|I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. - Rev. Martin Luther King 1929-1968|
No. 225, 30 November 1994
RUSSIA SITUATION IN CHECHNYA. President Boris Yeltsin announced on 29 November that Russia would intervene in the conflict in Chechnya if the factions fighting in the republic did not lay down their arms within 48 hours, Western and Russian sources reported. A session of the Russian Security Council later in the day discussed the situation in the north Caucasian republic, but there was no immediate report of what steps the Russians proposed to take. Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev was reported to have rejected Yeltsin's ultimatum, but a spokesman for the opposition Provisional Council said that its forces had suspended their attack on Grozny, the Chechen capital, in response to the warning. Unidentified aircraft attacked the presidential palace and airport in Grozny while Dudaev was talking to correspondents; Russian officials later denied that the planes belonged to the Russian military. Many residents of Grozny were reported to have fled the city, while thousands of supporters of Dudaev rallied in the central square. Planes were reported to have flown low over Grozny during the night of 29-30 November, but thick fog apparently prevented further air attacks. -- Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. GORBACHEV CALLS FOR NEGOTIATIONS WITH DUDAEV. The former USSR president has appealed to Yeltsin and the Russian parliament to begin talks with the Chechen president on a peaceful settlement of the crisis, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 29 November. At a news conference occasioned by the publication of his new book, The USSR Could Have Been Preserved, Gorbachev argued that it was impossible to solve the Chechen problem by military means and that an attempt to break the Chechen resistance by force could lead to a full-fledged war in the Caucasus. In Gorbachev's opinion, Yeltsin is primarily responsible for the problem because of his encouragement of separatism during his power struggle with the Soviet central government in 1987-91. Gorbachev contended that the USSR should have been replaced by a more flexible, decentralized structure and warned against attempts to build a new "Russian Empire." He also said he failed to understand Moscow's policies: it rejected the use of force in Bosnia in favor of diplomacy, but was using air power and artillery on its own territory. -- Victor Yasmann and Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN, YAKOVLEV DISCUSS FUTURE OF OSTANKINO. On 29 November Yeltsin discussed with Aleksandr Yakovlev, the chairman of the Ostankino Radio and TV Company, the fate of Russia's largest broadcasting enterprise. The meeting followed a statement by Yeltsin on 18 November outlining his plan to merge Ostankino with the other state-controlled channel, Russian Television (RTV). That proposal was unanimously condemned by media figures, including Yakovlev and RTV Chairman Oleg Poptsov. Following his meeting with the president, Yakovlev told ITAR-TASS that he expected the president to agree to his idea of privatizing Ostankino. Under Yakovlev's plan, the state would retain a majority of shares in Ostankino, while the remaining 49 percent would be sold to 12 large companies, such as the banks Menatep, Stolichnyi, Inkombank, and Roskredit. Yakovlev noted that this would release the state from the burden of maintaining the company at the tax payers' expense. -- Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. LUZHKOV ANGERED BY REPORT ON HIS ELECTION PLANS. A report in Rossiiskaya gazeta of 19 November claiming that Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov and Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinsky would challenge Yeltsin and Viktor Chernomyrdin in the next elections prompted an angry reaction from the leading Russian newspapers referred to in the article. (Rossiiskaya gazeta had claimed that a number of national media chiefs, backed by the financial group "Most," had set up a fund to promote Luzhkov's presidential candidacy.) Moskovskie novosti, Segodnya, Nezavisimaya gazeta, and Rossiiskie vesti, from 23 to 26 November, all attacked the report as a "provocation" and charged that it manipulated data published earlier by Russian and US newspapers. Luzhkov, meanwhile, convoked a special session of his administration to review the allegations and instructed his lawyers to sue Rossiiskaya gazeta and to ask the Federal Counterintelligence Service to launch an investigation. -- Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. STEPASHIN CONCERNED ABOUT INCREASING ESPIONAGE IN RUSSIA. Director of the Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK) Sergei Stepashin told Komsomolskaya pravda on 29 November that his service had arrested more spies this year than in the last five years put together. Although Stepashin gave no names, he made it clear that most of those taken into custody belonged to Western secret services. He added that an understanding had been reached with the Western intelligence community not to turn those cases into a political issue. Stepashin's statement follows the adoption of the law on the counterintelligence organs and the re-creation of both the Investigative and Special Operations Administrations of the FSK. It may also be viewed as an indirect response to the attack on the FSK by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who called Stepashin an "agent" of the Israeli Mossad and his service an "affiliate of the CIA." Stepashin said he would sue the leader of the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party. In view of these developments, Stepashin's claims might well be regarded more as salvos in a competition of patriotic rhetoric with Zhirinovsky than as a true reflection of reality. -- Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. PAPER SAYS YELTSIN TO CUT DEFENSE MINISTRY. On 29 November Nezavisimaya gazeta reported that Yeltsin had drafted a decree cutting the Defense Ministry by 30 percent. The paper said that the edict--already approved by the cabinet and Security Council--would probably be signed on 1 December. It indicated that several of Defense Minister Pavel Grachev's current deputies would lose their jobs but did not mention any names. The Defense Ministry has a staff of almost 9,000--twice as many as in Soviet days--and the failure to reform it was one of the criticisms Yeltsin made when he spoke to top military leaders earlier this month. Last December there were rumors that Yeltsin was about to order a similar reform of the Defense Ministry, but nothing happened. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. DEFENSE CONVERSION AIDS CITY OF MOSCOW. An official of the Russian State Defense Industry Committee told Interfax on 29 November that his committee and the Moscow government had invested 61 billion rubles ($200 million) in Moscow conversion projects during the first nine months of 1994. Anatolii Safontev said one of the benefits was that the city now needed to import less medical equipment. He also said former defense plants were producing electronic equipment for local environmental organizations as well as equipment for cleaning the air and water. They also planned to build micro-buses for the city. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. PAKISTAN TO BUY RUSSIAN JET FIGHTERS. Pakistani Defense Minister Aftab Shaban Mirani announced in Islamabad that Russia had agreed "in principle" to sell Su-27 jet fighters to Pakistan. As reported by the Voice of Russia World Service, Mirani said that he believed the Russian planes were better than comparable American models. Pakistan had ordered and paid for American F-16 fighters, but the deal has been held up because of American concern about Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. A Russian military delegation is in Islamabad, and the report said the final decision on the Su-27 purchase would be made in December when Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto visits Moscow. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA ACTIVITIES OF KAZAKHSTAN COSSACKS SUSPENDED. Kazakhstan's Ministry of Justice has suspended the activities of the Semirechye Cossack Society for six months after having warned the group that it was violating the constitution, the country's laws on military service, and its own charter, Interfax reported on 29 November. Deputy Justice Minister Sergei Tikhonov said on republican TV that, according to the group's charter, it was not a paramilitary formation and did not pursue political goals or promote ethnic intolerance. He added, though, that since its registration in July it had been doing all of those things, starting with the celebration of the society's registration at which many participants appeared in Cossack military regalia. The society organized an unauthorized demonstration in Almaty on 19 November, for which two of the organizers have been arrested. -- Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS NEW COMMANDER APPOINTED TO BLACK SEA FLEET. ITAR-TASS reported on 29 November that Major General Ivan Fedin had been appointed to replace Lieutenant General Nikolai Fadeev as commander of the Black Sea Fleet's air forces. Fedin was born in 1947 and studied at the military aviation school in Orenburg; he then attended the Naval Academy and the General Staff Academy. Prior to his current position, he was chief of staff of aviation of the Baltic Fleet. It is believed that his appointment is only the first of a series of personnel changes in the Black Sea Fleet. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. MILITARY INTEGRATION MEASURES. Russia's Duma ratified on 25 November a package of military agreements recently signed by Russia and other CIS states. The most significant is the Russian-Belarusian agreement on the "status of Russian military units, part of the strategic forces, temporarily stationed in Belarus"--wording that allows for the stationing of various types of units nominally allocated to the strategic forces. Russian General Staff Chief Colonel General Mikhail Kolesnikov told the Duma that the agreement "legalizes the presence of Russian forces in Belarus," ITAR-TASS reported. The Duma also ratified two Russian-Uzbek agreements, one on military cooperation and the other on "joint technical and material provisioning of the two states' armed forces"; two Russian-Kyrgyz agreements, one on military cooperation and the other on "using Russian military facilities in Kyrgyzstan"; and a Russian-Turkmen agreement on military service by Russian Federation citizens in Turkmenistan's armed forces. The agreements are purely bilateral, unrelated to the CIS. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA IGNORING TROOP WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT WITH MOLDOVA. Although signed on 21 October, the agreement on the withdrawal of Russia's 14th Army from Moldova has not entered into force, because the Russian side is not putting it through the "internal state procedures" required under an article added at the last moment under Russian pressure. The article specifies neither the nature of those procedures nor a time frame for them. Inspecting the 14th Army on 23 through 25 November, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Georgii Kondratev told Radio Moscow on 24 November that the ministry intended "in the near future to turn the 14th Army into a military base." He told ITAR-TASS on 25 November that "there is no mechanism for carrying out" the withdrawal agreement and that "to ask for a calendar is simply absurd." He then told an assembly of officers at 14th Army headquarters in Tiraspol, as quoted by Interfax and Basapress, to "simply forget that such an agreement exists and carry out the mission entrusted to them by the Russian state," describing that mission as "peacekeeping." Kondratev proposed to Moldovan leaders that the peacekeeping mandate be transferred to the 14th Army from the small Russian peacekeeping contingent in Moldova. He maintained that withdrawal was not on the agenda as long as the agreement had not been ratified by the Russian parliament. Moldovan leaders thought that they had an understanding with Yeltsin that, as an executive agreement, the accord was not subject to ratification by the Duma, where it is likely to be blocked indefinitely by the hard-line majority. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE SERBS RECEIVE REINFORCEMENTS FOR ASSAULT ON BIHAC? AFP on 29 November cited Bosnian government sources as saying that as many as 10,000 soldiers have arrived from Banja Luka to beef up Bosnian and Croatian Serb forces attacking the UN-designated "safe area" of Bihac. The Neue Zuercher Zeitung on 26 November quoted Croatian President Franjo Tudjman as saying that forces from Serbia-Montenegro are also involved, and the Society for Threatened Peoples on 28 November cited Bosnian officials as making the same charge. The Serbs are using their familiar tactic of bombardment and have also installed SAM missile sites in the area. The New York Times on 29 November suggested that the UN had vetoed any NATO intention of attacking those sites, which prevent NATO aircraft from supporting UN troops in the area. Finally, Reuters said Bosnian Serb television showed footage of frightened Muslim prisoners being forced to endure verbal and other insults to their ethnic and religious identity and to chant: "Bosnia is Serbian, just as Moscow is Russian." -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. DIFFERENCES CONTINUE ON DIPLOMATIC FRONT OVER BOSNIA. US Senate Republican leader Robert Dole is in Europe for talks with Western leaders, and Bosnia appears to head the agenda. The senator is a long-time advocate of linking the lifting of the arms embargo against the Muslims with the provision of NATO air strikes against the Serbs. In Brussels, he repeated his call for an end to the embargo. He stressed there will be no settlement until pressure is put on the Serbs to force them into reaching one and that at present there is no such pressure. Elsewhere on the diplomatic front, international news agencies on 30 November note that Russia says it is drawing up a new plan to end the fighting in Bosnia, while the BBC quotes US Secretary of State Warren Christopher as saying Washington will propose another peace conference. Finally, Germany's governing Christian Democratic Union called for a possible lifting of the arms embargo, although German officials reassured Paris that this does not mean Bonn is breaking ranks with its EU allies. Germany has a huge number of guest workers and refugees from the former Yugoslavia, and German public opinion is generally sympathetic toward the Croatian and Bosnian causes. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINE WILL NOT PULL TROOPS OUT OF BOSNIA. UNIAN on 29 November reported that Ukrainian Foreign Minister Affairs Volodymyr Handohy said Ukraine had no plans to recall its servicemen serving with UN peacekeeping forces in the former Yugoslavia. Nonetheless, he said Ukraine's permanent mission to the UN had sent a note to the UN secretary-general condemning the recent attacks on UN troops in Bosnia, in which two Ukrainian soldiers were killed. He also said Ukraine wanted better security guarantees for its forces serving with the UN and would insist that a convention on the protection of peacekeepers include a clause allowing countries to recall their servicemen if the situation in combat zones deteriorated "in the extreme." -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. DEVELOPMENTS IN CROATIA AND SLOVENIA. Vjesnik reports on 30 November that Croatian Defense Minister Gojko Susak has signed an agreement on military cooperation during his visit to Washington. Reuters the previous day quoted Slovenian President Milan Kucan as saying that Italy is trying to reverse the outcome of World War II "at the expense of a member of the former anti-fascist coalition." Italy is blocking Slovenia's attempt to become an associate member of the EU pending a settlement to the dispute over property and citizenship rights of Italians who lived in what is now Slovenia prior to 1945. Slovenia says the matter was settled in 1975 and accuses the Italian Right of reviving the issue for domestic political purposes. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. POLICE CRACK DOWN ON KOSOVAR UNIONISTS. At least 28 members of the ethnic Albanian Kosovar Independent Trade Unions have been arrested by Serbian police since 20 November, Rilindja reported on 24 and 25 November. All those arrested are former employees of the police force or Interior Ministry and are suspected of participating in the creation of the Kosovar shadow state. According to Rilindja, the houses of the arrested unionists have been raided and their family members beaten. The newspaper also mentions cases of torture in prison. Meanwhile, the Association of Kosovar Lawyers criticized arbitrary arrests in Kosovo and called on international institutions to find a solution to the Kosovo crisis within the framework of the negotiations on Bosnia and Herzegovina. -- Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. CONFUSION OVER NEW POLISH DEFENSE MINISTER. Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak on 29 November announced he would like to appoint emigre politician Ryszard Kaczorowki as Poland's minister of defense. Kaczorowski is 75 years old and lives in Britain. He served for a few years until 1990 as president in the Polish government in exile. According to Polish press reports, Pawlak's announcement was received with astonishment both by leaders of the government coalition, including members of his own party, and by President Lech Walesa. Aleksander Kwasniewski, leader of the postcommunist Alliance of the Democratic Left, said he was "shocked" and found Kaczorowski's candidacy unacceptable. He also said Pawlak's action was at variance with earlier agreements within the coalition. Walesa's office refused to make any formal comment. Kaczorowski was reportedly informed of Pawlak's designs only after the prime minister had talked with Walesa. He promptly turned down the offer on grounds of old age. -- Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc. NATIONAL BANK SLOWS DOWN RATE OF ZLOTY DEVALUATION. According to Gazeta Wyborcza and Rzeczpospolita, Poland's National Bank has announced that on 30 November, the monthly rate of the zloty devaluation against Western currencies will change from 1.5 to 1.4 percent, making exports more expensive and imports cheaper. The bank said its decision would slow down inflation, which is estimated to reach about 29 percent in 1994. It also said the devaluation change was made easier by the recent growth in exports. This is the second such change in 1994. In September, the bank lowered the devaluation rate from 1.6 to 1.5 percent. -- Jan de Weydenthal , RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK CABINET APPROVES BUDGET DRAFT. The cabinet of outgoing Premier Jozef Moravcik on 29 November approved the draft of the 1995 state budget, TASR reports. The draft allows for a budget deficit of 12.8 billion koruny, or 2.93 percent of GDP. The National Property Fund, which is charged with overseeing privatization and whose assets are supposed to be separate from the state budget, is expected to help service the debt by paying out 18.5 billion koruny. The budget draft will be the main topic of discussion at the third session of the parliament, which begins on 13 December. Two privatization decisions approved at the second session and later rejected by the president will also be discussed. -- Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAKIA'S REPLY TO EU DEMARCHE. Parliament chairman Ivan Gasparovic on 29 November gave TASR a copy of Slovakia's response to the European Union's recent demarche. The note states that Slovakia appreciates the EU's interest in its reform process, respects and follows all internationally established democratic standards and conventions, aims to improve bilateral relations with Hungary, strives to implement a market economy and cooperate with all European countries, and remains committed to democratic principles. German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel expressed satisfaction with Slovakia's positive response. -- Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARY FORMALLY ABANDONS PLANS TO STAGE WORLD EXPO. Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs on 29 November informed President of the Bureau of Exhibitions Ole Philippon that Hungary has abandoned its plans to stage the 1996 World Fair. Kovacs stressed the reasons for this decision were purely financial. The Hungarian parliament voted earlier this month against hosting the World Fair. Supporters of the Expo, who were mostly members of the opposition parties, failed to collect enough valid signatures to hold a referendum on hosting the fair. -- Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARY'S CHURCHES APOLOGIZES OVER HOLOCAUST. Hungary's Roman Catholic bishops and Ecumenical Church Council on 29 November issued a joint statement asking for forgiveness and regretted the "weaknesses" of Church members who "through fear or cowardice allowed the mass deportation and assassination of their Jewish compatriots" 50 years ago, MTI reports. The statement also honored "those who at the cost of their own lives saved others during this inhuman period." Some 600,000 Hungarian Jews perished during World War II. -- Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN PRESIDENT ADDRESSES WEU PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY. Addressing the 40th ordinary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Western European Union in Paris on 29 November, Ion Iliescu described cooperation between his country and the WEU as "extremely productive." He expressed the hope that Romania would eventually be accepted into Euro-Atlantic structures, including NATO and the European Union. Answering questions from parliamentarians after his speech, Iliescu dwelt on the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and the presence of the 14th Russian army in Eastern Moldova. Romania, which is an "associate partner" of the WEU, is expected to become an "associate member" of that organization in 1995. Under the Maastricht Treaty of European Unity, the WEU is the European Union's defense arm. Also on 29 November, Iliescu met with French President Francois Mitterrand, Radio Bucharest reported. -- Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT MARKS TWO YEARS IN POWER. Romanian Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu on 28 and 29 November assessed his government's performance after two years in office. Speaking on 28 November at an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Bureau of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania, Vacaroiu said Romania was emerging from the postcommunist economic and social crisis. He admitted, however, that living standards remain low, despite slight economic growth in 1993 and 1994. At a press conference on 29 November, Vacaroiu stressed again that Romania has achieved a certain degree of economic stability but warned that further privatization and restructuring were needed to consolidate this positive trend. He also rejected accusations that his cabinet was not interested in privatizing state-owned industries inherited from the communist era. -- Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. GAZPROM AGAIN CUTS GAS TO UKRAINE. International agencies on 28 November reported that Gazprom has cut gas supplies to Ukraine yet again, citing the failure of Ukrainian officials to renegotiate gas contracts in time. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma blamed Ukrainian officials for the latest cut-off, saying Gazprom had warned that the contracts were due to expire and would have to be renegotiated. Ukraine's supply has been cut from 120,000 to some 60,000 million cubic meters per day. Statistics director of the Ukrainian State Gas Committee Tadai Mykhailivich said Russia is unable to cut off all gas supplies. When asked about alleged siphoning from the pipelines, he said everyone knew what was going on. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. LUKASHENKA'S LATEST MOVES AGAINST CORRUPTION. Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has dismissed Trade Minister Valentyn Baidak for corrupt dealings, Belarusian Television reported on 28 November. According to the deputy head of the committee on anticorruption in government, Mikalai Karpeevich, Baidak had unlawfully acquired two apartments. Karpeevich added that his committee would pass on the relevant documents to the prosecutor-general's office. Belarusian Radio reported that Lukashenka plans this week to appoint regional heads responsible directly to him . Lukashenka believes such a hierarchy will mean fewer opportunities for corrupt dealings in the regional governing bodies. which, he says, are "financially and spiritually bankrupt." -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. BELARUSIAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS. An Iranian delegation met with Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Chyhir and Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Kokarau in Minsk, Belarusian Radio reported on 29 November. The officials discussed trade and economic relations between the two countries. Belarus is interested in trading tractors and other products for Iranian oil. The delegation also discussed opening an Iranian embassy in Minsk. The same day, Interfax reported that an Estonian delegation led by the deputy chancellor of the Foreign Ministry, Raul Malk, arrived in Minsk for meetings with Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Syanko. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. MOLDOVA-EU AGREEMENT. Moldova on 28 November became the first of the smaller ex-Soviet republics to sign a partnership and cooperation agreement with the EU. Russia and Ukraine have already concluded such an agreement. Signed in Brussels by President Mircea Snegur, EU Commission Deputy Chairman Sir Leon Brittan, EU Ministerial Council Chairman Klaus Kinkel, and representatives of the EU's twelve member states, the agreement provides inter alia for high-level political consultations, reciprocal preferential trading terms, and investment promotion. It also opens the way for similar agreements between Moldova and the EU's individual member states. The EU said in a statement that "Moldova's independence and territorial integrity are important to the security of the region and of Europe." It also noted the progress of Moldova's economic reforms and pledged continued financial support, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. Snegur termed the agreement "historic for Moldova" and "reflecting Moldova's aspiration to be part of Europe." -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. BALTIC DEFENSE CHIEFS PLEDGE TO INCREASE COOPERATION. Meeting on 28 and 29 November in Tallinn, the commanders of the Baltic armed forces--Aleksander Einseln of Estonia, Juris Dalbins of Latvia, and Jonas Andriskevicius of Lithuania--said their countries would cooperate more closely on military issues and would strive for a speedy integration into European military structures. Asked about Baltic-Russian relations, Einseln said there was currently "no particular military cooperation" between the Baltics and Russia and that this was an issue for the future. The three commanders also told BNS that a joint working group, headed by Estonian Chief of Staff Arvo Sirel, had been formed to coordinate Baltic activities within the NATO Partnership for Peace program. They agreed that the Baltic States would seek to take part in NATO's Baltic Operations '95; but their participation in these naval maneuvers may be hindered by financial restraints. The three commanders also signed an accord on exploring the possibility of establishing a joint air-space control system. -- Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. LATVIAN POLITICAL PARTIES START PREPARATIONS FOR 1995 ELECTIONS. The People's Front of Latvia on 26 November chose 25 candidates for the Latvian parliamentary elections, set for October 1995. Also with an eye on the elections, leaders of Latvia's National Conservative Party (formed on the basis of Latvia's National Independence Movement) and Latvia's Green Party on 29 November signed an agreement to cooperate and draw up a joint list of candidates for the Saeima, Diena reported on 27 and 29 November. -- Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. FORMER ESTONIAN PREMIER ARRESTED ON BRIBERY CHARGES. Indrek Toome, Estonian prime minister from 1988 to 1990, was arrested in Tallinn on 28 November in a sting operation after giving a police official 30,000 kroons ($2,400) for three fraudulent Estonian passports, BNS reported on 29 November. The passports belonged to a Russian businessman and his wife and daughter who had given false data to obtain Estonian citizenship. Toome will be held in a Tallinn prison for ten days while investigators gather evidence. If convicted, he could be fined or sentenced to a maximum two-year prison sentence. Interior Minister Kaido Kama said that the case was a "precedent that helps cleanse society" and that businessmen would be more reluctant to try to offer bribes. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. LITHUANIAN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL CANDIDATE REJECTED. The Seimas on 29 November rejected the candidacy of Justinas Vasiliauskas, director of the Interior Ministry's Investigations Department, for the post of prosecutor-general, RFE/RL's Lithuanian Service reports. President Algirdas Brazauskas nominated Vasiliauskas to replace Arturas Paulauskas, appointed to that post in March 1990. A major objection to Vasiliauskas was that his wife was a cousin of Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius. The parliament's decision to appoint a new prosecutor-general before 1 December will not be heeded, because Brazauskas departed on 30 November for a three-day visit to Italy. -- Saulius Girnius, 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 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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