Science and art belong to the whole world, and before them vanish the barriers of nationality. - Goethe
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 43, 03 March 1992



SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

GROMOV TO SUPERVISE TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM NAGORNO-KARABAKH. Some
300 CIS airborne troops were sent to Nagorno-Karabakh on 2 March
to protect the 366th Motorized Infantry Regiment as it began
withdrawing from Stepanakert, Western agencies reported. Russian
TV reported that General Boris Gromov would supervise the withdrawal,
which is to be completed by tonight. Komsomol'skaya pravda of
3 March reported that Armenian civilians attempted to prevent
the troop withdrawal. Armenian president Levon Ter-Petrossyan
expressed concern that the removal of troops, whom he termed
"a stabilizing factor," would exacerbate tensions. Western journalists
have reported that dozens of Azerbaijanis were killed in the
Armenian attack last week on Khodzhaly. Azerbaijani President
Mutalibov is being subjected to increasing domestic criticism
for failing to halt the Armenian attacks. (Liz Fuller)

"DNIESTER" FORCES SEIZE DUBASARI POLICE HEADQUARTERS. The "Dniester
Republic Guard" and Russian Cossacks stormed the Moldovan police
headquarters in the town of Dubasari on the left bank of the
Dniester during the night of 1-2 March. The attackers lost at
least two killed and two wounded in the initial phase of the
fighting, before the police--who are under standing orders to
avoid bloodshed at almost any cost--surrendered and were disarmed.
According to preliminary reports in the Moldovan media on 2 March,
34 policemen were taken prisoner. The "Dniester" forces had besieged
the Dubasari police headquarters in September and December 1991
but had failed to seize it on those occasions as police reinforcements
and groups of Moldovan peasants from neighboring villages had
rushed to help. (Vladimir Socor)

"DNIESTER" FORCES MASS ON LEFT BANK. "Dniester Guard" units,
some with armored vehicles, and Cossack fighters have been deployed
on bridges across the Dniester and on roads on the left bank,
effectively isolating it from the right bank, Moldovan and Russian
media reported on 2 March. Armed, staffed, and trained by local
military garrisons, the "Dniester" forces enjoy a clear military
and logistical superiority over the Moldovan police. In a statement
radiotelevised in Chisinau on 2 March, Prime Minister Valeriu
Muravschi accused the "Dniester" leaders and "the imperial forces
supporting them" of staging a major provocation. (Vladimir Socor)


RUKH CALLS FOR UKRAINE TO LEAVE CIS. On March 2, the last day
of a three-day congress of the Rukh Ukrainian independence movement,
delegates voted in favor of a motion calling for Ukraine to leave
the CIS, Western agencies reported. Reuter said the wording of
the motion was later redrafted by Rukh leaders to say that Ukraine
should leave the CIS if Ukraine's interests were not fully secured.
Delegates also called for presidential rule to be imposed in
the Crimea. The resolution said that the Crimean parliament had
overstepped its authority in removing from its draft constitution
any reference to Crimea being part of Ukraine. The congress,
which was called to decide the future of the movement, decided
that it should remain in opposition. Rukh's charter was changed
to say that its main goal is to consolidate the independence
of Ukraine and build a democratic republic. (Ann Sheehy)

SPLIT IN RUKH NARROWLY AVERTED. Rukh narrowly averted a split
on 29 February when the incumbent chairman Ivan Drach and another
leader Mikhailo Horyn together with their supporters walked out
because of disagreements with the more radical Vladimir Chornovil
over future strategy and the movement's attitude towards Ukrainian
president Leonid Kravchuk. Chornovil wanted Rukh to stay in opposition,
while Drach and Horyn wanted to support Kravchuk. After two hours
of backstage talks, a compromise was reached and all three men
were elected co-chairmen of the movement. (Ann Sheehy)

YELTSIN DECREE ON GERMAN REGIONS ON VOLGA. Yeltsin signed a decree
on 2 March "On urgent measures for the rehabilitation of the
Russian Germans," ITAR-TASS reported. The decree provides for
a stage by stage restoration of Russian German statehood in the
Russian Federation. The first step is to be the creation of a
German National Okrug in Volgograd oblast and of a German National
Raion in Saratov oblast. The former Volga-German ASSR was situated
on the territory of these two oblasts. Sergei Shakhrai, a legal
adviser to Yeltsin, said on "Novosti" that the inhabitants of
23 sovkhozes in Saratov oblast where the national raion will
be created had expressed their agreement. Opposition to the restoration
of German autonomy has been particularly strong in Saratov oblast.
It remains to be seen whether this move will stem German emigration
from Russia. (Ann Sheehy)

NEW APPOINTMENTS IN RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT. Russian President Boris
Yeltsin has promoted finance minister Egor Gaidar to the rank
of First Deputy Premier, ITAR-TASS reported on 2 March. The Russian
government will now be supervised by two first deputy premiers--Gaidar,
who will be in charge of the economy, and Gennadii Burbulis who
will concentrate on foreign policy. Yeltsin also appointed Valerii
Makharadze Deputy Premier in charge of operational questions
concerning the government. Makharadze's former post of chief
of the Control Directorate of the Administration of the President
(the institution which controls presidential envoys in the regions)
went to the young St. Petersburg deputy, Yurii Boldyrev. (Alexander
Rahr)

DRAFT YELTSIN PROGRAM DISCLOSED. Ahead of the formal unveiling
of the Yeltsin economic reform program scheduled for sometime
this week, Izvestiya of 29 February has disclosed some of its
key provisions. By 1 April, only 5% of the population's monetary
incomes will be spent on goods and services at regulated prices.
The wholesale prices for energy-carriers will reach world market
levels by the end of 1993. By 20 April, there will be two exchange
rates for the ruble: a single floating rate for day-to-day transactions,
and a separate permanent exchange rate for the movement of capital.
All export quotas and export licences will be abolished by 1
July, except for fuel exports and security-related items. (Keith
Bush)

NEW UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. The program envisages the replacement
of the existing unemployment allowance, which is based on the
average wage, by two categories of benefit. The "enhanced allowance"
will be paid to those who have lost their jobs as a result of
the closure or major reorganization of their enterprise; it will
consist of not more than 90% of the previous average wage. The
"ordinary allowance" will not exceed 75% of the minimum wage.
(Keith Bush)

RUSSIAN PAY RAISE. Russian President Boris Yeltsin has decreed
a 45% increase in the wages of workers and employees at state-financed
enterprises, Moscow Radio-1 reported on 29 February. The raise
was to take effect on March 1. It did not apply to those whose
wages were already increased in January. (Keith Bush)

YELTSIN VISITS ARZAMAS-16. On 28 February Boris Yeltsin visited
the closed city of Arzamas-16, a formerly secret nuclear weapons
production center that lies approximately 250 miles east of Moscow.
According to Western agencies and a Russian television broadcast
later that day, Yeltsin promised scientists at the center higher
wages and increased benefits. He also announced a decree that
will transform Arzamas-16 and similar facilities at Chelyabinsk-70
into Russian centers for nuclear research. Yeltsin told reporters
that he had met with a large group of nuclear scientists on 21
January to examine problems connected with nuclear arms production,
destruction, conversion, and living conditions for specialists
in the nuclear weapons industry. (Stephen Foye)

CALM RESTORED AT BAIKONUR. According to Reuter, the Dana-Press
agency reported on 28 February that government officials have
agreed to improve living conditions for servicemen at the Baikonur
space center in Kazakhstan. A commission reportedly created to
investigate the causes of the 23-25 February rampage at the center
that left three dead (see Daily Report, 27 February) also dismissed
seven officers for the "unhealthy moral and psychological climate"
in the construction battalion that staged the revolt. A Postfactum
report of 28 February said that the violence would not affect
the launching of a Soviet-German space flight scheduled for 17
March. (Stephen Foye)

KHASBULATOV CRITICIZES RUSSIAN MEDIA. On 2 March "Vesti" quoted
the chairman of the Russian parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, as
reiterating his criticism of the Russian media. Khasbulatov reportedly
accused the media of deliberately downplaying the importance
of the 27 February meeting of heads of the CIS parliaments. Previously,
Khasbulatov had accused the Russian media of "being at war" with
the Russian political leadership. (Vera Tolz)

 ZHIRINOVSKY A "JEWISH
ACTIVIST"? The anti-Semitic leader of the right-wing Liberal
Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, was active as late as
1988 in Jewish movements, according to Zhizn, No. 7, 1992 (the
supplement to Izvestiya). The article claims that Zhirinovsky
tried to promote himself in "Vaad," the coordinating council
of Soviet Jewish organizations. It also reports that Zhirinovsky
graduated from the Institute of Oriental Languages, an institution
reputed to have had close connections with the KGB. The article
does not present any evidence of direct ties between the extremist
leader and the KGB. (Viktor Yasmann)

RUSSIA BLASTS LOZORAITIS. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman
Vitalii Churkin said on 2 March that "the Kaliningrad oblast
is and will remain a part of the Russian Federation and that
its status enjoys the reliable support of international law."
Churkin criticized statements by Lithuanian Ambassador to he
United States Stasys Lozoraitis to the effect that Kaliningrad
could some day become part of Lithuania so as to prevent the
restoration of a Berlin-Moscow axis. Churkin said such a statement
from a Lithuanian official was provocative and "completely unacceptable."
He also called for an official explanation from Lithuania, ITAR-TASS
reported. (Suzanne Crow)

CHURKIN ON KOZYREV TOUR. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii
Churkin said on 2 March that Russian Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev's recent trip to Angola, South Africa, and Egypt "demonstrated
Russia's continuing interest in strengthening and developing
its ties with the countries of the African continent," ITAR-TASS
reported. (Suzanne Crow)

EIGHT JOIN UN. Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Turmenistan,
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan were accepted as members
of the UN on 2 March, ITAR-TASS reported. (Suzanne Crow)

KAZAKHSTAN WANTS TO JOIN EC. Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev
has told European External Relations Commissioner Frans Andriessen
that Kazakhstan wants to be a full member of the European Community,
the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on 2 March. Nazarbaev made
the statement to Andriessen in Alma-Ata during Andriessen's recent
visit to four former Soviet republics to discuss their future
relationship to the EC. When Andriessen pointed out that the
Treaty of Rome restricts Community membership to European states,
Nazarbaev wanted to know how this problem could be overcome,
and warned that if Europe won't accept Kazakhstan, it will have
to join an Arab or Asian association. (Bess Brown)

KAZAKHSTAN'S FOREIGN CONTACTS. The transportation ministers of
Kazakhstan and Iran have signed a transport agreement, the Iranian
press agency IRNA reported on 1 March. This is said to call for
the continuous shipment of goods between Caspian seaports, the
creation of a joint transport committee at the ministerial level,
and the setting up of an air link between Tehran and Alma-Ata.
On 29 February the Frontier Post of Peshawar contained an interview
with Pakistani parliamentarian and former ambassador Mian Abdul
Wahid, who said that Kazakhstan, which he had recently visited,
was ready to assist Pakistan in the field of nuclear technology,
provided it is for peaceful purposes. (Bess Brown)

ANOTHER SACRED COW BITES THE DUST. Throughout the Soviet period,
Soviet newspapers prided themselves on their attention to workers'
letters, touting this as a form of popular democracy. Sceptics
saw letter-writing as more a substitute for democracy than the
real thing. However, Izvestiya informed its readers on 2 January
that it was slashing the staff of its letters department and
would no longer acknowledge letters nor, as in the past newspapers
were legally obliged to do, forward them to government bodies.
Supporting the idea that letters were a substitute for popular
participation and that the population is turning to other forms
of political activity, Izvestiya said the number of letters it
received dropped from 300,000 in 1989, 200,000 in 1990, to 110,000
in 1991. Attention was paid to letters, Izvestiya said, "to create
the impression of caring about the workers." (Elizabeth Teague)


RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH CHARITY ACTIVITIES. On 19 February, Vechernyaya
Moskva published an interview with Sergei, the archbishop of
Solnechnogorsk, who is the chairman of the Department for Charity
and Social Services of the Moscow Patriarchate. Archbishop Sergei
discussed the various forms of charity which Orthodox brotherhoods
are engaged in and the new brotherhood of the "Righteous Elisaveta
Fedorovna" of which he is the honorary chairman. Talking about
the activities of the brotherhoods, the archbishop stressed that
most of the support for these activities comes from the West
while Russian businessmen hardly react to Church appeals for
help. (Oxana Antic)

EASTERN EUROPE

BALTIC STATES



SOVIET TROOP WITHDRAWAL BEGINS. On 2 March Col. Gen. Valerii
Mironov, commander of the Northwestern Group of Forces, talked
with Lithuanian National Defense Minister Audrius Butkevicius
in Vilnius on former Soviet troop withdrawals, Radio Lithuania
reports. The air defense battalion unit from Mickunai, escorted
by Lithuanian defense ministry and police officials, departed
from Vilnius at 10:45 a.m. on 3 March for the Latvian border,
where they will be met by Latvian officials. The Lithuanian ministry
also received a list of other military units scheduled to be
withdrawn from Lithuania in March. The list does not include
the Vilnius 107th division, whose withdrawal Lithuania has particularly
requested. (Saulius Girnius)

MORE TROOPS ARRIVE IN LATVIA. BNS reports that despite the start
of talks in Moscow on 3 March between experts on the withdrawal
of troops of the former USSR from Latvia, more soldiers have
been arriving in Latvia recently. Last week about 270 "paratroopers"
from Lithuania were transferred to Adazi, a base near Riga. In
addition, about 500 new recruits have arrived in Liepaja; about
100 other new recruits in civilian clothes arrived in Zakumuiza,
on the outskirts of Riga. The dislocation of additional troops
and the sending of recruits to Latvia violate the accords that
were reached between the Latvian and Russian officials in February.
(Dzintra Bungs)

FORMER USSR TROOPS READY TO "PROTECT THEIR PROPERTY." The Officers'
Council of the Northwestern Group of Forces asked the president
and government of Russia to draw up a program to safeguard the
welfare of soldiers and officers, Radio Rossiya and BNS reported
on 2 March. The group also expressed readiness to protect with
arms, if necessary, the property in the Baltic States that they
believe belongs to the armed forces, the former Soviet border
guards, and the Russian Federation against anyone who attempts
to take it until such a time that an agreement is reached between
Russia and the Baltic States. Lt. Gen. Fedor Melnichuk said that
the troop pullout from the Baltics will take 6-7 years and new
recruits will have to be sent in because "an army cannot consist
only of officers." (Dzintra Bungs)

LITHUANIA TO DEMAND APOLOGY. Egidijus Bickauskas, Lithuanian
representative to Russia, was called to the Russian Foreign Ministry
at 8:00 p.m. on 28 February, where he was read complaints about
Lithuania demanding that the former Soviet troops abandon their
bases and leave behind all their equipment, Radio Lithuania reports.
The ministry later acknowledged that the charges were without
substance, but provided no apology to the Lithuanians. Bickauskas
said that he would file a formal protest. (Saulius Girnius)

BORDER TROOPS UNDER RUSSIAN SUPERVISION. At a press briefing
on 2 March Lithuanian parliament spokesman Audrius Azubalis disputed
charges by the Russian Foreign Ministry on 25 February that Lithuania
is illegally taking over border posts, Radio Lithuania reports.
Azubalis made it clear that as an independent state Lithuania
has the right to control its borders, and the presence of Soviet
officers is a violation of the republic's sovereignty. The Russian
note, however, made it clear that the border forces were under
the direct control of Russia and not the CIS as Lithuania had
earlier believed. (Saulius Girnius)

NORDIC INVESTMENT PROGRAM FOR THE BALTIC STATES. Following a
meeting of the prime ministers of Denmark, Finland, Iceland,
Norway, and Sweden in Helsinki, Finnish Prime Minister Esko Aho
told the press on 2 March that the Nordic countries have agreed
to invest 100 million ecus (about $125 million) in the Baltic
States in order to promote small and medium-sized business enterprises
there. Both the Nordic Investment Bank and the European Bank
for Reconstruction and Development would be involved in the program.
In addition, funds to help establish national investment banks
and promote ties between Nordic and Baltic enterprises are to
be set up, Reuters reported on 2 March. (Dzintra Bungs)



CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

TENSIONS EASE IN SARAJEVO. Western media report on 3 March that
barricades, put up mainly by Serbs, began coming down late on
2 March after an agreement was struck between the Bosnian government
and the Serbian minority. The federal army backed the government
and criticized the Serbs for putting up the roadblocks. The tensions
had grown out of the weekend referendum for independence and
as a result of the killing of a Serb on 1 March, when a Serbian
wedding party flying the Serbian flag drove through a Muslim
neighborhood. Several deaths and injuries were reported on 2
March when Serbs on the barricades or positioned elsewhere as
snipers fired into crowds of mainly young peace demonstrators.
The protesters eventually carried the day, however, and public
transportation began moving again. (Patrick Moore)

IMF'S TENTATIVE SUPPORT FOR POLAND. In a letter to Lech Walesa
released by the presidential press office on 2 March, the managing
director of the IMF, Michel Camdessus, declared his "unchanged
support for the Polish program of quick and solid economic improvement
and the readiness of the fund to support a stronger policy of
structural changes leading to increased economic growth." According
to Polish and Western media, however, Camdessus also warned the
Polish leadership that the country's economic success--and a
positive assessment by international financiers--will depend
on the budgetary decisions now being made. He urged the lawmakers
to stimulate the economy, hold down spending, and restrain inflation.
(Roman Stefanowski)

EBRD OPENS WARSAW BRANCH. On 2 March the European Bank for Reconstruction
and Development opened its first East European branch. Others
in Budapest, Moscow, Prague, Sofia and Bucharest will soon follow,
Polish and Western media report. Before arriving in Warsaw, on
28 February Attali held talks with Czechoslovak Finance Minister
Vaclav Klaus. The two men discussed the country's economic situation
and the bank's part in financing the completion of the nuclear
power plant at Mochovce, Slovakia. They also discussed a project
for financing the development of telecommunications in Czechoslovakia.
Attali's visit in Eastern Europe was made in connection with
preparations for the first conference of the EBRD set for 13-14
April in Budapest. The EBRD was set up in May 1990 with a $12
billion dollar capital to help former communist countries develop
market economies. (Roman Stefanowski & Peter Matuska)

POLAND, BELARUS ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. In Warsaw on
2 March Polish Foreign Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski and his
Belarus counterpart Petr Krauchenka signed an agreement on diplomatic
and consular relations. According to PAP, Skubiszewski presented
Krauchenka with a draft of a full treaty the two countries plan
to sign shortly. Krauchenka was received by Prime Minister Olszewski
with whom he has discussed economic issues, particularly transit
facilities and access to Poland's Baltic ports, and by President
Walesa, who invited Belarus President Stanislau Shushkevich to
visit Poland. (Roman Stefanowski)

CZECHOSLOVAK PROSECUTOR GENERAL DISMISSED. On 2 March President
Vaclav Havel dismissed Ivan Gasparovic, the country's prosecutor
general, who has been accused by parliamentarians of failing
to prosecute senior officers of the disbanded StB secret police,
Western media report. Presidential spokesman Michael Zantovsky
said the move follows a letter to Havel from deputies from several
right-wing and centrist parties. Havel named Martin Lauko, the
Slovak republic's first deputy prosecutor general, to replace
Gasparovic. Lauko was not a member of the communist party, CSTK
reported. (Peter Matuska)

COUPON PRIVATIZATION IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA. On 2 March the Coupon
Privatization Center in Prague told CSTK that 8.6 million people--some
80% of Czechoslovakia's adult population--have registered their
coupon booklets to participate in privatization of the country's
state companies. Some 6 million of those registered are from
the Czech lands and 2.6 million from the Slovak Republic. Under
the coupon scheme, Czechoslovak citizens may buy for 1,000 koruny
($33) a booklet of coupons which can be "invested" in state-owned
companies or in private investment funds. (Peter Matuska)

COMPENSATION FOR COMMUNIST SEIZURES IN HUNGARY. The director
of Hungary's Compensation Office, Tamas Sepsey, says that some
830,000 people have applied for compensation for land, housing
and private enterprises confiscated from them by the communists,
an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 2 March. Only a few claims
have been settled thus far, and processing the applications is
expected to take until the end of the year. The claimants will
receive vouchers which can be used to buy land, state-owned apartments,
businesses, or shares. The maximum amount of compensation is
5 million forint; most claimants are expected to receive between
100,000 to 500,000 forint. (Edith Oltay)

PORTUGUESE SUPPORT FOR HUNGARY'S EC MEMBERSHIP. Speaking at a
news conference at the end of his two-day official visit to Hungary,
Portuguese Prime Minister Anibal Cavaco Silva said that Hungary
can expect to become a member of the European Community between
1995 and 2000, MTI reported on 29 February. Cavaco Silva, whose
country currently holds the rotating EC presidency, said a more
specific date may be set at the EC summit in Lisbon in June.
Cavaco Silva held talks with Prime Minister Jozsef Antall and
President Arpad Goncz, and was optimistic that Hungary can be
the "gateway for Portugal toward other East European countries."
This was the first meeting between a Portuguese and a Hungarian
head of government. (Edith Oltay)

HUNGARIAN-UZBEK ECONOMIC AGREEMENT. On 2 March, Uzbek Prime Minister
Abdul Hashim Mutalov and Hungarian Minister of International
Economic Relations Bela Kadar signed an economic cooperation
agreement in Budapest, MTI reported. The agreement covers joint
ventures, mutual investment opportunities, training, and cooperation
between banks. Uzbekistan will send mostly cotton and chemical
products to Hungary, while Hungary will export mainly agricultural
and light industrial products to Uzbekistan. This is the first
economic agreement between Hungary and a Central Asian republic
of the former Soviet Union. The two countries are expected to
sign a basic treaty on bilateral relations on 3 March. (Edith
Oltay)

GAINS FOR ROMANIAN ECONOMY. The National Statistics Board reports
an overall increase of 7.4% in industrial production from December
to January, following six months of decline. The figures show
a large increase in coal extraction and a smaller increase in
production of electricity, but a decline in output of processed
foods and beverages, oil refining, vehicles, and computer technology.
The total number of commercial companies with foreign capital
in Romania stood at 9,089 in mid-February. Their funding amounted
to more than 35 billion lei. The number of private entrepreneurs
has reached about 160,000, Rompres reported on 2 March 1992.
(Crisula Stefanescu)

UNEMPLOYMENT AND INFLATION IN ROMANIA. According to data supplied
by the National Statistics Board, the unemployment rate--the
ratio between the total number of people receiving unemployment
compensation or registered with employment offices and the total
active population--was 3.4% on 31 January. At the same time the
inflation rate was 236%, while the consumer price index was 434.6%
for foodstuffs, 257.5% for consumer goods, and 306.6% for services.
Real income has fallen 8% since December 1991, Rompres reports.
(Crisula Stefanescu)

ZHELEV CALLS FOR NATIONAL UNITY. In an address on the evening
of 2 March, preceding national day celebrations, Bulgarian president
Zhelyu Zhelev called for national unity during the transition
to democracy. Zhelev's call comes against the background of sharpening
conflict between the main political forces, the BSP and the UDF,
in recent weeks. The president said that now just as on 3 March
1878, when Ottoman forces signed the peace treaty that eventually
led to an independent Bulgarian state, Bulgarians must pursue
common goals regardless of their political or religious persuasions.
(Kjell Engelbrekt)


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

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