It is easier to love humanity than to love one's neighbor. - Eric Hoffer
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 5, 09 January 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO USSR

BARGAIN IN THE MAKING OVER BLACK SEA FLEET? There are hints that
the parties concerned would like to defuse the impasse over the
Black Sea Fleet. Radio Rossii reported on January 9 that the
navy had sent a proposal to Ukraine on a phased transfer of some
units of the fleet to Ukraine. It also spoke of the possibility
of creating a joint Black Sea Fleet. Ukraine's President Leonid
Kravchuk told TASS on January 8 that as long as the Black Sea
Fleet was part of the strategic forces-that is, as long as it
possessed nuclear weapons-it would belong to the CIS. These weapons
would be withdrawn from Ukraine by July 1 of this year. (Doug
Clarke)

STATEMENT ON "GROUNDLESS ACCUSATIONS AGAINST UKRAINE." The Ukrainian
National Information Agency on January 8 issued a statement to
protest the tendency of some CIS members (i.e., Russia) to make
Ukraine the scapegoat for current tensions in society. The statement
condemned what it termed tendentious statements by "the highest
leadership of a neighboring state" on Ukraine's alleged violations
of the Minsk agreement in the military sphere, particularly with
respect to the Black Sea Fleet. (On January 8, following criticism
of Ukraine's moves by Yeltsin, Ruslan Khasbulatov, and top naval
commanders, St. Petersburg mayor Anatolii Sobchak told CIS TV
that Ukraine's efforts to take control of former Soviet military
units showed that the idea of the Commonwealth has failed.) The
statement accused Russian leaders of attempting to recreate imperial
military structures by demanding the loyalty of nonstrategic
forces stationed in Ukraine. (Kathy Mihalisko)

KRAVCHUK: SPEED UP IMPLEMENTATION OF START. Kravchuk on January
8 reaffirmed his country's non-nuclear intentions before a visiting
delegation of the US Armed Services Committee, headed by chairman
Les Aspin, and added that Ukraine, unlike Russia, does not plan
to join NATO or any other military blocs. As quoted by CIS and
Western agencies, Kravchuk said Ukraine is studying a plan to
remove all tactical weapons from its soil by July 1, destroy
all strategic arms by 1994, and do the START treaty several steps
better by eliminating all ICBM silos in Ukraine in only three
years, with international help. (Kathy Mihalisko)

CIS NUCLEAR HOT LINE. During his meeting with Aspin's delegation,
Kravchuk also maintained that reliable telephone communications
have been established between himself, Russian President Boris
Yeltsin, Belarus Supreme Soviet Chairman Stanislau Shushkevich,
and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev to prevent any one side
from launching a nuclear missile without coordination with the
other three strategically armed states. As quoted on January
8 by TASS, Kravchuk added that a device will be installed in
his office in the next few days that "will be able, when necessary,
to block the nuclear button. This means that it will be impossible
to launch a missile from any point in the former Union without
a joint decision by us." (Kathy Mihalisko)

RUSSIA PUBLISHES MILITARY OATH. Russia has added its entry to
the growing list of military oaths being presented to members
of the former Soviet military. This version, published in Izvestia
on January 9, calls for allegiance to the "Russian Federation
and its people" and has the service member swear never to use
weapons "against my own people and their legally elected organs
of power." It calls for military service anywhere the Russian
government decrees, either inside or beyond Russian territory
and requires the service member to observe the laws of the state
on whose territory he or she is stationed. Postfactum on January
8 indicated that some non-Russian mid-rank officers in the Far
Eastern Military District said they would not take the oath.
Russians serving in the Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine will evidently
have 3 oaths to choose from: Russia's, Ukraine's, and a CIS oath.
(Doug Clarke)

YELTSIN FACES ANGRY SHOPPERS. On the first leg of his tour (deemed
"courageous" by Central TV's anchorman) to gauge reaction to
price liberalization, Yeltsin encountered "indignation" and "dissatisfaction"
among shoppers in Saratov and Engels, according to TASS and Central
TV of January 8. The President made the valid point that his
predecessors had not dared to take this vital, albeit painful,
step towards the market. Russian First Deputy Minister of the
Economy and Finances Andrei Nechaev told RFE/RL on the same day
that the liberalization of prices is proceeding normally. (Keith
Bush)

NEW WAGE DATA. The average monthly wage of Russian industrial
workers has risen to 960 rubles, according to estimates of the
Russian Ministry of Labor, reported by Western agencies on January-8.
Trud, presumably of the same date, is quoted as giving average
monthly wage and salary levels for Moscow, where industrial workers
receive 1,194 rubles, teachers 756 rubles, and medical workers
650 rubles a month. The latest issue of Commersant is also quoted
as estimating the current poverty level at roughly four times
the minimum wage of 342 rubles a month. (Keith Bush)

CASH SHORTAGE REPORTED. According to Radio Moscow on January
8, the Russian Central Bank has only enough cash for two days
of transactions. However, in an interview with Corriere della
Sera of the same date and reported by TASS, the chairman of the
bank, Georgii Matyukhin, stated that the printing presses are
working flat out, and that checks would be issued at the end
of January to cover the shortage. Matyukhin also disclosed that
500-ruble notes would be in circulation by April, but he opposed
the issue of 1,000-ruble notes, as this would, in his view, further
stimulate inflation. He was critical of the Gaidar strategy of
freeing prices before competition among producers was effective.
(Keith Bush)

ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT LEADERS MEET WITH GAMSAKHURDIA. Two Armenian
parliament leaders met with deposed Georgian President Zviad
Gamsakhurdia in Idzhevan on January 8 to discuss his and his
entourage's "temporary stay" in Armenia, TASS reported on January
8. An Armenian representative in Moscow denied the claim made
by the notoriously unreliable Military Council member Tengiz
Kitovani that Gamsakhurdia had been offered political asylum
in Armenia, TASS reported on January 8. Gamsakhurdia told journalists
on January 8 that he had been deposed by "the nomenklatura mafia"
which had proved "stronger than democracy" and that he would
not resign but "continue our fight for legitimacy and justice,
for the establishment of constitutional power in Georgia," Western
news agencies reported on January 8. (Liz Fuller)

ACTING PRIME MINISTER CLAIMS GAMSAKHURDIA IS MENTALLY ILL. Speaking
at a press conference in Tbilisi on January 8, acting Georgian
Prime Minister Tengiz Sigua argued that Gamsakhurdia can no longer
hold office as he was certified insane by the Serbsky Institute
in the late 1970s. Sigua further stated that parliamentary elections
will be held in April but that no president would be elected;
he expressed support for the idea of a constitutional monarchy,
according to Cox Newspapers of January 9. Demonstrations in support
of Gamsakhurdia were held on January 8 in Tbilisi, and the cities
of Kutaisi and Sukhumi in Western Georgia, "Vesti" reported on
January 8. The Tbilisi meeting dispersed peacefully after an
hour. (Liz Fuller)

MOSCOW MAYOR'S SPECIAL POWERS CRITICIZED. Moscow Mayor Gavriil
Popov has again come under fire by local government officials
because of the special powers to carry out economic reforms granted
by Yeltsin on January 1. Pravda of January 8 carried an interview
with Aleksandr Sorokin, chairman of one of Moscow's regional
councils, in which Sorokin said that Popov's increased authority
jeopardized the regulation and monitoring of the city budget.
He suggested that Popov's increased authority would only aggravate
the deterioration of relations between the mayor and the City
Council. (Carla Thorson)

YELTSIN ON GERMAN AUTONOMY. On his visit to the Osnovsky sovkhoz
in Saratov oblast on January 8, Yeltsin promised the local population
that only those areas where Germans constituted 90% of the population
would be included in a restored German autonomous territory,
TASS and Central Television reported on January 8. Yeltsin again
mentioned the Kapustin Yar testing ground in Volgograd oblast
as a possible area for German resettlement. (Ann Sheehy)

BASHKIR-TATAR TENSIONS IN BASHKIRIA. Interethnic tensions have
risen in Bashkiria in the wake of the decision by the recent
Congress of the Bashkir People to work for the creation of an
independent Bashkir state within the republic's existing frontiers,
in which the "indigenous inhabitants" would enjoy substantial
privileges, TASS reported on January 8. The decision has been
sharply condemned by a plenum of the Tatar Public Center of Bashkiria,
which said that under no circumstances would areas inhabited
by Tatars be part of a self-proclaimed Bashkortostan. In 1989
Bashkirs constituted 21.9%, Tatars 28.4%, and-Rus-sians 39.3%
of the republic's population. (Ann Sheehy)

FRONTIER BETWEEN CHECHNYA AND INGUSHETIA RESTORED. The parliament
of the self-proclaimed Chechen republic decided on January 8
that the frontier that divided the Chechen and Ingush autonomous
oblasts before their merger in 1934 should be restored, TASS
reported on January 8. The parliament said it based its action
on the creation of an independent Chechnya and the desire of
the Ingush, confirmed by a recent referendum, to create their
own autonomous territory within the Russin Federation. (Ann Sheehy)


HEAD OF RELIGIOUS BOARD REMOVED. Tashkent journalist Anvar Usmanov
informed RFE/RL on January 8 that Muslim religious leaders in
Uzbekistan had just announced the resignation of the chairman
of the Muslim Religious Board for Central Asia, Mufti Muhammad-sadyk
Muhammad-Yusuf. An unsuccessful attempt to remove the mufti was
made in 1991 after he had been accused of having allowed the
sale of Korans donated by Saudi Arabia that were supposed to
be distributed free to believers. The mufti was also charged
with being too subordinate to state authorities. According to
Usmanov, Muhammad-Yusuf has been replaced by his predecessor,
Shamsuddin Babakhanov, who was ousted after demonstrations by
angry believers who accused him of insufficient commitment to
Islam. (Bess Brown)

NEW FOREIGN MINISTER IN UZBEKISTAN. UzTAG-TASS reported on January
8 that Ubaidulla Abdurazzakov has been appointed Foreign Minister
of Uzbekistan. He formerly headed the State Committee on Publishing.
He replaces Shakhlo Makhmudova, who was transferred to unspecified
"other work." This is the second time in two months that a Central
Asian republic has replaced a female foreign minister with a
man-on December 21, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev replaced
Akmaral Arystanbekova with Toleubai Suleimenov. In the past,
when republican foreign ministries were largely for show, those
in Central Asia were often headed by "token women." (Bess Brown)

KARIMOV'S STATE REORGANIZATION. The appointment of a new foreign
minister in Uzbekistan was part of a reorganization of state
functions undertaken by President Islam Karimov. UzTAG-TASS reported
on January 8 that the post of vice president has been abolished
and that of prime minister has been created. The incumbent Vice
President, Shukrullo Mirsaidov, has been appointed a state secretary
responsible to the president; there have been rumors of disagreements
between Karimov and Mirsaidov. At the same time, the institution
of hakim (governor) has been created in oblasts, raions and towns.
These officials, who will be directly subordinate to the president,
will head executive and legislative organs in their regions.
(Bess Brown)

PRICE INCREASES IN KYRGYZSTAN. Radio Mayak reported on January
8 that Kyrgyzstan's Vice President German Kuznetsov had given
a press conference on the price increases in the republic, seeking
to turn popular anger over the increases against the bureaucracy.
Describing the increases as part of a necessary "shock therapy,"
Kuznetsov said that the problems that accompanied the increases
showed that the state trade network is incapable of coping with
market mechanisms. (Bess Brown)

ALMA-ATA WORKERS THREATEN TO STRIKE. The Russian TV news show
"Vesti" reported on January 8 that the previous day representatives
of 40 enterprises in Alma-Ata had met with oblast trade union
leaders and threatened to stage a city-wide general strike if
prices are not lowered again. On January 10, workers' representatives
and trade union officials are to meet with Kazakhstan's prime
minister to discuss social protection in the face of freed prices.
(Bess Brown)

CORRECTIONS. The Daily Report of January-7 incorrectly reported
the date on which Ukrainian Defense Minister Konstantin Morozov
asserted that Ukraine intended to take control of the Black Sea
Fleet. In fact, Morozov made his statement on January 4 (not
January 5).

The date for Rabochaya tribuna's report on KGB surveillance of
Gorbachev's political rivals in the Daily Report of January 8
was incorrectly given as December 7. The correct date is January
7.



BALTIC STATES



LITHUANIA PROTESTS EXERCISES. The Lithuanian government protested
military maneuvers planned for January-8 in the vicinity of Vilnius,
BNS reports. Lithuanian government spokesman Edigius Bickauskas
told reporters that the Northwestern Group of Forces notified
the government of planned exercises but used "a tone [suitable
for] ultimata." Bickauskas said the maneuvers violate Lithuania's
sovereignty and are not helpful in building normal and mutually
beneficial relations between Lithuania and the CIS. ETA reported
on January 8 that military exercises were also held in Estonia
that day, but there was no reaction from the Estonian government.
(Riina Kionka)

WORLD BANK IN ESTONIA. A World Bank delegation is visiting Estonia
this week, ETA reported on January 8. The delegation is evaluating
the local economy in preparation for Estonia's possible membership
in the IMF and the IBRD. Minister of the Economy Jaak Leimann,
the delegation's official host, said the adoption of Estonia's
own currency would be the main economic event of 1992, but added
that introduction of the kroon would be "a shock rather than
a romantic episode." (Riina Kionka)

FUEL SHORTAGES CONTINUE IN LATVIA. Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis
told Diena on January-7 that in 1992 Latvia can expect to receive
from Russia 70% of the petroleum products that it received in
1991. An accord was reached in Moscow on January 6 in which it
was stipulated that Latvia would provide food for the Soviet
troops on its territory in exchange for the petroleum products.
Due to fuel shortages the number of flights from the Riga airport
has been drastically cut and the number of buses running in Riga
has been reduced. In order to alleviate these problems, Latvian
officials have flown to Bashkiria to try to obtain petroleum
products in exchange for foodstuffs. (Dzintra Bungs)

IVANS RESIGNATION ACCEPTED. On January-7 the Latvian Supreme
Council (voting 85 for, 18-against, and 24 abstaining) accepted
Dainis Ivans's resignation as deputy chairman. The council did
not elect anyone to replace Ivans and decided to discuss further
the possibility of restructuring the leadership of the council,
Diena reported on January-7. Ivans announced his desire to resign
from the office of deputy chairman of the Supreme Council in
December 1991. (Dzintra Bungs)

LITHUANIA FREES PRICES. On January 8 Lithuania freed the prices
of food and other consumer goods, according to Western agency
reports that day. This step was necessitated by Lithuania's desire
to institute a market economy and follows similar steps taken
earlier by Latvia and Estonia. For some goods prices jumped 200%.
Despite the price hikes, milk, butter, sugar, and salt are still
rationed in Lithuania. (Dzintra Bungs)

GERMANY TO HELP LITHUANIAN MILITARY. On January-8 an accord was
reached in Bonn between Defense Ministers Gerhard Stoltenberg
of Germany and Audrius Butkevicius of Lithuania that Germany
would help train Lithuania's armed forces and build up its administration.
The talks between Stoltenberg and Butkevicius also dealt with
developments in the Baltic States, the security situation in
Europe, and cooperation in the new North Atlantic Cooperation
Council, Western agencies report. (Dzintra Bungs)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UN STILL TO SEND OBSERVERS TO YUGOSLAVIA. On January-8 the UN
Security Council approved sending 50-observers to Yugoslavia
despite the downing of an EC helicopter the previous day by what
the January 9 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung calls "Serbian rockets
of death." The EC, however, said it is suspending its observer
mission in Yugoslavia until the safety of its personnel is assured
but plans to go ahead with its peace conference in Brussels on
January 9. (Patrick Moore)

YUGOSLAV DEFENSE MINISTER RESIGNS. Western media also reported
that federal Defense Minister Veljko Kadijevic resigned on January-8
"for health reasons," and that Chief of Staff Blagoje Adzic,
a Serbian hard-liner, will assume his duties. The BBC on January-9
quotes Borba as calling the helicopter incident "an attempted
coup." The broadcast added that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic
is exerting strong pressure on Serbian leaders in Croatia to
accept the agreement he signed with UN envoy Cyrus Vance, Kadijevic,
and Croatian President Franjo Tudjman. It is not clear, however,
whether he has succeeded, as German TV suggested on January-8.
Elsewhere, a few incidents were reported in Dubrovnik and elsewhere,
but the cease-fire generally seemed to be holding on the second
day of Serbian Orthodox Christmas. (Patrick Moore)

SOLIDARITY CALLS FOR PROTEST OVER PRICE HIKES. On January-8,
following a meeting in Gdansk with Labor Minister Jerzy Kropiwnicki,
the Solidarity Trade Union leaders voted 72-1 to call a nationwide
one-hour strike January-13 to protest energy price increases
introduced on January-1. In a last-minute plea to union representatives,
Prime Minister Jan Olszewski said "suspending the rises would
finally ruin the budget, already in a fatal state." In response,
Solidarity Chairman Marian Krzaklewski told reporters "if the
government suspends its decision-.-.-. Solidarity will suspend
its strike action." Solidarity made clear, however, that its
protest was directed against the manner in which the price hikes
were introduced-without consultation with the trade unions-rather
than the hikes themselves. Earlier, workers in a Gdansk region
went on a one-hour warning strike, Western and Polish media reported.
(Wladyslaw Minkiewicz & Louisa Vinton)

REVIEW ON ABORTION RULES ASKED. Ombudsman Ewa Letowska told Gazeta
wyborcza on January-8 she believed the medical association new
rules on abortion violate both the Polish Constitution and a
series of Polish laws. She said she has asked the Constitutional
Tribunal for a judicial review of the association's decision.
The doctors decided last month to allow abortion only in cases
of rape or if pregnancy threatens a mother's life, but current
Polish law allows abortion in additional circumstances as well.
(Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)

POLAND AND LITHUANIA TO SIGN FRIENDSHIP TREATY. Polish Foreign
Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski will visit Lithuania next week
to sign a declaration on friendly relations between the two nations
as well as a consular convention. The declaration, due to be
signed January-13, will formally end a period of tensions between
Warsaw and Vilnius over Lithuania's treatment of its ethnic Polish
minority. Skubiszewski postponed signing the agreement last November
after Warsaw said Vilnius had tried to change some of the clauses
regarding the Polish minority in Lithuania, Western and Polish
media reported. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)

CZECH MINISTER REJECTS MERCEDES CONDITIONS.
Czech Industry Minister Jan Vrba on January-8
rejected as "totally unacceptable" conditions set by Mercedes
Benz for a joint venture with Czech truck manufacturer Avia.
The joint venture, announced on January-6, requires approval
by the Czech government. CSTK quotes Vrba as saying that negotiations
are continuing and that it is premature to set a deadline for
the agreement. Hospodarske noviny reported that Mercedes sought
tax-free operation in Czechoslovakia for 10 years, among other
conditions. (Barbara Kroulik)

BSN, NESTLÉ STRIKE SWEET DEAL. The French BSN and Swiss Nestle
groups on January-8 each obtained approval from the Czech government
to buy 21.5% of Cokoladovny Prague, Czecho-slovakia's biggest
confectionery. Czech priva-tization minister Tomas Jezek has
valued the deal at about $100 million, foreign agencies report.
(Barbara Kroulik)

CZECH JUSTICE MINISTER STEPS DOWN. On January 8 Leon Richter
stepped down from his post after denying that he had collaborated
with the former communist secret police. Richter offered to resign
last week citing poor health as one of the reasons. His resignation
was accepted the same day by the Czech parliament. (Barbara Kroulik)


HUNGARIAN-ESTONIAN PRIME MINISTERS MEET. Hungarian and Estonian
Prime Ministers Jozsef Antall and Edgar Savisaar met for the
first time in Budapest on January 8 in what MTI described as
an "atmosphere of cordial friendship." The two Prime Ministers
agreed to develop bilateral political, economic, and cultural
ties which had been reduced to a minimum during the decades of
Soviet rule. Antall suggested the setting up of a joint committee
to coordinate the expansion of bilateral ties, and stressed that
Hungary intends to develop "especially close and cordial relations
with the kindred Estonian and Finnish peoples." Savisaar expressed
the wish to examine Hungary's experiences concerning privatization
and the withdrawal of Soviet troops. (Edith Oltay)

HUNGARY CONCERNED ABOUT BISHOP TOKES. Hungarian Foreign Minister
Geza Jeszenszky telephoned his Romanian counterpart Adrian Nastase
to express concern about the safety of the ethnic Hungarian Reformed
Bishop of Oradea, Laszlo Tokes, who has recently received death
threats. Jeszenszky asked Nastase to determine who issued the
death threats and pointed out that such actions hurt Hungarian-Romanian
relations. Nastase replied that the threats probably came from
a "troublemaker or lunatic" intent on damaging Romanian-Hungarian
relations. Bishop Tokes, who sparked the 1989 Romanian revolution,
has received numerous death threats, some of them published openly
in the ultranationalist press. Jeszenszky's action was reported
by MTI, citing a statement by Hungarian Foreign Ministry spokesman
Janos Herman. (Edith Oltay)

UNEMPLOYMENT IN ROMANIA. The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare
reported on January 7 that 265,978 persons (almost 60% of them
women) are registered as being currently unemployed; 223,776
are industrial workers. The Labor Office also registered 71,462
persons who are unemployed but who, for reasons not made clear,
are not entitled to compensation under the unemployment law.
The office pays benefits worth about 60% of the total indexed
net basic wages for 594,760 employees of the commercial companies
that had to shut down in November 1991 because of energy shortages.
These benefits total some one billion lei. (Mihai Sturdza)

ROMANIA'S AGRICULTURE IN A DESPERATE STATE. Agriculture and Food
Minister Petre Marculescu told Dimineata on January-3 that the
damage inflicted by decades of forced collectivization cannot
be undone in only one year of privatization. The new private
farmers did not get the assistance the needed, he said, and privatization
has been accomplished through arbitrary measures and accompanied
by theft of state property. Five of the eight million hectares
of arable land remain unplowed for the spring sowing. Romania's
100,000 tractors are insufficient to complete all farm activities
in time. The dramatic drop in agricultural output, high equipment
prices, and lack of hard currency to pay for imports have created
bleak prospects for the food supply in 1992. (Mihai Sturdza)


BULGARIAN STRIKE COMES JUST BEFORE ELECTION. Tens of thousands
of Bulgarian workers staged a nationwide warning strike on January-8
to demand increased minimum wages and pensions and improved social
benefits, Western agencies report. Asen Rizov, deputy chairman
of the excommunist Confederation of Independent Trade Unions
that organized the action, said that 270,000 workers went on
what was mostly a one-hour strike. Rizov said another 520,000
workers were displaying arm bands or other signs of support but
remained on their jobs. The anticommunist trade union movement
Podkrepa not only did not support the action but also claimed
that a large majority of the excommunist unions did not support
the strike. The confederation's action comes only four days before
Bulgaria's first popular presidential election Sunday. Twenty-one
candidates for the presidency have been announced, but incumbent
Zhelyu Zhelev is regarded as the clear favorite. (Nick Kaltchev)


TODOROV TRIAL BEGINS. Gen. Vladko Todorov, former chief of Bulgarian
intelligence, went on trial in Sofia on January-8, Western agencies
reported. He is accused of destroying files containing evidence
about the 1978 murder in London of exiled dissident writer Georgi
Markov. Military prosecutor Lilko Yotsov was quoted as saying
that the case "caused a lot of damage to Bulgaria's international
prestige." Todorov faces up to eight years in prison. His codefendant,
former Deputy Interior Minister Stoyan Savov, died two days ago,
a probable suicide. (Charles Trumbull) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled
by Sallie Wise Chaballier & Charles Trumbull






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