Logic, n. The act of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human understanding. - Ambrose Bierce
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 40, 27 February 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

MEETING OF CIS PARLIAMENTARY LEADERS IN MOSCOW. CIS parliamentary
leaders are to meet in Moscow on 27-February to approve the documents
on cooperation between CIS supreme soviets adopted at a meeting
of deputy parliamentary leaders in Minsk on 24-January, ITAR-TASS
reported on 26-February. According to the first deputy chairman
of the Russian parliament, Sergei Filatov, only Uzbekistan had
not yet confirmed its attendance. Filatov claimed that the idea
of creating an interparliamentary assembly-which had been rejected
in Minsk by Ukraine and Belarus as premature-had found general
support during preparations for the meeting. (Ann Sheehy)

FIVE CIS STATES SIGN HELSINKI FINAL ACT. The presidents of Belarus,
Moldova, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan signed the Accords
of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe on 26-February,
Western agencies and ITAR-TASS reported. At a press conference
after the signing ceremony, Uzbek President Islam Karimov remarked
that the future of the CIS depends on whether Russia's policies
strengthen it. If Russia respects the equality of member states,
the CIS could have a long life. Tajik President Rakhman Nabiev
commented that the expansion of the CSCE to include the region
extending to the Pamir and the Pacific meets the needs of today's
global situation. (Bess Brown)

MEETING OF CIS, GEORGIAN, AND BALTIC PROCURATORS. A meeting of
the procurator generals of the CIS states (with the exception
of Turkmenistan), Georgia, and the Baltic republics took place
recently to discuss cooperation, the fate of the archive of the
USSR Procuracy, and in particular the question of extradition,
Izvestiya reported on 20-February. The procurators were unable
to reach agreement on most professional issues because of the
unresolved political problems of the CIS. They agreed only to
ask their presidents and parliaments to set up a Council of CIS
Procurator Generals. As regards the extradition of criminals,
the majority decided they should be handed over. Only Latvia
said that it would not extradite a citizen but would try them
instead under Latvian law. (Ann Sheehy)

LOBOV ON ARMIES, MINSK MEETING. Former General Staff Chief Vladimir
Lobov told Postfactum on 26-February that he thinks CIS member-states-including
Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan,
Uzbekistan, and Russia will soon begin to create national armies.
Lobov also gave a positive assessment of the recent Minsk summit,
but noted that once again republican leaders had failed to determine
exactly which troops will be included within the united CIS forces.
(Stephen Foye)

"OPEN SKIES" COMPROMISE REVEALED. A report in the 26-February
issue of Megapolis Express explained how the negotiators had
solved one of the most contentious issues in the Open Skies aerial
inspection talks conducted by members of NATO and the former
Warsaw Pact. The Soviet Union had demanded to be able to overfly
US bases in Japan, for example, before it would agree to open
all of its territory to aerial inspection. The report says that
it dropped this demand when NATO members agreed to provide information
on their military activities at bases in other countries. Russia
now occupies the Soviet seat at these Vienna talks, with representatives
from Belarus and Ukraine also attending. (Doug Clarke)

KOZYREV ON RUSSIAN INTERESTS. Prior to his departure for Africa
on 26-February, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev told
a "Novosti" correspondent that Russia respects the sovereignty
of the CIS states and wishes to build relations with them on
an equal basis. He added that at the same time, Russia will strictly
defend its own interests. These are, according to Kozyrev, "a
unified army, human rights, the protection of the Russian and
the Russian-speaking population in other CIS states, and economic
cooperation." (Suzanne Crow)

KHASBULATOV ON FOREIGN POLICY. Speaking at a conference on "Russia
in the Changing World" in Moscow on 26-February, Russian Supreme
Soviet Chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov said that "a major task of
Russia's foreign policy and diplomacy is to contribute to the
efforts to create an efficient and dynamically developing economy."
He added, this will enable Russia to take "a dignified place
commanding respect in the world community." According to Khasbulatov,
this was a "weak point in the foreign policy of the former USSR,"
and it has failed to be "adequately reflected" in Russia's foreign
policy so far, Interfax reported. (Suzanne Crow)

PRIMAKOV ON DEFENSE OF RUSSIAN NATIONAL INTERESTS. The main characteristic
of Russian intelligence in the 1990s will be a less confrontational
approach toward its counterparts, said Director of Russian Foreign
Intelligence Evgenii Primakov at the conference, "Russia in the
Changing World." According to Radio Rossii on 26-February, Primakov
stressed the defense of Russian economic interests, and the prevention
of terrorism, regional conflicts, and the proliferation of dangerous
technology as the main objectives for his service. (Victor Yasmann)


YELTSIN STILL SUPPORTS FEDERAL TREATY. President Boris Yeltsin
said at meetings with Russian parliamentary committees and factions
on 25 and 26-February that he remained a supporter of a federal
treaty with Russia's constituent republics, ITAR-TASS reported.
There have been suggestions that a federal treaty would lead
to the break-up of the Russian Federation and should be replaced
by an agreement on the delimitation of powers between the center
and the republics, but the draft agreement has run into a lot
of opposition in the republics. Tatarstan President Mintimer
Shaimiev said at a press conference on 26-February that both
the draft Russian constitution and the draft agreement were unacceptable
to a majority of the republics, Radio Rossii reported. The constitution
is on the agenda of the Congress of People's Deputies scheduled
for 6-April, but Yeltsin said on 25-February that he thought
its adoption unlikely. (Ann Sheehy)

KHASBULATOV THREATENS YELTSIN. Russian parliamentary leader Ruslan
Khasbulatov resumed his attacks on the Russian government, urging
President Boris Yeltsin to change the government since otherwise
the Congress of People's Deputies may pass a vote of no confidence.
Khasbulatov told Trud on 26-February that Yeltsin should give
up his post as prime minister and indirectly warned him that
the parliament might remove the special powers granted to the
president last year. Ironically, Yeltsin now faces a similar
danger from the Congress to that of last March, when hardliners,
led by RSFSR CP chief Ivan Polozkov, had tried to remove him
from power. (Alexander Rahr)

SOBCHAK ATTACKS GOVERNMENT. St.-Petersburg Mayor Anatolii Sobchak
has attacked the Russian government for having started economic
reform too hastily. In an interview with Stern, quoted by Western
agencies on 26-February, Sobchak called the Russian government
"adventurous" and questioned whether it understands the consequences
of its policy. Sobchak said the decision to free prices before
privatization was "madness." He warned of "a social explosion"
in Russia. Sobchak met with Russian government leaders in Moscow
last week but said afterwards that he still does not understand
the "political position" of the government, according to Radio
Mayak on 21-February. (Alexander Rahr)

RUSSIAN VAT TO BE LOWERED? The head of Russia's taxation service,
Igor Lazarev, told a Moscow news conference on 26-February that
the rates of value added tax may be reviewed in April if the
financial situation permits, Reuters reported. A VAT of 28% is
currently levied on most goods, although some staple items are
taxed at 15% and certain items are exempt. Lazarev agreed that
the current high rate of VAT was a disincentive to production,
and thought that about 20% was optimal. The problem is that the
tax collection system is not working well: in January, 10 billion
rubles were taken in instead of the anticipated 31 billion. And
potential Western creditors may be dismayed at the widening budget
deficit that Lazarev's statement implies. (Keith Bush)

DISPUTE CONTINUES OVER PAYMENT OF EXTERNAL DEBT. Russian Minister
of External Economic Affairs Petr Aven told ITAR-TASS on 26-February
that Russia saw no need to abandon existing agreements on servicing
the former Soviet Union's external debt. He was reacting to the
Kiev meeting on 25-February where all of the former Soviet republics,
other than Russia and Georgia, called for the channelling of
repayments through a reorganized Vneshekonombank that was removed
from Russian jurisdiction (see the Daily Report, 26-February).
Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk said that, for correctness
and accuracy, a new mechanism for repaying the debt had to be
worked out between the republics. (Keith Bush)

"SCISSORS CRISIS" SHARPENS. Russian First Deputy Prime Minister
Egor Gaidar met on 25-February with leading academics to discuss
the progress of agrarian reform, Radio Rossii and Radio Moscow
reported. Participants stressed that the fate of kolkhozes and
sovkhozes should be decided not at public gatherings but according
to the wishes of each individual peasant. The latest "scissors
crisis" was debated-shades of 1923! Farmers have had to pay 14
or more times as much for agricultural machinery and other producer
goods, while receiving only 4-5 times as much for their produce.
[The period in question was not stipulated]. (Keith Bush)

KRAVCHUK ON CIS, RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA. Ukrainian President Leonid
Kravchuk, arriving in Helsinki on 26-February, told reporters
that instability in Russia, given its size and power, could have
a direct impact on the CIS, ITAR-TASS reported. Ukraine's duty
with regard to normalizing the situation in Russia, he continued,
was to adhere strictly to the 1990 treaty between the two countries.
Kravchuk said that he was impressed with Boris Yeltsin's recent
statement that the Russian parliament acted hastily and inadvisably
with regard to the Crimean question. (Roman-Solchanyk)

CRIMEA CHANGES ITS NAME. The Crimean Supreme Soviet on 26-February
decided to rename the Crimean ASSR the Republic of Crimea, Ukrinform-TASS
and Radio Kiev reported. The Crimean lawmakers also discussed
the draft of a new constitution and adopted a resolution on the
state anthem. (Roman Solchanyk)

THREE-DAY CEASE-FIRE AGREED TO IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH? An Iranian
claim on 25-February that a 25-hour cease-fire had been agreed
to in Nagorno-Karabakh was denied by Armenian officials on 26-February.
Armenian forces took the Nagorno-Karabakh town of Khodzhali on
26-February. Azerbaijani Interior Minister Tofik Kerimov said
that 100 Azerbaijanis were killed, while Armenian sources claim
that the town surrendered with virtually no resistance. A report
by Interfax and Azerbaijani news agencies on 26-February that
Iranian Foreign Minister Velayati had arranged a three-day cease-fire
beginning 27-February had been agreed to has not been confirmed
by Armenia. Meanwhile, the French government has drawn up a four-point
peace plan involving the EC, the CSCE and the UN. The US State
Department has called on the Armenian and Azerbaijani governments
to end the fighting and begin peace negotiations. (Liz Fuller)


MUTINY AT BAIKONUR. A military construction unit mutinied at
the Baikonur space center from 23 to 25-February and three soldiers
were killed, according to ITAR-TASS and "Vesti" on 26-February.
The mutiny reportedly grew out of a conflict between an officer
and the troops over rules violations. Western reports, quoting
Alma-Ata police officials, say that the three soldiers died when
a barracks burned down. These sources quoted the Dana-Press agency
as saying that poor living conditions were among the causes of
the mutiny. "Vesti" suggested that Kazakh President Nursultan
Nazarbaev's rather abrupt return from Pakistan may have been
motivated by concern over the mutiny. (Bess Brown)

TASHKENT MUFTI REELECTED. Tashkent journalist Tahir Umarov informed
RFE/RL on 26-February that a kurultai (congress) of Central Asian
Muslims had just reelected Mufti Muhammad-Sadyk Muhammad-Yusuf
to the post of chairman of the Muslim Religious Board for Central
Asia. There have been two attempts in the last year by disaffected
Muslim clergy to dislodge him from the leadership of the board.
The second attempt, in January, was accompanied by charges that
the mufti had cooperated closely with the KGB. (Bess Brown)

KAZAKH PREMIER IN CHINA. Kazakhstan's prime minister, Sergei
Tereshchenko, signed a number of agreements during his visit
to China, Western and CIS news agencies reported on 26-February.
Tereshchenko told a news conference in Peking that among the
economic agreements were two dealing with investments, transport
and one that will allow Chinese entrepreneurs to sell consumer
goods in Kazakhstan. Tereshchenko also told the news conference
that he believed Kazakhstan's relations with the Kazakh minority
in Sinkiang would be no hindrance to good relations with Peking.
(Bess Brown)





BALTIC STATES

ESTONIAN CITIZENSHIP LAW PASSED. On 26-February, with the minimum
required 52 votes, the Estonian Supreme Council passed a citizenship
law, ETA reported. The law reestablishes the 16-June 1940 variant
of the 1938 law that granted citizenship to residents of Estonia
and their descendants. The earlier law was amended to reflect
the current situation by granting citizenship to all people subsequently
born in Estonia. Others can gain citizenship by demonstrating
a 3-year residency in Estonia beginning on or after 30-March
1990 and submitting an application after 30-March 1992. Knowledge
of Estonian, the state language, is required, but no level of
proficiency is specified. Citizenship will not be granted to
personnel serving in foreign armies, persons who served in Soviet
repressive and intelligence organizations, convicted criminals,
or persons without permanent employment in Estonia. (Saulius
Girnius)

DEBATE ON LITHUANIAN BUDGET. On 25-27 February the parliament
continued discussing the 1992 budget, with parts of the debate
being broadcast live over Radio Lithuania. On 25-February it
voted to increase planned income to 29.627-billion rubles or
1.7-billion rubles more than in the government proposal. The
increase would be financed by raising the value added tax from
15 to 18%. Debate on expenditures continued for the next two
days. Proposed expenditures for the parliament and government
apparatus were decreased by 15%, funding for the military was
kept at the 1992 level with adjustments for inflation, and additional
funds were granted to agriculture. Most of the other budget cuts
proposed by the economics commission were not approved. It is
not clear when the full budget will be approved. (Saulius Girnius)


LATVIAN-RUSSIAN TALKS IN MARCH? On 25-February in Moscow Premier
Ivars Godmanis of Latvia and Russian Deputy Premier Egor Gaidar
signed economic accords for 1992, Radio Riga reports. That same
day Godmanis and other Latvian representatives agreed with Russia's
First Deputy Premier Gennadii Burbulis to hold two meetings on
withdrawal of troops of the former USSR from Latvia-the first
on 3-March among experts and a second on 23-March involving full
delegations. The meeting-dates, as well as the developments in
Lithuania, suggest that troop departure from Latvia may not start
in March, as stated in the Latvian-Russian communique issued
in Riga on 1-February. (Dzintra Bungs)

TOWARD A CENTER PARTY? On 22-February about 500-persons of various
political persuasions attended a public meeting sponsored by
"Veterans of the People's Front of Latvia" on Latvia's future
and the possibility of forming either a coalition of "democratic
forces" or a new political party, Radio Riga reported. Most of
the organizers, including Dainis Ivans, were active in the PFL
in its first two years and felt that the PFL had become too radical.
The meeting did not result in the formation of a new party or
movement, but it was decided that by 1-March a coordinator of
democratic forces would be designated and by 15-March a program
would be drawn up. The new organization is intended to attract
moderates of all nationalities living in Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs)


BORDER TO BE ENFORCED THROUGH ESTONIAN-LATVIAN TOWN. Beginning
1-March border formalities will be enforced between the two sections
of the single town straddling the border and known as Valka in
Latvia and Valga in Estonia. On 25-February Diena quoted Valka
mayor Ainis Bormanis that the Estonian and Latvian governments
had refused establish a free economic zone in the town that would
have fostered the sharing of common facilities and free movement
for its residents. Henceforth Latvians wanting to visit Valga
will have to obtain a visa costing 25-rubles, but residents requiring
frequent access to Valga can obtain a long-term permit for 30-rubles.
A fence has already been put up through the middle of the town
dividing it into its Estonian and Latvian parts. (Dzintra Bungs)


LITHUANIA SIGNS ARCHIVE AGREEMENT WITH BELARUS. On 26-February
Radio Lithuania reported that Lithuania signed an agreement with
Belarus on sharing of state archival materials. Similar agreements
have been signed with two other states. (Saulius Girnius)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE CZECHOSLOVAK-GERMAN TREATY. On 26-February,
speaking to Western journalists, President Vaclav Havel again
condemned the expulsion of the Sudeten Germans, and added that
the 1945 Potsdam Agreement only legalized "the transfer that
was already underway." In an interview with the Prager Zeitung,
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl said his country "wanted to complete
our reconciliation [with the population of Czechoslovakia] and
focus on the future." The Czechoslovak-German friendship treaty
is to be signed by Havel and Kohl in Prague on 27-February. (Peter
Matuska)

DISPUTES OVER THE CZECHOSLOVAK-GERMAN TREATY. Critics in both
countries have called the treaty a compromise that settles little.
There has been domestic political squabbling on both side of
the border, and rallies against the treaty were held in Czechoslovakia.
The main criticism of the document is that it does not call the
1938 Munich Agreement null and void from the beginning. Several
opposition deputies in the Czechoslovak parliament have sent
letters to Havel asking him not to sign the treaty. In Germany
the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Sudeten Landsmannschaft
had been pressing for provisions in the treaty to ensure Sudeten
Germans' right to return to Czechoslovakia and to guarantee restitution
of their property, CSTK reports. (Peter Matuska)

SLOVAK DEPUTIES RAISE PERCENTAGE NEEDED TO ENTER PARLIAMENT.
On 26-February the Slovak parliament voted to raise the minimum
threshold required for representation in that body to five percent.
A three percent threshold was in effect during the 1990 parliamentary
elections. The measure will make it harder for small parties
to win seats in the legislature, an RFE correspondent reports.
The vote follows a similar move by the Czech parliament. The
Slovak law, however, does not contain a provision for smaller
parties to form coalitions and pool votes to reach the required
percentage. (Peter Matuska)

OLSZEWSKI PRESENTS HIS PROGRAM IN THE SEJM. On 26-February Prime
Minister Jan Olszewski presented his government's antirecession
program in the Sejm, Polish and Western media report. The social
and economic program for 1992 seeks to overcome recession by
providing financial help to state enterprises, increasing money
supply to boost investments, reducing taxes and interest rates,
and guaranteeing prices for agricultural products. The program
has met extensive criticism. Former prime minister Jan Krzysztof
Bielecki faulted the program for veering away from restructuring
state enterprises and social services. Another former prime minister,
Tadeusz Mazowiecki, told the Sejm that the antirecession drive
would cause the collapse of the anti-inflationary policies. President
Walesa distanced himself from the government program as well.
(Roman Stefanowski)

CONTROVERSIAL DEFENSE MINISTRY APPOINTMENT. On 25-February Olszewski
appointed 29-year-old Polish-British journalist Radoslaw Sikorski
as Deputy Defense Minister, Polish and Western media report.
In the 1980's Sikorski fought in Afghanistan with the mujahidin
and wrote extensively on the subject. At present he is an investment
adviser to Rupert Murdoch and Warsaw correspondent of the London
Sunday Telegraph. A number of Sejm deputies and papers such as
Gazeta wyborcza have questioned Sikorski's loyalty, as a British
subject, and his competence for the job. President Walesa also
reacted coolly to the appointment. (Roman Stefanowski)

ALARM AT POLISH ATOMIC ENERGY INSTITUTE. Stefan Chwaszczewski,
Director of the Atomic Energy Institute at Swierk, told RFE/RL
on 26-February that the facility is running out of money and
has no funds beyond March. The institute receives half its funding
by making and selling radioactive isotopes for medicine and the
other half from the government. For the current quarter the government
has handed over only 4% of the money due. Closing the institute,
Chwaszczewski says, would mean that Polish nuclear scientists
would be open to Third World offers; moreover, a shutdown could
lead to problems in connection with the safe storage of the institute's
two small nuclear research reactors. (Roman Stefanowski)

ROMANIA REIMPOSES HARD-CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS. The National Bank
has reimposed limits on the amount of hard currency citizens
can buy, an RFE correspondent reports. Each year individuals
may now exchange only 50,000-lei-about five months' pay for the
average worker. Last November the government removed most controls
on currency exchange with a view to reviving the economy, but
in recent months imports have increased, exports are down, and
production has declined. (Crisula Stefanescu)

ROMANIA CRITICIZED DESPITE IMPROVED HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD. On 26-February
human rights expert, Joseph Voyame of Switzerland, told the UN
Commission on Human Rights, that although improvements in human
rights in Romania were "more systematic and substantive," police
were often "too brutal" in breaking up demonstrations and "too
soft" in protecting "certain sectors of the population." He added
that Romania's public officials need to respond "more vigorously"
to complaints of human rights violations, especially from ethnic
minorities, an RFE correspondent reports.(Crisula Stefanescu)


ROMANIA, TURKEY SIGN COOPERATION ACCORDS. Turkish foreign minister
Hikmet Cetin and his Romanian counterpart, Adrian Nastase, on
an official two-day visit in Turkey, signed accords on 26-February
to expand bilateral relations and joint efforts in fighting drug
trafficking, Rompres reports. (Crisula Stefanescu)

BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BELGRADE. During a two-day visit
to Serbia, Bulgarian foreign minister Stoyan Ganev met with his
counterpart Vladislav Jovanovic and federal foreign affairs secretary
Milivoje Maksic, as well as with Serbian prime minister Radoman
Bozovic and parliamentary chairman Aleksandar Bakocevic, Bulgarian
radio reported on 26-February. Ganev said he came to "speak frankly"
about problems in bilateral relations, which have been strained
since Bulgaria recognized four Yugoslav republics as independent.
The talks also touched on minority rights and Black Sea regional
cooperation. (Kjell Engelbrekt)

EC PEACE CONFERENCE FOR EX-YUGOSLAVIA TO RESUME. The 27-February
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says that the talks will resume
during the week of 9-March, and the working groups on the economy,
institutional change, and human rights will meet as early as
4-March. Slovenia wants a fourth unit set up to deal with the
division of the former Yugoslavia's debt and property. The resumption
was made possible on 26-February when Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic, meeting in Belgrade with the EC's chief negotiator
Lord Carrington, said that Serbia will return to the gathering.
Milosevic withdrew support late last year when the EC imposed
sanctions on Serbia. Carrington has stressed to the Serbs that
the UN peace-keeping operation is not designed to lead to a final
political settlement, which is the job of the EC conference.
(Patrick Moore)

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS OF FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLICS ARE A COMPLEX
AFFAIR. Lifting the EC sanctions may be easier-said than done,
however. The Frankfurt daily reports-that Croatia and Slovenia
were ostensibly exempted from the sanctions, but that practice
has proven otherwise. German officials apparently believe that
the cause is "a clear case of sabotage by some elements in the
EC bureaucracy-.-.-. [as well as] some states, perhaps Great
Britain." On 23-February German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich
Genscher promised Slovenian leaders that he would raise the matter
with EC Commission President Jacques Delors. Meanwhile, Slovenia
finds itself recognized by Holland, but Dutch customs guards
will not honor Slovenian passports. Promises made by the Italian
foreign minister to Slovenia are apparently ignored by other
Italian officials, while the Italian press runs "sensationalist"
articles about alleged German ambitions in Slovenia. (Patrick
Moore)

CONFERENCE ON CROATIAN REFUGEES IN HUNGARY. On 26-February, an
international conference dealing with the repatriation of Croatian
refugees in Hungary opened in Budapest, MTI reports. Representatives
of the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior, the Croatian government,
and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees are participating.
The Hungarian Ministry of Interior puts the number of officially
registered refugees from the former Yugoslavia at close to 50,000,
and estimates that another 10-15,000 are not officially registered
but are receiving aid from church and social organizations. Most
refugees are staying with families, and some 2,000-have already
returned to Croatia. The refugees' stay in Hungary is financed
jointly by the Hungarian government and the UN High Commissioner
for Refugees. (Edith Oltay) As of 1200 CET Compiled by Carla
Thorson & Charles Trumbull










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