|The fool wonders, the wise man asks. - Benjamin Disraeli|
No. 39, 26 February 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR NATO-CIS TALKS. NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner, winding up talks with CIS political and military leaders, told reporters in Moscow on 25-February that he was "deeply satisfied" with the results of his visit, ITAR-TASS reported. Woerner also emphasized that NATO would not involve itself in the internal CIS debate over reshaping the former Soviet armed forces. Similar remarks were apparently made by NATO officials in Brussels on 24-February. According to Western agency reports that appeared the next day, a NATO official said that the Western alliance was letting the CIS republics decide how best to distribute the weapons and assets of the old Soviet army within the limits estab- lished by the CFE treaty. The issue of distribution is a critical one and is already the cause of tensions between Russia and Ukraine. (Stephen Foye) SAMSONOV TO CHINA. The Chief of the General Staff of the CIS armed forces, Colonel General Viktor Samsonov, arrived in Beijing on 26-February to begin talks with PRC military leaders, ITAR-TASS reported. Discussions will focus on military cooperation between the two nations and on proposals to reduce military forces along the Russian- Chinese border. Samsonov is scheduled to fly from Beijing to Pyongyang, North Korea, on 2-March, the report said. (Stephen Foye) FOREIGN AIR FORCE STUDENTS MUST PAY HARD CURRENCY. Foreign students studying at CIS air force academies are now required to pay tuition fees ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 per month. Interfax on 25-February revealed that because of the introduction of these new fees-which must be paid in hard currency-234-service-men from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Vietnam, and Cuba had interrupted their studies and were expected to return home. A further 592 cadets from Yemen, Algeria, China, and several other countries were continuing their courses. (Doug Clarke) CRYPTOGRAPHER JUMPS SHIP. The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported on 25-February that a Russian officer, Lieutenant Commander Boris Kalamiev, had jumped overboard from the cruiser Kersch when the ship was passing through the Bosphorus on 15-February. Kalamiev was identified as a cryptographer working with satellite communications systems and was said to have brought 100 pages of crypto documents with him in a water-resistant bag. Kalamiev has supposedly requested asylum in the United States. (Doug Clarke) NEW DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER. Interfax reported on 25-February the appointment of 59-year-old Boris Nikolaevich Pastukhov as one of Russia's deputy foreign ministers. He will be responsible for administrative and economic affairs. According to an interview with Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev by Interfax on the same day, no former USSR deputy foreign ministers will retain their jobs (as deputy foreign ministers) in the Russian Foreign Ministry. (Suzanne Crow) KOZYREV IN AFRICA. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev began his tour of Africa on 26-February with talks in Angola. Kozyrev told Interfax on 25-February that it is important to remember the role played by the USSR in the Angola settlement, adding: "This is a continuation of our global role." Kozyrev said he dislikes the term "superpower" but explained: "nevertheless, it applies, considering our responsibility to the world." Kozyrev travels to South Africa on 28-February and to Egypt on 1-March. (Suzanne Crow) DISPUTE OVER VNESHEKONOMBANK. Government officials from all of the former Soviet republics, except Russia and Georgia, met in Kiev on 25-February, and proposed removing Vneshekonombank from Russian control and from Moscow, Reuters reported. All three Baltic states were represented; Russia apparently declined; and the Georgian delegation missed the meeting because of travel problems. The delegates recommended reestablishing Vneshekonombank under new intergovernmental auspices with each former Soviet republic having a vote, and relocating it in Minsk. Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitold Fokin was quoted as saying that if Western credits are handled by the Vneshekonombank while it remains under Russian control, "We will not see them. We will only smell them." (Keith Bush) INCREASED INCENTIVES FOR FUEL OUTPUT. The Russian government has increased incentives for higher fuel production by doubling the amount that producers can sell on the market, Interfax reported on 25-February. The share of oil, petroleum products, and gas that may be sold at unregulated prices has been raised from 20% to 40% provided that government contracts have first been met. The Russian output of oil and gas condensate fell by 11% to 461 million tons in 1991, and production is expected to fall further in 1992. (Keith Bush) MOSCOW TO ESTABLISH FREE ECONOMIC ZONES. Moscow's local authorities are considering setting up several free economic zones in the area around the Russian capital. The aim is to attract foreign investment by offering investors tax incentives, a convenient geographical location, and skilled but cheap local labor. The first such zones are expected to be in the Sheremetevo, Domodedovo, and Dubini areas; eventually, Moscow's local government plans to make the entire region a free economic zone. There will be "virtually no restriction" on the range of foreign investment activities, Interfax reported on 24-February. (Elizabeth Teague) CHANGES IN RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT. A redistribution of portfolios has taken place at the top of the Russian Government. First Vice Premier Gennadii Burbulis took over supervision of state security organs, as his participation in a meeting of the Ministry for Security indicated (ITAR-TASS, 25-February). Vice Premier Sergei Shakhrai had so far been responsible for these issues. At the same time, Burbulis seems to have given up functions of supervising the press. That task will now be carried out by Mikhail Poltoranin who was promoted to the rank of Vice Premier on 24-February. Vice Premier Egor Gaidar has given up direct supervision over-the economy and will now deal primarily with finances (see Daily Report of 25-February). (Alexander Rahr) PRESS CONFERENCE ON 23 FEBRUARY CLASHES. On 25-February, the Moscow city government organized a press conference to comment on the 23-February clashes between demonstrators and police. Representatives of the police, who spoke at the conference, blamed the clashes on the "unprecedented aggressiveness of the demonstrators." ITAR-TASS reported that Moscow City Procurator Gennadii Ponomarev has initiated an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the clashes. The investigation would look into the behavior of the Moscow police and the Moscow mayor's office, which had banned demonstrations in the center of Moscow in anticipation of Sunday's protests. (Vera Tolz) CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO REVIEW COMMUNIST PARTY BAN. The Russian Constitutional Court will meet in March to review President Yeltsin's decrees banning the Communist Party and confiscating Party property, Interfax reported on 24-February. The court inquiry has been launched on the request of a group of Russian deputies who argue that the president has exceeded his authority under the existing Russian Constitution. Interfax reported that Constitutional Court Chairman Valerii Zorkin has already sent a copy of deputies' request to Yeltsin and asked the president to attend the court hearing personally. However the report indica-ted that Yeltsin's advisor on legal affairs and deputy prime minister, Sergei Shakhrai is more likely to represent the president in court. (Carla Thorson) YELTSIN ON CRIMEA, RELATIONS WITH UKRAINE. Russian President Boris Yeltsin told heads of Russian parliamentary commissions on 25-February that demands for the almost immediate return of the Crimea only serves to stir up passions and complicate the situation, ITAR-TASS reported. The Russian leader emphasized that relations with Ukraine and other former Soviet republics should be conducted calmly. (Roman Solchanyk) KRAVCHUK WANTS TO HELP RUSSIA. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk said on 25-February that his most important task is "to do something to help Russia," Reuters reported. Kravchuk told EC External Relations Commissioner Frans Andriessen in Kiev that the situation in Russia must be stabilized because problems there have an impact on Ukraine. Political instability in Russia, he continued, could threaten the future of the CIS. The main problems facing Russia, according to the Ukrainian leader, are Islamic fundamentalism, ethnic conflicts, and disputes within the Russian government over economic reforms. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT RESTRUCTURED. The Ukrainian president issued a decree on 25-February creating a State Council within the presidency, Ukrinform-TASS reported. The new body is to develop basic policy directions for the executive. The State Council will be chaired by Kravchuk with Prime Minister Vitold Fokin serving as deputy chairman. The Ukrainian leader also issued another decree liquidating the posts of state ministers and cutting back the number of ministries. The number of state committees may also be reduced in the future. (Roman Solchanyk) NEW SIGNATORIES OF HELSINKI FINAL ACT. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk leaves for Helsinki on 26-February to affix his signature on the Helsinki Final Act, Radio Kiev reported. Joining him there will be the leaders of Belarus, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. (Roman Solchanyk) SHUSHKEVICH DENIES TERRITORIAL CLAIMS ON LITHUANIA. Arriving in Finland on 25-February for the ceremonial signing of the Helsinki Final Act, Belarusian Supreme Soviet Chairman Stanislau Shushkevich denied reports that Belarus is claiming part of Lithuanian territory. The fact that Belarus has come to sign the Final Act is proof that it has no such claims on its neighbors, he said. Shushkevich was referring to a statement distributed on 24-February by Western agencies in which Foreign Minister Petr Krauchenka said Belarus is entitled to the southeastern part of Lithuania, including Vilnius, but that the Lithuanians refused to negotiate. The VOA Lithuanian Service reported that on 25-February, Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister Algirdas Saudargas telephoned his Belarusian counterpart Petr Krauchenka, who said that Belarus has no territorial claims on Lithuania. In other comments as quoted by ITAR-TASS, Shushkevich confirmed that all tactical nuclear weapons will be withdrawn from Belarus by 1-July, to be followed by strategic weapons over the course of the next two to three years, resources permitting. (Kathy Mihalisko & Saulius Girnius) VELAYATI IN BAKU. Following a two-hour meeting in Baku on 25-February between Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati and Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov, described by both men as "good and promising," Teheran Radio reported that Armenia and Azerbaijan had agreed to a 24-hour ceasefire beginning on 26-February. Velayati denied claims that Iranian Azerbaijanis are fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh. In a statement issued on 25-February the Iranian parliament blamed the United States for the Karabakh conflict and called on Armenians and Azerbaijanis to end hostilities. The Nagorno-Karabakh Interior Ministry meanwhile accused Azerbaijan of waging a fully-fledged war against Armenia. Armenian President Lev Ter-Petrossyan was cited by Le Figaro on 25-February as stating that the Karabakh problem hinges on the issue of self-determination for the Armenian population there. (Liz Fuller) CATHOLICOS APPEAL FOR PEACE. Moskovskie novosti no 8. published a statement by the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Vazgen I (Catholicos) in which he appealed to all religions to advocate peace. Catholicos said that this appeal must be urgent since international conflicts are gaining momentum in the former Soviet Union. Catholicos stressed that the conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Nagorno-Karabakh has no religious coloring.(Oxana Antic) PRO-GAMSAKHURDIA DEMOS IN GEORGIA. Peaceful demonstrations calling for the return to office of ousted Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia took place on 25-February in Tbilisi, Zugdidi, Senaki, Poti and several towns in Abkhazia, Radio Rossii reported. The Chairman of the Abkhaz Supreme Soviet, Vladislav Ardzinba, proposed introducing a state of emergency in Abkhazia following a series of 13 bomb attacks on the main railway linking Abkhazia and Tbilisi. A Chechen parliament delegate was quoted by "Vesti" on 25-February as stating that the Assembly of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus will send troops to Abkhazia to halt clashes between Gamsakhurdia's supporters and troops loyal to Georgia's ruling Military Council. In an interview published in Nezavisimaya gazeta on 21-February Gamsakhurdia asserted that he would continue a campaign of civil disobedience against the Military Council. (Liz Fuller) PATRIARCH ALEKSII OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA ON ANTI-SEMITISM. Moscow News No. 7 published a speech made by Patriarch Aleksii II in November, 1991, at a meeting with rabbis during his visit to the United States. The Patriarch commented in his speech on Jewish-Russian Orthodox relations in the past and cited examples where Orthodox theologians defended the Jews against manifestations of anti-semitism. The Patriarch admitted that currently anti-semitic feelings are significant but made it clear that Orthodoxy does not make it incumbent upon the Orthodox believer to be anti-semitic, and if an Orthodox believer is anti-semitic, he has some "extrareligious motivation." (See Daily Report No. 218, 1991.) (Oxana Antic) BALTIC STATES ESTONIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY. The 74th anniversary of Estonia's declaration of independence on 24-February was celebrated officially for the first time in more than fifty years, Radio Lithuania reported on 25-February. The celebrations in Tallinn began with a parade of Estonian defense forces in Freedom Square and continued in the Estonia Theater, where Supreme Council Chairman Arnold Ruutel made the main address. His Lithuanian counterpart Vytautas Landsbergis also spoke. Ruutel presented medals to him and Estonian ambassador to the US Ernst Jaakson, visiting his homeland for the first time in 63-years. Representatives of other countries also spoke. (Saulius Girnius) TROOP WITHDRAWAL DELAYED. On 25-February journalists gathered at the air defense battalion base at Mickunai to observe the beginning of the withdrawal of the former Soviet Army troops from Lithuania, the RFE Lithuanian Service reported. Expectations were shattered, however, when it was noticed that soldiers were busy storing firewood. Base commander Col. Vladimir Gerasimov said that he did not know why the planned withdrawal had been postponed, but suggested that the troops would probably leave the base on 27-February. The approximately 100-soldiers there will first withdraw to Vilnius, then, together with the rest of their battery, leave Lithuania on 3-March. A commission headed by Deputy National Defense Minister Jonas Pauzolis began an inspection of the physical and ecological condition of the base in preparation for its formal handover. (Saulius Girnius) CUSTOM POSTS DIFFICULTIES CONTINUE. Lithuanian efforts to remove the Russian border guards from the custom post at the Klaipeda-Mukran ferry on 24-February proved unsuccessful, Radio Lithuania reports. Chief of Staff of the Baltic District Border Guards Maj.-Gen. Valentin Kostenko visited the post twice, the second time accompanied by Russian TV, and said that Moscow was not allowing the troops to be withdrawn. The chief of the district Lt.-Gen. Valentin Gaponenko sent a telegram to Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis pointing to the paradoxical situation: Lithuania has the right to control its borders but Russia forbids its troops to leave. He urged Vilnius to begin direct negotiations with Moscow. Russian border guards have also refused to leave the post at Palanga, where the normal contingent of 6-7-persons has been supplemented by 25-armed soldiers. (Saulius Girnius) LATVIA RESPONDS TO CLOSURE OF CHINESE EMBASSY. The Latvian Foreign Ministry explained that Latvia's foreign policy is aimed at creating good relations with all states friendly toward Latvia, which recognize its independence, and want to extend Latvia their help. In this context Latvia decided to accept Taiwan's proposal for establishing consular-not diplomatic-relations in order to make Taiwan's assistance to Latvia more effective. Beijing ordered its diplomatic staff to leave Latvia because Latvia had allowed Taiwan to open a-consul-ate in Riga and urged Latvia to reconsider its actions, BNS reported on 25-February. (Dzintra Bungs) NATO LEADER IN LATVIA. Gen. Sir Brian Kenny, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, visited Latvia on 24 and 25-February, Radio Riga reported. The NATO leader met with Latvian Minister of Defense Talavs Jundzis, Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs, and others to discuss the conceptual basis of Latvia's defense. It was decided that Latvia would send representatives in March to a NATO school in Germany and to a NATO seminar there in May. Prior to his arrival in Latvia, Gen. Kenny visited Lithuania. Radio Riga reported on 25-February that NATO General Secretary Manfred Woerner is expected in Riga in April. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIA'S RUSSIANS ORGANIZE. Latvijas Jaunatne reported on 13-February that Russians who were citizens of the interwar Republic of Latvia and their descendants are organizing their own association. One of the organizers, Vladimir Sorochin, said that potential membership could reach 200,000. The organization's aim is to protect the interests of its members, including their rights to property in Latvia. Sorochin said that this is the third time in this century that Russia has abandoned its people-in 1918, 1940, and now. In the past, he said, Latvia never did that, but rather gave Russians land and jobs, so the Russians intend to cast their lot with Latvia. He said that the organization wants to make sure that people distinguish between the Russians in his organization and those that belong to Interfront and other pro-Soviet organizations that oppose Latvia's independence. (Dzintra Bungs) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE SEJM COMMISSIONS CRITICAL OF GOVERNMENT PROGRAM. On 25-February, the eve of a four-day Sejm session that will begin with discussion of the government's 1992 economic program, four Sejm commissions-on agriculture and the food industry; social policies; education, science and technical progress; and economic system and industry-voiced strong criticism of the program. According to PAP the parliamentary fraction of the Democratic Union has already decided to vote against it. Even within the government itself there is no consensus; at the Council of Ministers meeting on 25-February Defense Minister Jan Parys said that he will not support a program that cuts defense spending and urged the government to treat defense as priority. "The people can live more modestly," Parys said, "but it is important that they live securely." (Roman Stefanowski) ZLOTY DEVALUED. The Polish National Bank announced that effective 26-February the Polish zloty is to be devalued by 12%, Polish and Western media report. Bank spokesman Tomasz Uchman said the devaluation reflects the inflation rate and is meant to boost exports. The zloty has been devalued under the crawling mechanism procedure against a basket of five Western currencies. The basket comprises the US dollar (45%), German mark (35%), pound sterling (10%) and French and Swiss francs, (5% each). Uchman said that following the latest devaluation, the zloty would continue to lose about 1.8% a month against the basket of Western currencies. (Roman Stefanowski) RAILWAY STATIONS IN POLAND NO LONGER SECRET. The Polish government will scrap the State Secrets Law, enacted during the 1982 martial law period, under which it was an offense to photograph practically any transportation facility, including even small- town railway stations, country bridges, one-room post offices, and desolate stretches of roads. According to Gazeta wyborcza on 25-February, rather than giving a detailed definition of what constitutes a state secret, the revised law provides a general definition, limiting it to information that if revealed would compromise the national interest, defenses, or security. (Roman Stefanowski) KLAUS ON GERMAN TREATY. On 25-February federal finance minister Vaclav Klaus said with the signing of the friendship treaty with Germany on 27-February Czechoslovakia has missed a unique chance to settle historical controversies between the two countries, CSTK reports. He was apparently referring to issues like the 1938 Munich Pact and the Sudeten Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War-II. Klaus said his country is signing a treaty that leaves many dangerous problems unresolved, but added that his own Civic Democratic Party would still support parliamentary ratification. (Peter Matuska) CZECH INDUSTRY MINISTER ON PROGRESS OF REFORM. On 25-February, speaking to the Union of Industry of the Czech Republic, Industry Minister Jan Vrba said the federal government's restrictive monetary policies have reduced state revenues and contributed to a "big decline" in industrial production. He said the country's current problems have been the result of a lack of money for investing in industrial plant modernization and recommended that the government ease credit, allowing industries greater access to borrowing, an RFE correspondent reported. (Peter Matuska) HUNGARIAN MINISTER FOR INTELLIGENCE RESIGNS. On 25-February minister without portfolio Andras Galszecsy, who is responsible for national security and intelligence, submitted his resignation, MTI reported. Galszecsy, who is to leave office at the end of the month, said he resigned because "I simply grew tired of daily conflicts between my own values as a civil servant and my job, which has to be a political one." Prime Minister Jozsef Antall's office said that it appreciated Galszecsy's work but would nevertheless accept the resignation. (Edith Oltay) HUNGARIAN DRAFT CALL. Some 23,000 young Hungarians will be drafted on 26 and 27-February, Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Gyorgy Keleti told MTI on 24-February. Some 84% of the new recruits are unmarried and will perform 12-months of service; draftees with children will serve 6-months in a location close to their place of residence. (Alfred Reisch) HUNGARY REJECTS ROMANIAN CRITICISM OF MINORITY STATEMENTS. On 25-February Hungarian Foreign Ministry spokesman Janos Herman rejected Romanian charges that the Hungarian government was "irredentist and revisionist" as "unfounded, harsh, and threatening." He reiterated his government's position that Hungary has no territorial demands on any country but will defend the rights of Hungarian minorities in other countries. The Romanian government criticized a statement by State Secretary Geza Entz that "ethnic Hungarians beyond the border form an integral part of the Hungarian nation," a view that has been expressed many times before. Romania also criticized Defense Minister Lajos Fur for stating that Hungary "should do everything in its power, using all legal and diplomatic means, to end the threats to [Hungarian] minorities and to guarantee their survival." This was reported by MTI. (Edith Oltay) UNEMPLOYMENT IN ROMANIA. Rompres quoting Economistul, reports that the number of unemployed in Romania has reached 450,000. Only 2,315-jobs are available. (Crisula Stefanescu) ROMANIA'S HEAVY WATER FACILITY. At a symposium on heavy water organized by the Romanian Academy of Sciences in cooperation with the Institute of Cryogenics and Isotope Separation it was acknowledged that Romania's large heavy water plant at Turnu Derin has "the second largest production capacity in the world," as Marius Peculea, director of the Cryogenics Institute, put it. Peculea told Rompres that the factory was built through the country's own efforts over a period of 25-years. (Crisula Stefanescu) WORLD BANK CRITICAL OF BULGARIA'S SLOW REFORM PACE. John Wilton, the official in charge of the World Bank's structural adjustment loan to Bulgaria, told Reuters on 25-February that he is disappointed by Bulgaria's record on economic reform since last summer. Visiting Sofia for talks with the Bulgarian government, Wilton particularly criticized the slow pace of privatization. Speaking on Bulgarian radio, however, Wilton said the World Bank and the cabinet had now agreed on a "very good, comprehensive" privatization law. Wilton also urged the consolidation of banking and credit institutions. (Kjell Engelbrekt) DIMITROV MAUSOLEUM TO BE DEMOLISHED. The Sofia City Council decided on 25-February to pull down the mausoleum of Georgi Dimitrov, leader of the Bulgarian Communist Party from 1946 to 1949. The mausoleum together with the National Gallery- previously the Royal Palace-dominate the Battenberg Square in downtown Sofia. According to BTA, the tunnels connecting the mausoleum with the recently vacated Communist Party headquarters will also be destroyed. Dimitrov's body was removed from the mausoleum and cremated in mid-July 1990. (Kjell Engelbrekt) MOVEMENT IN THE EC TOWARD RECOGNIZING MACEDONIA? The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia applied to the EC for recognition in December, but the request has been held up by Greek opposition. Athens fears that the republic might seek to claim parts of northern Greece, a charge that Macedonia strongly denies. On 25-February, the International Herald Tribune reported that some EC members are willing to recognize the new Balkan state individually if Greece continues to block a consensus. An unnamed German official said: "we recognize the sensitivities of Greece, but sooner or later we need a decision." Meanwhile, Die Presse said that Greek consumers are boycotting Dutch goods to protest the Netherlands' alleged leading role in obtaining EC recognition for Macedonia. The Vienna daily quotes a Dutch Foreign Ministry official as suggesting that the Greeks had confused Holland with Denmark. (Patrick Moore) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull l
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