When we can begin to take our failures non-seriously, it means we are ceasing to be afraid of them. It is of immense importance to learn to laugh at ourselves. - Katherine Mansfield
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 33, 18 February 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

BAKER IN MOSCOW. US Secretary of State James Baker held talks
with Russian President Boris Yeltsin on 17-February to discuss
Baker's tour of CIS states, economic reform in Russia, and disarmament.
Baker offered US assistance in destroying nuclear weapons. According
to Western agency reports, Yeltsin accepted an American offer
of 25 armored railway cars especially designed to protect nuclear
warheads from terrorist attack, as well as other safety equipment.
The US also pledged to provide $25 million "seed money" for the
joint German/American/Russian project to employ former Soviet
nuclear scientists in non-military research. Baker began meetings
with Foreign Minister Kozyrev on the morning of 18-February,
ITAR-TASS reported on 17 and 18-February. (Suzanne Crow and Doug
Clarke)

KRAVCHUK DEMANDS RETURN OF BOMBERS. ITAR-TASS reported on 17-February
that Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk sent a sharp protest
to Boris Yeltsin over what he termed the "hijacking" of six long-range
bombers from Ukraine to Russia (see Daily Report, 17-February).
Calling the crews' action "a crime that contradicts international
agreements and Ukrainian law," Kravchuk asked Yeltsin to take
steps to return the "offenders," the planes, and the regimental
banner they took with them. (Kathy Mihalisko)

AIR DIVISION OPTS FOR UKRAINE. The First Strategic Air Division,
based at Uzin in Ukraine, has renounced its subordination to
Moscow and has accepted Ukrainian jurisdiction, according to
a 17-February ITAR-TASS report. [There are 21 BEAR H cruise-missile
carrying strategic bombers stationed at Uzin.] Colonel General
Igor Kalugin, the commander of CIS long-range, or strategic aviation,
immediately fired the division commander from his post, but the
report said that this decision was abrogated by the Ukrainian
minister of defense on instruction from President Kravchuk. This
incident is more unusual than the many cases of conflicting loyalties
in the conventional forces, since Ukraine has not laid claim
to units clearly belonging to the strategic forces-such as this
air division. (Doug Clarke)

OFFICERS' COUNCIL WANTS TROOP WITHDRAWALS SUSPENDED. The All-Army
Officers' Assembly called on the CIS Heads of State to suspend
the withdrawal of troops from Germany, Poland, and the Baltics
until "structures and mechanisms" to provide for their social
and legal protection had been provided. The substance of the
address, which contained a number of other requests, was given
to correspondents by Aleksandr Mochaykin, the Chairman of the
Assembly's Coordination Council, and was published by ITAR-TASS
on 14-February. (Doug Clarke)

SUBMARINE COLLISION IN NORTHERN FLEET. A nuclear-powered attack
submarine of the Northern Fleet collided with what was first
called "an unknown underwater object" near the entrance to Kola
Bay on 11-February ITAR-TASS reported on 14-February. Northern
Fleet officials confirmed the collision and first hinted that
fishing trawlers might have been involved. According to Interfax
of 14-February, they later said that a foreign submarine had
been hit. On 17-February, Interfax reported that an expert at
the Main Naval Headquarters in Moscow had speculated that the
other submarine may have been an American one sailing submerged
in Russian territorial waters. The Northern Fleet boat had no
casualties and only minor damage. (Doug Clarke)

REGIONAL SUMMIT ENDS IN TEHERAN. The Economic Cooperation Organization
summit conference ended in Teheran on 17-February after participants
signed an agreement to introduce preferential tariffs among member
states, set up a development bank, and cooperate in modernization
of transport, communications, industry, and agriculture, Western
news agencies reported. The organization, which originally consisted
of Iran, Turkey and Pakistan, admitted Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan,
Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Kazakhstan has observer
status. The group plans to work toward creation of a common market
of Muslim states. News reports said that Turkish President Turgut
Ozal pressed for the development of free-market economies and
an infrastructure similar to that of the European Common Market.
(Bess Brown)

RUSSIAN CONGRESS OF PEOPLE'S DEPUTIES SCHEDULED. The Russian
Supreme Soviet decided on 14-February to convene the next Congress
of People's Deputies on 6-April, ITAR-TASS and Radio Rossii reported.
The opening of the Congress had originally been proposed for
20-April. The draft of the new Russian Constitution is expected
to be completed in time for debate and ratification during this
session. (Carla Thorson)

NEW RUSSIAN CONSTITUTION AND CONSTITUENT REPUBLICS. Sergei Filatov,
first deputy speaker of the Russian parliament, expressed confidence
at a news conference on 17-February that agreement will have
been reached with the constituent republics of the Russian Federation
on Russia's national-territorial structure by the time the Russian
Congress of People's Deputies meets to debate the new constitution,
Interfax reported on 17-February. Filatov's prognosis seems somewhat
overoptimistic. On 17-February the North Ossetian parliament
was the latest to reject the draft agreement delimiting powers
between the Federation and the republics, saying that it deprived
the republics of their elementary sovereign rights, "Vesti" reported
on 17-February. (Ann Sheehy)

AGREEMENT ON UKRAINIAN CURRENCY? Russian and Ukrainian officials
told a news conference in Brussels on 17-February that agreement
had been reached on the modalities of introducing a Ukrainian
currency sometime this year, Western agencies reported. The officials
had been attending a conference on trade and currencies in the
former Soviet Union. The agreement will be submitted to the two
governments. Under its terms, Ukraine will inform other states
using rubles in advance of the date of introduction of the new
currency. The introduction will be quick and non-discriminatory.
Rubles will be withdrawn from circulation in Ukraine and remitted
to the Russian Central Bank. (Keith Bush)

STATISTICAL REPORT FOR 1991. The newly configured Goskomstat
has published the statistical report for the economic activity
of the republics of the former USSR-except Georgia-during 1991
in Ekonomika i zhizn, No. 6, 1992. Composite declines (in comparable
prices) for the current eleven members of the CIS were recorded
in 1991 in respect of the following indicators: GNP-17%; national
income (produced)-15%; total consumption of goods and services-15%;
and housing completions-17%. (Keith Bush)

GAIDAR ON GROWTH PROSPECTS. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Egor
Gaidar told Russian TV on 16-February that "the most optimistic
hypothesis allows us to reckon with a restoration of healthy
growth in 1993." [Estimates of the decline in output anticipated
in 1992 range between 5% and 20%.] This would not be possible
unless finances are stabilized and the economy is restructured.
Gaidar saw the government's chief task as encouraging private
consumer and electronics industries, while cushioning the country
against the decline of heavy industry and the military complex.
He was cautiously optimistic about chances for the stabilization
of the ruble and of prices. (Keith Bush)

MARATHON CONTRACT TO BE RECON-SIDERED. A spokesman for the Marathon
Oil Company confirmed on 13-February that the Russian government
had formed a committee to reconsider its award of a multi-billion-dollar
contract to develop oil fields near Sakhalin Island, The International
Herald Tribune reported in its issue for 15-16-February. The
contract was awarded on 28-January to a consortium of Marathon,
Mitsui, and McDermott International. [This reversal, coming shortly
after the introduction of stiff new taxes and currency regulations
affecting oil exports, plus the Chevron hiatus in Kazakhstan,
will hardly encourage Western investment in Russian oil exploration
and exploitation]. (Keith Bush)

HEALTH SITUATION IN RUSSIA. A US health team visited six regions
in the southern Urals and in south-central Siberia from 16-January
through 6-February. Its findings were published by the Center
for Disease Control and reported by Reuters on 13-February. The
US specialists found critical shortages of vaccines against measles,
polio, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis: the number of reported
cases of some of these diseases rose in Russia in 1991, reversing
an earlier downward trend. Polluted drinking water in parts of
Siberia has caused sharp rises in dysentery and gastroenteritis.

(Keith Bush) YAKOVLEV FEELS THREATENED BY DEMOCRATS. Former Politburo
member Aleksandr Yakovlev told Izvestiya on 17-February that
the new democratic leadership of Russia is threatening to prosecute
him because of his former involvement in the CPSU financing of
foreign Communist parties with state money. Yakovlev did not
deny that he, in his capacity as supervisor of the CPSU's International
Department, helped to finance Communists abroad, but he also
maintained that he had managed to reduce this financial support
from 25 million rubles to 12 million rubles per annum. He said
that he learned of such transactions for the first time as Soviet
ambassador to Canada. (Alexander Rahr)

KHASBULATOV ATTACKS GOVERNMENT, PRESS. Russian Parliament Chairman
Ruslan Khasbulatov has accused the Russian press of having "declared
war on the state." In an interview with Novoe Vremya summarized
by ITAR-TASS on 17-February, Khasbulatov fiercely attacked the
press for its criticism of him and the parliament. Khasbulatov
again denounced the government's reform policy and called upon
President Boris Yeltsin to relinquish his post as premier in
order to concentrate himself entirely on state affairs. At the
same time, Khasbulatov attacked Yeltsin's deputy premiers, Gennadii
Burbulis and Egor Gaidar for taking government affairs entirely
into their own hands. (Alexander Rahr)

YELTSIN'S PRESS SECRETARY LEAVES HIS POST. On 16 January, "Vesti"
quoted Radio Liberty as reporting that the Russian presidential
press secretary, Pavel Voshchanov, left his post to return to
journalism. The next day, ITAR-TASS confirmed this news. According
to RFE/RL and "Vesti" the reason behind Voshchanov's resignation
was his disagreement with Yeltsin over the Russian leadership's
media policy. Voshchanov reportedly felt that it was Yeltsin's
legislation that has brought many Moscow periodicals to the verge
of bankruptcy. (Vera Tolz)

FOREIGN POLICY COUNCIL TO COME. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman
Vitalii Churkin said on 13-February that a Foreign Policy Council
will be created within the Russian Foreign Ministry, ITAR-TASS
reported that day. The membership is to include "representatives
of political and business circles." Churkin did not elaborate
on the planned functions of the Foreign Policy Council, but it
may parallel the now-defunct USSR MFA Collegium. (Suzanne Crow)


OBMINSKY, DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER? A report on Russia's foreign
political ties carried by Biznes-TASS on 14-February referred
to Ernest Obminsky (formerly a deputy foreign minister in the
USSR Foreign Ministry) as Russian deputy foreign minister. Following
the dissolution of the USSR, all USSR deputy foreign ministers
were made ambassadors-at-large temporarily. This news of Obminsky's
new job is the first observable appointment of a USSR deputy
minister to a comparable position in the Russian Foreign Ministry.
(Suzanne Crow)

AKAEV IN CANADA. Western agencies reported on 17-February that
Canada and Kyrgyzstan have established diplomatic relations.
The agreement was formalized during a meeting between Kyrgyz
President Askar Akaev and Canadian Minister of External Affairs
Barbara McDougall during Akaev's visit to Canada, where he has
met with Canadians involved in the planning of Kyrgyzstan's economic
reform program. (Bess Brown)

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT VISITING US. Moldovan President Mircea Snegur,
who left on 16-February for his first visit to the United States
since his election in December, told journalists at Chisinau
airport that the main aim of his visit was to accelerate the
establishment of diplomatic relations with the United States
and Canada, ITAR-TASS reported on 16-February. Snegur is to attend
the session of the UN General Assembly when Moldovan membership
is to be formally accepted, and he will also meet US President
George Bush. (Ann Sheehy)

DRUC ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF MOLDOVAN OPPOSITION PARTY. A congress
of the Moldovan Popular Front on 15-16-February changed the front's
name to the Popular Christian-Democratic Front and elected former
Premier Mircea Druc, chairman, ITAR-TASS reported on 17-February.
The congress proclaimed the unification of Moldova with Romania
as its chief aim. The election of Druc as chairman of the front
is likely to aggravate the political struggle in Moldova. In
his pre-election speech Druc said he did not exclude armed struggle
to achieve national liberation. According to Moldovapres on 17-February,
the front changed its name as a preliminary to presenting candidates
in Romanian elections due in a few months. (Ann Sheehy)



BALTIC STATES

CALL FOR DEMILITARIZATION OF KALININGRAD. On 16-February at ceremonies
marking the 74th anniversary of Lithuania's independence, broadcast
live by Radio Lithuania, Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council
Vytautas Landsbergis called for the withdrawal of armed forces
from Kaliningrad Oblast. Landsbergis first called for the demilitarization
of Kaliningrad at a press conference in Bonn on 13-February.
In an interview with the RFE Lithuanian Service on 17-February
he observed that if Russia has truly renounced Soviet expansion
into Europe, the presence of the army in Kaliningrad is a "historical
anachronism." (Saulius Girnius)

LALUMIéRE IN VILNIUS. On 17-February Catherine Lalumire, Secretary-General
of the Council of Europe, met Landsbergis, Minister of Foreign
Affairs Algirdas Saudargas, and Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius,
Radio Lithuania reported. The Baltic States applied for membership
in the Council of Europe in September, but were only granted
special guest status in the Council's parliamentary assembly.
The purpose of Lalumire's visit is to discuss the membership
applications. She will visit Latvia on 18-February and Estonia
on 19-February. (Saulius Girnius)

POLICE POWERLESS AGAINST ILLEGALS. Three days after Estonian
police began registering illegal immigrants, an advisor to the
Police Authority admitted the law enforcement agency is unable
to take any measures against the illegals. Igor Aaman told BNS
on 17-February that the Supreme Council must draw up a new administrative
code before the police can take any action, because the old code
does not take into account the existence of illegal immigrants.
Aaman further said that one likely action-deportation of illegals
from Estonia-must be governed by an interstate treaty. (Riina
Kionka)

ESTONIA CHARGES LATVIA. Estonia will start charging Latvia five
US cents per kilowatt hour for electricity, BNS reported on 17-February.
Prime Minister Tiit Vahi told reporters that day that charging
hard currency for electric power sold to Latvia would bring in
$700,000 a day. Vahi said Estonia would be willing to take payment
in barter using convertible rubles, adding that Latvia could
deliver food, lumber, and manufactured goods in return for the
electricity. In case Latvia does not agree, Vahi said, Estonia
would increase internal electricity use and sell more to Russia
and Belarus. (Riina Kionka)

"A WEEK WITHOUT PRESS" STARTS IN LATVIA. Latvian newspaper publishers
started "A Week Without Press" on 17-February, Radio Riga reported
that day. Speaking for the organizers of the action, Arvils Aseradens,
president of the Publishers and Editors Association, stressed
that the action was economic (i.e. prompted by newsprint shortage),
rather than political. Apparently most of the 799-newspapers
registered in Latvia are supporting the action, although exact
information is not available. (Dzintra Bungs)

LATVIAN STANDARD OF LIVING. On 14-February Radio Riga reported
about a poll taken by "Save the Children" association in Latvia
on family income. The association argues that the minimal monthly
salary (670-rubles) and pension (540-rubles) and monthly child
support supplement (240-rubles) that was set in-February by the
Council of Ministers are too low. They also point out that the
information supplied by state statistics is overly optimistic:
the monthly per capita income of 7.2% of Latvian families is
under 300-rubles, and under 500-rubles for 19% of families. According
to their own poll of 2216-families (averaging 4.3-members each),
the respective figures were 32% and 68%. The association urged
the government to recalculate minimal income and child support
levels on the basis of precise statistical information. (Dzintra
Bungs)

LATVIA ANTICIPATES UNEMPLOYMENT. Radio Riga reported on 12-February
that there were about 4500-unemployed persons in Riga; at the
same time there were over 6000-openings for either highly skilled
professionals or unskilled laborers. Greater unemployment is
expected, and, according to Arnis Kalnins, Minister for Economic
Reforms, unemployment compensation will be calculated at 70-90%
of subsistence-level income as determined by the government.
Currently, monthly unemployment compensation is 600-rubles. Kalnins
did not say whether this sum was at subsistence level. According
to calculations of the independent trade unions, the minimal
monthly salary should be 1586-rubles and pensions-1090-rubles.

(Dzintra Bungs) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE START OF SOLIDARITY-GOVERNMENT
TALKS. PAP reports that the first round of Solidarity-government
talks started on 17-February. According to Ewa Lewicka, head
of the Union delegation, the main subject of the talks was unemployment
and the ways and means to fight it. Also discussed were the special
programs proposed for regions particularly threatened with unemployment
and new principles of the employment policy. Andrzej Slowik,
Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy, promised to submit
a government document "determining the principles of social policy
in 1992" within two weeks. The next round of talks is to take
place on 16-March. (Roman Stefanowski)

CATHOLIC-JEWISH LIAISON COMMITTEE IN POLAND. A delegation of
the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee, representing
world Jewry, arrived in Poland to continue its cooperation with
Catholic and lay institutions, PAP reported on 17-February. Meeting
with the Polish Episcopate on 17-February, the delegation explored
the possibility of sending a group of lecturers to inform Polish
Catholics about Judaism in order to overcome mutual prejudices.
Polish Primate Cardinal Jozef Glemp told the delegation that
"there can be [in Poland] no question of tolerating anti-Semitism
or of any other manifestation of anti-Jewish feelings, since
anti-Semitism is irreconcilable with the teachings of the Church."
(Roman Stefanowski)

CZECHOSLOVAK INVESTMENT FUNDS START ACCEPTING PRIVATIZATION COUPONS.
On 17-February Czechoslovakia took another step to-ward privatizing
large pieces of the state-owned economy. Industrial assets with
an estimated book value of $9 billion are involved. In a so-called
"zero-round," about 8.4-million holders of privatization coupons
can opt to pool them in any of 437-officially sanctioned funds.
Investors can also choose to-invest their coupons directly in
any of some 800-companies slated for privatization this year.
Recent polls indicate that about one-third of investors intend
to entrust their coupons to funds set up by banks and private
financial groups, Western media report. Foreigners already are
allowed to set up investment funds to handle coupons. (Peter
Matuska)

HUNGARY URGES ABANDONMENT OF DAM PROJECT. In a verbal statement
to the charge d'affaires of the Czechoslovak embassy in Budapest
on 14-February, the Hungarian government has again called on
the Czechoslovak government to abandon construction work on the
Gabcikovo-Nagymaros hydroelectric dam project. The note said
that Czechoslovakia's unilateral decision to build the dam by
deflecting the Danube river is "illegal and unacceptable," because
it violates the 1977 interstate agreement between Hungary and
Czechoslovakia as well as "principles of international law concerning
respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the inviolability
of international borders." The Hungarian parliament is currently
considering a government proposal to cancel the 1977 agreement.
(Edith Oltay)

MORE ON LOCAL ELECTIONS IN ROMANIA. Crin Halaicu, candidate of
the opposition Democratic Convention (DC) for mayor-general of
Bucharest, criticized the way local elections were organized
by the ruling National Salvation Front, Rompres reports. He spoke
of "improvisation and chaos everywhere." Other DC representatives
singled out irregularities, including exploitation of loopholes
in the electoral law, undue pressures from the administration,
and attempts by the TV to influence the electorate on the second
round of elections. (Crisula Stefanescu)

WARNING STRIKE IN GALATI. Workers at more than 20-enterprises
in Galati, Romania, have gone on strike to express discontent
over the government-trade union negotiations on a national work
contract. The strikes were preceded by a march by drivers, Rompres
reports. (Crisula Stefanescu)

TURKISH MILITARY DELEGATION IN ROMANIA. A Turkish military delegation
headed by Gen.-Dogan GŸres, chief of staff of the Turkish armed
forces, arrived in Bucharest on 17-February, Rompres reports.
An agreement is to be signed between the two governments on cooperation
in military training, technology, and science. (Crisula Stefanescu)


ROMANIA AND BELARUS ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC TIES. On 14-February
Romania and Belarus formally established diplomatic ties, Rompres
reported. Both countries agreed to open embassies in each other's
capital. Belarus foreign minister Petr Krauchenka held talks
with his Romanian counterpart, Adrian Nastase, in Bucharest last
week. (Crisula Stefanescu)

BULGARIAN ROUND TABLE ON PRIVATIZATION. Problems of privatization
were discussed over the weekend in Sofia by government economists
and participants from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Hungary,
the World Bank, and the PHARE program. Dailies on 17-February
said that a compromise was reached on a bill presented by Asen
Michkovski, the chairman of the parliament's economic commission,
that covers all levels of privatization. It had been criticized
for being too unwieldy. Opponents of the measure, foremost among
them Alex Alexiev, head of an economic consultative council set
up by Prime Minister Filip Dimitrov, strongly advocate separate,
advance legislation to get small privatization started. (Rada
Nikolaev)

BANU-NIKOLA PETKOV HOLDS CONGRESS. The Bulgarian Agrarian National
Union-Nikola Petkov held its extraordinary congress as scheduled
on 15-16-February. Its leader, Milan Drenchev, who on 8-February
signed an agreement to unite with the formerly official BANU-United,
was opposed to the congress being held. BTA reported that BANU-NP
elected as its new secretary-general Anastasia Dimitrova-Moser,
daughter of the late Agrarian opposition leader Georgi M. Dimitrov
who died in exile in 1972. She lives in the US and flew in especially
for the congress. The participants in the congress are opposed
to uniting with the official BANU-U and are supposed to have
opted for cooperation with the Union of Democratic Forces which
BANU-NP left last September. Details are not yet available, however.
(Rada Nikolaev)

BOUTROS-GHALI WANTS UN TROOPS IN CROATIA UNTIL SETTLEMENT IS
REACHED. International media report that the UN secretary-general
asked on 17-February that the 13-14,000-strong UN Protection
Force (UNPROFOR) be kept in Croatia until a final political arrangement
is agreed upon. This would prevent the Zagreb authorities from
ordering them out once the Serbian-dominated army had evacuated
ethnically Serbian enclaves in order to reestablish control over
those areas. Twelve countries including Russia, France, and Czechoslovakia
have been asked to contribute 900-man infantry battalions. Meanwhile,
Milan Babic, the last major ethnic Serbian leader in Croatia
to oppose the UN plan, appears to have backed down on his earlier
implied threats to resist the peace-keepers. Babic nonetheless
stressed that Croatia's Serbs are reluctant to part with their
weapons and that they insist on being full participants in any
negotiations on their future. (Patrick Moore)

RUSSIA RECOGNIZES CROATIA. Croatia's HINA news agency said on
17-February that Russia has formally recognized that republic
and wants to start talks on the establishment of diplomatic ties.
Russia recognized Slovenia on 14-February. On 17-February, EC
foreign ministers met in Lisbon and agreed to send observers
to monitor Bosnia's upcoming referendum, Austrian TV reports.
The 18-February Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung adds that Greek
objections continue to block an EC consensus on recognizing Macedonia,
despite recommendations from a special commission in January
that Macedonia had met conditions for recognition. The paper
noted that German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher is
seeking to maintain a unified EC position on recognizing both
Bosnia and Macedonia. Authorities in London announced to news
agencies on 17-February that Britain will provide almost $900,000
in humanitarian aid to Croatia and Slovenia through both UN and
nongovernmental agencies. (Patrick Moore) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled
by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull












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