Everyone knows it is much harder to turn word into deed than deed into word. - Maxim Gorky
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 73, 14 April 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

KHASBULATOV REBUKES GOVERNMENT MEMBERS. Members of the government
left the Congress after they had been rebuked by Parliament Chairman
Ruslan Khasbulatov. According to ITAR-TASS on 13 April, Khasbulatov,
for several minutes, publicly ridiculed the government--supported
by strong laughter from the deputies. He called the ministers
"inexperienced boys" who don't know how to behave in the parliament
and stressed that he himself knows the economy as well as government
members. He rejected the government's threats that the West will
stop assisting reforms, adding that he will send parliamentarians
to inform the West that the Congress is in favor of radical reforms.
(Alexander Rahr)

GOVERNMENT DEFENDS ITSELF. Russian State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis
said that the government will not tolerate being publicly ridiculed,
according to ITAR-TASS on 13 April. Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr
Shokhin stressed that Khasbulatov's sole aim was to bring the
executive branch under his personal control and thus take over
power in the country. In its resignation statement, the government
warned that the Congress' actions are directed towards making
the president a purely symbolic figure. (Alexander Rahr)

GAIDAR'S WARNING ON ECONOMIC REFORM. After storming out of the
Congress of People's Deputies, Egor Gaidar told reporters that
the restrictions proposed by the Congress on his economic reform
program would bring down on Russia "hyperinflation, famine, social
collisions, and chaos." He was referring to the decree approved
on 11 April which would, inter alia, provide full indexation
for pensions, bringing public sector workers' pay up to the private
sector levels, and the restoration of massive subsidies for agriculture.
The Gaidar team has calculated that the additional demands placed
by the Congress would add 1.2 trillion rubles to a budget deficit
already projected at 0.3 trillion rubles, bringing the deficit
up to 1.5 trillion rubles, or 23% of the GDP at current prices.
(Keith Bush)

YELTSIN CONSPICUOUSLY ABSENT FROM CONGRESS. Russian President
Boris Yeltsin has been conspicuously absent from almost all sessions
of the Congress and has left the task of defending the government
to First Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar. At the press conference
on 13 April, Gaidar issued a strong appeal to Yeltsin to be more
decisive in defending reform. The fact that Yeltsin is completely
invisible at the Congress and in politics in general during this
crisis may indicate the president's weakness. But Yeltsin may
also be at work on a major speech in defense of his policies
which he intends to give during the closing stages of the Congress.
(Alexander Rahr)

KHASBULATOV SETS HIS CONDITIONS FOR WESTERN AID. The chairman
of the parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov told Russian TV on 13 April
that the government is too dependent on Western financial institutions.
He proposed issuing some "demands" to the West noting that Russian
reforms are being conducted under "specific circumstances" and
that the West should stop pressing Russia. He said Russia wants
to enter the world economy but under different conditions from
those envisioned by the World Bank and the IMF. Khasbulatov said
that if the government complains that it has no money, it should
cut its own bureaucracy. He emphasized that the Congress will
not allow the government to slip out of its control. (Alexander
Rahr)

CONGRESS DISCUSSES CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS. The Congress of
People's Deputies continued to debate amendments to the current
constitution on 13 April, ITAR-TASS reported. Deputies voted
on four variants of a new name for the state, including "Russian
Soviet Federative Republic," but none received the necessary
two-thirds majority and the question was passed to a conciliation
commission. Deputies also failed to reach a final decision on
excluding from the constitution all references to the status
of the republic as a Union republic of the USSR. While conservatives
have clearly still not abandoned the struggle to resurrect the
USSR, Yeltsin's supporters see the amendments as an attempt by
Russian Parliament Chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov to turn the state
into a parliamentary republic, and there is likely to be fierce
debate on other amendments. (Ann Sheehy)

COMMUNISTS PREPARED TO FORM GOVERNMENT. The leader of the Communist
faction in the Congress, Sergei Baburin, told Central TV on 13
April that if the president agrees, the Communist-led opposition
in the Congress is prepared "without hesitation" to form a new
government. He called upon the Congress to refrain from asking
the government to return. He stressed that a Communist-led government
will proceed with radical economic reform but will not follow
the "adventurous path" of the present government. (Alexander
Rahr)

VOLSKY OR SHUMEIKO AS PRIME MINISTER? Yeltsin promised before
the Congress of People's Deputies to reshuffle his cabinet and
bring in experienced professionals from the industrial sector.
Since then, the entire government has tendered its resignation.
"Vesti," on 13 April, said two names were being discussed by
Congress deputies as possible prime ministers. One is Arkadii
Volsky (60), president of Russia's employers' association who
represents the interests of state-owned enterprises--specifically,
the defense sector. The second is Vladimir Shumeiko (47), a former
enterprise director turned parliamentarian. The left-of-center
Shumeiko is less likely to appeal to the disgruntled industrial
lobby than Volsky, who has sharply criticized Gaidar's reforms,
and "Vesti" quoted Shumeiko as saying he did not want the job.
Volsky, believed by insiders already to be one of the 5 or 6
most influential men in Russia, may not want it either. (Elizabeth
Teague)

IZVESTIYA IN CONFLICT WITH PARLIAMENTARY LEADER. The chairman
of the Russian parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, suggested on 13
April that the newspaper Izvestiya, which is now independent,
should become the organ of parliament and of local soviets in
the Russian Federation, "Ostankino" TV reported. Khasbulatov
also claimed that Izvestiya has a debt of 1 billion rubles. In
response, the chief editor of Izvestiya said that Khasbulatov
had no right to propose a change in the status of an independent
periodical. He also rejected the assertion about the newspaper's
debt as a "straightforward lie." According to the chief editor,
Izvestiya does not owe a kopeck to the government. (Indeed, Izvestiya
seemed to be the only newspaper which refused a loan offered
recently by the Russian government to various periodicals.) The
chief editor said that the newspaper would probably file suit
against Khasbulatov. (Vera Tolz)

USE OF DEATH PENALTY DROPS IN RUSSIA. The number of those sentenced
to death in Russia has fallen for the second consecutive year,
Izvestiya and Interfax reported on 10 April, quoting Russia's
Justice Ministry. Whereas in 1990, 223 people were sentenced
to death in Russia, in 1991 the number fell to 147. This is attributable
to more humane sentencing, the ministry said, since the number
of capital crimes rose by nearly 20%. The death sentence was
also the subject of sharp discussion on 13 April when the Congress
of People's Deputies debated the draft constitution. Last year,
the USSR Supreme Soviet abolished the death penalty for non-violent
crimes, but the appropriate changes were not made in the Russian
Federation's Criminal Code before the USSR ceased to exist. Until
1991, the USSR was said to have the world's highest execution
rate. (Elizabeth Teague)

RUSSIAN COMMUNISTS FOUND NEW PARTY. A group of Communists met
on 12 April in the town of Zheleznodorozhnyi just outside Moscow
to recreate the defunct Russian Communist Party, disbanded on
Yeltsin's orders in the wake of the failed coup of August 1991.
Reporting the event, Russian TV said the new party will be called
the United Communist Party of Russia. It seeks to revive the
USSR Supreme Soviet, maintain a unified army, and put a stop
to privatization. (Elizabeth Teague)

CONSTITUENT CONGRESS OF JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS OF RUSSIA. The constituent
congress of Jewish organizations and communities of the Russian
Federation, which opened in Nizhnyi Novgorod on 12 April, planned
to discuss questions of the development of national culture and
preservation of historical traditions as well as repatriation
and emigration, ITAR-TASS reported on 13 April. The congress
was also scheduled to discuss political, economic, youth and
other questions concerning Russian Jews, and adopt a charter
and program. (Ann Sheehy)

REGIONAL CONGRESS OF ISLAMIC "REBIRTH" PARTY IN SARATOV. The
representatives of four CIS states (unnamed) and of various regions
of Russia have taken part in a regional conference of the Islamic
"Rebirth" party, "Vesti" reported on 13 April. The party claims
to bring together more than 70,000 Muslims in the CIS. The main
topic of the conference was the unification of Muslims of various
nationalities into a single Islamic structure, as well as international
concerns. (Ann Sheehy)

RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS FROM EASTERN GERMANY. Russia's contribution
to the UN peacekeeping force in Yugoslavia includes a substantial
number of units and equipment from eastern Germany. According
to a report in Die Presse (11 April), 214 train cars carrying
military equipment and soldiers stationed in eastern Germany
will transit through Austria on 14 April. Transport costs are
expected to be covered by Germany, the report said. (Suzanne
Crow)

BELARUSIAN REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN. The campaign in Belarus to hold
a referendum on new elections to state organs has ended in apparent
success. The TV news program "Novosti" reported on 13 April that,
according to supporters of the referendum, the necessary 350,000
signatures have been gathered in time. The results will be examined
by the central electoral commission, but it is up to the supreme
council to set a date for the vote. (Roman Solchanyk)

U.S. GOVERNMENT DELEGATION IN KIEV. A senior delegation from
the U.S. State Department is to arrive in Kiev on 14 April to
prepare for the forthcoming visit of Ukrainian President Leonid
Kravchuk to Washington. Kravchuk is scheduled to visit the U.S.
on 6 May. (Roman Solchanyk)

GERMANY ESTABLISHES DIPLOMATIC TIES WITH GEORGIA, OFFERS AID.
On 13 April Germany became the first European country to establish
diplomatic relations with Georgia. Speaking in Tbilisi at the
end of a two-day visit, German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich
Genscher said Germany would give Georgia DM 10 million in humanitarian
aid as soon as democratic elections, scheduled for the autumn,
are held, and that Germany will advise Georgia on applying for
membership of the EC, IMF and World Bank. (Liz Fuller)

IRANIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER ON KARABAKH CONFLICT. After one
month of shuttle diplomacy between Baku and Erevan, Iranian Deputy
Foreign Minister Mahmoud Vaezi told Iranian media on his return
to Tehran that the Karabakh issue is "too complex" to be resolved
soon, and that the main obstacles to peace are "internal political
rivalries in both countries, the presence of armed people not
controlled by the military, and historic hatreds." Vaezi said
Iran's next priority is to find ways of making the ceasefire
he brokered permanent and monitoring it, Western agencies reported
on 13 April. (Liz Fuller)

KAZAKHSTAN ESTABLISHES TIES WITH ISRAEL. Israel's ambassador
to Russia visited Alma-Ata on 10 April and agreed to the establishment
of diplomatic relations between his country and Kazakhstan, Western
agencies, quoting the Israeli foreign ministry, reported on 13
April. The ambassador's visit was followed by that of World Jewish
Congress President Simcha Dinitz, who met with Kazakh President
Nursultan Nazarbaev on 13 April to discuss ties between Kazakhstan
and Israeli business and banking circles. The meeting was reported
by KazTAG-TASS. (Bess Brown)

KYRGYZ MUSLIMS PROTEST FOREIGN MISSIONARIES. Muslim believers
in Bishkek have gathered 150,000 signatures on a protest to President
Askar Akaev against the activities of foreign missionaries, KyrgyzTAG-TASS
reported on 9 April. Muslims say that Christian and Buddhist
missionaries are luring potential converts with money, and are
collecting funds to build a Buddhist temple and a Presbyterian
church; their efforts represent a threat to ethnic harmony in
the country. (Bess Brown)





EASTERN EUROPE



CEASE-FIRE STILL-BORN IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA. Austrian TV reported
on 13 April that the truce brokered by the EC the previous day
never really took hold. The federal army shelled Citluk, Mostar,
and Foca. Especially heavy fighting was reported in the residential
areas of southern Sarajevo near the airport. The army took over
the airport and began an airlift of local Serbs to Belgrade and
Montenegro. The US State Department called on all parties to
observe the cease-fire and criticized the Serbian government
and the federal military for apparently backing Serbian irregulars
in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the BBC said on 14 April. That broadcast
also quoted Serbian leaders in that troubled republic as claiming
that there had never been a cease-fire and that the only solution
was to fight. (Patrick Moore)

FLOOD GATES OPENED ON THE DRINA RIVER. Radio Sarajevo said on
13 April that unknown persons had opened some of the sluices
on a dam on the river forming part of the traditional boundary
between Bosnia and Serbia. Muslim militants had earlier threatened
such action if Serbian irregulars did not stop military activity
in the area. Thousands fled Visegrad and neighboring villages
in panic, but the flood gates have since been closed and the
waters have begun to recede. Visegrad is a largely Muslim town
of 21,000 and was made famous by Nobel-Prize winner Ivo Andric
in his novel Bridge on the Drina. The picturesque Ottoman-era
bridge was flooded during yesterday's incident. (Patrick Moore)


ANTALL ON EBRD'S ROLE IN EASTERN EUROPE. Speaking at the European
Bank for Reconstruction and Development's first annual meeting
in Budapest on 13 April, Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef Antall
said that the EBRD embodied a source of international solidarity
for the East European region that was similar to the Marshall
Plan for Western Europe in the aftermath of the Second World
War. He said that Western Europe had been able to rebuild its
economy very quickly because it had the necessary economic discipline
and the burdens of reconstruction were shared jointly. Antall
called on East European countries to follow Western Europe's
example and warned that international help could not substitute
for the countries' own efforts at economic reform. (Edith Oltay)


MOTION TO DEBATE NATO MEMBERSHIP REQUEST TURNED DOWN. Hungary's
parliament turned down (with 36% of the deputies for and 49 abstentions)
last week's motion by Socialist Party Chairman and former foreign
minister Gyula Horn to put on its agenda a debate aimed at requesting
NATO membership for Hungary, MTI reported on 13 April. According
to Prime Minister Jozsef Antall, the overall political, international,
and security policy situation was "not yet ripe" for such a request,
which should also be made jointly with the other two members
of the Visegrad Triangle, Czechoslovakia and Poland. Antall suggested
that parliament's foreign affairs committee debate the issue
first and then submit a recommendation. (Alfred Reisch)

WALESA IMPATIENT WITH COALITION TALKS. Speaking to journalists
in Warsaw on 13 April, Polish President Lech Walesa warned that
if no progress was made "in the next few days," he would himself
join in the process of building the government coalition, Polish
and Western media report. Walesa said he would promote his own
election program: special powers for the government and forceful,
dramatically swift privatization. Confirming that his staff had
discussed contingency plans for a state of emergency, Walesa
explained these as routine in any normal state and condemned
as irresponsible rumors that plans were afoot to impose martial
law. Referring to the current upheaval in the defense ministry,
he added that he was prepared to take full responsibility for
the army "if things became difficult." Returning to his "EC-2"
and "NATO-2" metaphors, Walesa also used the occasion to advocate
intensified regional cooperation in Eastern and Central Europe.
(Roman Stefanowski)

OLSZEWSKI IN WASHINGTON. Polish Prime Minister Jan Olszewski
reaffirmed in Washington his commitment to a free-market economy
despite the difficulties experienced. According to an RFE/RL
correspondent, US President George Bush told Olszewski that the
United States "is determined to do all it can to help Poland's
economic reforms succeed." After meeting with Olszewski on 13
April, Bush announced that he would send a delegation of US businessmen
to Poland to facilitate private investment there. Olszewski also
met with US Secretary of State James Baker. They discussed Polish
efforts to convert Poland's economy to a free-market system,
regional security issues, and relations with the NATO alliance.
(Roman Stefanowski)

TENSIONS HIGH AT TOOMPEA. Several hundred Congress of Estonia
demonstrators gathered before the Supreme Council building on
13 April to protest recent actions by that body and former Prime
Minister Edgar Savisaar's Peoples' Center Party. According to
an RFE/RL Estonian Service interview, the demonstrators rallied
against a number of recent Supreme Council decisions, including
the election law (which excludes those living outside Estonia
from voting) and the Council's plan to administer a referendum
on the constitution without Congress participation. The protest
signals a new peak in tensions between the Congress of Estonia
and the Popular Front-led Supreme Council in the period since
independence was reinstated last August. (Riina Kionka)

SLOVENIAN GOVERNMENT CRISIS. Radio Slovenia reported on 13 April
that Deputy Prime Minister Andrej Ocvirk, who is responsible
for economic policy, had resigned, rather than accept responsibility
for Slovenian's worsening economic situation. In the preceding
week, Vice Deputy Prime Minister Leo Seserko, who was responsible
for regional development, Health Minister Bozidar Voljc, and
Science, Research and Technology Minister Peter Tancig had all
submitted their resignations. Radio Slovenia said there was speculation
that seven other ministers would resign. Prime Minister Lojze
Peterle told reporters he would quickly fill the vacancies. But
a spokesman for the republic's information ministry told RFE/RL
that deep divisions in the national assembly would likely impede
the confirmation of new ministers proposed by Peterle. In mid-February,
Peterle received a vote of confidence from the assembly deputies,
but since then much of his support has eroded. The assembly is
expected to take another vote of confidence on 22 April. (Milan
Andrejevich)

FINLAND'S PRESIDENT VISITS LATVIA. On 13 April Finland's president
Mauno Koivisto was greeted at the Riga airport by Latvian Supreme
Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs, BNS reported that day.
Subsequently Koivisto met with Prime Minister Godmanis, and parliamentary
leaders. Koivisto is the highest ranking foreign leader to visit
Latvia since it regained its independence. He stressed to the
press the importance of good neighborly relations with Russia
and pointed out that Finland would not demand the return of territories
that it lost to Russia during World War II. Noting that Finland
favors political stability in the Baltic States, he expressed
the hope that the problems of withdrawing ex-USSR troops from
Latvia would be resolved quickly and that there would soon be
a cooperation accord between Latvia and Russia. (Dzintra Bungs)


ESTONIA TO MONITOR TROOP MOVEMENTS. The Estonian government will
begin routine border checks at ports and airports belonging to
the former Soviet armed forces, ETA reported on 13 April. Toomas
Puura, head of the State Defense and Border Authority, told ETA
the move came after several attempts by former Soviet military
authorities to secretly bring replacement troops into Estonia
in violation of agreements with Russian and CIS officials. "Until
now we have had no effective control over former Soviet military
trade and movement of staff, therefore in the near future we
will send customs and border officials to the military ports
and airports," Puura said. (Riina Kionka)

CIS MILITARY WITHDRAWS THREAT TO KLAIPEDA AUTHORITIES. Western
agencies reported on 13 April that the CIS naval infantry division
from the Klaipeda garrison in Lithuania withdrew its threat to
blockade the offices of local authorities and returned to its
barracks. The decision was made after about 160 officers met
with Klaipeda mayor Vytautas Cepas. The officers wanted to discuss
the detention last week of CIS Col. Ivan Chernykh and demanded
an apology from Lithuania's leadership. Chernykh, who was arrested
on 7 April and released on bail on 8 April in Kaliningrad, is
accused by Lithuanian officials of complicity in attempts to
overthrow the government of Lithuania during the failed August
1991 coup. (Dzintra Bungs)

MILITARY EMPLOYEES LOSE JOBS IN ESTONIA Some 200 workers are
due to lose their jobs with the closure of a Tallinn plant belonging
to the former Soviet armed forces, ETA reported on 13 April.
The building materials manufacturing plant, located adjacent
to the Baltic Sea coast, is a big local polluter. Virtually all
those employed by the former Soviet military forces throughout
Estonia are non-Estonians. (Riina Kionka)

ROMANIA TO FIGHT INFLATION. Mugur Isarescu, Governor of the National
Bank of Romania, said in an interview with the daily Adevarul
(summarized by Rompres on 13 April), that measures would be taken
to reduce the annual inflation rate from 100-200% (as predicted
using data from the first quarter of 1992) to 20% (or a monthly
rate of about 1.5%) in December 1992. According to Isarescu,
inflation can be reduced, but only at a price. Lower inflation,
he said necessarily "entails a rapid rise in unemployment." "The
inflation or unemployment option cannot be avoided," Isarescu
concluded. (Crisula Stefanescu)

CZECHOSLOVAK INVESTMENT DEVELOPMENTS. The German battery manufacturer
Varta Batterie AG is taking over Akucel, a Czechoslovak maker
of truck batteries. Akucel currently employs 250 people in Ceska
Lipa. Varta spokesman said on 13 April that his company plans
to invest DM 5,000,000 (about $3,200,000) in Akucel over the
next two years, expand Akucel's production line and hire new
employees to double production by the end of 1992. In another
development, the Czech agriculture and privatization ministers
reversed a decision to exclude foreign participation in the privatization
of the Pilsner Urquell breweries and now support a plan proposed
by local officials, brewery middle management, and the Dutch
de Groen family. Pilsner's unions have threatened to strike to
force the ministers to explain their sudden reversal; and Nomura
International, hired to prepare a privatization plan, also warned
against selling without an open bidding process, Western media
report. (Barbara Kroulik)

ROMANIA'S POPULATION DROPS... A commentary on demographic changes
in Romania after 1989, published on 10 April by the daily Realitatea
romaneasca and carried by Rompres, shows that the country's population
is decreasing. Among the factors contributing to the substantial
decline are: the low birth rate, which declined from 16 per 1000
before 1989 to 11.9 per 1000 in 1991; the high infant mortality
rate, which stands at 23 per 1000; the low average life expectancy,
which is four to eight years shorter than in Western countries;
and high emigration. A clearer demographic picture will be provided
by the results of the census carried out in January 1992. (Crisula
Stefanescu)

...AS DOES BULGARIA'S. On 13 April BTA quoted figures from the
National Statistical Institute that corroborate the widespread
impression of negative trends in Bulgaria's demographic situation.
The total population, which grew slowly to reach almost 9,000,000
by the end of 1989, dropped to 8,628,700 by the end of 1991.
The reduction was attributed to several factors: the emigration
of 346,000 in the last three years; the very low birth rate (BTA
quoted no figure); and increased mortality, which reached 12.3
per 1000 in 1991. Most alarming was the infant mortality rate:
16.9 per 1000 live born, an increase of almost 25% over 1990.
(Rada Nikolaev)

UNEMPLOYMENT IN BULGARIA. The National Statistical Institute
was quoted by BTA on 13 April as estimating the total number
of unemployed at about 452,000. Those employed outside agriculture
totalled 2,369,000. The state budget passed by parliament last
week predicted, perhaps rather optimistically, an unemployment
rate of 12% in 1992. BTA also said that some 1,000,000 had left
their jobs; this figure included people who retired or emigrated,
but also those who set up private businesses, a sector on which
statistics are not readily available. BTA also reported that
the government on 13 April had set up a fund for professional
training and unemployment to replace an earlier one for retraining.
Payments into the new fund, amounting to 7% of the wage fund,
will be made by employers. (Rada Nikolaev)

HUNGARIAN-ARMENIAN TRADE AGREEMENT. On 13 April in Budapest,
Hungary's International Economic Relations Ministry Deputy State
Secretary Lajos Berenyi and Armenian Finance Minister Djanik
Djandjan signed an interstate agreement regulating bilateral
economic relations and trade, MTI reported. According to the
agreement, Hungarian-Armenian trade will be conducted under world
market conditions and convertible currency will be used to settle
accounts between companies. A spokesman for the International
Economic Relations Ministry said that Hungary expects the agreement
to boost bilateral trade. Last year, trade with Armenia made
up less than 1% of Hungary's total trade with the former Soviet
Union. (Edith Oltay)

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson and Louisa Vinton

(END)





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