cooperation with Turkey
was impossible as long as Ankara continued to support Azerbaijan
in the Karabakh conflict. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

TAJIK OPPOSITION TAKES CONTROL OF RAION? According to an ITAR-TASS
report from Dushanbe on 8 September, some 150 members of the Tajik
opposition seized control of raion administration buildings and
local Communist Party headquarters in the Darvaza Raion of the
Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast on the evening of 7 September.
There was no independent confirmation of assertions by opposition
forces in Badakhshan that the opposition had gained control of the
entire raion, and military sources in Dushanbe categorically
denied the story, though a source in the security services said
that an opposition group had indeed attacked the town of Darvaza.
The same day, Tajik opposition leader Otakhon Latifi was quoted by
various Russian news agencies as approving of the postponement of
the presidential election in Tajikistan and saying that the
question of opposition participation was not yet resolved.  Bess
Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

CRISIS IN KYRGYZSTAN CONTINUES. On 8 September two leftist
political parties and five political movements in Kyrgyzstan
issued a statement calling on President Askar Akaev to ensure that
the scheduled session of the Kyrgyz Supreme Soviet takes place,
ITAR-TASS reported. More than half the deputies have announced
that they will not attend if the session is held, so there would
be no quorum. The deputies were to set a date for a parliamentary
election. The political groups also called on Akaev to ensure that
all political parties are represented in the Central Election
Commission, and asked him to set up an interim government in which
all political forces in Kyrgyzstan would be included. After the
government of Prime Minister Apas Dzhumagulov resigned in the wake
of the parliamentary crisis, Akaev asked Dzhumagulov to head a
caretaker government.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

                               CIS

CIS ECONOMIC INTEGRATION MEASURES. Meeting in Moscow on 7 and 8
September, the CIS Coordinating Consultative Committee (CCC) at
deputy prime ministerial level agreed in principle to
long-standing Russian proposals to create an Interstate Economic
Committee (IEC) as the first supranational body of the CIS, vested
with executive and managerial powers and to which the states would
transfer certain national prerogatives. According to CIS Executive
Secretary Ivan Korotchenya, Russian Deputy Prime Minister
Aleksandr Shokhin, and Minister for Economic Cooperation with CIS
States Vladimir Mashich in interviews with Interfax, the CCC has
agreed to make the IEC the standing executive body of the CIS
Economic Union; the IEC will control the implementation of
decisions and take over jurisdiction of "transnational systems,"
such as power grids, oil and gas pipelines, transport, and
communications, and of "CIS property" or "jointly owned assets of
member states," such as industrial and financial corporations. The
CCC has agreed that Russia will provide 50% of the financing and
have 50% of the votes in the IEC; the remaining 50% are still to
be apportioned among the other 11 states. The CCC has further
agreed to task the IEC with the transition toward a payments
union, meant to evolve into a monetary union, and a CIS-wide
free-trade zone, meant to evolve into a customs union and a common
market with free movement of commodities, capital, and labor. On
this latter bloc of issues, IEC decisions will be made by
consensus among the interested parties. The CCC-approved documents
are being submitted to a meeting of the Council of Heads of
Government on 9 September in Moscow. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

SERBS LAUNCH BIHAC OFFENSIVE. On 8 September international
agencies reported that Bosnian Serb forces, together with Serb
forces from the Serb-occupied territories in Croatia commonly
known as Krajina, had launched a major offensive against Bosnian
government troops in the Bihac pocket, in northwestern Bosnia.
According to Hina, at least 500 soldiers and seven tanks from
Krajina may be involved in the offensive. The incident is believed
to be the first in which Bosnian Serbs have teamed up with rebel
Serbs from Croatia against Bosnian government forces. At least
1,000 Serbian infantry men, along with heavy artillery and tanks,
are reportedly involved in the fighting. Meanwhile, Reuters
reported that Serb forces fired a surface-to-air missile at two
NATO planes on 8 September; neither aircraft was hit. The same day
AFP cited as yet "unconfirmed reports" that the Bosnian Serb Army
appeared to be waging attacks against strategic targets around
Sarajevo in what may prove to be a bid to retake territories won
by Bosnian government forces.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

MILOSEVIC PREPARED TO ACCEPT MONITORS? According to AFP on 8
September, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic had accepted in principle the idea of
stationing monitors along Serbia's border with Bosnia. The
monitors would ensure that Serbia's embargo against the Bosnian
Serbs is enforced. Juppe's statement was based on information
provided by international mediators Lord Owen and Thorvald
Stoltenberg. Juppe added that Owen and Stoltenberg would be
charged with the task of hammering out, with Belgrade, the
technical details enabling the monitors to be dispatched. Juppe
also observed that the "contact group"--composed of France,
Germany, Britain, Russia, and the United States--will encourage
the UN to consider lifting at least some sanctions against the
rump Yugoslavia, "provided that the [monitoring] shows that the
embargo against Bosnian Serbs is effective." Stan Markotich,
RFE/RL, Inc.

CROATIA'S PENDING CABINET SHUFFLE. Croatian Prime Minister Nikica
Valentic has announced several ministers are to be replaced and
new ministries created, in an attempt to revamp the cabinet,
Reuters reported on 7 September. The new ministries are to focus
on economics and infrastructure development. Valentic confirmed
rumors that controversial Minister of Culture and Education Vesna
Girardi-Jukic would soon quit her post and that the ministry would
then be divided into two departments.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL,
Inc.

GREECE CLOSES BORDER CROSSINGS TO ALBANIA. Greece reportedly shut
down two major border crossings to Albania on 8 September, in
retaliation for the conviction of five Greeks by a Tirana court
the previous day. Western agencies say long lines formed on each
side of the border, and it was unclear how long traffic would not
be allowed to pass. Even before the verdict was announced on 7
September, Athens dispatched troops to the border area to tighten
controls but denied giving a demonstration of strength. Also on 8
September, Greece again blocked a European Union 35 million ecu
($28 million) loan to Albania.  Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES GOVERNMENT RESIGNATION. By an
overwhelming majority of 219 to 4 with 1 abstention, the Bulgarian
National Assembly on 8 September accepted the government's
resignation. Most commentators seem to believe that the fall of
Prime Minister Lyuben Berov will result in early elections. In
accordance with the constitution, President Zhelyu Zhelev must
give the parliament three chances to form a new government before
calling elections. However, the two largest caucuses say they will
not back another cabinet. If elections are scheduled, Zhelev will
have to appoint an interim government. In an interview with Trud,
Berov says he will not accept an offer to form a new government.
For the time being, though, parliament has asked his cabinet to
continue pursuing contacts and holding negotiations with foreign
governments and international agencies, particularly the IMF and
the World Bank.  Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIA'S CONTROVERSIAL ANNIVERSARY. Every year since the
collapse of the hard-line communist regime in late 1989, the
dispute over the political and historical meaning of the 9
September anniversary of the 1944 communist takeover has been
revived. But the ex-communist Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP),
planning extensive celebrations for this year's 50th anniversary,
has triggered a more heated debate than usual. Offering his own
view, President Zhelyu Zhelev on 8 September noted that the
historic date "does not unite but divides the Bulgarian people."
Zhelev said the struggle against interwar fascism and for social
justice had been linked to hopes of a better society but that
these had been dashed through the wiping out of the Bulgarian
opposition during the late 1940s and the "lies, demagoguery and
violence" of 45 years of communist dictatorship. In Duma of 9
September, BSP leader Jean Videnov remarks that Zhelev's comments
are symptomatic of "political sclerosis." Kjell Engelbrekt,
RFE/RL, Inc.

POLISH-CZECH AGREEMENT AND DIFFERENCES. Czech Foreign Minister
Josef Zieleniec, on a two-day official visit to Poland, signed a
bilateral agreement on cross-border cooperation with his Polish
counterpart, Andrzej Olechowski, PAP reported on 8 September. The
agreement will facilitate regional contacts and eliminate legal
obstacles to economic cooperation. In response to reporters'
questions, Zieleniec stressed that his country was interested in
the Visegrad Group as a framework for economic cooperation but
that each individual state would have to proceed alone on
integration with Europe. The creation of a political institution,
Zieleniec said, would simply "sustain the [iron] curtain." In an
address to the Polish parliamentary Foreign Affairs Commission,
the Czech Foreign Minister denied his country was "turning its
back" on its neighbors and said knocking jointly on Brussels' door
was no substitute for catching up with the developed Western
economies. Polish Foreign Minister Andrzej Olechowski countered
that the problems of integration were similar and that a joint
approach would be more effective than four individual ones. Anna
Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLISH SECURITIES COMMISSION CHIEF QUITS. Leslaw Paga, one of the
founders of Poland's securities market, announced his resignation
as chairman of the Securities Commission, a post he had held since
the commission was established in May 1991, PAP reported on 8
September. Paga said he had fulfilled his mission: Poland's
capital market was doing well and enjoyed both domestic and
international confidence. His only regret was that it had not
proved possible to set up investment banks or pension trust funds.
Paga plans to join a big international accounting firm soon. His
resignation has still to be approved by the prime minister, the
finance minister, and the head of the Polish National Bank. Gazeta
Wyborcza tipped former Finance Minister Marek Borowski to succeed
Paga. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW STORM OVER WACHOWSKI. President Lech Walesa's right-hand man,
Minister of State Mieczyslaw Wachowski, is once again at the
center of a storm at the president's office. The president's media
adviser, former television manager Jan Purzycki, resigned in a fit
of spleen on 8 September, saying he could not work as long as "the
specter of the all-powerful cretin" haunted the place, PAP
reports. Zycie Warszawy of 9 September comments that the
Purzycki's resignation, coming after the recent removal of
Walesa's press spokesman, Andrzej Drzycimski, shows that Wachowski
has become a political problem in Poland.  Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka,
RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH-GERMAN AGREEMENT ON READMISSION TREATY. Czech Minister of
Internal Affairs Jan Ruml and his German counterpart, Manfred
Kanther, agreed in Berlin on 8 September that they would sign
several bilateral treaties, including one on readmission, at the
end of October. Germany will offer the Czech Republic some DM 60
million to assist financially in the repatriation of illegal
immigrants returned by Germany under the treaty. Ruml told CTK
that the signing of the treaties had been postponed because of the
upcoming German parliamentary elections, scheduled for 16 October.
One of the accords to be signed is a presidential treaty resolving
Czech-German border questions once and for all. The two ministers
were taking part in a meeting of 22 internal affairs ministers
from the European Union and Eastern Europe. Ruml also met with
Hungarian Minister of Internal Affairs Gabor Kuncze. The two
ministers agreed the Czech Republic and Hungary would also sign a
readmission treaty in October. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

US AGENCY HEAD IN BUCHAREST. During a stopover in Bucharest on 8
September, Brian Atwood, co-leader of the US delegation to the UN
Conference on Population in Cairo, was received by Romanian
President Ion Iliescu, Radio Bucharest reports. Atwood, who is the
head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID),
pledged US support for Romania's transition from a command to a
free market economy. At a separate meeting with Minister of State
Mircea Cosea, who is also chairman of the Council for Economic
Coordination, Strategy, and Reform, Atwood was briefed on the
Romanian government's mass privatization program. Western agencies
also quoted the US official as saying his agency would continue to
support family planning services in Romania. The USAID currently
maintains 11 family planning centers there, serving 15,000 women.
Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIAN EX-KING ON WESTERN "INCOMPREHENSION." Asked in an
interview with Evenimentul Zilei of 30 August whether the West had
not "abandoned [Romania] to Soviet communism far too easily,"
former King Michael replied: "Indeed. Unfortunately this situation
still persists. . . . Whenever it comes to the atrocities that the
Communists committed, the West closes its eyes, says "be careful,"
and so forth. . . . The Romanian people have suffered and continue
to suffer because of the West's incomprehension and inactivity. .
. . I see that even now the West shows a complete lack of interest
in Romania, it does not understand the Romanian people's
aspirations." Also in the interview, the former king, who is
currently seeking to regain his throne, continued making political
overtures to the Romanian Army.  Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

UKRAINE'S DEBT TO CIS. On 8 September ITAR-TASS reported that
Ukraine had received credits amounting to $3.4 billion from other
CIS countries. The bulk of the debt--$2.7 billion--is owed to
Russia. Ukraine also owes Turkmenistan $671 million, Moldova $28
million, and Kazakhstan $1.3 million. Aleksii Berezhnoy, head of
the department of foreign debts in the Ministry of Finance, said
Ukraine had signed bilateral treaties on credit repayment. The
debt to Russia is to be repaid in 3-5 years, Moldova in 3 years,
Turkmenistan in 2 years; and Kazakhstan in 1 year. The interest on
these credits will be that set by the London Exchange.  Ustina
Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT ACCEPTS SEVASTOPOL DECISION. On 8 September the
Crimean parliament upheld the Sevastopol City Council's resolution
of 23 August giving the city Russian status, Ukrinform-TASS
reported. The parliament also declared it was unacceptable that
Crimea and Sevastopol be left out of negotiations between Russia
and Ukraine on bilateral relations and the Black Sea Fleet. The
parliament also passed a law on the peninsula's Constitutional
Court. This legislation is similar to Russian law, with the
exception that in Crimea's Constitutional Court, the three
branches of power in Crimea--the Supreme Soviet, the President,
and the Supreme Court of Crimea--are to be proportionally
represented. The court's main duty is to protect the Crimean
Constitution.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

LUKASHENKA APPOINTS MINISTER OF FOREIGN ECONOMIC AFFAIRS. On 7
September Belarusian Television reported that President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka signed a decree appointing Mikhail Marynich as minister
of foreign economic affairs.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

DISARMAMENT IN BELARUS. In accordance with the Conventional Forces
in Europe Treaty, a further 14 MIG-25 jets will be dismantled
between 7 and 26 September at the Lyasnaya base outside of
Baranavichau, Belarusian Radio reported on 7 September. A military
inspection group from Germany, which is to include British
representatives, will monitor the process. The report noted that
NATO financial assistance toward disarmament in Belarus is purely
symbolic and that Belarusian taxpayers are actually footing the
bill. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

MOLDOVAN POLLS ON UNIFICATION WITH ROMANIA. Nezavisimaya Moldova
published on 7 September the results of public opinion surveys
conducted by the Moldovan Academy of Sciences on various political
and economic issues. Unification with Romania was favored by 9.4%
of respondents in 1992, 7.7% in 1993, and 5.6% in 1994. These
results are in line with surveys carried out by other
organizations since 1991 that found support for unification with
Romania consistently in the range of 5-10%. Vladimir Socor,
RFE/RL, Inc.

TRANSDNIESTER MOLDOVANS AGITATE FOR ROMAN SCRIPT. At the beginning
of the new school year, hundreds of Moldovan parents in the
Transdniester district of Dubasari are applying to have their
children transferred to schools in the Chisinau-controlled enclave
of that district so that they can study in the Roman script,
Basapress reports on 8 September. In the city of Bendery, parents
have been picketing one of the two remaining Moldovan schools to
have the Roman script reinstated. The mainly Russian authorities
of the "Dniester republic" virtually forbid the use of the Roman
alphabet for the indigenous language and are perpetuating the
Soviet policy of forcing the Russian script on the
Romance-speaking Moldovans.  Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENT IN TIRASPOL. Moldovan citizen and Tiraspol
resident Lev Rozenberg, who is a correspondent in Transdniester
for Basapress and several Moscow news agencies, was beaten up in
Tiraspol, Basapress reported on 8 September. The incident occurred
outside a theater currently hosting a film festival based on
"Slavic and Orthodox" themes and attended by nationalist
delegations from Russia, Serbia, and other countries. Moreover,
the incident took place in the wake of a rally in Tiraspol at
which "international Zionism" was attacked, prompting a protest
from the Jewish community (see RFE/RL Daily Report, 6 September).
The community also demanded that the "Dniester republic"
authorities return its main synagogue.  Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL,
Inc.

ESTONIA, LATVIA COMPLAIN ABOUT RUSSIA VIOLATING ACCORDS. On 7
September Baltic representatives to the UN met in New York with
counterparts from the EU and Central and Eastern Europe to discuss
the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Baltics and the
situation of human rights there, BNS reported on 8 September.
Estonian envoy Trivimi Velliste drew attention to Moscow's
violations of the troop withdrawal agreements, such as the
decommissioning of Russian officers on Estonian soil. Latvian
envoy Aivars Baumanis noted that Russia continues to ignore the
numerous positive assessments by international organizations of
the human rights situation in the Baltics. He also commented that
Russia is attempting to take advantage of UN procedures on human
rights to further its own political interests.  Dzintra Bungs,
RFE/RL, Inc.

CSCE COMMISSIONER: HUMAN RIGHTS OBSERVED IN ESTONIA. At the end of
his visit to Estonia, CSCE High Commissioner for Minorities Max
van der Stoel said he agreed with the report, issued in June by
his colleagues, stating that the CSCE mission had found no
evidence of systematic abuse of human rights in Estonia, BNS
reported on 8 September. The commissioner also discussed other
issues, including CSCE assistance in teaching Estonian to ethnic
minorities in Estonia, residence permits for Russian military
retirees, and temporary travel documents for Estonia's
non-citizens.  Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

LITHUANIAN OIL REFINERY RESUMES WORK. On 8 September the Mazeikiai
oil refinery resumed normal operations, after a slowdown as of 20
August owing to the failure of Russian suppliers to provide crude
oil. Russia's Lukoil resumed deliveries on 5 September, and the
Mazeikiai refinery has been contracted by Lukoil to process
300,000 tons of crude oil a month. The main reason for the supply
problems was reduced extraction of oil in Russia, BNS reported on
8 September. This was the third time this year that the Mazeikiai
refinery had to stand idle. As a result, Mazeikiai's 1994 output
is likely to be much smaller than anticipated. Dzintra Bungs,
RFE/RL, Inc.

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