We were born to unite with our fellowmen, and to join in community with the human race. - Cicero
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 24, 05 February 1992


Boris Yeltsin chaired a meeting of the Russian Federation government
on 4-February that discussed inter alia preparations for the
CIS summit in Minsk on 14-February, Interfax reported on 4-February.
Yeltsin has said that the commonwealth leaders will discuss in
detail his recently announced disarmament proposals. There have
been objections from both Kazakhstan and Belarus that he did
not discuss them beforehand with the other CIS leaders. Other
topics expected to be on the agenda in Minsk are the financing
of the CIS military budget, a draft accord on reducing conventional
arms, the possibility of Georgia joining the joint commonwealth
military, and the division of the Black Sea Fleet. (Ann Sheehy)

MILITARY BUDGET PROBLEMS. Russia is the only CIS republic to
allocate funding for the first quarter 1992 CIS military budget,
the head of the central military financial administration said
in Krasnaya zvezda on 4-February. According to Lieutenant General
Vasilii Vorobev, a proposal to divide up CIS military spending
will be among those discussed at the 14-February meeting in Minsk.
The TASS summary of Vorobev's remarks did not specify which forces
are to be funded through the joint CIS budget, nor did it mention
the fact that Ukraine, at least, is now providing much of the
financing for forces on its territory. (Stephen Foye)

NUCLEAR ARSENAL UNSAFE? A Russian nuclear scientist warned in
Komsomolskaya pravda on 4-February that the nuclear arsenal of
the former Soviet Union is unsafe and that Russia lacked specialists
with sufficient experience to dismantle nuclear weapons. Boris
Gorbachev, identified as head of a construction department working
with nuclear warheads, said hundreds of Chernobyl type accidents
could result from attempts to disarm tactical nuclear weapons.
He said that the Soviet nuclear arsenal was at present in a "catastrophic"
condition. Gorbachev's remarks were summarized by ITAR-TASS and
Western agencies.(Stephen Foye)

STOLYAROV ON ARMED FORCES. Speaking to reporters in Washington
on 3-February, Major General Nikolai Stolyarov warned that tensions
in the CIS armed forces are growing, particularly in Ukraine,
an RFE/RL correspondent reported. Stolyarov is an aide to the
CIS commander in chief for personnel matters and chaired much
of the 17-January All-Army Officers' Assembly. He said that pressures
to swear more than one military oath have divided loyalties in
the army, and help is needed both for those soldiers being asked
to transfer within the CIS, and those being discharged into the
civilian economy. The Cox Newspapers reported on 4-February that
Stolyarov is also negotiating a potential barter deal with an
Arizona company to provide prefabricated housing for CIS military
personnel. (Stephen Foye)

KRAVCHUK IN BONN. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk concluded
a two-day official visit to Germany on 4-February with a meeting
with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Ukrinform-TASS and Western
agencies reported. Kohl told the Ukrainian leader of his concern
about nuclear profileration in the former Soviet republics and
expressed satisfaction with Ukraine's commitment to abide by
all disarmament treaties previously concluded by the Soviet Union
and its desire to be nuclear-free. Kravchuk stressed Ukraine's
desire for close cooperation with the European Community and
explained his proposal to resettle Germans from former Soviet
republics in Ukraine. It was agreed that Germany's top official
on ethnic Germans would go to Kiev for further talks on this
question. (Roman Solchanyk)

RALLIES ON RED SQUARE BANNED. The Moscow city government announced
a ban on Red Square demonstrations except those sponsored by
the government and said it would charge a fee for rallies that
stopped traffic, ITAR-TASS reported on 4-February. There was
some conflict among various Russian media over how far-reaching
the ban is. Interfax, for instance, said on 4-February that the
Moscow government also banned all marches and rallies throughout
Moscow for the coming weekend. (Vera Tolz)

YELTSIN PROMISES TO HELP MEDIA. Russian President Boris Yeltsin
met newspaper editors on 4-February and promised them he would
make sure they would be able to stay in business. On 5-February,
Rabochaya tribuna quoted Yeltsin as saying he would sign a special
document to save the mass media, especially large-circulation
newspapers, from being "bankrupted and stifled." Yeltsin made
the promise in response to a warning issued by the editors to
the effect that recent price increases were threatening continued
operation of the media. (Vera Tolz)

Sovetskaya Rossiya, has again raised the ancient superstition
that Jews murder non-Jews in order to obtain blood for religion
rituals. The allegation was made in connection with attempts
by members of the Habad religious movement to obtain the Shneersohn
collection from the Lenin Library. On 1-February, the newspaper
quoted one of the librarians as saying that the Jews are anxious
to obtain the books because they are afraid of being compromised
by their contents, since "many documents contain descriptions
of so-called ritual murders." (Julia Wishnevsky)

Mintimer Shaimiev rejected radical independence moves on 3-February,
saying Tatarstan will pursue its statehood "exclusively in a
civilized and constitutional way." Interfax reported his remarks
following a declaration of Tatarstan independence issued by a
non-governmental "Tatar National Assembly" on 1-February. Interfax
quoted Shaimiev as saying that all disputes with Russia or other
Commonwealth republics would be handled through negotiations.
Meanwhile, delegates to the unofficial Tatar National Assembly
proclaimed the restoration of an independent Tatar state. The
assembly said it would seek UN membership and called on other
CIS states to recognize Tatarstan. (Vera Tolz)

the TV news program "Novosti" of-February 4, the first day of
the Russian Farmers' Congress in Moscow was a boisterous affair.
The delegates demanded the appearance of Russian President Yeltsin,
but had to be content with deputy prime ministers, Gaidar and
Burbulis. They complained, inter alia, about the high cost of
credit, the exorbitant prices of producer goods, and the 28%
value-added tax. Gaidar promised to support their demands for
the right to bear firearms to protect their crops, for police
intervention against speculators, and for exemption from the
draft for their sons. He also promised them a preferential credit
charge of 8%. (Keith Bush)

Nursultan Nazarbaev, told Nepszabadsag that it is essential for
the former Soviet republics to introduce economic reforms instead
of waiting for Western help. Speaking to a Hungarian correspondent
at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland, Nazarbaev was
quoted as saying that "time is pressing, but the West is in no
hurry to grant loans. We could find ourselves in a dangerous
situation unless we launch reforms." He said that "genuine aid
cannot be provided for 300 million people" and urged the countries
of the former Soviet Union to "rely on their own strength." Nazarbaev
said that his state is "proceeding at full speed towards a market
economy." (Edith Oltay)

Ukrainian Ministry of Statistics the country's GNP fell by 10%
last year, Ukrinform-TASS reported 3-February. Labor productivity
was off by nearly 10% from the 1990 level as well. The 1991 budget
deficit was 39.5 billion rubles. Production of some 118 (or more
than 80%) of the country's most important products fell, while
overall industrial production fell by 4.5%. In agriculture, gross
output was almost 12% less than in 1990, and the grain harvest
came in at 38.6 million tons, some 12.4-million tons less than
in 1990. These developments, among others, including ecological
problems, have contributed to a reduction in the natural population
growth in Ukraine. The number of deaths exceeded the number of
births by some 20,000. (John Tedstrom)

say that an agreement concluded last week between Iran, Azerbaijan,
and Ukraine on the construction of a huge, three-stream pipeline
at a cost of $7 billion is Kiev's "largest economic contract
ever." Radio Kiev said on 4-February that 50 million tons of
Iranian oil will be transported annually through Azerbaijan to
Ukraine. Izvestiya wrote that same day that deliveries of gas
and oil from Iran will start as early as this year-and none too
soon, since in the past two months alone, deliveries of fuel
oil from Russia fell short by 600,000 tons. In return, Ukraine
will provide building materials, metals and machinery to Iran.
(Kathy Mihalisko)

another aspect of the deal that has caused some controversy,
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Veliyati, speaking to Western
agencies on 4-February, denied reports that the pipeline deal
involved the delivery of arms to the Islamic republic. However,
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Konstantin Masyk was quoted last
week as saying that his country's contract with Iran "possibly"
included arms. (Kathy Mihalisko)

Soviet discussed the Crimean issue on 4-February and decided
to send a group of Presidium members there today, the TV news
program "Novosti" and Radio Kiev reported on 4-February. The
parliamentarians will discuss the situation in the Crimea after
the delegation returns. In the meantime, a campaign to gather
signatures in support of a referendum on the Crimea's territorial
status is underway. If successful, Crimean residents will be
asked: "Are you for an independent Republic of Crimea in a union
with other states?" (Roman Solchanyk)

taxes" gives Belarus the right to charge for services carried
out over its territory, Belarusian TV news reported on 30-January.
A radio report said it cannot be excluded that Belarus will impose
a tax on pipelines carrying gas and oil from Russia to East Europe.
It said the pipelines could be a "serious, convincing factor"
in economic negotiations with neighboring states. The transit
tax law, published in the Belarusian press on 30-January, was
approved at the recently concluded session of the Belarusian
Supreme Soviet. (Kathy Mihalisko)

Soviet opposition leader Zyanon Paznyak told a press conference
on 4 -February in Minsk that Belarus will have a new parliament
and new government by this fall. ITAR-TASS said the press conference
was called in connection with the creation on 2-February of a
new movement, Novaya Belarus, which unites numerous political
parties and organizations in the republic. The Belarusian Popular
Front headed by Paznyak is at the forefront of a campaign to
call a referendum on holding new elections to a parliament that
is still dominated by representatives of the ancien regime. ITAR-TASS
on 4-February also quoted Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich as
saying that his government has no intention of resigning. (Kathy

the nuclear weapons tests conducted at the Semipalatinsk test
site have been made available in Kazakhstan, KazTAG-TASS reported
on 4-February, quoting the Alma-Ata newspaper Ekspress. The data
provided so far will enable scientists to prepare a radiation
map of the region and assess the radiation exposure to local
inhabitants and the environment. The report cited the cooperation
given by the specialists at the test site to a Kazakh government
commission and quoted the commission chairman as saying that
these specialists should remain in Kazakhstan. (Bess Brown)

periodicals has ceased in the news kiosks of Dushanbe because
ordinary people can no longer afford to buy them, Radio Rossii,
quoting ITAR-TASS, reported on 4-February. The report blamed
the unrealistic prices on the monopoly enjoyed by Soyuzpechat,
the distribution agency of the former USSR, and noted that another
firm, Ikar, is attempting to compete in Dushanbe, but offers
only Izvestiya. (Bess Brown)

TAJIK-TATAR TRADE AGREEMENT. TadzhikTA-TASS reported on 4-February
that Tajikistan and Tatarstan have concluded an agreement on
trade and economic cooperation. The agreement includes a promise
to maintain goods deliveries, particularly of consumer items.
The two sides also plan an exchange of trade representatives.
(Bess Brown)


Yeltsin has named former Estonian government Minister Artur Kuznetsov
as Russia's ambassador to Estonia, Interfax reported on 3-February.
Yeltsin's announcement came at 1:00 p.m. that day, but the Russian
Foreign Ministry did not consult its Estonian counterpart until
4:00 p.m. An unnamed Estonian Foreign Ministry official told
BNS that Estonia cannot accept the appointment because Kuznetsov
"is a citizen of the Republic of Estonia, and in light of his
political past." Accreditation will likely be withheld for these
reasons. Kuznetsov, an Estonian citizen by birth, drew considerable
criticism for his outspoken rejection of Estonian government
and state policies while serving as minister without portfolio
responsible for nationality affairs in the Savisaar government.
Meanwhile, the Russian government on 4-February accredited Estonia's
ambassador-designate to Moscow Juri Kahn. BNS reported that Kahn
and nine other diplomats presented their credentials to Russian
President Boris Yeltsin that day. (Riina Kionka)

KUZNETSOV NOT ALARMED. Kuznetsov is not alarmed over the flap
surrounding his appointment as Russia's ambassador to Tallinn.
He told BNS on 4-February that "those in the Estonian Foreign
Ministry with a need to know already knew about Russia's intention
to name me to that position." Kuznetsov also said he had applied
for Russian citizenship immediately after Russia passed its citizenship
law, but he did not clarify whether he had renounced his Estonian
citizenship. (Riina Kionka)

carried an interview with an unidentified middle-rank KGB reserve
officer from Latvia, who said that most of the remaining KGB
employees received their last salary in January, although KGB
chief Edmunds Johansons still has people working for him. In
recent years there were 200-300 specially trained KGB officers
in Latvia ready to take over in case of emergency; it is not
clear what all of them are doing now. Many men who held higher
positions in the KGB are now directors of various enterprises.
The KGB unit of the Northwestern Group of Forces is still striving
to defend the military's interests and gathering information
about Latvian leaders, the officer said. (Dzintra Bungs)

TOWARD A BALTIC CUSTOMS UNION? On 31-January Diena reported about
a meeting in Riga of Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian customs
officials. A nine-member working group was formed to coordinate
the work of the three customs systems with an eye to forming
a Baltic Customs Union, which could be easily integrated into
the European customs network. The participants envisaged establishing
11-customs points at the Latvian-Lithuanian border and 6 at the
Latvian-Estonian border and reckoned that such posts will be
needed for another 10-years. (Dzintra Bungs)

ENERGY SITUATION IN LITHUANIA. Algirdas Stumbras, a chief engineer
of the Lithuanian Energy System, told RFE/RL on 4-February that
a relatively mild winter had enabled Lithuania to escape an energy
crisis caused by reduced importation of fuel. Still, Lithuania
has been using up its fuel reserves at an undesirable rate, especially
after the temporary shutdown of the first reactor at the Ignalina
atomic power plant. Electricity has been obtained from Belarus
and Latvia-countries that normally import power from Lithuania.
Lack of raw materials to process has resulted in a one-third
decrease in energy use by Lithuanian industry over last year's
level, and the temperatures in homes have been decreased by 3
C. The situation should improve after 8-February when the reactor
will resume normal operation. (Saulius Girnius)

SHOPKEEPERS' STRIKE IN VILNIUS. On 4-February Radio Lithuania
reported that all the photo shops in Vilnius have gone on strike,
protesting privatization through auctions. The strike committee
chairman explained that employees of the shops, most of which
occupy commercially desirable sites, fear that persons wishing
to use the location for more profitable businesses will win the
auctions. The strikers demand a cessation of the auctions, a
holding of auctions only if the current employees of the shops
are unable to pay the initial auction price, and a prohibition
on changing the nature of the shops for five years. The strike
is supported by other small service shopkeepers, such as barbers
and shoe repairmen. (Saulius Girnius)

reported on 4-February that several hundred protesters blocked
a main road in Mostar, Herzegovina's main town, with trucks and
antitank barricades. Mostar's population is mainly Muslim and
Croat, and the issue was the behavior of Serbian reservists in
federal army units stationed in the area. The army later agreed
to prevent the men from searching civilian vehicles and entering
nearby settlements. Tensions have been on the rise between Bosnia-Herzegovina's
40% Muslim, 33% Serbian, and 18% Croatian populations. The Muslim
political organization favors keeping the republic together,
while the Serbs and, increas-ingly, the local Croats prefer partitioning
it. (Patrick Moore)

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quotes UN special envoy Cyrus
Vance as criticizing both Croatian and Serbian representatives
for trying to backtrack on the agreement he finalized with them
on 2-January. The paper also cites top Serbian officials in the
rump federal Presidency as stressing again that Milan Babic,
leader of the ethnic Serbs in Croatia's Krajina region, will
not be allowed to torpedo the peace plan. They pointed out that
Babic speaks only for Krajina, not for all Serbian areas of Croatia,
and that the UN troops will indeed be stationed within those
settlements, not just on their "borders" with Croatian-controlled
territory. They warned Babic to stop obstructing the plan and
suggested he could be "replaced, since Yugoslav laws are still
valid" in Krajina." (Patrick Moore)

KRAJINA SERB LEADERS ASSAIL BABIC. Babic's support among Krajina
Serbs may not be as secure as he would like to think. Three main
leaders of the Serbian Democratic Party (SDP) of Croatia from
Knin have condemned his recent actions. According to Belgrade
Radio on 4-February, the party's chairman Jovan Raskovic told
reporters in Belgrade that the SDP will resume its activities
in Croatia to "restore and safeguard" the rights of Serbian minority
in Croatia. Jovan Opacic stated that the SDP was "obliged to
oppose hatred and war" and would work toward an agreement on
establishing a permanent peace with Croatia's political leaders.
He accused Babic of creating an autocratic regime in the Krajina
by "keeping the people in a state of political narcosis" and
blamed him for misrepresenting Krajina's institutions and abusing
the rights of the Serbian people to promote his own interests.
Another SDP leader, Dusan Zelenbaba demanded that Babic resign.
Relations between the three SDP leaders and Babic have been cold
for some time, most recently because of Babic's opposition to
the deployment of UN peacekeeping forces in Croatia. (Milan Andrejevich)

WALESA IN STRASBOURG. During his one-day visit in Strasbourg
on 4-February, Polish President Lech Walesa talked with leading
politicians, met with the local Polish community, and addressed
Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, Polish and Western media report.
He called on the West to provide greater assistance to former
communist East European nations that are now pursuing the path
of democratic and free-market reforms. Walesa said that for democracy
to take firm root in the region, East Europe needs a measure
of economic prosperity. Disappointed with the level of Western
help, Walesa accused the West of deluging Poland with consumer
goods but refusing to undertake major investments. Walesa said
that "reality has mocked all those who thought the overthrow
of communism would move the Eastern world closer to its Western
counterpart." In fact, Walesa said, the richer part of Europe
has shut itself off from the poorer part." (Roman Stefanowski)

GENSCHER IN WARSAW. On 4-February, at the end of his two-day
official visit to Warsaw, German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich
Genscher said that Germany will support Poland's application
for full membership in the European Community, stressing however
that full integration will depend on the success of the country's
economic reforms. Genscher and his Polish counterpart Krzysztof
Skubiszewski raised a number of issues of bilateral concern:
trade and investments, opening border crossings to facilitate
traffic to Kaliningrad, youth and cultural exchanges, and the
recent attacks on Poles in Germany, Polish and Western media
report. While Genscher stressed Poland's function as a bridge
for contacts between the CIS and the West, Skubiszewski said
Central Europe should not be seen as a buffer zone against instability
in the ex-USSR, but as "a participant in creating new stability
and a new balance in Europe." (Roman Stefanowski)

HAVEL AT DAVOS. Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel on 4-February
urged Western investors not to be deterred by the apparent chaos
in Eastern Europe and the CIS. Addressing the World Economic
Forum, Havel said Western assistance was extremely important
and that the West should have confidence in the political changes
in the region, as the move to democracy is irreversible. He further
said that communism itself had helped the West to maintain unity
and develop market economy and parliamentary democracy. He said
the West is going through a shaky period in the face of post
communist surprises. The collapse of communism, he said, signals
the end of the age of "the cult of objectivity and statistical
averageness that began with the renaissance," Western agencies
report. (Barbara Kroulik)

Slovak Minister of Privatization, told Czechoslovak TV on 4-February
that the coupon privatization plan will strengthen the Czechoslovak
federation and may dampen nationalism as Czechs invest their
coupons in Slovakia and vice versa. He said the popularity of
the coupon plan, which is to take effect this spring, is "a de
facto defeat of the national and socialist forces in Slovak politics."
(Barbara Kroulik)

ILO PROGRAM IN HUNGARY. The International Labor Organization
will launch a program in Hungary aimed at stimulating employment,
MTI reported on 4-February. This was announced by ILO officials
in Budapest at the end a two-day international conference on
employment policy during the period of transition to a market
economy. The Japanese government will allocate $400,000 to support
the ILO's program in Hungary. (Edith Oltay)

CRIME ON THE RISE IN ROMANIA. Maj. Gen. Gheorghe Gambra, head
of the General Inspectorate of Romania's Police, told Tineretul
liber that steps are being taken to "demilitarize" the police.
Also, because of an increase in certain types of offenses, units
specializing in combatting drugs, arms trafficking, prostitution,
and economic crimes will be strengthened. (Crisula Stefanescu)

NORWAY SAYS ROMANIA SOLD HEAVY WATER. Norwegian public prosecutor
Anstein Gjengedal said that a Norwegian police investigator visited
Romania last month to determine the whereabouts of the 12.5-tons
of heavy water that Norway sold to Romania in 1986. It was determined
that the heavy water had been illegally diverted to India shortly
after it arrived in Bucharest, Reuters reports. International
regulations restrict shipments of heavy-water to India, which
has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, to one ton.
(Crisula Stefanescu)

Turkish in Bulgarian schools has again aroused passions, as it
did last September and October, when ethnic Turkish children
demanded instruction in Turkish. After the government authorized
elective Turkish classes, on 4-February Bulgarian nationalists
in the city of Kardzhali called for a protest boycott, Bulgarian
media and Western agencies report. The action is to last until
8-February. Bulgarian dailies on 5-February said that Kardzhali
schools had operated as usual on the first day of boycott and
only 17% of all pupils stayed away. About half of the inhabitants
of Kardzhali are ethnic Turks. (Rada Nikolaev)

BULGARIAN-GERMAN AGREEMENT. German federal Minister of Labor
and Social Affairs Norbert Blm visited Sofia on 4-February and
signed with his Bulgarian counterpart Vekil Vanov an agreement
on qualification of Bulgarian workers and specialists. BTA said
it will be valid for three years and provides for an annual quota
of 1,000 Bulgarians to improve their professional and German
language qualifications in Germany. Minister Blm was also received
by President Zhelev and Prime Minister Dimitrov. (Rada Nikolaev)
As of 1200 CET Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull

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

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