I'm going to turn on the light, and we'll be two people in a room looking at each other and wondering why on earth we were afraid of the dark. - Gale Wilhelm
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 236, 15 December 1994

                             RUSSIA

CHECHNYA: MILITARY SITUATION. Russian forces fell short of their
goal of sealing off Grozny by the morning of 15 December. The
three columns of armor and motorized infantry, converging on
Grozny from three directions, found themselves at distances
ranging from 15 to 40 kilometers from the Chechen capital, their
advance slowed down by crowds of unarmed villagers blocking the
roads and by occasionally effective resistance from outnumbered
and outgunned Chechen units. Observers estimated the strength of
the invasion force at some 40,000, with at least 200 tanks and
armored vehicles in each of the three columns. Correspondents for
both Western and Russian media reported numerous local clashes,
in some of which Russian fighter-bombers were used. No reliable
casualty figures were available. The Russian government press
service's "preliminary" figure of 11 Russian soldiers killed and
20 wounded as of 13 December has not been updated since and seems
understated in view of the reports of fighting coming in from the
field. In a communique on 14 December, the Russian Federation's
government reminded the Chechen that the deadline for voluntary
disarmament of "unlawful formations" expires on 15 December and
threatened to use full force against those failing to comply. --
Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN NEGOTIATORS RETURN TO MOSCOW. The Russian delegation that
had negotiated with the Chechen government left the North
Ossetian capital of Vladikavkaz on 15 December to return to
Moscow, agencies reported. Interfax quotes the head of the
Russian delegation, Deputy Nationalities Minister Vyacheslav
Mikhailov, as citing a statement by Chechen President Dzhokhar
Dudaev and his statement for "total war" as the reason for them
leaving. "Because of this the Russian commission regards its
mission as fulfilled and with a feeling of regret is returning to
Moscow," Mikhailov said. -- Pete Baumgartner, RFE/RL, Inc.

SPILLOVER EFFECT IN CAUCASUS. A delegation of the Confederation
of the Peoples of the Caucasus handed to the Russian Duma's First
Vice Chairman, Mikhail Mityukov, in Moscow a message demanding an
end to hostilities and the withdrawal of Russian troops from
Chechnya. The Confederation's parliament chairman, Ali Aliev,
warned on Russian TV the same day that unless stopped now, the
hostilities will spread far beyond Chechnya. According to
Interfax on 14 December, Aliev issued instructions for the
setting up of offices to induct volunteers in Nalchik
(Kabardo-Balkaria), Maykop (Adygei), Cherkessk
(Karachay-Cherkessia), Vladikavkaz (North Ossetia), Nazran
(Ingushetia), Makhachkala (Dagestan), Sukhumi (Abkhazia), and
Nazran (Ingushetia). Central headquarters are to be set up in
Grozny and in Nalchik under the Confederation's Adygei Vice
President, Amin Zekhov. In Dagestan, pro-Chechen villagers who
had seized 59 Russian soldiers released only some of their
captives, contrary to earlier reports. The Russian government's
press center charged in a communique on 14 December that "the
Dagestani leaders are not making any effort to resolve the
issue." Dagestani residents also continued blocking a Russian MVD
armored unit en route to Chechnya; the unit has gone into a
"perimeter defense posture," Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported on
14 December. Special measures were ordered to reinforce security
at key economic and transport installations in Dagestan and to
secure Dagestan's borders against the penetration of arms and
armed groups from Chechnya. The republic's government appealed to
the population "not to follow those who by words or deeds provoke
the people into unleashing a new Caucasus war." In Ingushetia's
capital Nazran, a mass rally on 14 December protested against the
use of force in the Caucasus and demanded "a stop to the murder
of Chechen civilians and bombing of Chechen settlements,"
Interfax reported. Ingush President Ruslan Aushev told Moscow's
Independent TV the same day that his people could not forget how
the same Russian armored columns "and the same Defense Minister"
assisted in the destruction of Ingush settlements and the
expulsion of Ingush population from North Ossetia in 1992. He
called for "peaceful talks" with Dudaev and "a prompt end to
bloodshed." Continuing fighting would "drag in [people from] the
neighboring republics, they are already beginning to move." The
Ingush authorities charged that drunken Russian soldiers had
beaten up the Ingush Minister of Health to death and had also
killed one fellow-Russian soldier and injured two others,
Interfax reported. Kabardo-Balkaria's parliament and government,
evidently caught between two fires, appealed in a joint statement
for a Russian-Chechen negotiated settlement while warning the
population against heeding "statements that could give rise to
armed conflicts in other parts of North Caucasus."
Kabardo-Balkaria's President Valerii Kokov decreed a temporary
ban on rallies, demonstrations, and pickets in the republic. In
Abkhazia's capital Sukhumi, a mass rally was held to express
solidarity with Chechnya. Independent TV reported that at this
rally and elsewhere in Abkhazia, men were offering services as
volunteers for Chechnya; and that Russian forces in Abkhazia were
reinforcing its borders to intercept any volunteers. In Baku, a
leader of Azerbaijan's opposition Grey Wolves party told Interfax
on 14 December that about 270 Grey Wolves had gone to Chechnya as
volunteers. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

CRITICAL VOICES. Concern over the invasion's spillover effect was
voiced, among many others, by Boris Yeltsin's former ethnic
affairs adviser Galina Starovoitova, currently co-chairman of
Democratic Russia, on Russian Radio on 14 December. Besides
condemning Yeltsin's "crude use" of "notorious tools of imperial
policy," Starovoitova predicted that the military intervention in
Chechnya will "produce mistrust of the center's policy and
centrifugal tendencies in Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Yakutia,
Karelia," and other parts of the Russian Federation. Speaking
from a military point of view, Lt.-General Aleksandr Lebed in
Komsomolskaya pravda of 14 December warned "our state leaders and
their all-wise Defense Minister" that they will achieve "a
Pyrrhic victory" in Chechnya. In separate statements quoted by
the 14 December Financial Times, Lebed and Deputy Defense
Minister Col.-General Boris Gromov, both of whom fought in
Afghanistan, warned that the intervention in Chechnya could turn
into an Afghanistan-type protracted war. -- Vladimir Socor,
RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT BROADENS WARNINGS BEYOND CHECHNYA. Appearing
on Ostankino TV on 13 December, Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin threatened to hold the Chechen and Ingush leaders
responsible for "pushing [their] people under the tanks" of the
Russian invasion force. (Correspondents' reports from the field
indicate that the crowds seeking to block Russian tanks act
spontaneously). Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, also on
television, accused Ingush President Ruslan Aushev of having
"declared war on Russia." In his TV appearance, Chernomyrdin
along with First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets at a 14
December briefing cited by Interfax, and Federal
Counterintelligence Service First Deputy Director Anatolii
Safonov in the governmental Rossiiskaia gazeta of 14 December all
charged that "thousands" of fighters from Afghanistan, Pakistan,
Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and the Baltic States had joined
the Chechen forces. (No known independent source has reported on
such fighters in Chechnya). The claim may be designed as an
excuse for sending in additional Russian forces, or pressuring
some of the countries named. Adding a fresh justification for the
operation, Federation Council chairman Vladimir Shumeiko
described it to Interfax on 14 December as a "peacekeeping
mission, to separate the warring sides," such as Russia is
undertaking in CIS states. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLLS ON RUSSIAN-CHECHEN CONFLICT. Radio Ekho Moskvy cited on 13
December the results of a survey taken the previous day in St.
Petersburg on attitudes toward the invasion of Chechnya. It
showed 61.5 percent respondents disapproving of the military
intervention, and only 17.5 percent agreeing with it either fully
or partialy. Asked who is primarily responsible for the military
involvement, 28 percent of respondents named Yeltsin; 22 percent
blamed Dudaev, and 15 percent the Russian government. Meanwhile,
the Interfax sociological bulletin Viewpoint (no. 50) reported on
polls involving 1,184 people in various parts of Russia in
October 1994. Only 14 percent of respondents agreed with the
suggestion that Russian troops be used against Chechnya, in case
the situation there deteriorated, while 67 percent disapproved of
such a move on the eve of the invasion. In a September 1994 poll
23 percent of respondents said that Russia should recognize
Chechen independence; 16 percent said that the government should
negotiate with Chechen authorities a special status for the
republic within the Russian Federation; and only five percent
agreed that all means, including force, must be used to keep
Chechnya within Russia. -- Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

NATO ENLARGEMENT: YELTSIN, KOZYREV REFINE DEMANDS. Interviewed on
Ostankino TV on 10 December, Boris Yeltsin laid down terms for
Russia's eventual acceptance of NATO's enlargement in
East-Central Europe: "first, no rush; second, very severe
conditions for admission into NATO." Yeltsin felt that "the
American side will agree" to the first condition and "may agree"
to the second after discussions with Russia. Third, "and this is
the crux of the matter," Russia's eventual admission to NATO's
political structures. Yeltsin claimed to have understood US
President Bill Clinton as having held out that prospect in their
talks "in small company." Addressing a meeting of representatives
of Russian human rights groups, Andrei Kozyrev termed NATO's
planned enlargement "mindless," "egotistic," and "cynical,"
Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported on 9 December. Kozyrev strongly
implied that Russia's apprehensions about NATO's enlargement
could be laid to rest if Russia were also admitted. He also fell
back on the argument that any such step would politically benefit
Russian hard-liners. The latter, however, quickly rose to the
occasion: "Yeltsin's position on NATO's expansion is also our
position," the ultranationalist Russian All-People's Union leader
Sergei Baburin told Newsweek of 13-19 December. -- Vladimir
Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

DEFENSE WORKERS STILL ON HUNGER STRIKE. Fifty workers at the
Spetstekhnika joint-stock company in Ekaterinburg (a component of
Uralmash), are starting the third week of a hunger strike to
protest not being paid back wages. According to Interfax of 14
December the regional administration had put 2.5 billion rubles
into the company's account and the workers feared that the money
would be used to pay some of the company's debts rather than be
passed on to them. The workers first went on strike in October,
then suspended their protest until 30 November. It was resumed
after they got nothing but promises from the company. -- Doug
Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

                 TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

DIPHTHERIA KILLS 15 IN GEORGIA. A Georgian official reported on
14 December that diphtheria has killed 15 people in the country
in the past two months. Vakhtang Gochaishvili, a Georgian expert
on infectious diseases, said "we haven't vaccinated against
diphtheria since the Soviet breakup, and that resulted in the
epidemic." Gochaishvili said 120 people had been infected with
the disease. -- Pete Baumgartner, RFE/RL, Inc.

                   CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

KARADZIC WANTS JIMMY CARTER TO MEDIATE IN BOSNIA . . .
International media report on 15 December that Bosnian Serb
leader Radovan Karadzic has contacted former US President Jimmy
Carter, first through Serbian-American intermediaries and then
directly by telephone. Karadzic told CNN he expects Carter to
come to Bosnia soon for talks with Serbs and Muslims, but the
former US president stressed that any negotiations he may conduct
would be as head of Atlanta's Carter Center and not in any
official US capacity. In response to a request from Carter,
Karadzic promised he would first implement a six-point program,
which mainly involves his keeping promises made earlier and then
broken. These include ceasing to harass UNPROFOR convoys, freeing
UNPROFOR hostages, and ordering a cease-fire in and around
Sarajevo and at its airport. He also pledged to free Muslim
prisoners under 19 years of age and "guarantee human rights now
and in the future." -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . BUT WHITE HOUSE SKEPTICAL, CARTER LESS THAN ENTHUSIASTIC.
Initial reactions to Karadzic's latest political surprise were
generally skeptical, starting with the White House. Carter has
been in telephone contact with President Bill Clinton, whom he
promised to keep informed. Karadzic told CNN he sought the former
US chief executive as a mediator because he "will be impartial."
Carter, however, appeared more reserved, saying to reporters that
Karadzic "called me; I didn't call him. I'm not taking sides at
all. . . . I don't have any portfolio." Karadzic had originally
told Carter through intermediaries that he wanted to "create a
new environment" in Bosnia. A number of explanations for his
latest moves are possible, ranging from trying to buy time to
seeking an elaborate diplomatic cover for what in effect would be
backing down from his stated positions. Carter said of Karadzic's
promises that "the world can see for itself in 24 hours," but it
probably will be much longer before the real story behind this
latest initiative comes out. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

MACEDONIAN POLICE DESTROY ALBANIAN UNIVERSITY BUILDING. The Times
on 15 December reports that tension is on the rise between the
Macedonian authorities and members of that country's large ethnic
Albanian minority. According to Albanian sources, the Macedonian
police the previous day had "destroyed part of the building
designated by the Albanian organizing committee to house the
[proposed independent Albanian] university. They confiscated
equipment and film from independent television stations in Tetovo
and arrested Fadil Sulejmani, the head of the university
organizing committee." The university was slated to open on 17
December in Tetovo, a center of Albanian nationalism. In response
to the authorities' actions, the three ethnic Albanian parties
have met in emergency session, and some 200 demonstrators
protested before the ill-fated building. There have been no
reports of violence. A Western diplomat said he was trying to
convince his superiors at home of the gravity of the situation
but that they find it "something quaint or amusing." -- Patrick
Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

SERBIAN PREMIER PROMISES MORE OF THE SAME. Politika on 15
December quotes Mirko Marjanovic as saying his government's main
priority will be to promote policies that "safeguard the
stability of the domestic economy." The Serbian premier was
outlining his economic policies and strategies for 1995. Earlier
this year, hyperinflation wreaked havoc with the economy,
apparently as a result of the introduction by National Bank
Governor Dragoslav Avramovic of the so-called super dinar, which
was pegged to a hard-currency reserve and to the value of the
German mark at an exchange rate of 1:1. In recent months
especially, Avramovic's apparent reforms have been threatened by
the likelihood of renewed inflation. -- Stan Markotich, RFE/RL,
Inc.

WALESA AND GOVERNMENT COALITION TO MEET. President Lech Walesa
will meet with leaders of the leftist government coalition on 21
December for talks on the 1995 budget and the current
government's future. Walesa vetoed a draft law on taxes and is
threatening to reject proposed legislation on wages in the state
administrative sector. Both bills are regarded as vital for the
budget. If the vetos are upheld, the government will have to
prepare a new budget quickly. If the budget is not approved by
both the Sejm and the parliament within three months of being
submitted to the Sejm, the president can dissolve the parliament
and call for new elections. The coalition has been concerned that
Walesa, for political and economic reasons, will make repeated
efforts to derail its economic program and undermine its
political position. The Polish media on 15 December reported that
Walesa promised not to dissolve the parliament even if it fails
to approve the budget by the 4 February 1995 deadline. But the
coalition is concerned that the president's maneuvers will impede
policymaking. The forthcoming talks are aimed at finding ways to
stabilize the situation--at least until the presidential
elections at the end of 1995. -- Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH BUDGET APPROVED. The Czech parliament on 14 December
approved the government proposal for the 1995 state budget, CTK
reports. The proposal foresees a balanced budget, which both
expenditures and revenues totaling 411 billion koruny. The
National Property Fund will provide some 10 billion koruny to pay
for interest on the state debt. Social payments will account for
the bulk of expenditures (153 billion koruny). Some 46 billion
koruny will be spent on education and 26 billion koruny on the
army. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH GOVERNMENT SAYS "NO" TO VOLKSWAGEN DEAL. The Czech
government on 14 December refused to approve a deal to give the
German automaker Volkswagen a majority stake in the Czech car
company Skoda. CTK quotes Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus as saying
that environmental issues still have to be resolved. Finance
Minister Vladimir Dlouhy told the Czech parliament's economic
committee that the government will not allow Volkswagen to gain a
majority share until an amendment to its agreement with
Volkswagen is adopted specifying details of development programs
for Skoda. According to Dlouhy, the amendment must also give the
Czech side the right to veto crucial decisions made by Volkswagen
once it has become a majority owner. Dlouhy argued that original
agreements between Volkswagen and the Czech government were
flawed, particularly since "the Czech side would have no right to
decide about basic questions" once Volkswagen had a 70 percent
share in Skoda. Originally, Volkswagen was to invest some DM 8.7
billion over several years and the production of cars was to grow
from 200,000 to 340,000 in 1997. Volkswagen was also to build a
plant producing 500,000 engines a year. Owing to Volkswagen's
financial difficulties, the plans for the plant were scrapped in
1993 and the overall amount to be invested in Skoda was lowered
to DM 3.6 billion. Of this sum, only DM 1.2 billion will be
direct capital investment, with the remainder taking the form of
credits. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK PREMIER OFFERS RECONCILIATION. Addressing the Slovak
parliament on 14 December, Vladimir Meciar asked the opposition
to cooperate and urged reconciliation. The opposition parties
voted Meciar out of office in March, and since the election
campaign in September, relations between him and his political
adversaries have been acrimonious. Meciar noted that he made the
same offer to President Michal Kovac during the swearing in
ceremony at Bratislava castle on 13 December. Meciar had
previously sought to oust the president for his role in helping
to organize a no confidence vote in Meciar's government in March.
The prime minister told the parliament that Slovakia needs to
build a political consensus and end political partisanship for
the sake of Slovak citizens and the state. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL,
Inc.

VOUCHER PRIVATIZATION IN SLOVAKIA STOPPED. Slovak Deputy Prime
Minister and Finance Minister Sergej Kozlik decided on 14
December not to launch the second wave of voucher privatization,
due to start on 15 December. TASR reports that Kozlik justified
his decision by saying that the second wave had apparently not
been well prepared and that there were "deficiencies in [its]
technical organization." Kozlik said the second wave would be
launched after those deficiencies had been removed but he did not
specify a date. Prior to his appointment, Slovak Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar had demanded that the second wave of voucher
privatization be postponed and that energy-producing companies be
removed from the list of firms to be privatized. Property worth
80 billion koruny was to have been privatized during the second
wave, but firms worth only 60 billion were on offer. Almost 3.5
million Slovaks registered to participate. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL,
Inc.

HUNGARIAN BORDER GUARD TO BE REORGANIZED. The Hungarian Border
Guard is planning to eliminate its Sopron and Zalaegerszeg
directorates, in western Hungary, by 31 March 1995, Border Guard
Commander Major General Balazs Novaky told the parliament Defense
Committee on 13 December. The reorganization, which will cost 1.6
billion forint, was originally planned to take place on 1
December 1994. But it was postponed last month by the Defense
Committee, which called it "too hasty" and "ill prepared." The
Border Guard's 1995 budget will be 12 billion forint, a 12.5
percent increase over 1994. -- Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN TRADE. Bela Kadar, chairman of the parliament
Budget and Finance Committee and former foreign trade minister,
says Hungary must improve trade with the Far East, the Pacific
region, and Australia, MTI reported on 14 December. Hungarian
exports to the EU and EFTA countries rose in 1994 by 28 percent
and 18 percent, respectively, compared with 1993 levels, while
exports to other countries fell from $1 billion to $400
million--accounting for a mere 15 percent of Hungary's total
exports. According to National Bank Deputy Chairman Frigyes
Harshegyi, Hungary's gross foreign debt reached $27 billion and
its net foreign debt $17.8 billion in September 1994. Over the
past five years, foreign capital worth $8.5 billion flowed into
Hungary, 40 percent of which originated from Japan and 10 percent
from the United States. -- Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN MILITARY RELATIONS. Reporting on his November
visit to Romania, Hungarian Defense Minister Gyorgy Keleti told
the parliament Defense Committee on 13 December that Bucharest
will reduce its armed forces by an additional 42,000 troops in
1995, following a cut of 35,000, MTI reported. The Defense
Ministry is drafting a proposal dealing with bilateral military
cooperation, including joint maneuvers within the framework of
NATO's Partnership for Peace program. -- Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL,
Inc.

RESITA PROTEST ENDS. A nine-day protest by workers in Resita
ended on 14 December, when Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu agreed
to an aid package for the crisis-hit industries in that town,
Radio Bucharest and Western agencies reported. The government
promised contracts totaling some $70 million in 1995 for a
machine-tool factory and a steel mill. It also pledged to seek
foreign investors willing to help modernize Resita's loss-making
plants. The two main enterprises, whose order books are empty,
have been unable to pay salaries for the last two months. The
Vacaroiu administration met the demonstrators demand to accept
the resignation of the prefect of Caras-Severin county. It also
pledged to improve social conditions in Resita and invest more
money in the local infrastructure. Critics say that Vacaroiu's
handouts are no solution to Romania's economic woes and may even
damage the reform process in the long run. The Resita protest has
been described as one of the worst instances of labor unrest in
Romania since the collapse of Nicolae Ceausescu's regime in
December 1989. Elsewhere, coal miners in Rovinari started a
strike on 14 December and oil workers called a two-hour warning
strike for the next day. -- Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIA PREPARES FOR 18 DECEMBER ELECTIONS. International media
on 14 December report on the parliament vote set for 18 December.
Polls show the Bulgarian Socialist Party taking the largest share
of the vote (30 percent), with the anti-communist Union of
Democratic Forces coming in second (20 percent), and the mainly
Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms third. The main issues
are falling living standards and rising crime. The ex-communist
BSP, which has a younger image than did Todor Zhivkov's party and
is led by 35-year-old economist Zhan Vidinov, has tried to
capitalize on popular discontent over these and other issues. Its
chances are aided by divisions within anti-communist ranks and by
the disappointing performance and often combative behavior of UDF
leaders after they formed a government in 1991. The pattern ever
since has been one of weak coalitions. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL,
Inc.

DATA ON ALBANIAN LABOR FORCE. Statistical data for the third
quarter of 1994 show a slight drop in unemployment, Gazeta
Shqiptare reports. Of the country's total labor force of 1.423
million, some 261,000 (18 percent) remain unemployed. The bulk of
those with jobs are in the agricultural sector (some 750,000
people are employed in private agriculture). More than 120,000
people have found jobs in the agricultural sector in the past
nine months alone. In urban areas, 321,000 people are employed in
the state sector and 91,000 in the private sector. At the end of
September, 57,000 people were claiming unemployment benefits,
compared with 108,000 at the end of 1993. -- Louis Zanga, RFE/RL,
Inc.

CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION. Sergei Tsekov
on 14 December announced he was quitting his post as Crimean
parliament chairman, but deputies immediately voted to reject his
resignation, Reuters reported the same day. Tsekov said he was
stepping down following a tumultuous week in the legislature over
proposals to change the composition of the parliament's
leadership. Some parliament factions are demanding greater
representation in the Presidium. which decides the parliament's
agenda and procedural issues. Tsekov said after the vote not to
accept his resignation that he had taken the correct decision.
"In this situation I needed a certain measure of confidence. We
must hold talks to come up with solutions," he was quoted as
saying. Tsekov played a major role in the September standoff
between the Crimean parliament and Crimean President Yurii
Meshkov, which resulted in Meshkov being stripped of many of his
powers. -- Jan Cleave, RFE/RL, Inc.

UKRAINIAN SOLDIERS TRY TO SMUGGLE MISSILE FUEL ABROAD. Security
officials in Kiev told Reuters on 13 December that they had
arrested two Ukrainian servicemen who were planning to smuggle
samples of missile fuel abroad. The officials said the two
servicemen--one of whom was an Army captain with access to a
missile fuel storage area--tried to take out of the country two
containers holding samples of the fuel. They reportedly admitted
that they intended to sell "a significant quantity" of the fuel
to another country after they had delivered the samples. The
official would not say where the fuel had come from or its
intended destination. The Soviet SS-18 and SS-24 intercontinental
ballistic missiles were both built in Ukraine. -- Doug Clarke,
RFE/RL, Inc.

SUICIDES IN THE UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES. An official from the
Ukrainian Defense Ministry told a news conference on 12 December
that more than 300 soldiers and officers died in the Ukrainian
armed forces in the first eleven months of 1994--most of them by
suicide. As reported by Interfax, the official said nearly half
of those who died were officers. He added that the death rate was
down 13 percent from the previous year. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL,
Inc.

LATVIAN TEACHERS END STRIKE. The Latvian Education and Science
Workers Union decided on 14 December to end the general strike
that begun on 12 December and to return to work the next day,
RFE/RL's Latvian Service reports. The teachers had demanded a 16
percent wage increase as of 1 January but accepted the
government's offer to delay the raise until 1 March. After a
cabinet meeting on 13 December, Education and Science Minister
Janis Vaivads said the government will need an additional 9.163
million lati ($16.6 million) to pay for the raise. This means the
Saeima will have to amend the 1995 budget, which was adopted at
its first reading. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

LATVIAN-RUSSIAN AGREEMENTS SIGNED. Russian Deputy Foreign
Minister Sergei Krylov and State Secretary of the Latvian Foreign
Ministry Maris Riekstins on 14 December in Moscow signed a
consular convention and four agreements on border demarcation and
visa exchange, Diena and Interfax report. Russian Foreign
Minister Andrei Kozyrev, who attended the signing, said that the
border is "acquiring a humanitarian and civilized character" and
that the documents should be a prelude to the settlement of
bilateral disputes over the rights and status of the Russian and
Latvian minorities in the two states. He said he would like to
see similar agreements signed between Russia and Estonia. --
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
RFERL-L at LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU
Inquiries about specific news items should be directed as
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RFE/RL, Inc.
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Washington, DC 20036
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Copyright 1994, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.


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