|We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers. - Martin Luther King Jr|
No. 64, 01 April 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR RUSSIAN FEDERAL TREATY SIGNED. The federal treaty between the central organs in Moscow and the constituent republics and other territorial-administrative units of the Russian Federation was ceremoniously signed in Moscow on 31 March, CIS and Western agencies reported. The treaty was signed by Ruslan Khasbulatov, chairman of the Russian parliament, and President Boris Yeltsin as federal representatives, and by the leaders of 18 of the 20 republics, Moscow, St. Petersburg, the krais, oblasts, and other territorial subdivisions. Tatarstan and the Chechen Republic refused to sign the document, which is to be ratified by the Russian Congress of People's Deputies that opens on 6 April. Thereafter the treaty will be incorporated into the new Russian constitution. The treaty delineates the division of powers between the federal organs and the subjects of the Federation. Yeltsin opened the ceremony with a keynote address, saying that "a united Russia was, is, and will be." (Roman Solchanyk) TATARSTAN REFUSES TO SIGN FEDERAL TREATY BUT IS SATISFIED WITH RUSSIAN TALKS. Interfax of 31 March quotes Tatarstan parliamentary Chairman Farid Mukhametshin as saying Russia and Tatarstan had common views on a bilateral agreement that is being drafted in Moscow, but still differed on budget and tax issues. Tatarstan would like to have a "one-channel" budget and a tax collection system based on its own laws to transfer a portion of the money to federal authorities. Tatarstan refused to sign the Russian Federal Treaty but is in favor of signing this bilateral agreement as soon as possible, preferably before the Congress of People's Deputies in an effort to form a strong alliance with Russia, Mukhametshin said. (Charles Carlson) BASHKORTOSTAN RETREATS ON FEDERAL TREATY. Bashkortostan signed the Federal Treaty, unexpectedly given its previous reservations: Bashkir parliamentary leader Murtaza Rakhimov was quoted on 30 March as saying the treaty would not solve his republic's main problems (see Daily Report of 31 March). However, Interfax of 31 March reported that Bashkortostan concluded a special bilateral agreement with Russia specifying certain areas--property, mineral deposits, foreign economic activity and taxes--in which the republic could pursue its own policy. (Charles Carlson) CHECHEN PARLIAMENT DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY. In what one spokesman termed "an attempted coup," unidentified armed opponents of Chechen President General Dzhakhar Dudaev seeking to force his resignation seized the broadcasting center in Groznyi on 31 March and besieged Dudaev's official residence; thousands of others gathered in the town's main square, ITAR-TASS reported. At least five people were killed and several wounded when troops loyal to Dudaev using armored vehicles and rocket launchers retook the broadcasting center. The Chechen parliament subsequently declared a state of emergency throughout the republic "until the situation returns to normal." (Liz Fuller) SNEGUR SAYS TIME FOR TALKS OVER. As fighting continues between Moldova and the breakaway "Dniester Republic," Moldovan President Mircea Snegur told parliament on 31 March that the time for negotiations between the two sides had run out, CIS and Western news agencies reported. Snegur told Moldovan lawmakers that the leaders of the "Dniester Republic" are not interested in resolving the conflict in a peaceful manner. The Moldovan parliament approved the state of emergency introduced by Snegur on 28 March. (Roman Solchanyk) FOREIGN AFFAIRS EXPERTS MEETING IN CHISINAU. Experts from the ministries of foreign affairs of Moldova, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine gathered in the Moldovan capital on 31 March to discuss a solution to the Dniester conflict, CIS and Western news agencies reported. The participants were quoted as saying before the meeting opened that they would be guided by the Helsinki agreements on the stability of borders and would seek a peaceful resolution while preserving Moldova's integrity. The talks will continue on 1 April. (Roman Solchanyk) GAMSAKHURDIA SUPPORTERS RETREAT. Armed supporters of ousted Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia removed roadblocks in western Georgia on 31 March and began retreating to their stronghold in Zugdidi, ITAR-TASS reported. A group of some 100 people staged a demonstration in Tbilisi to mark Gamsakhurdia's birthday. In response to an appeal by the ruling Georgian State Council, the Abkhaz leadership gave assurances that it would not permit Gamsakhurdia's supporters to take refuge in the autonomous republic. (Liz Fuller) NAGORNO-KARABAKH UPDATE. The CSCE mission headed by Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier met in Baku on 31 March with Azerbaijani Premier Hasan Hasanov and with acting President Yakub Mamedov, Azerinform-TASS reported. Hasanov insisted that a solution to the Karabakh issue can be reached only if it is accepted that it is a military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In spite of Mamedov's continued insistence that representatives from Karabakh should be part of the Azerbaijani delegation to peace talks, a preliminary agreement was reached on holding a peace conference under the auspices of the CSCE. The Secretary-General of the Islamic Conference Organization, Hamid Algabid, stated in Djiddah on 31 March that interested parties, including Russia, Iran, Turkey, and UN special envoy Cyrus Vance, had reacted positively to its proposal for a regional peace conference on Karabakh, Western agencies reported. (Liz Fuller) KOZYREV TO CAUCASUS. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev will travel to the Caucasus on 2 April as part of a Russian diplomatic delegation for talks on settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Interfax reported on 31 March. (Suzanne Crow) IMF APPROVES RUSSIAN ECONOMIC PROGRAM. The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund, meeting on 30 March, praised the Russian government for its "bold and comprehensive economic reform program" and recommended that Russia be given a 3% quota when its joins the IMF, RFE/RL and The Washington Post reported on 31 March. The quota would enable Russia to draw about $4 billion a year for the next few years to support its economic reform program. IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus said: "The Russian program presents a major step towards a market economy. If fully implemented, it will lay the foundation for an economic program that the IMF could support with its financial resources once Russia becomes a member." (Keith Bush and Robert Lyle) FURTHER RESCHEDULING OF SOVIET DEBT REPAYMENT. The 17-member "Paris Club" of major Western creditor-countries agreed on 31 March to postpone by a further three months until 30 June payment of principal on debts incurred by the former Soviet Union, Western agencies reported. A previous rescheduling was granted in December 1991. It was not clear from the reports whether the creditor- countries had also postponed the payment of interest. Last week, Western banks had postponed for a further 90 days the repayment of debts owed by the former Soviet Union. (Keith Bush) SAKHALIN DEAL MOVES FORWARD. A US-Japanese consortium has signed a first-stage agreement to develop offshore energy reserves off Sakhalin, The Journal of Commerce reported 1 April. The group, made up of McDermott, Marathon, and Mitsui, signed the agreement with the Russian Ministry of Fuel and Energy calling for a feasibility study for the exploitation of the Piltun-Astokhskoye and Lunskoye oil and gas fields. The study will be conducted in cooperation with P/O Sakhalinmorneftegas and representatives of the Sakhalin island administration. The award of the project has been the subject of considerable controversy and acrimonious debate within Russia. (Keith Bush) COMMISSION ON RUSSIAN DEFENSE. Boris Yeltsin has ordered the creation of a state commission to be tasked with setting up the new Russian Defense Ministry, ITAR-TASS reported on 31 March. The commission will reportedly include representatives of the president, the parliament, the government, and senior military officers, scientists, and experts. ITAR-TASS said that the initiative for setting up the commission came from the now defunct Russian State Committee on defense issues. In another report on 31 March, ITAR-TASS reported that a group of military experts, including Sergei Rogov, Yurii Deryugin, and Vitalii Kovalevsky, has asked Ruslan Khasbulatov to form a parliamentary commission to oversee creation of the Russian Defense Ministry. (Stephen Foye) SHAPOSHNIKOV: NEW RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER? According to "Vesti" on 31 March, sources close to the CIS central military command say that the military leadership is recommending CIS Commander in Chief Marshal Evgenii Shaposhnikov for the post of Russian Defense Minister. Meanwhile, a deputy head of the Russian President's Department of State and Legal Affairs said in Krasnaya zvezda on 31 March that the Russian Defense Ministry and general headquarters should have a staff of four to seven thousand, which he described as a significant reduction in the size of the administration now managing the armed forces. He also said that the Russian army would be built on the basis of professional service. His comments were reported by ITAR-TASS. (Stephen Foye) SHAPOSHNIKOV IN KALININGRAD. Speaking to reporters during a one-day visit to Kaliningrad, Evgenii Shaposhnikov said that troops would always be stationed in the oblast, but that the size of the force contingent there would be sufficient for defense of the region but not so large as to threaten neighboring states. His remarks were reported by ITAR-TASS on 1 April. Shaposhnikov also claimed that the redeployment of military units from Poland and the Baltic states to Kaliningrad oblast would not increase the size of the contingent there and that the military situation in the oblast was, in any event, an internal Russian affair. (Stephen Foye) CHURKIN RESIGNS. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vitalii Churkin resigned on 31 March. He was replaced by two people: Galina Sidorova, who was recently appointed as an adviser to the Russian Foreign Minister, and who will head up the Ministry's Information Service. Sergei Yastrzhembsky, former editor of VIP magazine, will head up the Ministry's new Department of Information and Press and will serve as the main ministry spokesman. Igor Bulai was named head of the ministry's press center, Western agencies reported. (Suzanne Crow) SIDOROVA ON CIS TIES. The Russian foreign minister's adviser, Galina Sidorova, said on 31 March that Russia has still not developed a foreign policy in relation to countries of the CIS. The Department of CIS Affairs in the Foreign Ministry may become a "mini-ministry or a ministry within a ministry," Sidorova said, "depending on what emphasis Russia places or will place on republics of the former USSR," Interfax reported. (Suzanne Crow) SHAKHRAI OFFERS RESIGNATION. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai has asked President Boris Yeltsin, in a letter broadcast on 31 March by Radio Rossii, to release him of his government job so that he could fully concentrate on his parliamentary duties. Shakhrai is resigning from the government in accordance with a ruling that bars parliament members from holding government posts, but Shakhrai criticized the ruling as a "hidden attempt" to exclude Yeltsin supporters from active work at the forthcoming Congress. As deputy prime minister, Shakhrai has been in charge of legal affairs, control of the army and security organs. (Alexander Rahr) CHORNOVIL TO RESIGN FROM LVIV POST. Chairman of the Lviv Oblast Council Vyacheslav Chornovil announced on 31 March that he will be resigning from his post, Radio Ukraine reported. Chornovil, who has become the center of political opposition to Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk, said that he wants to concentrate more fully on his work in the Ukrainian parliament, of which he is a deputy. Last month Chornovil was elected to the new triumvirate heading "Rukh," which is divided between Chornovil's adherents and those of Kravchuk and his supporters. (Roman Solchanyk) RALLY CONTINUES IN DUSHANBE. An unauthorized political rally by 12,000 to 15,000 demonstrators demanding the resignation of the Tajik Supreme Soviet and its chairman, Safarali Kendjaev, has continued in Dushanbe for the fifth day, according to Interfax of 31 March. Among the reasons for the protest is the resignation of Interior Minister Navdjuvanov on charges of "abuse of office and connivance in the waste of state property." The leader of the Dushanbe chapter of the Democratic Party of Tajikistan, Sadyk Ismailov, said that the opposition was dissatisfied with the possibility that a person could still be persecuted for his or her political views. However, the protest is still continuing despite the fact that Navdjuvanov has been restored to his post. (Charles Carlson) KYRGYZSTAN TO HOLD INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS. Interfax of 31 March reported that Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev has passed a decree on holding the first international congress (kuraltai) in Bishkek on 29-30 August. The organizing committee consists of the ministers of culture, economy, and finance, leaders of the media, and heads of the national parties: Asaba (the banner) and Erkin Kyrgyzstan (free Kyrgyzstan), and of the national societies: Kyrgyz Zel (the Kyrgyz People) and Manas Ata (father Manas). [Manas is a national epic hero.] The decree says that the Kyrgyz people's growing national awareness necessitates national consolidation of the Kyrgyz living in the republic and abroad. (Charles Carlson) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE WALESA AND KOHL SPEAK ON IMPROVING RELATIONS. On 31 March in Bonn German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Polish President Lech Walesa said they want to improve relations at all levels. Kohl told reporters there can be no lasting peace in Europe without good neighborliness and friendly relations between their people. He welcomed Poland's participation in the NATO Cooperation Council and its new dialogue with the West European Union. He also urged Warsaw to open its economy further to foreign businessmen, expressing confidence Poland can only profit from more foreign investments. Walesa also spoke to the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Bonn, where he urged businessmen to look toward long-term investment in Poland. According to RFE/RL correspondents, the businessmen urged him to help remove the obstacles to investments. Earlier, the Polish President met German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher. They discussed how to create one Europe--in politics, security, and the economy. Walesa travels on 1 April to Munich for talks with Bavarian officials and a visit to the memorial at Dachau, site of the former Nazi concentration camp. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) HAVEL IN RUSSIA. Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel and Russian President Boris Yeltsin sign a friendship and cooperation treaty in Moscow on 1 April, CSTK reports. Work on the treaty began two years ago. It is the first bilateral accord between the countries and contains a condemnation of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Havel is also expected to meet former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and Russian Parliament Chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov. He will also sign an agreement regarding the settlement of property and financial issues connected with the departure of former Soviet troops from Czechoslovakia. (Barbara Kroulik) BOSNIA TALKS SHOW PROGRESS. The sixth round of EC-mediated talks among the three leading national parties in Bosnia-Herzegovina concluded in Brussels on 31 March. Radio Serbia and Radio Sarajevo reported that some progress was made on determining the governmental structure for the multiethnic republic, but the sides remain sharply divided over Muslim proposals to create an 18,000- man armed force and for the withdrawal of the Yugoslav army from the republic. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic reiterated his opposition to current plans to divide Bosnia-Herzegovina, saying that "the maps show the absurdity of the task." The three parties agreed to an unconditional cease-fire throughout the republic, to start delineating the three national regions right away, and to grant guarantees for human rights under the control of European human rights institutions in all three national units. International recognition of Bosnia-Herzegovina is expected on 6 April. Bulgaria and Turkey have already recognized the republic and have called on other states to do so as well. (Milan Andrejevich) POLAND TO TIGHTEN ARMS EXPORTS. Following the recent arrest of seven Poles on suspicion of trying to sell arms to Iraq, Warsaw is planning to implement new laws to restrict arms exports. A Foreign Trade Ministry Official said on 31 March that the new legislation will limit the number of arms export licences issued by the government and prevent the reexport of modern weapons technology purchased abroad. According to Western media, details of the legislation will be published in full on 1 April. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) PRAGUE ARMS EXPORTS CONTINUING. Czechoslovakia admitted on 31 March that it was exporting arms to Peru but denied allegations of sales to Pakistan. In its latest issue the weekly Respekt said it had seen official records proving a license had been issued to sell 100 T-55 tanks to Peru, a country listed as "risky" by the Foreign Ministry. Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Palous said that his ministry had nothing against the export to Peru, but he refuted reports that a government commission had approved the export of tank equipment to Pakistan, saying that arms trade with that country had ended. Respekt also said that Czechoslovakia agreed to reexport several MiG-29 and Sukhoi aircraft from Russia to Pakistan. Palous said that no license had been granted since a country of destination was not given. (Barbara Kroulik) NATO AND EX-SOVIET TROOP WITHDRAWAL. After returning from a meeting of NATO officials in Brussels, Latvian deputy Juris Dobelis told the press on 30 March that NATO is interested in a stable situation in the Baltic States. Dobelis added that the message that he received in Brussels was that NATO could not address itself to issues related to the withdrawal of ex-USSR troops from Latvia until a formal accord is reached by Latvia and Russia on the troop pullout, Diena reported on 30 March. (Dzintra Bungs) HUNGARIAN SECRETARY ASKS FOR WEU PROTECTION. On 31 March, Hungarian Deputy Defense Secretary Rudolf Joo appealed to the West European Union to help East European countries to fend off security threats posed by civil war and economic chaos in Yugoslavia and the former Soviet Union, Western news agencies reported. Speaking in Berlin at a three-day symposium on the WEU's role in maintaining peace in a changed Europe, Joo called on the international community to play a greater role in dealing with local ethnic conflicts. He said that Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Poland seek a "security partnership" with the WEU, first as observers and later as associate members. Joo said that Hungary's resources are strained by an influx of 50,000 refugees from neighboring Yugoslavia and constant violations of its borders by parties in the civil war there create security problems. He warned that refugees from former Soviet republics were also streaming westward, constituting an "unprecedented challenge to the untested immigration policy and the fragile economic and social balance of East European countries." (Edith Oltay) ILIESCU SUPPORTERS SET UP DISSIDENT GROUP. On 31 March Senator Vasile Vacaru, who resigned as leader of the NSF group in parliament the day before, announced the creation of a new parliamentary group called the National Salvation Front-22 December. It comprises hundreds of supporters of President Ion Iliescu, whom they describe as the true leader of the movement born of the revolution of 22 December 1989 which ousted Nicolae Ceausescu. A committee has been formed to transform the group into a political party, and its leaders say that they will support the government of Prime Minister Theodor Stolojan. (Mihai Sturdza) BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT AND THE STRIKES. On 31 March the parliamentary caucus of the UDF held a session that ended with a vote of support for the government against the striking miners' demand for resignation of minister Ivan Pushkarov. BTA said only one deputy supported the call for Pushkarov's resignation. In the course of the day the strike escalated to include a call for civil disobedience. Police announced they would preserve order and protect those willing to work. Four miners began a hunger strike in one 250-meter-deep mine shaft, and early on 1 April Bulgarian Radio said they had been joined by two women workers. (Rada Nikolaev) RUBLE SHORTAGE IN THE BALTIC STATES. Radio Riga and Western agencies reported on 31 March about a critical shortage of rubles in the Baltic States. Consequently, Lithuanian Premier Gediminas Vagnorius has suspended the pay of members of the government and legislature, as well as the central bank staff; the government is also allowing delays of one month in the payment of rents and housing charges. The Estonian government is trying to overcome the ruble shortage by selling some of its hard currency reserves. The Latvian government is considering the possibility of introducing an interim currency, the Latvian ruble, before going over to the lats, but most economists feel that this would not stabilize the monetary situation in the country. The ruble shortage can be attributed in part to inflation and to the new conditions of trade with Russia. (Dzintra Bungs) STATUS OF EX-SOVIET DEFENSE PLANTS IN LATVIA UNCLEAR. Maris Grinsteins of the Latvian Ministry of Maritime Affairs told Diena on 30 March that the Latvian government's decree concerning the takeover of ex-Soviet military property by Latvian authorities "has a hollow ring." Grinsteins said that ex-Soviet naval officials in Liepaja and Bolderaja continue to claim that the property belongs to Russia and refuse to recognize Latvia's authority over it. The issue was discussed on 19 March between Latvian and Russian experts in connection with the withdrawal of ex-USSR troops from Latvia; the Russian officials were loath to discuss the matter but later suggested that the plants might be turned into joint ventures. (Dzintra Bungs) NATIONALIZED PROPERTY IN LATVIA TO BE RETURNED TO OWNERS. The Latvian Supreme Council has decided that business property (but not land) owned by individuals before it was nationalized by the Soviet regime is to be returned to their previous owners or their heirs, BNS reported on 31 March. Applications must be submitted by 20 July to local governments or Latvian legations abroad, and the claimant must indicate if he wishes to have the business property back or receive compensation. In 1940, there were 4,888 private business establishments in Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs) ESTONIA ESTABLISHES ECONOMIC POLICE FORCE. The Estonian government has created a special police force to combat economic crime, BNS reported on 30 March. The previous government disbanded all state control organs, but the recent sharp increase in organized economic crime prompted the Vahi government to establish the special force. The unit, planned to include 100-140 officers, will be subordinated to the Interior Ministry. (Riina Kionka) HUNGARY PROTESTS GREEK TRUCKERS' BLOCKADE. On 31 March the Hungarian government launched a formal protest to Greece over a blockade by Greek truck drivers opposed to an increase in Hungarian transit fees, MTI reported. For the second time this year, Greek truckers blockaded Greek-Yugoslav border crossings to prevent Hungarian trucks from getting through. Hungarian Transport Ministry spokesman Andras Varhelyi told reporters that 50 Hungarian trucks were stranded. In February Hungary reached an accord with the EC under which Budapest offered 4,000 free transit permits and 14,000 preferential ones to Greek truckers heading for northern Europe, but Budapest has not been able to hand over the permits because Athens has not formally recognized the accord. (Edith Oltay) TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER ENDS BULGARIAN VISIT. On 31 March Turkish Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin ended a two-day official visit to Bulgaria, the first of its kind since 1983. Cetin assessed relations between the two neighboring countries as a model of friendship. Three documents were signed: a program for development of relations, one agreement on easing visa requirements, and another lifting travel restrictions for diplomats. BTA also said signing a friendship treaty is envisaged, but gave no details. The recent border conflict, including the Black Sea, will be discussed at the level of experts slated to meet in Ankara on 28-29 April. It was also agreed to begin negotiations on cooperation in culture and various other spheres. (Rada Nikolaev) NO ESTONIAN CITIZENSHIP APPLICATIONS YET. Estonian passport officials report that they have received no applications for Estonian citizenship yet. According to the enabling legislation to the citizenship law passed on 26 February, those wishing to become naturalized citizens of Estonia could submit applications starting on 30 March 1992. Passport Office General Director Linnar Liivamagi told ETA on 31 March that a number of applications forms have been requested, but that no one applied for citizenship the first day. (Riina Kionka) ESTONIA'S RUSSIANS VOTING WITH THEIR FEET? Business is booming for a consulting firm helping people resettle in Russia. The company, called Edusamm (Step of Success), is located in the largely Russian-populated city of Kohtla-Jarve and already has some 300 clients. The company helps finance housing in Russia with collateral from apartments in Estonia. According to the 31 March ETA report, most Edusamm clients want to be relocated in central Russia, St. Petersburg, or Novgorod. (Riina Kionka) LAST ALLIED WORLD WAR II COMMANDER TURNS 100. The sole surviving senior allied commander in World War II celebrated his 100th birthday on 31 March, PAP and Reuters report. Polish general Stanislaw Maczek received goodwill messages at his home in Scotland from world leaders including Pope John Paul II, Lech Walesa, and George Bush. Civic delegations came from towns in France, Belgium, and Holland liberated by Maczek's First Polish Armored Division. There were even delegations from some German towns he captured in 1945. After escaping from Nazi-occupied Poland to France in 1939, Maczek formed his division and participated in the 1944 Normandy landings. Among other cities, he liberated Gandawa in Belgium and Breda in Holland, and captured a major German port, Wilhelmshaven. Maczek never lost a single battle. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull The RFE/RL Daily Report is produced by the RFE/RL Research Institute (a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Inc.) in Munich, Germany, with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division (NCA). The report is available Monday through Friday, except holidays, at approximately 0800 US Eastern Time (1400 Central European Time) by fax, post, or e-mail. The report is also posted daily on the SOVSET computer network. For-inquiries about specific news items, subscriptions, or additional copies, please contact: In USA: Mr. Jon Lodeesen or Mr. Brian Reed RFE/RL, Inc., 1201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036. Telephone: (202) 457-6912 or -6900 fax: (202) 457-6992 or -202-828- 8783; or in Europe: Mr. David L. Troyanek or Ms. Helga Hofer Publications Department, RFE/RL Research Institute Oettingenstrasse 67 8000 Munich 22 Telephone: (-49 89) 2102-2631 or - 2642 fax: (-49 89) 2102-2648
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.