|I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of my existence, and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race. - James Joyce|
No. 83, 30 April 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR BLACK SEA FLEET TALKS BEGIN. Russian and Ukrainian negotiators met for five hours in Odessa on 29 April on the first day of their talks on the future of the ex-Soviet Black Sea Fleet. Western agencies quoted the leader of the Russian delegation, Yurii Yarov, as saying there had been a "constructive and a cooperative search for a solution," while the press secretary of the Ukrainian delegation, Andrei Veselovsky, said that the Ukrainians were "not satisfied with the route they [the Russians] took, but we are satisfied with the results of today's talks." Interfax reported that the head of the Ukrainian delegation had requested that Admiral Vladimir Chernavin, the commander of the CIS Navy, be included in the talks. Interfax also carried a statement from the fleet press center in Sevastopol denying a recent report that Chernavin had ordered the dismissal of seaman who had sworn loyalty to Ukraine. (Doug Clarke) BAKER: NO US MILITARY COMMITMENT TO UKRAINE, KAZAKHSTAN. In response to indications this week from Ukraine and Kazakhstan that the two countries are seeking some form of security agreement with the United States (see Daily Report, 29 April), Secretary of State James Baker told American reporters on 28 April that, in the event of a threatened nuclear attack against either of the two CIS members, the United States would render political support by bringing the issue to the UN Security Council. But even limited political guarantees would depend, he emphasized, on Ukraine and Kazakhstan signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and renouncing nuclear arms. Baker firmly ruled out the possibility of extending a formal security guarantee or US military commitment to the two states. (Kathy Mihalisko) IZVESTIYA: UKRAINE AND KAZAKHSTAN SEEK TO 'PRIVATIZE' CIS ARSENAL. In an interview published on 29 April in Izvestiya, Aleksandr Savelev, vice president of the Russian Institute on National Security and Strategic Studies, accused Ukraine and Kazakhstan of "attempting in fact to 'privatize' the CIS nuclear arsenals on their territory." He said that judging by recent statements by Leonid Kravchuk and Nursultan Nazarbaev, the two presidents consider these arms as "their own." Savelev lamented Russia's protracted silence in the face of assertions that it represents the main external threat to Ukraine and Kazakhstan. (Kathy Mihalisko) RUSSIA TO TAKE OVER MILITARY INTELLIGENCE. The ex-Soviet Military Intelligence Service (GRU), currently subordinated to the CIS General Staff, will be transferred to the jurisdiction of the Russian government, the chief of the GRU said in an interview published by Krasnaya zvezda on 29 April. According to a Reuters report, Colonel General Evgenii Timokhin also said that for the time being the GRU would cease working in the non-Russian CIS member states and denied that overseas operations would be scrapped. He said the service was organized on three levels: Strategic Intelligence Services, Technical Services, and Operational Intelligences in the army, air force, and navy. (Stephen Foye) BELARUS DENIES ALL TACTICAL MISSILES OUT. Interfax on 29 April reported that both the Belarusian Ministry of Defense and the headquarters of the Belarusian Military District had denied the recent reports that all tactical nuclear weapons had been removed from Belarus. These sources said that the remaining weapons would leave the republic only in the first half of May. (Doug Clarke) LAW ON CRIMEA'S STATUS ADOPTED. After a heated debate and protests from Crimean deputies, the Ukrainian parliament on 29 April passed a law defining the status of the Crimean Republic, Radio Ukraine and Ukrinform-TASS reported. The law stipulates that Crimea is a constituent part of Ukraine and that its territory cannot be changed or transferred to another country or territorial-administrative unit without the approval of its people. It also says that Crimea decides independently those issues within its competence in accordance with the Ukrainian constitution and laws. (Roman Solchanyk) FUND FOR UKRAINE'S NATIONAL MINORITIES. President Leonid Kravchuk has issued a decree creating a fund for Ukraine's national minorities, Ukrinform-TASS reported on 29 April. The fund is intended to promote the development of the languages and cultures of Ukraine's ethnic minorities. (Roman Solchanyk) UKRAINE'S EXPANDING TIES WITH TURKEY, IRAN. While most international attention is focused on Turkish and Iranian efforts to increase their respective influence in Central Asia, rapidly growing contacts between these two countries and Kiev may also be noted. For instance, Radio Ukraine reported on 29 April that the chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, Ivan Pliushch, returned that day from Turkey. In the month of February, during a conference of states bordering the Black Sea, the Turkish press indicated that Ukraine could be a partner in a kind of second European Common Market and, indeed, Turkish businessmen are extremely active in seeking commercial opportunities there; a Kiev-Istanbul bus service is expected soon. And, on the eve of Leonid Kravchuk's official visit to Teheran, the 18 April issue of Demokratychna Ukraina provided an historical overview of trade with Persia that went back to the 6th century A.D. (Kathy Mihalisko) UKRAINE, IRAN REACH AGREEMENT ON OIL SUPPLIES. According to ITAR-TASS of 29 April, Iranian and Ukrainian negotiators have reached agreement on oil supplies to Ukraine. Recent meetings in Teheran focused on the economics of the issue. Odessa is to be the site of a new oil terminal that will handle the flow of Iranian oil. Plans were also discussed for new major oil and gas pipelines. Ukraine is the largest of the former Soviet republics to take steps to reduce its dependence on Russian energy. (John Tedstrom) CIS COMMANDER CRITICIZES GERMAN OFFICIALS. Colonel General Matvei Burlakov, the commander of the ex-Soviet forces stationed in Germany, has accused German officials of dragging their feet in compensating the CIS for the military facilities his troops are leaving, and for not building housing for them fast enough. Reuters on 28 April reported that Burlakov charged that the German Finance Ministry--responsible for disposing of the vacated military property--was doing this job "in an unsatisfactory manner." The report said that Russia had valued the property at 10.5 billion marks ($6.5 billion), a figure Bonn believed to be far too high. Burlakov also said that the pace of German-financed apartment construction was not keeping up with the withdrawals. (Doug Clarke) RUSSIAN EXIT VISAS REINTRODUCED. An editorial in Izvestiya of 24 April reported that the Russian authorities have reintroduced the policy of requiring exit visas for Russian citizens seeking to travel abroad. In recent years, the newspaper said, Soviet citizens going abroad with special "business" passports did not need exit visas, which are issued only with KGB approval. Izvestiya viewed the revival of this requirement as yet another setback from the more liberal policies initiated during the Gorbachev era. According to Izvestiya, the Russian Foreign Ministry strongly opposes this rule because it gives the KGB the right to decide who can and cannot travel abroad. If the new USSR law on foreign travel were to come into force next January, as had been planned when it was adopted in the summer of 1991, this practice would be abolished in accordance with the law's provisions. (Julia Wishnevsky/Carla Thorson) RUTSKOI IN ISRAEL. Russian Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi said that President Boris Yeltsin also plans to visit Israel in the "near future," Western agencies reported on 29 April. Rutskoi is on a high-level visit to Israel in order to study Israel's agricultural policy. He is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and then depart for Egypt on a similar agricultural fact-finding tour. (Alexander Rahr) JAPAN SUPPORTS RUSSIAN REFORM EFFORTS. Despite lingering disagreement over the Kurile Islands, Japan "is ready to render assistance to reforms in Russia," according to Japanese Foreign Minister Michio Watanabe, whose remarks were carried by ITAR-TASS 29 April. Watanabe said, in an interview published in Komsomolskaya pravda on 29 April, that he was looking forward to open discussions on the territorial dispute. In addition to participation in the financial support Japan is providing as part of the G-7 arrangement, Japan intends to provide humanitarian support to Russia during the next two years. Other high-profile efforts by Japan include a mixture of public and private initiatives to support the conversion of Russian defense industries. (John Tedstrom) CIS LEADERS DISCUSS FUTURE OF "OSTANKINO" TV. Leaders of state television companies in the CIS states met in the Belarus capital of Minsk to discuss the future of the Moscow-based "Ostankino" TV channel (the former first program of Central Soviet TV). The officials discussed how to transform "Ostankino," which is reportedly watched by 97% of the adult population in the former USSR, into a joint TV channel for the entire Commonwealth. Although the management of "Ostankino" stresses its support for this plan, so far this channel has been marked by a distinct pro-Russian bias and is therefore often criticized by non-Russian members of the CIS. ITAR-TASS said on 29 April that the final decision on the future of "Ostankino" would be taken at a meeting of TV officials in the CIS to be held soon in Alma-Ata. (Vera Tolz) MIKHALKOV'S CONTROVERSIAL SHOW BROADCAST. As promised (see Daily Report of 27 April), the "Ostankino" TV management broadcast Nikita Mikhalkov's "Crossroads" that had been censored five days earlier. The show was preceded and followed by discussions with cinema critics who attacked Mikhalkov. It was broadcast on 30 April between midnight and 3 a.m.(Moscow time), not during prime time, as had been originally scheduled on 22 April. According to Mikhalkov, the reason for the ban was his criticism of the democrats now in power, such as Gennadii Burbulis. "Ostankino's" management, however, cited the program's alleged poor artistic quality. (Julia Wishnevsky) CONTROVERSY OVER CPSU TRIAL CONTINUES. Radical members of the St. Petersburg City Council demanded that the CPSU be put on trial for crimes conducted by the Soviet regime, "Ostankino" TV reported on 29 April. Individual deputies of the council have put forward similar proposals in the past. The deputies also argued that the Russian parliament should pass a law forbidding former members of the CPSU nomenklatura from occupying top government and state positions for the next five years. (It is doubtful that such a law has any chance of being adopted, since many members of the current Russian leadership, including President Boris Yeltsin, are former members of the Party nomenklatura.) (Vera Tolz) RUSSIAN JEWS COMMEMORATE HOLOCAUST VICTIMS. Russian Jewish organizations met for the first time on 29 April to commemorate the victims of the Nazi holocaust. Held in the Russian parliament's headquarters, the conference coincided with the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. In "Vesti's" coverage of the event, the anchor noted that of the 6 million Jews who perished during Nazi rule, 2.5 million were Soviet citizens. In an interview with the RFE/RL Russian service, an organizer noted that no Russian official had attended the conference and contrasted this with last year's commemoration of the wartime Jewish massacre in Kievan Babii Yar which was attended by Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk and USSR presidential representative, Aleksandr Yakovlev. (Julia Wishnevsky) PARLIAMENTARY CRISIS LOOMS IN ARMENIA. On 29 April the Armenian parliament rejected for the third time the plan for Armenia's social-economic development proposed by President Levon Ter-Petrossyan, ITAR-TASS reported, whereupon Prime Minister Gagik Arutyunyan tendered his resignation, which Ter-Petrossyan refused to accept. Ter-Petrossyan accused parliamentary deputies of sabotaging the republic's political course and stated that he is legally entitled to implement his economic program in the form of a presidential decree. (Liz Fuller) SITUATION IN DUSHANBE. Citizens of Dushanbe who are not involved in the huge pro- and anti-government demonstrations have had enough of the disruption of life in the Tajik capital and blockaded the Dushanbe TV center on 29 April, demanding an end to the political rallies, Central TV reported. According to Radio Rossii, the planned opening of a special session of the Tajik Supreme Soviet was delayed until President Rakhman Nabiev, whose resignation is demanded by opposition demonstrators, could meet with the head of the Muslim Religious Board for Central Asia, who was reported to be on his way to Dushanbe. The chairman of Tajikistan's opposition Democratic Party was quoted on Radio Mayak as saying that Tajikistan could easily become a second Yugoslavia. (Bess Brown) FIGHTING IN DNIESTER REGION CONTINUES. ITAR-TASS reported on 29 April that fighting in the breakaway "Dniester Republic" has not abated. The scene of the latest exchange of gunfire was in and around the city of Dubossary. The local population is said to be optimistic that a commission of observers now in the area will be able to bring the killings to a speedy halt. (Roman Solchanyk) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN FIGHTING ESCALATES. Radio Sarajevo reports on 29 April that Mostar is being systematically shelled by the federal army and charges that in Gorazde federal warplanes have dropped chemical bombs. The Sarajevo-based Serbian news agency SRNA is running reports of an alleged massacre of 350 Serbian women, children, and senior citizens by Muslim and Croatian paramilitary units. Over the past month the Croatian, Serbian, and Bosnian media have frequently run reports of supposed massacres involving civilians of Muslim, Serb and Croat nationality. There is confusion as well about reports that Bosnia's Interior Ministry ordered civilians to block all federal military installations to prevent the army from removing equipment and hardware. Radio Sarajevo read what it said was a signed ministry order; the Belgrade-based Tanjug news service reported the story as well. Later in the day, however, Radio Sarajevo said the Bosnian ministry denies issuing such an order. In response to a demand that the federal army leave the republic, acting federal defense minister Gen. Blagoje Adzic wrote to Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic on 27 April that the army would not comply, arguing that the Bosnian demand was hasty and could trigger an escalation of violence with "unpredictable consequences." (Milan Andrejevich) KOSOVO ALBANIANS REPORT ARMY BUILDUP. The Democratic Alliance of Kosovo, the largest political party in Kosovo, stated on 28 April that federal army personnel and equipment in growing amounts have been seen in the dominantly Serb town of Kosovo Polje, a suburb of Pristina. The party reiterated its long-standing fear that the Serb-dominated federal army is supplying local Serbs with weapons in preparation for actions against Albanians, who constitute 90% of Kosovo's population. Radio Croatia carried the report. DAK announced in mid-March that local and republic parliamentary elections will be held in Kosovo at the end of May. Kosovo was declared a republic in October 1991 by Albanian political leaders after a public referendum earlier had endorsed Kosovo's independence. Serbia's government said Kosovo's status as a Serbian province will not change and opposes independence. (Milan Andrejevich) JARUZELSKI AND KISZCZAK TO BE INDICTED? Zbigniew Dyka, Polish prosecutor-general, has asked the Constitutional Tribunal to consider indicting Generals Wojciech Jaruzelski and Czeslaw Kiszczak for destroying files containing minutes of Politburo meetings between 1982 and 1989, Polish and Western media report. Jaruzelski claims that "only rough drafts were destroyed" and the originals remain in the archives. If the Constitutional Tribunal accepts the charges, the case will be referred to the Sejm which has to decide whether to pass it on for trial before the Tribunal of State, composed of senior judges who rule on cases involving top officials. (Roman Stefanowski) LIST OF SUSPECTED AGENTS PUBLISHED IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA. On 29 April the Czechoslovak Federal Assembly decided that each deputy would be given the list of journalists suspected of collaborating with the former communist secret police (StB). The list was to have been classified and made available to the deputies for their own information only, an RFE/RL correspondent reports. A Czech government spokesman had earlier cautioned that publication of the names would be illegal. Nonetheless, the names of the 262 Czech journalists, as well as the corresponding list of 114 Slovak journalists, was published in the Prague daily Telegraf on 30 April. (Peter Matuska) LITHUANIA JOINS IMF AND WORLD BANK. On 29 April Lithuania became the first former USSR republic to assume full membership in the IMF and World Bank, an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reports. International Economic Relations Minister Vytenis Aleskaitis signed the articles of agreement at the US State Department. Lithuania will pay membership dues of $94.5 million of which 22.7% must be in hard currency. It will need IMF help in introducing its own currency, the litas, by establishing a stabilization fund similar to the one promised for the ruble. (Saulius Girnius) HUNGARIAN DEFENSE BUDGET CUT. According to Acting Defense Ministry Spokesman Laszlo Tikos, Hungary's 1992 defense budget will be reduced by a total of 76.9 million forint following an earlier government decision to pare all ministries' administrative budgets by 4%, MTI announced on 29 April. While the defense ministry can absorb the 25.4 million forint cut in its administrative budget by cutting costs, the 51.5 million cut in the armed forces' budget came as a surprise and is likely to produce "tensions" in the financing of the army's operational tasks, Tikos said. (Alfred Reisch) HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT CONSIDERING DEFENSE PLAN. A revised version of Hungary's security policy concept was approved by the government and debated by parliament's foreign relations committee, MTI reported on 29 April. According to Ivan Baba, deputy state secretary for foreign affairs, Hungary does not seek neutrality and sees its security policy in the framework of a gradual integration with Western Europe through full membership in the EC, then in NATO and the WEU, by the end of the decade. Cooperation with Czechoslovakia and Poland, the other two members of the "Visegrad Triangle," is no alternative to Western integration but rather a means jointly to promote it. The new concept will require a modernized Hungarian army strong enough to halt an aggressor of similar strength or to cause intolerable losses to a stronger assailant, Baba said. (Alfred Reisch) LITHUANIA DEMANDS HALT TO NEW RUSSIAN TROOPS. On 28 April, after a meeting of the Lithuanian provisional defense leadership, Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis sent a telegram to Russian President Yeltsin demanding a halt in the transfer of new Russian troops to Lithuania, Radio Lithuania reported on 29 April. Troops have been flown to the military airports at Kazlu Ruda and Kedainiai, to which access by Lithuanian officials is barred. Lithuania also prohibited all unauthorized flights of helicopters over its territory. Parliament press spokesman Audrius Azubalis noted that Lithuania could cut off the supply of electricity, communications, and other services it provides to the military. (Saulius Girnius) LATVIA SAYS RUSSIA DELAYING TROOP PULLOUT. On 29 April Latvian Defense Minister Dainis Turlajs told a news conference that no progress was made in the third round of talks with Russia on the question of the withdrawal of former USSR troops from Latvia, Reuters reports. Turlajs said that Latvia wants all former USSR troops to leave its territory within 18 months, but Russian negotiators are stalling by alleging that Latvia is mistreating servicemen and their families. Russia has also refused to set a withdrawal schedule in similar talks with Lithuania. (Saulius Girnius) ARENS IN BALTIC STATES. On 29 April Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens arrived in Riga, where he held talks with Foreign Minister Janis Jurkans, Defense Minister Talavs Jundzis, and State Minister Janis Dinevics. On 30 April he is scheduled to participate at a Holocaust memorial ceremony in Riga. He will travel to Vilnius on 1 May for meetings with Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius, Foreign Affairs Minister Algirdas Saudargas and National Defense Minister Audrius Butkevicius, Radio Lithuania reports. (Saulius Girnius) GALVIN ON POLAND AND NATO. General John Galvin, commander of NATO forces in Europe, told a press conference in Warsaw on 29 April that "we are not thinking of Poland's membership in NATO today, but who knows what will happen tomorrow?" According to PAP, Galvin also said that NATO does not regard Poland "as a buffer separating the West from the countries of the former Soviet Union, and has no plans whatever to become involved in case of a crisis there." Gen. Zdzislaw Stelmaszuk, chief of the Polish general staff, said that he favors "small but consistent steps" leading to membership in NATO, which could take five to seven years. NATO consultants are traveling to Poland next month to discuss the issue. (Roman Stefanowski) POLAND AND GEORGIA ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. PAP reported that a Georgian government delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Ukleba arrived in Poland on 28 April for a three-day official visit to establish diplomatic relations and negotiate an inter-governmental agreement on commercial and economic cooperation. Poland's relations with Georgia date from the 17th century, when the first Georgians settled in Poland and Georgia was seen as an ally of Poland against the Ottoman Empire. Diplomatic relations were first established in 1920 but were short-lived because of the civil war in Georgia and the country's later incorporation into the Soviet Union. (Roman Stefanowski) SLOVAK CONSTITUTION LIKELY TO BE PROCLAIMED IN AUGUST. On 29 April Vladimir Meciar, chairman of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), said he was sure the party would win a majority of 97 votes in the Slovak parliament. He said the HZDS would always be in favor of a declaration of Slovakia's sovereignty. He emphasized that a Slovak constitution, including a provision for a president of the Slovak republic, will be proclaimed by the end of August 1992, CSTK reported. According to recent polls, the HZDS has over 30% voter support. Parliamentary elections in the country will take place on 5-6 June 1992. (Peter Matuska) CZECH RIGHT PARTIES TO COOPERATE. On 29 April the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and the Christian Democratic Union-Czechoslovak People's Party (KDU-CSL) have agreed to work together to coordinate their election campaigns, CSTK reports. ODS chairman Vaclav Klaus said both parties have clearly defined their common enemy, "which is to the left of us . . ., and not only the Communist Party, but also social democracy, the Liberal Social Union and nationalist Moravian parties." Klaus added that right-wing parties need to create a "circle defense." KDU-CSL chairman Josef Lux said, "after the elections we are ready to work for cooperation with parties from the center to the right." (Peter Matuska) ROMANIA'S PRESIDENT SAYS MONARCHY IS NOT A SOLUTION. During a visit in Birlad on 29 April, President Ion Iliescu said that restoration of the monarchy would not solve the country's problems. His comment, reported by Romanian and foreign media, comes the second day after former King Michael finished a three-day visit to Romania and said he wanted to work for the establishment of a constitutional monarchy. (Crisula Stefanescu) HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN CHINA. Hungarian Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky arrived in China on 28 April for a six-day official visit aimed at reviving bilateral political and economic ties, MTI reports. The Hungarian government hopes that the opening of a Chinese trade center in Budapest in May will boost bilateral trade, which in the past few years has been stagnating. Both sides assert that ideological considerations will not affect relations. Jeszenszky said that a more intensive dialogue with China is possible because Peking accepted the change of regime in Hungary. Chinese Prime Minister Li Peng was quoted by Xinhua as saying that "every sovereign state has the right to choose its own road to development." (Edith Oltay) GANEV'S BALKAN INITIATIVES. While no final reports are available on Foreign Minister Stoyan Ganev's visit to Portugal on 28-29 April, Bulgarian media focused attention on the working lunch he hosted at the Bulgarian embassy on the first day for Balkan ambassadors , a follow-up to a similar initiative which he took recently in Helsinki. Demokratsiya listed as participants the heads of mission of Romania, new Yugoslavia, Greece, and Turkey (Albania has no mission in Lisbon). The inclusion of "new Yugoslavia" would seem to be running against the position of Ganev's host, Portuguese Foreign Minister Joao de Deus Pinheiro, who, according to Reuters of 29 April, is calling upon the EC to take no action on recognizing the new state. (Rada Nikolaev) BULGARIAN GASOLINE PRICES TO GO UP. Ceiling prices of gasoline in Bulgaria, officially set every two weeks, have usually fluctuated only slightly. New prices announced by BTA on 29 April for the first half of May, however, mark significant increases--14-16% for gasoline and 18.5% for diesel fuel. A liter of 98-octane gasoline will now cost 8.00 leva and a liter of diesel 6.40 leva. The average monthly salary in February was 1,543 leva. (Rada Nikolaev) ROMANIA'S POPULATION IS 22.7 MILLION. According to initial results of the 7 January 1922 census, Romania's population stands at 22,749,000--5.5% higher than the figures for the 1977 census, Rompres reported on 29 April. The population of Bucharest grew by 11.6% to 2,349,000 in 15 years. (Crisula Stefanescu) (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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