Miracles are natural. When they do not occur, something has gone wrong. - A Course in Miracles
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 236, 13 December 1991



USSR--ALL-UNION AND INTER-REPUBLICAN TOPICS



GORBACHEV BEGINS TO FACE UP TO THE INEVITABLE. In a meeting with
the press in the Kremlin on December 12, USSR President Mikhail
Gorbachev seemed ready to bow to the inevitable and repeated
his determination to resign if the Soviet state was destroyed,
Soviet and Western agencies reported on December 12. Gorbachev
said that the main work of his life was done, and maintained
that most other people would have given up long ago. At the same
time, he warned that a situation was arising that could lead
to dictatorship. He also expressed his resentment that RSFSR
President Boris Yeltsin had telephoned US President George Bush
first about the commonwealth agreement, and that only then did
Belorussian leader Stanislau Shushkevich inform him. (Ann Sheehy)


RSFSR SUPREME SOVIET APPROVES COMMONWEALTH AGREEMENT. The RSFSR
Supreme Soviet approved the Minsk agreement on the formation
of a Commonwealth of Independent States on December 12 by 188
votes in favor, 6against, and 7 abstentions, TASS reported December
12. The Russian parliament also renounced the 1922 Union treaty.
Yeltsin described the parliament's decision as historic. In his
speech to the Supreme Soviet he said the republics had been driven
to this solution by Gorbachev's obstinate refusal to give up
the idea of a strong center. (Ann Sheehy)

DEATH THROES OF USSR SUPREME SOVIET. The RSFSR Supreme Soviet
also followed the Belorussian legislature's example and recalled
the republic's deputies from the USSR Supreme Soviet. Gorbachev
issued a statement saying that such actions did not contribute
to the stability of society at a time when the fate of the state
was in question and he called on the parliaments of both republics
to reexamine the question, TASS reported on December 12. Gorbachev
was to have addressed the legislature, but did not turn up. Since
Ukraine decided much earlier not to send deputies to the USSR
Supreme Soviet it is hard to see how the body can function meaningfully
any longer. (Ann Sheehy)

CENTRAL ASIAN LEADERS MEET. The presidents of the five Central
Asian republics met in Ashkhabad on December 12 to discuss their
reaction to the commonwealth. Soviet media reported that a press
conference would be held on December 13, and the five Central
Asian presidents would meet with Yeltsin and Ukrainian and Belorussian
leaders the following day in Alma-Ata. Uzbek President Islam
Karimov said on his arrival in Ashkhabad that he would accept
a commonwealth of independent states but not a union of sovereign
states. Tajik President Rakhman Nabiev agreed with Karimov, as
did Kirgiz President Askar Akaev, who commented that a commonwealth
is the most democratic way to organize a union. (Bess Brown)


CENTRAL ASIAN REACTIONS. A TASS press roundup of December 12
quoted a statement in Izvestia by Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister
Ata Charyev, who said he was convinced that the Central Asian
presidents would support the new commonwealth but would request
minor changes so that their republics would have equal status
with the Slavic states. Izvestia's correspondent in Alma-Ata
reported that a majority of deputies to the Supreme Soviet of
Kazakhstan see the commonwealth as the only possibility to retain
the process of integration. A Bishkek journalist told RFE/RL
that before leaving for Ashkhabad, Akaev asked Kyrgyzstan's legislature
to decide if the republic should join the commonwealth. (Bess
Brown)

NAGORNO-KARABAKH WANTS TO JOIN COMMONWEALTH. TASS reported on
December 12 that the chairman of the Nagorno-Karabakh Executive
Council, Leonid Petrosyan, has sent messages to the presidents
of Russia, Ukraine, and Belorussia requesting membership in the
commonwealth. According to The Los Angeles Times of December
13, the Azerbaijani parliament voted the previous day in favor
of commonwealth membership. RSFSR deputy Viktor Sheinis is quoted
by The Boston Globe (December 13) as arguing that Azerbaijan
and Georgia should not be admitted to the commonwealth until
they show willingness to abide by international norms on human
rights. (Liz Fuller)

NEW SECURITY SYSTEM? Reports on Yeltsin's meeting with officers
remain fragmentary, but an unnamed participant told Komsomol'skaya
pravda on December 12 that Yeltsin proposed unified command over
strategic forces, including, apparently, air, naval, and PVO
forces. As summarized by TASS, republics would be allowed their
own ground forces (this formulation appears inconsistent with
Ukraine's decision to take control of all armed forces on its
territory). Russia would not create its own army. Defense Ministry
spokesman Valerii Manilov said that the commonwealth would function
on the principles of collective security with a united command
of the common armed forces. The Independent on December 12 suggested
that Yeltsin's trump card was his ability to raise military wages.
(Stephen Foye)

GORBACHEV'S APPEAL TO ARMY. Interfax reported on December 11
that, according to unnamed military sources, Gorbachev attempted
"to split the armed forces" during his December 11 meeting with
officers when he asked them to support a convening of the USSR
Congress of People's Deputies and a referendum on the commonwealth
agreement. Major General Aleksandr Tsalko told Interfax on December
11 that Gorbachev had called the army a factor for stability
in the USSR, and said he would not use it for political purposes,
although he urged it to support the idea of a union. Several
sources have said that there was little difference between the
presentations of Gorbachev and Yeltsin. (Stephen Foye)

BATENIN ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS. General Gelii Batenin, an adviser
to the RSFSR Foreign Ministry, told the RFE/RL Research Institute
on December 11 that all tactical nuclear warheads have been removed
from the Baltic States, Transcaucasia, and Central Asia. Until
1996 they will all be stored in Russia, he added. He said that
only delivery vehicles for tactical nuclear weapons remain in
these republics. Batenin further revealed that 70% of Soviet
nuclear warheads have been disabled and that tactical nuclear
weapons will be eliminated from the navy by 1992. He maintained
that the KGB has lost its previous control over the warheads
after the putsch, and denied that Russia now has its finger on
the nuclear button. (Alexander Rahr)

SILAEV ON THE COMMONWEALTH AND EC AID. Ivan Silaev, the head
of the Interstate Economic Committee, was quoted by TASS on December
12 as saying that he supports the creation of the Commonwealth
of Independent States, as this will ease economic negotiations
between the former Soviet republics. He seems to be acknowledging
force majeure, as there remains little raison d'etre for the
IEC. On December 12, Silaev also signed a technical aid agreement
package with the European Community worth $520 million. However,
RFE/RL's Paris correspondent on that day noted that the European
Parliament had voted to continue its freeze on EC food and technical
aid to the former Soviet Union. (Keith Bush)

GERMANS WITHHOLD CREDIT GUARANTEES. German government officials
told RFE/RL's Bonn correspondent December 11 that credit guarantees
are now being given for Soviet deals only in a few, urgent cases.
The problem is said to be the lack of counter-guarantees provided
by Vneshekonombank since the end of October, and republican banks
also have been unable to replace the central foreign trade bank
in this function. (Bonn provides government guarantees for foreign
credits only if a bank in the recipient country provides a guarantee
that the necessary hard currency is available). Germany has to
date provided credit guarantees for Soviet deals to the value
of DM 26-27 billion. (Michael Wall/Keith Bush)

WESTERN BANKS COVER POSSIBLE LOSSES. After the steering committee
for Western creditor banks met in Frankfurt on December 6, several
large German and Austrian banks are reported to have "made provisions"
for their outstanding loans to the former Soviet Union. The International
Herald Tribune of December 10 and The Wall Street Journal of
December 11 list some of the banks that have increased their
loss provisions for Soviet loans and reduced their unsecured
exposure. (Keith Bush)

AIRPORTS CLOSED FOR LACK OF FUEL. TASS reported on December 12
that 92 airports throughout the USSR were closed, while another
38 airports were on the brink of closure, because of a lack of
fuel. The figure was said to represent more than half of all
airports in the country, but The Los Angeles Times of December
13 gave a total number of 350 airports. The newspaper attributed
the fuel shortage to a lack of tank cars and blockades stemming
from territorial, political, and economic disputes. (Keith Bush)


HONECKER IN CHILEAN EMBASSY. Former East German leader Erich
Honecker yesterday (December 12) sought refuge in Chile's embassy
in Moscow after being threatened with expulsion from Russia by
midnight December 13. A Chilean spokesman said Honecker is a
"personal guest" of Chile's ambassador to the USSR; however,
Chile (where Honecker's daughter lives) has refused to grant
him the political asylum he has requested, according to The Washington
Post of December 13. A Bavarian Radio [Bayerischer Rundfunk]
newscast on December 13 quoted USSR Foreign Ministry adviser
Vyacheslav Dashichev as predicting that Honecker would soon be
deported to Germany. (Sallie Wise Chaballier)



USSR--REPUBLICS AND SUCCESSOR STATES



FOOD RATIONING IN MOSCOW. The Moscow City Council has decided
to introduce food rationing, Radio Moscow reported on December12.
The decision was said to stem from the disastrous position of
the consumer market in the city and from the quite real threat
of famine. Plans had been announced in November to ration in
the city, inter alia, meat, milk, butter, sausage, and eggs,
but these were cancelled by Mayor Gavriil Popov. The City Council
also earlier this month cancelled Popov's plans to begin the
privatization of Moscow's stores, citing critical food shortages.
Reports of Popov's imminent resignation abound. (Keith Bush)


KRAVCHUK DECREE ON UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES. Ukrainian President
Leonid Kravchuk issued a decree on December 13 creating a national
armed forces out of former units of the Soviet army and Black
Sea Fleet and appointing himself commander-in-chief. Western
agencies today also confirmed that the Supreme Soviet this week
added an amendment to the ratified commonwealth agreement emphasizing
Ukraine's right to leave the commonwealth's joint defense structure
after the republic's nuclear arms have been eliminated. (Kathy
Mihalisko)

UKRAINE RECOGNIZES INDEPENDENCE OF CROATIA AND SLOVENIA. While
awaiting recognition of its independence from the US and EC countries,
Ukraine has itself extended recognition to several states in
a similar situation. On December 12 the Presidium of the Ukrainian
Supreme Soviet decided to recognize the independence of Croatia
and Slovenia, Radio Kiev reported that same day. On December
11 it also reported that Kravchuk has sent a letter to President
Bush assuring him about Ukraine's foreign and security policies
and calling for the establishment of direct bilateral relations
between the US and Ukraine. (Bohdan Nahaylo)

UKRAINE RECOGNIZES GEORGIAN INDEPENDENCE. Addressing a public
meeting outside the Georgian government building in Tbilisi on
December 12, Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia stated that
Ukraine has recognized Georgia's independence, Tbilisi Radio
reported the same day. Gamsakhurdia said that the question of
recognition had been raised by Kravchuk during a conversation
the previous day. (Liz Fuller)

RUSSIA WILL NOT SIGN ECONOMIC ACCORD WITH GEORGIA. RSFSR Deputy
Prime Minister Egor Gaidar is quoted by TASS of December 12 as
affirming that Russia will not sign a 1992 economic agreement
with Georgia until the situation in South Ossetia stabilizes.
Gaidar admitted that this was "a terrible sanction," but argued
that it was warranted by the deteriorating situation in the region.
TASS further quoted the deputy chairman of the South Ossetian
Supreme Council as stating that Georgian blockades are preventing
humanitarian aid from reaching Tskhinvali, and the town is without
electricity, gas, or food. (Liz Fuller)

MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT TO MOSCOW, KIEV, MINSK. Moldavian President
Mircea Snegur on December 12 began an official visit to Moscow,
Kiev, and Minsk for talks with Yeltsin, Kravchuk, and Shushkevich.
Snegur becomes the first leader of a former Soviet republic to
meet with the three founders of the Commonwealth of independent
states. Snegur was cited by Moldovapres on December 11 as expressing
interest in a possible economic association with the commonwealth.
He also intends to discuss with the three leaders an early partial
withdrawal of USSR troops from Moldavia. (Vladimir Socor)


EASTERN EUROPE


BALTIC STATES


IMF CREATES NEW BALTIC, SOVIET DEPARTMENT. Michel Camdessus,
Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, announced
on December 12 that the IMF had created a new department to deal
with the Baltic States and the former Soviet Union. The department
will conduct some of the same procedures that could lead to loans
to member countries, but it is not clear if loans would be granted
to nonmembers. The Baltic states and the USSR are expected to
become IMF members in 1992. IMF is already providing technical
help to the USSR and most of the republics individually, an RFE/RL
correspondent in Washington reported on December 13. (Dzintra
Bungs)

LATVIAN LEGISLATURE ADOPTS NO DECISION ON SOVIET THREAT. On December
12 the Latvian Supreme Council discussed the threat to Latvia
posed by Soviet armed forces but did not adopt a decision on
the matter, Radio Riga reported. One of the factors prompting
the discussion were plans of the USSR Northwestern Group of Forces
to hold maneuvers in Latvia. Col.Gen.Valerii Mironov refused
to attend the parliamentary session to talk about these plans.
Latvian Defense Minister Talavs Jundzis pointed out that any
USSR army activities in Latvia can now be considered as interference
in Latvia's internal affairs. Jundzis added that he did not believe
that a coup could be staged in Latvia in isolation from events
in Moscow. (Dzintra Bungs)

LATVIANS STOIC ABOUT DECONTROLLED PRICES. Radio Riga reported
that since December10, when price controls for foodstuffs and
agricultural products were lifted, prices rose immediately, though
lines in front of shops selling bread and dairy products remained
long. One of the reasons for the lines was that the shops were
afraid to order too much of a given item due to the higher prices.
People reacted stoically to the higher prices, especially for
bread, saying that while they are worried how they would make
ends meet, they understood the need for price decontrols and
the establishment of a market economy. According to Prime Minister
Ivars Godmanis, prices should start to stabilize in about two
months. (Dzintra Bungs)

LITHUANIA, UKRAINE ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. On December
12 Lithuanian Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas and his Ukrainian
counterpart Anatolii Zlenko exchanged notes on the establishment
of diplomatic relations, Radio Lithuania reported. The two countries
agreed to establish offices in Kiev and Vilnius headed by chargés
d'affaires to be appointed later. The ministers discussed cooperation
in political, economic, ecological, and cultural areas. Saudargas
also talked with Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk and Supreme
Soviet Foreign Affairs Commission Chairman Dmytro Pavlychko.
(Saulius Girnius)

LANDSBERGIS VISIT TO GERMANY AND ITALY. Chairman of the Lithuanian
Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis has departed for a two-day
unofficial visit to Germany and Italy, Radio Lithuania reported
on December 13. He expects to meet with various political and
business leaders during the visit. German conductor-pianist Justus
Franz, who had organized a concert tour to Lithuania after the
January 13 attack on the television tower, is sponsoring the
trip. (Saulius Girnius)


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

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


©1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole