Praise yourself daringly, something always sticks. - Francis Bacon
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 217, 15 November 1994

Note: The Daily Report will not appear Wednesday, 16 November

                              RUSSIA

YELTSIN ADDRESSES MILITARY LEADERS. President Boris Yeltsin--as
supreme commander of the armed forces--spoke in Moscow to the
Defense Ministry's annual review conference on 14 November. While
he praised senior military commanders for the way the withdrawals
from Eastern Europe had been handled, he also took them to task
for a number of shortcomings. According to the Interfax account of
the closed meeting, Yeltsin said that the Defense Ministry had
made only limited progress in improving its organization, had not
done enough to promote the military in the eyes of the public, and
had not tightened up military discipline. He specifically pointed
to the ineffectiveness of contract-based military service and
charged that several generals were not pulling their weight. --
Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLITICAL ISSUES DOMINATE DEFENSE MINISTRY CONCLAVE. Yeltsin told
the generals that despite "positive changes in the international
arena," there remained "the potential for the extension of
existing and the emergence of new conflicts in which Russia could
become involved by virtue of its geopolitical and strategic
interests"; Russia must, therefore, "increase troop training
requirements." Possibly presaging increased assertiveness in the
"near abroad," Yeltsin said that "the main effort in troop
training will be on perfecting the means of using troops in local
conflicts." Military cooperation with CIS states will aim to
"strengthen collective security and deepen relations among their
armed forces," he said. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and the
new ministers of economics and finance, Evgenii Yasin and Vladimir
Panskov--who also attended the meeting--were instructed by Yeltsin
to release all funds earmarked for the military, as it must not be
"forced onto the road of commercialism." Yeltsin also voiced
concern that "following the conservatives' victory in the US
mid-term elections, the US can be expected to toughen its line
somewhat on foreign and military issues," hence "contacts must be
established with the Republicans too in order to balance our
relations," ITAR-TASS reported. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

GRACHEV, BURLAKOV SEEM REPRIEVED. Yeltsin, who appears to be
continuing to back Defense Minister Pavel Grachev despite the
latter's unpopularity among the military, traded jokes with him in
public, AFP reported. For his part, Matvei Burlakov, the suspended
deputy defense minister accused of corruption, was tasked with
reporting on accommodation for Russian military personnel
withdrawn from Central/Eastern Europe. He took the opportunity to
reject media allegations of corruption "in the command of forces
stationed abroad," Interfax reported. According to ITAR-TASS,
Yeltsin's national security adviser Yurii Baturin dismissed media
"rumors" that Grachev and others would be fired but conceded that
Grachev's "reputation was significantly affected" by his public
rejection of a recent military opinion survey that gave him a low
rating. Yeltsin also announced his intention to meet with top
commanders individually in coming days, which suggests personnel
changes may be in the offing. Duma Defense Committee Chairman
Sergei Yushenkov (Democratic Russia) told Interfax on 14 November
that he would continue to press for a vote of no confidence in
Grachev in the parliament. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN POSITION ON NATO EXPANSION. There are two approaches to
the possible incorporation of Central European countries in NATO,
Russian Ambassador to Belgium Vitalii Churkin told Russian
television on 14 November. The first, espoused by the
communist-nationalist camp, regards any eastward expansion of NATO
as a threat to vital Russian interests. The second, advocated by
Russian "liberals," calls for the rapid incorporation of Russia
into NATO in order to "neutralize negative trends in NATO as a
Cold War military alliance." Churkin added that he, personally,
would coordinate his position with Ukraine. Today, Churkin said,
as the euphoria of independence is wearing off, many in Kiev have
begun to realize that the extension of NATO might be of greater
concern to Ukraine than Russia, which will have no borders with
the alliance. -- Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc.

FLOATING RATE FOR RUBLE RECOMMENDED. Speaking at a joint session
of the budget committees of both houses of the Federal Assembly on
14 November, acting Chairwoman of the Central Bank Tatyana
Paramonova said she favored a "floating rate" for the ruble, which
would respond to the market but still be influenced by Central
Bank actions, ITAR-TASS reported. Also on 14 November, the State
Duma's budget committee voted by 17 to 2 with 4 abstentions to
recommend that Paramonova's appointment be confirmed. -- Penny
Morvant, RFE/RL, Inc.

GENERAL DENIES RUSSIANS SOLD ARMS TO SERBIA. Major General
Vladimir Kozarev, the head of the Russian Defense Ministry's
information and press directorate, on 13 November vehemently
denied a charge in the German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel
that arms belonging to the Russian forces in Germany had been sold
to the Serbs. ITAR-TASS quoted the general as saying "Not a single
tank, a missile, or other unit of armaments, either operational or
as scrap metal, was or is supplied to the Serbian armed forces
from Russian military arsenals." Kozarev also pointed out that a
great deal of Soviet military equipment belonging to the former
East Germany had been inherited by the German government after
unification, implying that some of those arms might have ended up
in the former Yugoslavia. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

60 PERCENT OF DEFENSE INDUSTRY TO BE PRIVATIZED. The State
Committee for the Defense Industry told Interfax on 14 November
that the government had decided to speed up the privatization of
60 percent of Russia's nearly 2,000 defense plants and
organizations. The facilities to be privatized have been divided
into three groups: one in which the government will hold the
controlling block of shares; another where the state would have a
"golden share" and could veto the decisions of the board of
directors; and a third group that will be privatized without
restrictions. The committee hopes to attract foreign capital, but
its experts also said foreigners might not be allowed to purchase
more than 10-15 percent in any one company. -- Doug Clarke,
RFE/RL, Inc.

KOLESNIKOV ON MILITARY CUTS. Colonel General Mikhail Kolesnikov,
chief of the Russian General Staff, told Interfax on 11 November
that the reductions in the armed forces were aggravating the
Defense Ministry's financial woes. He said that over the past two
and a half years the military had been reduced by 905,000 men and
that a further 70,000 commissioned and noncommissioned officers
would have to be let go to meet President Boris Yeltsin's goal of
1.7 million by 1 January 1996. Kolesnikov said that 4 trillion
rubles would be needed for the demobilization to cover such costs
as travel and baggage transportation. He indicated, however, that
he believed the armed forces should get even smaller--down to 1.5
million. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA LEASES SPY CENTER IN CUBA. In the same interview,
Kolesnikov said that Russia would pay Cuba about $200 million a
year for the use of the Soviet-built electronic intelligence
gathering facility near Havana. The lease runs out at the end of
1995 but can be renewed. Kolesnikov said that no money would be
involved; rather, Russia would supply Cuba with fuel, timber, and
spare parts. He also disclosed that the intelligence developed by
the facility is shared with the Cubans. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL,
Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

TAJIK GOVERNMENT-OPPOSITION COMMISSION MEETS. A ten-member
commission representing Tajikistan's government and the Tajik
opposition has held its first meeting in Dushanbe, Russian
agencies reported on 14 November. The commission, which is
supposed to work closely with UN cease-fire monitors in
Tajikistan, was set up in accord with an agreement reached at the
Tehran round of talks between Tajik government representatives and
the opposition in exile earlier in the year. Opposition demands
for a release of political prisoners delayed both a cease-fire
between government and opposition troops and the creation of the
commission. The head of the UN mission in Tajikistan, Liviu Bota,
who opened the first session of the commission, and Tajik Minister
of Labor Shukhurjon Zukhurov told journalists that the cease-fire
had already gone into effect. -- Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

CENTRAL ASIAN PRESIDENTS IN EUROPE. On 14 November Turkmenistan's
President Saparmurad Niyazov was in Vienna inviting Austrian
businessmen to invest in his country, while Kyrgyzstan's President
Askar Akaev signed a cooperation agreement in Bern under which
Switzerland will provide the Central Asian state with more the $3
million in aid, Russian sources reported. Niyazov told potential
investors that stumbling blocks to foreign investment had been
removed and that the tax and banking systems had been improved.
The Austrians, according to ITAR-TASS, are particularly interested
in the pipeline project that is to bring Turkmen gas via Iran and
Turkey to Europe and in developing the pharmaceutical industry and
railway transport. The agreement signed by Akaev provides for
Swiss assistance in agriculture, forest products, energy
development and health care. Switzerland represents Kyrgyzstan,
along with Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Poland in the
leadership of the IMF and World Bank. -- Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

                               CIS

RUSSIA CLAIMS TO DEFEND "CIS BORDERS." Commander of Russia's
Border Troops Colonel General Andrei Nikolaev asserted in
Rossiiskaya gazeta of 12 November that Russia could not
effectively guard its borders with CIS states against smuggling or
arms and drug trafficking because of transparency requirements and
the high cost of redeploying the border troops on Russia's new
borders. The solution in Russia's view is "guarding the CIS outer
borders"--a concept that has been endorsed by Yeltsin and the
Russian government, Nikolaev said. Russian Border Troops guard
"CIS outer borders" in Armenia, Georgia, Tajikistan, and
Kyrgyzstan "at these states' request," legalizing the troops'
stationing and sharing the expenses. Russia seeks similar
agreements with Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. As for
Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, which have their own border
troops, Russia has proposed a system of "mutual security
guarantees" on their "outer borders" and the integration of border
troops under CIS authority. Although the CIS is not a country or a
subject of international law, Russian officials commonly speak of
"CIS borders" and sometimes speak of the states' borders with each
other as "inner" ones. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

UZBEKISTAN TO ASSEMBLE UKRAINIAN PLANE? During his recent official
visit to Ukraine, Uzbek President Islam Karimov offered the
facilities of the Tashkent Aviation Plant for assembly of a new
military transport plane that has been developed in Ukraine,
Interfax reported on 14 November. Karimov asserted that an earlier
plan to assemble the plane in Samara, with Uzbekistan supplying
only the wings and fuselage, would cause a far greater delay in
starting production of the aircraft because the Samara plant would
require retooling. Interfax commented that up to 70 percent of the
parts for the Ukrainian plane were expected to come from Russia in
any case. -- Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

TRANSDNIESTER TO TRAIN ABKHAZ, SOUTH OSSETIAN MILITIAS. According
to a special report from Tiraspol in Izvestiya of 12 November,
featuring interviews with Lieutenant General Aleksandr Lebed and
"Dniester" Security Minister Vadim Shevtsov, the "Dniester
republic" is about to begin training militiamen for Abkhazia and
South Ossetia, under agreements signed earlier this year by
Tiraspol and the other two would-be states, which are also
supported by Russian hardliners. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERBS CONTINUE TO GAIN GROUND IN BIHAC. Fighting continues
in several areas in Bosnia, including the Bihac pocket, where
Bosnian Serb troops continue to reconquer recently lost ground,
international agencies report. Serbian forces have reportedly
retaken roughly 80 percent of the territory recently won by
Bosnian government forces. Meanwhile, Reuters on 14 November
reported that the 1,300 Bangladeshi peacekeepers stranded in Bihac
by the fighting are running low on food and fuel and may run out
entirely within two weeks unless permitted transit through
Serb-held territory. The Croatian news agency Hina on 14 November
reported that a senior Croatian official, Darko Bekic, has said
Croatia will likely intervene in the fighting if the conquest of
Bihac by Bosnian Serb forces becomes "inevitable." Bosnian Prime
Minister Haris Silajdzic, during a two-day visit to Britain, told
reporters on 14 November that the UN Security Council should call
for "a real air strike." Borba on 15 November reports that Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic met the previous day with Russian
special envoy Alexander Zotov for talks on the military situation
in Bosnia. Meanwhile, Croatian media report that UN and NATO
officials held meetings in Zagreb on 14 November to discuss
extending NATO air support for peacekeepers in Croatia, a move
prompted by the military situation in Bosnia. -- Stan Markotich,
RFE/RL, Inc.

BOSNIAN MUSLIM LEADER PLANS ASSAULT? AFP on 14 November reported
that former rebel Bosnian Muslim leader Fikret Abdic, once based
in Bihac and now a refugee in Serb-held Croatia, is recruiting and
organizing fellow refugees for a possible attack on Bihac.
According to the report, UN Protection Force officials estimate
that some 6,000 Abdic supporters have amassed along the border
with Bosnia and appear poised to support the Bosnian Serb war
effort. The International Committee of the Red Cross has protested
and condemned Abdic's efforts, observing that the recruitment of
refugees for military purposes violates international rules and
agreements between warring parties. -- Stan Markotich, RFE/RL,
Inc.

MACEDONIAN CENSUS RESULTS. Reuters reports that on 14 November
Macedonia's National Statistics Bureau made public returns from
the nationwide census conducted in June and deemed accurate by
international observers. According to the bureau, Macedonia's
population totals some 1.9 million, of which 66 percent are ethnic
Macedonian and 23 percent ethnic Albanian. Other groups identified
include Turks, Roma, and Serbs. Ethnic Albanian leaders, however,
have condemned the report, saying that irregularities marred the
returns and that ethnic Albanians account for at least a third of
the population. A final census report is expected to be released
in about a month. -- Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

COALITION PARTIES DEBATE WAYS TO PREVENT POLITICAL CONFLICTS.
Leading politicians of the Union of the Democratic Left and the
Peasant Party--the two groups that compose the coalition
supporting the current government--are to meet in Warsaw on 15
November to discuss ways of limiting disagreements and conflicts.
The meeting was called by Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak, who was
apparently alarmed by signs that the postcommunist UDL and the
opposition Freedom Union could work together in local and
parliamentary politics to oppose his Peasant Party (the UDL and
the FU recently joined forces to set up a city government in
Warsaw and remove a Peasant Party politician from the chairmanship
of a key parliamentary committee). Pawlak's immediate reaction was
to support President Lech Walesa's effort to remove Piotr
Kolodziejczyk as minister of defense, despite the UDL's
opposition. Polish press and television saw this move as Pawlak's
warning to the UDL that he may align himself politically with the
president. The 15 November meeting could lay the foundations for a
long-term coalition arrangement. According to Rzeczpospolita on 15
November, this would require that Pawlak presents his political
program before the presidential elections (scheduled for November
1995) and that an agreement be reached between the coalition
parties on actions within the government. -- Jan de Weydenthal,
RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK POLITICAL SQUABBLING CONTINUES. In a press conference on 14
November, Chairman of the Party of the Democratic Left Peter Weiss
said the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia has slammed the door
on further cabinet discussions through its methods of exerting
power. Only the MDS has the key to open the door again, Weiss
said, adding that the PDL's decision to end the coalition talks
was unanimous. Questioning the sincerity of the MDS's claim that
it is not laying down conditions for building a government, Weiss
stressed that one condition is that the other parties accept the
way in which the MDS seized power during the parliament's second
session. At a meeting of the MDS leadership on 14 November, MDS
Deputy Chairman Augustin Marian Huska said his party does not
intend to reverse the decisions made during that session. He
accused the PDL of failing to realize its responsibility for
Slovakia's future. Huska also noted that a coalition agreement
with the Association of Slovak Workers might be reached after the
budget is approved, TASR reports. -- Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW HUNGARIAN COALITION AGREEMENT ON MEDIA LAW. Following last
week's six-party talks, media experts from the ruling Hungarian
Socialist Party and Alliance of Free Democrats have reached
agreement on the principles of a draft media law, MTI reported on
14 November. A subcommittee on which Hungarians abroad will also
be represented is to supervise the programs for Hungarians in
foreign countries. Hungarian Television, Hungarian Radio, and
Danube Television are to become joint-stock companies, and their
current chairmen are to remain in office for four years. The
government coalition parties hope to put the draft media law on
the parliament's agenda this year. The plenary debate and the
passage of the law are to take place in January and February 1995,
respectively. -- Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc.

RIGHTS GROUP ON ANTI-GYPSY VIOLENCE IN ROMANIA. A report released
by the Human Rights Watch/Helsinki group in New York on 14
November says Romania is failing to protect its Gypsy minority
from violent attacks. The report concludes that the government has
become "virtually complicit" in those attacks through inaction on
numerous cases of violence against Gypsies. The 41-page document
offers details on a rampant wave of anti-Gypsy violence in Romania
since the end of Nicolae Ceausescu's regime, in December 1989. --
Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

IRANIAN REFUGEE KILLED IN BUCHAREST. Radio Bucharest on 14
November reported that an Iranian national was stabbed to death
two days earlier in Bucharest. The Romanian police are
investigating the case, the radio added. The victim, Mohamed Ali
Assadi, has been described by Romanian media as a political
refugee accompanying the nephew of the late Shah of Iran on a
visit to Romania. The Iranian embassy in Bucharest denied any
involvement. It also accused the 39-year-old Assadi of committing
blackmail, robbery, and other offenses against members of
Romania's Iranian community. -- Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

ANOTHER ANTONESCU MONUMENT IN ROMANIA. Radio Bucharest reports
that a bust of Marshall Ion Antonescu, Romania's wartime military
dictator, was unveiled on 12 November in the town of Piatra-Neamt.
The ceremony was attended by local officials and war veterans. One
year ago, Romania's first Antonescu statue was erected in
Slobozia. In late September 1994, the Supreme Court of Justice
overruled the decision of a Targu-Mures appeals court that had
granted permission to inaugurate a second Antonescu statue,
despite opposition from the local city council. Antonescu, who was
executed in 1946, has been turned into a cult figure by Romania's
extreme nationalist parties, including the Greater Romania Party.
-- Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT SAYS "PROTEST" VOTE HELPED KILL CONSTITUTION.
Sali Berisha told a 14 November news conference that the public's
rejection of the country's draft constitution by a margin of 54
percent in the 6 November referendum was spurred by public
disillusionment with economic reform and government
"inefficiency." Berisha suggested that a revised draft
constitution be written by a constitutional commission elected by
the parliament and supported by foreign legal and constitutional
experts. Berisha said any future draft should also be subject to a
referendum. -- Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

GAZPROM CUTS GAS TO UKRAINE. The Russian gas enterprise Gazprom
informed the Ukrainian government on 11 November that daily gas
supplies had been cut indefinitely to 40 million cubic because of
Ukraine's failure to pay off its energy debt, UNIAN reported.
Ukrhazprom informed UNIAN that talks between Ukraine and Russia
over the country's gas arrears ended inconclusively. Gazprom cut
supplies to the region of Mariupol last month; the region
responded by holding talks with Gazprom to ensure its supplies.
The November cuts affect the whole country. -- Ustina Markus,
RFE/RL, Inc.

UKRAINIAN DECREE ON LAND PRIVATIZATION. Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma has issued a decree authorizing private ownership of
agricultural land for the first time in Ukraine, Reuters reported
on 14 November. Private land ownership has been resisted by both
the Communists and leftists in parliament, who together hold over
150 seats. The decree allows landowners to sell, lease, or
bequeath their land to Ukrainian citizens as long as it continues
to be used for the same purpose. Land reform is considered an
important part of Kuchma's economic reform program, which was
drawn up with the approval of the IMF. Kuchma has recently made a
number of statements urging the speedy privatization of
agricultural land. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

RECONSTRUCTION OF UKRAINIAN ARMS DISMANTLING COMPLEX BEGINS.
Ukrinform-TASS on 14 November reported that Ukraine has begun
reconstructing the Southern Machine-Building plant in
Dnipopetrovsk. The plant built SS-19 intercontinental ballistic
missiles during the Soviet era and is now being transformed into a
dismantling facility for those missiles. Ukraine has 130 SS-19
missiles, which it has pledged to dismantle. The reconstructed
plant should be capable of dismantling four a month. The nuclear
materials will be transported to Russia in accordance with the
Trilateral Agreement on disarmament, signed by Russia, the US, and
Ukraine in January 1994. The US is helping finance and organize
the plant's reconstruction in line with an October 1993 agreement.
The process should be completed within a year. -- Ustina Markus,
RFE/RL, Inc.

PRICE CRISIS IN BELARUS. Recent price hikes on some goods were
rolled back after President Alyaksandr Lukashenka demanded they be
brought down to 1 November levels, international agencies
reported. With the exception of bread and milk, however, most
prices remained at the higher levels. Prime Minister Mikhail
Chyhir said the rollbacks were only temporary . Ministers at an
emergency government session on 12 November argued that halting
the decontrol of prices would lead to economic collapse. Several
government officials were critical of Lukashenka's backtracking,
saying it was time to move forward with reform. -- Ustina Markus,
RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUSIAN-RUSSIAN TALKS. Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail
Myasnikovich arrived in Moscow on 14 November for talks with his
Russian counterpart, Aleksei Bolshakov, Russian agencies reported.
The two are to draw up more than 20 documents to be used as the
basis for discussions between the prime ministers of the two
countries beginning on 15 November. The main points on the agenda
deal with Belarus's gas debt to Russia, which stands at some $400
million. Russia wants ownership of Belarusian gas facilities as
payment and is also hoping that Belarus will not demand fees for
Russian military bases on its territory. Belarusian President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka has said that Belarus has opted to move
toward a closer union with Russia because of its economic
dependence on that country. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

MOLDOVAN-RUSSIAN TROOP AGREEMENT CHALLENGED. Lieutenant-General
Aleksandr Lebed, commander of Russia's 14th Army in Moldova, and
Major-General Stefan Kitsak of the "Dniester republic" said on
Russian Radio on 13 November that the Russian army cannot withdraw
from an area in which it has been stationed for 200 years and that
any withdrawal would endanger regional peace. Lebed added that the
status quo should be maintained by granting the 14th Army basing
rights in the area or assigning a peacekeeping role to part of
that army. The same arguments were made by Colonel-General
Vladimir Semenov, commander in chief of Russia's Land Forces, at a
news conference in Moscow reported by NTV on 28 October. Those
statements contradict the agreement signed by the Russian and
Moldovan prime ministers on 21 October providing for the 14th
Army's withdrawal within three years of the document's entry into
force. Moscow, however, conditions that entry on the "completion
of [unspecified] internal state procedures," without giving a time
frame. It has also suggested that the document might be submitted
to the Russian parliament, which would likely spell its doom.
Russian government media have been opposed to the agreement since
it was signed. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

SECURITY TIGHTENED AT LITHUANIAN NUCLEAR POWER PLANT. Responding
to a request for assistance in checking the safety of the Ignalina
nuclear power station, seven Swedish experts, headed by Swedish
nuclear inspectorate director Jan Nistad, arrived in Lithuania on
13 November. The request was prompted by the arrest of a
Lithuanian in Stockholm for threatening to blow up the plant if
Sweden did not pay a $1 million ransom and by a German ministry
warning--based on information it had received--that the plant
might be attacked in revenge for the death sentence recently
passed on the mafia boss Boris Dekanidze. Security at Ignalina had
been tightened after the terrorist explosion of a railroad bridge
on 6 November. Povilas Vaisnys, head of Lithuanian nuclear power
safety inspection, told Radio Lithuania on 15 November that the
examination of the first of the two reactors, shut down the
previous day, had been completed and nothing dangerous had been
found. The second reactor was still being examined. Since the
plant was closed, Lithuania has received additional electricity
supplies from Russia and Estonia. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW POLITICAL PARTY FORMED IN ESTONIA. The Estonian Reform Party
has been set up in Tallinn, BNS reported on 14 November. Its
members believe that the country should continue a right-wing
economic policy but find it impossible to join already existing
parties. They elected Bank of Estonia President Siim Kallas
chairman of the new party. He said the party was pressing for
radical progress on the issues of property and land reform, lower
taxes, and the promotion of private business. The founding meeting
called on right-of-center political parties to form a pre-election
coalition, to be called the Estonian Forum. It is likely that the
Reform Party will merge with the Estonian Liberal Democratic Party
and hold a joint congress in January. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL,
Inc.

GERMANY OPENS TRADE CENTERS IN TALLINN AND RIGA. A German trade
center was opened in the Estonian capital on 11 November and in
the Latvian capital on 14 November. Franz Schoser of the German
Industry and Trade Chamber, speaking at the opening ceremonies,
said the centers would serve to expand trade relations between
German and the Baltic States, Latvian and German press reported on
14 November. -- Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

CRIME DOWN IN LATVIA. BNS on 11 November reported that the number
of crimes registered during the first ten months of 1994 (33,380)
was down by about one quarter, compared with the same period last
year (44,191). According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and
the prosecutor's office, the majority of offenses were thefts and
burglaries. Convictions resulted in the case of 28.9 percent of
the crimes, compared with 25.3 percent in 1993. Crimes related to
drug addiction increased by 26.4 percent. Rita Aksenoka of the
prosecutor's office said that many crimes--particularly extortion,
burglary, and petty larceny--are not reported to the police. --
Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

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