To get rid of an enemy, one must love him. - Leo Tolstoy
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 50, 12 March 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

PRESIDIUM OF RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT DISCUSSES ATTEMPTS TO CONVENE
USSR CONGRESS. On 11 March the Presidium of the Russian parliament
called attempts to reconvene the USSR Congress of People's Deputies
on 17 March "an assault on the sovereignty of the Russian Federation,"
"Ostankino" television reported that day. The presidium called
on the Russian government, the government of Moscow, and its
mayor's office not to allow the meeting of the USSR Congress
to take place. That same day Moscow newspapers published a statement
from the Moscow mayor, Gavriil Popov, who described the plans
of the Communist-nationalist opposition bloc to reconvene the
USSR Congress as "another coup attempt." (Vera Tolz)

LUKYANOV PROPOSED AS USSR PRESIDENT. Some former USSR deputies
who want to hold an unofficial Congress of USSR People's Deputies
in Brest on 17 March, have proposed Anatolii Lukyanov for the
post of head of the Soviet state, Moskovskie novosti (No. 10)
reported. Lukyanov, who was chairman of the ex-USSR Supreme Soviet,
is currently in prison and under investigation for his role in
the putsch. Commenting on the emerging conservativism among the
deputies, First Deputy Chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet
Sergei Filatov told ITAR-TASS on 11 March that conservative forces
may also dominate at the forthcoming Russian Congress of People's
Deputies which will begin on 6 April. Filatov blamed the emergence
of a strong conservative reaction on the failure of democrats
to unite. (Alexander Rahr)

COUNCIL OF OPPOSITION MOVEMENTS SET UP. Leaders of 25 extreme
nationalist and Communist groups announced the creation of the
joint Council of Opposition Movements, ITAR-TASS reported on
11 March. The leaders, including member of the Russian parliament
Sergei Baburin, former member of the leadership of the Russian
Communist Party Gennadii Zyuganov and writer Aleksandr Prokhanov,
held a press conference in Moscow on 11 March at which they called
for a meeting of the USSR Congress of People's Deputies and a
mass anti-government demonstration to be held on 17 March. (Vera
Tolz)

CIS STRUCTURES START WORK. Some CIS structures seem to function
despite other disagreements among former Soviet republics. The
first meeting of the CIS Council for Railway Transportation took
place in Moscow, ITAR-TASS reported on 10 March. All CIS member
states sent their representatives to the meeting and Georgia
asked for observer status at the council. The Russian Minister
of Railway Transportation Gennadii Fadeev was elected chairman
of the Council for 1992. (Alexander Rahr)

IMF STABILIZATION PACKAGE SOON? Several reports from Washington
and Moscow suggest that a package of assistance and stabilization
measures for Russia will be completed in the next few weeks by
the International Monetary Fund. The reports differ, however,
on the dates and on whether the package will be fully funded.
The Washington Post of 11 March gives the impression that a quantification
of the aid required by Russia will be approved by the Fund's
directors on 27 April, but it is still not clear where the money
will come from. All sources quote these requirements as adding
up to about $12 billion in food donations, debt relief, and other
financing, plus $5 to $6 billion for a ruble stabilization fund.
(Keith Bush)

DETAILS OF THE STABILIZATION FUND. The Boston Globe of March
12 reckons that the assistance and stabilization package could
be approved by the IMF Executive Board on 30 March, and implies
that it will be fully funded. It cites Anders Aslund, one of
the Russian government's Western advisers, as explaining how
the figure of $5 billion was arrived at. It is calculated to
cover five weeks of imports: at present, according to Aslund,
the Russian government has only $100 million in reserves--enough
to pay for one day's imports. Aslund believes that the stabilization
fund would enable the ruble to be pegged at about 25 to $1; without
it, the ruble might stabilize at around 75 to $1. (Keith Bush)


RUBLE EXCHANGE RATE. At the currency auction in Moscow on 10
March, it took 140 rubles to buy $1, i.e., virtually unchanged
from the previous week's rate, Interfax reported on 11 March.
The lowest point for the ruble was recorded in January, when
it fell to 230 rubles to the dollar. (Keith Bush)

PRIVATIZATION OF LAND IN RUSSIA. A Russian presidential edict
"On the sale of land to citizens and legal persons in connection
with the privatization of state and municipal enterprises" has
achieved parliamentary approval under the one-week time-limit
for parliamentary rejection of these edicts. It allows non-farm
land to be bought, and not merely leased, when the state enterprise
occupying that land is privatized or when such a plant is extended.
Kommersant (March 9) describes this as a breakthrough for both
domestic and foreign business. More detailed legislation will
however be needed. The edict went to parliament on February 29,
so it came into effect on March 6. (Philip Hanson)

UKRAINE AND RUSSIA TO GUARANTEE FOREIGN DEBT. Ukraine and Russia
will collectively guarantee the former Soviet Union's foreign
debt, Radio Rossii reported on 11 March. According to the report,
Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk told visiting American senators
that such an agreement will be reached at the 20 March CIS meeting
in Kiev. Russia will assume the responsibilities of eight former
republics and Ukraine will guarantee payment for five others;
the payments will be made through a special bank that is neither
Ukrainian nor Russian. (Roman Solchanyk)

UKRAINE TAKES OVER STRATEGIC TANKERS. A regiment of IL-78 refueling
aircraft that was part of the strategic air division at Uzin,
near Kiev, has been removed from the list of CIS strategic forces
and apparently attached to the Ukrainian armed forces. Interfax
on 11 March said that this had been done through the efforts
of Ukrainian Defense Minister Konstantin Morozov and at the insistence
of the division's leaders. Part of the division had earlier declared
allegiance to Ukraine, prompting the removal of the division
commander by CIS commander in chief Marshal Evgenii Shaposhnikov.
The IL-78, nicknamed MIDAS by NATO, is the most modern tanker
in the ex-Soviet air force. Only some 12 are believed to be in
service, so this regiment might be the only one of its kind.
(Doug Clarke)

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN INVESTMENT LAW. The Ukrainian parliament unanimously
approved a foreign investment law on 11 March, Western agencies
reported. The law, which goes into effect on 12 March, allows
foreigners to buy up to 100 % of Ukrainian businesses or property.
It also guarantees the right of foreign investors to repatriate
revenues and profits. Another clause provides for compensation
in the event that property owned by foreigners is nationalized
by a future government. All current joint ventures are exempted
from taxation for five years after they start to make a profit.
New joint ventures will be exempted from taxation on their profits
for three years. (Keith Bush)

BELARUS: SITUATION BECOMING "CRITICAL." The Belarusian parliament
went into session on March 11 with a warning from Chairman Stanislau
Shushkevich that Belarus is approaching a "critical" situation,
according to BELTA-TASS. Shushkevich accused the "former nomenklatura"
of impeding changes and said that land reform is being "sabotaged."
At its current session, he continued, parliament should approve
a bill to enable democratic elections of new local governments.
Against the background of the opposition's campaign to sponsor
a referendum on new elections to the country's parliament, Shushkevich's
words clearly indicated that he is trying to shift the blame
for the country's ills to lower-level bodies. He said that although
the existing parliament has made many mistakes, it is still capable
of tackling the problems facing Belarus. (Kathy Mihalisko)

RUTSKOI ON TRANSCAUCASUS. Tactical nuclear weapons are still
located in Azerbaijan and Armenia, but possible seizure of these
weapons by terrorists is unlikely, according to Russian Vice
President Aleksandr Rutskoi. Rutskoi told Vesti on 11 March that
he favors an immediate withdrawal of troops of the Transcaucasian
military districts from the "sovereign states" of Azerbaijan,
Armenia and Georgia, arguing that these states "should sort out
things between themselves." Rutskoi also told ITAR-TASS on 12
March that Armenian and Azeri requests for Soviet military equipment
to build their own armies should be rejected. (Alexander Rahr)


AZERBAIJANI PRIME MINISTER ON NAGORNO-KARABAKH. Speaking at a
joint news conference in Baku on 11 March with British Foreign
Office minister Douglas Hogg, Azerbaijani Premier Hasan Hasanov
stated that he wanted a peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict,
but that there was a 50-50 chance of all-out war unless Armenia
immediately withdrew its "state terrorist army" from the region,
Western news agencies reported. Hogg expressed confidence that
last month's CSCE proposals could form the basis for a negotiated
settlement. Two Azerbaijani officials met in Tehran with Iranian
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati to discuss Iran's mediation
plans; IRNA announced that Azerbaijan had agreed to Iran's proposal
for an international observer force to monitor a cease-fire.
Armenian parliament chairman Babken Ararktsyan told Western journalists
that Armenia and Azerbaijan are trying to arrange direct negotiations
on Nagorno-Karabakh. (Liz Fuller)

TAJIKISTAN ADOPTS LAW ON FOREIGN INVESTMENTS. Tajikistan has
adopted a law on foreign investment, TadzhikTA-TASS reported
on 11 March, giving foreign investors the right to set up enterprises,
purchase stock, and participate in the privatization of state
enterprises. The law also establishes legal guarantees for foreign
investments. Tajikistan has lagged behind neighboring Uzbekistan
in the matter of foreign investment: Uzbekistan passed a similar
law last July. (Bess Brown)

KARIMOV TO CHINA. Uzbek President Islam Karimov begins a visit
to China on 12 March, according to Western agencies and Interfax.
He is the first Uzbek leader to visit China since Uzbekistan
gained independence last year. The object of the visit, according
to Interfax, is to discuss ways to promote bilateral cooperation
and to broaden friendly contacts. Uzbekistan and China established
diplomatic relations at the beginning of January. (Bess Brown)


RUSSIAN AUTONOMOUS FORMATIONS DISCUSS FEDERAL TREATY. A meeting
of the Association of the Autonomous Formations of Russia, which
embraces the (former) autonomous okrugs of the republic, opened
in Khanty-Mansiisk on 11 March to discuss the draft federal treaty
to be signed between Russia and its constituent territories,
the Information Program of Central Television reported. The meeting
is being attended by the chairman of the Russian parliament's
Council of Nationalities, Ramazan Abdulatipov. The Russian leadership
is hoping that the treaty can be signed in the near future. (Ann
Sheehy)

TATARSTAN REFERENDUM. There is no certainty that Tatarstan representatives
will attend the session of Russia's constitutional court on 12
March that will examine the legality of the 21 March referendum
on the status of Tatarstan, but the Tatarstan president Mintimer
Shaimiev is continuing to canvas for a "yes" vote and denying
that the referendum is on secession from Russia, "Vesti" and
Rossiyskaya gazeta reported on 11 March. Russian Vice-President
Aleksandr Rutskoi issued an appeal to his fellow countrymen on
11 March in connection with the referendum, saying that a "yes"
vote would destroy Russia, ITAR-TASS reported. Rutskoi, like
many others, understandably interprets the referendum question
as sanctioning secession. (Ann Sheehy)

LOCAL AUTHORITIES OBJECT TO RUSSIAN-CHECHEN MEETING IN SOCHI.
The head of the administration of Sochi Nikolai Karpov sent an
appeal to the leadership of the Russian parliament on 11 March
asking that the proposed talks in the city between Russian and
Chechen representatives be postponed, ITAR-TASS reported. The
talks were expected to start on 12 March. Karpov argued that
Sochi was not the best place for such talks in view of recent
claims by representatives of Georgia and the Confederation of
Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus to Russia's Black littoral and
local ethnic conflicts at the end of 1991. Karpov expressed holiday
makers were arriving in increasing numbers (Ann Sheehy)

KARELIAN PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN OBJECTS TO MISINFORMATION. The
chairman of the Karelian parliament V.N. Stepanov said on Radio
Mayak on 10 March that he regarded reports in the central press
that Karelia wants to secede from Russia as provocationary, and
that the Karelian parliament would request an investigation.
Stepanov said that at the last parliamentary session some deputies,
frustrated at the ignoring of the republic's rights, had suggested
that the question of whether or not Karelia could exist autonomously
be put on the agenda, but it had not been included. Stepanov
said Karelia was in favor of the signing of the federal treaty,
once it had been reworked to take account of the republic's suggestions.
(Ann Sheehy)

EASTERN EUROPE

BALTIC STATES



BALTIC AMBASSADORS PRESENT CREDENTIALS. On 11 March President
George Bush received the credentials of the Lithuanian and Latvian
ambassadors, Stasys Lozoraitis and Anatols Dinnbergs, an RFE/RL
correspondent in Washington reports. Bush told the ambassadors
that the US will provide more aid. Senate confirmation hearings
on the US ambassadors to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, Robert
Frasure, Ints Silins, and Darryl Johnson, are now scheduled to
take place on 12 March. (Saulius Girnius)

ESTONIA OUSTS MILITARY DEPUTIES. In a surprise move, on 11 March
the Estonian Supreme Council voted 57 to 1, with one abstention,
to expel the four representatives of the former Soviet military
serving as parliamentary deputies, BNS reports. The military
representatives were "elected" by Soviet military troops stationed
in Estonia in polling held only on military bases, separate from
regular parliamentary elections in March 1990. These four consistently
voted with the Russian-speaking, pro-Soviet Intermovement bloc
in the Supreme Council. Their continued participation in the
legislature, even after Estonia regained its independence, was
a sore point with many Estonians. (Riina Kionka)

TALLINN MAYOR GONE. In another unexpected vote, the

Estonian Supreme Council on 11 March finally accepted the resignation
of Tallinn mayor Hardo Aasmae, BNS reports. Aasmae was forced
to resign last month after losing a no-confidence vote in the
city council. The Estonian Supreme Council, however, has the
authority to override the city council, so, with Aasmae's allies
in the Supreme Council aggressively and repeatedly blocking confirmation
of his resignation, Aasmae had continued in office. (Riina Kionka)


ANOTHER PUBLIC DISCUSSION OF DRAFT CONSTITUTION? The Estonian
Supreme Council on 12 March will address the issue of whether
the completed draft constitution requires another public discussion
period before being put to a referendum, BNS reports. Earlier
this week, the chairman of the Supreme Council Foreign Affairs
Commission, Indrek Toome, proposed reopening the discussion,
citing unresolved problems in the draft. Toome's proposal has
drawn sharp criticism from supporters of the final draft, who
say the Constituent Assembly has already adequately considered
all suggestions received from organizations and individuals during
the two-month period reserved for public reaction after the draft
was published in late December. (Riina Kionka)

COMMEMORATIONS OF REESTABLISHMENT OF INDEPENDENCE. On 11 March
the second anniversary of the reestablishment of Lithuanian independence
was celebrated throughout the republic. The main ceremonies at
the Lithuanian parliament were attended by delegations from Estonia,
Germany, Latvia, and Poland as well as many ambassadors. Addresses
were made by Supreme Council chairman Vytautas Landsbergis and
Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius. About 20,000 people attended
a rally in Independence Square organized by Sajudis, prior to
which there was a parade by the Lithuanian National Defense forces.
The ceremonies were broadcast live by Radio Lithuania. (Saulius
Girnius)

RIGA-MOSCOW PLANE SERVICE RESUMES. Diena reported on 10 March
that on a trial basis Latvia has resumed a morning flight to
Moscow. All flights to parts of the former USSR had to stopped
earlier this year because Latvia was not getting the fuel that
had been promised by Russia. Recently Latvian Airlines was able
to obtain fuel but at unsubsidized, market prices. Consequently
the one-way ticket price is 925 rubles; in contrast, the return
ticket from Moscow to Riga costs only 240 rubles. (Dzintra Bungs)




CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

CZECH, SLOVAK PARLIAMENT LEADERS SUGGEST SUSPENDING TALKS. On
11 March, after more than a year of failed efforts to agree on
Czechoslovakia's future state structure, the leaders of the Czech
and the Slovak parliaments, Dagmar Buresova and Frantisek Miklosko
respectively, said further Czech-Slovak talks should be suspended
until new parliaments are elected in June. Buresova said she
believed the Slovak parliament rejection of the draft agreement
worked out at Milovy made failure inevitable. Miklosko suggested
that the Milovy agreement failed to address the Slovak desire
for more autonomy. In his view the Czech side's failure to make
new proposals after the agreement was rejected endangered the
whole federation, an RFE/RL correspondent reports. (Peter Matuska)


DEMONSTRATION FOR SLOVAKIA'S INDEPENDENCE. On 11 March about
7,000 people in Bratislava turned out for a demonstration organized
by the cultural organization Matica Slovenska, CSTK reports.
The demonstrators carried banners with slogans against the Czechoslovak
federal state and chanted calls for a free, democratic, and independent
Slovakia. An official of Matica Slovenska, Stanislav Bajanik,
said the institution is promoting unity among Slovak parliamentary
parties to achieve independence. (Peter Matuska)

DEMONSTRATION AGAINST CZECHOSLOVAK-GERMAN TREATY. On 11 March
about 6,000 people demonstrated in Prague against the Czechoslovak-German
treaty of friendship. The demonstration was organized by an alliance
of left-wing groups known as Movement 90 that object to the high
level of German capital flowing into Czechoslovakia, Western
media report. The treaty, which was signed by President Vaclav
Havel and Chancellor Helmut Kohl last month, renounced territorial
and other claims by each government against the other. The German
cabinet approved the treaty on 11 March and sent it to parliament
and the Czechoslovak parliament will consider the treaty next
month. (Peter Matuska)

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT DISCUSSES HYDROELECTRIC PROJECT. According
to an RFE/RL correspondent's report on 11 March, Hungarian Deputy
Foreign Minister Tamas Katona has warned parliament against damaging
relations with Slovakia over the controversial Gabcikovo-Nagymaros
hydroelectric dam project. Hungary has been considering canceling
the 1977 bilateral treaty and stopped practically all construction
on the project in 1989 after environmental protests. Czechoslovakia
has continued to work on the scheme and wants to finish it. Hungary
claims that the plan would cause enormous environmental damage
in Hungary by changing groundwater levels. They say the dam would
also alter the flow of the Danube causing a change in the location
of the border. Katona is concerned that a hasty, unilateral move
by Hungary could "embitter Hungarian-Slovak relations for decades."
(Judith Pataki)

BULGARIAN EX-PREMIER GROUNDED. On 11 March Andrey Lukanov, former
prime minister and prominent member of the BSP, was stopped from
leaving the country. The incident occurred in conjunction with
a declaration by Prosecutor-General Ivan Tatarchev that 47 former
top-ranking communists, whose past activities are under investigation,
may not leave the country. Lukanov's passport had been confiscated
when he returned from a visit to Moscow two days earlier but
was returned to him upon intervention of parliamentary chairman
Stefan Savov. (Kjell Engelbrekt)

BULGARIANS PLAN TO MERGE BANKS. The formation of the Bank Consolidation
Company (BCC) was announced at a news conference in Sofia on
11 March, Reuters reports. Officials said the BCC, set up as
a holding of the Bulgarian National bank and the Foreign Trade
Bank, will become the major shareholder of the numerous so-called
commercial banks. Following preliminary evaluation by financial
experts, the commercial banks will later be merged into 8-12
larger banks. According to BCC estimates, privatization of the
banking system will take about three years. (Kjell Engelbrekt)


BELGRADE STUDENT PROTESTS CONTINUE. The student-organized rally
against the socialist government that began Tuesday in Belgrade
continued on the morning of 12 March. About 300 students pressed
for the resignation of Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic and
called for new elections. Belgrade's independent radio B-92 said
the rally on Wednesday involved not only university and secondary
school students but members of the Serbian teachers association
and the Women's Movement of Yugoslavia as well. The organizations
had sent out letters to parents in protest what they called the
government's manipulation of children for political purposes.
Serbian Orthodox Bishop Atanasije Jevtic called for the creation
of "a national government of salvation, unity, and concord."
Opposition political leaders also addressed the rally. Antigovernment
demonstrations at this time last year resulted in two dead. (Milan
Andrejevich)

BOSNIAN SERBS REJECT EC PLAN. An emotion-filled session of the
Assembly of the Serbian People of Bosnia-Herzegovina, rejected
an EC plan on the future political shape of the multiethnic republic.
The action was taken after deputies had been briefed by Serb
negotiators on the progress of talks among the republic's top
Muslim, Serb, and Croat leaders. One deputy said he was rejecting
the Muslim and Croat proposal to federalize the republic, describing
it as "the birth of a Muslim bastard on the land of our grandfathers."
Radio Sarajevo carried the report on 11 March. Serbs are calling
for the "cantonization" of the republic, a confederation of units
formed along ethnic lines. Muslims and Croats In Bosnia-Herzegovina
recently voted in favor of independence, which Serbs oppose.
(Milan Andrejevich)

BOSNIANS CONTINUE TO FORM PARAMILITARY GROUPS. Radio Sarajevo
reports that Serb officials in Bosnia-Herzegovina have released
a statement claiming to have concrete evidence that 30,000 Muslims
have been organized into paramilitary units by the Muslim Party
for Democratic Action, the republic's largest party. The Serbs
claim these units--some with names like "the Handzar Division,"
"the Kemal Ataturk Division," and "the Red Fez Division"--have
received weapons through Slovenia and Croatia and are financed
by Libya and Iran. By the same token, the Serbs deny reports
that the Serbian Democratic Party has formed paramilitary units
and claim that the presence of the Muslim "Green Berets" and
the Croatian Defense Forces (HOS) in Bosnia-Herzegovina "has
been rudely passed over in silence." For some time Bosnian police
officials have said that all three ethnic groups are "armed to
the teeth" and have formed paramilitary units. (Milan Andrejevich)


CZECHOSLOVAK TROOPS TO JOIN UN FORCES. On 11 March the Czechoslovak
parliament approved the federal government's plan to send 480
soldiers and 20 cease-fire observers to join the UN peacekeeping
mission in Croatia, an RFE/RL corespondent reports. (Peter Matuska)


WOERNER AND EIDE ON NATO RELATIONSHIP WITH POLAND. On 11 March,
after talks with Foreign Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski, NATO
Secretary-General Manfred Woerner said that the alliance attaches
"special importance" to Poland due to Warsaw's "good relations"
with its neighbors, notably those to the East. He reiterated
that the Alliance is striving for a "three-pillar" security arrangement
in Europe among NATO, the EC, and the CSCE. Skubiszewski said
it was impossible for the moment to set a timetable for Polish
entry into NATO but progress would ensue "step by step." In another
development, the NATO Military Committee Chairman, Norwegian
Gen. Vigleik Eide, said this is not the right time for Poland
formally to join the alliance. After meeting Defense Minister
Jan Parys on 11 March, he told newsmen in Warsaw that when NATO
talks about military cooperation with members of the former Warsaw
Pact, "it is aimed at all our former adversaries, none excluded."
Earlier, Eide expressed support for a widening of cooperation
between NATO and Poland. Western and Polish media carried the
story. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)

POLISH PRIME MINISTER TO VISIT FRANCE. Poland's Premier Jan Olszewski
will make an official two-day visit to France on 18 March, Western
and Polish media report. He is expected to meet with Prime Minister
Edith Cresson, President Francois Mitterrand, and Foreign Minister
Roland Dumas as well as with French industrialists. (Wladyslaw
Minkiewicz)


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

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