|To appreciate nonsense requires a serious interest in life. - Gelett Burgess|
No. 34, 19 February 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR SHAPOSHNIKOV NEWS CONFERENCE. The CIS commander in chief and former Soviet defense minister held a wide-ranging news conference on 18-February. As reported by Western agencies, he predicted that the former Soviet armed forces would gradually split up into national armies, but he hoped that this breakup would be "civilized." He indicated that the length of the transition had not been decided at the Minsk summit and called for a period of three years. While many military problems had been solved at that meeting, Shaposhnikov said that much more work had to be done before the next summit- in Kiev on 20-March. (Doug Clarke) MISSILE WARNING AGREEMENT. US Secretary of State James Baker and Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev agreed on 18-February that their two countries would establish a joint early warning center to detect ballistic missile attacks. According to accounts of the agreement in Western agency reports, the center would also be open to participation by the other republics in the CIS. This initiative was described as the first step in creating a joint defense system. (Doug Clarke) SHAPOSHNIKOV ON THE ROLE OF THE ARMED FORCES. Marshal Evgenii Shaposhnikov, the commander in chief of the CIS armed forces, told the Russian parliament on 18-February that armed forces should be used to defend the state against an outside attack, and not against its own people. He was testifying at the hearings on the role played by the former USSR Ministry of Defense in the abortive August 1991 coup, and was quoted by ITAR-TASS. Shaposhnikov revealed that draft legislation banning the use of the armed forces in resolving internal political problems had been submitted to Russian President Boris Yeltsin. (Doug Clarke) PROGRESS WITH RUSSIAN/UKRAINE AGREEMENT ON FORCES. Sergei Shakhrai, a deputy chairman of the Russian government, was quoted by Postfactum on 18-February as saying that Ukraine and Russia had agreed on approximately 70% of the units that would make up the CIS strategic armed forces. (Doug Clarke) UPDATE ON DEFECTING PILOTS, AIR DIVISION. At his press conference, Shaposhnikov said that the 12 pilots who brought 6 Su-24s from Ukraine to Russia on 13-February had received new assignments and would not be forced to return to Ukraine. There would be talks with Ukrainian authorities about returning the aircraft. ITAR-TASS on 18-February revealed that a deputy division commander, a regimental staff officer, and a squadron commander were among the defecting aircrews. The chief of staff of CIS long- range aviation was quoted by Ostankino television on 18-February as saying that the personnel of a tanker aircraft regiment and some personnel at divisional headquarters at the strategic airbase in Ukraine had taken the oath of allegiance to Ukraine, and not the crews of the 21 strategic bombers stationed there. He said that an agreement had been reached whereby the division would come under Ukrainian "jurisdiction" but would still remain subordinate to CIS military authorities. (Doug Clarke) UKRAINE CLARIFIES POSITION ON STRATEGIC AIRBASE. The Financial Times on 19-February quoted Viktor Batiuk, head of the international organizations department of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, as saying that Ukraine had taken over the long-range bomber division in retaliation for the incident involving the six bomber crews who flew to Russia. Another Foreign Ministry official, Volodymyr Belashov, told the same source that Kiev's position is that the aircraft should belong to Ukraine, while the nuclear weapons they are designed to carry should belong to CIS joint command. (Kathy Mihalisko) KRAVCHUK ON MINSK SUMMIT. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk held a press conference on 17-February at which he discussed, among other issues, the results of the recently concluded CIS summit in Minsk, Radio Kiev reported on 18-February. The Ukrainian leader, while judging the summit in an overall positive light, nonetheless made it clear that Ukraine was determined to pursue its own line on conventional military forces. Kravchuk also noted that Belarus and Kazakhstan had reservations about joint CIS non- nuclear forces and expressed the conviction that the Crimea would remain within Ukraine. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINE'S RELATIONS WITH EAST EUROPEAN NEIGHBORS. Kravchuk also played down rumors that Ukraine was about to form a new "union of states" with Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland. No discussions on this issue have been held, the Ukrainian president told reporters, although Ukraine is determined to participate in all European structures. Ukraine should not leave one commonwealth in order to join another, ITAR-TASS quoted Kravchuk on 18-February. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINIAN REPRESENTATIVE ON RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA. Ukraine's envoy in Moscow, Volodymyr Kryzhanivsky is quoted by ITAR-TASS on 18-February as saying that there is no "conflict" between Ukraine and Russia. Existing differences between the two countries, he said, could be regulated only through talks between the two sides. Kryzhanivsky's remarks were made in a recent interview in Pravda. (Roman Solchanyk) MOROZOV: UKRAINIAN FORCE NO THREAT TO NEIGHBORS. In an address to servicemen and veterans of the army and navy published on 18-February in the Ukrainian press and quoted by Ukrinform-TASS, Defense Minister Konstantin Morozov stressed that Ukraine's active efforts to create a national armed forces "should not raise fears among our neighbors and other states." He said that the scale of Ukraine's plans are limited to its legitimate security requirements. Some 80% of recruits have sworn an oath of allegiance to Ukraine, he continued. (Kathy Mihalisko) SHAKHRAI ON MINSK SUMMIT. Russian Deputy Chairman Sergei Shakhrai gave a "very positive" evaluation of the Minsk summit at a meeting with Russian deputies on 18-February, ITAR-TASS reported on 18-February. He singled out the agreements on military matters as the most important. Shakhrai said that differences between CIS members states would persist for a long time, but forecast that the next two years would sober up many politicians and the Commonwealth would not fall apart. Only a strong ruble and not national currencies and customs barriers would save the economies of the republics. (Ann Sheehy) NEW EXCHANGE RATE FOR THE RUBLE? The head of the Russian Central Bank's Foreign Currency Department told Western agencies on 18-February that his government is circulating a proposal for a new exchange rate of 5.4 rubles to the dollar. This rate would be used exclusively for purchases by the Russian government of foreign foodstuffs for sale in state stores. The current official exchange rate is 110 rubles to the dollar, but at recent currency auctions the dollar has sold for over 200 rubles. If adopted, the new fixed exchange rate would represent a setback to the avowed commitment to convertibility. (Keith Bush) AEROFLOT RENAMED. Among rulings passed by the Russian Supreme Soviet Presidium on 17-February, according to Interfax, was one renaming Aeroflot. Its new name is "Airline Russia." (Keith Bush) KOMI OIL WORKERS RESUME WORK. Work resumed on 18-February at the 96 oil wells in the Komi republic where operations had been halted by a strike, ITAR-TASS reported. The Russian fuel minister, Vladimir Lopukhin agreed to a "considerable proportion" of the oil-workers demands, and documents are to be presented to the Russian president and government calling for a change in oil and gas prices, improved material and technical supplies, increased pay, and other benefits. The oil workers had threatened to shut down another 100 wells if their demands were not met by 18-February. (Ann Sheehy) RUTSKOI MEETS COSSACK ATAMANS. Russian Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi, addressing the Small Council of Cossack Atamans in Moscow on 18-February, said that the decision to make him responsible for agriculture may have been intended to put him down, but he would succeed with agriculture if he was not hindered, "Vesti" reported. The Cossacks, who want their rights to land ownership restored, their own army units, and legal rehabilitation, were said to look to Rutskoi as their only hope. "Vesti" also had reported on 17-February that after the council meeting some of the atamans would go to the Far East to discuss the settlement of Russians and Cossacks driven from the southern republics and the Caucasus by a wave of nationalism on Sakhalin and in the Kuriles. (Ann Sheehy) INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC FORUM IN ST.-PETERSBURG. On the initiative of the Muslim community of St. Petersburg, an international forum on "The Rebirth of Islam in St. Petersburg" met from 15-16-February, ITAR-TASS reported. Delegates came from 12 countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran, Radio Rossii reported on 17-February. Participants called for the opening of more mosques as well as a network of Islamic educational institutions in the city. Radio Rossii said that an explosion in the city's only mosque just before the opening of the forum could have been the work of an illegal Sunni fundamentalist group protesting the "Shiitization" of the city's Muslims. (Ann Sheehy) DEMOCRATIC FORCES OF RUSSIA'S NATIONAL-TERRITORIAL FORMATIONS HOLD CONGRESS. The second congress of the Democratic Forces of National-Territorial Formations of the Russian Federation took place in the Tatar capital of Kazan on 15- 16-February, Radio Rossii reported on 17-February. The congress was organized by the Democratic Party of Russia (DPR), which strongly defends the unity of the Russian Federation. The Tatar Supreme Soviet, which on several occasions has criticized the DPR, protested the holding of the congress on the territory of Tatarstan. Tatarstan's political groups, which support the republic's independence, held demonstrations protesting the Congress. The organizers of the Congress said that some of the participants were beaten up by Tatar nationalists. The Congress nevertheless proceeded and adopted a series of resolutions, including one on the division of power between the Russian leadership and national-territorial formations of the Russian Federation, and another on the creation of alternative power structures. (Vera Tolz) GAMSAKHURDIA RESURFACES. At a joint press conference with the Chechen president in Grozny on 18-February, ousted Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia told ITAR-TASS that he had no intention of resigning, that most of the Georgian population still supported him, and that his disappearance in recent weeks had been occasioned by persecution by the "junta" in power in Georgia. Before meeting with Georgian Prime Minister Tengiz Sigua in Moscow on 18-February at the insistence of former Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, US Secretary of State James Baker expressed reservations both at the manner of Gamsakhurdia's ouster and at his policies while president. Baker stressed that the United States "wishes to let the people of Georgia know that it has no desire to ignore or isolate them." (Liz Fuller) AZERBAIJAN POPULAR FRONT CALLS FOR MUTALIBOV'S RESIGNATION. Delegates from the Azerbaijan Popular Front to Azerbaijan's National Council have rejected a three-point peace plan for Nagorno-Karabakh proposed by republican President Ayaz Mutalibov after his meeting last week with US Secretary of State James Baker, according to the Turan news agency on 18-February. The Popular Front called for the resignation of Mutalibov and his government on the grounds that they have proved helpless to protect the Azerbaijani population of the NKAO. Mutalibov has dismissed his Minister of Defence, Tadzhaddin Mekhtiev, in response to pressure from the opposition. (Liz Fuller) PETROLEUM CONTRACT SIGNED IN KAZAKHSTAN. The first major contract for joint exploitation of petroleum resources in Western Kazakhstan has been signed by Kazakh Deputy Premier Kalyk Abdullaev and the director general of the French oil concern Elf-Aquitaine, KazTAG-TASS reported on 18-February. The contract with Chevron, which has been under negotiation far longer, has still not been signed. According to the report, Elf has promised to protect the environment, and to train and make maximum use of local employees in the enterprise. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev told Elf representatives that the contract is an expression of trust in Kazakhstan's economic potential and political stability. (Bess Brown) US AND MOLDOVA ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. After Moldovan President Mircea Snegur visited US President George Bush on 18-February, the White House announced that the two countries had formally established diplomatic relations and would exchange ambassadors in the near future, Western agencies reported. An unnamed State Department official said the United States was pleased with the restrained way Snegur's government was handling the situation in Moldova's Dniester area. Snegur is to leave Washington on 19-February for discussions with Canadian Premier Brian Mulroney. (Ann Sheehy) BALTIC STATES LALUMIéRE IN LATVIA. On 18-February Catherine Lalumire, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, addressed the Latvian Supreme Council and met with Latvian leaders and representatives of national minorities. She was visiting Riga as a part of visit to the Baltic capitals in conjunction with these countries' applications for membership in the Council. Radio Riga reported on 18-February that Lalumire said that Latvia has made much progress toward democratization, implemen-tation of human rights, and economic reforms, and urged that these processes be continued. (Dzintra Bungs) BALTIC SECURITY CONFERENCE. Baltic leaders attending a conference on Baltic and Nordic security in Tallinn are worried that dissatisfaction among former Soviet troops could adversely affect general security in the Baltic rim, BNS reported on 17-February. Former Estonian Minister of State Raivo Vare told participants that "a consensus prevails within the officer corps of the former USSR armed forces that troops withdrawing from Eastern Europe will be brought to the Baltic States, and that within 15-years everything will change." The three-day conference, sponsored by Estonia's right-of-center Tonisson Institute, has drawn participants from all Baltic-rim states. (Riina-Kionka) VAHI NAMES ANOTHER MINISTER. Estonian Prime Minister Tiit Vahi named Merle Krigul as minister without portfolio responsible for nationality affairs, BNS reported on 18-February. The nomination of Krigul, who served as senior consultant for Endel Lippmaa when the latter filled the post in the Savisaar government, has met opposition from the Supreme Council commission on nationality affairs. Commission chairman Enn Leisson, a longtime Savisaar supporter, told BNS that the commission does not think Krigul is "sufficiently mature" for the job. Pavel Grigorjev, another member of Leisson's commission, expressed surprise at Vahi's choice, telling BNS that the commission had actually recommended Leisson for the job. The Supreme Council is due to vote on this and the nomination of Aavo Molder as Minister of Agriculture on 20-February. (Riina-Kionka) NEW LATVIAN OFFICIALS. On 18-February the Latvian Supreme Council endorsed acting chief Girts Kristovskis as chief of the Home Guard and elected Valdis Birkavs as Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council, Radio Riga reported. Birkavs, nominated by the People's Front faction, replaces Dainis Ivans, who resigned in December 1991. The Supreme Council also eliminated the position of First Deputy Chairman and decided in favor of two deputy chairmen of equal rank. The other deputy chairman is Andrejs Krastins. (Dzintra Bungs) "COSSACK CIRCLE" IN LATVIA. An organization called "Cossack Circle" is being formed in Latvia, Radio Riga reported on 18-February. The circle is not a Cossack culture society, but rather seems to be a paramilitary organization affiliated with Russian monarchists. It is not clear whether it has any relationship to the Small Council of Cossack Atamans. Its members are officers and senior enlisted men of the former Soviet armed forces and those who support the military. The Riga branch reportedly has over 1,800 members. Branches are being formed in Liepaja and Daugavpils, where large numbers of troops are stationed; smaller branches, which the organizers would like to call "battalions," are envisaged in Jelgava, Ludza, and Rezekne. The circle wants to run horse farms in Latvia; if Latvia does not allocate the land, then it would seek locations in Pskov Oblast, just east of Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs) LITHUANIAN HYDROELECTRIC PLANT. On 19-February the first unit of the new hydroelectric power plant at Kaisiadorys went on line, Radio Lithuania reported. The 200- megawatt unit is twice as powerful as the Kaunas hydroelectric power plant and will help Lithuania to cope with the 200-megawatt shortage during peak hours. A second unit should begin operation in July and a third by the end of the year; eight units are planned. (Saulius Girnius) US CORN ARRIVES. On 19-February Radio Lithuania reported that the Pride of Texas had arrived with a cargo of 35,000 tons of feed corn. The ship is the first US-flag ship to enter Klaipeda harbor since World War II. Darryl Johnson, US ambassador to Lithuania, met the ship and noted that two more ships carrying similar humanitarian aid should arrive in the next few weeks. (Saulius Girnius) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE GUS ON POLAND'S ECONOMY AND UNEM-PLOYMENT. The January figures published by the Main Statistical Office (GUS) show a clear deteriora-tion in the country's economic performance, PAP reported on 18-February. While the January 1992 production dropped only 3.7% compared to the month before, it was 15.6% lower than in January 1991, underlining the deepening recession. Net-Jan-uary 1992 wages fell by 8.9% compared to December 1991, but retail prices increased by 7.5%, indicative of the inflationary tendencies. Registered unemployed numbered 2.2-million, amounting to 11.9% of all active population. (Roman Stefanowski) MAZOWIECKI WARNS THE GOVERNMENT. Tadeusz Mazowiecki, former prime minister and Democratic Union leader, warned the government that in the future his party will not be as "uncritical" in the Sejm as hitherto, PAP reported on 18-February. While not supporting the Olszewski government, because it is "motivated by responsibility" the DU voted for the provisional budget. The DU will now await the presentation of the full budget. Mazowiecki also stressed the necessity to form a political bloc "to assume responsibility for safeguarding reforms." Such an alliance, said Mazowiecki, should be based on the Democratic Union, the Liberal-Democratic Congress, and the Center Alliance, "despite the-diffi-cult and painful problems between them that make such an alliance hard to accept." (Roman Stefanowski) LUTKOWSKI EXPLAINS HIS RESIGNATION. Polish Finance Minister Karol Lutkowski told Polish Radio on 18-February that he resigned office because he opposes the government's monetary and fiscal policies. Lutkowski said he is convinced the government's antirecessionary measures will worsen the country's budgetary problems. He has reservations about having the money supply grow faster than inflation and economic growth. While some of the measures adopted "are well meaning" because they are intended to help state enterprises, Lutkowski says, "they are bad for the economy." Prime Minister Olszewski has not yet accepted Lutkowski's resignation. (Roman Stefanowski) CZECHOSLOVAK-RUSSIAN TREATY. On 18-February the foreign ministers of Russia and Czechoslovakia, Andrei Kozyrev and Jiri Dienstbier in Moscow initialed the first treaty on friendship and cooperation between the two countries. Dienstbier said the treaty marked the beginning of completely new relations between Russia and Czechoslovakia, Russian and Western agencies reported. The document calls the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia an "act of violence" by the former USSR, and says the "sides shall not permit the use of their territories for the purpose of aggression or any other act of violence against the other contracting party." The treaty is expected to be signed by Russian and Czechoslovak presidents Boris Yeltsin and Vaclav Havel in March, during Havel's visit to Moscow. (Peter Matuska) CZECHOSLOVAK PARLIAMENT FAILS TO APPROVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS. On 18-February the Czechoslovak Federal Assembly failed to approve amendments to three sections of the country's constitution aimed at settling new relations between the president, the parliament and the government. The amendments failed to gain the necessary total of 45 votes among the Slovak deputies of the Upper House of parliament, the House of Nations. One of the rejected amend-ments said the new parliament should consist of a 200-member House of Representatives and a 100-member Senate to be seated in Prague and Brati-slava, respectively. The rejection means that the-1968 constitution is still in force and that the June 1992 general elections will be to the parliament consisting of a 150-seat House of Nations and a 150-seat House of the People, CSTK reported. (Peter Matuska) HUNGARY'S NATIONAL SECURITY AND ITS ETHNIC MINORITIES. Addressing a political rally in Miskolc in his capacity as Executive Chairman of the majority Hungarian Democratic Forum party, Defense Minister Lajos Fur said the preservation of East Central Europe's entire Hungarian "linguistic nation," one third of which become a minority as a result of the 1920 Trianon Treaty, is an "essential element" of the country's national security. According to Radio Budapest reports, Fur called upon Hungary's parliament and government to use "every legal and diplomatic means" to ensure that Magyar minorities are no longer threatened and the conditions for their preservation are guaranteed. The parliament in Slovakia, where about 570,000 ethnic Magyars live, promptly stated that Fur's statement "does not serve good-neighborly relations." (Alfred Reisch) WEU SECRETARY GENERAL VISITS HUNGARY. During an official visit to Budapest on 17-February 1992, West European Union Secretary-General William van Eekelen met with Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky and other Foreign and Defense Ministry officials, MTI reported. The talks centered on Hungary's desire to establish closer ties with the security policy structures of a future United Europe in which the WEU could become the link between Europe and NAT0. (Alfred Reisch) HUNGARIAN-BRITISH MILITARY TALKS. British National Defense Secretary Sir Michael Quinlan met on 18-February 1992 in Budapest with Hungarian Defense Minister Lajos Fur and other top Defense Ministry officials, MTI reported. It was agreed that six Hungarian officers will soon pursue studies at British military academies. Britain has made an offer to modernize the obsolete MiG fighter planes of the Hungarian air force; the parliament's defense committee must reach a decision on a variety of offers by May 1992. (Alfred Reisch) ROMANIAN MONARCHY REFERENDUM PROPOSED. Opposition leader Radu Campeanu says Romanians should be given a chance to choose between a presidential republic and a monarchy before the presidential election this year, Reuter reports. On 17-February "The May-10 Royal Platform" was set up in Cluj-Napoca as an association of parties and societies calling for the return to power of King Michael, who has been living in exile since 1948. A national referendum last December showed that about 77% of Romanians favor a new constitution making the country a presidential republic. (Crisula Stefanescu) CEAUSESCU BROTHER RELEASED FROM PRISON. Romanian Justice Minister Mircea Ionescu Quintus told reporters that Nicolae Andruta Ceausescu, the brother of former communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu, will be released from the prison for 30-days to receive medical treatment. He headed the Securitate Secret Police Academy and was sentenced in 1990 to 20-years in prison for firing on demonstrators during the December 1989 anticommunist uprising. (Crisula Stefanescu) RISE IN BULGARIA'S ENERGY PRICES PLANNED. On 18-February Evgeni Angelov, deputy chairman of Bulgaria's Energy Committee, told Reuters that power prices might go up 30% beginning on 1-April. According to Angelov, Bulgaria is setting up an energy fund that eventually will enable the country to abolish subsidies to the power industry, The sub- sidies, amounting to some $300-million a year, mainly go for the purchase of energy resources. In the future, profits from energy production and-taxes are to be collected directly into the fund, and not be allocated through the state budget. (Kjell Engelbrekt) BULGARIA CONTEMPLATING SEVENTH REACTOR. Speaking to reporters in Sofia on 18-February, Nikita Shevarshidze, chairman of the supervising council of Bulgaria's Electric Power Company, stated that Bulgaria badly needs the power produced at the Kozloduy nuclear plant and should even consider adding a seventh reactor built by Western companies. Shevarshidze told Western news agencies that he will meet with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) officials in Paris next week to present the plans and request financial assistance. (Kjell Engelbrekt) FORMER UN COMMANDER ON PEACEKEEPERS. Maj. Gen. Slavko Jovic, former commander of the UN Iran-Iraq military observers, told Borba that he thinks UN peacekeeping forces will remain in Yugoslavia "until the politicians responsible for the conflict either reach an agreement or step down."-The interview was published on 18-February. The same day, Belgrade's Youth Radio B-92 interpreted Jovic's statement to mean "the Blue-helmets will be around for a long time-just like in Cyprus." (Milan Andrejevich) As of 1200 CET Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull l
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