|A disagreement may be the shortest cut between two minds. - Kahlil Gibran|
No. 68, 07 April 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR FIRST DAY OF CONGRESS: VICTORY FOR THE OPPOSITION? Although a proposal for a vote of no confidence on the Russian government was defeated by a marginal majority of Russian deputies, Russian President Yeltsin's legal adviser Sergei Shakhrai told "Novosti" on 6 April that the opposition had "won the first round" of debate on the first day of the Congress. All Yeltsin's proposals on the agenda were voted down by the deputies, Shakhrai explained, and the opposition will still have an opportunity to express their dissatisfaction with the government following its report on the course of economic reforms. (Julia Wishnevsky) OPPOSITION BRANDS REFORMISTS "CRIMINAL." Probably the most important victory for the opposition was the resolution calling on the Russian General Prosecutor to investigate appeals made by many Russian officials, including those present at the Citizen's Assembly called to support the Yeltsin government on 5 April, that the Congress and other soviets be disbanded. Such appeals, the resolution noted, are regarded as criminal under Russian law. The resolution was adopted by 587 votes, with 62 against and 32 abstentions. (Julia Wishnevsky) YELTSIN RENEWS PRESIDENTIAL CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL. A permanently functioning Presidential Consultative Council has been created under the chairmanship of Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Russian TV reported on 6 April. The membership of the Council includes numerous well-known politicians, academics, scientists, journalists and film makers. Among them are Gennadii Burbulis (deputy chairman), Georgii Arbatov, Oleg Bogomolov, Pavel Bunich, Daniil Granin, Yurii Levada, Gavriil Popov, Anatolii Sobchak, Vladimir Tikhonov, Dmitrii Volkogonov, Egor Yakovlev and Mark Zakharov. The Council has been in existence since 1990, albeit with a smaller membership but seldom met. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN'S RESHUFFLE: A CONCESSION TO THE INDUSTRIAL LOBBY? Boris Yeltsin was applauded when, in his televised address to the "Citizens' Assembly" in Moscow on 5 April, he spoke of plans to bring into the cabinet "a number of major entrepreneurs and producers." While Yeltsin's cabinet reshuffle of 3-4 April seems to have been prompted by his desire to shield some of his closest associates from attack at this week's session of the Congress of People's Deputies, there are reports from Moscow that the president is planning an expanded, coalition-type cabinet that would coopt representatives of state-owned businesses, many of whom are deeply unhappy with Yeltsin's economic reforms. A deal may have been in the making for some time. First deputy prime ministers (as both then were) Burbulis and Gaidar met on 1 April with directors of leading Russian industrial enterprises and, Interfax reported on 2 April, Gaidar promised to "modify" the government's economic policies. (Elizabeth Teague) STANKEVICH SUPPORTS GOVERNMENT CHANGES. Russian State Counsellor Sergei Stankevich denied that recent government changes were made as a result of pressure from the parliament on the Russian president. He told Russian TV on 6 April that the government had to be restructured according to the new requirements of the reform process. Stankevich indicated that the time for theoreticians to run the government had passed and that professionals with managerial skills from industry and agriculture would be incorporated into the government in the course of the Congress. (Alexander Rahr) RUTSKOI ON "DNIESTER REPUBLIC." Russian Vice-president Aleksandr Rutskoi addressed the opening session of the Russian Congress of People's Deputies on 6 April and urged lawmakers to take a stand on the question of sovereignty for the breakaway "Dniester Republic." In what Western news agencies described as a strongly nationalistic speech, Rutskoi argued that the congress must act to defend Russians throughout the former Soviet Union. He maintained that the self-proclaimed "Dniester Republic" did not want to secede from Moldova but was interested in a new federative structure. (Roman Solchanyk) GENERALS ON MOLDOVAN PEACE-KEEPERS. The commander of the Moldova-based Fourteenth Army, Major General Yurii Netkachev, told Moldovapres on 6 April that his troops are ready to act as a buffer force in the region, but only with the consent of those states directly and indirectly involved in the conflict. His comments were echoed by Colonel General Boris Gromov, first deputy commander of the CIS Ground Forces, during a "Novosti" broadcast on 6 April. Gromov urged setting up UN-style CIS peacekeeping forces in the republic, and suggested that the Fourteenth Army might be used for that purpose. Meanwhile, Major General Nikolai Stolyarov, an aid to the CIS high command, said on 6 April that the Fourteenth Army was in a difficult position and called for a concerted CIS effort to bring about a political settlement, RIA reported. (Stephen Foye) RUTSKOI CRITICIZED IN UKRAINE. Rutskoi's statements during his recent visit to the Crimea have resulted in a sharp reaction from Ukraine. Radio Ukraine reported on 6 April that Levko Lukyanenko, head of the Ukrainian Republican Party and a deputy to the national parliament, demanded that Rutskoi be declared persona non grata in Ukraine and that he be barred from entering the country. A round table with representatives from various political groups in Kiev has raised the question of initiating criminal proceedings against the Russian vice-president. (Roman Solchanyk) CRIMEAN REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN. About 250,000 signatures have been gathered in the Crimea in support of holding a referendum there on the status of the peninsula, Radio Rossii reported on 6 April. Proponents of a referendum needed 180,000 signatures (10% of the population) by 1 April in order to hold a referendum. (Roman Solchanyk) MORE VERBAL SALVOS OVER BLACK SEA FLEET. Charging that Russian Vice-president Aleksandr Rutskoi's activities during his recent visit to Sevastopol had been "direct interference" in Ukraine's internal affairs, the Presidium of the Ukrainian parliament issued a statement calling on Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk to "immediately take the necessary measures to create a Ukrainian Navy." In the statement, broadcast on Radio Ukraine on 6 April, the presidium noted that Ukraine had made a significant contribution in building all four of the ex-Soviet Navy's fleets. It was claiming "only that part of the Black Sea Fleet which is registered at its ports," a part considerably less than its overall naval contributions. The same day, Kravchuk issued a decree stating that all military formations stationed on Ukrainian territory were subordinate to the republic's defense ministry. The ministry was instructed to "form administrative bodies for the Ukrainian naval forces" after agreement with the CIS Joint Armed Forces commander-in-chief on the list of those ships and units that would be temporarily transferred to the operational control of the CIS strategic forces. (Doug Clarke) PROGRESS REPORT ON ECONOMIC REFORM. A Russian government report entitled "Materials on the Question of the Progress of the Economic Reform in the Russian Federation" was distributed to all deputies at the Congress on its opening day, ITAR-TASS reported on 6 April. This argued, inter alia, that subsidies on fuel and energy amounted to 498 billion and 132 billion rubles each month, and thus any delay in the raising of their prices was "absolutely unrealistic." The document forecast an end to the inflationary spiral, the high budget deficit and the drop in output by the beginning of 1993. It saw a continuing need during 1992 to defer payments on foreign debts and for additional credits. (Keith Bush) CASH SHORTAGE IN RUSSIA TO CONTINUE. Speaking to the Congress of People's Deputies on 6 April, Chairman of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, Georgii Matyukhin said that Russia was facing what amounted to a severe shortage of currency, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. Matyukhin said that the shortage could amount to as much as 66 billion rubles in the second quarter of 1992. He noted that workers will, in all likelihood, find their pay envelopes short because of the lack of cash. He told deputies that there were no plans to carry out a currency reform in the foreseeable future, and that there were likewise no plans to index savings accounts. Critics accuse the monetary authorities lack the political will to pursue austerity measures that could set Russia's financial problems straight. (John Tedstrom) ESTIMATED COST OF RESCUE PACKAGE FOR RUSSIA. The Financial Times of 6 April quotes a calculation by David Roche of Morgan Stanley of the scale of Western aid needed if the Russian economic reform program is not to be abandoned in mid-stream. The estimated costs of direct aid, infrastructural rebuilding, revamping the energy sector, power stations, agriculture and the food chain, training and welfare payments to the unemployed, and supplies of consumer goods total between $76 and $167 billion a year. The calculation excludes the ruble stabilization fund and expenditures on cleaning up the environment. (Keith Bush) EX-SOVIET TROOPS SOON OUT OF MONGOLIA. Mongolian Defense Minister Shagalyn Jadambaa has said that the last ex-Soviet soldiers would leave Mongolia before the end of August. He was quoted by AFP as saying that fewer than 2,000 were still in the country. Some Western analysts have estimated that at one time as many as 60,000 Soviet troops were in Mongolia. They began to withdraw in 1988. (Doug Clarke) RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT HELPS PRESS. At a meeting with representatives of the regional Russian press on 6 April, deputy prime minister and minister of the media, Mikhail Poltoranin, praised the Russian government for taking measures to support the republican press in the period of economic reforms. Poltoranin stressed that not only pro-government periodicals had recently started to receive subsidies from the government, but also opposition ones. Poltoranin said that, for instance, Pravda received 18 million rubles in subsidies, ITAR-TASS reported on 6 April. This, according to the agency, has allowed Pravda to resume publication, which ceased on 14 March due to the lack of financial resources. ITAR-TASS said Pravda's next issue will come out on 7 April. (Vera Tolz) COMMUNIST PARTY REFUSED REGISTRATION IN KAZAKHSTAN. KazTAG-TASS reported on 3 April that Kazakhstan's Ministry of Justice has refused to register the statutes of the newly-constituted Communist Party of Kazakhstan on the grounds that they violate the country's constitution and declaration of independence. The party, which groups together hard-liners opposed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, calls for Kazakhstan to rejoin a reconstituted USSR. On this issue, the group differs from the Socialist Party of Kazakhstan, the official successor to the former ruling Communist Party. An official of the new party has threatened to appeal to the courts if registration continues to be denied. (Bess Brown) DEMONSTRATION CONTINUES IN DUSHANBE. A demonstration sponsored by the Islamic Party of Tajikistan continued on 5 April, pressing opposition demands that the Tajik legislature and president Rakhman Nabiev resign, Moscow TV and Radio Mayak reported. According to the latter, Nabiev appealed to the opposition to end the demonstration, which has been underway since 26 March to protest the firing of Internal Affairs Minister Mamadaez Navzhuvanov and demand the release of former Dushanbe Mayor Maksud Ikramov, who has been charged with corruption. The opposition says the charges are false and politically motivated. (Bess Brown) NEW MARTYRS CANONIZED. ITAR-TASS reported on 3 April that the bishops' meeting held at the Danilov monastery in Moscow voted to establish the 7th of February as the day to commemorate "new martyrs." A number of metropolitans killed after the revolution, the Grand Duchess Elisaveta, and a nun killed with her will be canonized. The meeting also called on the Synodal Commission for Canonization to start an investigation into the murder of the Tsar's family. (The Russian Orthodox Church abroad has canonized over 30,000 "new martyrs," among them the last Tsar, Nicholas II, and his family in November, 1982, which met with harsh criticism in both the Soviet and American press.) (Oxana Antic) CHURCH TO LAUNCH AN INVESTIGATION OF KGB-CHURCH LINKS. Radio Rossiya reported on 6 April that the bishops' meeting which ended in Moscow that day, had decided to organize a commission for the investigation of possible links between the KGB and the Church during communist rule. (Oxana Antic) EASTERN EUROPE CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE EC STATES AGREE TO RECOGNIZE BOSNIA, WAIT ON MACEDONIA. On 6 April EC foreign ministers agreed to recognize the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina and decided to lift economic sanctions against Serbia, hoping to put a halt to the ongoing violence and prevent any outbreak of fighting elsewhere in the region. The EC postponed any decision on recognizing Macedonia because of Greek opposition. EC member governments are expected to put into effect their foreign ministers' decision. This will be the first time in its history that Bosnia-Herzegovina has been recognized an independent state. Portuguese foreign minister Joao de Deus Pinheiro told reporters that he expects that the US, Canada, and other European states will follow the EC's lead in recognizing Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Chicago Tribune today speculates that the US will extend recognition to Croatia and Slovenia as well. (Milan Andrejevich) REACTIONS IN THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. Belgrade's independent radio station B-92 remarked that international recognition of Bosnia-Herzegovina "represents another defeat for Serbia's diplomacy." Serbian foreign minister Vladislav Jovanovic described the EC's decision to recognize as "creating more problems than it is solving." Federal Deputy foreign minister Milivoje Maksic said he was amazed that the EC had taken such a step because Bosnia-Herzegovina has not yet clearly defined itself as a state through a democratic consensus of all three constituent nations. Croatia and Slovenia welcomed the decision, but Croatian President Franjo Tudjman urged decisive foreign intervention to halt the fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina and to safeguard that republic's independence. (Milan Andrejevich) TENSIONS REMAIN HIGH IN BOSNIA. Fighting throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina overshadowed the EC deliberations. Clashes between Croatian and Muslims and Serb paramilitary troops were reported in many parts of the republic. Federal army troops and warplanes were also engaged in numerous battles against Croatian forces in Herzegovina. In Sarajevo, another peace demonstration was marred by violence as Serb gunmen fired shots at the crowd from the upper floors of a hotel. It is not clear how many people were killed, but Radio Sarajevo reported at least five deaths. Radio Sarajevo reported early on 7 April that shooting in the city was gradually dying down. Federal troops remain in control of the city airport and have disarmed gunmen who had held some 800 people hostage in the city's police academy. (Milan Andrejevich) COMMITTEE OF NATIONAL SALVATION ESTABLISHED. Hundreds of people who took over national assembly building of Bosnia-Herzegovina on Sunday established a "Committee of National Salvation" after their demands calling for the resignation of the republic's government failed. More than 20,000 protesters outside the assembly supported the action. The 20-member committee comprises a balanced mix of Muslims, Serbs, and Croats and includes prominent scholars, businessmen, civil servants, and a retired Yugoslav army general. The committee has been empowered to appoint an interim government. It is demanding that elections take place soon and is calling on the Yugoslav army to protect Bosnia's citizens and establish a crisis center with the UN peace mission headquartered in Sarajevo. Meanwhile, Bosnia's collective Presidency accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Jure Pelivan, a Croat, and approved the holding of new parliamentary elections soon. Radio Sarajevo speculated that Pelivan's resignation could lead to the collapse of the government. (Milan Andrejevich) BOSNIAN SERBS DECLARE INDEPENDENCE. Radio Sarajevo reports that early on 7 April in Banja Luka the Assembly of the Serbian People in Bosnia-Herzegovina declared the independence of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In early January Bosnian Serb leaders proclaimed the republic and threatened to declare its independence if Bosnia-Herzegovina were recognized as an independent state. During the assembly session, the two Serb representatives on the seven-member Bosnian Presidency submitted their resignations. Though the actions were expected, further uncertainty is added to the Bosnian crisis. (Milan Andrejevich) ESTONIA CONFIRMS FOREIGN MINISTER. The Estonian Supreme Council confirmed Jaan Manitski as foreign minister on 6 April, the RFE/RL Estonian Service reports. According to Estonian Foreign Ministry officials, the vote was 46 to 28, with 16 abstentions. Manitski, a 50-year-old businessman from Sweden who left Estonia as a child, currently lives in Brussels. He is expected to maintain the foreign policy course set by his predecessor Lennart Meri, who resigned in February after many months of criticism over his management of the foreign ministry. (Riina Kionka) ESTONIAN ELECTION LAW PASSED. The Supreme Council on 6 April passed an election law, bringing the country one step closer holding its first parliamentary elections after the reinstatement of independence. The law, which passed 56 to 8 with 2 abstentions, allows all citizens of the Republic of Estonia who reside there permanently to vote, according to an RFE/RL Estonian Service report. This provision excludes from voting the tens of thousands of Estonians living abroad who retain citizenship. Elections are expected in June, after a referendum on the new constitution is held. (Riina Kionka) POLISH DEFENSE MINISTER WARNS POLITICIANS . . . Speaking to general staff officers on 6 April, Jan Parys accused some politicians of "fomenting intrigues to the detriment of the army and the country." According to PAP Parys said that "attempts to inveigle the army into intrigues have recently increased." Parys said that "lately certain politicians, without the knowledge of the minister or the chief of the general staff, have been entertaining officers and promising them promotions in return for the army's support in political intrigues." Parys declined to name the politicians involved. Asked by PAP to comment on Parys's remarks, representatives of several political parties denied any involvement. (Roman Stefanowski) . . . AND SPEAKS ON THE COUNTRY'S SECURITY. Responding to an officer who had expressed concern about underestimating the German threat to Polish security, Parys said that "public opinion polls have shown that in case of a threat, it is Germany that would come to Poland's aid." There is no reason to imagine, said Parys, that democracy in Germany would break down in the near future and that circles hostile to Poland would take over. Poland and Germany are in the same European camp, said Parys, and so long as the Germans are integrated within Europe they are influenced by European institutions. Parys was less certain about Poland's Eastern neighbors, however, since "we cannot see which way the situation will develop there." (Roman Stefanowski) ISRAELI ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF IN POLAND. Lt. Gen. Ehud Barak, Israeli Chief of Staff, arrived in Poland on 6 April for a three-day official visit, a first of this kind, Polish and Western media report. His Polish host and counterpart Gen. Zdzislaw Stelmaszuk said no military agreements or equipment contracts will be signed, but Barak did propose an exchange of military attaches in the near future. Barak said he is an optimist as far as Israeli-Polish military cooperation is concerned but "things must move slowly." On 7 April Barak and members of his delegation will visit the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp for a religious commemorative ceremony. (Roman Stefanowski) BULGARIAN-CZECHOSLOVAK TREATY SIGNED. Vaclav Havel paid a one-day visit to Bulgaria on 6 April, his first visit to the country as Czechoslovak president. Havel and his Bulgarian host, Zhelyu Zhelev, signed a friendship treaty valid for ten years. Bulgarian and Czechoslovak media said its aim is to develop close cooperation, while an emphasis was placed on the European connection of both countries. Havel also met with top Bulgarian officials. Prime Minister Filip Dimitrov promised to release Bulgarian documents on the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. Separately the two ministers of finance discussed Bulgaria's debt to Czechoslovakia which BTA said amounts to 343 million transfer rubles. (Rada Nikolaev) GERMANY IS CZECHOSLOVAKIA'S MAIN TRADING PARTNER. The Czechoslovak Foreign Trade Ministry said on 6 April that Germany has now surpassed the former USSR as Czechoslovakia's biggest export market. The ministry says exports to Germany have risen by one-third since 1990 and accounted for 25% of Czechoslovakia's total exports last year. Exports to the ex-USSR amounted to only 19%. This is the first time since World War II that Czechoslovak exports to Germany surpassed those to the republics of the former USSR, although last year the USSR remained Czechoslovakia's main source of imports (about one-third) while imports from Germany amounted to just over 20% of the total, Western agencies report. (Barbara Kroulik) HUNGARY TURNS AWAY HALF A MILLION FOREIGNERS. Hungarian Border Guard spokesman Attila Krisan told Radio Budapest on 6 April that some half a million foreigners were turned away at the borders in the past six months. Some 70% of those who were denied entry came from Romania, 20% from former communist countries, and the rest came from other countries. Krisan said that some 8,000 foreigners were turned away last weekend alone. Hungary introduced stricter entry requirements six months ago in an attempt to curb the tide of illegal immigration. (Edith Oltay) NEW COUNTIES IN LATVIA. The Latvian Supreme Council Presidium decided to establish four new counties: Serene county in Aizkraukle district; Ivande county in Kuldiga district; Strazde county in Talsi district; and Evele county in Valka district. In addition, Adazi county was divided into Adazi and Carnikava counties. The decision was prompted by repeated requests of those living in the Carnikava area who want to develop their county as a health resort. In contrast, the present Adazi county is much more industrialized, and one-third of its territory is taken up by the base of the ex-USSR armed forces, BNS reported on 2 April. (Dzintra Bungs) ANCUPOVS HEADS LATVIAN SC PRESS CENTER. On 2 April the Latvian Supreme Council's Presidium appointed Sergejs Ancupovs to head the legislature's press center, Diena reports. Ancupovs, who was born in Khabarovsk, grew up in Liepaja and has a fine command of Latvian. From 5 June 1990 until 1 April 1992 he was the chief Latvian TV correspondent at the Supreme Council. He replaces Aleksandr Mirlin, also a Russian fluent in Latvian. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS BY FALL OF 1993? Discussions of when and how to hold elections to Saeima, the parliament of independent Latvia, are increasing. The People's Front of Latvia parliamentary faction has recommended holding the elections no later than the fall of 1993. Minister of State Janis Dinevics told Diena on 3 April that before such elections can be held, new legislations have to be adopted, including laws on political parties and citizenship. Representatives of the more conservative organizations, however, believe that such elections should take place only after the ex-USSR occupation forces have been withdrawn from Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs) BALTS AND BARCELONA. The head of the International Olympic Committee has urged the Baltic States to hold the number of athletes and officials they send to the summer games in Barcelona to a total of 35 each. IOC President Juan Samaranch told the Estonian Olympic Committee in Tallinn on 4 April that because space is limited in Barcelona, Estonia should send only those athletes who have a real chance of reaching the finals in their events. During his visit to Lithuania the next day, Samaranch made an exception for the Baltic basketball teams. In the meantime, the Lithuanian Olympic Committee has given three Lithuanian basketball stars--all career soldiers in the former Soviet military--until 7 April to decide whether they will play for Lithuania. The three, who want to play for the unified CIS team because they think they stand a better chance at the gold medal, have been dubbed "traitors in basketball-mad Lithuania," AFP reports. (Riina Kionka) SOME BULGARIANS REPENT, OTHERS RESENT. A big rally on 4 April at Sofia's Vasil Levski stadium organized by Swedish evangelist Ulf Ekman of the Words of Life sect has touched off a wave of concern and protest over the activities of foreign sects. Sofia dailies report that some 20,000 attended the "Heavenly Explosion" show. The protest of one Sofia bishop was published in Trud on 4 April, and another statement by a religious organization quoted by BTA, notes that Bulgaria has been Christian for 1127 years and does not need foreign preachers coming in to undermine the Orthodox Church. An outspoken article in 24 chasa reveals details of the organization and activities of such sects and faults the Orthodox Church and the parliamentary commission on religion for their failure to act against this unwelcome phenomenon. (Rada Nikolaev) CORRECTION. The Daily Report of 6 April mistakenly identified Anatolii P. Ustyuzhanin as Russian minister of agriculture. His correct post, from which he was dismissed on 4 April, was first deputy minister of agriculture and food production of the Russian Federation. Agriculture Minister Viktor Khlystun is still in office. We apologize for this error. (Elizabeth Teague) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson and Charles Trumbull (END) 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. 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