There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. - Graham Greene
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 42, 02 March 1992



SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

"NOMENKLATURA PRIVATIZATION" SCANDAL. At a Moscow news conference
on 28 February, the head of the Russian Committee on State Property,
Anatolii Chubais, promised that the government would act resolutely
to combat "nomenklatura privatization," ITAR-TASS and Western
agencies reported. Chubais confirmed widespread reports that
a "unique joint-stock company" named Kolo, run by 15 officials
of the former CPSU Central Committee and with a founding capital
of one billion rubles, had tried to acquire state property and
land on a huge scale and was currently under investigation. Among
those released from their posts allegedly in connection with
the Kolo affair were three senior officials of the Russian government,
including Chubais' deputy. (Keith Bush)

RUSSIAN ARMS EXPORTS. A senior Yeltsin adviser on conversion,
Mikhail Malei, told Rossiiskaya gazeta of 28 February that Russia
should transform its huge military-industrial complex into an
arms-exporting industry. Within 3-4 years, it could be self-supporting.
He thereby confirmed earlier statements by Yeltsin and other
Russian officials to the effect that Russian arms exports will
be encouraged to earn hard currency and to finance conversion.
Malei said that nuclear and chemical weapons should not be exported,
but suggested that Russia's quota of world uranium sales be raised
from 5 to 20%. Malei also proposed that the CIS armed forces
buy Russian arms for hard currency at world prices. (Keith Bush)


SURPLUS MILITARY AIRCRAFT FOR SALE. The Russian Air Force has
been authorized by a presidential decree of 27 February to sell
up to 1,600 aircraft that are surplus to requirements, according
to Interfax and Russian Television of 29 February. The transactions
will be carried out through the Russian Ministry of Foreign Economic
Relations. The anticipated profits of up to $9 billion will be
spent on housing, infrastructure and on raising air force pay,
as well as on financing further aircraft construction during
the period 1992-2000. Izvestiya of 28 February reported that
Kazakhstan plans to sell military equipment, including SU-24
bombers, on the world market. (Keith Bush)

JOINT FORCES FOR AZERBAIJAN. Azeri President Ayaz Mutalibov told
a meeting of political and social leaders on 27 February that
Baku has agreed to subordinate general purpose forces in the
republic to both the Azeri president and to the CIS military
command, Interfax reported on 28 February. According to the president's
press center, Mutalibov said that the dual subordination would
be in effect during an undefined transition period, during which
Azerbaijan would continue to create its own armed forces. Azerbaijan
had earlier joined Ukraine and Moldova in insisting on the immediate
creation of independent national armies but, as a result of worsening
tensions with Armenia, appears to have moved toward a military
policy closer to that of Belarus. (Stephen Foye)

NEW DIPLOMATIC INITIATIVES ON NAGORNO-KARABAKH . . . Azerbaijani
Prime Minister Hasan Hasanov told visiting Turkish Foreign Minister
Hikmet Cetin on 28 February that Azerbaijan favors a four-way
conference with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkey to discuss
solutions to the Karabakh conflict, Western agencies reported.
Hasanov was, however, reluctant to agree to the involvement of
Russia or France in peace negotiations. On 1 March Turkish Prime
Minister Suleiman Demirel issued a statement calling for an end
to the fighting. At a press conference in Erevan on 28 February
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati expressed optimism
that a solution could be found to the conflict. On 28 February
CSCE member states called for an immediate cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh
plus an embargo on arms sales. (Liz Fuller)

. . . BUT FIGHTING CONTINUES. On 29 February Armenian forces
for the first time extended operations beyond the disputed region
of Nagorno-Karabakh, killing two people in an artillery attack
on the town of Agdam. Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov declared
a three-day period of mourning for those killed in the Armenian
offensive against Khodzhaly; Azerbaijani refugees from the town
have told Western journalists hundreds of people were killed,
mutilated, or are missing. On February 28 CIS Commander Evgenii
Shaposhnikov sent a telegram to the Presidents of Azerbaijan
and Armenia calling on them to expedite the return of stolen
weapons and equipment, ITAR-TASS reported. On 1 March Western
agencies reported that CIS military convoys were converging on
Stepanakert, apparently to organize the withdrawal of troops
from the region. (Liz Fuller)

URAZHTSEV VOTED OUT? A plenum of the coordinating council of
the Russian military union "Shield" ("Shchit") has rendered a
vote of no confidence in its chairman, Vitalii Urazhtsev, and
removed him from his post, RFE/RL reported on 1 March. Plenum
members accused Urazhtsev of acting in an authoritarian manner
and making irresponsible statements to the press. The council
reportedly voted to appoint Colonel Sergei Kudinov as interim
chairman until the next union congress, scheduled for April.
(Stephen Foye)

SAMSONOV ENDS CHINA VISIT. CIS General Staff Chief Viktor Samsonov
completed a six-day visit to China on 2 March, ITAR-TASS reported.
Samsonov met with Jiang Zemin, chairman of China's Central Military
Council, and other top military officials during his visit. In
addition to discussing further military reductions along the
CIS-China border, Moscow reportedly agreed to sell 24 SU-27 "Flanker"
combat aircraft to China this year. Samsonov flew from Beijing
to North Korea. (Stephen Foye)

SHAPOSHNIKOV TO VISIT TURKEY. The Anatolian News Agency Shaposhnikov
will visit Ankara sometime after April. It had originally been
announced that the visit would take place on 10 March, but the
scheduling apparently had to be changed. He is slated to meet
with the Turkish General Staff chief. Although the announcement
did not specify the focus of the talks, it seems likely that
they will include discussions on the Armenian dispute with Azerbaijan
over Nagorno-Karabakh. (Stephen Foye)

RUSSIA COULD SEND TROOPS TO YUGOSLAVIA. Russia would participate
in the UN peacekeeping force to be deployed in Yugoslavia once
the relevant agreement was signed between the Russian government
and UN authorities, according to a Russian Information Agency
report of 27 February. (Doug Clarke)

ADMIRAL DENIES NUCLEAR DUMPING. A deputy commander of CIS naval
forces, Admiral Vitalii Zaitsev, on 29 February denied earlier
reports that the Soviet navy had dumped nuclear waste in arctic
waters for more than twenty years. Zaitsev did admit, however,
that low-level waste has been buried under the sea until 1985
around the archipelago of Novaya zemlya. He claimed that the
navy's actions had not harmed the environment. (Stephen Foye)


YELTSIN MOVES AWAY FROM MULTI-PARTY SYSTEM? The "New Russia"
coalition in the Russian parliament has accused President Yeltsin
of moving away from the idea of a multi-party system, RFE/RL
reported on 28 February. Speaking at a Moscow press conference
that day, representatives of the coalition put the blame on Yeltsin's
staff. They said that his staff was "littered" with former Communist
Party officials who opposed reform. The coalition leaders asked
for a meeting with Yeltsin to present their own views on reforms
and the political situation in Russia. (Vera Tolz)

GORBACHEV IN COURT? Mikhail Gorbachev told the German newspaper
Bild on 29 February that he was prepared to defend his record
in court but refused to be a "scapegoat." Recently the Russian
Federation Procurator's Office said that Gorbachev and other
former top Party officials may be put on trial on charges of
involvement in the CPSU's illegal financial operations. In the
interview, Gorbachev also said he had no plans to leave Russia
and that he would help the Russian government to carry out its
reform program. The former USSR president reiterated that he
was not planning to found a political party. (Vera Tolz)

STATE-FUNDED MEDICAL SERVICES TO BE CUT? State-funded medical
services for the Russian population are to be cut "substantially,"
according to Nezavisimaya gazeta of 27 February. The reason given
is that the 19 billion rubles allocated to the government health
service at the beginning of 1992 are not enough to implement
even the most essential medical programs and the promised 10%
of hard-currency receipts for medical supplies has not materialized.
The Russian Health Ministry is said to have asked President Yeltsin
to authorize the introduction of medical insurance in some areas
even before the law "On Medical Insurance for Citizens of the
RSFSR" comes into force on 1 January 1993. It is reported that
35% of Russia's population already has paid medical care. (Keith
Bush)

MOLDOVA PROTESTS PRESENCE OF COSSACKS IN DNIESTER REPUBLIC. The
Moldovan Foreign Ministry has sent a note to the Russian Foreign
Ministry protesting the presence in the self-styled "Dniester
Republic" of Russian Cossacks, Radio Rossii reported on 25 February.
The Cossacks had been welcomed with open arms and offered various
benefits. The Moldovan press has published a plan for the development
of a Cossack community in the "Dniester Republic," Radio Rossii
reported on 27 February. This includes a Cossack bank, ecologically-sound
farming, and several schools in Bendery to train young people
to defend the frontiers of the "Dniester Republic." (Ann Sheehy)


RUSSIA ESTABLISHES TIES WITH SOUTH AFRICA. On 28 February, Russia
and South Africa established diplomatic relations, Western and
Russian agencies reported. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
was in Pretoria to sign an agreement on the exchange of ambassadors.
This step marked a continuation of the USSR's warming to South
Africa which culminated in the establishment of consular ties
in November 1991. (Suzanne Crow)

MAFIA USES PRIVATE DETECTIVES AS FRONT. Mafia-linked racketeers
are attempting to legitimize their activities under the cover
of private detective agencies, Radio Rossii reported on 26 February.
The racketeers are now registering themselves as private detective
agencies. The other category of private detectives are former
MVD officers, who operate like the racketeers but enjoy protection
from their colleagues on active duty. The third category consists
of former KGB officers, who are employed by big commercial concerns,
banks and private security services. They are mainly dealing
with the collection or protection of commercial secrets.(Victor
Yasmann)

KRAVCHUK WANTS EQUALITY WITH RUSSIA. In a recent interview in
Argumenty i fakty, Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk said that
political and economic stability in Russia and Ukraine are essential
for both countries, ITAR-TASS reported on 27 February. The Ukrainian
leader maintains that the point of departure is the independence
of both countries and that neither is a part of the other. (Roman
Solchanyk)

KRAVCHUK TO VISIT WASHINGTON. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk
will visit Washington and meet with President Bush on 6 May,
Ukrinform-TASS and Western agencies reported on 27 February.
The invitation was extended during a telephone call from the
American president to his Ukrainian counterpart on 27 February
in the course of which the two leaders also discussed political
and economic issues in Ukraine and the CIS. (Roman Solchanyk)


RUSSIA-UKRAINE ACCORD ON CURRENCY. Russian and Ukrainian parliamentarians
reached preliminary agreement on 28 February on various monetary
problems, ITAR-TASS reported. The agreement provided for Ukraine
to return ruble notes to Russia after these have been replaced
by the new Ukrainian currency, the Grivna. The accord, which
also sets out mechanisms for trade and payments, requires formal
approval by the respective legislatures and acceptance by the
two governments. At the same meeting, according to Ukrinform-TASS,
there arose a dispute over the sharing out of the gold, diamond,
and foreign-currency reserves of the former Soviet Union and
its property abroad. (Keith Bush)

CONFEDERATION OF MOUNTAIN PEOPLES REJECTS DRAFT RUSSIAN CONSTITUTION.
Yusup Soslambekov, chairman of the parliament of the confederation
of 14 mountain peoples, said after a meeting of the parliament
in Groznyi on 27 February that, if the draft Russian constitution
was adopted as it stood, then the peoples entering into the confederation
would declare general elections and create an independent confederative
state from the Caspian to the Black Sea, Radio Rossii reported
on 28 February. The provisions of the draft constitution vis-a-vis
the national-state structure of the Russian Federation are unacceptable
to virtually all the republics. (Ann Sheehy)

DAGESTAN SUPREME SOVIET DEBATES LAW ON FIREARMS. A draft law
on the right to acquire and carry firearms aroused the most interest
at the recent session of the Dagestan Supreme Soviet, "Vesti"
reported on 28 February. Some argued in favor of the law on the
grounds that the law enforcement agencies were unable to defend
the population. Others said it would increase the crime rate.
The law is being submitted to public discussion. At the same
time inhabitants of Stavropol krai have appealed to the head
of the local administration Evgenii Kuznetsov for "the management
link of agricultural production" to be allowed to carry pistols,
Radio Rossii reported on 29 February. Raids on farms, particularly
those adjacent to the North Caucasian republics, to steal livestock,
have resulted in loss of life. (Ann Sheehy)

EASTERN EUROPE

BALTIC STATES





LANDSBERGIS IN GERMANY. After talks with NATO officials in Monaco
on 28 February Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Vytautas
Landsbergis flew to Bonn, Radio Lithuania reports. He attended
a luncheon with German President Richard von Weizsäcker, who
said that while Lithuania will have to solve most of its problems
by itself, it could count on Germany's assistance. Landsbergis
also met Foreign Minister Genscher, who urged the Baltic States
to participate in the Baltic Sea States Conference in Copenhagen
on 5-6 March. Later that evening Landsbergis spoke in Hamburg,
where he identified the withdrawal of CIS troops and reducing
dependence on fuel from the CIS as key issues for Lithuania.
(Saulius Girnius)

LITHUANIA-GERMANY SIGN INVESTMENT PROTECTION PACT. On 28 February
Foreign Minister Genscher and Vytenis Aleskaitis, Lithuanian
Minister of International Economic Relations, signed an investment
protection agreement, an RFE/RL correspondent reports. By protecting
investors against arbitrary actions, the agreement should help
spur German investment in Lithuania and will facilitate German
government credits. (Saulius Girnius)

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT CONCLUDES SESSION. On 28 February the Lithuanian
Supreme Council concluded its fourth session and will begin its
fifth session on 11 March. Most of the proceedings of the final
week were broadcast live by Radio Lithuania. The state budget
was approved on 27 February, but the following day, because of
a lack a quorum, the parliament failed to set a date for a referendum
on the powers of the Lithuanian president. (Saulius Girnius)


ESTONIAN-EC TRADE ACCORD. On 27 February representatives of the
European Community and Estonia initialed a trade and cooperation
agreement that will serve to build closer trade, economic, and
financial relations between the two signatories. Similar accords
were signed with Lithuania on 31 January and Latvia on 4 February,
Western agencies report. (Dzintra Bungs)

BALTS ASKED TO MEDIATE IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH CONFLICT. BNS reported
on 28 February that Farhad Geidarli, official representative
of the National Council of the Republic of Azerbaijan, has requested
the Baltic Council to mediate in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.
Geidarli said that while Iran had also expressed readiness to
mediate, he felt that Azerbaijan could trust the Baltic States
more. Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs replied
that this a very important request that must be carefully considered.
The two leaders also discussed ways of expanding trade opportunities
for their countries. Geidarli expressed thanks for Latvia's support
for the Azeri minority living in Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs)

DISINTEGRATING CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN THE BALTIC SEA? Maj. Gen.
(Ret.) Petr Barbolya, spokesman for the International Committee
for Peace, Disarmament and Ecological Security in Seas and Oceans,
warns that chemical weapons dumped in shallow water in the Baltic
Sea after World War II pose a grave ecological danger. If the
casings become depressurized, some 50-100,000 tons of toxic gases
may leak into the water. German and Russian experts are to examine
the situation soon, Western agencies reported on 29 February.
According to Diena of 28 February, Latvian environmentalists
are worried that containers with 300,000 tons of toxic chemicals
dumped by the USSR off the coast of Ventspils in 1945-57 could
start to leak at any time. They urged that the topic be discussed
with Russia at the upcoming meeting on troop withdrawals from
Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



BOSNIAN PLEBISCITE VOTES FOR "SOVEREIGNTY AND INDEPENDENCE."
On 29 February and 1 March over 60% of the electorate in Bosnia-Herzegovina
turned out for an apparently overwhelming "yes" vote. The Serbian
population--one-third of the ethnically mixed republic--boycotted
the poll, and their leaders say they want to "remain in Yugoslavia."
Several incidents and at least two deaths were reported over
the weekend by the international media, but voting generally
went smoothly. On 2 March the BBC said that Serbs had set up
14 barricades to cut off the capital, Sarajevo, from neighboring
areas. Other Western media reported Muslim and Croatian barricades
as well. Tension is high in Sarajevo with intermittent sniper
fire and little traffic on the streets. (Patrick Moore)

WHAT WILL BOSNIAN INDEPENDENCE MEAN? After the referendum, which
was supervised by European monitors, Bosnia's foreign minister
called for international recognition. German Foreign Minister
Hans-Dietrich Genscher told Welt am Sonntag on 1 March that the
ultimate path to peace in the Balkans lies through incorporating
the individual republics into existing European structures. A
special problem in Bosnia is the strong presence of the ex-Yugoslav
army. Much of the army's equipment is made in that republic,
but the Muslim and Croatian majority regard the federal military
as a Serbian and Montenegrin occupation force. Politika on 29
February said that the last Slovenian, Croatian, and Macedonian
generals in the federal army were replaced with Serbs the previous
week. (Patrick Moore)

MONTENEGRO VOTES TO STAY IN YUGOSLAV FEDERATION. On 1 March Radio
Serbia reported that the majority of voters in Montenegro appear
to have approved the republic's continued participation with
Serbia in a federal Yugoslav state. Early estimates say that
more than 75% of the 215,000 ballots cast support association
in a Yugoslav state. There are 410,000 eligible voters in Montenegro.
The republic's Muslims and Albanians, who constitute nearly 25%
of population and generally favor Montenegro's independence,
have largely boycotted the referendum. (Milan Andrejevich)

ALBANIANS IN SERBIA VOTE ON AUTONOMY. On 1 March a referendum
on territorial and political autonomy began in three municipalities
in southern Serbia with predominantly Albanian population. Radio
Serbia reported that the two-day referendum is expected to draw
most of the 45,000 eligible voters in Presevo, Bujanovac, and
Medvedja. The radio reported no incidents at the 70 polling places.
The region, located along Serbia's border with Kosovo, is populated
by some 100,000 Albanians, roughly 70% of the total population
of the three municipalities. (Milan Andrejevich)

ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON CROATIAN EXTREMIST LEADER? Western news
agencies said on 1 March that eight people were wounded in Vinkovci
when a bomb went off at the headquarters of the far-right Croatian
Party of (Historic) Rights. National party leader Dobroslav Paraga
and his deputy were scheduled to be in the building at the time
but were unexpectedly delayed. Paraga is a highly controversial
figure, regarded as a neofascist by many but admired by others
for organizing a highly effective paramilitary force. There has
been no official report on who planted the bomb or what the motive
may have been. (Patrick Moore)

WALESA ENDORSES ECONOMIC PLAN. Answering questions on 1 March
on the BBC, Polish President Lech Walesa said that Poland has
no alternative but to continue its market reforms even though
they may bring recession, high unemployment, and deteriorating
living conditions, Polish and Western media report. While previously
Walesa had distanced himself from the government economic plan,
now under study by Sejm committees, he appeared now to endorse
it as a necessary course correction and "not a slowdown of reform."
Walesa also touched upon such issues as the role of the Church
in Poland, EC membership, parliamentary procedures, strikes,
changes in Polish mentality as a result of the recent transformations,
corruption, anti-Semitism, and the role of the press. (Roman
Stefanowski)

OLSZEWSKI RECEIVES WORLD BANK OFFICIAL. On 28 February Polish
Prime Minister Jan Olszewski received Ian Hume, the World Bank's
representative in Warsaw, Polish and Western media reported.
A government communiqué issued after the meeting said Hume expressed
satisfaction with the government economic plan. The plan has
been criticized in the Sejm for being inflationary, but Andrzej
Olechowski, now confirmed as finance minister, insisted that
the reform plan will not cause a return to hyper-inflation and
that there is no reason to expect a further major devaluation
of the zloty. Olszewski has also called on the IMF to permit
Poland greater latitude during the period of transformation from
planned economy to free market. Olszewski said that the IMF's
strict criteria, adherence to which are conditional for further
help, are proving less relevant and sometimes even counterproductive.
(Roman Stefanowski)

HAVEL WORRIED ABOUT CZECHOSLOVAKIA'S FUTURE. In his regular Sunday
radio address, President Vaclav Havel said lack of agreement
on national priorities could bring about a "severe constitutional
crisis." He was referring on the ongoing power struggle in both
republics and the disputes between Czechs and Slovaks over the
future constitutional structure of the federation. Czech leaders
favor closer links between the two nations, while Slovak politicians
advocate a confederative arrangement, or outright independence.
Havel repeated his resolve to run again for president, saying
he could not "bail out of a ship that is sailing through a dangerous
storm." (Peter Matuska)

CARNOGURSKY: SLOVAK REPUBLIC WANTS INTERNATIONAL STATUS. In an
interview published in Figaro on 28 February, Slovak Prime Minister
Jan Carnogursky said he wants Slovakia to have the same international
status as the former Soviet republics and to have its own seat
in the European Community. He added, however, that he would accept
foreign affairs and defense ministries and a national bank shared
with the Czech lands. Carnogursky said he is seeking a political
solution through legal means. (Peter Matuska)

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENTARY GROUPS REAFFIRM SUPPORT FOR COALITION.
In a joint statement on 28 February the parliamentary leaders
of Hungary's three ruling coalition parties declared that "the
survival of the coalition is a historical necessity," MTI reported.
The statement warned that "attempts to deny the existence and
necessity of the coalition through demagoguery and slander .
. . endanger the country's development, and willy-nilly serve
the interests of those who favor a return to dictatorship." The
national presidium of the Independent Smallholders' Party recently
quit the coalition but the government retains a comfortable majority
in parliament because 33 of the 45 Smallholders deputies continue
to support it. (Edith Oltay)

HUNGARIANS, AUSTRIANS VISIT ROMANIA. A Hungarian military delegation,
headed by Lt. Gen. Annus Antal, Secretary of State at the Defence
Ministry, visited Romania on 29 February and 1 March to attend
an "Open Skies" symposium, Rompres reports. Hungarian Defense
Minister Lajos Fur, who was to have led the delegation, was reportedly
ill and could not make the visit. Also on an official visit in
Bucharest on 28-29 February was Austrian Vice Chancellor and
Foreign Minister Alois Mock. His agenda included talks with President
Iliescu, Premier Stolojan and Foreign Minister Nastase. Rompres
said the Austrian leader pledged continuing support for reform
in Romania and proposed a bilateral agreement to control the
flow of illegal immigrants. Mock visited the Children's Village
in Bucharest, traveled to Cisnadie, and attended the opening
of the Austrian library at Timisoara University. (Crisula Stefanescu)


ADDITIONAL RESULTS OF ROMANIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS RELEASED. The
ruling National Salvation Front (NSF) won about 38% of the votes
cast in second-round balloting for mayoral races on 23 February,
and the opposition Democratic Convention (DC) finished a strong
second with about 30% of the votes, Rompres reports, quoting
the Central Election Commission. The DC defeated the NSF in Bucharest
and other major cities, while the NSF held on to its power in
rural parts of the country. Second-round voting was held on 1
March and another round will take place on 8 March in districts
where no candidate has yet received more than 50% of the vote.
(Crisula Stefanescu)


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

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Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
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