The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. - Eden Phillpotts
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 175, 14 September 1994

                              RUSSIA

RUSSIA'S ADMISSION TO COUNCIL OF EUROPE DISCUSSED. A delegation
from the Council of Europe headed by its new secretary-general,
Daniel Tarschys (Sweden), and the chairman of its Committee of
Ministers, Stanislav Daskalov (Bulgaria), is currently in Moscow
to discuss Russia's admission to the organization. Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin, Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, and State
Duma Chairman Ivan Rybkin were cited by ITAR-TASS on 12 and 13
September as hoping that Russia could become a full member in the
first half of 1995. They also accused the Baltic States of human
rights violations and said that the Council would be an important
avenue for Russia to air those complaints. Tarschys was quoted as
pointing out that Russia would have to adjust its legislation,
particularly that concerning human rights, to meet general
European norms. The reports from Russian government sources did
not mention whether such issues as state measures to control the
media or the presence and operations of Russian troops in
independent states were discussed or not. The latter issue came up
at a Council of Europe forum held at the same time in Germany (see
Central and Eastern Europe section below). Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL
Inc.

COMMITTEE QUESTIONS BURLAKOV APPOINTMENT. Sergei Yushenkov,
chairman of the State Duma's Committee for Defense, suggested that
the appointment of Colonel General Matvei Burlakov to the post of
deputy defense minister on 26 August might have been too hasty.
Burlakov was the last commander of the Western Group of Forces in
the former East Germany. Charges of corruption have been directed
at Burlakov and other top commanders in Germany for several years,
but they have never been proved. According to an Interfax report
on 13 September, Yushenkov's committee is going to look into the
matter again. He claimed that some of the military property that
had arrived in the Urals Military District from Germany was in
very poor condition, raising the possibility that the original
equipment had been sold and replaced with discarded items.  Doug
Clarke, RFE/RL Inc.

MOSCOW MAYOR DEFENDS PROSECUTOR PONOMAREV. It is unlikely that
acting Russian Prosecutor-General Aleksei Ilyushenko will succeed
in the near future in his alleged intention of dismissing Moscow
Prosecutor Gennadii Ponomarev (see RFE/RL Daily Report, 12
September). According to Russian media reports, at a 13 September
working conference on the crime situation in Moscow the
achievements of Ponomarev's office received high praise. The
meeting was attended by Ilyushenko, Russian Minister of Internal
Affairs Viktor Erin, and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov, who is
generally reputed to be one of the three most influential Russian
officials and a close friend of Ponomarev. In the last 12 months,
the reports on the conference disclosed, the clear-up rate of
Ponomarev's office rose from 47% to almost 58%. Luzhkov told
Russian Television on 13 September that the crime situation in
Moscow was indeed a pressing problem, but he said that this was
due to the fact that, as the country's capital, Moscow naturally
attracted criminals from all parts of the former Soviet Union.
Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL Inc.

LAWYERS DISCUSS DRAFT LAW ON DEFENSE COUNSELS. Members of all the
bar collegiums, taking part in the congress of Russian lawyers
currently under way in Moscow, participated in a discussion on the
draft Russian law on defense counsels, Russian Television's
"Vesti" said on 13 September. Compared with their Western
colleagues, Russian defense lawyers have been virtually powerless
to defend their clients. According to the reports, if the new law
is adopted it will "strengthen the guarantees of the independence
and immunity of defense lawyers in Russia and widen their
procedural rights." (No precise details of these guarantees were
provided in the reports.) Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL Inc.

NO STABILIZATION OF VODKA MARKET EXPECTED. The "stabilization of
the market" in alcoholic beverages has been postponed
indefinitely, Russian Television "Vesti" newscasts noted in
reporting a session of the governmental Commission for Operational
Questions devoted to the declining output and sale of alcohol in
Russia, which ended inconclusively. Chaired by First Deputy Prime
Minister Oleg Soskovets, it was held on 13 September. Reports to
the session blamed the pressing problems of the country's vodka
industry on unreasonably high excise duties that make it
impossible for Russian distilleries to compete with foreign
brands, such as the German vodka "Rasputin." As a result, the
famous Moscow Kristall distillery today produces only one third of
its former output and is on the verge of bankruptcy. Meanwhile,
officials told the session, the profits on illegally produced
cheap liquor sold on the black market constitute the equivalent of
nearly 50% of Russia's total excise duties.  Julia Wishnevsky,
RFE/RL Inc.

TURKEY'S NEW BOSPORUS RULES CRITICIZED. The Standing Commission
for Foreign Political Affairs of the CIS Interparliamentary
Assembly has issued a statement charging that the new rules for
the transit of the Turkish straits do not add to navigational
safety but instead create new threats. The Turkish government
promulgated the new rules in January and they went into effect on
1 July. As reported by Interfax on 13 September, the commission
charged that some of the new rules were not in line with the 1936
Montreux Convention, which governs shipping through the straits.
Russia has protested to Turkey over several of the new
regulations, such as the requirement to give 24 hours' notice
before the passage of oil tankers and the need for nuclear-powered
vessels or those with nuclear waste or chemicals on board to get a
special permit from the Turkish authorities.  Doug Clarke, RFE/RL
Inc.

RUSSIAN-GREEK PIPELINE DEAL SIGNED. A private Greek consortium has
signed a protocol with Russia's Gazprom to build a 350-km pipeline
from the Bulgarian port of Burgas to Alexandroupolis in
northeastern Greece, the Financial Times reported on 12 September.
The pipeline, which will take three years to build at a cost of
$600 million, will obviate the transport of Russian, Kazakh, and
Azerbaijani oil by tanker from Novorossiisk via the Turkish
straits; it will carry 20-40 million tons of oil per year. The
Greek and Bulgarian state oil companies are expected to
participate in the project.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

TWO RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS SHOT DEAD IN ABKHAZIA. Two Russian
soldiers were killed and a third wounded on 13 September when
gunmen, identified by the chief of staff of the peacekeeping
forces as Mingrelian-speaking former residents of Abkhazia, opened
fire on their car in Gali Raion, Interfax and Western agencies
reported. Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev said that an
investigation would be launched into the incident and "the
toughest sanctions" imposed on the party responsible. Speaking in
Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Demurin said
that the efficiency of the entire peacekeeping operation would be
in doubt if progress was not swiftly made on the repatriation of
Georgian refugees, according to Interfax. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL Inc.

DISTURBANCE IN KAZAKHSTAN OVER BREAD PRICE INCREASE. A report on
Kazakhstan state TV of imminent increases in the price of bread
has unleashed panic, ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported on 13
September, quoting the newspaper of Kazakhstan's Supreme Soviet,
Sovety Kazakhstana. In the city of Shymkent customers who had
stood in line for hours broke the windows and doors of shops and
looted one bread store. The removal of price controls on bread has
been under discussion for months in Kazakhstan; as ITAR-TASS
noted, state prices for bread products have been three to five
times lower than production costs, and Kazakhstan's government can
no longer afford to subsidize bread. It cannot even purchase
enough grain from the 1994 harvest to meet its own procurement
target. Bess Brown, RFE/RL Inc.

TAJIK TROOPS TRY TO RETAKE TAVIL-DARA. Russian news agencies
reported on 13 September that Tajik government troops were
launching an offensive to drive Tajik opposition forces out of
Tavil-Dara Raion in the mountains east of Dushanbe. Opposition
units had seized control of the region a few days earlier. The
Tajik air force was reported to have bombed opposition positions,
and several villages were abandoned by their inhabitants, around
800 of whom fled to Gorno-Badakhshan. Opposition forces took
control of parts of the Tavil-Dara area in the summer of 1993 as
well, blocking the main road from Dushanbe to Gorno-Badakhshan for
weeks.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL Inc.

GRACHEV CALLS FOR STRONGER "FIST" IN TAJIKISTAN. Talking to
journalists on 13 September, as cited by ITAR-TASS, Defense
Minister Grachev called for the formation of a stronger group of
forces in Tajikistan on what he termed "the CIS border," in order
"to deal powerful and painful blows to the bandit formations." He
also called for the border troops to be integrated with the army
into a single powerful "fist." Grachev forecast that the situation
in the region would become "more acute." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL
Inc.

TAJIK OPPOSITION PARTY CONSIDERS PARTICIPATION IN ELECTION.
Tajikistan's Democratic Party is considering taking part in the
presidential election, now scheduled for November, party leaders
in exile in Moscow told ITAR-TASS on 13 September. The Democrats
are the first opposition group to consider participation in the
election. The party, one of the main elements in the coalition of
democratic, nationalist, and Islamic groups that tried to dislodge
communist rule from Tajikistan in 1992 and has been accused by the
country's neocommunist rulers of having unleashed the 1992 civil
war, was banned in Tajikistan in 1993. ITAR-TASS quoted diplomatic
sources at talks now under way in Tehran between the Tajik
government and opposition as saying that the nationalist Rastokhez
movement may also decide to participate in the election. The
leader of the Islamic Renaissance Movement, Akbar Turadzhonzoda,
has said that the opposition will not recognize the election, much
less take part.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL Inc.

KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT ASKS PRESIDENT TO SET ELECTION DATE. In an
emergency session attended by only 83 of the Kyrgyz Supreme
Soviet's 323 deputies, Kyrgyzstan's legislature called on
President Askar Akaev to set a date for a parliamentary election,
Interfax reported on 13 September. Lack of a quorum made it
impossible for the parliament even to vote for its own
dissolution. Most deputies refused to attend the session, setting
off a crisis that led to the resignation of the government. Under
Kyrgyzstan's constitution the president may not dissolve
parliament, but it may set a date for new elections.  Bess Brown,
RFE/RL Inc.

                               CIS

CIS PARLIAMENTARY BODIES URGE STEPPED-UP INTEGRATION. At a meeting
that has been under way since 9 September near Batumi, the
Commissions for Foreign Affairs and for Legal Affairs of the CIS
Interparliamentary Assembly are preparing a "model civil code of
the CIS states," proposals on the formation of "peacemaking"
forces of the CIS, and "a joint approach to the foreign policy of
CIS states," according to ITAR-TASS and Ostankino Television
reports. The model civil code is being described as "a second
constitution for each state." The reports did not say how many
member states are participating in these discussions or support
such proposals. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

CRIMEAN CRISIS CONTINUES. The Crimean parliament convened an
emergency session on 13 September after Crimean President Yurii
Meshkov ended his seizure of the parliament building. Meshkov
suspended the parliament on 11 September and declared presidential
rule after the parliament passed legislation curbing his powers.
He also barred deputies from the parliament building. Deputy
parliament chairman Alexii Melnokov said Meshkov decided to allow
deputies into the parliament in response to statements that they
would hold talks with the government only if they were allowed
inside the building. Interfax reports that during the emergency
session deputies rejected Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma's
proposal that both the parliament and the president withdraw the
legislation that had prompted the crisis. Parliament chairman
Sergii Tsekov said he was ready to hold talks with Meshkov on
ending the power struggle. Meshkov, who has asked parliament
leaders to meet with him on 14 September, is quoted as saying he
is willing to make compromises to end the political crisis. On 13
September international media reported that Meshkov sent a note to
Kuchma accusing a large part of the Crimean parliament of
harboring desires to secede from Ukraine.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.

CHOLERA REPORTED IN CRIMEA . . . International media reported on
13 September that in Crimea 21 people have been stricken with
cholera and another 65 are carrying the disease. According to the
Crimean authorities, the cholera outbreak is centered on
Simferopol, the republic's capital. Some 22 schools have been
closed in an effort to stop the disease from spreading and two
special hospitals dealing with cholera cases have been set up. No
cases have been reported on Crimea's southern coast. Anatolii
Padchenko, director of epidemic control in Ukraine's Ministry of
Health, says contaminated drinking water is responsible for the
outbreak. He predicts that the number of those affected is likely
to rise.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.

. . . AND IN ALBANIA. Albanian Health Minister Maksin Cikuli said
on 13 September that at least three people have died of cholera in
the last 10 days. Residents in some neighborhoods of Tirana have
been warned not to drink tap water. The disease appears to be
spreading in several small towns, possibly through polluted water.
Cikuli said the three deaths were of cholera patients in the
southern town of Kucova.  RFE/RL News and Current Affairs

PROMINENT SERB JOURNALIST FOUND DEAD. Beta and SRNA reported on 13
September that the prominent Bosnian Serb television commentator
Risto Djogo was found dead the same day in a lake near Bosnia's
border with Serbia. It was reported that he may have died at or
near a motel in the town of Zvornik during the evening of 9-10
September. Djogo was an outspoken supporter of Bosnian Serb leader
Radovan Karadzic and recently a vehement critic of Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic, particularly after the blockade
against the Bosnian Serbs was implemented. Djogo was also known
for his anti-Muslim rhetoric and at times seemed to be condoning
the practice of ethnic cleansing.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL Inc.

BOSNIAN SERB COMMANDER WOUNDED? Sarajevo Radio reported on 13
September that Ratko Mladic, commander of the Bosnian Serb army,
was wounded during fighting in the Bihac region the same day. The
local radio station also filed similar reports, which have yet to
be confirmed by outside sources. Mladic's current condition is
unknown.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL Inc.

CROAT SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT.
The Bosnian Croat military authorities have said that a number of
suspects--all demobilized members of the Croat Defense Council
military police--have been arrested in connection with the
assassination attempt against European Union administrator Hans
Koschnik, Hina reports on 13 September. The suspects, while
allegedly under the influence of alcohol, fired a rocket on the
night of 10 September into Koschnik's hotel room in the city of
Mostar. The names of the accused are being withheld. Mostar's
Croat police chief, Zdenko Klepic, has been released from duty for
his apparent role in the assassination attempt.  Stan Markotich,
RFE/RL Inc.

OBSERVERS MAY BE DISPATCHED TO SERBIA. AFP reported on 13
September that the five-country "contact group," meeting in
Geneva, resolved to dispatch civilian observers along Serbia's
border with Bosnia in order to monitor rump Yugoslavia's blockade
of the Bosnian Serbs and to ensure that only humanitarian aid is
allowed to pass. The decision came in response to Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic's tacit agreement to have 60-150
sanctions monitors posted along the rump Yugoslav-Bosnian border.
As yet, no deployment date for the observers has been set. But
international mediator Lord Owen, speaking to Reuters television
from Geneva, said Belgrade's blockade of the Bosnian Serbs may
pave the way for easing sanctions against rump Yugoslavia in the
near future.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL Inc.

ROW OVER ZLOTY DEVALUATION. The Polish National Bank reduced from
1.6% to 1.5% the monthly devaluation rate of the Polish zloty
against the basket of hard currencies, composed of the US dollar
(45% share), German mark (35%), the British pound (10%), and
French and Swiss francs (5% each). A spokesman for the bank told
PAP on 13 September that the decision would cause only a slight
decrease in Poland's hard-currency reserves while reducing the
cost to the bank of creating such reserves. He explained that the
accumulation of large reserves had led to an outflow of zloty and
had tended to fuel inflation. Reducing the devaluation rate, he
said, would increase the profitability of zloty savings and keep
inflation down. The bank's spokesman denied that the decision
would adversely affect exports, claiming that market conditions
were advantageous to Polish exporters and that current reserves
would suffice for foreign debt repayments. After the bank's
decision went into effect, the Finance Ministry claimed it had not
been consulted. The government charged that the measure blocked
Poland's economic development and made the Polish economy less
competitive. It also demanded that the bank lower interest rates
to offset the expected repercussions and accused the bank of
breaking the law by making a decision that belonged to the Council
of Ministers. The bank countered that it was acting within its
rights. A report in Rzeczpospolita on 14 September quoted Bank
Chairman Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz as saying she had gained the
prior approval of Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak.  Anna
Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL Inc.

RUEHE: POLAND IN NATO BY 2000. Polish and German Defense Ministers
Piotr Kolodziejczyk and Volker Ruehe were guests of honor at the
signing in Neubrandenburg on 13 September of a cooperation
agreement between the 12th Polish Mechanized Division and the 14th
German Panzer Division. The agreement, the first of its kind in
the history of the two armies, was hailed by both ministers as a
historic step toward future cooperation. It provides for
short-term reciprocal training programs, exchange of observers
with the prospect of joint maneuvers in the future, and
cooperation in the areas of munitions, command experience,
culture, and sports, PAP reports. Ruehe reiterated his
"wholehearted support" for Poland's integration with NATO and his
conviction that this would happen by the year 2000, German TV
reports.  Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL Inc.

CZECH CONSTITUTIONAL COURT UPHOLDS CITIZENSHIP LAW. The Czech
Constitutional Court rejected on 13 September a proposal by 46
opposition deputies to abolish several articles in the 1993
Citizenship Law. The deputies argued, among other things, that the
law discriminates against some Slovak applicants for Czech
citizenship by stipulating that the applicant have no criminal
conviction in the five years preceding his application. This
requirement, which some deputies have called "a Gypsy clause," is
regarded as having prevented thousands of Slovak Gypsies who
migrated to the Czech republic before the split of Czechoslovakia
from taking up Czech citizenship. The court ruled that the
deputies' arguments were "speculative and unfounded" and the
conditions set by the citizenship law not discriminatory. CTK
reports that in 1993, some 65,000 Czechs applied for and received
Slovak citizenship and that 14,000 applications are currently
being processed. Some 310,000 Slovaks opted for Czech citizenship
between January 1993 and June 1994, when Slovaks citizens who had
resided in the Czech Republic for at least two years were eligible
for that country's citizenship.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.

CZECH PRIME MINISTER DENIES MEDIA INTERFERENCE. Speaking on Czech
Radio on 13 September, Vaclav Klaus once again denied having
ordered the removal of Pavel Safr, editor in chief of the
newspaper Telegraf, who published articles critical of the
government. Klaus argued that "the idea of the media being run by
parties" was absurd. Charges against Klaus and Petr Cermak, deputy
chairman of the ruling Civic Democratic Party, were leveled by
Safr and 17 Telegraf employees at the beginning of September. Both
Klaus and Cermak immediately dismissed the charges as un-founded.
In an interview with Lidove Noviny on 7 September, Bohumil
Dolezal, Klaus's former head adviser, said he left the CDP in
protest at the party's interference in the media. In his opinion,
Klaus may have not been directly involved in the removal of Safr
but the CDP leadership undoubtedly was.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.

SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER MEETS WITH FOREIGN JOURNALISTS. Jozef
Moravcik told foreign journalists in Bratislava on 13 September
that Slovakia needs "the spirit of cooperation among its political
parties and not the spirit of confrontation." He said that while
he could imagine becoming an opposition politician after the
upcoming parliamentary elections, the continuation of the current
government coalition would be ideal for Slovakia. Moravcik argued
that the coalition's performance to date has shown that "political
groups in Slovakia can find a common language, despite differences
of opinion." Commenting on Slovakia's relations with the Czech
Republic, Moravcik said the only serious problems are the
uncertain fate of the Czech-Slovak clearing account, used for
payments in bilateral trade, and the division of former federal
property. The premier also said that "historic reconciliation"
between Hungary and Slovakia is a condition for integration into
Europe, though the Gabcikovo dam and the Hungarian minority in
Slovakia remain bones of contention. Moravcik emphasized that
Slovakia will promote the individual rights of ethnic Hungarians,
but he ruled out "regional autonomy" for the Hungarian minority.
Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.

FORMER MINISTER FILES CHARGES AGAINST SLOVAK GOVERNMENT. Slovak
media report that Roman Hofbauer, the former minister of
transportation and telecommunications and an ally of former Prime
Minister Vladimir Meciar, has asked the prosecutor-general to
investigate "the steps, actions, intentions, and objectives of the
current government concerning privatization of the property of the
Slovak Republic." Several Slovak newspapers, in particular those
supporting the current government, have dismissed Hofbauer's
action as an election ploy. Pravda of 13 September calls it
"private propaganda at the expense of the state." Sme writes that
Hofbauer's action--as well as charges filed recently by Ivan Lexa,
Meciar government's chief of staff, against the director of the
National Property Fund--does not live up to the election slogan of
Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia. The slogan, which is
part of the MDF's campaign video clip called "Vivat Slovakia,"
promises "no more conflicts." Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.

ILIESCU URGES NATIONAL CONSENSUS. Addressing the two chambers of
Romania's parliament on 13 September, President Ion Iliescu called
for a national consensus to speed up privatization, fight
corruption, consolidate the rule of law, and integrate Romania
into European structures. Iliescu said privatization and other
economic reforms should be pursued regardless of what political
forces are in power. He urged foreign investors to do business in
Romania and have trust in the country's economic future. He noted
that the postcommunist economic decline has now been halted and
growth can be expected to start next year. Radio Bucharest
broadcast the 45-minute speech live.  Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL Inc.

IMF LOAN TO BULGARIA, ZHELEV MEETS POLITICAL LEADERS. The
International Monetary Fund has approved a $102 million loan to
Bulgaria, doubling an amount agreed to earlier this year, Reuters
reports on 13 September. The money is slated to be used to support
Bulgaria's efforts to service its foreign debt. The same day
Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev opened talks with parliamentary
leaders in a bid to facilitate the formation of a new government.
On 8 September the Bulgarian National Assembly accepted the
resignation of Prime Minister Lyuben Berov's cabinet. Under the
Bulgarian Constitution, parliament has three chances to form a
government. If a new government is not formed, Zhelev will have to
appoint an interim cabinet and call elections within two months.
Berov's cabinet is to remain in office for the time being.  Stan
Markotich, RFE/RL Inc.

COUNCIL OF EUROPE SUPPORTS MOLDOVA ON RUSSIAN TROOP ISSUE. At a
recent meeting in Weimar, the Political Commission of the Council
of Europe discussed admitting new members, including Russia and
Moldova, to the council. The chairman of the Moldovan parliament's
Foreign Affairs Commission, Dumitru Diacov, who represented his
country at the meeting, told ITAR-TASS on 13 September that
Moldova supports Russia's admission as important to Russian
democracy but on condition that Russia guarantees to withdraw its
troops from Moldova within three years, as stipulated in the
agreement recently initialed but not signed with Moldova. The
Moldovan delegation also drew the forum's attention to the
activities of "pro-imperial forces" in Russia. Diacov said that
many delegations supported Moldova's position and that his
country, which currently has guest status, may become a full
member of the council by mid-1995.  Vladimir Socor , RFE/RL Inc.

MOLDOVAN-ROMANIAN FENCES NOT MENDED. After visiting a number of
countries since his appointment six months ago, Moldovan Foreign
Minister Mihai Popov paid his first visit to Romania on 12 and 13
September at the invitation of his counterpart, Teodor Melescanu.
Popov also met with President Ion Iliescu, Prime Minister Nicolae
Vacaroiu, and parliamentary leaders. The Romanian media reported
that Senate Chairman Oliviu Gherman spoke of "ups and downs in the
relations, with the downs being sometimes overemphasized." Chamber
of Deputies Chairman Adrian Nastase hoped to "bring relations back
to a normal course." But all Romanian officials reaffirmed the
concepts of "two Romanian states" and "one nation," which are
objectionable to Chisinau. No headway was made on the bilateral
treaty, which is deadlocked over Romania's insistence that these
and similar formulations be included, nor on other contentious
issues such as citizenship and official Romanian support for
Moldova's opposition. All these issues were raised by Popov.
Vladimir Socor , RFE/RL Inc.

BALTIC PREMIERS REJECT MILITARY COOPERATION WITH RUSSIA. At a news
conference in Riga on 13 September, the Latvian, Lithuanian, and
Estonian prime ministers ruled out signing an agreement on
military cooperation with Russia, Interfax reported. They were
responding to a recent suggestion by Russian Defense Minister
Pavel Grachev. Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Birkavs said security
in the Baltics depends on security guarantees within the context
of existing accords such as the agreement on the Russian radar
station in Skrunda.  Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL Inc.

RUTSKOI ON RUSSIAN-BALTIC RELATIONS. Former Russian Vice President
Aleksandr Rutskoi told BNS in Kaliningrad on 13 September that
Moscow must build its relations with the Baltic States on
"historical truth." He explained that the map of the region in
1915 shows no independent states but "the great power Russia."
Rutskoi also noted that "great Russia" should be restored within
the boundaries of the former Soviet Union but at the same time
nations should be granted the right to exercise their free will.
He commented that all parts of the former USSR are geopolitically
linked and added that "absolute sovereignty and independence do
not exist." Commenting on the withdrawal of Russian troops from
the Baltics and Germany, Rutskoi said this was "humiliating" both
politically and economically and claimed "nobody pulls out troops
like this. The Socialist military bloc ceased to exist long ago,
but NATO and its troops are still there." Rutskoi did not explain
where "there" was.  Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL Inc.

  [As of 1200 CET]
  Compiled by Eileen Downing and Jan Cleave,
  RFE/RL Inc.

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