To get rid of an enemy, one must love him. - Leo Tolstoy
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 35, 20 February 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

YELTSIN ON REFORM CORRECTIONS . . . In President Boris Yeltsin's
interview on Russian TV, 19-February, there were few specifics
on the corrections to his reform program that had long been predicted
by Burbulis, Gaidar, and Yeltsin himself. He promised tax breaks
for enterprises which increased output, new "beneficial" tax
laws for privatized firms, a reevaluation of the 28% value-added
tax, and continued subsidies for steel, aviation, and space plants.
However, Yeltsin vowed to maintain the thrust of his reform program
(which, incidentally, has never been published in detail). He
admitted that privatization should have been implemented earlier,
and warned that "we have many very hard times ahead of us." (Keith
Bush)

. . . ON RELATIONS WITH UKRAINE. During his television interview,
Yeltsin also discussed Russia's relations with Ukraine. Responding
to a question about the recent summit in Minsk, Yeltsin said
that he could not conceal that the talks were difficult. The
problem, he maintained, is that there are "many" in Moscow who
view Russian-Ukrainian relations from the standpoint of "old
Unionist traditions" when all of the states "marched in a single
line." The Russian leader maintained that Ukraine's position
and opinions should be respected and that relations should be
normal and businesslike. Yeltsin also said that Russia has no
reason to do anything that would force Ukraine out of the CIS.
(Roman Solchanyk)

KRAVCHUK: YELTSIN HAS NO AUTHORITY TO SPEAK FOR CIS IN ARMS TALKS.
Speaking on 19-February at a press conference in Kiev, Ukrainian
President Leonid Kravchuk asserted that the Russian president
has no authority to speak for the CIS as a whole in nuclear arms
reduction talks with the United States. As quoted by Radio Kiev,
Kravchuk proposed that the disarmament process begun by the United
States and the Soviet Union now enter a "4 + 1" stage, i.e.,
that Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan take part in negotiations
with Washington. A second stage of talks, which Kravchuk called
"4 + 4," would include the world's other nuclear powers. The
US State Department was quick to respond with a statement saying
that all four CIS states with long-range weapons will be included
in disarmament talks, according to Western news agencies. (Kathy
Mihalisko)

UKRAINIAN PAPER SENSES MOSCOW PLOT IN "DEFECTION" OF BOMBER PILOTS.
The Ukrainian Supreme Soviet newspaper Holos Ukrainy has interpreted
the controversial flight of six SU-24 crews from Ukraine to Russia
as an action planned by certain political and military forces
in Moscow to sow discord between Yeltsin and Kravchuk at the
Minsk CIS summit on 14-February. The paper was quoted in a Radio
Kiev broadcast on 18-February. After talks with military intelligence
officials in Kiev, the correspondent became convinced that on
13-February the crews first flew north over Belarus, rather than
heading west to Smolensk when they reached the Belarusian border,
for no apparent reason other than to provoke participants in
the summit. The chief of staff of the Seventh Regiment, whose
last name is Krishtopan, put the regimental banner in his briefcase
and drove in a private automobile to Moscow. (Kathy Mihalisko)


AIRMEN APPEAL TO SHAPOSHNIKOV. Krasnaya zvezda on 20-February,
published an appeal to the CIS commander in chief from personnel
in the long-range heavy-bomber regiment in Uzin, Ukraine, asking
him to do all in his power to ensure that their division does
not come under Ukrainian jurisdiction. Claiming to represent
55% of the personnel and 75% of the "commanders and navigators,"
the signatories charged that the division commander was using
agitation . . . strong-arm pressure and disinformation" to get
the regiment to swear an oath of loyalty to Ukraine. They warned
that military discipline and combat readiness had declined. (Doug
Clarke)

YELTSIN GIVES THE MILITARY A PAY RAISE. The Russian president
signed a decree on 19-February raising the pay of officers, warrant
officers, and "re-engaged servicemen." Interfax said that the
minimum salary for a junior officer would be 1,800 rubles per
month. All official payments to servicemen will be tax exempt.
(Doug Clarke)

STAROVOITOVA ON MILITARY REFORM. While she has denied that she
is in line to become the Russian Defense Minister, presidential
advisor Galina Starovoitova has indicated what she would do if
she got the post. In an interview published in Kuranty on 19-February,
she said that first she would make "a real cut" in the armed
forces. Combat capability would be increased by setting up "highly
professional crack units on a voluntary contract basis." She
said that she would "assimilate most carefully" the DM 7 billion
provided by Germany to house troops returning from the former
East Germany. She complained that the present military leadership
was "incomprehensibly planning some new defense construction
worth DM 4 billion." (Doug Clarke)

THREAT OF CUSTOMS BARRIERS WITHIN CIS. The chairman of the Russian
Federation Customs Union, Anatolii Kruglov, told a news conference
that Russia would protect its economic interests by erecting
"customs barriers" along its borders if the other CIS members
failed to sign a customs union treaty now under negotiation,
The Christian Science Monitor and The Journal of Commerce reported
on 19-February. To date, Russia has managed to create a "ruble
zone," in which there is free movement of goods, services, capital,
and labor, with only two of its neighbors, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Exportable raw materials, such as fuels, wood, and leather, are
"siphoned off" by CIS members from Russia to other states. (Keith
Bush)

FORECAST OF OIL OUTPUT AND EXPORTS. Recent warnings that Russia
will shortly become a net importer of oil are "dubious," according
to Rossiiskaya gazeta of 18-February, as quoted by ITAR-TASS.
The newspaper estimates that oil output in the CIS this year
will reach at least 400-410-million tons, including 350- 360
million tons from Russia, and that the net export surplus will
be 40-50 million tons. (Keith Bush)

SUGAR PROCESSING VIRTUALLY STOPPED. Vasilii Severin, the head
of the Russian Agricultural Ministry's sugar-processing department,
told ITAR-TASS on 18-February that shortages of raw sugar have
left only 4 of the Federation's 95 sugar-processing plants in
operation. Deliveries of sugar beets in 1991 were 8 million tons
short, and thus the plants produced only 4 million tons of sugar
instead of the planned 7.5 million tons. Severin hoped that raw
sugar from Cuba and France would arrive shortly, while 2 million
tons of Ukrainian sugar had been promised for the second half
of this year. (Keith Bush)

UNEMPLOYMENT IN RUSSIA. Russian First Deputy Minister of Labor
and Employment Fedor Prokopov told a news conference on 19-February
that unemployment in the Federation continues to rise, Biznes-TASS
and Western agencies reported. In January, some 70,000 were registered
as unemployed: 12,000 of these are receiving unemployment benefits.
Prokopov reckoned that the total number of jobless could reach
8 million-or 10% of the workforce-by the end of the year, but
government resources might not be adequate to pay benefits to
all of those registered. The number of vacancies has fallen to
about 570,000. The employment situation has been aggravated by
the influx of refugees fleeing ethnic conflicts. (Keith Bush)


DEATHS EXCEED BIRTHS IN RUSSIA. In November-December 1991 the
number of deaths in the Russian republic (281,000) exceeded the
number of births (265,000) for the first time since 1945, Vechernaya
Moskva reported on 18-February. Moreover, the newspaper said,
the demographic situation was not expected to improve in 1992
when the number of women aged 20-29 would decline by 150,000.
(Ann Sheehy)

RUSSIAN PRESIDENTIAL CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL MET. A meeting of the
Presidential Consultative Council took place in the Kremlin on
19-February. The council, which consists of leading democrats
who were members of the Interregional Group of People's Deputies-such
as Gennadii Burbulis, Gavriil Popov, Anatolii Sobchak, Egor Yakovlev,
Oleg Bogomolov, Pavel Bunich, Daniil Granin, Aleksei Emelyanov,
Tatyana Zaslavskaya, Mark Zakharov, Yurii Koryakin, Valentin
Fedorov, Vladimir Tikhonov, and Yurii Boldyrev-has now met under
Yeltsin's chairmanship to discuss the general political situation
in Russia, Russian Central TV reported. (Alexander Rahr)

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA FAILS TO APPEAR AT NEWSSTANDS. The Moscow
daily, Komsomolskaya pravda, failed to appear at newsstands after
running short of newsprint, the first program of Russian TV reported
on 19-February. The television called the situation the "first
sign of an information crisis" in Russia. A Western agency quoted
the newspaper's editor-in-chief, Vladimir Fronin, as saying "we
are appealing to President Yeltsin to intervene and sign a decree
to let us print. We are still waiting." (Vera Tolz)

CHECHEN LEADER WARNS RUSSIA OF "HOLY WAR." Chechen President
Dzhakhar Dudaev said in an interview published in Nezavisimaya
gazeta on 18-February that the mountaineers were read to fight
Russia as they did 200 years ago, but this time they would not
lose, ITAR-TASS reported. He said 50,000 Chechens had declared
a "holy war" and another 150,000 would shortly join them. Dudaev
accused the "power structures of Russia" of supporting provocations
in Georgia, South Ossetia, Ingushetia and in the Caucasus generally,
and said that, if the provocations and political terrorism continued,
Chechnya would be forced to resort to the same methods. (Ann
Sheehy)

REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN IN THE CRIMEA. After ten days, the organizers
of a campaign to hold a referendum in the Crimea have gained
almost 20,000 signatures, Radio Kiev reported on 19-February.
For the referendum to be held, 180,000 signatures must be assembled
within a two month period. According to the report, many Crimeans
do not support holding a referendum inasmuch as the peninsula
already has autonomous status and has declared its sovereignty.
(Roman Solchanyk)

GREEN LIGHT FOR REFERENDUM PETITION IN BELARUS. On 13-February,
to the surprise of the Belarusian political opposition, the Central
Electoral Commission gave the go-ahead to plans to collect signatures
in support of a popular referendum calling for early elections
to the Supreme Soviet of Belarus. No less than 350,000 signatures
are required for the petition drive. Still to be resolved is
the question of revamping the electoral laws, which favored communist
candidates in the parliamentary elections two years ago. Some
former communists who are still in power, such as Prime Minister
Vyacheslau Kebich, have said that the population is too apathetic
where politics are concerned to want to repeat the process of
electing deputies so soon. (Kathy Mihalisko)

NEW INITIATIVES ON NAGORNO-KARABAKH. More than 20 people were
killed on 19-February by heavy artillery fire in the NKAO capital
of Stepanakert and the parliament building was destroyed. CIS
Commander in Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov expressed concern over
the escalation of fighting and proposed that heads of CIS member
states make a greater effort to resolve the conflict by political
means; he also proposed a CIS peacekeeping force. Addressing
the European parliament commission on international affairs and
security issues on 19-February, Azerbaijani Prime Minister Hasan
Hasanov stated that Azerbaijan would shelve plans to create its
own armed forces if Armenian guerrilla groups operating in Nagorno-Karabakh
were disarmed. The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry issued a statement
on 19-February criticizing what it termed "the one-sided approach"
of the European Parliament to the NKAO issue. Turkish Prime Minister
Suleiman Demirel warned Europe and the US that support for Armenia
in the NKAO dispute could lead to a regional war. (Liz Fuller)


NAZARBAEV ON IRAN, CIS. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev,
on a visit to Austria, told a press conference on 19-February
that Kazakhstan and Russia have a special responsibility to steer
the Central Asian states away from Muslim fundamentalism and
the influence of Iran. This was Nazarbaev's strongest statement
against Iran to date. He also said that he had opposed the creation
of a commonwealth of Central Asian states to parallel the Slavic
commonwealth established last December, insisting instead that
the Central Asian states join the Slavic ones to found the CIS,
because he did not want to see the former USSR split into a European
and an Asian part. (Bess Brown)

THE CONFLICT CONCERNING THE SHNEERSON COLLECTION CONTINUES. Radio
Mayak reported on 18-February that the Russian State Arbitration
Court canceled its earlier decision ordering the Lenin Library
(now the Russian State Library) to return the famous Hasidic
manuscripts known as "Shneerson collection" to the Hasidic community
in Moscow (see RFE/RL Daily Report Nos. 171, 191, 207, 1991.)
(Oxana Antic)

CRITICISM OF THE HOLY SYNOD. Mikhail Frankov analyzed what he
called satirically "Mysteries of the Holy Synod" in an article
published in Moscow News No. 6. The journalist raised some questions
about the structure and the activities of the Holy Synod of the
Russian Orthodox Church in connection with recent publications
in the press about the collaboration of Russian Orthodox Church
hierarchs with the KGB.(Oxana Antic)

BALTIC STATES

ESTONIA PASSES REHABILITATION LAW. On 19-February the Supreme
Council passed a law rehabilitating those who were repressed
by Soviet organs without benefit of a court trial and found guilty
without evidence, BNS reported that day. By the conditions of
the law, which passed 58-0 with no abstentions, Estonia declared
such decisions illegal. Estonia has been handling such instances
on a case by case basis, but the new law will help speed up processing.
It contains a provision for new evidence to be brought before
the Supreme Court against alleged war criminals rehabilitated
under the program. (Riina Kionka)

VAHI WINS ONE, LOSES ANOTHER. The Estonian Supreme Council on
19-February confirmed Prime Minister Tiit Vahi's choice of Aavo
Molder as Minister of Agriculture by a vote of 71-1 with 10-abstentions,
BNS reports. The council failed to muster the 42-votes needed
to confirm Merle Krigul as Minister without portfolio responsible
for nationality affairs. Krigul, who lost the post in a 39-27
vote with 11-abstentions, had not won the support of the Supreme
Council Commission on Nationality Affairs. (Riina Kionka)

LALUMIéRE: ESTONIA DOES RIGHT BY MINORITIES. Council of Europe
Secretary- General Catherine Lalumire wrapped up her Baltic
tour in Tallinn on 19-February by speaking out in support of
Estonia's treatment of minorities, ETA reported that day. Lalumire
said she became convinced during her visit "that there exist
long-lasting liberal traditions towards the minorities in Estonia."
She expressed understanding of the problem the 38% Russian minority
creates for Estonia, adding "I understand that giving the right
to vote to all Russian people living in Estonia could jeopardize
Estonia's identity." (Riina Kionka)

ANTI-INDEPENDENCE FORCES IN LATVIA. Auseklis Plavins, Latvian
Defense Ministry spokesman, told BNS on 19-February that recently
there has been a consolidation of the various forces (such as
Interfront, Council of War and Labor Veterans, Latvian Communist
Party Operative Center, etc.) opposing an independent Latvia,
and a creation of secret communist party cells in enterprises.
Moreover, former KGB employees are now working in the Ministry
of Internal Affairs system or private guard and detective agencies.
Plavins also said that several Latvian Supreme Council deputies
of the Ravnopravie faction are helping soldiers retiring from
the former USSR armed forces to obtain residency permits in Latvia.
(Dzintra Bungs)

PUBLISHING MAY RESUME IN LATVIA. Newspapers may reappear this
weekend, Radio Riga reported on 19-February. Reports from the
Press Building, where the largest newspapers in Latvia are printed,
say the papers will use low-quality newsprint from the Sloka
plant in Latvia. The "Week without Press" came about when publishers
decided to enlist the government's help in overcoming the grave
shortage of newsprint. The government would like Latvia to become
self-sufficient in paper production and is encouraging the output
of standard quality newsprint in Latvia. The government is also
trying to ensure a regular supply of newsprint from Karelia and
increase imports though an agreement with Russia. (Dzintra Bungs)


TAXI AND GOVERNMENT DRIVERS' JOB ACTIONS. Radio Riga reported
on 19-February that earlier that day drivers for the Council
of Ministers staged a two-hour strike for higher pay. They stopped
their strike after receiving promises that their monthly wages
of 850-rubles, would be raised to 2400-rubles, which is what
drivers for the Supreme Council are paid. BNS reports that taxi
drivers in Riga intend to hold a "warning strike" on 20-February
to try to persuade the government to investigate corruption in
the Riga taxi park and to take steps to improve working conditions
and salaries of the drivers. (Dzintra Bungs)

SHAPOSHNIKOV ON KALININGRAD DEMILITARIZATION. Responding to the
appeal by Vytautas Landsbergis for the demilitarization of Kaliningrad
Oblast, Evgenii Shaposhnikov, commander in chief of the CIS armed
forces, told a press conference in Moscow on 18-February that
the withdrawal of troops was a matter for Russia and "nobody
can dictate terms to us," Radio Lithuania reports. He said that
the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the Baltic will be paid
for by both Russia and the Baltic States and cautioned against
moving too quickly and without due attention to social guarantees
for the officers and soldiers stationed there. 

(Saulius Girnius) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE GERMANY FORGIVES HALF OF POLAND'S
GOVERNMENT DEBT. The German Finance Ministry announced on 19-February
the forgiveness of half of the $5.5-billion Poland owes the German
government, Polish and Western media reported. The remaining
50% is to be repaid over the next 18-years at market interest
rates. The writeoff is in line with the agreement reached in
March 1991 between Poland and the 16-nations of the Paris Club.
The $11.5-billion that Poland owes to German commercial banks
is still due. German bankers feel that until Poland starts again
to pay interest-payments were suspended in 1990-no talks about
writeoffs of the commercial debts are possible. The Polish debt
worldwide totals $45.9-billion, of which $33-billion is in government
debts. (Roman Stefanowski)

"BALCEROWICZ PLAN" SHELVED? On 19-February Polish Prime Minister
Jan Olszewski accepted the resignation of his Finance Minister,
Karol Lutkowski, submitted just before the government presented
its economic program to the Sejm on 17-February. Asked whether
his resignation means the end of the country's economic stabilization
program according to the "Balcerowicz Plan," Lutkowski replied
that "he does not have that impression." He added, however, that
some of the elements of the government's economic program for
1992 may "threaten the economic stabilization of the country."
The more important of these elements are the administrative adjustments
of prices and creating credit facilities exceeding the GNP growth
rate. (Roman Stefanowski)

CARNOGURSKY WARNS OF DISINTEGRATION. Western media reported on
19-February that Slovak Prime Minister Jan Carnogursky warned
that the rejection of a draft treaty between the Czech and Slovak
republics by Slovak parliamentary leaders has increased the danger
of Czechoslovakia's disintegration. Carnogursky admitted that
even his own Christian Democratic Movement is split on the issue
of Czechoslovakia's constitutional setup. He claimed that a "significant
majority of Slovaks are eager to see Slovakia achieve the level
of other peoples-even states-in Europe." The Prime Minister warned
that an independent Slovakia that lacked a policy sympathetic
to its ethnic minorities would destabilize Central Europe by
fueling nationalism in Hungary and could lead to conflict with
the southern neighbor. 

(Jan Obrman) CZECHOSLOVAKIA AMENDS LAND
LAW. On 18-February the Czechoslovak parliament lifted some curbs
on returning land seized by the former communist regime from
the original owners, Western media reported. The amendment lifts
a limit of 250-hectares (617-acres) of both arable and forest
land that can be restored to a former owner under legislation
passed by the democratic government in May 1990. It also allows
Czechoslovak citizens of German or Hungarian nationality living
in Slovakia to reclaim property confiscated from them after they
were accused of collaboration with the Nazis. The law does not
apply to land claims by former owners among some three million
ethnic Germans forcibly evicted from Bohemia to Germany after
World War II. (Peter Matuska)

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT REPEALS POLI-TICAL CONVICTIONS. On 19-February
the Hungarian parliament unanimously approved legislation repealing
sentences for crimes committed against the state and public order
between 1963 and 1989. The legislation invalidates sentences
imposed for plotting against the state, rebellion, provoking
insubordination, attempts at illegally crossing to the West,
and refusal to return to Hungary from visits abroad. Justice
Minister Istvan Balsai said that many sentences handed down during
the period violated the constitution in effect at the time, and
that the goal of the legislation was the political, moral, and
legal compensation of those convicted. Separate legislation will
regulate financial compensation. (Edith Oltay)

ROMANIAN DIPLOMATIC CALENDAR. In his 19-February weekly briefing,
Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Traian Chebeleu announced
visits to Romania by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic on
20-February, NATO Secretary- General Manfred Wšrner on 21-22-February,
and Carlos Westendorp, Secretary of State at the Ministry of
External Affairs of Spain, on 22-24-February. Romanian Foreign
Minister Adrian Nastase will pay an official visit to Turkey
on 25-27-February, Rompres reported. (Crisula Stefanescu)

ZHELEV BACK FROM FRANCE. Early on 19-February Bulgaria's president
Zhelyu Zhelev, accompanied by foreign minister Stoyan Ganev,
returned to Bulgaria after a two- day official visit to France,
Bulgarian radio reported. On the previous day Zhelev and French
president Franois Mitterrand signed a friendship and cooperation
treaty, the first between the two countries. The agreement provides
for collaboration in the areas of ecology, crime fighting, security,
and foreign policy. France also pledged to support Bulgaria's
"total integration" into the European Community. (Kjell Engelbrekt)


INCREASING PRESSURE ON THE BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT. In an open letter
to the prime minister on 19-February, the chairman of the Podkrepa
Confederation of Labor Konstantin Trenchev declared that the
organization no longer feels bound by previous commitments to
maintain "social peace" on the labor market. Trenchev indicated
that the letter, appearing in Podkrepa, was a reaction to the
government's refusal to give trade unions a direct influence
on the country's economic policy, which he said was causing unemployment
and a drop in real income. On the previous day visiting officials
of the IMF and World Bank warned the cabinet that upcoming wage
negotiations might fuel inflation, which in turn could further
delay structural economic reforms. (Kjell Engelbrekt)

SERBIAN FORCES TO EVACUATE ALL OF CROATIA? The 20-February Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung says that UN special envoy Cyrus Vance and
Croatian Foreign Minister Zvonimir Separovic agreed on 19-February
that the federal military and Serbian irregulars will evacuate
all of Croatia under the UN peace plan, not just those areas
where peace-keeping troops will be stationed. Croatian President
Franjo Tudjman repeated that his forces will "reestablish the
Croatian legal order" in areas where the Serbian units refuse
to withdraw or disarm. On 18-February the "parliament" of the
largely ethnically Serbian Krajina region voted not to disarm
the Serbian irregulars, but not to oppose the UN forces either.
Austrian TV said that front-line Croatian troops (presumably
including the tough paramilitary HOS units under the control
of a far-right party) oppose the peace plan, which would make
it impossible for them to retake territory lost to the Serbs
last year. (Patrick Moore)

SLOVENIAN PRIME MINISTER SURVIVES NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE. Radio Slovenia
reported on 19-February that Prime Minister Lojze Peterle barely
survived a vote of no-confidence called by independent deputies
in the Slovenian parliament. Their candidate, Marko Voljc, currently
director of the World Bank department for Central and South America,
missed being elected by six votes. Last December, the ruling
DEMOS coalition split and agreed to hold elections by 30-April.
Elections will probably be held early in 1993. Peterle, chairman
of the Christian Democrats, has been largely blamed for the rapidly
declining economy that has increased the potential for labor
unrest. Metal and power industry unions decided on 19-February
to stage a two-hour general strike on 18-March. Amid a steady
decline in the standard of living, many unions are demanding
higher guaranteed wages and the abolition of the sales tax on
basic food products. (Milan Andrejevich)

FOREIGN AFFAIRS ACTIVITIES. On 18-February Ukraine and Croatia
established diplomatic relations. International media also report
that the US told Slovenia that its request for recognition is
still "under review." On 19-February German media suggested that
the Serbian authorities might allow Lufthansa to resume flights
to Belgrade this spring, while the previous day the Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung had said that the EC foreign ministers meeting
in Lisbon on the 17th began considering lifting sanctions against
Serbia and Montenegro. (Patrick Moore) As of 1200 CET Compiled
by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull










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