Poetry must be human. If it is not human, it is not poetry. - Vicente Aleixandre
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 18, 28 January 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

MIDEAST CONFERENCE OPENS. The third round of the Middle East
peace talks opened in Moscow on 28 January. According to conference
organizer Vladimir Petrovsky (formerly first deputy foreign minister
of the USSR), "the Middle East has for us always been the subject
of special attention because of its geographical position and
historical connections. Today, in addition to objective strategic
interests are added the economic interests of Russia," TASS reported
on 27 January. (Suzanne Crow)

KOZYREV MEETS LEVY, MOUSSA. Kozyrev met with his Israeli counterpart
David Levy on 27-January. Russia is prepared to play the "role
of honest broker," Kozyrev told Levy. Kozyrev stressed that Russia
is interested in the cessation of confrontation in the region,
adding: "we are also interested in economic cooperation with
the countries in the region, including Israel." Kozyrev met the
same day with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amre Moussa. TASS reported
that the two foreign ministers have the same approach to the
peace talks. (Suzanne Crow)

PIYASHEVA PLANS TO QUIT. The chief of Moscow's privatization
campaign, Larissa Piyasheva, told a news conference there on
24 January that she plans to quit, The Los Angeles Times of 25-January
reported. She spoke of her frustration that Egor Gaidar's strategy
of privatizing by auction had been selected rather than her plans
for selling shares in enterprises to employees. Piyasheva has
also long advocated that privatization and demonopolization precede
price deregulation, whereas Gaidar has maintained that the freeing
of prices could not be deferred any longer. Piyasheva was pessimistic
about the chances for Yeltsin's reform program. (Keith Bush)


MEDICAL WORKERS' STRIKE POSTPONED. On 25 January, Pravda reported
that health care workers in 73 of Russia's 77 regions had voted
to strike to protest low wages and inadequate funding for medical
care. Their union had called for the strike to start that day.
A union official said that 35-billion rubles were needed during
the first quarter of 1992 to fund medical services, but only
17.9-billion had been allocated, and doctors were living "on
the poverty line." Later that day, Russian TV announced that
the wages of all medical workers had been raised by 45% over
the level set on November 15, and that the strike had been postponed
until 29-January. (Keith Bush)

GOLD RESERVES NEAR EXHAUSTION? A report in Komsomolskaya pravda
of 21 January lends support to the assertions of Grigorii Yavlinsky
et al that the gold reserves of the former Soviet Union had been
run down to an unprecedentedly low level by the end of 1991.
It quotes a South African newspaper to the effect that Soviet
gold appearing on the world market last year contained ingots
bearing prerevolutionary markings. The South African source
is further quoted as warning that the-CIS output of diamonds
and precious metals could in-crease greatly with Western aid,
and their expanded exports could put pressure on world prices,
to the detriment of South African producers. (Keith Bush)

IMMINENT RECOVERY OF THE RUBLE? The head of the Economic Administration
of the Russian Foreign Economic Relations Committee, Yurii Petrov,
told a news conference in Moscow that the ruble will recover
against the dollar in the next few weeks, TASS reported on 27
January. Petrov justified his assertion with the explanation
that significant amounts of foreign currency, stemming from the
tax on export earnings of Russian enterprises, will be available
for auction. He reiterated official displeasure with the conduct
of Georgii Matyukhin, the chairman of the Russian Central Bank.
And he announced that Russia plans to export 50 million tons
of oil in 1992, even though the other CIS states need about twice
that amount. (Keith Bush)

IZVESTIA ON MISSILE RETARGETING. Izvestia on 28 January published
comments by the Strategic Missile Forces Main Staff on Boris
Yeltsin's announcement-in an ABC Television interview on 25 January-that
Russian nuclear missiles would no longer be targeted on US cities.
Suggesting that Yeltsin had not yet issued an actual order to
that effect, the missilemen said that retargeting would take
several days to effect and that if they receive such an order
from Yeltsin they will certainly implement it. Members of the
main staff also reportedly said that they were awaiting with
anticipation a statement from Yeltsin on Russia's new defensive
doctrine. (Stephen Foye)

GENERAL ON RUSSIAN MILITARY BUDGET. The head of the CIS Armed
Forces Central Financial Directorate said on 27 January that
the military budget just passed by the Russian government allocated
sufficient funding, albeit barely, to cover the military's most
pressing needs. Lt. Gen. Vasilii Vorobev said that the budget
would fund not only troops on Russian territory, but also CIS
strategic forces in other republics. He suggested that Russia
would also be paying for general purpose troops in other republics,
excepting Ukraine. A commentary in the European Wall Street Journal
on 27 January observes that the Russian government appears to
have successfully played the officer corps off against the military
industries by using big procurement cuts to finance improved
living conditions for the soldiers. (Stephen Foye)

BLACK SEA FLEET OATHS OF LOYALTY. Radio Rossii, quoting the Ukrainian
news agency Respublika, reported on 27 January that CIS naval
commander Vladimir Chernavin arrived that day in Sevastopol and
ordered Black Sea Fleet military personnel to begin immediately
swearing the oath of loyalty to the CIS. Interfax quoted an ethnic
Russian legislator in the Crimea as saying that of 6,400 recruits
in Sevastopol, approximately 5,300 took the oath. Personnel in
units assigned to guarding the Black Sea Fleet maritime area
reportedly have begun taking oaths of service to Ukraine. (Stephen
Foye)

INTELLECTUALS CONCERN OVER THE RISE OF THE FAR RIGHT. On January
26, "Vesti" reported on a meeting of the elite "Moscow Tribune"
club held in the Moscow Mayor's headquarters earlier that day.
The intellectuals voiced their concern over the rising influence
of ultranationalist and neocommunist forces united by their common
concept of Russia as a "great power." According to "Vesti," speakers
cited errors and abuses of the democrats now in power in Russia
to explain the growing influence of the right. The participants
called for an "anti-Fascist" rally at the Russian White House
on 9 February to counter a demonstration planned by the neocommunists.
(Julia Wishnevsky)

SHEVARDNADZE ABOUT CREATION OF DEMOCRATIC INTERNATIONAL. Eduard
Shev-ardnadze told Russian TV on 23 January that the Foreign
Policy Association together with Gorbachev's Fund, the Fund of
Survival headed by Evgenii Velikhov and the Council for Global
Stability headed by Alexander Yakovlev aims to mobilize concerned
politicians and scientists on political, military, social and
ecological issues. The heads of the foundations, would like to
create a kind of "Democratic International" backed by their supporters
in the CIS. Such an organization could be modeled on the Socialist
International and could be a major counter-balance to the block
of rightist and chauvinist forces, added Shevardnadze. (Victor
Yasmann)

BELARUS EXPANDING FOREIGN TIES. Following a period of uncertainty,
Belarus is advancing its interests more aggressively on the world
stage. On 27 January Belarus asked the UN Development Program
for "developing country" status in order to qualify for technical
assistance from the UN. Also that day, as reported by TASS, Belarus
(the homeland of gymnast Olga Korbut) turned to the International
Olympic Committee with a request to recognize the National Olympic
Committee of Belarus. Diplomatic ties were established with France
on 25 January during a visit to Minsk by French Foreign Minister
Roland Dumas. A Portuguese delegation also arrived on 26-January.
(Kathy Mihalisko)

UKRAINIAN SUPREME SOVIET AGENDA. Chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme
Soviet Ivan Plyushch held a press conference devoted to the agenda
of the upcoming Fifth Session of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet,
Radio Kiev reported on 27 January. The Ukrainian lawmakers will
focus their attention on economic reform, the military, and reorganization
of the state administration. In addition, they will discuss the
Black Sea Fleet, the Crimean question, and demands for the government's
resignation. (Roman Solchanyk)

EXPATRIATE OFFICERS MEET IN KIEV. For the first time in its seven-month
history, a conference of the Union of Officers of Ukraine, which
took place on 25-26 January in Kiev, was attended by officers
who are presently serving outside the republic, Radio Kiev reported.
Much attention was devoted to the question of military oaths
throughout the CIS; the expatriate officers were assured that
oaths to a state other than Ukraine would be annulled if they
returned to serve in their republic of origin. According to defense
and security commission chairman Vasyl' Durdinets, to date 350,000
Ukraine-based troops, including border and national guard personnel,
have sworn allegiance to Kiev. (Kathy Mihalisko)

NEW FIGHTING IN GEORGIA. At least one person was killed and several
injured on 27 January when Military Council troops attacked the
Black Sea port of Poti, held by supporters of ousted President
Zviad Gamsakhurdia, Western agencies reported that day. Russian
TV reported on 27 January that Gamsakhurdia's private plane had
been seized by his supporters after the pilot and crew were arrested
on landing at Vnukovo airport in Moscow and sent back to Georgia.
Gamsakhurdia's whereabouts are still a mystery. (Liz Fuller)


GAMSAKHURDIA SAID TO HAVE TRIED TO JAIL SHEVARDNADZE. According
to Russian TV news on 26 January, information has been revealed
that, last November, former Georgian president Zviad Gamsakhurdia
ordered the arrest of Eduard Shevardnadze. The then Georgian
prosecutor Razmadze reportedly refused to issue a warrant for
Shevardnadze's arrest, and was subsequently removed as prosecutor
on 25 November, ostensibly "at his own request," (Svobodnaya
Gruziya, 27 November 1991). Thereupon Gamaskhurdia threatened
to find "others" to do this. (Julia Wishnevsky)

AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT IN TURKEY. Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov
flew to Turkey on 23 January , where he met with Turkish Prime
Minister Suleiman Demirel, Minister of Foreign Affairs Hikmet
Cetin and President Turgut Ozal, and signed an agreement on friendship,
trade and economic and technological cooperation. Mutalibov also
met with Turkish businessmen who expressed interest in opening
a Turkish trading center in Baku to coordinate economic ties
with the Central Asian republics, TASS reported on 25-January.
Speaking to journalists in Istanbul on January 26, Mutalibov
disclosed that Turkey is prepared to assist Azerbaijan in training
officers for an Azerbaijani National Army, TASS reported. (Liz
Fuller)

FOREIGN TRADE LIBERALIZED IN KAZAKHSTAN. Kazakh president Nursultan
Nazarbaev's economic reform program took a major step on January
27 with the promulgation of a presidential decree permitting
individuals and enterprises to engage in foreign trade without
government permission, and permitting citizens of Kazakhstan
to open hard currency bank accounts. Kazakhstan's National Bank
will determine the exchange rate. The decree was reported by
TASS on the same day. Only goods "of national interest" are excluded.
In this category the report lists fuels, minerals and mineral
fertilizer, grain, cotton, wool, caviar and pharmaceutical components.
These may be exported only by state organizations. (Bess Brown)


DUMAS VISIT TO KAZAKHSTAN. Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev
told a press conference following French foreign minister Roland
Dumas' visit to Kazakhstan that one of the main-topics of discussion
during the visit was control over nuclear weapons, according
to a Radio Rossii report of 25-January. Nazarbaev said that medium-range
missiles are already being removed from Kazakhstan, and that
there is no foundation to claims that Kazakhstan is exporting
nuclear weapons and technology to Arab states. KazTAG reported
the same day that Dumas and his Kazakh counterpart Toleutai Suleimenov
had signed a protocol on establishing diplomatic relations. (Bess
Brown)

KARIMOV ABOLISHES TASHKENT OMON. In the wake of student demonstrations
in Tashkent on 17-19 January during which OMON troops reportedly
fired on demonstrators and killed at least one, Uzbek president
Islam Karimov has abolished the Tashkent OMON detachment. A Radio
Rossii report of 27 January said that Karimov had issued a decree
ordering the Uzbek MVD to replace the OMON unit with a militia
battalion to keep order during at the time of disasters and other
extraordinary circumstances, and to apprehend armed criminals.
(Bess Brown)

MOLDOVAN, ROMANIAN PRESIDENTS MEET. The Presidents of Moldova
and Romania, Mircea Snegur and Ion Iliescu, met on 25 January
on the Moldovan side of the common border, marking the first
time that Iliescu set foot on Moldovan soil as president of Romania.
Held the day after the convention of a pro-reunification group
and in contrast to that convention, the presidential meeting
did not produce any call for reunification. A joint joint communique
announced the intention to set up a free economic zone in a border
area and to speed up a study of cooperation in agriculture. Iliescu
accepted an invitation to visit Moldova in March, when a "treaty
of fraternity and cooperation" is expected to be signed. (Vladimir
Socor)


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

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