|There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. - Graham Greene|
No. 2, 03 January 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO USSR FIRST DAY OF FREE PRICES. The main image conveyed by the Soviet and Western media of stores on the first day of free prices was that of still empty shelves. The reasons adduced included the fact that no reserves had been built up, stores were closed for stock-taking, clerks had not finished marking up prices, the bulk of Western food aid had not yet arrived, the wholesale network had not operated over the holiday period, store managers were awaiting instructions, and, most ominously, the mafia were keeping back supplies in an attempt to drive prices even higher. (Keith Bush) MORE STATES FREE PRICES. According to Western and Soviet media reports, most retail prices were deregulated in Russia and Ukraine on January 2. The prices of staple foodstuffs and services were raised, yet remained controlled, in Belarus and Moldova. Turkmenistan is now scheduled to free prices on January 6, Uzbekistan will liberalize prices "any day" and will introduce coupons, and the Armenian Supreme Soviet is to meet today to debate the issue. The New York Times of January 3 expects other Central Asian states to follow suit next week. (Keith Bush) LATEST ESTIMATE OF POVERTY LEVEL. According to the latest issue of Moskovksie novosti, as reported by Radio Rossii on January 2, independent experts have calculated that the price of the minimum consumer basket will rise to 1,070 rubles a head per month after the liberalization of prices. Of this, 600 rubles will be needed for the purchase of foodstuffs. (Keith Bush) UKRAINE TAKES CONTROL OF ARMED FORCES ON ITS TERRITORY. Following the agreement reached at the CIS summit in Minsk, on January 3 Ukraine took over control of all troops stationed on its territory, with the exception of strategic nuclear forces. A Ukrainian defense ministry spokesman told Ukrinform on January 2 that servicemen would now be taking an oath of allegiance to Ukraine; those who do not wish to will be able to go to another CIS state to continue their service or transfer to the reserves. He also stressed that the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense does not regard the Black Sea Fleet as part of the strategic nuclear forces. (Bohdan Nahaylo) SHAPOSHNIKOV TO BELARUS. CIS Commander in Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov arrived in Minsk on January 2 to begin talks with Belarussian political leaders and with the command staff of the Belarussian Military District, TASS and Interfax reported. The visit to Minsk is apparently only the first stop for Shaposhnikov, who in the coming two months is expected to visit the capitals of the other CIS member states for similar consultations. He heads a working group charged with drafting a security plan for the CIS. (Stephen Foye) PYANKOV TO KIEV. Meanwhile, Colonel General Boris Pyankov arrived in Kiev on January 2 to continue negotiations with the Ukrainians on the transfer of former Soviet armed forces to Ukrainian jurisdiction. Interfax reported on January 2 that one point of contention between Russia and Ukraine may involve future control over two aircraft carriers, or "aircraft-carrying cruisers" as they are called in the report-the Varyag and Ulyanovsk-currently under construction in the Ukrainian port of Nikolaev. (Stephen Foye) DEFENSE MINISTRY "COMMERCIAL CENTER." TASS reported on January 2 that a package of legal documents regulating the activities of a newly-created Commercial Center, attached to the former USSR Defense Ministry, has been completed and submitted for approval to Shaposhnikov and the Russian Federation. As reported by Krasnaya zvezda on December 7, the center is headed by Colonel General Vladislav Litvinov, and is tasked with overseeing sales and transfers of military property and equipment within the CIS and overseas. Monies earned by the center will reportedly be used to finance facilities and social programs for servicemen. (Stephen Foye) GENERAL VOLKOGONOV WAS IN CHARGE OF PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE. Colonel General Dmitrii Volkogonov told Russian TV on Decem-ber 31 that until 1989 he was the head of the Psychological Warfare Administration of the former Main Political Administration of the Soviet Army. Volkogonov, who is the author of best-selling books on Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky, also said that, through this position he revised his political views, and he now considers himself a member of the democratic camp. Volkogonov stressed that as chairman of the Russian Federation committee charged with monitoring the transmission of Party and KGB archives to the Russian State Archive Administration, he sees it as his duty to protect from destruction documents concerning the foreign and internal policy of the Soviet state. (Victor Yasmann) RUTSKOI ATTACKS BURBULIS. Russian Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi accused Russian First Deputy Premier Gennadii Burbulis of pursuing aims that are contrary to the interests of the country. He said in an interview with Paris Match on January 2 that Yeltsin would be wrong to place too much trust in Burbulis and his team, since, he claimed, they were interested only in power. Rutskoi emphasized that Russia needs a strong executive, controlled by a strong demo-cratic opposition. In his opinion, the Democratic Reform Movement could become such an opposition. (Alexander Rahr) SHEVARDNADZE PROPOSES GORBACHEV JOIN DEMOCRATIC REFORM MOVEMENT. Former Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze has suggested that Ex-President Mikhail Gorbachev join the Democratic Reform Movement, set up by him, Aleksandr Yakovlev, and other former Gorbachev associates in the summer of 1991. Shevardnadze told Corriere della sera on December 30 that, although Russian President Boris Yeltsin today advocates democracy, one should not "construct a social system based on the qualities or flaws of men who are currently in power." Shevardnadze added that presidents can change. (Alexander Rahr) RUSSIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO REVIEW YELTSIN DECREE. The Russian Constitutional Court has scheduled an open hearing on January 14 to examine the Russian presidential decree merging the ministries of security and internal affairs, Radio Moscow reported on January 2. Yeltsin's decree has been widely criticized, and the Russian parliament has urged Yeltsin to repeal it. According to Interfax, five parliamentary committees have appealed to the Constitutional Court to check the decree's compliance with the Russian Constitution. This will be the first case the Constitutional Court will hear since the judges were appointed last October. (Carla Thorson) KOZYREV: "NOT POOR RELATIONS." Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev asserted in an article in Izvestia on January 1 that Russia is a natural partner of developed countries, especially the United States. While asserting that "we are not enemies," Kozyrev warned that, "we are not poor relations prepared to follow the orders of a rich and preaching West." Kozyrev also deplored the fact that humanitarian aid to the Soviet Union had been improperly distributed in the past and pledged that this practice would not continue. (Suzanne Crow) GEORGIAN OPPOSITION DECLARES GAMSAKHURDIA DEPOSED. Opposition parties in Georgia declared in a local television announce-ment on January 2 that they had formed a military council that has taken power from Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia; Gamsakhurdia told Western journalists that day that he would not negotiate. The military council restored Tengiz Sigua to the post of prime minister and named Giorgi Karkarashvili as military commander. It also imposed a state of emergency and a curfew in Tbilisi. Gamsakhurdia responded by calling for a campaign of civil disobedience. His official representative in London called on the Russian government to support Gamsakhurdia. (Liz Fuller) PRESIDENTIAL RULE IMPOSED ON NAGORNO-KARABAKH. TASS reported on January 2 that Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov has issued a decree imposing presidential rule on the NKAO capital of Stepanakert and the neighboring Shusha raion "in order to coordinate measures to enforce the security of the population and restore constitutional order." At least 36 people have been killed in artillery attacks in the NKAO over the past week. Interfax reported on January 2 that the chairman of the NKAO oblast soviet, Leonard Petrosyan, had appealed to UN Secretary-General Boutros Ghali to dispatch UN troops to the oblast "in order to prevent the incipient genocide of the Armenian population." (Liz Fuller) IRANIAN DIPLOMATIC REPRESENTATION IN BAKU AND NAKHICHEVAN. Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmoud Vaezi traveled on January 2 to Baku where he is to open the new Iranian embassy (the former Iranian consulate), IRNA reported on January 2. IRNA also quoted Nakhichevan Prime Minister Beydzhan Farzaliev as stating before his return home from an official visit to Tabriz that Iran would also open a consulate in Nakhichevan and had offered economic assistance. Vesti reported on January-2 that several hundred demonstrators gathered on the Nakhichevan-Iranian frontier on January 2 to mark the second anniversary of "the uprising against communism," and quoted Iranian press reports that an agreement has been reached on the abolition of frontier installations along the border between Nakhichevan and Iran. (Liz Fuller) TAJIKISTAN TRYING TO SELL URANIUM? Having taken control of the uranium enrichment facility in northern Tajikistan in the wake of the republic's declaration of independence, Tajik authorities are reportedly considering selling enriched uranium abroad, Western and Soviet agencies reported on January 2. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Pakistan have already indicated interest in uranium purchases, unconfirmed reports said. A US State Department spokesman told RFE/RL on January 2 that the US government is investigating these reports. (Bess Brown) IRANIAN-TURKMEN RELATIONS. The Munich daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, quoting DPA, reported on December 31 that the State Bank of Iran will open a branch in Ashkhabad. No date was given for the planned opening. The same report, which quoted the vice governor of Khorasan Province, added that the rail line that is to be built as one of the first major cooperative ventures involving several Central Asian republics is to connect with Khorasan. That province has worked out a trade agreement with Turkmenistan. (Bess Brown) BALTIC STATES ESTONIAN PASSPORTS BY MARCH. By March the Estonian Foreign Ministry will begin issuing passports to citizens and those eligible for citizenship. Foreign Ministry official Indrek Kannik told Western reporters on January 2 that the new passports will be valid for five years but old Soviet documents will continue to be recognized during an unspecified transition period. Residents of Latvia and Lithuania will not need visas to visit Estonia, Kannik said, but all other foreign visitors will have to get a valid visa before entering the country. (Riina Kionka) LITHUANIAN TV EXPANDS. Lithuanian Television began broadcast of its new second channel on January 1, BNS reported the next day. The new channel, which replaces Central Television, will broadcast Lithuanian programs in the evenings. Central Television programs will continue on the second channel during the day. (Riina Kionka) LATVIAN PRESENTS CREDENTIALS. Latvia's ambassador to Estonia, Afna Zigure, will present his credentials to Estonian Supreme Council Chairman Arnold Ruutel on January 3, according to ETA that day. Zigure has already been accredited as Latvia's ambassador to Finland. (Riina Kionka) ESTONIANS STILL GLUM. A new survey suggests that Estonians are among the most pessimistic people in the world. According to Gallup International's annual survey of New Year's expectations, people living in Estonia are among the world's most pessimistic four populations, following residents of Czechoslovakia and Hungary and ahead of Russia. In all four the number of people not looking forward to 1992 exceeds by more than 40 percentage points the number who are. Probably not coincidentally, Hungary and Estonia lead the world in the per capita number of suicides. This is the first year that the Gallup organization, whose findings were carried by Western agencies on January 1, has included individual states of the former Soviet Union in its annual poll. (Riina Kionka) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE NEW YUGOSLAV CEASE-FIRE AGREED UPON. UN mediator Cyrus Vance concluded talks with federal and Croatian military representatives on January 2 for a cease-fire to come into effect at 6:00 p.m. local time on January 3. Fourteen previous cease-fire agreements broke down, but Western media said Vance is optimistic because this one is the most specific and detailed to date and because he finds all sides more sincere than before. This time, moreover, both parties agreed not to fire back if fired upon, and the federal army pledged that Serbian irregulars will observe the truce. The agreement calls for freedom of navigation on the Adriatic, and military activity is banned in the air. The January 3 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says that the Serbs' biggest concession is agreement that the army will quit Serbian enclaves in Croatia; the Croats compromised by accepting the de facto loss of those enclaves. (Patrick Moore) CONFLICT ERUPTS OVER POLAND'S ARMED FORCES. Admiral Piotr Kolodziejczyk remains President Lech Walesa's candidate for general inspector, the highest military post in the Polish armed forces, Jerzy Milewski, the presidential official responsible for security, told PAP on January 2. The newly appointed civilian defense minister, Jan Parys, had ordered Kolodziejczyk pensioned off on December 31, although the former defense minister had been widely expected to assume the general inspector's post. Walesa proposed Kolodziejczyk's candidacy at a National Security Council session in June 1991. Parys did not consult the council (which Walesa chairs) before acting, Milewski said. This clash may open a test of strength between the president and the new government, as Walesa has ultimate constitutional authority in matters of defense and security. (Louisa Vinton) FIRST-QUARTER BUDGET UNDER FIRE IN WARSAW. Prime Minister Jan Olszewski met with the largest parliamentary caucuses on January 2 to defend the provisional first-quarter budget. The budget, inherited from the outgoing government, slashes spending and assumes a first-quarter deficit of nearly 18 trillion zloty ($1.5 billion) to cope with drastically reduced state revenues. The new government has distanced itself from the budget, but planning chief Jerzy Eysymontt admitted to PAP that "we can only solve the problems we face by cutting expenditures. We cannot opt to print money, because we will waste everything we have achieved." Eysymontt's fiscal sobriety was not shared by many parliamentarians, who condemned the budget and sought to bolster spending. Solidarity deputies proposed a wealth tax. The Sejm is to discuss the budget on January-3. (Louisa Vinton) SOVIET AIRFIELDS-AN ECOLOGICAL DISASTER. Soviet forces' use of two airfields at Stara Kopernia and Szprotawa has caused 2 trillion zloty ($175 million) in environmental damage, an official in Zielona Gora told PAP on December 31. The sources of pollution have at last been eliminated, he said, but the ground around the airfields remains heavily saturated with jet fuel-so much so, in fact, that local authorities have begun charging fees from area residents for the right to dig holes to pump out pure gasoline. The clean-up will reportedly take at least a decade. (Louisa Vinton) PRICE HIKES IN HUNGARY. A new round of price hikes began in Hungary on January 2, when the prices of many cosmetics and household chemicals increased by an average of 20%, MTI reported. The prices of some Tokay wines increased by as much as 40-50%. The price of gasoline and public transportation will increase effective January 6. Further increases in the price of a wide range of consumer goods are expected in the course of January. Milk and dairy products will cost at least 10% more when state subsidies are lifted later this month. (Edith Oltay) RESTRICTIONS ON RESIDENCE PERMITS TO FOREIGNERS IN HUNGARY. Hungarian police spokesman Gyorgy Suha told MTI that the police will in the future issue residence permits to foreigners only in exceptional cases, which he did not specify. Suha said that more thorough ID checks among foreigners following the recent attack against Jewish emigrants found that several hundred foreigners have false papers or expired residence permits. He said that criminal proceedings are under way against a number of foreigners and 350 such proceedings have been started in the last few days alone. Suha reported that illegal aliens are gathered at a camp in Kerepestarcsa from where they are taken to the border. In recent days, he said, illegal aliens in the camp rioted, and a police regiment had to intervene to restore order. (Edith Oltay) NATIONAL SALVATION FRONT CALLS FOR ELECTION OBSERVERS. On January 2 Radio Bucharest broadcast a communique from the National Salvation Front suggesting that Romanian and foreign observers should watch the local elections on February 9 in order to ensure equal chances to all candidates. It also requested that Prime Minister Theodor Stolojan chair a meeting of delegates of all the parties represented in parliament to set rules to prevent "confusion, conflicts, or any situation that might cause misunderstandings about the fair outcome of the voting." It is expected that the local elections will create a climate of confidence for the subsequent parliamentary and presidential elections, the communique added. (Mihai Sturdza) FIRST CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS TURNING UP. Nicolae Manolescu, president of the Civic Alliance Party, and Lucian Cornescu, president of the Historical Social Democratic Party, will stand as candidates in the forthcoming presidential elections, Romanian media said on December 28 and 30. Other possible candidates have been touted as well: tennis champion and businessman Ion Tiriac, the leaders of the National Peasant and National Liberal parties, and former prime minister Petre Roman, who is still leading the National Salvation Front. The Greater Romania Party (nationalist) and the Socialist Party of Labor (the former Communist Party) have indicated they will eventually back Iliescu's candidacy. (Mihai Sturdza) BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER HOME FROM IRAN. Minister Stoyan Ganev returned on January-2 from an official visit to Iran. BTA recalled that he had been traveling for 16 days and before he went to Iran had been to Austria, Belgium, Egypt, and Jordan. Ganev said that Bulgaria was beginning an active foreign policy aimed at optimizing relations with each country and promoting a balance between East and West. Ganev told BTA that Iran will supply Bulgaria with some oil in exchange for Bulgarian goods and payments to begin no sooner than six months from now. The press on January-3 said the oil deliveries would amount to half a million tons. (Rada Nikolaev) SECRET SERVICE GENERALS TO BE TRIED. Former Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, General Stoyan Savov, and General Vladimir Todorov, who last spring defected to Moscow and returned several months later, will go on trial on January 8 accused of having caused the disappearance in 1990 of files on the murder of exile writer Georgi Markov in 1978. The daily 24 chasa reported on January 2 that the trial would take place behind closed doors and that only the indictment would be read in public. The generals face up to eight years in prison. Hope was expressed that the trial could be completed 48-hours before the presidential elections on January-12. (Rada Nikolaev) [As of 1130 CET] Compiled by Suzanne Crow & Charles Trumbull
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