Peace is indivisible. - Maxim Litvino
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 14, 22 January 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO USSR

LIMITED CEASE-FIRE AGREED IN GEORGIA. Troops loyal to Georgia's
ruling Military Council took the town of Abasha on 21 January
after a 14-hour gun battle in which at least five of their men
were killed, Western news agencies reported the same day. Talks
between Military Council leader Dzhaba Ioseliani and Zugdidi
prefect and Gamsakhurdia supporter Valter Shurgaya ended in deadlock,
according to Interfax of 21 January. A pro-Gamsakhurdia demonstration
took place in the Black Sea port of Poti, but although the town's
mayor Tengiz Baramidze subsequently agreed to a cease-fire TASS
reported gunfire in the town later on the night of 21 January.
It is not yet clear whether Gamsakhurdia supporters in Zugdidi
complied with a deadline to lay down their arms by midnight local
time on 21 January. (Liz Fuller)

KAZAKHSTAN EXPLAINS MISSILE TEST. Kazakh President Nursultan
Nazarbaev's press office has explained the launching of a ballistic
missile from Baikonur on 20 December as an experiment in the
conversion program, KazTAG-TASS reported on 21 January. A TASS
report of the same day described the test as part of an effort
to retool intercontinental missiles for launching space vehicles.
The statement from Nazarbaev's office reiterated his commitment
that the Baikonur facility should be used to benefit all members
of the Commonwealth, adding that the issue would have to be resolved
gradually in order to avoid chaos in the process of military
reform. (Bess Brown)

UZBEK PRESIDENT CALLS FOR CENTRAL ASIAN UNION. At a press conference
20 January, Uzbek President Islam Karimov called on leaders of
the other Central Asian states to join him in creating a Central
Asian union to overcome present economic difficulties, a Tashkent
journalist reported to RFE/RL on 21 January. Karimov said that
if the five states pooled their rich resources, they would be
a strong and respected entity. He claimed that forces opposed
to such a union had been behind the deaths of several students
during riots in Tashkent last week. Karimov expressed considerable
distrust of Russia, suggesting that the command of the unified
CIS armed forces should be modeled on NATO and complaining that
the head of the Russian military should not automatically head
the Commonwealth forces. (Yakub Turan and Timur Kocaoglu)

UZBEK STUDENTS TO INVESTIGATE RIOTS. Radio Rossii reported on
21 January that Uzbek student leaders have said that they will
carry out their own investigation of the disturbances last week
that resulted in as many as six deaths, because they disagree
with the government's version of what occurred. RFE/RL has learned
that the 22 January issue of the Erk Party newspaper contains
an appeal from opposition writers and political figures, including
Muhammad Salih, a member of the parliamentary commission investigating
the disturbances, demanding that the commission's findings be
made public. (Yakub Turan and Bess Brown)

NEW OFFICERS' UNION CREATED. In the wake of the first All-Army
Officers' Assembly, a new "patriotic" officers' association was
formed in Moscow on 21 January, TASS and Novosti reported. Called
the "Officers' Movement for the Revival of Russia," the new organization
reportedly will attempt to influence the political process in
order to insure that officers' problems are addressed. One of
the group's organizers, Major General Aleksandr Sterligov (identified
by Novosti as a personal aide to Russian Vice President Aleksandr
Rutskoi), said that participants at the initial meeting had criticized
both perestroika and the current political course of the Russian
government. He lamented Russia's current borders, the dissolution
of the Soviet state, and the dismemberment of the army. (Stephen
Foye)

SHAPOSHNIKOV CANCELS VISIT TO US. CIS Commander in Chief Evgenii
Shaposhnikov has cancelled an official visit to the US planned
for the end of January, Interfax reported on 20 January. He instead
will visit the US, during that same time period, as part of a
delegation led by Russian President Boris Yeltsin. The report
suggested that Shaposhnikov would meet with US Secretary of Defense
Richard Cheney on 1 February. In Moscow, meanwhile, Shaposhnikov
met on 20 January with British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd
to discuss CIS military reforms and control over the CIS nuclear
arsenal. (Stephen Foye)

BELARUS COMMUNIST TO HEAD CIS WORKING GROUP. At last week's meeting
of the CIS heads of state in Moscow, Ivan Karachenya, leader
of the Communist majority in the Belarus Supreme Soviet, was
chosen to head a working group tasked with the organization of
meetings of the CIS Council of Heads of State and Council of
Heads of Government. According to a report on 21 January to RFE/RL's
Belarus service from its Minsk correspondent, Karachenya is also
a member of a committee that is trying to organize a successor
to the Communist Party of Belarus. He was proposed by Supreme
Soviet Chairman Stanislau Shushkevich to head the CIS working
group, possibly as a ploy to rid the Belarus parliament of a
deputy who has proved to be an obstacle to progress. It remains
to be seen whether CIS coordinating bodies will justify previous
warnings by Belarus democrats that Minsk will be a bureaucratic
"dumping ground." (Kathy Mihalisko)

KRAVCHUK ON UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS. Ukrainian President
Leonid Kravchuk told French journalists on 21 January that Ukraine
and Russia could resolve their differences amicably, Western
news agencies reported the same day. Referring to the long history
of ties between the two countries, Kravchuk said that he did
not believe that differences could lead to an armed conflict.
Although dismissing hasty conclusions that the CIS is not viable,
the Ukrainian leader repeated earlier warnings that the Commonwealth
would not prevail if its members reneged on their commitments.
(Roman Solchanyk)

UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES UPDATE. According to Vasyl Durdinets,
head of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet committee on defense and
security, 250,000 troops serving in Ukraine by now have sworn
the new oath of loyalty to Ukraine. As reported on 22 January
by CIS TV, however, there have been some important hold-outs:
the commander of the Carpathian Military District did not participate
in the oath ceremony, although his chief of staff, Gennadii Gurin,
and other officers did. Durdinets decried recent calls in Moscow
"for yet another transitional period, for a common defense space.
. . ." (Kathy Mihalisko)

GAIDAR: ECONOMY IMPROVING. According to Russian Deputy Prime
Minister Egor Gaidar, prices in Russia have started to fall and
the supply and variety of goods in the stores are improving,
albeit slowly. TASS of 21 January reported Gaidar's remarks.
Gaidar also said that the Russian budget deficit for the first
quarter should amount to about 11.5 billion rubles. Russia (and
several other former Soviet republics) are forming their 1992
budgets on a quarterly basis, due to the hyperinflation now gripping
the region. Total expenditures for the first quarter of 1992
should not exceed some 409.2 billion rubles and incomes should
total about 397.7-billion. Defense spending should fall by 4.5%.
(John Tedstrom)

RUSSIA, MOSCOW TO PUSH PRIVATIZATION. According to TASS reports
of 17 and 21 January, both the Russian and Moscow governments
are close to issuing new reform measures that will govern the
privatization of stores and trade networks in Russia. In Moscow,
the new government plans to privatize about 8,000 stores in the
first half of the year. The Russian parliament is scheduled to
adopt a new law on privatization within several days. It is not
clear whether this new law will cover the privatization of larger
state and municipal enterprises (they are covered under a law
passed in July 1991 by the RSFSR Supreme Soviet) or just smaller
firms and stores. The privatization of both land and housing
in Russia is covered under separate legislation. (John Tedstrom)


ENERGY PRODUCTION CONTINUES TO FALL. An energy crisis is slowly
but surely encompassing virtually the entire territory of the
former USSR. Several areas, including the Baltic, Kazakhstan,-and
the Transcaucasus have reported serious energy deficits resulting
in more frequent work stoppages and less energy for home heating
this winter, according to reports from the region in the first
half of January. Coal is in especially short supply in the Far
East, while Belarus and Ukraine are suffering from shortages
of fuel oil. For 1991, both oil and coal production were down
11% from the 1990 level, Central TV reported on 21 January. (John
Tedstrom)

COMMUNIST DEMONSTRATORS MARK LENIN'S DEATH. A gathering of communist
supporters took place outside the Lenin Mausoleum in Red Square
on 21 January to mark the 68th anniversary of Lenin's death,
Western agencies reported. Between 100 and 200 demonstrators
carried portraits of Lenin and denounced the reformers and the
collapse of the USSR. The protest was also directed against repeated
suggestions that Lenin's body be removed from the mausoleum.
(Carla Thorson)

LATEST NEWS ON COUP CASE. The August coup attempt was by no means
a spontaneous affair, as some of its leaders claim, Russian General
Prosecutor Valentin Stepankov asserted at his latest-news conference
broadcast by "Vesti" on 21 January. In preceding months, Stepankov
revealed, the putschists had prepared a package of documents
annulling all the laws adopted in the USSR from 1985 to 1991
in order to return the country to the system that existed in
1984. According to "Vesti," the prosecution wants the coup trial
to be open but could not give its exact date. In other news,
Russian TV reported that another, third criminal case has been
detached from that of the coup attempt, reportedly based on the
testimony of one of the accused, who claims that one official
on former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev's team took bribes.
(Julia Wishnevsky)

PHONES OF YELTSIN'S OPPONENTS BUGGED? In Moscow News No. 2, Evgeniya
Albats cites "well-informed sources" as claiming that the telephones
of all actual and potential opponents of the Russian government-including
its former allies-are bugged. Moreover, Albats adds, some telephones
in the headquarters of the Russian Supreme Soviet are not secure
either. This allegation could become particularly interesting,
should the Russian authorities indeed charge Gorbachev for having
sanctioned the bugging of his opponents' phones. (Julia Wishnevsky)


BONN READY TO COMPROMISE ON SOVIET GERMAN AUTONOMY. Recognizing
that there is no chance that the Volga German republic will be
recreated in the immediate future, Horst Waffenschmidt, parliamentary
state secretary in Germany's interior ministry, has said that
the German government is willing to accept only limited autonomy
for the Soviet Germans at present, RFE/RL's correspondent in
Bonn reported on 20 January. Bonn has not, however, abandoned
the goal of state autonomy. It wants the Germans to see their
future in the former Soviet Union rather than in Germany. Following
a visit to Moscow the foreign policy spokesman of the German
Christian Democrats Karl-Heinz Hornhues also urged a compromise
on the issue. (Michael Wall and Ann Sheehy)

CAUCASIAN PARLIAMENT MEETS IN MAKHACHKALA. Following a session
of the parliament of the Confederation of the Mountain Peoples
of the Caucasus in Makhachkala, the confederation's president
Yurii Shanibov said that the parliament was not an alternative
to existing governments, "Vesti" reported on 21 January. Shanibov
said its mission was rather to solve regional conflicts by peaceful
means. Unfortunately, said Shanibov, there were no representatives
of the Turkic peoples at the session (i.e. the Karachai, Balkars,
and Nogais), nor were Cossack atamans invited, although tension
was growing in the region. Radio Mayak reported on 20 January
that the session had adopted a declaration stating the that North
Caucasian republics could not be part of any empire and must
strive for full state sovereignty. (Ann Sheehy)

MOLDOVAN INTERIOR MINISTRY APPEALS TO HELSINKI FEDERATION. In
an appeal addressed to the International Helsinki Federation
for Human Rights, and reported by Moldovapres on 20 January,
Moldova's Minister of Internal Affairs Ion Costas supplied a
lengthy list of "armed provocations" mounted recently by "hardline
communists" on the left bank of the Dniester against the lawful
Moldovan authorities and also against families of Moldovan policemen
and civil servants. Supported and armed by "reactionary circles
in Moscow" and the military establishment, the "Dniester leaders
are talking in the language of force and ultimatums to Moldova."
Noting that the "Dniester" leaders were "trying artificially
to create a confrontation between the Moldovan and the Russian-speaking
population," the minister solicited "the attention of the international
community" to the events on the left bank of the Dniester. (Vladimir
Socor)

"DNIESTER" FORCES AGAIN SEIZE MILITARY EQUIPMENT. An armed detachment
of the "Dniester republican guard" in the right-bank city of
Bendery on January 20 seized 41 military transport vehicles belonging
to CIS military units stationed in Moldova and due to have been
taken over by the republic, Moldovapres reported on 21-January.
CIS officers and soldiers in the convoy made no attempt to interfere
with the seizure. This was the third time in the last three weeks
that the "Dniester" forces have seized a large quantity of military
equipment due to have been taken over by Moldova. In two of the
three cases, CIS military personnel appeared to be colluding
with the "Dniester" forces. (Vladimir Socor)

BALTIC STATES



SAVISAAR STYMIED, MAY RESIGN. After two attempts, on 16 and 20-January,
the Savisaar government is still unable to muster enough votes
in the Supreme Council to approve a joint Supreme Council-government
commission to administer the new state of emergency. According
to the text of the state of emergency proposal passed last week,
the Supreme Council must approve the commission before Savisaar
may begin using his special powers. Given Savisaar's inability
to form the commission and the opposition's newly strengthened
position, many observers expect Savisaar to resign on 23-January.
(Riina Kionka)

PRESSURE BUILDS ON SAVISAAR. Political pressure continues to
build for Savisaar's resignation. The Social Democratic Party,
which includes Savisaar's closest former supporters, on 21-January
called on the government to resign, according to ETA. The Social
Democrats join the Liberal Democratic Party, the Estonian Trade
Union Association and the election coalition Fatherland ("Pro
Patria"), which have all condemned the state of emergency move
in the last week. Savisaar's own party, the Popular Center Party,
is also caving in. On 20-January, the head of the party's parliamentary
faction, longtime Savisaar supporter Ignar Fjuk, said he was
stepping down, BNS reports. Most significantly, a large and powerful
group of deputies representing those who voted against the state
of emergency will be registered today as a parliamentary faction,
according to an interview broad-cast by RFE/RL on 20-January.
This group, consisting mostly of those having belonged to the
election coalition "Fatherland" and therefore borrows its name
from the now defunct coalition, seems likely to form Estonia's
new government. (Riina Kionka)

BALTIC ASSEMBLY PLENARY SESSION THIS WEEKEND. Radio Riga and
BNS reported on 21-January that the Baltic Assembly plenary session
will open in Riga on 24-January. It will be the first joint meeting
of the Baltic parliamentarians after the initial meeting in Tallinn
last year and a document outlining the functions of the assembly
is expected to be adopted. This session of the assembly is expected
to be chaired by Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs,
but subsequent sessions are expected to be chaired by his counterparts
in Estonia and Lithuania, depending where the session takes
place. (Dzintra Bungs)

MIRONOV: SOVIET TROOP WITHDRAWAL CONDITIONAL ON HOUSING. On 21-January
Col. Gen. Valerii Mironov, commander of the Northwestern Group
of Forces, formerly the USSR Baltic Military District, told the
press that these forces are now under the jurisdiction of Russia.
He said the withdrawal of these forces would take place but that
it must be handled via international accords and is conditional
on the housing provided for the men. Mironov also said that at
least five years would be needed for the withdrawal, reported
Radio Riga and Diena on 21-January. (Dzintra Bungs)

RUN ON SHOPS IN LATVIAN BORDER TOWNS. Diena reported on 16-January
that Latvian communities near the Estonian and Russian borders
had complained to Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis about a severe
run on their shops by people across the border. This situation
has become particularly acute for the towns on the Estonian border.
Godmanis recommended issuing food coupons in Valka, but town
authorities there decided instead to add another stamp on the
"visiting cards"-an ID card permitting residents of a given
community to shop in local stores-and told the shops to honor-only
customers with proper identification. (Dzintra-Bungs)

LANDSBERGIS IN LONDON. On 21-January Chairman of the Lithuanian
Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis flew to London for a three-day
visit, Radio Lithuania reported. On 22-January he will open the
Lithuanian embassy in London and meet with Prime Minister John
Major. On 23-January he will make the opening address at a two-day
conference, "The Reintegration of the Baltic States into the
World Community" sponsored by the three Baltic governments, the
Royal Institute of International Affairs, and the London Chamber
of Commerce and Industry. (Saulius Girnius)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

CZECHOSLOVAK PARLIAMENT REJECTS HAVEL'S AMENDMENT. The Czechoslovak
parliament on 21-January rejected two of the five amendments
proposed by President Vaclav Havel, Czechoslovak and foreign
media report. The parliament voted down a draft procedure on
a new constitution and Havel's proposal to call a referendum
on whether Slovakia would remain in the federal state. Havel
had proposed that a new constitution be adopted only after it
is approved by the Czech and Slovak parliaments, but both Czech
and Slovak deputies opposed the move. The Slovak deputies also
voted heavily against the amendment for a referendum, which,
however, was backed by the Czech part of the house. The other
amendments-a proposal to increase presidential powers, a draft
electoral law on proportional representation, and a proposal
to create a new, one-chamber parliament-will be debated later
this week. (Barbara Kroulik)

CZECHOSLOVAKIA'S COUPON PRIVATIZATION. Czechoslovaks are dashing
to buy privatization coupons, as the government is about to divide
ownership of about 40% of the economy to citizens who register.
Any Czechoslovak over 18 can buy the book of coupons for about
$35 and must register it by 31-January. The coupons can later
be exchanged for shares in state companies that are being privatized.
Government offices have had to stay open late as interest has
picked up in recent weeks. There have been a number of problems.
Most offices have run out of coupons and there have been suspicions
of abuse. Some of the new investment funds have bought millions
of books for speculation and recently it was discovered that
of the eight million books printed only three million have been
registered, Western media report. (Barbara Kroulik)

RUN ON POLAND'S FIRST PRIVATE BANK. Thousands of people rushed
to withdraw their savings from one of Poland's first private
banks after Gazeta wyborcza reported that its founder, David
Bogatin is wanted for tax evasion in New York. The run on the
First Commercial Bank in Lublin started on 18-January when the
paper claimed that Bogatin, a Soviet emigre and the bank's majority
shareholder, fled a possible prison sentence in the US. He is
charged with tax fraud for buying and reselling gasoline without
declaring taxes. Since the story appeared, thousands of customers
lined up at his bank's 14-branches for withdrawals. Spokesman
for the National Bank of Poland Tomasz Uchman admitted that Bogatin's
background had not been checked before a license was issued in
November 1990. (Wladyslaw-Minkiewicz)

SOLIDARITY RELENTS. Meeting behind closed doors on 21-January,
the Solidarity leadership voted to hold talks with the new Polish
government-without prior conditions, a major concession for the
union. Solidarity had initially demanded that the government
"suspend" the electricity and home heating price increases introduced
on 1-January, before it would agree to participate in any negotiations.
According to Solidarity figures, some 80% of Poland's work places
had followed the union's call for a one-hour warning strike on
13-January to protest the manner in which the price hikes were
imposed (without legally mandated consultations with the trade
unions). The union had also begun a referendum among its rank
and file to test support for a general strike. Personal appeals
by the prime minister and the government's argument that the
price hikes were essential to limit the budget deficit seem to
have swayed the union. (Louisa Vinton)

HUNGARIAN-AMERICAN MILITARY TALKS. Hungarian Political State
Secretary in the Ministry of Defense, Erno Raffay, and US Secretary
of the Air Force Donald B. Rice, held talks in Budapest on 21-January
on developing bilateral military ties, MTI reported. Rice invited
Hungarian military experts to the US for training in civilian
and military air traffic control. He said that the major goal
of his visit is to impart American experiences regarding the
functioning of a professional military under civilian control.
Rice stressed US interest in the success of democratic transforma-tion
in Hungary, which he called the region's most stable country.
(Edith Oltay)

HOW FAIR ARE ROMANIAN POLLS? Nicolae Manolescu, president of
the opposition Civic Alliance Party and an opponent of President
Ion Iliescu in the next presidential race, said on 20-January
that the Romanian Institute for Public Opinion Polls (IRSOP)
has failed to provide forecasts for the local elections of 9-February
and is loosing credibility. Meanwhile, a report by the International
Republican Institute, a US-based body, funded by the Republican
Party, that monitors the democratic process around the world,
said that the local elections are unlikely to be free and fair.
It reinforced claims from Romania's opposition that ex-communists
in the leadership are obstructing real democracy, Western media
said. (Mihai Sturdza)

ILIESCU ON MOLDOVA. In his strongest comment yet on the neighboring
republic of Moldova, President Ion Iliescu said on 20-January
that the process of Moldova's unification with Romania is inevitable.
He also said, however, that Romania should not press the issue
but rather wait for Moldova to initiate a move towards unification.
(Mihai Sturdza)

UDF ASSESSES PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. The National Coordinating
Council of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), whose candidate
won the presidential election, stated on 21-January that the
voters supported the team best able to lead the country to democratization.
UDF spokesman Mihail Nedelchev, as quoted by BTA, also said that
the BSP electorate remained firm and many people are discontent
with the slow process of reform. The UDF has asked a team of
specialists for an analysis of the election results on which
it can base its future activities. A national conference of the
UDF scheduled for February was postponed until April, Nedelchev
said. Meanwhile, the official final results of the presidential
elections were announced. Zhelev-Dimitrova won with 52.8% of
the vote and Valkanov-Vodenicharov scored 47.1%. Voter turnout
was 75.9%. (Rada Nikolaev)

BULGARIAN NUCLEAR POWER, GAS PROBLEMS. On 20-January BTA announced
that the first of the two 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactors at
Kozloduy, which had been closed for repair for eight months,
was being switched on again. Only a day later BTA reported a
technical failure in the second, new 1,000-megawatt reactor which,
it said, did not involve radioactive material. It was hoped to
repair it within 24-hours but temporary rationing of electric
power for households was imposed. In another development, on
21-January Ukrainian specialists succeeded in sealing off a natural
gas well at Butan burning since 11-January. The well erupted
under high pressure during drilling, and some 1,000,000-m3 of
gas were lost. (Rada Nikolaev)

YUGOSLAV UPDATE. Talks in Pecs, Hungary, between representatives
of Croatia and the Serbian-dominated federal army broke down
on 21-January. Austrian TV said the two sides talked past each
other, with Croatia wanting to discuss the army's withdrawal
from Croatian territory and the army preferring to raise charges
of Croatian violations of the existing cease-fire. An RFE/RL
correspondent said that Croatia wants the army to evacuate that
republic altogether, while the army has called for a "high-level
political decision" first as to whether it is to leave parts
of Croatia where UN peace-keeping troops will not be deployed.
On the diplomatic front, ATA said that Albania has recognized
Croatia and Slovenia, having earlier recognized Kosovo's independence,
the only country to do so. (Patrick Moore)

THE WAGES OF WAR. Citing a federal government official, Tanjug
reports on 21-January that the rate of inflation in 1991 for
Yugoslavia as a whole exceeded 1,000%. Price hikes of up to 50%
were reported last week on basic food items, coffee, and alcoholic
drinks as well as mail and telephone services. Yugoslav media
report that almost 40% of Yugoslavs live at or below subsistence
levels, that the GNP has fallen more than 25%, and almost 60%
of Yugoslav companies are showing losses. Croatia and Slovenia
had normally accounted for some 45% of Yugoslavia's GNP and their
separation can only exacerbate the economic situation in the
rest of the country. The war in Croatia has cost the country more
than $25-billion in lost revenues. (Milan-Andrejevich)

[As of 1200 CET]

CORRECTION In the Daily Report of 21-January Turkish deputy prime
minister Erdal Inn was erroneously identified as foreign minister.
Hikmet Cetin is Turkish foreign minister.

Compiled by Sallie Wise Chaballier & Charles Trumbull




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

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