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Newsline - January 14, 2002


RUSSIAN PRESIDENT CONFERS WITH PROSECUTOR-GENERAL USTINOV...
Two days after the Prosecutor-General's Office announced it is investigating the former business activities of presidential administration head Alekandr Voloshin (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 January 2002), President Vladimir Putin met with Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov, Russian agencies reported on 12 January. At beginning of the meeting, according to Interfax, Putin extended his congratulations on the Day of the Workers of the Prosecutors' Offices and made some general comments on how the office has evolved over time. Other than the professional holiday, sources did not report on the subject of their discussion. On 11 January, Ustinov told reporters that his office is investigating 18 corruption cases of federal significance and that the investigation of the criminal case against Vyacheslav Aminov, the head of Prominvest company, will soon be completed. Aminov is reportedly an unofficial adviser to Voloshin. JAC

...AND CHUBAIS
Also on 12 January, Putin met with Unified Energy Systems (EES) head Anatolii Chubais. According to Russian agencies, their talks focused on emergency conditions in certain regions of the country such as Primorskii Krai and the Far East. Chubais reported that fuel reserves are above target; however, some municipalities are unable to pay current bills or old debts for their power usage, such as Ulyanovsk, Kurgan, and other regions. According to "Izvestiya," Ulyanovsk Governor Vladimir Shamanov has complained constantly about the indebtedness of his region, which this year leads a list of poorest regions (see item below). It owes power suppliers more than 4 billion rubles ($131.3 million), according to the daily. The newspaper also reported without reference to sourcing that Putin and Chubais discussed the imminent closure of TV-6. However, the daily reported that it is not known whether Chubais suggested that Ren-TV, of which EES is a chief shareholder, might take the place of TV-6. JAC

TV-6 RUNS OUT OF EFFECTIVE LEGAL OPTIONS...
The presidium of the Supreme Arbitration Court ruled on 11 January that TV-6 must be liquidated and rejected a 29 December decision that had ordered the process to be halted. TV-6 chief shareholder Boris Berezovsky told Ekho Moskvy radio that he intends to take the case to Russia's Constitutional Court and if necessary, to the European Court of Human Rights. But neither court is expected to provide the necessary legal remedy to halt the formation of a Liquidation Commission. According to AP, TV-6's lawyers said the station's broadcast license will be annulled only after liquidation, which by law must take place within six months of the 27 November 2001 ruling. Meanwhile, LUKoil-Garant, the minority shareholder that initiated the process of liquidation against TV-6's parent company, Moscow Independent Broadcasting Corporation (MNVK), said on 12 January that it will seek to bid in a tender for MNVK's TV and radio broadcasting rights. JAC

...AS LOOMING LIQUIDATION PROMPTS OUTCRY, CALM...
The Russian Union of Journalists and National Association of Television and Radio Broadcasters blasted the presidium's ruling. The Journalists' Union issued a statement calling the ordered liquidation "not merely an insulting mockery of common sense, but of any idea of justice and law." In addition, it said that the case is one of "pure politics." Yabloko deputy Sergei Mitrokhin linked the decision with two other rulings, the one against NTV and the recent prison sentence of former military journalist Grigorii Pasko. He noted that "the haste with which the Supreme Arbitration Court's Presidium passed the ruling on the dissolution of TV-6 reinforces concerns that Russia's legal system is becoming a means of political retribution." However, Media Minister Mikhail Lesin appeared less concerned. In anticipation of the Day of the Russian Press on 13 January, he sent a congratulatory message, noting that "the freedom of the press in our country, the possibility to express one's point of view, have long stopped being a declaration and turned into an everyday reality of our life." JAC

...AND AN OFFER THEY CAN'T REFUSE FROM LESIN?
Last May, Lesin expressed similar optimism about developments in the Russian media, commenting that the transfer of ownership in NTV had had a positive effect. Lesin said the shift had succeeded in "reducing the politicking of the mass media and making them reassess their own positions on many questions, above all, those regarding their economic and financial independence" (see "RFE/RL Russian Political Weekly," 14 May 2001). In an interview with "Kommersant-Daily" on 12 January, Berezovsky charged that Lesin had called TV-6 Executive Director Pavel Korchagin and suggested that to avoid "further scandals," Lesin would organize the transfer of shares in the company to the journalists' collective, but only on the condition that a controlling package not be given to Berezovsky, Vladimir Gusinsky, or TV-6 General Director Yevgenii Kiselev. According to Berezovsky, soon afterward presidential administration head Voloshin followed up with a telephone call to Information Broadcasting Director Grigorii Krichevskii suggesting that Lesin's offer should be accepted. JAC

VACANCY CREATED AT HEAD OF DIAMOND COMPANY
With more than 98 percent of the presidential ballot for the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic counted on 14 January, Alrosa President Vyacheslav Shtyrov won some 59.4 percent of votes in the 13 January presidential ballot compared to 34.6 percent for SAPI President Fedot Tumusov, ITAR-TASS reported. Shtyrov, who won most of the votes during the first round, was widely expected to beat Tumusov. Turnout was 76.7 percent of registered voters, which was even more than during the first round. Lured by the promise of being able to participate in a lottery, many people came to the republic's capital, Yakutsk -- so many that some people were refused admission to the polling stations, RTR reported. "Izvestiya" reported last month that three of the four leading candidates to replace Shtyrov at the helm of the diamond production company are from St. Petersburg and include Vladimir Litvinenko, the rector of the St. Petersburg Mining Institute (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 December 2001). JAC

AIR FORCE TO GET NEW LEADERSHIP
Air force commander General Anatolii Kornukov told reporters in Moscow on 11 January that he is resigning from his post because he has reached the military's mandatory retirement age of 60, ITAR-TASS reported. Kornukov said names of several possible successors for his post will soon be made public. JAC

PROSECUTORS GET CLOSER TO FORMER RUSHAILO CRONY
The Prosecutor-General's Office provided more details about the criminal case that has been launched against retired Lieutenant General Aleksandr Orlov, who once worked as an assistant to former Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo, ITAR-TASS reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 November 2001). (Rushailo is currently secretary of the Security Council.) Vladimir Kolesnikov, an aide to Prosecutor-General Ustinov, told reporters on 11 January that Orlov is suspected of interfering in the management of stocks of the Kochkanar ore plant and of misusing service cars and official documents. Media reports have also suggested that Orlov has ties with organized crime (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 November 2001). JAC

DUMA TO TURN TO CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY NEXT MONTH
State Duma deputies are planning to consider draft legislation on holding a new constitutional assembly in February, "Izvestiya" reported on 12 January. According to the daily, there are three competing versions of the law, one authored by representatives of various factions and deputies groups, another authored by Union of Rightist Forces leader Sergei Kovalev, and another drafted by the presidential administration, which is considered to have the best chance of passage. In order to be adopted, the bill will have to attract at least 300 votes, which means that for any bill to pass, its supporters will have to win the votes not only of the pro-Kremlin factions but also at least some deputies in the Communist group and Agro-Industrial faction, the daily noted. JAC

ULYANOVSK APPEALS TO MOSCOW FOR HELP
Legislators in Ulyanovsk Oblast's Legislative Assembly have again appealed to President Putin and the federal government asking them for help with the region's heating supplies, regions.ru reported on 11 January. Legislators issued an appeal last December that did not result in the suggestion of any concrete measures. Therefore, deputies have issued another appeal for the adoption of a quick decision on improving the supply of heat and electricity to residences, schools, and hospitals. JAC

KRASNODAR FIGHTS AGAINST FLOODING
Flooding in the southern areas of Krasnodar Krai has forced 1,800 people to evacuate from 900 homes, more than a third of which need to be completely rebuilt, Russian agencies reported on 14 January. On 12 January, helicopters dropped bombs to break up ice floes blocking a nearby river to ease the situation, ORT reported, showing residents wading through flooded streets knee-deep in water. The level of the Kuban River fell around 19 centimeters overnight to around 181 centimeters, the critical level being 190 centimeters. The weather in Krasnodar was forecast to remain above freezing, threatening more flooding, and snow remains at levels of up to 1.5 meters in the region, ITAR-TASS added. VC

SMOKING FORBIDDEN IN RUSSIAN PUBLIC AREAS
Beginning on 14 January, it was forbidden to smoke in Russian public transportation facilities; at work; on aircraft during flights of less than three hours; in enclosed sport facilities; in organizations specialized in the field of health, education, and culture; and in all buildings where state institutions are represented, RBK reported. Article 6 of the federal Law on Limitation of Tobacco Smoking was to be activated six months following its publication. It is worth noting that in outlining the dangers of smoking, most Russian news agencies cited medical statistics from abroad (Canada, China, and India), but none from the Russian Federation. VC

SECURITY STILL LACKING IN RUSSIAN COAL MINES
Following a methanol leak, a coal mine exploded on 13 January in Vorkuta, Komi Republic, gazeta.ru reported the same day. Five miners were killed and 12 others were seriously burned. In the Kemerovo region, a coal miner died after a mine caved in, RBK added. The two accidents occurred just a few days after the World Bank closed its Coal Sector Adjustment Loan on 31 December. Security has long been a concern for the Russian coal industry, and there has been little progress noted in this area. The last tragedy in the Kemerovo region was on 25-26 December 2001, when four people died following a methanol explosion, RBK then reported. Following the December explosions, Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleev asked for a security audit of the Kuzbass coal mines. VC

INCUMBENT RE-ELECTED IN KABARDINO-BALKARIA...
Incumbent Valerii Kokov was re-elected on 13 January for a third term as president of the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria with some 87 percent of the vote, according to preliminary returns cited by ITAR-TASS on 14 January. Lieutenant General Mukhamed Batyrov, a former commander of the Russian northeastern land forces, came in second with 8.39 percent of the vote. He was followed by Albert Kozharov, a member of the Moscow Bar Association who garnered just over 1 percent, Chegem Court Chairman Ruslan Muracheev, and two other candidates. Voter turnout was estimated at 85.88 percent of the 503,000-strong electorate. LF

...BUT NOT IN ADYGEYA
In the Republic of Adygeya, incumbent Aslan Djarimov, who has headed the republic since 1992, failed in his bid for a third term, polling a mere 10 percent of the vote on 13 January, Caucasus Press reported. Khazrat Sovmen, a businessman who heads the Polyus gold-mining cartel, won some 68 percent of the vote. It is not clear how the remaining votes were divided among five other candidates, who included Nina Konovalova, who represents the republic's Slav population, which accounts for 70 percent of the total population (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 4, No. 12, 23 March 2001). LF

FORMER INGUSHETIAN PRESIDENT NAMED TO FEDERATION COUNCIL
Acting President Akhmed Malsagov has named Ruslan Aushev, who unexpectedly stepped down last month as president of Ingushetia (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 5, No. 1, 3 January 2002), to represent Ingushetia on the Federation Council, Interfax reported on 11 January. Malsagov stressed that Aushev is widely respected both in Ingushetia and in Moscow, and is thus worthy to represent the republic at the federal level. LF

KARABAKH LEADERS MEET WITH TURKISH JOURNALISTS
Arkadii Ghukasian, the president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, told visiting Turkish journalists in Stepanakert on 12 January that he believes the enclave should participate directly, together with Armenia and Azerbaijan, in talks on resolving the Karabakh conflict, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported. Ghukasian said that any peace accord signed by Armenia and Azerbaijan can take effect only after it is also approved by the Karabakh leadership. The journalists also met with the unrecognized republic's foreign minister, Naira Melkumian, who rejected Baku's repeated offers to grant the enclave autonomy, arguing that it should have the status of an independent republic, according to Interfax on 12 January. LF

AZERBAIJANI DEMONSTRATORS CALL FOR TOUGHER LINE ON KARABAKH...
Some 1,300 people participated in a demonstration in Baku on 12 January organized by the Union of Pro-Azerbaijani Forces that unites four small left-wing political parties, Western agencies and Interfax reported. Two of those party leaders, Araz Alizade of the Social-Democratic Party and Togrul Ibrahiml of Namus, called on the country's leaders to resign. The participants adopted 10 demands, including that the OSCE Minsk Group mediation in the Karabakh conflict and the direct talks between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan both be discontinued, and that a time limit be set for reaching a settlement of the Karabakh conflict, according to Interfax. LF

...PROTEST CUTS IN SOCIAL ALLOWANCES
Police in Baku intervened on 12 January to break up an unsanctioned protest organized by female activists of the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan, Turan reported. The activists, whose numbers were variously estimated at 50-70 or over 500, were protesting the abolition of social allowances for the poorest strata of the population and demanded the release of political prisoners. LF

U.S. SUSPENDS BAN ON DIRECT AID TO AZERBAIJAN
U.S. President George W. Bush signed on 11 January a document suspending Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act that bars direct U.S. government aid to Azerbaijan, Turan reported. That move is in acknowledgment of Baku's support for the international antiterrorism coalition (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 and 31 October 2001). LF

AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION PARTY LEADER NAMED 'POLITICIAN OF THE YEAR'
Opposition Musavat Party leader Isa Gambar was named "Politician of the Year" with 770 votes for 2001 in a poll conducted by the Azerbaijan Public Opinion research center, according to Turan on 12 January. In second place was President Heidar Aliev with 675 votes. LF

GEORGIA FAILS TO ADOPT DECISION ON CIS PEACEKEEPERS...
Georgia's National Security Council failed at its 11 January session to discuss, let alone reach a decision, on whether to formally demand the withdrawal of the Russian peacekeeping force deployed under the CIS aegis in the Abkhaz conflict zone, Caucasus Press reported. Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagharishvili told journalists after the session that a decision would be made within two-three days, but President Eduard Shevardnadze said in his traditional Monday radio address on 14 January that he cannot call for the withdrawal of the CIS peacekeepers until the UN has agreed to deploy a replacement force, which, Shevardnadze continued, it is unlikely to be able to do until the international antiterrorist operation winds down, according to ITAR-TASS. On 12 January, the Akhali Abkhazeti (New Abkhazia) Georgian parliament faction demanded that Shevardnadze be impeached for failing to act on the parliament's October demand that the CIS peacekeepers be withdrawn (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 October 2001). But Parliament speaker Nino Burdjanadze again hinted on 11 January that the Georgian leadership would agree to the peacekeepers' continued presence provided their mandate is broadened to enable them to protect the local Georgian population more effectively, Caucasus Press reported (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 5, No. 2, 10 January 2002). LF

...AS RUSSIA CALLS FOR CLEAR DECISION...
Also on 11 January, Russian Federation Council Committee for Security and Defense Chairman Viktor Ozerov told journalists in Moscow that the council wants Shevardnadze to come to a decision soon on whether the peacekeepers' mandate, which expired on 31 December, should be extended, Caucasus Press and ITAR-TASS reported. Ozerov said that decision will facilitate work on the drafting of a new bilateral framework treaty on Georgian-Russian relations. LF

...AND ABKHAZIA AGREES TO UN ENVOY'S CALL FOR RESUMPTION OF TALKS
Abkhazia's Prime Minister Anri Djergenia has yielded to urging by UN special envoy for Abkhazia Dieter Boden to agree to resume talks with Georgian government representatives, Caucasus Press and ITAR-TASS reported. The Abkhaz leadership has insisted for the past two months that they will return to the negotiating table only after the Georgian troops currently deployed in the Kodori Gorge are withdrawn (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 and 26 November, and 21 December 2001). But Djergenia insisted that the only issue Sukhum is currently prepared to discuss with Tbilisi is the withdrawal of those troops, which Georgian Defense Minister Davit Tevzadze said on 10 January is not on the cards. LF

RUSSIAN MILITARY DENIES PLANS TO CLOSE HQ IN TBILISI
A senior Russian Defense Ministry official told journalists in Moscow on 12 January that no decision has been made on disbanding the Tbilisi headquarters of the Group of Russian Forces in the South Caucasus, Caucasus Press reported. "Vremya novostei" reported on 11 January that the headquarters is to be closed within the next six months. LF

ARRESTED KYRGYZ PARLIAMENTARIAN APPEALS TO PRESIDENT
Kyrgyz parliament deputy Azimbek Beknazarov wrote on 12 January to President Askar Akaev asking him to intervene to ensure that legal norms are observed in the investigation into his case, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Beknazarov is accused of failing to file criminal charges for murder against Djaparaly Kamychbekov, who killed a man in self-defense in 1995 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 January 2002). Meanwhile, two more Kyrgyz parliament deputies have joined supporters of Beknazarov who declared a hunger strike last week to protest his arrest and demand his release. LF

KYRGYZ PRESIDENT PARTICIPATES IN PHONE-IN
President Akaev participated in a 2 1/2 hour live phone-in broadcast on the first state TV and radio channels on 11 January, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Akaev answered selected questions from a total of over 3,500 submitted in advance, most of them on general political, economic, and foreign policy issues. Akaev said Bishkek may extend its one-year agreement with the U.S. allowing U.S. troops and aircraft the use of the Manas airport near Bishkek, Reuters reported. But he ignored questions about arrested parliament deputy Beknazarov, and claimed there are no problems in relations with Uzbekistan. LF

KYRGYZ SHEPHERD SHOT DEAD ON UZBEK BORDER
Uzbek border guards opened fire on 11 January on three Kyrgyz youths tending sheep on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border, killing one of them and wounding a second, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. A criminal investigation into the incident is underway. LF

STATE DUMA SPEAKER STRESSES RUSSIA'S INTERESTS IN TAJIKISTAN, CENTRAL ASIA
A State Duma delegation headed by speaker Gennadii Seleznev arrived in Dushanbe on 11 January and met the same day with President Imomali Rakhmonov and with Saidullo Khairulloev, chairman of the lower chamber of the Tajik parliament, Russian agencies reported. Seleznev characterized Tajikistan as "Russia's direct strategic partner" despite the lack of a common border between the two states. He again stressed that Russia considers it essential to strengthen its presence in Central Asia, expressing concern lest the U.S. tries to parlay the consent it has received from the Kyrgyz, Tajik, and Uzbek governments to make their military facilities available for six months to international troops engaged in the international antiterrorism campaign into a long-term presence in the region. LF

U.S. CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION VISITS TAJIKISTAN
Meeting on 13 January with a visiting U.S. Congressional delegation led by Jim Kolbe, President Rakhmonov stressed the importance of economic aid to bolster political stability and the development of democracy in Afghanistan, Russian agencies reported. Kolbe told journalists following his meeting with Rakhmonov that the U.S. is unlikely to further expand its military presence in Central Asia. LF

BELARUSIAN TRADE UNIONS PROTEST BAN ON CHECK-OFF SYSTEM FOR COLLECTING DUES
Some 3,000 trade unionists, mostly miners from the Belaruskaliy potash fertilizer giant in Salihorsk (Minsk Oblast), rallied at a local stadium on 11 January to protest the government's directive banning the previous check-off system for collecting trade union dues at Belarusian enterprises, Belapan reported. The government on 14 December issued a directive requiring that union dues be paid by workers themselves instead of being deducted from their wages by employers. The Federation of Trade Union of Belarus has denounced this decision as a politically motivated attempt to suppress the country's labor movement. JM

MINSK TOUGH ON OSCE MISSION IN BELARUS
Foreign Minister Mikhail Khvastou told Belarusian Television on 12 January that unless the mandate of the OSCE Advisory and Monitoring Group in Belarus (AMG) is changed, any further stay of the group in Minsk will become impossible. According to Khvastou, the OSCE mission in Belarus failed to observe its mandate last year. Khvastou said the OSCE's requirements regarding Belarus are more rigorous than those for other countries. "We cannot accept the situation where we are offered different conditions for the activities of the OSCE group than universal ones, which are accepted for such groups in other countries," he noted. JM

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT FORMS POLITICAL PROPAGANDA GROUPS...
Alyaksandr Lukashenka has issued a directive providing for the formation of "information and advisory groups" to conduct mass propaganda work among the population, Belapan reported on 12 January. According to the presidential press office, the directive is aimed at ensuring "people's constitutional right to receive full and authoritative information about the activities of governmental agencies, nongovernmental organizations, [as well as] about political, economic, cultural, and international events." Under the directive, information and advisory groups are to appear at industrial enterprises, military units, educational institutions, and residential neighborhoods at least twice in three months to give briefings on important political, socioeconomic, and international issues. JM

...EXTOLS STABILITY, DEMOCRACY IN BELARUS
President Lukashenka said the main political result of his rule in 2001 was the consolidation of Belarus's status as a peace-loving, stable, and democratic country, Belarusian Television reported on 13 January. Lukashenka was speaking at a party he organized for foreign diplomats to celebrate the Orthodox New Year. Regarding his re-election in the 9 September 2001 ballot, which has been declared by European election monitors as undemocratic, Lukashenka said: "The authorities demonstrated strength and self-discipline, while the people [demonstrated] wisdom and consistency. This was an elegant victory." JM

UKRAINIAN BLOCS, PARTIES HOLD ELECTION CONVENTIONS
A number of election blocs and parties held congresses over the past weekend to approve their election manifestos and list of candidates for the 31 March legislative ballot, Interfax and UNIAN reported. In particular, such gatherings were organized by the For a United Ukraine bloc, the Socialist Party, the Natalya Vitrenko Bloc, the Women for the Future political association, the All-Ukrainian Leftist Union "Justice," and the Russian Bloc. JM

UKRAINE'S SOCIALIST PARTY INCLUDES MELNYCHENKO ON ITS ELECTION LIST
A congress of the Socialist Party on 12 January approved its election list for the 31 March parliamentary election. The list is headed by Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz and includes former presidential bodyguard Mykola Melnychenko (No. 15), who is currently in the United States. In 2000, Melnychenko triggered Ukraine's biggest political scandal by releasing what he said were records of conversations in the president's office, which implied President Leonid Kuchma's complicity in the murder of opposition journalist Heorhiy Gongadze and a host of other crimes. Referring to a conversation with Melnychenko, Moroz told journalists that the former presidential security officer will take part in the election campaign on Ukraine's territory. JM

FOR A UNITED UKRAINE OPTS FOR STABILITY
A congress of the pro-presidential For a United Ukraine bloc on 12 January adopted its election manifesto calling for the preservation of civic stability and social unity, stable national currency and economic growth, as well as an increase in real incomes of the population, Interfax reported. The first five of the bloc's election list are the bloc's leader and head of the presidential administration, Volodymyr Lytvyn; the head of the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Prime Minister Anatoliy Kinakh; lawmaker Yekateryna Vashchuk; director-general of the Mariupol Illicha metallurgical plant, Volodymyr Boyko; and rector of the National Taras Shevchenko University, Viktor Skopenko. Lytvyn told the congress that this year's parliamentary election will be "a catalyst for the birth of a new party system" in Ukraine "for a long term." JM

ESTONIAN CENTER HOPES TO COMPLETE COALITION TALKS IN A WEEK
Shortly after a party assembly agreed on 13 January to begin negotiations with the Reform Party, Center Party Chairman Edgar Savisaar declared that he hopes to complete coalition talks on forming a new government within a week, ETA reported. Reform Party Deputy Chairman Meelis Atonen said that his party's board decided the previous day to begin discussions with the Center Party, but stressed: "We will not agree to the graduated-rate tax, and we will say 'no' to budget deficit and excessive costs." A coalition should have at least 51 votes in the 101-member parliament, but the two parties have only a total of 47 deputies (29 Center Party and 18 Reform Party). SG

LATVIA RECEIVES POSITIVE EVALUATION FROM NATO EXPERTS
During a Planning and Review Process plenary meeting of Defense Ministry officials and a group of NATO experts on 11 January, NATO Assistant Secretary-General for Political Issues Gunter Altenburg praised Latvia's efforts to develop its defense capacities in compliance with NATO standards, LETA reported. He said the results of the previous five days of work by the experts will be summarized in an approximately 200-page report that will be forwarded to NATO member governments to help assess Latvia's readiness for alliance membership. Altenburg noted that "Latvia has set out the right goals" in defense planning, defense structure, staff planning, and other defense-related spheres. Defense Minister Girts Valdis Kristovskis declared that the reform of the National Armed Forces will be completed in 2008, and at this point the greatest attention is being devoted to staff, armament, equipment, and compatibility with NATO forces. Latvia is the first candidate country to be evaluated by NATO experts. SG

EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT
The parliament held an extraordinary session on 12 January that, by a unanimous vote of 98 votes, ratified the bilateral treaty with Great Britain on evasion of double taxing of income and capital gains, "Lietuvos rytas" reported on 14 January. The treaty was to have been ratified at the last session in December, but the vote was postponed when it became apparent that fewer than the 57 deputies needed for ratification were present. Great Britain ratified the treaty in December. Deputies also discussed the veto by President Valdas Adamkus of the amendments to the law adopted by parliament in December on the restoration of ownership rights to nationalized real estate (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 December 2001), but postponed voting on it until the next session on 15 January. It is not clear whether the necessary 71 votes to override the veto will be obtained. SG

POLISH PREMIER IN WASHINGTON
Premier Leszek Miller met with U.S. President George W. Bush on 11 January. The meeting was attended by presidential National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell. "We spoke about bilateral relations, about the world that has changed after 11 September, about NATO and the problems associated with its expansion, about our contacts with our neighbors, and about the economy -- how American investors may support our economy," PAP quoted Miller as saying. Miller added that both he and the U.S. president expressed satisfaction at the relations between Russia and NATO. "Summing up, I can say that I had the opportunity to convince myself what great weight the United States attaches to cooperation with Poland. The U.S. government expressed itself very well about the reaction of Poland to the events of 11 September," Miller added. Miller did not disclose any details concerning the planned participation of a Polish military contingent in the U.S.-led antiterrorist operation in Afghanistan. JM

TWO POLISH RIGHT-WING PARTIES MERGE
The Conservative Peasant Party and its political ally, the Polish Party of Christian Democrats, on 13 January merged into the Conservative Peasant Party-New Poland Movement, which seeks to become an integration core for the country's split right wing, Polish media reported. The new party is led by lawmaker Artur Balazs, who won his parliamentary mandate on the Civic Platform (PO) election ticket but with a group of followers subsequently refused to join the PO (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 November 2001). JM

CZECH FOREIGN MINISTER RULES OUT TEMELIN CLOSURE
In an interview with the Austrian weekly "Profil," Jan Kavan, said on 13 January that the nonbinding referendum due to begin the next day in Austria on the closure of the Czech Republic's Temelin nuclear power plant will in no way influence the Czechs' decision on the plant, but warned that the plebiscite could have "negative consequences" for the relations between the two countries, CTK reported. Kavan said Prague has never accepted the view that "only a closed Temelin is a safe Temelin," and is determined to introduce the technological improvements agreed upon with Vienna. Kavan also said that regardless of the outcome of 2002 parliamentary elections, no Czech government is likely to agree to a demand to close down the plant. Deputy Premier Vladimir Spidla said on 12 January that the government decided to postpone until March an exercise designed to test the plant's safety to avoid its taking place at the same time as the Austrian referendum, saying such a situation would be "unfortunate." Meanwhile, on 12 January the plant renewed tests at full 1,000-megawatt capacity, after having been forced to briefly shut down the day earlier due to a malfunction (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 January 2002). MS

KLAUS TO LEAD HIS PARTY'S PRAGUE ELECTORAL LISTS
Civic Democratic Party (ODS) Chairman Vaclav Klaus will head the electoral lists of his party in the June 2002 parliamentary elections, CTK reported on 12 January. He was elected to the position at an ODS regional meeting in Prague, garnering the support of 82 out of 95 members present. His chief rivals will be Social Democratic Party Deputy Chairwoman Petra Buzkova and Freedom Union-Democratic Union Chairwoman Hana Marvanova. MS

CZECH PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE INSISTS THAT GREGR RESIGNATION IS VALID
Jan Matulik, a member of the Czech Presidential Office's Law Department, on 11 January said that the 8 January letter in which Industry and Trade Minister Miroslav Gregr offered to quit his post is a "valid resignation," CTK reported. Prime Minister Milos Zeman refused to accept the resignation and said Gregr had only offered to quit his post and did not resign as such (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 January 2002). Matulik said one day earlier that, according to constitutional provisions, the resignation letter is not valid since it was not addressed to the country's president. Presidential spokesman Ladislav Spacek said that only President Havel can decide on the resignation's validity, and that Havel "would appreciate it if the constitutional provisions were observed." The Presidential Office's Law Department said the premier must forward the resignation to the president and has no right to decide himself whether or not to reject it. MS

SLOVAK NATIONALIST OPPOSITION CHASTISES HUNGARIAN STATUS LAW
Slovak National Party Deputy Chairman Viliam Oberhauser on 11 January submitted to the parliament a draft law prohibiting the implementation of the Hungarian Status Law in Slovakia, CTK reported. Oberhauser said the bill has the support of all parliamentary formations except the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK). The draft bill says the Status Law infringes on international legislation, threatens Slovakia's sovereignty, interferes in its internal affairs, and contravenes the provisions of the basic treaty between the two countries. Real Slovak National Party Chairman Jan Slota said on 12 January that his formation will propose in the parliament that the bilateral treaty with Hungary be abrogated, since the Status Law revives the "idea of a Greater Hungary." Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan, speaking on Slovak radio on 12 January, rejected Slota's proposal and said the dispute with Budapest over the law must be solved in a "civilized manner," and through a bilateral agreement. Deputy Premier Pal Csaky, who is an SMK member, said on the same program that the dispute can be solved "within 48 hours" provided the sides display the "political will to do so." Although Csaky did not mention the Romanian precedent by name, the solutions he proposed are very similar to the compromise reached between premiers Viktor Orban and Adrian Nastase last month. MS

SLOVAKIA TO EMULATE CZECH EXAMPLE ON COMPENSATION FOR HOLOCAUST VICTIMS?
Csaky told journalists on 11 January that he hopes a "breakthrough" will be achieved in 2002 on the still unsolved problem of compensating Jewish victims of the holocaust in Slovakia, CTK reported. He said he will submit a proposal to the government in March or April and that before doing that he intends to study the "Czech model" for compensating Holocaust victims. Csaky heads a governmental commission set up last year to deal with the matter. In July 2000, a fund was established in the Czech Republic for that purpose. The fund is managed by the Federation of Jewish Communities and the government provided 300 million Czech crowns (some $8.3 million) for the purpose of compensating survivors of the Holocaust and for paying compensation for property that was confiscated and can no longer be returned. MS

HUNGARIAN SOCIALISTS DRAW UP NATIONAL LIST FOR APRIL ELECTIONS...
The National Council of the opposition Socialist Party (MSZP) formally decided on 12 January that Peter Medgyessy, its candidate for prime minister, will head the party's national list in the April general elections, Hungarian media reported. Medgyessy is followed by MSZP Chairman Laszlo Kovacs, Deputy Chairwoman Katalin Szili, and former Prime Minister Gyula Horn. Medgyessy told the National Council that the next government will be based on the principles of proficiency, democracy, and decency. Rejecting claims that the party program promises too much, Medgyessy said it reflects the fact that "there are many problems and much to do." In other news, MSZP parliamentary member Matyas Szuros, who briefly served as provisional president of Hungary before the 1990 elections, will run as an independent candidate in the upcoming parliamentary elections. He told MTI that the MSZP no longer trusts him but he does not want to withdraw from public life. Katalin Szili said Szuros has burned his bridges with the party as a result of his sharp criticisms of its leaders. MSZ

...AS DO FREE DEMOCRATS
Opposition Free Democratic Party Chairman Gabor Kuncze was unanimously elected on 12 January by the party's National Council as its candidate for prime minister and head of its national list, Hungarian media reported. Kuncze later declared that the big question of the April general elections is whether Hungary can return to the path on which it set out at the change of regime in 1989, or whether the practices of the past 3 1/2 years will continue -- namely the "elimination of the democratic system" as well as "the incitement of hatred and the theft of public funds." He said the Free Democrats will run independently in the elections, offering "a liberal alternative," and want to play a role in running the country following the elections. MSZ

STATUS LAW CONTINUES TO STIR UP CONTROVERSY IN HUNGARY
In an interview with "Nepszabadsag" on 12 January, Medgyessy said Hungary needs "wages ensuring job security and a predictable future," which he said are threatened by the memorandum of understanding signed with Romania regarding the Status Law. The government should have conducted an impact study before signing the document, Medgyessy added. In related developments, during a debate in parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee on 11 January Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi did not rule out the possibility of amending the Status Law. Martonyi denied that the memorandum signed with Romania could have an adverse effect on the Hungarian labor market, saying the memorandum removed a potential source of tension in Hungarian-Romanian relations. The opposition Free Democrats said an amendment to the law is necessary and they will initiate a special session of parliament later this month. For their part, the Socialists said the provision in the memorandum stipulating that ethnic Hungarian communities cannot be supported without the permission of Romanian authorities is "a betrayal" of ethnic Hungarians. MSZ

KOSOVAR SERBS SEEKING DEAL WITH RUGOVA?
Sokol Djordjevic, who is one of the 22 deputies in the Kosovar parliament from the Serbian Povratak (Return) coalition, said in Strpce on 12 January that ethnic Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova must speak with the Belgrade authorities if he wants Povratak's support "in setting up institutions" in Kosova, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 January 2002). Rada Trajkovic, who heads the Povratak faction, met in Belgrade with Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. Trajkovic said she and other deputies will meet with Djindjic, Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica, and other Belgrade officials dealing with Kosova on 14 January to discuss Povratak's future strategy. Trajkovic said that her coalition will vote for Rugova for president only if he promises to serve all citizens and to ensure a normal life for everyone in the province. It is not clear if Povratak has dropped its previous demand that Rugova renounce independence for Kosova as a precondition for Povratak's support. On 12 January, U.S.-mediated talks between top Kosovar political leaders failed to agree on a president and government. PM

BELGRADE LOYALISTS CELEBRATE IN MONTENEGRO
An unspecified number of supporters of close ties with Serbia celebrated New Year's Eve according to the Orthodox Julian calendar in Podgorica on 13 January, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. No incidents were reported at the party, which took place amid portraits of Slobodan Milosevic, Radovan Karadzic, General Ratko Mladic, and World War II Serbian nationalist leader Draza Mihailovic. Police had banned all public celebrations on security grounds and pro-independence groups agreed to respect the ban. Artists' and youth groups slammed both sides of the political divide for turning the Orthodox New Year's into a political event (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 January 2002). PM

NEW SERBIAN SECURITY COUNCIL FORMED
The Serbian government has formed a Security Council consisting of the prime minister, the police chief, and five or six unspecified additional individuals, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported on 13 January. The new body will meet daily to discuss the work of the security services, Djindjic said. PM

BOSNIAN ARMY VETERANS PROTEST CUTS
Veterans of the mainly Muslim Bosnian army that fought in the 1992-1995 war met in Sarajevo on 12 January to protest planned cuts in benefits, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. They demanded an end to the planned changes, the resignation of the minister responsible for them, an end to evictions of veterans from homes belonging to others, and a solution to problems pertaining to Bosnian army veterans from areas now in the Republika Srpska. Beriz Belkic, who is the Muslim member of the joint presidency, took part in the meeting. He said that the veterans seek a "just solution." PM

PETRITSCH: BOSNIAN SERB MODERATES UNDER THREAT FROM EXTREMISTS
A shadowy group calling itself the Gavrilo Princip organization recently sent a letter from Belgrade containing death threats to several moderate Serbs living in the Muslim-Croat federation, Deutsche Welle's Bosnian Service reported on 5 January. On 13 January, Wolfgang Petritsch, who is the international community's high representative in Bosnia, expressed support for Mirko Pejanovic of the Serbian Civic Council in Sarajevo and for others targeted, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. Petritsch stressed that there is "no room for such extremists in democratic and multiethnic societies." Gavrilo Princip was the Serbian student who assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914. It is not clear who or what stands behind the organization bearing his name, or if it indeed exists. Some observers have suggested recently that extremists in Bosnia have increasingly come to feel threatened and perhaps driven to acts of desperation. PM

IS ATHENS CARRYING SERBIA'S MESSAGE?
On his recent visit to Washington, Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis told U.S. President George W. Bush that the U.S. should reduce its presence in the Balkans to a symbolic level and "use the Europeans" to keep peace there, AP reported on 11 January. Greece's EU partners involved in Balkan peacekeeping, however, want the Americans to remain visible and involved. U.S. policy is that America and its allies "went in together and will go out together." But Kostunica and those politically close to him want the U.S. to eliminate or reduce its presence in the Balkans and limit its role to giving money (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 18 September 2001). PM

NEW U.S. ENVOY FOR BALKANS
James Holmes will shortly replace James Pardew as the U.S. special envoy for the Balkans, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported on 12 January. Holmes has experience in the Balkans -- particularly in regard to Bosnia and Croatia -- and is currently U.S. Ambassador to Latvia. PM

CROATIA TO OFFER GUARANTEES TO HAGUE
The government decided on 12 January that Deputy Prime Minister Goran Granic will offer guarantees to The Hague-based war crimes tribunal that General Rahim Ademi will return for his trial if he is allowed to return to Croatia in the meantime, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 December 2001). On 13 January, Defense Minister Jozo Rados said Ademi can return to his job at the chief inspectorate of the Croatian army if the court allows him to go home. Ademi voluntarily went to The Hague in 2001. PM

CROATIA AND BOSNIA TO SEAL POROUS BORDER
Croatian and Bosnian authorities agreed in Zagreb on 11 January to shut 149 illegal crossings on their common border in an effort to curb human trafficking, dpa reported. PM

CALL FOR MORE TRANSPARENCY IN REPUBLIKA SRPSKA
The League of Independent Social Democrats called on citizens and institutions to demand more transparency and accountability in the privatization process lest those close to power and influence reap unfair advantage, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported from Banja Luka on 12 January. PM

HABSBURG SURPRISE IN BOSNIAN MUSEUM
Museum staff members have discovered an unknown formal portrait of Austrian Emperor Franz Josef in a storeroom of the National Art Gallery in Sarajevo, dpa reported on 12 January. The whiskered emperor is shown in a blue parade uniform with his medals. The painting will be restored and put on display as part of Bosnia's cultural heritage. Austria-Hungary occupied Bosnia between 1878 and 1918. Since the collapse of communism, many Bosnians have come to regard the Austrian period as one of peace and progress. PM

MACEDONIAN POLICE LIMIT PLANNED RETURNS TO VILLAGES
Multiethnic police returned to only three out of eight villages they had planned to enter on 11 January, Reuters reported. Unfriendly villagers kept them out of four of the remaining settlements, while snow and ice blocked their way to the fifth. An unnamed government official told the news agency that "we need a couple more days to build up confidence" before entering those villages where the inhabitants were less than welcoming. Hard-line Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski refuses to meet Albanian villagers' demand for an end to checkpoints on several roads. In related news, dpa reported from Kumanovo that at least one former guerrilla commander denied that a purported recent document from the rebels represents the thinking of the National Liberation Army (UCK) (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 January 2002). PM

BRITISH FAMILY CALLS FOR JUSTICE IN MACEDONIAN KILLING
The family of British sapper Ian Collins, who was killed in August 2001 by unidentified rowdies, has appealed to the Macedonian people for justice in finding and punishing his killers, Reuters reported from Skopje on 11 January (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 December 2001). The Macedonian authorities recently dropped charges against several teenagers suspected of hurling a concrete block or stone at his vehicle. His wife noted that he was the only casualty in the NATO disarmament mission to Macedonia. PM

WEATHER CONTINUES TO TAKE TOLL ON ALBANIA
On 12 January, the government announced power cuts to areas except those worst affected by the cold and snow, AP reported from Tirana (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 January 2002). Freezing temperatures have meant more demand for power at a time when water reserves for hydroelectric plants have often turned to ice. On 7 January, the government declared a state of emergency in parts of northeast Albania. Trucks and helicopters have been bringing food to the areas worst affected. Five people have died from the cold, Reuters reported. PM

ROMANIAN PREMIER MISTRUSTFUL OF STATUS LAW IMPLEMENTATION
Adrian Nastase on 11 January said the government has set up a commission to monitor the implementation of the memorandum signed last month with Hungary on the Status law, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The commission includes representatives of the Foreign, Interior, and Public Administration Ministries, and must "hinder the affecting of Romanian interests." He said he does not wish to "interfere" in the ongoing electoral campaign in Hungary, but statements have been made in the neighboring country that indicate that the memorandum signed by himself and Premier Viktor Orban is being interpreted "in bad faith." Nastase singled out an unnamed Hungarian politician who allegedly told representatives of ethnic Hungarians who met in Budapest last week that "it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a Romanian to come to work in Hungary." Nastase also called on the prefects to be on guard against any attempt by ethnic Hungarian organizations to issue Hungarian ID cards. Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR) Chairman Bela Marko said on 13 January that "special territorial bureaus" will begin gathering applications for such cards on 21 January, but added that the bureaus will "function within the limits" of the memorandum signed by Nastase and Orban and make only "recommendations" to Hungarian authorities. MS

ROMANIA RELEASES DATA ON 2001 INFLATION
The annual inflation rate in 2001 was 30.3 percent, according to data released by the National Institute of Statistics on 11 January, Mediafax reported. The rate was slightly higher than the 30 percent inflation predicted by the Finance Ministry at the end of the year. It is also higher than the 25-27 percent forecast by the cabinet upon taking office, but considerably lower than the 40.7 percent registered in 2000. Cabinet estimates for the 2002 rate are 22 percent. MS

PROTESTS AGAINST COMPULSORY RUSSIAN LANGUAGE COURSES CONTINUE IN MOLDOVA...
The protests against the introduction of compulsory Russian-language courses continued in Chisinau on 11 and 13 January, RFE/RL's bureau in the Moldovan capital reported. Protest gatherings took place on 12 and 13 January in Soroca as well, and on 11 January a meeting in support of the protesters was held in Barboi, in Edinet County. Popular Party Christian Democratic Leader Iurie Rosca said on 11 January that the number of those participating in the protests in Chisinau has fallen because of police harassment. Rosca said police searched the homes of those who spoke on previous days, and he warned that Moldova is about to be transformed in a "police state." On 11 January, the chief of the Chisinau police asked the parliament to lift the immunity of those deputies who participated in previous demonstrations for deliberately violating the law by holding the protest in an unauthorized place. The request can only be met in mid-February, when parliament is due to resume its session. Rosca also addressed a letter to the state Teleradio-Moldova company, protesting against the "distorted" manner in which the events are being covered. On 11 January, Premier Vasile Tarlev issued a statement expressing "indignation" at the fact that the demonstrators in the capital's main square were chanting "We Are Romanians!" MS

...WITH SUPPORT FROM ROMANIA
On 12 January, the extraparliamentary Romanian Union of Rightist Forces expressed in a press release its "solidarity" with the Chisinau protesters, saying it watches their "patriotic struggle with hope and emotion," Romanian radio reported. The same day, Cluj nationalist Mayor Gheorghe Funar called on Premier Nastase to support the protest, and said meetings of solidarity with the Chisinau protesters "against the Russification of the territory between the Prut and Dniester [rivers]" will be held in Cluj on 15 January, when the birth date of national poet Mihai Eminescu will be commemorated. Rosca also said he has received "moving words" of encouragement from Social Democratic Party Senator Adrian Paunescu. The Civic Alliance Movement said the Moldovan government's decision transforms the country's "Romanian majority into a minority in its own country," and that Romanian civil society must help "the efforts of Romanians beyond the Prut to safeguard their national identity." The movement also said the government must use its influence to make the authorities in Chisinau "renounce their intention to bring about the re-Sovietization of Moldovan schools." A group of Moldovan students studying in Bucharest also expressed solidarity with the protest and called on the Romanian authorities to act against the "neo-Soviet action of the Chisinau government," adding that "the time of [mere] enthusiasm and patriotic poetry recitals is over." MS

NEW OSCE MISSION CHIEF PLEDGES CONTINUATION OF EFFORTS ON TRANSDNIESTER
David Swartz, the new chief of the OSCE's mission to Moldova, told parliamentary speaker Evgenia Ostapchuk on 11 January that the organization will continue to make all necessary efforts to bring about a settlement of the Transdniester conflict, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. Swartz also expressed "satisfaction" with the way Russia is implementing the agreements of the November 1999 OSCE Istanbul summit. Ostapchuk said Moldova is ready to grant the separatist region a "large degree of autonomy," provided Tiraspol renounces "the idea of two states." MS

MOLDOVAN INFLATION FALLS IN 2001
The annual rate of inflation in 2001 was 6.3 percent, only one-third of the rate in 2000, when it was 18.4 percent, Flux reported on 11 January, citing data released by the government's Department for Statistics and Sociology. MS

SOFIA MAYOR CHARGED WITH ABUSE OF OFFICE
Sofia Mayor Stefan Sofiyanski was charged on 11 January with "malfeasance in office" and later released on a bail of 10,000 leva ($4,566), BTA reported the same day. The charges pertain to a Eurobond loan issued in 1999, and Sofiyanski denies that he abused his office by failing to secure the earlier approval of the loan by the Sofia City Council. Reports in the media said the investigation was prompted by pressure from the leaders of the Union of Democratic Forces, from which Sofiyanski resigned in late 2001 to form his own party. MS

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT-ELECT CRITICIZES GOVERNMENT'S FAILURE TO CONSULT WITH HIM
President-elect Georgi Parvanov on 11 January criticized the cabinet for having failed to consult with him on changes in the country's military doctrine and on the Defense and Armed Forces Act approved by the cabinet one day earlier, BTA reported. Parvanov said that while he understands the need for military reform to bring the country's forces into line with NATO requirements, the decision to remove the National Intelligence Service and the National Bodyguard Service from the armed forces system has created a "legislative vacuum" pertaining to these bodies. Parvanov is to take office on 22 January. Outgoing President Petar Stoyanov commented that if he had considered the decision "wise," he would have recommended it during his tenure. Stoyanov added that he feels his constitutional prerogatives are "running out" for him to call a National Security Council meeting to challenge the cabinet's decision. MS

BULGARIA, ROMANIA TO CONTRIBUTE FORCES TO PEACEKEEPERS IN AFGHANISTAN
Bulgaria and Romania are the only two former communist countries that will contribute troops to the 5,000-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, AFP reported on 11 January. In the first three months of its functioning, the force is to be led by Great Britain. It will be fully deployed by mid-February. Defense Minister Nikolai Svinarov, quoted by BTA on 11 January, said Bulgaria will provide a decontamination shower facility. Romania earlier announced that it will provide police forces and a transport plane to ISAF. MS

FORMER ROMANIAN MONARCH HOSTED BY BULGARIAN ROYAL-TURNED-PREMIER
Former King Michael of Romania, accompanied by his wife, Queen Ana, his eldest daughter Princess Margaret, and her husband Prince Radu, paid a private visit on 12 and 13 January to Bulgaria at the invitation of Simeon Saxecoburggotski, himself a former monarch who became premier after winning the 2001 parliamentary elections, BTA and Romanian radio reported. Mihai drove from Bucharest to Sofia himself. Saxecoburggotski hosted the visiting Romanian royal family at the Tsarska Bistritsa palace in Borovets, south of Sofia. Asked what Michael's opinion of him is, Saxecoburggotski told journalists: "He thinks I am a good patriot." MS

There is no End Note today.


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