If we are to live together in peace, we must first come to know each other better. - Lyndon B. Johnson
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 44, 04 March 1992



SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

ARMENIANS BLOCK TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM NAGORNO-KARABAKH. The CIS
army troop withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh was halted early
on 3 March by Armenian protesters; one soldier was killed when
Armenians opened fire after troops refused to comply with demands
to surrender their weapons, Nagorno-Karabakh parliament chairman
Artur Mkrtchyan told RFE/RL. A number of Armenian civilians were
killed when Azerbaijani forces shot down a helicopter flying
from Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, Western news agencies reported.
An advisor to Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan has told
Nezavisimaya gazeta that Armenia regards the Karabakh conflict
as a political dispute and an internal Azerbaijani affair, but
that Armenia will not condone a peace settlement that runs counter
to the wishes of the Armenian population of Karabakh. (Liz Fuller)


DNIESTER SITUATION. Some Moldovan policemen who escaped capture
in Dubasari (see The RFE/RL Daily Report for March 3) have regrouped
in a nearby village but have come under siege there by "Dniester
Republic" forces aided by Russian Cossacks. A Moldovan police
unit from the right bank of the Dniester has crossed the iced
over river to reinforce the besieged policemen. Moldovan media
also reported on 3 March that unarmed Moldovan peasants have
raided a civil defense unit of the CIS forces near Dubasari and
seized weapons in order to come to the aid of the besieged police.
Moscow media put the amount of weapons seized as 80 firearms
and accused the Moldovan police of having staged the raid posing
as peasants. There are conflicting reports about casualties in
the two incidents of 3 March. (Vladimir Socor)

SNEGUR ON THE DNIESTER SITUATION. On his way home from the United
Nations where he addressed the General Assembly in connection
with Moldova's admission as a member, President Mircea Snegur
told Moldovan and Russian journalists on 3 March that the Moldovan
government was dedicated to a political and peaceful resolution
of the Dniester situation. Should it fail, however, Moldova would
appeal to international organizations including the UN for assistance.
Snegur added that, if necessary, he would call on the people
in the Dniester region to resist the unlawful actions staged
by "those who parade with red flags and the portraits of Lenin
and Stalin" in that region of Moldova. (Vladimir Socor)

GROWING WESTERN ENGAGEMENT IN MOLDOVA. The US has notified Moldova
that its embassy there will open for business in Chisinau later
this month and will have a staff of eight, Moldovapres reported
on 2 March. On 3 March, a delegation of the Dutch Foreign Ministry
arrived in Chisinau to discuss the establishment of diplomatic
ties. German Social-Democratic Party leader Hans-Joachim Vogel,
visiting Moldova at the invitation of the Moldovan Social-Democratic
Party, told a press conference in Chisinau that he was "fully
satisfied" with Moldova's adherence to human and ethnic rights
and that he supported Moldova's aspirations to integrate with
Europe, RFE reported on 3 March. (Vladimir Socor)

STATE OF EMERGENCY EXTENDED IN TBILISI. ITAR-TASS reported on
3 March that Georgia's ruling Military Council has extended for
one month the state of emergency and curfew in force in Tbilisi,
where the situation remains tense with nightly shooting incidents.
Beginning 2 March, demonstrations and strikes have been banned
in the Abkhaz capital of Sukhumi where supporters of ousted president
Zviad Gamsakhurdia continue to demand his return to power. (Liz
Fuller)

RESURRECTION OF THE USSR? Gennadii Zyuganov, former chief ideologue
of the Russian Communist Party and now chairman of the Russian
Patriotic Forces Coordination Council, is quoted by the Philadelphia
Inquirer of 2 March as saying that the Yeltsin leadership will
be soon swept from power with the help of the military and the
police. On 17 March--the anniversary of a nationwide referendum
last year in which 70% of the voters supported the preservation
of a "renewed" Soviet Union--hardliners are planning to stage
a huge demonstration in Moscow to advocate the restoration of
the USSR Congress of People's Deputies. This would then elect
a new head of state and a new government for the USSR. (Alexander
Rahr)

COOL GOVERNMENT REACTION TO CPD RECONVENING. The administration
of the Russian President has rejected an idea put forward by
a group of former USSR deputies to reconvene the USSR Congress
of People's Deputies on 17 March, Mayak reported on 3 March.
The administration stated that such a gathering would not be
authorized to take any valid decisions. The group of former USSR
deputies who want to hold the Congress is led by Ex-Premier Nikolai
Ryzhkov. At a press conference on March 3, he called for the
recreation of central leadership bodies for the CIS. (Alexander
Rahr)

DRAFT RUSSIAN CONSTITUTION SENT TO SUPSOV COMMITTEES. The draft
of Russia's proposed new constitution is complete and has been
submitted for scrutiny to the standing commissions and committees
of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation, Radio Mayak
was told on 2 March by Oleg Rumyantsev, the Social Democratic
leader who chairs the drafting commission. (Elizabeth Teague)


GAIDAR PRESENTS REFORM PROGRAM. Russian First Deputy Prime Minister
Egor Gaidar presented his economic reform package to the Russian
Parliament on 3 March, Western agencies reported. The full text
of the memorandum, said to comprise 19 pages, was also published
by Nezavisimaya gazeta, according to "Vesti" that evening. From
what

details have been publicized to date, the program appears to
be ambitious, tough, and perhaps unattainable. It envisages,
inter alia, the virtual elimination of the

budget deficit by the end of 1992, the reduction of inflation
to Western levels by that date, and a single rate of exchange
for the ruble within months. One agency quotes Gaidar as saying
that pensions and insurance benefits will be maintained, but
not indexed. The plan has reportedly received the approval of
the IMF. (Keith Bush)

SEARCH FOR MISSING HARD CURRENCY. Gaidar also told the deputies
that the Russian government had appointed Kroll Associates of
New York to help it track down and reclaim billions of dollars
believed to have been siphoned out of the country by corrupt
government and Party officials, and held illegally by CIS enterprises
in foreign bank accounts. Gaidar had previously announced the
search on Russian Television on 1 April. Details of the investigation
were carried in The New York Times of 3 March. (Keith Bush)

PRAVDA ANNOUNCES ANOTHER CUTBACK IN PUBLICATION. On 3 March,
Pravda came out with a front-page announcement that production
costs and falling circulation would force it to publish only
three days a week. (Pravda first cut back from six to five days
in early February.) Commenting on the move, the first program
of Russian Television said that Yeltsin's recent decree aimed
at decreasing the costs of the production and distribution of
periodicals has not yet started to show any results. Radio Rossii
quoted Pravda's chief editor Gennadii Seleznev as saying that
proceeds from the sale of 1992 annual subscription were only
enough to fund the production of Pravda through the end of March.
(Vera Tolz)

CITIZENSHIP LAW GOES INTO EFFECT IN RUSSIA. The new law on citizenship
in Russia went into effect on 3 March, Radio "Mayak" reported.
The radio said district interior affairs administrations had
started to accept applications from people wishing to become
Russian citizens. The Russian Federation's Ministry of Internal
Affairs was currently drafting rules on the introduction of Russian
passports. (Vera Tolz)

SOBCHAK DISTANCES HIMSELF FROM YELTSIN'S GOVERNMENT. St. Petersburg
Mayor Anatolii Sobchak has launched his strongest attack ever
on the Russian government. He told Komsomolskaya pravda on 3
March that the government is overbureaucratized and that for
him it was easier to maneuver between Mikhail Gorbachev's central
and Boris Yeltsin's republican leadership last year than to deal
with the present government today. Sobchak stressed that he could
never work for such a government. He further warned of social
upheavals and said that opposition to Yeltsin is growing from
a coalition of former Party apparatchiks, national-patriots,
and radical democrats. (Alexander Rahr)

UNOFFICIAL RUSSIAN TRADE UNIONS PLAN UMBRELLA MOVEMENT. Sources
in Moscow say representatives of the unofficial trade unions
(Sotsprof, the Independent Miners' Union, and the pilots' and
air traffic controllers' unions) met in the White House on 1
March and decided to convene a congress in April to form an umbrella
organization representing all Russia's unofficial unions. Relations
between the unofficial unions have improved recently through
the contacts they have been having in the framework of tripartite
talks in which the Russian government, official unions, and employers
also participate. Meanwhile, the unofficial unions agreed to
cooperate to try to influence the numerous additions and changes
to the labor law currently under discussion. (Elizabeth Teague)


GENERAL RAILWAY STRIKE AVERTED IN RUSSIA. Railway workers in
Kursk (Western Russia), who have formed their own trade union,
began a strike on 2 March, Russian Television announced that
day. However, the general strike of railwaymen that was threatening
to paralyze rail traffic throughout Russia has been called off
following tripartite talks between the Russian government, the
ministry of railways, and the Independent Union of Railway Workers
(the official trade union). As a result of the negotiations,
described as "lengthy and tough," railway workers have been promised
better wages, working conditions and social guarantees; they
also won the right to carry out commercial activities. (Elizabeth
Teague)

FOKIN ON TURKMEN GAS PRICE. In the latest episode of the ongoing
saga of the gas price war between Turkmenistan and Ukraine, a
lugubrious Ukrainian Premier went on Russian Television on 3
March to present his side of the argument. Vitold Fokin explained
that the Turkmen had first asked for a 25-fold increase in the
price of their natural gas, i.e., from 34 rubles per thousand
cubic meters in December 1991, to 870 rubles with effect from
March 1. After a "sharp, albeit professional" exchange, the Ukrainians
agreed. But then the Turkmen added in transportation charges,
which brought the new price up to almost 1,600 rubles per thousand
cubic meters, i.e., a fifty-fold rise. Fokin publicly appealed
to Niyazov to think again. (Keith Bush)

UKRAINIANS PROTEST PLANNED BUDGET CUTS. More than 1,500 people
demonstrated in front of the Ukrainian parliament building on
3 March to protest the government's proposed cuts in social services,
Western agencies reported. The cuts are to include monthly bus
passes and free train tickets for the needy. The protesters included
members of the Chernobyl Union of Ukraine, whose vice chairman,
Volodymyr Kobchyk, said the government had forgotten about the
economic needs of schoolchildren, the elderly, and those who
cleaned up after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident. Meanwhile
inside the parliament building three deputies from farm regions
started a hunger strike to protest shortages of machinery and
fuel ahead of the spring planting season. (Ann Sheehy)

REACTION TO YELTSIN'S DECREE ON THE RUSSIAN GERMANS. Bonn spokesmen
and Germans already living in the Volga area welcomed Yeltsin's
decree of 2 March creating two national regions for the Germans
in Saratov and Volgograd oblasts, but the Interstate Committee
for the Rehabilitation of Russian Germans said it was inadequate
and that the restoration of the Volga German republic should
have been announced first and decisions on its frontiers and
status taken later, Western and Soviet agencies reported on 3
March. Horst Waffenschmidt, Parliamentary State Secretary in
Bonn's Interior Ministry, called the decree a great step forward
and said Russian Germans should take advantage of the offer quickly.
(Ann Sheehy)

KYRGYZ MILITARY SCANDAL CONTINUES. The parliamentary uproar over
the removal of 14 warplanes from Kyrgyzstan is continuing. The
commander who allowed the planes to leave was stripped of his
seat in the Kyrgyz Supreme Soviet. He was quoted by Reuter on
3 March as telling deputies that he had acted on the orders of
Evgenii Shaposhnikov, commander in chief of the CIS armed forces.
The central TV evening news show reported that newly-elected
Kyrgyz vice president Feliks Kulov used the occasion sharply
to criticize the practice of allowing military officers to become
involved in politics. (Bess Brown)

CONCERN OVER TATARSTAN REFERENDUM. Deputies of the Russian Federation's
Supreme Soviet met on 3 March with the chairman of the Tatarstan
Supreme Soviet to express their concern over the referendum on
Tatarstan's sovereignty due on 21 March, "Novosti" and "Vesti"
reported. The question that voters will be asked is opaque, and
a Tatar deputy said that some voters did not understand it, but
a "yes" vote is seen as being tantamount to Tatarstan's secession
from the Russian Federation. Radio Rossii reported on 3 March
that, if the vote was in favor, the Bugulma city soviet would
hold an opinion poll on the city's joining Samara oblast. (Ann
Sheehy)



EASTERN EUROPE

BALTIC STATES



MICKUNAI BASE STILL UNDER SOVIET CONTROL. On 3March, after formal
ceremonies in Visoriai bidding farewell to the unit's banner,
the 103soldiers of the Mickunai air defense unit left Lithuania
for Latvia, the RFE Lithuanian Service reports. After a meeting
with Col.Gen. Valerii Mironov, commander of the Northwest Group
ofForces, who presided over the departure ceremonies, Lithuanian
National Defense Minister Audrius Butkevicius said that Lithuania
does not consider the departure of troops to have really begun
because former Soviet troops are still guarding the Mickunai
base. Difficulties have emerged in the signing of the documents
formally handing over the base, whichis now likely to occur only
on 9March. (Saulius Girnius)

RUSSIA WANTS ABRENE. The Presidium of the Russian Supreme Soviet
adopted a draft resolution rejecting Latvia's claim to Abrene,
a region of northeastern Latvia that was annexed by the RSFSR
after World WarII. ITAR-TASS reported on 2March that the draft
resolution, which states that there is no historic ground for
Latvia's claim and insists that such claims could lead to tension
between the two states, is to be considered by the Supreme Soviet.
In February the Latvian Supreme Council adopted a resolution
asserting Latvia's claim to Abrene. (Dzintra Bungs)

PRIVATIZATION GUIDELINES ADOPTED IN LATVIA. After sharp debates,
on 3March the Latvian Supreme Council adopted guidelines for
the privatization of state and municipal enterprises, Radio Riga
reports. This legislation involves only those enterprises established
after Latvia was annexed by the Soviet Union on 17June 1940.
Detailed laws on specific aspects of privatization (issuing of
certificates, compensation, leasing, and eventual purchase of
leased enterprises, etc.) are to be drafted in the very near
future. (Dzintra Bungs)

MORE PRICE HIKES, SHORTAGES IN LATVIA. As of 1March, fees for
postal and telephone services rose, as did the prices of alcoholic
beverages. Sugar still remains in very short supply, but relief
may only come at the end of March, when a shipment of unrefined
sugar is expected from Cuba, Radio Riga reports. In order to
fight inflation, the government decided to keep the state purchase
prices of farm produce at current levels. (Dzintra Bungs)

LANDSBERGIS DEPARTS FOR JAPAN. On 3March Chairman of the Lithuanian
Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis, accompanied by his wife
and International Economic Relations minister Vytenis Aleskaitis,
departed for a week-long visit in Japan. He is scheduled to meet
with Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa and Foreign Minister Abe
Watanabe as well as Emperor Akihito, Lithuanian radio reports.
(Saulius Girnius)

BACKIS TAKES OVER VILNIUS ARCHDIOCESE. On 3March Audrys Backis
was formally installed as the Archbishop of Vilnius, Radio Lithuania
reports. Among the participants in the formal inauguration Mass
in the Vilnius Cathedral were Holland's cardinal Adrianus Simonis,
who accompanied Backis to Vilnius on 1March, Archbishop Jean
Louis Tauran from the Vatican's Secretariat, papal nuncio to
the Baltic States Bishop Justo Mullor Garcia, Vincentas Cardinal
Sladkevicius, and many bishops from Lithuania and other countries.
(Saulius Girnius)

ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN ECONOMIC ACCORD. Radio Riga reported on 3March
that Estonia and Russia have signed an economic accord for 1992.
Details of the agreement, which essentially involves barter of
products that both sides need, have not become available. (Dzintra
Bungs)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN SITUATION. Radio Sarajevo reported on 3 and 4March that
the situation in certain areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina remains
tense after last weekend's referendum on independence. At a press
conference Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic declared the multiethnic
republic independent and neutral and called for international
recognition. Final results show that 63.4% of eligible voters
took part in the balloting and 99.4% of the ballots cast favored
independence. German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher
told German radio on 3March, that his country will wait for an
EC consensus on recognizing the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
but called for quick recognition of the former Yugoslav republic.
In January the EC recommended a referendum as one precondition
for diplomatic recognition. (Milan Andrejevich)

"MIXED PATROLS" FOR BOSNIA. Izetbegovic condemned the blockades
set up by militant Serbs in Sarajevo, but Serb leaders denied
that they had taken coordinated action. The militants agreed
to remove barricades, but some roadblocks remain along the outskirts
of the city and in several towns in eastern Herzegovina and northern
Bosnia. Late on 3March the commander of the federal army's Second
Military District in Sarajevo called a meeting with Izetbegovic
and Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. The three agreed that
the situation could be best handled with the mobilization of
"mixed patrols" of Yugoslav army troops and Bosnian police composed
of Muslims and Serbs. The joint units will patrol Sarajevo streets
and disarm any Serb or Muslim militia groups. Karadzic appealed
to the citizens to remain in their homes and districts. At Bosanski
Brod heavy fighting between police and groups of Muslim and Serb
militiamen resulted in several deaths. Early on 4March a cease-fire
was negotiated and appears to be holding. Serb leaders appealed
for calm after warnings from the Yugoslav federal army in Belgrade.(Milan
Andrejevich)

HUNGARIAN COURT REJECTS LAW ON PAST COMMUNIST CRIMES. On 3March
the Hungarian Constitutional Court unanimously ruled that the
law which would have opened the way to prosecution of communist
officials for past crimes is unconstitutional, MTI reports. Under
the law, the statute of limitations would have been extended
to allow for prosecution of cases of treason, murder, and aggravated
assault that occurred between December 1944 and May 1990. The
Court said that the current constitution does not permit such
an extension and that it is unconstitutional to make laws retroactive
for the purpose of punishing individuals. The law was passed
by parliament last November, but it was remanded to the court
for review by President Arpad Goncz, who had doubts about the
constitutionality of some provisions. Goncz told reporters that
he hopes that no one will use the court decision to try to "incite
passions" and to provoke detrimental debate. Hungarian society
is divided over whether communists should be prosecuted for past
crimes. (Edith Oltay)

HUNGARY AND UZBEKISTAN SIGN BASIC TREATY. On 3March Uzbek Prime
Minister Abdul Hashim Mutalov and his Hungarian counterpart Jozsef
Antall signed in Budapest a basic treaty governing relations
between the two countries, MTI reports. Agreements establishing
diplomatic relations and providing for cooperation between the
two foreign ministries were also signed. Mutalov asked for Hungarian
help in developing Uzbekistan's food-processing industry. He
told Antall that his country sees Turkey as the model to follow
as it transforms itself into a modern, sovereign state, and he
said Uzbekistan intends to foster ties with Iran, Pakistan, and
China. (Edith Oltay)

WALESA TO VISIT MOSCOW. Polish President Lech Walesa accepted
the invitation of Russian Federation President Boris Yeltsin
to visit Moscow later this month, Polish and Western media report.
In his letter, delivered by Ambassador Yurii Kashlev on 3March,
Yeltsin said he is "convinced that Poland, having understanding
for the Russian reforms, will share the experience it has gained
in the process of democratizing society and introducing a market
system." Walesa will sign a treaty of friendship and good neighborly
cooperation and possibly other agreements as well. A Polish delegation
is now in Moscow to prepare the basic treaty and an accord on
ex-Soviet troop withdrawal from Poland. Walesa had resisted accepting
a previous invitation from Mikhail Gorbachev, indicating that
he would travel to Moscow only when "the visit had been well
prepared" and would be certain "to be useful." (Roman Stefanowski)


DECOMMUNIZATION CONFERENCE IN WARSAW. A two-day conference, "Decommunization
and Democracy," ended in Warsaw on 3March. About 300Polish politicians
and intellectuals, together with invited guests from Bulgaria,
Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Russia, pondered how to deal with
their countries' communist past in the areas of economics, law,
and politics. According to PAP, one recurring question at the
conference was whether further democratization will bring about
decommunization, or whether decommunization is the sine qua non
of the democratization process. Notable for their absence were
representatives of the Center Alliance, the Christian National
Union, and the Confederation for Independent Poland, who were
protesting the attendance at the conference of the postcommunist
Social-Democrats. (Roman Stefanowski)

CZECHOSLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES ELECTION DATE. On 3March the
parliament presidium set 5-6 June as the date for general elections,
CSTK reported. On the basis of respective proportions of the
population, the presidium also approved the distribution of seats
in the House of the People: 101Czech deputies and 49Slovak deputies
will be elected. Czechs and Slovaks each receive 75seats in the
House of the Nation. Under the constitution a presidential election
must be held within 40days of parliamentary elections, but no
date has yet been set. (Peter Matuska)

DIENSTBIER IN LONDON. On 3March Czechoslovak Foreign Minister
Jiri Dienstbier told the Royal Institute of International Affairs
in London that Central and East European countries' transition
to market economies needs the help of the EC, the United States,
and other advanced countries in order to avoid "potential crises
and conflicts." Dienstbier identified three processes that will
be decisive in Czechoslovakia: halting economic decline, forming
a functioning government at federal and republican levels, and
integrating the country into European zone of stability, an RFE
correspondent reported. (Peter Matuska)

KLAUS ON CZECHOSLOVAKIA. On 3March at a meeting in New York with
members of the Council on Foreign Relations, Czechoslovak Finance
Minister Vaclav Klaus expressed the opinion that the position
and candidacy of Vaclav Havel as Czechoslovak president will
not be much affected by the June parliamentary elections. He
said the main achievements of the past two years are the end
of state paternalism, resumption of individual responsibility,
assertion of privatization, and opening up to the world. He expressed
optimism that Czechoslovak unity can be preserved, although he
acknowledged that "a breakup is a real threat," CSTK reported.
(Peter Matuska)

CIVIC ALLIANCE PARTY STRATEGY. In an official statement the Civic
Alliance Party (CAP) announced its decision to contest the legislative
elections on a common platform with the Democratic Convention
(DC), Rompres reported on 3March. The CAP also acknowledged the
desirability of fielding a single DC candidate for president
who could be someone other than their own chairman, Nicolae Manolescu,
who is so far the only opposition figure to have indicated an
interest in running. (Crisula Stefanescu)

SPIROIU INTERVIEWED. Romanian Defense Minister Nicolae Spiroiu
said in an interview with Tineretul liber, quoted by Rompres
on 3March, that Romania's exports of military materiel are just
a token and that all areas of embargo, including Yugoslavia,
are duly observed. He said that the Romanian defense industry
had taken care of 95% of the country's needs since 1982 and had
even been able to export some equipment on occasion. At present
because of the general recession, however, weapons production
has fallen considerably. Spiroiu said that NATO efforts have
gone a long way toward mitigating a sense of insecurity in East
European countries that they were being discriminated against
by the West. (Crisula Stefanescu)


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

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