|A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday. - Jonathan Swift|
No. 15, 23 January 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO USSR GEORGIAN SITUATION DETERIORATES. Troops of the ruling Georgian Military Council advanced on 22 January from Abasha to Senaki (formerly Tskhakaya), where Military Council co-chairman Dzhaba Ioseliani held inconclusive talks with Gamsakhurdia supporters from Zugdidi. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the Military Council is preparing an assault on Zugdidi. Military Council troops also attacked the Black Sea port of Poti on the night of 22 January in violation of a cease-fire agreement concluded the previous day, Western news agencies reported. Deposed President Zviad Gamsakhurdia himself is variously reported to be either in Grozny, where the Chechen parliament has offered him asylum, or in Gali (just the other side of the Abkhaz border from Zugdidi) receiving medical treatment. (Liz Fuller) GEORGIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY PLANS TO RESTRICT PRIVATE CONTACTS WITH FOREIGNERS. On 22 January Radio Tbilisi carried a statement issued by the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the effect that both private individuals and political figures in Georgia have the right to maintain personal contacts with foreigners "on a private basis only" and in the course of those contacts may express only their private interests or those of their organization, but not those of the state as a whole, lest unauthorized contacts "cause damage to Georgia's international relations and its vital interests abroad" and exacerbate Georgia's already tarnished public image in the West. (Liz Fuller) MILITARY BUDGET ON MINSK AGENDA. Anticipating the upcoming CIS meeting in Minsk, spokesman for the armed forces Leonid Ivashov said on 22 January that Russia has agreed to finance 62.3% of the commonwealth military budget in 1992, while Ukraine will pay 17.3%, Kazakhstan will pay 5.1%, and the other states will contribute smaller amounts, TASS reported. Ivashov said that the proportion of military spending devoted to the social needs of servicemen would be increased dramatically. He also said that military reform would be discussed in Minsk, including a proposal to vest supreme military command powers with the Council of the CIS Heads of State; the Council of Heads of Government would deal with military economic activities. The START and CFE treaties will also be discussed. (Stephen Foye) ARMS PROCUREMENT PLUMMETS. US intelligence chiefs told the Senate Armed Services Committee on 22 January that the former Soviet republics are making significant cutbacks in procurement of military hardware, The Washington Post reported on 23 January. According to one of the chiefs, proposed Russian procurement in the first quarter of 1992 appears to have been cut by some 80% from last year, with the percentage reduction in new weapons orders being even higher. He said that Russian leaders have tried to limit cuts in spending on military research and development, but that even there spending might have fallen by as much as 30%. CIA director Robert Gates, who also testified, said that cutbacks included elimination of Yankee class and short-range ballistic missile submarines and cancellation of SS-11 and SS-17 missiles. (Stephen Foye) YELTSIN MEETS KUZBASS MINERS. Yeltsin met with miners from Russia's Kuzbass region on 22-January, TASS and Radio Moscow reported. The miners reportedly had decided earlier in the day not to launch a planned strike after reaching agreement with Russian authorities on the establishment of a commission to address their problems. Yeltsin and representatives from the mines discussed social and economic problems faced by the miners, the supply of goods to the region, and wage increases. (Carla Thorson) MDR SPOKESMAN WARNS OF RUSSIAN FEDERATION BREAKUP. Vladimir Fedorovsky, press secretary for the Movement for Democratic Reforms' Political Council, has warned of the possible breakup of the Russian Federation, Western agencies reported. In an article for the Swiss daily Le Nouveau Quotidien of 22 January, Fedorovsky said that the Federation could suffer the same fate as the Soviet Union. He noted the possible formation of a Pan-Turkic union uniting Central Asia with Tatarstan and Bashkiria and the potential for a "community of the two seas" linking the Baltic states with Belarus and Ukraine. Fedorovsky said these developments had gone unnoticed in the furor over the creation of the Commonwealth. (Carla Thorson) RUSSIAN BANK TO PRINT MORE MONEY. Monetary emissions in the first quarter of 1992 will total some 34 billion rubles, according to the chairman of the Russian Central Bank, Georgii Matyukhin. Matyukhin announced the bank's forecast to deputies in the Russian Supreme Soviet on 22 January, TASS reported that day. That rate roughly doubles the rate of money creation in the RSFSR in 1991. Russia arguably has greater monetary and fiscal needs and responsibilities than did the RSFSR, but the increase is nonetheless cause for concern. Until Russia can control its monetary emissions, there is no reason to believe the hyperinflationary conditions in the country will improve. (John Tedstrom) MORE ON FINANCIAL OPERATIONS OF THE CPSU. Before it was banned, the CPSU managed to set up 600 private businesses on the territory of the former USSR and invested three billion rubles in them, Komsomolskaya pravda reported on 22-January. The CPSU also set up some businesses abroad. This was done, according to Komsomolskaya pravda, with the assistance of the KGB's external operations network. The newspaper said that documents on CPSU/KGB business activities abroad are still kept secret. (Vera Tolz) YELTSIN'S TRAVELS. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin announced at his briefing on 22 January that Russian President Boris Yeltsin will travel to Great Britain, the US, and Canada from 30 January until 2 February. (Suzanne Crow) GORBACHEV TO SUE RADICAL DEPUTY. On 21-January, the TV newscast's anchor showed viewers a handwritten statement sent by former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev to Egor Yakovlev, chairman of the Russian radio and television company "Ostankino." In it, Gorbachev cited an interview with radical USSR deputy Sergei Belozertsev on the TV show "VID" of 17 January, in which Belozertsev accused Gorbachev of having taken part in the attempted August coup. According to Belozertsev, Gorbachev had met one of the putschists, then-Interior Minister Boris Pugo, a few days before the coup. In response, Gorbachev wrote that everything Belozertsev said was a lie and added that he had requested the investigator in charge of the coup case to bring a criminal charge of slander against Belozertsev. (During a news conference held earlier on 17 January, the investigators reiterated their statement that Gorbachev was not implicated in the coup attempt.) (Julia Wishnevsky) MICROFILMING THE CPSU ARCHIVES. A British publishing firm, Chadwyck-Healey, announced on 21 January that it had won a contract to microfilm the entire archives of the former Soviet Communist Party, Western agencies reported. The CPSU archives contain millions of previously secret documents dating back to the Bolshevik revolution, to which Western scholars are anxious to gain access. The firm said that the agreement was reached with Russian authorities, and they intend to establish a task force to help organize and open up the archives. (Carla Thorson) POPE PLANS TO VISIT RUSSIA. TASS from Helsinki quoted on 21 January a Finnish Telegraph Buro journalist as saying that cardinal Edward Cassidi told him that plans are in the works for Pope John Paul II to visit Russia, although the visit will not take place in the near future. (Oxana Antic) RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT DECIDES NOT TO DISCUSS CRIMEA. The Russian parliament decided, for the time being, not to discuss a decree drawn up by its Committee on International Affairs and External Economic Ties declaring the 1954 decision to transfer the Crimea from the RSFSR to Ukraine invalid on the grounds that it violated both all-Union and RSFSR laws, Pravda reported on 18-January. So as not to increase tension between Russia and Ukraine, the matter was referred to other parliamentary committees and commissions. The question had been raised before in the Russian parliament at the time of the ratification of the treaty between Russia and Ukraine, but dropped after Yeltsin said it would be possible to demand Crimea back only after Ukraine left the USSR. (Ann Sheehy) KRAVCHUK WARNS OF THREAT TO UKRAINIAN INDEPENDENCE. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk on 22 January warned of a possible threat to Ukrainian independence from unnamed forces that want to "turn back the course of events," Western news agencies reported that day. Kravchuk issued the warning in a speech opening a congress of Ukrainians from throughout the former Soviet Union and other countries. In the past week, the Ukrainian leader has accused Russia of interfering in Ukrainian affairs. In his address, Kravchuk also raised the question of the national and cultural rights of Ukrainians outside Ukraine. (Roman Solchanyk) DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF UKRAINE ON CIS. The Presidium of the Democratic Party of Ukraine has issued a statement saying that Ukraine should disavow the Minsk agreements on the CIS and declare its withdrawal from the Commonwealth, Radio Kiev reported on 22 January. The statement was prompted by statements made at the recent conference of military officers in Moscow, which is said to have ridiculed the idea that the CIS members are independent states. Ukraine's continued membership in the CIS, says the statement, constitutes a threat to its sovereignty and independence. (Roman Solchanyk) 30% OF TACTICAL NUCLEAR WEAPONS WITHDRAWN FROM UKRAINE. At a meeting of the Ukrainian parliamentary commission on defense and national security on 22 January, it was an-nounced that the withdrawal of tactical nuclear-war-heads from Ukraine was proceeding in an organized fashion. Thirty percent of the weapons have already been removed, according to a Ukrinform-TASS report on the meeting. The commission also lodged a strong protest against "the campaign of distortion and falsification launched by the former center with respect to the establishment of the armed forces [of Ukraine]." (Kathy Mihalisko) FAMOUS REGIMENT IN BELARUS ISSUES ULTIMATUM. Officers of "Belpolk," a well-known unit of the interior forces, are demanding at least a three-fold increase in pay, according to a BelTA-TASS report on 21 January. The officers are threatening to strike if their commanders fail to meet this and other demands by 1 February. They have also vowed to release prisoners from general and strict regime penal colonies if their demands are not satisfied. In recent months, "Belpolk" has become a center of agitation for better conditions for interior troops. (Kathy Mihalisko) MORE ON TASHKENT MUFTI. An article in the 16-January issue of Nezavisimaya gazeta explains the recent attempt to unseat the head of the Muslim Religious Board for Central Asia, Muhammad-Sadyk Muhammad-Yusuf. According to this account, a council of imams voted the mufti out of office on 7-January, warning that if he did not go voluntarily, dissatisfied believers might take action. The Board refused to recognize the Council's action, but promised to convoke a congress in February to decide the mufti's fate. The same promise was made under similar circumstances last year; even if the congress is held, it is unlikely to resolve the disputes dividing the Muslim clergy in Uzbekistan. (Bess Brown) UZBEK FOREIGN MINISTRY ATTACKS PRESS. Uzbekistan's foreign ministry has accused the foreign and commonwealth press of "tendentious" reporting of the student disturbances in Tashkent on 16 to 19 January, according to UzTAG-TASS on 22 January. The ministry complained that the reports called into question the process of democratization in Uzbekistan, and were intended to destabilize the internal situation and undermine Uzbekistan's reputation abroad. Conservative Uzbek authorities have been quick to take offense at reports in the liberal press since the institution of glasnost. (Bess Brown) TAJIKISTAN APPLIES FOR UN MEMBERSHIP. TASS reported on 22 January that Tajik President Rakhman Nabiev has made a formal request for Tajikistan to be admitted to the UN. It is the fourth Central Asian state to request admission; only Turkmenistan has not yet submitted a request. Kazakhstan's request for admission, the first to be received by the UN, has been approved by the Security Council and will be submitted to the General Assembly at its next session. (Bess Brown) MOLDOVA TO APPEAL TO UN AND NGOS IF IGNORED BY YELTSIN. Moldovan President Mircea Snegur told a visiting delegation of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights that Yeltsin has failed to reply to Snegur's recent cables (see Daily Report, 15 and 16 January) requesting the Russian Federation President's intercession to curb the Russian insurgency in eastern Moldova and the support it receives from citizens of the Russian Federation and the military. Snegur told the IHF delegation that if Moldova's plight is ignored, Chisinau will appeal officially to the United Nations and to international NGOs for intercession in Moldova, Moldovapres reported on 22 January. Moldova first appealed to the UN and NGOs in December 1991 but the appeal is not known to have been answered from any quarter other than IHF. (Vladimir Socor) BALTIC STATES ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT RESIGNS. After a week of escalation, Estonian Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar resigned on 23-January. His move was widely expected, given his inability to form a commission that would implement the state of emergency the government was granted more than a week ago. The presidium of the Supreme Council now has two weeks to name a new prime minister candidate. This candidate in turn has two weeks to form a government, which must then be approved by the Supreme Council as a whole. If the government is not approved, the presidium has one week to name a new candidate, and the process begins again. To date no political movement has formally named its choice for the new prime minister, although the names frequently heard are those of current Supreme Council Chairman Arnold Ruutel, deputy speaker Marju Lauristin, Supreme Council deputy Lia Hanni, Transportation Minister Raivo Vare, and Justice Minister Juri Raidla. (Riina Kionka) BELARUS READY TO RECALL ITS SOLDIERS FROM THE BALTICS? Belarus Minister of Defense Affairs Petr Chaus recently told his country's Supreme Soviet that it is a matter of honor for Belarus to recall its soldiers who are stationed in the Baltics, particularly at a time when Russia is assuming jurisdiction over the armed forces of the former USSR, reported Yurii Svirko in Diena of 20-January. Chaus, a former chief of staff of the USSR Baltic Military District, claimed that the situation of the Belarus officers in the Baltics is untenable. Apparently in response to Chaus's claim, on 11-January the Belarus Supreme Soviet issued a statement assuring officers stationed throughout the former USSR they would retain their jobs and rank if they returned home to Belarus. (Kathy Mihalisko and Dzintra Bungs) BRITAIN TO RETURN BALTIC GOLD. After a meeting with Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis on 22-January, British Prime Minister John Major announced that Britain would compensate the Baltic republics for the $160 million of gold that they had deposited with the Bank of England before 1940, a RFE/RL correspondent in London reported. Latvia had 6.58 tons of gold, Estonia-4.48, and Lithuania-2.96, which Britain sold in the 1960s. Major also said that England and Lithuania would renounce any other outstanding financial claims. Director of the Bank of Lithuania Vilnius Baldisius will travel to London next week to work out the details of the return of the gold, which will remain deposited in the Bank of England. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIA-POLAND RAILROAD TIES. On 22-January, after a 47-year interruption in passenger service, a train traveled from Poland to Sestokai, Lithuania, carrying a Polish delegation to hold talks with Lithuanian Transportation Minister Jonas Birziskis. Radio Lithuania reported that they also visited Kalvarija, where customs posts will be established for the Via Baltica highway from Tallinn to Warsaw, and viewed the European-gauge Kaunas-Warsaw railroad. Formal agreements on expanded transportation and customs links are expected soon. (Saulius Girnius) LATVIA WANTS BACK ANNEXED TERRITORY. The Latvian Supreme Council adopted a decision, proposed by the Satversme (Constitution) faction, stating that Latvia does not recognize the annexation of the town of Abrene and six counties of the Abrene region by the RSFSR after World War II. The Supreme Council noted that the annexation was contrary to the treaties signed in the interwar period between Latvia, on the one hand, and Russia and USSR, on the other hand. The decision authorizes the Latvian delegation for negotiations with Russia to attend to this matter, reported Radio Riga and BNS on 22-January. (Dzintra Bungs) BALTS WOULD HAVE LIKED PARTICIPATING IN AID CONFERENCE. Baltic diplomats said their countries would have liked an invitation to the US-called conference to discuss aid to the former USSR, an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported on 23-January. Illustrative of the Baltic attitude is the statement of Lithuanian ambassador Stasys Lozoraitis: "Inviting Lithuania would not only have been the proper thing to do, it would also have been the logical thing to do, not just because we have given aid to our neighbors [for example, tons of foodstuffs to Russia] to the East, but also because Lithuania, together with Latvia and Estonia, serves as a gateway to Russia and the other members of the Commonwealth." (Dzintra Bungs) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE EE PLAN FOR AID TO EX-USSR. Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary have proposed an assistance plan for the former USSR that involves Western purchases of their products. Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier presented the proposal on 22-January at the opening in Washington of the international aid conference for the former USSR. As reported by an RFE/RL correspondent, Dienstbier urged that Western funds be spent wisely and pointed out that the East European countries are well positioned to help the CIS with a number of problems. Adopting the plan would yield double benefits, he said, as it would help Eastern Europe too. In a statement issued in Warsaw on 22-January, Polish President Lech Walesa also encouraged aid for the former Soviet Union. "What good is it if the West helps only Poland" and allows the former Soviet Union to destabilize the whole region by descending into chaos?, he asked. The president added that Poland, as a border state, cannot but be affected by the collapse of the "Soviet colossus," Western media reported. (Barbara Kroulik & Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) HUNGARY'S TRADE WITH FORMER USSR PLUMMETS. Officials at the Hungarian Ministry of International Economic Relations told an RFE/RL correspondent in Budapest on 21-January that trade with the former USSR in 1991 totalled only $2.8 bil-lion dollars instead of the anticipated $3.7-billion because of the chaotic situation there. Soviet exporters have been unable to keep up deliveries of some goods, while Hungarian sales have been limited by the Soviet side's inability to pay in hard currency. Hungary's exports to the ex-USSR, mainly food, engineering products, and pharmaceuticals, amounted to $1.1-billion. Imports to Hungary from the-exUSSR, mostly in the form of energy, were worth $1.7-million. The officials were optimistic about prospects for trade with the new independent republics. (Edith Oltay) HAVEL WITHDRAWS ANOTHER PROPOSAL. On 22-January Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel withdrew a proposed constitutional amendment to reorganize the bicameral federal parliament into one chamber, CSTK reports. Many deputies have publicly opposed the proposal. The reorganization would have created a single-chamber federal legislature with 200 deputies, led by a 30-deputy federal council made up of Czechs and Slovaks. So far three of the five amendments proposed by Havel have failed to pass. (Barbara Kroulik) FORMER POLISH PREMIER FILES SUIT FOR LIBEL. Former Prime Minister Jan Krzysztof Bielecki began legal proceedings against two unidentified newspapers and a TV program which allegedly attacked his government's policies. He told newsmen in Warsaw on 22-January that the decision follows weeks of insinuation by the media and political rivals that his government had privatized at any cost, tolerating illegality and selling off Polish companies for less than they were worth. Bielecki has asked the prosecutor-general to prepare a suit based on an article in the criminal code making it an offence to libel a state institution. Western and Polish wire services carried the story. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) CONFUSION OVER SOVIET TROOP WITH-DRAWAL. "Nothing can alter the 15-November  deadline for the withdrawal from Poland of all the combat troops from the former Soviet Army's Northern Group of Forces." So asserted Russian Ambassador Yurii Kashlev during talks in Warsaw with the Polish defense minister, Jan Parys, on 21-January. "Everything is proceeding according to plan," added Kashlev, claiming that 10,000 Soviet soldiers had left Poland in 1991. Polish officials implicitly questioned Kashlev's account. By their count, only 4,300 Soviet soldiers have so far departed, with the entire operation grinding to a halt in September. The Soviet side has never provided Poland with figures on the number of troops, however, and Polish officials admitted that the missing 6,000 could perhaps have left the country by air. The former Soviet/Russian side has yet to supply a specific timetable for the withdrawal. (Louisa Vinton) US MILITARY COOPERATION WITH POLAND-.-.-. In Warsaw on 22-January Defense Minister Jan Parys and US Ambassador to Poland Thomas W. Simons discussed further military cooperation between the two countries. After the meeting, Simons said that the talks "were aimed at the future," PAP reported that day. He also announced that the US Secretary of the Air Force Donald B. Rice starts a four-day visit in Poland on 23-January. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) .-.-. AND HUNGARY. Ending his stay in Hungary, Rice told a press conference in Budapest on 22-January that the US wants to help modernize the Hungarian military, MTI reported. He announced plans to station a US Air Force officer in Hungary to examine the condition and structure of Hungary's air defenses. Rice, visiting as a special envoy of US Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, also offered training in the US to Hungarian civilian and military experts. (Edith Oltay) HUNGARY PROTESTS THREATS AGAINST BISHOP TOKES. The Hungarian parliament's foreign relations committee adopted on 22-January by a unanimous vote a resolution protesting the recent alleged death threats against Laszlo Tokes, the ethnic Hungarian Reformed Bishop of Oradea, MTI reported. The committee said that there were also increasing signs that the Hungarian minority in Romania was being discriminated against, and decided to ask the Romanian parliament for an explanation about alleged abuses in connection with the recent Romanian census. Prominent members of the Hungarian community in Romania have charged that the census was marked by a series of abuses designed to distort the true ethnic composition of Romania. (Edith Oltay) DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO SECRET POLICE IN EE. Frantisek Kincl, Czechoslovakia's last communist interior minister, now on trial for abuse of power, says he was picked for the job precisely because he was a political incompetent-he had been a simple secret policeman. The trial in Czechoslovakia is one of the first major attempts to bring secret policemen to justice. President Vaclav Havel, a target of secret police (STB) surveillance while a dissident, wants STB files opened to the public. In Romania, after two years of public debate, parliament voted on 21-January that the secret police archives, including those not pertaining to state security matters, will remain closed for 40-years. Virgil Magureanu, director of Romania's Intelligence Service, said that a protocol is being drafted to allow victims of the former secret police to have access to their files. Senator Petre Negru of the ruling NSF sent an open letter to Magureanu claiming that the secret services are still tapping his phone and opening his mail, Western media reported. (Barbara Kroulik & Mihai Sturdza) BULGARIAN-GREEK RELATIONS. Ambassador to Athens Bogdan Bogdanov handed a message from Prime Minister Filip Dimitrov to his Greek counterpart Constantine Mitsotakis, Demokratsiya reported on 23-January. It is connected with the strain in Bulgarian-Greek relations caused by Bulgaria's recognition of the Republic of Macedonia. The possibility that Greece could impede Bulgaria's association with the European Community apparently also applies to its relations with the Council of Europe (CE). Bulgarian media have been closely following CE Secretary-General Catherine Lalumi¸re's Sofia visit and reporting that the CE is considering Bulgaria's association and even regular membership in the CE. Meanwhile, on 22-January a Bulgarian-Greek business meeting began in Sofia. BTA said some 50-experts and businessmen from Greece are participating. (Rada Nikolaev) BOSNIA AND MACEDONIA REJECT SERBIAN PROJECT FOR NEW YUGOSLAVIA. Western news agencies on 22-January quoted leaders of Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina as calling Serbia's plan for reconstituting a rump Yugoslavia "too late and irrelevant." Leaders of both republics want independence and fear that any "Yugoslavia" minus Slovenia and Croatia would be simply a greater Serbia. Macedonia has called home its citizens in the federal legislature and diplomatic corps, while Bosnia's parliament will vote on 24-January on setting up a referendum on independence. The move is expected to receive the backing of the republic's Muslims and Croats, but the vote will most likely be boycotted by the 33% Serb minority. (Patrick Moore) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Sallie Wise Chaballier & Charles Trumbull
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