It is the chiefest point of happiness that a man is willing to be what he is. - Erasmus
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 31, 14 February 1992


DEFENSE WILL DOMINATE MINSK TALKS. As republican leaders gather
for the 14-February CIS summit, reports out of Minsk indicate
that discussion on military issues will dominate the proceedings.
Belta-TASS reported on 13-February that 13 draft documents have
been approved for discussion. They include agreements on: defining
the powers of the CIS supreme defense bodies; drawing up a single
defense budget and procedure to finance the joint armed forces;
defining the status of CIS strategic forces; the disposition
of general purpose forces during a transitional period; and creating
the main command of the CIS armed forces. Control over general
purpose forces has proven in the past to be a particularly contentious
issue. Meanwhile, CIS Commander in Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov
told Radio Mayak on 13-February that the working group meeting
before the summit had not considered the issue of control over
the Black Sea Fleet. (Stephen Foye)

ECONOMIC TOPICS ON SUMMIT AGENDA. Four economic topics, which
were not dealt with by the Council of the CIS Heads of Government
on 8-February, are on the agenda of the Minsk summit, Ivan Korotchenya,
chairman of the working group responsible for organizing CIS
summit meetings told Belta-TASS on 13-February. They include
the question of a single railway transport system, economic interaction
in the CIS, and a differentiated approach to profitability within
the limits of 50%. (Ann Sheehy)

KOBETS ON CFE AND DIVISION OF ARMY. In an interview published
by Izvestiya on 13-February, Russian state defense advisor, Army
General Konstantin Kobets discussed the difficulties of dividing
up former Soviet general purpose forces while observing limits
set by the CFE treaty. Kobets said that the current deployment
of tanks and other weaponry and equipment favors Ukraine, Belarus,
and the Transcaucasian republics, and that Russia therefore opposed
dividing up these assets on the basis of simple "privatization."
He called instead for using criteria established earlier within
the former Warsaw Pact as the basis for dividing up forces within
the relevant CIS republics. Under this formulation, he said,
Russia would receive 54.1% of the assets in question, Ukraine
would receive 21.8%, and Belarus 6.6%. His remarks were clearly
linked to the 14-February Minsk meeting and to proposals that
Russia create its own army. (Stephen Foye)

STATUS OF RUSSIAN ARMY. Russian President Boris Yeltsin on 13-February
denied widespread reports that he intends to issue a decree ordering
the creation of a Russian army soon after the 14-February meeting,
ITAR-TASS reported on 13-February. On the same day, Yeltsin advisor
Galina Starovoitova denied a recent report that she has been
offered the post of Russian defense minister. She told RFE/RL
that while she would accept such a post if it were offered, she
felt that Russian society had not matured to the point where
it could accept a civilian defense minister, let alone a woman.
(Stephen Foye)

in Moscow on 13-February that ethnic conflict was the most acute
problem facing the former USSR, Interfax and Western agencies
reported on 13-February. Shevardnadze, who was addressing the
first meeting of the ethno-political studies center he helped
to set up, said the center would prepare recommendations for
CIS leaders, focussing initially on Nagorno- Karabakh, South
Ossetia, the ethnic Germans, and Russian-Ukrainian relations.
He said separatist leaders in the CIS had underestimated the
possible international repercussions of their actions. The center
stated that in the past four years nearly 10,000 people had been
killed in 175 ethnic clashes. (Ann Sheehy)

Russian parliament on 13-February, President Boris Yeltsin announced
that he would disclose changes in his reform program on nation-wide
television on 19-February, CIS and Western agencies reported
that evening. First Deputy Prime Minister Gennadii Burbulis later
told Interfax that the corrections would affect recent measures
in the fields of taxation, prices, loans, and social protection.
Interfax on 13-February also quoted Aleksei Ulyukov, an economic
adviser to the Russian government, as saying that prices on oil,
coal, and bread would shortly be decontrolled; a "bread supplement"
would be added to wages, pensions, and stipends. (Keith Bush)

YELTSIN ON KOZYREV'S FUTURE. In the question and answer period
following his address to the Russian Supreme Soviet on 13-February,
Russian President Boris Yeltsin tried to sidestep a question
on Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev's future. Asked about
Kozyrev's possible appointment as ambassador to the UN, Yeltsin
said only: "As Mark Twain put it: 'the rumors of my death are
somewhat exaggerated,'" He then added: "Kozyrev is not being
appointed to any post. He is working as foreign minister and
remains in that job. He is alive and well and is sitting in front
of you," Russian TV reported on 13-February. (Suzanne Crow)

RECESSION CONTINUES. At a news conference in Moscow on 13-February,
reported by ITAR-TASS and Reuters, Goskomstat Chairman Pavel
Guzhvin reported that Russian industrial output had dropped by
15% in January. [It was not clear whether the decline was measured
against January 1991 or December 1991]. The area of land under
cultivation in 1992 will be lower than last year, and the output
of tractors and combines in January was down by about one half.
The consumer price index was up by some 350%, while wholesale
prices had risen by a factor of five. Oil extraction was down
by 14%. (Keith Bush)

RUTSKOI SHARES FATE OF LIGACHEV. Russian President Boris Yeltsin
told the parliament that Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi has
been entrusted with the task of overseeing agricultural reform
and would be obliged to report to him every two weeks and to
parliament every month on the progress of reform, Radio Moscow
reported on 13-February. Rutskoi's new appointment is reminiscent
of Gorbachev's banishing of his rival Egor Ligachev to that same
sector in 1988. (Alexander Rahr)

gazeta on 13-February that he favors a transition to democracy
through a "lengthy period" of strong central power, which would
be democratically elected and controlled by the parliament. Rutskoi
also stressed that he will fight for the "reestablishment of
a single democratic state united on the territory of the greater
Eurasian territory." He thus seemed to propose the recreation
of a Russian empire on most of the territory of the former Soviet
Union. (Alexander Rahr)

STANKEVICH PROMOTED. The duties of Russian State Counsellor Sergei
Stankevich have been enlarged. Formerly responsible for ties
with social organizations, he has also officially been placed
in charge of "political questions," Radio Mayak reported on 13-February.
As a result, Stankevich is now Russian President Boris Yeltsin's
main advisor on Russian domestic political affairs and has moved,
together with other close Yeltsin aides to office in the Kremlin.
(Alexander Rahr)

RUSSO-CHINESE BORDER ACCORD. On 13-February the Russian Supreme
Soviet ratified the agreement concluded between the USSR and
China on the eastern section of the two states' border signed
in May 1991. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev and Chairman
of the Supreme Soviet Committee for International Affairs and
Foreign Economic Ties Vladimir Lukin took pains during the parliamentary
debate to point out that Russia made no territorial concessions
to China over the border. Debate focussed on the fate of islands
in the waterways along the border-a matter of considerable historical
importance to Moscow and Beijing. Kozyrev said that of the 1,845
islands in the rivers, more than half (both in number and area)
belong to Russia. He noted that two islands in the region of
Khabarovsk and Argun were still a matter of dispute, ITAR-TASS
reported on 13-February. (Suzanne Crow)

member countries of the CIS are on the verge of an "information
catastrophe," Komsomolskaya pravda predicted on 12-February.
The newspaper said that the sharp increase in costs of paper,
printing and distribution has resulted in a situation where most
major newspapers are almost bankrupt. The newspaper said that
if, in the near future, the Russian government and other CIS
members don't take steps to save these papers, they will be closed
down. Those few official newspapers which are government subsidized
as well as various small papers (which are usually very radical)
won't help to overcome the "information hunger" in the CIS. Meanwhile,
the Russian Journalists' Union called on 13-February for a one-day
blackout of political news coverage in the CIS to protest paper
shortages and financial problems, Western agencies reported that
day. No date for the strike was announced. (Vera Tolz)

Supreme Soviet voted on 13-February to amend the country's constitution
by dropping all references to communism and Soviet power, Reuters
reported on 13-February. Deputies deleted Article 68 from the
constitution describing Ukraine as a Soviet socialist republic
dedicated to building communism. Instead, Ukraine is now described
as an "independent, democratic, legal state." (Roman Solchanyk)

KRAVCHUK GRANTED BROADER POWERS. The Ukrainian parliament also
granted President Leonid Kravchuk the right to issue economic
decrees until a new Ukrainian constitution is approved. Kravchuk
had earlier asked for increased powers, saying that reform measures
were being blocked by local administrators. The Ukrainian leader
will now be able to reorganize government ministries and appoint
ministers. He can also declare war, martial law, or a state of
emergency. In other legislative action, deputies failed to adopt
a measure giving the Supreme Soviet the authority to confirm
or amend the borders of the Crimean ASSR. (Roman Solchanyk)

Supreme Soviet have formed a parliamentary faction called "New
Ukraine," Radio Kiev reported on 13-February. The group is composed
of representatives from various political parties, associations,
and entrepreneurs. The initiative comes from leaders of the Party
of Democratic Rebirth of Ukraine headed by, among others, Deputy
Chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet Vladimir Grinev. (Roman

EC OFFICIAL ON UKRAINIAN DEBT. EC Commissioner Henning Christophersen
has said that Ukraine's insistence on repaying its share of the
former Soviet foreign debt independently could endanger EC aid
to the CIS, Reuters reported on 13-February. The official told
a news conference that Ukraine would not receive any of the $1.6-billion
in aid to the CIS unless it made a firm pledge to service its
share of the debt. It could not be excluded, he added, that Ukraine's
stand on the issue could threaten overall aid to the CIS. (Roman
Solchanyk) BAKER IN CENTRAL ASIA. Turkmenpress-TASS reported
on 13-February that US Secretary of State James Baker has agreed
to establish diplomatic relations with Turkmenistan. Turkmen
Foreign Minister Abdy Kuliev told journalists that the two countries
will soon exchange embassies. Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov
has been invited to visit the US. After meeting with Niyazov,
Baker travelled to Tajikistan, where he met with Tajik President
Rakhman Nabiev, and according to an ITAR-TASS report of 13-February,
pronounced himself satisfied with Tajikistan's commitment to
democracy, development of a market economy, and respect for human
rights. Nabiev later told a press conference that Tajikistan
strictly follows a policy of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons
and their components, and he confirmed earlier statements that
the country does not intend to export uranium. (Bess Brown)

for Minsk, Moldovan President Mircea Snegur said that Moldova
was-more interested in discussing economic than military questions
at the summit, ITAR-TASS reported on 13-February. He said that
the republic could solve its military problems through talks
with the top army leadership. On his arrival in Minsk, Snegur
said that Moldova was having productive talks with representatives
of the high command on forming Moldovan armed forces on the basis
of units stationed in Moldova, Belta-TASS reported on 13-February.
He said Moldova would not sign doc-uments dealing purely with
joint armed forces. He also said that in his view the "commonwealth
is not long-lasting," Western agencies reported. (Ann Sheehy)

Moldovan Premier Valeriu Muravsky told the Moldovan parliament
on 13-February that the economies of the former union republics
were so closely integrated that Moldova should continue to cooperate
with these republics and any divorce should be civilized, Moldovapres
reported on 13-February. Muravsky said that because of this Moldova
should take an active part in the meetings of CIS leaders and
CIS coordinating organs. At the same time, Moldova needed to
establish contacts with other countries. Because Russia could
not fully meet its fuel needs, Moldova was establishing its first
business contacts with Kuwait. (Ann Sheehy)


TALLINN MAYOR FORCED TO RESIGN. Tallinn's controversial mayor
Hardo Aasmae resigned on 13-February after soundly losing a no-confidence
vote in the city council, ETA reports. The city council's Republican
Party faction, which pushed for his removal, said Aasmae could
not supply Tallinn with food or get crime under control and that
he often acted without first consulting the city council. The
council also "personally blamed [Aasmae] for harming the reputation
of the city by scandalous behavior." Aasmae has drawn sharp criticism
over the last year for his flamboyant style and shady business
dealings, which allegedly in-cluded demanding personal kickbacks
for allowing foreign companies to create joint ventures in the-city.
Aasmae was widely expected to fall as soon as his long-time close
associate, former Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar, was removed
from power. (Riina Kionka)

WEAPONS FOUND AT TALLINN'S PORT. An incident this week in Tallinn
suggests that trade in weapons intended for the former Soviet
armed forces may be on the rise. During a routine check at the
port, Estonian customs officials discovered a shipment of 15,000
Makarov-type pistols, ETA reported on 12-February. Listed in
the shipping documents as "sporting pistols," the guns were sent
by the Izhevsk Mechanics Factory in Russia's Udmurt republic
via Tallinn to a company called Kenford Enterprises, Ltd., in
Finland. The Makarov is a light gun with a short range unsuitable
for sporting purposes. It is carried by some Soviet military
officers for self-defense and is favored by terrorists for its
compactness. The ETA report did not say whether the guns were
to be shipped further once they reached Finland, or whether the
factory had received official sanction for the arms sale. Estonian
Customs Department Deputy Director Igor Kristapovits said he
feared Tallinn would become a point of arms and narcotics transit
trading, adding that it was alarming "to see such an amount of
weapons transported without any security, like they were cabbages."
(Doug Clarke & Riina Kionka)

NEW AGRICULTURE MINISTER. Estonian Prime Minister Tiit Vahi has
named Aavo Molder as Minister of Agriculture, ETA reported on
13-February. Molder, currently director of the Laeva experimental
state farm, is now a Supreme Council deputy. The Supreme Council
is expected to confirm the appointment next week. (Riina Kionka)

WARNING STRIKE IN RIGA. Bus drivers in Riga staged a warning
strike during the morning of 13-February to draw public attention
to the problems caused by an acute shortage of fuel and spare
parts. These factors have necessitated reduction of bus service
and an increase in ticket prices. At the same time, the bus drivers'
income has fallen, because they are not paid for cancelled bus
trips. Their situation is exacerbated by the soaring inflation
in Latvia. Regular (i.e. reduced) bus service was resumed in
the afternoon, Radio Riga reported on 13-February. (Dzintra Bungs)

concluded his four-day visit to Germany with meetings with Chancellor
Helmut Kohl, Economics Minister Jźrgen Mšllemann, and other government
officials. Landsbergis said that he had asked for help in creating
a stabilization fund of $100-200 million to support a Lithuanian
currency, which he hopes to introduce in the second half of the
year, after Lithuania has joined the IMF. He also asked for German
technical support to renovate the Lithuanian railroad used to
withdraw former Soviet troops from both countries. Mšllemann
said that an investment protection treaty would probably be signed
on 28-February, a RFE/RL correspondent in Bonn reported on 13-February.
(Saulius Girnius)

RETURN OF KGB FILES TO LITHUANIA. On 14-February Radio Lithuania
reported that Russian Security Minister Viktor Barannikov did
not see any major problems in returning KGB files to Lithuania.
He had held talks on the question on 12-February with Lithuanian
Deputy Prime Minister Zigmas Vaisvila and delegated Lithuanian
parliament deputies. Barannikov said that it would take time
to select the desired agency files and they could be given to
Lithuania only after the signing of an intergovernmental agreement
that would detail the handing over of the files and the conditions
of their future use. (Saulius Girnius)

the Slovak parliament presidium rejected the draft treaty aimed
at resolving the dispute between Czechs and Slovaks over keeping
the country together. Parliament leaders said their negotiators
had made too many concessions to Czech teams. The draft text
failed by one vote. Slovak Premier Jan Carnogursky said that
the country could break up unless the treaty is approved, CSTK
reports. (Barbara Kroulik)

Interior Ministry on-February 13 said 18-former communist leaders
committed treason in connection with the 1968 Soviet-led invasion,
Western agencies report. The men were named in a report stemming
from an investigation launched in 1990. It names former party
leaders Milos Jakes and Vasil Bilak and former premier Josef
Lenart as well as Zdenek Mlynar, a "Prague Spring" reformer who
helped found the Charter-77 human rights movement. Ministry spokesman
Martin Fendrych said the 20-year statute of limitations on most
crimes makes it unlikely they will be prosecuted. Mlynar, denying
he committed treason in 1968, denounced the ministry's statement
as "political slander" and said the charges of helping a foreign
occupier are inconsistent with the persecution he has suffered
since then as "an enemy of the post-August regime." (Barbara

head of the Polish National Bank (NBP), has warned that the bank
would not agree to a base interest rate on central bank lending
much below the current level of 40%, Polish and Western media
reported on 13-February. The need for a high base rate is also
accepted by Finance Minister Karol Lutkowski, who argues that
the base rate should stay at around the present level, in order
to attract capital to finance the government budget deficit (currently
running at about 6% of gross national product). Jerzy Eysymontt,
the minister in charge of the Central Planning Office (CUP),
on the other hand, sees a lower base rate as a way to fight recession.
Polish financial policies have a bearing on the further disbursement
of the three- year, $2.5-billion IFM loan facility, suspended
last year. The CUP's Halina Wasilewska said on 13-February that
she saw the possibility of compromise among the various government
members, but also pointed out that the NBP's position is somewhat
independent from the government, since the bank is answerable
only to the Sejm. (Roman Stefanowski) SYMBOLIC ENDING TO UKRAINIAN-POLISH
CONFERENCE. At the close of a three-day conference at Jadwisin,
Dmytro Pavlychko, Chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet's
Foreign Affairs Commission, spoke the same symbolic words first
used in the 1960's by the Polish Episcopate in connection with
German-Polish relations: "we forgive and beg for forgiveness."
Pavlychko said that "there have been many wrongs between Ukraine
and Poland in the past, but in order that we may build something
positive, let us leave the past to the historians," PAP reported
on 12-February. The last day of the conference was given over
to a discussion of nuclear weapons remaining in Ukraine and the
conversion of the armaments industry to civilian needs. (Roman

ROMAN SATISFIED WITH ELECTIONS. Former premier Petre Roman, who
heads the National Sal-vation Front, expressed satisfaction with
the NSF's performance in local elections. Although the final
official results are still not available, Roman said that he
has been told the NSF won about 45% of the total votes, nearly
double the votes won by the opposition Democratic Convention;
but he acknow-ledged losses in the main cities of Bucharest,
Brasov, and Timisoara, Rompres reported. (Crisula Stefanescu)

ROMANIAN BORDER VIOLATIONS. Romania's Senate passed on 13-February
a law making it a crime to cross the Romanian border illegally,
or to smuggle cultural treasures, weapons, ammunition, or drugs.
Punishment would range from six months to two years in prison.
Rompres quotes the commander of the border guards. Gen. Dumitru
Luca, as saying that about 2,000-border violations were reported
in the first six weeks of this year, the most serious on the
borders with Hungary and Yugoslavia. (Crisula Stefanescu)

quoted the National Statistical Institute as reporting that industrial
production in January had dropped by 34% as compared with January
1991. The main reason cited was the lack of marketing opportunities,
which resulted in the discontinuation of 115-products and the
temporary closing of 355 enterprises. Only 47% of industrial
enterprises reported no drop in their sales. Retail turnover
was said to have dropped by as much as 57.5% below the January
1991 level. Decreases were also reported for construction and
transport. (Rada Nikolaev)

MACEDONIAN LEADER IN SOFIA. Lyubcho Georgievski, leader of the
Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party
for Macedonian National Unity in the Republic of Macedonia, is
visiting Sofia at the invitation of the Fatherland Union, BTA
reported on 13-February. He met with Aleksandar Yordanov, leader
of the parliamentary caucus of the UDF and chairman of the Parliamentary
Commission on Foreign Policy, who told BTA that the guest expressed
his gratitude for Bulgaria's recognition of Macedonia. On 14-February
BTA said that the daily press gives extensive coverage to the
visit and the previous evening Georgievski had been interviewed
on TV "without translation," a fact that demonstrated the close
linguistic relationship between Bulgarian and Macedonian. (Rada

International media reported on 13 and 14-February that UN Secretary-General
Boutros Boutros-Ghali has urged the quick deployment of 13,000
soldiers and police to the Yugoslav area, primarily to Croatia.
Milan Babic, the increasingly isolated ethnic Serb leader in
Croatia's Krajina region, had warned Boutros-Ghali in a letter
that the troops might become casualties, but apparently UN officials
feel that other Serbian and federal army leaders can control
Babic. The operation will be the UN's biggest since the Congo
crisis of 1960-64, and 31-countries are being asked to contribute
troops. They include Czechoslovakia, France, Poland, Russia,
and Britain, but none of-the former Yugoslavia's immediate neighbors,
most of whom did not want to participate anyway. (Patrick Moore)

BOSNIA CONFERENCE BEGINS. Yugoslav and Western media report that
the EC conference on Bosnia-Herzegovina has begun in Sarajevo.
Reporters are not allowed in the closed-door session, but there
is widespread speculation that Serb-Croat rivalry has been shelved,
with both sides supporting the partition of the multiethnic republic
into cantons. This solution is strongly opposed by Muslims, numerically
the republic's largest nationality. On 11-February an official
of the Croatian Democratic Community, one of three parties sharing
political power in the republic, said that the "best democratic
solution to the Bosnian crisis is that it be cantonized." A spokesman
for the Serbian Democratic Party told RFE/RL that no definitive
agreement has been made so far, but he is confident that the
Croats will convince their Muslim allies that a peaceful reorganization
of the republic is the only way to avoid civil war. On 29-February,
a Muslim-Croat backed referendum on Bosnian independence takes
place. (Milan Andrejevich)

Ministry spokesman Gyorgy Keleti alleged, according to MTI, that
on 13-February two Yugoslav federal army war planes violated
Hungarian airspace, and Yugoslav war planes also entered the
10-kilometer neutral air zone along the Hungarian-Yugoslav border
several times. The Yugoslav air force denied the violations,
and Yugoslavia's military attache in Budapest was summoned to
the Hungarian army headquarters to clarify the matter. The Hungarian
air force has been placed on an increased state of alert. (Edith

VUK DRASKOVIC VISITS HUNGARY. On 13-February, the leader of the
Serbian Renewal Movement, Vuk Draskovic, arrived for a four-day
visit to Hungary at the invitation of the Jakov Ignjatovic cultural
foundation. Draskovic is scheduled to meet Hungarian Foreign
Minister Geza Jeszenszky, the head of Secretariat for Hungarians
Abroad, Geza Entz, the leaders of major Hungarian parties, and
representatives of the Serbian minority in Hungary. (Edith Oltay)
[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull


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