|The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that's the essence of inhumanity. - George Bernard Shaw|
No. 237, 16 December 1994
RUSSIA YELTSIN EXTENDS CHECHEN ULTIMATUM. In an address to the Chechen people transmitted by ITAR-TASS late on 15 December, Russian President Boris Yeltsin extended by 48 hours the deadline (due to expire at midnight on 15 December) for all armed groups in Chechnya to lay down their weapons, adding that he would consider such a ceasefire " a demonstration of good will and a first step towards the restoration of peace and legality" in Chechnya. Yeltsin affirmed that "the best way out of this situation is to cease fire and sit at the negotiating table without preconditions," and that if Chechen President Dudaev personally consents to lead the Chechen delegation to such talks he (Yeltsin) would send "a high-level delegation from Russia." In the past, however, Dudaev has consistently refused to negotiate with anyone other than Yeltsin personally. Speaking at a news conference in Grozny earlier on 15 December, Dudaev reiterated his readiness for immediate high-level talks, but insisted that all Russian troops must first withdraw from Chechnya. After a brief period of calm during the morning, fighting resumed during the afternoon of 15 December as Russian tanks with air and artillery support continued their advance on Grozny from the north; the advance was halted when some 70 Russian tanks and armored vehicles ran into swampy ground, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. SITUATION AROUND GROZNY. Late on 15 December the chief of Russia's Federal Counterintelligence Service, Sergei Stepashin, announced that "it is necessary to leave open a corridor for the possible evacuation of the population from Grozny." The announcement, made at invasion headquarters in Mozdok via ITAR-TASS, could only strengthen Chechen resolve stemming from the memory of the 1944 deportations of the Chechen and Ingush--a memory also recently reinforced by the 1992 ethnic cleansing of the Ingush from North Ossetia with Russian military support. Also in Mozdok, Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Nationality Affairs Nikolai Egorov, who acts as Yeltsin's special representative for Chechnya, told ITAR-TASS on 15 December that Yeltsin may impose a state of emergency in Chechnya in connection with an impending operation of "disarming the unlawful armed groups." Reflecting another misconception underlying Moscow's decision to invade, the Russian government's press center announced on 15 December that a special corridor would be left open to the south of Grozny "to enable fighting detachments from CIS and foreign countries to withdraw." Such groups have yet to be spotted by any of the many independent Russian and foreign observers in the area. In another communique on the same day the government's press center belatedly acknowledged that Russian fighter-bomber planes had been used against Chechen positions since 13 December. The communique complained that Chechen fighters were using hit-and-run tactics and taking cover amid the civilian population. Official communiques from Moscow and from invasion headquarters in Mozdok on 14 and 15 December also accused Chechen fighters of attacking Russian units said to perform humanitarian missions and of downing Russian helicopters said to carry aid goods. In Moscow, Chechnya's Higher Mufti and the chairman of the Chechen Elders' Higher Council were received by democratic deputies in the Duma where they told the press that guerrilla resistance would continue "in our beautiful mountain gorges" if Grozny falls, and that "not a single Chechen" will disarm until the signing of a peace treaty. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. DIRECT RULE FROM MOSCOW PLANNED? Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Nationality Affairs Nikolai Egorov told ITAR-TASS on 14 December that following the planned disarmament of "unlawful forces," he would "remain in Grozny as representative of the president of Russia for Chechnya." He added that "today Chechnya is a criminal state-territorial formation." Egorov indicated that he would oversee "the gradual formation of administrative bodies" in Chechnya, prior to general elections in spring 1995. He neither addressed the feasibility of elections in such conditions nor mentioned a withdrawal of Russian forces. On the same day Segodnya reported that at all levels of Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs, Procuracy, and Federal Counterintelligence Service, "operative-investigative groups" were being formed for dispatch to Chechnya. On the same day Russia's Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs A. Kulikov told Ostankino TV that his ministry will, in coordination "with other institutions, restore the law enforcement system in Chechnya." Either elections "or the appointment of territorial administrations will complete the restoration of legal order in Chechnya," he said. On the same day the Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Humanitarian Affairs Department, Vyacheslav Bakhmin, admitted at a briefing reported by Russian Radio that "as the federal authorities restore the constitutional order in Chechnya, violations of human rights, including the right to live, will occur. Such violations are absolutely unavoidable," he said. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. RUMBLINGS IN THE CAUCASUS . . . Villagers in Ingushetia continued erecting "serious obstacles" in the way of rear sections of the Russian troop column headed for Grozny, Egorov complained to ITAR-TASS on 15 December. Ingush president Ruslan Aushev told a media briefing in Moscow the same day that Ingushetia is sending humanitarian aid to Chechnya. Aushev denied that his republic is also providing military aid but stressed that "no one can check the participation of Ingush in the military conflict" on the side of their close relatives, the Chechen. Aushev called for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya as a prerequisite to any political settlement, and condemned "negotiations at gunpoint." He held both Yeltsin and "those who advised him" personally responsible for the turn of events. In Dagestan, villagers continued blocking the advance of the Russian troop column into Chechnya, ITAR-TASS reported on 15 December. A pro-Russian parliamentary deputy from Dagestan told Radio Mayak on 14 December that "a growing number of young people in his republic are acquiring weapons and preparing to come to the aid of Chechnya." North Ossetia's Deputy Prime Minister Georgii Kozaev--representing a republic traditionally aligned with Moscow--complained in Pravda on 15 December that Russia's "irresponsible and adventurist policy" was fanning anti-Russian sentiment throughout the region, jeopardizing the Russian Federation's integrity, and playing into the hands of Islam. Even loyal North Ossetians objected to the use of their territory as a staging area for the Russian military operation, he said. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. . . . AND BEYOND. Crimean Tatar Majlis Vice chairman and leader of the Kurultay Tatar group in Crimea's Supreme Soviet, Rifat Chubarov, told Vseukrainskie vedomosti on 13 December that the invasion of Chechnya "may lead to a protracted and bloody war in Caucasus." Moreover, Russia would now be hard placed to protest if Ukraine takes steps to enforce its constitution in Crimea, Chubarov pointed out. The Majlis Vice chairman Mustafa Jamilev told the Ukrainian news agency UNIAN on 12 December that 10 Crimean Tatar volunteers had departed for Chechnya. In a statement on 14 December reported by Interfax, Tatarstan's president Mintimer Shamiev condemned the use of force in Chechnya. Tatarstan's Coordinating Council of National-Democratic Organizations, comprising twelve Tatar organizations, demanded an immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya and the recognition of Chechnya as a "sovereign state." The invasion was part of a general Russian policy against the Muslim world, Interfax cited the statement as saying. A joint session of the legislative and executive bodies of the Republic of Yakutia "condemned the introduction of Russia's troops in Chechnya" and took the position that "the crisis can not be resolved until the troops are withdrawn," Russian Radio and Interfax reported on 14 December. Yakut President Mikhail Nikolaev, who chaired the session, withheld judgment on the action taken by Russia's executive authorities but suggested that presidents of the Federation's constituent republics go to Grozny on a goodwill mission. On the same day the head of administration of Irkutsk oblast, Iurii Novikov, told a media briefing reported by Russian Radio that he opposed the use of force in Chechnya. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. KOVALEV ARRIVES IN GROZNY. On its third attempt, the human rights delegation led by Russia's ombudsman, Sergei Kovalev, arrived in Grozny on 15 December. Kovalev said that he planned to try to convince Dudaev to compromise with Russian authorities and scored an early success when soon after arriving Dudaev agreed to talk to the delegation without any preconditions. Kovalev was earlier prevented from going to Chechnya aboard the personal aircraft of Petr Deinekin, the commander of the Russian Air Force. Kovalev's team, along with another group of State Duma deputies led by General Nikolai Stolyarov, then made another attempt to reach Grozny via Mozdok in North Ossetia, but the plane was sent back. The human rights delegation finally made it on an Aeroflot flight to Mineralnye Vody in the neighboring Stavropol region and then to Grozny with the help of Ingush authorities. The delegation includes three Duma deputies--Mikhail Molostvov of Russia's Choice, Valerii Borshchov of Yabloko, and Leonid Petrovsky of the Communist Party--as well as Oleg Orlov, the expert of the anti-Stalinist "Memorial" society. -- Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. GORE NEGOTIATES WITH CHERNOMYRDIN AND SHUMEIKO. US Vice President Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin opened in Moscow the fourth session of the Russian-American Commission for Economic and Technological Cooperation, agencies reported on 15 January. Gore and Chernomyrdin, who are co-chairmen of the commission, have discussed joint projects in space, energy and military conversion. The US delegation has proposed mobilizing up to 50 billion dollars for investment into the plagued Russian energy sector on the condition that Russia passes legislation safeguarding the interests of foreign investors in Russia's oil industry. Currently, the lack of such legislation is hampering any progress. Another American proposal was to review Russia's negative attitude to the participation of Chevron corporation in exploitation of the Tengis oil fields, which are presently under the management of a Russian-Kazakh-Omani consortium. Al Gore also met with the speaker of the Federation Council Vladimir Shumeiko, who briefed him on the situation in Chechnya, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. DUMA OVERVIEW. Russian TV newscasts reported that the 14 December session of the State Duma started with an argument between the speaker and Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who suggested sending a delegation to President Boris Yeltsin's hospital to see whether Yeltsin is still alive and if he is really in charge of the country or has been put under house arrest by his entourage. Zhirinovsky's suggestion was rejected, although 176 deputies voted for the motion. An overwhelming majority of the house voted in favor of a suggestion to amend the constitution in order to reinstate parliamentary control over the executive branch of government. The amendment was proposed by Sergei Yushenkov and other Russia's Choice deputies, who had campaigned for abolishing such control during Yeltsin's conflict with the former Russian parliament in 1992-93. Another member of that radical faction, Ella Panfilova, suggested introduction of a law aimed at preventing the currently widespread practice of government officials withholding information from the legislature or otherwise misinforming its deputies. Panfilova's bill would make this a criminal offense punishable by up to five years' imprisonment. Finally, the Duma voted almost unanimously to reinstate parliamentary broadcasting on both channels of Russian television. A program titled "Parliamentary Hours" did exist on Russian TV but it was banned by decree when Yeltsin dissolved the old parliament on 21 September 1993. Once again, this suggestion was put forward by the same people who served in Yeltsin's administration and did everything to discredit and ultimately ban parliamentary broadcasting. -- Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS RUSSIA TO LEASE NAVAL BASES IN CRIMEA. Vice Admiral Vladimir Bezkorovainy told journalists in Kiev on 14 December that Ukraine would provide Russia with a naval base in Crimea "due to historical circumstances." The admiral's comments on the ongoing Ukrainian-Russian experts-level talks on the Black Sea Fleet were reported by Interfax. Bezkorovainy said that Russia was asking for a 99-year lease for naval bases in the Sevastopol area while Ukraine believed that a term of five to seven years was more appropriate. He also rejected the deployment of Russian shore-based forces in Ukraine: "Russia must base its troops on its own territory." -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE LITTLE ENTHUSIASM FOR KARADZIC'S "PEACE OFFER." International media report on 15 and 16 December that diplomats say they wish former US President Jimmy Carter well if he accepts Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic's mediation request and will congratulate him if he succeeds. But skepticism reportedly prevails. Carter met on 15 December with US Secretary of State Warren Christopher, but US sources reaffirmed that Carter would go to Bosnia only in a private capacity. Critics of the mission charged that Karadzic had simply offered to renew promises he had already broken and was trying to legitimize his international political standing. Critics especially stressed that the Bosnian Serb leader's main goal was to sidestep the Contact Group's peace plan and get something considerably better. This was the view of Bosnian Vice President Ejup Ganic and Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic, who added that "Karadzic should not be allowed to get away with this." Sarajevo Radio quoted President Alija Izetbegovic as noting that the Carter mission "could deprive the Contact Group plan of credibility." -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. ISLAMIC NATIONS PLEDGE HELP FOR BOSNIA. Meeting in Casablanca, the summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference called for lifting the arms embargo against the Bosnian government and offered to provide troops for UNPROFOR if other nations withdraw theirs. The OIC's own "contact group" will meet with that of the major powers in Geneva soon, The Wall Street Journal said on 15 September. Reuters adds that the OIC condemned "all direct or indirect assistance to the Serb aggressors and [resolved] to reconsider present economic relations between our countries and those which support the Serb position." It is not clear what this might mean in practice. Izetbegovic said he was "satisfied with the resolutions of the summit but the problem that remains is implementation." -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT SUPPORTS BORBA. The independent Belgrade daily Borba on 16 December reports that the European parliament has passed a resolution supporting the efforts of rump Yugoslavia's independent media--and particularly Borba itself. The resolution recognizes that Borba remains a vital source of independent journalism. Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, in his periodic efforts to silence opposition to his regime, has singled out Borba for harassment campaigns. On 13 November, federal authorities secured a court ruling stating that since Borba was allegedly improperly incorporated, it did not exist legally. -- Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. WALESA TO VETO BILL ON PUBLIC SECTOR WAGES. Gazeta Wyborcza on 16 December reports that President Lech Walesa will veto a bill on wages in the public sector. The bill, which is crucial for the 1995 budget, was proposed by the government and approved in the Sejm. Walesa has already vetoed a tax bill. When his veto was overturned in the Sejm, the president appealed to the Constitutional Tribunal to determine whether the legislation is in line with the constitution. The tribunal is make a ruling on 29 December. In an effort to circumvent the president's objections, the government has incorporated its tax and wage measures in the draft budget. The ongoing conflicts between the president and the government coalition are regarded as political skirmishes prior to the presidential elections in 1995. -- Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc. CONFLICT OVER POLISH TELEVISION. Wieslaw Walendziak, head of Polish Television, said at a press conference on 15 December that the political establishment has consistently tried to impose control over broadcasting. Walendziak complained that various politicians want to turn television into an instrument of "indoctrination." He noted that Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak has tried to prevent television from reporting on his conversations with Russian leaders. Polish Television is state-run but was granted an autonomous status within the administration. Walendziak said the government has imposed an exceedingly high profit tax on the television station (about 70 percent) and rigorously controls its finances, presumably to force it to comply with the establishment's wishes. -- Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN ARMY TO CELEBRATE 17TH CENTURY VICTORY OVER POLAND. According to Russian press reports cited by Gazeta Wyborcza on 16 December, the Russian Army has chosen 7 November to celebrate the Russian victory in 1621 over "Polish invaders." Commemorating this day will help "revive patriotic feelings in Russia through the remembrance of the glorious achievements of [Russian] army and navy," the Polish newspaper reported. Until recently, the day was marked as the anniversary of the October Revolution. -- Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc. MIGRATION IN CZECH REPUBLIC. The Czech parliament on 15 December approved a government report on migration that says 213 million people crossed the borders between the Czech Republic and its neighbors in 1993. Some 70 percent were foreigners. A total of 780,000 foreigners a day were staying in the Czech Republic in 1993, while in the first six months of 1994, the number grew to 853,000. At the end of 1993, 77,668 foreigners had either long-term or permanent residency in the country. Only 5,000 people have asked for refugee status in the Czech Republic since 1990. In the first six months of 1994, 14,350 illegal immigrants from more than 70 countries were detained by Czech police. Almost 90 percent of the illegal immigrants came from Eastern Europe, in particular the former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Romania. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. PERSONNEL CHANGES IN SLOVAKIA. Vladimir Meciar's government on 15 December replaced 23 high-ranking officials, including all state secretaries (the Slovak equivalent of deputy ministers), the Slovak official news agency TASR reports. The director-general of TASR, Ivan Melichercik, was replaced by Dusan Kleiman, who had headed the agency under Meciar's previous government. The Slovak parliament voted the same day to dismiss the chairman and five members of the Board for Radio and Television. The board supervises Slovak television and radio broadcasting. As a result of the dismissals, supporters of Meciar's ruling coalition now have five seats in the board and the opposition two. Two seats remain vacant. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. CARNOGURSKY ON RECONCILIATION. In response to Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar's plea on 14 December for reconciliation among Slovakia's coalition and opposition parties, Jan Carnogursky, chairman of the Christian Democratic Movement, told journalists in Bratislava on 15 December that his party will "consider reconciliation on a case-by-case basis." Carnogursky said his party disapproves of the Meciar's government decision to postpone the second wave of voucher privatization and is opposed to the election of Stefan Balejnik, a secret police agent under the communist regime, as chairman of the Supreme Auditing Office. Carnogursky did not rule out supporting "reasonable" steps taken by the new government, such as a well-designed provisional budget. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. MECIAR IS SLOVAKIA'S MOST TRUSTED POLITICIAN. An opinion poll released by the polling firm Focus on 15 December indicates that Vladimir Meciar is the most trusted Slovak politician, with 26 percent of the poll's 1,370 respondents saying they have confidence in him. Former Prime Minister Jozef Moravcik placed second (with 18 percent), followed by President Michal Kovac (17 percent). More than 16 percent of the respondents thought that Meciar has the greatest expertise among Slovak politicians. Former Deputy Prime Minister Brigita Schmoegnerova placed second, followed by former Transportation Minister Mikulas Dzurinda. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES PROTEST RAIL LINE CUTS. In a joint statement issued on 15 December, Hungary's four opposition parties protested the government's decision to reduce by half over the next four years the country's 7,800-kilometer rail network in order to save 6.4 billion forint, MTI reported. The opposition parties said the cuts would have adverse effects on the development of small localities and on the environment. They called for the creation of a special committee to review all problems facing the railroads. -- Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. SEMINAR ON HUNGARIAN FOREIGN POLICY. While the first years of Jozsef Antall's government were marked by a political consensus in foreign policy, there have been repeated domestic political debates over foreign policy-making since before the 1994 elections, former State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Janos Martonyi told a 15 December seminar on foreign policy. According to Martonyi, this development is fraught with potential dangers. He called for the preservation of the consensus for the next four to five years, which, he said, were very crucial for Hungary. -- Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN INFLATION RATE. Hungary's consumer price index rose by 1.9 percent in November compared with the previous month and by 21 percent compared with November 1993, the Central Statistical Office told MTI on 16 December. In November, an urban family of two adults and two children needed a minimum of 57,300 forint a month to make ends meet--1,000 forint more than a month earlier. -- Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN AND ROMANIAN INTELLECTUALS MEET. The Presidium of the Association of Hungarian and Romanian Intellectuals, set up in June in Debrecen to develop good-neighborly relations between the two countries, met on 14 and 15 December at the town's medical university, MTI announced. Some 40 physicians from Hungary and five large Transylvanian cities discussed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation in the fields of science, education, and the arts. -- Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. MORE STRIKES IN ROMANIA. Despite the agreement reached by the government and protesting workers in Resita on 14 December, several hundred people from the machine-tool factory there continued their protest on 15 December. They demanded more concessions from the administration, including an average net wage of 300,000 lei. A management representative was quoted by Radio Bucharest as saying the crisis-hit plant could not meet such demands. In the meantime, labor unrest has spread to other sectors and regions in Romania. Oil workers in Buzau, Braila, and Bacau counties staged warning strikes on 15 December and threatened to launch a general strike if their demands for improved work contracts were not met. They were joined by research workers from a Campina-based oil research institute. The same day, railroad workers organized a protest meeting in Bucharest for better pay and safety measures. In a related development, the opposition Democratic Party announced that despite the Resita agreement, it would continue to push for the no-confidence vote against Nicolae Vacaroiu's government proposed earlier this week. The motion will be discussed at a joint meeting of the parliament's two chambers on 23 December. -- Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. BULGARIAN UPDATE. As Bulgaria readies for the 18 December parliamentary elections, the ex-communists have reiterated their theme that they have shed their past and are a forward-looking, socially oriented party. Their main rivals, the Union of Democratic Forces, emphasized they were more deserving of popular trust and would fight inflation. Meanwhile, Reuters quoted interim Prime Minister Reneta Indzhova on another key theme in Bulgarian politics--namely, crime. She told a news conference that there is widespread "mutual support between mafia and state structures" and that her government had not succeeded in breaking this link. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. ALBANIAN FOREIGN TRADE DEFICIT. The lifting of the Greek veto on European Union aid to Albania is expected to have a positive effect on the country's balance of payments, Gazeta Shqiptare reports. With the veto no longer in place, Albania will be poised to receive $18.5 million as the first installment of a $43 million aid package to help the country offset its large foreign trade deficit, which stood at $480 million at the end of 1993. -- Louis Zanga, RFE/RL, Inc. US TO PAY FOR HOUSING FOR ROCKET TROOPS IN UKRAINE. In a news release on 14 December, the Pentagon revealed that a ground-breaking ceremony took place that day for an apartment complex in Ukraine to house former Strategic Rocket Forces. A joint venture involving two Ukrainian and two American companies will build four apartment buildings with a total of 135 units at a housing development on the outskirts of Khmelnitsky--some 275 kilometers southwest of Kiev. The $16 million project is being funded by the US government under the Cooperative Threat Reduction or Nunn-Lugar program. It is expected to be completed within one year. Khmelnitsky is the site of the 19th Missile Division, which once possessed 90 SS-19 intercontinental ballistic missiles as well as a maintenance facility for these weapons. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. FOOD RATIONING INTRODUCED IN PARTS OF BELARUS. Residents of Mogilyov and Vitebsk, in eastern Belarus, have been issued with ration cards for staple foods, Reuters reported on 15 December. They will be entitled to purchase 400 grams (14 ounces) of cheese and 200 grams (7 ounces) of butter a month. Severe shortages of these and other products have been the order of the day in Belarus since price increases were rolled back last month. Citizens of neighboring countries have been pouring into Belarus to buy up staples, while Belarusians have been taking large quantities of food to sell in Russia and Lithuania, where bread and meat are three times as expensive. Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Chigir said in Minsk earlier this week that the rationing will end only when prices have been freed. The IMF has told Belarus that freeing prices is a key element in introducing a market economy. -- Jan Cleave, RFE/RL, Inc. EU OPENS PRE-ACCESSION TALKS WITH BALTIC STATES. In Brussels on 15 December, the European Union formally opened negotiations with Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on the so-called Europe Agreements or associate membership, RFE/RL's Lithuanian Service reports. Trade Commissioner Sir Leon Brittan said no one could have imagined in 1991 that the three states would have the opportunity to become EU members. He noted that the Baltic States will be treated the same way as the other six associate members when the negotiations are completed. Estonian Foreign Minister Juri Luik told the meeting that his parliament ratified the free-trade agreement with the EU earlier that day. Lithuanian ambassador to the EU Adolfas Venckus said the next round of talks with the EU is scheduled for 18 January. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. LITHUANIAN, ESTONIAN 1995 BUDGETS PASSED. By a vote of 56 to 41 with 10 abstentions, the Seimas on 15 December passed Lithuania's 1995 national budget, BNS reports. The budget foresees expenditures totaling 3.818 billion litai ($954.5 million) and revenues 3.399 billion litai. The 419 million litai deficit will be about 1.9% of gross domestic product. It is expected that 36.8% of the expenditures will come from value-added tax (VAT), 23.7% from individual income tax, and 13.9% from excise taxes. The Estonian parliament the previous day passed a balanced budget of 8.793 billion kroons ($700 million) by a vote of 67 to four with two abstentions. It foresees 49% of its revenues coming from VAT, 20.7% from individual income tax, and 13.3% from corporate income tax. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. SWEDEN, ESTONIA DECIDE NOT TO RAISE FERRY. Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson on 15 December told the parliament that the government has decided not to salvage the ferry "Estonia," which sank off the Finnish coast on 28 September, Western agencies report. No efforts will be made to raise the more than 800 bodies not yet recovered and the ship will be sealed to prevent plundering. Following consultations with Sweden, the Estonian government decided the same day that no salvage would be attempted and that the site of the wreck should be declared a restricted zone and considered a graveyard. -- 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 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.
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.