There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. - Graham Greene
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 105, Part II, 31 May 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 105, Part II, 31 May 1999

A daily report of developments in Eastern and
Southeastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus and Central
Asia prepared by the staff of Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty.

This is Part II, a compilation of news concerning
Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe.  Part I
covers Russia, Transcaucasia and Central Asia and is
distributed simultaneously as a second document.  Back
issues of RFE/RL NewsLine and the OMRI Daily Digest are
online at RFE/RL's Web site:
http://www.rferl.org/newsline

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Headlines, Part II

* STAMPEDE IN MINSK METRO PASSAGEWAY KILLS 54

* SCHUSTER WINS SLOVAK PRESIDENTIAL RUN-OFF

* THACI SAYS AIR STRIKES PROTECT KOSOVARS

End Note: THE CARDINAL AND THE PRESIDENT
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

STAMPEDE IN MINSK METRO PASSAGEWAY KILLS 54. At least 54
people were killed and more than 100 injured in a
stampede in an underground passageway to the Nyamiha
metro station in Minsk on 30 May. The tragedy occurred
after a crowd of young people had rushed from a nearby
beer festival into the passage to avoid heavy rain. "The
weather worsened sharply...and the crowd, some of whom
were under the influence of alcohol, rushed to find
cover," AP quoted Interior Minister Yuryy Sivakou as
saying. JM

BELARUSIAN AGRICULTURAL MANAGER SENTENCED TO TWO YEARS.
Vasil Staravoytau, former head of the Rassvet collective
farm in Mahilyou Oblast, was sentenced on 29 May to two
years hard labor and confiscation of property. It took
11 hours for a judge to read the verdict, which found
the 74-year-old Staravoytau guilty of seven counts of
embezzlement, attempted smuggling, abuse of power,
bribery, and illegal weapons possession. Staravoytau, a
World War II veteran, received some of the Soviet
Union's highest honors, including three Orders of Lenin
and two Hero of Socialist Labor awards. Before his
arrest in 1997, Staravoytau became embroiled in a public
dispute with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who had
also headed a collective farm in the Mahilyou region
during the Soviet era. Some independent newspapers have
speculated that by indicting Staravoytau, Lukashenka
took revenge on his more successful rival in farming. JM

UKRAINIAN SPEAKER JOINS PRESIDENTIAL RACE. Supreme
Council Chairman Oleksandr Tkachenko announced on 29
May, after his Agrarian Party formally nominated him as
its presidential candidate, that he will run in the 31
October presidential elections. Tkachenko is widely
believed to pose the biggest challenge from the left of
the political spectrum to incumbent President Leonid
Kuchma. The previous day, ITAR-TASS reported that the
Ukrainian Central Electoral Commission has so far
registered 17 candidates in the 1999 presidential
elections. JM

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT RECEIVES WARM WELCOME IN CHERNIVTSI.
Emil Constantinescu on 28 May visited Chernivtsi,
capital of the Bukovyna region, which is home to some
460,000 ethnic Romanians. Thousands of people waving
Romanian flags came out to greet Constantinescu, the
first Romanian head of state to visit the area in 60
years. "Relations between Romania and Ukraine, as well
as those between our ethnic groups can be an example for
the world," Reuters quoted Constantinescu as saying.
Constantinescu and Kuchma inaugurated a Romanian
consulate in Chernivtsi. Later this year, Ukraine plans
to open a multicultural university in Chernivtsi, which
will offer tuition also in Romanian. JM

BALTIC ASSEMBLY CONVENES IN VILNIUS. Meetings of the
parliamentary Baltic Assembly and inter-governmental
Baltic Council of Ministers took place in Vilnius from
28-30 May. The assembly passed five resolutions: on the
restoration of pre-occupation embassy buildings in
France and Italy, cooperation in the energy sector,
further promotion of the Via Baltica transport link, the
protection of cultural monuments, and the assembly's
1999 budget, totaling $33,000, according to BNS.
Lithuania also turned the chairmanship of the
parliamentary body over to Latvia. The Baltic Council of
Ministers also discussed further regional cooperation at
several levels. MH

ESTONIAN PARTY MERGER APPROVED. The People's Party on 30
May voted to merge with the Moderates, according to
"Postimees." During the March general elections, the two
parties ran on one list under the name of the Moderates.
The center-left Moderates had approved the merger last
week. However, some members of the right-wing People's
Party have announced they will split away, arguing that
the merger has changed the political direction of the
party. One rebel member said that most of the departed
members will likely join up with the rightist Pro Patria
Union--also a member of the three-party ruling
coalition. People's Party chairman Toomas Hendrik Ilves
commented that in every merger, it is "inevitable" that
some will be dissatisfied. MH

LATVIAN PORK TARIFF ANGERS NEIGHBORS. The Latvian
parliament's decision to implement a 70 percent tariff
on imported pork and pork products (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 28 May 1999) has drawn heavy criticism from
Estonian and Lithuanian officials. On 28 May, the
Estonian government lodged an official protest, as did
the Lithuanian government. Lithuanian government
officials also called for the convening of the committee
on the Baltic Free Trade Agreement, saying retaliatory
action may be taken, according to BNS. Latvian Foreign
Minister Valdis Birkavs said the tariffs do not violate
the Baltic Free Trade agreement nor Latvia's obligations
as a World Trade Organization member: "If we are wrong
and the WTO proves it, we will repay both Lithuanian and
Estonian exporters," BNS quoted him as saying. MH

OIL FLOWS TO LITHUANIA'S MAZEIKIAI AGAIN. Crude oil
deliveries from Russia to Lithuania's Mazeikiai Oil
Refinery resumed on 27 May, according to ELTA. However,
officials from the refinery are not sure when production
will restart. The official said that the crude reserves
must be filled first and there must first be some
guarantee from Russia that supplies will continue. A
lack of crude from Russia forced the oil refinery to
shut down on last week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 May
1999). MH

POLISH FARMERS END PROTEST, SIGN DEAL ON GRAIN SUPPLIES.
Polish farmers on 29 May ended their road blockades and
signed an agreement with the government on minimum
prices paid by the state for grain. The government
agreed to buy wheat for 510 zlotys ($128) per 1 ton in
August, 520 zlotys in September, and 560 zlotys in
October. The minimum prices for 1 ton of rye were set at
360 zlotys, 375 zlotys, and 390 zlotys, respectively.
"Subsidizing grain production is a provisional measure
for approximately two years. It does not make the
farmers partners on the market but [only] opponents on
the street," the 31 May "Gazeta Wyborcza" quoted an
agricultural expert as saying. Radical farmers' leader
Andrzej Lepper said he is not satisfied with the deal,
and he chastised "95 percent" of farmers for not
participating in road blockades (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
28 May 1999). JM

CZECH OPPOSITION PARTY ELECTS NEW LEADER. A 29 May
conference of the centrist Christian Democratic Union
(KDU-CSL) elected Jan Kasal, until now party deputy
chairman, as KDU-CSL leader, CTK reported. He replaces
Josef Lux, who quit politics last year after falling ill
with leukemia. Kasal was backed by 181 delegates, while
his rival for the position, Cyril Svoboda, obtained 121
votes and was later elected KDU-CSL first deputy
chairman. After his election, Kasal said he would like
to meet with the leaders of other parties but did not
expect such talks to result "in the creation of a new
coalition." He was indirectly responding to Civic
Democratic Party leader Vaclav Klaus's address to the
KDU-CSL conference, in which Klaus said the Christian
Democrats must adopt "a clear position" on cooperation
between the two parties. MS

HAVEL RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL. Czech President Vaclav
Havel on 28 May left the Prague military hospital.
Doctors consider that he has "overcome the worst" of a
new bout of bronchitis. Presidential spokesman Martin
Krafl said Havel, who was hospitalized on 20 May, is
likely to resume his official duties on 7 June. MS

SCHUSTER WINS SLOVAK PRESIDENTIAL RUN-OFF. Kosice Mayor
Rudolf Schuster has defeated former Premier Vladimir
Meciar in the 29 May presidential run-off. Official
results released the next day showed Schuster, the
candidate of the ruling four-party coalition, received
57.2 percent of the vote, compared with Meciar's 42.8
percent. Turnout was 75.45 percent. Schuster told
journalists he intends to work for "the reconciliation
of all Slovaks," adding that he does not "want to be the
servant of the [ruling] coalition, just because I
belonged to it," TASR and CTK reported. He also said his
first official visit as president will be to the Czech
Republic. Meciar sent Schuster a telegram expressing
confidence that the new president will carry out his
duties "to the benefit of Slovakia and all its
citizens." On 29 May, he had said he will not withdraw
from politics if defeated. MS

HUNGARY-BASED U.S. PLANES JOIN NATO ACTION IN
YUGOSLAVIA. Two dozen U.S. Marine F-18 jet fighters that
were deployed in Hungary last week flew their first
missions over Yugoslavia on 28 May, dpa reported, citing
a Marine Corps spokesman at the Taszar airbase in
southern Hungary. Also on 28 May, the cabinet approved
the deployment of 18 A-10 planes at Taszar. Defense
Ministry spokesman Lajos Erdelyi told MTI that three A-
10s, which are designed to attack tanks and other armor,
are already at the base, while the remainder are due to
arrive over the next days. MTI reported that there are
currently 16 KC-135 Stratotanker mid-air refueling
planes stationed at Budapest airport and 24 F-18
fighters at Taszar, in addition to the three A-10s. MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

THACI SAYS AIR STRIKES PROTECT KOSOVARS... Hashim Thaci,
leader of the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) and prime
minister of the UCK-backed provisional government, told
the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" of 31 May that NATO
should intensify its air strikes. He added that NATO's
bombing campaign has prevented Serbian forces from
carrying out even worse massacres and abuses than has
been the case. He noted that morale among Serbian troops
in the province is low. Thaci argued that only military
pressure will prompt Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic to make concessions. He said that he is
pleased with the level of cooperation between the UCK
and provisional government, on the one hand, and NATO,
on the other. Thaci stressed that he is willing to
compromise with Ibrahim Rugova of the moderate
Democratic League of Kosova in order to promote Kosovar
unity. He added, however, that the Kosovars are already
united on most key issues and that the differences
between the UCK and Rugova have been "overestimated in
Western capitals." PM

...AS DOES UCK COMMANDER. Thaci also told the 31 May
"Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" that his troops are
carrying out an offensive in southwestern Kosova near
the Albanian border. He added that the UCK has become
much more professional since General Agim Ceku took over
its command recently. Ceku is a former Yugoslav army
officer who later became a general in the Croatian army.
Ceku told RFE/RL on 30 May that NATO air strikes have
reduced the ability of Serbian forces to "carry out
their war against civilians" in Kosova. Ceku noted that
the morale of Serbian forces is low and that reservists
have recently deserted their units in large numbers. PM

GERMANY, FRANCE URGE NEW G-8 SUMMIT. German Chancellor
Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac
issued a statement in Paris on 29 May saying that the
foreign ministers of the G-8 countries should meet again
and review recent diplomatic developments in Belgrade.
Tanjug reported over the weekend that Milosevic has
accepted "the general principles" laid down by the G-8
nations as a basis for bringing peace to Kosova (see
Part I). The statement added that "France and Germany
consider it necessary to examine whether the content of
[Milosevic's] declaration can lead to a political
solution on the basis of our principles." NATO
Secretary-General Javier Solana said during a visit to
Rome that he favors the proposed meeting. Chirac told
Reuters in Paris the following day that Milosevic "does
not have any [room for maneuver]." FS

KUCAN LAUDS NATO ACTIONS. Slovenian President Milan
Kucan told RFE/RL's South Slavic Service on 30 May that
NATO policies in the Balkans are aimed at restoring
"normal life" in Kosova and at establishing respect for
"human rights as a fundamental principle of the new
world order." He added that he does not believe that
NATO will end its air strikes until it achieves its
objectives. Kucan said he is opposed to the idea of
partitioning Kosova (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 May
1999). He noted that Ljubljana is willing to host a
major international conference on the future of the
Balkans. PM

CLARK: SERBIAN FORCES FACING 'CERTAIN DEFEAT.' General
Wesley Clark, who is NATO's chief commander in Europe,
told "Le Figaro" of 31 May that "the Serbian forces have
been reduced [by NATO bombings] to a state where they
must remain hidden by day. They only take up positions
at night or in bad weather," he added. Clark argued that
desertions and discontent are on the rise and that some
units have revolted against their commanders. He
concluded that the bombing "has transformed the Serbian
forces, which previously were well equipped, efficient,
and formidable, into a mosaic of individuals less
capable of carrying out [the army's] cruel mission....
The [Yugoslav] army is in decline and knows it is
losing" (see also Part I). PM

UN REPORT CALLS ON SERBIAN FORCES TO LEAVE KOSOVA. Mary
Robinson, who is the UN's chief official for human
rights issues, said in a report on 31 May that the
Yugoslav government should "withdraw immediately and
unconditionally all the army and [police] units from
[Kosova], as well as federal police and paramilitary
forces who are responsible for gross violations of human
rights in the region." She added that the Hague-based
war crimes tribunal's recent indictment of Milosevic was
a "major step" toward ending "impunity" in Kosova (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 28 May 1999). Robinson noted that "a
number of [ethnic Albanian] refugees interviewed by
[her] Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
witnessed or confirmed accounts of summary executions,
while others reported having seen mass graves." She also
criticized NATO's use of cluster bombs in its air
strikes against Serbian targets and its destruction of
civilian sites, including schools and hospitals. PM

NATO: CIVILIAN CASUALTIES INEVITABLE. An unnamed
official of the Atlantic alliance told Reuters in
Brussels on 31 May that "you can only fine-tune a
bombing campaign so far. At point of impact, even the
smartest bomb is unable to distinguish between soldiers
and civilians. The Serbs have moved many of their
military assets into built-up areas where they are co-
located with civilians.... We are going to extraordinary
lengths to avoid civilian casualties. Regrettably, they
are inevitable as we increase the tempo of the air
campaign." He made his remarks hours after Serbian media
reported that 11 people died when NATO aircraft attacked
a sanatorium in Surdulica. The previous day, nine people
were killed when NATO bombed a bridge in Varvarin.
Shortly after that attack, a NATO spokesman in Brussels
said the bridge was "a major line of communication and a
legitimate military target." PM

AUSTRALIA CALLS ON MILOSEVIC TO RELEASE AID WORKERS. A
military court in Belgrade sentenced Steve Pratt and
Peter Wallace, who are Australian employees of CARE, to
12 and four years in prison, respectively, for
"collecting and passing on secret information," Reuters
reported on 30 May. Their Yugoslav colleague Branko
Jelen received a six-year jail term. The next day,
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told
Parliament: "We would like the government of President
Milosevic, and President Milosevic himself, to treat
these two aid workers with at least the humanity that
the aid workers have been treating the people of
Yugoslavia with." Downer also called Yugoslav Ambassador
to Australia Dragan Dragojlovic to Parliament House to
lodge a protest against the jailings. Dragojlovic told
reporters that he hopes the men can be released but
stressed that they must first be proven innocent in
court. Australian Prime Minister John Howard said that
he will work quietly through diplomatic channels to
obtain the men's release. PM

UNHCR WORRIED ABOUT REFUGEES. Spokesmen for the UNHCR
and several other aid agencies said in Skopje on 29 May
that only about 1,200 Kosovars arrived in Macedonia the
previous day, Reuters reported. The UNHCR's Ron Redmond
added that the aid workers "are very concerned because
we know that thousands, probably tens of thousands, [of
Kosovars] want to come out. Their physical condition is
deteriorating by the day. They are not getting any food,
they are not getting any medical attention" in Kosova.
Another aid worker noted: "It's ironic, but we hope to
see more refugees come across because at least that way
we know that they are safe and we can help them." PM

YUGOSLAV TROOPS DETAIN SFOR PEACEKEEPERS. An unspecified
number of Yugoslav soldiers entered Bosnia near Rudo on
the border with Serbia, took six NATO peacekeepers with
them back into Serbia, and detained the SFOR men for
about eight hours before releasing them, AP reported
from Sarajevo on 28 May. A NATO spokesman said that some
of the men had been mistreated. He added that "the
Yugoslav violation of Bosnian sovereignty is a breach of
the Dayton Peace Agreement." PM

MORE DETAINEES FROM SMREKONICA ARRIVE IN ALBANIA. An
additional 400 Kosovar men released by Serbian forces
from the prison in Smrekonica arrived in Kukes on 29 and
30 May, Reuters reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 May
1999). About 2,000 men have been freed from detention
there over the past eight days. All of them told similar
stories of torture and showed signs of malnutrition. FS

ALBANIAN ARMY LAUNCHES MANEUVERS NEAR MORINA. In
maneuvers on 28 May, Albanian soldiers fired hundreds of
artillery shells and rockets at targets near Morina, in
Albania, close to the Kosovar border. The exercises
involved tanks, howitzers, and 1,200 ground troops.
Unnamed Western military sources told AP that NATO tried
unsuccessfully to stop the exercise, fearing a Serbian
military response in an area packed with almost 100,000
refugees. NATO spokesman Jamie Shea said in Brussels,
however, that Albania "has the right to take any steps
which it deems necessary to defend itself." On 30 May,
Serbian forces fired several mortar rounds into Albania
near Morina. Serbian snipers took up positions in the
hills overlooking the border crossing. Over the weekend,
Yugoslav army troops and UCK forces fought for control
over three small villages near Tropoja, in Kosova. FS

GREEK POLICE TO CRACK DOWN ON ILLEGAL ALBANIANS AFTER
HIJACKING. An unnamed high ranking Greek police official
told Reuters on 30 May that Greek authorities will
"greatly intensify...the checks on refugees...throughout
the country" after an illegal Albanian immigrant
hijacked a bus and took nine hostages in Thessaloniki on
28 May. The 25 year-old armed ex-convict then forced the
driver to take the bus across the border into Albania.
The incident ended on 29 May when Albanian special
police ambushed the vehicle in central Albania, killing
the hijacker and a Greek hostage. Greek Public Order
Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis described the storming of
the bus as "very foolish behavior on the part of the
Albanian police which showed indifference about human
lives." FS

ROMANIAN PARTIES MERGE. The National Council of the
Romanian National Party (PNR) on 29 May approved the
party's merger with the Liberal Democratic Party (PLD).
PLD chairman Nicolae Cerveni will become PNR deputy
chairman as of 31 May, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau
reported. According to "Adevarul" on 31 May, Party of
Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) leader Ion Iliescu
and Victor Roman Constantinescu, one of the leaders of
the Party of Romanian Unity Alliance (PAUR), signed a
protocol in Cluj on 29 May that envisages the merger of
the PAUR (a splinter party of the Party of Romanian
National Unity) and the PDSR. The former leader of the
PAUR is Gheorghe Funar, who went on to join the Greater
Romania Party. MS

DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION OF ROMANIA TO BACK PRESIDENT
CONSTANTINESCU. The National Council of the Democratic
Convention of Romania (CDR) announced on 28 May that the
CDR will back incumbent President Emil Constantinescu in
the 2000 presidential ballot, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau
reported. The council postponed taking a decision on the
National Liberal Party's demand that CDR political
formations be allowed to run separately in local
elections. CDR chairman Ion Diaconescu said his National
Peasant Party Christian Democratic believes that the
issue cannot be resolved before the parliament decides
whether to change the system of parliamentary and local
elections and amend the law on political parties. The
liberals are also demanding that the CDR chairmanship be
rotated and that they be given a veto-right on decisions
binding for the CDR. MS

ROMANIA'S NATIONAL BANK SAYS 'MOST BANKS' VIABLE. "Out
of 36 Romanian banks, 29 are economically viable,"
according to a 28 May statement released by Romania's
National Bank after a three-day meeting of its board.
The statement says the banks encountering difficulties
as a result of bad loans are Agricultural Bank, Albina
Bank, Bancorex, Bankcoop, Columna, Credit Bank, and
Dacia Felix. On 25 May, the Bucharest Municipal Tribunal
declared Albina Bank bankrupt. The state fund
guaranteeing deposits said on 28 May that each depositor
with the bank may withdraw up to 35.3 million lei (some
$2,260) from that bank. Last week, thousands gathered
outside Bankcoop branches, fearing its collapse. MS

MOLDOVAN CURRENCY LOSES VALUE AGAIN. The leu has dropped
against the U.S. dollar again, Infotag and Flux reported
on 28 May. The National Bank on 26 May fixed the
exchange rate at 11.28 lei, while that figure fell to
11.40 on 28 May. Some exchange offices charged as much
as 12.86 per $. Flux also reported that on 28 May the
price of bread increased by 21 percent on average,
mainly owing to the hike in the price of flour. MS

BULGARIAN MINISTER TOTS UP LOSSES FROM WAR IN
YUGOSLAVIA. Trade and Tourism Minister Valentin Vasiliev
told the parliament on 28 May that the direct losses
caused to Bulgaria's economy as a result of the military
operations in neighboring Yugoslavia so far amount to
115 billion leva (some $62 million). Lost profits as a
result of the war total some 10 billion leva, he added,
according to BTA, as cited by the BBC. He added that all
losses are the result of canceled foreign trade deals.
MS

END NOTE

THE CARDINAL AND THE PRESIDENT

by Paul Goble

	President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's government has
announced that foreign priests will no longer be allowed
to come to Belarus now that the Minsk authorities have
allowed the Roman Catholic Church there to open a
seminary.
	But Cardinal Kazimierz Swiatek, the archbishop of
Minsk, told the Keston News Service recently that this
decision, the latest example of Lukashenka's efforts to
restrict religious activities, will make it extremely
difficult for his Church to recover anytime soon from
the depredations of Soviet times during which more than
90 percent of parish churches were destroyed or
confiscated.
	Swiatek, 84, is amply qualified to speak on this
subject. Despite being accused of murder, sentenced to
death, and spending a decade in Soviet camps, the
cardinal remained true to his faith and in 1991 became
the first Catholic bishop in Belarus in almost half a
century.
	Much of the Church's rebirth so far springs from
the 130 Polish priests who arrived after the collapse of
the Soviet Union, Cardinal Swiatek said. Without
additional pastoral assistance from abroad, he
suggested, the Church faces a difficult future,
especially since the new seminary can prepare only 25
candidates for the priesthood annually.
	Lukashenka's actions against what he and some
others see as "foreign" faiths mirror Russian religious
legislation in its form, content, and consequences.
	Speaking on 21 May to a panel that advises Russian
President Boris Yeltsin on human rights issues, State
Duma member Valerii Borshchev said that the 1997 Russian
law on freedom of conscience and religious associations
violates the Russian Constitution and the European
Convention on Human Rights, to which Moscow is a
signatory.
	Borshchev said that the creation of a special
privileged position for what that legislation calls
"traditional" religions at the expense of all others
violates fundamental principles of human rights. And he
warned against what he said is the increasingly
widespread view that Russian Orthodox Christianity
should serve as the ideology of the post-communist
Russian State.
	Other speakers at the gathering, including Gleb
Yakunin, a Russian Orthodox priest and former prisoner
of conscience, echoed Borshchev's arguments. But despite
their criticism, a representative of the Moscow
Patriarchate defended the legislation.
	Vsevolod Chaplin, himself an Orthodox priest,
argued that the law does not in fact discriminate
against any faith. He suggested that all the problems
others were pointing to arise from the misapplication of
the law by arbitrary local and regional officials.
	Chaplin's statement reflects the official line of
both the Patriarchate and the Russian government. But it
may not convince anyone, especially in the light of both
the Belarusian actions and a recent statement by the
senior Russian Justice Ministry officials responsible
for registering religious congregations in the Russian
Federation itself.
	Speaking to a representative of the Keston News
Service recently, Aleksandr Kudryavtsev argued that
registration is proceeding "normally" and that there is
"still plenty of time" for all groups to register. He
noted that the Russian Orthodox Church has managed to
register almost 8,000 of its parishes.
	Other Churches may not be so fortunate, however. If
they fail to meet the 31 December deadline, Kudryavtsev
said, they "wouldn't be immediately liquidated" but
would face liquidation "by legal processes." Human
rights activists think that local officials may move
more precipitously, especially since Kudryavtsev has
said that "we don't need unpleasant publicity connected
with such cases."
	These attacks on religious activity, however, do
not appear likely to rein in the efforts of the faithful
in either country to continue their work. Nataliya
Bronitskaya, a representative of the Union of
Evangelical Churches in Russia, recently said that she
and her co-religionists "have established our right to
faith through suffering. Everyone knows this. Just let
them try to question our rights again."
	And Belarusian Cardinal Swiatek replied to
Lukashenka with the confidence that comes from a longer-
term view: "The Church in Belarus," he said, "is led by
the Holy Spirit. I am only His implement."

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