When two people communicate, they each can be enriched - and unlike traditional resources, the more you share the more you have. - U.S. Vice President Al Gore
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 38, 25 February 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

REORGANIZATION OF ECONOMIC MINISTRIES. A presidential decree,
reported by Rossiiskaya gazeta on 21-February, has split the
former Russian Ministry of Economics and Finance into two parts-the
Ministry of the Economy and the Ministry of Finance. Andrei Nechaev
was named to head the economy ministry and Egor Gaidar is to
head the finance ministry. On the face of it, this looks like
a demotion for Gaidar, but The Wall Street Journal of 25-February
quotes Nechaev as saying that Gaidar will continue to maintain
"overall guidance" of the economy. Another presidential decree,
cited by Interfax of 24-February, transforms the Foreign Economic
Relations Committee of the Russian Foreign Ministry into a new
Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations. The committee's head,
Petr Aven, was named to lead the new ministry. (Keith Bush)

NECHAEV IS CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC. In his first news conference
as Russian Economics Minister, Andrei Nechaev managed to detect
some rays of hope amid the prevailing economic gloom, CIS and
Western agencies reported on 24-February. The good news was that
the prices of some foodstuffs have stabilized, food supplies
have improved, the ruble has strengthened against the dollar,
and there have as yet been no "major social upheavals." On the
other hand, Nechaev foresaw sharp falls in output during the
next two months, "acute financial crisis" for uncompetitive firms,
and a jump in the number of unemployed. (Keith Bush)

NECHAEV ON PRICES AND INFLATION. According to ITAR-TASS, Nechaev
said that the Russian government was looking at the possibility
of freeing prices on oil products at the end of April. Provided
that this was accompanied by a rigorous credit, financial, and
monetary policy, the overall price level should not rise during
the second quarter by more than 100% over its present level.
This would seem to suggest that prices will have risen by factors
of five or six by 1-July-far higher than had been predicted by
Russian government spokesmen. (Keith Bush)

MAN DIED DURING THE SUNDAY RALLY? On 24-February, Russian TV
broadcast a statement signed by a group of Russian nationalist
deputies, complaining about the use of force during Sunday's
conservative demonstrations. The signatories claimed that Moscow
authorities had deliberately provoked the clashes in order to
dissolve the elected Soviets and to set up an authoritarian regime
in the capital. The statement also claimed that a war veteran,
retired General Nikolai Peskov, had died as a result of the police
actions. The deputies urged that a parliamentary commission investigate
both the episode and the activities of the Moscow city government.
(The statement was read by a speaker normally responsible for
announcing the program schedule as "Vesti's" anchor, Yurii Rostov,
had apparently refused to read it.) (Julia Wishnevsky)

EMPLOYERS' LOBBY CREATED. Businessmen from the CIS and the Baltic
states met in Moscow on 22-February to create a new employers'
association, the International Congress of Industrialists and
Entrepreneurs, Russian TV reported. This is the successor to
the USSR Scientific-Industrial League (NPS), which was disbanded
at the same time as the USSR. Like the NPS, the new body represents
a large number of defense-industry plants as well as new private
businesses. The former chairman of the NPS, Gorbachev-associate
Arkadii Volsky, was elected to head a new Russian Union of Industrialists
and Entrepreneurs on 11-January. (Elizabeth Teague)

TRIPARTITE COMMISSION MEETS. The tripartite commission which
Yeltsin set up by presidential edict on 15 November 1991 held
its latest meeting on 22-February, ITAR- TASS reported. The commission
brings together representatives of government, business, and
unions but has been dogged by disputes over whether employers
should be represented by government ministries, and whether workers
should be represented only by the official trade unions, the
FNPR, or by the independent unions too. On the agenda of the
22-February session was a draft general agreement for 1992, but
it came in for heavy criticism and was sent back for revision.
(Elizabeth Teague)

CONSUMER ORGANIZATION FORMED. A movement to defend consumers'
rights in the former USSR was set up in Moscow on 22-February,
Western agencies reported. The movement claims already to have
thousands of members in nine of the former Soviet republics and
sees its role as helping the consumer make informed choices now
that goods are so much more expensive. Its president is Aleksandr
Auzan, an economist on the staff of Moscow State University.
(Elizabeth Teague)

DEMROSSIYA RECOMMENDS KOKOSHIN FOR DEFENSE MINISTER. The Democratic
Russia movement and the group, "Military for Democracy" have
recommended a civilian, Andrei Kokoshin, for the post of Russian
Defense Minister, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 19-February.
Kokoshin is a deputy director of the US and Canada Institute,
the director of the Center for Conversion and Privatization,
and a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Kokoshin, who was interviewed on the most popular TV shows, "Itogi"
and "Authors' TV," on 23 and 24-February, appears to be the front
runner for the job. However, these recommendations are not binding
on President Yeltsin, who will make the final decision on the
appointment. (Julia Wishnevsky)

MORE MARINES TAKE UKRAINIAN OATH. A second naval infantry (marine)
battalion of the Black Sea Fleet has taken the oath of allegiance
to Ukraine. Interfax reported on 24-February that the commanding
officer of the battalion and his deputy were immediately dismissed
from their posts by Admiral Igor Kasatonov, the commander in
chief of the Black Sea Fleet. Another battalion pledged allegiance
to Ukraine on 15-February, with the same results. There is a
naval infantry brigade attached to the Black Sea Fleet. It is
believed to have some 3,000-4,000 men organized in nine battalions.
(Doug Clarke)

"BLACK COLONEL" TO RESIGN. Colonel Viktor Alksnis, a leader of
the right-wing Soyuz faction in the former USSR Supreme Soviet
and one of the "Black Colonels" referred to by former Foreign
Minister Eduard Shevardnadze in his resignation speech, has said
that he plans to leave the military. Alksnis was quoted by Postfactum
on 24-February as saying that he intended to devote himself fully
to political activities in the future. He was one of the speakers
at the anti-government rally in Moscow on 23-February. (Doug
Clarke)

DETAILS OF 1992 TROOP PULLOUT FROM GERMANY. Colonel General Matvey
Burlakov, the commander of the Western Group of Forces stationed
in Germany, confirmed that 100,000 of his troops would be withdrawn
from Germany this year. In a report distributed by the Russian
Information Agency on 24-February, he said that his forces would
pull out of Dresden, Leipzig, Weimar, and Ludwigslust, as well
as some other unspecified locations. (Doug Clarke)

SHAPOSHNIKOV ON COOPERATION WITH NATO. After meeting with visiting
NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner, CIS Commander in Chief
Marshal Evgenii Shaposhnikov said that he believed there would
be military cooperation between NATO and the CIS. In an interview
with "Vesti" on 24-February, Shaposhnikov said the most likely
assistance would be in the area of military reform "because the
armies of the NATO countries already have such features as professional
armies, for example, and contract service." He said that he an
Woerner had reached agreement on such matters and future cooperation
would be based on "principles of mutual trust and respect." (Doug
Clarke)

POLTORANIN PROMOTED. Russian President Boris Yeltsin has signed
a decree, appointing the Minister of Mass Media and Information
Mikhail Poltoranin, to the position of deputy chairman of the
Russian Government, ITAR-TASS reported on 24-February. Poltoranin
has thus become the fifth deputy premier-the others being Gennadii
Burbulis (first deputy), Egor Gaidar, Sergei Shakhrai, Aleksandr
Shokhin. (Alexander Rahr)

END OF DEMOCRATIC REFORM MOVEMENT? Vladimir Lysenko, co-chairman
of the Russian Federation's Republican Party (RPRF), complained
during a round table discussion on Russian TV on 23-February
that the Democratic Reform Movement (DDR) had turned into "a
party of one man"-Moscow Mayor Gavriil Popov. The RPRF left the
founding congress of the Russian DDR held in Nizhnii Novgorod
a few weeks ago because Popov was elected the Russian DDR chairman.
Later that day, Popov told another TV interviewer why the DDR's
most prominent leaders were not in Nizhnii Novgorod. Eduard Shevardnadze,
Popov explained, is totally preoccupied with Georgian affairs,
while Aleksandr Yakovlev is busy running the Gorbachev Foundation.
Yet, Gorbachev, according to Popov, continues to be viewed as
a "controversial" figure, and it would be bad for public relations
if the Democratic Reform Movement was perceived as being run
by Gorbachev's men. (Julia Wishnevsky)

ARCHIVES OF THE CPSU CC TO BE OPENED IN MARCH. The archives of
the CPSU Central Committee will be open beginning in March, ITAR-TASS
reported on 21-February. The director of the Center for the Preservation
of Contemporary Documentation set up on the basis of these archives,
Rem Usikov, said that the Center contains documents on CPSU activities
from 1952 to August 1991. Documents on earlier Party history
are kept in the Russian Center for the Preservation and Study
of Modern History Documents (formerly, the Central Party Archives
at the Institute of Marxism-Leninism). The documents on Politburo
activities and the personal archives of CPSU general secretaries
are still kept separately in the so-called "Kremlin archives,"
which in recent years had been personally supervised by Mikhail
Gorbachev. Usikov said these archives will also be merged with
those held by his center. (Vera Tolz)

GERMAN MINORITY IN UKRAINE. A German delegation representing
Bonn's ministries of internal and foreign affairs has concluded
a visit to the Mykolaiv region of Ukraine, Radio Kiev reported
on 24-February. The German officials were in Ukraine in connection
with the recent offer made by Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk
to resettle ethnic Germans deported from their traditional homelands
in southern Ukraine. (Roman Solchanyk)

UKRAINIAN-IRANIAN OIL DEAL. Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister
Kostyantyn Masyk held talks on 24-February with Iranian officials
in Teheran, ITAR-TASS and Radio Kiev reported. The two sides
discussed the annual sale of four million tons of Iranian crude
oil to Ukraine, construction of an oil pipeline capable of delivering
fifty million tons of oil annually and an oil terminal on the
Black Sea. They also discussed construction of a gas pipeline,
and the sale of three billion cubic meters of natural gas annually.
Iran is said to be prepared to sell oil to Ukraine without delay.
(Roman Solchanyk)

CIS MILITARY BASE ATTACKED IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH. Azerbaijani forces
have attacked a CIS military base near Stepanakert, killing two
soldiers and injuring two others, ITAR-TASS reported on 24-February.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati left for Baku on
24-February to mediate the Karabakh dispute according to IRNA.
Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov told Saudi Foreign Minister
Price Saud al-Faysal that he welcomes all such initiatives, Interfax
reported on 24-February. Turkish President Turgut Ozal told a
news conference on 24-February that "a solution must be found"
to the Karabakh conflict, but that while Turkey "should be more
active" in this process it should not play the role of mediator.
(Liz Fuller)

SHEVARDNADZE INVITED TO RETURN TO GEORGIA. On 24-February Radio
Moscow quoted Georgian Military Council co-chairman Dzhaba Ioseliani
as claiming that a parliamentary democracy will be the most suitable
system for Georgia. (A campaign for the restoration of the monarchy
has suffered a serious setback in that none of the three claimants
to the throne is considered suitable, The Times reported on 24-February.)
Ioseliani further stated that former Soviet Foreign Minister
Eduard Shevardnadze had been invited to return to Georgia. The
new elections which the Military Council originally planned to
hold in the spring of this year have been postponed until the
autumn. (Liz Fuller)

ALL RESIDENTS OF MOLDOVA TO BE OFFERED CITIZENSHIP. Moldovan
President Mircea Snegur issued a decree on 24-February saying
that all residents of Moldova would be offered Moldovan citizenship,
Reuters reported. The decree said they would have to decide by
4 June whether they wanted Moldovan citizenship. No special identification
cards will be issued, but a special stamp will be entered in
citizens' existing Soviet internal passports. (Ann Sheehy)

NEW STATISTICS ON RELIGIOSITY OF RUSSIANS. On 22-February, "Novosti"
reported the results of research carried out by the Russian Academy
of Sciences. According to these statistics, in 1990 and 1991,
29% responded positively when asked whether they believe in God.
In 1990, 46% confirmed that they identify themselves with Orthodoxy
while in 1991, only 19% responded positively. "Novosti" commented
that the decline in those associating themselves with Orthodoxy
is probably because many people now identify themselves with
Christianity in general. According to these statistics, the number
of atheists has also declined sharply in the past 2 years. (Oxana
Antic)

BALTIC STATES

BELARUS LAYS TERRITORIAL CLAIMS ON LITHUANIA. On 24-February
in Minsk Belarus Foreign Minister Petr Krauchenka told a European
Community delegation led by External Relations Commissioner Frans
Andriessen that he wants to record his country's claim on Lithuanian
border territory in the presence of an international audience
. According to Reuters, when asked by an EC official whether
the claim extends to Vilnius, Krauchenka replied "yes," but he
added that border areas are those at issue. Krauchenka's claims
were totally unexpected; Lithuania and Belarus had previously
signed an agreement recognizing each other's borders. (Saulius
Girnius)

LATVIA TEMPORARILY HALTS SUPPLIES TO RUSSIA. Diena reported on
21-February that a group of enterprises in Latvia that are the
sole producers in the former USSR of certain goods had agreed
to stop sending their products to Russia for a period of three
days. The protest action, prompted by Russia's failure to honor
its agreements to provide Latvia with fuel and raw materials,
surprised officials in Moscow and has apparently spurred them
to take steps to bring Latvian-Russian economic relations into
better order. A Latvian-Russian economic accord is expected to
be signed on 25-February, Radio Riga reported on 24-February.
(Dzintra Bungs)

TEMPORARY PRICE CONTROLS IN LITHUANIA. On 24-February Prime Minister
Gediminas Vagnorius issued a decree establishing temporary ceilings
on price rises for commercial goods, Radio Lithuania reported.
Goods sold by large commercial enterprises could only be raised
8% while those by small enterprises by 17% (or 25% if the goods
are received independently from large enterprises). Controls
are needed because of price instability caused by shortages of
money and credit. The controls will go into effect on 25-February
and last until 10-March. (Saulius Girnius)

LITHUANIA TO TAKE OVER CUSTOM POSTS. On 25-January Lithuanian
National Defense Minister Audrius Butkevicius informed the Russian
authorities that Lithuania is going to take complete control
over its customs posts and that the former Soviet border troops
stationed there should withdraw. On 21-February, despite verbal
protests, the troops at the custom posts at Lazdijai withdrew
peacefully. At the Mukran ferry in Klaipeda, however, despite
a previous agreement, troops refused to leave their facilities
and even fired shots into the air when Lithuanian officials arrived
to take over. Radio Lithuania on 25-February reported that after
long discussions the troops agreed to leave that day but had
not done so by early afternoon. (Saulius Girnius)

CHINA WITHDRAWS EMBASSY FROM LATVIA. Chinese charge d'affaires
Chen Di announced that his country is temporarily closing its
embassy in Latvia and left Riga with his staff on 24-February,
Western agencies report. This step, just short of breaking relations,
was prompted by Latvia's decision to establish consular relations
with Taiwan, which Beijing claims is in violation the accord
that established diplomatic relations. In formal instruments
of this sort China routinely insists on a clause specifying that
Taiwan is part of China and the only legitimate government is
in Beijing. An announcement from Beijing said that China hopes
Latvia will reverse its position and bring relations back to
normal. (Dzintra Bungs)

CHURKIN SAYS ESTONIA "PARDONING" NAZI COLLABORATORS. Russian
Foreign Ministry spokesman Vitalii Churkin criticized as too
broad a recent Estonian law that seeks to rehabilitate those
convicted by Soviet courts after World War-II. Churkin said that
even if many innocent persons obtain pardons under the law, so
would others who were responsible for atrocities against civilians.
The law declares illegal decisions made by Soviet tribunals that
send thousands of Estonians to prison on charges of helping the
Nazis, Reuters reported on 24-February. Heretofore, Estonia had
been handling pardons on a case- by-case basis. (Dzintra Bungs)


CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE OLSZEWSKI SEEKS WIDER PARLIAMENTARY
BASE. Polish Prime Minister Jan Olszewski met on 24-February
with the parliamentary leadership of five parties to solicit
support for the government's 1992 economic program. Government
spokesman Marcin Gugulski expressed optimism, PAP reports, and
although the party leaders themselves were more reserved, they
will leave final decisions to their parliamentary fractions.
Speaking to the editors of Nowy swiat, President Lech Walesa
expressed irritation with the Polish political elites and spoke
of a possible suspension of parliament if it appears that democracy
is failing, with the government ruling by decree-subject to popular
approval. (Roman Stefanowski)

TYMINSKI READY TO FORM GOVERNMENT. On a visit to Poland Stanislaw
Tyminski, former presidential candidate and leader of Party "X",
told PAP on 22-February that he is willing to stay in the country
permanently and form a government "if he receives popular support."
After public meetings in Lodz and Katowice, Tyminski said that
he has a cabinet list ready. He said the country is threatened
by a social explosion that the current leadership-including Walesa-cannot
control. Given three months for quick fixes, Tyminski says, he
would start by setting up soup kitchens to feed the hungry. (Roman
Stefanowski)

POLISH ARMY CHANGES ANNOUNCED. Speaking in Szczecin on 24-February
to army officers of the Pomeranian Military Region, Deputy Defense
Minister Romuald Szeremietiew announced plans for change and
rejuvenation in the military, particularly the higher level,
training with the American army, and normalization of the functioning
of the armaments industry. According to PAP, Szeremietiew said
that the priority is to halt the deterioration in the Polish
army. He pointed out that "among politicians there is a feeling
that the army is diehard conservative and has bad morale." The
army, Szeremietiew said, will be apolitical and nonparty. The
politicians must find financial means for the army, he said,
because they realize that-"with-out the army, as the guarantor
of our sovereignty, no changes in Poland are possible." (Roman
Stefanowski)

PROTESTS AGAINST CZECHOSLOVAK-GERMAN TREATY. On 24-February about
7,000 people protested in central Prague against the Czechoslovak-German
friendship treaty which is to be signed on 27-February, CSTK
reported. The protest was organized by Movement 90, a grouping
of rightist parties and movements, founded in August 1990. The
rally was addressed by several leftist speakers, including communist
deputy Miloslav Ransdorf, who called the present government one
of "national treason," Reuters reported. Although the country's
leaders have never made unconditional offers to return property
confiscated from the expelled ethnic Germans, some Czechs still
say the treaty is the first step toward recognizing German claims.
(Peter Matuska)

LAMBSDORFF DEFENDS CZECH LIBERAL PARTY. On 23-February the president
of the Liberal International, Otto Graf Lambsdorff, expressed
fear that the Czech conservative parties would wage a smear campaign
against the liberal Civic Movement Party of Jiri Dienstbier in
the June election campaign, an RFE correspondent reported. He
quoted Dienstbier as saying that conservative finance minister
Vaclav Klaus had taken a "very hostile stand" against the liberals
because they do not share his view on a radical "de- bolshevization"
in the country. Klaus has been faulted for "neglecting social
measures for victims of the economic reform process." The German
liberals promised to help both the Czech and the Hungarian liberals
in the election campaign. (Peter Matuska)

NO NUCLEAR PLANTS PLANNED FOR BOHEMIA AND MORAVIA. On 24-February
Czech Environment Minister Ivan Dejmal said his government has
no plans to build new nuclear plants in Bohemia and Moravia in
the next decade, CSTK reported. Dejmal added, however, that the
plant currently under construction at Temelin in southern Bohemia
would be completed. On the same day federal, Czech, and Slovak
finance ministers agreed to continue financing construction of
the controversial dam at Gabcikovo-Nagymaros. An RFE correspondent
reported that the Hungarian government will ask parliament this
week to approve the government's intention unilaterally to cancel
the 1977 bilateral treaty under which both countries started
the project. (Peter Matuska)

NEW YORK, BUDAPEST EXCHANGES TO COOPERATE. Under a cooperation
agreement signed by the chairman of the board of the New York
Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and the Budapest Commodity Exchange
(BCE) on 24-February, NYMEX will offer the Budapest Exchange
technical and professional aid and the two sides will exchange
information about mutual business opportunities. NYMEX, the world's
largest oil market, considers Hungary, which is crossed by all
major oil pipelines in the region, an important point for the
sale of Russian oil and natural gas to Western Europe. The Budapest
Exchange, set up three years ago for trading livestock and grain,
wants to start trading oil futures later this year with help
from the New York Commodity Exchange. This was reported by MTI.
(Edith Oltay) 

DROP IN HUNGARY'S POPULATION. According to preliminary
figures released by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office,
Hungary's population numbered about 10,355,000 on 1-February
1992, a drop of 20,000 compared to a year ago, MTI reported.
Approximately 146,000 people died in 1991 but only 126,000 babies
were born. There were about 90,000 abortions, which amounts to
71 abortions for every hundred live births. Hungary's population
has been decreasing since 1981. (Edith Oltay)

OPPOSITION WINS ROMANIAN CITIES. Partial results from the 23-February
runoff elections suggest that candidates from the opposition
Democratic Convention (DC) won important races against the ruling
National Salvation Front (NSF), including the mayorships of Bucharest,
Brasov, Timisoara, Arad, Sibiu, Alba Iulia, Bacau, Constanta,
Ploiesti, and Satu Mare, Radio Bucharest reports. In general
the DC dominated contests in major towns, while the NSF held
on to its power in rural parts of the country. (Crisula Stefanescu)


BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BUCHAREST. During his visit to
Romania on 24-February, Bulgarian foreign minister Stoyan Ganev
held talks with President Ion Iliescu and-other officials. Iliescu,
quoted by Rompres, said that the talks concerned mutual relations
and the situation in the former Yugoslavia. Both sides agreed
that all states bordering Yugoslavia must clearly renounce territorial
claims. Ganev proposed a Helsinki- type process for Balkan nations
that would guarantee existing frontiers, and said that security
was linked to the safety of frontiers, self-determination, and
re-nunciation of territorial claims. (Crisula Stefanescu)

TASK FORCE TO ANALYZE BULGARIA'S POWER PROBLEMS. On 24-February
the Bulgarian government set up a task force of officials and
experts to find a quick solution to the country's energy shortages,
BTA reports. The move was prompted by the lingering effects of
a fault in a reactor at the Kozloduy nuclear plant, forcing authorities
to keep rationing at 50%. Among other things, the task force
will look into the possibility of buying electricity from Poland
or Turkey, as well as coal from Ukraine or Russia. (Kjell Engelbrekt)


PUSHKAROV ON BULGARIA'S "STRUCTURAL REFORMS." At a press conference
on 24-February, Minister of Industry and Trade Ivan Pushkarov
discussed plans and probable effects of sweeping structural transformations
of the economy. According to BTA, Pushkarov said those companies
that seem competitive will receive encouragement while others
will have to be closed. He warned that some 150-200,000 jobs
in the largely unprofitable mining industry could be abolished.
At the same time Pushkarov promised that retraining and unemployment
compensation programs financed by World Bank credits would be
made available to many. (Kjell Engelbrekt)

CONSENSUS IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA? The 25-February Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung reports that the Muslim, Serbian, and Croatian
leaders of the ethnically mixed republic reached a compromise
amid American encouragement in Lisbon over the weekend. The gist
of the plan is to set up a Swiss-type loose federal system based
on cantons, but with the sovereignty and territorial integrity
of the republic intact. This meant a retreat by the Muslims from
their demand for a unitary republic, while Serbian and Croatian
nationalists will have to give up hope of breaking away from
Bosnia to join Serbia and Croatia, respectively. Nonetheless,
the BBC said on 24-February that Muslim and Croatian leaders
that day called for the federal army to leave Bosnia if next
weekend's referendum backs independence. The Serbian population
wants the army to stay. (Patrick Moore) As of 1200 CET Compiled
by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull










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