Today’s issue of Nezavisimaya gazeta publishes what it claims are leaked details of two secret presidential decrees, drafted by President Yeltsin’s staff in anticipation of his visit to Germany later this week. One decree reportedly concerns the return to Germany of works of art captured by the Soviet army during World War II. Earlier this month, the Russian Duma overrode a presidential veto and approved a bill banning the return of "trophy art" not only to Germany but also to occupied countries such as Poland and the Netherlands, whose artistic treasures also landed in Russia at war’s end. The bill is presently with the upper house of parliament, whose approval is required before it becomes law. The second decree, according to Nezavisimaya gazeta, concerns the archives of East Germany’s ruling Communist party, the Socialist Unity party of Germany (SED), microfilmed copies of which Russia is also reportedly preparing to transfer to Germany. (Itar-Tass, April 15)
Russia’s Military Space Forces in "Critical" Financial Condition.