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RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 17, 27 January 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO USSR

RUSSIAN BUDGET APPROVED. On 24 January, the Russian Parliament
approved a (nearly) balanced budget for the first quarter of
1992, Western agencies reported that day. The deficit is planned
at 11.5 billion rubles (about 1% of GNP)-although CIS media did
not refer to any deficit at all-compared with an RSFSR budget
deficit of 108.4 billion rubles (or 17% of GNP) in 1991. In his
presentation of the proposed budget, Russian Deputy Premier Egor
Gaidar said that defense expenditure would be cut to about 50
billion rubles, or 4.5% of the GNP. Military procurements would
be less than one-seventh of the 1991 level, but more would be
spent on servicemen's welfare. Credits of 10 billion rubles were
approved to assist conversion. (Keith Bush)

UKRAINIAN REACTION TO CRIMEA CLAIM. Ukrainian President Leonid
Kravchuk and Foreign Minister Anatolii Zlenko have both rejected
Russian claims to Crimea, TASS reported on 24 January. Kravchuk
said that the decision to transfer Crimea to Ukraine was taken
by the Supreme Soviets of the USSR and Ukraine and affirmed by
the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet. Moreover, he argued,
the 1 December referendum results in Crimea showed that the majority
of the Crimeans wished to remain in Ukraine. Zlenko also referred
to the referendum results, stating that Ukraine rejects all territorial
claims wherever they may originate. (Roman Solchanyk)

YELTSIN SAID NOT TO BACK CRIMEA CLAIM. Ukrainian Prime Minister
Vitold Fokin says that his discussion with Russian President
Boris Yeltsin on the Crimean issue has led him to conclude that
the Russian leader does not support those Russian deputies campaigning
for Crimea's return to Russia, TASS reported on 25 January. Fokin
was in Moscow at the head of a delegation of Ukrainian miners
and leaders of industrial enterprises. And in an interview with
the news program "Novosti" the same day, Yeltsin advisor Galina
Starovoitova maintained that the Russian president had no part
in the initiative to review Crimea's status. (Roman Solchanyk)

"GENERAL INSPECTORS" ABOLISHED. By a presidential decree dated
11 January, Boris Yeltsin has abolished the so-called Group of
General Inspectors, retiring 53 marshals and army generals, Izvestia
reported on 24 January. Also discharged were 62 lieutenants and
officers up to the rank of colonel who were serving as orderlies
and staffers to the senior group. Other benefits enjoyed by the
inspectors have also been removed, including thirty-five black
"Volga" cars and a number of dachas. Izvestia also provided a
brief history of the group, noting that it was established in
1958 and characterizing it as a sinecure or "paradise" by which
senior commanders could go into semi-retirement while retaining
all the benefits of service. In 1988, the newspaper said, then
Defense Minister Dmitrii Yazov cut the group in half. (Stephen
Foye)

FOUR MARSHALS NOT EFFECTED. The Yeltsin decree reportedly did
not effect the status of four marshals, who remain "consultants
and advisors" to the CIS central command. They are: Sergei Sokolov,
Viktor Kulikov, Vasilii Petrov, and Nikolai Ogarkov. (Stephen
Foye)

BELARUS WANTS TO BE FIRST NUCLEAR-FREE STATE IN CIS. In remarks
quoted on 26 January by Western and CIS agencies, the deputy
chairman of the security committee of the Belarus parliament,
Leonid Privalau, said that the first batch of tactical nuclear
weapons has left Belarus for Russia, where eventually they will
be destroyed. Like Ukraine, Belarus hopes to withdraw all such
weapons by 1-July. Foreign Minister Petr Krauchenka said that
day that his government wants Belarus to be the first nuclear-free
member of the CIS. Privalau indicated that Belarus would be free
of its long-range missiles by 1996 or 1997. (Kathy Mihalisko)


DEFENSE OFFICIAL SAYS ARMY WILL BE HALVED. Aleksandr Tsalko,
a top Russian Defense official, said in Oslo on 23 January that
because of economic problems Russia must cut its army by half
in the next two years. Tsalko and another Russian defense official,
Vitalii Shlykov, were in Norway on an official visit, Western
agencies reported. Tsalko also said that Russia could not afford
to withdraw its forces from the Baltic republics before 1994,
and that to force the pace could have dangerous consequences.
Shlykov reportedly talked about the problems involved in opening
up the former Soviet Union's "closed cities," including the so-called
"nuclear cities." He said that some 1.5-million people live in
these cities, and that some have been cut off from outside contact
for 40 years. (Stephen Foye)

NEW MOSCOW GOVERNMENT FORMED. A new cabinet of the Moscow government
held a press conference in Moscow on 24 January, Russian TV reported
that day. Two weeks ago Deputy Mayor Yurii Luzhkov announced
the disbandment of the old city government and the creation of
a new cabinet of economic reforms. The television said, however,
that the overwhelming majority of the new cabinet members served
in the old government. This applies even to Boris Nikolsky, whose
presents in the old government was criticized. Nikolsky's prestige
is very low due since he was second secretary of the Georgian
CP during the 1989 Tbilisi massacre. (Vera Tolz)

SOCIAL BENEFITS FOR RSFSR POPULATION. An independent trade union
of coal miners and the Russian government finally reached an
agreement on 24 January, Russian TV reported. According to the
agreement, from now on the salary of coal miners in the Russian
Federation will be doubled. The same day, the new Moscow government
signed an agreement with local trade unions to establish a social
safety net in Moscow. New measures are aimed at combatting unemployment
in the Russian capital, the improvement of medical care, and
upgrading of salaries in connection with the growing inflation,
TASS reported on 24 January. (Vera Tolz)

MORE REGULATED PRICES? On 26 January, during a tour of Yakutia,
Russian Parliament Chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov said that the
parliament is drafting a joint (parliament/government) document
expanding the list of goods that are sold at government-regulated
prices, TASS reported that day. Khasbulatov had already advocated
an increase in the number of regulated prices in Kazan on 11
January. No reaction to his advocacy on the part of the government
has been monitored. [Prominent reformers have argued that the
list of regulated prices is already too large]. (Keith Bush)


CONSUMER INCOMES AND SAVINGS ON THE RISE IN 1992. TASS, on 23
and 24 January reported that personal incomes and savings have
increased significantly in the first three weeks of the new year.
Oleg Yashin, first vice president of the Russian Savings Bank,
said that from 3 to 20-January, savings deposits have increased
by about 1 billion rubles, six times the amount for the same
period last year. In Donetsk, on 22 January alone, citizens deposited
as much money in their savings accounts as they did in the whole
of the XII-Five-Year Plan. Despite the liberalization of prices,
goods availability has yet to improve, and some consumers have
considerable amounts of extra cash. A main concern in Russia
is where those rubles will go when other CIS countries-especially
Ukraine-introduce their own currencies later this year. (John
Tedstrom)

RUSSIAN UNEMPLOYMENT FORECAST. At a Moscow news conference on
24 January, Russian Deputy Labor Minister Fedor Prokupov forecast
a total of 7-8 million unemployed in Russia by September 1992,
TASS reported that day. This would represent 10-12% of the population
of working age. Prokupov said that 60,000 were registered as
unemployed as at 1 January, of whom 70% were women. He also reported
that there are more than 840,000 registered job openings currently
unfilled in the federation. Prokupov drew a parallel with Poland,
where joblessness has risen steadily since prices were freed
in January 1990. Currently the rate is 11.4% with some 2.16 million
registered unemployed. (Keith Bush)

PLENUM OF DEMOCRATIC REFORM MOVEMENT. Russian TV and radio newscasts
depicted a plenary session of the board of the Democratic Reform
Movement held in Moscow on 25 January. The board adopted the
status of the DDR Political Council and elected its 46 members-among
them Russian Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi, playwright Mikhail
Shatrov, and economists Pavel Bunich and Nikolai Petrakov. The
Council is entitled to speak on behalf of the DDR, to develop
its program and political strategy, and to represent the movement
in contacts with foreign and other domestic organizations. The
board also elected the DDR Auditing commission. "Vesti" noted
DDR plans to develop a strategy for military reforms, the transition
process to a market economy and its social consequences, and
to set up a center on interethnic relations. (Julia Wishnevsky)


)KARELIA DISCUSSES ITS STATUS. The session of the Karelian parliament
on 23 January debated the inclusion of the possibility of Karelia
leaving the Russian republic on its agenda , "Vesti" reported
on 23 January. The following day, 43 deputies (mostly Russians)
voted for the separation of Karelia from the Russian Federation.
The majority turned down this proposal, however, Russian TV reported.
After heated debates, the parliament voted to call on Moscow
to sign a federation treaty with autonomies of the Russian Federation.
If this is not done, Karelia will again return to debating the
issue of independence, the parliament warned. (Ann Sheehy and
Vera Tolz)

DIVISIONS IN DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT IN BELARUS. A BelTA-TASS report
of 24 January drew attention to the sour relations between the
Belarus Popular Front and Belarus Social Democrats. At a plenum
on that day, the Social Democrats endorsed the creation of a
bloc of leftist and progressive political forces under the name
"New Belarus," but the Popular Front rejected both an invitation
to attend the plenum and the idea of a bloc. (The Popular Front
is wary of the socialist orientation of the Social Democrats,
who are led by the creative intelligentsia.) Despite the conflict,
the plenum-supported a Popular Front initiative to organize
a referendum on the holding of new elections to the Communist-dominated
parliament. (Kathy Mihalisko)

UKRAINIANS OF THE WORLD UNITE. Radio Kiev reported on 23 January
that 1,000 representatives of Ukrainians living outside of Ukraine
took part in the first Congress of Ukrainians, which was held
in Kiev on 22-23 January. Addressing the gathering, President
Leonid Kravchuk called for unity, solidarity and support for
the new independent Ukrainian state. He stressed that almost
a third of Ukrainians live outside of Ukraine and he promised
that the government of independent Ukraine would do its best
to help them in whatever way possible. (Bohdan Nahaylo)

GEORGIAN SITUATION REMAINS UNCLEAR. TASS reported on 24 January
that resistance to the ruling Military Council was intensifying,
and that Gamsakhurdia supporters had blown up three bridges near
Khobi on the main highway linking Tbilisi and western Georgia.
A state of emergency was imposed in Abkhazia on 24 January, Radio
Tbilisi reported the same day. Gamsakhurdia supporters demonstrated
without incident in Tbilisi on 25 and 26 January. An advisor
to acting Georgian prime Minister Tengiz Sigua told RFE/RL on
25-January that fighting had ceased in Zugdidi, that Gamsakhurdia's
supporters were fleeing the town and the situation was stabilizing.
Interfax reported on 26 January, however, that pro-Gamsakhurdia
forces were still in control of Zugdidi although the situation
there was "anarchic." Gamsakhurdia supporters controlling the
Black Sea port of Poti held talks on 26 January with Military
Council representatives on a peaceful transfer of power, Western
news agencies reported on 26 January. Gamsakhurdia's private
plane flew from Sukhumi to Grozny on 26 January with 20-passengers;
it is not known whether Gamsakhurdia himself was one of them.
(Liz Fuller)

KAZAKHSTAN'S DEVELOPMENT PLANS. Kazakhstan's deputy minister
for foreign economic relations, Bolaton Taiyanov, told an important
group of German industrialists that Kazakhstan is prepared to
assume its share of the former USSR's foreign debt, according
to the January 24 issue of Handelsblatt. Kazakhstan's share is
set at 3%. Taiyanov also said that Kazakhstan plans to retain
the ruble, but is considering introducing its own currency. Taiyanov,
who is leading a delegation of politicians and managers on a
quest for investment, told the German group that Kazakhstan hopes
to use its mineral deposits to quickly raise its export earnings,
adding that lack of transport is the main hindrance to increased
foreign exports. He said that Kazakhstan wants to avoid accepting
credit abroad. (Bess Brown)

COUNCIL FOR UNION OF MOLDOVA WITH ROMANIA ISSUES PROCLAMATION.
The National Council for Union, a joint Moldovan-Romanian body
established in December 1991 held its inaugural convention in
Iasi on Romania's side of the common border on 24 January. Although
broadly representative in Romania, membership of the Council
is narrowly based in Moldova, where only 50 opposition deputies-out
of 366 parliamentarians-have joined. The Council issued a proclamation
calling for early action to restore "the Romanian national unitary
state" including Bessarabia and northern Bukovina with Romania
(Moldova comprises most of Bessarabia while the remainder of
Bessarabia and northern Bukovina currently form part of Ukraine).
"Only thus can we avoid the danger of a military conflict with
the anti-national forces in these territories," the proclamation
said. On January 23, Moldovan President Mircea Snegur told AP
in an interview (carried by Radio Bucharest that day) that the
Moldovan Parliament might have to disavow its members participating
in the Council for Union and to call a referendum on the issue
of reunification. Supporters of reunification strongly oppose
a referendum [see Romanian perspective below]. (Vladimir Socor)


BALTIC STATES



BALTIC PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY SESSION. Estonian, Latvian, and
Lithuanian deputies convened in Riga on 24 and 25-January to
affirm the guidelines for the work of the assembly and to discuss
common problems, especially the presence of the former Soviet
armed forces still in their countries. Latvian deputy Maris Budovskis
was elected chairman of the assembly, with Ulo Nugis of Estonia
and Aurimas Taurinskas of Lithuania as deputy chairmen. Latvian
Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs proposed the creation
of a juridical bureau, similar to the one that the Baltic States
had from 1931 to 1940, to help foster greater cooperation. (Dzintra
Bungs)

LOPATIN ON TROOP WITHDRAWAL, ARMY PROPERTY. Vladimir Lopatin,
deputy chairman of the Russian state committee for defense issues,
told the press in Riga on 25-January that Russia has not only
taken over the jurisdiction of the USSR armed forces but also
the property of those forces. He said that Russia is prepared
to discuss with the Baltic States only the property taken over
by the Soviet forces in 1940. On troop withdrawal Lopatin said
that first the issue of housing must be resolved for the approximately
128,000 officers and 13,000 praporschiks stationed in the Baltics.
The Baltics view on this matter is that the troops withdrawal
should be prompt and should not hinge on matters of social welfare
of the officers, BNS reported on 25-January. (Dzintra Bungs)


SHAKHRAI TO TALK ABOUT TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM THE BALTICS. Russian
Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai is expected in Estonia,
Latvia, and Lithuania on 28-30-January, according to BNS and
TASS of 25-January. Vladimir Lopatin made the announcement in
Riga, where he met with participants of the Baltic Assembly on
25-January. Lopatin also said that the troop withdrawal from
the Baltics cannot start before the departure of the former Soviet
forces from Poland and Germany. He added that Russia is interested
in retaining bases in the Baltics as a part of a European defense
system. (Dzintra Bungs)

LITHUANIA-POLAND PROTOCOL SIGNED. On 24-January in Vilnius Lithuanian
Minister of Transportation Jonas Birziskis and Polish Minister
of Transportation and Maritime Economy Ewaryst Waligorski signed
a protocol on the legal foundations of international transport
between Lithuania and Poland, Radio Lithuania reported. The protocol
calls for signing treaties on air, road, and railroad transport
by March, on sea transport by April, and on the construction
of a customs post on the Szypliszki-Kalvarija road as soon as
possible. Birziskis said that normal railroad and highway traffic
through the post would probably only begin in June after the
two countries decide on regulations. (Saulius Girnius)

FIRST LITHUANIAN PASSPORTS ISSUED. On 24-January Lithuanian Deputy
Prime Minister Algis Dobravolskas handed out the first new passports
of the Republic of Lithuania, Radio Lithuania reported. The recipients
of the passports were the four Lithuanian athletes who leave
on 25-January to participate in the Winter Olympics in Albertville,
France. The athletes should have no visa problems on the trip
since they also possess Olympic passports issued by France. (Saulius
Girnius)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

POLISH PARLIAMENT APPROVES PROVI-SIONAL BUDGET. On 25-January,
following a two-day debate, the Sejm approved a provisional first-quarter
budget that cuts spending on schools, health, pensions, and energy
subsidies. Voting 195 to 135 with three abstentions, the deputies
accepted the assertion of Prime Minister Jan Olszewski that there
is no money to fund increased social benefits. In spite of the
austerity measures, the budget foresees a deficit of some $1.5-billion
in the first quarter of 1992. Finance Minister Karol Lutkowski
warned that a higher deficit would ignite a new round of hyperinflation,
Western and Polish media reported. He told the Sejm that Poland
had to press on with its difficult reforms, adding "there is
no room" to bail out unprofitable state industries. (Wladyslaw
Minkiewicz)

SOVIET TROOPS TO LEAVE POLAND BY END OF 1993. On 26-January
speaking at a press conference in Legnica, Gen.-Viktor
Dubynin, the commanding officer of the former Soviet Army's Northern
Group of Forces, said that all of the units will be withdrawn
by the end of 1993. He confirmed that, as previously agreed,
all combat troops will leave by 15-November of this year, leaving
behind 6,000 transport and signal troops to supervise the transit
of Soviet forces still stationed in the former East Germany,
Western and Polish media reported. According to PAP, however,
the press conference turned into a heated debate between Dubynin
and Polish government negotiator Gen.-Zdzislaw Ostrowski over
the two sides' financial obligations for the stationing, transit,
and withdrawal of the former Soviet troops from Poland. (Wladyslaw
Minkiewicz)

POLISH INDUSTRY HIT BY RUSSIAN GAS SUPPLY CUT. Poland's national
gas distribution manager Aleksander Findzinski said on 24-January
that falling supplies of Russian natural gas have forced many
factories in heavy and chemical industries to limit or even stop
production. Daily supplies of gas from Russia have been cut by
over 40% since the start of the year and the situation has deteriorated
as freezing temperatures increase public use of gas for heating.
"Most steel mills and fertilizer plants are either idle or in
a holding pattern," he added, stressing that the situation is
likely to improve only if temperatures rise or if talks with
Moscow are successful. Foreign Trade Ministry spokeswoman Anna
Ferens said that top-level talks with Moscow on the issue are
continuing, Western and Polish media reported. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)


CZECHOSLOVAK RIGHT AGREES TO COOPERATE. The Czechoslovak Civic
Democratic Alliance (ODA), at a conference held in Prague 25-26-January,
decided on a coalition for the June elections, Western agencies
report. It called for a nationwide union with the Slovak Democratic
Civic Union, which emerged from the former Public Against Violence
(ODU-VPN). The ODA also wants to cooperate with the newly formed
Entrepreneurs Party (SCSP). Its third coalition partner will
be the Liberal Democratic Party (LDS). Present at the conference
were Klaus Francke Teil of the German CSU and Stephen Biller
of the British Conservative Party, who promised assistance. (Barbara
Kroulik)

HUNGARIAN PARTY CALLS FOR DISMISSAL OF RADIO AND TV HEADS. The
executive committee of the Hungarian Christian Democratic People's
Party, a member of the ruling coalition, issued a statement demanding
the resignation of the directors of Hungarian radio and television,
MTI reported on 25-January. The statement said that the directors
"have proven that they are unfit to manage public radio and television
because they ignored the protests of a substantial part of Hungarian
society against the downgrading of religious programs." The leaders
of Hungary's major churches have recently demanded more air time
for religious programs and charged that the directors' decision
to change the schedule and broadcast wavelengths of those programs
made them less accessible to the public. (Edith Oltay)

HUNGARY'S TRANSIT TAX HIKE PROTESTED BY GREEK TRUCKERS. Greek
truckers blockaded a major highway crossing at the Greek-Yugoslav
border on 25-January to press the Greek government to ask Hungary
to roll back its recent transit tax hike. The Hungarian government
recently raised transit taxes steeply, affecting Greek truckers
who use Hungary as their main transit route to the West because
of the civil war in Yugoslavia. The Greek government lodged a
first protest to Hungary earlier this month against the increase.
(Edith Oltay)

ROMANIANS, MOLDOVANS DISCUSSING UNIFICATION. On 24-January the
National Council for Union, which comprises a wide range of politicians
from Romania and Moldova, met in Iasi amid increasing calls from
nationalists on both sides of the border for reunification and
issued a proclamation calling for the restoration of a unitary
state. Mircea Druc, a former prime minister of Moldova and chairman
of the Council, called for "the restoration of Romania within
its natural borders." NSF leader Petre Roman and Yuri Rosca,
president of Moldova's Popular Front, said that reunification
is at the center of the political agenda, although, Rosca added,
a specific date cannot be set yet. Ex-King Michael and Patriarch
Teoctist, head of Romania's Orthodox Church, sent messages. [See
above for Moldovan reaction.] The same day in Bucharest Moldova's
ambassador, Aurel Constantin Danila, presented his credentials
while the Civic Alliance Party rallied several thousand people
to demand reunification. (Mihai Sturdza)

UNIONS WARN ABOUT GENERAL STRIKE. Alfa, Fratia, and the General
Confederation of Romania's Free Unions, the unions which participated
in wage talks with the government, will meet on 28-January to
discuss a call for a general strike on 6-February. They want
the present minimum salary of 8,500-lei to be raised to 24,000-lei.
On 24-January the Hercules union lent its support but said the
call for a general strike shortly before the local elections
is a political diversion to discredit the unions, local media
said. (Mihai Sturdza)

PRESIDENT ZHELEV INTERVIEWED. In a 50-minute interview with RFE/RL
broadcast on 24-January, the recently reelected president defended
Bulgaria's recognition of the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
He regretted the tension this created with Greece, but said Greece's
anger was unnecessary and he hoped it would soon be dissipated.
Zhelev spoke of the moderate position he had shown in his TV
debate with Velko Valkanov and criticized the latter's campaign
behavior. Zhelev also emphasized that economic reform should
be given priority and rejected the BSP's accusations of an emerging
totalitarianism from the right. Zhelev also said that the president
should be able to initiate legislation, an idea he expressed
to the press after his swearing-in ceremonies on 22-January.
Zhelev's RFE/RL interview was quoted by several Sofia dailies.
(Rada Nikolaev)

EX-TSAR PROPOSES MONARCHY. Bulgarian media on 25-January reported
statements by ex-Tsar Simeon-II made in Spain, proposing a constitutional
monarchy for Bulgaria. This, he said, is the wish of the majority
of Bulgarians. He said he is at the nation's disposal. The daily
24-chasa reported that a royal press center will open in Sofia
on 27-January. Demokratsiya on 24-January said Simeon had thanked
the deputy mayor of Sofia for restoring the name Maria Luisa
(the Tsar's grandmother) to one of Sofia's main streets, long
known as Georgi Dimitrov, and the renaming of another to honor
his father, Boris-III. The renaming of some 40-streets in Sofia
had been announced the previous day. (Rada Nikolaev)

BOSNIA HEADED FOR CIVIL WAR? Following an all-night discussion,
the Muslim and Croatian majority of Bosnia-Herzegovina's legislature
voted on 25-January for a referendum on a "sovereign and independent
Bosnia-Herzegovina, a state of equal citizens and nations of
Muslims, Serbs, Croats." Serbian legislators had left the session
earlier, and on 26-January the local Serbian leader, Radovan
Karadzic, told the BBC that his people had already "voted to
stay in Yugoslavia" and that hence what remained was to agree
on a division of the republic. The 27-January Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung, however, also quotes Karadzic as calling the parliament's
vote on the referendum "the war option." The republic's population
is roughly 40% Muslim, 33% Serb, and 18% Croat, and the three
groups live so intermixed as to make drawing neat borders between
them impossible. (Patrick Moore)

OTHER YUGOSLAV DEVELOPMENTS. On 26-January UN Under Secretary-General
Marrack Goulding arrived in Belgrade to begin talks with the
various parties to the ongoing conflict. His goal is to prepare
a report to the Secretary-General on the soundness of sending
in a peace-keeping force, Western media reported. That same day
Western news agencies quoted the Croatian press as saying that
former Yugoslav Presidency President Janez Drnovsek had agreed
to set up an interim Slovenian government. Elections are slated
for June. Finally, on 24-January Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola
Kljusev told a press conference that Greece was stopping Macedonian
trucks and "harassing Macedonian citizens." He accused Athens
of setting up "a blockade," Western news agencies said. (Patrick
Moore) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull











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