Every individual has a place to fill in the world, and is important, in some respect, whether he chooses to be so or not. - Nathaniel Hawthorne
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 235, 14 December 1994

                              RUSSIA

CHECHNYA: FIGHTING, TALKS CONTINUE. Russian troops clashed with
defending Chechen forces on 13 December as they continued their
advance on Grozny from three directions, agencies reported. By
nightfall one Russian armored column had reached the northern
suburbs of Grozny, two others were between 15 and 40 kilometers
east of the town. Russian casualties since the invasion began were
variously estimated at nine or ten killed. At their second day of
talks in Vladikavkaz, Russian and Chechen government
representatives agreed to disarm illegal armed groups but failed
to come to agreement on whether this should take place before or
after the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya, Interfax and
ITAR-TASS reported. In Moscow, First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg
Soskovets stated that Russia will allocate $300 million in aid to
Chechnya once the conflict is resolved, according to ITAR-TASS.
Russian Fuel and Energy Minister Yuri Shafranik was quoted by
Interfax as saying that this amount is needed to restore the
Chechen oil sector alone. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

HARDLINE GENERALS SOFT ON CHECHNYA. Lt.-General Aleksandr Lebed,
commander of Russia's 14th Army, renewed his criticism of the
military intervention in Chechnya. He called via Interfax on 13
December for a peaceful settlement of the situation and
"categorically opposed any military crusade against the Muslim
world." Lebed also criticized the military leadership for sending
raw conscripts who were getting captured in North Caucasus. Deputy
Defense Minister Col.-General Boris Gromov warned on Radio Ekho
Moskvy on 10 December that "a provocation in the mass media is
being prepared against him in order to discredit him and his
family." Gromov has vocally opposed the invasion of Chechnya and
has recently been stripped of some major duties by President Boris
Yeltsin and Defense Minister Pavel Grachev. Ekho Moskvy is one of
several media outlets sharply critical of the military
intervention in Chechnya and associated with the MOST financial
group, which was recently the object of a violent raid by a
security service loyal to Yeltsin. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

DUMA: GOVERNMENTAL PERFORMANCES IN CHECHNYA "UNSATISFACTORY." On
13 December the State Duma passed a resolution, branding the
performance of Russian government bodies during the Chechen
invasion "unsatisfactory," Russian TV newscasts reported. The
resolution was approved by an overwhelming majority. The
resolution urged the government to "use all measures and means [at
their disposal] to resolve the Chechen crisis through political
and legal channels," rather than by force. -- Julia Wishnevsky,
RFE/RL, Inc.

REGIONAL REVERBERATIONS. Boris Yeltsin's ethnic affairs adviser
Emil Pain said at a Moscow briefing on 13 December that the
situation in the North Caucasus outside Chechnya was "quiet on the
whole;" that there have been no "mass protests" in
Kabardino-Balkharia in response to Russian actions;
Karachai-Cherkessia "favors the introduction of Russian forces;"
and Dagestan "maintains neutrality." On the other hand, First
Deputy Prime Minister and chairman of the Russian government's
special commission on Chechnya, Oleg Soskovets at his briefing on
the same day cited Federal Counterintelligence Service claims that
"several thousand mercenaries with modern weapons" were fighting
on the side of Chechen forces, Interfax reported. In Nazran,
Ingush President Ruslan Aushev continued his sharp criticism of
Russia's policy. At a press briefing, he termed "immoral" the
choice of Vladikavkaz, capital of North Ossetia--"the republic
across which troops moved on Chechnya"--as the site of
Russian-Chechen talks. Accusing Russian troops en route to
Chechnya of committing "crimes" on Ingush territory, Aushev said
that he had cabled Yeltsin and other Russian leaders demanding yet
again the repatriation of the Ingush forcibly expelled from North
Ossetia in 1992, whose number he put at 70,000. Ingush
Vice-President Boris Agapov added that tens of thousands of
refugees from Chechnya, home to some 40,000 Ingush, were now
fleeing Russian troops into Ingushetia, Independent Television and
Ekho Moskvy reported on 13 December. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL,
Inc.

MORE FROM THE REGION. In Vladikavkaz, a delegation of the
Confederation of the Peoples of the Caucasus, led by the
confederation's parliament chairman Ali Aliev, informed Russia's
chief delegate to the talks with Chechnya, Vyacheslav Mikhailov,
that the confederation is considering setting up a headquarters in
Grozny to provide direct aid to Chechnya. The delegation handed a
message to Russia's Duma asking that Russia "stop the bloodshed
and withdraw its troops from Chechnya," Interfax and ITAR-TASS
reported. The confederation had received a resolution from the
Chechen People's Congress in Grozny calling for the formation of a
regional alliance "from the Caspian to the Black Sea" to resist
Russian military intervention. In Dagestan, volunteer detachments
were being formed in settlements of various ethnic groups of that
republic, under the slogan "Chechnya and Dagestan are one,"
according to Chechenpress quoted by ITAR-TASS. However, the
official leadership of Dagestan saw to it that most of the 59
Russian soldiers captured by villagers there on 11 and 12 December
were released by 14 December. An assembly of Cossack atamans of
all levels from the Don Host issued an appeal to Yeltsin, the
Duma, and the Defense and Internal Affairs ministries to "stop the
genocide against Russia's citizens" in North Caucasus. Kalmyk
President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov told Interfax that his republic,
"situated too closely to the region," may also be engulfed in the
conflict. "Categorically opposing the introduction of Russian
forces in Chechnya," Ilyumzhinov said that he had just telephoned
Dudaev who renewed his long-standing offer to meet with Yeltsin.
Ilyumzhinov appealed to Yeltsin to take up the offer. -- Vladimir
Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

KOVALEV'S TEAM BARRED FROM FLYING TO CHECHNYA. A group of Russian
legislators were stoppped in a Moscow airport and prevented from
flying to Chechnya, where they were to open negotiations with
Dzhokhar Dudaev on behalf of the State Duma, Russian TV program
"Vesti" and news agencies reported on 13 December. Led by the
widely respected Sergei Kovalev, chairman of Yeltsin's human
rights committee that is supposed to observe human rights from
inside Yeltsin's administration, the parliamentary delegation
included former political prisoner Mikhail Molostvov, who
represented the liberal Russia's Choice faction, Valerii Borshchov
of the Yabloko bloc and Leonid Petrovsky of the Communist Party;
the delegation also included Oleg Orlov, the head of the human
rights section of the Moscow anti-Stalinist "Memorial." Kovalev's
team planned to fly to Mozdok in North Ossetia by military plane
and then proceed to Grozny, where they were to enter negotiations
with Chechen President Dudaev. -- Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

CHERNOMYRDIN IMPLIES CENSORSHIP, CRITICIZES DEPUTIES. Ostankino TV
broadcast an unexpected interview with Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin on 13 December, aimed at justifying Russian military
intervention in Chechnya. Chernomyrdin attacked the democratic
politicians who oppose the use of force against the breakaway
republic and the media, in particular television, for their
critical coverage of the conflict. Chernomyrdin admitted that the
government put pressure on TV in order to force it to report on
the events from the government's point of view, saying: "We had
warned Aleksandr Nikolaevich Yakovlev and Oleg Poptsov in the
strongest possible terms." (Yakovlev is the director of Ostankino
TV which is supposed to have become "public" as of 30 November,
and Poptsov is the head of the Russian [state-owned] Television
and Radio company.) Chernomyrdin went on alleging that "democrats"
are neither selfless nor sincere when condemning the invasion. He
claimed that they oppose the use of force against Chechnya only in
public but "when they talk with each other on the telephone" the
same people approve of the government's actions in Chechnya. --
Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

KOZYREV RESIGNS FROM DEMOCRATIC CHOICE FACTION. ITAR-TASS reported
on a 11 December statement from Russian Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev stating that he is resigning from the Russia's Choice
political faction and will start acting as an independent in the
State Duma because of the strong language used by Russia's Choice
leader Egor Gaidar and faction member Sergei Yushenkov at a rally
protesting the Russian invasion of Chechnya (see 13 December Daily
Report). Democracy does not rule out the use of force in order to
maintain law and order, the agencies quoted Kozyrev as saying. The
next day, both Russian TV channels broadcast an interview with
Kozyrev, who branded the 11 and 12 December rallies a "blasphemy"
because they were held on the Pushkin Square that, according to
Kozyrev, was the site where Russian human rights activists
protested the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 (the 25
August 1968 demonstration he was referring to was in fact held at
Red Square). -- Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW STRATEGIC MISSILE TO BE TESTED. Colonel-General Igor Sergeev,
the commander-in-chief of the Strategic Missile Forces, told
journalists on 9 December in Moscow that a new strategic missile
would be tested later in the month. As reported on Germany's N-TV,
he called the new missile the Topol-M and indicated that it was a
modification of the missile known in the West as the SS-25. The
general hinted that the new version would be silo-based, unlike
the present SS-25, which is a mobile missile carried on a wheeled
transporter. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA DEFENDS ARMS SALES TO IRAN. On 13 December Interfax quoted
an unidentified Russian diplomat as affirming that it was not
appropriate for Russia "as a great power" to renege on its
contractual obligations to sell arms to Iran, and that existing
contracts will be honored over the next few years. He further
stated that Iran's military doctrine is purely defensive, and
suggested that US misgivings over Russian-Iranian military
cooperation were to be be explained in terms of "the strategic
line aimed against Iran and against Moscow's economic interests in
the region." -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

REACTION IN KAZAKHSTAN TO SITUATION IN CHECHNYA. On 13 December,
Kazakhstan's parliament adopted a proposal for an appeal to the
Russian State Duma and Federation Council to stop the deployment
of Russian troops in Chechnya and to resolve the conflict in the
Caucasian republic by means of negotiations, Interfax reported.
The Kazakh legislature then set up a commission to draft the
appeal. The same day RL's Kazakh Service learned that
representatives of Kazakhstan's Chechen community and members of
the Kazakh nationalist Azat Movement demonstrated in front of the
Russian Embassy in Almaty against the Russian troop deployment in
Chechnya and handed a protest letter to the embassy staff. Nearly
50,000 Chechens were counted in Kazakhstan in the 1989 census;
since the country gained its independence, there have been
occasional reports of friction between Chechens and Kazakhs, but
these seem to have been forgotten in the face of Russian actions
in Chechnya. -- Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

                               CIS

TALKS ON BLACK SEA FLEET "SATISFACTORY." Interfax on 13 December
quoted the heads of the two delegations to talks on the Black Sea
Fleet--Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Yevgenii Marchuk and
Russian Ambassador-at-Large Yuri Dubinin--as saying the first day
of their talks had been satisfactory. Marchuk indicated that
Ukraine was going to allow Russia to keep naval bases on Ukrainian
territory when he said that one of the three specific issues
experts from the two sides would tackle the following day was that
of the form of payment for the use of these bases. As recently as
30 November he had insisted Ukraine would not allow foreign bases
on its territory. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UN EXPRESSES FURTHER "OUTRAGE" OVER SERB CONDUCT. International
media on 13 December said the Security Council has condemned a
Serb missile attack on a UN vehicle near Bihac. The incident led
to the death of a wounded Bangladeshi soldier, whose evacuation by
helicopter had been vetoed by the Serbs. Meanwhile, Reuters
reported from Zagreb that the presence of Serb surface-to-air
missiles has deterred the UN from calling for NATO airstrikes in
the wake of repeated Serb provocations against UNPROFOR. But it
has not been explained why the Serb batteries could not be taken
out of action by NATO, which has considerably better weaponry at
its disposal than do the Bosnian and Krajina Serbs. -- Patrick
Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

MACEDONIA BANS PROPOSED ALBANIAN UNIVERSITY. News agencies
reported from Skopje on 13 December that the Macedonian
authorities have said they will not permit "the promotion" of a
proposed private Albanian-language university slated for 17
December. University-level instruction in their native language is
a long-standing demand of Macedonian Albanians, and spokesmen said
they intend to go ahead with plans to launch their own
institution. The school would be located in Tetovo, a center of
Albanian nationalism, and include teachers from Macedonia, Kosovo,
and Albania. Meanwhile in Kosovo, Borba on 14 December reports how
Serbs, including some of the staff of the leading Serb newspaper,
are cashing in on privatization and selling state property and
housing to Albanians. Finally, Hina reports from Zagreb that
Albania and Croatia have signed a military agreement, but the two
parties stressed that it is not aimed "at any third country." --
Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

MILOSEVIC'S WIFE BECOMES MEMBER OF RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES.
Borba on 14 December reports that Mirjana Markovic, the wife of
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, has become a member of the
Russian Academy of Sciences. Markovic, a professor of sociology at
Belgrade University, is reportedly the first woman non-national to
be granted membership in the academy. Elsewhere, Reuters reported
on 13 December that Goran Vukovic, one of the kingpins of the
Belgrade underworld, was gunned down in a gangland slaying.
Vukovic killed a Serbian don in a German courtroom in 1986 and
more recently was a leading figure in the underworld fed by war
booty and profits from sanctions-busting. -- Stan Markotich,
RFE/RL, Inc.

SOUTH KOREA'S DAEWOO TO INVEST IN POLAND. According to Gazeta
Wyborcza on 14 December, the South Korean conglomerate Daewoo
intends to invest about $130 million in the production of
electronic equipment in Poland. Daewoo is reported to be planning
a major expansion of its plant in Pruszkow, near Warsaw, where it
currently makes television sets and eventually intends to set up
the industrial and administrative hub of its European operations.
The Warsaw newspaper further reports that Daewoo's spokesman in
Seoul said the decision to invest in Poland was prompted by that
country's well-trained and inexpensive work force, its political
stability, and its location in the center of Europe. -- Jan de
Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH PREMIER ON PLANNED STRIKE. Vaclav Klaus said on 13 December
that "it was unbelievable" that the Czech-Moravian Chamber of
Trade Unions, the biggest trade union alliance in the country, was
threatening to stage a 15-minute warning strike on 21 December to
protest the government's draft law on pensions. The bill
introduces changes in the system of payments into the social
security system and age limits. Klaus told CTK that pensions are a
civic, not a labor, issue and as such should not be a concern of
the unions. The Christian Trade Union Coalition on 13 December
announced it would support the strike. The union's president,
Alois Anton, complained of "the arrogant attitude" of government
officials--in particular, Labor Minister Jindrich Vodicka. The
minister told TV Nova on 13 December that "no pressure actions can
change the draft law." -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECHS SKEPTICAL ABOUT CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION. According to the
results of an opinion poll published by the Institute for Public
Opinion Research on 14 December, 72 percent of Czechs followed the
recent corruption affair in which police arrested the director of
the Czech Center for Voucher Privatization for accepting bribes.
About 40 percent of the respondents said their opinion of the
voucher privatization program has deteriorated as a result. Only
16 percent thought that the public would ever learn the complete
truth about the scandal. Previous opinion polls have suggested
that a majority of Czechs believe that corruption is widespread
but that little can be done about it. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW SLOVAK GOVERNMENT SWORN IN. Vladimir Meciar became the prime
minister of Slovakia for a third time on 13 December. Meciar and
his cabinet were sworn in by President Michal Kovac at Bratislava
Castle, more than 10 weeks after Meciar's Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia won the fall parliamentary elections. The
18-member government consists of 12 MDS members, four members of
the left-wing Association of Slovak Workers, and two members of
the right-wing Slovak National Party. During the ceremony, Meciar
called for reconciliation and shook hands with the president, whom
he has sought to oust from his post. Kovac called for stability,
tolerance, and reconciliation in Slovakia, international media
reported. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

MECIAR PLANS PRIVATIZATION DELAY, POLITICAL CHANGES. Following his
swearing in as Slovak prime minister on 13 December, Vladimir
Meciar said he would delay the start of the second wave of voucher
privatization initiated by the previous government of Jozef
Moravcik. Some 3 million Slovaks (more than 90% of those eligible
to participate) registered for the second wave between September
and November. Meciar has argued that the privatization program has
been ill-prepared. Privatization Minister Peter Bisak of the
Association of Slovak Workers told the media on 13 December that
the privatization process "must be clean" but he refused to
specify how it would continue. In an interview with CTK, Meciar
called for "fundamental changes in the country's political
system," arguing that such changes should be aimed at greater
parliamentary stability. He said his objective was the
reconstruction of the entire political system, which, he stressed,
"will remain democratic but must have internal mechanisms at its
disposal that protect it from abuse by anarchists and various
corrupt groups and lobbies." The prime minister also said he had
decided to abolish the "lustration law," which bars former
collaborators of the communist secret police from holding
government posts. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER PROMISES CONTINUITY. Juraj Schenk told
journalists on 13 December that Slovakia will continue its
pro-Western orientation and that the country's objective to gain
membership in NATO and the European Union will not change. Schenk
stressed the special importance of relations with the Czech
Republic and said that "historical burdens in relations with
Hungary need to be overcome." He pointed out, however, that such
developments depend on concluding a treaty with Hungary. He also
acknowledged that questions related to ethnic minorities and the
Gabcikovo dam project may need to be solved first. Born in 1948,
Schenk received a degree in sociology from Comenius University,
Bratislava, in 1971 and worked as researcher. From 1975 until his
appointment, the new foreign minister taught sociology at Comenius
University. He was named professor in 1994. Schenk has no
first-hand experience in foreign policymaking. -- Jiri Pehe,
RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVENE PRESIDENT ON SLOVAKIA. In an interview with Bratislava's
Hospodarske Noviny on 14 December, Slovene President Milan Kucan
said Slovakia "is a traditional friend of Slovenia." He noted that
both countries faced similar problems and that cooperation between
the two countries could be expanded on many levels. The Slovene
president said Slovenia was a country that had neither enemies nor
internal or external problems. Slovenia's efforts to become part
of the European Union originate partly in "its fear of dividing
Europe into blocs again," Kucan said. He argued that former
communist states must overcome the period during which "the
illusions about Marxism were replaced with frustration,
fundamentalism, unemployment, and other social problems." Kucan is
to arrive in Bratislava on 14 December for a two-day official
visit. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN RAIL STRIKE OVER. A strike by Hungarian railroad workers
that began on 12 December was called off 18 hours later after an
agreement was reached with government and employer
representatives, MTI reported on 13 December. The rail employees
will receive a 10 percent wage increase in 1995, plus a 4 percent
performance premium guaranteed by the management of Hungarian
State Railroads. The rail workers had originally asked for a 20
percent pay hike. The strike is estimated to have cost the
national economy some 1.2 billion forint. -- Alfred Reisch,
RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARY'S ROMAS ELECT SELF-GOVERNING BODIES. Roma Assembly
Chairman Aladar Horvath told MTI on 13 December that Hungary's
Romas on Sunday elected 264 self-governing bodies, 163 of them in
localities with less than 10,000 inhabitants. These figures
demonstrate the Gypsies' resolve to have a say in determining
their own affairs. At the same time, Horvath expressed the fear
that, owing to insufficient financial resources, the new bodies
would become mere interest groups influenced by the state. --
Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN LIBERAL PARTY ON LOCAL ELECTIONS. At a press conference
on 13 December, the leadership of the Alliance of Free Democrats,
a member of Hungary's coalition government, rejected opposition
claims that the AFD's poor showing in the 11 December local
elections proved that the Hungarian political scene was divided
into a socialist, liberal left-wing and a conservative, national
right-wing, MTI reports. The AFD fared considerably better in the
1990 local elections, when it gained a majority of local
government seats in numerous towns and cities. In the December
1994 elections, the AFD's coalition partner, the Hungarian
Socialists, was the party that won the largest number of seats in
the county parliaments and in the Budapest assembly. AFD campaign
chief Balint Magyar argued that there was nothing remarkable about
this, since in 1990 the HSP still had not emerged from its
political isolation. -- Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc.

EUROPEAN UNION TO GIVE ENVIRONMENTAL AID TO HUNGARY. Under the
terms of an accord signed on 13 December, Hungary is to receive
over the next few years another 14.5 million ecu (nearly 2 billion
forint) for environmental protection purposes, MTI announced. This
sum is to be granted within the framework of the EU's PHARE
Program. The EU granted Hungary 25 million ecu in 1990, 10 million
in 1991, and 10 million in 1992 for the same purpose. -- Alfred
Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIAN PREMIER MEETS PROTESTING WORKERS. Romanian Prime Minister
Nicolae Vacaroiu on 13 December flew to Resita to discuss with
local unions and management how to end the week-long protest by
workers at the town's steel mill and heavy equipment plant. Some
20,000 workers continued to demonstrate outside the Resita
prefecture for the eighth consecutive day. Radio Bucharest
reported that the local prefect resigned under pressure from
demonstrators. Thousands of people gathered in Resita's main
square at night to chant for Vacaroiu's removal. There are signs
that the protest could spread throughout the country, with workers
in the industrial towns of Hunedoara, Braila, and Timisoara
expressing solidarity with the strikers. Meanwhile, the opposition
Democratic Party has gathered enough support to table a vote of no
confidence in the cabinet. The vote, which will be the sixth since
the government took office in November 1992, could come as soon as
next week. -- Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

TURMOIL IN ROMANIAN EXTREME NATIONALIST PARTY. Cornel Brahas,
deputy chairman of the Party of Romanian National Unity, has been
suspended from his post following his public criticism of the
party's president, Gheorghe Funar, and two of Funar's deputies,
Ioan Gavra and Valer Suian. The independent news agency Arpress
reported on 13 December that the Permanent Bureau of the PRNU also
decided to prohibit Brahas from making statements on behalf of the
party. The Bucharest branch of the PRNU, to which Brahas belongs,
will discuss at its next meeting the possible expulsion of Brahas
from the party. Brahas was recently replaced as chairman of the
Bucharest branch. Another prominent member of the party, Senator
Viorel Salagean, who has been sharply critical of Funar and Gavra,
was censured by the party earlier this year. Salagean said in late
November that the PRNU may split if Funar and Gavra are not
removed from office. -- Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

SOARING INFLATION IN UKRAINE. Interfax reports that inflation in
Ukraine last month reached its highest level of the year, soaring
to 72 percent, compared with 22 percent the previous month. Deputy
Economy Minister Viktar Kalnik was quoted as saying that the steep
increase resulted from the government's decision to slash
subsidies at the beginning of November. Energy, rent, and
transportation prices soared, and wages and pensions were doubled
to compensate for the cut in subsidies. According to Kalnik, the
government expects inflation in December to reach 35-40 percent.
-- Jan Cleave, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ACCEPTS VICE PREMIER'S RESIGNATION.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka officially accepted Viktar Hanchar's
resignation, Interfax reported on 13 December. Hanchar resigned
last week citing what he called the "unhealthy atmosphere in the
president's team" and "the absence of clear organizational
principles in the cabinet's work." Lukashenka has already
appointed parliament deputy speaker Vladimir Rusakevich as
Hanchar's replacement. The president commented that Hanchar's
resignation was a "dishonest retreat" at a time when serious work
needed to be done in the social sphere, which was Hanchar's area
of responsibility as a cabinet member. -- Jan Cleave, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUSIAN PREMIER IN LITHUANIA. Mikhail Chyhir and his Lithuanian
counterpart, Adolfas Slezevicius, said in Vilnius on 13 December
that there were no more problems about determining the border
between the two countries, BNS reports. The Belarusian and
Lithuanian presidents are likely to meet and sign a friendship and
cooperation treaty within several weeks. The export of Belarusian
goods through Klaipeda has increased significantly this year, but
Lithuania is unhappy about the higher costs of transit through
Belarus, which are largely due to the latter's joint tariff
agreement with Russia. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

LITHUANIAN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL OFFER REFUSED. Seimas Deputy
Chairman and Center Union leader Egidijus Bickauskas said on 13
December that he had decided not to accept President Algirdas
Brazauskas's offer to become prosecutor-general, RFE/RL's
Lithuanian Service reports. If he had accepted the offer,
Bickauskas--one of the country's most popular political figures,
sometimes even mentioned as a future presidential candidate--would
have been forced to give up his parliament seat. This would
probably have meant the end of his political career, since the
prosecutor-general appointment is for seven years. -- Saulius
Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

ESTONIA DEFENDS RUBLE SALE. The Estonian Foreign Ministry
explained on 13 December that Estonia, despite repeated efforts,
had been unable in 1992 to reach an agreement with Russia on the
terms and conditions for handing over rubles withdrawn from
circulation during monetary reform, Interfax reports. The
statement was in response to the 6 December demand by the Russian
Foreign Ministry to explain why the rubles had not been returned
to Moscow within the period agreed upon. Estonia later decided to
sell the 2.2 billion rubles not as waste paper but to an unknown
buyer, rumored to be Chechnya. Estonia believes that Russia's
request for an explanation only two years later suggests that
Estonia complied with the stipulation in the 20 June 1992
agreement that "the parties will not apply actions which could
cause economic damage to one of them." The disclosure of the sale
of the rubles was a major factor in the resignation of Prime
Minister Mart Laar on 26 September. -- Saulius Girnius, 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
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Copyright 1994, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.


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