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No. 74, 15 April 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR CONGRESS BACKS AWAY FROM CONFRONTATION WITH YELTSIN. On 14 April, Russian President Boris Yeltsin scored a major victory when the Congress of People's Deputies failed to adopt a resolution forcing him to seek parliamentary approval on government appointments, ITAR-TASS reported. Although the Congress could theoretically still spoil Yeltsin's victory, it seems now that a majority of the deputies have also backed away from their earlier insistence that Yeltsin relinquish his post as prime minister. Yeltsin has thus been allowed to retain his special powers to rule by decree through the end of 1992. (Alexander Rahr) TENTATIVE COMPROMISE REACHED ON ECONOMIC REFORM. On 14 April, the Congress adopted "in principle" a declaration of support for economic reform, ITAR-TASS reported. The declaration conceded that the government should carry out the instructions of Congress "taking into account real economic and social conditions"--which seems to mean that budgetary expenditures should not exceed budgetary incomes. The qualification of "in principle" means that amendments to the government's reform program can still be made. State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis told reporters that the declaration "eliminates the need for our resignation." Egor Gaidar used another qualifier when welcoming the declaration: "On the whole, this document would allow the executive power to carry out its reforms." (Keith Bush) FILATOV: "WINNER" OF THE CONGRESS. The head of the Russian parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, presented himself as a strong opponent of Yeltsin's radical reforms but ultimately lost prestige. He was caught lying to parliament about Izvestiya's debt situation and also had to apologize publicly for insulting the government. Meanwhile Khasbulatov's first deputy, Sergei Filatov, masterminded a political compromise with the Yeltsin cabinet and succeeded in softening tensions at the Congress. Filatov did not shrink away from criticizing Khasbulatov in public for his behavior. According to ITAR-TASS on 13 April, Khasbulatov did not take part in the behind-the-scenes talks between members of the parliament's Presidium and the government, which led to the compromise. (Alexander Rahr) REFERENCES TO USSR DELETED FROM CONSTITUTION. The ninth day of the Congress opened on 15 April with amendments to the "old" Russian Constitution. The deputies voted to remove the passages that had mentioned Russia's relations with such all-Union bodies as the USSR Council of Ministers, the Constitutional Supervision Committee and the USSR Congress of People's Deputies. Later in the day, the Congress is expected to discuss the media. According to "Novosti," the opposition accuses both channels of Central TV of being government propaganda tools and wants all factions represented in the parliament to have access to radio and television. The resolution, signed by the non-Communist opposition group "Russian Unity," also appealed for a vote of no confidence on both radio and TV chairmen, Egor Yakovlev and Oleg Poptsov. (Julia Wishnevsky) RUTSKOI AGAINST REPLACEMENT OF RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT. Russian Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi--recently, one of the strongest critics of the government--has now urged the government to stay. He told ITAR-TASS on 14 April that changes are needed only "inside the government itself." He said that those members of the cabinet who had behaved irresponsibly during the first stage of reform should be replaced by people with "a new vision." Rutskoi also indirectly attacked the head of the parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, for his "intimidating remarks." (Alexander Rahr) MARSHAL SHAPOSHNIKOV'S POSITION. The commander-in-chief of the CIS Armed Forces, Marshal Evgenii Shaposhnikov, defended Yeltsin and his reformist government at the Congress. In his address published in Krasnaya zvezda on 9 April, Shaposhnikov accused the Congress of struggling for power with the executive. In other statements, he warned against chauvinism in politics and accused Ukrainian army officers of nationalism. He further argued against army servicemen being elected to parliament and said that all commercial structures in the armed forces had been abolished. Shaposhnikov also criticized the Russian Foreign Ministry for giving in too often to Western demands and suggested that the foreign ministry should represent more vigorously the interests of Russia as a great power. (Alexander Rahr) MOSCOW CITY GOVERNMENT THREATENS TO RESIGN. Moscow Deputy Mayor Yurii Luzhkov announced the Moscow city government's support for the Russian government on 13 April, ITAR-TASS reported. In a statement read to reporters, Luzhkov said that the Moscow city government would join the Russian government in resigning if the Congress of People's Deputies continued to insist on restricting economic reforms. Although the Moscow city government's own economic reform scheme has been at odds with some aspects of the national program, the statement expressed support for the Russian government's reform course. Mayor Gavriil Popov, who is currently in Israel, was not specifically mentioned in the statement. (Carla Thorson) ST. PETERSBURG NAME CHANGE PROMPTS ANOTHER WALK-OUT AT CONGRESS. The Russian Congress approved the restoration of Leningrad's pre-revolutionary name of St. Petersburg on 14 April, after the St. Petersburg delegation left the Congress hall in protest, Russian TV reported. City residents voted last June to change Leningrad's name to St. Petersburg and the change was then approved by the Russian Supreme Soviet. On 14 April, pro-Communist deputies tried to block the approval of the change by the Congress. Only on the third vote and after a plea from Chairman Khasbulatov, the measure passed. Khasbulatov suggested the Congress had more important issues to debate. He asked: "Why should we give an extra reason for others to say that reactionaries have gathered here?" according to Radio Rossii. (Vera Tolz) NAGORNO-KARABAKH PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN ASSASSINATED. Artur Mkrtchyan, the 33-year-old historian and former museum director elected in January as chairman of the parliament of the newly-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, was assassinated by unidentified gunmen in Stepanakert late in the afternoon on 14 April, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported. The Armenian parliament convened in emergency session on receipt of the news and decided to send a team of experts to Stepanakert to investigate the killing. Meanwhile, ITAR-TASS quoted Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev as saying that all attempts to reach a settlement of the Karabakh conflict have proved futile, even though both sides agree on the need to find a political solution. (Liz Fuller) RUSSIA DENIES IT SENT MERCENARIES TO MOLDOVA. Radio Moscow's World Service reported on 14 April that the Russian Security Service and the Ministry of the Interior have denied rumors that groups of mercenaries are being sent from Russia to Moldova. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said in a 1 April interview with Nezavisimaya gazeta that sending armed groups to Moldova would be unacceptable because this would invite similar measures to be taken against Russia. He told ITAR-TASS on 14 April, however that Russia's 14th Army, stationed in the Dniester region, has the "necessary potential" to play the role of a peacekeeping or "separation" force. He noted that Ukraine and Moldova consider the 14th army to be "excessively politicized" and not suitable for this function. (Suzanne Crow) RUKH WANTS UKRAINE OUT OF CIS. The Ukrainian democratic reform movement Rukh has issued a statement demanding that Ukraine suspend its membership in the CIS, Radio Ukraine reported on 14 April. The statement argues that recent developments concerning the Crimea and the Black Sea Fleet demonstrate "the Russian leadership's aggressive intentions regarding Ukraine." "Events are developing as they did over the past 70 years," says the statement, which also criticizes the "inefficiency and indecision" of the Ukrainian leadership. The statement presents a number of other demands, including a halt to international financial aid to Russia. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINIAN NOTE TO UN. Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Anatolii Zlenko has sent a message to the UN secretary general explaining his country's stand on the Crimean issue and the question of the Black Sea Fleet, ITAR-TASS reported on 14 April. The message states that Ukraine considers recent statements by some top Russian officials regarding the Crimea and Yeltsin's recent decree on the Black Sea Fleet as attempts to undermine the territorial integrity of Ukraine, interference in its internal affairs, and a gross violation of its sovereignty. The note is dated 9 April, when Yeltsin and Kravchuk agreed to suspend their decrees on the Black Sea Fleet. (Roman Solchanyk) RUSSIAN DEMOCRAT SUPPORTS UKRAINE ON BLACK SEA FLEET. Radio Ukraine reported on 14 April that a Russian democratic leader, people's deputy and historian Yurii Afanasev, has come out in support of Ukrainian claims to the Black Sea Fleet. He is quoted by Radio Ukraine as arguing that Ukraine had been part of the Russian empire until 1917 and that during the Soviet period it had not been a sovereign state either. Nevertheless, Ukraine and its people, according to the historian, "if not largely, created the Black Sea Fleet." Radio Ukraine noted that Afanasev's call for understanding of Ukraine's position goes against the grain in Russia. (Bohdan Nahaylo) NEGOTIATIONS ON FORMER SOVIET ASSETS. A group of experts from the CIS countries gathered in Kiev on 14 April to discuss how the assets of the former Soviet Union are to be divided up, Radio Moscow reported. This issue was on the agenda of the 20 March CIS summit in Kiev, but was not discussed because of opposition from the Russian side. (Roman Solchanyk) KRAVCHUK MEETS U.S. DELEGATION. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk met on 14 April with a U.S. delegation from the White House, the State Department, and the Pentagon, Ukrinform-TASS reported. The discussions are said to have focused on a complex of Ukrainian-American relations and preparations for Kravchuk's forthcoming visit to the U.S. (Roman Solchanyk) CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT APPEALS TO MILITARY. The Presidium of Crimea's Supreme Council issued an appeal to military forces stationed on the peninsula to prevent an outbreak of war there, Radio Ukraine reported on 14 April. The appeal urges military personnel to refrain from taking part in political movements, meetings, and demonstrations. (Roman Solchanyk) EBRD PRIORITIES. In a speech closing the first annual meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on 14 April, President Jacques Attali set out the Bank's priorities during the coming year, RFE/RL's Budapest bureau reported. Foremost will be the upgrading of existing production and transport facilities to improve the reliability of energy flows between countries. The Bank will also help to diversify energy sources. Attali further referred to the urgency of improving the safety of nuclear power. He called on the international community to finance the closure of the most dangerous reactors and to repair those which can be brought up to a satisfactory safety level. (Roland Eggleston and Keith Bush) PROTESTS IN TAJIKISTAN. By 14 April, the twentieth day of opposition protests in Dushanbe, the number of demonstrators in front of the presidential palace had reached 50,000. According to reports from Moscow and Dushanbe, Tajik President Rakhman Nabiev met on 13 April with opposition leaders, but apparently there was no agreement over opposition demands that the Communist-dominated Supreme Soviet be dissolved, genuine multi-party elections held, and a new constitution be adopted. On 14 April, Nabiev accused the opposition of causing a rift in Tajik society, and leaders of the three main opposition parties warned in an article in the opposition newspaper Adolat that if their demands were not met, they would not be responsible for the actions of protesters. (Bess Brown) KAZAKHSTAN SEEKS AUSTRIAN CREDITS. KazTAG-TASS reported on 14 April that Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev had told a group of Austrian businessmen visiting Alma-Ata that Kazakhstan wants to use Austrian credits to finance the building of new enterprises to produce goods that can be sold on the world market. The establishment of a direct credit line for Kazakhstan was a major achievement during Nazarbaev's visit to Austria earlier this year. The visiting businessmen described the specific projects they have worked out with Kazakh partners to invest the credit funds. (Bess Brown) GERMANS WANT TO IMPORT UZBEK CAMELS. According to the 13 April Sueddeutsche Zeitung, a group of camel-fanciers in northern Bavaria intends to import camels from a specialized camel-raising kolkhoz near Tashkent. The only thing holding up the transaction is a dispute between the Erste Bayerische Kamelreitverein (First Bavarian Camel-Riding Union) and state veterinary authorities, who fear that exotic diseases carried by imported camels might endanger the Bavarian dairy industry. (Bess Brown) EASTERN EUROPE CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE SERBS SHELL SARAJEVO. On 14 April Radio Sarajevo said that Serbian artillery was shelling the town and Austrian TV reported "house to house" fighting. Combat continued in other parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and on 13 April Vjesnik published a map showing the likely strategic plan of the federal army and Serbian irregulars to link up Serbian enclaves by capturing Muslim and Croat areas and driving out the inhabitants. One such target is Visegrad, and on 15 April the Washington Post said that Serbian forces had "launched an all-out assault" on the mainly Muslim town. Serbs told journalists that they were "liberating Visegrad," and that Muslim men who did not flee would not be spared. The article added that alcohol was flowing freely among the Serbian soldiers. Austrian TV said that 130,000 people had fled their homes in the republic in the less than two weeks of fighting. (Patrick Moore) HUNDREDS OF JEWS EVACUATED FROM SARAJEVO. Belgrade Radio reported on 14 April that an Israeli relief agency had an emergency plan to evacuate the estimated 5550 Yugoslav Jews, should the fighting in the former Yugoslavia worsen. On 10 April 350 Jews were among a group of 1,000 refugees airlifted from Sarajevo by Yugoslav Air Force cargo planes landing at the Batajnica military airbase near Belgrade. According to the Belgrade daily Politika on 10 April, the Yugoslav Air Force command offered to evacuate all Sarajevo Jews who wished to leave the city. Aleksandar Necak, the spokesman for the Federation of Yugoslav Jewish Communities said the airlift was being undertaken in order to evacuate women, children and old people to a safer place and was not an exodus from Sarajevo. With over 1,000 people, the Jewish community in Sarajevo is the third largest in Yugoslavia. Since the outbreak of violence in Croatia in late June, some 1,600 Jews have applied for visas to Israel and only about 200 Jews have actually left the Yugoslav area for Israel. (Milan Andrejevich) WASHINGTON AGAIN WARNS BELGRADE. On 14 April the United States sent "another very strongly worded protest to the Serbian leadership," Secretary of State James Baker announced. He referred to the developments at Visegrad, and added that the irregulars' killings of innocent civilians "are extraordinarily tragic and outrageous." It was the second such message in two days, and on 15 April the Washington Post and the BBC said that American and European officials would discuss moves to isolate Serbia politically and economically if the military advance continued. Haris Silajdzic, foreign minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina, told journalists of "mass massacres" in the republic and added that an attack on Sarajevo was imminent. Austrian TV quoted Croatian Foreign Minister Zvonimir Separovic in Vienna as praising the growing US role in the area and repeating Croatia's request that it consider a mission for the Sixth Fleet in the Adriatic. (Patrick Moore) POLAND, RUSSIA REACH TENTATIVE AGREEMENT ON TROOP COSTS. Two days of talks between Poland and Russia ended with an unexpected working agreement on the costs of withdrawing former Soviet troops from Poland, PAP reported on 14 April. No details were released; and an official statement noted only that the agreement must still be approved by the two governments. The two sides had been deadlocked on financial issues since October 1991, when the troop withdrawal treaty was initialed, and this deadlock had in turn blocked the Polish president's long-anticipated and long-postponed visit to Moscow. That any agreement was reached at all was something of a surprise, as Polish officials were calling the talks "difficult" at midday. Moreover, General Zdzislaw Ostrowski, the Polish government official responsible for the former Soviet troops, predicted during an afternoon break in the talks that "the results reached may not satisfy President Lech Walesa." (Roman Stefanowski) EX-SOVIET OFFICERS FAKE DOCUMENTS TO STAY IN LATVIA. Radio Riga reported on 14 April about widespread efforts by officers of the former USSR armed forces to forge documents permitting them to remain in Latvia even after leaving the military. Latvian authorities have already begun investigating these activities, which have apparently been going on since 1989 and may have involved thousands of officers. Initial findings show that many officers have obtained false papers indicating that they were called up for duty in Latvia and discharged there; on this basis, they can obtain civilian identification papers in Latvia and thus secure their right to reside there. (Dzintra Bungs) ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN TALKS STYMIED. On 14 April, during the first day of consultations intended to lead to authentic disengagement talks, Estonian and Russian negotiators were unable to agree on a preliminary agenda, ETA reported. The Estonian side proposed discussing troop withdrawals, border questions, humanitarian issues, and property rights. The Russian side rejected this agenda, however, and asserted at the beginning of the session that "it did not intend to turn up as the 'accused.'" Estonian Chief Negotiator Uno Veering told ETA he hoped the sides would come to a compromise. (Riina Kionka) HAVEL TO SEEK ANOTHER TERM. Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel told the closing session of the federal parliament in Prague on 14 April that he planned to seek another term in office. Havel said that the problems facing the country left little time for coalition talks and that it would be difficult to appoint a government enjoying the parliament's confidence. Presidential elections are to be held after the parliamentary elections on 5-6 June. Noting the polarization of political forces, Havel called for a just federation of two equal republics, saying that Slovaks no longer wanted to live in the shadow of the Czechs. Havel called the work of the parliament over the last two years, during which 147 laws were passed, a "remarkable performance". He also said that the stage had been set for the birth of a market economy, CSTK reported. (Barbara Kroulik) RUSSIA CRITICIZES REVISED LANGUAGE LAW IN LATVIA. On 10 April the Russian Foreign Ministry sent a complaint to its Latvian counterpart concerning revisions adopted in March to the 1989 language law in Latvia. Dissatisfaction was expressed in particular over the relegation of the Russian language to the status of any other foreign language in Latvia. Until 1989, when the law designating Latvian as the state language was adopted, Russian had enjoyed a superior role to all other languages in Latvia; subsequently its status was, for all practical purposes, equal to that of Latvian. Diena reported on 13 April that Latvia's Deputy Foreign Minister Martins Virsis was puzzled by Russia's complaints and its efforts to interfere in the internal affairs of another country. (Dzintra Bungs) NADEZHDA BACK ON THE AIR. Former Estonian Intermovement leader Evgenii Kogan told BNS in Moscow on 14 April that the movement's radio station "Nadezhda" would soon be back on the air. "Nadezhda," which was run out of a Soviet naval base, was shut down last August when the Estonian government and state outlawed the Intermovement for its support of the coup attempt. BNS, quoting Kogan, said the operating costs of the station would be picked up by "that organization, where he currently works." Kogan did not name the organization with which he is employed. (Riina Kionka) ESTONIA ESTABLISHES DEFENSE MINISTRY. By a vote of 58-5, with 14 abstentions, the Estonian Supreme Council on 13 April approved a government proposal to establish a Ministry of Defense, BNS reported. Estonia began reestablishing defense forces in mid-1991, and finally made the move to establish a ministry after international negotiations became increasingly difficult without one. (Riina Kionka) OLSZEWSKI SAYS 1992 A DECISIVE YEAR FOR POLAND. According to an RFE/RL correspondent, Polish Prime Minister Jan Olszewski told a news conference in Washington on 14 April that this year would decide the fate of Poland's economic reform. The reform program his government instituted, Olszewski said, should reverse the current economic recession, halt the decline in production, and open the way to modest economic growth. The program will be coordinated with the IMF and the World Bank, in order to secure their financial support. Olszewski said also that the US had assured him of support and aid, adding that the Poles are, nevertheless, aware that "the switch from an economy of totalitarian communism to a free market depends above all on their own efforts." (Roman Stefanowski) ILIESCU ON MOLDOVA CONFLICT. President Ion Iliescu said Romania would help Moldova work out a political solution to the conflict with its Russian-speaking separatists. He made this statement during a news conference in Bucharest, reported by Rompres and other foreign agencies on 14 April. Iliescu rejected "the military way," and criticized the CIS for not withdrawing its 14th Army from Moldova. He also criticized the mercenaries fighting alongside supporters of the self-proclaimed Dniester Republic. Iliescu referred to the "extremely negative effect" of Russian Vice President Rutskoi's visit in Transdnistria, and of both his addresses to a Tiraspol meeting and to the Russian People's Deputies Congress in Moscow. (Crisula Stefanescu) COUSTEAU ON KOZLODUY. At press conferences in Sofia and Paris on 14 April, French environmentalist Jacques Yves Cousteau and members of his group presented a report on their investigation of Bulgaria's Kozloduy nuclear power plant completed a few months ago. The report, quoted by Western agencies, said that Bulgaria should close down for good the four oldest, 440-megawatt reactors at Kozloduy, which it described as the most dangerous in the world. It said all efforts should concentrate on improving the two newer, 100-megawatt reactors. Two of the four oldest reactors have been closed down since last fall after severe criticism from international experts, but Bulgaria still intends to improve them and put them back into operation. (Rada Nikolaev) LATVIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENTS SHOULD ABIDE BY NATIONAL LAWS. Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs addressed a conference of local governments in Latvia on 10 April, Radio Riga reported that day. He stressed that local governments should avoid situations where their actions might conflict with the laws promulgated by the Supreme Council. He expressed his understanding for the desire of local governments to act decisively and get things done; nonetheless, he urged them not to take actions unilaterally without having ascertained if their steps were backed by the law, even if that meant waiting until certain laws were adopted. (Dzintra Bungs) HUNGARY CALLS FOR JOINT FIGHT AGAINST SMUGGLING OF PEOPLE. Speaking at an international press conference on 14 April in Oroshaza, Laszlo Korinek, an official in the Hungarian Interior Ministry, called on European countries to take joint measures against the smuggling of people, MTI reported. Korinek said that in the past two years the smuggling of people had reached alarming proportions. Hungary had become a target country and a transit route. He said that the same number of border guards using traditional methods were unable to cope. Hungarian Border Guards official Karoly Karacs said that last year about 60% of the illegal immigrants to Hungary entered the country with the help of smugglers. He said that those engaged in the smuggling of people were most active in Romania, which has become a center for migrants headed for Western Europe. (Edith Oltay) BULGARIA REJECTS CRITICISM FROM EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT. The Bulgarian government issued a statement on 14 April criticizing a resolution of the European Parliament (EP) from 9 April. The resolution, quoted by Duma on 14 April, urged the Bulgarian government to withdraw a bill from consideration by parliament that would declare null and void the sentences of the so-called people's courts after 1944. The resolution urged Bulgaria to abide by the principle that crimes of war and crimes against humanity have no statute of limitations. The government statement explained that the bill had been submitted by a group of deputies, but also defended the idea of rehabilitating innocent politicians sentenced by the communist regime. It said the EP's resolution was probably based on incomplete and incorrect information. Demokratsiya on 15 April reported from Paris that the controversial resolution had been proposed by three communist members of the EP and approved in a package by fewer than 50 of the 518 members. (Rada Nikolaev) COURT DELAYS RULING ON FORMER SECURITATE CHIEF. The Romanian Supreme Court has delayed handing down a decision on an appeal by the former head of the Romanian secret police, General Iulian Vlad. Vlad was arrested after the December 1989 revolution and convicted of complicity in mass murder in May 1991; at present he is serving a nine-year prison term. According to Rompres, the Court was supposed to rule on 13 April, but put off its decision for 15 days. (Crisula Stefanescu) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Louisa Vinton (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. Telephone: (202) 457-6912 or -6900 fax: (202) 457-6992 or -202-828-8783; or in Europe: Mr. David L. Troyanek or Ms. Helga Hofer Publications Department, RFE/RL Research Institute Oettingenstrasse 67 8000 Munich 22 Telephone: (-49 89) 2102-2631 or -2642 fax: (-49 89) 2102-2648
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