|A host is like general: calamities often reveal his genius. - Horace|
No. 21, 31 January 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR QUESTIONS ON ARMS PROPOSALS. Reports out of the CIS suggest considerable confusion over Russian President Boris Yeltsin's 29-January arms control proposals. Novosti reported on 30-January that military leaders in Moscow appeared to have been surprised by the announcement, and that Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk said that he was not consulted on the decision to retarget nuclear missiles. On 31-January, Izvestiya carried a commentary by Aleksandr Savelev, identified as a participant in the Soviet-American START talks, that characterized Yeltsin's proposals as hasty and lacking forethought. (Stephen Foye) YELTSIN'S SPACE SECURITY PROPOSAL BASED ON US TECHNOLOGY. Yeltsin's proposal on the creation of a "global defense system" was first conceptualized by Academician Nikita Moiseev in Polis, No. 5, 1991. The leading Soviet authority on strategic matters, Moiseev had suggested a "planetary security system" based on the technology known as "brilliant pebbles," which is part of the US Strategic Defense Initiative. According to Moiseev, such a system deployed in space, could perform international intelligence gathering and policing functions in order to prevent a nuclear threat from a third party. Moiseev suggested that the system, which could also include the Soviet equivalent of SDI, could be established under the auspices of the UN. (Victor Yasmann) YELTSIN IN LONDON. Russian President Boris Yeltsin made a seven-hour trip to Great Britain on 30-January where he met with Prime Minister John Major for four hours of talks. Yeltsin expressed gratitude for British efforts to help Russian reforms. He also raised the spectre of a hardline takeover in Moscow should such reforms fail, saying: "The only thing that can impede our progress will be general unrest and general unrest will happen if our reforms fail. Should the reforms fail we shall face a new leadership and Russia will fall into the habits which tortured us for 74 years," Western agencies reported. (Stuart Parrott and Suzanne Crow) CSCE MEMBERSHIP. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajik-istan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan were admitted as members of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe at the 30-January meeting in Prague, increasing the total membership of that body to 48 states. Georgia did not apply for mem-bership; Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia had already been admitted as members. (Suzanne Crow) SECURITY COUNCIL RECOMMENDS UN ADMISSIONS. ITAR-TASS reported on 30-January that the UN Security Council has recommended the acceptance by the General Assembly of the applications of Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan for admission. The Council also referred for examination Moldova's application for admission. Kazakhstan's application has already been approved by the Security Council. According to the report, all six former Soviet republics are expected to be accepted as members of the General Assembly when that body resumes work at the end of February. (Bess Brown) "RUKH" ON RUSSIAN MEMBERSHIP IN UN SECURITY COUNCIL. "Rukh" has appealed to members of the UN Security Council regarding Russia's membership in that body, Radio Kiev and TASS reported on 27-January. The Ukrainian reform-movement has asked that the decision affirming Russia's permanent membership in the Security Council be postponed for six months. (Roman Solchanyk) RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICY AND UKRAINE. The Russian Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement on 30-January saying that relations with Ukraine have top priority in Russia's foreign policy, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. The document characterizes the decision of the Russian Supreme Soviet to review the legality of Crimea's transfer from the RSFSR to Ukraine in 1954 as "non-confrontational and constructive." The fact that the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet was also asked to review Crimea's status is said to reflect Russia's desire for a dialogue on all questions regarding bilateral Ukrainian-Russian relations. The absence of such a dialogue, the statement adds, has exacerbated the Black Sea Fleet and Crimean issues. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINE ON INTEGRITY OF STATE BORDERS. Ukraine has told the CSCE foreign ministers conference in Prague that the Helsinki process should protect the integrity of existing state borders, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 31-January. The comments were made by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Anatolii Zlenko in his first speech after Ukraine was admitted to the Helsinki process. Zlenko did not refer specifically to Russian claims to the Crimea, which were raised in the Russian Supreme Soviet on 23-January. (Roman Solchanyk) YELTSIN LEAVES BURBULIS IN CHARGE OF KREMLIN POLITICS. Russian President Boris Yeltsin has suddenly decided to leave First Deputy Premier Gennadii Burbulis in charge of Kremlin politics while he travels to the United States, fearing possible opposition from Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi and the head of the parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, according to Ostankino Television (First Program) on 30-January. Burbulis, who has emerged as the architect of the new Russian foreign policy, was scheduled to travel with Yeltsin but recent attacks by Rutskoi and Khasbulatov on the Russian government apparently made Yeltsin suspicious. (Alexander Rahr) OFFICERS' ASSEMBLY. The Coordinating Council (composed of some 120 officers) chosen at the 17-January All-Army Officers' Assembly met for the first time in Moscow on 30-January, ITAR-TASS and "Vesti" reported. Discussion topics during the two-day meeting will include the current situation in the armed forces and documents to be debated at the 14-February Minsk conference, Russian President Boris Yeltsin's recent arms control proposals, and organizational aspects of the Council's work. Colonel General Pavel Grachev, First Deputy Commander of the CIS Armed Forces and Chairman of the Russian Federation Defense Committee, said at the start of the meeting that the functions of officers assemblies might be expanded to include advising political leaders on defense issues. (Stephen Foye) RUSSIAN RECOGNITION OF CROATIA AND SLOVENIA SOON. Tanjug reported on 29-January that while Russia intends to recognize the independence of Croatia and Slovenia soon, it will delay establishing formal diplomatic ties until a political agreement is reached on the future of the Yugoslav state. Tanjug, citing "reliable sources in Moscow," said that before Moscow announces its recognition of Slovenia and Croatia, it will send high-ranking officials to Serbia and possibly Montegro for consultations. (Suzanne Crow) WHICH ENVOY IN WASHINGTON? The Washington Post reported on 31 January that Vladimir Lukin, chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Russian parliament, may be named Russia's ambassador to the United States. It had been expected that Andrei Kolosovsky, who has been operating as Russia's de facto envoy to the US, would be appointed ambassador. (Suzanne Crow) ITALIAN AID. The Italian government said on 30-January it would make available $2.3 billion in credit for non-Russian former Soviet republics. This amount comes in addition to the $1.84 billion pledged to Russia, Reuters reported on 30-January. (Suzanne Crow) HIGHER-DENOMINATION COINS TO BE ISSUED. USSR Gosbank Vice Chairman Arnold Voilukov told Trud of 30-January that Russia plans to intro-duce 20-ruble coins starting in April. Voilukov also mentioned that 1,000-ruble notes would be printed in April, but did not specify when these would be circulated. He could not rule out the possibility of coins for 50 or 100 rubles, or banknotes for 5,000 or 10,000 rubles at a later date. (Keith Bush) THE COST OF CONVERSION. The Russian minister in charge of defense conversion, Ivan Materov, told Reuters on 30-January that the conver-sion of Russia's defense industry will cost at least $48 billion and will render about one million unemployed. He did not specify any timescale for the process. Materov based his estimate on the findings of an American consultancy firm. He was interviewed while visiting British firms which are adapting military technology for civilian use. (Keith Bush) RUSSIAN POPULATION GROWTH SLOWS. In 30 out of 70 territories in Russia during 1991, the death rate exceeded the birth rate, "Vesti" reported on 30-January. The declining birth rate was attributed to the "second echo" of World War II, the increases in prices, the cost of childbearing, and the charges for kindergarten care. On 24-January, TASS had reported that the Russian population grew by only 0.2% in 1991. (Keith Bush) UKRAINE PRIVATIZES LAND OWNERSHIP. The Ukrainian Supreme Soviet on 30-January adopted a law permitting private ownership of land, Radio Kiev and Radio Mayak, reported the same day. The law provides for three forms of land ownership: private, state, and cooperative. The parliament also-ex-amined a draft law on the National Security Service of Ukraine (former Ukrainian KGB). (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN CONTROL OVER HARD CURRENCY. The Ukrainian Supreme Soviet on 30-January obligated the Cabinet of Ministers and a number of parliamentary commissions to study the problem of Ukraine's hard currency held by the former Vneshekonombank, Radio Kiev reported the same day. The Russian government has assumed jurisdiction over the bank and, in effect, frozen its accounts. The report characterizes this move as a serious issue in current Ukrainian-Russian relations. (Roman Solchanyk) BELARUS KGB CHIEF SAYS WESTERN SPIES UNDERMINE REPUBLIC. In an interview on 29-January with the trade union newspaper Belaruski chas that was summarized by Reuter, Belarus KGB chief Eduard Shirkovsky charged that hundreds of top-class agents from the West, neighboring East European countries, and even former Soviet republics were infiltrating Belarus as arms specialists and under other guises. He said that brazen recruitment was taking place among Belarus citizens anxious for dollars. Shirkovsky claimed that not only the CIA was "digging under Belarus," but that he had facts to show that fellow commonwealth members are conducting intelligence work in the republic. (Kathy Mihalisko) TENSIONS PERSIST IN WESTERN GEORGIA. On 30-January, Radio Mayak quoted a correspondent of the Georgian news agency Iprinda as stating that the situation in western Georgia remains tense and that additional militia have been sent to the region. Meetings in support of ousted president Zviad Gamsakhurdia, who according to "Vesti" of 30-January is in Ochamchire north of Gali, took place in Poti and Sukhumi. On 30-January, the Abkhaz Supreme Soviet debated the possibility of secession from Georgia and the proclamation of an Abkhaz Republic, according to unconfirmed Western agency reports. (Liz Fuller) TAJIKISTAN CREATES CUSTOMS SERVICE. TadzhikTA-TASS reported on 30-January that Tajikistan has established its own customs service in order to prevent the export of goods not licensed for export and stop trade in narcotics. The latter, according to the report, are being brought into Tajikistan primarily from Afghanistan. (Bess Brown) KAZAKHSTAN'S JOURNALISTS SEEK TO PREVENT INFORMATION FAMINE. Kazakhstan's Union of Journalists has issued an appeal to the government to exempt newspapers and journals from the value-added tax and to increase budget expenditure on periodical publication without increasing prices, according to a KazTAG-TASS report of 30-January. The journalists, according to the report, admit they are acting in their own interest: steep increases in the price of paper and communications services have caused the near-collapse of periodical publication and are endangering the jobs of thousands of journalists. Higher electricity rates mean that radio and TV broadcasting may have to be reduced. (Bess Brown) MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ON FOREIGN INVESTMENT. Departing for Switzerland where he is to address the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Moldovan President Mircea Snegur told a news conference that Moldova is on the verge of legislating substantial advantages for foreign investors. Moldova particularly seeks to attract investments in the food processing industry, whose products can become highly profitable on international markets, Snegur said. He also told the news conference that Moldova had been recognized as an independent state by 90 countries. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDOVAN DEFENSE OFFICIAL SAYS NO MORE NUKES IN MOLDOVA. In an interview aired by RFE on 28-January, Colonel Nicolae Chirtoaca, Director-General of Moldova's State Department for Military Affairs, said that the ex-USSR military during the last 2 to 3 years removed all nuclear-capable missiles and warheads from Moldova. (Vladimir Socor) SALVATION ARMY BACK IN RUSSIA. Moscow news, No. 4, reported that the first 20 Russian soldiers have joined the branch of the Salvation Army (SA) in St. Petersburg which opened last year (see Daily Report No. 100, 28 May, 1991). Another branch of the Salvation Army is also operating in Moscow. These Salvation Army branches have already opened a Sunday school for children and have established a programme for supplying food to the needy. Most of their financial aid comes from Norway, and the two Russian branches are subordinate to the Army's headquarters in Norway.(Oxana Antic) BALTIC STATES NEW ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVED. The Supreme Council approved incoming Prime Minister Tiit Vahi's proposed cabinet on 30-January by a vote of 52-0, with 24-abstentions, according to reports from Estonia. The cabinet is a more or less politically neutral group of specialists rather than professional politicians. Besides Vahi, six ministers from the Savisaar government, including Foreign Minister Lennart Meri, will return. Virtually all of those abstaining from the vote were Popular Front members and longtime supporters of the former government. (Riina Kionka) RUSSIAN DELEGATION TO LITHUANIA. On 31-January a large Russian delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai arrived in Vilnius, Radio Lithuania reported. They will hold talks on political and military matters, including the withdrawal of the Soviet army, with Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Ceslovas Stankevicius, National Defense Minister Audrius Butkevicius, and others. The delegation will travel to Riga on 1-February and thence to Tallinn. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIAN FACTION SPLITS. On 30-January membership in the largest faction in the Lithuanian Supreme Council, the Joint Sajudis Faction, dropped from 25 to 15 when a Sajudis Santaros (Conciliation) faction was formed, Radio Lithuania reported on 31-January. The new faction will have 11-members, including State Controller Kazimieras Uoka. The declaration of the faction's aims, read by deputy Egidijus Jarasiunas, stressed that it would be guided by the Sajudis program and work for a "moral and just Lithuania." (Saulius Girnius) KEEPING AN EYE ON EX-SOVIET BASES IN LATVIA. On 28-January the Latvian Supreme Council authorized local governments to monitor bases, installations, and buildings of the former USSR armed forces in their locality. This decision was prompted by the need for detailed information concerning the status of the property occupied by the military in preparation for negotiations on troop withdrawal and in order to try to overcome environmental damage caused by the military, Diena reported that day. At the end of 1991 the former Soviet armed forces occupied 234 sites totalling about 100,000 hectares and apartments measuring 2 million square meters (3.9% of all housing in Latvia), according to Diena of 27-January. In a related development, Col.-Golin of the Northwestern Group of Forces told BNS on 22-January that, contrary to earlier media reports, the forces' headquarters had not been transferred to Adazi, a village near Riga. (Dzintra Bungs) RUSSIAN DISREGARD FOR LATVIAN SOVEREIGNTY. Radio Riga reported on 29-January that the Latvian Foreign Ministry has sent its Russian counterpart a protest note about a Russian ship leaving a Latvian harbor without going through customs inspection; the ship was carrying metallurgical products from a formerly all-Union enterprise on Latvian soil. This has been one of several recent incidents of Russian disregard for Latvia's sovereignty. Diena reported on 23-January about Foreign Ministry protests over an order from the Russian Defense Ministry to retain control over a ship repair shop in Liepaja. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIA, TAIWAN AGREE ON CONSULAR RELATIONS. On 29-January Latvian and Taiwanese officials agreed in Riga to establish consular relations, Radio Riga reported that day. Even before this decision was announced, the possibility of such a decision elicited an oral protest from the PRC diplomatic representative. Latvia and the People's Republic of China established diplomatic relations last year. (Dzintra Bungs) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE UN PEACE PLAN FOR YUGOSLAV AREA BREAKING DOWN? Western media on 30 and 31-January quoted UN Under Secretary-General Marrack Goulding as saying that it will be a matter of "months rather than weeks" before he can recommend sending a UN peace-keeping force to the former Yugoslavia. There appear to be two major obstacles to implementing the UN plan. First is the reluctance of Serbian leaders in Croatia to allow the troops into their areas and their refusal to disarm unless the Croatian forces do likewise. Second is the Croatian government's new insistence that its constitutional authority over the Serbian enclaves in the republic be clearly spelled out in the peace agreement. The original pact more or less left the Serbs as masters in those areas. The 31-January New York Times quotes a diplomat as saying that "it's just a question of when the cease-fire starts breaking down." Meanwhile in Belgrade, Serbian leaders have called a meeting for 31-January to discuss the UN plan and apparently to try to pressure Croatia's Serbian leaders into accepting it. (Patrick Moore) MACEDONIA TO CREATE NATIONAL ARMY. The government of the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia adopted a draft law that paves the way for the creation of a national army, according to Radio Serbia on 30-January. The republic's assembly must now approve the bill. Politika on 27-January quoted newly appointed Macedonian Defence Minister Trajan Gocevski as saying that "the Macedonian national army will number between 25,000 and 30,000 troops." Funding for the military will account for about 10% of the republic's budget and will be composed of a standing and a reserve army. Macedonia has refused to send its conscripts to the Serb-dominated Yugoslav People's Army, which over the past two months has reduced its forces by as much as 90%. (Milan Andrejevich) POLAND: WHO IS THE MOST INFLUENTIAL OF THEM ALL? A CBOS public opinion poll, published by PAP on 30-January, yields an influence rating of Poland's leading personalities of the moment. Some 31% of the respondents think President Lech Walesa's influence is "too great," 27% think it "just right," and 33% "too little." Some 49% believe the influence of Cardinal Jozef Glemp is too great, 35% find it just right, and 5% too little. Among respondents 32% say they think the prime minister's influence on the country is too small, 26% say it is just right, and only 3% think it too great; the remaining 39% expressing no opinion. Only 4% of the respondents think the influence of Marian Krzaklewski, the Solidarity Trade Union leader, is too big, 36% say it was too small, and 28% just right. Very low influence ratings are also given to the Sejm and Senate speakers, Wieslaw Chrzanowski and August Chelkowski-with 8% in both cases thinking it too great, and 41% and 53% respectively expressing no opinion. (Roman Stefanowski) SEJM QUESTIONS AIRCRAFT SALE TO UKRAINE. On 30-January Transport and Maritime Economy Minister Ewaryst Waligorski was asked at question time in the Sejm why the sale to Ukraine of the Il-62, which had been withdrawn from service, was not stopped pending an inquiry by the Supreme Chamber of Control. Waligorski said that not honoring the contract could have resulted in a considerable financial loss-Ukraine could refuse to pay for the four planes already received. According to PAP Waligorski said that Ukraine's offer of $15 million for the seven Soviet-made planes contrasted favorably with the $3 million offer from the private company formed by the staff of the Polish Air Line LOT. (Roman Stefanowski) HAVEL AT CSCE. Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel opened the CSCE Foreign Ministers' meeting on 30-January. He said that the era of a bipolar division of the world was over. He called for strengthening the CSCE by giving it an executive body similar to the UN Security Council that could dispatch peacekeeping forces to areas of conflict and suggested member states be prepared to transfer some authority to the CSCE. He also envisaged that "NATO might one day become one of the instruments of collective defense for CSCE members." Havel also welcomed Slovenia and Croatia who are present as observers. Ten former Soviet republics were admitted to the CSCE on 30-January, Western agencies report. (Barbara Kroulik) CZECHOSLOVAK PARLIAMENT IN SCANDAL OVER POLICE FILES. Petr Toman, head of a commission reviewing records of the former communist secret police (STB), on 30-January denied allegations that three deputies had violated the law by revealing information from the files. He said the files revealed nothing that had not been previously made public. The denial followed the airing on state television of a tape made by a US television company showing parliamentary deputy Stanislav Devaty and two colleagues apparently revealing details from the secret police file of another deputy, Jan Kavan. Toman denounced the broadcast as an action well timed to discredit the commission, CSTK reports. Kavan has strongly disputed allegations made public last year by the commission that he collaborated with the STB. (Barbara Kroulik) HUNGARY AND IMF. Returning from a trip to the US where he held talks with IMF, World Bank, and US Treasury officials, Hungarian National Bank President Peter Akos Bod was optimistic about Hungary's prospects for receiving further financial assistance, MTI reported on 30-January. Bod said that IMF and World Bank officials told him that Hungary is "on the right path" and expected no problems regarding the two loans due to be granted to Hungary this year to help privatization and trade promotion. He also received promises of technical assistance from the US Treasury Department and the US Export-Import Bank to help Hungary construct a solid financial sector. (Edith Oltay) HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN BASIC TREATY. Hungarian Foreign Ministry spokesman Janos Herman told MTI on 30-January that the first round of Hungarian-Romanian negotiations on a basic treaty were characterized by "an open, relaxed, and constructive atmosphere." Herman reported that both sides showed a willingness to compromise and reached agreement over many provisions of the draft treaty, including the preamble and clauses on bilateral military, economic, cultural, and scientific cooperation. The major issues still to be resolved concern minority rights and the inviolability of borders. The next round of talks is to be held in one month in Bucharest. (Edith Oltay) ROMANIAN-RUSSIAN EXCHANGES. Romania and Russia have drafted a protocol based upon the trade agreement initialled on 30 December 1991. Goods valued at more than $520 million will be exchanged. Payments are to be made in convertible currency at world prices through authorized banks. The Russian Federation will send Romania 2.4-million tons of coal, 120,000-m3 of lumber, 40,000-tons of asbestos, 30,000-tons of pulp, 8,000 tons of synthetic rubber, and some 2.5-billion-m3 of natural gas. Deliveries of natural gas, crude, and synthetic rubber may increase through further agreements. Romania will deliver, inter alia, machine-tools, consumer goods, and medicines, local media said on 30-January. (Mihai Sturdza) ROMANIAN COOPERATION WITH THE WEST. On 29-January Petru Popa and Stefan Alexandru Olaru, respectively president and director of the National Commission for the Control of Nuclear Activities, returned from the US. After talks at the State Department and at the Agency for International Development, they spoke of the possible conclusion of bilateral agreements in the field of nuclear technology. The same day British Rear Admiral Mike Harris concluded a three-day visit to Romania. He discussed possibilities of long-term military cooperation with Defense Minister Lt.-Gen. Nicolae Spiroiu, and met representatives of the Foreign Ministry and of political parties, local media said. (Mihai Sturdza) BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT FREEZES PRICES. Prime Minister Filip Dimitrov on 30-January announced on TV that the government is freezing the prices of the most important consumer goods under government control. On 30-January Demokratsiya reported that after the Supreme Court deregulated prices of these goods (13-January), the prices shot up. BTA also reports that on 30-January the government refused to approve the sharp price increases of mail and telephone services announced the previous day and asked for further review. Prices of gasoline and other liquid fuels, which are fixed twice a month and had been relatively stable over a long period, also were raised on 28-January. (Rada Nikolaev) TWO ACCIDENTS AT KOZLODUY REPORTED. Accidents at the Kozloduy nuclear power plant were reported by BTA on two consecutive days. On 29-January fire broke out in a switchboard servicing the 440-megawatt reactors nos.-3 and 4, but was put out and did not affect output. On 30-January one of the pumps of the 1,000-megawatt reactor no.-5 broke down and temporarily reduced that unit's power by half. In both cases the Committee on Use of Nuclear Power announced that there had been no risk of radioactive contamination and no need to ration power consumption for the population. (Rada Nikolaev) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.