In the effort to give good and comforting answers to the young questioners whom we love, we very often arrive at good and comforting answers for ourselves. - Ruth Goode
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 187, 30 September 1994

 -Note: There will be no Daily Report Monday, 3 October 1994-

                              RUSSIA

ATTACK ON AIRPORT IN CHECHNYA. The Chechen opposition Provisional
Council announced on 30 September that its forces had attacked the
airport at Grozny, the Chechen capital, and destroyed virtually
all of the government's combat planes and much of its ground
defenses. The head of the Provisional Council's press service told
ITAR-TASS that the opposition had sealed off Grozny and was
demanding the surrender of President Dzhokhar Dudaev. Another
opposition group, former Russian parliament Chairman Ruslan
Khasbulatov's Peace Group, has announced that its forces have
surrounded Grozny and will launch an attack on the city if Dudaev
does not resign by 16.30 local time. Chechen government spokesman
Aslambek Dadaev told an RFE/RL correspondent that the situation in
Grozny was normal despite the airport attack and that Dudaev was
ignoring the ultimatum. -- Bess Brown, RFE/RL Inc.

YELTSIN ON CIS AFFAIRS AT SUMMIT IN US. According to an ITAR-TASS
report on 29 September, Russian President Boris Yeltsin's remarks
on CIS affairs at the Washington news conference included a
promise that Russia "will provide financial assistance to CIS
states, as the US does with other countries" and the claim that
"Nagorno-Karabakh is Russia's neighbor who turned to Russia for
help in settling the conflict." Yeltsin further commented that
"yesterday we all lived in the same house, the Soviet Union. There
is no Soviet Union [any more] but these republics are our blood,"
several Western news agencies reported on 29 September. (In his 26
September address to the UN General Assembly he had described the
newly independent states as Russia's "blood relatives"--see the
following day's Daily Report.) Meanwhile Russian officials were
still waiting for a "more adequate" response from the UN on
helping to finance Russia's "peacekeeping operations on CIS
territory," Interfax reported on 28 September. The officials
suggested that the costs of those operations should be deducted
from Russia's arrears to the UN on its membership dues and overdue
contributions to the UN's peacekeeping operations. -- Vladimir
Socor, RFE/RL Inc.

YELTSIN'S REPRESENTATIVE OPPOSES CHANGING ELECTION DATES. Russian
TV newscasts broadcast on 29 September footage of a news
conference by Aleksandr M. Yakovlev, Yeltsin's representative in
the parliament. He said that he categorically opposed the idea of
either postponing the parliamentary and presidential elections or
holding them simultaneously, along with those of the heads of
regional administrations. (The suggestion of postponing the
elections had been put forward by close associates of Yeltsin--the
chairman of the Press Committee in the State Duma, Mikhail
Poltoranin, and the speaker of the Council of the Federation,
Vladimir Shumeiko--while other influential politicians, such as
the head of the Presidential Administration, Sergei Filatov, have
suggested holding parliamentary, presidential, and regional
elections on the same day--12 June 1996.) The elections, Yakovlev
said, must be held when the terms of the current parliament and
president expired: the former in December 1995, and the latter on
12 June 1996. Any other decision, Yakovlev said, would contradict
the provisions of the Russian Constitution and thus pose a mortal
danger for the young Russian democracy. -- Julia Wishnevsky,
RFE/RL Inc.

STRIKE IN AVTOVAZ CAR PLANT. More than 2,000 workers on the main
conveyor of the giant AvtoVAZ car plant in Togliatti have declared
an unlimited strike, Ostankino TV news reported on 28 September.
The workers are reportedly demanding the payment of their wages
for August. The strike was organized by an alliance of independent
trade unions, Sotsprof, that had been set up in the late 1980s as
an alternative to the official Soviet trade unions, Ostankino
added. The strike in Togliatti may indicate an incipient class
struggle in postcommunist Russia; during Yeltsin's recent trip
down the Volga he was reportedly accosted by AvtoVAZ employees
protesting against their social inequality compared with the
plant's director, Vladimir Kadannikov. Reputed to be one of the
richest people in the country, owing to privileges and tax
exemptions he can claim under various of Yeltsin's decrees,
Kadannikov is known for his luxurious lifestyle. He was recently
appointed a member of the Presidential Council. -- Julia
Wishnevsky, RFE/RL Inc.

DRAFT LAW ON HOUSING. Legislators responsible for drafting a new
law on housing held a news conference on 28 September. Under the
new law, Ostankino TV news cited them as saying, only four
categories of Russian citizens would be entitled to free housing:
the poor; participants in World War II; first- and second-category
handicapped individuals; and people suffering from certain
(unspecified) diseases. Other Russians, including large families,
would have to buy apartments at market prices, Ostankino added. --
Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL Inc.

ZHUKOV TO BE HONORED. Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov announced on 29
September that a monument would be erected to Marshal Georgii
Zhukov, the Soviet Union's most important military commander in
World War II and the conqueror of Berlin. According to Interfax,
the monument will be erected on Poklonnaya Hill by 9 May 1995, the
50th anniversary of Germany's defeat. Zhukov directed the
successful defense of Moscow in the autumn of 1941. After the war
Joseph Stalin regarded him as a potential threat, and he was
relegated to minor posts. He returned to prominence under Nikita
Khrushchev, only to be shunted aside once again in 1957, when he
pushed too vigorously for the military's independence. -- Doug
Clarke, RFE/RL Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

TOP OFFICIALS ASSASSINATED IN AZERBAIJAN. Azerbaijani parliament
Chairman Rasul Guliev announced on national television on 30
September that his deputy, Afiyaddin Dzhalilov, had been shot the
previous night by an unidentified gunman and died in hospital an
hour after the attack, Reuters reported. Two hours after the
attack on Dzhalilov, presidential security chief Shamsi Ragimov
was shot to death. Guliev linked the killings to opponents of the
agreement between Azerbaijan and an international consortium to
develop oil resources in the Caspian Sea. Dzhalilov was a close
associate of Azerbaijani President Geidar Aliev. -- Bess Brown,
RFE/RL Inc.

ALIEV DEMANDS ARMENIAN WITHDRAWAL. In a speech to the UN General
Assembly on 29 September, President Aliev called on the world
community to compel Armenia to withdraw from Azerbaijani territory
captured during the fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, asserting that
more than a fifth of Azerbaijan's territory was still occupied by
Armenian troops, Western news agencies reported. In return, Aliev
offered guarantees for the safety of the Armenian population of
Nagorno-Karabakh and possible concessions on that region's status
within Azerbaijan. The previous day Armenian President Levon
Ter-Petrossian had told the Assembly that Armenia harbored no
territorial ambitions in Azerbaijan, and that it was Armenian
inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh who had been waging war on
Azerbaijan in the name of self-determination. -- Bess Brown,
RFE/RL Inc.

GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT DISCUSSES SHEVARDNADZE'S RESIGNATION. A
discussion in Georgia's parliament on 29 September of parliament
Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze's threat to resign turned into an
exchange of recriminations between the opposition and the
majority, Interfax reported. According to the Interfax
correspondent, the discussion became so heated that the issue of
Shevardnadze's resignation was forgotten even by the opposition,
with the exception of former Prime Minister Tengiz Sigua, who
blamed Shevardnadze for Georgian defeats in Abkhazia and South
Ossetia, the collapse of the economy, and the failure of economic
reform. Majority deputies promptly accused Sigua of having
pocketed large sums from the national budget. The discussion was
expected to continue. -- Bess Brown, RFE/RL Inc.

CSCE MEETING IN TASHKENT. A CSCE conference on human rights in
Central Asia opened in Tashkent on 28 September; the following day
Uzbek President Islam Karimov met with visiting CSCE officials and
asserted that although his country is located in Asia, it
considers its membership in the CSCE and its connections to Europe
to be of vital importance, ITAR-TASS reported. The chairman of the
banned Uzbek opposition Erk Democratic Party, Muhammad Salih, told
RL's Uzbek Service that in his view Uzbekistan was not yet
politically mature enough to host such a meeting, but he hoped
that the presence of representatives of foreign human rights
organizations would have a salutary effect on the political
situation. -- Bess Brown, RFE/RL Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

ESTONIAN FERRY DISASTER UPDATE. Estonian Interior Minister Heiki
Arike told a press conference on 29 September that there were
probably 1,051 people aboard the ferry "Estonia," which sank off
the southwest coast of Finland on 28 September, Western agencies
report. This figure may be inaccurate, since the passenger lists
include people who bought tickets but did not sail or gave them to
other people. The lists also do not include children under five.
Weather conditions have prevented locating the ferry, which is
under 80-90 meters of water. Swedish officials hope to gain more
information about the cause of the sinking by sending down a robot
to photograph the wreck. It is not clear if the ferry owners and
insurance companies will spend the estimated $134 million to try
to raise the ship or take other measures to recover the bodies. --
Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL Inc.

BOSNIAN UPDATE. News agencies reported from Seville on 29
September that NATO defense ministers have urged more effective
air strikes against Bosnian Serbs, acknowledging that the current
tit-for-tat policy is a failure. The US called for responding to
Serbian defiance of the UN in a more "robust way." France, among
others, agreed grudgingly, with Francois Leotard noting that "if
we want to avoid the lifting of the arms embargo . . . , then we
must pay the price and increase the diplomatic and military
pressure on the Serbs." Meanwhile at the UN, the five permanent
members of the Security Council called on Belgrade to tightly
control its border with the Bosnian Serbs, AFP reported. The New
York Times on 30 September quoted Bosnian Prime Minister Haris
Silajdzic, also at the UN, as denying that his government has
agreed to an indefinite postponement of the lifting of the arms
embargo. He said he told the American ambassador to the UN that
"we are demanding a resolution that terminates the arms embargo in
principle now but delays its implementation for six months."
Reuters reported the previous day from Sarajevo that UN commander
General Sir Michael Rose was very happy with Washington's change
of policy: "We cannot bomb our way to peace. Increased use of
force . . . is not a solution at the moment," he said. News
agencies in the Bosnian capital suggested, however, that some
people there were disappointed by current trends in Western
policy. It was reported that three of Bosnia's best-known authors
publicly burned their books in protest. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL
Inc.

SERBIAN NATIONALIST ENEMY OF MILOSEVIC JAILED. Western and Serbian
media reported on 29 and 30 September that the leader of the
opposition Serbian Radical Party, Vojislav Seselj, has been
arrested and jailed for 30 days for assaulting the speaker of the
parliament on 27 September. Seselj, who previously was given an
eight-month suspended sentence for another brawl in the
legislature, said he merely spat twice on the speaker. Seselj is
an internationally wanted war criminal and a former ally of
President Slobodan Milosevic who has since broken with his former
sponsor. Borba on 30 September speculated whether Milosevic may
now be planning to deport Seselj for war crimes trials, but AFP
the previous day quoted the plucky legislator as saying he would
go willingly if formally charged, since no member of his party
"has ever committed a war crime." -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL Inc.

KOSOVAR EX-MINISTER CRITICIZES EXILE GOVERNMENT. In an interview
with Zeri on 28 September, Nike Gjeloshi, former deputy prime
minister of the Kosovar exile government in Stuttgart, gave the
reasons for his resignation earlier this year. Gjeloshi claimed
that "the government is not functioning" and that Prime Minister
Bujar Bukoshi "orders and decides on the use of the state budget
and spends it himself." Gjeloshi added he had no access to any
money as a member of the government, while Bukoshi put other
people in charge of government funds who were not even cabinet
members. He charged Bukoshi with having "reduced the government to
his own person and some other individuals." Gjeloshi also said
Bukoshi "appoints ministers" himself. The former deputy prime
minister proposed that a new government be appointed by Kosovar
shadow state President Ibrahim Rugova. It is very rare for Kosovar
government leaders to criticize one another in public. -- Fabian
Schmidt, RFE/RL Inc.

THIRTY PERCENT OF POLES WORK ILLEGALLY. According to the Market
Economy Research Institute, 29.6% of Poles draw at least part of
their income from illegal employment, PAP reports. The institute's
deputy chairman, Maciej Grabowski, estimates that undeclared
income in Poland amounts to some 166 trillion zloty ($7 billion),
about 8.1% of Poland's 1994 GDP. Undeclared income is believed to
make up 13.8% of total personal income in Poland. Some 46% of
those claiming unemployment benefits are believed to have
undeclared income from illegal unemployment, for which payment is,
on average, twice as high as for regular employment. The institute
criticized the government's tax policies, claiming that the
proposed measures would increase tax evasion and stifle the
development of small business. -- Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL
Inc.

PRIVATIZATION OF CZECH PETROLEUM INDUSTRY APPROVED. The Czech
government approved on 28 September plans to privatize the
country's petroleum industry by allowing foreign investment in the
country's two largest petrochemical refineries. Negotiations with
a consortium of global oil companies are to start soon. The
government rejected in May the consortium in favor of keeping the
refineries in Czech hands. However, the "Czech way" of privatizing
the industry, as it is now called, has been severely criticized by
various officials, not least because of fears that the Czech
Republic would remain dependent on Russian oil. The Western
consortium--consisting of Total SA of France, Agip Petroli of
Italy, Conoco of the US, and the Anglo-Dutch Royal/Dutch Shell
Group--has offered $173 million in cash for a 49% share in the
refining operations at Chemopetrol Litvinov and Kaucuk Kralupy.
The consortium also submitted an investment plan that would raise
$520 million over the next five years. Czech Industry Minister
Vladimir Dlouhy told journalists on 28 September that the
government is also planning a merger of Chemopetrol and Kaucuk. --
Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.

HAVEL RECEIVES AWARD AT STANFORD. Czech President Vaclav Havel was
awarded on 29 September the Stanford Law School's Ralston Prize
for furthering international relations. Havel said in his
acceptance speech that the Czech Republic was most challenged by
the need to establish itself internationally in the democratic
world. He argued that the country must complete its economic
transformation and create all the "prerequisites" for a civil
society. Democracy worldwide must regain its spiritualism, he
said, to overcome the disruptive historical and cultural
differences "now so evident following the fall of communism." CTK
quotes Havel as saying that "democratic Europe, built on the
principles of civil society, has failed in protecting these
principles in Bosnia and has accepted "a senseless ethnic
division." -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.

SLOVAKS GO TO THE POLLS. On 30 September and 1 October, more than
3 million Slovak voters are expected to cast their ballots in the
first parliamentary elections in the independent Slovak state. A
total of 1,929 candidates from 17 political parties and coalitions
are competing for the 150 seats. Parties must attract at least 5%
of the vote to enter the parliament, while 7% is required for
coalitions of two or three parties and 10% for those with four or
more. Votes cast for parties that do not make it into the
parliament will be divided among the victors. The final results of
the elections are expected on 4 October, TASR reports. Although it
is widely expected that Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia will win the most votes, it is uncertain
whether Meciar will have the parliamentary majority needed to form
a cabinet. Several issues remain unresolved since the last
parliamentary session, including bills on conflict of interests,
privatization of the energy and gas industries, and the status of
the lustration law. -- Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL Inc.

SLOVAK POLITICIANS ON CURRENT CABINET. In an interview with TASR
on 27 September, Deputy Premier for Economic Issues Brigita
Schmoegnerova noted that Slovakia's economy has stabilized
considerably in the past few months; Slovakia has registered a
growth in GDP, inflation and the trade deficit have fallen,
unemployment has stabilized, hard-currency reserves have
increased, and the budget deficit is less than 4% of GDP.
Schmoegnerova also noted that the granting of an IMF standby loan
is a sign of trust in the cabinet's economic policy. Premier Jozef
Moravcik told TASR that the cabinet has proven that agreement
between parties from across the spectrum is both possible and
effective, which provides a guarantee for political stability in
the future. He stressed the view that Slovakia needs a firm hand
to lead the country out of its present difficulties is wrong. What
Slovakia needs, he said, is a team of personalities: "If we want
order in health, education, justice, the army as well as on the
streets, we cannot rely on one strong hand." On 29 September
Moravcik reinforced Schmoegnerova's statements on the economy,
noting that the economic turnaround was one of the cabinet's most
important achievements. He also pointed to improvements in the
areas of health and security and foreign relations, stressing an
increase in Slovakia's international prestige. -- Sharon Fisher,
RFE/RL Inc.

SLOVAK POLICE DETAIN URANIUM SMUGGLERS. Slovak police arrested on
28 September four Slovaks who were trying to smuggle 1.5 kilograms
of uranium through the Slovak-Hungarian border crossing at
Slovenske Nove Mesto, TASR reported. Although the box containing
the uranium was marked "U-235," it remains uncertain whether the
seized material is weapons-grade. The four Slovaks, who are
reportedly members of an organized criminal group, gave the
authorities different versions of where the uranium came from and
where it was headed, but it is presumed that it did not originate
in Slovakia, Reuters reported. A top judiciary official told TASR
on 29 September that under Slovak law the smugglers could be
sentenced to prison terms of up to fifteen years. -- Sharon
Fisher, RFE/RL Inc.

HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT IN PARIS. During an official visit to the
French capital, Arpad Goncz received assurances that France will
support Hungary's bid to join the European Union, Nepszabadsag
reports. The trip was the first visit ever by a Hungarian
president to Paris. President Francois Mitterrand said Hungary's
joining the EC has been decided and only the timing is in
question. He added that there is no difference between France's
and Germany's position in this regard. Prime Minister Edouard
Balladur said Hungary's membership depends on the modernization of
the Hungarian economy and on the signing a "stabilization pact"
with Hungary's neighbors. Le Figaro reported that a loan package
worth 1 billion francs offered by the National Bank of Hungary to
investors in Paris has been postponed owing to a lack of interest.
-- Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL Inc.

ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT POSTPONES RESOLUTION ON CORRUPTION. A draft
resolution concluding the debates on corruption was presented on
29 September to the joint session of parliament by the government
majority, Radio Bucharest announced the same day. Voting on the
resolution, however, was post-poned because of a lack of a quorum.
The draft calls for legislation aimed at coping with corruption
and calls on the government and the judiciary to intensify
crime-combating activities. It also extends the mandate of the
parliamentary investigative commission to 31 December 1994. --
Michael Shafir, RFE/RL Inc.

CHOLERA IN ROMANIA. Reuters quoted a Romanian Health Ministry
official on 29 September as saying that cholera cases have been
diagnosed in five regions in the country: in a village near Targu
Mures, in Transylvania; in Constanta, on the Black Sea; in Galati
and Braila, near the mouth of the Danube; and in the southern
county of Dambovita. The official said there were 34 confirmed
cases out of 64 hospitalized with cholera symptoms. -- Michael
Shafir, RFE/RL Inc.

CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT STRIPS MESHKOV OF MORE POWERS. On 29 September
the Crimean Supreme Soviet passed a law making the prime minister
the chief executive of the republic and effectively removing all
powers from the president, Russian agencies reported. Out of 93
deputies present at the session, 68 voted in favor of the law and
14 abstained from voting. Supporters of Crimean President Yurii
Meshkov walked out, calling the vote a "constitutional coup
d'etat." Meshkov reacted by calling on the deputies to rescind
their decision. The same day UNIAN reported that a delegation from
Kiev headed by Ukrainian deputy Yurii Karmazin arrived in
Simferopol. Karmazin said the delegation was there to implement
the Ukrainian parliament's resolution to bring Crimea's
legislation in line with Ukraine's by November. He also said the
latest legislative move by Crimean deputies would destabilize
power in the republic. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL Inc.

MORE CHOLERA DEATHS IN UKRAINE. Reuters reported on 29 September
that the cholera death toll in Ukraine has reached 17. So far, 652
cases of the disease have been registered. The authorities in two
provinces of Poland have reportedly introduced a state of alert to
guard against the spread of cholera from Ukraine. -- Ustina
Markus, RFE/RL Inc.

BELARUSIAN ECONOMIC PROGRAM. Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka appealed to the parliament on 29 September to support
his economic reform program, Reuters and Interfax reported.
Parliamentary approval is not necessary to implement the program,
but Lukashenka wants backing for the program, which contains
several unpopular measures such as discontinuing government
subsidies and freeing prices. Lukashenka assured the parliament
that he will not call early elections if the parliament cooperates
with him. He also denied he is being "led by the nose by the IMF,"
saying that acceptance of the program will release $700 million in
IMF credits for Belarus. Prime Minister Mikhail Chyhir expressed
concern over Belarus's inability to pay off its energy debt to
Russia and said he hoped inflation in the country could be brought
down from current levels of 50% to 7-8% by mid-1995. -- Ustina
Markus, RFE/RL Inc.

DNIESTER AUTONOMY TALKS LAUNCHED. Chisinau and Tiraspol delegates
held on 28 September near Tiraspol an inaugural session of talks
on establishing a "special status" for Transdniester as an
autonomous region within Moldova. Russian President Boris
Yeltsin's special representative for Moldova, Ambassador Vladlen
Vasev, and the British chief of the CSCE Mission in Moldova,
Ambassador Richard Samuel, attended as mediators. Chisinau
accepted in the autumn of 1993 the CSCE Mission's plan for
wide-ranging autonomy for Transdniester and recently made its own
proposals. These proposals are reportedly close to the CSCE's plan
and remote from Vasev's suggestions favoring Tiraspol. Vasev has
insisted on having Transdniester statehood federated or
confederated with Moldova and establishing its own army, security,
and other sovereign attributes. Vasev predicted to ITAR-TASS on 28
September that the talks would be long and arduous and hinted at a
link to the withdrawal of the Russian 14th Army. -- Vladimir
Socor, RFE/RL Inc.

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT EMBRACES WEST AT UN. Mircea Snegur's address to
the UN General Assembly on 29 September was largely a plea for
Moldova's acceptance into the European and Western community of
states. Stressing Moldova's "geopolitical and cultural affiliation
to the European democratic space," Snegur voiced concern that
"isolation from that space would face us with the reemergence of
those influences from which we have suffered in the recent past."
He appealed for "growing cooperation and links with the Council of
Europe, NATO, the European Union, and the WEU. . . . " Snegur
stressed again that Moldova's membership in the CIS was confined
to economics. Congratulating the Baltic states on the withdrawal
of Russian troops, Snegur appealed for similar international
support for the full withdrawal of Russian troops from Moldova. He
referred to Moldova's legislation on ethnic minority rights and
offers of autonomy to Transdniester and the Gagauz, condemned
"foreign-inspired and directed" separatism in Transdniester and
other parts of the former USSR, and called on the UN to condemn
separatism. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc.

MOLDOVAN WINE INDUSTRY ATTRACTS WESTERN INVESTMENT. Moldova's
chief wine industry executive, Gheorghe Cozub, told The Journal of
Commerce on 27 September that the European Bank for Reconstruction
and Development has just approved a $30 million loan to develop
Moldova's bottling capacity for high-quality wines. The goal is to
raise its annual export capacity to 20 million bottles or 5-7% of
Western Europe's total market by 1998. EBRD's project manager in
Chisinau told Basapress the same day that the loan is likely to be
amortized in only 3-5 years and that according to market surveys,
Moldova's exports to the West can expand even further owing to the
"high quality" of its wines. Moldova accounted for more than a
third of the former USSR's total wine output but lacks bottling
capacity, as most of the wine was shipped in cisterns to Russia
for bottling and marketing by the USSR's central authorities. The
Journal of Commerce further reported that Australia's wine maker
Southcorp has launched a major joint venture in Moldova aiming to
export 3 million bottles annually--half of it to the USA beginning
in 1995. The journal also said that a Dutch and a German company
have recently contracted with major Moldovan wineries. -- Vladimir
Socor, RFE/RL Inc.

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT IN US. Algirdas Brazauskas spoke on 29
September to the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, toured the
city, and met city mayor Edward Rendell and members of the local
Lithuanian community, Western agencies report. On 30 September he
is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly, meet with
Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali, and attend a dinner given
by Boutros Ghali for visiting heads of states. He will
subsequently travel to Chicago and Lemont, Illinois, before
returning to Lithuania on 3 October. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL
Inc.

LATVIAN PARLIAMENT ON ACCORDS WITH RUSSIA. Contrary to an Interfax
headline of 29 September claiming that "Latvian lawmakers refuse
to discuss ratification of agreements with Russia in President's
absence," the Saeima decided unanimously the same day to consider
on 20 October the law dealing with the ratification of the
Latvian-Russian accords on the pullout of Russian troops, Diena
reports. The Latvian lawmakers pointed out that some 4,000 Russian
servicemen demobilized in Latvia after 28 January have not yet
left that country, as stipulated in the bilateral accords. They
also noted that Latvia still does not have a list of Russian
military retirees in Latvia receiving a pension from Russia.
Aleksandrs Kirsteins, the chairman of the Saeima's Foreign
Relations Commission, felt that Latvia should wait until Russia
ratifies the accords. But deputy Indulis Berzins said the Saiema
must consider the accords at the same time as Russia's State
Duma--presumably on 5 October--so that Russia has no doubts that
"we are prepared to consider the issue." -- Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL
Inc.

[As of 1200 CET] (Compiled by Eileen Downing 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
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