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No. 26, 07 February 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR FRANCE BECOMES FORUM FOR WARNING BY YELTSIN. Russian President Boris Yeltsin used his meetings in France on 6-February to make an urgent plea for aid. "The delay in the international community's aid to Russia is becoming dangerous," Yeltsin said. "If Russia fails in its reforms, notably the economic ones, a dictator will arise. Neither Russia nor the international community can allow a dictator to appear," Western agencies reported. (Suzanne Crow) ACADEMICIAN WARNS YELTSIN OF ANTI-DEMOCRATIC COUNTER REVOLUTION. Writing in Izvestiya on 5-February, Academician Stanislav Shatalin said hard line communists and extreme Russian nationalists were currently preparing an anti-democratic counter-revolution in Russia. He said some of these people pretended to be "democrats" and had found their way into Russian government institutions. Shatalin also complained that "the system of democratic structures" was not properly developed in the country. The academician criticized Yeltsin for failing "to become a guarantor of the constitution and human rights." Shatalin also said that in introducing economic reforms, the Russian government had strongly underestimated the risk of social upheavals, which could be used by reactionaries for their own purposes. (Vera Tolz) CIS NUCLEAR CONTROL. In separate conversations, leaders of the four CIS republics possessing nuclear arms have assured US officials that all strategic nuclear missiles outside of Russia will be disabled within three years and eliminated within seven years, The Washington Post reported on 6-February. The unofficial plan was disclosed by US Undersecretary of State Reginald Bartholomew during testimony on 5-February before the Senate Armed Services Committee. (Stephen Foye) SHAPOSHNIKOV IN PARIS. Accompanying Boris Yeltsin on his diplomatic mission to France, CIS Commander in Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov told ITAR-TASS on 6-February that talks on defense issues had been amicable and that military interaction between the two countries would be increased. Shaposhnikov repeated that the CIS might require foreign technical assistance in dismantling nuclear warheads and said that efforts were being made to improve living conditions for nuclear scientists who might be tempted to take their expertise overseas. (Stephen Foye) REVELATIONS ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS PRODUCTION. An engineer who was formerly involved in the assembly of nuclear weapons said in Komsomolskaya pravda on 6-February that the Soviet arsenal was put together in secret cities by technicians working virtually without protection against radiation. His account was summarized by Reuters on 6-February. According to Aleksandr Minaev, production facilities in "invisible cities" like Sverdlovsk-44 and Chelyabinsk-70 averaged about 30 warheads a month into the early 1960's. He said that workers who complained about radiation exposure were told that soldiers had to endure their fate in silence. (Stephen Foye) SPENDING ON CONVERSION. Mikhail Bazhanov, head of Russia's State Committee on Conversion, told reporters on 6-February that savings from disarmament should be allocated to convert defense industries to civilian production. His remarks were summarized by Western agencies later that day. Bazhanov said that the government was doing nothing to promote conversion, but that Russia was prepared to sell stockpiled arms as a means of aiding the process. He said that his committee had been tasked primarily not with selling arms, however, but with finding investors willing to finance conversion. He also said that American, Japanese, and German firms had looked at some Russian defense plants, but that there had been few offers of investment. (Stephen Foye) TURKISH-RUSSIAN FRIENDSHIP ACCORD. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev and Turkish Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin signed a friendship and cooperation agreement on 4-February in Istanbul. Following the signing, Kozyrev said that Russia could learn from Turkey's experience in moving from a state-dominated economy to a free-market system. (Suzanne Crow) RUSSIAN OIL EXPORTS CUT. According to the International Energy Agency, Russian oil exports dropped by nearly one half during the first three weeks of January, The Financial Times of 6-February reported. Exports slipped from one million barrels a day in December to 600,000 barrels a day in January. The drop was attributed to the Russian government's review of export licencses. The review was promised at the end of November, but many shippers are still waiting for the award of licenses for 1992. Tankers are being held up, especially at Black Sea ports. (Keith Bush) PRESS LAW COMES INTO FORCE IN RUSSIA. The law on mass media, adopted by the Russian parliament in December, came into force on 6-February, ITAR-TASS reported that day. The law has been criticized in the Russian press for being more restrictive than similar all-Union legislation adopted in 1990. On 23-December, Izvestiya published an open letter written by four Moscow lawyers who complained that parliamentary amendments limited freedom of the press. The letter called on Yeltsin not to sign the law as approved by the Russian parliament. According to ITAR-TASS, some of these objections were taken into account, and the law was revised before Yeltsin agreed to sign it, and Komsomolskaya Pravda of 25-January called the new text of the law, "liberal." (Vera Tolz) ROSSIISKAYA GAZETA FINED. The Russian Constitutional Court has fined the Russian Federation Supreme Soviet newspaper, Rossiiskaya gazeta, 500 rubles. According to Radio Mayak of 5-February, the action was taken because the newspaper failed to publish the Court's decision on the unconstitutional nature of Yeltsin's decree merging the MVD and the KGB. According to the court's ruling the decision was to be published by all periodicals that had earlier reported Yeltsin's decree. (Rossiiskaya gazeta usually does not allow any criticism of Yeltsin's policies.) (Vera Tolz) NO MONEY FOR INVESTIGATION OF CIRCUM-STANCES OF ATTEMPTED AUGUST COUP. Deputy Procurator General of the Russian Federation, in charge of the criminal investigation of the circumstances of the August putsch, Evgenii Lisov, warned that there was not enough money for his team to continue its work, "Vesti" reported on 6-February. Lisov said that if the investigation did not get financial support in the near future, the investigation of the circumstances of the putsch would have to be stopped. (Vera Tolz) KEMEROVO SOVIET IN OPPOSITION TO RUSSIAN LEADERSHIP. At a session of the Kemerovo Oblast Soviet on 5-February, its chairman, Aman Tuleev, said he intended to resign from his post in protest against the Russian government's economic reforms. Tuleev said the reforms would lead to the impoverishment of the Oblast population, especially the Kuzbass miners. Russian TV reported that the Soviet rejected Tuleev's resignation but supported his condemnation of the reforms and "in effect, turned itself into an opposition to the Russian leadership." The Soviet demanded that Yeltsin and Khasbulatov immediately come to Kuzbass for negotiations. (Vera Tolz) UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT ON CRIMEAN ISSUE. The Ukrainian Supreme Soviet on 6-February examined the recent resolution of the Russian Supreme Soviet on Crimea's transfer to Ukraine in 1954, Ukrinform-TASS reported. In January, Russian lawmakers called for an examination of the legality of the transfer by both Russia and Ukraine. The Ukrainian Supreme Soviet has now responded with a statement saying that such actions could destabilize the social and political situation in Ukraine and Russia. Further, the statement says that the resolution is in violation of several Ukrainian-Russian accords and Article 5 of the 8-December agreement creating the CIS. (Roman Solchanyk) RUSSIAN LAWMAKERS POSTPONE REVIEW OF CRIMEA'S STATUS. One of the Russian parliamentary committees examining the legality of Crimea's transfer to Ukraine has requested more time to study the issue, ITAR-TASS reported on 6-February. According to Western agencies, a report will be submitted to lawmakers on 19-February. The Russian parliament also decided to create a special commission of deputies and representatives from the Russian Ministry of External Affairs to study all aspects of decisions taken in 1954. (Roman Solchanyk) KRAVCHUK ON ETHNIC GERMANS. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk told a press conference in Kiev on 6-February that the return of ethnic Germans to their traditional homelands in Ukraine would constitute a "restoration of historical and human justice," Ukrinform-TASS and Radio Kiev reported. The Ukrainian leader said that he did not think that the resettlement of Germans in the Crimea would exacerbate the already difficult situation there. (Roman Solchanyk) GAMSAKHURDIA WRITES TO YELTSIN. Deposed Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia has written to Russian President Boris Yeltsin asking him to make his position clear on the recent unrest in Georgia, Interfax reported on 6-February. Gamsakhurdia reportedly called on Yeltsin and the Russian government to appeal to the UN and the international community to save the Georgian people from "catastrophe." He repeated the argument that he considered himself the legitimate, elected ruler of Georgia. Gamsakhurdia criticized the Russian leadership for what he called "silent approval" of the moves by the Georgian opposition. (Carla Thorson) SHEVARDNADZE AGAINST TRANSFER OF SOUTH OSSETIA TO RUSSIA. According to Radio Rossii of 6-February, in an interview on Georgian TV Eduard Shevardnadze came out against the unification of South Ossetia with Russia, describing such a step as a violation of the territorial integrity of Georgia. In a recent referendum South Ossetians voted overwhelmingly in favor of such a transfer. (Ann Sheehy) NAZARBAEV ON DISARMAMENT, TURKIC COMMONWEALTH. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev said, in an interview in the Austrian daily Die Presse of 6-February, that the West should understand that Boris Yeltsin does not speak for Kazakhstan on nuclear disarmament matters, and Yeltsin's discussions with US President George Bush can only be regarded as an initiative. Nazarbaev also objected to Yeltsin's apparent agreement to allow the United States an advantage in numbers of nuclear warheads. Asked about the possibility of a commonwealth of Turkic states, Nazarbaev said that such a grouping would not conflict with membership in the CIS. He added that Kazakhstan wants to reestablish its role as a meeting ground between Europe and Asia. (Bess Brown) COLORADO FIRM TO HELP MINE UZBEK GOLD. The Colorado-based Newmont Mining Corporation has announced plans to sign a joint venture agreement with Uzbekistan to mine gold, according to Western agencies on 6-February. The US firm will help set up leaching facilities to process low-grade tailings at the Muruntau mine, which was identified by a Newmont official as possibly the most productive gold mine in the world. The joint venture, which could raise the mine's productivity by 20%, is to be allowed to dispose of the gold as it wishes, at world market prices; Uzbekistan has promised the venture tax-exempt status until the original investment is recovered. (Bess Brown) MUSLIM STATES JOIN ECONOMIC COOPERATION ORGANIZATION. Reuter reported on 6-February that Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have been admitted to the Economic Cooperation Organization, which formerly comprised Iran, Turkey and Pakistan. Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati was quoted as saying after a meeting of the organization in Ankara that Tajikistan has expressed interest in joining but has not yet submitted a formal application. (Bess Brown) TAJIK OPPOSITION WON'T PERMIT ANTI-RUSSIAN SPEECHES. The Tajik opposition Islamic and Democratic Parties and the Rastokhez Popular Front have announced that they will not allow anti-Russian speeches at a 12-February ceremony commemorating the victims of violence in Dushanbe in 1990. Their statement was reported by Radio Mayak, quoting Interfax, on 6-February. The precautions of the opposition are presumably a reaction to charges by Tajik government officials that opposition parties want to drive all Russians out of Tajikistan. (Bess Brown) MOLDOVA READY TO TRADE SHARE OF EXTERNAL DEBT WITH RUSSIA. Moldovan Premier Valeriu Muravsky has asked Moldovan deputies to allow Moldova to give Russia its share of the national wealth of the former USSR in exchange for Russia paying Moldova's share of the USSR's external debt, Moldovapres reported on 6-February. Muravsky said such a step was necessary because at present Moldova could not pay its share of the debt. Not all the deputies reacted favorably, and it was decided to debate the matter at a special sitting of parliament. (Ann Sheehy) MOLDOVA ADVANCES TO UN MEMBERSHIP. On 5-February, the UN Security Council unanimously recommended that Moldova be admitted to membership of the United Nations, ITAR-TASS reported on 6-February. (Ann Sheehy) MOLDOVA REFUSES TO GIVE SURPLUS CASH TO KALMYKIA, CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA. According to the National Bank of Moldova, large supplies of rubles have accumulated in the republic because inhabitants of neighboring Ukraine have been trying to get rid of their rubles, as have local inhabitants in anticipation of the introduction of a separate Moldovan currency, Radio Mayak reported on 6-February. Moldova has politely refused, how-ever, to help Kalmykia and Checheno-Ingushetia, who are short of ruble notes. (Ann Sheehy) BALTIC STATES QUAYLE REOPENS US EMBASSIES IN TALLINN, RIGA. During his visit to Estonia and Latvia on 6-February, the US Vice President presided over the reopening of the US embassies in Tallinn and Riga, Reuter and BNS reported. In both capitals, he said the US would like a swift withdrawal of troops of the former USSR from the Baltic States and signed accords authorizing American Peace Corps volunteers to work in Estonia and Latvia. Quayle also pledged extra US aid worth $18 million for the Baltics, which brings the total amount of US aid to the area to $76 million since September 1991. Quayle is also delivering emergency medical aid. On 7-February he goes on to Vilnius. (Dzintra Bungs) ESTONIAN AMBASSADOR SURPRISED. Estonia's Ambassador to Russia Juri Kahn told BNS on 5-February that he was surprised to learn how former Estonian government Minister Artur Kuznetsov was named to be Moscow's ambassador to Tallinn (see Daily Report, 5 February). Kahn, who was accredited by Russian President Boris Yeltsin that day, noted that such undiplomatic "incidents" "may produce unhealthy results" in a time when Russia and Estonia are beginning to develop good-neighborly relations. (Riina Kionka) 6,000 BALTS WORKING IN FINLAND. Some 6,000 residents of the Baltic States are currently working in Finland, according to ETA of February 6, citing the Finnish Trade Union Center. Trade Union Center President Lauri Ihalainen said the unions want foreign workers to be registered, but support equal pay and social protection for them. Ihalainen's remarks come at a time when over 10% of Finland's residents are unemployed. (Riina Kionka) ACCREDITATION OF CHINESE ENVOY TO LATVIA DELAYED. Radio Riga reported on 5-February that China had postponed the presentation of credentials of its envoy to Latvia, scheduled for that day in Riga. The Latvian Foreign Minister Janis Jurkans told the press that this step was probably prompted by Latvia's decision on 29 January to establish consular relations with Taiwan, a decision that China protested, and said that he had explained to Chinese diplomats that Latvia needs economic ties with Taiwan. The Chinese replied, Jurkans said, that they would wait to see how Latvia complied with its accords with China. On 6 February China protested again against Latvia's establishment of consular ties with Taiwan, an RFE/RL correspondent in New York reported. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIA ASKS CIS TO RECALL ITS SOLDIERS. On 5 February the Latvian Supreme Council adopted an "invitation" to the CIS governments and legislatures to recall without delay soldiers and officers of the former USSR armed forces and their families who are currently stationed or living in Latvia. The document also points out that Latvia has recognized the independence of all the CIS states and has called home all of the troops originating in Latvia who were serving in the armed forces of the former Soviet Union, BNS reported. (Dzintra Bungs) LANDSBERGIS TO VISIT GERMANY. At the invitation of Bundestag President Rita Suessmuth, Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis will visit Germany from 10 to 13 February, the RFE/RL correspondent in Bonn reported on 6 February. He will hold talks with Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, and other ministers as well as the leaders of German political parties. He will also visit the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. (Saulius Girnius) CONDEMNATION OF POLISH ARTICLE. The Lithuanian parliament press spokesman, Audrius Azubalis, issued a statement, read over Radio Lithuania on 7 February. The text strongly condemned an article from Warsaw in the journal of the Polish Society of Lithuania Magazyn Wilenski as totally misrepresenting Lithuanian events. The article claimed that Lithuania already in December 1990 was planning to suspend local governments, starting with those in ethnically Polish areas. In January 1991 the Soviet military responded by occupying important posts during which "the first, fortunately not numerous, victims fell." According to the article, "Landsberg" had also insulted the Polish authorities by using Poland only as a transit route on a visit to the US. Azubalis noted that Landsbergis had informed the Poles about his visit and the Polish authorities had not expressed any interest in a meeting. (Saulius Girnius) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE VANCE THANKS GENSCHER FOR HELP IN UN PEACE PROGRESS. On 7 February, UN special envoy for the Yugoslav area Cyrus Vance, thanked German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher for persuading Croatian President Franjo Tudjman to confirm his "full and unconditional" backing for the UN peace plan (see Daily Report of 6 February). Austrian TV on 6 February said that EC negotiator Lord Carrington had obtained support from Muslim, Serb, and Croat leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina for a peace conference next week to deal with tensions in that troubled multi-ethnic republic. In Belgrade, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic said that the EC would have to drop its economic sanctions against Serbia if that republic is to continue participating in EC-sponsored peace talks. Serbia has long had doubts about the Community's impartiality in the civil war and prefers to concentrate on the UN peace process instead. (Patrick Moore) FEDERAL ARMY SHELLS OSIJEK . . . Austrian TV reported on 6 February that Serbian-dominated federal forces shelled the eastern Croatian town of Osijek for the first time since the 3 January cease-fire began, forcing residents to head for bomb shelters. In Zagreb, Slovenian President Milan Kucan arrived for a ceremony to mark the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between his republic and Croatia. Ties have been strained by disputes over the future of the atomic power plant at Krsko, Slovenia, which Croatia hopes will continue operating but which Slovenia hopes to shut down, as well as by other issues. (Patrick Moore) . . . WHILE THE AIR FORCE BUZZES SKOPJE. In Macedonia, federal air force planes flew low over Skopje as Macedonian police continued to blockade army bases to force federal troops to leave their equipment in Macedonia when they evacuate that republic. The 7 February Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quotes Macedonia's information minister as telling a German conference on 6 February that his republic is being blockaded by Serbia and Greece in a concerted action. He added that the army is wrecking military hospitals and other facilities prior to its departure. Macedonia says it needs the installations and that it has paid good money for them over the years. Finally, Reuter quoted Bujar Bukoshi, the prime minister of Kosovo's exile government, as saying that Serbian repression against Kosovo's 90%-plus Albanian majority is "escalating daily." (Patrick Moore) TURKEY RECOGNIZES FOUR EX-YUGOSLAV REPUBLICS. Western agencies reported on 6-February from Ankara that Turkey has recognized Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia. It joins Bulgaria as the only country to recognize all four republics that had sought recognition from the EC. Brussels recognized Zagreb and Ljubljana, but asked Sarajevo to hold a referendum first. Greece effectively blocked Macedonia's bid. Athens has protested Sofia's and Ankara's moves. (Patrick Moore) ITALIAN HIGHWAY THROUGH SLOVENIA. Reuter reported from Rome that Italy is considering building a major highway to Hungary via Slovenia, as well as expanding pipeline and rail links. Italy has repeatedly made it clear that it wants to return to its former areas of influence in the Danube-Alpine-Adriatic region and not leave those places largely to German and Austrian interests. (Patrick Moore) GERMAN-HUNGARIAN TREATY SIGNED. Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Prime Minister Jozsef Antall signed on 6 February in Budapest a treaty to regulate their basic political and economic relations, MTI reported. The treaty is valid for ten years and crowns the already good relations between Germany and Hungary. Kohl and Antall also discussed the problem of the Hungarian debt to the former GDR, possible weapons sales to Hungary from ex-GDR stockpiles, and Hungarian support for German UN Security Council membership. Antall promised compensation to Germans deported after World War II. Kohl said Germany is supporting Hungary's aspiration to join the EC after 1995. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) POLAND'S OLSZEWSKI TO ASK FOR SPECIAL POWERS. PAP and Western media reported on 6-February that Prime Minister Jan Olszewski said he will ask the Sejm to grant his government emergency powers enabling him to govern by decree. His priorities, he said, are the economy and the reform of the state administration. Olszewski said that "Poland and its economy are in a state of collapse" and promised to present to the Sejm a rescue program shortly, possibly next week when the Sejm is scheduled to debate the economic reform. A government statement released on 5 February said that "the gains from the market reform strategy launched in 1989/1990 have been more modest than originally predicted, while social costs and burdens have proved to be greater than expected." The government, therefore, intends to temper the effects of the "shock therapy" with a greater measure of state interventionism in order to halt the present recession and decrease the rising unemployment rate of nearly 12%. (Roman Stefanowski) ROMANIAN ELECTION CAMPAIGN DRAWS TO A CLOSE. The nationwide local election campaign ended on 6 February, 48 hours before election day. Opinion polls indicate that 82% of the eligible voters will participate in the balloting. Observers from 15 countries will monitor the proceedings. (Crisula Stefanescu) ROMANIAN YOUTH HIT BY UNEMPLOYMENT. The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection reports that 47% of Romania's 320,000 unemployed are under 25, and 12% between 25 and 29 years, Rompres said on 6 February. (Crisula Stefanescu) BULGARIAN POLICE BATTLE "TELEPHONE TERRORISM." In the last few months the Bulgarian media have been running more and more stories about bomb threats, dubbed "telephone terrorism." Police took all calls seriously, but in no case has a bomb been found. Initially most calls went to schools and apparently originated from pupils. On 4 February, however, a bomb warning led to turmoil in the hospital of the Military Medical Academy. This prompted the Ministry of Internal Affairs to issue an emotional appeal to the public, quoted by BTA, not to allow or tolerate such acts. On 6 February a bomb alarm disrupted the Court of Justice in Vidin. Local police told BTA the voice of the caller had been recorded and the booth from which he called had been identified. (Rada Nikolaev) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Patrick Moore
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