Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece. - Vladimir Nabokov
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 80, 27 April 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT MEETS. On 24 April, the Russian government
held its first meeting since the tumultuous Sixth Congress of
People's Deputies at which the Yeltsin team fought off attempts
to reverse their economic reform program. The cabinet met a day
later than originally scheduled, the official explanation being
that the agenda was long and complicated and extra time was needed
to prepare the documents. President Yeltsin himself did not attend
the meeting, which was chaired by First Deputy Prime Minister
Egor Gaidar, Russian media reported. (Elizabeth Teague)

NO CABINET RESHUFFLE YET. In Yeltsin's absence, the anticipated
cabinet reshuffle did not take place. However, both Gaidar and
cabinet spokesman Aleksei Ulyukaev were quoted by ITAR-TASS as
confirming that it is still planned to reorganize Russia's four
departments and bringing one or more experienced industrialists
in to oversee the new sectors. Gaidar was quoted as saying the
decision on how to reorganize the ministry will be made within
the next two to three weeks. (Elizabeth Teague)

EUROPEAN COMMISSION VIEWS ON RUSSIAN REFORMS. Izvestiya of 25
April carried an interview with the EC representative in Moscow,
Michael Emerson. Among other things, he said that adjusting domestic
raw materials and energy prices in rubles to world levels would,
at the present "market" exchange rates, be very damaging. It
would cause extensive bankruptcies and job losses. The controlled
energy price rises announced on 24 April by the Russian government
(Financial Times 25/26 April) for "mid-year" implementation seem
to meet this point. They should please the IMF by reducing subsidies
but leave the price per ton around 2,000 rubles. At 150 rubles
= $1, the ruble equivalent of the world price would be about
20,000 rubles. (Philip Hanson)

GOSKOMSTAT: MORE BAD ECONOMIC NEWS FOR RUSSIA. The Russian State
Statistical Office issued a bleak report on the Russian economy
in 1991 on 23 April. According to ITAR-TASS, national income
fell by 14% and industrial production fell by 13%, compared with
the same period last year. Oil, ferrous metals, machine building,
and food production were hardest hit. Inter-enterprise debt had
expanded to 800 billion rubles, indicating that many insolvent
enterprises were able to frustrate the spirit of tight monetary
and credit policies by not paying (and extracting interest-free
loans from) their suppliers. According to a Reuters report on
the Goskomstat figures, 50 million people are now living below
the poverty line, with unemployment having risen to 118,000 from
70,000 three months ago. (Ben Slay)

CIS SUMMIT. The next summit meeting of CIS leaders, which Kazakh
leader Nursultan Nazarbaev has said could make or break the Commonwealth,
is scheduled to take place in Tashkent on 15-16 May, Central
TV confirmed on 24 April The agenda is already massive, containing
40 items divided into three main topics: (1) defense, (2) economy,
and (3) ecology. (Elizabeth Teague)

CENTRAL ASIAN LEADERS ON SECURITY. Krasnaya zvezda on 25 April
carried an interview with the presidents of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan,
and Turkmenistan on the results of the 23 April Bishkek conference.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev and Uzbek President Islam
Karimov spoke of the need for each CIS state to build its own
army, but to maintain dual national and CIS control over these
forces. Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov was less clear,
however, arguing that the CIS hardly exists and therefore fails
to provide firm political control over the CIS armed forces.
He also said that the Turkestan Military District ought to be
disbanded, but suggested that the republic would be willing to
negotiate with Russia over sharing the costs of funding the large
troop contingent in Turkmenistan. (Stephen Foye)

PACIFIC FLEET EXERCISES. The newspaper of the Pacific Fleet,
Boevaya vakhta, claimed on 24 April that a series of naval exercises
launched by the fleet only days before had caught both American
and Japanese naval forces entirely by surprise. ITAR-TASS, quoting
a deputy commander of the fleet, suggested that the exercises
proved that earlier comments by US Secretary of Defense Richard
Cheney--to the effect that the CIS fleet no longer constituted
a serious threat to the American navy--were premature. (Stephen
Foye)

RUSSIAN INTERNAL TROOPS WITHDRAWN FROM SOUTH OSSETIA. Russian
MVD troops withdrew on 25 April from South Ossetia, where they
had been deployed since tensions between Georgians and Ossetians
escalated with the abolition by the Georgian parliament of the
oblast's autonomous status in December, 1990, ITAR-TASS reported.
"Vesti" on 26 April quoted local Ossetians as arguing that the
situation was unlikely to improve given that the capital of Tskhinvali
was still under siege by supporters of ousted Georgian President
Zviad Gamsakhurdia. (Liz Fuller)

AZERBAIJAN AGREES TO DEPLOYMENT OF CSCE OBSERVERS. ITAR-TASS
and Interfax reported on 26 April that the Azerbaijani government
had agreed to the deployment of some 150-200 CSCE observers in
Nagorno-Karabakh and on the Armenian-Azerbaijani frontier. Fighting
has continued in Nagorno-Karabakh over the past few days. Armenia
has rejected allegations by Azerbaijan that Armenian fighters
fired shells containing cyanide in an attack on the town of Shusha
earlier this month, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 April. (Liz Fuller)


COMMUNISTS TO RALLY IN RED SQUARE ON 1 MAY. The Moscow city authorities
have given permission to a number of neocommunist groups to rally
in Red Square on 1 May, Interfax reported on 22 April. Organizations
granted permits are the "Working Moscow" movement, the Russian
Communist Workers' Party, the United Front of Workers, and the
"Lenin and Motherland" movement. Russia's official trade unions,
however, are not planning to rally in Red Square this year. Instead,
the Moscow Federation of Trade Unions plans to meet in Gorky
Park. Meanwhile, the AP reports (23 April) that the city authorities
are offering to sell advertising space in Red Square to Western
businesses. The only space said to be off limits is Lenin's Tomb.
(Elizabeth Teague)

STRIKES IN RUSSIA NOT INCREASING SIGNIFICANTLY. ITAR-TASS reported
on 23 April that over 260,000 man-days were lost in the Russian
economy in the first three months of 1992. According to Goskomstat,
strikes are most common in the non-productive sectors, as borne
out by current press reports of strikes by Moscow busdrivers,
schoolteachers in Samara, and medical doctors throughout Russia.
Such reports notwithstanding, there is no sign that Yeltsin's
leadership has provoked more strikes than the latter years of
the Gorbachev leadership. In 1990 as a whole, the RFSFR lost
1.2 million man-days through strikes, a figure roughly comparable
to the present figure of 260,000 for the first three months of
1992. Meanwhile, the official Russian trade union federation
reports that 8,000 people died in industrial accidents in Russia
in 1991, (Interfax, 23 April). (Elizabeth Teague)

UNEMPLOYMENT ON THE RISE. ITAR-TASS on 23 April quoted Goskomstat
as saying that, out of a total workforce of 73.4 million, there
were 118,000 registered jobless in Russia in April, compared
with 70,000 at the beginning of this year. At 0.16% of the workforce,
registered unemployment is still very low. However, the requirement
that employers must pay dismissed workers three months' severance
pay makes for a delay before sackings show up in the statistics;
so too does the woefully underdeveloped state of Russia's network
of employment bureaus. Interviewed in The Economist of 25 April,
Egor Gaidar noted that unemployment is still low in Russia but
predicted it would become "a really serious problem" around the
end of the year. At that time, Gaidar, said, social pressures
connected with employment may become "politically dangerous."
(Elizabeth Teague)

DEFENSE INDUSTRY DIVIDED ON REFORM, GAIDAR SAYS. Gaidar told
The Economist that, contrary to general opinion, Russia's military-industrial
complex is divided and "not strongly opposed" to economic reform.
This, he said, is because the workforce is "intelligent and highly
qualified" and some (though not all) are eager to seize the new
opportunities provided by marketization. (Elizabeth Teague)

CHUBAIS: "FULFILL THE PRIVATIZATION PLAN OR ELSE." According
to the Financial Times of 23 April, Anatolii Chubais, Director
of Russia's State Committee on Privatization, has threatened
to dismiss regional governors who "fail to meet targets" for
privatizing state enterprises. As part of an acceleration in
Russia's privatization program, specific percentage targets have
been set for privatizing individual sectors by the end of the
year. The details of the voucher scheme (based on the Czechoslovak
model) for privatizing state firms and shops are to be finalized
by mid-May, and the distribution of vouchers is to begin by autumn.
According to another Financial Times article on 22 April, state
enterprises will have to transform themselves into state-owned
joint-stock companies by 1 September; and procedures for ESOPs,
management buyouts, and joint ventures are to be simplified.
(Ben Slay)

RUSSIA CONTINUES SPYING ON THE WEST. Despite the assurances of
Boris Yeltsin and other Russian politicians that the cold war
is over, Western politicians are becoming increasingly worried
about continuing Russian spying on the West. Three Russian KGB
agents who worked under the cover of ITAR-TASS and Komsomolskaya
pravda have recently been expelled from the Netherlands, according
to Western agencies on 23 April. The three had operated with
the knowledge of the Russian ambassador in The Hague. Several
other Russian KGB agents were recently expelled from Belgium
and a KGB-sponsored spy ring has been uncovered in France. (Alexander
Rahr)

RUSSIAN LEGAL SAFEGUARDS FOR VICTIMS OF PSYCHIATRIC ABUSE? In
addition to reviewing laws on bankruptcy and on the liquidation
of bankrupt enterprises, the Supreme Soviet Presidium, on 23
April, discussed new legislation on psychiatric aid which could
provide unprecedented legal safeguards for citizens in psychiatric
wards. The Russian parliament is scheduled to debate and adopt
these laws in mid-May. (Julia Wishnevsky)

CENSORSHIP IN RUSSIAN TV. On 24 April, Russian TV's second channel
broadcast a statement by the famous director, Nikita Mikhalkov,
proclaiming his intention to sever all ties with the first channel
("Ostankino") because of political censorship. "Ostankino's"
management cancelled Mikhalkov's show, Crossroads, which had
been highly publicized and was scheduled to air on 22 April.
Mikhalkov attributed the ban to two segments: an interview with
Metropolitan Pitirim in which journalist Tatyana Mitkova accused
the metropolitan of being a KGB spy; and a film comparing the
current activities of First Deputy Prime Minister Gennadii Burbulis
with those of 1981 when he taught Marxism in Sverdlovsk. Within
one hour of Mikhalkov's statement, "Ostankino" announced its
intention to broadcast the program on 29 April. (Julia Wishnevsky)


UKRAINIAN-IRANIAN RELATIONS. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk
concluded a two-day visit to Iran on 26 April where he held talks
with Iranian President Rafsanjani and reached agreements on political,
economic, cultural, and technical cooperation between the two
countries, Western agencies reported. Iranian media reported
that the two sides agreed to set up a committee to explore ways
of broadening ties and that Iran had agreed to supply Ukraine
with gas. Specifically, Iran, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan are to
organize a joint company to supply gas to Ukraine and Europe.
(Roman Solchanyk)

CHERNOBYL COMMEMORATED IN UKRAINE. Ukraine marked the sixth anniversary
of the Chernobyl catastrophe on 26 April. The anniversary was
officially commemorated on 24 April in order not to interfere
with the Orthodox Easter Sunday celebrations. In the meantime,
Izvestiya documented that the Soviet government and the Communist
Party leadership falsified the consequences of the explosion
to the outside world and to its own citizens. The newspaper cited
previously secret KGB and Politburo documents. (Roman Solchanyk)


NEW UKRAINIAN CONSTITUTION DISCUSSED. The Constitutional Commission
of the Ukrainian Supreme Council has held a regular session to
discuss the country's new constitution, Radio Ukraine reported
on 26 April. The Commission is reported to be in agreement that
there should be a single citizenship in Ukraine and that the
National Assembly is to be constituted as a bicameral body elected
for a four-year period. (Roman Solchanyk)

CRIMEA EXAMINES POWER-SHARING PLAN. The Presidium of Crimea's
Supreme Council has once again examined the draft of a law delineating
power between the autonomous republic and Kiev, the "Novosti"
reported on 25 April. Earlier, the draft law had been approved
by the Crimean parliament but was met with opposition in the
Ukrainian parliament. The document was ultimately approved, but
is being looked at again by the Crimeans. (Roman Solchanyk)



CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN PRESIDENT, FEDERAL ARMY TALK. Radio Sarajevo reported
on 26 April that talks between Bosnia's President Alija Izetbegovic
and federal officials over the future status of the Serbian-dominated
federal army in Bosnia-Herzegovina show signs of progress. After
several hours of talks in Skopje, Izetbegovic told reporters
that he asked federal Defense Minister Gen. Blagoje Adzic and
Vice President Branko Kostic to decide as soon as possible whether
the federal army should either leave Bosnia-Herzegovina or accept
a radical transformation into a Bosnian army. There are "no sensational
developments" to report, he said, but the leaders have agreed
to continue negotiations. Izetbegovic added that he did not ask
the army to withdraw because the vast majority of army personnel
are Serbs who would likely desert to join local Serb paramilitary
groups. Adzic said that any future decision on the status of
the army must be agreed upon by the legitimate representatives
of the republic's Muslims, Serbs, and Croats. Meanwhile most
fronts in Bosnia-Herzegovina remained relatively quiet with some
heavy fighting reported in Mostar and areas of northern Bosnia.
(Milan Andrejevich)

A THIRD, SMALLER YUGOSLAVIA. Radio Serbia reports on 27 April
that deputies from the parliaments of the republics of Serbia
and Montenegro are to gather today in Belgrade to proclaim a
third and smaller Yugoslavia. The deputies are scheduled to adopt
a new constitution joining the two republics in a federation
based on parliamentary democracy and a free-market economy. Federal
parliamentary elections for a new bicameral parliament are planned
for 30 June. In late December both republics began talks on creating
the new smaller federation, but the action is viewed by Western
diplomats as a last minute face-saving attempt by Serbia to avoid
not being recognized as the successor state by the EC and US.
The proposed constitution would enable the federal army to withdraw
from Bosnia-Herzegovina on a legal basis, according to Radio
Croatia. Austrian Foreign Minister Alois Mock told Austrian TV
on 23 April that the new Yugoslavia which the two republics are
to proclaim will not be recognized as a legitimate successor
of the former Yugoslavia because the state is not being founded
by "a democratic parliament." (Milan Andrejevich)

MACEDONIA'S NEW CURRENCY. Radio Skopje reports that the former
Yugoslav republic of Macedonia will begin introducing the "denar,"
a substitute for the Yugoslav dinar today. Prime Minister Nikola
Kljusev told reporters on 26 April that citizens will have three
days to exchange their dinars. The denar will be issued as a
coupon initially but is expected to become a regular currency
sometime next year. The government says the denar promissory
note is valued at 350 to the German mark. (Milan Andrejevich)


HUNGARY CONCERNED ABOUT ETHNIC HUNGARIANS IN VOJVODINA. The Hungarian
government has called on the US government, the EC, and the UN
to use their influence to prevent possible violence against the
Hungarian minority in the Serbian province of Vojvodina, MTI
reported on 24 April. The government expressed concern about
the increasing number of threats against ethnic Hungarians by
Serbian nationalists. Hungarian UN Ambassador Andre Erdos told
Radio Budapest the same day that the Hungarian government is
very concerned about the fighting in Bosnia and is of the opinion
that UN peacekeeping forces should be sent there as soon as possible.
(Edith Oltay)

ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATION IN HUNGARY. An estimated 15,000
farmers demonstrated outside the parliament building in Budapest
on 25 April demanding the resignation of the government, MTI
reports. The rally was organized by Smallholders' Party president
Jozsef Torgyan, who criticized the government for leading the
country into economic misery and for failing to remove communists
from leading positions. He demanded that a government of experts
and technocrats be installed to run the country until the next
parliamentary elections. Torgyan recently took his party out
of the governing coalition but a majority of the Smallholder
parliamentary deputies defied him and remained loyal to the government.
This was the largest antigovernment demonstration since the multiparty
elections in 1990. (Edith Oltay)

FORMER BULGARIAN PRIME MINISTER ARRESTED. Georgi Atanasov, Bulgaria's
communist prime minister from 1986 to early 1990, was arrested
on 24 April on a warrant issued by Chief Prosecutor Ivan Tatarchev.
According to 24 chasa, former Minister of the Economy Stoyan
Ovcharov was arrested the same day. On 23 April Demokratsiya
said Atanasov and Ovcharov would be the first two out of 47 former
top officials to be tried for their complicity in the country's
economic disaster. Atanasov and Ovcharov are accused specifically
of misappropriating 203,000 leva from an orphans' fund and distributing
it among children of communist resistance fighters--none of whom
was younger than 40. Tatarchev said this is a particularly grave
case punishable by 15-30 years' imprisonment. (Rada Nikolaev)


EX-KING WELCOMED IN BUCHAREST. Tens of thousands of Romanians
poured into the streets of Bucharest to welcome former King Michael
I during an emotional Easter visit after 45 years of exile, local
and foreign media report. Cheering crowds waving monarchist banners
and national flags, chanted "Long Live the King," "King in the
Country--Iliescu Out," and "Stay--Don't Leave Us." The ex-king
and his wife, accompanied by their second daughter and grandson,
celebrated Orthodox Easter at the Putna Monastery, near the Moldovan
border, on 24 April, and also attended services at St. George's
Church in Bucharest on 25 April. Authorities issued visas valid
for only four days and emphasized the private nature of the visit;
the opposition hailed the occasion as "historic." (Crisula Stefanescu)


MAYORS OPPOSE DAM PROJECT. Some 180 mayors and members of local
governments from the Danube region of Slovakia and Hungary and
experts from several countries met in Dunajska Streda on 25 April
to discuss the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros dam. They noted the danger
of a loss of drinking water reserves for almost five million
people and other environmental problems linked to the dam's completion.
In a statement to the Czecho-slovak government they demanded
that work be halted immediately and that an effort be made to
restore the section of the Danube already damaged. In a separate
statement the World Wide Fund for Nature said in Vienna that
it will warn international banks not to finance the project,
an RFE/RL correspondent reports. (Barbara Kroulik)

SLOVAK JOURNALISTS WHO COLLABORATED. Slovak Premier Jan Carnogursky
says he received from federal police a list of Slovak journalists
who collaborated with the STB, the former communist se-cret police.
CSTK quotes him as saying that on 27 April the government will
discuss whether to make the list public. Last week Czech Premier
Petr Pithart was given a similar list of Czech journalists. No
decision has been made on what to do with that list. (Barbara
Kroulik)

SOLIDARITY MARCHES IN WARSAW. Tens of thousands of Solidarity
Trade Union members marched in Warsaw on 24 April to protest
the government's economic policies and the country's political
instability, Polish and Western media report. Solidarity leader
Marian Krzaklewski described the march as "the penultimate warning"
before a general strike, "the last warning." President Lech Walesa
told the marchers "I would march with you if I weren't president;
I'm dissatisfied as well." Asked by a Gdansk TV reporter on 26
April on the future of Olszewski government and his possible
part in its reconstruction, Walesa said that "the only solution
for Poland is an supraparty government that we shall form with
experts who gained experience in the three [postcommunist] governments."
(Roman Stefanowski)

BRZEZINSKI FINDS POLITICAL SITUATION "INTRIGUING." In Poland
for the Polish-American Enterprise Fund's directors meeting,
former US National Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski told
PAP on 24 April that he finds the Polish political situation
intriguing because it is not functioning in the way it should,
due to the lack of a modern and democratic constitution. In order
to break the resulting paralysis and create a framework for a
democratic state, Brzezinski said, Poland should quickly adopt
a new constitution and a new election law, as France did after
1958. (Roman Stefanowski)

STRATEGIC DIALOGUE IN BERGERAC. Andrzej Towpik, Director of the
European Institutions Department in the Polish Foreign Ministry,
told journalists on 25 April that the conference in Bergerac,
France, of the foreign ministers of France, Germany, and Poland
was a dialogue of strategic importance for the development of
Polish-French and Polish-German relations. According to Towpik,
both France and Germany promised to support Poland's application
for full EC membership and have undertaken "to do everything
in their power to facilitate the process of Polish reforms."
(Roman Stefanowski)

NEW CREDITS FOR BULGARIA. Minister of Finance Ivan Kostov returned
on 25 April from talks in Brussels with the G-24 group of industrialized
countries and international financial circles. BTA and Western
agencies said this year Bulgaria can expect loans and grants
to pay off its $1.1 billion balance of trade deficit after the
rescheduling of its debt payments for 1992. The European Community
and the IMF will extend a loan of $440 million and another $340
million is expected from the World Bank and the G-24 group. Kostov
told BTA and Bulgarian TV that the loans would be granted at
the normal market rate, which is not unsatisfactory since Bulgaria
would not be able to obtain anything better. (Rada Nikolaev)


JAPAN-CZECHOSLOVAK TRADE AGREEMENT. On 24 April Japan and Czechoslovakia
signed an agreement giving each other most-favored-nation trading
status. The agreement was signed in Tokyo by Japanese Foreign
Minister Michio Watanabe and Czechoslovak Foreign Trade Minister
Jozef Baksay, who is accompanying President Vaclav Havel on a
visit; it goes into effect on 17 October. On 26 April Havel flew
to Seoul, South Korea to meet with President Roh Tae Woo, Western
agencies report. (Barbara Kroulik)

FORMER ROMANIAN POLITBURO MEMBER SUFFERS STROKE. A former top
Romanian communist official, ex-Industry Minister Lina Ciobanu,
reportedly suffered a crippling stroke two days after being sentenced
to 14 years in prison. Romanian news reports say Ciobanu lies
paralyzed in a Bucharest hospital. She was one of 21 former top
communist officials sentenced on 20 April to long prison terms
for complicity in efforts to suppress the December 1989 revolution.
Former Foreign Minister Ion Totu, sentenced to 16 years in prison,
committed suicide the day after sentencing. (Crisula Stefanescu)


LATVIA CUTS OFF CIS BALTIC PORT. On 25 April Latvian authorities
cut off road access to the port of Liepaja, where a CIS fleet
is located, ITAR-TASS reports. Acting under the republic's laws,
armed Latvian soldiers set up a customs zone around the port
to check all goods. Negotiations are underway to lift the blockade,
but it was not reported who was taking part in the talks. (Saulius
Girnius)

ARENS TO VISIT LATVIA AND LITHUANIA. On 26 April Israeli defense
minister Moshe Arens left for Finland from where he will proceed
to the first official Israeli visit to Riga and Vilnius, Western
agencies report. The week-long trip will include a Holocaust
memorial ceremony on 30 April in Riga, where Arens lived as a
child. (Saulius Girnius)

ANOTHER REFERENDUM IN LITHUANIA? On 27 April the Lithuanian Supreme
Council will hold an afternoon session to continue the discussion
on a referendum asking whether the former USSR army should leave
Lithuania immediately, Radio Lithuania reports. All deputies
agree that the army should leave, but some question the advisability
of holding a referendum on the question, viewing the matter as
a political ploy to increase participation in the presidential
referendum on 23 May. The parliament held a long and bitter debate
on 23 April that focused on technical questions including whether
the two referendums should be held the same day. (Saulius Girnius)


BISHOP BRIZGYS DIES. On 23 April retired Bishop Vincentas Brizgys
died in Chicago at the age of 88, Radio Lithuania reports. Brizgys
was ordained as a priest on 5 June 1927 and as the auxiliary
bishop of Kaunas on 17 May 1940. He withdrew to Germany during
World War II and settled in Chicago in 1951. From 1960 until
his retirement in 1984 he was charged with the care of Lithuanian
Catholics in North America, but also ministered to Lithuanians
living elsewhere in the West. His career was clouded by Soviet
charges that he had collaborated with the Nazis in the extermination
of the Jews in Lithuania. Joseph Cardinal Bernadin of Chicago
will conduct the requiem Mass on 29 April. (Saulius Girnius)
[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull






(END)



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