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Newsline - June 27, 1995


OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 124, 27 June 1995
PRESIDENT, DUMA SEEK TO END PARLIAMENTARY CRISIS.
President Boris Yeltsin has begun meeting with the leaders of Duma factions to resolve the current crisis in executive-legislative relations. On 26 June, he received Yegor Gaidar, leader of the Russia's Choice faction. Gaidar said the president's decision to resolve the Chechen crisis through negotiations "significantly changed the situation in Russia," Ekho Moskvy reported. Presidential spokesman Sergei Medvedev said the president believes that the time for compromise has not passed and that it is possible "to find a way to work normally and fruitfully with the State Duma," Russian Public Television reported. The president will meet with State Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin and the heads of the parliamentary factions on 27 June. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

PRAVDA: DISSOLVING PARLIAMENT WOULD RUIN CHERNOMYRDIN BLOC.
Dissolving parliament in early July would ruin the electoral prospects of Chernomyrdin's bloc, according to Pravda on 27 June. Under the constitution, if the president dissolves parliament, new elections must be held within three months. But Pravda noted that the electoral law only allows parties and movements registered six months before parliamentary elections to enter the campaign. Since Our Home Is Russia was legally registered in May, it could be barred from participating in any elections held before December. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

CHERNOMYRDIN BLOC CONTINUES TO ORGANIZE IN THE REGIONS.
Leonard Vid, chairman of the executive committee of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's electoral bloc Our Home Is Russia, said branches of the bloc would be created in all of Russia's 89 regions by 20 July, Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on 27 June. The article noted that the bloc's 126-member political council decided on 24 June to hold a second congress from 26 August to 3 September. In July and August, regional organizations will be charged with recruiting prominent local figures to run for parliament and help the bloc during the campaign. Our Home Is Russia is expected to meet with limited success in the party list vote for the Duma, but with the support of local elites, the prime minister's bloc could win many seats in single-member constituencies outside Moscow. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

ZHIRINOVSKY ON THE ELECTIONS.
In an interview published in Pravda on 27 June, Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky said close cooperation among all opposition forces would be possible only if the Communist Party "forgets the word communism" and Derzhava leader Alexander Rutskoi stops pretending to be a "special figure" in Russian politics. Zhirinovsky also predicted that the authorities will cancel parliamentary elections scheduled for December, although he said the Liberal Democratic Party is proceeding with the establishment of city and district branches in all regions of Russia. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN COMMUNISTS FAIL TO UNITE.
The Communist Party of the Russian Federation decided to campaign independently in the December parliamentary elections at its 24 June Central Committee plenum, Ekho Moskvy reported. In an earlier decision, the more hard-line Russian Communist Workers' Party, led by Viktor Anpilov and Viktor Tyulkin, had also decided not to join any blocs. In a 27 June commentary, Pravda complained that the participation of two Communist parties in the elections would confuse voters. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

BASAEV PREPARED TO STRIKE AGAIN.
In an exclusive interview with AFP on 26 June, Chechen separatist leader Shamil Basaev threatened to launch additional attacks into Russian territory if peace negotiations fail. "If the war must go on, it will be over there," he said. Basaev expressed some regret for his attack on Budennovsk, saying his men "turned into beasts" during the fighting. He objected, however, to labeling his actions as "terrorist," because the carnage in Budennovsk was "only a pale copy of what has been going on in Chechnya for six months." Confirming earlier reports, Basaev stated that he had bribed his way past checkpoints on the road from Chechnya to Budennovsk, at the cost of $7,000. The Chechen fighter said he believes Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin is "sincere" in his desire to resolve the Chechen crisis through negotiations, which are scheduled to resume today. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

PARLIAMENT EVACUATED AFTER BOMB THREAT.
The central Moscow building housing Russia's State Duma was evacuated on 26 June after an anonymous telephone caller said explosives were planted inside, Western agencies reported on 26 June. This was the second bomb threat within a week. On 20 June, the government building in Moscow was evacuated after a telephoned bomb threat proved false. Russian security officials are on alert and have strengthened security following the seizure of hostages earlier this month in Budennovsk by Chechen rebels. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

DRUG-RELATED CRIME RISES.
Drug-related crime rose sharply last year in Russia, where more than 1.5 million people use narcotics, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 June. Alexander Sergeev, an Interior Ministry department head in charge of drug-trafficking problems, told the agency that there were 74,000 drug-related crimes in 1994, an increase of more than 60% over 1993. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, drug usage has surged. Most drugs smuggled into Russia come from traditional former Soviet suppliers in Central Asia, Ukraine, and Lithuania where crime organizations are involved in refining locally grown drugs. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

MORE THAN ONE THIRD OF UNEMPLOYED ARE YOUNG PEOPLE.
More than one third of the unemployed people in Russia are young people, Russian Radio reported on 25 June. According to the Federal Employment Service, graduates from higher educational institutions and colleges tend to go into teaching, engineering, and other skilled professions, because of the low salaries. More than 60% of the young people who are unemployed have asked the Federal Employment Service to help them find jobs in more lucrative professions such as accounting, banking, and tutoring. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA AND IRAQ SIGN OIL DEAL.
Russia and Iraq have signed an agreement that gives Russia the right to develop two oil fields in Iraq, Western agencies reported on 26 June. Iraqi Oil Minister Safa Hadi Jawad said the agreement called for the Russian oil company Lukoil to develop parts of the West Qurna and North Rumaila fields in southern Iraq, with a production capacity of 1 million barrels per day. The deal will be implemented after UN economic sanctions against Iraq are lifted. Jawad said the sanctions had caused Iraq to seek deals "with companies that can influence decision-makers in their country," which is why a Russian company had been chosen for the contract, even though two American firms had submitted offers. "We feel in Iraq that Russia is closer to us than any other country," Jawad added. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA AND CHINA ASSERT AUTONOMY.
At a 26 June news conference, Prime Minister Chernomyrdin and his Chinese counterpart Li Peng criticized foreign interference in their internal development, Russian and international agencies reported. "Russia and China...will not allow anyone to teach us how to live and work," Li told journalists, in a thinly veiled criticism of Western policies. Chernomyrdin seconded this sentiment, saying, "we will decide for ourselves how to live." The Russian prime minister also pointedly declared that Russia regards the People's Republic of China as "the only legitimate government for all China," a reference to recent Chinese criticism of the Taiwanese president's visit to the U.S. Chernomyrdin expressed hope that an agreement signed yesterday to build a bridge over the Amur river would stimulate Russian-Chinese trade, which declined by 34% in 1994. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 124, 27 June 1995
SHOOT FIRST, ASK QUESTIONS LATER IN TAJIKISTAN?
The military command in Dushanbe has granted the peacekeepers in Tajikistan the right to shoot without giving a warning, Western sources reported. However, the statement did not specify what types of situations would be considered acceptable for the use of such deadly force. The change comes in light of the recent killings of servicemen near the Tajik capital, Dushanbe. Two Russian officers were killed last week while returning to their base and on 26 June two members of the Tajik National Guard were killed. The Russian command has been critical of Tajiks for failing to make arrests in the majority of crimes against members of the CIS force. This year alone 28 members of the force have been killed in non-combat related incidents, according to Interfax and Western sources. Arrests have been made in connection with only three of the 21 crimes committed against Russian servicemen in 1994, Interfax reported on 27 January. The statement issued by the military command in Dushanbe said, "To achieve personal security we must take harsh and decisive measures." -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

KAZAKH PRESIDENT CONCLUDES VISIT TO INDONESIA.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev finished his four-day visit to Indonesia on 26 June. Indonesian President Suharto had visited Kazakhstan in April and the two presidents had agreed to strengthen ties between their two countries. Negotiations centered on increasing trade with Indonesia which amounted to a mere $864,000 in 1994, the bulk of it being tea, according to Interfax. In comparison, trade between Uzbekistan and Indonesia totals $100 million annually, AFP reported. Kazakhstan is looking to increase imports of Indonesian textiles, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals, while Indonesia is interested in metals, wool, and leather from Kazakhstan. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

TURKS FIND MANAS UNSUITABLE FOR CHILDREN.
A Turkish Education Ministry committee has found the 1 million line-long, 1,000-year-old Kyrgyz epic trilogy Manas unsuitable for children, saying it contains "orthographic errors and immoral language," according to the 23-29 June edition of Cumhuriyet. The ministerial committee is responsible for recommending what should be read by students. The Manas epic, which chronicles the history of the Kyrgyz people, will celebrate its 1,000 year anniversary this August in Bishkek with support from UNESCO. It was recently translated into Turkish. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

RECONSTRUCTION OF UZBEK AIRPORT.
Germany is to provide DM 240 million for the renovation of the Tashkent airport, Segodnya reported on 22 June. The funds for the project, which will permit the airport to handle all classes of airliners, 2.5 million passengers, and 20,500 tons of goods annually, will come from a long-term credit agreement reached by Bonn and Tashkent in 1994. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

HIGH MARKS FOR UZBEK BANK.
The British auditors Ernst and Young gave high marks to the Uzbekistan National Bank for Foreign Economic Relations, Business World reported on 16 June. After examining financial reports and banking transactions, the auditors concluded the balance and credit portfolios of the bank--one of the four largest in the CIS with a balance of $1.4 billion--are highly reliable. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

GERMAN SUPPORT FOR ETHNIC GERMANS.
A delegation from Bonn toured ethnic German settlements in Kyrgyzstan and announced that the German government plans to give DM 25-30 million to Kyrgyzstan to provide employment for ethnic Germans living there, RFE/RL sources in Bishkek reported on 23 June. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

JOVANOVIC IN GEORGIA.
Rump Yugoslav Foreign Minister Vladislav Jovanovic met with his Georgian counterpart Alexander Cikvaidze in Tbilisi, the Serbian independent paper Nasa Borba reported on 27 June. The two ministers signed an accord paving the way for the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the rump Yugoslavia and Georgia. Jovanovic used the opportunity to repeat Belgrade's oft-stated positon that the resolution of conflict in the Balkan region is tied to the lifting of sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia, which was an interpretation of events that reportedly received Tbilisi's backing. For its part, the Georgian side voiced its interest in possible Serbian contributions to the modernization and upgrading of its industrial sector. -- Stan Marktoich and Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 124, 27 June 1995

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC GROUPS PICKET UKRAINIAN TV AND RADIO.
Members of a new media monitoring group and national democratic forces picketed the offices of Ukrainian TV and Radio in Kiev on 26 June to protest what they called its anti-Ukrainian programming, UNIAR and Radio Ukraine reported the same day. Speakers at the rally complained about a lack of quality Ukrainian-language programming and a proliferation of broadcasts from neighboring Russia. They said the Ukrainian press is dying out, while cheaper newspapers from Russia are dominating the Ukrainian market. Information Minister Mykhailo Onufriichuk said recently that 25% of the country's national publications are published in the Ukrainian language. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

CULT FOLLOWERS CLAIM DISCRIMINATION.
More than 50 followers of the so-called White Brotherhood doomsday cult complained to the general prosecutor's office alleging unfair treatment by judges and the media of three cult leaders currently on trial in Kiev after clashing with militia in November 1993, Radio Ukraine and UNIAR reported on 26 June. They complained that judges and the media have treated the cult leaders as guilty before the charges have been proven and said they have been barred from the courtroom even though the trial is open to the public. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

CRIMEAN TATARS CLASH WITH CRIMINAL GANGS.
Crimean Tatar merchants on 24 June clashed in a village near the town of Feodosia with alleged members of a criminal gang who demanded protection money, UNIAR and Radio Ukraine reported on 26 June. Two Tatars died in the scuffle. When the local militia arrived, members of the gang disappeared. Later that day, the angered Tatars stormed and destroyed several shops run by the alleged criminal group, set fire to automobiles and kidnapped the head of the Feodosia militia. Outside the town of Sudak, assailants dressed in camouflage uniforms, as described by UNIAR, fired shots at Tatars, killing two and wounding seven. Ukrainian radio reported the shots were fired by local militia. Tatar leaders, who for months have been demanding protection from growing crime in the region and accused local law enforcement of ties with organized crime, met with Crimean Prime Minister Anatolii Franchuk on 25 June. The Crimean government and parliamentary presidium met in emergency sessions on 25 and 26 June and formed a special commission to deal with the crisis. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

RATIFICATION OF ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT.
Estonian Prime Minister Tiit Vahi in an article in Postimees of 26 June suggested that Russia should ratify the free trade agreement it signed with Estonia nearly three years ago along with the agreements on Russian troop withdrawal and social guarantees for military retirees that were signed by Presidents Lennart Meri and Boris Yeltsin in July 1994, BNS reported. Vahi noted that even though Estonia had also not ratified the free trade agreement, it was acting as if it were in force with no trade barriers while Russia had imposed high custom duties on Estonian exports. Vahi added that he expected to discuss these issues as well as that of the Treaty of Tartu and the border demarcation with senior Russian officials. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.


AMENDMENTS TO LATVIAN CONSTITUTION.
Latvia's Farmers' Union has decided to submit to the Central Election Committee (CEC) in July draft amendments to the constitution for which it has been gathering signatures since 11 April, BNS reported on 26 June. The amendments provide for the direct election of the president rather than by the Saeima and an increase in his political responsibility. The terms of office for the president and Saeima would also be increased from three to four years. After more than 10,000 signatures are verified, the CEC submits the amendments to the president who will pass them on to the Saeima for consideration. If the Saeima rejects the amendments or approves them with "considerable corrections," a national referendum can be held. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

LITHUANIA, RUSSIA PARTLY CHANGE VISA RULES.
A provisional Lithuanian-Russian agreement partially changing the rules for citizens crossing the border went into force on 26 June, BNS reported. The requirement of having an invitation to apply for a visa was temporarily abolished for people travelling on trips certified by Russian or Lithuanian tourist agencies or having an accommodation voucher for a holiday home, sanatorium, or other recreational institution in either country. Lithuanian and Russian citizens who are permanent residents of the other country will also be able to travel in both countries without visas. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUSIAN PROSECUTOR GENERAL ON APRIL HUNGER STRIKE.
Belarusian television reported on 23 June that Prosecutor General Vasil Kapitan has received a film of the events from the night of 11-12 April when 19 deputies were removed from the parliament by force while they staged a hunger strike. The opposition charged that the deputies were manhandled during their removal, which was ordered by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Kapitan received the film in May, but the evacuation of the deputies was not on the reel even though two cameras had been filming the event. An assistant of Lukashenka had promised to deliver the entire film on 22 June. Lukashenka himself said that if the matter had been left to rest it would have been forgotten by now. The film will now be classified as material evidence. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH-GERMAN TENSIONS.
Poland's Foreign Ministry summoned German ambassador Johannes Bauch on 26 June to protest the expulsion of 300 job-seeking Poles on 24 June. The Poles, from the border town of Slubice, responded to a notice offering 100 marks a day for distributing newspapers and handbills in Frankfurt-an-der-Oder on the German side of the frontier. The Polish press said that the Poles were accused of seeking work without permits and were expelled by police carrying batons and accompanied by unmuzzled dogs. Ambassador Bauch said that the incident was serious and should not have happened. The incident threatens to cast a shadow over Chancellor Helmut Kohl's 6-8 July visit to Poland, Polish and international agencies reported. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH, AMERICAN PRESIDENTS MEET.
Polish President Lech Walesa, who took part in ceremonies in San Francisco marking the 50th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter, on 26 June met US President Bill Clinton. Walesa said they discussed Poland's admission to NATO and the European Union and Polish-Jewish relations, Polish and international media reported on 27 June. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH TRADE DEFICIT CONTINUES TO GROW.
The Czech Republic's foreign trade deficit grew in May to reach 38.8 billion koruny for the first five months of 1995, according to figures published by the Statistics Office on 26 June. Compared with the same period last year, when a surplus of 13 billion koruny was recorded, imports grew by 36.4% and exports by only 3.1%. Government ministers have said they are not worried by the rising deficit but the Trade and Industry Ministry spokesman said the situation will be reviewed when figures for the first half of the year are available, Mlada fronta dnes reported. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus has denied the need for a policy to encourage exporters but the spokesmen said the topic needs to be discussed further. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

EXPLOSION IN SEMTEX MAKERS' FACTORY KILLS WORKER.
One man died in a gunpowder explosion at the Explozia factory in East Bohemia on 26 June, Czech media report. A resulting fire was quickly extinguished. The factory is part of the complex of the Synthesia company, makers of Semtex. It was the second fatal accident at the plant in the last two years. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT ON SECRET SERVICE.
During its session on 26 June, the parliament made changes to the Separate Control Organ (OKO) which oversees the activities of the Slovak Information Service (SIS). Igor Urban of the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia was appointed OKO chairman, replacing Ivan Lexa, who in April was named SIS director. Proposals to widen the membership of the OKO and include representatives of the opposition were rejected, and the organ continues to have four members and a chairman, all of whom represent the coalition parties. Urban told Narodna obroda that he was against opposition proposals to give each parliamentary caucus representation because he has "reservations" about having representatives of the Hungarian coalition serve on the OKO. In May the presentation of a report by OKO, accusing the president and opposition of using the SIS for their own benefit, led to a non-binding vote of no-confidence in President Michal Kovac. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 124, 27 June 1995
EUROPEAN UNION LEADERS ON BOSNIA.
The BBC on 27 June reported that European Union leaders meeting in the French resort city of Cannes have reached consensus on a new five-point "action plan" for Bosnia which recognizes an ostensibly beefed-up role for the rapid reaction force that consists largely of French and British peacekeepers. According to Reuters, the European leaders have, among other things, called for the immediate lifting of the siege of Sarajevo and the opening of a land corridor to the Adriatic. French President Jacques Chirac maintained that the peacekeepers will have greater leeway in confronting force, the BBC reported. Nevertheless, newly appointed EU mediator Carl Bildt has been mandated to press ahead with diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflicts in war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina. When queried as to how the latest plan, with its emphasis on diplomatic solutions, differs from previous efforts, Chirac, harkening back to the UN peacekeepers taken hostage by Bosnian Serb forces in the wake of the 25-26 May NATO airstrikes on Bosnian Serb targets, stressed that the new initiative is buttressed by a new European resolve to avoid being compromised and humiliated. "Military firmness must be accompanied by firmness on the diplomatic level," he was quoted by Reuters as saying. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

BOSNIAN SERBS STEP UP VIOLENCE.
Reuters on 27 June also reported that Bosnian Serb forces launched several mortar attacks in and around Sarajevo the previous day, resulting in at least one death and eight people wounded. Two French peacekeepers were among the casualties. On 26 June, AFP reported that Bosnian Serb troops had fired rounds at a UN convoy using the Mount Igman route into Sarajevo. French peacekeepers reportedly fired warning shots in response to continuing Serb attacks. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

GERMANY POISED TO SEND TROOPS TO BOSNIA.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and other leading German dailies report on 27 June on the cabinet decision to send some 1, 500 German troops and fighter planes as support for the international peacekeeping effort in Bosnia-Herzegovina. According to the accounts, the parliament is slated to vote on the cabinet's resolution on 30 June, and despite anticipated opposition from left-wing members, the plan is expected to pass. On 26 June the rump Yugoslav news agency Tanjug reported that news of Germany's expected contribution to peacekeeping is being greeted negatively in Belgrade, which has condemned the German initiative. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIA ACCUSES HUNGARY OF RESURRECTING "HISTORICAL DISPUTE."
The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a declaration issued on 26 June and carried by Radio Bucharest, accused the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs of sponsoring and circulating translations of a tract that resurrects the "historical dispute" over which nation first settled in Transylvania. The declaration says the tract revives the claim that Romanians settled in the region only in the 16th century and adds that the sponsorship "complicates even more the process of negotiating a bilateral treaty." The Romanian side has demanded that the Hungarians withdraw the tract from circulation and places the "whole responsibility" for "tainting the political climate" between the two countries on the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Hungary rejected the accusation as "exaggerated, groundless and senseless," pointing out that the four-page tract is used by Romania as an excuse to attack Budapest. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

RIS SUSPENDS AGENTS INVOLVED IN ILIESCU KGB SCANDAL.
The Romanian Intelligence Service on 26 June announced that it had suspended the two agents involved in trailing the journalist who first alleged President Ion Iliescu's past links with the KGB (See OMRI Daily Digest, 26 June), Radio Bucharest reported on the same day. The two were said to have "gravely infringed professional rules." The opposition Liberal Party `93 demanded the dismissal of the RIS chief, Virgil Magureanu, and added that the "guilt of the former [communist party] secretary Ion Iliescu in the affair was more than evident." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIA SETS VALUE OF PRIVATIZATION VOUCHERS.
Minister of State in Charge of Economic Reform Mircea Cosea told Radio Bucharest on 26 June that the value of the privatization vouchers which each citizen aged 18 and over will receive has been set at about one million lei (about $485). The vouchers cannot be sold but can be traded for stocks. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

SNEGUR LEAVES RULING PARTY.
Moldovan President Mircea Snegur on 26 June announced he was leaving the ruling Agrarian Democratic Party of Moldova (PDAM). In a press release carried by Infotag, Snegur said that, "under the influence of extremist forces," the PDAM leadership has recently been displaying "a radical anti-presidential and anti-national policy" which amounted to an attempt to "establish a one-party dictatorship." He said the hostile attitude towards himself had intensified after he proposed to the parliament on 27 April to change the name of the official language back to "Romanian," and added that the intention of some PDAM leaders to organize a referendum on this question was an aberration. Snegur attacked attempts to reduce presidential powers by the majority faction and said some members of the PDAM leadership were voicing doubts about economic reform policies and the intention to integrate Moldova into Western economies, hinting that the country cannot exist and develop outside the CIS framework. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

GRACHEV AND SNEGUR REACH AGREEMENT.
Citing Interfax, Radio Bucharest reported on 26 June that Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev has reached an agreement with Moldovan President Mircea Snegur concerning the withdrawal of the 14th Army. The radio also cited AFP, according to which Grachev proposed a pullback of the army in three stages: the first two will involve the withdrawal of equipment and munitions and in the last stage the 10,000 Russian soldiers stationed in the Transdniester region will pull out. The withdrawal will take place within the framework of the agreement reached by Russia and Moldova last October, which the Duma has still to ratify. Grachev also said his visit to Moldova prepared Snegur's meeting with president Boris Yeltsin in Moscow on 28 June. Snegur said the talks with Grachev were "constructive and positive." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

OPPOSITION SAYS BULGARIA TURNS INTO POLICE STATE.
Vasil Gotsev, deputy chairman of the Union of Democratic Forces (SDS), on 26 June distributed a memorandum accusing the government of turning Bulgaria into a police state, Demokratsiya reported the following day. The memorandum was handed to deputies of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and was signed by SDS Chairman Ivan Kostov and caucus leader Yordan Sokolov. The document focuses on recent amendments to the criminal law and the Code of Criminal Procedures, which allow wiretapping and "other forms of secret control of the citizens' private life." According to Duma, the memorandum also accuses the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) of stopping the transition to democracy and of subjugating the country's economy to economic groups close to the BSP. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN SKINHEAD FINED FOR DESECRATING SOVIET GRAVES.
A court in Ruse on 23 June found Anton Rachev, a local skinhead leader, guilty of disseminating fascist propaganda by inciting teenage followers to paint swastikas and Nazi slogans on Soviet military graves in the local cemetery in April, international agencies reported on the same day. Rachev was fined 25,000 leva ($380), while the teenagers were not tried because they are minors. On 10 June, a dormitory for ethnic Turkish students in Ruse was attacked, apparently in an attempt to stop the trial of Rachev. Rachev's prosecutor and local media had received letters threatening new attacks if he was convicted. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

DID THE ALBANIAN COMMUNISTS DRAW UP "DEATH LISTS" IN 1990?
Rilindja Demokratike on 23 June carried a story that the ruling Communists drew up death lists of political opponents as late as 1990, a few months before the collapse of the old system. According to the report, up to 80,000 people rated as "dangerous elements" were to be executed without trial. The newspaper accused Secretary General of the Socialist Party Gramoz Ruci of having approved the plans. Ruci, who at that time was interior minister, did not comment on the accusations. Meanwhile, Albanian television reported that only a small portion of the files still exists, and that Ruci had ordered their destruction in early 1991. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Steve Kettle




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