Live all you can: it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven't had that what have you had? - Henry James
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 36, 21 February 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

YELTSIN COULD LOSE SPECIAL POWERS. Russian President Boris Yeltsin
faces the danger of being stripped of his special powers at the
forthcoming Congress of People's Deputies which opens on 6-April
if his reforms have not born fruit by then, Nezavisimaya gazeta
warned on 20-February. Another target of attack from lawmakers
could be leading members of the government. The newspaper also
reported that Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi was upset because
Yeltsin has not given him additional powers for supervising agricultural
reform. Rutskoi demanded the right to direct the conversion process
of the military-industrial complex into the agricultural sector
and to use demobilized soldiers for work in the fields. (Alexander
Rahr)

RUTSKOI TO PRESENT OWN ECONOMIC PLAN. Vice-President Aleksandr
Rutskoi said that he has almost completed work on his own economic
reform package and will soon present it to the public, according
to Radio Rossii on 20-February. The main idea of the Rutskoi
plan is to conduct an inventory of all real estate in Russia
and then issue shares on the value of all assets. Rutskoi stressed
that the shares should be distributed free of charge to the Russian
population. He hopes that through this measure, those segments
of the population which live below the poverty line will feel
more secure. (Alexander Rahr)

PARTIAL RECOVERY OF THE RUBLE. There have been widespread reports
in the CIS and Western media of a perceptible strengthening of
the ruble against the dollar in recent days. The Wall Street
Journal of 20-February cited a rate of 170 rubles per dollar
(down from 230 rubles three weeks ago) at the Moscow International
Currency Exchange, and a rate of 70 rubles offered by commercial
banks (down from about 150 rubles two weeks ago). Conspiracy
theories are legion, with the strengthening attributed to the
cornering of currency by the mafia, or to a deliberate withholding
of ruble notes by the authorities. A simpler explanation is that
the printing presses have been unable to keep pace with the explosion
of prices and wages. (Keith Bush)

RUSSIAN DECREE ON DEMONOPOLIZATION. After a cabinet meeting on
20-February, Aleksei Ulyukaev, an economic adviser to President
Yeltsin, told ITAR- TASS that a presidential decree on demonopolization
would be issued on 21-February. The decree would spell out sanctions
against firms deemed guilty of monopolistic practices. Ulyukaev
put their number at around 2,000. The cabinet meeting also discussed
a draft presidential decree on privatization. Movement on this
is expected soon. Price liberalization, privatization, and demonopolization
are the three main planks of the Yeltsin economic reform program.
(Keith Bush)

RUSSIAN ARMS EXPORTS. Russian Deputy Minister of the Economy
and Finances Ivan Materov believes that Russia will export arms
in 1992 to the value of about $8 billion, Radio Rossii reported
on 19-February. [This compares with an estimated 5 billion rubles
for the arms exports of the former USSR in 1991]. The revenues
could be used for financing conversion, but most of the sales
will be on a credit basis, and Materov expects cash sales of
only $1.5 billion or so. He disclosed that Latin American nations,
and especially Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, had shown interest
recently in buying arms from Russia. (Keith Bush)

MINIMUM WAGE DEMAND. The Russian Federation of Independent Trade
Unions [i.e. former official unions] has called for an increase
in the minimum wage from 342 rubles to 1,000 rubles a month,
starting on 1-March, ITAR-TASS reported on 20-February. The Federation
declared that more than 90% of the population now lies below
the poverty level after the price liberalization of 2 January
and other reform measures. The Federation will also press for
a wage indexation mechanism. (Keith Bush)

TENGHIZ DECISION SOON. The chairman of Chevron told The Financial
Times on 20-February that a decision on the company's joint venture
plans to develop the Tenghiz oilfield is expected within a month.
The project has been subjected to controversy, political infighting,
changing legislation, and disruption caused by the breakup of
the former USSR. It is seen by many as a touchstone for the future
viability of joint ventures in the CIS. (Keith Bush)

GORBACHEV CRITICAL OF CIS LEADERS. In an interview with the radio
station Ekho Moskvy, Gorbachev said he was struck by the flabby
and irresponsible way the CIS leaders were acting in the face
of the accelerating disintegrationary processes, ITAR-TASS reported
on 20-February. He said that they behaved as if everything was
normal at their monthly meetings, and that in his view these
meetings had so far been largely unproductive. "I cannot forgive
my former colleagues for this," Gorbachev added, and suggested
that in present circumstances they should meet once a week or
even not disperse until they had reached agreement. (Ann Sheehy)


KRAVCHUK ON CIS. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk met with
foreign journalists on 19-February and outlined his views on
the CIS, Radio Kiev reported. Kravchuk said once again that the
CIS was created in order to prevent the spontaneous disintegration
of the Soviet Union. According to the Ukrainian leader, the CIS
should move through two important parallel phases: divide up
everything that had been jointly accumulated and consolidate
strong ties within the CIS on new, civilized foundations. (Roman
Solchanyk)

UKRAINIAN LEADERS PESSIMISTIC ON CIS. The Financial Times on
20-February quoted several Ukrainian leaders to the effect that
the CIS has no future as an effective long-term body. Chairman
of the Ukrainian Supreme Council Ivan Plyushch said that the
CIS will play a transitional role to help its members go through
a "divorce process." Plyushch maintained that Russia wanted to
play the leading role "under the guise of cooperation." Another
Ukrainian spokesman, President Kravchuk's chief advisor Mykola
Mykhalchenko, asserted that the recent CIS summit in Minsk "decided
nothing" and suggested that Yeltsin was politically unreliable.
(Roman Solchanyk)

KIEV CONDUCTS INQUIRY OF SELLING OFF OF BLACK SEA FLEET ASSETS.
Following President Kravchuk's press conference on 19-February,
a document was shown to journalists in confirmation of rumors
that Moscow has drawn up a list of Black Sea Fleet vessels and
submarines to be sold for hard currency. As summarized by Radio
Rossii, 15 submarines were on the list in 1991, many of which
found buyers. India purchased a "Zhdanov" cruiser for $2.2 million;
at present, 49 boats and ships are up for grabs, and there are
plans this year to add 13-more vessels. Kiev authorities have
begun an inves- tigation of the legality of the sales. (Kathy
Mihalisko)

SHAPOSHNIKOV ON SUBMARINE COLLISION. On 20-February, the CIS
commander in chief briefed the Russian Supreme Soviet on the
collision between a CIS and an American submarine that took place
near the entrance to Kola Bay on 11-February. As shown on Russian
TV, he admitted that the two countries had different methods
of determining the limits of territorial waters: the Americans
drew a line parallel to the coast line, while the Russians used
a "base-line" method in which a straight line was drawn across
the entrance to a bay or gulf. The territorial issue aside, Shaposhnikov
said that the area had been defined as a naval training range
and he thought that foreign military vessels "would seem to have
no business" in such an area. He indicated that the Americans
would be invited to resume bilateral talks on determining territorial
waters in the Barents Sea. (Doug Clarke)

A CIS GENERAL LOOKS AT THE MINSK SUMMIT. In a report published
by ITAR- TASS on 20-February, LTG Leonid Ivashov, the chief of
the Administrative Directorate of the CIS General Staff, noted
that lack of time had prevented many important military documents
from being discussed by the CIS states at their recent Minsk
summit. Among these were drafts on provisions for intelligence-gathering,
and universal military regulations. The leaders also had not
agreed on how to define the powers of the CIS bodies in defense
matters, on the high command of the armed forces, and on the
principles for manning the armed forces. They also failed to
agree on "who will have how many tanks, planes, armored vehicles,
and artillery." (Doug Clarke)

YELTSIN'S FORMER PRESS SECRETARY TO SET UP POLITICAL MOVEMENT.
Yeltsin's press secretary, Pavel Voshchanov, whose resignation
was announced on 17-February, told Izvestiya on 20-February that
he intended to set up a new political movement, called "New Democratic
Forces." The movement will function as an electoral bloc, which
aims to elect new people not connected with the former CPSU nomenklatura
during the next presidential and parliamentary elections in Russia.
(Officially, the next parliamentary election is to be held in
1994 and the presidential election in 1996, however, many people
are calling for these elections to be held earlier.) Yeltsin's
government has been strongly criticized because many of its members
previously served in the CPSU Central Committee and other former
top Soviet structures. (Vera Tolz)

TRUD JOINS LIST OF PAPERS CUTTING OPERATIONS. The Moscow daily
Trud is the latest-Rus-sian newspaper to cut operations because
of-sharp-cost increases linked to free-market reforms, ITAR-TASS
reported. On 20-February, Trud, with 4.3-million subscribers
across the former USSR,-failed to appear. The paper has announced
plans to publish only four times a week instead of the usual
six. (Vera-Tolz)

FORMER DEPUTY ON COUP INVESTIGATION. Former USSR people's deputy
and chairman of the now disbanded USSR parliamentary commission
investigating the coup, Aleksandr Obolensky, gave a press conference
in Moscow on 19-February,-Radio Rossii reported. On 6-February,
Komsomolskaya pravda said that Obolensky had mysteriously disappeared
with the commission's documents. Obolensky denied this report
and stressed that the commission's documents are safely stored
in Moscow's state archives. Obolensky claimed that his commission
could not find any significant details of the circumstances of
the coup, because some people in Yeltsin's administration were
"not interested in the truth about the coup coming out." Obolensky
named one of them-the Russian Procurator General, Valentin Stepankov.
(Vera Tolz)

NEW CONCEPT OF SCIENCE POLICY IN RUSSIA. Yeltsin's aid on scientific
and technological issues, Academician Anatolii Rakitov, said
that Russian scientists together with the government have developed
a new concept of science policy in the republic, ITAR-TASS reported
on 20-February. The program stipulates that the Russian government
will abandon the traditional Soviet strategy of controlling science.
The government, however, will continue financing the development
of science in Russia. The new policy entails the adoption of
a series of new laws-on intellectual property, on authors' rights,
and on education. (Vera Tolz)

LAW ON CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS PASSED IN UKRAINE. On 19-February,
the Ukrainian parliament adopted a law on "alternative nonmilitary
service" for draft-age youths who object to performing military
duties. The legislation was treated as an important development
in the expansion of human rights in Ukraine. (Kathy Mihalisko)


FOKIN IN TURKMENISTAN. Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitold Fokin
hurriedly flew to Ashkhabad on 20-February to discuss an unexpected
increase in the price of gas demanded by Turkmenistan, Radio
Kiev reported. Turkmenistan, which supplies Ukraine with about
one quarter of its gas, increased the price almost tenfold and
has threatened to halt deliveries if the bill is not paid. (Roman
Solchanyk)

REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN IN THE CRIMEA. The Crimean ASSR Supreme Soviet
opened its session on 20-February and is scheduled to discuss
the republic's economic situation and privatization, Radio Kiev
reported. Representatives of the Republican Movement of the Crimea
are reportedly pressing for a decision to hold a local referendum
on the Crimea's status. If successful, proponents of a referendum
would not be obligated to gather the 180,000 signatures normally
required to proceed with the local vote. (Roman Solchanyk)

PROGRESS TOWARDS CEASEFIRE IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH. After 8 hours
of talks in Moscow on 20-February the foreign ministers of Armenia,
Azerbaijan and Russia signed a communique agreeing on the need
for an immediate ceasefire, for the restoration of communications
and dispatch of humanitarian aid, and for continuing negotiations
on a settlement of the NKAO conflict, The Los Angeles Times and
The Chicago Tribune reported on 21-February. There is, however,
still disagreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the participation
in negotiations of representatives from Nagorno- Karabakh and
over the possible deployment of UN peacekeeping troops there.
(Liz Fuller)

MOLDOVA FORBIDS TRANSACTIONS IN FOREIGN CURRENCY. A presidential
decree published on 20-February forbids transactions in foreign
currency on the territory of Moldova, Moldovapres reported. An
exception is made only for organizations having extra-territorial
status. Retail trade and services for foreign currency are to
be banned from 1-July. Citizens, enterprises and organizations
registered in Moldova who have opened accounts outside the republic
are to close them within 30 days and transfer foreign currency
funds to Moldovan banks. (Ann Sheehy)

BALTIC STATES

A FOURTH BALTIC STATE? The administrative head of the Kaliningrad
Oblast is lobbying for that area to become the fourth Baltic
state to be formed from the former USSR, according to a 20-February
BNS report. Interviewed on Kaliningrad TV, Yurii Matochkin said
the oblast territory should become an independent legal entity
because Kaliningrad has been declared a free economic zone and
enjoys significant autonomy in many questions already. (Riina
Kionka)

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT DISCUSSES BUDGET. More than seven weeks
into the new year, the Lithuanian Supreme Council has not yet
passed the 1992 budget. At a session broadcast live by Radio
Lithuania on 20-February, Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius
presented a budget with a deficit of 1.3-billion rubles. The
chairmen of the parliament's commissions commenting on the proposal
suggested that more funds be allocated to agriculture and other
areas by decreasing planned growth in the government apparatus.
Chairman of the Economics Commission Kazimieras Antanavicius
made a number of suggestions for radical changes in the budget.
The parliament will continue to meet until a budget is approved.
(Saulius Girnius)

RUSSIA-LITHUANIA ECONOMIC TALKS. Trade talks in Moscow begun
the previous day made little progress on 20-February, Radio Lithuania
reported. Russia's proposal that oil be exchanged at world prices
only for meat was rejected by the Lithuanian delegation. Lithuania
could provide 200,000-tons of meat, the equivalent of some 2.75-million
tons of oil, but this would meet only about one-fifth of the
country's needs. Lithuania suggested sending textiles and machine
tools as well. The talks will resume next week. (Saulius Girnius)


LALUMIéRE UNDERSTANDS LATVIAN SITU-ATION. Andrejs Pantelejevs,
chairman of the Latvian Supreme Council's commission on human
and nationality rights, told Radio Riga on 20-February that Catherine
Lalumire, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, felt that
the guidelines for citizenship adopted by the Latvian Supreme
Council (for example, 16-year residency requirement, language
proficiency, etc.) were understandable given Latvia's demographic
situation and should not be a barrier toward Latvia's joining
the Council. Lalumire agreed that Russians do not fit the traditional
concept of a national minority (usually under 10% of the population),
and that different approaches must be sought to deal with issues
related to their presence in Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs)

LATVIA CHARGES TRANSIT FEES FOR GRAIN. BNS reported on 20-February
that as of that date Latvia would be charging Russia a transit
fee in kind for grain going there. The fee would 4-6% of the
amount of the imported grain, as per the accord reached between
Russian representatives and Latvia's Agriculture Ministry. In
a related development, Latvia received 40,000-tons of corn from
the United States to help feed its livestock, Diena reported
on 19-February. (Dzintra Bungs)

CONTAMINATED WATER IN RIGA. Radio Riga advised listeners on 20-February
to boil tap water 15-minutes before drinking it, because a Ukrainian
plant is no longer able to supply a coagulant necessary for water
purification. Managers of the plant in Sumy explained that the
problem stems from Russia's failure to provide the necessary
petroleum products to Ukraine; they promised to resume supplies
of the coagulant as soon as they obtain the raw materials, but
did not indicate when that might be. (Dzintra Bungs)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM POLAND LAGGING.
A press spokesman for Gen. Zdzislaw Ostrowski, Poland's official
responsible for monitoring troops of the former USSR in Poland
and their withdrawal, told Gazeta wyborcza on 20-February that
between April and September 1991 only 4,387 soldiers left Poland.
Since then men and equipment were merely switched among bases.
There are still about 45,000 troops in 22-garrisons now controlled
by the Russian Federation in western parts of Poland. According
to agreement all combat troops of the Northern Group of Forces
should leave Poland by 15-November of this year, with all other,
except support units, to be withdrawn by the end of 1993. (Roman
Stefanowski)

EDELMAN CONDEMNS NATIONALISTIC EXCESSES IN POLAND. Marek Edelman,
the only surviving commander of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, condemned
the lack of reaction by the Polish government and the society
at large to anti-Semitic and anti-German incidents by a group
of 300-extreme nationalists in the town of Zgorzelec on 15-February.
In an open letter to Gazeta wyborcza on 20-February Edelman said
that such incidents destabilize the country and seriously threaten
the young Polish democracy. (Roman Stefanowski)

CARNOGURSKY WARNS SLOVAK PARLIAMENT. In a television address
on 20-February Slovak premier Jan Carnogursky called on Slovakia's
parliament to avoid illegal moves toward independence. The parliament
meets in Bratislava next week and could pass a declaration of
Slovakia's sovereignty. Such a declaration had been successfully
kept off the agenda by moderates as long as talks were underway
with the Czechs on a draft treaty to keep the country together.
Last week the Slovak parliament presidium rejected the draft
treaty. (Peter Matuska)

CZECH PARLIAMENT AMENDS ELECTORAL LAW. On 20-February the Czech
parliament passed an amendment to the election law that would
allow two parties in a coalition to enter the Czech parliament
if together they receive at least 7% of the vote. Three parties
in a coalition must receive 9%. Coalitions of four or more parties
in a coalition must receive 11% of the vote before receiving
parliamentary mandates. The requirement for a single party-at
least 5% of the vote-remains unchanged, CSTK reported. (Peter
Matuska)

OPENING STB FILES WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE. On 20-February Interior
Minister Jan Langos said it would be "technically impossible"
to open the files of the former Czechoslovak secret service STB
as has been done in the former East Germany. In an interview
with Mlada Fronta dnes Langos said many of the STB files were
destroyed and "only fragments remain." He concluded that publication
of a full list of STB members and collaborators "will never be
possible." (Peter Matuska)

HUNGARIAN ECONOMIC DECLINE IN 1991. According to preliminary
figures released by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office
on 20-February, the performance of the Hungarian economy, measured
by the gross domestic product, declined by between 7% to 9% in
1991. Industrial production was the worst hit declining by 19%
in 1991 compared to 9% in 1990. The figures indicate that the
state's role in the economy is being diluted as private enterprise
begins to take hold. State-owned companies accounted for 55%
of gross domestic product last year, 10% less than in 1990. Some
40% of state-owned companies have completed or are in the process
of carrying out their transformation into limited liability companies.
(Edith Oltay)

HUNGARIAN DRAFT MINORITY LAW UNACCEPTABLE. In a statement issued
on 19-February and reported the next day by MTI, the Round Table
of National and Ethnic Minorities in Hungary called the minority
law approved by the government on 6-February "unacceptable" and
"in violation of the consensus reached earlier" between government
and minority representatives. Among other things, the group felt
the draft law contains "discriminatory regulations" against certain
minorities, excludes most minority members from exercising their
right to local self-government, fails to solve the minorities'
representation in parliament, and restricts their cultural autonomy.
(Alfred Reisch)

HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN POLICE TO COOP-ERATE ON ILLEGAL ALIENS. Police
Brig. Gen. Andras Turos told Radio Budapest on 20-February that
the two police forces have agreed to cooperate in stemming the
flow of illegal aliens seeking to enter Hungary from Romania.
Turos estimated that there are some 40-50,000 aliens in Romania,
mostly from African, Asian, and Far Eastern countries, who are
waiting for an opportunity to cross into Hungary illegally on
their way to Western Europe. (Edith Oltay)

TRADE UNION WARNING. The National Trade Union Block gave a communique
to Rompres stating that "if the national collective work contract
is not completed by 22-February, they will initiate actions that
could lead to stoppages in key sectors of the national economy."
(Crisula Stefanescu)

MILOSEVIC IN BUCHAREST. Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic
held talks with President Ion Iliescu during a one-day visit
in Bucharest. In his statement to the press, Milosevic assessed
as "very satisfactory" Romania's stance on the Yugoslav crisis
and its position regarding what he terms "the continuation of
Yugoslavia," Rompres reported. Milosevic and Iliescu agreed that
Romania's recognition of Croatia and Slovenia would not hinder
the development of cooperation nor damage relations between Romania
and Serbia. Milosevic specifically mentioned that Romania will
"surely continue" to allow the transport of oil supplies to Serbia
through its territory. The two also discussed projects on the
Danube and the creation of Serbian-language schools for Romania's
Serbian minority and of a Serbian Cultural Center in Timisoara.
(Crisula Stefanescu)

SERBIAN CHETNIKS ORDERED TO TAKE ORDERS FROM ARMY. The 21-February
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says that the "interior minister"
in the largely ethnically Serbian Krajina region of Croatia has
ordered local Serbian irregulars to subordinate themselves to
the federal military within eight hours or be driven out of the
area. The move is intended to prevent the chetniks from sabotaging
the UN peace plan by acting on their own. The Serbian and military
authorities in Belgrade have promised to control the chetniks.
The UN is expected to vote to set up a peace-keeping force for
the former Yugoslavia on 21-February and send the first units
to the trouble spots next week. Irish diplomat Cedric Thornberry
was named on 20-February to serve as the political head of the
UN operation, Western media said. (Patrick Moore)

KOSOVO ALBANIANS GIVE PETITION TO UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION.
Western media reported on 20-February that Albanian human rights
activists and political leaders from Kosovo had given that UN
body the previous day a petition with 500,000 signatures protesting
growing Serbian "terror and force" in the area. On 20-February
the Albanians told a German human rights group in Gšttingen that
they are asking Germany and the EC for the same kind of support
that Bonn gave to Croatia in order to prevent "a war in Kosovo
that would even make the Serbian crimes in Croatia pale by comparison,"
the 21-February Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says. (Patrick
Moore)

PETERLE DEMANDS GOVERNMENT RESHUFFLE. After having survived a
no- confidence vote on 19-February, Slovenia's Prime Minister
Lojze Peterle is now demanding the resignations of foreign minister
Dimitrij Rupel, interior minister Igor Bavcar, and information
minister Jelko Kacin. The three are members of the Democratic
Party, one of six parties in the coalition (DEMOS) that survived
until December 1991. Peterle is chairman of the Christian Democrats,
the largest party in the former coalition. Radio Slovenia remarked
on 20-February that the Slovenian political scene in the coming
weeks "will become very turbulent and unpredictable." (Milan
Andrejevich)

KGB GENERAL ON MARKOV MURDER. Former KGB general Oleg Kalugin,
assisting the investigation into the murder of exiled Bulgarian
writer Georgi Markov in London in 1978, on 20-February refuted
the version that the dissident had been jabbed by a poison- tipped
umbrella, saying that the miniature pellet had been fired from
an air gun hidden in a ballpoint pen. According to Bulgarian
dailies, Kalugin said he had given the investigators the names
of some ten former top Soviet officials, including two exchairmen
of the KGB, allegedly involved in the operation. On 18-February
Kalugin claimed two earlier assassination attempts had failed.
(Kjell Engelbrekt)

BULGARIA'S TOBACCO INDUSTRY IN CRISIS. The production of tobacco,
traditionally one of Bulgaria's key export products, has fallen
steeply over the last decade, according to report by the US Department
of Agriculture. The report says that Bulgaria's output in 1991
was down to 75,000 tons, less than half the annual yield in the
1970s. The decline is explained mainly by several years of dry
weather, changeovers to other crops, and urbanization. Bulgartabac,
the state tobacco company, is currently seeking to develop new
products for the international market. (Kjell Engelbrekt) As
of 1200 CET Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull






[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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