Part of the sercret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. - Mark Twain
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 66, 03 April 1992







SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

GAIDAR REPLACED AS FINANCE MINISTER, RETAINS FIRST DEPUTY PRIME
MINISTER POST. Russian President Boris Yeltsin moved to consolidate
his government's position on 2 April by raising yet another reformist
economist, Vasilii Barchuk, to a ministerial post, Western and
Soviet agencies reported. In the cabinet shuffle, Egor Gaidar
stepped aside as Minister of Finance, but retained his post as
First Deputy Prime Minister, and will continue to have overall
responsibility for economic reform. (John Tedstrom)

VASILII BARCHUK, NEW MINISTER OF FINANCE. The new finance minister,
Vasilii Barchuk, is characterized by Moscow insiders as both
a "technocrat" and a committed reformer as well as a loyal associate
of Gaidar's. Barchuk served as Gaidar's first deputy in the Ministry
of Economics and Finance from February of this year. Prior to
that he was a deputy minister at the USSR Ministry of Finance.
Still, relatively little is known about him in the West although
he has been involved in various aspects of developing the reform
program, and has been considered part of the Yeltsin- Gaidar
team. His publication record is slight though, and his economic
thinking is still somewhat of a mystery. (John Tedstrom)

MORE ON BARCHUK. Barchuk was "known as the main specialist on
the budget in both the Pavlov cabinet and the Yeltsin cabinet,"
according to Irina Demchenko (Izvestiya, 12 March 1992). In early
March he told the cabinet that the first quarter Russian budget
deficit would be 10% of GNP, but that a deficit/GNP figure of
4% was possible over the year as a whole. It is possible that
he was the source of Izvestiya's revelations earlier in March
that the budget balance was worse than the government was officially
admitting. (Philip Hanson)

REFORMIST LINE LIKELY TO BE MAINTAINED. Early reports of the
cabinet shuffle were based on an exceedingly brief statement
issued by Yeltsin's office, and indicated that Gaidar had been
"fired." Subsequently, good sources have reported that Gaidar
was involved in the planning of the shuffle and may well have
asked to be relieved of his Ministry of Finance responsibilities
to focus on economic questions generally. It is highly unlikely
that Yeltsin will back off his reform program so soon after receiving
the $24 billion in Western aid. In fact, this move may in part
be a way of shielding Gaidar from the criticism of the reforms
expected next week at the Congress of People's Deputies. Despite
the fact that both Aleksandr Rutskoi and Ruslan Khasbulatov have
recently come out in support of the government, there is no guarantee
of what will happen at the Congress. (John Tedstrom)

CRIMEA AGREES TO POWER SHARING PLAN. The Supreme Council of the
Crimean Republic has approved the draft Ukrainian law delineating
power between Crimea and Ukraine, Radio Ukraine reported on 2
April. Article 1 of the draft law stipulates that Crimea is a
constituent part of Ukraine, which was opposed by deputies who
support the separatist Republican Movement of Crimea. Russian
TV's Novosti program reported on 3 April that Crimea will have
the right to amend its constitution, control its land and resources,
deal independently with other states, and appoint local military
commanders. (Roman Solchanyk)

RUSSIAN SECURITY MINISTRY OFFICIAL GIVES NEW FIGURES FOR STALIN'S
REPRESSIONS. In an interview with RFE/RL, the head of the Russian
Federation's commission for the rehabilitation of victims of
unjust repressions, Nikolai Grashchoven, gave entirely new figures
of those arrested and shot under Stalin compared to what had
been reported earlier by KGB officials. Grashchoven was a KGB
officer and now is an official at the Russian Ministry of Security.
Grashchoven said that, according to the material in the KGB archives,
18 million people were "repressed" in the period from 1935 to
1945--about 7 million of them were shot. These figures are extremely
important. Although similar figures have been suggested by some
Western scholars for many years, even during the perestroika
era, the KGB continued to insist that the number of those shot
over the entire period 1921-1954 was less than one million. (Vera
Tolz)

TATARSTAN AND RUSSIA FAIL TO SIGN BILATERAL TREATY. Interfax
of 2 April reported that Tatarstan and Russian delegates signed
a protocol on results of their consultations in Moscow but failed
to sign a bilateral treaty as was expected (see Daily Report
of 1 April). It was decided that talks would resume after the
6th Congress of People's Deputies. (Charles Carlson)

YAKUT PARLIAMENT APPROVES FEDERAL TREATY. The Yakut parliament
approved the signing of the Federal Treaty on Thursday, Interfax
of 2 April reported. In addition, Yakut deputies have indicated
their intention to adopt a new constitution for Yakutia, despite
opposition from Yakut President Mikhail Nikolaev, who considers
it "impolite" to ratify a constitution before Russia. (Charles
Carlson)

FOURTEENTH ARMY ULTIMATUM IN MOLDOVA. An officers' council of
the Fourteenth Army, reportedly chaired by the army's commander,
Major General Yurii Netkachev, threatened to go on alert at 16:00
on 2 April if hostilities did not cease in Moldova. According
to Interfax on 2 April, the officers voiced their readiness to
oversee a withdrawal of the armed formations that have clashed
in recent days. Reuters reported on 2 April that the army suspended
its threat pending the outcome of negotiations to be held at
Chisinau's military airport. Reports on the army's actions were
contradictory, and the roles played by Netkachev and the central
military leadership in the threatened alert remain unclear. (Stephen
Foye)

MORE FIGHTING IN WESTERN GEORGIA. At least 13 people, including
11 government troops were killed on 1 April in fighting between
Georgian government forces and supporters of ousted president
Zviad Gamsakhurdia in the Black Sea port of Poti, Interfax and
ITAR-TASS reported on 2 April. Gamsakhurdia's supporters reportedly
occupied the town but were subsequently driven out by government
forces, which then retreated after running out of ammunition.
(Liz Fuller)

ONGOING DIPLOMATIC INITIATIVES ON NAGORNO-KARABAKH. The CSCE
fact-finding mission headed by Czechoslovak Foreign Minister
Jiri Dienstbier held talks in Erevan on 2 April. Dienstbier said
agreement had been reached with Azerbaijan on the participation
of Nagorno-Karabakh representatives in the CSCE Minsk peace conference,
and that the CSCE is prepared to set up ceasefire monitoring
posts in Nagorno-Karabakh, CSTK reported. Talks mediated by Russia
and Iran between Armenian and Azerbaijani representatives on
1 April in Armenia's Idzhevan raion resulted in agreements on
a ceasefire for the duration of spring sowing, on rail safety
and on lifting of the Azerbaijani blockade of gas supplies to
Armenia, Interfax reported on 2 April. Russian Foreign Minister
Andrei Kozyrev discussed Karabakh with Georgian State Council
chairman Eduard Shevardnadze in Tbilisi on 2 April, ITAR-TASS
reported. Kozyrev will also travel to Armenia and Azerbaijan.
(Liz Fuller)

MORE REQUESTS TO DELAY FUEL PRICE RISE. Six republics of the
CIS asked Russia on 2 April to delay the adjustment of crude
and petroleum products prices until October 1, KAZTAG-TASS reported.
The joint appeal was drafted by the Kazakh Council of Ministers
and was endorsed by the governments of Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova,
Uzbekistan, and Ukraine (see the RFE/RL Daily Report for 2 April).
The appeal said that wages, pensions, and social benefits must
be increased before fuel prices are allowed to rise. A meeting
of Russian mayors in Novosibirsk on the same day urged President
Yeltsin to keep the prices of fuel and raw materials under control
until the end of 1992, Interfax reported. (Keith Bush)

STABILIZATION FUND TO SUPPORT A RATE OF FIFTY RUBLES TO THE DOLLAR?
In an interview with Radio Rossii on 2 April, Russian government
adviser Sergei Vasilev said "it is proposed" that the $6 billion
stabilization fund to be financed by the West be used to support
a "fixed" rate of 50 rubles to the US dollar. He also said the
aid package was a "100%" success, since the amount was what the
government had discussed with "foreign experts" three months
earlier. In January Petr Aven, the minister responsible for economic
relations, referred to a target rate, similarly supported, in
the range of R15-35 = $1 (Rossiiskaya gazeta, 1 January). Higher
than expected inflation since then could explain the difference.
(Philip Hanson)

TATARSTAN BEGINS PRIVATIZATION. Interfax of 2 April reports that
Tatarstan's law on privatization came into force on 1 April.
Under the law, employees will have priority rights in choosing
modes and procedures for privatization. Modes will include auctions,
free distribution through privatization checks, and transformation
into joint stock companies. However, the law does not imply restoration
of property rights of former owners, their heirs or legal successors
for nationalized or confiscated property. (Charles Carlson)

RUSSIAN POPULATION GROWTH SLOWING. Goskomstat reported on 2 April
that the Russian population grew by 130,000 in 1991, an increase
60% lower than in 1990, according to ITAR-TASS. During the last
part of 1991, deaths exceeded births by 12,000 a month; in January
1992, this margin increased to 20,000. A population specialist,
Evgenii Krasinets, attributed the decline of the birth rate largely
to the critical economic situation and to falling living standards.
(Keith Bush)

OZONE LAYER OVER RUSSIA DEPLETED. Vyacheslav Khattarov, the head
of a group of Russian scientists taking part in an international
team studying ozone levels over the northern hemisphere, told
ITAR-TASS on 1 April that the ozone level over most of Russia
is depleted. Ozone levels were 10% to 20% below normal in January
and February this year, and on some days dropped to nearly one
half of their normal amount. Damage to the ozone layer was particularly
serious over industrialized regions of northern European Russia,
Siberia, and Yakutia, according to Khattarov. (Keith Bush)

NEW HEAD OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE. Evgenii Ambartsumov was
elected head of the Committee for Foreign Affairs and Foreign
Economic Ties on 1 April, ITAR-TASS reported. He had previously
been deputy chairman of the committee, replacing Vladimir Lukin,
now serving as ambassador to the United States. (Suzanne Crow)


SOLDIERS LIKE RUTSKOI BEST. According to the most recent survey
of the Military-Sociological Research Center, Russian Vice President
Aleksandr Rutskoi is the most popular politician among servicemen
throughout the CIS. "Vesti," which reported the results of the
survey on 1 April, did not give the percentage of those supporting
Rutskoi, but said that Boris Yeltsin was second with support
from 34% of the respondents. Grigorii Yavlinsky and Ruslan Khasbulatov
were reportedly next, with 21%. (Stephen Foye)

NEW NAVY DEPUTY COMMANDER. Interfax reported on 2 April that
Admiral Felix Gromov, formerly commander of the Northern Fleet,
has been appointed First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of CIS Naval
Forces. He replaces Admiral Ivan Kapitanets, who reportedly has
retired. (Stephen Foye)

JAPAN LINKS AID TO DEFENSE CUTS? Japanese Foreign Minister Michio
Watanabe told newsmen on 3 April that Japan intends to press
for reductions in Russian defense spending as a condition for
economic aid, Kyodo reported. He said that Japan could not agree
to providing large-scale financial aid so long as Russia maintains
its present level of military spending. (Stephen Foye)



UKRAINE TO GET US CREDIT. US President George Bush has said that
Ukraine's request for a 300 million dollar credit line will be
approved in full, Radio Ukraine reported on 2 April. President
Bush is said to have made the statement in the course of his
recent telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Leonid
Kravchuk, which focused on US aid to the CIS states. The Ukrainian
leader, in turn, informed President Bush on preparations for
his forthcoming visit to the United States. (Roman Solchanyk)


TAJIKISTAN POLITICAL OPPOSITION RALLIES. Opposition leaders of
the week-long rally in Dushanbe have dropped their demand for
parliament's resignation as a whole, according to Interfax of
2 April. However, they still insist on convening an extraordinary
session of parliament, the immediate drafting of a new constitution,
and the election of a new, multi-party parliament. The Islamic
Revival Party has said that if Tajik leaders fail to implement
the oppositions' demands, a national congress of Tajiks, consisting
of all opposition forces, might be formed as an alternative to
official bodies. (Charles Carlson)



CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

WARSAW TO BROADEN GOVERNMENT COALITION. On 2 April Poland's government
parties and proreform opposition groups reached general agreement
to broaden the ruling coalition, Western and Polish media report.
After meeting with offcials of the opposition Democratic Union,
Liberal-Democratic Congress and Polish Economic Program, Prime
Minister Olszewski said the talks were "very concrete." Tadeusz
Mazowiecki, leader of the UD wants to form a "grand coalition,"
saying it is "a political, not an ideological accord." The new
coalition would give the government additional strength to push
through economic reform. In another development, the government's
budget and economic reform plan gets its first reading in the
Sejm on 3 April. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)

WALESA CONCLUDES GERMAN VISIT. On 2 April President Lech Walesa
admitted his trip to Germany had been "difficult and complicated"
but also called it "the most fruitful" he had ever undertaken.
Speaking at a press conference in Berlin he said that Western
business leaders still have reservations towards the reform process
Poland launched 15 months ago. "Obstacles are going to be lifted.
Our difficulties are big, but we have set off down the course
of reform." Later, joined by German president Richard von Weizsaecker,
Walesa went to Frankfurt/Oder on the border with Poland. After
walking on the "Bridge of Friendship" linking Frankfurt with
the Polish town of Slubice, he said "my dream is that in the
year 2000 you will not notice the border between Poland and Germany.
I think this dream will come true." Western and Polish media
carried the story. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)

POLAND WANTS SHARE OF GUARANTEED CIS TRADE. Accompanying Lech
Walesa on his visit to Germany, Finance Minister Andrzej Olechowski
told Reuters in Berlin on 2 April that Western aid to the former
Soviet republics should include credit guarantees to maintain
trade with Eastern Europe. He said Western industrialized nations
should use credit guarantees to CIS republics to support trade
with former communist countries in Eastern Europe.This should
be decided when the G-7 heads of states meet in Munich in July.
Olechowski also said Poland is dependent on energy supplies from
Russia, adding "we are horrified at the prospect of an economic
conflict between Russia and Ukraine that could stop supplies."
(Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)

SOVIET MILITARY PROPERTY IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA. According to an agreement
signed in Moscow on 1 April ending two years of bitter talks,
all former Soviet military property in Czechoslovakia will be
turned over to the Prague government. The facilities will be
sold and the proceeds used to settle citizens' claims against
Soviet forces. However, Czechoslovak Environment Minister Josef
Vavrousek said on 2 April that the damage done by the Soviets
exceeds the value of the property they left behind. The total
damage to health, property and the environment was more than
2 billion koruny (about $67 million), he said. CSTK did not give
the value of the Soviet property now owned by Czechoslovakia.
(Barbara Kroulik)

CZECHOSLOVAK DEFENSE MINISTER IN FRANCE. Czechoslovak Defense
Minister Lubos Dobrovsky met with his French counterpart Pierre
Joxe on 2 April and visited the French War College and the headquarters
of the Strategic Air Force near Paris. Dobrovsky's visit is the
first in a series by defense ministers from Eastern Europe and
CIS. He is scheduled to visit the headquarters of the French
Tactical Air Command at Metz today, an RFE/RL correspondent reports.
(Barbara Kroulik)

FIGHTING CONTINUES IN BOSNIA. The 3 April Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung reports that fighting continued at several flashpoints
in that troubled republic. The paper suggests that the various
sides are trying to consolidate their positions before the boundaries
of the planned new "cantons" are set down, but the BBC quotes
President Alija Izetbegovic as blaming the violence on those
who want to delay international recognition of the republic's
independence. Finally, Vjesnik cites Austrian Foreign Minister
Alois Mock as calling for "earliest possible" recognition of
the republic as a means to stabilize the situation and discourage
the spread of violence. (Patrick Moore)

IZETBEGOVIC ON BOSNIA'S CURRENT SITUATION. Radio Sarajevo on
2 April reports that Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic met
with top republican security officials and the commander of the
2nd Military District of the Yugoslav army, Gen. Milutin Kukanjac,
to discuss ways of stabilizing the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
He told reporters after the meeting that the violence over the
past month "is not a question of war, but of staged conflicts."
He explained that various paramilitary units from Croatia and
Serbia continue to cross over to Bosnia-Herzegovina to engage
in terrorist activities. He also announced that there would be
a government reshuffle in the near future, a reorganization of
the territorial defense system, and a purge in the Ministry of
Internal Affairs. He also criticized Irfan Ajanovic, the spokesman
of the Party of the Democratic Action (SDA), who told reporters
earlier that the Yugoslav Army in Bosnia is "an occupying army."
Izetbegovic, who is chairman of the SDA, said that Ajanovic overstepped
his position, and that this was not the SDA's official stand.
(Milan Andrejevich)

DISPUTE OVER GABCIKOVO DAM CONTINUES. On 2 April Hungarian official
Adriene Hajosy told Reuter that if Czechoslovakia does not suspend
construction work on its side of hydroelectric project by 30
April, Hungary will take the matter to the International Court
of Justice in the Hague. Czechoslovak officials told a press
conference in Budapest the same day that Czechoslovakia will
adhere to its plan to put the Gabcikovo dam into operation in
the autumn by deflecting the river Danube to Czechoslovak territory.
Hungary says that Prague's plans would change state borders,
create grave environmental damage, and violate several international
agreements. Czechoslovak official Julius Binder rejected Hungary's
charges as unfounded, and said that a suspension of construction
work would result in severe financial losses for his country.
(Edith Oltay)

ROMANIAN PRESS ON ILIESCU-ROMAN RIFT. Last week's NSF convention
was still making headlines in the Romanian dailies of 2 April.
The opposition Cotidianul argues that Petre Roman's victory was
primarily due to his more coherent program while the rival faction
appears to express Iliescu's personal interests. Alluding to
anticommunist statements by Roman, Iliescu told the Timisoara
daily Renasterea banateana that his suggestion that communism
should be put on trial is demagogic and undemocratic. The opposition
daily Dreptatea criticizes what they saw as vulgar language against
Roman used by Iliescu's supporters during a session of the senate
after the convention. And Romania libera quotes Roman, speaking
on Radio Free Europe on 31 March, deploring the behavior of the
senate leadership during that session. (Mihai Sturdza)

AGREEMENT WITH UKRAINE SIGNED IN BUCHAREST. On 2 April Ukrainian
and Romanian parliament leaders signed a cooperation agreement
to extend economic, political, cultural, and other bilateral
links. Local media report the delegations were headed by Leonid
Plyushch, chairman of Ukraine's Supreme Council, and Alexandru
Barladeanu and Dan Martian, chairmen of Romania's two chambers
of parliament. The delegations spoke in friendly and conciliatory
terms about their countries position on the conflict in Moldova.
(Mihai Sturdza)

UNEMPLOYMENT ON THE RISE IN ROMANIA. According to figures released
on 31 March by the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, 420,000
people were chronically unemployed during the period from 22
to 29 March, 60% of them women. These figures do not include
more than 67,000 other people looking for a job who do not meet
the official criteria for unemployment. Only 3,233 jobs are currently
available. (Mihai Sturdza)

BULGARIAN PRIVATIZATION BILL PASSES FIRST READING. The draft
law on privatization of state and municipal enterprises was approved
on first reading on 2 April after only three days of parliamentary
debates. BTA said that of 182 deputies present at the session
169 had voted for the bill, showing a nonpartisan desire for
an effective law in this key area of modernizing the economy.
(Rada Nikolaev)

MAIL, TELEPHONE RATE HIKE IN BULGARIA. On 2 April the Council
of Ministers approved a proposal by the Chairman of the Committee
on Communications, Stefan Sofianski, for a sharp increase of
the prices of mail and telephone services as of 1 May. The changes
were originally proposed in late January to take effect early
in the year, but the government refused to approve them. BTA
said that the prices of telephone calls will increase by 50%
and mail by an average of 200%. (Rada Nikolaev)

BULGARIANS TO REWRITE HISTORY. Minister of Education and Science
Nikolay Vassilev has banned the use in schools of all history
and other textbooks dealing with Bulgaria, BTA reported on 2
April. The decision was necessitated by continuing concerns over
distortions in the teaching of Bulgarian history. A joint commission
of experts from Sofia and Veliko Tarnovo universities will prepare
interim materials to be used until new textbooks can be published.
A national conference of history teachers will be held on 7-9
April and teacher requalification courses are also planned. (Rada
Nikolaev)

RUSSIA PROTESTS ESTONIAN CITIZENSHIP LAW. Russia has protested
Estonia's new law on citizenship, according to an RFE/RL correspondent
on 2 April. In a statement circulated by the Russian delegation
at the CSCE conference in Helsinki, Russia says the new law "may
infringe on the rights of the non-Estonian population." The
statement also said Russia "reserves the right to use relevant
international mechanisms to draw the world's attention to the
human rights situation in Estonia following the law on citizenship."
Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev told
CSCE representatives that Russia would use force if necessary
to protect the rights of Russians living in non-Russian areas
of the former Soviet Union. (Riina Kionka)

BRITAIN REPAYS GOLD TO ESTONIA, LITHUANIA. On 2 April Great Britain
repaid gold to Estonia and Lithuania that was deposited in the
Bank of England when the Baltic States were annexed by the USSR
in 1940, Reuters reported that day. A settlement with Latvia
is still being negotiated. Before 1940 the Baltic States had
about 14 tons of gold deposited in the Bank of England. In 1967
Britain sold the Baltic gold for 10 million dollars and used
most of the proceeds to meets claims by Britons for assets lost
when the Baltic States were taken over by the USSR. (Dzintra
Bungs)

PLO TO OPEN BALTIC OFFICES. The Palestine Liberation Organization
says it will soon open offices in the Baltic States. According
to PLO spokesman Zuheir al-Wazir, who spoke to Western reporters
in Helsinki on 2 April, the group hopes to establish full diplomatic
relations with the three Baltic States within the next three
months. Al-Wazir said PLO chairman Yasser Arafat is "very keen"
to establish ties similar to hose with Russia and other former
USSR republics. (Riina Kionka)

LITHUANIA ALL0WS EX-SOVIET SOLDIERS TO SELL HOMES. Lithuania's
Minister of Defense Audrius Butkevicius told the Western European
Union Forum in Berlin on 31 March that his country will let ex-USSR
army officers sell their apartments in Lithuania in order to
speed up their departure, Western news agencies report. Butkevicius
said that there are about 8,000 former Soviet officers and noncommissioned
officers in Lithuania and that about 5,000 have private housing.
Butkevicius added that as a sign of good will, Lithuania would
allow the sale of apartments to help the officers start new lives
in Russia. (Dzintra Bungs)

EX-SOVIET TROOPS IN LATVIA TRAIN FOR POSSIBLE ATTACK. BNS reported
about early morning weapons training session on 2 April by ex-USSR
troops stationed in Cekule, a village near Riga. When Latvian
Defense Ministry officials asked about those activities, Col.
Kostikov explained that the purpose of this previously planned
shooting session was to train the participants in resistance
to a possible attack. There is a large ammunitions depot in Cekule.
Radio Riga reported on 2 April about troops movements around
Riga and Adazi. Col. Sergei Anishin said that the movements have
to do with the transfer of troops outside the Northwestern district
and essentially constitute troop departure from the Baltic area.
From his explanation, it was not clear if new arrivals to the
Northwestern district are not also processed at Adazi. (Dzintra
Bungs)

INFLATION RAISES MINIMUM INCOME ESTIMATE. The Free Trade Union
Association has updated its estimate of minimum monthly income
for those living in Latvia. As of 26 March, their estimate for
a working person was 2507 rubles, while for a pensioner the sum
was 1850 rubles. Realizing that Latvia does not have the resources
to guarantee such incomes, the association scaled down its estimate
for a monthly subsistence level income per person during a time
of economic crisis to an average of 1204 rubles (1342 rubles
for those working and 1232 for the retired), BNS reported on
1 April. (Dzintra Bungs)

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson and Charles Trumbull

(END)

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