|Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece. - Vladimir Nabokov|
No. 6, 10 January 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO USSR DEFENSE COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN MOSCOW AND KIEV CUT? Officials of the CIS military command are saying that Kiev has now severed crucial communication links between commanders in Moscow and Ukraine, forcing them to communicate by telephone, according to Western news agencies. On January 10, The Chicago Tribune, quoting General Vladimir Nikaronov and Nezavisimaya gazeta, reported that the alleged Ukrainian move has also affected control over battlefield nuclear weapons. (Kathy Mihalisko) YELTSIN HARDENS STANCE ON FLEET. Despite earlier assurances that ownership of the Black Sea Fleet might be shared between Russia and Ukraine, recent controversies appear to be pushing Russian President Boris Yeltsin to the right. On January 8, according to The Guardian of the next day, Yeltsin declared that the fleet was "indivisible," could not belong to any single republic, and has to remain under allied command. On January 9, Yeltsin hardened his stance further, according to TASS that day. He told a crowd in Ulyanovsk that "no one, not even [Ukrainian President Leonid] Kravchuk, will take the Black Sea Fleet away from Russia," and insisted that the Fleet "was, is, and will be Russia's." (Stephen Foye) KRAVCHUK CRITICIZES SHAPOSHNIKOV. Speaking to some 300 senior military officers in Kiev on January 9, Kravchuk characterized the policies of CIS Commander in Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov as backward and said that they were provoking confrontation between commonwealth members. According to Interfax and Western news agencies, Kravchuk said that he regretted having supported the naming of Shaposhnikov as CIS commander. He also criticized CIS media for what he called distorted reporting of Ukrainian military policies. (Stephen Foye) SOBCHAK ATTACKS UKRAINE. St. Petersburg Mayor Anatolii Sobchak has accused Ukraine of exploiting the idea of a commonwealth merely to acquire its own army. He told Russian TV on January 8 that a Ukrainian army represents a "landmine under the future of all mankind" because, if created, Ukraine would "certainly use" its army. He said that Ukraine "must not be permitted" to create an army. He stressed that the CIS has reached a dead end and that the former USSR republics are in danger of falling prey to totalitarianism. Sobchak said he disapproves of non-Ukrainian soldiers inducted into the Soviet Army swearing allegiance to Ukraine. (Alexander Rahr) COMMENTS BY UKRAINE'S UN AMBASSADOR. Speaking on January 9 to the US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Henadii Udovenko, Ukraine's ambassador to the UN, was quoted by RFE/RL's correspondent in Washington as saying that Ukraine is willing to share control of the nuclear component of the Black Sea Fleet until July. He said by that time all strategic weapons should be removed and that Ukraine will then take control of the fleet. There has been no clarification of the discrepancy between Udovenko's remarks and comments by other Ukrainian officials to the effect that the Black Sea Fleet is not a strategic force. (Sonia Winter and Kathy Mihalisko) BAKER, KOZYREV DISCUSS NUCLEAR CONTROLS. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev and US Secretary of State James Baker spoke by telephone on January 9 about the forthcoming visit of a rmsbecher, a leader of the moderate Union of Germans of the USSR, told a press conference in Moscow on January 9 that Yeltsin's statement in Saratov oblast on future Soviet Germany autonomy (see Daily Report, January 9) was against the interests of Soviet Germans and ran counter to undertakings to recreate Soviet German autonomy, TASS reported January 9. A German government spokesman, on the other hand, said Yeltsin's latest statement did not conflict with earlier undertakings to restore German autonomy in stages, TASS reported January 9. (Ann Sheehy) GEORGIA UPDATE. Some 500 people attended the funeral in Tbilisi on January 9 of a man shot dead at a pro-Gamsakhurdia demonstration on January 3, Western news agencies reported on January 9. TASS quoted Military Council co-chairman Tengiz Kitovani US nuclear experts' team to the four nuclear CIS states. RFE/RL's Washington bureau reported that day that Undersecretary of State Reginald Bartholomew will head the delegation, which will visit Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan for talks on nuclear safety. According to State Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler, the US is particularly interested in discussing export controls to block nuclear proliferation and dismantling and disabling nuclear weapons. (Sonia Winter and Sallie Wise Chaballier) RUSSIAN NUCLEAR EXPERTS RECEIVE OFFERS FROM LIBYA. Libya has made several proposals to Soviet nuclear specialists to work for it and offered salaries in the range of $2,000 per month, according to Vyacheslav Rozanov of the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy, quoted by Western news agencies on January 8. Rozanov revealed that 5,000 teams of scientists in Moscow alone are capable of producing nuclear weapons. Nuclear energy specialists have few opportunities in the CIS because of cutbacks in defense spending and construction of atomic reactors and may consider Libya's or other country's offers in the future, Rogozhin said. (Alexander Rahr) CHEMICAL WEAPONS UNDER RUSSIAN CONTROL. A Russian arms control official has stated that all chemical weapons that belonged to the Soviet Union were entirely under Russian control, and are expected to remain so. As quoted by Western agencies, Sergei Batsanov-the former chief Soviet delegate to the UN chemical weapons talks-added that the factories capable of producing chemical weapons and the weapons themselves were all located within Russia. (Doug Clarke) CIS FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET TODAY. Foreign ministers from the CIS member states are scheduled to meet in Moscow on January 10 to discuss political and military issues, TASS and Interfax reported January 9. The ministers will undoubtedly discuss the Black Sea Fleet dispute; also on the agenda is the matter of dividing diplomatic missions and other institutions that belonged to the former Soviet Union. (Sallie Wise Chaballier) MOSCOW CITY GOVERNMENT RESIGNS. On January 9, the Moscow city government, headed by Deputy Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, announced its resignation and plans to reorganize the city administration, TASS reported. Moscow Mayor Gavriil Popov has given Luzhkov two weeks to create a more effective "government of economic reforms" which will reportedly consist of five departments. These will deal with economic reform, social welfare of the population, city economy, long-term development, and territorial administration. The administrative staff will also be reduced by about one-quarter. (Carla Thorson) RUSSIAN TRADE UNIONS PROTEST PRICE INCREASES. The Russian Federation of "Independent" Trade Unions [i.e. former official unions] strongly protested the government's failure to "socially protect the population" while allowing price liberalization, TASS reported on January 9. Igor Klochkov, chairman of the trade union federation, told TASS that the absence of state controlled prices puts the poorest Russians on the brink of famine, and that prices for staples such as bread, milk, potatoes, and cabbage should remain regulated. Klochkov added that the trade unions will organize mass demonstrations and other protests to take place on January 17 if their demands are ignored. (Carla Thorson) EXPORT BAN ON RUSSIAN GOODS. In what could be a major setback to the economic viability of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Russia has banned the export of 60 foodstuffs and consumer goods. According to TASS and Western agencies of January 9, the order for the ban was signed on December 29 by Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Gennadii Burbulis, and the ban comes into effect on January 10. The justification given was that "a few states, former members of the Soviet Union, have imposed restrictions on exports of consumer goods to the Russian Federation." The ban will not be applied to CIS members that have not put any restrictions on trade with Russia. The states involved were not identified. (Keith Bush) VNESHEKONOMBANK BRANCH CLOSED. Western agencies reported on January 9 that the Vneshekonombank branch in Moscow's International Trade Center did not reopen that day after the Christmas break. A bank spokesman said that Vneshekonombank would remain responsible for servicing the foreign debt of the former USSR. He expressed confidence that foreign firms who had deposited funds at the bank would get their money back, but could not say when. According to The Baltimore Sun of January 10, one of the main offices of Vneshekonombank had been closed for two days because its private landlord had turned off the electricity. (Keith Bush) RUSSIAN DECREE ON STATE PROPERTY. On January 9, the Russian Parliament adopted a decree defining state property, TASS reported that day. The document defines three types of state property: federal property; property belonging to Russia's constituent republics, territories, regions, and districts, including Moscow and St. Petersburg; and municipal property. Federal property is said to include key sectors, areas and facilities such as the defense industry, military facilities, the fuel and energy sectors, transport, communications, telecommunications, the state treasury, the continental shelf, territorial waters, and maritime economic zones. The decree is seen as a prerequisite for the privatization process. (Keith Bush) SOVIET GERMAN LEADER CRITICIZES YELTSIN STATEMENT. Hugo Woas stating at a news conference on January 9 that a session of the Georgian parliament would be held shortly at which the Military Council would hand over power to the provisional government, which would rule until new elections are held. A program document released on January 9 by the Georgian permanent representation in Moscow and quoted by TASS affirms that the provisional government "will create all conditions for the holding of new elections within the next few months." Deposed President Zviad Gamsakhurdia told Izvestia that he does not rule out the possibility of heading a government in exile. (Liz Fuller) RUSSIAN, ARMENIAN, BELARUS REACTION TO GEORGIAN EVENTS. In a letter to the Georgian leadership quoted by TASS on January 9, Russian SupSov Chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov said that Russian deputies had been distressed by Gamsakhurdia's policies and by human rights violations in Georgia, and wished the new Georgian leadership "success in restoring justice [and] strengthening democracy." Armenian Association for National Self-Determination Chairman Paruir Hairikyan told TASS in Tbilisi on January 9 that there had been "no alternative" to Gamsakhurdia's armed overthrow. Belarus parliament Chairman Stanislau Shushkevich is quoted by TASS on January 9 as arguing that the armed overthrow of a democratically elected leader is "an extremely negative development" and that violations of legality and human rights are "inacceptable," however noble the aims they are intended to serve. (Liz Fuller) TWENTY-FIVE KILLED IN BAKU FERRY EXPLOSIONS. Twenty-five people were killed on January 8 and 70 injured in two explosions when a ferry from Krasnovodsk in Turkmenistan docked in Baku, an Azerbaijani journalist told RFE/ RL's Azerbaijani service on January 9. Interfax quotes the Azerbaijani Interior Minister as claiming that two parts of a bomb detonator were found on the ferry's deck and terrorism by unnamed perpetrators could not be ruled out. (Liz Fuller) NAKHICHEVAN PARLIAMENT VOTES TO NATIONALIZE SOVIET ARMY EQUIPMENT. The Medzhlis of the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan voted on January 8 to transfer to its jurisdiction all Soviet army units and equipment on its territory, according to The New York Times of January 8. This move represents a new challenge to the Azerbaijani authorities which nationalized Soviet army assets in mid- December. Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov declared himself Commander in Chief of all Soviet non-strategic forces deployed in Azerbaijan. (Liz Fuller) KAZAKHSTAN'S MINERS STRIKE AGAIN. A Western news agency, quoting Interfax, reported on January 9 that coalminers in Kazakhstan have gone on strike to press demands for a doubling of their wages in the wake of the price increases. They are demanding a meeting with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, with whom coalminers in Karaganda Oblast made an agreement last June to refrain from striking for a year. (Bess Brown) DNIESTER SITUATION. The headquarters of Moldavian police in the city of Bendery on the right bank of the Dniester came under submachine gun fire from "Dniester" detachments on January 8, Radio Rossii reported the next day. The radio also reported that the city soviet (which is controlled by Russian communist holdovers) has formed its own militia in opposition to the Moldavian police. On January 3, the "Dniester" forces had seized the building of Moldavia's National Security Ministry in the city. The would-be "Dniester republic," proclaimed by Russians on the left bank, is seeking to establish a major bridgehead in Bendery on the right bank. (Vladimir Socor) BALTIC STATES EXERCISES SPARK CONTROVERSY LOCALLY-.-.-. Maneuvers planned by the former Soviet armed forces in Lithuania this week have sparked more controversy locally and abroad. Col. Gen. Valerii Mironov, commander of the army group stationed in the Baltic States, criticized the Lithuanian government's refusal earlier this week to grant the military permission to hold maneuvers. Mironov told TASS on January 9 that the Lithuanian leadership has "once more whipped up anti-army feelings on its territory." (Riina Kionka) .-.-.-AND ABROAD. In Washington, Representative Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) reportedly asked other members of Congress on January 9 to join him in sending a letter to Russian President Boris Yeltsin expressing concern about the exercises. According to RFE/RL's Washington correspondent, Durbin said that "reports of unwarranted military maneuvers are not in accordance with Lithuania's sovereignty." (Riina Kionka) SOVIET ARMY HELPS LATVIA WITH FUEL. It was also reported in Diena on January-9 that Mironov has allocated 100,000 tons of diesel fuel and 50,000 tons of gasoline for the Latvian public transport system. His decision apparently responded to urging by the Russian government, which has promised to continue to supply Latvia with fuel. (Dzintra Bungs) ESTONIA ORDERS FOOD RATIONING. The Estonian government on January-9 issued an emergency plan that includes the rationing of bread, milk, butter, and cheese for three months starting January-11, according to agency reports that day. Government spokesman Neeme Brus said the order was issued because of acute food shortages in the capital. Brus blamed the shortages on drops in agreed deliveries of goods from Russia, and on unauthorized local sales of Estonian farm products to Russia for hard currency. (Riina Kionka) EQUIPMENT SOLD ILLEGALLY FROM SOVIET BASES IN LATVIA. Eriks Tilgass, Latvian government adviser on military issues, told Diena on January-7 that equipment at the Soviet military bases in Latvia is being sold illegally by the soldiers there. Contrary to orders issued by Commander in Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov, the army officials are not informing the Latvian government which bases are to be dismantled, thus preventing its interference in the selloff of the equipment, which, after the soldiers depart from Latvia, would become the property of Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs) LITHUANIA TO COMPENSATE CRACKDOWN VICTIMS. Lithuania's Supreme Council on January-12 will begin discussion of a draft bill to compensate victims of last year's military assault on Vilnius, according to BNS of January-9. The draft bill foresees paying the families of those killed in the crackdown a lump sum of 180,000 rubles each. Those injured in the attack would receive between 10,000 and 90,000 rubles, depending on the severity of the injury. January-12 is the eve of the Vilnius crackdown's first anniversary. (Riina Kionka) JURKANS: WEST COMPETES FOR INFLUENCE IN THE BALTIC STATES. On January-9 Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs Janis Jurkans told the press in Riga that after attending meetings of the European Community in Brussels he felt Western European countries-especially Germany-and the United States are competing for influence in the Baltic States. He said US Vice President Dan Quayle is expected to visit Latvia in February. Germany plans to establish a Goethe Institute in the near future. Jurkans also noted that the European Community has offered 45-million ecus worth of food aid to the Baltic States. (Dzintra Bungs) LITHUANIA, ISRAEL ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC TIES. On January-8 Lithuanian Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas and Israel's ambassador to Russia Arye Levin exchanged notes in Vilnius establishing diplomatic links. Vytautas Landsbergis, Chairman of Lithuania's Supreme Council, talked with Levin about political, economic, and cultural relations between the two countries, Western and Baltic news agencies reported. (Dzintra Bungs) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE MILOSEVIC CRITICIZES SERBIAN LEADERSHIP IN CROATIA. German and Austrian TV on January-9 covered the reopening of the EC peace conference in Brussels, its first session in two months. They quoted conference chairman Lord Carrington as noting a "more constructive" attitude on the part of the Yugoslav participants. He suggested that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic had become more conciliatory, having "obviously taken note" of plans of at least some EC countries to recognize Croatia and Slovenia on January 15. The January-10 Sźddeutsche Zeitung's headline quotes Milosevic as declaring the civil war to be over. The television reports also cite Milosevic as denouncing and calling for the ouster of Milan Babic, leader of Croatia's Serbs, for opposing the UN peace plan. Meanwhile, in Sarajevo Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic said that his republic's Serbs "would not be allowed" to carry out their plans for independence from the rest of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the BBC reported on January-10. (Patrick Moore) A COUP IN YUGOSLAVIA? On January-9 Borba called the federal military's shooting down of an EC helicopter part of an "attempted coup" and quoted Adm. Stane Brovet, the ranking Slovene still serving with the federal forces, to that effect. In what was said to be a telephone conversation with UN envoy Cyrus Vance, Brovet linked the subsequent arrest of the air force commander, a Croat, to the coup. Later that day, Radio Belgrade quoted a statement from the Federal Secretariat for National Defense denying the entire report. Austrian and German TV quoted army sources as saying that the helicopter incident, in which four Italians and one Frenchman were killed, was the result of poor traffic control. German editorial comment generally argued that the incident underscores the need to recognize Croatia and Slovenia as undisputed masters of their own airspace. Italian editorials on January-8 and 9 were particularly indignant. (Patrick Moore) HUNGARY REJECTS YUGOSLAV CHARGES. In a statement issued on January-9 the Hungarian government "categorically" rejected charges by the Yugoslav federal government that Hungary was training Croatian militiamen and delivering arms to Croatia, MTI reported. The statement expressed the hope that the Yugoslav government will withdraw the charges, formulated in a January-2 memorandum to the UN Security Council, and explain what its intentions are concerning bilateral relations. Hungarian Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky called the charges "a conscious attempt to destroy bilateral relations." (Edith Oltay) RUSSIA HALVES NATURAL GAS SUPPLIES TO POLAND. On January-9 Polish Foreign Trade Ministry director Mieczyslaw Ratajewicz said daily natural gas deliveries from Russia to Poland have been halved in recent days despite a new agreement between the two countries to increase supplies in 1992. He was told by Moscow that the Russian government failed to inform the state gas exporting firm of the new deal with Poland. Under the $2.8-billion deal signed in Warsaw in December, Russia agreed to guarantee 8.1-billion m3 of natural gas in 1992. Earlier the Russian gas exporting company had planned to decrease natural gas exports to Poland, Western media reported. Ratajewicz added, however, that Moscow assured Warsaw deliveries would be resumed in accordance with the agreement. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) MODERNIZATION OF POLISH POWER NETWORK. The French EDF state electricity authority and Swedish Vattenfall have linked with two German companies and the Polish firm Polskie Sieci Elektroenergetyczne in order to bring Poland's power network up to European standards. The EDF said on January-9 that improvement of the East European network "is the vital precondition for any linkup between countries in East Europe and the network in West Europe," Western media reported. A contract has gone out for an initial study to design an overall program for an East European network that will require future investments of millions of dollars. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) POLAND'S FLYING NUN. On January-9 Polish President Lech Walesa gave a new Fiat Cinquecento to a nun who drove him to secret meetings while Poland was under martial law. According to a statement from the president's office, Sister Pauline, now Mother Superior of the Order of Our Lady of Charity, showed great prowess behind the wheel and continually succeeded in delivering the former Solidarity leader to his meetings, even after having to lose security agent "tails." The statement said Sister Pauline exhibited "great reflexes and daredevil skills," Western and Polish media reported. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) MERCEDES CZECH JOINT VENTURE UPDATE. Mercedes Benz is still confident that agreement can be reached with the Czech government on a joint venture with the Czech truck maker Avia. A company spokesman confirmed on January-9 that negotiations will continue with Avia as well as with another Czech truck company, Liaz, and a letter of intent will be signed today for a production alliance between the three, an RFE/RL correspondent reports. The arrangement needs Czech government approval. (Barbara Kroulik) CZECHOSLOVAK AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS PLAN STRIKE. Czechoslovak air traffic controllers plan to strike on January-13 to demand pay increases and improvements in the country's air traffic system. The strike would halt almost all flights in Czechoslovak air space by Czechoslovak and foreign airlines. CSTK quotes Czechoslovak Airlines as saying that negotiations are being conducted to allow flights between Prague and Frankfurt. (Barbara Kroulik) CZECHOSLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER IN ROMANIA. Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier arrived for a two-day visit of Romania on January-9. He was welcomed by his Romanian counterpart, Adrian Nastase. They are expected to sign a friendship and cooperation agreement. Dienstbier is also scheduled to meet President Ion Iliescu and Prime Minister Theodor Stolojan, foreign agencies report. (Barbara Kroulik) FOREIGN INVESTMENTS IN ROMANIA IN 1991. Investors from 97-countries brought some $260-million to Romania in 1991. Over 5,000 contracts were signed in trade and tourism; 2,000 in transport; over 1,000 in infrastructures; some 700 in agriculture; and 500 in light industry. Joint-venture contracts signed in December with French metal-processing companies placed France in first place among foreign investors for 1991, followed by the USA, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, and Turkey. (Mihai Sturdza) PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM TO BE ACCEL-ERATED. Minister of Trade and Tourism Constantin Fota said that privatization should be accelerated so as to transfer at least 50% of the state-owned companies to the private sector by the end of 1992. Only 8% of commercial enterprises and 20% of tourism facilities were privatized last year. In agreement with the unions and the National Privatization Agency, the ministry will auction to the private sector more state-owned assets and companies while maintaining as much as possible their profile and staff. According to local media, the authorities are considering new rules allowing profits to be sent abroad. (Mihai Sturdza) ROMANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER SEEKS US HELP. Interior Minister Victor Babiuc said in Washington that his country is turning to the USA for help dealing with its postcommunist law enforcement problems. He mentioned the opening of an office of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Bucharest to interdict narcotics traffickers. AP said on January-9 that Romania also welcomes FBI help in setting up a crime-fighting service, democratizing the police force, and improving prison conditions. The DEA has already agreed to train Romanian agents in crime prevention techniques. (Mihai Sturdza) BULGARIAN MIDDLE-EAST TIES. Foreign Minister Stoyan Ganev is moving forcefully to upgrade cooperation with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates) and to raise his country's profile in the Middle East generally, Western agencies report. Completing a tour of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria on January-9, Ganev announced that diplomatic ties with Riyadh will be established "very soon." In Syria he pressed for closer economic cooperation, especially in the private sector, at meetings with the Syrian Chamber of Commerce and President Hafez Assad. Ganev also noted that he has received positive responses from leaders in the region to Bulgaria's offer to host future Middle-East peace talks. (Charles Trumbull). [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Sallie Wise Chaballier & Charles Trumbull
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