|Praise yourself daringly, something always sticks. - Francis Bacon|
No. 208, 2 November 1994
RUSSIA YELTSIN DISMISSES GENERAL BURLAKOV. President Boris Yeltsin has fired First Deputy Defense Minister Matvei Burlakov in order "to protect the honor of the armed forces, their senior commanders, the authority of the state power and in connection with current investigations," agencies reported 1 November. Burlakov, the former commander of Russian troops in Germany and Hungary, had repeatedly been charged with corruption in connection with his administration of the pullout from Germany. ITAR-TASS said that a government report indicated losses of $6.7 million as a result of corruption among troops in Germany. Major General Yuri Erin, the former military prosecutor in the Western Group of Forces (WGF), said on Russian Television that several officers have been arrested for corruption but he denied finding any organized corruption among WGF's top officers. Radical mass media has also linked Burlakov and Defense Minister Pavel Grachev with the death of investigative reporter Dmitrii Kholodov, who frequently wrote about corruption within the army and was killed by a bomb blast last month. Before dismissing Burlakov, Yeltsin discussed the situation with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Russian Television reported. Yeltsin expressed his concern to Chernomyrdin for both the continuous media criticism of the armed forces and the army's steep budget demands, which could jeopardize the austere state budget proposed last week by Chernomyrdin. Finally, Yeltsin reportedly told Chernomyrdin to make finding housing for military personnel a top priority . -- Victor Yasmann and Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN ORDERS HIS ADMINISTRATIVE STAFFCUT BY ONE-THIRD. President Boris Yeltsin has given orders to reduce his administration and to transfer part of its function to the Russian government, Ostankino Television reported 1 November. The growth of the state bureaucracy is a permanent theme in the Russian mass media. It was also one of the topics of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's address to the State Duma last week. According to former Minister of Finances Boris Fedorov, the total personnel of Yeltsin's presidential administration in Moscow and other regions has reached 40,000. This is several times higher than the staff of the Central Committee of the CPSU in the Soviet period. -- Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN OFFICIAL CALLS FOR ACTION AGAINST BOSNIAN MUSLIMS. Interfax reported on 1 November that Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigori Karasin said Russia believes the UN should take action against Bosnia's Muslims. According to Karasin, recent Bosnian government attacks against Serb-held positions in UN-declared safety areas shows the Bosnian government's "open disregard" for the UN Security Council's stance on Bosnia. Karasin also said that "the entire range of means available" ought to be employed against the Muslim-led authorities and that Russia's representative to the UN Security Council will communicate Moscow's concerns and position to that body. -- Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. SERGEI MAVRODI IS ELECTED TO DUMA. The controversial entrepreneur Sergei Mavrodi, who masterminded a colossal pyramid scheme, was elected to Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, agencies reported on 31 October. Mavrodi, who got 27 percent of the votes, was far ahead of the other candidates such as local administration chief Aleksandr Zharov (14 percent) and the leader of the Party of Economic Freedom, Konstantin Borovoy (13 percent). Despite the fears of the democratic mass media, Aleksandr Fedorov, the candidate of the fascist Russian National Unity, won only six percent of the votes, placing seventh in the election. Immediately after his election, Mavrodi announced the offices of his investment fund MMM will be closed until 1 January and that all present shares issued by the fund are invalid. He also said that after his election to the Duma he is suspending his duties as president and chief executive officer of MMM. Mavrodi's statements provoked an angry demonstration in Moscow by several thousand MMM investors, who called him "a liar." Moscow City Prosecutor Gennadii Ponomarev said he is not closing the case on Mavrodi, who is accused of fraud and tax evasion. Ponomarev added, however, that continuing the legal proceedings against Mavrodi will be very difficult because of the limited immunity he now enjoys as a Duma deputy. -- Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN NAVY FLYERS CAN USE UKRAINIAN BASE. Admiral Valentyn Selivanov, chief of the Russian Naval Staff, told foreign military and naval attaches on 28 October that agreement had been reached with Ukraine to allow the Russian navy to use the complex at Saki in the Crimea to train carrier pilots. Saki was the Soviet navy's only land-based facility for training carrier pilots, and features a simulated carrier deck complete with shipboard aircraft launching and recovery equipment. According to Interfax, Selivanov also told the attaches that the reorganization of the Baltic Fleet following the Russian withdrawal from the Baltic republics had been completed. Part of the fleet's submarines and mine-sweepers are now based at the Leningrad naval base while the rest of the fleet has moved to Baltiisk, in Kaliningrad oblast. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. DUMA SAYS FOREIGNERS MUST TAKE AIDS TESTS. The lower house of the Russian parliament voted 247-1 with 1 abstention on 28 October to make HIV tests obligatory for all foreigners visiting Russia, Reuters reported. The measure still has to be passed by the Federation Council and signed by President Yeltsin. Official figures released in May said 105 people in Russia had died of AIDS since 1987 and a further 740 were HIV-positive. -- Penny Morvant, RFE/RL, Inc. DUMA COMMITTEE WANTS SEPARATE NAVY BUDGET. The Chairman of the State Duma's Geopolitics Committee said on 28 October that the Duma should pass a special budget bill for the Navy and develop and endorse a government-controlled shipbuilding program. Viktor Ustinov, a member of Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party, was quoted by Interfax as saying that the Navy was supposed to get 9.5 trillion rubles from the 1994 defense budget but as of 20 October had received only 3.4 trillion. Another Duma member, Konstantin Panferov, said he felt 22 trillion rubles should be spent to rebuild the Navy. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA TAJIK CEASEFIRE EXTENDED. The third round of UN-sponsored talks between the Tajik government and opposition ended in Islamabad on 1 November with an agreement to prolong for three months (i.e. until 6 February) the ceasefire on the Afghan-Tajik border and within Tajikistan, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. In return, the Tajik government has agreed to the release of 27 political prisoners. The next round of talks is to take place in Moscow next month. Meanwhile the campaign committee of presidential candidate Abdumalik Abdullodzhanov has addressed an appeal to the UN Secretary-General and the presidents of Russia, the US and Uzbekistan protesting intimidation of his supporters by Parliament speaker Emomali Rakhmonov. They argue that the intimidation could lead to a new spiral of civil war. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. BOUTROS-GHALI IN BAKU . . . Addressing Azerbaijan's rump parliament on 31 October, UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali promised concrete assistance in expediting the building of a democratic society, and specifically in the conduct of the parliamentary elections scheduled for July, 1995. He again affirmed support for Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and for the CSCE peace plan for Nagorno-Karabakh. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. . . . AND TBILISI. Boutros-Ghali arrived in Tbilisi from Baku on 31 October amid intensive security precautions and demonstrations to protest the presence of Russian peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia, Western and Russian agencies reported. After addressing the Georgian parliament, he told reporters he would request the deployment of additional UN observers to Abkhazia, but reportedly disappointed the Georgian leadership by failing to advocate the dispatch of UN peacekeepers. Boutros-Ghali listed as central to a settlement of the Abkhaz conflict respect for Georgia's territorial integrity, the inviolability of its frontiers, and the implementation of all UN Security Council resolutions on Georgia; he is to submit further recommendations to the UN Security Council after the next round of UN-sponsored talks on a political settlement of the conflict later this month. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. SOCIAL DEPRIVATION IN KAZAKHSTAN, GEORGIA, ARMENIA. The city of Kentau in southern Kazakhstan was described by a local trade union official as "on the threshold of a social explosion", Interfax reported on 28 October. The city has been without gas or running water for several months, power supplies are switched off during the day, workers have not received their wages for six months and pensioners their pensions for 3 to 4 months. Suicides, deaths from malnutrition and out-migration are on the increase. ITAR-TASS on 28 October quoted an official from the UN World Food Program as predicting that 483,000 Georgians risk starvation this coming winter without massive international aid which the organization is not in a position to provide. In Armenia, teachers went on strike on 1 November to demand multiple salary increases and that schools be heated during the winter, Interfax reported. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS A JOINT RUSSO/UKRAINIAN BLACK SEA FLEET? A "high-ranking" Russian diplomat believes that recent statements by Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Evhen Marchuk indicate Ukraine might accept the idea of a unified Black Sea fleet. As quoted by Interfax on 1 November, Marchuk said that Ukraine had "changed the vector of the negotiating process" with Russia over the division of the ex-Soviet fleet "from division for the sake of division, to the organization of two structures for interaction and cooperation." Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma that day named Marchuk to head the Ukrainian delegation at these talks. The unnamed Russian diplomat said Marchuk shared Kuchma's "pragmatic course," and he expected the Ukrainian and Russian navies "to become two elements in one structure." -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. INTERPARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY SESSION. On 29 October in St. Petersburg, a plenary session of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly discussed ways of harmonizing the domestic legislation of member states, coordination of legislative work, creation of a legal base of the CIS Economic Union, and the development of "a common legal space," Assembly chairman Vladimir Shumeiko, who is also the chairman of Russia's Federation Council, said at a news conference and in interviews on 29 and 30 October. The session worked out a "charter of social rights and guarantees" of the CIS states' citizens, which is to be forwarded to the states' parliaments for adoption; it resolved to work out "a model legislation on citizenship in the CIS;" and discussed a "model civil code" for the CIS states. Shumeiko stressed to ITAR-TASS that "Russia has no expansionist plans whatsoever, there is only a question of mutually advantageous cooperation." He also praised the CIS for "saving what could still be saved from the former Union," Interfax reported. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN AIDE FOR DILUTION OF CIS STATES' CITIZENSHIP. Abdullah Mikitaev, the head of Yeltsin's Presidential Administration's Directorate on Matters on Citizenship and chairman of the special presidential commission on citizenship legislation, reiterated on Ostankino TV on 27 October that Russia wishes the CIS member states to allow their Russian residents--totaling, he said, some 30 million in the "near abroad"--to hold the citizenship of the Russian Federation in addition to the citizenship of the each state. Mikitaev hoped that "the new states will not fear that this is some new form of Russian hegemony or pressure . . . Dual citizenship is an institution of trust among states." Mikitaev argued that arrangements for dual citizenship among Russia and individual states of the CIS can pave the way toward a single CIS citizenship and ultimately toward world citizenship. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE HEAVY FIGHTING IN BOSNIA CONTINUES. On 1 November international agencies reported that serious fighting continues throughout Bosnia, with some of the most intense clashes taking place in the Bihac area in northwestern Bosnia. Hina reported that Croat units were taking an active role in the fighting, backing Muslim forces. On 1 November, Bosnian Croat forces reportedly destroyed two tanks and overwhelmed Bosnian Serb positions near the Serb-held town of Kupres in west-central Bosnia. On 1 November Reuters reported that the Muslim offensive near the town of Bihac may be slowing down due to the serious resistance being offered by the Bosnian Serb forces. Finally, at least an estimated 2,000 rebel Serb soldiers in the Croatian area of Krajina have mobilized for possible action in Bosnia. -- Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. ALLIANCE FOR MACEDONIA WINS BIG MAJORITY. On 1 November international agencies reported that Macedonia's electoral commission announced that President Kiro Gligorov's governing Alliance for Macedonia has garnered a minimum of 90 seats in the 120-seat legislature following a second round of voting on 30 October. The Alliance had obtained 8 seats in the initial polling held on 16 October. On 31 October Macedonian state TV reported that the Alliance had secured 83 seats in the second round of voting; however, AFP reported the following day that it had won only 82. AFP also reports that the latest round of balloting was "marred by an opposition boycott." The nationalist VMRO-DMNPE and the Democratic Party, which urged their followers to support boycott action, reportedly secured no seats. -- Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. MILOSEVIC SUPPORTS MARTIC? On 31 October Reuters reported that the leader of the rebel Serbs in Croatia's Krajina area, Milan Martic, has discounted all reports that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic plans to give up support for the self-styled Republic of Serbian Krajina. According to Martic, Milosevic has no plans to recognize the Zagreb government until Krajina secures statehood. Martic reportedly observed that Milosevic has promised "he would never recognize Croatia if it had an adverse effect on us." Milosevic's recent embargo against the Bosnian Serbs, however, has fueled wide speculation that the Serbian president is preparing to extend recognition to Croatia and Bosnia. -- Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN PREMIER CALLS OFF VISIT TO POLAND. Russian Prime Minister, Victor Chernomyrdin, on 1 November called off a visit to Poland due to start on 3 November because of a dispute over alleged police brutality toward Russian tourists in Warsaw. The row concerns an incident at Warsaw's railway station on 23 October, during which several Russian passengers were mistreated by the Polish police. According to Polish media reports, the incident started when the Russians, traveling on a train from Moscow to Brussels, were held up by a group of Russian-speaking bandits while the train stopped in Warsaw. The passengers were reported to have called the police, but then refused to make formal charges against the bandits. When the police departed, the passengers demanded to see a Russian consul and awaiting his arrival set off the train's alarm, impeding its departure. The Russian consul failed to arrive at the station, however, and the police were forced to step in again to get the train moving. In the ensuing violence, some Russian passengers were roughed up and several were arrested. Poland has expressed regret over the incident and said that an investigation on it has begun. The Russian government said that the Polish response was not satisfactory, while the Russian media turned it into a major news event. Chernomyrdin was to sign a multibillion dollar deal in Warsaw to construct a pipeline which would allow Russia to lower its dependence on Ukraine for the transport of its gas to the West. -- Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc. POPIELUSZKO'S KILLER RELEASED FROM PRISON. Grzegorz Piotrowski, the condemned murderer of the Warsaw priest Jerzy Popieluszko, on 30 October was released from prison on five-year parole. Piotrowski and three other former police officers were involved in the October 1984 murder of the popular priest and were condemned to prison terms in February 1985. During the years, they were gradually paroled. Piotrowski, who was sentenced to 25 years, was the last one to gain freedom. -- Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc. MECIAR ASKED TO FORM GOVERNMENT. Slovak President Michal Kovac has formally asked former Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar to form a new government. TASR reports that the nomination was conveyed to Meciar in a letter on 31 October. Kovac had offered the post to Meciar during a meeting of the two politicians on 27 October but Meciar asked Kovac to delay the formal appointment until Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia could discuss it. The party's executive board gave its approval on 29 October. The MDS won most seats in the parliamentary elections held on 30 September and 1 October but failed to win a majority. The party's executive board asked Meciar to build a coalition but the prospects for such a coalition are unclear after a series of unsuccessful talks between the MDS and the parties that are members of the current government coalition. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. SOUTH AFRICAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN PRAGUE. Alfred Nzo arrived in the Czech Republic on 30 October for a five-day official visit. On 31 October Nzo met with Czech President Vaclav Havel and Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus. CTK reports Havel as saying after his meeting with Nzo that "South Africa is an example for other countries" in solving racial and ethnic problems. Klaus and Nzo discussed bilateral relations, in particular possibilities for expanding bilateral trade. In their meeting, on 1 November, Zieleniec and Nzo agreed that the countries will soon sign an agreement preventing double taxation. Speaking to reporters in Prague on 1 November, Nzo said South Africa's new black-led government has to "come out to show that it us a ready citizen of the world." -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. HAVEL IN HUNGARY. On the first day of his two-day official visit on November 1 Czech President Vaclav Havel held talks with his Hungarian counterpart Arpad Goncz, MTI reports. At a joint press conference, the two presidents stressed the importance of strengthening bilateral economic and cultural ties. Havel spoke of his friendship to Goncz and of the need to extend the friendly spirit to bilateral relations. Goncz, for his part, said that Hungary regarded the Czech Republic not only as an important country in the Central European region but also as its partner. Havel is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Gyula Horn and parliamentary leaders. -- Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. JOINT OPPOSITION CANDIDATE FOR BUDAPEST MAYOR. The chairmen of three parliamentary opposition parties, the Hungarian Democratic Forum, the Christian Democratic People's Party, and the Alliance of Young Democrats, agreed on 30 October to support a single candidate for mayor of Budapest in the December local elections, Nepszava of 31 October reports. The joint candidate is CDPP deputy chairman and former Minister of Industry and Trade Janos Latorcai. HDF chairman Lajos Fur praised the agreement as the first comprehensive opposition cooperation agreement since the change of regime in Hungary. Latorcai expressed the hope that the agreement would mark the beginning of a long term cooperation between opposition parties. The three parties also agreed to run joint candidates in the local elections in a Budapest district, and in the towns of Szeged and Gyor, Magyar Nemzet of 1 November reports. -- Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. ILIESCU ATTENDS CASABLANCA ECONOMIC FORUM. Romania's President Ion Iliescu on 31 October arrived in Casablanca, Morocco, to attend a high-level conference on economic cooperation in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Radio Bucharest, which covered the event extensively, said that Romania was the only Central-East European state to have been invited to the conference. In a speech delivered on 1 November, Iliescu stressed his country's willingness to participate in the economic reconstruction of the region following the recent progress of the peace process there. Iliescu had talks with King Hassan II of Morocco, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and other senior officials from the Middle East and Northern Africa. The Romanian delegation flies to London on 2 November. -- Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. DRAFT 1995 BUDGET SUBMITTED TO ROMANIA'S PARLIAMENT. On 1 November Radio Bucharest reported the official registration of the draft 1995 budget with the Chamber of Deputies, one day after the document had been submitted to Romania's bicameral parliament. The draft had been approved by Romania's government on 29 October. In an interview with Radio Bucharest, Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu said that the draft provides for continued austerity, and that boosting investments and combating inflation remained priorities in 1995. However, Vacaroiu stressed that the draft includes increased social welfare spending, such as higher unemployment benefits and pensions. -- Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. MOLDOVA REBUFFS ROMANIAN IRREDENTISM. The Moldovan Parliament on 28 October adopted a declaration chastising recent "statements by Romanian leaders denying the existence of Moldova as an independent state and of the Moldovans as a people. The Romanian leadership's recent statements throw into doubt the sincerity of its previous policy of supporting Moldova's independence." Allowing for the possibility that those statements "might perhaps be made under pressure from extremist nationalist forces," the declaration called for "good-neighborly" Moldovan-Romanian relations, noted the international community's support for Moldovan statehood and for stability in the region, and urged Romania to observe "European norms" in its conduct toward Moldova. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. NEW MINISTERIAL APPOINTMENTS IN UKRAINE. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma issued a decree on 31 November appointing new deputy prime ministers, Ukrainian television reported. Viktor Pynzenyk was named first deputy prime minister for economic reform; Evhen Marchuk was appointed first deputy prime minister and the head of the coordinating committee for combating corruption and organized crime; Petro Sabluka was appointed a deputy prime minister for the agricultural complex. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. CRIMEA FAILS TO BRING ITS CONSTITUTION IN LINE WITH UKRAINE'S. Reports from 31 October made it unlikely that Crimea would meet the deadline of 1 November to bring its constitution in line with Ukraine's. Ukrainian television reported that although the Crimean parliament had been meeting in closed sessions for a whole week debating the issue, no resolutions had been passed. On 28 October the deputy speaker of the Crimean parliament, Viktor Mezhak, told Interfax that the Ukrainian demand regarding the constitution made little sense since Ukraine itself is still only in the process of drafting its own constitution. Mezhak said it would be more logical for Ukraine to adopt a constitution first and then have Crimea revise its legislation to conform with it. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. SHUMEIKO IN MINSK. A Russian delegation led by the speaker of the Federation Council, Vladimir Shumeiko, was in Minsk on 1 November for talks on closer economic cooperation between Russia and Belarus, ITAR-TASS reported. Shumeiko met with Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Chyhir who said that the Belarusian energy debt to Russia must not be allowed to rise. He said that Belarus may institute a new measure to repay the country's energy debt, whereby enterprises which are in debt to Russia must sell their shares to Russian enterprises. Chyhir and Shumeiko also talked about setting up groups to discuss trade and finances between Russia and Belarus without waiting for legislation to be passed on those issues, and without waiting for other CIS countries to participate in such discussions. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. MILITARY TRANSIT THROUGH LITHUANIA. At a press conference on 28 October President Algirdas Brazauskas said that the regulations on transporting dangerous and military cargo of foreign states through Lithuania would go into effect on 1 January 1995, Radio Lithuania reports. He stressed that establishing such regulations was an internal matter of Lithuania and that Russia would have to observe them for any military transit to and from Kaliningrad. Aleksandr Udaltsov, assistant director of Russian Foreign Ministry's Second European Department, told BNS that Russia is unsatisfied with some "purely technical" matters of the draft agreement on military transit that Lithuania had sent it several weeks ago. Udaltsov said that the next round of talks on the agreement would be held this week, but Lithuanian officials did not confirm this. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. RATIFICATION OF ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN TREATIES. On 29 October the Estonian Justice Ministry gave acting Prime Minister Mart Laar an expert report on how the two agreements on Russian troop withdrawal signed by Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Lennart Meri on 26 July complied with existing Estonian laws. On 1 November Laar said that he was asking the Justice Ministry to point out specifically what changes in existing laws or government regulations would have to be made so that the parliament would be fully informed when it discusses the ratification of the agreements, BNS reports. That same day Russian Ambassador to Estonia Aleksandr Trofimov expressed concern about Estonia's delay in ratifying the agreements implying that the Russian parliament would vote on their ratification only after Estonia had done so. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. FURTHER US-LATVIAN COOPERATION IN SECURITY MATTERS. At a joint press conference on 31 October, the U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, Lynn Davis, and the Foreign Minister of Latvia, Valdis Birkavs, announced that the United States and Latvia have agreed on further cooperation in security and defense, Baltic media reported. During the meetings that preceded, Davis and Latvian officials discussed various issues, including ways to improve air traffic safety and export control, FBI assistance in fighting organized crime, and US assistance for the development of the Baltic Peacekeeping Battalion, which is scheduled to be ready for participation in UN peacekeeping operations by November 1995. -- Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. LATVIAN PRIME MINISTER PROPOSES ADAMSONS FOR INTERIOR MINISTER. Diena reported on 1 November that Latvian Prime Minister Maris Gailis will propose the commander of the border guards, Janis Adamsons, for the post of Minister of Internal Affairs. Until he was appointed to head the border guard in April, Adamsons served as deputy commander of the Latvian Navy. He was born in 1956 at Livani, Latvia and graduated from the Kiev (Ukraine) Navy School in 1979. Following his graduation he held various posts in the Soviet Marine Frontier Guard Forces. -- Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. LATVIAN PROSECUTOR ASSAULTED. On 28 October unidentified men stopped the car of State Prosecutor Olgerts Sabanskis, assaulted him and told him that his life was in danger if he continued with the prosecution of former Latvian Communist Party leaders Alfreds Rubiks and Ojars Potreki, who are currently being tried on charges related to attempts to foment a coup in August 1991 in Latvia. Latvian media note that this attack comes at a time when charges against Ivan Kharitonov, accused of being one of the principal leaders of organized crime in Latvia, are being investigated by the State Prosecution and letters of petition have been submitted to Latvian leaders to free on bail Kharitonov, Rubiks, and the others detained in connection with those cases. Some of the persons who signed the petitions have said that they were forced to do so by "the mafia," while others claim that they never signed the petitions. -- Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] (Compiled by Ustina Markus and Pete Baumgartner) 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 RFERL-L at LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU Inquiries about specific news items should be directed as follows (please include your full postal address when inquiring about subscriptions): Mr. Brian Reed RFE/RL, Inc. 1201 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036 Telephone: (202) 457-6912 Fax: (202) 457-6992 Internet: REEDB@RFERL.ORG Copyright 1994, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.
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