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Newsline - December 22, 1995


RYBKIN CLAIMS COURT MAY EXAMINE VALIDITY OF ELECTIONS.
Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin said 21 December that the Constitutional Court may examine the validity of the election returns since the four parties that won more than 5% of the vote collectively received less than 50% of all the votes cast. Common Cause's Irina Khakamada also voiced support for such an appeal, while the Congress of Russian Communities' Sergei Glazev and Derzhava's Aleksandr Rutskoi claimed that the results do not reflect the number of votes they had actually received, Russian TV reported. The Central Electoral Commission has yet to report the final results of the party-list vote, fostering speculation about possible falsifications, according to the 21-27 December issue of Obshchaya gazeta. -- Robert Orttung

GOVERNMENT NEWSPAPER SAYS MAJORITY VOTED FOR REFORMS.
In an extraordinary interpretation of the election results, a commentary in the official government newspaper Rossiiskaya gazeta argued on 22 December that the majority of Russians voted "for reforms." Aleksei Kiva argued that people are "beginning to believe in democratic institutions" instead of rushing "to the barricades." He also said voters did not choose a return to the past, in that even Communist Party (KPRF) leader Gennadii Zyuganov recognizes the need for private property and civil rights. The author said many people split their vote, declining to vote for pro-reform blocs in the party-list ballot but supporting individual reformers like Sergei Kovalev and Sergei Yushenkov. (In fact, the KPRF won 58 of the 225 single-member districts, while Russia's Democratic Choice won only nine and Our Home Is Russia won 10). Rossiiskaya gazeta resumed publication on 22 December, three days after editor Anatolii Yurkov announced that financial difficulties were forcing the paper to suspend publication. -- Laura Belin

SHUMEIKO MOVEMENT HOLDS FOUNDING CONGRESS.
Federation Council Speaker Vladimir Shumeiko's Reform-New Course movement held its founding congress on 21 December and discussed nominating Boris Yeltsin as its presidential candidate in 1996, NTV reported. Shumeiko said that "changing the course of reform does not mean changing the government," Russian TV reported. The president's relations to the movement are unclear. Although Yeltsin had earlier said the movement was "no good," he sent greetings to the congress and expressed the hope that it would be a "significant political force." Federation Council Deputy Yelena Mizulina suggested that some members of the movement support Grigorii Yavlinskii for president. -- Robert Orttung

YELTSIN VETOES LAW BANNING ORT.
As expected, President Boris Yeltsin vetoed the law on reorganization, privatization, and liquidation of state radio and television companies passed by the Duma on 24 November and approved by the Federation Council on 9 December, ITAR-TASS reported on 21 December. The president vetoed a similar measure in June. In particular, the law would have suspended the creation of Russian Public TV (ORT), created as part of a November 1994 presidential decree ordering the restructuring of Ostankino. ORT has broadcast on Channel 1 since 1 April, and Ostankino was liquidated under a 6 October presidential decree. -- Laura Belin

HEAVY FIGHTING IN GUDERMES.
Fighting continued in the city of Gudermes, 40 km east of the Chechen capital Grozny, NTV reported on 21 December. One hundred federal troops remain trapped in the city's railway station. Nearly half the city's 50,000 inhabitants are reported to have fled. Having besieged government positions for a week, Dudaev's forces were reportedly trying to break out of the ring of federal units which now surrounds the city. The fighting is thought to have claimed at least 100 lives. Chechen fighters also continue to occupy the towns of Urus Martan and Achkhoi Martan. -- Scott Parrish and Peter Rutland

SHIPYARD WORKERS END BLOCKADE OF SUBMARINE.
Shipyard workers at the naval yard in Polyarnyi, on the Kola Peninsula, have ended their three-day blockade of a nuclear-powered submarine, ITAR-TASS reported on 21 December. Complaining that they had not been paid since August, the workers had prevented the repaired submarine from leaving the yard. Russian TV reported on 21 December that the Northern Fleet threatened to initiate criminal proceedings against them and to switch off heat supplies to the 30,000 inhabitants of the city (the temperature being minus 30 degrees C). The workers gave in when they were promised that September's wages will be paid within four days. -- Doug Clarke and Peter Rutland

FOREIGN MINISTRY: NO SHIFT AFTER ELECTIONS.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigorii Karasin said at a 21 December Moscow press conference that the victory of communist and nationalist parties in the 17 December Duma elections would not trigger any significant changes in Russian foreign policy, ITAR-TASS reported. Karasin said that as before the election, President Yeltsin would direct foreign policy, not the Duma. He added that Russia's "foreign partners" should expect continuity, although he admitted that the new Duma would exert influence on some aspects of Russian policy and promised Yeltsin would take into account the opinions of the new Duma majority. On the same day, U.S. President Bill Clinton said the results of the elections "would not in any way affect our relations with Russia." -- Scott Parrish

PRIMAKOV OUTLINES GOALS OF RUSSIAN FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE.
Speaking before a 21 December Moscow meeting marking the 75th anniversary of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), its director, Yevgenii Primakov, declared that NATO expansion would create a "security threat" for Russia, Western and Russian agencies reported. Primakov said that trying to understand the "true motives" of those who advocate NATO enlargement is a key task of the SVR, and added his agency would seek to block the alliance's expansion while trying to establish good relations with former Cold War adversaries. Primakov admitted that Russia no longer had an obvious "main opponent" but said Russian policy should seek to prevent the emergence of a global hegemony, a thinly veiled reference to the U.S. Primakov also noted the importance of combating the threat to Russian national security and territorial integrity posed by ethno-national conflicts and terrorism. -- Scott Parrish

RUSSIAN-ESTONIAN BORDER TALKS ADJOURN.
Russo-Estonian border negotiations ended in St. Petersburg on 21 December without producing agreement on the disputed boundary between the two countries, Russian and Western agencies reported. Russian delegation head Vasilii Svirin told ITAR-TASS that some progress had been made on border demarcation, the rights of citizens of both countries living near the border, and other issues, adding that talks would resume in Tallinn on 25 January. However, the Russian diplomat criticized Estonia, saying the dispute could only be resolved if neither country had any territorial claims on the other. Estonia claims the border should be based on the 1920 Tartu treaty, which would result in the transfer to Estonia of about 2,000 sq. km. of territory that has been under Russian jurisdiction since WW II. -- Scott Parrish

CORRUPT OFFICIALS RELEASE CRIMINAL KINGPINS.
Since the beginning of 1995, 25 crime bosses (vory v zakone) have been held in pre-trail detention centers in Moscow, eight of whom have been released on bail, Segodnya and Komsomolskaya pravda reported on 21 December. Vladislav Selivanov, the deputy head of the Interior Ministry's Organized Crime Department in Moscow, said the immunity of criminal leaders is due to the "extremely high degree of corruption of the authorities." Police say about half the earnings of criminal groups is used to bribe state officials, judges, and journalists. -- Penny Morvant

ECONOMIC ISSUES FACING DUMA.
Commentators agree that the Duma will have very little scope to alter the government's economic policy over the next six months and will probably focus on maneuvering for the presidential elections. Speaking on Radio Rossii on 21 December, Aleksandr Privalov suggested that the Duma will challenge the government on four issues: social support for the poorer sections of society; privatization and deprivatization; the role of foreign capital; and the reintroduction of price regulation and state purchases. -- Peter Rutland

GOVERNMENT REJECTS DRAFT REGIONAL POLICY.
A 21 December meeting of the government chaired by First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets rejected the draft regional policy document prepared by the Nationalities Ministry, Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on 22 December. Participants in the meeting, which included regional administration heads, complained that the document does not contain a unified governmental policy, only policies for individual sectoral ministries. There was no agreement on how to restore central authority, but there was a consensus of sorts on the need "to support certain regions that can function as the engine pulling the national economy out of recession," Russian Public TV (ORT) reported on 21 December. Speaking on NTV on 21 December, academic Sergei Mitrokhin argued that "at present the government simply does not have a regional policy." -- Peter Rutland

ITALIAN COMPANIES TO MANAGE REGIONAL INVESTMENT FUND.
Two Italian companies, SOFIPA and IRITEX, have won a tender to manage a $50 million investment fund for small business development in Vologda, Novgorod, Pskov, and Tver oblasts, Delovoi ekspress reported on 21 December. The fund is one of 11 regional investment funds set up in Russia by the G-7 states. Seven of the funds are financed by individual countries and four by the EU. -- Natalia Gurushina



KARIMOV SACKS PRIME MINISTER.
The Uzbek Oily Majilis dismissed Prime Minister Abdulkhosim Mutalov on 21 December, a decision prompted by President Islam Karimov. Previously, Karimov noted that "a fresh approach to the economy" is needed, especially with respect to stabilization measures and increasing foreign trade. Recently, Uzbekistan has experienced monetary problems, with the black market rate for the sum at 50 to $1 compared with the official rate of 36 to $1. Mutalov's replacement, the 46-year-old Utkir Sultanov, is an experienced politician and knowledgeable about economic matters, having held the post of foreign economic relations minister. With the dismissal of Mulatov, Karimov has almost completely removed the core of supporters he had when he rose to power, which included such officials as former Vice President Shukhrulla Mirsaidov, former Justice Minister and Ambassador the U.S. Babur Malikov, and former Foreign Minister Said-Mukhtar Saidkasimov. -- Roger Kangas

REGIONAL SHAKE-UP IN UZBEKISTAN.
Uzbek President Islam Karimov replaced the hokims of two wilayatlar, or regions, in Uzbekistan late last month, RFE/RL reported. The local governments in Samarkand and Kashkadarya have been the subject of much criticism in recent weeks, for delays of up to six months in the payment of wages. The new hokim for Samarkand is former Justice Minister Alisher Mardiyev, a close ally of Karimov, and Azat Fermanov will take over on Kashkadarya. Karimov himself is from Samarkand and had political experience in Kashkadarya--regions which were thought to be strongly supportive of his administration. Sirajuddin Mirsafayev will take over from Mardiyev at the Justice Ministry. -- Roger Kangas

KAZAKHSTAN ELECTION ROUNDUP.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev issued a decree that grants him the right to remove any minister or replace the entire government "on his own initiative," ITAR-TASS reported on 20 December. The decree also bars ministers from being deputies in any representative body. Meanwhile, the Central Electoral Commission reported that of the 32 Majilis deputies elected, 26 are Kazakhs, four Russians, one Ukrainian, and one Korean. No candidates have been elected from Akmola, North Kazakhstan, and Torgai oblasts. Only one out of three Majilis seats have been filled in Kokshetau and Semipalatinsk oblasts, both by independent candidates; and two out of the four candidates elected in East Kazakhstan oblast are non-government candidates, denoting a unhappiness with the government's policies in the Russian-dominated eastern and northern regions of the country. Run-off elections for 24 Majilis seats and re-elections to another seat are to be held on 23 December. -- Bhavna Dave in Almaty and Bruce Pannier

ONE LAST APPEAL BEFORE KYRGYZ ELECTION.
The three candidates who were disqualified from running in the 24 December Kyrgyz presidential election called off their hunger strike on 21 December, while still calling for the elections to be recognized as unconstitutional, RFE/RL reported. The three candidacies were rejected after the Central Electoral Commission ruled that some of the 50,000 signatures they had collected were forged. -- Bruce Pannier

GEORGIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST REQUESTS ASYLUM IN GERMANY.
Giorgi Kervalishvili, president of the Georgian Association for the Protection of Human Rights, met the German deputy ambassador to Georgia and handed him a letter addressed to Chancellor Helmut Kohl and requesting political asylum in Germany, Iprinda news agency reported on 20 December. In his conversation with the deputy ambassador, Kervalishvili said that basic human rights are still being violated in Georgia and that he himself is under "constant moral and psychological pressure from the authorities." -- Irakli Tsereteli



UKRAINIAN NAVY ON LATEST BLACK SEA FLEET DISPUTE.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry press service, responding to acting Black Sea Fleet Commander Petr Svyatashov's statement blaming Ukraine's navy for a skirmish on 17 December over a food depot in Donuzlav (see OMRI Daily Digest, 18 December) accused the Black Sea Fleet command of "deliberate provocation," UNIAN reported on 21 December. Svyatashov said the incident came about because two separate navies share the same territory and because of poor control in Ukrainian naval units. The Ukrainian side claimed the incident was the result of reluctance on the part of some Black Sea Fleet officers to recognize the transfer of fleet facilities to Ukraine's navy. It also denied that there had been any attempt to seize facilities. According to Segodnya on 20 December, Russian navy commander Admiral Feliks Gromov sent a message to the fleet command stating that all facilities in Sevastopol and some in other areas will continue to be used by the fleet after 1 January, the date on which joint Ukrainian-Russian control of the fleet expires. -- Ustina Markus

ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES AGREEMENTS WITH RUSSIA.
The Estonian parliament on 20 December ratified the two agreements signed by Russian and Estonian Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Lennart Meri in July 1994, BNS reported the next day. The parliament, however, added four explanatory declarations to the agreement on the withdrawal of Russian troops. The agreement on military pensioners was also complemented, with a declaration stating that it applied only to military personnel in Estonia who had received pensions from Russian sources before the signing of the agreement. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES NEW GOVERNMENT.
The Saeima on 21 December voted 70 to 24 to approve the government of 37-year-old businessman Andris Skele, BNS reported. Previous attempts to form a government by the rightist National Bloc and leftist National Conciliation Bloc failed by small margins; Skele, who has no party affiliation, was thus selected as a compromise candidate. He formed a government with the approval of six of the nine parties in the parliament, five of which have a deputy prime minister in the cabinet. Skele told the Saeima that his economic goals are to maintain the stability of the lats, balance the budget, and improve the investment climate. He added he will continue to strive for membership in the European Union and NATO, while maintaining a stable relationship with Russia. -- Saulius Girnius

HEADS OF TWO LITHUANIAN BANKS ARRESTED.
Lithuanian police on 20-21 December arrested board chairman Jonas Mackevicius, director Gintautas Preidys of the Litimpeks Bank, and board chairman of the Lithuanian Akcinis Inovacinis Bank Arturas Balkevicius on charges of squandering large sums of the banks' funds. BNS reported. According to preliminary information, Litimpeks squandered 150 million litai ($37.5 million) and LAIB 271 million litai. In a measure to prevent the banks from going bankrupt, the parliament passed a law granting the government the right to extend guarantees for interbank loans of up to 300 million litai to commercial banks suffering from insolvency. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH INTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER, PREMIER ON SPY ALLEGATIONS.
Internal Affairs Minister Andrzej Milczanowski--speaking in the Sejm on 21 December, one day before his declared resignation--said that the ministry knew for some years that "one of foreign services" had a permanent informer among Polish postcommunist political circles. In 1995, the ministry received information that Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy "was an informer" and that between 1990 and 1995 he had "many meetings with foreign intelligence agents" to whom he revealed classified information. Oleksy told the Sejm he was "never anybody's agent." He said he stopped meeting an unnamed Russian diplomat after being told by the Polish secret services that he was a KGB officer. He rejected Milczanowski's claim that the matter had come to light during the past few months, noting that the Internal Affairs Ministry had been collecting information against him for a long time. A 12-member Sejm commission is to investigate the matter. -- Jakub Karpinski

HAVEL VISITS SARAJEVO.
Czech President Vaclav Havel on 22 December began a two-day visit to Sarajevo at the invitation of Bosnian President Ilija Izetbegovic, CTK reported. He is the first foreign head of state to visit the Bosnian capital since the signing of the Dayton peace agreement. Before departing from Prague, Havel told reporters the aim of his visit was to express solidarity with the people of Bosnia and Herzogovina and show support for democracy and the principles of civil co-existence. Havel was due to have talks with Izetbegovic and Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic during the visit. The Czech president was accompanied by Defense Minister Vilem Holan and Cardinal Miroslav Vlk, who was scheduled to remain in Sarajevo over Christmas. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK OPPOSITION ON DELAY OF TREATY RATIFICATION.
Democratic Union deputy Milan Knazko, at a press conference on 21 December, criticized Meciar for not defending the Slovak-Hungarian treaty in the parliament, commenting that the delay in ratifying the treaty was intended to hide the conflict within the coalition over the issue. Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) Chairman Jan Carnogursky pointed out that the treaty was signed nine months ago, giving Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar sufficient time to clear up any conflicting interpretations with Hungary. KDH deputy Frantisek Miklosko said the passage of the controversial language law in November was probably not sufficient to appease the nationalists within the coalition. -- Sharon Fisher

DECLINING SUPPORT FOR SLOVAK PREMIER, PRESIDENT.
According to an opinion poll carried out by the FOCUS agency in early December, popular confidence in Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar stood at 22.1%, a 3.8% drop since October. Support for President Michal Kovac fell 2.8% to 16.4%, while confidence in parliamentary chairman Ivan Gasparovic rose 3.2% to 15.3%. In terms of parties, support for Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) fell from 29.9% to 25.7%, while the popularity of the Association of Workers of Slovakia was down to just 3.2%. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES BUDGET, MEDIA BILLS.
Parliament on 21 December approved the 1996 budget and--following five years of debate and delay--the media bill on public and private broadcasting, Hungarian media reported. The budget bill was supported by the two coalition parties but rejected by the opposition, which said it did not contain enough reform measures. Provisions of the media bill, which received greater support, have not yet been publicized. The parliament also approved state subsidies totaling 4 billion forints ($28.5 million) for churches. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARY'S FERIHEGY AIRPORT WILL NOT BE NATO AIR BASE.
Defense Ministry spokesman Lajos Erdelyi on 20 December denied that a second NATO air base would be established at Budapest's Ferihegy airport, Hungarian media reported the next day. He said an erroneous report was released by AFP the previous day quoting Col. John Martinson of the U.S. Embassy in Budapest (see OMRI Daily Digest, 20 December 1995). Erdelyi told Nepszabadsag that air planes carrying military equipment will land at Budapest airport, but shipments will be forwarded to military bases in Taszar and Kaposvar, southern Hungary. -- Zsofia Szilagyi



$500 MILLION PLEDGED FOR RECONSTRUCTION OF BOSNIA.
At a two-day meeting in Brussels (see OMRI Daily Digest, 21 December 1995), representatives from 50 donor countries announced that $500 million has been pledged for the first three months of 1996, Nasa Borba reported on 22 December. They said they hope to raise an additional $40-50 million and thereby exceed the estimated $518 million required for immediate needs. The biggest donors were the organizers of the meeting: the World Bank pledged $150 million and the EU $112 million. On arriving in Sarajevo, Carl Bildt, the international community's high representative for reconstruction, warned that the peace process will be endangered unless help from outside the country comes soon. The next conference of donors is scheduled for March 1996, when pledges for the estimated $5.1 billion for the longer term will be made. -- Daria Sito Sucic

MUSLIM-CROATIAN FEDERATION SETS UP UNIFIED COMMANDS IN BOSNIA.
The federal parliament met in Sarajevo on 21 December and established joint commands for the army and police--just after the 20 December deadline set down in the Dayton treaty--the VOA's Croatian-language service said the next day. There will be a joint defense ministry and command, but recruits will be able to choose whether they want to serve in the Croatian or mainly Muslim part of the army. AFP added that the two police forces will also report to one center. The Muslim-Croat federation is treated as one entity in the Dayton agreement, but the allied armies to date have had only coordinated activities and do not have an integrated command structure. On the contrary, the Bosnian Croat army is closely linked to the Croatian military. Elsewhere, the International Herald Tribune on 22 December reported that the U.S. has named Pentagon Bosnia expert James Pardew to head the project to upgrade government forces with Turkish assistance. -- Patrick Moore

UN CONDEMNS SERBS FOR SREBRENICA MASSACRES.
The Security Council has rebuked rump Yugoslav representative Vladislav Jovanovic, who tried to claim that the Muslims killed their own people in Srebrenica in July. The resolution clearly blames the Serbs for the murder, rape, expulsion, and conscription into forced labor of civilians, and mentions Srebrenica, Zepa, Banja Luka, and Sanski Most. It also singles out Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic as indicted war criminals, news agencies added. The massacre of around 5,000 mainly Muslim men has often been referred to as the single biggest atrocity in Europe since World War II. A report by Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali and investigations by the Christian Science Monitor, independent Serbian journalists, and others clearly point to a mass killing, possibly led by Mladic himself. -- Patrick Moore

INTERNATIONAL POLICE TASK FORCE LAUNCHED.
The Security Council also set up a 1,721-strong international police force to train and monitor local police and assist them as need be. This will be the biggest armed UN presence in the area following the disbanding of UNPROFOR. The UNHCR will supervise the upcoming exchange of prisoners. Meanwhile in Pale, Karadzic told Red Cross officials that he will do all he can to make sure that Dayton's 20 January deadline for releasing prisoners is met. Elsewhere, Serbian villagers in Dojici, near the Croatian front lines, gave a rousing welcome to British troops, Reuters reported on 21 December. They credited the Dayton agreement with saving them from a Croatian occupation. -- Patrick Moore

IFOR COMMANDER MEETS WITH LOCAL CHIEFS OF STAFF.
The chiefs of staff of the Muslim, Croatian, and Serbian forces--meeting in Sarajevo on 21 December with the commander of the NATO-led implementation force (IFOR), Admiral Leighton Smith--promised to cooperate with IFOR, Western agencies reported. They said that they would restrain their forces, leave the "zones of separation," and allow unrestricted access for IFOR. Smith said after the meeting that the local forces have so far proved extremely cooperative with IFOR. -- Michael Mihalka

SWISS NAMED HUMAN RIGHTS OMBUDSMAN FOR BOSNIA.
The OSCE on 21 December named Swiss diplomat Gret Haller as human rights ombudsman for Bosnia, Western agencies reported. The Dayton peace accord created the post and invested it with responsibility for investigating alleged human rights abuses and initiating proceedings against those involved. Haller currently serves as the Swiss representative to the Council of Europe. -- Michael Mihalka

SERBIAN RADICAL LEGISLATORS LOSE MANDATE IN MONTENEGRIN PARLIAMENT.
Eight former Serbian Radical Party legislators were suspended from their duties in the Montenegrin parliament on 21 December, Nasa Borba reported the following day. The parliamentary commission on immunity and mandates was abiding by a decision taken by the Justice Ministry and the Montenegrin election commission to ban the legislators from the parliament. The commission concluded that following a split in the Serbian Radical Party, the legislators were no longer members of the registered Serbian Radical Party but of an unregistered extraparliamentary party with the same name led by Drago Bakrac. -- Fabian Schmidt

MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT SAYS HE WILL RESUME DUTIES.
Kiro Gligorov has said he will return to office at the beginning of 1996. In his first interview since the attempt on his life on 3 October, published in Nova Makedonija on 22 December, he rejected speculations about a successor and said he is "convinced that the citizens of Macedonia will elect their president in the next regular elections." He noted that the attempt on his life "will [possibly] remain a mystery for a long time." Gligorov said there is no change in the Macedonian position on the name issue. He said that "after Dayton and Paris, Macedonia adheres to its well-known position of being an independent and sovereign country oriented toward European integration." He added that "Macedonia maintains the standpoint that it is one of the six equal successors of the former Yugoslavia." -- Stefan Krause

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT ON 1989 REVOLUTION.
Ion Iliescu--in an address to a 21 December symposium on the 1989 revolution broadcast live on Radio Bucharest--denounced attempts to "denigrate and mystify" the significance of the uprising. He said revolutions should be defined not according to how they were carried out but according to what they achieved. Viewed from this perspective, he said, the December 1989 overthrow of the communist regime was indeed revolutionary. Iliescu denied accusations that he had in any way attempted to bring about a Soviet intervention in Romania at the time. He said Washington wanted to give Moscow a green light to intervene but Moscow refused. He also denied accusations that he staged the shooting and killing of civilians as part of a scenario to justify the takeover. Iliescu said he regretted the quick trial and execution of Nicolae Ceausescu but argued that the decision was necessary to stop the revolution from turning into a civil war. -- Michael Shafir

IMF EXTENDS, INCREASES ROMANIA'S STAND-BY CREDIT.
RFE/RL's correspondent in Washington on 21 December reported that the IMF has agreed to extend Romania's current stand-by credit line and to add $280 million to the funds available. The extension follows lengthy negotiations. Earlier this year, Romania was denied access to the remaining $110 million from a 1994 stand-by loan because it had not met the original agreement's performance criteria. The renewed program and the additional credit, available through April 1997, will be used to support Romania's adjustment and structural reform policies. -- Michael Shafir

ZYUGANOV ADDRESSES TRANSDNIESTRIAN ELECTORATE.
Gennadii Zyuganov, chairman of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, which emerged victorious in the recent parliamentary elections, has called on Transdniestrian residents to take an active part in the elections to the region's Supreme Soviet and the referendum on the region's constitution scheduled for 24 December. Infotag and BASA-press on 21 December reported that Zyuganov expressed his party's support for "the Transdniestrian people's wish to be masters of their own destinies" and said they should "demonstrate to the CIS people the common wish to live in one family." Romanian President Ion Iliescu on 21 December remarked that Zyuganov's address showed "flagrant disregard for non-interference in the internal affairs of the new independent states." -- Michael Shafir

KOZLODUY TO HELP SUPPLY BULGARIA WITH ELECTRICITY.
Trifon Tsvetkov, chairman of the Bulgarian National Electrical Company (NEK), said at a press conference on 21 December that the country will not experience problems with its electricity supply this winter, Bulgaria media reported the next day. All three blocks of the coal-fired Maritsa Iztok plant are functioning, as are all but one at the Kozloduy nuclear plant. On 18 December, the French European Affairs minister had warned that the country's chances of entering the EU were jeopardized by keeping Kozloduy in service (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 December 1995). It was also announced that electricity consumption will rise by 1.2% in 1995. Due to low prices, the NEK will lose 2 billion leva ($284 million). Industrial enterprises owe the company 2 billion leva, while the factory producing coal briquettes owes it 1.2 billion leva. -- Michael Wyzan

GREECE TO SEND TROOPS TO BOSNIA.
Greek government spokesman Tilemachos Hytiris on 21 December said the cabinet has decided to send three ships, three helicopters, and 250 men to Bosnia as part of the multi-national peace-keeping force, Reuters reported the same day. Greece, which maintains good ties with Serbia, refused to participate in any international missions to the former Yugoslavia before the signing of the Dayton and Paris agreements, saying Balkan countries should keep out of the conflict. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 1200 CET]


Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave




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