|The fool wonders, the wise man asks. - Benjamin Disraeli|
No. 82, 29 April 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR FIVE COUNTRIES TO SIGN START? During a 28 April press conference on the eve of his departure for the United States, Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk claimed that all four nuclear states of the former Soviet Union, and the United States, would be parties to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). He was quoted by Ukrinform-TASS as saying that the foreign ministers of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, and the US Secretary of State would meet and sign a protocol to START "in the immediate future." Kravchuk said that there would have to be an additional agreement on the 46 SS-24 missiles in Ukraine--which he claimed were not covered by the present treaty. (Doug Clarke) KRAVCHUK SEEKS SECURITY GUARANTEES FROM WEST. President Kravchuk also announced that he would raise the question of international guarantees for Ukrainian security when he meets next week with US President George Bush. As reported by Western agencies on 28 April, Kravchuk said Ukraine needs these guarantees because some bordering countries, especially "our big neighbor, Russia" are raising territorial claims. The Ukrainian president denied that his country resumed the withdrawal of tactical nuclear arms to Russia under pressure from the US State Department, but he gave the clearest indication to date that Ukraine harbors fears of Russian nuclear blackmail against a Ukraine committed to complete disarmament. Kravchuk was quoted by AP as saying that "by becoming a non-nuclear power, we significantly weaken our military capability." (Kathy Mihalisko) KRAVCHUK'S AGENDA FOR US VISIT. The United States's top diplomatic representative in Kiev, Jon Gundersen, told a press conference that the forthcoming talks between the Ukrainian president and US President George Bush in Washington will last three hours and will have "an unprecedented character," Radio Ukraine reported on 28 April. Gundersen said that the talks will cover a wide range of issues and that a series of important agreements will be signed, specifically regarding trade, investment, technical assistance, and diplomatic rights and privileges. (Roman Solchanyk) KAZAKHSTAN SEEKS STRATEGIC ALLIANCE WITH UNITED STATES. AFP, quoting Russian TV, reported on 28 April that Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has told President Bush that Kazakhstan would like to conclude a strategic alliance with Washington. The message to Bush also reportedly contained a pledge that Kazakhstan is on the road to disarmament and plans to retain only temporarily the strategic nuclear weapons inherited from the USSR. Kazakhstan is the only Soviet nuclear successor state whose arms control measures have not been certified by the US administration to the US Congress. RFE/RL correspondent Kevin Foley learned from a White House source on 28 April that Nazarbaev is to meet Bush on 19 May. (Bess Brown) BELARUS CLEAN OF TACTICAL NUKES. Belarusian Defense Minister Pavel Kozlovskii told RIA on 28 April that the last tactical nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory were transferred to Russia that day. Last December, the presidents of Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan pledged to rid their countries of these weapons by 1 July 1992. Kazakhstan has previously stated that the transfer of weapons from its territory was complete. (Doug Clarke) CHANGES IN RUSSIAN DELEGATION TO FLEET TALKS. Interfax on 28 April reported that Russian state adviser, Sergei Shakhrai, would not head the Russian delegation at the Russo-Ukrainian talks on the Black Sea Fleet scheduled to begin in Odessa on 29 April. Shakhrai, who recently resigned as a Russian deputy prime minister, had been appointed to head the delegation by President Yeltsin. The deputy chairman of the Russian parliament, Yurii Yarov, will replace him. CIS Commander in Chief, Marshal Evgenii Shaposhnikov was quoted in Nezavisimaya gazeta of 29 April as saying he would not participate in the talks "since the military's presence at such talks, especially in Ukraine, currently does not have a very harmonious effect." The paper also said that the Russian Foreign Ministry would not be represented. Earlier reports had indicated that Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev would attend. (Doug Clarke) UKRAINIAN DELEGATION APPEALS FOR CALM DURING TALKS. The Ukrainian delegation to the latest round of talks on the disputed Black Sea Fleet has issued a statement to political and military organizations and officials calling on them to refrain from "imprudent statements" and to allow the negotiations to take place in "a calm, normal atmosphere." The statement was broadcast on Ukrainian radio and quoted by AFP on 28 April. (Kathy Mihalisko) CIS NAVY FIRES OFFICERS LOYAL TO UKRAINE. The "Novosti" newscast on 28 April announced that Admiral Vladimir Chernavin, the commander in chief of the CIS Navy, had ordered the dismissal of those officers of the Black Sea Fleet who had sworn loyalty to Ukraine. (Doug Clarke) YELTSIN STARTS 3-DAY NORTHERN TOUR. Russian President Boris Yeltsin visited the far northern city of Arkhangelsk on 28 April at the start of a three-day tour of several northern Russian cities. Russian TV said the purpose of the trip is to find out how the population is reacting to Russia's economic reforms. Yeltsin stopped first in Severodvinsk, an industrial area near Arkhangelsk which is the center of Russia's submarine production. There he announced that Russia and France will jointly ask the United States to suspend nuclear weapons testing. Russian TV showed Yeltsin telling the crowd that his government plans to relax its reform provisions a little; he said details will be announced in about a week. Yeltsin's schedule calls for him to watch the launching of a satellite from Plesetsk cosmodrome in the morning of 29 April; on 30 April he will visit iron and steel mills in the city of Cherepovets. (Elizabeth Teague) ENTIRE RUSSIAN LEADERSHIP OUT OF MOSCOW. The entire top Russian leadership has left Moscow: President Yeltsin is travelling to the Northern regions of Russia; Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi departed for Israel; the chairman of the Russian parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, is currently in Germany; First Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar is in the United States for negotiations with the IMF; and finally, Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev is in the Middle East. It is not known who has been left in charge of politics in the Kremlin. Meanwhile, the state secretary, Gennadii Burbulis, is scheduled to report on changes in the state structure to a government meeting, according to Radio Rossii on 28 April. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN DENIES RUSSIA IS UNDER IMF ORDERS. Following the IMF announcement on the provisional admittance of CIS states, Western agencies reported Boris Yeltsin as saying on 28 April that Russia is not "under the direct orders of the IMF." It is not surprising that he would say this, given that IMF membership must still be ratified by the Russian parliament, and the provision of Western aid is still conditional on IMF approval of reform policies. The Russian government therefore has to cope with resistance from at least three sources: the diehard traditionalists, the managers of state enterprises, who want softer financial policies, and liberal but anti-Gaidar politicians like Grigorii Yavlinsky, who now complain that no new guidelines have been published (Komsomolskaya pravda 28 April). (Philip Hanson) RUSSIAN MEDICAL WORKERS STRIKE EXPANDS. Strikes by Russian medical workers demanding higher pay and better working conditions continued into their second week with more than half of Moscow's medical facilities joining the protest on 27 April, Western and Russian agencies reported. Moscow ambulance workers postponed their threatened work stoppage in the hopes that an agreement would be reached, but thousands of doctors in Moscow began refusing to prescribe medicine. The strikes, affecting various Russian cities, include at least 70,000 health care workers, and up to one third of Moscow's 340,000 workers are expected to join this week. ITAR-TASS reported on 28 April that strikes by both medical workers and teachers had spread to Yaroslavl, Vladimir, and the Russian Far East Primorsky region, while doctors in Vladivostok and other Far Eastern regions were expected to join the protest on 29 April. (Carla Thorson) ARMS SALES ON RUSSIAN COMMODITY EXCHANGES. ITAR-TASS of 28 April quotes the weekly, Biznes i banki (Business and Banks), as saying that a division could now be equipped with the latest weapons, from ammunition to fighter-bombers by buying from the Novosibirsk "Sibir-Konversiya" exchange. The purchaser would officially be required, however, to be licensed to buy. The weekly says that purchasers are expected soon from the "socialist commonwealth," whose military use "Soviet" weapons. Whether that commonwealth would include Armenia and Azerbaijan, is not specified. (Philip Hanson) "ALISA" COMMODITY EXCHANGE UNDER ATTACK. A scathing attack on the network of commodity exchanges run by the young Moscow millionaire German Sterligov (called "Alisa" after his dog, who features in all the exchange's promotional materials) appeared in Rabochaya tribuna on 24 April. The article charges with heavy sarcasm that "Alisa" has declared itself a sovereign state, independent of Russia, "with its own laws, its own army, police, and courts." (A visit in December 1991 to Alisa's Moscow exchange did indeed reveal that everything from power stations to brickworks was being offered for sale on the computer screens of Alisa's brokers.) (Elizabeth Teague) FEDOROV WARNS COMMUNIST DIEHARDS. Russian Minister of Justice Nikolai Fedorov has issued a warning to the Russian Communist Workers' Party (RCWP) for an alleged violation of Russian law. At its plenary session on 6 January, the RCWP--probably the largest and one of the most hardline of the new communist parties that counts among its leaders the former general, Albert Makashov--decreed its intention to "appeal to the armed defenders of the Motherland to support the struggle for workers rights" and promised "to raise a Red Banner over the Kremlin." The Justice Ministry views these statements as an appeal for an armed rebellion against the democratically elected government. On the program, "Bez retushi," broadcast on the Russian TV on 28 April, Fedorov explained that his ministry could, by law, issue only one additional warning before requesting court action to ban the party. (Julia Wishnevsky) CONSTITUTIONAL COURT SIDES WITH YELTSIN AGAINST KHASBULATOV. On 28 April, the Russian Constitutional Court ruled out an attempt by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, "to revive the infamous VAAP"--the USSR Copyright Agency--"Vesti" reported. Established in 1973, VAAP had a monopoly on all Soviet publications abroad and had a reputation for excessive taxation, political censorship, and KGB connections. On 24 February 1992, Yeltsin set up the "Russian Agency for Intellectual Property" to inherit VAAP's functions and property, and he appointed the liberal lawyer, Mikhail Fedotov, as its director. Meanwhile, Ruslan Khasbulatov created, in the name of the Presidium, the "All-Russian Copyright Agency" as the sole heir to VAAP with the former KGB General Viktor Chistyakov in charge. The Constitutional Court ruled that, according to the Russian Constitution, only the president is entitled to set up new governmental structures and therefore Khasbulatov's initiative was illegal. (Julia Wishnevsky) NINE RUSSIAN STATE COURIERS MURDERED IN KAZAN. Police in Tatarstan's capital of Kazan said on 28 April that nine Russian government security guards were murdered overnight by an armed gang who apparently wanted to steal their weapons. The police officials were quoted by ITAR-TASS as saying the gang broke into a building where the officers--six men and three women--were staying. The armed security guards are used to deliver secret documents and money between government offices. (Vera Tolz) PREPARATIONS FOR CRIMEAN REFERENDUM. Crimea's parliamentary chairman, Nikolai Bagrov, is quoted by Radio Rossii on 28 April as saying that the proposed referendum in Crimea regarding its state status can take place inasmuch as all the legal prerequisites for the referendum were met. In the meantime, Radio Ukraine on 28 April, citing the Moscow agency "Union Radio," reported that the recently held founding congress of Crimea's Russian-speaking population resolved that all the nationalities of the peninsula "belong to the Russian ethnos." (Roman Solchanyk) TURKISH CREDITS FOR CENTRAL ASIA. During his 28 April visit to Bishkek, Turkish Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel promised to provide around $75 million in export credits to Kyrgyzstan, Western agencies reported, and offered loans to fund purchases of Turkish wheat and sugar. Kyrgyz officials have said that only outside help can rescue the country from economic collapse. The previous day he signed credit deals in Uzbekistan worth some $500 million. Demirel was reported to have told Reuters that framework credit agreements of varying amounts would be signed with the five Central Asian states and Azerbaijan. (Bess Brown) SITUATION IN DUSHANBE. Supporters of the Tajik government appealed at a press conference in Dushanbe on 28 April for the imposition of presidential rule in Tajikistan in order to end demonstrations in the capital and other cities, Khovar-TASS reported. Republican Party Chairman Abdullo Ochilov, an organizer of the progovernment demonstration protesting concessions to the demonstrators, accused the opposition of wanting to create an Islamic state and refused to negotiate with them. Participants in pro- and anti-government demonstrations now reportedly number 100,000 people. (Bess Brown) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BOSNIA UPDATE. In Lisbon on 28 April the leaders of the three ruling ethnic parties in Bosnia-Herzegovina resumed full negotiations over the future political shape of the multiethnic republic. EC-mediators are trying to persuade the three rival sides to agree on a loosely-knit federal state in which Muslims, Serbs, and Croats would share some common institutions. The main administration would be divided along ethnic lines so that each community would govern its own affairs. Brief comments by the negotiators suggest no major breakthrough yet, but Portuguese Foreign Minister Joao de Deus Pinheiro told reporters that he does see "a light at the end of the tunnel." Meanwhile on 28 April, UN Secretary-General Boutros Ghali told reporters in Paris that a French initiative to send UN peacekeeping forces to Bosnia-Herzegovina will be discussed but that the UN would be willing to send in peacekeeping troops only if the international community provides sufficient financial and logistical support. In Bihac the three ruling ethnic parties agreed to begin negotiations on the territorial reorganization of the region. Despite a cease-fire heavy fighting continued in several areas of the republic. Radio Sarajevo reports on 29 April that seven people have been killed in the past 24 hours. (Milan Andrejevich) REACTIONS TO THE NEW YUGOSLAVIA. Radio Serbia reported on 28 April that numerous countries support the establishment of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and pledge recognition shortly. Belgrade includes China and Russia among the countries that have extended recognition, but Radio Croatia reports that Russian foreign ministry spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky told reporters in Moscow on 28 April that his government has only "acknowledged the right" of Serbia and Montenegro to form an alliance. German TV on 28 April quotes German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher as saying that the new Yugoslavia is not the legal successor to the old socialist federation. He added that recognition should not be extended until both republics meet EC conditions respecting minority rights and existing borders. Croatia said it will not extend recognition until the FRY recognizes Croatia, withdraws federal troops from the republic and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and meets all the conditions for international recognition that were applied to the other former Yugoslav republics. (Milan Andrejevich) SERBIAN OPPOSITION TO BOYCOTT FEDERAL ELECTIONS. Vuk Draskovic, President of the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), Serbia's largest opposition party, told reporters on 28 April that his party will boycott the federal elections scheduled for late June unless the current government guarantees press freedom, adopts laws on political party funding, amnesties those who fled Serbia during the war in Croatia, disarms all paramilitary groups and allows a three-month election campaign. Draskovic said his party would soon form a coalition with the Democratic and Liberal parties and proclaim a "government and parliament of a democratic Serbia." Local elections will be held in Serbia on 31 May. According to the latest opinion polls, the SPO's rating is dropping because of its perceived inconsistencies on political issues and wavering public support for the current government dominated by the Socialists (formerly communists). Radio Belgrade carried the report. (Milan Andrejevich) EC TO ASSESS DANUBE PROJECT. On 28 April Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier presented a letter to the EC in which he said that his country has approved the formation of a trilateral commission on the Danube dam project at Gabcikovo-Nagymaros. The commission will be made up of Czechoslovak and Hungarian representatives, plus independent foreign experts to be named by the European Community, CSTK reports. No details were given. During a meeting with Horst Krenzler, the EC commission's director-general for external relations, Czechoslovak Deputy Foreign Minister Zdenko Pirek welcomed Hungary's acceptance of the trilateral commission first proposed by Czechoslovakia in September 1990. (Peter Matuska) FARMERS END STRIKE IN POLAND. After meeting with President Lech Walesa on 28 April, the Farmers' Trade Union "Self-Defense" ended its three-week-old sit-in strike at the Ministry of Agriculture and the Food Industry, PAP reports. The final communique said that the president's office will set up a Rural and Agricultural Affairs Council composed of trade unionists, parliamentarians, and other experts to help in the solving of farmers' problems, particularly in the realm of finance. (Roman Stefanowski) CZECHOSLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES 1991 BUDGET SURPLUS ALLOCATION. On 28 April the Czechoslovak parliament approved a government proposal for the allocation of the 1991 federal budget surplus totalling 6.4 billion koruny ($213 million). Of the surplus, 2.2 billion koruny will be used to cover partly last year's deficit in the budgets of the Czech and the Slovak republics (10.8 billion and 10.2 billion koruny, respectively), with 1.3 billion koruny going to the Czech and 934 million koruny to the Slovak republic. Some 2 billion koruny are designated to cover the insolvency of the state-owned Czechoslovak Railway Company (CSD), CSTK reports. (Peter Matuska) EX-KING MICHAEL WANTS TO RETURN TO ROMANIA. Back in Switzerland after a three-day visit to Romania, ex-king Michael said he was overwhelmed by the reception given him by the people and wants to go back as soon as possible, foreign agencies reported on 28 April. He says he believes Romanians want to restore the monarchy, and the country needs fresh impetus. Michael said he will work for the establishment of a constitutional monarchy. (Crisula Stefanescu) GALVIN IN POLAND. In Poland on a three-day visit Gen. John Galvin, commander of NATO forces in Europe, met with Polish parliamentarians, the prime minister, and leading officials responsible for the country's security, PAP reported on 28 April. According to Romuald Szeremietiew, acting defense minister, Galvin promised help in rebuilding the Polish armed forces to better cooperate with NATO. Galvin told Jerzy Milewski, chief of the Presidential National Security Office, that "in the further future Poland will secure NATO membership" and asserted that Poland is a stabilizing force in Eastern Europe. Members of the Sejm Defense Commission acquainted Galvin with the changes taking place in the Polish army and discussed problems of the Polish armament industry and the withdrawal of CIS forces from Poland. (Roman Stefanowski) HUNGARY CALLS FOR NEW SECURITY GUARANTEES. Members of the Hungarian parliament's foreign policy and defense committees told a delegation of NATO's Political Committee in Budapest that Hungary and East Central Europe needed new security guarantees in the changed international environment, MTI reported on 28 April. Pointing to the threat to Hungary's security brought about by the war in former Yugoslavia, the committee members said that East European countries want to know to whom they could turn in case of a conflict with their neighbors. Members of the NATO delegation were unanimously of the opinion that membership in NATO is not a realistic option for East European countries and that they should turn to European organizations and institutions for security guarantees. (Edith Oltay) ROMANIA, TURKEY SIGN SECURITY ACCORD. Signed in Ankara on 28 April by Romanian Interior Minister Victor Babiuc and his Turkish counterpart, Ismet Sezgin, the agreement provides Romanian support for Turkey's struggle against separatist Kurdish rebels. Foreign agencies report that the two countries will also cooperate in fighting organized crime as well as illegal trafficking in drugs, arms, and antiques. (Crisula Stefanescu) LITHUANIAN MINISTERS IN LONDON. On 25-26 April Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister Algirdas Saudargas and National Defense Minister Audrius Butkevicius attended the conference "The Future of Europe in the Post-Communist World" in London, the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service reports. The Balts were the only representatives of former USSR republics present. In a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd on 27 April, Saudargas discussed the internal situation in Lithuania and its relations with Russia and Poland, paying particular attention to the problems of the withdrawal of the former USSR army. That same day Butkevicius talked with British Defense Minister Malcolm Rifkind. (Saulius Girnius) MILITARY VEHICLES BANNED FROM LIEPAJA. Military vehicles will be banned until 1 May from the Latvian port of Liepaja, where the CIS has a base, ITAR-TASS reports. The move is a temporary compromise between Latvian customs officials, who cut off all road traffic on 25 April, and the base officials. Viktor Kravchenko, deputy commander of the base, charged, "the local authorities want the power to go to the base to control warships moored in the port." The imposition of customs controls at the entrance to the port was described as a "provocation" by Sergei Zotov, head Russian negotiator. (Saulius Girnius) LATVIAN CONCERN OVER LIBYAN SUBMARINE. On 28 April the Latvian Foreign Ministry presented a diplomatic note to the US embassy in Riga describing the presence of a Libyan submarine undergoing repairs in Bolderaja according to a news release by the Latvian embassy in Washington. The note asks the US to "use its international influence and leverage to hasten the withdrawal of [Russian] armed forces from Latvia." The Latvian mission to the UN informed the Security Council on the matter, noting that it was a violation of Security Council Resolution 748 prohibiting sales and maintenance of military equipment to Libya. Noting that it has not been allowed to inspect the facilities, the Latvian government is requesting the UN to send a fact-finding team to inspect Russian-controlled installations in the Baltic States and ascertain if there might be other military hardware earmarked for Libya. (Saulius Girnius) ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN BORDER TALKS POSTPONED. On 28 April ITAR-TASS reported that a meeting of the working groups of Estonian and Russian delegations in charge of providing essential supplies for border regions have been postponed at the initiative of the Estonian side. Estonia asked that the head of the Russian delegation, St. Petersburg mayor Anatolii Sobchak, be replaced by a professional diplomat who could be expected to be more given to compromise. New dates for the talks in St. Petersburg have been tentatively set for 5-7 May. (Saulius Girnius) BULGARIAN BUSINESS FORUM IN GENEVA. Prime Minister Filip Dimitrov is heading a delegation of Bulgarian economic officials and advisers and private businessmen in Geneva which is participating in what is described as "the Bulgaria-92 minieconomic forum." It opened on 27 April and is sponsored by the World Economic Forum in Davos and the Bulgarian embassy in Bern. Bulgarian media report good participation by foreign businessmen, and Podkrepa on 29 April quoted National Bank chairman Todor Valchev as saying the interest among private business had been amazing. Demokratsiya on 28 April said that the UN Economic Commission for Europe has agreed to organize five economic seminars in Bulgaria. The Geneva cantonal government has also agreed to supply aid in modernizing the Bulgarian economy. (Rada Nikolaev) VLAD SENTENCE INCREASED. Romania's Supreme Court has rejected an appeal for acquittal by former Securitate head Col. Gen. Iulian Vlad; instead his sentence was increased from 9 to 12 years. The court also changed the charge against Vlad from "complicity in genocide" to "complicity in extraordinarily grave murder," local and foreign media report. (Crisula Stefanescu) RULING AGAINST BULGARIAN MUSLIM COUNCIL, MUFTI CONFIRMED. On 28 April the Supreme Court rejected the appeal of the Supreme Council of Muslims in Bulgaria and of Chief Mufti Nedim Gendzhev against a ruling of the Directorate on Religious Beliefs at the Council of Ministers, which last February said the organization had not been legally registered. BTA said that by the court's ruling, which is final, both the statutes and the leadership of the Muslim organization are declared illegitimate. (Rada Nikolaev) GALINSKI IN POLAND. On his fifth visit to Poland, on 28 April Heinz Galinski, Chairman of the Jewish Organizations Council in Germany, discussed Polish-Jewish relations, the custody of Jewish historical relics in Poland, and preparations for the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising with Prime Minister Olszewski and Foreign Minister Skubiszewski. About 5,000 young Jews from 32 countries are in Poland to march in memory of the victims of the Holocaust and participate in other events, Polish and Western media report. (Roman Stefanowski) 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). 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. 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