|Change is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast. In the pool where you least expect it, will be a fish. - Ovid|
No. 28, 11 February 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR DEFENSE: WAITING FOR MINSK. Defense Ministers from the CIS member states planned to meet in Minsk on 11-February in order to begin preliminary discussions on the army's future, Radio Mayak reported on 10-February. The initial talks will focus on supplying and financing the armed forces for the first quarter of this year. Meanwhile, CIS military spokesman Lieutenant General Leonid Ivashov told Radio Moscow on 10-February that 14 documents connected with military affairs will be considered in Minsk on 14-February, including a proposal to create a council of ministers for defense questions. "Vesti" reported on 10-February that discussion will also focus on the future of the Black Sea Fleet. (Stephen Foye) UKRAINE: "NO SUCCESSOR STATES TO USSR." The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has dispatched a note to its counterpart in Moscow saying that no single state has the right to declare itself the successor to the Soviet Union, Radio Rossii reported on 10-February (quoting Kharkov-Novosti). In recent statements, Russian government officials have stated that Russia has assumed this role. (Roman Solchanyk) KRAVCHUK ON CIS AND MILITARY QUESTION. As quoted on 10-February by Radio Kiev, Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk believes that the military question may become the primary bone of contention among Commonwealth members. He said that the main danger to the CIS comes from attempts to maintain unified armed forces. Kravchuk proposed turning the Black Sea basin into a "zone of peace," but did not elaborate further on that idea. (Kathy Mihalisko) NAZARBAEV URGES UNIFIED ARMY. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev told a correspondent from the newspaper Tyurkie on 10-February that efforts to divide up the former Soviet armed forces could lead to sharp conflicts between CIS member states, ITAR-TASS reported that day. He was apparently referring in particular to the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine. Nazarbaev called for retention of a unified army and said that the issue would be discussed in Minsk on 14-February. (Stephen Foye) GRACHEV ASKS FOR MORE DM. Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev visited Bonn last week. According to Deutschlandfunk of 10-February, he asked for an additional DM 7-billion to cover the withdrawal of CIS troops from the eastern part of Germany. Grachev was said to have offered various reasons for his demand, including the need to build more housing in Russia for the returning servicemen, the higher transit fees now that the troops must cross independent CIS member states, and the value of the real estate left behind in Germany. The latest claim is in addition to some DM 14 billion already agreed to by Germany. (Keith Bush) OIL EXPORTS DOWN IN 1991. Oil exports from the former USSR fell sharply in 1991, according to Interfax of 8-February. Exports of crude oil decreased from 99 million tons in 1990 to 53.9-million tons in 1991, while exports of petro-leum products dropped from 27.5 million tons to 21.9 million tons in the same period. Natural gas exports fell from 96 billion cubic meters in 1990 to 88.9 billion cubic meters in 1991. (Keith Bush) BREAD PRICES TO RISE. The chairman of the Russian Committee for Bakeries was quoted by Interfax on 10-February as warning that the retail prices for bread will have to be increased again. Although the retail prices were pegged as of 2-January, the prices of ingredients have been freed: the price of flour has risen by a factor of seven and that of yeast by a factor of nine. The Federation's bakeries were said to be on the verge of bankruptcy and could start to close within weeks. The official estimated that, to ensure profitability, the prices for white loaves should rise to 6-7 rubles and for rye bread to 5.50 rubles. [For the bulk of the urban population, bread now constitutes the main source of nutrition]. (Keith Bush) AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY SHORTAGES. For as long as any observer cared to remember, each spring brought reports of acute shortages of agricultural machinery, chemicals, and seed grain for the farms of the former USSR. On 10-February, ITAR-TASS quoted the head of the Russian Ministry of Agriculture's Farm Equipment Division as painting a familiar picture for 1992, albeit for somewhat different reasons. Only 20% of farm machinery contracts have been concluded, with manufacturers complaining that metal has not been supplied, and thus 200,000 tractors may not be delivered. Fuel and mechanics are in short supply. And the price of a new combine harvester has risen to 1.5-million rubles. (Keith Bush) RUSSO-JAPANESE TALKS. The ninth sitting of permanent Russo-Japanese working groups took place on 10-February in Moscow with one group discussing the territorial question and the other discussing the peace treaty. According to Georgii Kunadze, deputy foreign minister of the Russian Federation, progress toward concluding a peace treaty between Russia and Japan was made, but the key problem remains the "so-called 'territorial question,'" ITAR-TASS reported on 10-February. The use of the term "so-called territorial question" by ITAR-TASS is reminiscent of previous Soviet refusals to admit that a territorial question indeed exists. (Suzanne Crow) KOZYREV TO TOKYO. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev will visit Japan from 20 to 22-March, Japanese officials said on 10-February following talks in Moscow between Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Kunihiko Saito and Kozyrev. President Yeltsin is reportedly expected to visit Japan in September, Western agencies reported on 10-February. (Suzanne Crow) KOZYREV ON ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM. In an interview with the Portuguese newspaper Publiku (carried by ITAR-TASS on 10-February), Kozyrev said it is time to consider the threat of the Asiatic republics of the former Soviet Union embracing Islamic fundamentalism. "Today it is necessary to talk about how to include these governments in a civilized, democratic space. This can no longer be called simply European; it is a Euroasiatic [Evroaziatskoe] area." (Suzanne Crow) NEWS ON OPENING UP CPSU ARCHIVES. At a press conference in Moscow on 10-February the chairman of the Russian Federation's Committee for Archives, Rudolf Pikhoya, said that from now on archives on the territory of Russia, including the majority of the CPSU archives and some of the KGB archives, will be open to domestic and foreign scholars. Russian TV quoted Pikhoya as saying that a special parliamentary committee is currently working out criteria for opening up the most sensitive materials from the KGB and Party funds. Pikhoya said that within two years a 6-7 volume edition will be published containing thousands of documents by Lenin, which were not published previously due to ideological reasons. (Vera Tolz) SOVIET CP SENT MILLIONS TO 98 FOREIGN PARTIES. Russian Deputy Prosecutor General Evgenii Lisov, told the Russian parliament on 10-February that the CPSU sent millions of dollars to as many as 98 foreign parties abroad, Interfax reported that day. Lisov said the Party's Central Committee set up a special fund in the 1950s that moved up to $25 million a year. Lisov explained that upon Politburo orders, an official would phone someone in the foreign economic bank and name the sum. An hour later, he received an attache case with hard currency that he handed to a KGB agent, who then transferred the money abroad through his own channels. Lisov said some former CP leaders might be tried for the transfer of money abroad. (Vera Tolz) LIBERAL APPOINTED RUSSIAN MINISTER OF CULTURE. The prominent literary critic Evgenii Sidorov has been named Russian minister of culture, the TV news program "Novosti" announced on 7-February. Prior to this appointment, Sidorov served as director of the Literary Institute (the institute of higher education that instructs writers.) Sidorov is the author of the first monograph on the poet Evgenii Evtushenko and enjoys a reputation as a liberal. As an academic, Sidorov appears to be a more logical choice for the job than were his predecessors-former RSFSR and USSR ministers of culture Yurii Solomin and Nikolai Gubenko, who are actors. (Julia Wishnevsky) RUSSIAN "PATRIOTS" ON CRIMEA. The Russian People's Assembly (Rossiiskoe Narodnoe Sobranie), formed at the recently convened "Congress of Civic and Patriotic Forces," will work for the recognition of the 1954 transfer of the Crimea to Ukraine as having no legal force, ITAR-TASS reported on 9-February. The question of the constitutionality of the 1954 decision is scheduled to be reviewed later this-month in the Russian Supreme Soviet. (Roman Solchanyk) SEVASTOPOL CITY ELDERS FED UP. The Executive Committee of the Sevastopol City Council has dispatched an appeal to the presidents of Ukraine and Russia and to the Ukrainian and Russian parliaments expressing its concern about growing nationalist and political tensions at the center of which is the city, Radio Kiev reported on 10-February. The city elders point to tendentious press reports in the Ukrainian and Russian media and to propaganda "raids" by uninvited guests from Kiev and Moscow. The appeal urges that a sensible approach to the Black Sea Fleet and other problems be taken by the leaders of both states. (Roman Solchanyk) ETHNIC GERMANS DOUBTFUL ABOUT RETURNING TO UKRAINE. A spokesman for the ethnic German community in the former Soviet Union has expressed doubts that Ukraine's recent offer to resettle Germans in Ukraine constitutes an "alternative" for the Volga Germans, Western agencies reported on 10-February. Heinrich Groth explained that the offer could apply to only part of the German community in the CIS, perhaps about 100,000, because more would prefer to be in a restored German republic. (Roman Solchanyk) POTASSIUM MINERS IN BELARUS PLAN TO STRIKE. Miners in Salihorsk say they will go on strike at midnight on 11-February to demand better living conditions and higher prices for their output. CIS TV reported the same day that Donbass coal miners have expressed solidarity with their colleagues in Salihorsk. Meanwhile, the RFE/RL Belarusian service learned on 10-February that the Central Electoral Committee is expected to reject the text of a proposed referendum question on whether to hold new parliamentary elections. Opposition leaders, who are pushing for the referendum, say it may be necessary to organize strikes and protests if the CEC rejects the initiative. (Kathy Mihalisko) NEW PARTY IN TAJIKISTAN. A Popular Unity Party has been organized in Tajikistan, according to TadzhikTA-TASS of 7-February. It describes itself as representing entrepreneurs, and appears to be a non-Communist conservative group close to the government. The chairman of the organizing committee of the new party is former Pravda correspondent Otakhon Latifi, who told a press conference that the group opposes demands that the present parliament be dissolved and new elections held. This demand has been advanced many times in recent months by the combined forces of Tajikistan's democratic opposition. Government leaders have rejected the demand on the same grounds as those cited by the new party, namely, that political chaos would result. (Bess Brown) MOLDOVAN LEADER SEES NO ALTERNATIVE TO INTEGRATION WITH ROMANIA. In an interview with Moldovan TV on 9-February, as cited by Moldovapres that day, Moldovan Parliament Chairman Alexandru Mosanu called for accelerated integration between Moldova and Romania "because otherwise we shall find it difficult to exist" and "because there is no one else we can rely on except Romania." The statement reflects the disappointment of some Moldovan leaders with the international community's slow response to Moldova's pleas for political support of its independence. On the same day, Foreign Minister Nicolae Tiu told Moldovapres that owing to lack of means, Moldova may ask Romania to represent Moldova's interests in a number of Western capitals. (Vladimir Socor) BAKER, US AID ARRIVING IN MOLDOVA. In what may signal a turning point in Moldova's relations with the Western democracies, US Secretary of State James Baker is paying a visit to Chisinau for talks with President Mircea Snegur and other Moldovan officials on 11-February, at the start of a tour of several newly independent states of the former USSR. On 10-February, the first plane carrying US aid for Moldova landed in Chisinau with a consignment of medicine. A large crowd of Moldovans welcomed the plane at Chisinau airport, Western agencies reported. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDOVA INTRODUCES OWN ENTRY VISAS. Moldova's Foreign Ministry announced on 10-February that Moldova is instituting its own entry visas as of that date, AFP cited by Radio Bucharest reported that day. The visas will be granted at the border by Moldovan consular personnel. Citizens of the member states of CIS and of Romania will not need visas to enter Moldova. (Vladimir Socor) BALTIC STATES BUSH NAMES BALTIC AMBASSADORS. On 10-February President George Bush nominated three career foreign service officers as US ambassadors to the Baltic States, a RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported. He chose Darryl Johnson for Lithuania, Ints Silins for Latvia, and Robert Frasure for Estonia. All three have been serving as charges d'affaires to the republics. The US Senate still has to approve the nominations. (Saulius Girnius) ESTONIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY UNDER PRESSURE. Estonian Foreign Minister Lennart Meri came under pressure on 10-February for firing two of his deputies over the weekend. At its Monday meeting the Supreme Council Foreign Affairs Commission sharply criticized both Meri's move and his overall handling of internal ministerial affairs, BNS reported that day. The commission asked the government to discuss management of the Foreign Ministry and "to remove existing tensions that might prove harmful to Estonia's foreign policy image." The Commission also asked the Foreign Ministry to present its overall foreign policy conception to the Supreme Council within the month. Later that day Prime Minister Tiit Vahi told reporters that under Estonian SSR law, which is still in force, only the head of government may relieve deputy ministers from their duties. Thus, Vahi explained, the two fired men still hold office. (Riina Kionka) STATE OF EMERGENCY STILL HOLDS. Estonia's lawmakers failed on 10-February to nullify their resolution last month to establish an economic state of emergency, BNS reports. The nullification motion won 47-votes of the 52-needed, with 16-abstentions and no nay votes. Supreme Council Economic Commission chairman Kalju Koha proposed reopening discussion on 11-February, since no one voted against the measure. The measure most likely failed because of poor attendance at the session, not for political reasons. (Riina Kionka) LANDSBERGIS IN GERMANY. On 10-February Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis arrived in Bonn for a four-day visit, an RFE/RL correspondent in Bonn reported. His first meeting was with Bundestag President Rita Sssmuth who had invited him to Germany. After the meeting, Landsbergis told reporters that the presence of the Soviet army in Lithuania was a destabilizing factor that was making it more difficult for the Baltic States to attract foreign investments. The withdrawal of the troops was an international problem that could be helped by foreign assistance to build housing for the soldiers. On 11-February he is scheduled to meet chancellery minister Friedrich Bohl, Social Democrat leader Hans-Ulrich Klose, and members of the German-Baltic parliamentary group as well as German businessmen. (Saulius Girnius) LATVIA SEARCHES ABROAD FOR GASOLINE. Due to the grave shortage of gasoline, the Latvian police were ordered to limit patrols and drive only to sites of serious crimes. On 10-February the price of intercity bus tickets tripled, and the Ministry of Agriculture warned of major gaps in food distribution and production if gasoline cannot be found, Radio Riga reports. The problem originates with Russia's failure to honor promises to supply gasoline and other petroleum products. Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis has asked private distributors to help find gasoline for Latvia and is flying to the Middle East to seek additional sources of petroleum products. Two German firms have promised to send 6,000 tons of gasoline to Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIA PROTESTS INFLUX OF EX-SOVIET TROOPS. The Latvian Foreign Ministry sent a strong note of protest to its Russian counterpart because of the arrival in Latvia of over 500 troops of the former Soviet armed forces who had been stationed in Germany, Radio Riga reported on 10-February. The note also protests that soldiers have engaged in activities inappropriate for their status as members of the armed forces; for example, they have been felling trees in forests without permission, disregarding the authority of Latvian customs officials, and hawking equipment from their bases. (Dzintra Bungs) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE ROMANIAN OPPOSITION APPEARS SUCCESSFUL IN LOCAL ELECTIONS. Reports from Romania suggest a strong showing by the opposition Democratic Convention, but the election committee has declined to release any preliminary results of the polls. It would only say that first results indicate that a second ballot will have to be held in many localities where no candidate has won a simple majority. Near-final results from Timisoara and Cluj show opposition candidates far ahead of all others. Democratic Convention sources claim that its candidate is also ahead in the race for mayor of Bucharest. The opposition leaders expressed their hope that the local elections will mark the first step towards democracy in Romania, and Nicolae Manolescu, chairman of the Civic Alliance Party told Rompres that "the results of the elections will prove there was an alternative in Romania." An RFE correspondent quoted a spokesman for NSF as dismissing the opposition claims that the Front had suffered heavy losses. (Crisula Stefanescu) DIRECTOR OF ROMANIAN TV DISMISSED. Premier Theodor Stolojan dismissed Emanuel Valeriu as Vice President of Romanian Radio and TV and General Director of Romanian TV, Rompres reported on 10-February. The Romanian and independent and opposition press have long portrayed Romanian TV as a symbol of disinformation and called for the firing of its leadership. (Crisula Stefanescu) WAR DRUMS IN CROATIA,-.-.-. Yugoslav media reported on 10-February that Croatia's Serbs are planning a referendum on 22 and 23-February to decide whether the UN peace plan should be accepted unconditionally. The decision was made by the so-called Assembly of the Republic of Serb Krajina one day after the assembly accepted the plan. The refer-endum was called by Krajina President Milan Babic, who has strongly opposed the plan. Meanwhile, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman told The Guardian on 10-February that Croatia will administer the disputed Serbian enclaves even though he had earlier accepted the UN's plan to administer the regions. Tudjman added that the UN peacekeeping force should be deployed in the Krajina for only one year. Radio Croatia on 10-February quoted Croatian navy commander Adm. Sveto Letica as saying that if a political solution is not reached on the Krajina, then the Croatian army will be "forced to expel the Serb-dominated army from its territory. He warned that units of the Croatian army cannot remain inactive much longer in such an "absurd situation of no war and no peace." (Milan Andrejevich) .-.-.-BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA,-.-.-. Former Yugoslav State President Stjepan Mesic told the Zagreb daily Vecernji list on 10-February that "war is in sight-.-.-. within two months" in the multiethnic Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. He warned that greater Serbian expansionism is threatening the peace there and added that Croatia "will never leave the Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina to their own devices." Earlier reports of some 16,000 paramilitary troopers in place in western Herzegovina seem to be borne out. A commander of the HOS (Croatian Defense Forces), the armed branch of the right-wing Croatian Party of Rights, interviewed by Novi Sad TV confirmed that it has set up its headquarters there. (Milan Andrejevich) .-.-.- KOSOVO, AND MACEDONIA. The situation in the Serbian province of Kosovo and in the Republic of Macedonia has also reached dramatic proportions. On 7-February the main ethnic Albanian party in Kosovo, the Democratic League, declared that it will press for international recognition of its inde-pendence declared last September. Party's chairman Ibrahim Rugova warned that the patience of Albanians is nearly spent because of Serbia's brutal control over the province and reiterated that all Albanians "must live in one state." In neighboring Macedonia the Albanian Party for Democratic Pros-perity concluded its first congress on 9-February, passing a resolution asking Macedonian authorities to recognize both the independence of the Republic of Kosovo and the autonomy of the predominantly Albanian western Macedonia, which would even-tually unite with Kosovo. Meanwhile on 9-February, Macedonia's Serb minority held a referendum on autonomy in 13-districts, and some 10,000-Serbs demonstrated against the republic's independence from the former Yugoslavia. Results of the refer-endum have not yet been reported (Milan Andrejevich) CZECH, SLOVAK LEADERS REACH AGREEMENT ON FEDERATION. Czech and Slovak leaders reached agreement on 9-February after months of negotiations on a treaty defining the relationship of their republics in a future federation. A draft agreement worked out by Czech and Slovak parliamentarians expresses the will of the people of both republics to live in a common state. Either republic has the right to secede on the basis of a referendum. The draft provides for a common defense, foreign policy, and currency and calls for Czechs and Slovaks to be equally represented in supreme bodies. The agreement now goes to the republican and federal parliaments for discussion. President Vaclav Havel called the agreement a great step forward. (Barbara Kroulik) POLAND PUBLISHES STATE OF NATION REPORT. On 10-February Prime Minister Jan Olszewski signed the year-end report from the Council of Ministers; it will now go to the Sejm. According to PAP the 9-point report notes considerable progress from 1989 to 1991, but warns of a serious threat presented by the current social crisis and economic collapse. The report points to the 70% inflation, drop in production and services figures, and the 1991 fall in exports-the first in 10 years. The report notes an enormous increase in common and organized crime and faults the administration for incompetence in addressing the problem. Most serious, the report says, is Poland's inability to deal with its 1991 IMF liabilities. (Roman Stefanowski) SOLIDARITY TALKS BROKEN OFF. The Solidarity Trade Union delegation broke off talks with the government on the fuel and energy price increases on 10-February. According to PAP Solidarity chief negotiator Andrzej Wieczorek said that in view of the uncompromising attitude of the government there is no point in continuing. Deputy Labor and Social Policy Minister Bartlomiej Piotrowski said the government has considered all the social and economic options, but because of the budget situation it felt unable to withdraw the announced increases. Asked about a possibility of a general strike Wieczorek said that the Solidarity's National Commission is meeting today "and will decide about it, but feelings are very radical." (Roman Stefanowski) COCOM RESTRICTIONS LIFTED FOR HUNGARY? According to Handelsblatt and Radio Budapest, a COCOM session on 10-February in Paris decided to remove Hungary from its list of countries to which the transfer of strategic goods is restricted. The decision has not yet been confirmed officially and would take effect only after Hungary provided evidence that it has worked out a system to prevent the further transfer of strategic goods. Hungary would be the first East European country to be taken off the list, which has included communist countries and other problem areas to which the transfer of Western high-tech goods is not desirable. Handelsblatt says that the decision was an expression of Western approval for Hungary's political and economic reforms. (Edith Oltay) NEW MOVE TO UNITE BULGARIAN AGRARIANS. The Sofia dailies on 10-February reported that the leaders of the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union-United (BANU-U) and Bulgarian Agrarian National Union-Nikola Petkov (BANU-NP), Tsenko Barev and Milan Drenchev, on 8-February signed an-agree-ment to hold a joint congress at which the two parties will unite. No date was set. Repeated efforts to unite have failed mainly because of Drenchev's adamant refusal. The fact that BANU-NP left the UDF before the elections last October, as well as Drenchev's latest move have split BANU-NP, a large part of which wants to rejoin the UDF, rejects a union with BANU-U, and intends to go ahead with its congress scheduled for 15-16-February. (Rada Nikolaev) PURGE IN BULGARIA'S FOREIGN MINISTRY. The Bulgarian press-in particular the BSP daily Duma-is reporting widespread dismissals of officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On 7-February Duma reported that Panayot Cholakov, head of the department for Western Europe, had gone on a hunger strike to protest his dismissal, and the next day it said he had been joined by another diplomat, Ognyan Mitev. On 10-February Foreign Minister Stoyan Ganev held a press conference and was quoted by Bulgarian Radio as announcing "drastic dismissals" of some 100-200-people. (Rada Nikolaev) As of 1200 CET Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull
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