|No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear. - Edmund Burke|
No. 229, 6 December 1994
RUSSIA YELTSIN'S WARNINGS AT CSCE. Addressing the CSCE summit in Budapest on 5 December, Russian President Boris Yeltsin attacked NATO's plans to meet the new democracies' wish to be admitted into the alliance. He warned against "sowing the seeds of distrust" and "plunging Europe into a cold peace" through an enlargement of NATO. Speaking as he now tends to do in international forums on behalf of "the peoples of the CIS," Yeltsin claimed that it is their "wish that the CIS continue to grow stronger." He also became the exception in attacking fellow-CSCE countries by accusing the Baltic and unnamed CIS states of violating the rights of Russians and of the Orthodox Church, without substantiating the charges. Yeltsin persisted in claiming a "peacemaking mission" for Russia in CIS states and in calling for turning the CSCE into a coordinating security body for all Europe that would in effect sideline NATO. Western agencies quoted diplomats at the conference as terming Yeltsin's speech "uncompromising," "harsh," "blunt," and generating "rancor" and "renewed tension between Moscow and the West." -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. GRACHEV ADMITS RUSSIAN BOMBING OF CHECHNYA. Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev arrived on the Chechen border on 5 December, along with Interior Minister Viktor Yerin and Counterintelligence chief Sergei Stepashin, to visit Russian troops. Grachev told correspondents that Russian warplanes had bombed targets in Chechnya last week and Russian ground troops had fought alongside Chechen opposition forces trying to oust the government of Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev, Russian and Western agencies reported. Grachev said that he was ready to meet with Dudaev and Chechen opposition leader Umar Avturkhanov to hear their ideas on how to achieve a peaceful settlement in Chechnya. Chechen Vice President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev told AFP that the Chechen government was willing to talk to Moscow but considers the republic's independence to be non-negotiable. -- Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. LEBED ATTACKS YELTSIN, GRACHEV, FSK. Lt.-General Aleksandr Lebed, commander of Russia's 14th Army in Moldova, called on Yeltsin via Interfax on 2 December to initiate direct negotiations with [Chechen President Dzokhar] Dudaev in order to resolve the crisis in Chechnya "quickly and effectively." "I don't know why Yeltsin does not invite Dudaev to sit down and negotiate a compromise," Lebed wondered aloud. He also chastised Moscow's strategy in Chechnya for betting on "some sort of opposition which they've put together" and for "pitting Chechen against Chechen." On Russian TV on 3 December, Lebed accused Russia's Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK) of having recruited a Tiraspol woman to spy on him. Lebed produced the woman and her case officer, an FSK major, both of whom confessed on the progam. Lebed promised to confront FSK chief Sergei Stepashin with the affair and "cause a scandal throughout Russia." In no. 44-45 of Ogonek, Lebed renewed his call for Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev to resign for the sake of the armed forces' honor and prestige. Lebed said Grachev "allows anyone to wipe their feet on him." Lebed came close to calling for Yeltsin's resignation by remarking that "the minister (Grachev) is linked by close personal relations to the commander in chief . . . They will only resign together." -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA RENEWS BID TO CHANGE CFE TREATY . . . Col.-Gen. Vladimir Zhurbenko--the first deputy chief of the General Staff--told a Moscow press conference on 5 December that Russia was renewing its efforts to change the 1990 treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe (CFE treaty). Russia has long objected to Article V of the treaty which places limits on the armaments Russia can deploy in the Leningrad and North Caucasus military districts. The Russian military claims that these flank limits do not allow them to properly defend Russia's troubled southern borders. According to ITAR-TASS and Interfax, Zhurbenko indicated that the Russians had suggested several solutions to the Joint Consultative Group in Vienna. One would be to temporarily suspend Article V limits while another would be to remove the North Caucasus military districts from the CFE flanks and place it in another treaty zone. Neither proposal is new--Zhurbenko suggested the latter one himself in October 1993--and the other treaty parties have reacted coolly to the proposals in the past. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. . . . WHILE MEETING DESTRUCTION QUOTAS. Zhurbenko reported that Russia had met its CFE treaty destruction quota. As of 17 November--when the second destruction phase ended--Russia had disposed of 7,464 items of military equipment limited by the treaty. This was more than 60 percent of the items that must eventually be destroyed. He released other figures, however, which indicated Russia was not doing as well in meeting the terms of destruction obligations that complement the CFE treaty. He said that 754 items belonging to the coast defense and marine forces had been disposed of--just 20 percent of the total obligation. The reduction of equipment located in Asian Russia was going at an even slower pace. Zhurbenko reported that 1,255 items had been destroyed or converted there, which is less than seven percent of the required cuts. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. TWO GENERALS NOMINATED FOR CONSTITUTIONAL COURT POSTS. Russian President Boris Yeltsin has named two more candidates for vacancies on the Russian Constitutional Court, ITAR-TASS reported on 1 December. Nominated were Sergei Vitsin, holder of a chair at the Moscow Higher School of Police, and Vladimir Strekozov, deputy head of the Military Academy of Economics, Finance and Law. Since the adoption of the new constitution on 12 December 1993, four judges have been elected, while several attempts to fill the remaining two vacancies have failed because the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, has refused to approve Yeltsin's candidates. According to a new law, the court cannot resume work until all 19 judges are elected. Both of Yeltsin's latest candidates are major-generals, Vitsin in the internal affairs ministry and Strekozov in the justice ministry. Both are unknown to the general public, a factor that has helped other candidates win the Federation Council's approval. -- Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. WORLD WAR II SOVIET DEATH TOLL TO BE ANNOUNCED. General Dmitri Volkogonov, chairman of the president's commission on military prisoners and MIAs, announced on 2 December that he would reveal the exact number of Soviet citizens killed during World War II by next year's fiftieth anniversary of victory. According to Interfax, he said that the figure of 27 million killed generally accepted today should be "corrected." He also revealed that 44 Soviet officers and soldiers disappeared in Hungary in 1956, and some 300 were missing-in-action in Afghanistan--some still being kept prisoner. He also said that a Colonel Udalov, who disappeared in Ethiopia in 1978, was still alive and working in a stone quarry in Somalia as late as 1989. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. CHEMICAL WEAPONS PRODUCTION CONTINUING? A defense ministry spokesman hedged on 5 December when asked whether Russia was still testing and producing chemical weapons. As quoted by Reuters on 5 December, the unnamed spokesman said "It depends where and what exactly you are referring to. . . . We cannot say that all chemical weapons production and testing has stopped altogether." That same day the Russian Union for Chemical Security held a press conference calling for Russia to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty banning the production, use, or possession of chemical weapons. Interfax reported that Vladimir Petrenko, chairman of the Saratov Union for Chemical Security, said that unauthorized destruction of some chemical weapons had taken place at Shikhany, in the Saratov region, without proper precautions to protect the environment. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA SHEVARDNADZE CONDEMNS KILLING OF OPPOSITION LEADER. Soon after the 3 December assassination of Georgii Chanturia, one of the leaders of the Georgian opposition, Georgian parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze issued a statement condemning the killing and told an emergency Cabinet meeting that failure to find the killers quickly would cause Georgia to be perceived as utterly lawless, Russian and Western agencies reported. The National Democratic Party, which Chanturia headed, denounced the killing as an attack by "imperialist Russian forces and anti-democratic Georgian forces." As of 5 December, the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs had been unable to find the killers. Shevardnadze announced that the assassination had caused him to delay his departure for the CSCE gathering in Budapest, but he did not intend to bow to the demands of some political leaders who wanted him to dismiss some government ministers in connection with Chanturia's assassination. -- Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. NEW PRIME MINISTER IN TAJIKISTAN. Tajikistan's President Imomali Rakhmonov has nominated his chief adviser on economics, Dzhamshed Karimov, to be the country's new prime minister, Russian and Western agencies reported on 2 and 5 December. Under Tajikistan's new constitution, the nomination must be approved by the new parliament, which is to be elected on 26 February 1995. Karimov is a former Gosplan official and Communist Party functionary. Rakhmonov told the Supreme Soviet session at which he announced the Karimov appointment that he intends to reduce the number of ministers from 26 to 18 and reduce the number of government committees and departments from six to three. The changes, according to Rakhmonov, will accelerate political and economic reforms. -- Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS CENTRISTS CALL FOR EURASIAN COMMUNITY. In a statement reported by Russian media from 30 November to 4 December, the leaders of the "centrist" grouping Third Force called for the reintegration of ex-Soviet republics into a new economic, political, and military "Eurasian Community." Third Force is comprised of Civic Union, led by the powerful representative of industrial interests, Arkadii Volsky; Igor Smirnov's All-Russian Renewal Union; Vyacheslav Grechnev's Party of the Majority; and the Agroindustrial Union. As a first step toward reunification, Third Force calls for Russia's reintegration with Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan; the matter will be discussed at a Civic Congress of representatives of those four states in Moscow later this month. This should be followed by referendums in all ex-Soviet republics on the matter of reconstituting the Union. Third Force expects active support for the plan from private business interests in the former republics. Volsky and the other leaders see the Eurasian community as a succcessor not of the USSR but of the Russian Empire "in which we all lived together for 300 to 500 years." -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. AGRICULTURAL BODY SETS AGENDA. Meeting in Minsk on 2 December, the Intergovernmental Council for the Coordination of Issues of the Agro-Industrial Complex set up a Permanent Council and Secretariat to be headquartered in Moscow, Russian agencies reported. All twelve CIS members signed an agreement on cooperation in promoting agrarian reforms. Russian Deputy Prime Minister (responsible for agriculture) Aleksandr Zaveriukha told the session that Russia's food supply in the years ahead could only be planned with account taken of imports from CIS states, particularly meat and meat products, milk and dairy products, and sugar. He called for concerted policies in agricultural reform, sharing of crop information, and various forms of technical cooperation as a first step toward a common CIS agricultural market. Certain CIS states who traditionally supply the Russian market, however, are interested in the immediate removal of tariff barriers, some of which reflect the protectionist interests of Russia's agricultural lobby. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE UKRAINE, BELARUS, KAZAKHSTAN ACCEDE TO NPT. At a ceremony in Budapest within the framework of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe summit, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan formally joined the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, international agencies reported on 5 December. The way is now paved toward the implementation of the START-1 Treaty reducing the long-range nuclear weapons held by the United States and the former Soviet Union. US President Bill Clinton, attending the ceremony along with other world leaders, said the US and former Soviet nuclear arsenals will be cut by more than 60 percent from the Cold War peak. He noted that Ukraine's decision to renounce the hundreds of warheads it inherited was a "bold move away from the nuclear precipice." Ukraine had long accepted in principle that it should become a non-nuclear state but had insisted that it receive security and other guarantees from the five major nuclear powers. The United States, Britain, and Russia gave assurances that they will respect Ukraine's territorial integrity and will not attack it. France and China have issued similar guarantees. Ukraine is expected to become a weapons-free nation around the turn of the century. Belarus and Kazakhstan have already given up their nuclear arsenals. -- Jan Cleave, RFE/RL, Inc. IZETBEGOVIC BLASTS WESTERN BOSNIAN POLICY. The Bosnian crisis featured in several speeches at the CSCE summit in Budapest on 5 December, and nowhere more than in the address by the embattled republic's President Alija Izetbegovic. International media quoted him as saying " What is happening in Bosnia is the weakness of the West" and "Paris and London have from the very beginning taken the role of Serbia's protectors." He noted, in reference to Serbian attacks on the UN-declared "safe area" of Bihac, that "NATO cannot save one endangered city." Izetbegovic also painted a bleak picture of the new world order as a result of this conflict: "Against a serious illness they applied tranquilizers. The result will be a discredited United Nations, a ruined NATO, Europeans demoralized by a feeling of inability to respond to the first crisis after the cold war. I hope that the friends of Bosnia did not take offense at these words. As for those others, after everything which has occurred, I do not care." -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. OTHER KEY LEADERS DISCUSS BOSNIA. Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, also attending the CSCE summit, expressed similar sentiments to those of Izetbegovic, even if his language was milder. He said Western policy had been "hesitant and lukewarm" and warned again that Croatia may have to use force to regain the approximately one-third of its territory under rebel Serbian control. British Prime Minister John Major did not respond to Izetbegovic's criticism of London's policies but charged the Bosnian Serbs with creating an unacceptable situation by not cooperating with peacekeepers. He also repeated Britain's now-frequent threat to pull its troops out if need be. Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller pointed out that "we have accepted certain principles in the CSCE. Unless we give life to them, they are irrelevant." US President Bill Clinton, continuing his recently adopted stance of not blaming any side in the conflict, called on all of them to "end your aggression, agree a cease-fire, [and] settle your differences around the negotiating table." He concluded that "we must work to prevent future Bosnias." RFE/RL's South Slavic Service commentator, however, when asked what he thought would come out of the conference as far as Bosnia is concerned, answered "nothing." -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. SERBS STILL HOLD 350 UNPROFOR SOLDIERS HOSTAGE. Despite having released seven Ukrainians on 5 December, Bosnian Serb forces continue to hold about 350 of their international colleagues. The BBC quoted British Defense Secretary Malcolm Rifkind as saying that continued harassment would make the peace-keepers' mission pointless. The New York Times on 6 December cites a UN spokesman in Sarajevo as saying that "the international community should understand that the Bosnian Serbs are not only waging war against the Bosnian government in Bihac, they are targeting UNPROFOR . . . in a carefully calculated insult against the United Nations." The newspaper adds that Serbs have begun using incendiary shells against Velika Kladusa, where 500 government troops are holding out against 2,000 attackers. Another UN officer said the Serbian attackers "don't want to talk, they want to kill. What does the West think it can do, say 'pretty please' and the bloodshed will stop?" The Washington Post reports. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. BOSNIAN SERB DELEGATION MEETS WITH MILOSEVIC. International media reported on 5 December that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic had received a delegation of 15-20 representatives from Pale, headed by Bosnian Serb "Foreign Minister" Aleksa Buha. A joint declaration said the Bosnian Serbs should study the possible acceptance of the "Contact Group's" plan, provided constitutional issues were clarified and changes made in the proposed map. A BBC commentator said the delegation was sent with Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic's approval and that its arrival in Belgrade was a positive signal from Pale to Milosevic and the Contact Group. The commentator also noted, however, that Karadzic could have sent someone more senior than Buha if he had wanted to signal something major. Other media offered different interpretations, however. Reuters suggested that the delegation members were part of a parliamentary peace faction that had tried to launch a rebellion against Karadzic within his own party. RFE/RL's South Slavic Service noted several representatives present from Banja Luka and Bijeljina, who are thought to be politically closer to Milosevic than to Karadzic. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. GREECE TO ALLOW SOME FUEL TO MACEDONIA. Greece has agreed to partly lift its blockade of Macedonia and allow 5,000 tons of fuel to pass across the border for use in schools and hospitals, international news agencies reported on 5 December. Many observers in Athens and elsewhere have been expecting Greece to try to improve ties with Macedonia in the wake of the recent presidential and parliamentary elections in that former Yugoslav republic. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVENE VOTERS REBUFF CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS. Initial returns from the 4 December Slovenian municipal and local elections suggest that voters think poorly of the right-of-center Christian Democrats of former Foreign Minister Lojze Peterle. They seem to favor instead the opposition nationalist Social Democrats of former Defense Minister Janez Jansa, as well as the left-of-center governing coalition parties, including the former Communists and Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek's Liberal Democrats. Independents and the opposition Peasant Party also did well. A computer glitch has held up the final tally of returns. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. WALESA IN JAPAN AND BUDAPEST. Polish President Lech Walesa on 6 December arrived in Japan for a three-day visit during which he is expected to sign agreements on bilateral economic and cultural cooperation. He will also try to persuade the Japanese to increase their investments in Poland. In an interview with Rzeczpospolita on 6 December, Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama said his country intends to promote the expansion of small and medium-sized businesses and is interested in environmental issues. Walesa flew to Japan from Budapest, where he took part in the CSCE summit meeting. According to Gazeta Wyborcza and Rzeczpospolita on 6 December, the Polish president spoke strongly in defense of Poland's plans to join NATO. He also was critical of Russia's opposition to the eastward expansion of the Western security alliance, arguing that "no country has the right to prevent the others from fulfilling their objectives." -- Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc. HAVEL ON NATO MEMBERSHIP. Czech President Vaclav Havel met with NATO General-Secretary Willy Claes on 5 December in Budapest, where both politicians were taking part in the CSCE summit. CTK reports Havel as saying that the Czech Republic is ready to start talks on admission to NATO in 1995. The two politicians agreed that the purpose of NATO's expansion is not to isolate Russia and create "a new Yalta." Rather, Havel argued, NATO is trying to build a partnership with Russia and the CSCE could be a vehicle for such relations. Earlier the same day, Havel told Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev that the Czech Republic is in favor of speedy negotiations on its admission to NATO. Havel argued that this objective must be seen in the light of his country's historical experience. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. CZECH GOVERNMENT SUBMITS BUDGET FOR 1995. The Czech government on 5 December submitted to the parliament its proposal for the 1995 state budget. The proposal envisages a balanced budget, with budgetary expenditures and income totaling 411.5 billion koruny each. The government also proposed that the National Property Fund, the country's top privatization agency, provide 10.7 billion koruny to pay the interest on the country's state debt. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS. Sergej Kozlik, deputy chairman of Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, told journalists in Bratislava on 5 December that the new Slovak government should be formed between 10 and 15 December. Kozlik said agreement had been reached on both the division of ministries among the MDS and its coalition partners (the Association of Slovak Workers and the Slovak National Party) and the choice of ministers. Meanwhile, TASR announced that representatives of the MDS and the Party of the Democratic Left are to meet on 6 or 7 December to discuss economic and social issues. PDL chairman Peter Weiss told a press conference in Bratislava on 5 December that the talks will not focus on a possible coalition between the two parties. "We have done everything possible to create a broad coalition government," Weiss said. Also on 5 December, two ethnic Hungarian parties--Coexistence and the Hungarian Civic Party--signed an agreement on forming a joint caucus in the Slovak parliament. The parties' chairmen, Miklos Duray and Laszlo Nagy, told journalists in Bratislava that there will be two Hungarian ethnic caucuses in the Slovak parliament: their joint caucus and that of the Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN PREMIER DISCUSSES NATO AND REFORMS . . . In a meeting with US President Clinton at the CSCE summit, Gyula Horn reiterated Hungary's commitment to becoming a member of NATO and continuing with economic reforms to gain full EU membership, MTI reports on 5 December. Horn asked for increased US investment in Hungary, while Clinton promised support for Hungary's goals and stressed the importance the US attaches to Hungary's EU membership. -- Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. . . . AND MEETS WITH ROMANIAN PREMIER. Horn and Romanian President Ion Iliescu met in Budapest on 4 December to discuss bilateral relations, MTI reported the next day. Horn said Hungary would like to expand its relations with Romania "in the spirit of historical reconciliation" and stressed the importance of the negotiations on a bilateral treaty. He added that it would be a positive signal not only for bilateral relations but also for the Central European region if Hungary and Romania were among the first countries to sign the European Union's document on national minorities. Iliescu, for his part, said the talks with Horn had been "open and realistic" and had proved that "Romanian-Hungarian relations are not conflictual," according to Radio Bucharest on 5 December. He welcomed the "open and realistic manner" displayed by the Horn cabinet in approaching the problem of "historical reconciliation" through promoting contacts at high level. But he added that such contacts should not be conditional on agreement already having been reached on "points of difference." -- Edith Oltay and Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. ILIESCU AT CSCE SUMMIT. Addressing the CSCE summit on 5 December, Romanian President Ion Iliescu reiterated Romania's "determination" to become a full NATO member, saying that Romania did not merely wish to be a "consumer of security but also a producer of security." On 4 and 5 December, Iliescu met with Moldovan President Mircea Snegur, Bulgarian President Zhelu Zhelev, Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn, Spanish Premier Felipe Gonzales, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, and British Prime Minister John Major. Romanian Television on 5 December reported that Iliescu had discussed with Snegur the "intensification of contacts at all levels." The Moldovan side was reported to have declared it was waiting for the visit of Romanian Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu. -- Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. HDFR PROTESTS "MILITARIZATION" OF SZEKLER REGION. The Odorhei branch of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania has protested what it calls "the militarization" of the territories largely inhabited by the Szekler Magyar minority. The protest was made public on 4 December by the independent news agency Arpress. The HDFR says that since December 1989, the Romanian army has taken "numerous steps that disturb the peace of the region's inhabitants." It says these steps are "unjustified" and adds that police forces in the region inhabited by the Szeklers are three times larger than elsewhere in Romania. The HDFR also says that such measures are "hardly leading to the promotion of [Romanian-Hungarian] trust," which is particularly needed on the eve of concluding the Romanian-Hungarian basic treaty. -- Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. ALBANIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY SEEKS NEW ALLIES. The Albanian Democratic Party has held talks for the first time with leaders of the Balli Kombetar Party, Rilindja Demokratike reports. The nationalist BKP is the successor to the World War II resistance movement that eventually collaborated with the Germans against the Communists. The unexpected dialogue between the two parties may be a result of President Sali Berisha's referendum debacle last month. The ADP is currently seeking new political allies and has called for a dialogue with various parties, including the Socialists (former Communists). -- Louis Zanga, RFE/RL, Inc. ALBANIAN-US MILITARY MANEUVERS. Preparations are under way for another round of Albanian-US military maneuvers, Rilindja Demokratike reported on 2 December. Two weeks ago, the first ever Albanian-US maneuvers took place in Albania. At the meeting between a US military delegation and Albanian Army Chief of Staff Sheme Kosova, those maneuvers were evaluated as "successful." Future plans of bilateral cooperation within the framework of the Partnership for Peace were also discussed. -- Louis Zanga, RFE/RL, Inc. US GROUPS BALTIC, NORDIC NATIONS TOGETHER. The US State Department has removed Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania from its Office of Eastern Europe and joined them with Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland to create a single office for Baltic and Nordic nations, BNS reported on 5 December. A press attache at the US embassy in Tallinn said the transfer showed US recognition of the Baltic States' achievements in the areas of democracy and the economy and would affect the implementation of various US projects in the region. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke said in a television interview that the decision was "a small but important bureaucratic change to reflect the new reality, which is that when we think of the Baltic nations, we think of them in conjunction with nations of Western Europe and Scandinavia." -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. ESTONIAN PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS. Lennart Meri on 5 December announced that the next parliament elections would be held on 5 March 1995, BNS reports. A proportional representation system is to be used for the elections to the 101-seat legislature, with a party or bloc needing a minimum of 5 percent of the vote to gain seats. Eight new political parties have been registered this fall, and five others--including two Russian parties, the Russian Party of Estonia and Estonian People's Assembly Party--have handed in registration applications to the Interior Ministry. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. LATVIAN TEACHERS ON STRIKE. Some 14,000 Latvian teachers and educators began a warning strike on 5 December, demanding higher wages. The strike is expected to continue on 6 December and the number of strikers to increase, BNS reported. The government, while expressing sympathy for the teachers, said it did not have the resources to meet their demands. -- Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] (Compiled by Jan Cleave and Pete Baumgartner) The RFE/RL DAILY REPORT, produced by the RFE/RL Research Institute (a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.) with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division, is available through electronic mail by subscribing to RFERL-L at LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU Inquiries about specific news items should be directed as follows (please include your full postal address when inquiring about subscriptions): Mr. Brian Reed RFE/RL, Inc. 1201 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036 Telephone: (202) 457-6912 Fax: (202) 457-6992 Internet: REEDB@RFERL.ORG Copyright 1994, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.
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