|When in doubt, tell the truth. - Mark Twain|
No. 79, 24 April 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR IMF, KHASBULATOV DIFFER ON RUSSIAN ECONOMIC PROGRAM, AID. In the run-up to next week's spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington, Russian parliamentary Chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov told Western agencies on 23 April that the IMF's demands for economic reform are "too tough," and that the Russian people "cannot endure some of the price increases and tax policies required by the IMF." Meanwhile, IMF Managing Director Michael Camdessus said that Russia's adjustment program must be strengthened, rather than diluted, Reuters and The New York Times reported. This did not prevent Konstantin Kagalovsky, Russia's chief negotiator with international financial institutions, from saying that Russia hopes to obtain the $4 billion stand-by credit, currently under discussion with the IMF by the second half of May, the Financial Times reported on 22 April. This would apparently be in addition to the proposed $6 billion to help stabilize the ruble, which, Camdessus says, will be some time in coming. (Robert Lyle/Ben Slay) US OFFICIAL CRITICIZES UKRAINIAN REFORM EFFORT. The Bush Administration on the eve of the IMF/World bank meetings apparently remains unwilling to support significant economic aid to Ukraine until greater commitment to painful reforms is demonstrated in Kiev. According to Reuters of 23 April, an unidentified "administration official" is quoted as saying: "We're not going to throw money down a rat hole, and until they [the Ukrainians] make the tough choices Russia has made, they're a rat hole." Lack of progress with price liberalization and privatization were cited by Reuters as particular US concerns. Meanwhile, according to Western reports a "reform manifesto" was published on the same day in Pravda Ukrainy, describing a "free market" economic program. The report calls for the creation of free-trade zones in Ukraine, simplification of regulations and guarantees for joint ventures, as well as the introduction of a Ukrainian national currency, the hryvnia. It was not clear, however, whether this manifesto constitutes official government policy, or simply the views of reformers in the government and parliament. (Ben Slay) KHASBULATOV PESSIMISTIC ABOUT CONGRESS RESULTS. The 23 April Russian TV news reported on the first meeting of the Supreme Soviet Presidium held since the Congress of People's Deputies. The newscast cited the chairman, Ruslan Khasbulatov, as giving a rather negative evaluation of the Congress. There were neither winners nor losers at the Congress, Khasbulatov reportedly opined. A blow was received by society in general and wounds were inflicted on both the executive and legislature, he argued. (Julia Wishnevsky) STAROVOITOVA CRITICIZES WEST FOR MISJUDGING YELTSIN. Yeltsin's aide on nationality affairs, Galina Starovoitova told Western agencies on 24 April that since Gorbachev resigned, the West has lost interest in Russia. She complained that the West is not giving due credit to Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who, contrary to Gorbachev, has so far avoided ethnic bloodshed and has just defeated hardliners at the Congress. Starovoitova asserted that Yeltsin may improve his image by smiling more often but that he also understands that "someone who follows Gorbachev cannot be the darling of the West." (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN REJECTS PETROV'S RESIGNATION. President Yeltsin refused to accept the resignation of the head of his administration, Yurii Petrov, "Novosti" announced on 23 April. Since Petrov was the former Communist Party first secretary of the Sverdlovsk Oblast Committee, he has been the main target of radicals who view Petrov as the embodiment of the old Party nomenklatura who have found refuge in the new "democratic" structures of power and who sabotage reforms with the aim of returning to the old regime. On the eve of the Congress of People's Deputies, Petrov submitted his resignation saying that he disagreed with discrimination against all former Communist officials. Yeltsin's refusal to accept it may indicate that the Russian president is unwilling to side with the radicals. (Julia Wishnevsky) RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT TO MEET. The Russian Government is scheduled to hold its first session, since the Congress of People's Deputies, on 24 April to discuss the reorganization of industrial management in Russia, and the appointment of new industrial and social ministers, Interfax reported on 23 April. The deputy chairman of the Russian parliament Vladimir Shumeiko may become the new first deputy prime minister in charge of industry. Another item on the agenda is a report by Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi on the state of agriculture. Rutskoi has strongly criticized the Congress for its failure to adopt a new law on private land sales. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN SIGNS LAW ON CONVERSION. On 21 April, Yeltsin signed a law laying out the "legal and social basis" of conversion, Interfax reported the following day. The agency said Yeltsin made the announcement to a meeting of the "Industrial Union" parliamentary faction, at which he also promised to lower taxes "somewhat" for state-owned enterprises and to bring representatives of industry into his government. (Elizabeth Teague) NEW HOPE FOR ETHNIC GERMANS. Germany and Russia have agreed on a stage-by-stage reinstitution of a German autonomous republic in the Volga region, ITAR-TASS reported on 23 April. As a first step, the Volgograd and Saratov regional administrations want to create autonomous districts for ethnic Germans on their territories this year. Similar autonomous units will be set up in the regions of Omsk, Altai and Orenburg. Germany has promised to finance housing in these areas. The chairman of the Russian State Committee on Nationalities Policy, Valerii Tishkov, said that Russian local authorities had so far been reluctant to support the ethnic German cause but had changed their minds now, as a result of massive German aid to Russia. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN ORDERS SANCTIONS AGAINST LIBYA. Interfax reported on 23 April that Boris Yeltsin has issued a decree ordering suspension of all sales and shipments of arms to Libya. The decree, which also orders the withdrawal of military advisors from Libya, was reported to be in line with UN Security Council sanctions imposed against Libya. (Stephen Foye) DRAFT RUSSIAN DEFENSE BILL APPROVED. The Presidium of the Russian Supreme Soviet on 23 April approved a draft law "On Defense" that defines the structures and powers of the emerging Russian defense establishment, ITAR-TASS reported. The draft law is to be passed on to the parliament's committees and commissions for further examination. Reuters, which claimed in a 23 April report to have received a copy of the draft law, said it banned the military from participation in policing activities, limited the manpower of the army to 1% of the population, granted the president the right to appoint the defense minister (with parliament's approval), and defined the Defense Ministry as a political and administrative body while granting the General Staff control over military affairs. (Stephen Foye) SHAPOSHNIKOV ON BLACK SEA FLEET. CIS Commander in Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov told "Novosti" on 23 April that, in his opinion, Ukraine should receive roughly 20% of the Black Sea Fleet, while the CIS should retain the remaining 80%. He was cautiously optimistic that Russian-Ukrainian talks on the fleet's future to be launched on 28 April would be successful, and added that requests by Georgia for part of the fleet should not raise problems. (Stephen Foye) UKRAINIANS PROTEST "CHAUVINIST HYSTERIA" IN CRIMEA. On 23 April, Radio Ukraine reported on what was described as the growing "chauvinist" and anti-Ukrainian "hysteria" in Crimea, where the issue of whether the autonomous Crimean state will hold a referendum on secession from Ukraine is nearing a decision by the local parliament. Radio Kiev castigated the peninsula's main daily, Krymskaya pravda for its "anti-Ukrainian" and overtly pro-Russian line, adding that the newspaper had not even published the full text of President Kravchuk's recent appeal to the residents of Crimea. It also said that local Ukrainian activists had been picketing the newspaper's offices this week calling for "pluralistic coverage of the situation in Crimea." (Bohdan Nahaylo) RUSSIAN MEDICAL WORKERS STRIKE CONTINUES. A strike by Russian medical workers which began on 20 April is continuing, and the strikers have now announced plans to hold a demonstration in Moscow on 24 April, ITAR-TASS reported on 23 April. A spokesman for the Russian Union of Medical Workers, Jiri Sintoski, said that rallies would be held in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Smolensk, and a larger rally is planned for 29 April. The strike resulted from a simmering dispute between the Union and the Russian government over salaries and benefits. Workers in Magadan have closed clinics for almost a week, while in Altai, only emergency treatment is available at hospitals. In Tomsk, hospital workers began striking on 22 April. Union leaders have also said that ambulance services in Moscow will be cut on 24 April and that more Moscow medical facilities will join the strike on Monday, 27 April, if authorities do not meet the Union's demands. (Carla Thorson) JAPANESE AID TO RUSSIA. According to a report on Japanese TV (23 April), Japan will contribute $1.5 billion in direct bilateral assistance to Russia as part of the $24 billion financial assistance package of the G-7 nations. Confirmation on this aid package is expected from the G-7 on 26 April. Japan has, until now, refused to provide substantial amounts of assistance unless a solution to the Kurile Islands dispute has been agreed upon. (Suzanne Crow) HEIR TO RUSSIAN THRONE TO BE BURIED IN ST. PETERSBURG? On 23 April, the Aleksandr Nevsky monastery in St. Petersburg held a memorial service on Vladimir Kirillovich Romanov, the heir to the Russian throne who died during a press conference in Miami the day before. The 74-year-old last November and was given a royal welcome by St. Petersburg Mayor Anatolii Sobchak. According to "Vesti," Vladimir may be buried with other Romanovs in St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. (Julia Wishnevsky) SPAIN INVITES UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk met with the Spanish foreign minister, Francisco Fernandez Ordonez, Radio Kiev reported on 23 April. The latter described his talks in Kiev as "fruitful." The two countries want to develop bilateral economic and cultural relations and a treaty on friendship and cooperation between the two countries is being prepared. Ordonez extended an invitation to Kravchuk from the Spanish king Juan Carlos to make an official visit to Spain. (Bohdan Nahaylo) NEW DATA ON LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION IN UKRAINE'S SCHOOLS. A Ukrainian newspaper has published new data recently released by the Ukrainian Ministry of Statistics on the language of instruction in the country's schools. Pravda Ukrainy of 18 April reveals that the proportion of children being taught in Ukrainian is still marginally smaller than those receiving instruction in Russian--49.3% and 50% respectively. In the western oblasts, between 91.8% and 97.6% of children are taught in Ukrainian, while in the Luhansk, Donetsk and Crimean oblasts the reverse occurs: between 93.3% and 99.96% are taught in Russian. In Kiev, 30.9% of children are taught in Ukrainian. In general, 83% of children attending village schools are taught in Ukrainian while 66% of those in the cities are taught in Russian. Around 14,000 children are taught in "Moldovan," 19,000 in Romanian, 18,000 in Hungarian, 550 in Polish and 142 in Crimean Tatar. (Bohdan Nahaylo) BISHKEK SUMMIT ENDS. Leaders of the Central Asian states and Kazakhstan ended their two-day summit in Bishkek on 23 April by signing agreements recognizing the inviolability of each others' frontiers and on creating a regional investment fund to be coordinated by a new interstate bank, Interfax reported. Participants also pledged support for the concept of joint CIS armed forces. An agreement on coordinating economic policies was postponed because of discrepancies in economic conditions between the five states. Participants called for a peaceful solution to the Afghan crisis which they termed "an internal matter." (Liz Fuller) NAZARBAEV LOSING FAITH IN CIS. Speaking to reporters after the Bishkek summit, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev said that tensions between Russia and Ukraine over military issues are undermining the stability of the CIS, and that efforts by CIS member states to coordinate policy are "too disjointed," Radio Rossii reported on 23 April. Nazarbaev predicted that the CIS summit scheduled for 15 May will be "the culminating moment" for the destiny of the Commonwealth. (Liz Fuller) MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ON POSSIBLE DEPLOYMENT OF INTERNATIONAL PEACE-KEEPING TROOPS IN MOLDOVA. In a conversation with the newly-accredited Canadian ambassador in Chisinau, reported by Moldovapres on 22 April, President Mircea Snegur said that Moldova would call for the deployment of UN or CSCE-sponsored peacekeeping troops only in the event of a collapse of the quadripartite negotiations between Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, and Romania on settling the Dniester conflict. (Vladimir Socor) RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN CONDITIONS MOLDOVA'S TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY ON CIS MEMBERSHIP. The Chairman of Russia's Parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, was cited by Radio Moscow on 22 April as saying that Russia's approach to relations with other member states of the CIS, including border questions, was linked to those republics' adherence to the CIS. Singling out Moldova as an example, Khasbulatov said that the Russian parliament's position on the question of the Dniester area and on the issue of inviolability of Moldova's borders would depend on whether or not Moldova remains a member of CIS. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN ON MOLDOVA BEING "CHOSEN AS AN EXAMPLE." Moldovan Parliament Chairman Alexandru Mosanu was cited by Moldovapres on 21 April, one day before Khasbulatov's statement, as saying that "pro-imperial forces in Moscow" fanning the Dniester conflict had "chosen Moldova as an example of what can be done to the newly-independent states which take their independence seriously." (Vladimir Socor) MORE RUSSIAN "SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE" IN MOLDOVA. Citing Moldova's Ministry of Internal Affairs, TASS reported on 22 April that the Moldovan authorities have recently been apprehending a growing number of armed "soldiers of fortune" from Russia and other CIS member states who were declaring upon apprehension that they had come to Moldova "to defend the 'Dniester republic.'" (Vladimir Socor) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE CEASE-FIRE IN BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA. In the face of mounting international pressure, Serbia's President Slobodan Milosevic has agreed to support an EC-sponsored cease-fire negotiated among the leaders of the Croat, Muslim, and Serbian communities. The Serbian-dominated federal army has also agreed to abide by the cease-fire. This truce, brokered on 23 April by an EC delegation led by Lord Carrington, came as the fighting in Bosnia intensified and the capital city of Sarajevo experienced fierce street battles, bombings, and mortar attacks. Reports from Sarajevo indicate, however, that sporadic fighting continues despite the cease-fire agreement (Duncan Perry). MORE ON BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT CRISIS. Following reports that Prime Minister Filip Dimitrov had asked Defense Minister Dimitar Ludzhev to resign, the parliamentary group of the ruling UDF met with the Prime Minister, BTA reported on 23 April. The group was reported to have emphasized during the meeting that if personnel changes are necessary, they must come only after the planned organizational changes of the government and after thorough political consultations. In a radio report on the same day Ludzhev was quoted as saying that Dimitrov's move had resulted from intrigues and that he would "not stay in a cabinet with a man who acts in such a way with his ministers." Dimitrov was quoted in the same report as having said that his decision reflected merely a wish to maintain "functional balances" in the government. (Rada Nikolaev) BULGARIAN PRIVATIZATION LAW PASSED. On 23 April the National Assembly passed the law on privatization of state and municipal property. Western agencies said it is more market oriented than similar laws of other East European countries. According to their reports, small firms will be sold at auctions, while large enterprises will gradually be transformed into joint stock companies. These companies will be open to foreign capital investments, although up to 20% of the shares may be sold preferentially to employees. The state's income from selling its enterprises will be allocated in 30% for social funds, 40% for foreign debt repayment, 20% for indemnities to former owners, and 10% for development of agriculture. (Rada Nikolaev) BULGARIAN SANCTIONS AGAINST LIBYA. On 22 April the government imposed sanctions against Libya in fulfillment of the UN-mandated action against that country, BTA reported on 23 April. The decision prohibits taking off, landing, or overflight over Bulgaria of any flight coming from or going to Libya and bans the work of the Libyan airlines' office in Sofia. It also imposes embargo on arms sales to Libya. Furthermore, the government is to take steps to expel or prevent from entering Bulgaria of Libyan citizens expelled from other countries because of terrorist acts. Before the UN embargo Bulgaria had more than once warned its citizens not to travel to Libya and also said it was making efforts to make it possible for its 6,000 citizens in Libya to leave if they wish. (Rada Nikolaev) HAVEL IN JAPAN. Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel met with Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa and Emperor Akihito in Tokyo on 23 April, foreign agencies report. Miyazawa announced that Japan would grant preferential tariff status to Czechoslovakia as of 1 May. Havel called for increased economic exchange and for capital investment. Havel's assistant for foreign affairs Sasa Vondra said Miyazawa raised the possibility of a special 25-year Japanese credit to be used for environmental protection in Czechoslovakia. The two countries are due to sign a new trade agreement today. Miyazawa said that Japan would like to participate in some way in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is currently chaired by Czechoslovakia. (Barbara Kroulik) CZECHOSLOVAK GNP DECLINES. The Czechoslovak State Bank says the country's gross national product decreased in the first quarter of 1992. CSTK quotes bank figures as saying the GNP declined by 3.3% by the end of 31 March, compared with the final three months of 1991. Prices increased on average by 1% in January, 0.5% in February and 0.4% in March. (Barbara Kroulik) GERMAN SOCCER FANS EXPELLED. A total of 77 young Germans who were detained during a rampage in Prague on 22 April preceding a soccer game between Czechoslovakia and Germany, have been expelled from Czechoslovakia. Five other German fans still face charges of causing damage and attacking a public official, CSTK reports. (Barbara Kroulik) HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN COORDINATION COMMITTEE SET UP. On April 22, a Hungarian-Romanian committee was set up in Bucharest to coordinate the implementation of the "Open Skies" agreement between the two countries, MTI reported. The "Open Skies" agreement, which provides for annual surveillance flights over each other's territory, was signed last year and came into effect in February this year. Gabor Brody, head of the Hungarian delegation, said that the "Open Skies" agreement would contribute to improving relations between the two countries. Reiterating this view, the Romanian side said that the agreement wouls promote bilateral cooperation. (Edith Oltay) TOWARD A HUNGARIAN-SLOVAK RAPPROCHEMENT? Slovak Foreign Minister Pavol Demes, on his first visit to Budapest, and State Secretary Geza Entz, head of the Secretariat for Hungarians Abroad in the Hungarian Prime Minister's Office, agreed that Slovakia and Hungary have a "strategic interest" in their reconciliation, MTI reported on 22 April. According to Demes, the present situation of Slovakia's Magyar minority conformed with European norms. (Alfred Reisch) LIBYAN SUBMARINE BEING REPAIRED IN RIGA. About 70 Libyan soldiers are in Riga at ship repair factory Number 177 in the Bolderaja district of Riga in conjunction with the repair of a submarine Libya purchased from the USSR in 1988, Diena reported on 22 April. Assistant to the Latvian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aivis Ronis told Diena that the Latvian government is preparing to send a protest note to the Russian government on the matter. (Saulius Girnius) CONTINUING PROBLEMS WITH LITHUANIAN AUTHORITIES. On 23 April Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius said that a crisis had broken out in the parliament where "destructive forces which previously constituted a minority have become too influential," Radio Lithuania reports. Indirectly hinting that he believed that presidential elections would be held after the successful passage of a presidential referendum on 23 May, he proposed that elections to a new parliament should be held at the same time. He did not make a scheduled statement to the parliament on the state of the government, but promised to do so on 28 April. Deputy Prime Minister Algis Dobravolskas, who is also Social Security Minister, announced his resignation to the parliament but this will not be discussed there before 28 April. (Saulius Girnius) AMERICAN AIRLINES TO BE LITHUANIAN AIRLINES' MAIN PARTNER. On 23 April American Airlines and Lithuanian Airlines (LAL) signed a memorandum of understanding that foresees the development of a strategic business plan, joint marketing, aircraft support program, and a reservations and servicing network in Vilnius and other cities in Europe, Reuters reports. Peter Pappas, consulting group president of American Airlines' parent AMP Corp, said that it would take up to 3 months to prepare a contract with LAL. Lithuania, the first former USSR republic to start commercial flights to the West, plans to privatize LAL -- giving 49% to private investors -- and then link with others from the Baltic States to form a joint company. Seven European airlines now offer direct flights to Vilnius. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIAN-RUSSIAN TALKS ON TROOP WITHDRAWAL. On April 23 the third round of talks on the withdrawal of the ex-Soviet army from Lithuania began at the Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Ministry in Vilnius. The Russian delegation was headed by Viktor Isakov, deputy chief of administration in the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry. The head of the Lithuanian delegation, Minister without Portfolio Aleksandras Abisala, told a press conference that he was disappointed with the first day of talks since Russia did not have a position on the date of the withdrawal or on the payment for damages inflicted by the Soviet army. The talks will continue today (24 April), Radio Lithuania reports. (Saulius Girnius) WALESA TO BECOME INVOLVED IN FORMATION OF GOVERNMENT? Following the collapse of protracted negotiations on creating a broad parliamentary coalition to support the government, Polish President Lech Walesa said in a television interview on 23 April that he might "form an extra-party government to solve problems." He said he would consult with Prime Minister Jan Olszewski about the situation. Former Prime Minister and Democratic Union leader Tadeusz Mazowiecki met with Walesa on the same day and then said that he had suggested to the president "to do nothing that can lead to an immediate overthrow of the government," Polish and Western media reported. (Roman Stefanowski) BELARUS-POLISH AGREEMENT INITIALED. Belarus and Poland initialed in Warsaw a "treaty on good neighborliness and friendly cooperation," PAP reported on 23 April. After meeting with the Polish Prime Minister Jan Olszewski Belarus Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebitch said that "we have not found any controversial points in our talks." The treaty replaces the "declaration on mutual relations" signed last fall. It covers cross-border cooperation, commercial exchanges, minority rights, copyright and patent protection, etc. (Roman Stefanowski) SWISS AID TO POLAND. Switzerland granted Poland 50 million Swiss franks as nonreturnable aid for the period 1992 to 1995, PAP reported on 23 April. "It is Switzerland's contribution to the Polish economic transformation" said Jean-Pascal Delamuraz, the Swiss Federation Economy Minister, who headed a delegation of Swiss industrialists to Poland According to Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Polish government plenipotentiary for European integration and foreign aid, this aid will be used in agriculture, banking, and self-government. (Roman Stefanowski) ROMANIAN PRIME MINISTER AFFIRMS TRANSITION TO MARKET ECONOMY. In an address to a joint parliamentary session, Prime Minister Theodor Stolojan said that Romania's transition to a market economy was "irreversible" and that he was determined to prevent massive price rises, Romanian and foreign media reported on 23 April. Stolojan also said that the government would start distributing in May free vouchers (representing 30% of ownership of state-run industries) to be used by the public to buy shares in soon-to-be privatized industries. Furthermore, the Prime Minister announced that the government would remove 25% of remaining state subsidies on consumer products; the gradual removal of subsidies began in November 1990 and all are to be cut by the end of 1993. Stolojan said also that the government would devalue the Romanian leu to stimulate exports but warned about prospective unemployment. (Crisula Stefanescu) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Jan de Weydenthal (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. 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