|It matters if you don't just give up. - Stephen Hawking|
No. 12, 20 January 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO USSR GEORGIA UPDATE; GAMSAKHURDIA'S WHEREABOUTS UNCLEAR. A coordinator of resistance to the Georgian Military Council told reporters on 17 January that ousted president Zviad Gamsakhurdia had called for a campaign of civil disobedience, but not for a "crusade" to restore him to power. Pro- and anti-Gamsakhurdia factions clashed in the city of Kutaisi during the night of 17 January. On 18 January Military Council troops occupied the towns of Abasha and Samtredia, a key transport junction. Gamsakhurdia supporters attacked two Soviet army bases on 18 January in an attempt to seize weapons, and demonstrated in heavy snow in Zugdidi on 19 January, Western news agencies reported that day. Gamsakhurdia's whereabouts remain unclear. (Liz Fuller) FATALITIES IN TASHKENT STUDENT DISTURBANCES. At least six people have been reported killed in clashes in the Uzbek capital between demonstrating students and law enforcement officials, Western and Soviet news agencies reported on 19 and 20 January. The disturbances began on the evening of January 16 when students of higher educational institutions in Tashkent began an unauthorized protest against recent price increases. By 19 January, the demonstrators were demanding the resignation of Uzbek President Islam Karimov, accusing him of violations of human rights. (Bess Brown) STORMY ASSEMBLY OF OFFICERS. Some 5,000 officers met in Moscow on 17 January as part of the first All-Army Officers' Assembly. As reported by Western and CIS agencies, the meeting was a contentious one, with one officer after another rising to urge retention of a unified army and improved social guarantees for servicemen. Russian Federation President Boris Yeltsin and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev attended the meeting, but other republican leaders were absent. One delegate demanded the resignation of CIS Commander in Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov, causing the Marshal to storm out of the meeting, but he was soon prevailed upon to return. The meeting was chaired for the most part by Shaposhnikov's aide for personnel matters, Nikolai Stolyarov. In the end, the officers adopted an appeal warning against attempts to divide the army and voted to create a council tasked with representing their needs to the political leadership. Shaposhnikov said that CIS leaders would meet again in Minsk on 14 February specifically to deal with disagreements on military matters. (Stephen Foye) NAZARBAEV, YELTSIN ADDRESS OFFICERS. As they have in the past, Nazarbaev and Yeltsin spoke in favor of maintaining a unified military system in the CIS. Nazarbaev said that the existing armed forces were necessary to ensure the security of CIS member states. He also spoke in sympathetic terms of the need to legislate commonwealth-wide social protection for servicemen. Yeltsin spoke in similar terms, again said that Russia would create its own army only if the other CIS states did so, and offered a new plan for financing the construction of military housing. He said that Shaposhnikov would be offered a spot on the Russian delegation that will go to the United Nations on 31 January. He called upon the officers to remain calm during this time of upheaval. (Stephen Foye) MILITARY FAVORS BISHOP OVER COMMUNIST. Two episodes during the meeting of the Soviet military, broadcast live on Russian TV's first channel on 17 January, indicate that the "departification" of the former Soviet Army seems indeed to go on. In the morning, the audience interrupted Viktor Ampilov, leader of a new hardline communist party and a deputy of the Moscow City Soviet, when he called on the officers "to restore Soviet power." Shaposhnikov, in fact, switched off Ampilov's microphone, saying that the Army had already been departified. About two hours later, the officers welcomed with a standing ovation the speech of Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Kirill, who praised the role of chaplains in the Tsarist army. However, only 8% of the officers polled during the meeting said they favored restoring the institution of regimental chaplains in the CIS. (Julia Wishnevsky) POLL: OFFICERS SUPPORT CIS. According to a survey of officers attending the Officers Assembly, some 52% of the delegates support the creation of the CIS, while 35% do not. As reported by Interfax on 17 January, 67% of the delegates felt that the armed forces should be united and 77% wanted there to be only one military oath. If the armed forces are to be divided, the survey said, 95% feel that there should be a transitional period. (Stephen Foye) "STRATEGIC FORCES" DEFINED. Krasnaya zvezda on 15 January published an interview with Colonel Viktor Savchenko, identified as a specialist at the General Staff Operational and Strategic Research Center. Not surprisingly, he defined "strategic forces" in broad terms, including general purpose forces used to insure the stability of the strategic nuclear forces during conventional warfare. More specifically, Savchenko said that the strategic forces should include virtually all units and training establishments subordinated to the Strategic Rocket Forces, as well as the Air Force, Navy, air defense system, directorate of the chief of space systems, airborne forces, intelligence units, and other technical and command and control assets. (Stephen Foye) LOBOV RESURFACES. Army General Vladimir Lobov, fired unexpectedly as General Staff Chief in December 1991, is featured in an interview published by Sovetskaya Rossiya on 4 January . Lobov claimed that as early as August of 1991 he had foreseen the possibility of creating a form of "joint" armed forces in the Soviet Union, not dissimilar from NATO, that granted the republics fundamental control over general purpose forces on their territories. He suggested that such ideas were not popular in the USSR Defense Ministry at that time (they also do not seem entirely consistent with remarks published by Lobov in the last half of 1991). He claims to be still in the dark about his dismissal. (Stephen Foye) WILL GORBACHEV BE PUT ON TRIAL? Although former USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev was not implicated in the August coup attempt, he apparently could still be prosecuted. Evgenii Lisov, the Russian Deputy General Prosecutor in charge of the coup case, told Izvestia of 13 January that two other criminal cases had been detached from that of the August coup-one on the CPSU's illegal financial activities and another on the illegal methods of the KGB. Lisov added that, at the moment, he had no comment about Gorbachev's role in these two cases. Earlier, a number of sources publicly accused Gorbachev of involvement in the KGB's illegal bugging of Soviet politicians' telephones. (Julia Wishnevsky) GROWING PROTEST OVER PRICE INCREASES. On 19 January, some 3,000 people demonstrated in St. Petersburg against price liberalization, Russian and Western agencies reported. Many of the demonstrators were reportedly members of various hardline communist groupings; they carried portraits of Lenin and Stalin and called for Yeltsin and Mayor Anatolii Sobchak to resign. Reports of protests and strikes in other cities also have increased. In Yakutsk, ambulance drivers went on strike on 18 January. Teachers and students closed a school in Kaluga over the increased cost of school lunches. Subway workers in St. Petersburg have threatened to strike today if they do not receive wage increases. (Carla Thorson) KEBICH FIRST TO VISIT CHINA. Belarus Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich arrived on 19 January in Peking, the first leader of a newly independent state of the CIS to visit China. According to Western agencies, the six-day visit will focus on the establishment of diplomatic ties. China and Belarus have already agreed to exchange trade offices. In addition, on 17 January Belarus Foreign Minister Petr Krauchenka held talks with the Vatican's representative in Moscow, Francesco Colasuonno, during which progress was made toward developing ties between the Belarus Catholic Church and Rome. (Kathy Mihalisko) HURD IN KIEV. Speaking on 19 January to reporters in Kiev, British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd said he welcomed Ukraine's decision to join the nuclear non-proliferation treaty as a non-nuclear state. While in the Ukrainian capital, Hurd held talks with visiting US Undersecretary of State Reginald Bartholemew on the coordination of Western help to dismantle much of the former Soviet nuclear arsenal. Western agencies also reported that Hurd urged CIS members to resolve their differences through peaceful negotiations, but Kravchuk told reporters that if Ukraine objects to something "then we absolutely have to raise the question of leaving the commonwealth." (Kathy Mihalisko) KAZAKHSTAN READY TO SIGN NPT. Kazakh President Nazarbaev reportedly told Hurd on 18-January that Kazakhstan was prepared to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Western agency reports of their conversation say Nazarbaev "came close" to confirming that his government would renounce the use of nuclear weapons. Nazarbaev was reported to have made the same sort of commitment privately to US Secretary of State James Baker last December, but refused to confirm this position in the formal CIS declarations on nuclear weapons and strategic forces. (Doug Clarke) RUSSIA, KAZAKHSTAN TO INCREASE URANIUM EXPORTS. In an effort to offset what many predict will be a significant drop in fossil fuel exports in 1992, Russia and Kazakhstan are planning to increase their exports of uranium in 1992, Western and CIS media reported on 18 and 19 January. For its part, Russia intends to increase its exports by as much as five times. Russian officials figure that the additional sales will increase revenues from about $500 million to about $1.5 billion. Kazakhstan has said that it will sell its uranium only under the guidance and within the regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Russia and Kazakhstan each account for about 30% of the former USSR's uranium reserves. (John Tedstrom) GORELOVSKY JOINS FOREIGN INTELLI-GENCE. Ivan Gorelovsky, Chairman of Azerbaijan's KGB during the Soviet Army's intervention in Baku in January, 1990, has been appointed Deputy Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (RFIS), Postfaktum reported on 18 January. A KGB cadres officer, Gorelovsky graduated from the KGB Higher School and Higher Party School. After the Baku events he was transferred to the CPSU Central Committee and later worked in Gorbachev's presidential apparatus. The RFIS, headed by Evgenii Primakov, became the legal successor to central foreign intelligence in December, 1991. (Victor Yasmann) SOUTH OSSETIA HOLDS REFERENDUM ON INDEPENDENCE. TASS reported on 19 January that most of the Ossetian population of South Ossetia and also refugees who fled from South Ossetia to Vladikavkaz in the North Ossetian ASSR voted "Yes" in the 19 January referendum on whether South Ossetia should be independent from Georgia and unite with Russia. The Georgian population boycotted the voting. The Georgian Military Council has criticized the referendum as a gross violation of Georgia's sovereignty. North Ossetian ASSR parliament Chairman Akhsarbek Galazov is quoted by Moscow Radio on 19 January as expressing concern that the referendum could exacerbate tensions between South Ossetia and Georgia. (Liz Fuller) MUFTI STILL IN OFFICE. The official UzTAG-TASS news agency reported on January 16 that the head of the Muslim Religious Board for Central Asia, Muhammad-Sadyk Muhammad-Yusuf, had not resigned as reported by liberal Moscow information agencies. UzTAG attacked Komsomol'skaya pravda for having reported the resignation (the other agencies that had reported the story were not mentioned). Last year Moscow news agencies reported that an attempt had been made to unseat the mufti and erroneously reported that he had been deposed. The official Uzbek media denied that anything had happened. (Bess Brown) "DNIESTER REPUBLIC" MAKES LAVISH OFFER TO ARMY. The would-be "Dniester Republic" proclaimed by Russians in eastern Moldova has issued several "laws" on defense, TASS reported on January 16. The "DR" will preserve the existing force structure of the army units on "its" territory, finance them from its own budget, and employ the officers and NCOs on contracts to the "DR," "significantly raising their pay." The 14th Army based there has already placed itself under the "DR"'s authority and supports its rebellion against Moldova. On 9 January the "DR" had tripled officers' salaries (see Daily Report, 13 January.) These lavish offers seem to bolster the theory that the "DR" enjoys high-level political and military support. (Vladimir Socor) CIS DEPUTY COMMANDER IN CHISINAU. Colonel General Boris Pyankov, Deputy Commander in Chief of the CIS armed forces, held talks in Chisinau on January 16 with Moldovan officials on the status of ex-USSR Army troops based in Moldova. Pyankov came in place of his direct superior, Evgenii Shaposhnikov, who twice has cancelled planned visits to Chisinau since his appointment and who has ignored repeated Moldovan demands to discipline the 14th Army command. Moldovan officials told RFE/RL on 17 January that Pyankov also declined to act on that demand. Moreover, Pyankov would only accept Moldovan jurisdiction over units based on the right bank of the Dniester but not on the left bank, the officials said. (Vladimir Socor) BALTIC STATES DOMESTIC REACTION TO EMERGENCY POWERS IN THE GOVERNMENT-.-.-. Over the weekend, political forces in Estonia ranging from the government to the press, began reacting to the Supreme Council's January-16 decision to grant Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar the special powers he had requested early last week. Late on the day of the vote, two cabinet members-Justice Minister Juri Raidla and Economics Minister Jaak Leimann-stated their intention to resign in protest of the Supreme Council's move, Paevaleht reported on January-18. (Riina Kionka) .-.-.-AND ELSEWHERE. In the political arena, Fatherland (Isamaa), the conservative election coalition condemned the vote as an attempt by the government to "rescue" Estonia from its crisis by reinstating communism. According to the coalition's statement, carried by ETA on January-18, last week's vote by 53-deputies suggests that the current government is supported by a union of Social Democrats, Russian-speakers and those belonging to the Popular Center Party, a successor to the Popular Front. The press was dominated over the weekend by a spate of articles sharply critical of the Supreme Council move. Criticism and support of the move seems certain to escalate this week. (Riina Kionka) LANDSBERGIS-YELTSIN MEETING. On January-17 Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis met for more than two hours with Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Radio Lithuania reported on January-18. They signed two communiques: one on the results of the discussion and the other on trade and economic cooperation. Among the topics discussed were the pullout of Soviet troops from Lithuania, the extradition of those responsible for the January events in Vilnius and the murders in Medininkai in July, and the return of KGB archives to Lithuania. Further, it was agreed that in the first quarter of 1992 the trade volume between the two countries will remain at the level of at least 70% of that in 1991. (Saulius Girnius) RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES TREATY WITH LITHUANIA. On January-17 the Russian Supreme Soviet ratified the treaty on interstate relations between Russia and Lithuania, TASS reported. The parliament urged the government to start talks urgently to sign the treaty that was initialled in Moscow in July 1991 and ratified by Lithuania in August. The treaty recognizes Lithuania's independence and guarantees Russia access to Kaliningrad Oblast through Lithuania and Lithuania access to Poland through Kaliningrad Oblast. (Saulius Girnius) RUSSIAN DELEGATION DISCUSSES ACCORD WITH LATVIA. Radio Riga reported on January-20 that a Russian parliamentary delegation is discussing with Latvian officials points of the bilateral accord that was signed by Russian president Boris Yeltsin and Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs on January-13, 1991. That accord, setting guidelines for Latvian-Russian relations, has not been ratified by the RSFSR Supreme Soviet. Radio Riga said that after these discussions a prompt ratification of the accord can be expected. (Dzintra Bungs) USSR PRESIDENTIAL RULE SUPPORTERS IN LATVIA IDENTIFIED. Latvian Minister of State Janis Dinevics told the press on January-16 that, according to documents received from the RSFSR State Prosecutor's office, Latvian Communist Party leaders and members of the Ravnopravie parliamentary faction appealed in January 1991 to Gorbachev to institute USSR presidential rule in Latvia. The appeal was sent under the auspices of the All-Latvia Public Salvation Committee. Contrary to some rumors, Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs and Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis were not among the signers. (Dzintra Bungs) CEPAITIS REELECTED INDEPENDENCE PARTY CHAIRMAN. A Congress of the Lithuanian Independence Party met in Vilnius on January-18 and reelected parliament deputy Virgilijus Cepaitis as its chairman, RFE/RL reported on January-19. Cepaitis admitted in December that he had cooperated in the 1980s with the KGB. About half of the party's members (354-people) participated in the congress, which decided to expel the delegation from Kaunas and take away its party registration. (Saulius Girnius) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE PRESIDENT ZHELEV REELECTED. Incumbent president Zhelyu Zhelev won the runoff elections on January-19 defeating his socialist-backed opponent Velko Valkanov, albeit by a slim margin. Preliminary figures show 53.5% of the vote was for Zhelev and 46.3% for Valkanov. Together with Zhelev, poet Blaga Dimitrova was elected vice president. Voter participation was less than 70%. In a first statement quoted by BTA Zhelev said the most important task for Bulgaria now is to speed up political and economic reform and to attract considerable foreign investments. (Rada Nikolaev) GENERAL TODOROV ARRESTED. Former chief of Bulgarian intelligence, Gen.-Vlado Todorov, who has been on trial since January-8, allegedly having destroyed the files on the murder of expatriate writer Georgi Markov, was placed under arrest on January-17. The reason given, as quoted by BTA, was that the case was being returned for further investigation after proof had been found of a further and unspecified crime by the defendant connected with the first one. BTA and some dailies speculated about a connection with the death two days before the trial of Gen.-Stoyan Savov who was to have been tried together with Todorov. (Rada Nikolaev) OLSZEWSKI APPEALS FOR UNITY. Speaking on nationwide TV on January-17 Polish Prime Minister Jan Olszewski said the country is "on the threshold of catastrophe," Polish and Western media reported. While recognizing the extent of poverty and hardship borne by the population, Olszewski has nevertheless appealed for patience to give the government time to assess the exact state of the economy and prepare its program to deal with the situation. Olszewski said that while under such circumstances the government "can promise nothing," he appealed for unity and support. (Roman Stefanowski) YET ANOTHER SET OF ADVISERS FOR WALESA? Presidential spokesman Andrzej Drzycimski said on January-17 that President Walesa has invited two former prime ministers Tadeusz Mazowiecki and Jan Krzysztof Bielecki to serve on a new body of presidential advisers, Polish and Western media reported. According to Drzycimski what Walesa wants is a body to help him work out a political and economic strategy and other idea that he could then pass to the government. (Roman Stefanowski) HAVEL ON FUTURE SHAPE OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA. Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel said in his regular radio speech on January-19 that the coming session of the federal parliament will decide the future shape of the state. The parliament will also take up constitutional amendments proposed by Havel on electoral reform and a referendum on Czech and Slovak unity. Czechoslovak Prime Minister Marian Calfa says that the will to live in a common state is waning and the major political forces have failed to define the idea of a common state clearly enough. (Barbara Kroulik) HUNGARY ESTABLISHES DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH MOLDOVA. Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky visited Chisinau on January-17 to sign with his Moldovan counterpart Nicolae Tiu an agreement on establishing diplomatic relations, MTI reported that day. Jeszenszky said that the results of the talks "surpassed all expectations." Jeszenszky was the first Foreign Minister of any country other than Romania to visit Moldova since it proclaimed its independence in August 1991. (Edith Oltay) FRIENDSHIP PIPELINE LEAKS CRUDE OIL IN HUNGARY. The Friendship pipeline that carries crude oil from the former USSR to several East European countries leaked at least 200-m3 of oil in northeastern Hungary, MTI reported on January-19. The deputy manager of the Hungarian Oil Company, Gabor Jozsef, said that highly pressurized oil broke to the surface from the underground pipeline at the town of Nagyhalasz and soaked about four km2 of soil. He said that oil from the pipeline was now being diverted into storage containers at the border and crews had started to clean up the spilled oil, an operation which will take about two days. While the cause of the leak was not immediately apparent, Jozsef said that there had been five earlier leaks in this section of the pipeline, built 20-years ago, caused by faulty material and outdated welding techniques. (Edith Oltay) ROMANIA SETS MINIMAL SALARY AND PENSIONS. On January-18, after yet another meeting with union representatives, the government decided to implement a salary index rate of 11% for the period January-1-April-30, 1992. The minimum monthly salary will be 8,500-lei (as against 7,000 lei in December 1991). Minimum pensions were raised to 5,380-lei from 4,844-lei. The index also applies to scholarships, state child benefits, food allowances for collective consumption, and social benefits. In order to stop speculation the authorities will control prices for meat and meat products. (Mihai Sturdza) ROMANIAN DIPLOMATIC AGENDA. A communique from the Foreign Ministry on January-18 said that Romania has recognized the republics of Croatia and Slovenia, and is ready to enter into diplomatic relations with them. Ion Bistreanu and Ion Cretu have been appointed as, respectively, charge d'affaires and consul to Moldova. An ambassador to Chisinau is to be appointed soon. Because of a busy schedule, French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas has postponed his visit to Bucharest. No other date has been set, Romanian media said. He was expected on January-21 to attend the session of the Romanian-French Joint Commission of Cooperation. (Mihai Sturdza) REDRAWING YUGOSLAVIA'S INTERNAL BORDERS. Plans for creating a "third" Yugoslavia are being advocated ever more openly. Borisav Jovic, Serbia's representative on the rump State Presidency, said on January-16 that new borders drawn up in Croatia should include only the territory it now holds. About one-third of Croatia is controlled by the federal army. The EC rejected Jovic's suggestion. Croatia's Foreign Minister Zvonimir Separovic told Le Monde on January-16 that Croatia's borders can be negotiated with Serbia once peace is restored. He said that some border changes can be made by both sides, raising the question of the future of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Radio Sarajevo speculated last week that several Serbian and Croatian leaders from Bosnia are secretly negotiating the partition of the multiethnic republic. Bosnia's Muslim leaders are opposed to any partition as is the President of the Croatian Democratic Community, which represents the majority of Bosnia's Croatians. Last month, Muslim, Serb, and Croat leaders proposed the creation of a Bosnian confederation or commonwealth. Bosnia's parliament will decide this week on whether to hold a referendum over the future of the republic. (Milan Andrejevich) MONTENEGRO DEBATES SOVEREIGNTY REFERENDUM. Yugoslav media reported on January-18 that Montenegro's national assembly failed to hold a vote on whether to hold a referendum on sovereignty. The republic's ruling Democratic Socialist Party (the former communist party) said it needed a few days to debate the issue. Montenegro's President Momir Bulatovic, who proposed that a referendum be held, said that he feels it is time to consult the Montenegrin people to determine "the degree of sovereignty" they want. The assembly reconvenes on Tuesday. The move may be seen as Montenegro's effort to reappraise its close alliance with Serbia. Since the war began in Croatia this summer, 86-Montenegrin federal soldiers have been killed and nearly 1,000 wounded. (Milan Andrejevich) MACEDONIAN ALBANIANS IN A QUANDARY. After more than 90% of Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia approved a autonomy in a referendum on January 11-12, they are deeply divided over what to do, Yugoslav media report. The issue hinges on the degree of autnomy sought by the Albanians of the Republic of Macedonia. Several predominantly ethnic Albanian municipalities in western Macedonia declared the region the "Republic of Vevcani." The head of Macedonia's largest Albanian party, Nevzad Halili, condemned the move. (Milan Andrejevich) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Sallie Wise Chaballier & Charles Trumbull
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