|When in doubt, tell the truth. - Mark Twain|
No. 81, 28 April 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR CIS, BALTIC STATES PROVISIONALLY ADMITTED TO IMF, WORLD BANK. Russia and 12 other republics of the former USSR were provisionally admitted to the IMF and World Bank on 27 April. According to Western reports, approval by the republics' legislatures is still required for full admission in these organizations. For procedural reasons, Azerbaijan's applications to both institutions were denied, as was Turkmenistan's application for admission to the World Bank. Both countries are likely to become provisional members next month, however. The membership agreements will make the former Soviet republics eligible to receive $6.5-9 billion yearly from the IMF, and total lending from both institutions could reach $40 billion during the next four years. The majority is likely to go to Russia, for whom $4.5 billion in IMF and World Bank aid was pledged by the G-7 industrialized countries on 1 April. IMF membership will also unlock other forms of G-7 largess, including $6 billion for a ruble stabilization fund, $2.5 billion in debt deferral, and $11 billion in government-to-government aid. According to Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar, Russia's program with the IMF is to be worked out by the end of May, which will hopefully allow the ruble to become convertible, at a single exchange rate, by July. (Ben Slay) IDDR OPPOSES RUSSIAN REFERENDUM. The International Democratic Reform Movement (IDDR) met on 25 April to discuss events in Moldova and Tajikistan, problems of ethnic minorities, and the outcome of the Russian Congress of People's Deputies. Presided over by Aleksandr Yakovlev, the meeting was attended by representatives from all the former union republics , as reported by Russian TV. According to ITAR-TASS, the IDDR noted the "fragile and insecure" nature of the compromise reached between the Russian legislature and executive. The meeting's participants noted that while the Yeltsin government could continue to implement reforms, there was also a danger of returning to totalitarianism if the executive branch demanded too much authority. The IDDR disagreed with "Democratic Russia" and the Russian branch of the DDR, which advocate holding a referendum aimed at dissolving the Congress and electing a constituent assembly. (Julia Wishnevsky) KHASBULATOV IN GERMANY. The head of the Russian parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, criticized the Western press for creating the wrong impression of what occurred during the Russian Congress. At a press conference on 27 April in Bonn--the first day of his visit to Germany--Khasbulatov said that he has informed German politicians about the real events at the Congress, stressing that the Russian parliament is not opposed to reform. He noted that German politicians also shared his view that Russia needs a socially oriented and not purely capitalistic market approach. He further called upon German businessmen to invest in Russia since most of the legal barriers have been removed, ITAR-TASS reported. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN'S POPULARITY STILL HIGH, ZHIRINOVSKY'S LESS SO. Were elections for the Russian presidency held today, 60.9% of Russia's electorate would vote for Yeltsin--up from the 57.3% who did actually vote for him when he was elected last June. This is the finding of a poll carried out in 19 regions of Russia last month. But the demagogic Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who shocked the world when he came in third in last year's presidential elections with 7.8% of the vote, would get only 6.4% of the vote if the elections were held today. Recording the largest increase in public favor is Aman Tuleev, chairman of Western Siberia's Kemerovo Oblast Soviet. Tuleev, who won 6.8% of the vote in last year's elections, would get 13% today. The poll results were published in Rabochaya tribuna on 24 April and summarized by ITAR-TASS and AP. (Elizabeth Teague) CALL FOR A STRONG RUSSIAN KGB. Russian Minister of Security Viktor Barannikov told Radio Moscow on 27 April that Russia's primary task is to reestablish its state security system. He argued that the new state security organs should be placed under parliamentary control. Barannikov also asserted that the Russian security service would not combat specific states, but only hostile foreign intelligence agencies. He alleged that foreign agencies are aggressively pursuing intelligence gathering in Russia in order to learn about the "strategic plans" of the Russian leadership in foreign, domestic, and defense policy, as well as migration processes and interethnic conflicts in Russia. (Alexander Rahr) A LIBERAL VOICE IN THE RUSSIAN KGB. The chief of the Ministry of Security's Moscow administration, Evgenii Sevostyanov, told Vechernyaya Moskva on 16 April that the Western ideological struggle against the former Soviet regime was justified and compared the communist regime in Russia to fascism. He openly called for repentance inside the KGB. Sevostyanov, who is a former associate of Andrei Sakharov, argued that Western intelligence services should not be prevented from gathering information on political processes in Russia, since it is in Russia's interest for the West to be properly informed about its democratic intentions. (Alexander Rahr) SMALLER RUSSIAN NAVY FORECAST. Anatolii Novikov, identified as the chief specialist for the Russian parliament's Commission for Defense and Security, has said that the military's plans for the Russian Navy do not provide for enough reductions and are unlikely to be considered by the parliament. Postfactum on 27 April reported that the military wanted to retain 100 major warships, 200 patrol craft, 50 diesel submarines, and the same number of nuclear ballistic-missile submarines as were in the Soviet Navy. The agency said that the new military doctrine--still being drafted--would give preference to ground-based strategic nuclear forces, and would radically reduce the navy's nuclear missiles. (Doug Clarke) UKRAINIAN ENVOY PREDICTS NUCLEAR ARMS AGREEMENT. Ukraine's new ambassador to the United States, Oleh Bilorus, told AP in Kiev on 27 April that he expects a protocol to be signed between the four strategically armed CIS states guaranteeing their joint adherence to START. Bilorus said Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan are "working very intensively on that very important agreement." He further expects Ukraine to be the first country ever to give up its long-range nuclear weapons, but he reiterated Ukraine's demand for international verification of the destruction of nuclear weapons transferred to Russia. If all goes well, President Kravchuk will take the four-way agreement to Washington next week on his official visit. (Kathy Mihalisko) KRAVCHUK COMMENTS ON CIS. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk told the Italian newspaper La Stampa that the CIS would not survive without mechanisms of control over decisions taken by its members. At the same time, he said that Ukraine would not be better off outside the CIS, which, although not perfect, serves as a forum for discussion. In the course of the interview Kravchuk restated his country's intention to become nuclear free, but raised doubts as to guarantees for its security. Will Russia perform this function, asked Kravchuk sarcastically. The interview was summarized by Radio Ukraine on 28 April. (Roman Solchanyk) HALTING BIOLOGICAL WARFARE RESEARCH. Izvestiya of 25 April discussed a new Yeltsin edict (ukaz) on ensuring fulfillment of international obligations in the field of chemical weapons. The edict forbids research and development programs that contravene the convention on bacteriological and toxin weapons. Izvestiya points out that the USSR signed this convention in 1972 and ratified it in 1975, but it was clearly not adhered to. The edict establishes a Committee on Convention Problems of Chemical and Bacteriological Weapons, whose specialists (it appears to have a staff already), say foreign observers, should assist in monitoring programs at Kirovo, Ekaterinburg and Sergiev Posad (ex-Zagorsk). (Philip Hanson) HIGH COMMAND MEETS ON NON-COMBAT DEATHS. A high-level conference attended by Shaposhnikov and the commanders of military districts, fleets, and armies convened in Moscow on 23 April to discuss the growing number of suicides among servicemen, according to an ITAR-TASS report. It said that the conference was initiated by the CIS military Committee for Personnel Work. Participants reportedly said that over the last five years more than 4,000 non-combat deaths have occurred in the Soviet/CIS armed forces, roughly one-fifth the result of suicide. Mothers' groups critical of the high command have charged that some 40,000 soldiers have died non-combat deaths over the last six years. (Stephen Foye) MORE ON ARMY BRUTALITY. The head of a Russian presidential committee investigating violence in army life, Anatolii Alekseev, told newsmen on 24 April that some 300,000 Soviet soldiers have died since the end of World War II, many at the hands of their fellow servicemen. A Reuters report of Alekseev's remarks provided no specifics, however, on the causes of the deaths. Alekseev did say that 5,500 soldiers died in 1991 as a result of violence in army life, and charged that the high command has engaged in a cover-up of these conditions by attributing many of the deaths to accidents. (Stephen Foye) UKRAINIAN SPACE PROGRAM. The 23-26 April edition of The European and the 11 April issue of Demokratychna Ukraina drew attention to the plans of the newly created National Space Agency of Ukraine and its General Director, Volodymyr Horbulin. According to Horbulin, who worked under Mykhailo Kuzmich at the renowned Pivdenne plant in Dnepropetrovsk, one of his agency's priorities is to put SS-18 missiles to use as satellite launchers. He expressed confidence that Ukraine will ultimately gain a place in the market that is now held by France's Ariane-4, for instance. Negotiations are under way with Australia for Ukraine's help in building a commercial "spaceport" at Cape York, Queensland. The National Space Agency of Ukraine will eventually have 40 specialists on staff. Ukraine's pool of scientific brainpower includes 1,100 "veterans of Baikonur," Horbulin boasted. (Kathy Mihalisko) MORATORIUM ON CRIMEAN REFERENDUM PROPOSED. A research organization in Crimea's capital Simferopol has proposed that a moratorium of at least six months' duration be declared with regard to the referendum planned in the peninsula, Radio Kiev reported on 27 April. The researchers argued that Crimea could be a serious problem for the entire Black Sea zone and southern Europe. (Roman Solchanyk) ECONOMIC NEWS FROM BELARUS. Despite a great deal of unfinished business, the Belarusian parliament voted on 24 April to end its six-week-old session, apparently in order to avoid having to take a decision on the holding of a popular referendum on the disbanding of parliament. (The petition campaign to force a referendum has been completed, with more than enough signatures gathered.) The deputies managed, however, to vote on the establishment of a 1,000-ruble minimum monthly wage for Belarus' workers, Belarusian Radio reported. Monetary coupons, similar to those in circulation in Ukraine, will appear in May at the rate of 1 coupon=10 rubles as the first stage of the introduction of a national currency. In related news, potassium mine workers in Salihorsk voted on 24 April to end their five-week-old strike but 47 enterprises in Mahileu are threatening to walk out as of 6 May in protest against the government. (Kathy Mihalisko) OPPOSITION IN KAZAKHSTAN OVER PRICE CONTROLS. Karavan (Alma-Ata) of 17 and 24 April reported on a campaign by representatives of non-state enterprises against a draft presidential edict that would, allegedly, regulate prices by setting a 50% rate-of-return ceiling and would also regulate wage increases and facilitate direct intervention in all enterprises' affairs by President Nazarbaev's local administrators. Another report (Biznes Klub no. 6), apparently referring to the same or a related proposal, describes proposed controls as anti-monopoly measures and says it is directors of large enterprises who are worried. (Philip Hanson) KARA-BOGAZ DAM BEING DEMOLISHED. ITAR-TASS reported on 27 April that the controversial dam which closed off the Kara-Bogaz Gulf from the Caspian Sea is being demolished on the order of Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov. The order was announced at a conference in Teheran attended by representatives of states bordering the Caspian. The level of the Caspian has been rising for several years and the sea is now flooding homes and other buildings on its shores. Turkmenistan is undoubtedly pleased to have international support for reversing a major ecological disaster through demolition of the Kara-Bogaz dam. (Bess Brown) TENSIONS CONTINUE IN DUSHANBE. Tajikistan's highest-ranking clergyman, Kazi Akbar Turadzhonzoda, told a press conference on 27 April that the Tajik government is responsible for worsening tensions in Dushanbe, where opponents and supporters of the government are continuing their demonstrations, Khovar-TASS reported. Government supporters are demanding a special session of the Supreme Soviet to reverse that body's decision to remove Speaker Safarali Kenzhaev, and the opposition is protesting Kenzhaev's subsequent appointment as head of the Tajik National Security Committee. Violence could ensue if the two separate demonstrations were to clash. (Bess Brown) TURKISH TV BROADCASTS START. Turkish television broadcasts to Azerbaijan and Central Asia began on 27 April, ITAR-TASS reported. The broadcasts were scheduled to coincide with the start of Turkish Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel's visit to the region. (Bess Brown) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA PROCLAIMED. The parliaments of Serbia and Montenegro, the two remaining republics of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, declared themselves the legitimate successors of that state. The new state calling itself the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) comprises two-fifths of the former Yugoslav territory and less than half its population. The flag of the FRY will continue to be the horizontal blue, white, and red bands, but the red star has been dropped. The main opposition parties in the two republics as well as most ethnic Albanians boycotted the ceremonies and oppose the new constitution. Russia and China immediately recognized the FRY, while the US State Department indicated that it will consider recognition only if the FRY demonstrates full respect for the territorial integrity of the now-sovereign former Yugoslav republics and for the rights of minorities on its own territory; moreover, any US action will be "fully coordinated with the EC." US diplomats as well as those from the EC countries, with the exception of Greece, did not attend the proclamation ceremonies in Belgrade. (Milan Andrejevich) BOSNIAN OFFICIALS ORDER FEDERAL ARMY TO LEAVE. In separate statements issued on 27 April Bosnia's State Presidency and government have ordered the Serb-dominated federal army to withdraw from Bosnia-Herzegovina. Radio Sarajevo reports that the call for an orderly withdrawal supervised by the EC was made on the basis that Bosnia-Herzegovina is an internationally recognized sovereign state and that the declaration of the new FRY formally severs ties between Belgrade and Sarajevo. The FRY constitution, moreover, stipulates that Yugoslavia has no territorial pretensions toward "anyone in its surrounding area." Radio Croatia commented that "the Serbian federal army now is officially an occupation force of a foreign power, both in Croatia and Bosnia." Meanwhile, on 27 April the federal State Presidency instructed army leaders to comply immediately with the new constitution and take steps to limit operations to the territory of the FRY. (Milan Andrejevich) POTENTIAL STUMBLING BLOCKS TO WITHDRAWAL. Some 60,000 federal troops are stationed in Bosnia-Herzegovina, of which 80% are said to be citizens of the republic. Bosnia's Presidency statement said that federal army personnel are welcome to join the republic's newly formed territorial defense forces. But after meeting with federal officials earlier on 26 April, President Alija Izetbegovic said the army's withdrawal would prompt most ethnic Serb soldiers to join local Serb paramilitary groups. All recent decisions by the Bosnian government have been made without the republic's Serb representatives, who resigned immediately after EC and US recognition on 6 April. Both federal defense minister Gen. Blagoje Adzic and Gen. Milutin Kukanjac, commander of the federal military district in Bosnia-Herzegovina, have said the withdrawal of the army must be agreed upon by the legitimate representatives of the republic's Muslims, Serbs, and Croats. The army has suggested that it withdraw only from Muslim and Croat municipalities until a political solution to the Bosnian crisis is reached. Some 55% of the FRY's military hardware is manufactured in Bosnia-Herzegovina, mostly located in Muslim and Croat dominated towns. (Milan Andrejevich) EC MEDIATED BOSNIA TALKS CONTINUE. Another round of top-level talks between the EC and leaders of Bosnia's leading Serb and Muslim parties resumed in Lisbon on 27 April. No details were provided, but the delegation of the leading Croat party is expected to participate. Radio Sarajevo, however, quoted a Portuguese official as saying that information from the Lisbon talks will be closely guarded, and that the negotiations could "run con-tinuously for a week if that is the only way to achieve peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina." (Milan Andrejevich) NATO CONTACTS WITH BULGARIA. Admiral Jeremy "Mike" Boorda, commander of NATO's southern flank, who arrived in Bulgaria on 22 April, told Bulgarian Radio before leaving on the 24th that he had agreed with Chief of General Staff Gen. Lyuben Petrov to meet every three months to exchange opinions on further cooperation. Bulgarska armiya reported the arrival on 27 April of Gen. John Waters, commander of British land forces, in partial fulfillment of conditions of a bilateral agreement on inspections by British specialists. He met with Minister of Defense Dimitar Ludzhev in Sozopol on the Black Sea.RFE/RL reports from Sofia that Gen. Vigleik Eide, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, is expected in Bulgaria on 28 April. Meanwhile, on 26 April, US Vice Adm. William Owens, commander of the Sixth Fleet, and the amphibious ship Whidbey Island arrived in the port of Burgas. Bulgarska armiya said in this connection that the Bulgarian navy intends to invite seven or eight ships of NATO countries for joint maneuvers. (Rada Nikolaev) NATO CONTACTS WITH HUNGARY. On 27 April a delegation of NATO's Political Committee arrived in Budapest for talks with Hungarian government officials on Hungary's security policy and relations with the EC, MTI reports. The delegation, headed by John Kriendler, met with Hungarian Foreign Min-ister Geza Jeszenszky. Hungarian diplomatic circles said that the visit is important because it gives the Hungarian government an opportunity to inform NATO officials directly about Hungary's views on a wide range of important issues. (Edith Oltay) TALKS ON WITHDRAWAL OF TROOPS FROM LATVIA AND ESTONIA. On 27 April the third round of talks by groups of experts on the withdrawal of former Soviet troops from Latvia began at the Russian Defense Ministry in Moscow, Radio Lithuania reports. The Latvian delegation, headed by Deputy Defense Minister Dainis Turlajs, will try to reach an agreement on the conditions and timing of the withdrawal of the troops and their legal status during the withdrawal period. Adm. Feliks Gromov, First Deputy Commander of the CIS Armed Forces, headed a group of experts that flew to Tallinn to begin talks on 28 April with Estonian experts headed by Deputy Defense Minister Toomas Puura that will discuss the property of former USSR troops in Estonia. (Saulius Girnius) REFERENDUM ON SOVIET ARMY WITHDRAWAL FROM LITHUANIA. On 27 April the Lithuanian parliament, in a session broadcast live by Radio Lithuania, decided by a vote of 110 to 1 with 2 ab-stentions to hold a referendum on "the unconditional and immediate withdrawal from the territory of the Republic of Lithuania of the former USSR army this year and of compensation for the damage the army has inflicted on Lithuania." By a vote of 58 to 52 the parliament had previously decided to hold the referendum on 14 June and not, as initially proposed, on 23 May, when a referendum on presidential powers will be held. (Saulius Girnius) GORBACHEV READY TO RECOGNIZE LITHUANIAN INDEPENDENCE IN JANUARY 1991? Vitalii Ignatenko, then Gorbachev's spokesman and now general director of ITAR-TASS, recalled the tragic events of last January in Lithuania in Novoe vremya No. 12. According to Ignatenko Gorbachev was unaware of the seizure of the Vilnius TV tower or the number of casulties prior to or immediately after the event, since KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov and Vladimir Boldin, head of Gorbachev's staff, kept the USSR president misinformed. Ignatenko admitted, however, that the Gorbachev leadership expected something nasty to happen in Latvia. After 14 civilians were killed by Soviet troops, Ignatenko revealed, Aleksandr Yakovlev nearly persuaded Gorbachev to fly to Lithuania to plead for forgiveness and, "if necessary," even recognize the republic's independence. Apparently opposition from his KGB bodyguards was the only thing that prevented Gorbachev from going. (Julia Wishnevsky) . . . AND AGREES TO TESTIFY ABOUT ATTACK. In an interview with the Lithuanian newspaper Lietuvos rytas of 25 April, Gorbachev said he is willing to testify to the Lithuanian Procuracy about the attack on the Vilnius TV tower, during which 14 people were killed, Radio Lithuania reports. In a commentary released by his office, Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis noted that Gorbachev's new willingness to cooperate could be the result of an exchange of letters with Russian President Boris Yeltsin on the question of judicial cooperation so that the Moscow putschists and other state criminals could not evade responsibility for their actions. (Saulius Girnius) IS A CHANGE OF POLISH GOVERNMENT IMMINENT? Speaking at a press conference in the Sejm on 27 April, President Lech Walesa did not exclude the possibility that he may propose that the current government resign, Polish and Western media report. He has been sharply critical of the government and suggested ways "to improve the efficiency of democracy." Walesa favors the French constitutional model whereby the president has executive powers and can appoint or dismiss the cabinet. Should the current cabinet be dismissed, Walesa let it be known that he thinks the two best candidates for premiership are Tadeusz Mazowiecki and Andrzej Olechowski--the first as "a political fixer, best suited to forge unity" and the second "a strong, established economist to implement decisive economic reforms." (Roman Stefanowski) ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT PRESS BRIEFING. At the regular press briefing on 27 April, Estonian Prime Minister Tiit Vahi announced the appointment of state secretary Uno Veering as acting defense minister. He also announced the end of all state subsidies for milk, fuel, and rent, the last major subsidies still in effect, and asked the public for understanding, noting that the retention of subsidies would have bankrupted the country. The RFE/RL Estonian Service reported the briefing. (Saulius Girnius) HAVEL IN SOUTH KOREA. On 27 April, during his talks with South Korean President Roh Tae Woo, Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel said the border between North and South Korea is a "remnant of the gigantic wall which divided the peoples of the world." He said the division is "artificial" and he believed it would soon fall. Roh said he hoped North Korea, like Czechoslovakia, would some day be free from communism. Officials said Havel asked for financial assistance from South Korea's Economic Cooperation Fund, and Roh promised to consider the request favorably, Western agencies reported. Earlier during Havel's visit, agreements on investment protection and taxation were signed. (Peter Matuska) EX-KING MICHAEL ENDS ROMANIAN VISIT. Some 30,000 Romanians, waving small tricolor flags and the king's portrait, welcomed former King Michael when he visited royal tombs at Curtea de Arges, north of Bucharest, Rompres reported on 27 April. The crowd greeted the ex-monarch with chants of "We love you, Your Majesty" and "Don't Leave." Michael has promised to visit Romania again. After his trip to the royal tombs he returned to Bucharest and departed for Switzerland, where he lives in exile. (Crisula Stefanescu) DETENTION CAMP RIOT IN HUNGARY. On 25 April Hungarian police used tear gas and dogs to quell a disturbance by about 25 Chinese, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi detainees at a camp for illegal immigrants in Kerepestarcsa, MTI reports. The group showered various objects on two unarmed police guards and smashed furniture in a guard room at the camp, where about 150 foreigners are being kept while awaiting expulsion from the country. This marked the second time this month that violence has broken out at the Kerepestarcsa camp. Hungary has become a transit route for illegal immigrants heading toward the West. Some half a million foreigners have been turned away at the borders in the past six months because they lack proper travel documents or funds to finance their stay. (Edith Oltay) HUNGARIAN-UKRAINIAN RELATIONS RE-VIEWED. Mykhailo Kraiilo, newly appointed Ukrainian presidential commissioner in Transcarpathia, held talks in Budapest with Hungarian Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky and State Secretary Geza Entz, head of the Secretariat for Hungarians Abroad in the Prime Minister's Office, MTI reported on 24 April. Kraiilo said his government wanted to guarantee all the rights of the Magyar and other minorities of Transcarpathia, and that the decision regarding the region's desire for autonomy is now with Ukraine's parliament. (Alfred Reisch) HUNGARY'S DRAFT MINORITY LAW STILL IN THE AIR. A meeting between minority and government representatives failed to achieve a consensus on the draft law on national and ethnic minorities approved by the government on 6 February 1992, MTI and Radio Budapest report. Minority representatives have rejected the entire draft bill as being "basically antiminority" and excluding the principle of "positive discrimination," and have asked for another round of negotiations. The government, which had planned to submit the bill to parliament on 7 May, must now decide on what of these two courses to follow. (Alfred Reisch) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull (END) The RFE/RL Daily Report is produced by the RFE/RL Research Institute (a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Inc.) in Munich, Germany, with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division (NCA). 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