|Nothing helps scenery like ham and eggs. - Mark Twain|
No. 70, 10 April 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR PARTIAL VICTORY FOR YELTSIN AT CONGRESS. The Drafting Committee of the Congress of People's Deputies has suggested a compromise on the heatedly debated issue of President Boris Yeltsin's powers, ITAR-TASS reported on 9 April. The committee recommended withdrawing the proposal to strip Yeltsin of his special powers but, at the same time, called for Yeltsin's resignation as prime minister. The committee decided that Yeltsin should still be able to appoint ministers and rule by decree but should choose another candidate for the post of prime minister. The committee's proposals can be overruled by the Congress, however. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN MAY CONDUCT REFERENDUM. If the Congress of People's Deputies continues to paralyze reform, President Yeltsin will conduct a nationwide referendum on the new constitution and ask the public for a vote of confidence in the president, according to Izvestiya on 9 April. " Vesti" also quoted Yeltsin's advisor, Galina Starovoitova, as saying that Yeltsin may put forward the question of dissolving the Congress, but she later denied having said that. Meanwhile, the head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Businessmen, Arkadii Volsky--who is in line for the post of prime minister--called for the inclusion of professionals into the government. (Alexander Rahr) GAIDAR GIVES EMPASSIONED DEFENSE OF GOVERNMENT. Speaking to the Congress on 9 April, Egor Gaidar, the architect of Russia's economic reform policy, strongly defended the government's policies in the first quarter of 1992, according to Radio Rossii. Gaidar said that some deputies were involved in a disinformation campaign about the state of Russia's economic affairs. He said that the first quarter budget deficit was only 1.5% of GNP and that foreign trade net income had come in at 8 billion rubles as planned. He attempted to link the members of the government and the deputies together via a common bond of pain over Russia's economic crisis. (John Tedstrom) GAIDAR GIVES MIXED VIEW OF FUTURE. In the same speech, Gaidar noted that the government's budgetary austerity program must be continued, though he seemed to argue for increased social spending at the same time. He hinted that to do so there would be no room for a reduction in tax rates, a policy many deputies have been calling for. Likewise he said the government was in agreement with those who were calling for a strengthening of management over state-owned property, especially in industry. He also said that he agreed with criticisms that the government's policies had taken an "all-Russia" perspective and had failed to address regional concerns, and that a more regionally-oriented approach would be pursued in future. Gaidar presented a picture of a decidedly mixed economy, with a growing private sector (mostly small, new businesses, presumably) with a significant measure of state planning in industry for the foreseeable future. This represents a small, but noticeable step backwards from the bolder policy he outlined earlier this year. (John Tedstrom) DEMOCRATS FLEE THE YELTSIN CAMP. Observers viewing the live broadcasts of the Congress of People's Deputies have noted how many Russian deputies who had supported Yeltsin during previous Congresses have now defected to the opposition. Reasons for these defections vary. Many deputies disapprove of the dissolution of the USSR, the establishment the CIS, and the way it was done. Others, among them leader of the "Radical Democrats" faction Mikhail Chelnokov, disapprove of the government's "shock therapy" and claim that alternative market-oriented reforms would not have inflicted such hardship on the population. Yet another group, including a founder of the "Democratic Russia" movement, historian Yurii Afanasev, allege that the new Russian leaders are not real democrats. (Julia Wishnevsky) PRESIDENTS SUSPEND BLACK SEA FLEET DECREES. Presidents Yeltsin and Kravchuk agreed on 9 April to suspend their conflicting decrees on jurisdiction over the former Soviet Black Sea Fleet and let a joint parliamentary commission settle the dispute. Kravchuk was shown on the "Novosti" newscast that evening saying that the commission would start its work "immediately." ITAR-TASS reported on the Sevastopol news conference held by Admiral Igor Kasatonov and Vasyl Durdinets, heading the Ukrainian delegation that had flown to the Crimea to implement Kravchuk's decree. Durdinets said that the two-day talks had been "fruitful." Nikolai Bagrov, the chairman of the Crimean parliament, also spoke at the news conference. He said that a representative of the Crimea would participate in the future negotiations. (Doug Clarke) KRAVCHUK ON THE CRIMEAN QUESTION. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk told parliament on 8 April that agreements with Russia are not being implemented, Ukrinform-TASS reported. Documents signed with Russia say one thing and are then followed by statements from the Russian leadership to the contrary, Kravchuk maintained. A case in point, he said, were the recent statements by Russian Vice-president Aleksandr Rutskoi during his visit to Sevastopol, where he called for the violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity and, as Kravchuk claimed, insulted an independent state and its policies. (Roman Solchanyk) CRIMEAN NEGOTIATIONS. A delegation of Ukrainian parliamentarians and government representatives is in Simferopol to discuss economic and social issues with the Crimean leadership, Radio Mayak reported on 9 April. The delegation, led by First Deputy Prime Minister Kostyantyn Masyk, hopes to work out a package of legislation within the framework of the agreement delineating power between the Crimea and Ukraine. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT BACKS SUSPENSION OF NUKE WITHDRAWAL. On 9 April, the Ukrainian parliament ratified a decision, announced last month by President Leonid Kravchuk, to suspend the transfer of tactical nuclear weapons to Russia, an operation that was due to be completed by 1 July. According to an Ukrinform-TASS report, parliament resolved that removal of the weapons is "inexpedient" until a mechanism of international control is in place to ensure their destruction. The resolution called on the Cabinet of Ministers to undertake measures to guarantee Ukraine's "technical control over the non-use of the nuclear arsenal on its territory" and recommended that President Kravchuk discuss problems associated with the elimination of nuclear weapons with the world's nuclear powers. The parliament also reiterated Ukraine's intention to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. (Kathy Mihalisko) NATO EXPRESSES CONCERN. Shortly before the Ukrainian parliament voted to endorse the suspension of the tactical weapons withdrawal, NATO headquarters in Brussels released a statement urging Ukraine to meet the original 1 July deadline, according to Western agencies on 9 April. It was also reported that Ukraine has pulled out of a meeting between NATO military chiefs of staff and their former Warsaw pact counterparts scheduled for 10 April. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Uzbekistan also will be absent. (Kathy Mihalisko) UKRAINE KEEPS OUT CIS AIR FORCE COMMANDERS. Ukrainian air traffic controllers denied requests by the commanders of CIS long-range and military transport aviation to visit some of their subordinate units in Ukraine on 9 April. Interfax reported that the Ukrainians explained that Ukrainian Defense Minister Konstantin Morozov had issued a ban on all flights to Ukraine by CIS Air Force generals. (Doug Clarke) LIBERALS HIT RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY PLANS. The chairman of "Soldiers for Democracy," Colonel Vladimir Smirnov, told ITAR-TASS on 8 April that the commission named to create a Russian defense ministry was incapable of effectively carrying out that task because it is dominated by representatives of the old defense establishment. On 9 April an expanded sitting of the coordinating council of the "Soldiers for Democracy" organization was held that included representatives from "Shchit" and other progressive groups, "Vesti" reported. The group sent a recommendation to Yeltsin that experts from outside the old defense establishment be included on the Defense Ministry commission. Yeltsin aide, Galina Starovoitova, told the gathering that she would quit the commission if such personnel changes were not made, according to Radio Rossii. (Stephen Foye) BELARUS STILL IN SEARCH OF DEFENSE MINISTER. Belarusian Radio reported on 7 April that the parliamentary commission on national security and defense questions is considering Lieutenant-General Alyaksandr Lazouski, the chief of staff of the Belarusian Military District, as a candidate for the post of Belarusian defense minister. Yet few believe that the parliament will find him suitable, according to the report, due to broad support for appointing a civilian to the position--a move that "would meet with a positive international response" and end the bickering among generals over who in the military should receive the honor. (Kathy Mihalisko) MOLDOVAN SECURITY COUNCIL CRITICIZES RUSSIAN CONGRESS RESOLUTION. The Supreme Security Council of Moldova, meeting on 9 April, criticized the Russian Congress of People's Deputies' resolution on the Dniester question as gross interference in the internal affairs of Moldova and a violation of the principles and norms of the UN Charter, ITAR-TASS reported. It called for more energetic measures involving international agencies in "unmasking before the world public, those who are really violating human rights on the left bank of the Dniester." Meanwhile, violations of the ceasefire are continuing, according to both sides. In a radio interview, Moldovan Prime Minister Valeriu Muravschi said the ceasefire agreement was weak because it did not elaborate plans for disarming the both sides in the conflict. (Ann Sheehy) RUSSIAN PRICE AND WAGE HIKES IN APRIL. In an interview with Izvestiya on 7 April, quoted by ITAR-TASS, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Shokhin predicted that prices in the Federation would rise by 50-70%. (This is apparently without the expected increase in fuel and energy prices, which has been put off until June). To offset the price hikes, Shokhin reckoned that the government should boost incomes by 35-52%. Partial indexation on this scale would cost between 26 billion and 39 billion rubles in April. Average pensions will rise to 900-1,115 rubles, education sector salaries to 2,090-2,360 rubles, health service pay to 2,260-2,550 rubles, and pay in administrative bodies will rise to 2,880-3,255 rubles. (Keith Bush) AMMUNITION DUMP EXPLODES NEAR EREVAN. A CIS Seventh Army ammunition dump in Abovyan, 15 km north-east of the Armenian capital, Erevan, exploded in the early morning hours of 9 April. Thousands of nearby residents were evacuated, and no one was killed. Armenian Prime Minister Gagik Arutyunyan told local radio late that afternoon that the resulting fire was under control and subsiding, ITAR-TASS reported. The cause of the blaze is unclear. Arutyunyan attributed it to an accident or technical problems; CIS military spokesmen claim it was the result of sabotage by Armenian militants, according to Radio Moscow. (Liz Fuller) TBILISI MEMORIAL RALLY TURNS INTO ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATION. Following a rally in Tbilisi on 9 April to commemorate the third anniversary of the killing of peaceful demonstrators by Soviet troops in Tbilisi, some 2,000 people marched to the Council of Ministers building and called for the resignation of the ruling State Council and the withdrawal of all CIS troops from Georgia, ITAR-TASS reported. (Liz Fuller) TURKMENISTAN ESTABLISHES TIES WITH RUSSIA. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev and his Turkmen counterpart Avdy Kuliev signed an agreement establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries on 8 April, ITAR-TASS reported. The two foreign ministers also signed a statement of support for the UN peace plan in Afghanistan. After the talks in Ashkhabad, Kozyrev went to Dushanbe for similar discussions. (Bess Brown) TAJIK--RUSSIAN RELATIONS. The Russian and Tajik foreign ministers, Andrei Kozyrev and Lakim Kayumov, signed an agreement on 9 April establishing diplomatic relations between the two states, ITAR-TASS reported. The same day, ITAR-TASS summarized a Pravda interview with Tajik President Rakhman Nabiev in which he rejected both communism and capitalism for Tajikistan and declared that the country would create its own secular and law-based democratic state, and intends to follow a policy of nonalignment in its foreign relations. (Bess Brown) RUSSIAN COORDINATING COMMISSION ON PROBLEMS OF CONFESSIONS. ITAR-TASS reported on 7 April that the Russian Federation has formed a coordinating commission for problems of confessions within the Russian government. Aleksandr Shokhin was appointed chairman of the new commission. The commission's tasks are the regulation of problems connected with religious organizations, and the coordination of the Russian government's relations with religious organizations. (Oxana Antic) EASTERN EUROPE CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE CRISIS IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA INTENSIFIES. International media reported on 9 April that Zvornik on the Serbian border has fallen to Serbian irregulars backed by the federal army. Muslim refugees fled, and a high Muslim official told the 10 April New York Times that the Serbs are trying to link up ethnically Serbian enclaves by pushing out the Muslims who live between. Meanwhile, verbal exchanges between the republic's civilian leaders and the federal military have sharpened. Federal Defense Minister Gen. Blagoje Adzic, a Serbian hard-liner, said that Bosnia-Herzegovina's declaration of independence has sent the country "knocking at the gates of hell," the 10 April Los Angeles Times reports. The BBC quotes the federal air force commander as threatening to intervene in that republic if alleged attacks on military installations do not stop. Radio Sarajevo reports that the federal military commander in the republic called the civilian government's actions to date "unconstitutional and illegal." (Patrick Moore) A WIDENING FIELD OF CONFLICT? The 8 April Die Presse said that civil war was inevitable in Bosnia-Herzegovina because of the depth of mutual hatred and desire for revenge for past injustices in a culture marked by intolerance. The commentary added that international recognition of the republic is consequently irrelevant to the question of war or peace and that it would be difficult to imagine where UN forces could be effectively stationed in such an ethnically mixed area. The 31 March issue of Danas quoted Kosovo Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova as pointing to the strategic link between Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Sanjak, and Kosovo as crisis centers, and noting that civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina would radically alter the situation in Kosovo. On 8 April Vjesnik reported growing fear among the Sanjak's Muslims for their safety in the face of events in Bosnia-Herzegovina and of increased Serbian and Montenegrin military activity in the Sanjak itself. (Patrick Moore) EAST EUROPEAN RECOGNITION FOR BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA. On 9 April Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Poland recognized the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and decided to establish diplomatic relations with it, MTI and CSTK report. A government spokesman said that Hungary was convinced that the recognition would have the effect of reducing armed conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Hungarian Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky told the daily Uj Magyarorszag that "everything indicates that extremist elements from outside are terrorizing the peaceful population, including the Serbs living in [Bosnia-Herzegovina]." Jeszenszky also announced that Hungary will open an embassy in Slovenia this month. A Czechoslovak Foreign Ministry statement said that country is ready to begin talks on establishing bilateral ties with Bosnia-Herzegovina as soon as possible. (Edith Oltay & Barbara Kroulik) UN FORCES ON THE MOVE. On 9 and 10 April the Belgian contingent of the UN peace-keeping forces crossed Hungary by rail, MTI reports. In this, the first authorized military transit across the country, 226 military personnel and 162 military vehicles entered Hungary from Austria at Hegyeshalom and exited at Kelebia, at the Yugoslav border. A group of 160 Czechoslovak troops leaves for Yugoslavia on 10 April as part of the UN mission. They will take up positions in Croatia on 12 April. Two more groups will leave tomorrow, CSTK reports.(Alfred Reisch & Barbara Kroulik) PARYS EPIC CONTINUES. Polish Prime Minister Jan Olszewski has set up a special commission, headed by his chief of staff Wojciech Wlodarczyk, "to determine the reasons and circumstances for Defense Minister Jan Parys making his remarks," Polish and Western media reported. Olszewski told American journalists on 9 April that he interpreted Parys's statement about attempts of politicians to draw the military into schemes undermining democracy as "a warning." The conflict surrounding the Parys affair, Olszewski added, "involves a struggle among the president, the government, and parliament for leadership of the Polish army." Discussing the affair in the Sejm National Defense Commission, acting Defense Minister Romuald Szeremietiew confirmed that Parys's views are those of the ministry. "I have full confidence in Parys," he continued, "but the ministry is not taking responsibility for any text except that published in the army's official paper, Polska zbrojna, of 7 April." (Roman Stefanowski) IS WALESA PREPARING MARTIAL LAW? Commenting on allegations in Nowy swiat that documents on martial law are being prepared in Poland, Jerzy Milewski, chief of the National Security Office, admitted on 9 April that "such a proposal was discussed at the NCO consultative seminar." According to PAP, Milewski said that apart from Ministry of Defense experts, specialists from other ministries are participating in the preparation of martial law documentation but, said Milewski, "it is a lie that this document is being prepared in secret." Nowy swiat in its issue of 9 April claimed that the martial law documentation is being prepared in secret from public opinion and the media, and without the knowledge of the Sejm, the Senate and the government. (Roman Stefanowski) PRUNSKIENE--A KGB COLLABORATOR? A Lithuanian Supreme Council committee has been set up to investigate allegations that former prime minister Kazimiera Prunskiene knowingly collaborated with the KGB. Prunskiene, who is currently a Supreme Council deputy, has previously acknowledged that she had contact with the KGB, but said she had been coerced into doing so and then had only provided accounts of her trips abroad, Western agencies and Interfax reported on 9 April. (Dzintra Bungs) BALTIC SEA CLEANUP PROGRAM ENDORSED. On 9 April states in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, the CIS, and the European Community signed an agreement in Helsinki to work together on a program to clean up the heavily polluted Baltic Sea, Western agencies report. The program, costing about $22.5 billion dollars, will take 20 years to complete. The Baltic Sea was used as a midsea dump for toxic waste before 1974, when an international treaty stopped the practice. However, Baltic waters are still being polluted by untreated sewage, industrial wastes, and pollutants coming via rivers from central Europe. (Dzintra Bungs) TALLINN'S NEW MAYOR. Former Minister of Industry and Energy Jaak Tamm has been elected mayor of Tallinn, Rahva Haal reports on 10 April. Tamm is a leader in the Coalition Party, a small group of powerful former ministers in the Savisaar government. He replaces Hardo Aasmae, who lost a no-confidence vote in the city council shortly after his long-time sponsor, former Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar, was forced out of office. (Riina Kionka) BUCHAREST MAYOR TO VISIT THE USA. Local media reported on 9 April that Crin Halaicu and a team of experts will travel to the United States next week for a working visit. Halaicu, a member of the opposition National Liberal Party, is the first noncommunist to be elected to that post since 1948. He will meet officials in Washington, Atlanta, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia in order to consider ways to modernize Romania's capital. (Mihai Sturdza) ROMANIA'S DEFENSE MINISTER ON MISSING ARCHIVES. Lt. Gen. Nicolae Spiroiu told a press conference on 9 April that 19,000 files from the secret police and the former Communist Party were smuggled out of the country after the December 1989 revolution, and 39,000 were stolen. The army is preparing to transfer 100,000 files to the state archives. More than 51,000 political files have been handed over to the prosecutor general, 81,205 to the Justice Ministry, and 35,305 to the Romanian Intelligence Service. Spiroiu added that releasing this information to the public could cause problems and that the law forbids public access for 30 years. (Mihai Sturdza) INTERNATIONAL INTELLIGENCE CONFERENCE IN SOFIA. On 9 April officials from 23 countries in the East and West began a conference to discuss intelligence under democracy. It is sponsored by the Consultative Council on National Security at the Bulgarian Presidency and the Washington-based Center for Democracy. President Zhelyu Zhelev opened the meeting, which also heard former CIA chief William Colby. At the opening session the Greek representative protested against the participation in the conference by the Republic of Macedonia. (Rada Nikolaev) BULGARIA'S 1992 BUDGET PASSED. On 9 April the National Assembly passed the state budget for 1992 at its second and final reading following two sessions of debates during which several requests for additional funding were rejected. BTA said that the budget provides for distribution of funding in a balanced way, so as not to induce inflation. No details are available on possible changes as compared with the initial draft proposed by the government on 24 March and passed at first reading on 25 March. (Rada Nikolaev) INCIDENT AT BULGARIA'S NATIONAL ASSEMBLY. An incident on 9 April at the National Assembly sharpened the confrontation between the ruling UDF and the opposition BSP. UDF deputy Ventseslav Dimitrov was mobbed by demonstrating pensioners outside the parliament. When he took the floor at the beginning of the session to complain, he was assaulted by Valkan Vergiev of the BSP parliamentary group, who had to be removed by the guards. BTA and the dailies on 10 April gave prominent coverage to the event, expressing worries over the failure of police to react adequately and about the aggressiveness of the pensioners, said to have been organized by the BSP. The UDF caucus issued a statement accusing the BSP of trying to foment a general political crisis. (Rada Nikolaev) CARNOGURSKY'S PARTY WANTS TO RAISE SLOVAK PROFILE. Premier Jan Carnogursky says his Christian Democratic Movement wants to raise Slovakia's profile in the world but does not want to break up the Czech and Slovak federation. Carnogursky told reporters in Bratislava on 9 April that he believes international respect will come only after Czechoslovakia's internal political dispute is solved. A constructive, gradual promotion of Slovakia in international organizations, rather than declarations of sovereignty, are the best way to promote Slovakia, he said. (Barbara Kroulik) HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN CULTURAL RELATIONS. Romanian Minister of Culture Ludovic Spiess told reporters on 9 April in Budapest that in September a Hungarian and a Romanian house of culture will open in Bucharest and Budapest, respectively, MTI reported. Spiess arrived for a three-day visit at the head of a delegation consisting of cultural officials. Hungarian Ministry of Culture State Secretary Attila Kalman called the development of Hungarian-Romanian cultural relations "exemplary despite the fact that the same cannot be said of political relations." A bilateral agreement on cultural cooperation dating from last year provides, among other things, for the staging of exhibitions and for exchanges of artists. (Edith Oltay) RUSSIA CONTINUES TO IMPEDE TRADE WITH LATVIA. Diena reported on 8 April that the accord on "small clearing" of goods between Latvia and Russia signed two weeks ago is still not working. The accord set up the framework for the exchange of foodstuffs and energy resources. Ilmars Cirksis, Latvian deputy minister of foreign trade, said that when he has inquired in Moscow about the delay, he has only received vague assurances that everything will be working very soon. Russian fuel is needed in Latvia for urgent tasks such as spring sowing. (Dzintra Bungs) SUBSISTENCE LEVEL INCOME RAISED AGAIN IN LATVIA. As a consequence of ever-increasing inflation (estimated at 30% each month by specialists of the Free Trade Union Association), the Latvian government decided on 8 April to raise the minimum wage and subsistence level income from 670 to 1000 rubles a month as of 16 April, Radio Riga reported on 9 April. The Ministry of Welfare estimates that subsistence level monthly income in March should have been pegged at 1140 rubles, Diena reported on 8 April. (Dzintra Bungs) CULTURE IN TROUBLE IN ESTONIA. Hard times continue to dog culture in Estonia, as one report about a troubled Tallinn facility suggests. Because of lack of business, the Tallinn City Hall, a concert hall and convention center, was forced to take out a bank loan on 8 April to pay employee salaries, BNS reports. The hall's director Ago Kalde said there are no Estonian artists who can sell out the 4200-seat hall anymore. "It's easier to fill the hall with a Russian audience," he said, "but the seats must always be repaired after Russian rock concerts." Kalde said the hall will try to survive the current crisis by temporarily renting out space and by seeking new sponsors. (Riina Kionka) [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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