I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of my existence, and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race. - James Joyce
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 233, 10 December 1991



USSR--ALL-UNION AND INTER-REPUBLICAN TOPICS



GORBACHEV, YELTSIN, NAZARBAEV MEET. Virtually the whole of the
80-minute meeting in the Kremlin on December 9 of USSR President
Mikhail Gorbachev, RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin, and Kazakhstan
President Nursultan Nazarbaev consisted of Gorbachev and Nazarbaev
questioning Yeltsin on the agreement among the three Slavic republics
to create a commonwealth of independent states, TASS reported
on December 9. Yeltsin was speaking in the name of all three
Slavic republics. TASS said that Gorbachev would continue consultations
after the meeting with the leaders of other republics who had
come to Moscow, and also with other state and public figures.
(Ann Sheehy)

GORBACHEV ISSUES STATEMENT. After the meeting Gorbachev issued
a statement, which was read on Central TV, saying that the agreement
reached by the three Slavic republics had its positive sides
in that Ukraine had taken part and it preserved a joint economic
space and provided for cooperation in various spheres. However,
while republics could secede from the USSR, Gorbachev said that
three republics could not determine the fate of the multilateral
state. He maintained that the document had been signed in haste,
without a mandate from the population or parliaments of the three
republics. He stated that both the draft Union treaty and the
agreement signed in Minsk should be debated by the republican
and all-Union parliaments, and that a Congress of People's Deputies
should be called. He also said he would not exclude a referendum.
(Ann Sheehy)

SHAKHRAI SAYS MINSK AGREEMENT CONSTITUTIONAL. In a talk on Radio
Rossii on December 9, RSFSR State Councilor and legal expert
Sergei Shakhrai contested Gorbachev's argument that the three
Slavic republics had acted unconstitutionally in declaring that
the Soviet Union had ceased to exist. Shakhrai said that the
treaty of 1922 setting up the USSR had been signed by four republics--the
three Slavic republics, and the Transcaucasian republic that
had ceased to exist. It was these republics that transferred
powers to the Union, powers that they had recently taken back
with their declarations of sovereignty and independence. (Ann
Sheehy)

NAZARBAEV'S PRESS CONFERENCE. After his meeting with Gorbachev
and Yeltsin, Nazarbaev, looking somewhat at a loss, according
to the December 9 edition of "TV-Inform," complained to correspondents
that an interstate structure based on ethnic affinity is a relic
of the Middle Ages. Nazarbaev added that an organ of coordination
is needed for the republics to weather current difficulties and
such an organ could be headed by Gorbachev. Summaries of the
press conference indicate that Nazarbaev was upset at having
been excluded from the Minsk agreement and intends to continue
supporting Gorbachev. (Bess Brown)

CONTROLLING NUCLEAR WEAPONS. The spate of statements aimed at
reassuring the world that nuclear weapons in the former USSR
are safe has only clouded the issue. The commonwealth agreement
calls for "unified control" over these weapons, with procedures
regulated by an unpublished special agreement. Gorbachev's spokesmen
say that the USSR President and the Ministry of Defense retain
control, while RSFSR Foreign Minister, Andrei Kozyrev was quoted
by agencies on December 9 as saying that the State Council--a
body apparently made obsolete by the commonwealth pact--would
still retain control. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk has
called for a novel "three button" trigger, but made no mention
of Kazakhstan, where 104 giant SS-18 ICBMs are based. (Doug Clarke)


PRICE DECONTROL DELAYED. RSFSR Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar
told Russian TV on December 9 that his republic has agreed to
delay lifting controls on most prices until January 2. This had
been requested by Ukraine and Belorussia at the weekend meeting
in Minsk. All three republics will try to decontrol prices simultaneously.
Ukraine and Belorussia had appealed against the original target
date of December 16, citing a shortage of rubles. In the absence
of a coordinated move, Russian shoppers would have swamped Ukrainian
and Belorussian stores in search of cheaper goods. For their
part, Ukraine and Belorussia have agreed to increase deliveries
of food and consumer goods to Russia. (Keith Bush)

EC AID ARRANGEMENTS MODIFIED. Belgian Finance Minister Philippe
Maystadt, speaking on behalf of the European Community, announced
on December 9 that the EC will change the mechanisms of its promised
aid to the former USSR, Western agencies reported that day. Instead
of making credit guarantees available to Moscow for the purchase
and distribution of food, these would now be offered directly
to the cities where the food aid is needed. The individual republics
which seek credit guarantees will have to honor their commitments
to repay their share of the total external debt of the former
USSR. The value of the EC credit package has been put at 500
million ECUs, or roughly $650 million. (Keith Bush)

REPORTS ON LOBOV DISMISSAL. Confusion continues to surround the
dismissal of General Staff Chief Vladimir Lobov. According to
TASS, Izvestia on December 9 quoted unnamed "military experts"
as saying that Lobov's ideas on military reform were not consistent
with those recentlyagreed upon by the USSR State Council. Lobov
has been a strong proponent of a unified military structure.
The Washington Post on December 10, meanwhile, linked the dismissal
to rumors that a disgruntled faction within the General Staff
is planning a seizure of power. The newspaper reported that the
officer in charge of Kremlin security had also been replaced
over the weekend. (Stephen Foye)

GROMOV RESURFACES. Colonel General Boris Gromov has been appointed
a First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Soviet Ground Forces, Vechernaya
Moskva reported on December 6. The report was carried by TASS.
The last commander of Soviet forces in Afghanistan, Gromov subsequently
headed the Kiev Military District and served as a First Deputy
Minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He has long been
considered among the most capable and most charismatic of Soviet
military leaders. He was thought by many to have been a participant
in the August coup, but formal charges were never brought and
it was later reported that a slot was being sought for him in
the Defense Ministry. (Stephen Foye)

REPUBLICS SEEKING OFFICERS. A number of officers stationed in
the Volga-Ural Military District but born outside the RSFSR are
now receiving letters from "people's fronts" in the republics
of the former Union, Radio Moscow reported on December6. The
letters allegedly urge the officers to return home to help organize
republican armies. According to the report, one-third of all
officers in the Volga-Ural Military District were born outside
the Russian Federation. (Stephen Foye)

GENERAL STAFF, SECURITY FORCES SUPPORT REFERENDUM. A senior officer
of the General Staff, Leonid Kozhendaev, told Radio Moscow's
World Service, on December 9 that, in the event of a referendum
on the fate of the USSR, the Armed Forces, the MVD, and state
security services will guarantee that the vote is carried out
democratically. The referendum was suggested yesterday by Gorbachev.
Such a referendum must be held in all administrative-territorial
regions of the former USSR to determine the political regime,
economic order, and the new borders of the republics, said the
Major General. As a representative of a group of officers in
the General Staff, Kozhendaev made a similar statement to TASS
on November 30. (Victor Yasmann)


USSR--REPUBLICS AND SUCCESSOR STATES


MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION RETURNS. Vladimir Kiktenko, chairman
of Moldavia's Central Electoral Commission, at a press conference
on December 9 released the returns of the presidential elections
held on December 8. Out of 2.9 million eligible voters, 550,000
were unable to register for the vote owing to adverse pressures
on the left bank of the Dniester and in Gagauz. Among the 2.35
million registered voters, the turnout was 83%. Snegur received
98% of the votes cast, or 67.5% relative to the total number
of eligible voters in the entire republic. The voting was monitored
by observers from the US, West and East European countries, the
Baltic States, the RSFSR, Ukraine, and Romania. (Vladimir Socor)


MOLDAVIAN POLICE AT BAY IN BENDERY. Moldavian law enforcement
officials and parliamentary deputies told RFE/RL on December9
that a detachment of over 100 "Dniester SSR" armed guards and
uniformed army soldiers besieged the police station in Bendery
that day and gave it an ultimatum to submit to the orders of
the "Dniester SSR." The Bendery city soviet leaders served the
ultimatum. As on previous similar occasions, the police were
under strict orders not to use arms. This attitude may be subject
to change in this instance, however, since Bendery is a major
city and the attack on it marks the extension of the "political-military
putsch" from the left onto the right bank of the Dniester. (Vladimir
Socor)

UNLAWFUL ARMED GROUPS IN MOLDAVIA. The Moldavian press in recent
days has published intelligence information attesting that nearly
1,500 submachine guns were recently handed over by the military
to the "Dniester SSR" on a single day in Rybnitsa. Also published
was a facsimile of an Army receipt recording the handing over
by a military unit of 12 machine guns to a representative of
a Russian "workers' detachment." A US Congressional observer
of the presidential voting in the town of Comrat in southern
Moldavia told journalists on December 9 that the town was being
patrolled by well armed Gagauz militants. (Vladimir Socor)

USSR MILITARY DELEGATION TO MOLDAVIA. A delegation of the USSR
Defense Ministry and the General Staff, headed by First Deputy
Chief of the General Staff Col. Gen. Bronislav Omelichev, arrived
in Moldavia on December 8 at the invitation of the Moldavian
government to look into "cases of officers of the 14th Army interfering
in Moldavia's internal affairs," Moldovapres reported on December
9. Moldavian Prime Minster Valeriu Muravschi "pre-sented incontrovertible
evidence of the Army's inter-ference," Moldovapres said December
9. Omelichev cryptically replied that the armed men in uniform
"are not necessarily regular soldiers." The Defense Ministry
summoned Lt. Gen. Gennadii Yakovlev to the USSR to explain his
actions. (Vladimir Socor)

UKRAINE PASSES LAW ON ARMED FORCES AND DEFENSE. As reported on
December 6 by Radio Kiev, the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet that day
passed the Law on the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Law on
the Defense of Ukraine. The latter piece of legislation provides
for a state defense council, which newly elected President Leonid
Kravchuk is expected to form soon. In accordance with the law,
Kravchuk becomes commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces.
Also approved was the military oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian
nation and constitution. Defense Minister Konstantin Morozov
on December 6 was first to take the oath. (Kathy Mihalisko)

TOUGH QUESTIONS TO KRAVCHUK ON COMMONWEALTH. At a press conference
on December 9 in Kiev, Kravchuk had to justify his signing of
the "Slavic commonwealth" agreement. Radio Kiev said that day
that reactions seemed to come in three types: those who thought
Kravchuk might have betrayed the interests of the nascent Ukrainian
state; those who welcomed the opportunity to create a European-style
community of nations; and those who wanted to know, above all,
why Kravchuk had not first consulted his parliament. Kravchuk
stressed that with the exception of a few areas where joint action
is needed, such as control over strategic weapons, the agreement
guaranteed the jurisdiction of independent states. (Kathy Mihalisko)


SHUSHKEVICH: NOT FOR SLAVS ONLY. As quoted on December 9 on Radio
Moscow, Belorussian Supreme Soviet Chairman Stanislav Shushkevich
has rejected criticism that the commonwealth agreement is "purely
Slavic" and maintained that there are no obstacles to other republics
and states joining it. Curiously, Shushkevich said the agreement
provides for the maintenance of united armed forces. At Kravchuk's
press conference in Kiev, however, the Ukrainian president said
the agreement would not prevent the formation of national armies.
(Kathy Mihalisko)

RUSSIAN KGB SHOWS STRENGTH. Viktor Ivanenko, general director
of the Russian Agency of Federal Security (the former RSFSR KGB),
told Rossiiskaia gazeta on December 4 that it will cost Russia
16 billion rubles to establish new border facilities after the
secession of the other republics. He said that Russia will not
build heavily guarded wire fences at its new borders because
that would cost even more. Ivanenko also revealed that Russia
is seriously considering counterintelligence and intelligence
activities against other republics who may become hostile to
Russia. He added that Russia is already conducting foreign espionage
abroad by exploiting new RSFSR foreign trade structures. (Alexander
Rahr)

NABIEV OFFERS TO HOST AFGHAN PEACE TALKS. Western news agencies
reported on December 6 that newly-elected Tajik President Rakhman
Nabiev told a Pakistani delegation that Tajikistan would be willing
to host Afghan peace negotiations. The Pakistani delegation is
touring all the Cental Asian republics. (Bess Brown)


EASTERN EUROPE


BALTIC STATES


LANDSBERGIS, GORBUNOVS WELCOME COMMONWEALTH AGREEMENT. On December
9 Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis
told a press conference in Vilnius that he welcomes the creation
of the Commonwealth of Independent States by the leaders of Russia,
Ukraine, and Belorussia, BALTFAX reported that day. He expressed
confidence that the commonwealth will become the successor of
the USSR and that "Lithuania will surely benefit from that, especially
in settling the problem of the withdrawal of Soviet troops from
the Baltics." He noted: "The three states of the commonwealth,
not Gorbachev, will decide everything. I think he is already
in the past. Now he could regain power only through a coup."
Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs, returning
from Paris on December 9, told the press that Latvia's relations
with the commonwealth would be based on principles of bilateral
relations between sovereign states, regardless of Gorbachev's
views on these matters, Diena reported that day. (Saulius Girnius
& Dzintra Bungs)

ESTONIA RECOGNIZES UKRAINE. The Estonian government voted on
December 9 to recognize Ukrainian independence, BNS reported
that day. The government had delayed recognition until official
results of last week's referendum were published. (Riina Kionka)


RUUTEL, YELTSIN DISCUSS TROOPS, BORDERS. Chairman of the Estonian
Supreme Council Arnold Ruutel and RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin
signed a joint communique in Moscow on December 9 pledging a
joint stand on troop withdrawals. According to BNS the same day,
Ruutel told Yeltsin that Estonia was willing to build housing
in Russia for withdrawing troops. The two also discussed border
questions, and Ruutel reportedly appealed to Yeltsin to correct
borders unilaterally drawn by the USSR after WW II. (Riina Kionka)

RUTSKOI DEMANDS RELEASE OF JAILED OMON COMMANDER. RSFSR Vice
President Aleksandr Rutskoi demanded the Latvian authorities
release Sergei Parfenov, deputy chief of the OMON detachment
that was stationed in Riga before its transfer to the Tyumen
region at the end of August. Court proceedings are being prepared
by the Latvian authorities against Parfenov in connection with
his involvement in the August coup attempt. Parfenov was arrested
by RSFSR officials who then honored a Latvian request for extradition.
Rutskoi claims, according to TASS of December 9, that it was
not legally correct to extradite Parfenov. (Dzintra Bungs)

NEW LATVIAN ENVOY TO UN. On December 5 Aivars Baumanis presented
his credentials to UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar,
thus becoming Latvia's new ambassador to the United Nations,
an RFE/RL correspondent in New York reported that day. Baumanis,
who has a degree in law, worked in Latvia as a journalist and
editor specializing in foreign affairs. He replaces Anatols Dinbergs,
who earlier represented Latvia in the United States as well as
the UN and now remains envoy to the USA. (Dzintra Bungs)


[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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