The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none. - Thomas Carlyle 1975-1881
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 8, 14 January 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO USSR

RUMOURS ON YELTSIN'S RESIGNATION. Ruslan Khasbulatov, chairman
of the Russian parliament, urged Russian President Boris Yeltsin
to replace his government, according to TASS on January 13. He
stressed that if Yeltsin fails to do so, the parliament will
change the Russian government by "constitutional means." Interfax
reported on the same day that Yeltsin will quit the post of prime
minister to concentrate entirely on political questions of the
CIS. The report said that the post of prime minister will go
to Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi, the mayor of St. Petersburg,
Anatolii Sobchak, or eye surgeon Svyatoslav Fedorov. Yeltsin's
spokesman, Pavel Voshchanov, subsequently denied that report.
(Alexander Rahr)

GAIDAR DEFENDS GOVERNMENT. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Egor
Gaidar rejected Khasbulatov's criticism of the government in
an interview with "Vesti" on January 13. He stressed that the
government has no intention of resigning. He defended the decision
of the government to sharply reduce military spending, raise
taxes, and liberalize prices. Gaidar added that it would be better
to spend money on social needs for employees of the military-industrial
complex than to continue to pump money into unnecessary defense
programs. Russian First Deputy Prime Minister, Gennadii Burbulis,
called the parliament led by Khasbulatov a "bailiwick of the
totalitarian system," Novosti reported on January 14. (Alexander
Rahr)

YELTSIN TO MEET COMMANDERS BEFORE ASSEMBLY. Boris Yeltsin will
meet with military district commanders on January 16, the day
before a scheduled "officers assembly," Interfax reported on
January 13. Quoting "well informed military sources," the report
suggested that the meeting was meant to address the concerns
of commanders upset by the potential collapse of the army. Interfax
also reported on January 13 that the January 17 assembly will
be attended by some 5,000 officers. It quoted a deputy chairman
of the armed forces personnel committee, who said that the officers
would present no ultimatums to CIS political leaders. Press reports
recently have suggested that the assembly could turn into a dangerous
forum for disgruntled officers. (Stephen Foye)

KRAVCHUK ON CIS. In an interview published on January 14 in The
New York Times, Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk denied charges
that he is trying to undermine the Commonwealth but insisted
that the CIS is not a state and that it is "natural" that some
states will protest if their sovereignty is "diluted." He said
while his country should have a policy of not arguing with Russia,
Ukraine must not abandon its interests. (Kathy Mihalisko)

. . . ON UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS. Ukrainian President Leonid
Kravchuk said yesterday that political and military disagreements
with Russia were in the process of being smoothed out, The New
York Times reported on January 14. Kravchuk also noted that he
intended to replace some cabinet members with younger faces who
favor a quick transition to a market economy and to name an advisory
group to speed up this process. Ukrainian-Russian differences
were not fully resolved, he argued, but the process was underway.
(Roman Solchanyk)

FLEET TALKS LAUNCHED. A delegation of Ukrainian military experts
arrived in Moscow for talks on dividing up the Black Sea Fleet,
Western news agencies reported on January 14. The talks are a
follow-up to the agreement reached by Ukraine and the Russian
Federation on January 11, and will undoubtedly focus on defining
what portion of the fleet is to be considered "strategic" and
remain under the CIS central military command. The remainder
will apparently be given to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. (Stephen
Foye)

UKRAINE FOOTING THE MILITARY BILL. Ukrainian Defense Minister
Konstantin Morozov told the January 13 press conference in Kiev
that sailors who refuse to pledge allegiance to Ukraine will
be transferred to strategic forces under unified CIS command
(approximately 30% of Black Sea personnel consists of ethnic
Ukrainians). In addition, he provided partial confirmation of
a report received on January 11 by the RFE/RL Ukrainian service
to the effect that the republic has started to finance Ukraine-based
military units, including the Black Sea Fleet, out of its own
budget, although Morozov refused to give any figures. The RFE/RL
report said that the Ukrainian national bank had blocked the
transfer of rubles from the Defense Ministry in Moscow to units
in Ukraine. (Kathy Mihalisko)

REPUBLICS WANT TO DIVIDE UP CASPIAN FLOTILLA. With the debate
over the future of the Black Sea Fleet still not completely resolved,
several republics have indicated they want a part of the former
Soviet Caspian Sea Flotilla. This force is made up of some 85
vessels, of which the largest are 4 frigates. Azerbaijani Defense
Minister Tadzheddin Mekhtiev was quoted by Interfax on January
13 as saying that the four republics that border on the Caspian
Sea-Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan-each had
a right to claim a share of the fleet. Western agencies quoted
Alexander Bogdanov, a member of the Turkmen Presidential Council,
as saying his republic intended to ask for control of part of
the fleet, including the naval base at Krasnovodsk. (Doug Clarke)


NAZARBAEV SUPPORTS UNIFIED MILITARY. President Nursultan Nazarbaev
said on January-13 that he continues to favor retention of a
unified commonwealth military structure and criticized Ukraine
for seeking to split the armed forces, TASS reported. His remarks
came on the eve of a visit to Kazakhstan by CIS Commander in
Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov. Interfax reported on January 13 that
Shaposhnikov hoped also to discuss social and legal guarantees
for former Soviet servicemen in Kazakhstan. (Stephen Foye)

BELARUS CUTS DEFENSE SPENDING. Belarus Defense Affairs Minister
Petr Chaus on January-13 told Russian TV that his republic has
diverted about 30% of funds intended for arms procurement to
housing construction instead. He also said that troop strength
in Belarus will be cut for the purpose of cost reduction. Belarus
on January 11 asserted its authority over general purpose forces
on its territory. There are indications that the current commander
of the former Soviet Belarus Military District, Anatolii Kostenko,
will be tapped to head the republic's new Defense Ministry. (Kathy
Mihalisko)

BURBULIS CRITICIZES UKRAINIAN COUPONS. Speaking to TASS on January
13, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Gennadii Burbulis criticized
Ukraine for introducing special coupons as a parallel currency.
He complained that the coupons could provoke an influx of rubles
into the Russian economy, thereby triggering higher inflation
and other "serious consequences." The coupons went into circulation
last week and will be used in tandem with the ruble until the
introduction of the Ukrainian currency, the hryvnia, sometime
later this year. The coupons look like small banknotes and may
in fact be the prototype design of the hryvnia. (Kathy Mihalisko)


RUSSIA INTRODUCES SEVERE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF FEDERAL
LAW. Boris Yeltsin has presented to the Russian Federation Supreme
Soviet a legal package, which calls for stiff penalties against
those violating executive directives, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei
Shakhrai told Russian Television on January-13. The new Article
200(1) of the Russian Federation Criminal Code envisions 3 to
7 year prison terms and 5- year suspensions from state office
for officials who intentionally break the law. Article 166(2)
of the Administrative Code envisions a fine of up to 16,000 rubles,
dismissal from office, and confiscation of profits for business
activities which violate federal law. Finally, a separate law
gives Yeltsin the right to dismiss an administrator or to disband
a government organization for non-execution of his orders. (Victor
Yasmann)

ST. PETERSBURG TAXI DRIVERS PROTEST. More than 200 taxis disrupted
traffic outside the St. Petersburg City Council building on January-13.
The drivers were protesting the more than ten-fold increase in
tariffs since prices were deregulated on January 2, TASS reported.
The drivers argued that the majority of potential passengers
have been scared away by this "abrupt and excessive" increase.
Russian television also reported that the taxi drivers intend
to block approaches to the city hall on January 15 when Russian
President Boris Yeltsin is scheduled to visit St. Petersburg.
(Carla Thorson)

STRIKING VORKUTA MINERS RETURN TO WORK. The Vorkuta miners in
Northern Russia returned to work on January 13, ending a four-day
strike, TASS reported. The miners agreed to return to work after
mine managers agreed to wage increases, some portion of which
will be paid in food products. The miners began the strike on
January 9 to protest price increases. (Carla Thorson)

ANTISEMITIC PUBLISHER IN BELARUS MAY FACE TRIAL. In an unprecedented
development, the Procurator of Belarus has instituted a criminal
case against the chief editor of Slavyanskie vedomosti, an openly
anti-Semitic newspaper, for violation of the law against incitement
of ethnic hatred. The State Committee for the Press has also
been asked to consider ordering the newspaper to cease publication.
Several months ago, parliamentary opposition deputies charged
that Slavyankie vedomosti and two other publications may have
been responsible for recent criminal acts against Jews. (Kathy
Mihalisko)

PRIME MINISTER CHOSEN IN UZBEKISTAN. UzTAG-TASS reported on January
13 that Uzbekistan's Supreme Soviet chose 44 year-old Abdulkhashim
Mutalov to fill the newly-created post of prime minister. The
report gave no further information about Mutalov. (Bess Brown)


UZBEKISTAN TAKES CONTROL OF MVD TROOPS. UzTAG-TASS reported on
January 13 that Uzbek president Islam Karimov has issued a decree
placing units of the former USSR MVD troops stationed in Uzbekistan
under the jurisdiction of the republic. They are to form the
basis for creation of Uzbekistan's own internal affairs troops.
(Bess Brown)

DEMONSTRATIONS CONTINUE IN TASHKENT. Radio Rossii reported on
January 12 that demonstrations against the former head of the
Muslim Religious Board of Central Asia, who resigned last week,
were continuing in Tashkent. Mufti Muhammad-Sadyk Muhammad-Yusuf
was accused of corruption in 1991; demonstrators are reportedly
saying that he helped himself to large sums from believers' offerings.
He is also being accused of having cooperated with the KGB. According
to the report, neither law enforcement agencies nor the authorities
attempted to interfere with the demonstrations. (Bess Brown)


UZBEKISTAN, KYRGYZSTAN APPLY FOR UN MEMBERSHIP. According to
TASS reports of January 10, both Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have
submitted requests to the UN Secretary-General to be admitted
to the organization. Uzbekistan also offered to sign the nuclear
non-proliferation treaty. After Uzbekistan's Supreme Soviet adopted
the republic's declaration of independence last year, Ukraine
was asked to look after Uzbekistan's interests at the UN until
the latter was admitted to the world body. (Bess Brown)

MOLDOVA'S TREATMENT OF ETHNIC MINORITIES PRAISED BY HUNGARIAN
FOREIGN MINISTER. On the eve of an official visit to Moldova,
Hungarian Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky told Radio Free Europe
in an interview aired on January 13 that Moldova fully observes
the rights of ethnic minorities in accordance with international
standards. Describing Moldova's policy as "exemplary," Jeszenszky
also expressed the hope that Romania might emulate this model
in the future. Terming Moldova "a Romanian state," Jeszenszky
added that Hungary's objective of establishing good relations
with the Romanian people stands a higher chance of early fulfillment
with Moldova than with Romania. (Vladimir Socor)

DNIESTER SITUATION. In three separate incidents on the night
of January 12 to 13, joint patrols of "Dniester republic" guardsmen
and uniformed Army soldiers shot at Moldovan police cars and
posts near Dubasari, injuring two Moldovan police officers and
three civilian bystanders. The police as usual did not return
fire in order to avoid bloodshed, Moldova's Ministry of Internal
Affairs told TASS on January 13. The "Dniester" authorities acknowledged
the facts to TASS but blamed the Moldovan side for provoking
the "Dniester" guard into shooting. (Vladimir Socor)

BALTIC STATES



ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT CRISIS HEATS UP. On January-13 the Estonian
government upped the ante in the escalating government crisis
by vowing to step down if the Supreme Council rejects its proposed
economic state of emergency. That statement, relayed to RFE/RL
by the Estonian Foreign Ministry that day, in effect makes the
issue a vote of confidence in the Savisaar government. The Supreme
Council Presidium added the government proposal to the agenda
on January-13, and the proposal is currently in committee. The
Supreme Council is expected to vote on the proposed state of
emergency on January-14 or 15. On January-12, Estonian Prime
Minister Savisaar proposed that the Supreme Council declare an
economic state of emergency until the new currency is introduced
and to grant the government extraordinary powers for the duration.
(Riina Kionka)

COMMEMORATIONS OF JANUARY VICTIMS. Lithuania commemorated the
first anniversary of the brutal attack by Soviet troops on the
Vilnius television tower. Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme
Council Vytautas Landsbergis spoke at a special session of parliament
on January-12 after the showing of a 15-minute videotape of the
attack. Speaking from the balcony of the still-barricaded parliament
building at 2:00-a.m. January-13, he noted that the path to independence
is still not fully open and Soviet troops still remain in the
republic. The high point of the commemorations on January-13,
a national holiday, was a requiem Mass in Vilnius Cathedral celebrated
by Lithuania's bishops and broadcast live by Radio Lithuania.
(Saulius Girnius)

SOVIET MANEUVERS IN LATVIA CALLED OFF. Col. Gen. Valerii Mironov,
commander of the Northwestern Group of Forces, told Latvian Prime
Minister Ivars Godmanis on January-13 that the maneuvers planned
for January-14 in Latvia had been cancelled, reported Radio Riga
that day; the military activities would be limited to the territory
of the bases and that forces loyal to Latvia would monitor Soviet
military activities throughout Latvia. The cancellation was prompted
by the protest statements issued by Latvian Council of Ministers,
presidium of the Supreme Council, the board of the People's Front
of Latvia, and the picket staged in front of the Northwestern
Group's military headquarters in Riga by Latvia's National Independence
Movement earlier that day. (Dzintra Bungs)

NO PROGRESS ON DEFINING STATUS OF SOVIET MILITARY IN LATVIA.
Latvia's Minister of State Janis Dinevics told Diena of January-13
that during his most recent visit to Moscow that no Russian official
was willing to discuss with him the status of the Soviet forces
in Latvia. Dinevics also noted that Russia had still not formed
a commission to discuss with Latvia the economic aspects of Latvian
takeover of property heretofore occupied by the Soviet military.
At a meeting in Moscow on January-6, the Russian authorities
had indicated that such a commission would be formed promptly.
They also indicated to Prime Minister Godmanis that Soviet troop
departure might take place only in five to seven years. (Dzintra
Bungs)

BALTICS SEEK UNDP AID STATUS. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania
have requested the status of aid-recipients from the UN Development
Program (UNDP), the largest technical-aid agency in international
development, an RFE/RL correspondent in New York reported on
January-13. The UNDP Governing Council will review the request
when it meets in New York next month. Granting of aid-recipient
status would help the states in their transition from a command
to a free market economy. (Saulius Girnius)

ESTONIAN WATER RUNS COLD. Thousands of Estonian homes were without
hot water starting January-13 as a result of nondelivery of promised
energy supplies from Russia. According to Western agencies, quoting
Baltfax, hot water was only available in hospitals, orphanages,
and retirement homes. Estonia has received no gasoline or diesel
fuel from Russia since the beginning of the year and only 12,000
tons of heating fuel. According to Baltfax, homes in all Baltic
States were likely to lose their central heating soon. (Riina
Kionka)

LATVIAN TRANSPORT MINISTER DIES. Radio Riga reported on January-13
that Janis Janovskis, Latvia's Minister of Transport, died on
January-11 of injuries suffered when his chauffeur-driven car
hit an oncoming bus. (Dzintra Bungs)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

SOLIDARITY STAGES WARNING STRIKES. According to PAP and Western
agencies some 80% of Solidarity Trade Union branches staged a
one-hour national warning strike on January-13, protesting against
energy price increases. Government spokesman Marcin Gugulski
told PAP that "the government is treating the warning strike
as protest against economic and social policies of the past"
and announced that union-government talks will take place soon.
Solidarity Chairman Marian Krzaklewski insists, however, that
the increases be rescinded as a precondition for negotiations.
Lech Walesa's spokesman Andrzej Drzycimski said "the President
is of the opinion that the current strikes-.-.-. should be creative,
lead to improvement in the situ-ation, and give the government
a chance to prepare a new economic program." (Roman Stefanowski)


POLISH-LITHUANIAN DECLARATION SIGNED. In Vilnius Foreign Ministers
Krzysztof Skubiszewski and Algirdas Saudargas signed a wide-ranging
10-point declaration of friendship and neighborly relations as
well as a consular convention, Polish and Western media reported
on January-13. The signing had been delayed because of the dispute
regarding the minority rights of Poles in Lithuania. (Roman Stefanowski)


UNEMPLOYMENT WORSENS IN POLAND-.-.-. Unemployment has hit a new
high, reaching 2,155,600 by the end of 1991, Western and Polish
media report. According to a report issued on December-10 by
the Central Office of Statistics (GUS), the figure is more than
double the number unemployed a year earlier. The highest current
unemployment rate-over 18%-was in the rural northeast. Urban
areas and industrial regions have not been as hard hit. In Warsaw
the jobless rate was 4.2%, in Poznan 5.5% and in Krakow 6.6%.
The government Planning Office said that as many as 3.5 million
people, or about 18% of the total work force, could be out of
work by the end of this year. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)

.-.-.-AND HUNGARY. According to preliminary figures just released
by the Hungarian Ministry of Labor, the number of unemployed
in Hungary as of December 1991 was over 400,000, up from 80,000
at the end of 1990, MTI reported. This five-fold increase within
a year brings the rate of unemployment to 8.3%. Particularly
affected are Szabolcs, Nograd, and Borsod counties in the northeast,
where the unemployment rate ranges from 13.8% to 16.3%. The Ministry
of Labor had originally estimated the number of unemployed for
1991 at 200,000 to 250,000, and had forecast 530,000 to 580,000
for 1992. Labor Ministry officials,-however, now say that unemployment
may reach 700,000 in 1992 due to plant closures and other measures
aimed at establishing a market economy. (Edith Oltay)

HUNGARIAN EXODUS FROM TRANS-CARPATHIA. In a note sent to the
Hungarian and Ukrainian governments on January-9, the Presidium
of the Hungarian Cultural Association of Subcarpathia (HCAS)
reported that since 1979, the number of Magyars in that western
Ukrainian oblast (some 156,000) dropped by 3,000, with 800 leaving
last year alone. The reasons given for the exodus, MTI reports,
were the very bad economic situation, serious border crossing
difficulties, and the growth of Ukrainian nationalist and anti-Magyar
sentiments following the December-1, 1991 referendum asking for
autonomy status for Transcarpathia. (Alfred Reisch)

BONN: CZECHOSLOVAK-GERMAN TREATY WON'T BE CHANGED. The German
government says that the text of the Czechoslovak-German friendship
treaty will not be changed. The accord, initialled in October,
has not yet been signed. The Christian Social Union, part of
Chancellor Helmut Kohl's coalition government, demanded changes
last week, saying that before the signing, Prague should stop
auctioning property belonging to Germans expatriated after World
War-II. Czechoslovakia also rejected the demand for changes.
Presidential spokesman Michael Zantovsky said in Prague that
there is no reason to modify or delay the treaty and praised
Kohl's stand on the treaty issue, Western agencies report. (Barbara
Kroulik)

IMF APPROVES CZECHOSLOVAK LOAN. The International Monetary Fund
approved a loan to Czechoslovakia of about $147 million to help
cover unexpectedly high oil imports costs. It is the third time
that Czechoslovakia has drawn on the Fund's special provision
for oil imports in the past 12-months. The oil loans were granted
in addition to a standby arrangement Czechoslovakia has with
the IMF to help finance economic reforms. Czechoslovakia has
borrowed a total of about $1.458 billion from the IMF during
the past year, an RFE/RL correspondent reports. (Barbara Kroulik)

COUNCIL OF EUROPE DELEGATION IN BUCHAREST. The 25-member Commission
for Parliamentary and Public Relations of the Council of Europe's
Parliamentary Assembly arrived in Bucharest. It will meet with
government members and minority deputies in parliament and report
back to the assembly in Strasbourg about Romania's application
for full membership in the European Community. Romania has been
eligible to join the council's activities in education, culture,
and sports since December 19, 1991, when it signed the European
Cultural Convention. (Mihai Sturdza)

GOVERNMENT TALKS WITH TRADE UNIONS. The government and the National
Advisory Council of the Trade Unions (NACTU) are continuing minimum
wage talks. Industry Minister Dan Constantinescu said on January-11
that demands to raise the present average monthly wage from 7,000
to almost 24,000 lei, would jeopardize price policy. On January-13
while NACTU and government agreed to create a national commission
for the indexing of wages, other non-NACTU unions were threatening
a general strike, local media said. (Mihai Sturdza)

FIRST COMMENTS ON BULGARIAN ELECTIONS. President Zhelyu Zhelev,
who failed to win the absolute majority, was quoted by BTA as
saying that the question "communism or democracy" has not yet
been solved. He expressed confidence that he would win the second
ballot on January-19 and emphasized that it is important for
the Bulgarian president to have wide popular support. In a statement
to BTA Zhelev invited his opponent Velko Valkanov to a TV debate
on January-17. BTA commentator Panayot Denev said the surprise
success of the third candidate, George Ganchev, was due to people
who abhor communism but are suspicious of anyone in power. Blagovest
Sendov, who finished fourth with about 2% of the vote, said the
main objective-to stop Zhelev in the first round-had been achieved.
(Rada Nikolaev) YUGOSLAV UPDATE. Western and Yugoslav media on
January-13 reported no major violations of the cease-fire. In
Vienna the 50-UN liaison officers taken from contingents around
the world prepared to leave for Yugoslavia on January-14. Their
Australian commander told them to "be firm, fair, and friendly."
The Vatican formally recognized Croatia and Slovenia. Yugoslavia
protested and fired its own ambassador to the Holy See, who will
now represent Croatia there. Pope John Paul-II has frequently
spoken out for an end to the fighting in Yugoslavia, and Vatican
recognition has special symbolic importance for the two predominantly
Roman Catholic republics. Estonia recognized the independence
of Croatia on January-13, according to ETA (Estonia recognized
Slovenia last September). Finally, an RFE/RL correspondent at
the UN reports that Bulgaria said in a note to the UN Security
Council that any delay in extending recognition to the Republic
of Macedonia would work against stability in the Balkans. (Patrick
Moore)

MACEDONIAN ALBANIAN VOTE ON AUTONOMY. Reports in the Yugoslav
media are conflicting regarding the results of last weekend's
two-day referendum on autonomy by Macedonia's Albanian minority.
On January-12 Radio Skopje claimed that in several predominantly
Albanian towns, most Albanians stayed away from the polls. The
report also said that ethnic Turks and Muslims, who were encouraged
to take part in the balloting, had boycott the referendum. Radio
Croatia reported low turnouts in several towns, but quoted referendum
organizers as saying that more than three-quarters of the ballots
cast favor cultural and political autonomy with eventual union
with the neighboring province of Kosovo with its 90% Albanian
population. The Macedonian republican government says the referendum
is illegal. The 1991 census shows that 21% of Macedonia's population
is Albanian, 5% Turkish, and 3% Muslim. (Milan Andrejevich) [As
of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles-Trumbull






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