The salvation of mankind lies only in making everything the concern of all. - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 194, 12 October 1994

                             RUSSIA

RUSSIA'S MILITARY STRENGTH PUT AT 1.7 MILLION. The prestigious
International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) estimates in
its annual report The Military Balance 1994-95 that Russian
military manpower stands at 1,714,000--some 216,000 less than a
year ago. The report, published on 11 October, said that 950,000
of the total were conscripts. Although the new IISS figure is
well below the official authorized level, other Russian and
Western analysts have put the number of personnel actually in
uniform even lower, at about 1.5 million. The IISS said no combat
formations--even the elite airborne and peacekeeping units--had
more than 75% of their authorized strength. While owning that it
was difficult to establish reliable figures for Russian defense
spending, the institute estimated the 1994 defense budget at $78
billion, a decline in real terms of over 40% in comparison with
Soviet military spending in 1989. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL Inc.

RUBLE COLLAPSE CONTINUES. The beleaguered ruble lost over a fifth
of its value against the dollar on 11 October, falling a record
845 points to end at 3,926 to one, according to Western agencies.
A Central Bank injection of $80 million at the close of trading
stopped the ruble from going over 4,000 to the dollar. The crisis
was set in motion in September when the Central Bank stopped
intervening to support the value of the currency and has been
exacerbated by panic selling. Central Bank Chairman Viktor
Gerashchenko blamed currency speculators for the fall and said it
would not last. Government officials met behind closed doors late
on 11 October to discuss ways of stabilizing the ruble, and the
parliament is expected to debate the crisis today; State Duma
Chairman Ivan Rybkin said some deputies might use the occasion to
propose a vote of no confidence in the government. Acting Finance
Minister Sergei Dubinin has denied rumors that the government
will freeze hard-currency deposits, seize hard-currency savings
accounts, or halt market trading of the ruble, ITAR-TASS
reported. -- Penny Morvant, RFE/RL Inc.

RUSSIA, IRAN AND THE CASPIAN COOPERATION COUNCIL. Following talks
in Moscow on 10-11 October between Iranian Deputy Foreign
Minister Mahmoud Vaezi and his Russian counterpart Albert
Chernyshev (the former Soviet and then Russian Ambassador to
Turkey), a conference opened outside Moscow on 11 October of
senior diplomats from the Caspian littoral states. Interfax
quoted Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigorii Karasin as
stating that the participants would approve the final draft of an
agreement on a regional cooperation organization, apparently
deriving from the Caspian Sea Cooperation Council (of which
Russia is a member) created at the ECO meeting in Tehran in
February 1992 and that would resolve all questions pertaining to
the use of the Caspian and its resources. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL
Inc.

RUSSIA SUBMITS CSCE REFORM PLAN. At the CSCE review meeting in
Budapest, Russian chief delegate Yurii Ushakov described the CSCE
as "clinically dead" but went on to reaffirm Russian proposals
for "strengthening" it, Western agencies reported on 10 and 11
October. The proposals include reorganizing the CSCE into an
all-European security body and giving it a "coordinating" role
over such "regional" organizations as NATO and the CIS. Ushakov
termed the proposed arrangement a "division of labor." He
acknowledged that it stood no chance of acceptance before the
December summit of the CSCE but wanted it to remain "a basis for
discussion." The US and other delegations reaffirmed their
opposition to the proposed reorganization and to any
subordination of NATO to the CSCE. On behalf of the European
Union, whose rotating presidency it currently holds, Germany
rejected "any special rights for any state in any part of the
CSCE area." In a counterproposal to Russian claims to such a role
in the CIS area, Germany submitted a EU plan for strengthening
the CSCE by making it an instrument of "first resort" in regional
crisis management. CSCE members would have to use its mechanism
first before turning to other bodies. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL
Inc.

CHECHNYA UPDATE. A group of Chechen parliamentarians led by
Abdula Dadaev began talks on 11 October with Russian State Duma
deputies on proposals to "normalize" Russian-Chechen relations,
Interfax reported. If progress is made, talks will continue at a
higher level. Interfax further quoted the chairman of the
opposition Provisional Council, Umar Avturkhanov, as claiming
that the collapse of the Dudaev regime was imminent; Avturkhanov
denied claims by Ruslan Khasbulatov that the Provisional Council
had requested the dispatch of Russian troops to Chechnya and
characterized Khasbulatov's peacemaking mission as divisive and
counterproductive. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL Inc.

DUMA MEMBER CHARGES TATAR PRESIDENT WITH AUTHORITARIAN RULE. In a
speech to the Tatar legislature on 10 October in Kazan, State
Duma deputy Ivan Grachev accused President Mintimer Shaimiev of
authoritarian rule, declaring that Tatarstan "is not a free
republic" as long as "it has a boss who has a firm grip on all
branches of state power." In Grachev's view, such a regime has
the right to exist if it guarantees stability and progress; but
that, he believes, has not been the case. He said that in
Shaimiev's four years in office, production had declined faster
in Tatarstan than elsewhere in Russia. Grachev is convinced that
what the republic needs is a professional parliament capable of
checking the president and local governors. He urged the
parliamentary opposition to vote against a bill on constitutional
amendments and government reform in the republic, arguing that it
would consolidate the power of the president for another seven
years at least. -- Charles Carlson, RFE/RL Inc.

MINISTRIES PROTEST INCOME TAX FOR SERVICEMEN. According to
Interfax of 11 October, the heads of a number of Russian
ministries have protested to President Boris Yeltsin regarding a
Finance Ministry proposal to levy income tax on service
personnel. The agency said that the heads of the Ministries of
Defense, Internal Affairs, and Civil Defense, Emergencies, and
Natural Disasters, as well as the heads of the Federal
Counterintelligence Service, Border Guards, and Federal Agency of
Government Communications, had warned Yeltsin in a letter that
the tax would cause widespread dissatisfaction among servicemen
and prompt them to break their contracts. The Finance Ministry
was said to have argued that military wages had outstripped those
of employees in other state-funded bodies. In response, the
military gave the salary of a platoon commander as an example,
saying that it was 40% lower than the average in industry. --
Doug Clarke, RFE/RL Inc.

KURIL QUAKE DAMAGE DETAILED. The recent earthquake in the Kuril
Islands caused an estimated 203 billion rubles' worth of damage
to military facilities, according to Interfax on 11 October. Of
the 324 buildings in five military towns, 83 were totally
destroyed and 167 badly damaged. The Russian Pacific Fleet has
seven ships and two planes conducting rescue operations and
repairs in the quake area, according to its press center. A ship
was said to have left Vladivostok that day with building
machinery for Iturup Island, while another ship was scheduled to
leave the next day with food and construction equipment for
Kunashir Island. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL Inc.

                 TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

NEW PRIME MINISTER CONFIRMED IN KAZAKHSTAN. RFE/RL learned on 12
October that Kazakhstan's Supreme Soviet had confirmed President
Nursultan Nazarbaev's nominee for the post of prime minister,
Akezhan Kazhegeldin, who had held the post of first deputy prime
minister in the government of former Prime Minister Sergei
Tereshchenko. On 11 October Nazarbaev asked Tereshchenko's
cabinet to resign, asserting that it was unable to implement the
reform program, Interfax reported. Nazarbaev said that
Kazhegeldin had headed the team that drafted the former
government's reform program and that in the process Kazhegeldin
had encountered resistance from some cabinet members. In May the
newly elected parliament passed a no-confidence vote in the
policies of Tereshchenko's government, citing the inability of
his anti-crisis program to stop the decline of Kazakhstan's
economy. Nazarbaev then announced that he was giving Tereshchenko
until the end of 1995 to show results. -- Bess Brown, RFE/RL Inc.

RUSSIAN-ARMENIAN BASING AGREEMENT IMMINENT? Continuing his visit
to Erevan, on 11 October the chairman of the Russian Federation
Council, Vladimir Shumeiko, addressed the Armenian parliament and
met with Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan. Ter-Petrossyan
subsequently told Interfax that an agreement on the status of
Russian military bases in Armenia would be signed in Moscow soon
and that it would be the first to grant Russian troops "the
universally acknowledged status." Speaking at a news conference,
Shumeiko characterized Russia's relations with Armenia as closer
than with any other Soviet successor state; he said that the two
countries "had practically the same view" on strategy for the
future development of the CIS and on bilateral economic, trade,
and military relations. It was, however, in Shumeiko's view "too
early" to speak of a possible Russian-Armenian confederation. --
Liz Fuller, RFE/RL Inc.

IMF LOAN FOR ARMENIA. Talks between Armenian Prime Minister Hrant
Bagratyan and IMF officials in Erevan in late September and at
the annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank in Madrid earlier
this month have resulted in a softening of terms for the
anticipated IMF credits to Armenia, Interfax reported. The IMF
will grant a $500 million loan to Armenia, to be made available
in two equal installments, on condition that the Armenian
government implements tougher credit, monetary, and taxation
policies, including price liberalization and an increase in
customs duties and food taxes. The IMF had reportedly previously
refused to extend credits to Armenia on the grounds that these
could be used for the purchase of arms to be used in the Karabakh
conflict. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL Inc.

FURTHER CRACKDOWN IN AZERBAIJAN. In the wake of last week's
failed coup, on 10 October Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev
issued a decree imposing a 60-day state of emergency and curfew
in Gyandzha, where supporters of ex-prime minister Suret Gueinov
allegedly tried to seize power, Interfax reported. The Azerbaijan
People's Assembly duly ratified the decree on 11 October,
according to a correspondent for RL's Azerbaijani service.
Although government spokesman Gabil Guseinov told Interfax that
"no serious government reshuffle" was expected in the next few
days, on 11 October Baku Radio broadcast the names of nine
government officials dismissed for their role in the alleged coup
and a further seven fired for shortcomings. In addition, a total
of 56 officials of the National Security Ministry, including the
head of the Azerbaijan Bureau of Interpol, have also been
dismissed in connection with the events in Gyandzha. -- Liz
Fuller, RFE/RL Inc.

                   CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

FIGHTING ON AT LEAST THREE FRONTS IN BOSNIA. International media
reported on 11 October that Bosnian government and rebel Serb
forces were exchanging fire in at least three areas of that
embattled republic: near Doboj in the north along the Serb supply
corridor; near Mostar; and near Bugojno, a strategic town in
west-central Bosnia. Sarajevo, by contrast, was largely quiet,
and trams resumed running under UN escort. AFP nonetheless
reported that the Serbs have given the Muslims ten days to clear
their remaining troops out of the Mt. Igman demilitarized zone.
In heated discussions between UN commander General Sir Michael
Rose and Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic, the Serbs made other
demands as well, including the renegotiation of the June 1992
agreement on the Sarajevo airport. Some observers have suggested
that the Serbs want to make sure they gain control of the
facility if the UN is ordered out. In other developments, three
Serb tanks briefly entered the Sarajevo weapons exclusion zone,
and UN officials confirmed that the Serbs expelled the last
Muslims from the village of Borati, near Rogatica, in eastern
Bosnia, Reuters reported. Finally, AFP reported from Brussels
that UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali has softened his
opposition to NATO retaliatory attacks against several targets
rather than against just one, although he remains opposed to such
sorties being made without warning. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL Inc.

SERBS THREATEN TO DEMAND UNPROFOR WITHDRAWAL. Borba on 11 October
ran an interview with Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic in
which he repeated the threat he has made in recent days that the
Serbs may ask UNPROFOR to leave. Karadzic again charged the UN
with favoring the Muslims, which contrasts with the Bosnian
government's view and that of some UN staff, who have charged
that UNPROFOR's command bends over backward to keep a good
working relationship with the Serbs. Karadzic said the Bosnian
Serb leadership would soon decide on its position on UNPROFOR.
His statements, however, may be little more than posturing, since
the Bosnian Serb side depends on UN humanitarian aid--the
delivery of which is, in turn, dependent on UNPROFOR--to feed its
civilian population in many areas. This dependency will increase
as a result of the blockade declared by Serbian President
Slobodan Milosevic and the onset of winter. -- Patrick Moore,
RFE/RL Inc.

SEARCH FOR POLISH POLICE CHIEF CONTINUES. The advisory committee
attached to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which includes
representatives of major political parties and has considerable
influence, rejected on 10 October yet another of Prime Minister
Waldemar Pawlak's candidates for police chief. The former head of
the Polish police, Zenon Smolarek, resigned several months ago
amid accusations of corruption. The appointment of a new police
chief has been held up by disputes over personal prerogatives
between Prime Minister Pawlak and Minister of Internal Affairs
Andrzej Milczanowski, who was appointed by President Lech Walesa.
Pawlak has already turned down several candidates proposed by
Milczanowski, while his own candidates have been rejected by the
advisory committee. Commenting on the deadlock, Rzeczpospolita on
11 October said the disputes focus on the issue of political
control over the police, adding that "the police's stability is,
unfortunately, of secondary importance." -- Jan de Weydenthal,
RFE/RL Inc.

WALESA WANTS MORE POWER. President Lech Walesa told a nationwide
radio audience on 11 October that "there is a need for strong
government" in Poland and that it should be exercised by the
president. He went on to say that such a government could be
achieved either through "systemic change or by breaking the law."
He also said he was sometimes "on the legal borderlines" but that
"he was motivated by [higher] goals and not personal ambition."
Walesa then appealed for the expansion of his executive powers
within the framework of "law and democracy." He demanded, in
particular, the right to recall individual ministers and the
government as a whole. The constitution does not provide the
president with those prerogatives. Walesa is currently involved
in a dispute with the minister of defense over control of the
military. He demanded the minister's resignation, but the
parliament decided there were no grounds to dismiss the minister.
-- Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL Inc.

JARUZELSKI INJURED IN ASSAULT. Former communist President Gen.
Wojciech Jaruzelski suffered a head injury when he was assaulted
on 11 October in the city of Wroclaw by an elderly farmer.
Jaruzelski was taken to the hospital, but doctors were reported
by Gazeta Wyborcza on 12 October as saying he was well and would
be released soon. The newspaper said the assailant was a retired
farmer who had sustained considerable financial losses as a
result of the imposition of martial law in 1981. -- Jan de
Weydenthal, RFE/RL Inc.

BAVARIA DEMANDS INVESTIGATION OF SHOOTING BY CZECH POLICE.
Bavarian Internal Affairs Minister Guenther Beckstein wrote to
his Czech counterpart, Jan Ruml, on 11 October saying that people
are increasingly "asking themselves whether their safety and
health can be guaranteed while visiting the Czech Republic." On 9
October, a policeman in the town of Pribram seriously wounded a
German tourist during a dispute over illegal parking. A Czech
policeman was charged last month in connection with the fatal
shooting of a German motorist in Frantiskovy Lazne. Beckstein is
demanding a thorough investigation into the latest incident,
stressing that "complete openness with the authorities in Bavaria
is essential to avoid long-term strains in our relations." --
Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.

DANISH MONARCH IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC. Queen Margrethe and her
husband, Prince Henrik, arrived in the Czech Republic on 11
October for a three-day visit. The royal couple are to meet with
President Vaclav Havel and Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus and tour
Prague's Old Town. They will then travel to Slovakia. -- Jiri
Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.

SLOVAK CABINET CONTINUES TO PRIVATIZE. The Slovak cabinet on 11
October approved 12 of the 15 privatization projects submitted by
the Privatization Ministry, TASR reports. The ministry's state
secretary, Gabriel Palacka, told journalists that these projects
were ready several months ago but the cabinet did not want to
deal with them before the election campaign got under way for
fear of political misuse. Because some of the firms are having
serious financial difficulties, the cabinet wanted to avoid
delaying privatization decisions any longer, Palacka said. --
Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL Inc.

SLOVAK PARTIES DISCUSS PARLIAMENTARY POSTS. Representatives of
all political parties in the new parliament met on 11 October to
prepare for the first parliamentary session, which according to
the constitution must be called by the president within 30 days
of the announcement of the final election results. Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia member Ivan Gasparovic said after the meeting
that there were no concrete results and that further talks would
be held in two weeks. With regard to the MDS's decision to ask
the Constitutional Court to review the validity of the Democratic
Union's petition lists, Christian Democratic Movement Chairman
Jan Carnogursky said if no decision is made before the first
parliamentary session opens, deputies from the union will be
sworn in as members. -- Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL Inc.

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON RELATIONS WITH NEIGHBORING
COUNTRIES. Laszlo Kovacs, speaking to reporters on 11 October,
described the normalization of relations with Slovakia, Romania,
and the former Yugoslavia as Hungary's most urgent foreign policy
task, MTI reports. Kovacs noted that his ministry has already
sent positive signals to Bratislava and Bucharest indicating that
Hungary is ready to start negotiations on a basic treaty. He
reiterated that such a treaty should contain clauses guaranteeing
the inviolability of borders and the observation of minority
rights in accordance with European norms. Kovacs said the clause
on minority rights should be either included in the treaty or
mentioned in it, with a separate accord outlining the norms
governing minority rights. In Kovacs's view, Hungarian minority
fears that Budapest would seek to normalize its relations with
neighboring countries at their expense have now subsided. --
Edith Oltay, RFE/RL Inc.

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN TRADE DEFICIT. Deputy State Secretary at the
Ministry of Industry and Trade Gabor Gulacsi said Hungary's
foreign trade registered a $2.6 billion deficit at the end of
August, MTI reported on 10 October. Exports rose in value by
12.2% to $6.3 billion and imports by 16.1% to $8.9 billion,
compared with the same period last year. Industrial production
rose by 7.5%. Meanwhile, the Hungarian National Bank devalued the
forint by 1.1% against convertible currencies beginning 11
October. The bank said the devaluation was necessary to sustain
the competitiveness of exports achieved after the forint was
devalued in August 1993. -- Edith Oltay, RFE/RL Inc.

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT SHARPLY ATTACKS FORMER KING. Ion Iliescu, at a
press conference on 11 October, launched a sharp attack on former
King Michael, who was recently barred from entering the country.
Iliescu said that Michael "placed himself in a humiliating
situation" by trying to force entry into Romania and that he was
misused as a "tool" by certain political circles. Meanwhile, a
deputy for the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania asked
the Chamber of Deputies on 11 October to declare "the foreign
citizen Michael of Hohenzollern" persona non grata for having
"illegally crossed Romania's border" in December 1990 and October
1994. -- Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL Inc.

ROMANIAN POLICE SEIZES URANIUM. Romania's Internal Affairs
Ministry, in a communique broadcast by Radio Bucharest on 11
October, announced that seven people were arrested as they tried
to sell uranium and strontium in a village in Vrancea County. The
seven (three Moldovan citizens, two Jordanians, and two
Romanians) were asking $400,000 for seven kilograms of uranium
and an unspecified amount of strontium. The radioactive material
was seized by the police. A smaller amount of uranium was
confiscated in Bucharest in September. -- Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL
Inc.

DEATH TOLL RISES IN BULGARIA. Reuters on 11 October reported that
the death toll from an explosion the previous day at a thermal
power station in southeastern Bulgaria now stands at eight and
that 12 individuals are in critical condition. An unnamed
official said the cause of the accident is linked to the collapse
of a reservoir filled with boiling hot water. The official said
the reservoir's walls caved in owing to metal fatigue. -- Stan
Markotich, RFE/RL Inc.

BERISHA ANNOUNCES REFERENDUM ON CONSTITUTION. News agencies
reported from Tirana on 11 October that President Sali Berisha
has announced a popular vote on the country's new basic law on 6
November. His Democratic Party and its allies lack a two-thirds
majority in the parliament, which the opposition and some of his
allies argue is necessary to pass the document. Berisha's
proposal for a referendum was approved in parliament on 10
October after the opposition staged a walkout. At issue is not so
much the constitution itself as what has become an ongoing power
contest between Berisha and his ex-communist opponents. --
Patrick Moore, RFE/RL Inc.

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT UNVEILS ECONOMIC, SOCIAL REFORMS. Leonid
Kuchma on 11 October revealed to parliament his proposals for
economic and social reform, Interfax reports. The proposals
stress economic liberalization, including the privatization of
firms, an overhaul of the tax system, land reform, and price
liberalization. Reuters reports Kuchma as saying that such a plan
is necessary because of Ukraine's "unprecedented economic crisis
which threatens the very foundation of independence and even the
survival of the Ukrainian nation." Parliament is scheduled to
vote on the plan next week. Kuchma has hinted he will proceed
with its implementation, irrespective of the outcome of the vote.
-- Stan Markotich, RFE/RL Inc.

BELARUS BANS FOREIGN CURRENCY USAGE. Belarus has placed a ban on
domestic foreign currency exchanges, Reuters reports on 11
October. Deputy Premier Sergei Ling said the ban is part of the
economic reforms undertaken since Belarus dropped a recent plan
for forging a monetary union between Belarus and Russia.
Belarus's ruble is expected to become the sole medium of exchange
in retail trade by the end of 1994. -- Stan Markotich, RFE/RL
Inc.

MOLDOVA WORRIED BY TRUCE BREACHES. In another violation of the
armistice convention signed by Russian and Moldovan Presidents
Boris Yeltsin and Mircea Snegur in 1992, Russia has unilaterally
removed a "peacekeeping" battalion from the security zone,
allowing "Dniester" units to fill the vacuum, according to a
report presented to a plenary session of the Moldovan parliament
on 7 October by Maj. Gen. Victor Catana, Moldova's chief delegate
to the Russian-Moldovan-"Dniester" Joint [Armistice] Control
Commission. Other "Dniester" units, whose strength far exceeds
the convention's ceilings, have penetrated the security zone with
the consent of the Russian "peacekeeping" command, ITAR-TASS
cited the report as saying. Russia has recently sought a
substantial cut in the tripartite peacekeeping force, arguing
that it can no longer finance its contingent and that the
situation on the Dniester has substantially stabilized. Chisinau
fears that the Russian "peacekeepers'" disengagement would leave
the "Dniester" forces in a commanding position from which they
would be able to mount militarily and politically advantageous
"provocations." Moldovan officials see Russia's moves as aimed at
pressuring them into formally requesting the Russian
"peacekeepers" to stay or, alternatively, conferring that mandate
on Russia's 14th Army and thus legalizing its presence. --
Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc.

MILITARY TRANSIT THROUGH LITHUANIA. Russia is to receive on 12
October the draft agreement on military cargoes through
Lithuania, Lithuania Radio reports. The draft, approved by the
Lithuanian government earlier this month, provides for a system
of single permits issued by the Defense Ministry. Cargoes that
can go only by rail would be subject to other regulations laid
down by the Lithuanian government. The parliament alone can give
permission for the transit of armed military personnel and will
do so only if asked by the United Nations or other international
organizations. Russia's first reaction to the draft is expected
on 17 October at a meeting in Moscow between members of the
Lithuanian and Russian parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committees.
-- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL Inc.

CANDIDATE FOR LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT SEAT. The Presidium of the
Lithuanian Social Democratic Party has decided to support
Centrist Union candidate Rasa Melnikiene in the November
by-election in Kaisiadorys, the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service
reported on 11 October. The parliament seat was won by Algirdas
Brazauskas in 1992, but he resigned when he became president the
following year. Four subsequent elections were deemed invalid due
to insufficient turnout. The Liberal Party also expressed its
support for Melnikiene. Earlier this month, the main opposition
group, the right-of-center Homeland Union, nominated Liudvikas
Sabutis as its candidate in Kaisiadorys. The ruling Lithuanian
Democratic Labor Party has not yet named a candidate. -- Saulius
Girnius, RFE/RL Inc.

LATVIAN POLITICAL PARTIES PREPARE FOR PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS.
Preparations have begun in Latvia for the next parliamentary
elections, scheduled for October 1995. Politicians from the
right-wing political parties belonging to the National Bloc
coalition have designated members of what Diena on 10 October
dubs a "shadow cabinet." The People's Front of Latvia, a popular
movement with some 1,911 members, has decided to become a
political party. It is to call itself the [Political] Party
People's Front of Latvia, Diena reported on 9 October. The
leadership of Latvia's Way has met to discuss the party's
election chances. Prime Minister Maris Gailis says in a report
submitted to the party leadership that Latvia's Way has currently
only 272 members and candidate members and only 7 branch offices
outside Riga. These figures show that the party has not grown as
much as was anticipated. -- Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL Inc.

LATVIANS DISLIKE TAXATION SYSTEM. A recent opinion poll conducted
by the State Reforms Ministry and the Social Research Center
indicates that most Latvians dislike the existing taxation
system: 63.7 percent of the respondents consider it "poor" and
64.4 percent are unhappy with the way tax revenues are used.
Slightly less than 21 percent described the taxation system as
"very poor." State Reforms Minister Vita Terauda said the
Latvians' negative attitude could be largely explained by "the
lack of knowledge" of the existing system, BNS reported on 7
October. Meanwhile, Arturs Kodolins of Latvia's Finance Ministry
said new tax laws have been drafted that are in line with
European Union requirements. The new legislation would not only
improve the entire system but also stimulate industrial
development, he noted. -- Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL Inc.

[As of 1200 CET] (Compiled by Penny Morvant and Jan Cleave)
The RFE/RL DAILY REPORT, produced by the RFE/RL Research
Institute (a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.)
with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs
Division, is available through electronic mail by subscribing to
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Copyright 1994, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.


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