If we are to live together in peace, we must first come to know each other better. - Lyndon B. Johnson
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 10, 16 January 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO USSR

GAMSAKHURDIA RETURNS TO GEORGIA. Radio Rossii reported early
on January 15 that ousted Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia
had been on a hunger strike for three days to protest "his illegal
detention by the Armenian authorities." Later that day Gamsakhurdia,
his family, and bodyguards travelled from Idzhevan to Erevan.
Western agencies initially reported that they had flown from
Erevan to Grozny in Chechen-Ingushetia at the invitation of
Chechen President Dzhakhar Dudaev, a Gamsakhurdia ally, but a
Chechen spokesman denied these reports this morning (January
16). Western news agencies report this morning that Gamsakhurdia
flew from Erevan to the Abkhaz capital of Sukhumi late on January-15
and then travelled by car today to the Mingrelian capital of
Zugdidi in northwest Georgia, where support for him is strongest.
(Liz Fuller)

MEETING OF CIS LEADERS. The meeting of the CIS leaders to be
held in Moscow today (January 16) will focus on military problems
as well as coordination of CIS foreign policy and establishment
of an organizational group to prepare future meetings of CIS
heads of state and government, RIA reported January 15. RIA said
it was told by a competent Russian government source that the
meeting was originally scheduled for later this month, but had
been moved up to accommodate the schedules of all the CIS heads
of state. Russian TV said, however, that the meeting had originally
been planned for the CIS prime ministers, but was changed to
a "working session" about military matters among the CIS heads
of state. (Ann Sheehy)

UKRAINIAN DEFENSE PLANS CRITICIZED. Following talks between Russian
and Ukrainian experts in Moscow on January 14, two top Russian
generals criticized Ukrainian designs on the Black Sea Fleet.
According to Russian TV on January 15, the experts reached agreement
on the composition of CIS strategic forces, but again stumbled
on the issue of the fleet. Later, General Boris Pyankov, head
of a CIS team negotiating with Kiev, said Ukrainian claims to
the Black Sea Fleet were "incomprehensible," and that they conflicted
with Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk's professed goal of
defending the republic's coastline. Yeltsin adviser Dmitrii Volkogonov
echoed Pyankov's remarks, and called for a two-year transitional
period during which defense reform could be carried out. (Stephen
Foye)

SHAPOSHNIKOV VISITS CENTRAL ASIA. Continuing his visits to member-state
capitals, CIS Commander in Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov met with
political leaders in Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on January 15.
According to TASS reports, Shaposhnikov expressed satisfaction
with the results of both meetings. Speaking of his conversation
with Tajik President Rakhmon Nabiev, Shaposhnikov said that Tajikistan
remains committed to "preserving a single armed forces within
the framework of the commonwealth." (Stephen Foye)

YELTSIN FACES ANGRY ST. PETERSBURG RESIDENTS. In the final stop
on his tour of the Russian Federation, President Boris Yeltsin
was confronted by angry St. Petersburg residents demanding to
know how they will be able to feed their families in light of
rising prices, Western and Russian agencies reported on January
15. Yeltsin responded that unscrupulous producers were artificially
inflating prices, which only served to undermine economic reform.
In response to repeated questions about land privatization, Yeltsin
reportedly said that a new decree on privatization for some farms
would take effect on March 1. Yeltsin also met with striking
taxi drivers, and TASS reported that the ten-fold increase in
tariffs would now be cut in half. (Carla Thorson)

MINERS WARN OF IMPENDING STRIKES. Representatives of Russia's
Kuzbass and Vorkuta mines warned government officials that wildly
fluctuating prices are fueling pro-strike sentiments among the
miners in these regions, TASS reported on January 15. Aleksandr
Oslanidi, acting chairman of the Kuzbass workers' committee,
was quoted as saying that the Russian government would fall unless
something is done to soften the impact of price deregulation.
Meanwhile Russian Supreme Soviet Chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov
met with members of the strike committee from the Vorkuta region
to discuss their demands. The Vorkuta miners have already launched
a four-day strike which ended on January 13. (Carla Thorson)


KHASBULATOV PREFERS CONSERVATIVES. During a meeting with Russian
journalists, Khasbulatov said that the present government is
incompetent in economics, defense, and foreign affairs. According
to "Vesti" of January 15, Khasbulatov suggested former Prime
Minister Ivan Silaev, or his deputies Oleg Lobov and Yurii Skokov,
for the post of Russian Prime Minister. On January-14, "Vesti"
cited Khasbulatov as proposing the replacement of present Russian
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev with veteran Soviet diplomat
Yulii Vorontsov, currently Russian ambassador to the UN. (Julia
Wishnevsky)

RUSSIAN DEPUTIES CRITICIZE KHASBULATOV. Russian Supreme Soviet
deputies criticized Khasbulatov for demanding that the Russian
government resign, TASS reported on January 15. The parliament
is currently meeting to evaluate the effectiveness of economic
reforms instituted by Yeltsin. One deputy, Mikhail Molostvov,
commented that Khasbulatov's remarks did not reflect the general
opinion of the parliament. (Carla Thorson)

RUSSIA TO IMPORT RECORD AMOUNTS OF GRAIN IN 1992. Despite great
hopes placed on plans for agricultural and land reform in Russia,
the government is planning to import as much as 20-million tons
of grain in 1992. The Russian Agriculture Minister, Viktor Khlystun,
made the announcement during a press conference on January-14,
TASS reported the same day. In 1991, Russia received only 16
million tons of grain from abroad, according to Khlystun. To
a significant degree, Russia's imports will depend on the availability
of aid packages from the West. (John Tedstrom)

RUSSIA MAY INTRODUCE OWN CURRENCY. In response to reports of
Ukraine's intention to abandon the ruble, Yeltsin told reporters
in St. Petersburg on January 15 that Russia might be forced to
introduce its own currency as well. Yeltsin indicated that Russia
would not take this step unless it had to, but noted that if
Ukraine carries out its current plans, Russia could introduce
its own currency sometime in July. (Carla Thorson)

CIS OIL OUTPUT TO FALL IN 1992. The International Energy Agency
predicts that oil output in the CIS will fall from a 1991 level
of 10.4 million barrels per day to 9.5 million barrels per day
in 1992. It is not clear how the IEA arrived at its estimates,
but reviews of its report in the Western press indicate that
the agency may be extrapolating, largely, from output trends
in the former USSR. If so, the estimates may be too optimistic;
the breakdown of supply links among the former Soviet republics
has become more acute since the USSR dissolved, and that trend
will hurt production throughout the CIS region. Although domestic
demand for energy ought to ease somewhat in 1992, soft energy
markets may keep prices low enough to discourage aggressive CIS
sales. (John Tedstrom)

ENERGY PRICES IN RUSSIA ON THE RISE. According to Vladimir Lopukhin,
Russia's Minister for Fuel and Energy, the price of coal has
increased five times, coking coal by eight times, oil by five
times, gasoline by three times, kerosene by five-times, natural
gas by five times, and electricity by four times as a result
of the price liberalization January 2. Even with these price
increases, not all of the oil fields in Russia can become profitable,
Lopukhin told a press conference January 13. TASS covered his
remarks the same day. (John Tedstrom)

HOPE FOR A UNIFIED ENERGY SYSTEM. In his press conference, Lopukhin
laid heavy emphasis on maintaining a unified energy system and
reported that he is negotiating with other republics (Ukraine
in particular) on that question now. There are already fault
lines in the "unified system:" Lithuania is reported (by Radio
Moscow on January 16) to be considering halting electricity supplies
to Belarus and Kaliningrad because of supply shortages in its
electricity sector. Lithuania gets most of its primary energy
from Russia and Belarus. Estonia is also facing an energy crisis
due to stoppage of fuel deliveries from Russia, Estonia's Economics
Minister Jaak Leimann reported January 14. (John Tedstrom)

KOZYREV IN BONN. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev and
German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher met in Bonn on
January 15 for talks on bilateral issues, aid, and nuclear proliferation.
Kozyrev offered assurances that German humanitarian aid to Russia
is reaching the intended recipients and supported the idea of
developing an effective distribution system for aid. Kozyrev
stressed that short-range nuclear weapons should be eliminated
and called the creation of a fund to keep Soviet nuclear scientists
at home doing peaceful research in an effort to dissuade them
from selling their skills for military purposes abroad, Western
agencies reported January 15. (Suzanne Crow)

KOZYREV ON SOVIET GERMAN AUTONOMY. At his press conference in
Bonn with Genscher on January 15, Kozyrev said that Russia stood
by the joint declaration signed by Yeltsin in Bonn last fall
as regards the restoration of Soviet German autonomy, TASS reported
January 15. Kozyrev said that a Russian presidential decree was
being drawn up on the restoration of the statehood of the Volga
Germans, but it was a complex question which could not be solved
quickly. He proposed the creation of a joint German-Russian commission
to implement the program. German government spokesman Dieter
Vogel called for Yeltsin to keep his promise with regard to Soviet
German autonomy, saying that Yeltsin's recent statement that
autonomy would only be granted in areas with at least 90% German
population was never discussed before, Western agencies reported
January 15. (Ann Sheehy)

VOSHCHANOV ON SOVIET GERMAN AUTONOMY. Yeltsin's press secretary
Pavel Voshchanov issued a statement on January 15 saying that
Yeltsin had not changed his position on Soviet German autonomy,
TASS reported January 15. Voshchanov said the problem would be
solved in three stages. First, certain raions would be assigned
for German settlement. Second, as the German share of the population
in these raions increased, they would be designated national
raions. Finally, the status of these raions would be raised,
up to the formation of an autonomous oblast. This program is
unlikely to satisfy the Germans, who want the recreation of a
German autonomous republic now. (Ann Sheehy)

RUSSIA TO TAKE OVER UNESCO SEAT. UNESCO Director General Federico
Mayor said on January-15 that Yeltsin has requested that Russia
be granted the former USSR's seat in the UN Educational, Scientific,
and Cultural Organization. Mayor said Yeltsin committed his republic
to taking over all aspects of the former USSR's membership, including
financial, Western agencies reported January 15. (Suzanne Crow)


PRAVDA, TV JOURNALISTS PROTEST YELTSIN'S MEDIA POLICY. St. Petersburg's
television journalists have set up a strike committee to protest
transformation of their network into two government-controlled
stations: the All-Russian Television Company "St. Petersburg,"
subordinated to the local City Council, and a St. Petersburg
division of the All-Russian State Television Company "Ostankino",
Radio Rossii reported on January 15. The directive creating the
new stations was signed by "Ostankino" president Egor Yakovlev,
St. Petersburg mayor Anatolii Sobchak, and Russian Minister of
the Press and Mass Media Mikhail Poltoranin. Meanwhile, Pravda
on January 6 accused Yakovlev of censorship and unfair commercial
practices toward the opposition press. Pravda's advertisements
were taken off the air allegedly for mentioning that the newspaper
was banned three times: by Nikolai II, by Alexander Kerensky,
and by Yeltsin. A commercial for Moscow News was shown instead.
(Victor Yasmann)

UKRAINE'S INTERNATIONAL TIES. Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitold
Fokin is on an official visit to Greece where he met with the
host country's head of government and president, Radio Kiev reported
on January 15. The sides signed an agreement covering economic
and scientific cooperation and documents establishing formal
diplomatic relations. (Roman Solchanyk)

SNEGUR CABLES YELTSIN OVER "MERCENARIES" IN "DNIESTER REPUBLIC."
Moldovan President Mircea Snegur has cabled Yeltsin to complain
about citizens of the Russian Federation "taking part in armed
raids of the so-called Dniester guard for generous pay, in effect
as mercenaries." Snegur told Yeltsin in the cable that the "Dniester
republic" was "a bridgehead of the reactionary forces of the
former USSR which oppose the Alma-Ata accords, try to preserve
the empire, and seek revenge for their defeat in the August 1991
putsch," Moldovapres reported on January 14. (Vladimir Socor)


SNEGUR SWORN IN. Elected recently by popular vote, Snegur took
the oath of office on January 15 at a solemn session of the parliament,
swearing loyalty to "the people of Moldova," TASS reported on
January 15. In an address upon taking the oath, Snegur said that
he would make "the observance of human rights and of the equilibrium
among the three branches of government the keystone of his policy."
He also pledged to form "an executive team capable of ensuring
cooperation of all political forces" and urged parliament to
speed up the drafting of the new Moldovan constitution. (Vladimir
Socor)

BALTIC STATES



GOVERNMENT CRISIS UNRESOLVED. Despite several hours of debate,
the Estonian Supreme Council on January-15 failed to take a stand
on the future of Prime Minister Savisaar and his proposal that
the Supreme Council declare an economic state of emergency and
grant the government special powers. In a meeting broadcast live
on Estonian Radio, the Supreme Council discussed the proposal
point by point, and listened to recommendations from the economic
and legal commissions against passing the proposal. Earlier this
week, Savisaar threatened to resign should the proposal not go
through. Voting on the proposed measure is scheduled to take
place today (January-16). However, because of widespread criticism
of the motion in the Supreme Council yesterday, government insiders
believe that Savisaar may withdraw his proposal altogether, thereby
eliminating the need to make good on his offer to step down.
(Riina Kionka)

PARATROOPERS IN LITHUANIA GIVE YELTSIN ULTIMATUM. On January-15
officers of two airborne divisions based in Lithuania issued
an ultimatum to Russian President Yeltsin to sign a withdrawal
agreement with Lithuania by February-1, TASS reported. The message,
also sent to CIS Commander in Chief Shaposhnikov, said that the
officers, soldiers, and their families wanted "real social guarantees"
and "reserve the right to ignore criminal and inhuman orders
to withdraw and dissolve the divisions" and to join any state
that can offer them "social and legal guarantees." The officers
threatened to take "all measures necessary for the defense of
our honor and dignity, including the use of our professional
capacities." (Saulius Girnius)

MORE ON KOZYREV IN TALLINN. More information has come out about
Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev's January-14 meeting
with his Estonian counterpart Lennart Meri in Tallinn. According
to Western agencies quoting Baltfax, the meeting dealt mainly
with planned withdrawals of former Soviet military troops from
Estonia. Kozyrev reportedly told Meri that Russia understands
his position, but asked Estonia to take into account the difficulties
of withdrawing the troops. The Estonian side reportedly said
it understood the need for a gradual withdrawal and a guarantee
of Russia's security interests. Meri also reportedly said Estonia
was ready to build housing for withdrawing units. (Riina Kionka)


GODMANIS ON ENERGY CRISIS IN LATVIA. Speaking on Latvian TV on
January-14, Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis said that the government
will purchase petroleum from private enterprises in Latvia in
order to safeguard the functioning of the most vital sectors
of the economy. He said that food would be supplied to Soviet
troops in Latvia only in exchange for the promised fuels. Godmanis
pointed out that the Tyumen region owes Latvia with 600,000 tons
of petroleum for 1990 and 1991; the Tyumen region has not supplied
Latvia 300,000 tons of petroleum annually, as it had agreed to
do in order to repay for the roads and buildings Latvia constructed
in that region. (Dzintra Bungs)

LATVIA REQUESTS MEDICAL AID. Radio Riga reported on January-15
that the Latvian Supreme Council has requested medical aid from
the WHO, Red Cross, and various governments. Currently Latvia's
medical reserves can last only until March and some medicines
and medical supplies are already unavailable. Deputy Ivars Krastins
pointed out that the supply system from the successor states
of the USSR has completely broken down and that Latvia lacks
enough hard currency to purchase medical supplies abroad at world
market prices. (Dzintra Bungs)

LITHUANIA ADMITTED TO WHO. The Director General of the World
Health Organization sent a telegram to Prime Minister Gediminas
Vagnorius announcing that Lithuania had been admitted to the
organization, Radio Lithuania reported on January-15. The organization
decided to exempt Lithuania from paying membership dues this
year. (Saulius Girnius)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

WAVE OF RECOGNITION FOR CROATIA AND SLOVENIA. An EC report on
January-15 recommended recognition for the two republics. Germany
had already recognized them in December, and now the other 11-Community
members followed suit. They were joined by Canada and a number
of European states, including Turkey, Austria, Switzerland, Finland,
Norway, Sweden, and Malta. Iceland, Ukraine, the Vatican, and
San Marino had recognized Croatia and Slovenia earlier. The authorities
in Belgrade protested the moves, but crowds were jubilant in
Croatia. (Patrick Moore)

GERMANY AT CENTER STAGE. At diplomatic celebrations in Zagreb
and Ljubljana, Germany received pride of place and formally elevated
its consulates there to embassies. Both Chancellor Helmut Kohl
and Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher said that recent
events, including Serbian acceptance of a UN peace plan, had
proved that Germany was right in urging recognition as a means
to ending the war. Kohl suggested that complaints from some countries
about Germany's successful diplomacy stemmed from an "envy complex."
There were no complaints in Croatia, however, where state-run
radio and television played the new song "Danke, Deutschland."
(Patrick Moore)

EASTERN EUROPEAN POSITIONS. Hungary and Poland joined the EC
countries in recognizing and establishing diplomatic relations
with Slovenia and Croatia. The Hungarian Foreign Ministry said
in a statement that Hungary would upgrade its general consulate
in Zagreb to an embassy and set up an embassy in Ljubljana. It
said that Hungary will study the possibility of establishing
diplomatic relations with the other former Yugoslav republics
which declared their independence. Hungary has been concerned
about the situation of the 400,000-strong Hungarian minority
in Serbia which has in recent months been subjected to growing
pressures by the Serbian authorities. PAP reported that the Polish
Foreign Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski, justifying the move
in the Sejm, said that "Poland has condemned in the past and
still condemns now the use of force in Yugoslavia." Skubiszewski
said that Poland, like many other countries, had delayed recognition
for fear of exacerbating the conflict. Czechoslovakia and Romania
did not immediately join the rush to recognize. On January-15
CSTK quoted Czechoslovak Foreign Ministry official Jan Kubis
as saying that the federal government would decide on recognition
of Slovenia and Croatia at its session on January-16. Kubis also
said that the Czechoslovak stand should be close to that of the
European Community. He let it be known that Czechoslovakia is
most likely to establish diplomatic ties with Slovenia but the
question of Croatia remains open. In a statement to Adevarul
Romanian Foreign Minister Adrian Nastase said on January-10,
"Romania is not ready yet to recognize the independence of the
Yugoslav republics. We follow with great interest what is going
on there however and will make a decision based upon the stand
of the EC and the UN." Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia all extended
recognition to Slovenia and Croatia last autumn. Former Soviet
Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze told Austrian TV on January-15
that the USSR was partly to blame for the war in Yugoslavia,
since it was too absorbed in its own affairs to use its good
offices as a mediator effectively. (RFE/RL RI staff)

NO MAJOR MOVEMENT TO RECOGNIZE BOSNIA, MACEDONIA. The EC report
added that ethnically-mixed Bosnia and Herzegovina should hold
a referendum on independence before Brussels could recommend
recognition. Austrian TV said that the EC committee had no objections
in principle to recognizing Macedonia, but that Greece vetoed
recognition. Greece demands that Macedonia change its name and
claims that the republic might have territorial ambitions in
northern Greece. The Republic of Macedonia denies the accusations
and refuses to change its name. The Italian foreign minister
said he hoped Macedonia would win broad recognition soon. Nonetheless,
Bulgaria, which strongly backs Macedonian independence as a safeguard
against potential Serbian expansion, recognized the independence
of four republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Most political forces in Bulgaria warmly supported recognition;
a spokesman for the socialist opposition approved the move with
some reservations; while the socialist daily Duma was rather
critical. Meanwhile, the president's adviser on national security
and a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense said on Bulgarian
Radio that there was no concentration of troops or special military
activity on the Bulgaria's western border. Bulgaria's move was
preceded by intensive diplomatic activities, including Foreign
Minister Ganev's talks in Rome, Athens, and Bonn, urging European
Community recognition of Macedonia. As reported on Athens TV
Greece reacted to Bulgaria's recognition with a statement describing
it as a "forced and incorrect move" that threatens Balkan stability
and security and would disrupt Bulgaria's course toward the European
Community. (Patrick Moore & Rada Nikolaev)

INTERNATIONAL BANKERS IN POLAND. On January-15 President Walesa
and Prime Minister Olszewski received representatives of the
World Bank headed by the Bank's Deputy Chairman Wilfried P.Thalwitz
and the chief of the World Bank's Mission in Poland Ian Hume.
PAP reported that according to both the presidential and the
government spokesmen the talks related to the country's economic
situation and the cooperation between the World Bank and Poland.
While Walesa assured the bankers that Poland will take all possible
anti-inflationary measures, Olszewski declared Poland's determination
to continue with the economic reform. The bankers in turn assured
Poland of continued financial help, particularly in the area
of agriculture and food processing. (Roman Stefanowski)

CZECH PREMIER CRITICIZES FEDERAL FINANCE MINISTER. On January-14
Czech Premier Petr Pithart described a recent statement by federal
Finance Minister Vaclav Klaus on the 1991 budget deficit as an
"offensive move in the preelection struggle." On the subject
of the country's overall deficit amounting to 23,000-million
koruny ($770 million), Klaus said the Czech and Slovak republics
"behaved in a socialist manner." Pithart pointed to the tendentiousness
of Klaus' conclusions, saying that Klaus is also the Chairman
of an "ambitious party [the Civic Democratic Party, ODS] striving
for an election victory [in the June 1992 elections]. Pithart
concluded that the cause of the Czech budgetary deficit is lower
revenues, CSTK reported. (Peter Matuska)

CENSUS MANIPULATIONS IN ROMANIA? Jozsef Czedli, a member of the
Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (HDUR), told Radio Budapest
on January-14 that the recent Romanian census was marked by a
series of abuses, starting by the listing of Szekler as a separate
language from Hungarian and the use of a pencil to answer the
questions pertaining to nationality, mother tongue, and religion.
The HDUR forwarded several cases of abuse to the central census
authorities, which said the census takers, though they would
be disciplined, had not been politically motivated but had merely
misinterpreted their instructions. The census office felt, however,
that any resulting falsifications would not significantly distort
the true picture. The HDUR has asked its members to report any
violations and to use their right to recheck their census forms
at the local councils. (Alfred Reisch).

ROMAN MEETS WESTERN POLITICIANS. Petre Roman, the leader of Romania's
ruling National Salvation Front, is currently visiting France
and Spain for an exchange of views with the socialist leadership
of these countries. He told Laurent Fabius, President of the
French National Assembly, and Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González,
that the NSF is a democratic party with a center-left electoral
program, fostering democracy and economic reform. (Mihai Sturdza)


STALEMATE IN LABOR NEGOTIATIONS. Romanian Prime Minister Stolojan
told parliament on January-15 that talks with trade union representatives
had bogged down over the wage issue. Some unions requested a
minimum monthly wage that would more than triple the current
level of 7,000 lei. Stolojan said that wages could be raised
only through indexing and threatened to resign if he is forced
to slow down the pace of reforms. National Bank Governor Mugur
Isarescu said that the inflation rate reached 300% during 1991,
although the bank and the government had advised a rate of 120
to 140%. Negotiations were continuing late in the evening, local
media said. (Mihai Sturdza) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Sallie
Wise Chaballier & Charles Trumbull


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

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Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
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