One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love. - Sophocles
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 242, 23 December 1991



USSR--ALL-UNION AND INTER-REPUBLICAN TOPICS



COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES PROCLAIMED IN ALMA-ATA. At
a meeting in Alma-Ata on December 21, leaders of eight former
Soviet republics (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Moldavia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) agreed to
join the commonwealth created by Russia, Belorussia, and Ukraine
on December 8. The agreement was widely reported in the Soviet
and foreign news media. One of the protocols on the Agreement
signed by the republican leaders, specififled that all signatory
states would enter the commonwealth on an equal basis as co-founders.
Another protocol recognizes the independence and current borders
of all signatory states, and another requests the UN to give
the USSR's Security Council seat to Russia, and obligates Russia,
Belorussia, and Ukraine to seek admittance to the UN for all
commonwealth members. (Bess Brown)

GEORGIA FAILS TO SIGN ALMA-ATA AGREEMENT. Georgia was represented
at the Alma-Ata Commonwealth conference by a deputy parliament
chairman and a deputy prime minister, and did not sign the Commonwealth
Agreement. A Georgian parliament debate on whether the republic
should sign was scheduled for December 22, Western agencies reported.
In an appeal on December 12, Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia
called on RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin to recognize Georgia's
state independence in accordance with the terms of the treaty
of May 7, 1920, under which the RSFSR recognized the independent
Georgian Republic. (Liz Fuller)

UKRAINE REAFFIRMS ITS INDEPENDENCE WITH RESPECT TO NEW COMMONWEALTH.
Resolutely opposed to the idea of Ukraine being drawn into a
new Union, the Ukrainian parliament and president have made it
quite clear that Ukraine will only participate in the new Commonwealth
of Independent States if this body remains a loose association
and does not become a new state. This position was stressed in
a statement adopted by the Ukrainian parliament on the eve of
the meeting of republican leaders in Alma-Ata and reported on
December 21 by Radio Kiev. In Alma-Ata itself, Ukrainian President
Leonid Kravchuk, according to Western agencies, came out, among
other things, against the notions of a "commonwealth citizenship"
and joint guarding of the commonwealth's external borders. (Bohdan
Nahaylo)

THE COMMONWEALTH'S CENTRAL STRUCTURES. In Alma-Ata, the eleven
republican leaders issued a draft accord on new central structures
of the Commonwealth, TASS reported on December 21. The supreme
governing bodies will be a Council of Heads of State and a Council
of Heads of Government which will meet twice a year to adopt
basic policy decisions. The presidency in both bodies will be
rotating. It was also suggested to set up of seven ministerial
committees to coordinate policy--on foreign affairs, defense,
economics and fiflnance, transport and communications, social
protection for the population, interior affairs, and general
policy coordination. All Commonwealth members will jointly fiflnance
the central structures. (Alexander Rahr)

COMMENTS BY GORBACHEV AND YELTSIN. RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin
was quoted by TASS on December 21 as saying that the "material
and other situation" of Gorbachev after the latter's resignation
was decided in Alma-Ata. Yeltsin stressed that Gorbachev's resignation
will be handled in a "civilized manner." The embattled Gorbachev
acknowledged Yeltsin's achievements in an interview on CBS on
December 22 but emphasized that the real Yeltsin phenomenon "is
still to be revealed." He characterized Yeltsin as a "sincere
man" who has shown himself only as an opposition fiflgure and
may not yet understand his new responsibilities. Gorbachev rejected
teaching offers from US universities and said he wants tocontinue
to play a role in world politics. (Alexander Rahr)

ALMA-ATA AGREEMENT ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS. The "Agreement on Joint
Measures Regarding Nuclear Weapons" signed by the leaders of
the four former Soviet republics where strategic nuclear weapons
are located shows that Kazakhstan remains at odds with the other
three on this issue. As broadcast on Moscow television on December 21,
the agreement indicates that all strategic nuclear weapons will
be removed from Belorussia by July 1, 1992, and from Ukraine
by an unspecififled date. Those in Kazakhstan were not mentioned,
nor was that republic included with Belorussia and Ukraine as
planning to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The agreement
did imply that tactical nuclear weapons would be transferred
from all three republics to Russia, where they would be dismantled
"under joint supervision." (Doug Clarke)

SHAPOSHNIKOV NAMED INTERIM COMMANDER. USSR Defense Minister Evgenii
Shaposhnikov was named interim Commander-in-Chief of the armed
forces on December 21 in Alma-Ata, Soviet and Western sources
reported. Appointment of a permanent commander-in-chief, together
with the resolution of a host of other defense-related issues,
has apparently been put off until December 30, when republic
leaders are scheduled to meet in Minsk. (Stephen Foye)

TWO DEFENSE PLANS? Western agencies, quoting the NEGA news agency,
reported on December 20 that two plans for military restructuring
would be considered in Alma-Ata. The fiflrst, drawn up by Shaposhnikov,
called for a single commander-in-chief, serving a fiflve-year
term, and two deputy commanders-in-chief, who would oversee strategic
and conventional forces, respectively. Republics would be allowed
their own armies, and Ukraine a small navy. NEGA provided fewer
details on the second plan, reportedly drafted by Army General
Konstantin Kobets, Boris Yeltsin's top defense advisor. It called
for retaining a single commander-in-chief and a unififled General
Staff, and purportedly won signififlcant support from republican
leaders. (Stephen Foye)

FOREIGN BRANCH OF KGB TAKEN OVER BY RUSSIA. RSFSR President Boris
Yeltsin has decreed the takeover of the USSR Foreign Intelligence
Agency by Russia, according to Interfax on December 20. The agency
had just become independent from the domestic branch of the KGB.
Yeltsin ordered that its property, buildings, information banks
and documentation should be handed over to the newly created
Russian foreign intelligence service within a month. (Alexander
Rahr)

SOCIALIST WORKERS' PARTY HOLDS CONGRESS. On December 21 and 22,
the Socialist Workers' Party, which considers itself to be the
legal successor to the CPSU, held its fiflrst congress in Moscow,
TASS reported. On the opening day, Roy Medvedev, well-known historian
and a member of the party's organizing committee, noted that
not one demonstration or rally took place to protest the banning
of the CPSU, so a new party is necessary to reflect the people's
wishes. The congress resolution called for the creation of a
bloc of socialist and communist oriented parties. Considering
Yeltsin's economic reforms, the delegates were in favor of monetary
reform, but against price liberalization and "wild privatization."
(Carla Thorson)

POSSIBLE DELAYS IN BUILDING TROOP HOUSING. German Economics Minister
Juergen Moelleman said on December 20 that the formation of the
Commonwealth of Independent States could lead to delays in the
German-fiflnanced housing construction for Soviet troops withdrawn
from the former GDR, RFE/RL's Bonn correspondent reported that
day. Although Bonn was abiding by its commitment to build 36,000
housing units, plus infrastructure and construction plants, at
a cost of DM 7.8 billion, there were indications of uncertainty
over the selection of sites on the part of the CIS. (Michael
Wall/Keith Bush)



USSR--REPUBLICS AND SUCCESSOR STATES


17 KILLED IN NEW FIGHTING IN GEORGIA. Following demonstrations
on December 20-21 by 10,000 people calling for the resignation
of Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, fiflghting erupted
in Tbilisi on December 22 between troops of the rebel National
Guard and units loyal to the President, TASS and Western news
agencies reported on December 22-23. Up to 17 people are reported
killed and over 50 injured. Both sides have reportedly deployed
tanks, rockets and machine guns; a deputy interior minister was
wounded, and the mayor of Tbilisi and a prominent Gamsakhurdia
supporter taken hostage by the rebels. Fighting resumed in the
late evening after a ceasefiflre and negotiations between the
two sides collapsed. A Georgian Presidential press release of
December 22 called for international observers to investigate
the situation. (Liz Fuller)

DEMONSTRATIONS IN MOSCOW AND ST.PETERSBURG. On December 22, under
the banner of "march of the hungry queues," several thousand
people demonstrated in Moscow against the end of the USSR and
uncontrolled capitalism. Speakers included conservative hardliners
Viktor Alksnis and Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Soviet and Western agencies
reported. Carrying communist flags and portraits of Lenin and
Stalin, the demonstrators marched to the Ostankino TV Center
and demanded air time to voice their grievances. Meanwhile, in
St. Petersburg demonstrations organized by various communist
groupings took place in defense of workers' rights in light of
Yeltsin's economic reform program, TASS and Radio Moscow reported.
(Carla Thorson)

ARMENIA TO REOPEN NUCLEAR POWER PLANT. On December 20 Western
agencies in Moscow quoted an Armenian government minister as
stating that Armenia's Medzamor nuclear power station, taken
out of commission in 1989 following the December, 1988, earthquake,
will be reactivated in 1992 to combat the republic's catastrophic
energy shortage. As of December 20 all industrial enterprises
in Armenia were closed because of fuel shortages resulting from
the energy blockade imposed by Azerbaijan. A spokesman for Azerbaijani
President Ayaz Mutalibov stated on December 20 that oil and gas
supplies to Armenia would be resumed that day. (Liz Fuller)

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS BONN. Ukraine's foreign minister
Anatolii Zlenko was in Bonn on December 21 to discuss the development
of relations between Germany and his country. Zlenko met with
German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, German Chancellery
Minister Friedrich Bohl, and State Secretary Dieter von Wuerzen.
Genscher, according to TASS of the same day, told Zlenko that
Germany believes that the EC countries should "immediately" recognize
the new independent states that have emerged from the former
Soviet Union and which meet the principles for recognition formulated
by the EC on December 16 in Brussels. He also confiflrmed the
invitation to President Leonid Kravchuk to pay an offiflcial
visit to the Federal Republic of Germany. During Zlenko's visit,
it was also agreed that a Ukrainian-German Economic Cooperation
Council will be set up. (Bohdan Nahaylo)

GENERAL ON UKRAINIAN MILITARY PLANS. Boris Pyankov, sent to Kiev
on December 14 by the USSR Defense Ministry as leader of a delegation
for consultations with the Ukrainian leadership, said on December
21 that he had no serious disagreements with the Ukrainian Defense
Minister. Pyankov nevertheless criticized those calling for elimination
of the existing military district structure in the republic.
He also said that a careful inventory indicated that only a little
more than 500,000 troops were currently serving in Ukraine, and
reported that his delegation had issued guidelines to distinguish
between strategic and conventional forces. His remarks, summarized
by TASS, appeared in Krasnaya zvezda on December 21. (Stephen
Foye)

MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT ON COMMONWEALTH. Returning home after joining
the Commonwealth of Independent States at its founding meeting,
Moldavian President Mircea Snegur told the press that "the documents
signed in Alma-Ata will enable Moldavia to consolidate its independence
and territorial integrity." However, "only time will tell whether
the Commonwealth is viable," Snegur said. Moldavia's Minister
of National Security Anatol Plugaru in turn told the press that
"Moldavia has lost absolutely nothing but, on the contrary, has
gained by joining the Commonwealth." Moldovapres cited both statements
on December 22. (Vladimir Socor)

MOLDAVIAN POPULAR FRONT AGAINST JOINING. Moldavian Popular Front
chairman Iurie Rosca told the BBC on December 22 that Snegur's
decision to adhere to the Commonwealth has the negative effect
of delaying Moldavia's reunififlcation with Romania. In that
interview, cited by TASS the same day, Rosca also condemned Snegur's
policy for purportedly "seeking to keep Moldavia tied to a Slavic
bloc." At a rally in Kishinev on December 22, 3,000 supporters
of the Popular Front chanted slogans accusing Snegur of "treason,"
Moldovapres reported the same day. AFP also reported that the
Front has called on its supporters to gather outside Parliament
in coming days in order to prevent the ratififlcation of Moldavia's
adherence to the Commonwealth. (Vladimir Socor)



EASTERN EUROPE


BALTIC STATES


YELTSIN: THREE YEARS FOR TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM BALTIC. At a press
conference in Rome on December 20, Russian President Boris Yeltsin
said it could take up to three years to withdraw Soviet troops
from the Baltic states. Most of the troops would return to Russian
territory. Housing problems were cited as the cause for the delay.
Some key air defence forces could remainwith the agreement of
Baltic governments, Yeltsin reasoned, since these could also
defend the Baltic republics. In the meantime, Yeltsin added,
formal agreement should be reached on the status of the armed
forces to ensure they would not interfere, should national conflicts
break out in the Baltic states. (Jan Trapans)

BALTIC FOREIGN MINISTERS ON SOVIET TROOP WITHDRAWAL. The Baltic
foreign ministers, invited to attend the North Atlantic Cooperation
Council in Brussels, asked western states to help ensure that
Soviet troops withdraw and charged that the continued presence
of the troops in their countries is illegal. Latvia's Janis Jurkans
said troop withdrawal was of fundamental economic importance
since no one would invest in the Baltic with Soviet forces still
there. Estonia's Lennart Meri said the withdrawal should be monitored
by NATO and CSCE. (Jan Trapans)

ESTONIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN BALTIC? Meri also
claimed that Soviet nuclear weapons may still be in the Baltic
states. Meri gave no details concerning his allegation but he
also claimed that two Soviet nuclear reactors at a Baltic Fleet
naval base at Paldiski, Estonia, were not under international
controls. Estonia had invited the International Atomic Energy
Agency in Vienna to inspect the reactor. (Jan Trapans)


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

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