|If you're sure you understand everthing that is going on, you're hopelessly confused. - Walter Mondale|
No. 226, 1 December 1994
RUSSIA STATE OF EMERGENCY IN CHECHNYA? More than two hours after the expiration of the 1 December deadline set in Russian President Boris Yeltsin's ultimatum to both sides in the conflict in Chechnya, presidential spokesmen told an RL correspondent that Yeltsin had still not signed a decree imposing a state of emergency in the north Caucasian republic. Under the Russian Constitution, such a decree would have to be approved by the Federation Council within 72 hours in order to go into effect; if the council were not to meet within 72 hours, the state of emergency would go into effect automatically. The next session of the Federation Council is scheduled for 6 December. On the morning of 1 December a delegation of Russian parliamentary deputies set out for Grozny, the Chechen capital, to try to secure the release of Russian prisoners captured in Chechnya. According to reports from the north Caucasus, increasing numbers of Russian troops are being deployed on the Chechen border. -- Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA MAY DROP PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE IF NATO EXPANDS. Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev told Interfax on 30 November that "Russia may give up [its participation in] NATO's Partnership for Peace program if that bloc is enlarged," and that he "might forego submitting Russia's presentation document" [on its cooperation with NATO under the partnership] if the impending NATO council meeting adopts "a bloc enlargement calendar." The Partnership for Peace is a series of bilateral programs between NATO and any CSCE member wishing to participate. Russia--which joined the Partnership for Peace on 22 June 1994--planned to present its implementation proposal in Brussels on 2 December. Kozyrev said that "hasty expansion of NATO and scheduling this process will create a new situation. This will be an obvious departure from the partnership we agreed on." In previous remarks on the subject, cited by Interfax on 24 November, Kozyrev chastised "NATO-mania in both Western and Central Europe." Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Krylov, for his part, insisted to AFP on 29 November that the potential of the Partnership for Peace should be fully explored before enlarging NATO; and he appeared to link any enlargement to the admission of Russia itself. -- Doug Clarke and Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN SIGNS DECREE SETTING UP OSTANKINO PUBLIC TV. On 30 November Yeltsin decreed the establishment of Russian Public Television Ostankino (RPT) on the basis of the former state Ostankino Radio and Television Company, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. As outlined in the Daily Report of 30 November, the decree provides for the privatization of 49 percent of Ostankino shares, to be sold to 12 large companies, including a number of private banks, the ITAR-TASS news agency, the AVTOVAZ car plant, and the TV Center. Fifty-one percent of the shares will continue to belong to the State Committee on Property. Nevertheless, the RPT will no longer be financed from the state purse. All the state funds will be channeled into the financing of another state-owned TV company, Russian Television, and the educational Russian Universities channel. The RPT Ostankino will be run by a council chaired by Aleksandr Yakovlev (currently the chairman of the Federal Television Service). Ostankino TV newscasts claimed that the reorganization would help the company to provide unbiased coverage of the forthcoming election campaign. -- Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. NEW TURN IN CONTROVERSIAL CASE OF DETAINED EDITOR. On 29 November Ostankino TV and Interfax reported on a news conference held in the Russian PEN center concerning the case of Aleksei Kostin, the publisher of the newspaper Eshche (More), who was arrested following Yeltsin's showdown with the parliament in October 1993 because of the alleged pornographic character of the paper. The Moscow Nikulino district court has returned Kostin's case for additional investigation, Kostin's lawyer Yulii Vronsky told reporters, but Moscow Prosecutor Gennadii Ponomarev has appealed to a higher court to turn Kostin's case over to another judge. Kostin's case is a bewildering one. First, although Eshche was a proreform newspaper, he appears to be the only person still in prison as a result of the events of October 1993; Yeltsin's hard-line opponents were released as early as February 1994. Second, Eshche was officially registered at the Press Ministry and had never been warned that its contents were considered undesirable. The publishers of many far more obscene newspapers, which have never been registered and are circulated illegally in large numbers in Moscow and elsewhere, have not even been fined. Third, the case against Kostin was initiated by former acting Press Minister Vladimir Shumeiko; the current holder of this position, Sergei Gryzunov, has recently intervened in Kostin's behalf, but his statements have been ignored by the prosecution. -- Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. BOLSHOI GOES ON STRIKE. Bolshoi Theater dancers, singers, and musicians threatened on 30 November to stage a strike for the first time in the theater's 218-year-old history, Interfax and Western news agencies reported. The performers are trying to block the implementation of Yeltsin's decree of September 1994 introducing a contract system for hiring artists and setting up a 15-member board to run the theater. They are also demanding that the theater's director, Vladimir Kokoshin, be dismissed and that the Bolshoi ballet master, Yurii Grigorovich, continue to work with the company. Unless their demands are met, they will delay by 20 minutes the beginning of the ballet Giselle on 8 December and take further strike action afterward. Yeltsin's decree was prompted by the theater's financial problems and by many decades of conflicts between Grigorovich and dozens of the Bolshoi's ballet stars, including Maya Plisetskaya, Ekaterina Maksimova, and Vladimir Vasiliev. Dancers emigrating from the USSR as early as the 1970s cited Grigorovich's authoritarian rule as their main reason for defecting. -- Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. LEND-LEASE STEAM ENGINES SAVE RUSSIAN AIRCRAFT PLANT. The Progress Aerospace Company in Arsenev--100 kilometers northwest of Vladivostok--is using lend-lease American steam engines provided to the Soviet Union during World War II to replace the power and heat shut off by local authorities. Company officials told Interfax on 30 November that the company owed the city power authorities more than 8 billion rubles but could not pay, because its customers were not paying for the Ka-50 and Mi-34 helicopters and An-74 aircraft the company builds. When the city began to cut the company's power, Progress rented two of the old steam engines and is now generating its own. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. DEFENSE WORKERS RESUME HUNGER STRIKE. Workers at the Spetstekhnika joint-stock company in Ekaterinburg (a component of Uralmash), on 30 November resumed a hunger strike suspended in October, according to an Interfax report. The workers had suspended their strike when the company and regional administration agreed to pay the back wages from April to November, to reorganize the company, and to turn it into a state-owned company. The unpaid wages amounted to 2.5 million rubles. The report said that some wages had been paid to the workers of the striking shop, but the other demands had not been met. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS CAUTION ON CUSTOMS UNION. At a meeting in Moscow on 29 November, the Council of Foreign Trade Ministers of CIS member states approved in principle a program for creating a CIS-wide free trade zone and agreed on procedures for the removal of existing constraints on mutual trade--a goal shared by all states, particularly those eyeing the Russian market. With regard to the Russian proposals for a customs union, however, the meeting referred the draft documents back to the experts for further work and resolved that the formation of such a union should come at a "subsequent stage" in the development of the CIS Economic Union. The meeting also resolved that the eventual formation of a common tariff area should entail "the retention of national customs controls on the states' borders." The meeting's decisions appear to reflect the reservations of most CIS member states about the prospective loss of their national prerogatives as implied in the Russian proposals on the customs union. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. RENEWED HOSTILITIES FEARED IN MOLDOVA. Contrary to the 1992 armistice convention, Russia's Defense Ministry has in recent days begun implementing a plan to unilaterally reduce its disengagement force in eastern Moldova from the remaining four battalions to only two; there had originally been six. The four battalions at present in the area are being replaced by two fresh ones from the Totsk-based 27th motor rifle division, earmarked for "peacekeeping" operations in the CIS. Transdniester units, unlawfully allowed inside the disengagement zone by the Russian contingent, are poised to take over some key positions vacated by the Russian side. The latter argues that it can no longer afford to finance its contingent and that the situation on the Dniester has sufficiently stabilized. But Moscow continues to invoke potential "instability" in proposals under which the peacekeeping mandate would be transferred to its 14th Army--a step that Chisinau has resisted all along. In statements mostly off the record in recent days, senior Moldovan officials have expressed concern that the sharp reduction in the Russian peacekeeping contingent could set the stage for "provocations" by the superior Transdniester forces in order to force Moldova to request the 14th Army's intervention in a peacekeeping role and thus nullify the withdrawal agreement (signed but not approved by Russia and not yet in force). Moldova's leadership fears a "Georgian scenario" along these lines. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. SPACE COMPANY TO INVEST IN BAIKONUR. The Russian Khrunichev State Space Research and Scientific-Production Center plans to invest at least $25 million in modernizing the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, according to Anatolii Kiselev, its general director. He told Interfax on 30 November that Khrunichev wanted to upgrade the Baikonur facilities used to launch the company's heavy reusable Proton and Proton-M boosters in view of the upcoming launch of western commercial satellites. Khrunichev is part of a joint Russian-American consortium that has concluded 13 deals worth $1 billion to use the Proton boosters. The first launch--scheduled for November 1995--is of an Inmarsat satellite. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN SERB LEADER SNUBS BOUTROS GHALI. RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported from Sarajevo on 30 November that UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali held talks with Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic. Few details were forthcoming, except that the men discussed a cease-fire and possibilities for ending the Bosnian conflict. The top UN official did not offer any new plans. He said the talks were "long and positive" and that the two men's views were close, but Izetbegovic noted "great differences" in their standpoints. The Bosnian leader pointed out that all UN resolutions on that embattled republic are still in force, as are the "Contact Group's" peace plan for Bosnia and the UN plan for Bihac. He hoped the Serbs would be brought around to accepting them. Outside the building in which the meeting took place, demonstrators booed Boutros-Ghali. The secretary-general had been slated to meet Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic at the UNPROFOR-controlled Sarajevo airport, but Karadzic insisted that the session take place at Serbian headquarters in Pale in an effort to secure de facto UN acknowledgment of his separate state. Boutros Ghali refused to comply and left Bosnia "disappointed" by Karadzic's stance. -- Patrick Moore CROATIA TO INTERVENE IN BIHAC? The New York Times on 30 November quoted Defense Minister Gojko Susak as saying Croatia will have no choice but to intervene if Bihac falls to Serbian forces. He noted that between 3,000 and 5,000 Croatian Serb forces are participating in the attack. If Bihac were to fall, the Serbs would secure the rail line connecting Croatian Serb headquarters at Knin with the major Bosnian Serb center at Banja Luka. Zagreb is alarmed by such a possibility. Both France and the United States have meanwhile warned Croatia not to intervene, arguing it could lead to "an expansion of the conflict," RFE/RL's South Slavic Service cited French sources as saying. International news agencies quoted the State Department as warning of "additional casualties and unforeseeable consequences." Elsewhere, Politika on 1 December publishes the full text of what it says is the agreement between Zagreb and Knin on restoring infrastructure links. Since the Knin Serbs joined in the attack on Bihac, however, any such agreement is bound to be in limbo, if not a dead letter altogether. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. SEVEN UKRAINIANS HELD BY SERBS NEAR BIHAC. Seven Ukrainians serving in the UN peacekeeping force were captured by Bosnian Serbs at Checkpoint 11 near Bihac on 30 November, ITAR-TASS reported. UN representatives have established contact with the Bosnian Serbs who captured the Ukrainians and are negotiating with them. Just days ago, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said that Ukraine may withdraw its troops if their security cannot be guaranteed. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. KOSOVAR ACTIVIST DIES IN SERBIAN PRISON. According to leading Kosovar human rights and political organizations, the 39-year-old Ismajl Reka "died as the result of a two-day torture" at the Kacanik prison, international news agencies reported from Pristina on 30 November. The authorities issued no statement but told Reka's family that he had committed suicide by jumping out of a fifth-floor window. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. MORE ALBANIAN POLICEMEN ARRESTED IN KOSOVO. The number of ethnic Albanian former policemen arrested by the Serbian police to date has risen to at least 80, Deutsche Welle reported on 30 November. Those arrested are members of the Independent Trade Unions of Kosovo. Serbian police have accused them of building up an illegal military formation. Borba on 1 December reports that a group of 12 Kosovar lawyers has appealed to the Council of Europe, the CSCE, the European Parliament, and a number of human rights organizations to take up the case of the arrested policemen. -- Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL EUROPEANS INVITED TO EU MEETING. The European Union has invited six Central European countries to a two-hour meeting on 10 December in Essen, after its formal summit talks. The announcement was made on 30 November by German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who said at a press conference that the union "decided to invite the [Central European] state and government heads simply to send the message that we are not running a 'closed-shop' in the European Union." Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 1 December that Polish Foreign Minister Andrzej Olechowski described the forthcoming meeting as "symbolic, because it would be difficult for 21 premiers to talk about serious matters during a two-hour lunch." But he added that the invitation was important because the summit would discuss the future inclusion of Central European countries in the EU. -- Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH DEFENSE PORTFOLIO STILL VACANT. Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak on 30 November withdrew the candidacy of emigre politician Ryszard Kaczorowski for the defense portfolio in the face of opposition from members of the government coalition and President Lech Walesa. The president is still proposing the appointment of the former government functionary Zbigniew Okonski, but his candidacy is opposed by the Alliance of the Democratic Left, a senior partner in the coalition. According to both Gazeta Wyborcza and Rzeczpospolita on 1 December, Pawlak could refrain from appointing a new minister and simply designate one of the current deputy ministers as acting head of the ministry. Both newspapers also speculate that the current confusion over the selection of a new minister may have been orchestrated by Pawlak, who may want to persuade Walesa to support the government's economic program in exchange for premier's acceptance of the president's candidate for the ministerial post. -- Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc. DINNER WITH PREMIER CAUSES STIR IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC. More than 100 Czech businessmen accepted an invitation by Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party to dine with the premier on 30 November in exchange for a financial contribution to the CDP ranging from 100,000 koruny ($3,500) koruny to 250,000 koruny ($8,600). The invitation cards said that each contribution "is a gift for the sake of prosperity and democracy, spearheaded in our country by the CDP." The dinner was sharply criticized by some political parties. The Democratic Union sent an open letter to President Vaclav Havel, published in Cesky Denik on 30 November, asking him to take a public stand on the affair. It argued that Klaus's "sale of privileges connected with his state office . . . , with the aim of enriching the CDP's coffers, is a provocation." Havel's office announced on 30 November that the president will refrain from comment for the time being. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. BAVARIA GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO CZECH PIPELINE. The government of the German state of Bavaria has officially approved the construction of a pipeline from the German town of Ingolstadt to Kralupy in the Czech Republic. The Czech government has lobbied heavily for the construction of the pipeline as an alternative to pipelines from the former Soviet Union, on which the Czech Republic currently depends. CTK reports that the Bavarian Ministry of Labor, which was responsible for evaluating the project, gave the final approval on 30 November after 17 months of deliberations. The project has been opposed by German environmentalists and owners of property that the pipeline will cross. In a press release issued on 30 November, Bavarian Labor Minister Barbara Stamm argued that if supplies from Russia were to decrease, oil would have to be delivered to the Czech Republic by trucks from the West, which would harm the environment much more than the pipeline. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS LOAN TO SLOVAKIA. The European Parliament's Committee for External Economic Relations has failed to approve a $246 million loan to Slovakia, which the country had requested to boost its hard currency reserves. Slovak Deputy Prime Minister Brigita Schmoegnerova told journalists in Bratislava on 30 November that the loan had been approved by the European Union and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, "and we considered the approval by the European Parliament to be a mere formality." She said the committee views the situation in Slovakia "as unclear and confusing." The committee concluded it was unclear how economic reform in Slovakia would proceed. Schmoegnerova noted that if Slovakia did not receive the loan, "the country's hard currency reserves may be threatened." She pointed out that the situation could become even more complicated if Slovakia began trading with the Czech Republic in hard currency. The two countries currently use a clearing system in bilateral trade. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. STRONG RIGHT-OF-CENTER PARTY IN SLOVAKIA? Two leaders of the National Democratic Party told journalists in Bratislava on 30 November that several right-of-center political parties in Slovakia are discussing a possible merger. The parties in question are the Democratic Union of outgoing Prime Minister Jozef Moravcik, the Party of Entrepreneurs, and possibly the Democratic Party. The NDP ran on the DU's ticket in the fall elections, in which right-of-center civic parties did not fare well, owing partly to their inability to unite. The two NDP leaders noted that the merger could help establish a strong right-of-center party, which, together with the Christian Democratic Party, could "more effectively challenge extreme forces of the collectivist type." -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN OPPOSITION PARTY CRITICIZES PREMIER. The Presidium of the Alliance of Young Democrats on 30 November criticized Prime Minister Gyula Horn for his statement on NATO during his visit to Warsaw in November, MTI reports. Horn had said that Hungary supported an "intensive dialogue with Moscow in order to dissipate misunderstandings and fears" among the Russian leadership. The AYD Presidium argued that this statement questioned Hungary's commitment to NATO--the only international security organization capable of guaranteeing Hungary's security and Western orientation. The Presidium called on Horn to make clear at the upcoming CSCE summit in Budapest that Hungary is a sovereign state and would like to be a full member of NATO as soon as possible. -- Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. LONDON PROTESTS BRITISH COUPLE'S TREATMENT IN ROMANIA. Reuters on 30 November reports that Britain has lodged a protest with the Romanian government over the alleged ill-treatment of a British couple convicted of trying to smuggle a baby out of Romania in early July. Adrian and Bernadette Mooney were initially sentenced to 28 months in jail, but the sentence was overturned on appeal in mid-November. After returning to Britain, the two complained of inhumane treatment during their imprisonment in a Bucharest police station and harassment after they were let out on bail. A Foreign Office spokesman said a formal note of protest was handed to the Romanian Foreign Ministry on 29 November and Romania's ambassador to London summoned to the Foreign Office for an explanation. Radio Bucharest quoted Bucharest's ambassador in London, Sergiu Celac, as describing the British intervention as "a request to clarify" the affair rather than a protest. -- Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. ALBANIA CUTS SENTENCES OF SOME FORMER LEADING COMMUNISTS. The Albanian Supreme Court reduced sentences for some key imprisoned ex-communist leaders, Reuters reported on 30 November. Former President Ramiz Alia's prison term was cut from nine to six years, while those of ex-Vice President Rita Marko and former Interior Minister Simon Stefani were reduced by two years. The moves appear to be in conjunction with an amnesty to mark Albania's national day, but it is still unclear if the amnesty will be applied to Enver Hoxha's widow, Nexhmije. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. IMMINENT CHANGES IN THE ALBANIAN GOVERNMENT? Albanian Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi plans a major reshuffle of his government by the end of the year, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 27 and 28 November. In the biggest change in Meksi's government since it took office in summer 1992, seven new ministers are to be appointed. The daily said the reshuffle is in response to criticism of the government, which failed to muster support in a November referendum for a new constitution. Meanwhile, the government has endorsed the draft of an anti-corruption law that might force civil servants and state officials to declare their assets. -- Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. MARCHUK WARNS UKRAINIAN NATIONALISTS ON CHECHNYA. First Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Evhen Marchuk has said Ukraine will take all necessary steps to prevent Ukrainian citizens from taking part in the conflict in Chechnya, Interfax reported on 30 November. The statement was made in connection with a 29 November report that a plane load of ultranationalists from the paramilitary Ukrainian National Self-Defense Organization had been detained in Russia on their way to Chechnya. UNSO, whose members have taken part in the Abkhaz conflict against Russia, is sympathetic toward Chechen national aspirations. Marchuk said there has been no official confirmation yet of the detention of the Chechnya-bound UNSO group. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINE ADMITS TO SIPHONING RUSSIAN GAS. Reuters on 30 November reported that a Ukrainian official from the gas distributor Ukrhazprom confirmed that Ukraine is indeed siphoning Russian gas from pipelines. Bohdan Baby from Ukrhazprom said that even though Russia would undoubtedly fine Ukraine heavily for the siphoning, Ukraine's steel and energy industries could not be allowed to grind to a halt. Gazprom halved Ukraine's gas supplies on 27 November because Ukrainian officials had failed to renew contracts in time. Negotiations on the contracts are continuing, and Gazprom official Vladimir Podelyakin said Ukraine has agreed to pay in advance for the shipment of 4 billion cubic meters of gas for December. Gazprom transports some 500 million cubic meters of gas daily through Ukraine; half is meant for Ukraine and the rest for other countries. Ukraine has been having difficulty making regular payments for the supplies and owes Gazprom a total of $1.4 billion. Its latest siphoning has affected supplies to Germany and Slovakia. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. BELARUSIAN PRIME MINISTER SAYS PRICES MUST BE FREED. Mikhail Chyrhir told a press conference that the suspension of the November decree liberalizing prices must be lifted, Belinform-TASS reported on 29 November. Chyhir said the continued regulation of prices in Belarus makes Belarusian products much cheaper than those of its Baltic neighbors, Russia, or Ukraine. As a result, basic commodities are bought up in Belarus and transported to its neighbors. Chyhir said the Cabinet of Ministers has asked President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to allow prices to be increased so that the country would not face shortages owing to the mass exodus of its goods abroad. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. NATO ACCEPTS LITHUANIA'S PFP PROGRAM. NATO Secretary-General Willy Claes approved Lithuania's individual Partnership for Peace program in Brussels on 30 November. Foreign Ministry Secretary Albinas Januska told RFE/RL's Lithuanian Service that although 24 countries have signed up for the PFP program, Lithuania is only the ninth to have its individual program approved. The other eight are Sweden, Finland, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria. Januska suggested at a NATO hearing that an "associate status" be given to candidate countries not considered ready for full membership and a "special strategic relationship" to countries that did not desire to become full NATO members. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT IN ITALY. Algirdas Brazauskas, accompanied by Foreign Minister Povilas Gylys, several parliament deputies, and a group of businessmen, arrived in Rome on 30 November for a three-day visit, Radio Lithuania reports. He had an hour-long meeting with his Italian counterpart, Luigi Scalfaro, and shorter meetings with Senate Chairman Carlo Scognamiglio, Chamber of Deputies Chairperson Irene Pivetti, and Italian businessmen. Scalfaro said he would tell the Foreign Ministry to pay more attention to Lithuania's request to regain its embassy in Rome, which was seized by the USSR after World War II and is still used by Moscow. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. CLINTON SEEKS LATVIAN PRESIDENT'S VIEWS ON CSCE. Latvian media reported on 30 November that in a letter to President Guntis Ulmanis, the US president expressed his ideas about the future development of the CSCE and asked Ulmanis for his views. Clinton said he does not envisage a Europe divided into spheres of influence, and he made specific proposals regarding European security and stability. The letter was written in anticipation of the CSCE conference on 5 and 6 December in Budapest, where Clinton said he would like to meet with Ulmanis. -- Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. ESTONIAN, FINNISH, RUSSIAN BORDER COOPERATION. Acting on a Finnish initiative, the national border guard chiefs of Estonia, Finland, and Russia signed a trilateral cooperation protocol in Helsinki on 29 November. The protocol regulates the activities in 1995 of the coast guards of Estonia, Finland, and Russia in the Gulf of Finland. It also calls for joint efforts to prevent illegal activities in the area and to promote smoother border crossings. The Estonian representative also signed bilateral protocols with Finland and Russia, including a protocol with the latter on the exchange of information and on cooperation in tracking down criminals. BNS on 30 November quoted Estonian Captain Tarmo Kouts as saying: "We have agreed with the Russian border guard leaders to discuss only the technical guarding of the borders, without touching on aspects that have to be settled by the two countries' politicians through negotiations." -- 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 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. 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