|Nothing helps scenery like ham and eggs. - Mark Twain|
No. 227, 02 December 1991
USSR-All-Union And Inter-Republican Topics RUSSIA ASSUMES RESPONSIBILITY FOR UNION BUDGET. After meeting with USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev and USSR Gosbank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko on November 30, RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin announced that Russia would assume responsibility for the union budget through the end of the year, CTV and Western agencies reported that day. Yeltsin said that central government expenditure would be substantially reduced, but that salaries would not be cut in military, scientific, cultural, and budget organizations. The move breaks the deadlock over funding the union budget for the last quarter of 1991 that arose when RSFSR deputies refused to approve additional credits of around 90 billion rubles. (Keith Bush) DEFENSE MINISTERS' COUNCIL CREATED. The USSR State Council has created a consultative body called the Defense Ministers' Council tasked with conducting a unified military policy and making decisions on defense matters, General Staff Chief Vladimir Lobov told Radio Moscow on November 29. Membership will include defense representatives from the republics. (Stephen Foye) COLLECTIVE SECURITY TREATY DRAFTED. The USSR Supreme Soviet has drawn up a draft treaty that would create a single security area for member states, the establishment of a unified strategic force, and the creation of nuclear-free republican armies. As reported by Radio Moscow on November 30, the draft also calls for elimination of tactical nuclear weapons and joint, proportional financing of the united forces by member states. (Stephen Foye) LOBOV STILL WANTS UNIFIED ARMY. In separate remarks reported by TASS on November 29 and broadcast by Soviet television on December 1, General Staff Chief Vladimir Lobov reiterated his call for unified armed forces that would permit the republics considerable input in military decision-making and administration, but would continue to subordinate strategic forces and general military forces to the center. He again urged that republican-controlled armed units be limited to National Guard forces. (Stephen Foye) MANILOV ON MILITARY BUDGET. Defense Ministry spokesman Valerii Manilov, speaking to Soviet television on November 29 following a meeting of republican defense representatives, said that tentative agreement had been reached to lower military spending for 1992 by roughly3%. He said that spending for weapons procurement would be cut by approximately30%, and that these savings would be devoted to improving social conditions for soldiers. The 3% figure seems unrealistically low, and it is unclear whether inter-republican consultations will be viable.(Stephen Foye) GENERAL WARNS OF CHAOS. Major General Leonid Kozhendaev, identified as chief of a section of the General Staff, warned in Komsomol'skaya pravda on November 30 that the Soviet state has been destroyed and that the country is now on the edge of civil war and anarchy. As reported by TASS, Kozhendaev's ominous remarks reflected the views of his underlings on the General Staff. He called for immediate action, said that the army is capable of helping politicians, but also warned that the army is becoming politicized and is "tired of being humiliated." (Stephen Foye) SOVIET CARRIER LEAVES THE BLACK SEA. The Soviet Navy has told Turkish authorities that the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov will transit the Turkish Straits on Monday, December2. While the 1936 Montreux Convention technically prohibits such ships in the straits, the Turks have accepted the Soviet contention that the Kuznetsov is an "aircraft-carrying cruiser," according to Reuters. The fate of the Kuznetsov's sister ship--still being fitted out--and a larger follow-on ship under construction remains uncertain. The Ukrainian government is reported to have taken over the shipyards on the Black Sea where these vessels are located and might not complete them for the Soviet Navy. (Doug Clarke) NEW FIRST DEPUTY. Aleksandr Vladislavlev was appointed First Deputy Minister of External Relations, External Relations Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin said on November29. Churkin said one of Vladislavlev's priorities will be to eliminate "any obstacles to the development of market relations" and "to create the maximum incentives for foreign investment." (Suzanne Crow) REPUBLICS EARLY REFERENDUM RESULTS IN UKRAINE. Initial results of yesterday's referendum confirm predictions of overwhelming support for Ukrainian independence, Western news agencies reported. Results from several electoral districts showed a probable result of 75% supporting the August 24 declaration of independence. In Kiev, nearly 93% voted yes. The heavily Russified and industrial Donetsk Oblast showed a 70% majority. In Odessa and the Crimea, the figures were 75% and 54% in favor, respectively. Lvov, in Western Ukraine, voted 80% for independence. (Roman Solchanyk) KRAVCHUK RUNNING AHEAD IN UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL RACE. Chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet Leonid Kravchuk appears to be headed for victory as Ukraine's first popularly elected president, Western agencies reported. Ukrainian election officials reported that trends indicated that the Ukrainian leader would win on the first ballot with more than 50% of the vote. Results from Donetsk and Lvov gave Kravchuk 60% of the vote. (Roman Solchanyk) US TO ACKNOWLEDGE UKRAINIAN INDEPENDENCE. US ambassador in Moscow Robert Strauss told an American television news program on Sunday that the US will "acknowledge" Ukraine's independence vote and "do something about it," Western news agencies reported. At the same time, Strauss said that there will be no rush to extend formal recognition. The US ambassador told American television viewers that before recognition is extended a number of issues would have to be examined, including how the referendum was conducted, Ukraine's commitment to human rights, the question of nuclear arms in Ukraine, and the Soviet debt. (Roman Solchanyk) YELTSIN ON UKRAINIAN INDEPENDENCE. Russian President Boris Yeltsin told the main television news program on Saturday evening that hecould not imagine a Union without Ukraine. "What, after all, is the Union without Ukraine?" asked Yeltsin. The Russian leader also asserted that if Ukraine fails to sign a political treaty--i.e., a Union treaty, Russia will not sign either. (Roman Solchanyk) GORBACHEV ON UKRAINIAN INDEPENDENCE. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev is reported as saying that even if Ukraine votes for independence this does not mean that it will secede from the Soviet Union, Western news agencies reported. The remark was made on Saturday during a telephone conversation with US President Bush. And, in an interview reported by TASS on Saturday, Gorbachev urged Ukraine to remain in the Union, implying that territorial claims would be raised if Ukraine secedes. Gorbachev's remarks elicited a strong response from Ukrainian leader Leonid Kravchuk, who said that such statements were "ill considered" and constituted interference in Ukraine's referendum. (Roman Solchanyk) MOROZOV ON BLACK SEA FLEET. Ukrainian Defense Minister Konstantin Morozov said at anews conference on November 30 that Ukraine's plan to establish its own armed forces would include a navy drawn partly from the Black Sea Fleet, AFP reported that day. He also disclosed that defense officials from 11 of the 12 former Soviet republics had metin Moscow on November 28 and 29 and had agreed on the right of the republics to set up their own armed forces independent of the union army. Morozov acknowledged that talks with Moscow are crucial. He predicted that Ukraine's draft laws on defense would be approved by the Supreme Soviet shortly after the vote on independence. (Kathy Mihalisko) NAZARBAEV ELECTED. Soviet and Western agencies reported on December 1 that Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev had been confirmed in office in the first direct presidential election to be held in the republic. Nazarbaev was elected republican president by Kazakhstan's Supreme Soviet in 1990. Preliminary reports indicated that Nazarbaev had received around 90% of the vote in the December1 election, in which he was the only candidate registered. Some 87% of the electorate reportedly voted. Nazarbaev told journalists that heconsidered the election a popular referendum on his plans to introduce radical market reforms. (Bess Brown) RUTSKOI PROTESTS PLANNED PRICE LIBERALIZATION. RSFSR Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi has threatened to resign if Russia frees prices "immediately," according to RIA of November30. Rutskoi, who was on a tour of Siberian cities, was quoted by TASS of the same date as saying that the forthcoming liberalization of retail prices would inevitably lead to the "impoverishment" of the majority of the population and to "unpredictable social consequences." He argued that prices could not be freed before October 1992, after foreign trade liberalization, and after land and financial reforms. The date for freeing most wholesale and retail prices in the RSFSR has not yet been announced, but it is widely believed to be scheduled for January 1992. (Keith Bush) FREEZE ON SAVINGS DEPOSITS DENIED. On November 30, Radio Rossii announced that Russian banks would cease all payments in cash, except for salaries, effective December 2, and that salaries would be frozen. Bonuses and the 13th month wage packet would also be frozen. This move was said to stem from an RSFSR government resolution to curb the money supply. RSFSR Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar went on Russian TV later that evening to deny the report (which was also carried by RIA) and assured viewers that "the Russian Government guarantees that bank accounts will not be frozen." (Keith Bush) RSFSR LAW ON MASS MEDIA ADOPTED IN FIRST READING. On November 27, the RSFSR Supreme Soviet adopted in the first reading the republican law on mass media, "Radio Rossii" reported on November 28. The newly created Russian Association of Independent Broadcasting held a press conference on November 28 to criticize the draft law. Journalists especially protested the provision of the draft law stating that during a state of emergency "the organs of emergency power should be given unlimited access to radio and television to announce their documents." (Vera Tolz) DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF RUSSIA PLANS THIRD CONGRESS. Interviewed on Soviet Television on November 29, Nikolai Travkin said the DPR, which he heads, will hold its Third Congress in Moscow on December 7 and 8. Travkin said the party has recently set up its own Party School and youth organization. (Elizabeth Teague) ULTRANATIONALISTS RALLY IN MOSCOW, ST.PETERSBURG. A few dozens of Russian "anti-Zionists" were shown on December 1 by "TV Inform," protesting against celebrations in Kremlin of the Jewish religious feast, Hanukkah. Meanwhile, according to AP of December 1, 3,000 citizens of St. Petersburg rallied in support of the local TV reporter Aleksandr Nevzorov, whose popular program "600 Seconds" had been closed down by the new head of the St. Petersburg radio and television Viktor Yugin, because of Nevzorov's alleged support to the coup organizers. The participants shouted abuses against Yeltsin and Gorbachev, and several journalists, trying to cover the event, were beaten up. (Julia Wishnevsky) LOW TURNOUT REPORTED IN INGUSH REFERENDUM. Only just over 5% of the electorate voted in a referendum on the future of Ingushetia on November 30 called by the third all-national congress of Ingush, RIA reported on December 1. Voters were asked to say whether they wanted to form an Ingush republic in the RSFSR with the return of lands illegally taken from them by Stalin and with its capital in the right bank of the North Ossetian capital, Vladikavkaz, TASS reported November 30. The organizers of the referendum maintained that Yeltsin had promised this land would be returned to them if they voted to remain in the RSFSR. The referendum was opposed by the "Justice" party and part of the Muslim clergy, and also by Chechen President, Dzhakhar Dudaev. (Ann Sheehy) GEORGIA DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY IN MARNEULI. Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia imposed a state of emergency in Marneuli raion south of Tbilisi, which has a predominantly Azerbaijani population, because of "an escalation of inter-ethnic conflicts," Georgian television reported on November 29. (Liz Fuller) GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT SESSION SUSPENDED. Radio Mayak reported on November 30 that a session of the Georgian Supreme Soviet that began on November 29 had broken up amid scuffles between supporters of President Zviad Gamsakhurdia and the parliamentary opposition. The parliament chairman, Akaki Asatiani, reportedly asked to be relieved from his post because of a severe illness; his deputy refused to chair the session, which is scheduled to resume on December 3. (Liz Fuller) BALTIC STATES USSR DELEGATION CHIEFS FOR BALTIC TALKS CHANGED. Janis Peters, head of the Latvian representation in Moscow, told Diena on November 29 that Soviet delegation heads for talks with the Baltic States (Anatolii Sobchak for talks with Estonia, Aleksandr Yakovlev for Latvia, Eduard Shevardnadze for Lithuania) had been changed and that the talks would henceforth fall under the jurisdiction of the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Peters was told of the changes by the USSR First Deputy Minister of Communications Aleksandr Kovalov, who indicated that Moscow was giving greater importance to the USSR-Baltic talks than before. Peters did not learn the names of the new USSR delegation chiefs. (Dzintra Bungs) TWO MINISTERS TO LEAVE ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT. The Estonian government voted on November 28 to submit the resignations of two ministers to the Supreme Council for approval, BNS reported that day. Both are ministers without portfolio--Endel Lippmaa is responsible for relations with the East and Artur Kuznetsov is in charge of nationality affairs. Both men submitted their resignations to Prime Minister Savisaar long ago, but the government refused to pass their appeals on to the Supreme Council, which must approve the resignations. (Riina Kionka) POLITICAL PARTIES RESPOND ON CITIZENSHIP. Several of Estonia's major political parties have already responded to the government's appeal last week for suggestions as to how the 1938 citizenship law should be applied. The statements,published in Rahva haal on November 30, suggest that consensus will be hard to reach. The parties differ widely on four points: whether permanent residents should be granted citizenship, the length of the minimum residence requirement, how to apply the language competence requirement, and whether to allow dual citizenship. Given the lack of unified opinion, it seems likely that the government will wait for more parties to respond before acting. (Riina Kionka) LATVIAN-UKRAINIAN ECONOMIC ACCORD. Diena reported on November 29 that the principles of Latvian-Ukrainian economic cooperation for 1992 had been ratified by Latvia's Minister of Foreign Trade Edgars Zausajevs and Ukraine's Minister of State Vladimir Lanahov. Specific details would be coordinated by December 20. Latvia has already signed intergovernmental accords with two former USSR republics, and protocols on economic cooperation for 1992 with nine republics. Currently Latvian representatives are working on economic agreements with Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN LABOR PARTY ELECTS NEW LEADER. At its third congress in Limbazi on November 30 and December 1, the Democratic Labor Party of Latvia elected Deputy Juris Bojars as its leader; Bojars replaces Imants Kezbers, once the ideological secretary of the Latvian Communist Party. Most of the DLPL members are former liberal communists who split from the LCP in 1990 to form their own party. The congress discussed an economic program for Latvia and the party's strategy for the next elections to the Latvian parliament, Radio Riga reported on December 1. (Dzintra Bungs) LITHUANIAN-EC DIPLOMATIC TIES. In an interview with RFE/RL on November 30, Adolfas Venckus, Lithuania's ambassador to NATO, said he had received a message on November 29 that the European Community was extending diplomatic relations to Lithuania and formally recognized him as Lithuania's ambassador to the EC. (Saulius Girnius)
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