Kleintje Pils say the performance will be a 'signal'

Nostalgia for men of marble: Andrew Higgins pays a visit to a potent symbol of Stalinism in the resort of Gagra on the Black Sea, inside the breakaway region of Abkhazia

THE last paying guests, a group from Poland seeking sun and sea air, fled the 17th Party Congress Sanatorium when shooting started next to the front desk last August. Damage was relatively light: a shattered windowsill and a few loose chunks of pink plaster. More harmful was the unusually bleak Black Sea winter that followed, endured without heating because of fighting over who should rule this idyllic but cursed stretch of what used to be the Soviet Riviera. Parquet floors buckled; pipes burst and walls blistered with damp.

Yeltsin calms Sevastopol row

PRESIDENT Boris Yeltsin yesterday attacked the Russian parliament for laying claim to the Ukrainian naval port of Sevastopol, and Ukraine's ambassador to Moscow compared the move to the shot that started the First World War. The conservative parliament voted overwhelmingly on Friday to proclaim Sevastopol, the Black Sea fleet's base, as Russian property, and told the Ukrainian government to remove troops from the area.

Black Sea Fleet flies flag of compromise: Admiral quells unrest but denounces presidents' decision to share warships

OFFICERS of the Black Sea Fleet, who had threatened to mutiny over a deal sharing their vessels between Russia and Ukraine, obeyed their commander yesterday and raised the old Soviet flag as a sign of submission to their political leaders. But the commander himself went on to criticise the deal, increasing pressure on the authors, Russia's Boris Yeltsin and Ukraine's Leonid Kravchuk, to reconsider it.

Fleet deal row

The commander of the Black Sea Fleet ordered all ships yesterday to hoist the Soviet-era ensign in an attempt to quash an officers' protest against a decision to split the force equally between Russia and Ukraine, Reuter reports from Moscow. But Marshal Yevgeny Shaposhnikov, secretary-designate of Russia's powerful Security Council, said Ukraine should receive at most 20 per cent of the former Soviet fleet's 300 ships.

Black Sea politics

(First Edition)

Split on fleet

Naval officers of the former Soviet fleet said they would refuse to carry out a decision by the presidents of Russia and Ukraine to split the Black Sea fleet, Reuter reports from Kiev. A meeting of 120 officers' representatives called instead for the former Soviet fleet to be placed under exclusive Russian jurisdiction.

Yeltsin in Black Sea accord: Agreement reached between Russia and Ukraine on division of fleet

THE LEADERS of Russia and Ukraine, whose relations have often been tense since the collapse of the Soviet Union, managed to overcome their differences yesterday when they agreed to an amicable division of the Black Sea Fleet into two separate navies. The bilateral deal will give some cheer to Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kravchuk, who are both under pressure on their domestic political fronts.

Ukrainians' new navy sails into a sea of troubles: Steve Crawshaw in Sevastopol on post-Soviet tension

BORIS KOZHIN, Admiral of the Ukrainian navy, tried to put a brave face on things, as he and his officers took the launch back to Sevastopol after visiting the Hetman Sagaidachny, latest addition to the tiny fleet of an independent Ukraine. But he did not conceal his belief that he had been snubbed by the representatives of Moscow, on what should - in his view - have been a small moment of history.

Georgia's ill-disciplined army lacks clout to end conflict: The war in Abkhazia is about the republic's survival, writes Hugh Pope from Sukhumi

THE 74-YEAR-OLD veteran stood at the foot of the aircraft steps, pleading for order with a surging crowd of Georgian soldiers, armed to the teeth and determined to board the aircraft that was their only route home for precious combat leave.

Shevardnadze says Moscow backs rebels

TBILISI - President Eduard Shevardnadze of Georgia yesterday accused Russia of backing ethnic separatists in the break- away region of Abkhazia, saying fresh fighting proved that the two republics were locked in armed conflict.

Children of Turkey caught in the shadow of Chernobyl

PICTURES of balding children with leukaemia have been filling newspapers in Turkey, their angry parents accusing the government of letting their loved ones fall victim to radioactive rain from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

TELEVISION / The fat lady sings

'I WAS slim and striking', said Galina Brezhnev, 'and this provoked envy.' If you had been feeling sorry for the subject of Roger Finnigan's intriguing First Tuesday film, 'Brezhnev's Daughter' (ITV), this was the moment it began to evaporate. What you were looking at, you realised, as well as a sad, self-pitying drunk, was an image of the old Soviet state itself - sincerely mendacious, resolutely paranoid, a victim of the lies it told itself. The evidence of the old snapshots revealed that Galina had actually only been slim for about three minutes in 1956; then the privileges of power began to lag the body, laying a swag of fat beneath the chin, coarsening the face into ever closer identity with her father.

All saved

MOSCOW (AP) - The Russian navy rescued all 290 people on board a fishing boat that had been swamped by a storm in the Black Sea on Monday, and then towed the vessel to the port of Sochi.

Shevardnadze threatens force

MOSCOW (Reuter) - Georgia's leader, Eduard Shevardnadze, yesterday warned that government troops would retake a stronghold in the breakaway region of Abkhazia captured earlier in the day by separatists. Abkhazian rebels broke through the defences in the northern Black Sea coastal town of Gagra yesterday and captured it after two hours of street fighting. Mr Shevardnadze flew to the regional capital, Sukhumi, now under the control of government troops, and said Gagra had to be returned to government control.

Bus ambush

MOSCOW (Reuter) - Seven Georgian troops were killed and 14 wounded when rebel gunmen shot at a bus in the separatist region of Abkhazia, local journalists said. They quoted local military authorities as saying the rebels had ambushed the bus on Saturday just outside the city of Gagra on the Black Sea coast.
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