|Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead|
No. 37, 24 February 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR COMMUNIST DEMONSTRATORS CLASH WITH POLICE. Russian security forces fought with batons to hold back several thousand pro-Communist demonstrators who marched in central Moscow on 23-February to denounce President Yeltsin's policies, ITAR-TASS reported. The demonstration was held on the day which had been traditionally marked as Soviet army day; one of the demonstrators' goals was to protest the breakup of the former Soviet army. Reports indicate that some people, including policemen, received head and body wounds. The protest was reportedly smaller than other recent pro- Communist demonstrations in Moscow, but it was the first in which protesters clashed with police. Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Gennadii Burbulis commented on the clashes in an interview with the BBC, saying Russia's reforms could not be reversed by violent Communist protests.(Vera Tolz) BURBULIS ON CREATION OF RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY. Gennadii Burbulis told ITAR-TASS on 23-February that Russia will be the last Commonwealth state which creates its own army. He indicated that Russia plans however to set up a ministry for defense to deal with questions of conversion and state security. He said that one of the ministry's task would be to preserve the technological potential of the military-industrial sector. He added that such a ministry will be run by civilian politicians in conjunction with the military. (Alexander Rahr) MISSILE RETARGETING CLARIFIED. Both Boris Yeltsin and Marshal Shaposhnikov clarified the Russian president's recent announcement that ex-Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles would no longer be aimed at targets in the United States. In an interview published in Izvestiya on 22-February, Yeltsin explained that the missiles would be given a "zero flight mission." In other words, they would not be aimed at any particular target. Shaposhnikov repeated this formula in his television interview on 22-February: the strategic rocket forces were "reducing to zero the flight assignment" of the missiles once on alert duty. (Doug Clarke) YELTSIN PUSHES ARMS SALES. In the Izvestiya interview, Yeltsin confirmed that the Federation would continue to promote arms exports. He argued that although Russia had reduced defense spending-especially on weapons procurements-a similar reduction in arms production would have dealt an enormous blow to the military-industrial complex, leading to social tensions and threatening to put millions out of work. The president's statement echoes several similar assertions by subordinates during the past few weeks, as well as reported instances of spontaneous and unauthorized sales by arms factories and military personnel. (Keith Bush) STRATEGIC COMMANDER DEFIES MOSCOW. The Independent on 22-February revealed that Maj. Gen. Mikhail Bashkirov, the renegade commander of a CIS strategic air division at Uzin in Ukraine, defied his CIS military superiors last week by refusing to land his aircraft at a Russian base at Smolensk. Bashkirov, who has taken an oath of allegiance to Ukraine, was quoted as saying he did not want to land there because he was not sure he would be allowed to leave. The report said he had been ordered to transfer military equipment to Russia in contravention of Ukrainian law. "We had either to infringe on the laws of Ukraine or not to fulfill the orders of commanders," he said, explaining that he decided on the latter course. (Doug Clarke) NAZARBAEV ON NUCLEAR THREAT. In an interview published in the Austrian newspaper Kurier on 20-February, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev hinted that his republic would keep the strategic nuclear weapons now on its territory for some time. While repeating that Kazakhstan did not wish to be a nuclear state he noted that neighboring China, Pakistan, and India were all nuclear powers. He estimated that it would take at least 15 years to destroy the strategic missiles and said that it would be desirable for China, Pakistan, and India to join in the process. (Doug Clarke) AZERBAIJAN TO GET PART OF CASPIAN SEA FLOTILLA. The Commander of the ex-Soviet Caspian Sea Flotilla said that the transfer of 24-combat and 49 "ancillary" ships to Azerbaijan could start as early as 1-March. Interfax quoted Rear Admiral Boris Zinin, who is headquartered in Baku, as saying that the rest of the Flotilla would be transferred to other [non-Azerbaijani] ports on the Caspian Sea. (Doug Clarke) SHAPOSHNIKOV ON RUSSIAN TRADITIONS, SOVIET MARSHALS. The commander in chief of the CIS unified armed forces, Marshal Evgenii Shaposhnikov, told a Russian television interviewer on 22-February that he supported the return of "age-old" Russian traditions, uniforms, and symbols in the armed forces. He said that he was particularly moved at a recent concert by the old song, "God and St. Andrew's Banner Are With Us." Shaposhnikov said that no one in the future would be given the rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union, but the four living holders of that rank [former Defense Minister Sergei Sokolov, the former head of the Warsaw Pact joint armed forces Viktor Kulkov, former Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Ogarkov, and Vasilii Petrov, former commander in chief of the ground forces] would be allowed to keep it. (Doug Clarke) IMF MEMBERSHIP IN APRIL. Russia and other former Soviet republics will be admitted to the International Monetary Fund on 27-April, according to diplomats in Moscow quoted by The Financial Times of 22-February. Only Uzbekistan may be temporarily excluded owing to technical problems over its application. Russia is expected to be given a $3.5 billion quota of Special Drawing Rights, which will entitle it to about $20 billion in balance of payments and other IMF assistance over four years. Disbursement of funds will be conditional on the elaboration of a binding economic reform program-now being drafted and due to be finalized by the end of March-and its approval by the IMF. (Keith Bush) CIS MEETING ON DEBT SERVICE. The CIS member-states are scheduled to meet in Moscow on 24-February to discuss the servicing of the debt of the former USSR (variously estimated at between $64 and $90 billion), Reuters reported on 21-February and The Financial Times reported on 22-February. Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Petr Aven said that other CIS members have not paid anything towards the debt servicing. Russia thus faces a bill of $8.7 billion this year, and might seek a partial deferral of interest payments on the debt, following a postponement of $11.1 billion of principal payments already agreed with Western creditors. (Keith Bush) COAL PRICES TO BE FREED. President Yeltsin told Interfax on 23-February that coal prices in Russia will be freed on 15-April. He said that the measure will be taken to boost social benefits for mine workers. The prices of coke will remain regulated because otherwise price increases would cause major hikes in the prices of consumer goods. [Unconfirmed reports have been circulating that the prices of all energy carriers, including oil and gas, will be freed shortly.] (Keith Bush) RUTSKOI CALLS FOR FREEDOM FOR PUTSCHISTS. Russian Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi called for a halt on all investigations of the August putsch and urged the liberation of the putschists from prison, according to ITAR-TASS on 23-February. Rutskoi said that people in the streets are demanding freedom for the putschists and the Russian government should give in to that pressure. Rutskoi stressed that the putschists have been punished enough-at least from the moral point of view. (Alexander Rahr) REFERENDUM ON STATUS OF TATARSTAN. The Supreme Soviet of Tatarstan decided on 21-February that a referendum on the status of the Republic should be held on 21-March, ITAR-TASS reported. Voters will be asked to say yes or no to the question: "Do you agree that the Republic of Tatarstan is a sovereign state, a subject of international law, building its relations with the Russian Federation and other republics (states) on the basis of equal treaties?" This formula is somewhat ambiguous and may not satisfy those advocating true independence for Tatarstan. On the other hand, given that Tatars and Russians make up roughly equal shares of the population, a more explicit formula might have been more likely to result in rejection. (Ann Sheehy) KRAVCHUK CALLS FOR NEW ELECTIONS. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk met on 21-February with representatives of political parties, groups, and movements and called for new parliamentary elections on a multiparty basis, Ukrinform-TASS and Radio Kiev reported. Saying that today's parliament had fulfilled its mission, Kravchuk argued for a professional lawmaking body. The Ukrainian leader also announced that he would soon form a State Council to act as a collective advisory body to the president. Strong criticism was heard about the cabinet of ministers and demands were made for the formation of a government of public trust. (Roman Solchanyk) NATO'S MANFRED WOERNER IN KIEV. NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner arrived on 22-February in Kiev for two days of talks with Ukrainian leaders, including President Leonid Kravchuk, Foreign Minister Anatolii Zlenko, and Defense Minister Konstantin Morozov. At a press conference on 23-February, Woerner called his discussions "the first step toward the establishment of cooperation between NATO and Ukraine," as quoted by Ukrinform-TASS. He proposed cooperation in three directions: the exchange of information, consultations on security, and joint elaboration of defense concepts and an exchange of specialists. Woerner expressed satisfaction with Ukraine's position on strategic and tactical nuclear arms. Before leaving for Moscow, Woerner invited his Ukrainian hosts to take part in forthcoming NATO conferences. (Kathy Mihalisko) CRIMEA TO ADOPT A NEW CONSTITUTION. The Crimean ASSR Supreme Soviet met on 21-February to discuss, among other things, a new draft constitution, Radio Mayak reported. The Crimean lawmakers will also consider a new name for the republic, the question of delineation of power between the Crimea and Ukraine, and a package of economic legislation. (Roman Solchanyk) BELARUS NATIONALIZES FORMER USSR PROPERTY. Interfax reported on 21-February that the Belarusian State Committee for Property Affairs has ruled to nationalize all former USSR property on the territory of Belarus. The move affects more than 618 industries, whose assets are estimated at over 35 billion rubles and which produce 49 billion rubles worth of manufactured goods. (Kathy Mihalisko) FIGHTING ESCALATES IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH. One day after signing a ceasefire, new fighting erupted around the towns of Agdam and Khodzhaly on 21-February and is still continuing. Radio Rossii reported that 3 CIS soldiers were killed on 22-February in a clash with Azerbaijanis near Gyandzha; a further 20 people were killed in an Azerbaijani missile attack on Askeran. On 22-February Azerinform Director Azad Sharifov denied an Interfax report that Azerbaijan President Ayaz Mutalibov had ordered a partial mobilization, and the CIS Army Press Bureau likewise denied claims by Interfax and Assa- Irada that CIS and Armenian troops had launched a joint attack across the Armenian- Azerbaijani border. (Liz Fuller) INTERIM GEORGIAN PRIME MINISTER WILL NOT RUN IN ELECTIONS. Interviewed by ITAR-TASS on 21-February, Georgian Interim Prime Minister Tengiz Sigua, politically the most experienced, realistic and flexible member of the ruling Military Council, announced that he will not participate in the parliamentary elections scheduled for later this year, after which he will hand over power to a new Council of Ministers. He stated that six political parties have been registered and a further 12 have applied for registration. (Liz Fuller) KYRGYZ VICE-PREMIER ON ECO. Kyrgyz Vice-Premier A. Erkinbaev, who attended the recent summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization in Teheran, stated during a briefing in Bishkek that the states of the former USSR which were admitted to the ECO during the summit (Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan) will not have to pay dues to the organization for two years, Radio Mayak reported on 22-February. Despite Kyrgyzstan's entry into the organization, which includes only Muslim states, Erkinbaev asserted that his country has no intention of becoming a purely Muslim state, and intends to remain secular-open to both East and West. (Bess Brown) MOLDOVAN MINISTER OF DEFENSE ON MOLDOVAN ARMY. Moldovan Minister of Defense Ion Kostash has stated that the Moldovan army will be created on the basis of the 14th army located on the right bank of the Dniester, ITAR-TASS reported on 21-February. Units located on the territory of the self-styled "Dniester Republic" will be given the status of an army on the territory of an independent state, and will be withdrawn to Russian territory in eighteen months to two years. Kostash said this was a preliminary agreement following talks with CIS Deputy Minister of Defence Boris Pyankov in Chisinau. (Ann Sheehy) BALTIC STATES ARMY DAY IN LATVIA. On 22-February Latvia's National Independence Movement held a protest demonstration in Riga; the thousands of participants called for the departure of "the occupation troops"-this is how most Latvians see the soldiers of the ex-USSR in their land. On 23-February, there were meetings in Riga and Daugavpils marking the 74th anniversary of the founding of the Soviet armed forces. In both cities, the Russian population is larger than the Latvian and many troops are stationed there or nearby. In Riga money was collected for the armed forces welfare fund and for "political prisoners," e.g. imprisoned OMON leader Sergei Parfenov and former Latvian communist leader Alfreds Rubiks, Radio Riga reported. (Dzintra Bungs) WITHDRAWAL OF SOVIET TROOPS TO BEGIN. On 21-February Col. Gen. Valerii Mironov, commander of the Northwestern Group of Forces, sent a telegram to Lithuanian National Defense Minister Audrius Butkevicius announcing that the first unit of the former Soviet Army would be withdrawn from Lithuania on 25-February. The unit would be from the air defense battalion stationed at Mitkunai, 11-km west of Kaunas, Radio Lithuania reported. (Saulius Girnius) GORBUNOVS IN STRASBOURG. Addressing the conference of European parliament officials on 21-February, Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs said that the demographic situation in Latvia (only about one half of the population is Latvian) that has resulted as a consequence of Moscow's colonialist policies, requires a fresh approach; standard solutions regarding citizenship will not work. Gorbunovs also accused "certain circles" in Russia of conducting a campaign of "economic sabotage, even blockade" against Latvia. He said Latvia wants normal relations with Russia and all other former Soviet republics, but noted that those relations must be based "on complete equality and the observance of mutual interests," BNS reported on 21-February. (Dzintra Bungs) KHASBULATOV OBJECTS TO GORBUNOVS' REMARKS. Russian Supreme Soviet Chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov disagreed with the suggestion of his Latvian counterpart Anatolijs Gorbunovs that the West invest in the withdrawal of former Soviet troops from the Baltic States. Khasbulatov said Russia will rely on its own resources to pay for the withdrawal and added that Gorbunovs should not have brought up the issue at an international forum. He asserted that the present leaders in Russia did not send the troops to the Baltics and that their presence on Baltic soil is a legacy common to both republics, an RFE/RL correspondent in Strasbourg reported on 21-February. Khasbulatov did not mention that Russia had claimed jurisdiction over the armed forces of the ex-USSR. (Dzintra Bungs) INTELLIGENCE UNDER LATVIA'S INTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTRY. Diena reported on 21-February that Latvia's new intelligence service, known as the Information Department, is subordinated to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and that its head is Juris Kuzins. The department has four divisions with the following tasks: defense of Latvia's sovereignty; research on international relations; analysis of information; and administration of general affairs. Kuzins said that applicants for employment with the service would be strictly screened to make sure that they are loyal to Latvia and have the proper professional qualifications. He did not rule out the possibility of employing former KGB employees. (Dzintra Bungs) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE POLISH LIBERALS CRITICIZE OLSZEWSKI. At the end of a two-day party conference on 23-February, the chairman of the Liberal-Democratic Party, Donald Tusk, told a press conference that the Olszewski government lacks means to counteract the failure of state enterprises to adapt to a market economy, Polish and Western media reported. While continuing with the free-market system the Olszewski government has recently announced more investment in state industry and a growth in the money supply to fight recession. Tadeusz Mazowiecki, a guest at the conference, said that "the only alternative in the unclear political situation in Poland is the building of an alliance of proreform forces. The core of such an alliance should be the Liberal-Democratic Congress, the Center Alliance, and the Democratic Union." (Roman Stefanowski) SOLIDARITY 80 ON THE ECONOMY. Meeting in Gdynia on 22-February, the National Coordinating Commission of the Solidarity 80 trade union criticized the government's economic program for not adequately fighting recession. PAP reported that the NCC is demanding that "the Polish economy be managed in a sovereign way and not by foreign decision-making centers" [a reference to the IMF's influence through extending and withholding credits] and pointed to the need of increased state interventionism. The union came out very strongly against the way privatization is being handled, preferring widening the system of employee shares. Solidarity 80 threatened "to become opposition organization number one if the government continues its policies." (Roman Stefanowski) CONSERVATIVE PARTY CHOOSES HAVEL AS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. On 21-February a small, conservative Czechoslovak political party, the Civic Democratic Alliance (ODA) announced that President Vaclav Havel is its candidate for reelection in the June parliamentary elections, an RFE correspondent reported. Presidential spokesman Michael Zantovsky said Havel has no intentions to join or lead any political party but in the campaign wants to position himself clearly in favor of programs that stand for "a common state, continued economic transformation, political pluralism, and the rule of law," Die Welt reported on 21-February. (Peter Matuska) UNEMPLOYMENT IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA. At an international congress on investment in Prague, Federal Economics Minister Vladimir Dlouhy said about 600,000 people are unemployed in Czecho-slovakia but only about one third of them are really looking for jobs. Dlouhy said the remainder prefer not to work and are satisfied with their unemploy- ment benefit, CSTK reported on 21-February. This may suggest why a shoe factory in Bardejov, Slovakia, has had to bring in Ukrainians as replace-ments for as many as one fifth of its work force, as one Western agency reported. (Peter Matuska) SMALLHOLDERS QUIT HUNGARIAN COALITION. On 21-February, the national presidium of the Independent Smallholders' Party unanimously voted to quit the coalition government, MTI reported. Chairman Jozsef Torgyan said "the party no longer wishes to participate in the nation-destroying policy" of Prime Minister Antall's government. Months ago the parliamentary group of the Smallholders' Party split into two factions: 12-deputies who support Torgyan and 33 who favor staying in the coalition. The party presidium voted to expel the group of 33 along with two Smallholders ministers and a state secretary who are loyal to the government. The government's stability is not endangered because it will retain a comfortable majority in parliament with the support of the group of 33. (Edith Oltay) OPEL NOSES OUT SUZUKI IN HUNGARY. The first Opel Astra passenger car will leave the assembly line of the GM Opel-Hungary joint Hungarian-American enterprise on 13-March 1992, MTI reported on 19-February. Built in 15-months at a cost of DM 400 million, this, the first Opel plant in Eastern Europe, will assemble 10,000 cars in the first year and 15,000 annually thereafter; starting in July it will also build 200,000 auto engines a year. The cars, assembled from parts shipped from Germany, will be sold both on the Hungarian and foreign markets. A day later, on 20-February, the general manager of Hungarian Suzuki, Ltd., told reporters that his firm will begin producing passengers cars in October 1992 in their Esztergom plant. At first three variants of the Swift, a 1000-cc economy model, will be produced, followed in 1994 by larger-body sedans. Hungarian parts manu-facturers for Suzuki have received a Japanese-credit of 1.5-billion forint and the first 30 of a total of 280-Hungarian auto workers to be trained in Japan by Suzuki will return home soon. (Alfred Reisch) SECOND-ROUND ELECTIONS IN ROMANIA. The second round of elections was held on 23-February to determine the winners of more than 1,600 mayoral and 1,200 town council races, local and foreign media report. The vote follows 9-February first-round elections, in which the National Salvation Front (NSF) scored 31.1% in mayoral races (mainly in small towns and villages) against 23.1% for the opposition Democratic Convention (DC). The results show that NSF lost nearly half of its voters since the general elections two years ago. (Crisula Stefanescu) WOERNER IN BUCHAREST. During his second recent visit to Romania, NATO Secretary-General Manfred Woerner opened a Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies in Bucharest, in a ceremony with President Ion Iliescu. Woerner discussed strengthening ties between Romania and NATO and current problems of security in Eastern Europe with Foreign Minister Adrian Nastase and Defense Minister Nicolae Spiroiu, Rompres reports. From Bucharest Woerner flew on to Kiev. (Crisula Stefanescu) KOZLODUY FAULT PROMPTS POWER RATIONING. On 23-February the fifth unit of the Kozloduy nuclear plant was taken out of operation after the staff detected vibrations in its turbine, BTA reported. In light of Bulgaria's already critical energy situation, officials temporarily ordered 50% power rationing. Later, when management was satisfied the fault had been fixed, the reactor was restarted. BTA said the new sixth unit would be connected to the power grid in the next few days, and should improve the reliability of the national power supply. (Kjell Engelbrekt) BAN ON BULGARIAN SOCIALIST PARTY CALLED FOR. At a meeting of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) on 22-February several thousand participants demanded that the Bulgarian Socialist Party be banned, BTA reports. The rally was held after a week of growing tension between the two main parties, during which the UDF alleged that the BSP has been preparing a coup. The UDF prime minister, Filip Dimitrov, whom BSP leaders had urged to resign for not being able to halt the deepening economic crisis, told the meeting his government was "a guarantee that communism will never again return." (Kjell Engelbrekt) BABIC ACCEPTS UN FORCES. International media reported on 23-February that the ethnic Serbian leader in Croatia's Krajina region, Milan Babic, agreed the previous day to accept UN peace-keeping troops. (On 21-February the Security Council voted unanimously to set up a 14,000-strong force for at least one year.) Babic said that statements by UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali had reassured him that Croatian law will not be reintroduced in the area while the UN forces are present. On 23-February Babic added that Krajina should join any peace talks as a full-fledged participant. Croatian officials have said that Croatian law should be in force in the area, and adamantly refuse to recognize Babic's "government" as a negotiating partner. Serbian and federal army authorities have assumed responsibility for Babic's compliance with the UN peace plan. (Patrick Moore) GENSCHER IN CROATIA AND SLOVENIA. German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher visited Croatia and Slovenia on 22-23-February, German TV said on 23-February. He urged full UN and CSCE membership as well as associate membership in the EC for the two republics. He also reminded Croatia that it should stick to the terms it has agreed to in the UN plan, while at the same time pointing out that the conditions for stationing UN troops do not affect the final political settlement, which is the mission of the EC-sponsored peace conference. Croatia fears that the terms under which the UN forces are deployed will lead to its losing Krajina and other largely ethnically Serbian areas, while Serbia trusts the UN's impartiality more than that of the EC. The 24-February Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung added that Genscher met not only with Croatian officials on the 22nd but also with representatives of the Serbian minority. (Patrick Moore) MONTENEGRO TO HOLD REFERENDUM ON SOVEREIGNTY. On 22-February Montenegro's national assembly, dominated by the Democratic Socialists (former communists), adopted a decision that a referendum be held on 1-March. Montenegrins will be asked if they want the republic to remain in a federal Yugoslav state. Belgrade radio reported on 23-February that two rallies were held in the Republic of Montenegro over the issue of the republic's future as a sovereign state. The rally in Titograd, organized by the United Opposition and the Democratic Coalition, was attended by more than 10,000-people. Speakers there described the referendum as unconstitutional and "the act of a one-party dictatorship" and demanded that Montenegro be declared an independent state. A rally in Cetinje attended by some 5,000 backed the referendum. (Milan Andrejevich) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull l
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