When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. - John Ruskin
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 20, 30 January 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

YELTSIN PROPOSES ARMS CUTS. Hours after President George Bush
announced cuts in US-defense spending, Russian President Boris
Yeltsin appeared on nation-wide television to describe planned
arms reductions in Russian and CIS military forces. Saying that
it was time to move faster down the road of disarmament, Yeltsin
announced, among other things, that Russia: has taken off alert
about 600-strategic land- and sea-based missiles and will eliminate
130 land-based missile silos; will halt production of "Black
Jack" and "Bear" heavy bombers, as well long-range air and sea-based
cruise missiles; will cut Russian defense procurement by 50%
and reduce overall defense spending by 10% this year. As The
New York Times noted, many of the proposals are either not new
or have been necessitated by Russian economic problems. Yeltsin
also appeared to speak for strategic weapons located outside
of Russia. (Stephen Foye)

YELTSIN TRAVELS TO BRITAIN, US, CANADA. Boris Yeltsin was scheduled
to leave Moscow for a trip to Great Britain, the US, and Canada
on 29-January, TASS reported that day. The highlight of the trip
will be his participation at the session of the UN Security Council
on 31-January. During the trip, Yeltsin is scheduled to meet
most of the world's top leaders. Yeltsin will be accompanied
by the top leadership of Russia, including State Secretary Gennadii
Burbulis, economic overlord Egor Gaidar, foreign minister Andrei
Kozyrev, chairman of the parliamentary commission on international
affairs and foreign trade Vladimir Lukin and the com-mander in
chief of the CIS Armed Forces Evgenii Shaposhnikov. (Alexander
Rahr)

YELTSIN-BAKER MEETING. Boris Yeltsin met with US Secretary of
State James Baker on 29-January for talks concerning his trip
to the United Nations and United States. According to TASS on
29-January, Yeltsin and Baker also exchanged opinions on the
course of the Middle East peace talks taking place in Moscow.
(Suzanne Crow)

KOZYREV DENIES CONFRONTATION WITH UKRAINE. Russian Foreign Minister
Andrei Kozyrev told reporters on 29-January that there is no
political confrontation between Ukraine and Russia, Western agencies
reported the same day. The question of the status of the Black
Sea Fleet, he said, was a dispute not unlike disagreements between
Western countries. Kozyrev said that the differences between
Ukraine and Russia were a matter of getting rid of the heritage
of the past. (Roman Solchanyk)

KASATONOV SNUBS UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARIANS. Black Sea Fleet commander,
Admiral Igor Kasatonov refused to meet with a group of parliamentarians
and Ukrainian Defense Ministry officials who travelled to Sevastopol,
Ukrinform-TASS reported on 29-January. After a 90 minute wait
outdoors in cold temperatures, the visitors also learned that
no one else from the fleet would meet with them either, and they
would not be allowed aboard ships. TASS noted that the delegation
from Kiev arrived soon after Kasatonov had met on 28-January
in Novorossiisk with Boris Yeltsin. In related news, a Radio
Kiev report on 29-January denied Russian media assertions that
a majority of crewmen do not want to swear an oath to Ukraine.
It said that 70-80% of officers and midshipmen had done so, and
that most of the resistance was among senior officers and staff
members. (Kathy Mihalisko)

THE BLACK SEA CONTROVERSY: PUBLIC OPINION. Admiral Igor Kasatonov,
the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, receives hundreds of letters
daily which say, in effect, "while there is nothing to eat in
this country, you folks are dividing up ships with missiles,"
the TV news of 29-January reported, adding that the content of
the letters could only be summarized and not quoted because of
the strong language used in reference to Presidents Yeltsin and
Kravchuk. Asked who finances the fleet, Admiral Kasatonov revealed
that he had received 350 million rubles for the next quarter
from Ukraine and 250-million rubles for the next month from Russia.
The Russian funds, however, have been frozen by the Ukrainian
state bank which makes Ukraine the sole supporter of the fleet.
Nonetheless, the admiral added, "I would not mind if either of
them pays more," and he would be happy to receive funds from
any third party. (Julia Wishnevsky)

GLOOMY PROSPECTS FOR UKRAINIAN OFFICER CORPS? On 25-January,
Krasnaya zvezda, the main newspaper of the military command,
suggested that planned force cuts will soon leave many officers
who have sworn loyalty to Ukraine out of work. The newspaper
claimed to have received the information from the Ukrainian center
of alternative information in Kiev. It suggests that only one
of ten officers in the Carpathian Military District will be employed
long term and that those native Ukrainian officers now serving
outside the republic will face difficulties finding billets if
they return home. The article seemed designed to frighten officers
in Ukraine who are considering taking that republic's oath, and
to discourage Ukrainian officers outside the republic from returning
home. (Stephen Foye)

UKRAINE TO BREAK G-7 DEBT ACCORD. In a statement reported by
Western agencies on 29-January, Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitold
Fokin called on Western creditor-nations to divide up the debt
owed by the former USSR. He said that Ukraine wished to service
its own 16.37% share of the outstanding debt (variously estimated
at between $60-$90 billion), and implied that Ukraine would seek
to expedite payment of its share. However, under the November
1991 agreement with G-7 nations, all states of the former USSR
reputedly accepted "joint and several liability" for the entire
debt-even if Fokin subsequently qualified the Ukrainian position.
(Keith Bush)

UKRAINE ADOPTS DRAFT PRIVATIZATION LAWS. The Ukrainian Supreme
Soviet adopted a package of draft privatization laws on 29-January,
Radio Kiev reported. The legislation included privatization of
state enterprises, small state enterprises, and shares, stocks,
and securities. According to Western agencies, a separate bill
on private land ownership will be examined next week. (Roman
Solchanyk)

MATYUKHIN ON RUBLE STABILIZATION. In an interview with The Wall
Street Journal of 29-January, Russian Central Bank Chairman Georgii
Matyukhin confirmed his bank's intention to intervene in currency
markets in order to stabilize the ruble. Matyukhin aired the
opinion that the West will not bankroll a ruble stabilization
fund, which puts him at odds with Russian President Boris Yeltsin,
Russian Deputy Premier Egor Gaidar, and virtually everyone else
in the Russian administration. For an informative review of the
long-standing feud between Matyukhin and the Russian cabinet-which
is expected to come to a head soon-see The Financial Times of
22-January. (Keith Bush)

RUTSKOI RESUMES ATTACK. Russian Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi,
who is recovering from surgery, attacked the Russian government
for destroying the Russian state in an article in Pravda on 29-January
He said that Russia has reached a political and economic dead
end created by former Communist rulers and the current government's
experimentations. He denounced the Yeltsin/Burbulis government
as a "wrecking team" and called for a restoration of Russia's
"historical" borders and a review of its present borders. He
stated that the principle of a "unified and indivisible Russia"
should be fixed by the constitution and emphasized the need for
the establishment of a strong center. (Alexander Rahr)

ALEKSANDR YAKOVLEV: YELTSIN'S REFORMS ARE TOO "LIMITED." Western
aid for Russia should be given only "for specifics" and must
be closely monitored, warns Aleksandr Yakovlev in an interview
with The Independent on 29-January; he said he supports Yeltsin's
reforms "in principle" but added that so far they have been only
"limited." Yakovlev advocated full privatization of land, housing,
and industry. He is pessimistic about CIS prospects for survival
if new links between its member states are not created. Cautious
on Yeltsin, Yakovlev praised the Russian leader's "decisiveness."
He said he had warned Gorbachev there would be a coup as early
as March of last year. According to Yakovlev, the main reason
for the August putsch was Gorbachev's "toadying to the military
industrial complex." (Julia Wishnevsky)

RUSSIAN MEDICS CALL OFF STRIKE. Medical workers in 73 of Russia's
77 regions called off their strike planned for 29-January, Radio
Rossii reported that day. The reason given was that Russian President
Boris Yeltsin had met the workers' demands, including the raising
of the base salary for doctors to 1,150 rubles a month as of
1-February, the allocation of 35 billion rubles during the first
quarter of 1992 for health care, and the earmarking of hard-currency
for importing medical supplies. (Keith Bush)

MORE ON THE SAKHALIN CONTRACT. More details are emerging on the
contract awarded to a Japanese/American consortium to evaluate
and, possibly, develop oil and gas reserves off Sakhalin (see
The RFE/RL Daily Report for 29-January). The contract was described
by Western agencies on 29-January as giving the consortium the
right to conduct a feasibility study on exploiting the two fields,
and to negotiate for a contract to extract the oil and gas. Sakhalin
governor Valentin Fedorov was reported by Interfax to have resigned
from the Russian government commission in charge of the project-apparently
after a disagreement with Moscow over the terms of the contract.
(Keith Bush)

RUSSIAN, ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET. Russian Foreign Minister
Andrei Kozyrev met in Moscow with his Italian counterpart, Gianni
de Michelis, on 29-January, TASS reported that day. De Michelis
and the Chairman of the Russian committee on foreign economic
ties, Petr Aven, exchanged documents on Italian credits. Russia
will receive 75% of one of the Italian credits. (TASS did not
report the amount. Italy recently agreed to release a $1.3 billion
credit originally scheduled for the USSR but frozen during the
August coup attempt.) (Suzanne Crow)

NEW THINK TANK OPENS. The Russian Center for Strategic Research
and International Studies was founded in Moscow at the end of
December, 1991. It describes itself as a non-governmental, non-profit,
scientific and educational organization. The Center's head, Vitalii
Naumkin, comes from the Institute of Oriental Studies (where
he was Deputy Director); he brought several IOS staff members
with him. The aims of the Center are to provide independent analysis
of Russian political, economic, and military issues for members
of the Russian government, private organizations, and individuals.
Naumkin, who recently spoke at the Royal Institute of International
Affairs in London, said that the Center is advising the Russian
Supreme Soviet on international issues. (Suzanne Crow and Annette
McGill)

RUTSKOI PARTY NOT TO ATTEND THE PATRIOTIC CONGRESS. The People's
Party of Free Russia, led by vice-president Aleksandr Rutskoi,
will not take part in the forthcoming Congress of Patriotic Forces
for fear that "right-wing nationalist and anti-democratic groups
may gain the upper hand" at the gathering, Interfax reported
on 28-January. Scheduled for 8-9-February, the Congress was called
by the Christian Democratic Movement and other parties that split
from Democratic Russia after accusing it of encouraging the disintegration
of the USSR and Russian Federation. The organizers wanted Rutskoi
to preside over the "patriotic forces," however he declined since
the organizers have invited known hardliners, such as Colonel
Viktor Alksnis, Russian deputy Sergei Baburin, mathematician
Igor Shafarevich and editors of the monthly Nash sovremennik
(see Moskovsky komsomolets, 18-January). Interfax reported that
the PPFR leaders have now decided to call the forum, "patriots
for democracy." (Julia Wishnevsky)

UKRAINIAN-CZECHOSLOVAK RELATIONS. Ukrainian Foreign Minister
Anatolii Zlenko says he hopes to sign a treaty with Czechoslovakia
establishing diplomatic relations, in an interview with the CSTK
news agency on 29-January. Zlenko is quoted as saying that he
is satisfied that Czechoslovakia has not raised any border issues
with Ukraine. Some political parties in Czechoslovakia are campaigning
for the return of the Zakarpattya [Transcarpathian] Oblast. Zlenko
also noted that thus far 91 states have recognized Ukraine and
28 have established diplomatic relations. (Roman Solchanyk)

MILITARY COUNCIL TROOPS TAKE ZUGDIDI. Georgian Military Council
troops took the town of Zugdidi during the night of 28-29-January
after a brief shootout in which three people were wounded and
imposed a curfew there, Western agencies reported on 29-January.
The remaining forces loyal to ousted president Zviad Gamsakhurdia
have reportedly retreated north to Gali. (Liz Fuller)

GAMSAKHURDIA GIVES INTERVIEW TO TASS. On 29-January TASS carried
an extensive interview with ousted Georgian president Zviad Gamsakhurdia
at an undisclosed location in Western Georgia. Gamsakhurdia stressed
that he remains the legally elected president, that he will not
resign, and that claims by the Military Council that popular
support for him had plummeted were untrue. He further stated
that the opposition had rejected his offer of creating an opposition
council to discuss unresolved problems. The opposition had also
precluded Georgian membership in the CIS by physically preventing
him from travelling to the 21-December Alma-Ata meeting and from
convening a Supreme Soviet session to debate membership. (Liz
Fuller)

BALTIC STATES



SAVISAAR STRIKES BACK. Estonia's outgoing Prime Minister Edgar
Savisaar has dealt his enemies in the Supreme Council their first
blow in what seems sure to be a drawn-out battle. In an open
letter printed in Estonia's major Russian-language daily, Estoniya,
on 29-January, Savisaar defends the presence of the four Soviet
military officers appointed to sit in the Supreme Council. He
says any attempts at getting rid of the four represents "a propaganda
trick with which some political forces are trying to maintain
their popularity." The move comes two weeks after Savisaar was
saved from being forced out only by the votes of the four officers.
Since then many voices in the Supreme Council have lobbied for
removal of the four on grounds that troops of an occupying army
should not have a role in a sovereign state's parliament. (Riina
Kionka)

SOLDIERS TRADE FLOUR FOR BREAD. The Tartu city council has assured
that local civilians will be fed by requiring former Soviet troops
stationed there to trade wheat, flour, and sometimes petroleum
products for any foodstuffs they receive instead of paying in
currency. According to Paevaleht of 25-January, enterprises in
Tartu are only allowed to distribute bread and baked goods to
the troops in return for an equivalent amount of flour or wheat.
One liter of milk costs the troops one kilogram of flour or wheat,
but the military must pay 10-kilograms or petroleum products
"at especially attractive prices for the city" for a kilogram
of meat. All exchanges must be approved by the city government,
which will assure that no more food than was sold to the troops
last year will be traded in 1992. (Riina Kionka)

LANGUAGE SKILLS PAY OFF. The Tartu city council decided on 23-January
that competence in the state language may substitute for a ration
card, according to Paevaleht of 23-January. The city council
already requires merchants to sell goods only to those with ration
cards but decided last week that competence in the state language-or
a photo identity card-would also prove that a would-be buyer
lives in the Republic of Estonia. Since January 1989 Estonia's
state language has been Estonian. (Riina Kionka)

WILL LATVIA INTRODUCE "WHITE MONEY?" Deputy Minister of Foreign
Affairs Maris Gailis told the press on 28-January that Latvia
is ready to introduce a kind of interim currency that would replace
the Soviet ruble and precede the introduction of the lats. This
idea has been discussed for over one year. Such money, popularly
referred to as "white money," would help insulate Latvia's economy
from financial instability in the former USSR. Gailis gave no
date or further explanation, according to a RFE/RL correspondent's
report from London of 28-January. Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs
Gorbunovs told German TV, however, that the ruble would not disappear
this year, according to BNS on 29-January. (Dzintra Bungs)

GAS PRICE SKYROCKETS IN LATVIA. Radio Riga reported on 29-January
that the cost to the consumer of a cannister of liquiefied gas
is expected to rise from 14-rubles to about 530. This increase
is necessitated by the declining supply of gas from Russia and
the need of the Latvian distributors to break even, given the
suppliers' demand for payments in hard currency. Most sorely
affected by this increase are people who live in older buildings,
where such gas is used for heating and cooking. (Dzintra Bungs)


LATVIAN CUSTOMS TO CHECK ALSO MILITARY VEHICLES. On 22-January
the Latvian Supreme Council decided that Soviet military transport
vehicles should be checked by Latvian customs officials as they
leave Latvia. Heretofore these vehicles were exempt from a check
at the border on the basis of a Latvia government decree on 10-January
1991, which the Supreme Council revoked. Customs chief Imants
Geidans told Diena on 22-January that the Supreme Council decision
is not directed against the former USSR armed forces, but is
aimed to ensure that Latvian laws apply equally to all concerned.
(Dzintra Bungs)

LITHUANIA INCREASES POSTAL, TELEPHONE RATES. Substantial increases
in postage and telephone rates will take effect on 1-February
according to reports on Radio Lithuania on 29-January. Letter
mail (up to 20 grams) internally will cost 70-kopecks and postcards
50-kopecks, while letters abroad will cost 1.5-rubles surface
and 2.5-rubles by air. The monthly basic telephone service rate
will rise from 12.5 to 30-rubles and a one-minute conversation
between cities within the republic will be 75-kopecks. Rates
for invalids and for former deportees, political prisoners, and
victims of the ghetto will not be raised until the government
decides on special lower rates in other key areas, such as fuel,
municipal services, electricity, and telephone equipment. (Saulius
Girnius)

LITHUANIA-RUSSIA MEETING. On 29-January Lithuanian Prime Minister
Gediminas Vagnorius-held talks in Moscow with First Deputy Prime
Minister Gennadii Burbulis and Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar,
BALTFAX reported. Lithuania's temporary charge d'affaires in
Russia Egidijus Bickauskas told the press that the talks "are
difficult, but for the moment fruitful." The talks center on
the supply and prices of raw materials, including oil, from Russia
to Lithuania. A Lithuanian Economics Ministry report noted that
due to shortages of these raw materials industrial output in
Lithuania for the first quarter of 1992 may decline by 1.5-2-billion
rubles (about 20%), creating unemployment for 40-45,000 workers.
(Saulius Girnius)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

INTERIOR MINISTRY REPORT ON POLAND'S SECURITY. The Polish Interior
Ministry published a report on 29-January showing a dramatic
deterioration in the country's security. According to PAP, the
report says there is a major threat "to the basic political and
economic interests of the country" and blames it on "the administration's
moral laxity and lack of discipline, both at the central and
local government levels." In addition, the report says, Poland
continues to be a target of penetration for foreign intelligence,
and is threatened with terrorism, both domestic and international.
The authors of the report expect the situation to deteriorate
further because of instability brought about by the recession
and unemployment, coupled with the fascination with violence
among some youth. (Roman Stefanowski)

OLSZEWSKI ON THE MILITARY. Speaking on 29-January at the meeting
of the Defense Ministry's Military Council, Prime Minister Jan
Olszewski said that "the fact that the Polish army was used for
the partial crushing of national aspirations has resulted, particularly
in the younger generation, in decreasing respect for a soldier's
uniform." Nevertheless, the premier said, "a huge majority of
the soldiers and officers have behaved in those difficult times
in a way that when we meet we can look each other in the eyes."
The country's "absolute priority," Olszewski said, is to maintain
the readiness of the armed forces at a level that will guarantee
the basic security of the country. At the moment the greatest
danger, Olszewski said, is presented by the destabilization resulting
from the collapse of the USSR. It is not extraordinary, Olszewski
concluded, that "our eastern border is subject of particular
concern." PAP carried the report. (Roman Stefanowski)

CZECHOSLOVAK PARLIAMENT PASSES ELECTORAL LAW. The Czechoslovak
parliament on 29-January passed a new electoral law ahead of
general elections in June. CSTK says the new legislation is based
on a draft submitted by deputies. President Vaclav Havel's proposed
law which calls for the election of deputies by a combination
of proportional representation and direct simple majority voting,
was rejected. The new law maintains the requirement that a single
party win 5% of the vote to gain seats in the parliament. A coalition
group of two or three parties must win 7%, and those of four
or more parties must win 10% of the vote to win parliamentary
seats. The new law limits the election campaign to 23-days and
says any party or movement with a membership of at least 10,000
or currently represented in the parliament has the right to enter
candidates in the elections. (Barbara Kroulik)

CARNOGURSKY ON SLOVAK SOVEREIGNTY. Slovak Premier Jan Carnogursky
said at a political rally in Kosice on 29-January, that Slovakia
wants to take step-by-step actions "to achieve the same sovereignty
enjoyed by other European nations." He said he wants those steps
taken with unity and economic stability in mind. The CSTK report
did not say whether he meant Czechoslovak or merely Slovak unity;
Carnogursky in the past had been a supporter of a federal Czechoslovakia.
(Barbara Kroulik)

HUNGARIAN-MACEDONIAN TALKS. Hungarian Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky
and his counterpart from the Republic of Macedonia, Denko Maleski,
held talks in Budapest on 29-January, MTI reported. Jeszenszky
expressed his conviction that the Macedonian government is committed
to parliamentary democracy and is ready to comply with the EC's
criteria for recognizing its independence. He said that Macedonia's
recognition would come about because its claim to it was "legitimate."
Maleski was optimistic that Macedonia and Greece could settle
their differences, and categorically rejected the idea of changing
the borders. (Edith Oltay)

ROMANIAN DEADBEATS TO BE LEFT IN THE DARK AND COLD. The National
Electricity Board told some forty state industrial firms that
unless they pay their huge back power bills their electricity
will be cut off. Unpaid bills range between 300,000 and 15-million
lei, local media said on 28-January. Half the firms promptly
obliged, and as power began to fade on the premises of other
enterprises, more payments were rushed in, including one for
10-million lei from the Semanatoarea machine tool company in
Bucharest. (Mihai Sturdza)

ROMANIAN THEATER DIRECTOR FIRED. The director of the National
Theater of Iasi, writer Mihai Ursachi, has been fired. He was
accused of having allowed the building to be used by the Union
Council, whose meeting on 24-January called for Romanian-Moldovan
union, and by the Democratic Convention, the umbrella organization
gathering together all main opposition parties. The authorities
claim that official buildings cannot be used by political parties
during the electoral campaign. Ursachi, who opposed the late
dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, lived in exile from 1981 to 1990,
and taught at US universities. (Mihai Sturdza)

BULGARIA TO INCREASE POSTAL CHARGES. Quoting the chairman of
the Committee on Communications Stefan Sofiyanski, on 29-January
BTA reported a number of sharp increases in postal and telephone
rates. At the beginning of March the cost of telephone calls
will go up 50%. Beginning 10-February the cost of letters will
increase 3.3-times and of parcels 2.3 times. The increase for
mail-abroad will be even sharper. A letter will cost 7.00-leva,
up from 0.80-leva now, and a postcard 5.00-leva. The aim is to
ensure a small profit instead of the present losses, and it was
pointed out that rates in Bulgaria are still below World Postal
Union recommendations. Sofiyanski regretted that the increases
could not immediately be accompanied by improved quality-the
telephone system in use is still the old Siemens model of 1929.
(Rada Nikolaev)

BULGARIAN FOREIGN DEBT NEGOTIATIONS. Little information has become
available on the talks in Vienna on 28-January with the London
Club on Bulgaria's debt to foreign banks, which totals some $9-billion.
Bulgarian media reported on 29-January that the creditors are
pleased by the authorization just given by the National Assembly
for the government to negotiate foreign debt issues. They said
the talks will resume before the end of March in order to find
an acceptable solution to the problems. Minister of Finance Ivan
Kostov, who headed the Bulgarian delegation, complained that
recent calls for his resignation are badly timed and unhelpful.
(Rada Nikolaev)

CROATIAN-SLOVENIAN RELATIONS STRAINED. Relations between the
former Yugoslav republics of Croatia and Slovenia are not good,
suggest reports appearing in the Slovenian and Serbian press
on 29-January. The Maribor daily Vecer commented that delay in
signing an agreement on diplomatic relations is only "a consequence
of deeper differences and complications." It added that a system
of payments between the two states does not function, and the
volume of trade remains below agreed targets. The Ljubljana daily
Vecerno delo said that some aspects of the "cooling of relations-.-.-.
could be a dangerous adventure that might get out of control."
The Belgrade daily Politika quotes Slovenian foreign minister
Dimitrij Rupel as saying "constructive cooperation with Croatia
is impossible." Slovenia has been insisting upon the return some
20,000 Croatian refugees as soon as possible and demands hard-currency
payments from Croatia for electricity produced at the Krsko nuclear
power plant located in Slovenia. Both republics helped finance
construction of the facility. The Slovenia-Croatia border in
the Istrian Peninsula is also a bone of contention, says Politika.
(Milan Andrejevich) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson
& Charles Trumbull






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