YELTSIN BEGINS WORKING VACATION.
President Yeltsin began his two-week
journey by taking a train to the central Russian city of Ryazan, but then
unexpectedly changed his plans and flew to the town of Mineralnye Vody in the
North Caucasus and traveled on to Kislovodsk by car, ITAR-TASS and Reuters
reported. The agencies said that he will stay in Kislovodsk for "a short rest."
Yeltsin had intended to travel by train to Southern Russia and there was no
immediate explanation why he scuttled his earlier plans. Ryazan is only 110
miles from Moscow. On 28 March, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported that he
wanted to travel by train to see how well Russia's railroads were functioning
and because "for the last twenty years I have not traveled by train." Reporters
accompanying the president said he looked tired but fit. The president also
plans to visit the republic of Kabardino-Balkaria and Sochi. * Robert Orttung
YELTSIN UNDECIDED ON RE-ELECTION BID.
President Yeltsin has not decided
whether to run for re-election, according to an announcement he made at a
locomotive depot in Ryazan on 27 March, Interfax reported. He said his trip
through the country cannot be regarded as part of an election campaign. Naina
Yeltsin, Russia's first lady, told railway workers that she opposed a
re-election bid for family reasons. "I want him to be free of all that in 1996,
but my heart tightens when I think about who could replace him," AFP reported
her as saying. Yeltsin's popularity rating has dropped into the single digits
since the Chechen war and he has struggled since then to regain his lost
stature among the Russian people. * Robert Orttung
VIKTOROV: RUSSIAN REGIONS MIGHT SUPPORT POSTPONING PARLIAMENTARY
Federation Council Deputy Chairman Valerian Viktorov said that
support might grow among Russia's regions for postponing parliamentary
elections scheduled for December 1995, Interfax reported. Viktorov said putting
off elections would prevent the parliament from rushing to adopt a new
electoral law, and also would provide the "political stability" needed to
implement the government's program. He said the elections could only be
postponed if two-thirds of Russia's 89 regions supported such a proposal.
However, Viktorov dismissed the idea of delaying presidential elections
scheduled for June 1996. He said President Boris Yeltsin had been elected in
June 1991 "for a perfectly definite term." * Laura Belin
DUMA TO APPEAL TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OVER RUSSIAN PUBLIC TELEVISION.
Yabloko member Igor Yakovenko, the head of the State Duma commission
investigating the transformation of state-run Ostankino Channel One, said
deputies would challenge the legitimacy of the restructuring plan in the
Constitutional Court and the Court of Arbitration, Interfax reported. In
November 1994, Yeltsin ordered the reorganization of Ostankino. The first step
of the plan was the creation of the partly-private Russian Public Television
Company. Under the restructuring decrees, Ostankino was to become a production
company, and Russian Public Television would assume control over programming
and broadcasting on Channel One. Yakovenko charged that the creation of Russian
Public Television had unlawfully appropriated state property and forced
Ostankino out of Channel One. * Laura Belin
REGIONAL SECURITIES EXEMPT FROM PROFIT TAX.
The Federal Commission for
Securities and the Bond Market has granted a profit tax exemption on bonds and
securities issued by Russian regions, the Financial Information Agency reported
on 27 March. Under a 23 March commission resolution, regional bonds are to be
exempt from profit tax and treated on par with government securities. Earlier,
a 15% profit tax was levied on all securities, except government bonds.
Government experts said that caused regional capital flight. * Thomas Sigel
FUEL PRICES UP IN MID-MARCH.
Russian fuel prices increased in mid-March
according to the government's Center for Economic Studies, the Petroleum
Information Agency reported on 27 March. Petrol product prices soared 17.9%.
Meanwhile, experts point to a slower rise in electricity rates, which rose by
3.2%. Coal prices rose 3.5% with coking coal prices at 87,000 rubles (4,800
rubles to $1) per ton and energy coal at 47,000 rubles per ton. Oil prices
increased by 13.7% over February with the average price at 181,000 rubles per
ton. The price of natural gas increased by only 1.1%, due to unchanged costs in
West Siberia, Russia's main gas supplier. Since the beginning of the year,
shipping tariffs have jumped 80%, while consumer prices are up 60%. Retail
gasoline prices average 922 rubles per liter. * Thomas Sigel
INFLATION EXPECTATIONS IN INDUSTRY DECLINE.
Inflation expectations in
industry continued to decline in March, according to a poll of Russian
manufacturing managers conducted by the Institute for Economic Problems,
Interfax reported on 27 March. Eighty-one percent of the managers predict rises
in the prices of their output, compared to 87% in January and 85% in February.
Minimal inflation expectations have been registered in the wood-working sector
and maximum inflation is predicted in the engineering sector. Almost half of
the managers polled expect production to remain stable during the next few
months and 18% hope for an increase. After two months of dropping demand, there
has been a slight rise in production, especially in engineering and
construction. According to official forecasts, March inflation will be at 9%,
compared to almost 18% in January. * Thomas Sigel
VORKUTA MINERS END HUNGER STRIKE.
Mining union activists in Vorkuta
ended their 10-day hunger strike on 25 March following the visit of an
interdepartmental commission to the area, Ekho Moskvy reported. According to
Alexander Marmalyukov, chairman of the Independent Miners' Union, a compromise
was reached on the question of the payment of back wages and the future of coal
mines in the region. However, a number of fundamental problems remain, in
particular the lack of a state program for the restructuring of the industry.
Meanwhile, miners in Primorsky Krai have vowed to go on strike if they do not
receive wage arrears by 5 April, Russian TV reported on 27 March. They have
stopped making coal deliveries to customers who have not paid their bills. In a
23 March interview with Pravda, Rosugol president Yury Malyshev said
consumers owe the coal mining industry about 2 trillion rubles. * Penny
YELTSIN: IRAN MOST COMPLEX PROBLEM ON U.S.-RUSSIA AGENDA.
departing on his vacation, President Yeltsin stressed that Russian nuclear aid
to Iran will be the most complex item on the agenda of his May summit with U.S.
President Bill Clinton, Interfax reported on 27 March. Yeltsin dismissed press
accounts that little progress had been made at meetings between Russian Foreign
Minister Andrei Kozyrev and U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher on 23-24
March. He said Kozyrev had been instructed to engage in preliminary discussions
on outstanding issues--not to resolve them. Yeltsin's comments give further
credence to report in the 18 March issue of Moskovskiye novosti that
Kozyrev was reprimanded for exceeding his brief in suggesting a possible middle
ground in Russia's debate over eastward expansion with NATO. * Michael
OSCE: POLITICAL SETTLEMENT NOT YET UNDERWAY IN CHECH-NYA.
The head of
the latest OSCE delegation to visit Chechnya, Istvan Gyarmati, said little or
no progress had been made toward a political settlement in Chechnya, Interfax
reported on 27 March. He said, "We got the impression that the popular
government in Chechnya has not formed its local bodies and is only helping
federal troops, though things should be the other way round." He added that he
saw no prospects for a military solution to the conflict. Gyarmati also
announced that a six-member OSCE mission will be set up in Grozny by mid-April.
The mission is intended to promote a political settlement, develop a
constitution, assist in holding democratic elections, and, if necessary, help
mediate an agreement between Chechnya and the Russian Federation. The European
Union set the establishment of such a mission as a pre-condition to signing an
interim trade accord with Russia. * Michael Mihalka
KAZAKH PRESIDENT SEEKS TO EXTEND TERM.
Kazakh President Nursultan
Nazarbaev has called for a nationwide referendum to be held on 29 April to
decide whether his term in office, which ends in 1996, should be extended to
the year 2000, Russian TV reported. On 24 March, the Assembly of the People's
of Kazakhstan advised Nazarbaev to hold the referendum but the Kazakh president
said he needed to review the legality of such a move. The assembly was formed
days before a ruling by the Kazakh Constitutional Court to disband parliament
was upheld. Nazarbaev is quoted by Reuters as saying, "We hear cries that there
will be dictatorship, Yes, dictatorship will come but a dictatorship of the
constitution and of the law." He added, "There will be a real dictatorship if,
under democratic slogans, chaos and anarchy will be created. Then the people
will call for a firm hand." Meanwhile, Caravan, a Kazakh newspaper
critical of Nazarbaev, will not be printing this story for two weeks. A fire
broke out in the paper's warehouse on the night of 23 March, causing it to lose
1,000 tons of newsprint. Although the blaze was attributed to a spark from
welding equipment, Caravan employee Vera Avalyani said workers saw the
fire start in four places simultaneously, according to Reuters. * Bruce
TAJIKS WANT IRANIAN OIL.
Tajik Prime Minister Djamshed Karimov said his
country is interested in buying oil from Iran, the official Iranian news agency
IRNA reported. In a meeting with the Iranian ambassador to Tajikistan, Ashraf
Shabesteri, Karimov also mentioned Tajikistan's interest in opening a direct
air link between Dushanbe and Tehran. Tajikistan, along with other Central
Asian countries, is attempting to reduce its economic dependence on Russia by
establishing new trading partners and obtaining access to Iranian sea ports,
according to NCA/Reuters. The Iranian ambassador said Tehran would be willing
to help in the exploration of mines, complete the construction of factories,
and transport goods for export to the Persian Gulf. Iran will send an
industrial delegation along with representatives of Iran's chamber of commerce
to Tajikistan to discuss trade relations sometime in the near future, Reuters
reported. Iran has been trying to establish closer ties to the Central Asian
republics since the fall of the Soviet Union. * Bruce Pannier
ZATULIN IN CRIMEA.
A Russian delegation from the Duma commission on the
Black Sea Fleet, accompanied by the head of the Duma Committee on CIS Affairs,
Konstantin Zatulin, arrived in Crimea on 26 March, Ukrainian radio reported the
following day. The delegation was met at the airport by the Crimean Procurator,
Valentyn Kuptsov, who officially notified Zatulin and the Duma commission that
they should not make any disparaging statements against Kiev and should not
take part in any activities aimed at worsening confusion over the Crimean
situation. Zatulin has distinguished himself in the Duma as being the leading
critic of Ukraine's 17 March decrees abolishing the Crimean constitution and
presidency. During his visit, Zatulin has been meeting with pro-Russian
officials. On the first day, he met with Crimean President Yuri Meshkov and
Crimean parliament speaker Serhii Tsekov. On 27 March, Zatulin met with the
commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Eduard Baltin. * Ustina Markus
UKRAINE AND RUSSIA SAID TO AGREE ON BOMBER PRICE.
The Ukrainian and
Russian defense departments have agreed that Ukraine's $192.6 million debt to
Russia for natural gas could be written off in return for 44 ex-Soviet
strategic bombers, Interfax reported on 27 March. "An informed source" told the
agency that Ukraine had originally demanded $800 million for the 19 Tu-160
"Blackjack" supersonic jets and the 25 Tu-95MS "Bear" turboprop missile-car-
rying aircraft left on its territory after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
However, several weeks ago, a Russian newspaper reported Ukraine had agreed to
sell the planes for $75 million. The source said the aircraft would be
transferred to Russia once the agreement was signed, adding that it would not
be tied to an agreement on the division of the Black Sea Fleet. * Doug Clarke
SUCCESSFUL COALITION TALKS IN ESTONIA?
Chairman of the Coalition Party
and Rural Union alliance (KMU) Tiit Vahi on 27 March said the KMU board
approved the cooperation principles on forming a government coalition with the
Center Party, BNS reported. The principles had been agreed on the previous day
by representatives of the two parties. Vahi, President Lennart Meri's nominee
for prime minister, said he had ended coalition talks with the Reform Party on
learning that it had joined the so-called alternative coalition to elect the
parliament chairman. Karin Jaani, head of the Rightists, who had formed a
coalition with the KMU, said her party was going into opposition since it had
clearly stated that it would not join any alliance that included the Center
Party. * Saulius Girnius
LATVIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY TO MERGE WITH "MASTER" PARTY.
At the Democratic
Party's fifth congress on 25 March, 143 of the 165 delegates voted in favor of
merging with the "Master" party to form the Democratic Party Master, BNS
reported. The DPM merger congress is scheduled for 29 April. Democratic Party
Chairman Maris Pukis said the merger of the two centrist parties was a
necessary step before the elections to the sixth Saeima. The Political Union of
Economists and the Republican Party are also reported to want to form a
pre-election coalition with the DPM. * Saulius Girnius
LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT BY-ELECTION TO BE DECIDED IN RUNOFF.
the Kaisiadorys district on 25 March voted to fill the parliament seat that
President Algirdas Brazauskas won in October 1992 but vacated on becoming
president in February 1993, BNS reported on 27 March. The vote took place on
the same day as local council elections. Four previous runoffs were annulled
owing to insufficient voter turnout. None of the five candidates in the 25
March contest received a majority of the votes, forcing a runoff election
between former Supreme Council Secretary Liudvikas Sabutis, nominated by the
Homeland Union, and Minister of Agriculture Vytautas Einoris of the Democratic
Labor Party. Sabutis received 38.4% of the votes, Einoris 28%. * Saulius
LITHUANIA, MOLDOVA SIGN FRIENDSHIP TREATY.
Lithuanian and Moldovan
Presidents Algirdas Brazauskas and Mircea Snegur on 27 March signed a treaty of
friendship and cooperation in Chisinau, Interfax reported. Snegur, noting that
the volume of trade between the two countries has declined by two-thirds, urged
the restoration of former trade links. He expressed satisfaction that Lithuania
was supporting his country's efforts to join the Council of Europe. Brazauskas
travels to Kiev on 28 March for meetings with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma
and other officials. * Saulius Girnius
PLANT DIRECTOR SAYS ANOTHER DISASTER AT CHORNOBYL "IMPOSSIBLE."
Parashin, general director of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant, says safety
measures taken at the station and an additional $300 million invested by the
Ukrainian government for new safety systems make another nuclear explosion such
as the one in April 1986 "impossible," Interfax-Ukraine reported on 27 March.
Parashin said recent accusations by the British newspaper The Observer
that a lack of safety precautions could lead to a second accident of the same
proportions as nine years ago were "groundless." He accused Western countries
of unfairly putting pressure on Ukraine to close the plant, which provides 7%
of the country's energy. The G-7 countries last summer announced that the
closure of Chornobyl was a major condition for a $4 billion aid package to
Ukraine. Ukrainian leaders have asserted that closing the plant would cost
several billion dollars, while the EU has allocated only $200 million for that
purpose. * Chrystyna Lapychak
UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES NEED MORE MONEY.
Ukrainian Defense Minister
Valerii Shmarov told a Kiev press conference on 27 March that the proposed 1995
budget for the Ukrainian military would cover only 30% of its needs. He added
that the armed forces have been under-funded during the past three years and
warned that if the budget is further reduced, the armed forces will lose their
capacity to fight. According to Interfax, Shmarov also said that Ukraine will
be seeking to strengthen its traditional cooperation with Russia in the
manufacture of arms. He noted that Ukraine will also seek ties with countries
that were not part of the former Soviet Union. * Doug Clarke
UKRAINE STUCK WITH UNWANTED AIRCRAFT CARRIER.
Ukrainian Defense Minister
Valerii Shmarov said on 27 March that Ukraine most probably will not complete
the aircraft carrier Varyag because it cannot, and Russia will not, pay
the $300 million needed to finish the vessel, Interfax reported. A sister ship
to the Russian Navy's Admiral Kuznetsov, the Varyag was launched
in November 1988 and has been idle alongside the pier in Mykolaiv since 1991.
It has been rumored in recent years that China is interested in buying the
ship. Shmarov said Ukraine will look into ways of "customizing" the vessel for
other uses, since it will bring in only about $5 million if sold as scrap
metal. * Doug Clarke
BELARUS AND CFE TREATY.
Ural Latupau, Belarusian presidential aide for
foreign policy matters, told Interfax on 27 March that Belarus will not resume
the weapons' destruction mandated by the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty
until it can finance the process. He said there were two ways to obtain the
necessary money: from the industrialized Western countries or to wait until
Belarus pulls out of its current economic crisis and can fund the destruction
from internal resources. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka announced on 17
February that he was halting the weapons destruction. First Deputy Foreign
Minister Valerii Tsyapkala said he believed that the "supreme interests" clause
in the CFE treaty justifies Belarus's action. That clause allows a country to
withdraw from the treaty "if it decides that extraordinary events related
to...this Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests." Other signatories are
unlikely to agree that economic difficulties are sufficient cause. * Doug
OPINION POLL ON BELARUSIAN REFERENDUM.
The Belarusian Television program
"Prospekt" on 26 March broadcast the results of an opinion poll taken by the
Andrei Vardomatskou sociological center at the beginning of March on the
proposed referendum on, among other things, the status of the Russian language
in the republic, changing the country's national symbols, and extending the
president's powers. According to the poll, 54% of the respondents were in favor
of giving the Russian language official status; 30% were opposed; and 17% gave
no answer. On the issue of political union with Russia, 59% were in favor; 23%
were opposed; and 18% did not reply. The response to posing the question of
state symbols was surprising: 35% upheld including such a question in the
referendum; 46% were against; and 20% percent were unable to say. * Ustina
POLISH DEMOCRATIC LEFT DIVIDED OVER CHURCH.
Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy
met with Cardinal Jozef Glemp on 26 March, Rzecz-pospolita reported.
After their meeting, both leaders made cordial but vague remarks about the
substance of their discussions. The conciliatory stance taken by Democratic
Left Alliance (SLD) leaders on Church-state issues is prompting angry protests
by the party's rank-and-file and appears to be undermining the position of
moderates, headed by SLD floor leader Aleksander Kwasniewski. At a meeting on
27 March of the main council of the Social Democracy of the Polish Republic
(SdRP)--the successor to the communist party and the leading force within the
SLD--Kwasniewski faced harsh criticism for "servility" toward the Catholic
hierarchy. He argued that "compromise with the Church is proof of wisdom and
strength, not weakness." But most activists argued for a hard line on Church
issues, and objected to Church demands that the party atone for communism.
Kwasniewski reaffirmed the party's line that the concordat must be renegotiated
and the new constitution must enshrine the "worldview neutrality" of the state.
The SdRP adopted a resolution stating that the party refuses to accept the
creation of a "confessional state." * Louisa Vinton
POLAND'S STRZEMBOSZ ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY.
Polish Supreme Court chairman
Adam Strzembosz announced his candidacy for president on 27 March, Radio Warsaw
reported. Strzembosz said he is allied with no political party but that the
"center-right" option is closest to his heart. He said that decom-munization
became impossible after the 1993 elections, but lustration was still necessary.
Strzembosz plans to take unpaid leave during the campaign rather than resign,
Rzecz-pospolita reported. Several of Poland's right-wing parties have
already endorsed his candidacy; but the largest, the Christian National Union,
remains undecided. Lingering support for President Lech Walesa and chronic
discord are likely again to fragment the right-wing vote in this year's
presidential elections. Janusz Korwin-Mikke, chairman of the fringe libertarian
Real Politics Union, announced his candidacy on 23 March. * Louisa Vinton
SLOVAK OPPOSITION PARTY ON PRIVATIZATION.
Party of the Democratic Left
Deputy Chairwoman Brigita Schmoegnerova has criticized the government's
"uncontrolled" priva-tization policy, Pravda and Narodna obroda
reported on 28 March. She warned that the government is returning to the
privatization methods used during Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar's second term
in office, thereby breaking pre-election promises. Schmoegnerova criticized the
lack of transparency in privatization and the role of the National Property
Fund in the process. She argued that the case of Slovakia's second-largest
investment fund, PSIPS--which has been embroiled in controversy since the
Finance Ministry ordered it to stop its activities on 3 March--confirms the
ministry's inability to secure control over investment funds. The PDL is
preparing to propose a law on privatization, Schmoegnerova noted. * Sharon
UN THREATENS SERBS WITH AIR STRIKES.
Nasa Borba on 28 March
quoted a UN spokesman as saying that attacks on UN-designated "safe areas" in
Bosnia-Herzegovina may be met with air strikes. He was referring to Serbian
shelling of Sarajevo, Bihac, Gorazde, and Tuzla but added that the UN would not
intervene if the Serbs were being fired on by government forces. State-run
Borba, meanwhile, says that "the [Bosnian] Serb army is on the
counteroffensive" and claims high losses among government troops. But AFP notes
that the government army is newly reorganized and has several mobile units
composed of men driven from their homes in "ethnic cleansing." Morale and
mobility are two key advantages the government troops have over the Serbs, but
the mainly Muslim forces are careful not to challenge the Serbs head-on yet in
areas of Serbian vital interest, such as the Posavina land corridor. * Patrick
CROATIA HOLDS FIRM ON UNPROFOR.
Vjesnki on 28 March reports that
Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic has criticized UN Secretary-General
Boutros Boutros Ghali's proposal for a new international peacekeeping force in
Croatia. He said the plan violates the spirit of the Copenhagen agreement
between Zagreb and Washington. That accord specified that a new and smaller
force would be created to monitor Croatia's external borders and that its
patrolling of Croatian-Serbian front lines within the country would be
secondary. Croatia also does not like the latest proposed name for the
peacekeepers, namely United Nations Peace Force One, since it does not include
the word "Croatia." The Serbs squashed a previous suggestion that the troops be
called United Nations Forces in Croatia. According to the latest proposal,
Force Two would be in Bosnia and Force Three in Macedonia. * Patrick Moore
RUMP YUGOSLAV DINAR DEVALUED.
Nasa Borba on 28 March reports that
the rump Yugoslav currency, the so-called super dinar, has come under intense
inflationary pressure. The super dinar was introduced by National Bank Governor
Dragoslav Avramovic in January 1994 and pegged officially to the German mark at
a rate of 1:1. The daily reports that dealers in Kragujevac were selling one
German mark for 2.7 dinars on 27 March, while in Novi Sad the mark fetched 3.5
dinars and in Belgrade 4.7-5.0 dinars. Politika reported that Serbian
Finance Minister Dusan Vlatkovic, in an apparent attempt to calm public
concerns, said on Serbian Radio and Television the previous day that there was
nothing to worry about. He told Serbs to "save your money, which you will need
tomorrow and which [should not] be eaten up by speculators." * Stan Markotich
MACEDONIAN POLICE END PRISON RIOT.
Riot police backed by light tanks on
27 March ended a five-day protest by inmates of Idrizovo prison, near Skopje,
AFP and Reuters reported the same day. Some 120 riot police and 200 prison
guards entered the prison after tanks had broken up the entrance of the main
building, where most of the 400 rebellious inmates staged their protest against
severe sentences and poor living conditions. Most of the protesters are serving
lengthy terms for capital offenses. Authorities said that about 60 of the
inmates involved in the riot were foreigners from Bulgaria, Albania, Turkey,
and elsewhere. No casualties were reported, but witnesses said that some
prisoners were beaten during the four-hour police action. Justice Minister
Vlado Popovski told the press that the demonstrators face additional sentences
of up to five years on mutiny charges and that 100 of them will be transferred
to other prisons. * Stefan Krause
ROMANIAN OPPOSITION WALKS OUT OF PARLIAMENT.
Opposition deputies on 27
March walked out of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies in protest over what
they see as political interference in state-run TV, Radio Bucharest reported.
The politicians staged the protest after being refused permission to read out a
declaration of support in favor of TV union leader Dumitru Iuga, who has been
on a hunger strike for almost one month. Iuga and the opposition have accused
the government of seeking to control state-run TV by appointing its own
candidates to the Romanian Television Administrative Council (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 24 March 1995). The deputies plan to boycott parliament sessions
for one week. * Dan Ionescu
LEBED ON DNIESTER REFERENDUM.
Lt. Gen. Aleksandr Lebed, commander of the
14th Russian Army, headquartered in Tiraspol, told Interfax on 27 March that
the recent referendum in the breakaway Dniester Republic on whether to keep
Russian troops there will have no effect on his men. More than 90% of the
400,000 or so voters who took part in the 26 March poll said they wanted the
14th army to stay in the region as a "guarantor of peace and security."
Interfax quoted Lebed as saying that "a decision about whether to withdraw the
army or not will be taken by the leadership of Moldova and the Russian
Federation." He added that he was prepared to abide by that decision. Also on
27 March, Moldovan President Mircea Snegur reiterated that Chisinau regards the
26 March referendum and local elections in the Dniester region as illegal. *
BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM.
government on 27 March approved the final version of the privatization program,
Bulgarian newspapers reported the following day. Kontinent and
Zemya said that 20 billion leva ($300 million) in privatization revenues
are expected for 1995. The government wants to privatize 600 enterprises, or
20% of all state-owned firms, by the end of 1995. Trud cited Yosif
Iliev, director of the Center for Mass Privatization, as saying that every
Bulgarian citizen over 18 will receive privatization vouchers worth a total of
50,000 leva ($750). The final mass privatization scheme will be approved by the
end of August or the beginning of September, Trud reported. A list of
enterprises to be included in the first privatization wave will be drawn up at
the same time. * Stefan Krause
ALBANIAN INTERIOR MINISTRY SAYS SIGURIMI BEHIND EMBASSY STORMING.
The Albanian Interior Ministry accused members of the former communist secret
police, Sigurimi, of circulating false rumors that visas for the U.S.
were available. Reuters on 27 March reported that an anonymous leaflet was
distributed in Tirana, claiming that jobs were being offered in the U.S. About
1,200 young Albanians had been waiting outside the American embassy since 23
March. One 19-year-old Albanian was shot in the leg when police dispersed the
group after about 200 tried to enter the embassy on 26 March. * Fabian
ROMANIAN PRESIDENT IN ALBANIA.
Ion Iliescu began a three-day visit to
Albania on 26 March, the Albanian-language service of Deutsche Welle reported
the next day. He met with Albanian President Sali Berisha to discuss the two
countries' integration into Europe and sign economic, cultural, and education
accords. Iliescu also met with parliament speaker Pjeter Arbnori, Prime
Minister Aleksander Meksi, and representatives of the ethnic Romanian community
in Albania. * Fabian Schmidt
[As of 12:00 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave