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RFE/RL DAILY REPORT
NO. 219, 18 NOVEMBER 1994
RUSSIA NEW FIGHTING IN CHECHNYA. The Chechen government dispatched reinforcements to the village of Bratskoe on 17 November to aid government forces resisting a column of opposition tanks that had crossed the border from North Ossetia, Russian agencies reported. After a four-hour battle in which two tanks were destroyed and their crews killed, the tanks proceeded to the headquarters in Znamenskoe of the opposition Provisional Council. The Chechen leadership issued a statement to the world community characterizing the incursion as the beginning of a new Russian-Caucasian war that would affect the interests of many countries, according to Interfax; a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry denied that the tanks belonged to the North Caucasus Military District. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. BALTIC RESOLUTION ON KALININGRAD CRITICIZED. The Russian Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned a Baltic Assembly resolution on the demilitarization of Kaliningrad Oblast, ITAR-TASS reported on 16 November. (In the resolution, adopted in Vilnius on 13 November, the Baltic Assembly, an interparliamentary body of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, called on Russia to reduce its military presence in the region.) The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that Kaliningrad was an inalienable part of Russia and that in consequence the Baltic proposal constituted "intervention in Russia's internal affairs." The State Duma backed the ministry, stating that "the number of Russian troops in the area is defined only by Russia's national interests," ITAR-TASS reported on 17 November. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. LEADERSHIP CONSENSUS ON "GREAT-POWER PATRIOTISM." President Boris Yeltsin on 17 November chaired a meeting of the leaders of the two chambers of the Russian parliament down to the level of committee chairmen. Duma speaker Ivan Rybkin told Interfax that "virtually all participants agreed that great-power patriotism and extricating the country from the present crisis are ideas everybody is ready to work for, regardless of their political orientation." The appeal to nationalism seems to bear out senior foreign policy analyst Georgii Arbatov's assessment of Yeltsin's 14 November statement to the military command, which appeared to revise major Russian assumptions about cooperation with the West. That was "not an isolated statement. There is a growing anti-American, anti-Western mood among our politicians," Arbatov told the Financial Times of 17 November. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. GRACHEV ANTICIPATES MOBILE FORCES' MISSION. Defense Minister Pavel Grachev told a conference of airborne troop commanders on 17 November that positive changes in the international arena had not ended military threats to Russia, that there was a risk of existing conflicts escalating and new ones emerging, and that "by virtue of its geopolitical and strategic interests Russia cannot remain indifferent to them." These remarks echoed those of Yeltsin at the Defense Ministry's review conference three days earlier. Grachev praised Russia's armed forces for "restoring peace" in Transdniester, Abkhazia, South and North Ossetia, Ingushetia, and Tajikistan--places where the Russian military intervened to aid local clients, resulting in ethnic cleansing in several cases. Reserving special praise for the airborne troops, "who have been on combat alert practically since 1988," Grachev promised them "a great future as they will become the basis for Russia's [new] rapid-deployment forces." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. COMMITTEE FINDS MILITARY MORALE UNSATISFACTORY. The Duma defense committee thinks that morale in the armed forces is unsatisfactory and has recommended that the full Duma say so. Committee chairman Sergei Yushenkov told Interfax on 17 November that the leadership of the Defense Ministry was not solely responsible for this state of affairs. He also pointed to the lack of a logical concept for building the armed forces, the lack of civilian control, and faulty personnel policies. The committee recommended that Yeltsin form a state commission to conduct a comprehensive study of the state of the military and another to exercise government and political control over the armed forces. Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. STUDY: MILITARY CAUSED 1979 ANTHRAX OUTBREAK IN SVERDLOVSK. A study by a Russian-US team of scientists, first published in the magazine Science and reviewed by Reuters on 17 November, has concluded that a deadly outbreak of anthrax in Sverdlovsk in 1979 was caused by a leak from a military facility and not by tainted meat as the Soviets claimed at the time. At least 66 people died of anthrax in the city, now known again as Ekaterinburg. The new study reports that autopsies by Russian pathologists showed the infection had been inhaled rather than ingested and that most of the people and livestock that died from the disease were located in a narrow zone downwind from the military facility. Harvard biologist Matthew Meselson, who led the team, said there was still not enough evidence to prove that the Soviets had violated the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention in the work at the Sverdlovsk laboratory. Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA'S GROUND FORCES IN TROUBLE. Colonel General Vladimir Semenov, the commander in chief of Russian Ground Forces, told Interfax on 16 November that the combat readiness of his troops was limited. He said the units were undermanned, with only 53 percent of positions filled, and that the Ground Forces were not receiving new equipment--especially attack helicopters--because of a lack of procurement funds. While declaring that the Ground Forces had passed 1994 "in a fitting manner despite all the difficulties" they faced, he pointed to major problems in mobilization training and social protection. Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. ADMIRAL: NAVY BROKE BUT READY. Summing up the Navy's performance in 1994, Commander in Chief Admiral Feliks Gromov said that his service had maintained its combat readiness and carried out its 1994 training plan but that the Navy had received less than half of the money it needed and could use only about one-third of its usual shipyards, meaning that ships had to stay in dock four or five times as long as normal. According to Interfax on 17 November, the admiral did not expect funding to increase in 1995. Indirectly indicating how bad the situation is, Gromov announced that the Baltic Fleet--disrupted by the pullout from the Baltic republics and the smallest and least important of the Russian fleets in strategic terms--was currently Russia's best. Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. DEFENSE ENTERPRISE DIRECTOR SUES GOVERNMENT. Petr Romanov, head of the Enisei Chemical Combine in Krasnoyarsk and a member of the Federation Council, told Interfax on 15 November that he was suing the government for 112.3 billion rubles--the losses his enterprise has suffered because the government had "bungled the reform" of the defense industry. He noted that his enterprise had made a profit of nearly 60 billion rubles in 1990 but would lose nearly 8 billion in 1994. Romanov said that if his written demands to the prime minister and finance minister for compensation were not met, he would apply to the court of arbitration. Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. PLESETSK OFFICIALLY A COSMODROME, STILL LOSES POWER. The military missile and space test site at Plesetsk, in northwestern Russia, received the status of a cosmodrome in a decree signed by Yeltsin on 11 November. That means it will be used to launch manned space vehicles. Interfax on 14 November quoted a spokesman for the space forces as saying there would be no immediate change at the facility. However, when the new "Rus" booster rocket becomes operational, manned flights from Plesetsk will become possible. The article also said that the military expects Yeltsin to give the go-ahead this month for work to begin on a new cosmodrome in the Far East. But Plesetsk's new designation did not spare it from fuel shortages: Reuters reported that Arkhangelsk Oblast Governor Pavel Valashin had ordered electricity to be cut. Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN MEETS WITH SOLZHENITSYN AND ALEKSII II. Ostankino Television reported on 16 November that Yeltsin had met with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Solzhenitsyn's wife told an RFE/RL correspondent that during the two-hour meeting Boris and Naina Yeltsin and Solzhenitsyn had discussed Russia's problems in general. During his address to the State Duma in October, Solzhenitsyn called the present regime "an oligarchy," but he avoided criticizing Yeltsin personally. Also on 16 November Yeltsin met the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Aleksii II, Russian TV reported. The two men discussed state support for the restoration of churches. The president also endorsed the participation of the Russian Orthodox Church in the privatization of historical buildings. Yeltsin's meeting with Solzhenitsyn and the Patriarch suggests that he is searching for new sources of support for his policies, which have been widely criticized. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN'S PRESS SPOKESMAN TO RESIGN. Vyacheslav Kostikov told ITAR-TASS on 17 November that Yeltsin had asked him to resign. He said that his dismissal was part of broader personnel changes and that he remained a member of the democratic team. Kostikov's position has been uncertain since September, after he and other presidential aides reportedly sent a letter to Yeltsin criticizing his behavior at the troop withdrawal celebrations in Germany. Penny Morvant, RFE/RL, Inc. OIL EXECUTIVE MURDERED. The body of Vladimir Zakharov, the director of a subsidiary of Russia's largest oil corporation, Lukoil, was discovered at his house in Moscow, agencies reported on 16 November. That is the second killing of a prominent industrialist in 10 days. Last week Yurii Tsittel, the director of one of the largest Russian railroads, was gunned down in Saratov. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA YELTSIN, ALIEV MEET. Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliev held talks in Moscow on 17 November with Yeltsin on the issue of Caspian oil and the Karabakh conflict, Russian and Western agencies reported. Yeltsin stressed the need to reach agreement as soon as possible on a political solution for Nagorno-Karabakh; Aliev was quoted by Russian agencies as evaluating highly the Russian mediation effort. Also on 17 November, ITAR-TASS quoted sources at NATO as stating that the deployment of a peacekeeping force from member states of the Partnership for Peace program in Karabakh might be included in the agenda of the upcoming CSCE summit in Budapest. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. ABKHAZ-UN TALKS DEADLOCKED. A further round of UN-mediated talks between Georgia and Abkhazia on a political settlement of the Abkhaz conflict opened in Geneva on 15 November but appeared deadlocked after the Abkhaz delegation declared on 16 November that it would not accept a solution based on the premise that Abkhazia was an integral part of Georgia, Reuters reported. The failure to make any progress either on Abkhazia's future status or on the repatriation of Georgian refugees jeopardizes the meeting scheduled to be held in Geneva on 2 December between Georgian parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze and his Abkhaz counterpart Vladislav Ardzinba. Meanwhile, Interfax of 15 November quoted the commander of the Russian peacekeeping troops deployed along the Abkhaz-Georgian border, Major General Vasilii Yakushev, as disclosing that his troops' original mandate, which was to have expired on 31 December 1994, had been extended until 15 May 1995 at the CIS summit last month. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE SERBIAN MISSILES STRIKE BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY BUILDING. International media report that Bosnian Serb forces on 17 November fired three guided missiles and at least several other shells at the building in downtown Sarajevo housing the Bosnian Presidency. Two people were wounded, but little structural damage was reported. The incident, however, prompted authorities to declare a general alert in the city. Also on 17 November, four artillery shells struck the Sarajevo suburb of Hrasnica, located inside the UN heavy-weapons exclusion zone, injuring four people. Reuters reports that shots were fired the same day into the room of the US ambassador, situated in a Sarajevo hotel. No one was injured in the assault, and it appears that the ambassador may not have been deliberately targeted. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. HEAVY FIGHTING CONTINUES IN NORTHWEST BOSNIA. International media continue to report extensive fighting in several areas of Bosnia. The most violent clashes appear to be in northwest Bosnia, where Bosnian government forces are fending off attacks by Bosnian Serb forces, rebel Muslim forces led by Fikret Abdic, and rebel Serbs based in the Krajina region of Croatia. Hina reported that forces loyal to Abdic have encircled the town of Velika Kladusa, Abdic's former headquarters. According to UN spokesman Colonel Tim Spicer, forces loyal to Abdic have broken through defenses, capturing a part of Velika Kladusa. Bosnian state radio on 17 November reported that the towns of Bihac and Velika Kladusa were under heavy shelling, resulting in at least 12 deaths. The UN has condemned Serbian actions in northwest Bosnia and particularly the role of the Krajina Serbs, saying that continued shelling of the UN designated "safe area" of Bihac or attacks against UN peacekeepers could result in NATO air attacks. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN PREMIER TO VISIT POLAND IN DECEMBER. The Polish government on 17 November announced that Viktor Chernomyrdin would visit Poland in December. The precise date is to be revealed at a later day. The announcement, which followed talks between the prime minister and Polish Minister of Internal Affairs Andrzej Milczanowski in Moscow the same day, has alleviated a momentary crisis in Polish-Russian relations prompted by the alleged mishandling of Russian tourists by the Polish police. The two countries are to sign important economic agreements, including an accord on a gas pipeline from Russia through Poland to Germany. Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc. ARAFAT WILL NOT BE INVITED TO AUSCHWITZ. Organizers of ceremonies commemorating the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the most infamous of Nazi concentration camps, announced on 17 November that they will not invite PLO leader Yaser Arafat. Initially, the invitation was to be extended to all Nobel peace prizewinners, including this year's laureates. Following protests by various Jewish organizations, however, the organizers declined to issue such invitations. Polish media report that President Lech Walesa plans to invite the heads of the 23 states whose citizens were prisoners at Auschwitz. Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc. COMMEMORATING THE "VELVET REVOLUTION" IN PRAGUE . . . Speaking to a gathering of students in Prague on the fifth anniversary of the November 1989 "velvet revolution," Czech President Vaclav Havel praised the postrevolutionary economic and political changes in the country but argued that much remains to be done. Earlier, Havel, accompanied by Portuguese President Mario Soares, laid a wreath at Narodni Trida in Prague, where security forces beat up student demonstrators five years ago. A number of other Czech politicians also attended the wreath-laying ceremony. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. . . . AND BRATISLAVA. Meanwhile, 10,000 people gathered in Bratislava's Slovak National Uprising Square to commemorate the revolution. But the event soon turned into a protest against the current political situation, with the crowd calling for an end to the arrogance connected with "Meciarism," TASR and Reuters report. Other meetings took place in Kosice, Liptovsky Mikulas, and Banska Bystrica, while 2,000 students attended a candlelight concert in Bratislava the previous evening, calling for improvements in education. In an address on 16 November, Premier Jozef Moravcik criticized politicians "who create an atmosphere of fear" and emphasized the need for a stable political scene with leftist, liberal, and rightist parties. President Michal Kovac sympathized with the difficult social situation in Slovakia but stressed that improvements in the quality of life require patience as well as changes in behavior and ways of thinking. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. CZECH AND SLOVAK LOCAL ELECTIONS. Czechs and Slovaks go to the polls on 18 and 19 November to elect local government representatives in the independent Czech and Slovak Republics' first local elections. CTK reported on 17 November that in the Czech Republic, the vote will take place in 6,231 municipalities. A total of 295 parties and movements have registered with the Central Electoral Commission, of which 49 will compete on their own and 137 will run in a coalition. Slovaks are to vote in 100 cities and 2,500 other localities. It is the third time in seven weeks that Slovaks have been called to the polls. Slovakia remains in the midst of a political crisis, as a new government has yet to be formed. Jiri Pehe and Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. TURKMEN PRESIDENT IN SLOVAKIA. Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov arrived in Slovakia on 17 November for a two-day official visit, TASR reports. Slovak President Michal Kovac noted that Slovakia sees Turkmenistan as a solvent financial partner and stable political force in Central Asia. Cooperation agreements were signed on the economy, trade, foreign affairs, science, technology, and the protection of investments. Slovak officials expressed interest in helping Turkmenistan to construct an oil and gas pipeline through Iran and Turkey to Western Europe. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK BUDGET CONTROVERSY. The outgoing Slovak government, which promised to draft its 1995 state budget proposal by 15 November, is hesitating to submit the draft to the parliament since it is expected to be rejected. The issue has grown into a serious political conflict between Jozef Moravcik's cabinet and the allies of Premier-designate Vladimir Meciar, who now have control over the parliament. If Meciar wants his own budget to be passed, he will have to rely on the support of the Association of Slovak Workers; but ASW Chairman Jan Luptak has said his party will not vote for a "restrictive budget." Following a cabinet session on 16 November, during which the budget was high on the agenda, Deputy Premier for Economic Issues Brigita Schmoegnerova said that if a new cabinet is not formed in the next few days, the current cabinet will submit its budget proposal, whose pillars are a budget deficit of 3 percent of GDP and an estimated 3 percent increase in GDP. If the proposal fails, however, Slovakia may have a provisional budget for the first part of the year. Meanwhile, at a press conference on 17 November, the Christian Democratic Movement announced it is willing to negotiate with the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia about supporting the new government's program and draft budget, TASR reports. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARY'S 1995 DEFENSE BUDGET. The parliamentary Defense Committee on 16 November approved part of the 1995 defense budget, to be included by 23 November into the overall draft budget, MTI reported. The defense sector is to receive 77.1 billion forint ($70.8 million) next year, up nearly 8 billion forint on 1994. Of this amount, 66.4 billion forint will come from central funds and the remaining 10.7 billion from the Defense Ministry. The committee approved reducing the number of conscripts in 1995 and asked the Ministry of Internal Affairs for information on the 1995 budget of the Border Guard (also part of the armed forces). Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. DUTCH FIRM TO INVEST IN HUNGARY. Willem J. van der Viegt, general manager of Philips Hungary Inc., announced on 16 November that Philips will invest $45 million in Hungary over the next two years, MTI announced. The Dutch firm will begin manufacturing computer monitors in Szombathely next spring, reaching a capacity of 800,000 monitors in 1996 and a 15-20 percent increase each year thereafter. The assembly of video recorders has already begun in Szekesfehervar, with an annual output of 1 million sets planned as of 1996. Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIA SEEKS ROLE IN TURKMEN OIL, GAS PROJECTS. On the second day of Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov's visit to Romania, Turkmen officials visited Romania's oil equipment plant in Ploesti, Romanian and Russian agencies reported on 16 November. The Romanians offered to supply equipment and technicians for multinational oil and gas projects in Turkmenistan and steel pipe for the oil pipelines to Western Europe and Asia. They also proposed that the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta be a way station for the West-bound pipeline. But this would mean that the pipeline would have to cross Russian and Russian-controlled territory between the Caspian and the Black Sea--a route not favored by Western investors and Turkey. Romania was actively involved in the late 1980s in Turkmen oil and gas projects, including the giant Sovietabad field. A major producer of steel and equipment for oil extraction during the communist era, Romania evidently hopes to revive those sectors, despite the fact that they were obsolescent in their heyday and thrived on low-priced exports to the former USSR. Its chances of competing successfully against Western firms interested in Turkmen projects appear slim. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN POLICE ON MURDERED IRANIAN. Reuters on 17 November quoted Romanian police as saying that an Iranian national stabbed to death in Bucharest last week was the victim of a dispute between criminal gangs. The police statement said an investigation has shown that Mohamed Ali Assadi was killed in a conflict with other Iranian nationals. It added that Assadi had been arrested in June for threatening and robbing members of the Iranian community in Romania. Three Iranians have been arrested in connection with the killing and a fourth is being sought. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. ALBANIA UPDATE. The daily Koha Jone on 15 November reported that a further 10 people have died of cholera. The latest victims were psychiatric patients at a hospital in Elbasan, roughly 50 kilometers southeast of the capital Tirana. The report also observed that an additional 42 people in Elbasan are suffering from and being treated for the disease, which to date has claimed at least 26 lives in the country. According to other estimates by Albanian health officials, a total of 13 people at Elbasan have succumbed to the disease. In other news, Reuters on 15 November reported that the head of Albania's association of former political prisoners began a hunger strike the same day in protest against his detention. Kurt Kola was placed under house arrest on 12 August, after police put a stop to a hunger strike by former political prisoners claiming compensation for injustices suffered under former communist leader Enver Hoxa. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINE VOTES TO RESCIND CRIMEAN LAWS. Ukraine's parliament on 17 November voted 282 to 13 to rescind laws adopted by Crimea that contravene Ukraine's constitution, Ukrainian Radio reported. The Crimean parliament was ordered to bring its separatist legislature into line with Ukraine's by 1 November but failed to do so. Nationalist deputy Stepan Khmara called for dissolving the Crimean parliament and demoting Crimea to the status of district. The parliament voted against such a proposal but for withholding state subsidies from Crimean institutions that recognized Simferopol's authority over Kiev's. Ultranationalists in the parliament called for sending troops to the peninsula; and leader of the Communist Party of Ukraine Petro Symonenko said the idea of Crimea separating from Ukraine is "pure speculation." He went on to say it was time for everyone to understand that they all belong to one state. In other news, Ukrainian Radio reported on 15 November that prices have begun to be liberalized in Crimea, resulting in twofold increases for dairy products and even larger hikes for meat. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. KUCHMA ORDERS ZVYAHILSKY'S ARREST. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma ordered the arrest of former acting Prime Minister Yukhim Zvyahilsky on 17 November for embezzling millions of dollars. Ukrainian Radio reported on 15 November that the Ukrainian parliament voted 274 to 2 to lift Zvyahilsky's immunity and begin legal proceedings against him for illegal deals. Zvyahilsky was acting prime minister under former President Leonid Kravchuk from October 1993, after Kuchma resigned from the premiership, until last June. Charges of corruption were first made against him in May by the prosecutor-general's office. In two separate deals, Zvyahilsky allegedly swindled the Ukrainian state out of $25 million. One scheme involved the sale of aviation fuel to Greece when Ukraine's own armed forces were suffering from a shortage of such fuel. The other concerned the disappearance of funds from the national bank; the money is believed to have been transferred to a private account in Switzerland or Austria. Zvyahilsky is currently in Israel, where it is reported that he is undergoing medical treatment. If found guilty and convicted, he faces a minimum of 15 years in prison. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. BELARUS'S ECONOMIC CRISIS. According to Belinform-TASS on 17 November, the Independent Trade Unions of Belarus announced that if living standards continued to decline, they would organize "protest actions." Belarusian Television reported on 16 November that prices rose 11.2 times, compared with December 1993. Belarusian Radio on 17 November reported that the republic's foreign debt stood at $1.2 billion. The largest chunk of the debt, $420 million, was owed to Russia for natural gas. Belarus is hoping to negotiate an economic union with Russia to pull the country out of its economic crisis, but Russian demands for ownership of Beltranshaz (Belarus's gas distributor) are viewed negatively by a number of leading officials, including the Russophone president, Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. CSCE PEACEKEEPING FORCE FOR MOLDOVA URGED. At the North Atlantic Assembly's current session in Washington, the Political Committee on 16 November adopted the report "Peacekeeping in Transdniester--A Test Case for the CSCE," by US Congressman Gerald Solomon. The report includes recommendations on the withdrawal of Russia's 14th Army from Moldova and the political settlement of the Dniester conflict. The forum called on the CSCE Council of Ministers to consider the introduction of an international peacekeeping force under CSCE auspices in Moldova. The Moldovan parliament's deputy chairman, Nicolae Andronic, told the assembly that the recent major cuts in Russia's "disengagement contingent" in Transdniester create the need and provide the opportunity for deploying a legitimate international peacekeeping force. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. RAISING OF "ESTONIA" DOOR DELAYED. After a delay of several days owing to bad weather, the Finnish icebreaker "Nordica" and Swedish minelayer "Furusand" on 17 November began their attempt to raise the 55-ton front cargo door of the ferry "Estonia," BNS reports. An examination of the door of the ferry, which sank on 28 September with the loss of more than 900 lives, should help determine why it broke off, causing the ship to capsize. Uno Laur, an Estonian member of the three-nation accident investigation commission who is on board the "Nordica," said the attempts to attach cables to the door failed because the hooks did not fit. The hooks are to be altered, and it is hoped the door will be raised on 18 November. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. TWO NEW LITHUANIAN MINISTERS. President Algirdas Brazauskas on 15 November named Seimas deputy Juozas Nekrosius minister of culture, replacing Dainius Trinkunas, who resigned on 3 November, BNS reports. Four days earlier, on 11 November, Brazauskas named deputy health minister Antanas Vinkus minister of health, replacing Jurgis Bredikis, who resigned the previous day. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. LATVIA CELEBRATES INDEPENDENCE DAY. Latvians are commemorating the proclamation of the independent Republic of Latvia on 18 November 1918. The main celebration is to take place in Riga's National Theater where the 1918 proclamation was signed. Latvia has received official greetings from many foreign leaders, including US President Bill Clinton and Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas. 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 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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