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Newsline - December 12, 1995


Rich-- The two stories underlined are the day's top stories....Pete
FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF CHECHEN INVASION.
Russian Federation Council Chairman Vladimir Shumeiko marked the 11 December anniversary of the military incursion into Chechnya by arguing that the invasion had been undertaken in order to enable the Russian leadership to negotiate with Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev "from a position of strength," according to Interfax. Interior Minister Anatolii Kulikov claimed that Chechnya had become a hotbed of criminal activity and therefore a threat to Russia, but he admitted that the military intervention had been botched. Some 2,000 Dudaev supporters demonstrated in Grozny on 11 December amid heightened security precautions to protest the Russian-Chechen agreement signed on 8 December and the planned 17 December elections, Russian TV reported. They also demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya. -- Liz Fuller

FEDERAL CASUALTIES IN CHECHNYA MOUNT.
More than 2,300 members of the Russian federal armed forces have died in Chechnya since the military operation began there one year ago, Interfax reported on 11 December. Citing the press office of the Defense Ministry, the agency reported that nearly 1,930 of the dead were army personnel, 360 were Interior Ministry troops, and 27 were border troops. Slightly less than 5,500 servicemen were wounded. Russian forces are still suffering daily casualties despite the truce in Chechnya. -- Doug Clarke

HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS CALL FOR CANCELING ELECTIONS IN CHECHNYA.
Sergei Kovalev's Memorial, the Moscow Helsinki Group, and the Moscow Center for Human Rights Studies issued a joint statement on 11 December demanding that the 17 December elections in Chechnya be canceled, Interfax reported. The groups warned that the elections will not be fair, because they will be held in a "virtual state of emergency" and a large proportion of the republic's population, including thousands of refugees, will not be able to vote. However, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin told Radio Mayak on 10 December that the elections would be a "step forward" toward peace and must be carried out despite attempts at "intimidation." -- Laura Belin

LEBED IS THE MOST POPULAR GENERAL.
A recent poll of 1,360 urban residents conducted by the Public Opinion foundation asked respondents which of the generals running for the Duma they most trusted to protect their interests, Interfax reported on 11 December. Congress of Russian Communities leader Aleksandr Lebed was the most popular with 30%, followed by Boris Gromov (My Fatherland) with 15%, Aleksandr Rutskoi (Derzhava) with 10%, and Lev Rokhlin (Our Home Is Russia) with 5%. -- Peter Rutland

SOSKOVETS LOOKS FOR VOTES IN DEFENSE PLANTS.
First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets just completed a 20,000 km pre-election trip to defense industry cities in Siberia, Russian TV reported on 11 December. Among the places he visited was the Transmash company in Omsk, which in the past two years has not sold a single one of the tanks it produces. The association had recently started producing tractors, "but for some reason nobody bought those either." Soskovets encouraged them to follow the example of their neighbor, the Polet enterprise. It has started producing the AN 72 civil transport aircraft and is negotiating with Mercedes to assemble buses. -- Peter Rutland

BASHKORTOSTAN INTRODUCES PRIVATE OWNERSHIP OF SMALL LAND PLOTS.
Although last week Murtaza Rakhimov, Bashkortostan's president, signed a decree allowing restricted ownership of small plots of land, the question of unrestricted trade for landowners will be decided in the republican referendum on 17 December, Russian media reported on 11 December. The 6 December presidential decree grants citizens the right to own land for personal use, as well as the right to sell, lease, and mortgage land plots, although owners are prohibited from using individual plots of land for anything other than their original purpose. According to opinion polls, less than 18% of voters favor unlimited private land ownership and the number of people who support the free trade of land may go down following Rakhimov's decree, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported. The referendum will also ask whether or not the republic should seek greater economic independence from the Russian Federation. -- Anna Paretskaya

RUSSIAN OFFICER PROTESTS RELOCATION OF PEACEKEEPING BRIGADE.
Colonel Andrei Demurenko, head of UN security forces in the Sarajevo sector, complained that plans to move the Russian peacekeeping brigade further east, away from the town of Brcko, may make their participation in the overall operation "pointless" and "decorative," ITAR-TASS reported on 12 December. The colonel said that it had been agreed with the Serbs that the 1,500 man Russian brigade would police the area around Brcko in the crucial Posavina corridor, which links the two halves of the Bosnian Serb entity. -- Peter Rutland and Michael Mihalka

UN TRIBUNAL REJECTS RUSSIAN REQUEST.
The chief prosecutor for the UN International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, Richard Goldstone, rejected a Russian request to put genocide charges against Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic on hold (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11 December 1995), Western agencies reported on 11 December. Goldstone told journalists that the Russian ambassador in the Netherlands who made the request did not provide acceptable reasons for putting the charges on hold. Goldstone added that Russia's request could be connected to France's demand that the Bosnian Serbs provide information on two French pilots downed three months ago. -- Constantine Dmitriev

RUSSIA STARTS TO PAY OFF UN DEBTS.
Russia announced on 11 December that it will contribute $284 million to the UN's peacekeeping budget, ITAR-TASS reported on 12 December. That covers Russia's contribution for 1995 and includes $54 million towards the payment of arrears. Already this year Russia has paid off its remaining $63 million debt to the regular UN account. Russia's total debts to the UN are $600 million, while the U.S. owes $1.5 billion. -- Peter Rutland

KOVALEV ON HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES.
Human rights abuses in Russia are "systematic and flagrant" in many areas, according to a report being prepared by Sergei Kovalev, chairman of the presidential commission on human rights. Kovalev told a meeting of activists on 10 December that the report will reveal widespread and growing abuses and the systematic violation of the country's constitution by officials, Interfax and Reuters reported. He said that "in many cases citizens are detained, beaten, and humiliated by Interior Ministry bodies without reason" and that "tortures and murders are also practiced." He argued that Russian security bodies are returning to Soviet-style practices with regard to official secrecy and surveillance, warning that "the lack of control over the actions of the security organs is the path back to a totalitarian regime." Following his harsh criticism of the Russian operation in Chechnya, Kovalev's commission has been ignored by President Yeltsin but not formally disbanded. -- Penny Morvant

SECURITY STEPPED UP PENDING ELECTIONS.
Law enforcement agencies are taking additional security measures to prevent terrorist attacks as election day approaches. On 11 December, police and Interior Ministry troops began extra patrols in public places such as railway stations and bus stops, Interfax and Ekho Moskvy reported. Police will guard all polling stations as of 16 December and firefighters will inspect them before the voting begins. Special measures are being taken in Chechnya. -- Penny Morvant

SYPHILIS AND AIDS SPREADING.
Some 200,000 cases of syphilis were registered in Russia in the first 10 months of the year, according to Yevgenii Belyaev, the chairman of the State Committee for the Prevention of Epidemics. He said the figures were unprecedented in Russia and blamed the increase on the easing of travel restrictions, the rise in immigration, and a "lapse in moral standards," Interfax and Ekho Moskvy reported. On the subject of AIDS, he said that there are now 1,033 registered HIV-carriers in the country and that more and more cases are being diagnosed among high school and college students. AIDS support groups believe that the official figures for HIV infection should be multiplied by a factor of 10 to get a true picture of the situation in Russia. -- Penny Morvant

OLD SOVIET SATELLITE FALLS TO EARTH.
A space satellite launched nearly 25 years ago re-entered the Earth's atmosphere south of Hawaii at 11 p.m. Moscow time on 10 December and burned up, Interfax and Western agencies reported on 11 December. Experts originally feared that the satellite would scatter fragments weighing up to 200 kg across the ocean, but only a few small pieces were reported to have hit the Earth's surface. Cosmos-398 was launched on 21 February 1971 as part of a program to study the moon, and has been designated as "space trash" since March of that year. According to Russian TV, it is not powered by a nuclear reactor. -- Doug Clarke

RUSSIAN VENTURE IN EASTERN GERMANY FALLS FLAT.
Two years ago, the Moscow firm Sokolniki, headed by industrial lobbyist Yurii Gekht, was given control over a DM 1 billion pulp and paper factory in Pirno near Dresden for the symbolic sum of one mark, NTV reported on 10 December. Gekht was supposed to invest DM 270 million ($186 million) but only managed to come up with DM 15 million, and the factory has laid off all 800 of its former workers. Gekht complained that his plans to raise money by exporting coal had been blocked in Moscow. Meanwhile, the Russian company MES (International Economic Cooperation) announced plans to set up joint ventures with three Hungarian agricultural producers, Interfax reported on 11 December. MES plans to supply Moscow and St. Petersburg with $200 million of food every year. -- Peter Rutland



Rich-- The two stories underlined are the day's top stories....Pete
TAJIK OPPOSITION WALKS OUT OF TALKS.
The United Tajik Opposition (UTO) has announced that it will temporarily suspend its participation in the inter-Tajik talks, Interfax reported on 11 December. Speaking in Ashgabat, Ali Akbar Turajonzoda, a UTO representative, said the Tajik government's continued military action in the Tavil-Dara region of Tajikistan has made it "impossible to hold talks on political issues." A group of observers from the opposition and the UN have arrived in Tajikistan to assess the situation but have been unable to visit the conflict area because, according to the opposition, government troops are still fighting. The government has countered that the observers should be flown to Shuroabad in the south where border guards have been attacked several times during the last two weeks by rebel groups crossing from Afghanistan, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 7 December. The opposition delegation will remain in Ashgabat to hold meetings with the UN special envoy. -- Bruce Pannier

UZBEK-SOUTH KOREAN RELATIONS.
The charge d'affaires of Uzbekistan, Vitalii Fen, is in Seoul, South Korea to open a diplomatic mission, according to ITAR-TASS on 12 December. South Korea has said it will reciprocate by opening a consulate in Tashkent a year from now. Some 220,000 Koreans live in Uzbekistan. In the 1930s, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin forcibly moved thousands of Koreans from the Far East to the Central Asian republic. -- Bruce Pannier

ARMENIA REJECTS TURKISH CFE REQUEST.
Armenia has rejected a Turkish request to inspect Russian military units based in Armenia, Turkish Daily News reported on 12 December. Turkey made the request in early December on the basis of the monitoring provisions of the CFE treaty. Erevan had initially granted Turkey permission to conduct observation flights above the units on 7 December, but then withdrew it without explanation two days later. The paper pointed out that the Armenian rejection is in keeping with Russia's refusal to comply with the CFE treaty in the Caucasus. -- Lowell Bezanis

GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT NAMES MINISTER OF STATE.
The Georgian parliament appointed Niko Lekishvili, former mayor of Tbilisi, to the post of minister of state, Georgian Radio reported on 8 December. His duties will include coordinating the executive authorities and acting as a liaison with the legislature and judiciary. According to ITAR-TASS, he is second in the state hierarchy after the president, since the post of prime minister doesn't exist under the new Georgian constitution. On the same day, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze appointed Badri Shoshitaishvili, formerly premier of the Tbilisi municipality, to the post of mayor. Shoshitaishvili was first secretary of a raikom in one of the Tbilisi districts in the late 1980s. -- Irakli Tsereteli



Rich-- The two stories underlined are the day's top stories....Pete


CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIANS ELECT SEVEN OF 45 VACANT PARLIAMENTARY SEATS.
Ukrainian voters elected seven deputies in by-elections for the 45 vacant seats in the 450-member legislature, including Ukrainian Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk, Ukrainian and international agencies reported on 11 December. Marchuk won nearly 84% of the vote in the rural Myrhorod district in Poltava Oblast. Also elected as representatives from Crimea were recently ousted Crimean Premier Anatolii Franchuk and his son, Ihor Franchuk. The success of all three new lawmakers is viewed as a vindication of government policies. Central Election Commission officials said runoffs will take place in two weeks in 11 districts where no candidate gained 50% of the votes. New elections are scheduled in 27 districts where low voter turnout invalidated the vote. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UPDATE ON BELARUSIAN ELECTIONS.
According to international agency reports on 11 December, 198 seats in the 260-member legislature have now been filled--more than enough for the new parliament to convene. There has been some confusion over how many deputies were elected from each party. Most reports maintain that independent candidates now have 96 or so seats and that the communists and agrarians have the most seats. The Mass Media Center in Minsk gave the following breakdown: Party of Communists of Belarus, 42 seats; Agrarian Party, 33; the Party of Popular Accord, 8; the United Civic Party, 7; the Social Democratic Hramada, 2; and the Party for All Belarusian Unity and Accord, 2. No candidates from the nationalist opposition Belarusian Popular Front were elected. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINE RECEIVES BLACK SEA FLEET SHIPS, BASES, BUT FEW OFFICERS.
The Ukrainian Navy's press service on 10 December reported that Ukraine's Naval Commission began to receive garrisons and weapons of the ex-Soviet Black Sea Fleet the previous day, Interfax reported. While it noted that "several officers" asked for permission to continue their service in the Ukrainian Navy, Russian sources told a different story. ITAR-TASS reported the same day that only three out of 200 officers and 19 out of 300 warrant officers wanted to stay with the Ukrainian fleet. It quoted a Ukrainian spokesman as saying that what happened has been a "real shock" for the Ukrainians and that there is "no one to serve on the ships and [naval] sites that have been turned over to us." -- Doug Clarke

CRIME IN THE BALTIC STATES.
Visvaldas Rackauskas, a senior official at the Lithuanian Interior Ministry, told a press conference on 11 December that the 55,500 crimes reported in Lithuania in the first eleven months of 1995 represented a 6.3% increase over the same period in 1994, BNS reported, This crime rate of 149.3 crimes per 10,000 population was lower than in Estonia (242.6) but higher than in Latvia (140.8). The number of serious crimes or felonies increased by 38.1%, but this was in part due to changes in the criminal code to what was considered a felony. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA SUBMITS APPLICATION FOR EU MEMBERSHIP.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Povilas Gylys, during his visit to Madrid on 11 December, submitted Lithuania's application to join the EU to Spanish State Secretary for European Affairs Carlos Westendorp, BNS reported. President Algirdas Brazauskas and Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius signed the application on 8 December at the urging of the Seimas. Gylys proposed that the EU begin negotiations on full membership with all associate members simultaneously, shortly after the EU intergovernmental conference early next year. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH PRESIDENT-ELECT ON NEW APPOINTMENTS.
Aleksander Kwasniewski has nominated former Defense Deputy Minister Danuta Waniek, who is also leader of the Parliamentary Women's Group, as the head of his chancellory. Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy, after meeting with Kwasniewski on 11 December, said that they would like to staff the ministries of defense, foreign, and internal affairs with people from outside the ruling coalition, Polish dailies reported on 12 December. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLAND TO START NEGOTIATIONS WITH EU IN 1998.
Gazeta Wyborcza on 12 December reported that negotiations on Poland's EU membership will not start until 1998, six months after the Maastricht II conference. The Polish cabinet has begun talks with the EU about changes that must be made to become a member. Rzeczpospolita quotes Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy as saying that the Polish energy sector and agriculture will require a longer period to make necessary changes. But postponing the liberalization of the Polish fuel market will slow down foreign investment in this sector, representatives of international oil companies maintain. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT REJECTS DELAY ON HUNGARIAN TREATY.
By a vote of 62 to 18, the parliament on 11 December rejected a motion calling for the ratification of the Slovak-Hungarian treaty to be postponed. The proposal was made by Bartolomej Kunc of the Slovak National Party and was supported by deputies from all three coalition parties. Proposals were also rejected to include opposition deputies in OKO, the parliamentary organ supervising the Slovak Information Service (SIS), and to discuss SIS involvement in the abduction of President Michal Kovac's son. In connection with the conflict of interests law, Movement for a Democratic Slovakia deputy and Slovak Radio director Jan Tuzinsky gave up his parliamentary seat and was replaced by Jozef Henker, Slovak media reported. -- Sharon Fisher

EU OFFERS FUNDS TO SLOVAKIA.
Slovak Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk and EU Ambassador to Slovakia Georgios Zavvos on 11 December signed agreements on EU financial assistance to Slovakia totaling at least 200 million ECU over the next five years, Slovak media reported. The 1995 allocation, totaling 42 million ECU, will be used for private sector development, infrastructure, support of EU integration, development of human resources, and the Tempus program. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY'S OPPOSITION IS AGAINST ENERGY PRIVATIZATION.
The Smallholders' caucus has turned to the Constitutional Court to protest the privatization of the energy sector, which it calls a "crime against the nation". It says it is concerned that the foreign buyers will save money by modernizing the sector with 1950s technology and simply collect the guaranteed 8% profit from the state, Vilaggazdasag reported. Like the Smallholders, other groups fear that the privatization of these strategic industries will not serve the long-term interest of the Hungarian economy, since majority foreign ownership will have a negative effect on the country's trade balance and GDP growth. Meanwhile, some local governments in the northeastern part of the country, as well as the Pest County authorities, have complained about the privatization of the gas distribution company Tigaz, whose majority shares were sold to Italy's Italgas. They claim that nobody asked them whether they wanted to sell their holdings. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

NO AGREEMENT IN HUNGARIAN-SLOVAK TALKS ON LANGUAGE LAW.
Slovak Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk, following talks in Budapest with his Hungarian counterpart Laszlo Kovacs, told a press conference in Bratislava on 11 December that since his country's language law neither threatens nor affects human and minority rights, it cannot be an issue of bilateral dispute, Hungarian media reported. Schenk had asked the Hungarian government to moderate its critical attitude toward the language law, because, he said, it may adversely affect the ratification of the basic treaty. Kovacs stressed that the Hungarian government will appeal to international institutions and pressure the Slovaks to implement European norms in the pending law on minority languages. -- Zsofia Szilagyi



Rich-- The two stories underlined are the day's top stories....Pete


SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SERBS TO RELEASE FRENCH PILOTS.
Two downed French pilots are to be freed by their Bosnian Serb captors on 12 December, international media reported the same day. Reuters, citing "Serbian security sources," said the pilots were slated to cross the River Drina and into Serbia sometime between 10:00 and 10:30 CET on 12 December. Their freeing is expected to eliminate the last potential barrier to the 14 December signing of a peace treaty in Paris ending over three years of war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It seems that officials in Serbia brought decisive pressure to bear on the Bosnian Serbs. Rump Yugoslav Defense Minister Pavle Bulatovic on 11 December hinted to a visiting NATO delegation that the Bosnian Serbs would soon issue "positive" news about the pilots. -- Stan Markotich

BOSNIAN SERBS CARTING OFF FACTORIES FROM SARAJEVO TO SERBIA.
The Pale authorities on 12 December are to hold a referendum on the Dayton agreement among the Serbs of Sarajevo under their control. U.S. and other officials have called the treaty a done deal and refuse to recognize the ballot. RFE/RL said on 11 December that some Bosnian Serbs have already begun fleeing the suburbs slated to pass to government rule. The broadcast added that the Pale authorities are allowing the people to leave for Serbia but strictly controlling how much of their property they can take along. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the next day wrote that the Bosnian Serb authorities have begun carrying off industrial units and other equipment to Serbia. The International Herald Tribune reported on a multiethnic demonstration in government-held parts of Sarajevo to urge the suburban Serbs to stay. -- Patrick Moore

GOLDSTONE REFUSES TO GRANT KARADZIC A REPRIEVE.
AFP on 11 December reported that Justice Richard Goldstone of the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia immediately turned down a Russian request to "suspend legal action" against the top indicted Bosnian Serb war criminals. The Russians apparently wanted a reprieve for Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic to enable at least Karadzic to attend the Paris meeting on 14 December. The Pale authorities called over the weekend for Karadzic to represent them in Paris, but Karadzic's presence would be odd--to say the least--because the treaty to be signed there bans war criminals from public office. Meanwhile in Zadar, a Croatian military court sentenced 16 Krajina Serbs to prison terms for war crimes. The only accused who was actually present was given ten years. -- Patrick Moore

ARE THE CROATS HIDING SOMETHING IN MRKONJIC GRAD?
Bosnian Croat forces blocked the movement of five British armored personnel carriers in central Bosnia on 10 December, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported two days later. They had previously pledged to allow the British to pass. Croatian police also escorted journalists out of the city, which was taken by Croatian forces in the wake of Operation Storm but which goes back to the Serbs under the terms of the Dayton agreement. The UN and others have charged the Croats with conducting a "scorched earth" policy in the area. In this latest incident, reporters counted four burning houses before they were forced to leave. -- Patrick Moore

CROATIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON DAYTON ACCORD.
Mate Granic told a joint session of the parliament on 11 December that with the signing of the Dayton agreement, the biggest achievement for Croatia was the affirmation of its territorial integrity, Novi List reported the next day. Granic explained that if Croatia had refused to sign, sanctions would have been imposed because of its military presence in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He also revealed that Croatian troops had been within two or three days of taking the Bosnian Serb stronghold of Banja Luka but had held back because of international concern over a new flood of refugees. In other news, Granic's first aide said that at the London conference, the Croatian delegation had forced a debate on eastern Slavonia, although the agenda did not include it. The delegates had insisted that no solution for Bosnia could be found without a settlement in eastern Slavonia, the BBC reported on 12 December. -- Daria Sito Sucic

RUMP YUGOSLAVIA, BULGARIA TO RESUME TRADE RELATIONS.
The Bulgarian daily Duma on 12 December reported that a visit to Belgrade by a Bulgarian trade delegation, headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Kiril Tsochev, will result in the restoration of "normal trade" between the two Balkan states. During his visit, Tsochev signed a protocol with Belgrade authorities on restoring trade and economic relations. Tsochev and his team met with Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Jovan Zebic. Zebic greeted his guests by thanking Bulgaria for its "objective approach" to relations with Belgrade during the wars throughout the former Yugoslavia. -- Stan Markotich

KOSOVAR SHADOW STATE TO OPEN OFFICE IN WASHINGTON.
The Kosovar shadow state government announced it will open an information office in Washington, Reuters reported on 11 December. The State Department welcomed the decision but said it would not constitute a diplomatic mission. The Kosovar shadow state so far has offices in Bonn, Brussels, Geneva, London, and Tirana. Meanwhile the UN human rights committee approved a resolution, to be voted on by the General Assembly next week, condemning human rights violations in Kosovo. -- Fabian Schmidt

ROMANIAN COALITION MEMBER TO LEAVE ALLIANCE?
Chairman of the Socialist Labor Party (PSM) Ilie Verdet has said that the protocol signed in January with the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) was "null and void" because it "never functioned." Radio Bucharest and Libertatea quote him as saying that the PSM "never participated in the government" since it only backed the PDSR politically. He added that the PSM might back a no-confidence motion in the government, regardless of what side of the political spectrum the motion comes from. Since the alliance between the PSDR and the Greater Romania Party (PRM) disintegrated, the PSM has said several times that its alliance with the main coalition partner has ceased to function. But Adrian Nastase, executive chairman of the PSDR, said this did not stop the PSM from continuing to demand positions for its members in local government. -- Michael Shafir

ROMANIA, GERMANY TO COOPERATE IN COMBATING INTERNATIONAL CRIME.
Romanian Minister of Interior Doru Ioan Taracila and his German counterpart, Manfred Kanther, have signed a cooperation agreement on combating organized international crime, Romanian media reported on 9 December. The document, initialized in Bonn during Taracila's visit to Germany, provides for cooperation between the two police forces in capturing Romanian criminals in Germany, who have been making the headlines in the German press over the last few weeks (see OMRI Daily Digest, 7 December 1995). -- Matyas Szabo

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT TO RUN AGAIN.
Mircea Snegur told an 8 December press conference marking the fourth anniversary of his election that he will run for another term if the Party of Revival and Conciliation of Moldova asks him to, BASA-press and Infotag reported. But he added that it was "premature" to announce his candidacy now. Snegur expressed dissatisfaction with economic cooperation within the CIS, adding that Moldova will never abide by CIS political-military agreements. On the pace of reform, Snegur said that the country was "lagging behind the opportunities offered by history." In an allusion to the government of Andrei Sangheli, he said that unlike those who opt for "discrediting opponents" instead of "giving an honest account of their performance," he had "nothing to hide." -- Michael Shafir

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT DEBATES TRANSDNIESTER'S LEGAL STATUS.
The Moldovan parliament has discussed the draft on the legal status of the Transdniester region, Infotag and BASA-press reported on 8 December. The draft envisages guaranteeing divisions of political power between Chisinau and Tiraspol as well as preserving the ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and religious traditions of the Transdniester population. Tiraspol, however, recently proposed that the Transdniester and Moldova build their relations as two independent states, each with its own constitution. It also envisages establishing collaboration "on a contractual basis" between the two states' armed forces, interior ministries, and banks and other financial establishments. -- Michael Shafir

CHANGES IN BULGARIAN CABINET IMMINENT?
Following a meeting of the Executive Bureau of the governing Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), the major Bulgarian dailies on 12 December are speculating about possible changes in the government lineup. According to those reports, Justice Minister Mladen Chervenyakov and Interior Minister Lyubomir Nachev may be replaced after the next plenary meeting of the BSP Supreme Council, scheduled for January 1996. Standart reports that there is widespread dissatisfaction within the party with the way the judicial system in functioning. Kontinent and 24 chasa cite leading party officials as saying that both Chervenyakov and Nachev are not doing enough to fight growing crime. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIA SAYS MACEDONIA STIRS UP ANTI-BULGARIAN FEELINGS.
Bulgarian Deputy Foreign Minister Ivan Hristov on 8 December accused the Macedonian authorities of using the 3 October attempt on the life of Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov as a pretext to stir up anti-Bulgarian feelings in Macedonia. Reuters cited Hristov as saying that "impermissible forms of pressure" were being exerted on "people who consider themselves to be Bulgarian." He added that some people were detained for days without charges being brought against them. Macedonian police on 9 December continued their raids of Skopje suburbs in connection with the assassination attempt, Vecher reported on 11 December. -- Stefan Krause

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave




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