Increase The Peace. - John Singleton
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 54, 18 March 1992



SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

"USSR CONGRESS OF PEOPLE'S DEPUTIES" MEETS. The "Sixth USSR Congress
of People's Deputies," convened with the express purpose of challenging
the establishment of the CIS and proving that the USSR remains
a viable entity, turned out to be a farce. Russian television
newscasts of 17March reported that the only meeting place the
organizers could find, after hours of search, was a sovkhoz club
70 kilometers away from Moscow; only a few hundred of the Congress's
original 2,250members turned up; the meeting had to be held in
candlelight since the authorities cut off power supplies; and
the police evicted the partici-pants after only an hour and a
half. (Julia Wishnevsky)

"CONGRESS" DECISIONS. Estimates of the numbers attending the
"Sixth USSR Congress of People's Deputies" vary between 150 and
400, according to various eyewitness accounts, but the number
fell well short of the quorum of 1,700 necessary for the decisions
of the "Congress" to have had legal force. The gathering elected
a "Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet" with Chechen communist
Sazhi Umalatova in the chair. This body includes Roy Medvedev,
Leonid Sukhov, Viktor Alksnis, Anatolii Denisov, and the radical
deputy Aleksandr Obolensky. Among other reso-lutions, the "Congress"
declared the USSR still to be in existence within its 1977 borders.
Another resolu-tion rejected the resignation of President Gorbachev,
identified him as the person chiefly to blame for present developments
in the former USSR, and call-ed on him to deliver a report on
his activities as USSR President at the next Congress. (Julia
Wishnevsky)

ANTI-GOVERNMENT RALLY. The Congress was followed, in the evening
of 17 March, by an anti-government rally in downtown Moscow.
Reportedly, it drew nothing like the turnout organizers said
they had expected. Estimates varied, but Western reports agreed
that 10,000 were present (Reuters, 17 March). A scuffle broke
out when a small pro-Yeltsin group paraded through the rally
bearing a Soviet flag defaced by a swastika, but no injuries
or arrests were reported, Interfax said. Speakers at the rally
urged people to resist the government's economic reforms and
called for the return to com-munism and restoration of the USSR.
(Vera Tolz)

DEMOCRATS' INTOLERANCE. The "Sixth USSR Congress of People's
Deputies" revealed as much about the lack of tolerance of the
Russian democrats now in power as it did about the weakness of
the conservative opposition. Opponents of the USSR President--both
left and right--had far fewer difficulties finding a place for
their political meetings in the Gorbachev era. (Julia Wishnevsky)


GEORGIAN STATE COUNCIL REACHES TRUCE AGREEMENT WITH GAMSAKHURDIA
SUPOR-TERS. On 17 March representatives of the Georgian State
Council and supporters of ousted Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia
drew up an agreement on the cessation of military activities
in Western Georgia, ITAR-TASS reported. Forty-eight hos-tages
held by Gamsakhurdia supporters will be released on condition
the State Council withdraws its troops from the town of Zugdidi
and turns overcontrol of the area to the police. The pro-Gamsakhurdia
forces will form a separate battalion that will become part of
the republic's armed forces. (Liz Fuller)

VANCE, TER-PETROSSYAN ON NAGORNO-KARABAKH. UN special envoy Cyrus
Vance met with acting Azerbaijani president Yakub Mamedov and
Premier Hasan Hasanov in Baku on 17 March on the first leg of
his fact-finding trip. Vance characterized the talks as "good"
and promised to do his best to bring about a peaceful solution
to the Karabakh conflict, Western media reported. Iranian deputy
foreign minister Mahmoud Vaezi traveled to Baku on the third
stage of a separate mediation effort. Speaking at a news conference
in Erevan, Armenian President Ter-Petrossyan argued that Azerbaijan
should hold talks with Karabakh representatives since Karabakh
is "a separate political entity," ITAR-TASS reported on 17 March.
He said Armenia would recognize Karabakh's independence only
if another country did so first. (Liz Fuller)

UZBEKISTAN BACKS AWAY FROM COMMONWEALTH. Two Central TV news
reports of 17 and 18 March suggest that Uzbekistan may be distancing
itself from the CIS. According to the first report, government
and opposition leaders have been meeting with economists to discuss
the possibility of Uzbekistan's introducing its own currency.
A later report said that Uzbeks serving in the military who are
stationed in countries that are not part of the Commonwealth,
in the Transcaucasian Military District and in the Caspian Sea
flotilla will be summoned home in the course of the next month.
(Bess Brown)

BELARUS LEADERS ON TRANSFER OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS. The chairman
of the Belarusian par-liament, Stanislav Shuskevich, has reaffirmed
that Belarus will continue to transfer tactical nuclear weapons
from its territory to Russia for their destruc-tion, BELTA-TASS
reported on 17 March. He de-scribed Ukraine's decision to suspend
similar trans-fers as "exclusively the business of that state."
The same day, however, INTERFAX reported that Bela-rusian defense
minister Petr Chaus had expressed understanding for Ukraine's
action. The destruction of the weapons being transferred to Russia
must be assured and "supervised," Chaus said; he added that Belarus
too was reviewing the problem of shipping nuclear arms to Russia.
(Bohdan Nahaylo)

RUBLE EXCHANGE RATE FALLS. At the weekly trading session of the
Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange on 17 March, the rate for
the ruble fell to 160.5 to the dollar, against 140 rubles in
the previous week, Reuter reported. An official of the exchange
was quoted as attributing the fall to the anticipated freeing
of fuel prices, which is expected to lead to sharp and widespread
increases in prices throughout the economies of the CIS. (Keith
Bush)

KOMI OIL WORKERS RESUME STRIKE. Oilworkers in the Komi Republic
have resumed a strike over pay and other demands, halting work
at 42 oil wells, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 March. The oilmen had
stopped work in February for several days demanding higher bonuses,
better supplies of consumer goods, and the freeing of prices
for oil and gas. They complained that the authorities had failed
to meet a 15 March deadline to respond to their demands. (Keith
Bush)

LIBERAL MEDIA TURN ON YELTSIN. A long article criticizing President
Boris Yeltsin appears in Moscow News (no. 11, 1992), a newspaper
that was among the first to engineer Yeltsin's rehabilitation
in the late 1980s. The critique is penned by Lyudmila Pertsevaya,
a journalist who knew Yeltsin when he was first secretary of
the Sverdlovsk Oblast' Party organization. Perstevaya portrays
Yeltsin as the very model of a traditional obkom secretary who
persecuted journalists and other intellectuals but who managed
to win the hearts of simple folk with his populist approach.
(Julia Wishnevsky)

YELTSIN/LIGACHEV RIVALRY RECALLED. According to Pertsevaya, the
main reason Yeltsin was sacked from the Politburo in 1987 was
his desire to replace Egor Ligachev, then the second most powerful
man in the Soviet hierarchy. However, Pertsevaya acknowledges
that at a certain stage Yeltsin became a genuine democrat, thanks
to the influence of Moscow intellectuals. These same intellectuals,
she claims, are today deserting Yeltsin because he is showing
signs of returning to his old authoritarian ways. (Julia Wishnevsky)


BURBULIS RULES OUT NEW COUP. Interviewed on 16 March on Russian
TV's Moment istiny program, First Deputy Prime Minister Gennadii
Burbulis ruled out the possibility of a fresh coup in Russia
on the grounds that the majority of Russians trust Boris Yeltsin
and his team. Burbulis predicted that economic stabilization
will be achieved in six months and that from then on those who
today reject reform will support it. Meanwhile, the speaker of
the Russian parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, has accused Burbulis
of lobbying for the dissolution of the parliament and hinted,
according to Kommersant of 9-16 March, that Burbulis should be
imprisoned together with the putschists. (Alexander Rahr)

CATHOLIC-ORTHODOX RIFT WIDENS. Meetingin Istanbul on 13-15 March,
Orthodox Church leaders issued a joint declaration accusing the
Roman Catholic Church of trying to expand into the spiritual
vacuum created by the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe
and the former Soviet Union, Western agencies reported on 15-16March.
Twelve patriarchs and archbishops representing 14 autonomous
Orthodox Churches decided to suspend dialogue aimed at overcoming
their spiritual differences with the Catholic Church until the
problem is resolved. (Oxana Antic)

CIS SHIPS BLOCKED AT SUEZ CANAL. Seventeen merchant ships of
the Commonwealth of Independent States--mostly Ukrainian--remain
blocked at the entrances to the Suez Canal, Western agencies
reported on 17 March. It is expected that they will be granted
passage during the next few days after transit fees totalling
nearly $1 million have been paid. (Keith Bush)

HELP FOR MILITARY IN KAZAKHSTAN. Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbaev
has issued a decree promising regular food and consumer goods
supplies to military units stationed in Kazakhstan. The decree
also provides for military personnel who have served twenty years
to buy their homes for 50% of their value; those without housing
will receive a financial compensation. Earlier in the year Nazarbaev
had promised to take measures to improve living conditions for
military personnel serving in Kazakhstan. Riots over living conditions
at Baikonur in February provided an additional incentive for
the decree. (Bess Brown)

RUSSIANS CONTINUE OFFENSIVE IN EASTERN MOLDOVA. In the pre-dawn
hours of 17 March, the "Dniester" Russian forces and Don Cossacks
resumed the offensive on the remaining Moldovan police posts
in Dubasari raion, using armored vehicles and rockets. Moscow
and Moldovan media spoke of substantial casualties but no count
is available as yet. The Moldovan media said Moldovan peasants
on the left bank of the Dniester were aiding the police, building
anti-tank trenches and other obstacles to stop raids by "Dniester"
forces, and staging demonstrations to express loyalty to Chisinau.
In Chisinau and other localities, Moldovans rallied to demand
arms and to criticize President Mircea Snegur and the government
for not calling a general mobilization. The commander of Moldovan
police in the Dniester area, Colonel Vladimir Roskov (apparently
an ethnic Russian), was quoted by Moldovapres as saying the police
were no match for the firepower, logistics, and military professionalism
of the attackers. (VladimirSocor)

ANOTHER CEASE-FIRE AGREED. At 11:00 a.m. on 17 March, Moldovan
Prime Minister Valeriu Muravschi made a televised speech in Russian
announcing a unilateral cease fire by the Moldovan police and
calling on the "Dniester" forces to follow suit. A formal cease
fire went into effect at 7:00 p.m. (Vladimir Socor)

UKRAINE MOVES TO PROTECT BORDER WITH MOLDOVA. Reflecting mounting
Ukrainian concern about the armed conflict around the "Dniester
Republic," Ukraine's president Leonid Kravchuk issued a decree
on 17 March ordering the protection of the state's border with
Moldova. According to Radio Ukraine, the decree imposes a special
regime on a 50-kilometer deep zone along the border and bans
the transit through Ukrainian territory of armed groups and "violators"
of Ukraine's border-crossing and customs regulations. Trips by
tourist groups from Ukraine and other states through Ukrainian
territory into Moldova have also been temporarily halted. (Bohdan
Nahaylo)

KOZYREV IN CHINA. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said
following talks on 17 March in Beijing with Chinese State Council
Premier Li Peng and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen that relations
with China are gaining priority in Russian foreign policy. Kozyrev
confirmed that Yeltsin had accepted an invitation to visit China
(at an unspecified date) and that a comprehensive bilateral treaty
is being prepared. Instruments of ratification for the recently-concluded
border treaty between Russia and China were exchanged. Kozyrev
stressed that a significant part of the planned troop reductions
will take place in regions of Russia close to China and that
the an-nounced retargeting of nuclear weapons away from the USA
will not lead to an increase in military threat to the east,
ITAR-TASS reported. (Suzanne Crow)

KOZYREV IN ROK. From China, Kozyrev traveled to Seoul for talks
with Foreign Minister Yi Sang-ok. The two ministers discussed
ways to discourage the development of nuclear weapons in North
Korea. Kozyrev said Russia had already stopped supplying technology
related to the construction of nuclear power plants and nuclear
fuels to the DPRK. He also stressed that it was Russia's intention
to prevent the migration of Russian nuclear scientists to North
Korea, Yonhap reported on 18 March. (Suzanne Crow)

PRIMAKOV CALLS ON STUDENTS TO JOIN INTELLIGENCE. The Director
of Russian Foreign Intelligence, Evgenii Primakov, has appealed
to the students of the Moscow Institute of Foreign Relations
to join his service, ITAR-TASS and Vesti reported on 17 March.
Introducing a course of lectures on modern intelligence, Primakov
said what his agency needs most is economists, physicists and
chemists. Primakov said his service has no information either
of any leak of nuclear technology from the CIS countries or of
cases of emigration of experts involved in the development of
nuclear weapons. He accused the mass media of conducting a disinformation
campaign in order to put the Soviet nuclear arsenal under international
control. (Victor Yasmann)

EASTERN EUROPE

BALTIC STATES



UNEXPECTED QUIET IN LATVIA. Radio Riga reported on 17 March that
the situation in Latvia was calm that day. The planned demonstrations
in support of the restoration of the USSR did not take place.
The exercises planned over the Baltic States by the former USSR
air force were called off in response to public pressure and
objections by the Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian governments;
the exercises may be rescheduled for April. Troop and tank movements
were, however, seen in various parts of Latvia, including Riga,
Jelgava, Tukums, and Ventspils. (Dzintra Bungs)

EXPERTS MEET AGAIN TO DISCUSS TROOP DEPARTURE. The second meeting
of Latvian and Russian experts to discuss the withdrawal of troops
of the former USSR from Latvia started on 17 March in the Latvian
town of Ligatne, Radio Riga reports. The experts were expected
to discuss a troop withdrawal timetable, the political activization
of the armed forces, the takeover of property used by the military,
and other related topics. This session is expected to end on
19 March. (Dzintra Bungs)

POSSIBLE CONFLICT WITH CIS ARMY. On 17 March the former USSR
7th Paratroop Division, stationed in Kaunas, informed the Lithuanian
National Defense Ministry that it had received a secret telegram
from Col. Gen. Valerii Mironov, commander of the Northwestern
Group of Forces, ordering it to secure the Military Officers
Club in Kaunas, Radio Lithuania reports. The club had been turned
over to Lithuania on 6 March in accordance with the Lithuanian
government decree of 16 September 1991. Deputy Prime Minister
Zigmas Vaisvila telephoned Russian State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis
who promised to clarify the situation. Vaisvila also sent a telegram
to Russian Deputy Premier Sergei Shakhrai inquiring whether such
an order had been given and noting that its implementation would
rudely violate Lithuanian laws. (Saulius Girnius)

RUSSIAN ENTERPRISE COMPLAINS OF LATVIAN PORT FEE. Diena of 16
March reported that Russia's Rosnefteprodukt has accused the
Latvian company Ventpils Nafta of illegally pumping off 32,800
tons of diesel oil that the Russian company was sending abroad
via the Ventpils port. The accusation suggests that Rosnefteprodukt
was not aware of a Russian-Latvian accord worked out earlier
this year providing that fees for the use of Latvian port facilities
would be paid by Russian firms in kind rather than in rubles.
For petroleum products the fee was set at 6% of the amount of
product transported through a given port. (Dzintra Bungs)

DISAGREEMENT ON SITE OF OIL TERMINAL. The site of the oil import
terminal in Klaipeda has created a controversy, the RFE/RL Lithuanian
Service reported on 17 March. The government's choice of Melnrage
raised a furor in Klaipeda. The city's executive committee chairman
Vytautas Cepas complained that the decision had been made without
consulting officials in Klaipeda. He considers Melnrage to be
the worst possible site since the construction would displace
many residents and require the destruction of about 100 hectares
of the Giruliai Forest. Cepas considers the best site to be at
Butinges, even though the deepening of the channel could take
up to a year. Several thousand people in Klaipeda held a rally
last week protesting the Melnrage site. (Saulius Girnius)

VAGNORIUS IN SWEDEN. On 17 March Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas
Vagnorius began a two-day visit to Sweden, Radio Lithuania reports.
He and Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt signed a trade accord
removing all customs and quotas from industrial goods shipped
between the two states. As was the case with a similar earlier
Latvian agreement, certain raw materials are exempted. Estonian
Prime Minister Tiit Vahi is expected to sign a trade agreement
when he visits Stockholm next week. Vagnorius said that he would
like the agreements to cover a broader area of trade, but was
glad for the ten joint ventures already formed with Swedish partners.
He said that the Swedish parliament could decide how to compensate
Lithuania for the gold reserves that Sweden had handed over to
the USSR in 1940. (Saulius Girnius)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

CENTRAL EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ZONE? According to a 17 March statement
by Hungary's Ministry of International Economic Relations and
reported by MTI, a free trade agreement between Hungary, Czechoslovakia,
and Poland (the Visegrad "Three") is expected to be completed
by 1 July 1992. Unlike the associate membership agreements the
three countries signed with the EC, which call for asymmetrical
tariff reductions, this arrangement is symmetrical and envisions
the gradual elimination of tariffs on the basis of full equality
among the three countries. (Alfred Reisch)

POLAND REACHES NEW AGREEMENT WITH IMF. On 17 March Finance Minister
Andrzej Olechowski announced that a conditional agreement has
been reached with the IMF on Warsaw's budget and economic reforms,
allowing Poland to regain access to $1.5 billion in IMF loans.
Olechowski told newsmen at the Polish Embassy in Washington that
the IMF accepts a $4.5 billion projected government budget deficit.
According to an RFE/RL correspondent, the Sejm has to approve
the budget without pushing the deficit higher. The agreement
brings Poland back into compliance with IMF's guidelines, which
say Poland's deficit cannot exceed 5% of its gross domestic product.
Olechowski also discussed commitments from the World Bank for
$1 billion in new loans. He said an additional $1 billion in
foreign loans will be sought with IMF help. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)


TEJKOWSKI TO UNDERGO PSYCHIATRIC TESTS. On 17 March a Warsaw
regional court ordered psychiatric tests for Boleslaw Tejkowski,
leader of the Polish National Community Party. He is accused
of spreading hatred and anti-Semitism, Western and Polish media
report. The charges stem from allegedly anti-Semitic remarks
he made during the parliamentary election campaign last year.
Tejkowski has pleaded innocent to insulting and "publicly humiliating"
state authorities, Jews, Pope John Paul II, and the Polish episcopate.
He claims he is on trial only because "Jewish journalists" gave
his taped speeches to prosecutors. The court adjourned his trial
shortly after it began to allow psychiatric evaluation of the
defendant. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)

HAVEL RECALLS TWO OFFICIALS. On 17 March Czechoslovak President
Vaclav Havel recalled two Czechoslovak diplomats whose ouster
was recommended by the government 12 days ago, CSTK reports.
Havel's spokesman Michael Zantovsky said Frantisek Barbirek was
recalled as Ambassador to Bulgaria and Cestmir Cisar was recalled
from his post as special envoy to the Council of Europe. The
reasons for the government's recommendation were not made public.
Barbirek and Cisar both held positions in the former Communist
Party, but Zantovsky declined to comment on whether they were
ousted under the screening law. (Barbara Kroulik)

CHARGES FILED AGAINST RUDE PRAVO CHIEF EDITOR. Zdenek Porybny,
chief editor of the former Czechoslovak Communist Party daily
Rude pravo, has been charged with fraud and

illegal business practices. CSTK says that the charges were revealed
on 17 March by Deputy Interior Minister's press spokesman Stanislav
Fajkus. An investigation was launched last week. Rude pravo said
yesterday that Porybny was taken into custody, and police searched
the newspaper's offices. The police also searched the offices
of the body which links the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia
and the Slovak Democratic Left Party, CSTK reports. (Barbara
Kroulik)

ROMANIA'S PRESIDENT ON HUNGARIAN MINORITY. In an interview published
in the 16 March issue of the Budapest daily Kurir, Romanian President
Ion Iliescu advised Hungary not

to concern itself with the fate of the Magyar minority in his
country, RFE/RL's Budapest correspondent reports. According to
Iliescu, "Romanian citizens of Hungarian nationality" enjoy "unlimited,
equal rights" under the country's constitution and can defend
their rights themselves. Consequently, Hungary's concern for
them amounts to interference in Romania's internal affairs and
"annoyed" his country, which has been trying to eliminate Hungarian
suspicions toward Romania, Iliescu said. (Alfred Reisch)

WORKERS DEMONSTRATE IN BUCHAREST. More than a thousand union
leaders and workers from the mining, construction, and auto industries
came to Bucharest from the provinces on 17 March and assembled
in front of the government headquarters. Prime Minister Theodor
Stolojan met a delegation that requested the indexing of salaries
to prices, better pay regulations, and the urgent privatization
of those enterprises selected last year. They also demanded that
the enterprises redistribute 30% of their capital to employees.
A group of miners lead by Miron Cosma went to parliament and
presented the workers' case to a group of deputies. (Mihai Sturdza)


FOREIGN INVESTMENTS IN ROMANIA. In January and February 1992
the National Development Agency (NDA) registered 1,288 new joint
companies with a total investment of $5,063,000. Investors still
find Romanian legislation on foreign capital discouraging, however,
even if it is exempt from price controls. Consequently 95% of
Western investment in the former East Bloc has bypassed Romania,
said NDA Director Florin Bonciu. He added that over the past
two years 8,022 firms were set up by investors from 82 countries.
Total investments were $269 million. Some 2,000 ventures were
created by recently arrived Chinese, with only token Romanian
participation in the overall investment of $550,530. (Mihai Sturdza)


BULGARIAN-TURKISH FISHING CONFLICT. Even while Defense Minister
Dimitar Ludzhev visited Turkey last week and a high-level Turkish
military delegation is in Bulgaria this week, a bilateral conflict
over fishing in the Black Sea has been escalating. Bulgarian
media have been repeatedly reporting Turkish boats fishing in
Bulgarian waters. Coast guard cutters were sent to chase them
off, and on 13 March a Bulgarian sailor was killed when a cutter
was rammed after firing warning shots. On 17 March Reuters reported
that the Turkish ambassador to Sofia had been handed a protest
note and the Ministry of the Interior said Bulgaria would strictly
protect its Black Sea waters, including the use of weapons if
necessary. (Rada Nikolaev)

JEWISH ORGANIZATION IN BULGARIA. On 14 March B'nai B'rith, the
international Jewish society, restored its lodge in Bulgaria,
which had been banned in 1941, local dailies report. The lodge
will be called Carmel and will be headed by Alfred Krispin, a
well-known journalist. On 16 March guests from B'nai B'rith,
headed by vice chairman Henry Schneider, were received by President
Zhelyu Zhelev. They said that insofar as is possible their society
is ready to help Bulgaria to overcome its problems. Krispin assured
Zhelev that the members of the Bulgarian lodge will work as Bulgarian
patriots. The event coincides with the visit of Prime Minister
Filip Dimitrov to Israel, which began on 17 March. (Rada Nikolaev)


SERBIAN BISHOP CALLS MILOSEVIC A TRAITOR. Bishop Atanasije Jevtic
said in an interview on Belgrade's independent television station
Studio B on 15 March that Serbia's President Slobodan Milosevic
is "a traitor" to the Serbian people. Jevtic explained that Milosevic
promised a better life for all Serbs but in reality the Serbian
people are sinking deeper into chaos. He added that Serbs were
betrayed by the communists and that "Serbia's grave is Tito's
and Milosevic's Yugoslavia." He said that Milosevic's advocacy
of peace is only a sign of "pure capitulation," and that it will
be difficult for Serbs to restore their honor after the defeat.
His views of Milosevic and his ruling Socialists (former communists)
are the harshest ever to be expressed publicly by a major figure
of the Serbian Orthodox Church. During last week's antigovernment
rally in Belgrade, Jevtic told the crowd that Serbia needs a
national government of salvation. (Milan Andrejevich)


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

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