|Liberty of thought means liberty to communicate one's thought. - Salvador de Madariaga|
No. 11, 17 January 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO USSR GAMSAKHURDIA DECLARES CIVIL WAR, MARCHES ON TBILISI. At a rally in Zugdidi on January 16, ousted Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia called on supporters to overthrow the ruling Military Council and set out for Tbilisi with some 4,000-5,000 armed followers. Military Council co-chairman Tengiz Kitovani said that National Guard detachments had been sent to the towns of Zugdidi, Poti, and Samtredia. Pro- and anti-Gamsakhurdia demonstrations were held in Tbilisi. Acting Prime Minister Tengiz Sigua told Radio Rossii on January 16 that Armenia had violated the terms of an agreement between the two republics by allowing Gamsakhurdia to leave. Abkhaz Supreme Soviet Chairman Vladislav Ardzinba told TASS on January 16 that he had had no prior knowledge of Gamsakhurdia's arrival in Sukhumi from Grozny. He also denied claims made by Gamsakhurdia concerning the creation of a Mingrelian-Abkhaz republic and asserted that Abkhazia would take no part in such a formation. (Liz Fuller) MEETING OF CIS LEADERS IN MOSCOW. A meeting of CIS heads of state in Moscow on January-16 discussed military and economic issues, TASS reported that day. The presidents of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Moldova were absent for various reasons, but delegations from those three states participated. Russian President Boris Yeltsin was chosen to chair the meeting, which had a total of 14 items on the agenda. At the suggestion of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev these included departures from the agreements reached in Minsk and Alma-Ata. Little information is available so far on what transpired, but seven documents were signed. Yeltsin said afterwards that the leaders reached accord "calmly and with mutual understanding" on all the questions up for decision. (Ann Sheehy) AGREEMENTS ON ECONOMIC MATTERS. Yeltsin's press spokesman Pavel Voshchanov said after the meeting that the CIS leaders had agreed on an upper limit of 50% profitability in order to prevent an unjustified increase in prices in monopoly conditions. They also agreed to ask the heads of government to prepare submissions on free transit and on abolishing quotas on certain types of output. (Ann Sheehy) LIMITED PROGRESS ON MILITARY ISSUES. While details were sketchy, TASS reported on January 16 that two accords on military matters were signed. One agreement involved a new military oath for servicemen in the strategic forces. It also apparently provided for a common military oath to be taken by soldiers in the joint forces of seven of the CIS member states. A second agreement spelled out the creation of two commissions tasked with resolving debates over the future disposition and ownership of the Black Sea Fleet and Caspian Sea Flotilla. Russia, Ukraine, and representatives of the high command will be included in the first commission, while Russia, Azerbaijan, and military representatives will constitute the second. Discussion on other key military issues was reportedly put off until February. (Stephen Foye) ALL-ARMY OFFICERS' ASSEMBLY. Over five thousand officers are scheduled to meet in Moscow today (January 17) to discuss the future of the armed forces, TASS reports. The meeting will reportedly focus on maintaining the unity of the armed forces and, if this is impossible, that a transition period be established in which to implement military reform. Interfax reported on January 17 that CIS Commander in Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov will brief the officers at the meeting. It said that he had already held talks with military district commanders. (Stephen Foye) CHIEF OF STAFF SAYS UKRAINE IN CONTROL OF TACTICAL WEAPONS. The recently appointed chief of staff of the Ukrainian armed forces, Major General Georgii Zhivitsa, on January 16 told Western agencies that Kiev now controls all former Soviet military units on Ukraine's territory, including their tactical nuclear weapons, although he reiterated that such weapons will be removed from Ukraine by July 1. Zhivitsa confirmed earlier reports that Kiev has dismantled military communication channels to Moscow. Only long-range weapons remain under joint CIS command, he said. The chief of staff also insisted that "all ships on the territory of Ukraine belong to Ukraine . . . I consider the entire Black Sea Fleet part of the armed forces of Ukraine." He said soldiers are now receiving their pay from Ukraine. (Kathy Mihalisko) REPUBLICAN PARTY WANTS UKRAINE OUT OF COMMONWEALTH. Calls from Moscow in recent days to maintain central control over all armed forces throughout the former USSR apparently could, if carried out, prompt Ukraine to leave the Commonwealth. The influential Ukrainian Republican Party on January 15 drew up a statement saying that the Russian leadership and military command of the former USSR had falsely accused Ukraine of breaking the Minsk agreements with its plans to create a Ukrainian armed forces. Given the "political provocation" directed against the Ukrainian state, the statement went on, the Republican Party considers Ukraine's continued participation in the CIS to be "impossible." (Kathy Mihalisko) KRAVCHUK DOUBTS CIS HAS FUTURE. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk in an interview with the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun has, in effect, threatened to quit the CIS. The interview was summarized by TASS on January 16. Kravchuk said that under conditions when CIS member states are constantly violating CIS agreements and attempting to extend their powers, Ukraine will raise the question of reviewing the CIS accords. He was referring to Russia, which he criticized once again for interfering in Ukrainian affairs. Kravchuk remarked that as things stand the CIS "cannot exist for long." (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT UNDER FIRE. The economic policies of the Ukrainian government were severely criticized at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers in Kiev yesterday, Radio Kiev reported on January 16. Specifically, the lifting of price controls, which has resulted in big price increases and social tensions came under fire. It was proposed that as much as 70% of the Cabinet be replaced. (Roman Solchanyk) "RUKH" CALLS FOR GOVERNMENT TO RESIGN. A statement issued by "Rukh" yesterday has demanded that the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers resign, Radio Kiev reported on January 16. "Rukh" argued that the ruble should be immediately withdrawn from circulation and replaced, in the interim, by coupons until the introduction of a Ukrainian currency. This would be followed by an administrative lowering of prices and state control over prices in the state sector. (Roman Solchanyk) "TRANSCAUCASUS MILITARY DISTRICT SHOULD REMAIN UNDER RUSSIAN CONTROL." The Commander of the Transcaucasus Military District, Colonel-General Valerii Patrikeev, told TASS on January 16 that he believed the district should remain under Russian jurisdiction. He claimed that the Armenian leadership and the new Georgian leadership had agreed that Soviet troops should remain on their territory, but that Azerbaijan "was the exception." (Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov declared himself Commander in Chief of all armed forces in Azerbaijan last month.) Patrikeev further expressed concern at the growing number of young officers of various nationalities who wished to serve on the territory of their home republic. (Liz Fuller) CPSU FUNDS ALLOCATED FOR SOCIAL WELFARE. Yeltsin, in an address to Parliament on the impact of price deregulation, announced that funds from the treasury of the former Soviet Communist Party would be transferred to a fund for social welfare, Russian TV reported on January 16. Yeltsin said that some 4,300 rubles and $17 million of CPSU funds would be used to help the poorest people cope with rising prices. (Carla Thorson) RUSSIAN TRADE UNIONS PROTEST. Russia's Federation of Independent Trade Unions [former official unions] began picketing outside the Russian Parliament on January 16 and has called for a day of protests today against price deregulation, Russian and Western agencies reported. The chairman of the Federation, Igor Klochkov, told TASS that the trade unions are not opposed to market reforms. Rather, the protests are directed against the government for not instituting any measures to ensure the social welfare of the population. TASS estimated the crowd outside the parliament on January 16 to be about 2,000 people. (Carla Thorson) KRYUCHKOV AND GRUSHKO RELEASED FROM PRISON. Former KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov and his First Deputy, Victor Grushko, have been released from prison, according to Radio Rossii on January 16. Kryuchkov is currently at his dacha and Grushko is at home. (On January 15, the state commission investigating the August coup attempt completed its study and formally charged the putsch's 15 leaders, including five KGB generals.) (Victor Yasmann) DID GORBACHEV RULE THE KGB, OR VICE VERSA? Lawyers for the leaders of the attempted August coup said at a news conference, covered by Russian TV newscasts of January 15 and 16, that Russian authorities should prevent former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev from travelling abroad because they want to call him as a defense witness. Yurii Ivanov, Kryuchkov's lawyer, said that Gorbachev had authorized his client to bug the telephone calls of Gorbachev's own aides, such as his then-spokesman Vitalii Ignatenko, and those of many prominent politicians. Meanwhile, Izvestia published on January 11 a memorandum sent to Kryuchkov from head of the Soviet espionage department Leonid Shebarshin. The memorandum indicates that many members of Gorbachev's circle had informed on him to the KGB and that the KGB had used its agents to influence Gorbachev's decisions. (Julia Wishnevsky) CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CHAIRMAN THREATENS TO IMPEACH SHAKHRAI. During the session of the Russian Supreme Soviet on January-16, Chairman of the Russian Constitutional-Court Valerii Zorkin, in an address broadcast on Russian TV later that night, recalled the Court's ruling that Yeltsin's decree merging the former RSFSR and USSR ministries of state security and internal affairs was unconstitutional. Zorkin cited reports in "the official media"-namely, Rossiiskaya gazeta, Rossiiskie vesti and Radio Liberty-which quoted Sergei Shakhrai, Russian State Secretary for legal matters, as dismissing the Court's ruling and saying that it did not mean that the decree was to be revoked. Zorkin said that the Court would start "the process of impeachment" against Shakhrai if these reports were not refuted in the press. In turn, Shakhrai said that the Court's ruling was to be observed and that the new heads of the two ministries had already been appointed. (Julia Wishnevsky) MVD OFFICERS ACCUSE KGB OF TRYING TO PRESERVE ELITE STATUS. A group of MVD officers writing in Pravda of January 14 ascribed the KGB's domestic services' reluctance to merge with the Russian MVD to its unwillingness to be subordinated to ordinary police generals and to lose its privileges. In addition, they asserted, the merger could make trouble for many entrepreneurs who started their businesses with assistance from the CPSU and the KGB. In this connection, the officers mentioned General Aleksandr Gurov's failed attempt to set up an Anti-Corruption Committee with authority over the KGB's Organized Crime Department. The Russian Constitutional Court, in ruling against the merger, declared it to be as contrary to the Constitution's provisions concerning "separation of executive, legislative and juridical power." The current Russian Constitution, however, does not contain such a principle; the draft of a new Constitution, which does contain the principle, has not yet been approved. (Victor Yasmann) FRESH SCANDAL IN WRITERS' UNION. About 200 conservative writers, led by Yurii Bondarev and Aleksandr Prokhanov, on January 15 stormed the Moscow Central House of Writers, "Vesti" reported later that night. According to "Vesti," the Bondarev-Prokhanov group held a noisy meeting in the House to protest the transformation of the USSR Writers' Union into the Commonwealth of Independent Writers' Unions, shouting abuse at its liberal leaders. "Vesti" quoted the speakers as calling the CIWU First Secretary, Uzbek writer Timur Pulatov, "a Basmach sold out to Zionists." Other liberal writers (mostly Russians) were termed "Yids," "Semites," and "betrayers of the Russian idea." Thereupon the protesters marched to the Leo Tolstoy memorial in the yard facing the House of Writers, where they burned an effigy of the poet Evgenii Evtushenko. (Julia Wishnevsky) ZIONISTS SUPPORT COSSACK CALL FOR ABOLITION OF JEWISH OBLAST. The co-president of the Zionist organization of the former USSR, Ganovich, has supported the demand of the Union of Cossack Hosts of Siberia and the Far East for the abolition of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast in Birobidzhan, Central TV reported on January 16. Ganovich described the autonomous oblast as an absurd, artificial formation, illegally created on the historic lands of the Ussuri Cossacks. (Ann Sheehy) GERMAN PARLIAMENT BLOCKS MONEY FOR VOLGA REPUBLIC. On January 16, the budget committee of the German Bundestag blocked some DM 50 million earmarked for funding a recreated Volga German republic, Western agencies reported on January 16. The committee decided that the money would not be available to the German government until Russia's plans for the Volga republic become clearer. (Ann Sheehy) BALTIC STATES SAVISAAR GRANTED EMERGENCY POWERS. By a vote of 53-for, 37-against and 4-abstentions the Estonian Supreme Council decided on January-16 to grant Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar emergency economic powers for up to three months, or until the acceptance of the Estonian constitution, whichever comes first, Estonian and Western agencies reported. The decision, which the government also tied to a vote of confidence, represented a revised version of Savisaar's request for emergency powers, with a shortened time-span and more importantly, a provision for a joint Supreme Council-governmental emergency powers commission, which would have veto rights over government decrees. The parliament, however, failed to elect the commission members, because only 41-rather than the required 52-deputies voted in favor of the proposed slate. (Toomas Ilves and Saulius Girnius) MINIMAL TAXABLE INCOME SCALED UPWARD IN LATVIA. The Latvian Supreme Council on January-14 revised the taxation law. According to the revision, no tax would have to be paid by an individual earning under 460-rubles a month (also considered a minimal monthly wage), 580-rubles for invalids of the first category, 540-rubles for invalids of the second category, and 500-rubles for invalids of the third category. The revision was necessitated by the precipitous rise in the cost of living. (Dzintra Bungs) NEW POLITICAL PARTY IN LATVIA. On January-17 Radio Riga interviewed Aigars Jirgens and Aleksandrs Petersons, two leaders of the new political party calling itself the November-18 Society (18-Novembra Savieniba). Founded on December-22, 1991, the party draws its support from the Republican Party, and the Citizens Congress and Committee of Latvia. The party's program was en-dorsed by 42-individuals. The new party, which Jirgens described as "nationally conservative," intends to restore the Republic of Latvia of November-18, 1918 and advocates the rights of the Latvian people. What was not clear from the interview is what bearing the new party will have on the Republican Party and the citizens' movement. (Dzintra Bungs) LANDSBERGIS TO MEET YELTSIN. Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis flies to Moscow January-17 for a meeting with Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Radio Lithuania reported. They will discuss Lithuanian-Russian trade relations, the status of Russians living in Lithuania and Lithuanians living in the Kaliningrad area, the withdrawal of Soviet armed forces from Lithuania, border questions, and the Lithuanian request to-hand over individuals in hiding in Russia against whom arrest warrants have been issued. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIA APPOINTS DEPUTIES TO EUROPEAN COUNCIL PARLIAMENT. On January-16 the Lithuanian Supreme Council appointed parliament depu-ties Algirdas Brazauskas, Eugenijus Gentvilas, Juozas Karvelis, and Jonas Tamulis as its representatives for one year to the European Council parliament, Radio Lithuania reported on January-17. (Saulius Girnius) GORBUNOVS MEETS ARAB GROUP. On January-17 members of the Arab Group AB met with Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs, reported Radio Riga that day. The Arab Group, which has been visiting Latvia and Estonia this week, is interested in developing economic ties with the Baltic States. Latvian authorities are seeking alternate sources of petroleum since Russia has become an unreliable supplier. (Dzintra Bungs) US DONATES CORN TO LITHUANIA. US-Secretary of Agriculture Edward Madigan announced that the US will donate 100,000 metric tons of corn to Lithuania, Western agencies reported on January-15. The $11-million donation will be sold by the Lithuanian government to private sector feed millers and livestock and poultry producers for feed. The proceeds will go to private voluntary organizations operating in Lithuania and to developing private sector farms. (Saulius Girnius) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE SERBIAN REACTION TO EC RECOGNITION. Radio Serbia reported on January-16 that leaders in Serbia have widely condemned the formal recognition of the breakaway republics of Croatia and Slovenia by the EC. The Serbian-controlled rump State Presidency said it considers the action as "an intentional breakup of Yugoslavia" adding that it does not solve the country's crisis. However, several Serb leaders are saying that recognition should not be seen as a tragedy and are advocating that Belgrade immediately recognize Slovenia and Croatia, thereby underscoring that Croatian territory taken over by the federal army and Serb irregulars will remain in Yugoslavia. (Milan Andrejevich) RECOGNITION UPDATE. Australia and Czechoslovakia joined the ranks of states recognizing Croatia and Slovenia on January-16. A Czechoslovak government statement said it is prepared to establish diplomatic relations with Slovenia "without delay," but would only do so with Croatia after receiving guarantees from Zagreb of its compliance with human and minority rights, CSTK reported. Romania sought to clarify its nonrecognition in a communique circulated by Rompres on January-16 stating that given Romania's responsibilities in the stability and security of the region, it bases its stance on observance of the right to self-determination of all peoples in the Yugoslav republics, including their right to set up independent states or various forms of association. Russia's decision to hold back on recognition was interpreted by Interfax on January-16 as grounded on the Foreign Ministry's wish to see recognition not only by individual states but by the entire EC, lingering questions about human rights guarantees in Croatia, and the "traditionally friendly" contacts between the former union and Serbia. An hour after Bulgaria's recognition of the Republic of Macedonia had been announced, Foreign Minister Stoyan Ganev returned from a visit to Germany. He told BTA that he supported the move but that further development should take into consideration the realities and goals of Bulgaria's foreign policy. Bulgaria should make it clear that it considers Macedonia's frontiers unchanged, he said. Diplomatic relations should be established after the EC or part of it has done so. On January-17 Zemedelsko zname quoted Ganev as saying that time would show that the decision had been "correct, principled, and stabilizing." (RFE/RL RI staff) MILOSEVIC IN ATHENS. Radio Serbia reported on January-16 that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic concluded more than two hours of talks with Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis in Athens. It was their second meeting in three days and their fourth since last year. Both leaders agreed that Yugoslavia must survive as a state. Mitsotakis told reporters that Yugoslav republics have the right to independence but he warned that "no one has the right to make Yugoslavia disappear." Milosevic praised Greece's support. Greece has welcomed the EC recognition of Croatia and Slovenia but is leading the battle to block EC recognition of the Republic of Macedonia. According to the Turkish daily Gunajdin, Milosevic will soon make an official visit to Turkey. (Milan Andrejevich) SOLIDARITY CHIEF MEETS OLSZEWSKI. Following a wave of warning strikes and protests against the energy price hikes Solidarity chief Marian Krzaklewski met on January-16 with Polish Prime Minister Jan Olszewski to discuss a possible alternative to the announced rises. Solidarity spokesman Andrzej Adamczyk told PAP that Krzaklewski proposed to replace the increases with periodic individual energy assessments proportional to people's income. It is not clear whether these supplements would be a kind of general head tax or would apply to working adults only. Government spokesman Marcin Gugulski mentioned the possibility of further government-solidarity talks "on long-term socioeconomic problems." (Roman Stefanowski) POLAND, GERMANY EXCHANGE RATIFICATION DOCUMENTS. In simultaneous ceremonies in Warsaw and Bonn, Poland and Germany exchanged ratification documents on the general and border treaties, PAP and Western agencies reported on January-16. The treaties confirm the Oder-Neisse line as Poland's Western border. German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher said the treaties also opened the perspective of ever closer relations of Poland with the EC. Polish Foreign Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski said he has invited the five prime ministers of the former GDR for talks on science, culture, technology, environment, and transport. (Roman Stefanowski) POLAND CASHES IN ON THE GULF WAR. Returning from a trip to the Gulf area, Deputy Foreign Minister Jan Majewski told PAP on January-15 that the visit has created a good climate for future relations with the Gulf states, noting as especially important the imminent establishment of diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia. Majewski said that Poland's acceptance in the area is attributable to its participation in the multinational force during the emergency last year, to the fact that Poland's is one of the more stable presences in Eastern Europe, and to the fact that Poland is not seeking aid or credits but only opportunities for cooperation. (Roman Stefanowski) ISRAEL CRITICIZES CZECHOSLOVAK TANK SHIPMENT TO SYRIA. On January-16 Israel summoned Czechoslovak Ambassador Maloc Pojar to complain about the resumption of Czechoslovak tank shipments to Syria. An Israeli Foreign Ministry official told Pojar the shipments could harm bilateral relations and urged Czechoslovakia to reconsider. In response to Israel's protest, Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier told CSTK that no more tanks would be sent to Syria and that he did not think Czechoslovak-Israeli ties would suffer because of the protest. The shipment took place under a 1991 contract calling for Syria to buy some 200-Czechoslovak tanks and thousands of tractors.(Peter Matuska) NEW LEGISLATION ON MEDIA IN HUNGARY CALLED FOR. The presidium of the National Federation of Hungarian Journalists (MUOSZ) has issued a statement urging the government to prepare legislation regulating investment in the Hungarian media, MTI reported on January-16. The presidium said that in the absence of regulations, one single investor could buy up the entire Hungarian media and create a monopoly. The enactment of legislation on the media has for months been delayed because of disagreements between the governing and opposition parties who accuse each other of seeking to control the media and differ over limits to foreign investment. There already is substantial foreign investment in the Hungarian press, particularly in leading newspapers. (Edith Oltay) ROMANIAN MINERS' LEADER AGAIN DEFYING AUTHORITIES. Miron Cosma, leader of the Miners' League of the Jiu Valley said that the Autonomous State Board for Coke (ASBC) is profit-making and contributes to the state budget, not the reverse as the authorities are claiming. He rejected a suggestion from Industry Minister Dan Constantinescu to transform the ASBC into a commercial enterprise within two months. The parliamentary commission investigating the fourth miners' rampage in Bucharest in September 1991 protested Cosma's "lack of respect for constitutional norms" in refusing to cooperate with the commission's work. The commission said it will take appropriate measures to ensure that its mandate will be carried out. (Mihai Sturdza) CRITICISM OF ROMANIA'S PRIVATIZATION POLICIES. Eugen Dijmarescu, Minister for Economy and Finance in the former Roman government, resigned his current post as adviser to the prime minister on January-16. He said the government's economic policies have completely ignored social aspects and the competitiveness of Romania's economy. Other criticism came from the National Agency for Privatization (NAP), which suggested two months ago the creation of a fund to guarantee some 70% of the grants given to commercial enterprises be earmarked for new small and medium-sized private companies. Arpres quoted NAP representative Lucion Blaga as saying that the move is being obstructed at the government level. (Mihai Sturdza) BULGARIAN ELECTIONS GO TO SECOND ROUND. President Zhelyu Zhelev and his opponent Velko Valkanov are preparing for the second round of presidential elections on January-19. They are to hold a debate on Bulgarian TV on January-17.-Mean-while, on January-15 the eleven parties not represented in parliament who had backed Zhelev again expressed support for him, as did the two organizations of the Confederation of Labor Podkrepa, which had meanwhile split. On January-15 Valkanov met with the candidates who lost in the first round and told BTA that all but one had said they would support him. George Ganchev, the candidate who placed third, said immediately after the first round that he would make no recommendations to his supporters, and by January-16 he had apparently not changed this position. Bulgarian dailies generally predict a victory for Zhelev. (Rada Nikolaev) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Sallie Wise Chaballier & Charles Trumbull
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