The only thing one knows about human nature is that it changes. - Oscar Wilde
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 52, 16 March 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

CIS AGREEMENT ON DEBT REPAYMENT. At their meeting in Moscow on
13 March, the heads of governments of the Commonwealth of Independent
States reached agreement on a number of economic accords, CIS
and Western agencies reported. Eight members agreed to take joint
responsibility on repaying the convertible currency debt of the
former USSR. Russia will repay about 61%, Ukraine about 16%,
and the remainder will apparently be divided among the rest of
the CIS members. Sixteen agreements were reportedly signed, including
those on coordinating tax policies, pensions, and prices, plus
a tentative accord on forming a banking union. An agreement on
interstate economic ties was deferred. (Keith Bush)

MORE ON MEETING OF CIS HEADS OF GOVERNMENT. The 13 March meeting
of CIS heads of government was attended by representatives of
all eleven member states plus an observer from Georgia. The Azerbaijani
representative was not empowered, however, to sign any documents.
An examination of the 16 documents signed shows that not all
the republics signed every document, and also that Georgia, though
not a member of CIS, signed several. Georgia signed the agreements
on the external debt, internal debt, and food imports, while
Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan did not sign the agreements on the
external debt. Ukraine did not sign the agreements on the principles
of customs policy, the commission for food imports, taxation
policy, scientific matters, or standardization. Turkmenistan
also declined to sign several documents. (Ann Sheehy)

18 REPUBLICS OF RUSSIAN FEDERATION INITIAL FEDERAL TREATY. On
13 March authorized representatives of Russia and 18 of its 20
constituent republics initialled the federal treaty delimiting
powers between the Federation and the republics, Radio Mayak
and ITAR-TASS reported. A representative of Tatarstan attended
but did not initial the treaty. Checheno-Ingushetia was not represented
at the gathering. The text of the treaty was issued by ITAR-TASS
on 14 March. The treaty, which has been through numerous drafts,
is regarded as essential to preserve the integrity of the Russian
Federation, and the Russian leadership wants it signed as soon
as possible so that it does not share the fate of the Union treaty.
(Ann Sheehy)

IN CHECHNYA. The Chechen parliament adopted a constitution on
12 March which declares Chechnya an independent secular state,
Central TV reported. A working meeting between experts of the
parliaments of Chechnya and Russia in Dagomys near Sochi ended
on 14 March, ITAR-TASS reported. Both sides expressed satisfaction
with the results. An agenda for official talks between Russia
and Chechnya was drawn up which will be submitted to the two
parliaments. At the same time Chechen spokesmen criticized the
federal treaty and reiterated that Chechnya is an independent
state. Russian TV, citing RIA, reported on 14 March that Chechnya
had agreed not to shut off its oil pipelines to Russia before
17 March. The Presidium of the Russian parliament is expected
to examine Chechnya's threat to cut off oil supplies if Russia
does not immediately give Chechnya the rubles it is owed. (Ann
Sheehy)

TATARSTAN TO ALTER REFERENDUM QUESTION? The Tatarstan Supreme
Soviet is expected to meet in extraordinary session on 16 March
to amend the referendum question on the status of Tatarstan scheduled
for 21 March, the Russian media reported on 14-15 March. The
decision follows the ruling of the Russian Constitutional Court
on 13 March that the referendum was unconstitutional insofar
as the original formulation of the question means that Tatarstan
is not part of the Russian Federation. According to Russian TV
on 14 March, the Presidium of the Tatarstan Supreme Soviet will
propose that the question now read simply: Do you agree that
Tatarstan is a sovereign state? (Ann Sheehy)

ORGANIZERS OF MARCH 17 CONGRESS VOW TO PRESS ON. The chairwoman
of the organizing committee of the USSR Congress of People's
Deputies, Sazhi Umalatova, said the meeting will go ahead on
17 March despite a ban by Russia's parliament, ITAR-TASS reported
on 14 March. Umalatova told Sovetskaya Rossiya that 1,400 former
USSR people's deputies had agreed to attend. Meanwhile, on 15
March, mass demonstrations were held in Moscow, St. Petersburg
and several other Russian cities to demand the resurrection of
the old Soviet Union, ITAR-TASS reported. (Vera Tolz)

INTERREGIONAL DEPUTIES' GROUP CONDEMN USSR CONGRESS. The Interregional
Deputies' Group (IDG), formed by liberal parliamentarians in
1989, held a press conference at which it denounced conservative
plans to conduct a USSR Congress of People's Deputies, Central
TV reported on 14 March. The IDG was represented at the press
conference by St. Petersburg Mayor Anatolii Sobchak and Russian
Deputy Premier Mikhail Poltoranin. Sobchak suggested the creation
of a new political organization based on the IDG for support
of Russian reform. Poltoranin said that reactionary forces in
Russia are receiving instructions from ex-Soviet parliamentary
leader Anatolii Lukyanov who is still in prison. (Alexander Rahr)


RUTSKOI, TRAVKIN, GAIDAR JOIN FORCES. The Democratic Party of
Russia and the People's Party of Free Russia have held a joint
"Conference of Social Forces" in Moscow at which they agreed
to join forces in halting the process of fragmentation in Russia,
ITAR-TASS reported on 15 March. The leaders of the two parties,
Nikolai Travkin and Aleksandr Rutskoi signed an agreement on
close cooperation. Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar
and former Politburo member Aleksandr Yakovlev--who participated
at the conference--hailed the agreement. Travkin and Rutskoi
assured Gaidar that from now on they will fully support the Russian
government's radical reform program. (Alexander Rahr)

BUDGET DEFICIT TARGET. In a draft budget for 1992, circulated
in the Russian parliament, First Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar
states his government's intention of lowering this year's budget
deficit to 1.5% of the GNP, Reuters reported 12 March. This laudable
aim will be difficult to attain. On the revenue side, some VAT
rates have been cut, tax-generating sources like the retail trade
turnover are well below last year's level and below projections,
and tax collection remains defective. As for planned expenditure,
the coal miners have already "driven a coach and horse through
the wage restraint policy" and other groups are expected to follow
suit, social payments are rocketing, and the subsidy bill remains
high. (Keith Bush)

BUDGET DEFICIT OUTTURN. In a study for the Russian government,
an unidentified group of experts calls the budget deficit the
"principal problem for the future of the Russian government."
Some of their findings appeared in Izvestiya of 12 March, according
to ITAR-TASS. They estimate that the Russian budget deficit will
amount to 8% of the GNP during the first quarter of 1992. They
anticipate drops of 14% in oil output, 18% in food output, and
steep declines in other indicators. An "extremely unpleasant"
finding is that the fall in production has not led to a restructuring
of the economy. (Keith Bush)

UNION OF OFFICERS SEES US/NATO THREAT. Stanislav Serekhov, the
chairman of the Union of Officers, was quoted by "Vesti" on 14
March as saying that the United States and NATO remained potential
military adversaries. The Union met in Moscow that day and agreed
on a model for the future CIS joint armed forces which it intends
to submit to the CIS heads of state during their 20 March meeting
in Kiev. Serekhov said that a future military threat from the
Asia-Pacific region, centered on Japan, could not be excluded.
(Doug Clarke)

NO NUKES IN THE TRANSCAUCASUS. Two high-ranking CIS military
officers have reiterated that there are no nuclear weapons remaining
in the Transcaucasus. General Boris Pyankov, the deputy commander
in chief of the CIS Armed Forces, said in an interview broadcast
on 14 March on Russian TV that while Azerbaijani forces had recently
seized an ammunition depot in Agdam, there were no nuclear weapons
stored there or anywhere else in the region. AFP on 14 March
carried an announcement from Tbilisi by General Sufian Bepayev,
the deputy commander of the CIS forces there, that all nuclear
weapons had been withdrawn from Georgia. He said that the launchers
for these weapons would be withdrawn by 1 April. (Doug Clarke)


SAFETY OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS QUESTIONED. The head of a special security
laboratory in the "atomic city" of Chelyabinsk-70 claims that
the safety of nuclear weapons located in the former Soviet Union
has "sharply deteriorated" in the past year. In an interview
published by Komsomolskaya Pravda on 12 March, Gennadii Novikov
said that there never has been nor is there now adequate state
control over nuclear weapons. He blamed the separation of responsibilities
among various departments and their penchant for secrecy. "We
conceal information from one another, including information affecting
security," he was quoted as saying. With the collapse of "discipline
and order" he worried about the "purposeful seizure of nuclear
ammunition." (Doug Clarke)

BELARUS ALSO WORRIED ABOUT TRANSFERRED NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Ukraine
is not alone in being concerned about the fate of tactical nuclear
weapons being transferred to Russia for their destruction. On
15 March, ITAR-TASS quoted Belarusian Defense Minister Petr Chaus
as saying that the Belarusian leadership is worried about the
"totally insufficient lack of information, about the place and
method of destruction" of nuclear arms transferred from Belarus
to Russia. (Bohdan Nahaylo)

DEFENSE OFFICIALS TAKEN HOSTAGE IN ZUGDIDI. Troops loyal to ousted
Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia took two senior Georgian
defense officials and a group of National Guardsmen hostage in
the west Georgian town of Zugdidi on 13 March, Western media
reported. The Georgian State Council decided on 15 March to send
300 elite troops to Zugdidi should the rebels fail to comply
with a 48-hour ultimatum to surrender, Interfax reported. (Liz
Fuller)

ONE KARABAKH CEASE-FIRE COLLAPSES . . . Azerbaijani deputy interior
minister Natik Talybov travelled to Nagorno-Karabakh on 13 March
for peace talks with Armenian officials, Baku radio reported.
A cease-fire agreed to during a telephone conversation on 13
March between acting Azerbaijani President Yakub Mamedov and
Nagorno-Karabakh parliament Chairman Artur Mkrtchyan collapsed
the following day, Western agencies reported, but according to
RIA a planned exchange of hostages and prisoners went ahead as
planned. More deaths were reported on 15 March in renewed Armenian
and Azerbaijani artillery and rocket attacks on the towns of
Shusha and Stepanakert. (Liz Fuller)

BUT IRANIAN MEDIATION SUCCESSFUL. On 15 March the Russian Ambassador
to Tehran, Vladimir Gurov, joined talks between Armenian and
Azerbaijani representatives chaired by Iranian Foreign Minister
Ali Akbar Velayati that had begun the previous day. Armenian
and Azerbaijani deputy foreign ministers subsequently approved
a draft agreement on a cease-fire to go into effect within one
week, the exchange of prisoners and the bodies of those killed,
and the lifting of economic sanctions, IRNA reported. (Liz Fuller)


UN, CSCE MISSIONS TO NAGORNO-KARABAKH. UN special envoy Cyrus
Vance departs 16 March on a fact-finding mission to Armenia,
Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh at the behest of UN Secretary-General
Boutros Ghali, Western agencies reported on 13 March. CSCE officials
announced in Helsinki on 14 March that the CSCE will also send
a mission to Nagorno-Karabakh this week to explore the possibilities
for arranging an immediate cease-fire and sending observers to
monitor it. The CSCE will also convene an international conference
on Nagorno-Karabakh; the venue will be decided on 24 March at
a meeting of CSCE foreign ministers. (Liz Fuller)

KARIMOV IN CHINA. Uzbek President Islam Karimov ended a two-day
visit to China on 14 March, during which he met with government
head Li Pen and signed fourteen documents, ITAR-TASS reported.
The documents included agreements on cooperation in culture,
education, health, tourism and sport, science and transport,
and also an agreement on consultations between the two countries
at the foreign ministry level. ITAR-TASS reported on 13 March
that Karimov told his Chinese hosts that Uzbekistan wanted to
establish ties with China as an equal, and would study the Chinese
experience in modernization. (Bess Brown)

LEFT-BANK RUSSIANS IN MOLDOVA RAIDING RIGHT BANK. Between 9 and
13 March, "Dniester republic" guardsmen and Don Cossacks crossed
over repeatedly from the left onto the right bank of the Dniester,
shooting up or disarming several Moldovan police posts and patrols
in Moldovan villages around the major right-bank city of Bendery
which the "Dniester guard" largely controls. The Moldovan media
reported that the police suffered several killed and wounded,
but the casualty figures are not firm. Krasnaya zvezda of 6 March
quoted a member of Bendery's Joint Council of Work Collectives,
the dominant political force in the "Dniester republic," as saying
that they will never renounce "this last patch of Soviet power"
on the right bank. (Vladimir Socor)

EASTERN EUROPE

BALTIC STATES



WOERNER IN THE BALTIC. Visiting Latvia on 13 and 14 March, NATO
Secretary-General Manfred Woerner discussed with Latvian leaders
European security and the pullout of troops of the former Soviet
Union from the Baltic States. Woerner said it is in NATO's interest
that the Baltic States maintain their independence and expressed
the hope that the troop withdrawal can be accomplished peacefully,
especially since all the parties involved are now members of
the North Atlantic Cooperation Council. On 14 March Woerner flew
to Tallinn for talks with Estonian Supreme Council Chairman Arnold
Ruutel on the troop withdrawal question. He continued on to Vilnius,
where he met with Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas
Landsbergis on 15 March. On 16 March he will meet Prime Minister
Gediminas Vagnorius, Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas, and
National Defense Minister Audrius Butkevicius before holding
a press conference. In addition to the troop withdrawal question,
the discussions will touch upon Lithuania's integration into
the European Security system and subsequently into its defense
system. Local and Western media covered the story. (Dzintra Bungs
& Saulius Girnius)

BALTS PROTEST MANEUVERS. Baltic and Western media report that
exercises of the former USSR air force have been planned over
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on 17 March. The exercises were
announced by Lt. Gen. A. Ivanov, commander of a division stationed
in St. Petersburg. The plans were not coordinated with the Baltic
governments. Military exercises have also been scheduled on Estonian
and Lithuanian territory for 13-19 March. These activities are
being protested by the Baltic governments. On 16 March Estonian,
Latvian, and Lithuanian leaders are to meet in Jurmala to discuss
ways to speed up the withdrawal of ex-Soviet troops from their
countries. (Dzintra Bungs)

ICELAND: BALTIC COUNCIL PART OF GERMAN SPHERE OF INFLUENCE. Iceland's
Foreign Minister Jon Baldvin Hannibalsson told a conference in
Reykjavik that the newly formed Council of the Baltic Sea States
should be considered part of "a German sphere of influence,"
Reuters reported on 13 March. He felt that the ten-nation Baltic
council would also mean the end of the Nordic Council comprising
Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. (Dzintra Bungs)


SAJUDIS PARLIAMENT SESSION. On 14 March the Sajudis parliament
held a session that reelected Juozas Tumelis as its chairman,
the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service reports. Honorary Sajudis Chairman
Landsbergis deplored the efforts of some previous Sajudis council
members to condemn the resolutions of the Third Sajudis Congress.
Five people that he recommended for inclusion in the Sajudis
Council were elected as were parliament deputies Zita Slicyte
and Algirdas Patackas. Some notable members who had withdrawn
from the Sajudis leadership have thus returned to active participation.
The session also approved a resolution calling on the leaders
of Lithuanian Radio and TV to resign. (Saulius Girnius)

LITHUANIA PLANS TO REFINE WESTERN CRUDE FOR HARD CURRENCY. On
13 March Deputy Energy Minister Robertas Tamosiunas said that
Lithuania is building an oil import terminal at Klaipeda and
a 125-km pipeline to the Mazeikiai oil refinery, Reuters reports.
The refinery, capable of refining 12-13 million tons of crude
oil per year, is now operating at only 40% capacity due to the
cut in oil supplies from the CIS. Foreign oil companies have
expressed interest in refining crude oil at Mazeikiai and selling
the product for hard currency. Tamosiunas also noted that the
CIS has agreed to pay Lithuania $9 per ton for oil exports through
Klaipeda, which has a capacity of about 15 million tons per year.
(Saulius Girnius)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

DUBCEK TO LEAD SLOVAK SOCIAL DEMOCRATS IN ELECTIONS. Alexander
Dubcek, engineer of the 1968 "Prague Spring" of communist reform,
joined the Social Democratic Party in Slovakia (SDSS) on 15 March,
Western media report. The announcement was coupled with the SDSS
Council's decision that Dubcek will head the party's list in
the 5-6 June parliamentary elections. Dubcek's move is calculated
to boost SDSS chances in the elections. The party will not run
in coalition with the Party of the Democratic Left, the former
communists. Like President Vaclav Havel, Dubcek supports the
idea of federal Czechoslovakia, but he is likely to call for
more economic and political autonomy for Slovakia in line with
the nationalist mood prevalent in the republic. (Peter Matuska)


SLOVAK ANNIVERSARY MARKED. On 14 March a few thousand people
demanded independence for Slovakia at a demonstration marking
the 53rd anniversary of the Slovak state founded on the eve of
World War II. The demonstrators criticized Slovak Premier Jan
Carnogursky and federal parliamentary leader Alexander Dubcek
as having sold out Slovakia, Reuters report. The people were
urged to vote in June elections for parties which promise an
independent Slovakia "at any price." Slovakia's main political
parties distanced themselves from the demonstration, which was
organized by the extreme nationalist extra-parliamentary Party
of Slovak Unity. (Peter Matuska)

DIENSTBIER ON FEDERATION. On 14 March at a congress of the Czech
Civic Movement (OH) in Prague, Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier
said only a referendum can decide on a possible split of Czechoslovakia's
federation into two separate states, Western agencies report.
He said a common Czechoslovak state can only exist as an expression
of the will of the citizens of both Czech and Slovak republics.
The Civic Movement named President Vaclav Havel as its candidate
for president when parliament chooses a new leader after the
June elections. Dienstbier won reelection as chairman of the
party. (Peter Matuska)

WARSAW ANNOUNCES FUEL PRICE RISE. In an unexpected move, the
Polish government announced on 14 March that the price of gasoline
and other fuels will go up by between 20 and 31.5%. According
to Western and Polish media, CPN, the state fuel distributor,
will increase the price of 94-octane gasoline by 27.5% to 6,500
zloty a liter. Unleaded gasoline will rise by 20% and diesel
fuel by 31.5%. The increases are the result of the growing cost
of imported fuel caused by the falling value of the zloty and
a rise in the tax on imported and domestic fuels. (Wladyslaw
Minkiewicz)

OLECHOWSKI SEEKS IMF AND WORLD BANK SUPPORT. Finance Minister
Andrzej Olechowski left Warsaw on 15 March for talks with IMF
and World Bank officials in Washington. He said he expects to
reach an agreement with the IMF about the Polish government's
economic program and wants to "reassure them that what we are
planning is prudent." He also plans to urge the World Bank to
raise new financing to further reform the economy and to ask
US Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady for technical assistance
for Poland. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)

DUBYNIN: USSR WAS READY TO INVADE POLAND IN 1981. Russian general
Viktor Dubynin said that in 1981 Moscow was ready to send the
Soviet Army into Poland to crash the Solidarity movement if martial
law had not been declared. "If General Jaruzelski had not acted,
our divisions would have entered Polish territory on 14 December.
Everything was ready," he told Gazeta wyborcza on 14 March. "The
Polish Army would have been neutralized. It would have had no
chance to resist. Soviet troops would have been in every town
in no more than two days." Dubynin commands the former Soviet
Army's Northern Group of Forces stationed in Poland and is in
charge of its withdrawal. In 1981 he was a division commander
in neighboring Belarus. Commenting on the interview, Gen. Wojciech
Jaruzelski said he was not surprised by Dubynin's statement but
did find it strange that for over ten years many people did not
recognize the truth. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)

HUNGARY GETS NAMES OF WAR PRISONERS. On 13 March Radio Budapest
quoted Gusztav Menczer, director of the social department of
the Compensation Office, that Hungary will receive from archives
in Russia a list of at least 35,000 war prisoners whose names
had been verified already. The total number might reach 60,000,
although many names will remain unknown. The archives were opened
following the signing of the Hungarian-Russian Treaty last December.
The daily Uj Magyarorszag plans to print the names at regular
intervals. The survivors will receive compensation in form of
higher pensions. (Judith Pataki)

VERBAL CLASHES AT HUNGARIAN HOLIDAY CELEBRATION. According to
Radio Budapest on 14 March, the Hungarian Socialist Workers'
Party (Communist) held its celebration of Hungary's national
holiday in Debrecen a day early and under police protection in
order to protect it from the crowd gathered to protest their
presence. The counterdemonstration against the communists was
called by the Association of Political Prisoners and the Association
of Historical Justice. Only verbal clashes were reported. (Judith
Pataki)

NASTASE IN MOSCOW. Romanian Foreign Minister Adrian Nastase said
on 14 March in Moscow that Romanian-Russian relations do not
face great difficulties. The agenda of his visit included completing
a draft bilateral treaty and discussing possible dates for a
visit by President Boris Yeltsin to Romania. Russian Foreign
Minister Andrei Kozyrev, Nastase said, appreciates Romania's
position on the need of a peaceful solution of the ongoing fighting
in Moldova. He denied Romania's military involvement in the fighting
and deplored the intervention of "Cossack units" and other foreign
elements. (Mihai Sturdza)

1991 POLLUTION LEVELS IN ROMANIA. A representative of the Ministry
for Economy and Industry said on 13 March that in 1991 128 million
tons of toxic waste were released in the atmosphere. Chemical
and industrial plants were primarily responsible for the 5 million
tons of liquid waste poured into the country's rivers, while
chemical and oil refining industries discharged 260 million tons
of toxic waste into the soil. A seminar organized by the Ministry
of Environment opened in Bucharest on 13 March. (Mihai Sturdza)


BULGARIAN PRIME MINISTER'S US VISIT ASSESSED. Both during Filip
Dimitrov's 11-day business visit in the US and after his return
on 12 March, Bulgarian media have been extensively reporting
and commenting on its results. The unusually positive comments
by Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger and by US media
were noted as a definite plus for Bulgaria's image. On 14 March
on Bulgarian TV Dimitrov reviewed his visit, emphasizing its
political aspects, in particular the American appreciation of
the stability in Bulgaria's democratization process and its coping
with ethnic tension. He also expressed satisfaction with his
numerous business meetings and the prospects for economic cooperation
they generated. (Rada Nikolaev)

BULGARIA'S FOREIGN DEBT. Coinciding with part of Dimitrov's visit,
Minister of Finance Ivan Kostov also visited the US, returning
on 14 March. In interviews on Bulgarian Radio and TV he said
he had obtained the support of the World Bank and IMF in the
forthcoming negotiations on Bulgaria's foreign debt. A reduction
of the debt with the London Club of commercial banks and a deferment
of the part owed to the Paris Club of official creditors will
be sought. Kostov acknowledged that the IMF and the World Bank
have expressed some dissatisfaction with the delay of Bulgaria's
law on privatization. (Rada Nikolaev)

BULGARIAN-TURKISH RELATIONS. The official visit of Minister of
Defense Dimitar Ludzhev to Turkey ended on 13 March. Throughout,
the visit was assessed as essentially political in nature with
an emphasis on increasing mutual confidence. Bulgarian media
report that the two countries agreed to abolish visa requirements
and President Turgut Oezal was invited to visit Bulgaria in May.
On the military side, both countries will pull their troops back
from the border. An agreement on military cooperation is ready
to be signed in Sofia by a Turkish delegation, part of which
has already arrived. (Rada Nikolaev)


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

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