Accessibility links

Breaking News

Newsline - August 7, 1995


Vol. 1, No. 152, 7 August 1995
A scheduled exchange of Russian and Chechen prisoners on 5 August was delayed, Russian and Western agencies reported. In accordance with the 30 July military agreement, Chechen military officials had promised to exchange several Russian prisoners for 30 Chechens but did not do so. The prisoner exchange issue threatens to block further progress in negotiations to end the Chechen conflict. General Anatolii Romanov, commander of federal forces in Chechnya, said on 5 August that negotiations could continue only after the Chechen side had submitted a full list of its Russian prisoners. However, Aslan Maskhadov, the Chechen military chief of staff, told journalists that compiling such a list would be difficult because the Chechen forces are fragmented. A joint Russian-Chechen team left Grozny on 4 August to search remote Chechen positions for Russian prisoners. Despite the slowdown in prisoner exchange, Russian military sources reported a decrease in fighting in the republic over the weekend. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

A statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry on 5 August harshly condemned the recent Croatian military offensive against Serb-held areas of Croatia, ITAR-TASS reported. The statement complained that "Zagreb's preparations did not receive the proper assessment," and that Russian warnings about Croatian intentions had gone "unheard." It added that Russia would insist that the UN Security Council adopt a "strict and unbiased response." Vladimir Zhirinovskii, leader of the Russian Liberal Democratic Party, criticized the government response as insufficient, telling journalists on 5 August that "if Russia had another president, the Russian army would already be in there and no one would be able to touch the Serbs." Duma deputy Vladimir Averchev, of the Yabloko faction, said Russia had no moral standing to criticize Croatia because Russian actions in Chechnya are similar to the Croatian offensive against ethnic Serb separatists. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

The National Salvation Front (FNS) announced that it will participate in the parliamentary elections under new leadership, Russian TV reported on 5 August. Valerii Smirnov is now the acting chairman of the Political Council in place of the former leader Ilya Konstantinov. The FNS's three main program points are restoring the Soviet Union, ending the privatization program, and removing the institution of the presidency, NTV reported. Yeltsin banned the front from participating in the 1993 elections after its members clashed with pro-Yeltsin troops in the fighting around the Russian White House in October 1993. The Front believes that the Duma does not have the power to change government policy but that the campaign will be useful for uniting opposition groups. Like the previous leadership, Smirnov does not exclude the use of force in the battle for power. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

Tatarstan Prime Minister Farid Mukhamedshin announced that his republic has stopped payments to the federal budget, Russian Public TV reported on 6 August. Since 5 August, Tatarstan has redirected the money it would normally reserve for the federal budget to local defense workers who are owed past wages. Once the debts are paid off within a month, Tatarstan will resume its payments to the federal government. There has been no official reaction from Moscow. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

Early returns in the gubernatorial elections in Sverdlovsk Oblast indicate that no candidate will receive more than 50% of the vote and a runoff will consequently be required, ITAR-TASS reported on 6 August. Approximately 40% of voters participated in the elections, well above the required 25% turnout for the elections to be valid. Incomplete vote counts suggest that Eduard Rossel, the chairman of the Sverdlovsk Duma who lobbied for permission to hold direct gubernatorial elections in the region, leads the field. Regional administrative head Aleksei Strakhov, a leader of the Sverdlovsk regional branch of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's bloc, Our Home Is Russia, is in second place, despite having nearly three times as much money to spend on the campaign as Rossel (see OMRI Daily Digest, 4 August 1995). A date for the runoff has not been set. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

The radical Democratic Union picketed the headquarters of the Procurator General's Office to protest the sentencing of former KGB officer Viktor Orekhov to three years in prison, Ekho Moskvy reported on 4 August. Orekhov was convicted of illegal possession of a firearm, but many human rights activists believe the case against him was fabricated and are demanding that it be reconsidered, Ekspress-khronika reported the same day. As a KGB officer during the 1970s, Orekhov routinely warned dissidents of imminent searches and arrests. A statement issued by the Democratic Union charged that the KGB's desire for "revenge" lay behind the arrest and sentencing of Orekhov. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

Ivan Kiveldi, president of Rosbiznesbank and head of the politically influential entrepreneurs' group Russian Business Roundtable, died on 4 August after being poisoned by salts probably containing cadmium, Russian and Western media reported. His secretary died the previous day after being hospitalized with similar symptoms. The cause of the banker's death has yet to be officially determined, but it is being widely regarded as a contract killing. Members of the Roundtable, which includes leading industrialist Arkadii Volsky, Russian United Industrialists Party head Vladimir Shcherbakov, and Most group chairman Vladimir Gusinskii, said they believed the slaying was political and unconnected to Kiveldi's commercial activities. Shortly before his death, Kiveldi had expressed opposition to plans by leading banks to finance the budget deficit. He was also a fierce critic of corruption and incompetence in the police force. Over the past three and a half years, 83 bankers have been the victims of assassination attempts, of whom 46 have died, according to ITAR-TASS on 5 August. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

President Yeltsin has rejected the draft law on the subsistence minimum on the grounds that it conflicts with existing legislation, Radio Rossii reported on 3 August. The draft entitles people whose income falls below the minimum to monetary benefits. The minimum subsistence level, to be determined by the Labor Ministry on a quarterly basis, would also be used as the basis for defining the minimum wage, pensions, and other allowances. Goskomstat put the subsistence minimum in June at 277,400 rubles a month, Radio Rossii reported on 5 August. The same day Russian TV, citing a poll by VCIOM, reported that 48% of Russian families consider themselves to be living in poverty. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

According to Health Ministry official Aleksandr Golyusov, 967 people including 277 children, are now registered as HIV-positive in Russia. He added that 176 people have full-blown AIDS and that 154 people have died of the disease, Vechernyaya Moskva reported on 3 August. AIDS activists argue that the official figures should be multiplied by at least a factor of 10 to obtain a true picture of HIV in the country. Implementation of a new law mandating HIV tests for all foreigners coming to Russia for longer than three months, which was scheduled to take effect on 1 August, has been delayed for procedural reasons. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

Police on 6 August broke up an anti-nuclear demonstration on Red Square organized by Greenpeace on the grounds that it had not obtained a permit, ITAR-TASS and AFP reported. The protesters, who had set up 50 crosses marked with radioactive warning signs, were marking the 50th anniversary of the destruction of Hiroshima by an atomic bomb. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

According to the North Ossetiyan minister of internal affairs, the majority of the inhabitants of the Prigorodnii Raion look favorably upon the return of those Ingush refugees who "took no part in the conflicts in the fall of 1992," ITAR-TASS reported on 6 August. Russian TV reported on 5 August that 400 out of the 600 families that left have now returned and the North Ossetiyan government has pledged to do all it can to make their return permanent. However, contrary to the account of a smooth transition given by the minister, Russian TV emphasized the difficulty of the resettlement. According to the station, police accompanied columns of Ingush refugees to their former homes in order to forestall any provocation that might complicate the peace initiative between the Ossetiyan and Ingush leadership. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

Following three days of "constructive" talks with Russian officials, including Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee left Moscow on 5 August, Russian and Western agencies reported. Economic ties, including conventional arms sales, were one focus of the talks. Russian-Indian trade, which drastically declined following the collapse of the Soviet Union, has increased 44% in the past year, and is expected to reach $1.6 billion in 1995, an Indian spokesman said. Mukherjee also told journalists that a decision would be made "soon" on an Indian proposal to build a light-water nuclear power reactor with Russian assistance. Mukherjee denied that India wants nuclear weapons, although he said that India needs a large conventional army to defend itself against Pakistan. Kozyrev, apparently anticipating criticism of the proposed nuclear deal, said Russia does not need advice from "third countries" on its relations with India. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

Following a late July visit to Ankara, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Albert Chernyshev has, once again, clarified his government's stance with regard to Turkey and the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) by saying that Russia "regards the Kurdish problem as Ankara's internal affair," Segodnya reported on 4 August. In a reference to the PKK, he also said "foreign parties and organizations" will not be allowed to "build nests" on Russian territory. Those remarks will clearly please officials in Ankara but may not go far enough; Turkey wants Moscow to close down the "Kurdish House" in Moscow and take other steps to break ties between Kurdish nationalists in the CIS and Middle East. Chernyshev and other Russian officials have repeatedly denied Russian involvement in supporting or encouraging PKK-connected organizations and activities in Russia, but Turkey continues to suspect that Moscow gives them tacit support so as to extract concessions from Ankara on other issues. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

Anton Surikov, an adviser at the Institute for Defense Studies, told ITAR-TASS on 4 August that U.S. plans to develop a new anti-ballistic missile system could prompt Russia to reconsider its obligations to cut its nuclear arsenal. Surikov was commenting on the recent U.S. Senate decision to increase funding for ABM programs. He warned that moves like this could prompt Russia to "refrain from ratifying the START-2 treaty and reconsider some provision under START-1." -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

Russia's gas monopoly, Gazprom, announced it has signed a deal with Western creditors for $1 billion to finance its part in the construction of two gas pipelines in Germany, Russian and Western agencies reported on 4 August. The former state gas company said it received DM 1.3 billion ($932 million) from a consortium of 27 Western banks to build the pipelines. Gazprom said it is the largest Russian investment abroad and the largest financing project with a Russian participant that is not guaranteed by the Russian state. The credit deal will provide backing for Gazprom's 35% stake in the construction of pipelines that will link northwestern and central Germany to the French border. Gazprom's German partner in the project is the chemicals group BASK-Wintershall. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

A Chinese trade delegation left for Russia on 5 August to follow up on economic cooperation accords signed during Premier Li Peng's visit to the country in June, ITAR-TASS and AFP reported the same day. China is seeking to resume and develop its economic links. Sino-Russian trade, which dipped 30% last year, was up 3% to reach $2.3 billion in the first half of 1995. The delegation will also travel to Belarus and Ukraine. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.


Vol. 1, No. 152, 7 August 1995
No report today.


Vol. 1, No. 152, 7 August 1995
Soldiers from 14 former communist states have arrived in the U.S. to participate in a three-week exercise within the framework of NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP) program, international media reported on 7 August. Some 4,000 troops will take part in "Cooperative Nugget 95," which includes one week of training and orientation and a two-week peacekeeping exercise. Soldiers from Albania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan will train with troops from the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain. "Cooperative Nugget 95" is the first PfP exercise on U.S. soil. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

President Leonid Kuchma has appointed Pavlo Haidutsky as Ukraine's new agriculture minister, Radio Ukraine reported on 6 August. Haidutsky, who previously chaired the State Committee on Land Resources, is considered the chief architect of the country's land reform program. In other news, the Central Election Committee has scheduled by-elections for 10 December to fill 45 vacant seats in the 450-seat parliament, Radio Ukraine reported on 5 August. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

Ukrainian Radio on 5 August reported that tension within the Defense Ministry has intensified because some circles are attempting to remove Chief of Staff Anatolii Lopata, who has increasingly been left out of important decisions. An elite air-mobile unit based in Kremenchuk was recently transferred to the jurisdiction of the border guards. Lopata learned of the decision only after Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov signed the order. The unit was transferred at the request of the commander of the ground forces, Colonel General Vasyl Sobkov, who reportedly wishes to take over Lopata's position. Opposition to the civilian defense minister is reportedly growing in the army as well. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 5 August issued a statement responding to recent reports that Minsk has stopped sending its nuclear missiles to Russia for destruction, as called for by the START-1 agreement, which Belarus ratified in February 1993, Radio Mayak reported. The country's leadership has never said it will stop the transfer of the remaining 18 SS-25 missiles on its territory to Russia, the statement said. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka meant only that the pace of disarmament will slow down. The reason for the slowdown was Russia's reluctance to deal with the ecological damage left behind after troops and missiles have been removed. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

Yurii Luzhkov, during his recent visit to Minsk, signed agreements on trade, technical, and cultural cooperation and on general cooperation between the Russian and Belarusian capitals, Radio Rossiya reported on 6 August. A deal was also signed for Belarus to supply Moscow with 12,000 tons of potatoes and 10,000 tons of cabbage by the end of year. Luzhkov proposed leasing several shops in Moscow to Belarusian collective farms since it is expected that supplies of Belarusian food products to the Russian capital will increase dramatically. Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said he was pleased that traditional ties with Moscow were being restored. Luzhkov noted that he and Lukashenka have the same ideas on privatization. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

An Interior Ministry spokesman on 4 August said the government is considering following Italy's example by establishing special anti-mafia courts to try alleged mobsters, Western agencies reported. The Italian courts operate under special rules to protect witnesses and judges from gangland reprisals. Estonia has the highest crime rate and lowest arrest rate among the Baltic States and one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world. The number of murders in Estonia increased from 137 in 1990 to 365 in 1994, partly owing to battles for territory among Estonian gangs. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

The Saeima on 3 August began debating sending a Latvian armed forces unit as part of the Danish UN peacekeeping mission in Croatia, BNS reported the following day. Prime Minister Maris Gailis noted that Lithuania and Estonia already have such units in Croatia. Latvia's refusal to do the same could endanger military cooperation between the Baltic States and possibly end Western support for establishing a Baltic peacekeeping battalion. Christian Democratic Union deputy Anita Stankevica opposed sending the unit, arguing that Latvia would be sending half-trained men to where no one wanted to go. The Saeima will make a decision on sending the unit on 9 August. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

The first-ever U.S.-Lithuanian peacekeeping exercises began on 4 August at the Rukla training center in central Lithuania, BNS reported. The three-week exercise, called "Amber Hope `95," is being financed by the U.S. government and will involve 140 Lithuanian soldiers commanded by 10 American instructors. The exercises will take place in two stages. The first will focus on using communication equipment, setting up observation posts, reconnoitering areas, and defusing mines. The second begins on 20 August with a ceremony to be attended by top Lithuanian government officials, army leaders, and foreign diplomats. The soldiers will practice freeing captured civilians, shooting, mining, escorting convoys, and other activities. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

President Lech Walesa on 5 August announced he will run in the upcoming presidential elections, Polish and international media reported. He added that he has already collected the 100,000 signatures required by the electoral law. Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy expressed his fears that the campaign conducted by the head of state may be detrimental to the normal work of the government. The other candidates so far are Aleksander Kwasniewski of the Democratic Left Alliance, who is leading in opinion polls; former Labor Minister Jacek Kuron, backed by the Freedom Union; Ombudsman Tadeusz Zielinski, supported by the Labor Union; and Supreme Court President Adam Strzembosz and former Premier Jan Olszewski, both of whom are backed by the right-of-center parties. Polish National Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz has not yet officially declared her candidacy. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

President Vaclav Havel on 6 August expressed support for Croatia's military offensive in Krajina, Czech media reported. He argued that Zagreb has waited long enough for the international community to settle the conflict between Croatia and the rebel Krajina Serbs. When the international community proved unable to enforce or negotiate such a settlement, "Croatia decided for military action aimed at renewing the integrity of its territory," Havel said. Responding to the killings of two Czech soldiers during the offensive on 5 August, Havel said he was in favor of withdrawing the Czech battalion from Croatia. Czech Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec, however, said on 6 August that Zagreb's military action was premature because the possibilities for a negotiated settlement had not yet been exhausted. "At the same time, we realize that [the offensive] is "an action within the boundaries of a sovereign state," Zieleniec commented. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.

Michal Kovac, on a seven-day official visit to the United States, received an award from the American Bar Association in Chicago on 5 August for "his role in implementing political reform in Slovakia after it became independent following the collapse of Czechoslovakia in 1992," Slovak and international media reported. Kovac told journalists the previous day that he considers the prize to have been awarded to "all democratic forces in Slovakia that have striven for democratization and the rule of law." According to the president, the road toward building a democratic society, the rule of law, and a market economy in Slovakia "is irreversible." -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.


Vol. 1, No. 152, 7 August 1995
Croatian Serb forces on 7 August agreed to what the BBC called a surrender. They will hand over their heavy weapons to the UN at four control points--in Topusko, Glina, Zirovac, and Dvor --and then cross into Bosnia. They will be permitted to keep their hand weapons, but the Croats soon charged that the UN was letting them take a number of big guns, too. Croatian spokesmen said earlier that the "Republic of Serbian Krajina" has ceased to exist. All roads in Sector South are open to traffic. In eastern Slavonia, Serbs declared a war alert and exchanged artillery salvoes with the Croats. Also in the night of 6-7 August, two Bosnian Serb aircraft from Banja Luka attacked a petrochemical plant at Kutina, in central Croatia, Reuters reported. A rocket assault on Karlovac wounded five, and an air raid took place against Nova Gradiska on 7 August. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

Hina on 6 August reported that Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, paying a triumphal visit to the former capital of Krajina, said that the Croats' victory means "more than just conquering Croatian land, this means the creation of conditions for the stability of the Croatian state for centuries to come." The town fell on the morning of the previous day when Serbian units broke and fled before advancing Croatian troops. There was widespread destruction following a Croatian artillery barrage that began on 4 August, in the wake of which the Krajina civilian and military leadership escaped to Bosnian Serb territory. Reports of the death or injury of Krajina "President" Milan Martic have not been confirmed. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

Croatian spokesmen on 6 August said they have completed 80% of their objectives and will wrap things up by the end of 7 August. The BBC quoted UN officials as agreeing with the Croats. The myth of Serbian military prowess evaporated in the southern part of Krajina, which the Croats easily overran. The northern area proved to be tougher; but by the end of 6 August, Petrinja, Slunj, Plitvice and its national park, and the Udbina airfield were in Croatian hands, according to Hina. There were reports of Serbian artillery attacks against Osijek, Vinkovci, and other Croatian areas in eastern Slavonia, but Bosnian Serb centers such as Drvar and Trebinje were also reportedly in a state of alert. Spanish Radio on 5 August said that the Serbs shelled Mostar, not far from where Spanish peacekeepers are stationed. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

This is how Croatian spokesmen on 6 August described the importance of Operation Storm for the embattled northwest Bosnian enclave. International media noted that the Bosnian Fifth Army Corps under General Atif Dudakovic broke through at Trzacke Rastele to join up with Croatian forces. This movement and the advances of the Croats left Krajina cut into several pieces. The Croatian role in saving Bihac was a main factor in Washington's reluctance to criticize Croatia for launching the operation. Secretary of State Warren Christopher even spoke of "beneficial results." Serbia's traditional allies--Russia, France, and Great Britain--led the field in condemning Zagreb, but the Security Council and EU mediator Carl Bildt also added their criticism. A Croatian UN spokesman replied that "Croatia is not the problem; Croatia is the solution," the BBC reported on 5 August. Hina added that Foreign Minister Mate Granic slammed Bildt in a letter that accused the mediator of "a complete lack of political wisdom" both in recent days and throughout the course of his work in the former Yugoslavia. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

Maj.-Gen. Ivan Tolj, the Croatian Defense Ministry's spokesman, told Croatian media on 6 August that eastern Slavonia will be reintegrated peacefully now that the Serbs have seen what the Croatian army can do. The BBC noted, however, that there were several incidents and fatalities as UN peacekeepers were caught in crossfire and at least one Dane and two Czechs were killed. Mlada fronta dnes on 7 August reported that the Czechs died after the Serbs hijacked the rescue vehicle sent for them. What exactly happened in some other incidents remains unclear. The biggest problem for the UN , however, appears to be the flight of most of the Krajina Serbs. Croatian Radio appealed to them to stay, and Hina said on 6 August that some did. But Serbian media urged the Serbs to leave, and the UN expects that the largest single migration of the Wars of the Yugoslav Succession will be the result. One estimate said the total could go as high as 200,000, the BBC noted. Bosnian government sources said they feared the Serbs were deliberately bringing Krajina's panicked population to Bosnia to offset their manpower shortages there. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

The BBC on 5 August reported that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic tried to sideline military commander General Ratko Mladic by appointing him to coordinate operations with Krajina. Mladic the following day responded that such a job does not exist and that he will stay in his post as long as the soldiers and civilians back him. Some 18 generals signed a letter supporting Mladic. The two internationally wanted war criminals have a history of differences over power and tactics, but rarely has their feud become so public. It was dragged into the open at a session of the Bosnian Serb "parliament," which backed Karadzic, saying that the military must yield to civilian control. Karadzic appealed to Serbia to help the Bosnian and Krajina Serbs. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, following meetings in Belgrade with UN mediator Thorvald Stoltenberg, issued a statement saying "it has become apparent that Croatia represents the biggest threat to peace in the Balkans . . . ; [the rump Yugoslavia] justly expects that the international community takes action in keeping with its proclaimed principles and commitment to peace," the International Herald Tribune reported on 5-6 August. Meanwhile, federal rump Yugoslav authorities on 6 August urged the UN Security Council to undertake "urgent action" against Croatia, AFP reported. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

AFP on 6 August reported that the rump Yugoslavia was fortifying its defenses along the border with Croatia. Eye-witnesses the previous day reported having observed "a column of armored troop transport vehicles and other military vehicles . . . [leaving] the barracks of Banjica in Belgrade, headed for the Croatian border." Meanwhile, Belgrade has reportedly ordered the partial mobilization of specialized and elite units. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

Vojislav Seselj, alleged war criminal and leader of the Serbian Radical Party, has urged bomb attacks on Zagreb and Osijek. Speaking one day after being released from prison, Seselj claimed that "the Serbian traitor (President) Slobodan Milosevic" is refraining from a military response because he has reached a deal with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman whereby the Croats capture Knin in exchange for their giving up claims on eastern Slavonia, BETA reported on 4 August. Seselj added that Milosevic is seeking the "destruction of the political and military leadership of the Republic of Serbian Krajina and the Republic of Srpska." Seselj was arrested after clashes with police at an anti-Milosevic demonstration in Gnjilan on 2 June. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

Western agencies, citing Rompres, reported on 4 August that the Romanian government has announced that foreign companies investing more than $50 million in the country's industrial sector will be exempt from some taxes and duties. Such firms will enjoy a seven-year holiday for customs duties and a five-year one for taxes on profit. The new regulations are designed to attract big investors. So far, Romania has attracted mostly small investors, including many from Turkey and the Middle East. Big investors often cite bureaucratic hurdles and hesitant economic reforms as reasons for staying out of the Romanian market. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

Police in Comrat, the capital of Moldova's Gagauz autonomous region, have arrested Ivan Burgudji, head of the Gagauz paramilitary troops, BASA-press reported on 4 August. A leader of the former self-proclaimed Gagauz republic, Burgudji is the de facto commander of the "Budjak" battalion, which was disbanded after Chisinau granted the region broad territorial and cultural autonomy. He was arrested after posting an announcement of guns sale on the door of a local firm. Burgudji, who resisted the police and threatened them with a grenade, later said he had posted the announcement to draw public attention to the fate of the "Budjak" combatants, who, he claimed, have not been paid wages since the unit's dissolution. A local official rejected the claim, saying Burgudji was seeking to destabilize the situation in the region. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

The Bulgarian Constitutional Court on 4 August unanimously decided to appeal to the Supreme Court after the government announced it will move the court out of its offices in the government building (see OMRI Daily Digest, 4 August 1995), Demokratsiya reported the following day. The judges argued that the cabinet has no right to change the offices and thereby paralyze the activities of the Constitutional Court, the Presidency, or the parliament. Constitutional Court Chairman Asen Manov said President Zhelyu Zhelev has promised his assistance in the matter. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave