When in doubt, tell the truth. - Mark Twain
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 87, 07 May 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

TAJIK OPPOSITION GAINS UPPER HAND? The situation in the Tajik
capital, including the whereabouts of President Rakhman Nabiev,
remains unclear, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 May. Several domestic
and Western agencies have reported that government and opposition
forces are negotiating an agreement on the creation of a coalition
government that would include representatives from the opposition.
On 6 May, the opposition was reported to have gained control
of most of the city of Dushanbe, including the residence of the
president. The parliament building, where Nabiev was said to
have sought refuge, and the state radio remained in government
hands. According to some reports, members of the new National
Guard killed at least 14 opposition supporters, and the commander
of the armed forces in Tajikistan has gone over to the opposition.
(Bess Brown)

CRIMEA TO REMAIN PART OF UKRAINE? On 6 May, the Crimean parliament
approved by a large majority an amendment to its constitution
stating that the peninsula is part of Ukraine, Western agencies
reported. It goes on to say that Crimea determines its relations
with Ukraine on the basis of treaties and agreements. The day
before, the parliament declared Crimea's independence (samostoyatelnost),
but in a form that stopped short of severing all ties to Kiev.
The independence declaration is to be put to a referendum vote
scheduled for 2 August. (Roman Solchanyk)

CRIMEAN REFERENDUM ASKS TWO QUESTIONS. On 2 August, the Crimeans
will be asked to respond to two questions, according to Radio
Mayak. In addition to being asked whether or not they approve
of the independence declaration adopted on 5 May, voters will
also decide on whether they support a fully independent Crimea
"in union with other states." The latter question was formulated
by the Republican Movement of the Crimea (RDK), which favors
the peninsula's secession from Ukraine and its return to Russia.
(Roman Solchanyk)

REACTION TO CRIMEAN INDEPENDENCE IN KIEV. Crimea's declaration
of independence has evoked a strong reaction from the Ukrainian
capital, Radio Ukraine and Western agencies reported. On 6 May
the situation in Crimea was discussed by the Presidium of Ukraine's
parliament, which asserted that the declaration was in contravention
of the recently enacted Ukrainian law defining the status of
the peninsula. It was decided to discuss the situation at a meeting
of the full parliament. The Committee on Nationalities Affairs
of the Cabinet of Ministers characterized the declaration as
an encroach-ment on Ukraine's territorial integrity and a violation
of the Ukrainian constitution. The Crimean declaration was also
condemned by a rally in Kiev attended by some 5,000 people, which
was organized by "Rukh" and a group supporting Ukraine's 1990
declaration of sovereignty. (Roman Solchanyk)

BUSH-KRAVCHUK TALKS. US President George Bush and Ukrainian President
Leonid Kravchuk held talks at the White House on 6 May and later
signed several agreements on trade, investment, and US Peace
Corps programs in Ukraine, Western agencies reported. The accords
are seen as providing a basis for closer economic ties between
the two countries. Under the trade pact, the United States will
extend most-favored-nation status to Ukraine; the investment
agreement provides guarantees to US businesses seeking to invest
in the country. The Ukrainian president also visited the presidential
retreat at Camp David. (Roman Solchanyk)

YELTSIN CHAIRS TALKS ON MILITARY DOCTRINE. According to ITAR-TASS,
on 6 May, Russian President Boris Yeltsin chaired a government
session devoted to discussion of Russia's military doctrine,
the formation of Russia's armed forces, and military procurement
plans for 1993. Further details were not provided. (Stephen Foye)


PARLIAMENTARIAN HITS MILITARY SPENDING. The chairman of the Russian
parliamentary budget commission, Aleksandr Pochinok, on 6 May
criticized the defense spending plans of the Yeltsin government,
ITAR-TASS reported. Pochinok suggested that Yeltsin has been
persuaded to continue funding for a number of high-cost military
production programs, including the construction of more nuclear
powered submarines. In the context of impending military manpower
reductions and the difficulties faced by the Russian government
in even meeting the payroll of troops currently in service, Pochinok
asked where the government expected to find money to finance
such weapons' procurements. (Stephen Foye)

AGREEMENT REACHED ON CIS TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM AZERBAIJAN. Interfax
on 6 May quoted Azerbaijani Minister of Defense Rahim Kaziev
as stating that an agreement has been reached on the withdrawal
of all CIS troops from Azerbaijan over a period of two years,
beginning next month. The agreement guarantees the rights of
soldiers who decide to continue their service in Azerbaijan.
(Liz Fuller)

RUSSIAN MEDICAL WORKERS' STRIKE INTENSIFIES. The two-week-old
strike by Russian medical workers has entered a new phase with
doctors and nurses in some Moscow hospitals refusing to treat
patients except in emergency cases, Western and Russian agencies
reported on 5 May. The protest over salaries and funding for
the health-care system began with picketing and doctors refusing
to issue prescriptions in many Russian cities. The current actions
are preventing many patients from receiving "optional surgery,"
and the doctors are reportedly threatening to withhold even emergency
treatment beginning on 12 May. Moscow ambulance drivers have
also vowed to stop working on 12 May if the dispute is not settled.
(Carla Thorson)

RUBLE SCAM INVESTIGATION. The investigation by Kroll Associates
into the large sums of money that were spirited out of the former
USSR is continuing, Radio Rossii reported on 4 May, citing a
Radio Canada interview. AP also carried an interview with Jules
Kroll. The firm has reportedly uncovered "hundreds" of bank accounts
in foreign countries where party and government officials and
joint ventures have stashed away considerable fortunes. Kroll
declined to put a figure on the sum involved, but Radio Rossii
repeated the popular estimate of around $100 billion. [The convertible
currency debt of the former USSR was estimated to be $65 billion.]
(Keith Bush)

RUSSIAN KGB'S AIMS. Sergei Stepashin, Russian deputy minister
of security, told Rossiiskaya tribuna on 17 April that a democratic
Russia needs strong and effective state security organs. He asserted
that the West is not interested in a strong Russian state and
therefore continues hostile actions against Russia. Moreover,
Russia is prepared to direct its intelligence activities against
other CIS states if these countries threaten Russia's security
interests. Stepashin also noted that the main aim of the Russian
security service is to defend individual rights to private property,
but he noted that older KGB employees have difficulty accepting
that individual rights must be protected in the same way as state
interests had been in the past. (Alexander Rahr)

FORTHCOMING DECREES ON RUSSIAN COSSACKS. State Counsellor Sergei
Shakhrai has told Izvestiya that at the end of May a number of
decrees will be issued by the Russian president and parliament
regulating various aspects of the life of Russian Cossacks, ITAR-TASS
reported on 5 May. Shakhrai, who heads the government commission
drawing up the draft law "On the rehabilitation of the Cossacks,"
said that the decrees envisage the creation of Cossack regiments
in the new Russian army and restoring traditional Cossack land
use in areas of compact Cossack settlement--thus meeting two
major Cossack demands. Shakhrai added that the measures would
"neutralize efforts by certain forces to use the Cossack movement
for their political aims," and would turn the Cossacks into allies
of the president and government. (Ann Sheehy)

YELTSIN TOURS THE TRETYAKOV GALLERY. During his visit to the
Tretyakov gallery on 4 May, President Yeltsin announced that
$15 million had been allocated to resume the restoration of the
greatest Moscow museum of Russian art. Work on the gallery began
in the late 1980s, when Yeltsin was the first secretary of the
Moscow Party organization, but it was stopped last year for lack
of funds. Russian TV viewers could see former USSR Minister of
Culture Nikolai Gubenko in the crowd that accompanied Yeltsin,
rather than the current Russian minister, Evgenii Sidorov. (Julia
Wishnevsky)

THREE BELARUSIAN PARTIES FORM COALITION. Belta-TASS on 6 May
announced the forma-tion of a coalition between the National-Democratic
Party, the Peasant Party, and Christian Democratic Union of Belarus.
In a declaration, the coalition said the three parties, which
share the same goals, will coordinate their activities. (Kathy
Mihalisko)

"NO INCREASE" IN RADIATION IN GOMEL AREA. Efforts continue to
extinguish wild fires that broke out earlier this week in Belarus'
thirty-kilometer Chernobyl zone, provoking fears of a spread
of radioactivity. Speaking on 6 May to Belta-TASS, however, Belarus'
chief hydrometeorologist offered reassurances that no increase
in the radiation level has been registered by the 52 control
stations in the area. Thanks to low winds, radioactive particles
have not spread beyond the zone, he added. (Kathy Mihalisko)


PLACE NAMES IN TURKMENISTAN. Turkmen-press-TASS reported on 5
May that the Presidium of Turkmenistan's Supreme Soviet has issued
a resolution instructing that place names in Turkmenistan shall
be transliterated into Russian directly from Turkmen. The Russian
versions of the towns of Tashauz and Chardzhou are to be written
as Dashkhovuz and Chardzhev. Kushka, on the Afghan border, is
to written Gushgy, and Turkmenistan's capital, Ashkhabad, is
to be Ashgabat. (Bess Brown)

MOLDOVAN ANTI-UNIONISTS FOR, PRO-UNIONISTS AGAINST REFERENDUM.
Several hundred Moldovan policemen and volunteers fighting on
the left bank of the Dniester have signed and publicized a petition
for a referendum on the issue of Moldova's reunification with
Romania. They oppose reunification and are confident that a referendum
would bury the issue. The leaders of the Moldovan Popular Front,
who advocate early reunification with Romania, appeared on Moldovan
TV on 6 May to denounce the proposed referendum as inspired by
the republican leadership which opposes reunification. At last
count, only 46 Moldovan parliamentary deputies (comprising most
of the Popular Front's parliamentary group), out of 366, support
reunification, Rompres reported on 4 May. (Vladimir Socor)

NEW RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH ABROAD OPENS IN MURMANSK. Radio Rossii
reported on 29 April that a new parish of the Russian Orthodox
Church abroad in Murmansk, which was registered already in January,
has now begun its activities with a festive service. The parish
has no church building yet and uses an apartment for

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UN ENVOY IN SARAJEVO. Radio Sarajevo and Western media report
on 6 May that UN envoy Marrack Goulding and Bosnian President
Alija Izetbegovic were shot at by snipers as they were inspecting
the damage in Sarajevo's historic Bascarsija district. They escaped
uninjured. Goulding met with Muslim, Serb, and Croat representatives,
later telling reporters that he doubts the warring parties have
the political will to respect a long-term cease-fire that could
pave the way for the deployment of UN peacekeeping troops. The
latest cease-fire was for the most part holding in Sarajevo,
giving the warring parties time to clear the streets of dead
and wounded. Heavy fighting continued in western and northern
Bosnia-Herzegovina. (Milan Andrejevich)

INTERNATIONAL MEETINGS DISCUSS BOSNIA AND YUGOSLAVIA. The CSCE
will resume talks on 7 May on whether Serbian-dominated new Yugoslavia
should be excluded from membership. Portugal is suggesting a
five-week membership suspension to give Yugoslavia time to meet
CSCE conditions. US delegate John Kornblum called for immediate
exclusion until there is unanimity among CSCE member states on
whether Yugoslavia should be permitted to participate. He said
that "further shock treatment" is needed in order to press Serbia
into halting its aggression in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Bosnia's foreign
minister Haris Silajdzic appealed to the CSCE for foreign military
intervention, but that body has no mechanism for dispatching
military forces. The EC is also holding Serbia primarily responsible
for the fighting in Bosnia. At the EC-mediated conference on
Yugoslavia in Brussels on 6 May, Serbia's President Slobodan
Milosevic defended his government by denying that Serbia is responsible
for the war in Bosnia. (Milan Andrejevich)

SECRET DIVISION OF BOSNIA REACHED? Radovan Karadzic, President
of the Serbian Democratic Party of Bosnia-Herzegovina, stated
on Austrian TV on 6 May that he has reached agreement with representatives
of Bosnia's Croatian Democratic Community on the division of
Bosnia-Herzegovina into autonomous regions along ethnic lines.
He said that a map of Bosnia-Herzegovina would be redrawn by
15 May. Karadzic did not name the Croat representatives, and
Bosnian Muslims were apparently not included in the talks. Austrian
TV said the meeting was held in secret in Graz. Radios Serbia,
Croatia and Sarajevo made no mention of the talks last night.
(Milan Andrejevich)

POLISH FINANCE MINISTER RESIGNS. Andrzej Olechowski resigned
his post on 6 May after the Sejm approved the Constitutional
Tribunal's decision to render invalid two September 1991 laws
that reduced state pensions and froze salaries of public employees.
Reversing the law, Olechowski said, would add some $2.2 billion
to the current $4.7 billion deficit, a sum just within the limit
set by the IMF. An IMF team is now in Warsaw to negotiate the
$2.5 billion credit package that was suspended last fall when
Poland's former government failed to curb the soaring deficit.
Olechowski will remain in the government in a caretaker capacity.
His resignation will probably not directly affect the negotiations
with the IMF but it certainly embarrasses the government in general.
Spokesman Marcin Gugulski said, however, that the government
will not resign "at least until the Sejm votes on the budget"
now in the Sejm commissions. (Roman Stefanowski)

TRILATERAL CONFERENCE. Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland agreed
to submit a joint application for membership in the European
Community. Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel made the announcement
to journalists after talks with Polish President Lech Walesa
and Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef Antall. Havel said the timing
of their application will be established in later trilateral
meetings and will also depend on talks with the EC. EC officials
say it could take several years for the three to become full
members. Havel, Antall, and Walesa called on the EC parliaments
to ratify the association agreements before the end of 1992 so
they can take effect by 1 January 1993. They also proposed informal
talks before the July G-7 summit and spoke in favor of the creation
of establishing peacekeeping forces under the auspices of the
Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, CSTK and foreign
media report. (Barbara Kroulik)

DAM DISPUTE DELAYS CZECHOSLOVAK-HUNGARIAN TREATY. According to
Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier, the new bilateral
state treaty with Hungary has been approved by both governments
and only the time of its signature remains open, MTI reported
on 6 May. Dienstbier admitted that the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros dam
dispute had a "disturbing effect" on the signing of the treaty.
Following his talks with EC Commission Vice Chairman Frans Andriessen
in Prague, Slovak Prime Minister Jan Carnogursky said Czechoslovakia
and Hungary have differing interpretations of the EC's conditions
for the setting up with the EC of a trilateral committee to examine
the issue: Prague says unilateral work on the dam does not violate
these conditions while Budapest holds the opposite view. Carnogursky
also expressed doubt that Hungary would accept any technical
rulings on the dam from the EC. (Alfred Reisch)

JESZENSZKY ON MINORITY RIGHTS. Hungarian Foreign Minister Geza
Jeszenszky says that East Central European countries may need
to adopt the Swiss governmental system of cantons to ensure that
the rights of national and ethnic minorities are respected, an
RFE/RL correspondent reports. Speaking in London at the Royal
Institute of International Affairs on 6 May, Jeszenszky called
for "collective" or group rights for minorities, which would
entitle them to education in their mother tongue and to representation
in the local and national governments. Jeszenszky also reiterated
Hungary's support for the creation of a European "early warning
system" to identify potential ethnic conflicts and to prevent
the emergence of crises. (Edith Oltay)

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION FAVORS CITIZENSHIP FOR MOLDOVANS. The Democratic
Convention (DC) has come out in favor of granting Romanian citizenship
to residents of the Republic of Moldova (about two-thirds of
whom are Romanian-speakers) and to ethnic Romanians in areas
now controlled by Ukraine. Radio Bucharest said on 4 May that
the DC leaders have agreed on the text of the proposal and will
submit it to parliament. (Crisula Stefanescu)

LATVIAN RUBLE INTRODUCED. On 6 May Latvian Prime Minister Ivars
Godmanis and Bank of Latvia president Einars Repse told Radio
Riga that the Latvian ruble will be introduced on 7 May. The
new currency will exist alongside the ex-USSR ruble in Latvia.
It is being introduced because Latvia does not have enough bank
notes to meet its financial obligations to its residents, a situation
that has arisen because Russia has failed to honor its agreement
to provide an adequate supply of banknotes. The Latvian ruble
will serve as an interim currency until the lats is issued--possibly
next spring. The exchange rate for the Latvian ruble to the ex-USSR
ruble will be one to one. (Dzintra Bungs)

ROMANIA FACES POLLUTION, . . . On 5 and 6 May the Ministry of
the Environment reported that the rivers crossing the Jiu mining
region and the industrial area around the city of Iasi are contaminated
by toxic waste respectively 3 and 4.5 times the legal limits.
In the mining areas of Baia Mare and Baia Sprie, rivers contain
2.5 times more copper and 4.5 times more manganese waste than
permitted. The oil extracting areas in southern Moldavia are
contaminated by petrochemical waste as high as 70-200 times the
legal limits. Ammonia pollution in the Ialomita River and from
the Sofret-Bacau and Azochim Piatra-Neamt plants is reported
to be 2.5-10 times legal limits. (Mihai Sturdza)

. . . INFLATION, AND UNEMPLOYMENT. Prime Minister Theodor Stolojan
told the government on 6 May that it must take particular care
in implementing the recent 25% slashing of subsidies on food
staples, electricity, and essential services. Household power
bills will jump by 600%. Butter will cost double, and bread,
meat, and milk between 25% and 50% more. Annual inflation is
already running at about 500%. Minimum salaries are slated to
rise to 11,200 lei from 9,150 lei, and average monthly wages
will increase to 21,840 lei (about $104) from 18,600 lei. In
mid-April 570,000 persons (4.6% of the active population) were
unemployed. By 6 May 116,000 of them had lost their unemployment
benefits; another 73,000 Romanians were reportedly looking for
a job without ever having been entitled to social benefits. Foreign
and local media reported the story. (Mihai Sturdza)

BULGARIA AND TURKEY SIGN BILATERAL TREATY. On 6 May in Ankara
Turkey's prime minister Suleyman Demirel and his Bulgarian counterpart
Filip Dimitrov signed an agreement on friendship, good neighborliness,
cooperation, and security. Dimitrov, the highest-ranking Bulgarian
visitor to Turkey since the mid-1980s, told a press conference
that the accord signals an end to the tension between the two
countries. The agreement is aimed at achieving a normalization
of bilateral relations, which were severely damaged by Bulgaria's
forced assimilation of ethnic Turks in 1984-89. Western agencies
carried the story. (Kjell Engelbrekt)

SHELOV-KOVEDYAEV IN TALLINN. On 6 May Russian Deputy Foreign
Minister Fedor Shelov-Kovedyaev continued his tour of the Baltic
States by visiting Estonia, ITAR-TASS reports. In talks with
Estonian Supreme Council Chairman Arnold Ruutel and Prime Minister
Tiit Vahi he said that it was impossible to comply with Estonian
demands that former USSR troops be withdrawn from Estonia this
year but he thinks they can only be removed by the end of 1997.
He also said that the next meeting of Estonian and Russian delegations
on the troop withdrawal will be held in Moscow later this month.
(Saulius Girnius)

LITHUANIA APPOINTS AMBASSADORS. On 6 May Lithuanian parliament
press spokesman Audrius Azubalis announced the appointments of
new ambassadors, Radio Lithuania reports. As ambassador to the
Vatican, Kazys Lozoraitis will replace his brother Stasys, who
will remain Lithuanian ambassador to the US. Ambassador to France
Osvaldas Balakauskas was appointed envoy to Spain although he
will continue to reside in Paris. Ambassadorial rank was also
given to Algirdas Zemaitis, an official for many years at FAO
headquarters in Rome. (Saulius Girnius)

US AID TO RUSSIA TIED TO BALTIC WITHDRAWAL? On 6 May US Helsinki
Commission Cochairman Senator Dennis DeConcini told a Senate
hearing on aid to Russia that he and others will oppose any further
aid unless it is directly linked to Russian policy toward the
Baltic States, an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reports.
In a letter circulated to senators, he wrote: "Although Estonia,
Latvia, and Lithuania have regained their independence, over
100,000 troops of the former Soviet Union still occupy Baltic
territory," continuing to hold maneuvers, artillery practice,
and aircraft overflights "frequently neglecting to obtain permission
or even inform the Baltic governments." He and three other senators
are proposing an amendment to the president's aid package that
would specify that Russia make "significant progress" toward
removing the troops before any aid is sent. (Saulius Girnius)


WALESA'S POPULARITY WANING. On 6 May PAP reported the outcome
of a SONDA public opinion poll of 2628 people in 53 towns in
31 voivodships. It shows that only 34% of those asked would vote
for Walesa if new presidential elections were to be held tomorrow.
Only 14% of the respondents would vote for the current incumbent
and 24% were not certain how they would vote. Some 24% said they
would not vote at all. Asked about Walesa's performance as president,
6% assessed him as "very good," 11% as "good," 24% as "average,"
26% as "bad," and 17% as "very bad." Sixteen percent of the respondents
had no opinion on the matter. (Roman Stefanowski)

NO DECREE ON EMPLOYMENT IN LATVIA OF FORMER KGB MEMBERS. On 6
May the Latvian Supreme Council addressed itself again to the
decree proposed by Deputy Chairman Andrejs Krastins forbidding
the employment of former KGB members in state institutions where
security is required. The proposal, though approved by most of
the deputies, failed to win the required majority for adoption.
Krastins told BNS that day the proposal would be revised, possibly
into a draft law, and offered again for consideration to the
Supreme Council. (Dzintra Bungs)

RENEWAL OF BULGARIAN RED CROSS ANNOUNCED. The Bulgarian Red Cross,
its image tarnished in the totalitarian period, held its 58th
congress on 28-29 April amid calls for a renewal. BTA said the
congress approved a new set of statutes to restore the principles
laid down when the organization was founded in 1885. A representative
of the International Red Cross said its experts have analyzed
the proposed new statutes and find them very democratic. Stoyan
Staev, a professor of medicine, was elected chairman. (Rada Nikolaev)
[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull










(END)



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