If there is anyone listening to whom I owe money, I'm prepared to forget it if you are. - Errol Flynn
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 63, 31 March 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

TENSION MOUNTS IN MOLDOVA AFTER CHISINAU'S ULTIMATUM TO REBELS.
After the declaration of a state of emergency in Moldova on 29
March by President Mircea Snegur, both sides in the conflict
have been calling on the other to back down but preparing for
the worst, Western agencies reported. President Snegur warned
on 30 March that his government will take "all the necessary
measures" to restore its authority in the breakaway "Dniester
Republic" and threatened to take back an offer to grant the region
the status of a "free economic zone." The leader of the "Dniester
Republic," Igor Smirnov, stated on the same day that his supporters
would do everything possible to protect their region, including,
as his spokeswoman Alina Dimkova told Reuters, turning part of
the area's industry over to military production. There were also
reports of more sporadic violence and a number of new casualties.(Bohdan
Nahaylo)

FOREIGN MINISTERS OF FOUR STATES TO MEET TO DISCUSS MOLDOVA CONFLICT.
The Moldovan president's press service announced on 30 March
that a meeting of the foreign ministers of Moldova, Ukraine,
Russia, and Romania would take place in Chisinau on 31 March
to discuss the conflict in the republic. (Bohdan Nahaylo)

NAGORNO-KARABAKH CEASE-FIRE CRUMBLES. Armenia claimed on 30 March
that 12 people had been killed overnight in an Azerbaijani offensive
against the Nagorno-Karabakh capital of Stepanakert. Azerbaijani
spokesmen denied this report and claimed that Armenians had violated
the Iranian-brokered cease-fire with a rocket attack on the town
of Shusha, ITAR-TASS reported. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister
Mahmoud Vaezi told acting Azerbaijani President Yakub Mamedov
in Baku on 30 March that a mechanism is urgently needed to control
observance of the cease-fire. A CSCE mission headed by Czechoslovak
Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier departed on 30 March for Baku,
Nagorno- Karabakh and Erevan. (Liz Fuller)

GEORGIAN STANDOFF CONTINUES. The ruling Georgian State Council
will take military action if necessary against supporters of
ousted Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia following the expiration
at midnight local time on 30 March of an ultimatum to surrender
their arms and reopen blocked roads in western Georgia, Central
TV reported. Gamsakhurdia supporters plan to mark his 53rd birthday
today by converging on the town of Abasha and then marching to
Kutaisi, which they intend to occupy and proclaim the capital
of Georgia. In a television interview aired on 30 March Gamsakhurdia
claimed that the majority of the Georgian population still supports
him, and denounced Eduard Shevardnadze's return to Georgia as
a neocommunist putsch organized by the Russian leadership and
the troops of the Transcaucasus Military District. (Liz Fuller)


RUSSIAN DEMOCRATS PROPOSE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY. Moscow Mayor
Gavriil Popov announced on 30 March that the Movement for Democratic
Reforms believes a constituent assembly should be held to pass
a new Russian constitution, ITAR- TASS reported. Popov, as chairman
of the Movement, said the Russian Congress of People's Deputies,
scheduled to convene on 6 April, "is not the kind of body which
can discuss and pass the basic law." St. Petersburg Mayor Anatolii
Sobchak, who supervised work on an alternative draft constitution,
echoed Popov's sentiments. He argued that a constituent assembly
offered the only way out of Russia's current constitutional crisis.
The Congress is expected to consider a draft constitution supervised
by the Russian Constitutional Drafting Committee, while Sobchak's
alternative version has been prepared under the auspices of the
Movement for Democratic Reforms. (Carla Thorson)

CALLS FOR SOBCHAK'S RESIGNATION. The St. Petersburg City Council
called for Mayor Anatolii Sobchak's resignation on 30 March,
arguing that Sobchak has overstepped his constitutional authority,
Reuters reported. The city council deputies voted to present
Russian President Boris Yeltsin and the Russian Constitutional
Court with a list of alleged unconstitutional dealings undertaken
by Sobchak. The council's resolution included accusations against
Sobchak of creating unauthorized executive structures and signing
contracts which were not in the city's interest. The resolution
also criticized Sobchak for drafting an alternative Russian constitution,
arguing that the mayor had no right to oppose Russian national
policy. (Carla Thorson)

RUSSIAN REPUBLICS HOLD CLOSED CONFERENCE. Delegations from eighteen
republics of the Russian Federation which are considering the
signing of the Federal Treaty on 31 March gathered for a closed
conference in Moscow on 30 March, Interfax reported. A delegation
from Tatarstan, which was in Moscow to conclude a bilateral treaty
with Russia, did not participate in the conference. Representatives
of Chechnya did not attend the conference either. Interfax quoted
Vice Chairman of the Council of Nationalities of the Russian
parliament, Vitalii Syrovatko, as saying the discussion included
signing a joint protocol in addition to the Federal Treaty. The
protocol is expected to reflect points which, a number of republics
believe, should be added to the treaty. (Vera Tolz)

BASHKORTOSTAN WILL NOT SIGN FEDERAL TREATY; YAKUTIA DEMANDS AMENDMENTS.
Interfax of 30 March quoted Bashkortostan parliamentary leader
Murtaza Rakhimov as saying the republic will not sign the Federal
Treaty. The Treaty, he said, does not solve the main issues on
property, mineral resources, budget and economic policies. However,
Rakhimov said Bashkortostan will not secede from the Russian
Federation, but favors equitable relations with Russia within
the framework of a bilateral agreement similar to the position
of Tatarstan. In the same report, Yakutia's President Mikhail
Nikolaev said that Yakut parliament has made changes in the draft
treaty on provisions dealing with property, budget, and tax policy.
If these amendments will be reflected in the final treaty, Yakutia
will consider signing the document, Nikolaev said. (Charles Carlson)


BASHKORTOSTAN DENIES PLANS FOR A CONFEDERATION. Bashkortostan
parliamentary leader Murtaza Rakhimov has denied reports given
by RIA on 28 March (see Daily Report for 30 March) that a group
of Tatarstan deputies have proposed forming a "Volga-Ural" confederation
between Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, according to an ITAR-TASS
report of 30 March. Rakhimov, speaking to journalists after a
meeting with Russian President Boris Yeltsin on Bashkortostan's
rejection of the Federal Treaty, called the reports "disinformation."
(Charles Carlson)

RUSSIA TO SEEK SAFEGUARDS FOR RUSSIAN- SPEAKING MINORITIES. Russia
has told the CSCE conference in Helsinki on 30 March that it
is concerned about the situation of the Russian-speaking population
in several parts of the former Soviet Union. The leader of the
Russian delegation, E. Gussarov, told the session that Russia
would insist that Russian-speaking minorities benefit from all
the minority agreements in the CSCE process. According to the
RFE/RL correspondent attending the conference, Gussarov did not
specifically identify any country on the territory of the former
USSR where the Russian-speaking population might face problems.
(Vera Tolz)

ILO FORECAST OF CIS UNEMPLOYMENT. In a study released on 30 March
and carried by Western agencies and ITAR-TASS, the International
Labor Organization forecasts that the number of unemployed will
exceed 15 million in the Commonwealth of Independent States this
year. The jobs of about 30 million more may be at risk or they
may be kept on, albeit underemployed. The ILO estimates that
over one quarter of those currently employed are surplus to requirements.
The study is based on interviews with government officials in
the CIS and visits to 500 factories there. (Keith Bush)

ITALY GIVES RUSSIA 1990 CREDIT. During their talks on 30 March
in Moscow, Boris Yeltsin and Italian President Francesco Cossiga
announced that Russia has taken over the credits which Italy
granted the Soviet Union for 1990. The credits, earmarked for
food and industrial goods, were reformulated for Russia and are
already in operation. Talks on what to do with Italy's 1991 credit
for the USSR will begin after the Italian parliamentary elections
in April, ITAR-TASS reported. (Suzanne Crow)

NEW DEMANDS OVER TENGIZ PROJECT. Kazakhstan has set new conditions
for the joint venture development of the Tengiz oil field, according
to Interfax as quoted by Reuters on 30 March. Chevron Corporation
has reportedly been told that its profit share would be cut to
no more than 13%, while Kazakhstan's royalties would be more
than doubled to a possible $25 billion. Kazakhstan would also
demand increased payments for land use and would retain all excess
profits from any higher oil prices. If Chevron rejects the new
terms, other firms will be allowed to bid for exploration rights.
The Tengiz venture has been under discussion for more than three
years, and is seen by many as a touchstone for Western investment.
(Keith Bush)

TAX CONCESSIONS TO JOINT VENTURES? In the course of an article
on the alleged buy-out of a Western partner in the "White Knights"
joint oil venture, The Journal of Commerce on 26 March reported
anticipated changes in Russian tax regulations. Many Western
firms have expressed concern over the confusing and often punitive
taxes levied on foreign investors. Indeed, Phibro Energy Inc.,
one of the partners in the "White Nights" venture, was reported
to be sending home much of its expatriate staff and shutting
down two drilling rigs because of the tax environment. The newspaper
quotes trading sources in Moscow to the effect that joint ventures
may soon be exempt from the export tax and instead be taxed at
18% across the board on their profits. (Keith Bush)

RUSSIAN SUICIDE RATE UP? Addressing a conference in Moscow on
Russia's future, Gennadii Osipov, the director of the Institute
of Socio-Political Studies, said that one million Russians attempted
suicide in 1991 and 60,000 of them succeeded, Interfax reported
on 27 March. This latter figure was 50% higher than in 1990,
according to Osipov and to Narkhoz 90. He also cited opinion
surveys by his institute indicating that one in five Russians
wanted to emigrate. The Times of 28 March, however, pointed out
that the conference seemed to focus on despair and disaster and
that Osipov's and others' revelations were plausible but hardly
disinterested. (Keith Bush)

NAZARBAEV PLEAS FOR WESTERN ASSISTANCE. In an interview with
Time magazine of 6 April, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev
said the West must help the former Soviet republics become part
of the world economy. Thousands of millions of dollars are needed
to stabilize the ruble, and basic help is needed in carrying
out privatization and denationalization, Nazarbaev said. Especially
needed are credits and equipment as well as foreign investments
in Kazakhstan's oil, gas, and precious metals resources, he noted.
(Charles Carlson)

SIDOROVA NAMED KOZYREV'S ADVISER. Galina Sidorova, whose outspoken
and liberal commentaries on Soviet and Russian foreign policy
have appeared in the weekly Novoe vremya for many years, was
named an adviser to Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev on
26 March. Her title is adviser to the Russian foreign minister
for political questions and representative of the minister for
ties with the public and the press. (This is a new position in
the Russian Foreign Ministry.) Sidorova told ITAR-TASS on 28
March that she does not believe that it is necessary to agree
with Kozyrev on everything in order to fulfill her duties as
his adviser. Indeed, Sidorova emphasized, she and Kozyrev have
entirely different approaches which will lead to an "internal
pluralism of opinion" and, hopefully, help Russia to arrive at
the best policies. Sidorova will remain on the editorial board
of Novoe vremya and does not intend to give up journalism. (Suzanne
Crow)

UKRAINIAN NATIONALISTS HOLD CONFERENCE IN KIEV. The Organization
of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), which in the 1940s and early
1950s led the armed resistance to Soviet rule in Ukraine, was
the co-organizer of an international conference on Ukrainian
nationalism held last weekend in Kiev, Radio Ukraine reported
on 30 March. The conference drew about 600 participants, including
former veterans of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), and a
number of deputies. The gathering was addressed by leader of
the Bandera-faction of the OUN from Munich, Slava Stetsko. Among
other things, the conference called for Ukraine to leave the
CIS. (Bohdan Nahaylo)

UKRAINE'S JEWS PLANNING FIRST CONGRESS. Radio Ukraine reported
on 30 March that Ukraine's Jews are planning to hold their first
congress later this year. The head of the organizing committee,
Eli Levitas, said that Ukraine's Jewish community was very hopeful
about the prospects for developing Jewish cultural life in independent
Ukraine. Among plans which he said Ukraine's Jewish Cultural
Society were working on with the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture
are the reopening of a Jewish theatre, the creation of a state
museum of Jewish culture and history, and a state ensemble of
Jewish song and dance. (Bohdan Nahaylo)

 ARMENIAN CP RESUMES ACTIVITIES.
On 30 March Radio Mayak, quoting the Armenian news agency Snark,
reported that the Armenian Communist Party, which split last
September into two separate groups, has resumed its activities,
after a prolonged interval, with a Central Committee meeting
to discuss organizational measures. The Party adopted an appeal
to the Armenian people stressing its readiness to cooperate with
all progressive forces. (Liz Fuller)

UZBEKISTAN WILL NOT CREATE FRONTIER TROOPS. Alexander Bogdanov,
Commander of the Central Asian Frontier District has said following
talks with republican leaders in Tashkent on 27-28 March that
Uzbekistan does not intend to create its own contingent of frontier
troops, Interfax reported on 30 March. The decision was made
after Uzbek President Islam Karimov had passed a decree on transferring
frontier forces already located in the republic to the Frontier
Troops Department of Uzbekistan's National Security Service.
Bogdanov said frontier troops located in Uzbekistan would remain
a part of CIS forces. (Charles Carlson)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BALTIC-SWEDISH ENVIRONMENTAL ACCORD. On 30 March Estonia, Latvia,
and Lithuania signed an agreement to cooperate in most areas
of environmental protection, including research and information
exchange as well as sewage disposal and technology for storing
nuclear waste. Western agencies also report that Sweden has allocated
up to 40% of its development aid for Baltic and East European
countries for environmental protection and cleanup projects.
(Dzintra Bungs)

RUSSIA: TROOPS OUT BY 2000. The Estonian government has rejected
a proposal from Russia under which international observers would
monitor the withdrawal of former Soviet troops until the year
2000. In an interview with Dagens Nyheter on 30 March, quoted
by dpa, Prime Minister Tiit Vahi said his country cannot agree
to the offer because Estonia wants the troops out by the end
of this year. Vahi reportedly noted that of the 50,000 troops
stationed in Estonia before independence was reinstated last
August, half have already withdrawn. (Riina Kionka)

ESTONIA BUYS ARMS FROM RUSSIA. Estonia will buy arms for its
defense forces from Russia, according to Defense Forces Acting
General Chief of Staff Ants Laaneots. Laaneots told BNS on 30
March that Estonia plans to buy 20 armored personnel carriers,
pistols, grenades, ammunition, and automatic weapons with the
40 million rubles earmarked for defense. (Riina Kionka)

RUUTEL TO GERMANY. Estonian Supreme Council Chairman Arnold Ruutel
is due to open an Estonian culture festival in Karlsruhe on 2
April, ETA reports. During his visit to Germany, Ruutel is also
set to meet with Federal President Richard von Weizsaecker, Bundestag
Chairwoman Rita Suessmuth, and Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich
Genscher. (Riina Kionka)

FORMER SOVIET OFFICERS MAY STAY AS CIVILIANS IN LITHUANIA. Vytenis
Aleskaitis, Lithuania's Minister of International Economic Relations,
told a Baltic investment conference in Copenhagen on 30 March
that officers of the former USSR armed forces stationed in Lithuania
could stay as civilians in that country, Reuters reports. He
said this might help get the estimated 43,000 ex-Soviet troops
out of Lithuania. He added that up to 50% of the officers in
some units are willing to join the Lithuanian army or stay in
Lithuania as civilians, but he did not explain how he had obtained
that information. (Dzintra Bungs)

ATMODA TO STOP PUBLICATION TEMPORARILY? Radio Riga reported on
30 March that the last issue of Atmoda, a weekly newspaper published
under the auspices of the People's Front of Latvia since October
1988, is to appear on 31 March. Publication will cease because
registration with the Latvian authorities has expired and the
PFL board has not renewed it. Editor Elita Veidemane said that
the newspaper may reappear in the near future as an independent
weekly. (Dzintra Bungs)

WALESA: FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY NEED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. On 30
March Polish President Lech Walesa urged a revival of trade links
among former Comecon countries as well as between Poland and
Germany. Speaking to the Bundestag's Foreign Affairs Committee
in Bonn, he warned of great dangers from a new division in Europe
because of differing standards of living. He said freedom and
democracy need economic development and people require a feeling
of security, lest they lose confidence in democracy and seek
easier solutions. All dictatorships have resulted from crises,
he noted. Walesa also said that German-Polish ties should become
a model of peaceful cooperation, expressing hope that that will
happen. Earlier, he told German President Richard von Weizsaecker
that Poland, with a united Germany on one side and the CIS on
the other, considers itself a bridge- builder between East and
West. Von Weizsaecker repeated Bonn's support for eventual Polish
entry to the EC, saying it is in Germany's vital interest in
the long term. He also told Walesa that Germany's goal is a European
union with Poland playing a central role, an RFE/RL correspondent
reports. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)

WARSAW: NO GROUNDS TO EXTRADITE ARMS SUSPECTS. On 30 March Polish
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wladyslaw Klaczynski said the US has
no grounds to extradite from Germany six Poles detained on charges
of selling weapons to Iraq illegally. In response to a Los Angeles
Times report claiming that the US would seek extradition, Klaczynski
told PAP there would have to be proof that US law had been broken.
If any crime had been committed, he said, it would be a violation
of the UN resolution banning the sale of arms to Iraq. Six Polish
suspects were arrested on 10 March in Frankfurt; a seventh holds
dual Polish-American citizenship. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)

POLISH DEPUTIES CALL FOR REFERENDUM ON ABORTION. On 30 March
Polish deputies supporting the right to abortion submitted bills
that would keep the procedure legal or else decide the issue
through a binding national referendum to determine under what
conditions the citizens favor permitting abortion. Barbara Labuda,
the leader of the Sejm's women's caucus, said she is not optimistic
about prospects for keeping abortion legal. She added, however,
that the call for a referendum had a better chance of passage
in the Sejm, Western media report. The bills, signed by 91 deputies,
respond to antiabortion legislation introduced on 27 March and
signed by 171 members of the 460-seat Sejm. The bills provide
for legalizing abortion and call upon the government to provide
sex education and ensure availability of contraceptives. (Wladyslaw
Minkiewicz)

MECIAR DENIES COLLABORATION CHARGES. Former Slovak premier Vladimir
Meciar on 30 March for the first time personally denied charges
he collaborated with the former communist secret police. He told
reporters, "If I came into contact with STB, then it was not
because I visited them but because they were interested in me."
He said that the charges were aimed at destroying his party's
political credibility. The Slovak parliament last week voted
to approve the report by its investigating committee, which said
Meciar had been a collaborator and later, in the postcommunist
period, abused his positions by destroying evidence. Meciar had
previously denied the allegations through a spokesman. (Barbara
Kroulik)

CZECHOSLOVAKIA, POLAND, HUNGARY UNHAPPY WITH PROGRESS IN NATO
TIES. Ambassadors to NATO from Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary,
meeting in Brussels on 30 March, said that progress toward establishing
closer ties with the alliance has been too slow. Czechoslovakia's
ambassador, Karel Lukas, later told reporters that all three
agreed that NATO should step up efforts to establish a "privileged"
military relationship with these former Warsaw Pact countries.
All three seek closer military cooperation with NATO and see
their participation in the new North Atlantic Cooperation Council
as only one step on the road to membership in NATO. (Barbara
Kroulik)

CZECHOSLOVAKIA HAS NO CLAIMS ON SUBCARPATHIAN RUS. Czechoslovak
Prime Minister Marian Calfa says his country does not want to
change its border with Subcarpathian Rus (Transcarpathia) and
the government respects all international conventions that borders
can only be changed by peaceful means. CSTK reports that in his
interview with Ukrainian TV, Calfa was reacting to calls in Czechoslovakia
for a referendum in the region on reintegration into Czechoslovakia.
Subcarpathian Rus came under Czechoslovak administration in 1919.
In 1945 the Czechoslovak parliament approved a treaty ceding
the region to the USSR; it is now part of Ukraine. Calfa also
said Ukraine will have to liberalize its economic relations if
it is interested in economic cooperation with Czechoslovakia.
(Barbara Kroulik)

NEMETH ON EUROPEAN BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT. On
31 March in Budapest EBRD vice president and former Hungarian
prime minister Miklos Nemeth commented on the EBRD's first annual
report that in 1991 the bank approved projects representing 621
million ecus, which brought 2.1 billion ecus in total investments
after allowance for cofinancing contributed by several partners.
Nemeth said that the bank closed its first year with slight losses
but planned to double its capital of 591 million ecus this year.
He called the bank "the Marshall Plan" for the region and sees
as its political mission the promotion of democracy through financial
means. MTI and Radio Budapest reported Nemeth's remarks. (Edith
Oltay)

NEW CRACKS IN THE NSF. Romanian and foreign media report on 30
March that Petre Roman's victory at the latest NSF convention
has not solved the conflict between himself and those he described
as President Ion Iliescu's communist supporters. Reformist National
Bank Governor Mugur Isarescu turned up as a alternative candidate
to Roman, although he had always claimed he was not affiliated
with the NSF, and senator Vasile Vacaru resigned as leader of
the NSF group in parliament. Nine senators left the NSF, while
another went over to the neocommunist Socialist Party of Labor.
Speculation is continuing about the creation of one or more new
parties out of NSF factions. (Mihai Sturdza)

OPPOSITION LEADERS INVITED TO GERMANY. German Ambassador to Romania
Klaus Terfloth said on 30 March that the leaders of the opposition
parties comprising the Democratic Convention have been invited
to Germany. They will meet German politicians and have a closer
look at the functioning of a Western democracy. According to
Romanian media, Terfloth added that there is no question of forging
political alliances or to map out bilateral political strategies.
(Mihai Sturdza)

BULGARIAN STRIKE SITUATION. No progress was made in talks between
the government and the miners' strike committee of the Podkrepa
labor confederation that resumed early on 30 March. Demokratsiya
on 31 March said the government had expressed readiness to fulfill
the miners' demands, but the miners' refusal to sign an agreement
indicated that their strike had political motives. BTA said that
early on 31 March the strike committee had given green light
for an escalation of the strike, allowing miners to go on a hunger
strike and permitting their wives to go down into the mines,
making good on earlier threats. On 30 March BTA reported that
coal miners of Maritsa Iztok had announced they would join the
strike. Solidarity had also been expressed by the Podkrepa organizations
in trade and light industry. (Rada Nikolaev)

NEW BULGARIAN PARTIES. A faction of the Bulgarian Agrarian National
Union (BANU) within the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) held
a national conference on 29 March. The meeting was called a constituent
congress of a new agrarian party to be known as BANU-Nikola Petkov-UDF.
Georgi Petrov, leader of the faction and the new party, took
the initiative after it became clear that the mainstream BANU-Nikola
Petkov was willing to cooperate with the UDF but would not join
it. The daily press said the new party claims a membership of
39,950. The same day the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party, headed
by Ivan Kurtev, which had remained in the UDF, changed its name
to the Social-Democratic Party in order to distance itself from
the Petar Dertliev's BSDP, which has left the UDF. (Rada Nikolaev)


BULGARIAN BLUE HELMETS FOR CAMBODIA. The Bulgarian government
has agreed to participate in the UN peacekeeping force in Cambodia,
Podkrepa reported on 27 March. If parliament approved, Bulgaria
will send a reinforced infantry battalion of 850 men, 16 military
observers, and 75 police. BTA said the Ministry of the Interior
acted immediately to begin recruiting 75 police volunteers. (Rada
Nikolaev) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles
Trumbull









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