To get rid of an enemy, one must love him. - Leo Tolstoy
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 88, 08 May 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

OPPOSITION TAKES OVER IN DUSHANBE. Anti-government forces took
control of Dushanbe on 7 May and formed a Revolutionary Council
to govern Tajikistan. The announcement on Tajik radio, reported
by Western correspondents in Dushanbe, said that the Council
appealed for life in the city to return to normal. Apparently
an agreement between the government and the opposition to set
up a coalition government has fallen by the wayside. A Radio
Rossii correspondent said that employees of the Tajik Ministry
for National Security (former KGB) had told him that President
Rakhman Nabiev was holed up in the ministry. Earlier in the day
Nabiev revoked decrees establishing a state of emergency and
creating a National Guard. (Bess Brown)

EFFECT OF AFGHAN DEVELOPMENTS. Western and Moscow agencies, commenting
on events in Tajikistan on 7 May, speculated on the effect the
fall of the Communist government in Kabul had on events in Dushanbe.
Correspondents in Dushanbe report that members of the opposition
have denied that there was a direct connection between events
in Kabul and in Dushanbe but admit that the mujahidin victory
in Afghanistan had provided inspiration for anti-government forces
in Tajikistan. One report quoted "Western diplomatic sources"
as claiming that the Islamic Party, one of the members of the
anti-government coalition, has received some weapons from Afghan
fundamentalist leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. (Bess Brown)

YELTSIN DECREE CREATES RUSSIAN ARMY. Russian President Boris
Yeltsin on 7 May issued decrees ordering the creation of a separate
Russian army with himself as commander in chief. While copies
of the long-awaited decrees are not yet available, Western and
Russian sources indicated that Russian First Deputy Defense Minister
Pavel Grachev has been promoted to the rank of Army General,
and has been made temporary commander of the Russian army. Grachev,
a 44-year-old former paratroop commander who distinguished himself
during the August attempted coup, has reportedly been given a
month to prepare an organizational plan for the Russian armed
forces, their financing, and the creation of a defense ministry.
Related reports indicated that the Russian army would eventually
be cut to 1.5 million men or less. (Stephen Foye)

RELATIONSHIP TO CIS FORCES? While the future relationship of
the Russian command to the CIS central military command remains
unclear, ITAR-TASS reported that, at least for the time being,
leadership of the Russian armed forces would continue to be exercised
through the former USSR Defense Ministry and General Staff. At
the same time, the joint CIS military command over strategic
forces, commanded by Marshal Evgenii Shaposhnikov, will be maintained.
According to an ITAR-TASS summary of an interview given by Shaposhnikov
to Izvestiya on 7 May, the CIS commander in chief claimed that
CIS member states were on the verge of agreeing to "an alliance
of a new type," adding that neither Russia nor the other CIS
states can do without a treaty on collective security. (Stephen
Foye)

KAZAKHSTAN TO HAVE DEFENSE MINISTRY. Kazakh President Nursultan
Nazarbaev issued a decree transforming Kazakhstan's State Defense
Committee into a ministry, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 May. Committee
chairman Sagadat Nurmagambetov was appointed minister of defense.
The change was motivated, according to the decree, by Kazakhstan's
need to protect its "sovereign right to security" and its territorial
integrity. (Bess Brown)

STORM CLOUDS ON THE HORIZON? The Washington Post reported on
8 May that Nezavisimaya gazeta had carried an interview that
same day with Colonel General Leontii Kuznetsov, a deputy chief
of the CIS General Staff. In it, Kuznetsov reportedly warned
that Russia was only inheriting the scattered remains of what
once was the most powerful military force on the Eurasian continent,
and that Ukraine now enjoyed a significant advantage in conventional
forces in Europe. He also warned that reductions in Russian military
manpower should be gradual, and that a two-million man army should
be maintained at least until 1995 to avoid the decimation of
military units and problems associated with massive discharges.
(Stephen Foye)

KRAVCHUK ON UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS. Ukrainian President
Leonid Kravchuk on 7 May held a press conference at the National
Press Club in Washington on the results of his talks with President
George Bush and senior US officials, ITAR-TASS reported. Responding
to a question about relations with Russia, Kravchuk said that
Russian President Boris Yeltsin understands that there can be
no return to the empire. Nonetheless, he noted, certain political
circles in Russia continue to make territorial claims on Ukraine.
Kiev, said Kravchuk, wants a fair division of assets of the former
Soviet Union. (Roman Solchanyk)

AGREEMENT REACHED IN ARMENIAN-AZERBAIJANI PEACE TALKS. Five hours
of somewhat strained negotiations in Tehran on 7 May chaired
by Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani ended in the
signing by Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan and acting
Azerbaijani President Yagub Mamedov of an agreement on a stage-by-stage
resolution to the Karabakh conflict, ITAR-TASS reported. Unconfirmed
reports say the agreement calls for a permanent cease-fire the
stationing of foreign observers in the region, the unblocking
of roads, an exchange of prisoners, and unspecified measures
to improve relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. No direct
representative of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic participated
in the talks, and it is not clear whether the government of the
NKR considers itself bound by the agreement. (Liz Fuller)

TURKEY EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER NAKHICHEVAN FIGHTING. A Turkish
Foreign Ministry spokesman expressed concern on 7 May over ongoing
clashes in the Azerbaijani enclave of Nakhichevan, which has
a 12 km border with Turkey, and said that Turkish Foreign Minister
Hikmet Cetin had discussed the situation with US Secretary of
State Baker. Former Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit called
for the dispatch of Turkish troops to fight Armenian forces in
Nakhichevan before the situation is aggravated, Western agencies
reported from Ankara. (Liz Fuller)

SHAKHRAI'S RESIGNATION REPORTED. On 7 May, ITAR-TASS and Interfax
reported that State Counsellor of the Russian Federation Sergei
Shakhrai had submitted his resignation to Boris Yeltsin. The
official explanation was Shakhrai's reported physical and psychological
exhaustion. ITAR-TASS added, however, that some people "close
to Shakhrai" said that, in fact, Shakhrai's resignation was prompted
by "disagreements over future strategy for reforms with some
other close associates of the president." The agency also quoted
Shakhrai as saying his resignation did not mean that he wanted
to join the opposition to Yeltsin. In March, Shakhrai resigned
his other government post--that of deputy prime minister. He
is also a deputy in the Russian Congress of People's Deputies.
(Vera Tolz)

BURBULIS FOR DISSOLUTION OF RUSSIAN CONGRESS. Russian State Secretary
Gennadii Burbulis has repeated President Boris Yeltsin's calls
for the dissolution of the present Congress of People's Deputies.
Interfax on 6 May quoted him as saying that a referendum on the
new constitution should be held in September or October of this
year. He added that after the adoption of the constitution, "there
will be no more Congress." He argued that Yeltsin's constitution
was fully supported by the population and that there is no danger
that Yeltsin might lose in a referendum vote. (Alexander Rahr)


RUSSIAN COVERAGE OF GORBACHEV'S FULTON SPEECH. Unlike CNN's live
coverage of Gorbachev's speech in Fulton, Missouri on 6 May,
Russian TV newscasts the next day paid little attention to the
proposals of the former USSR president and Nobel laureate. Gorbachev's
proposal for establishing a global government was mentioned in
the foreign news reports, and the coverage was generally positive,
however. It should also be borne in mind that in pre-Gorbachev
times, reporters would have been forbidden even to mention the
name of a fallen leader. On the eve of Gorbachev's trip to the
United States, the same TV anchors had hinted that the Russian
leadership was jealous of Gorbachev's popularity in the West.
(Julia Wishnevsky)

SHAKHNAZAROV LIKELY AUTHOR OF GORBACHEV SPEECH. In Fulton, Gorbachev
spoke of "the need for some kind of global government" and called
for a strengthened UN Security Council to deal with "conflicts
arising from apocalyptic nationalism." Striking parallels between
Gorbachev's speech and an article by his close aide Georgii Shakhnazarov
in Pravda on 15 January 1988, suggest that Shakhnazarov, who
is often described as an architect of Gorbachev's "new political
thinking" in foreign policy, played a role in drafting Gorbachev's
latest speech too. (Elizabeth Teague)

SHAKHNAZAROV/GORBACHEV DIFFERENCES. While there were parallels
between Shakhnazarov's ideas and Gorbachev's, there were also
differences. Gorbachev on 6 May blamed both the United States
and the USSR for a post-war failure of vision which led to Cold
War. Had the superpowers "correlated their national interests,"
he said, today's world would be a better place. (Whether Communist
Parties would still be in power in Eastern Europe and the USSR,
or whether there would still be a USSR, Gorbachev did not speculate.)
Shakhnazarov was more candid in his 1988 explanation of why the
USSR in the post-war period did not support the idea of world
government: he said it would have led to "world domination of
American capital." Shakhnazarov went on to argue that world government
was now a possibility because Japan and Western Europe were strong
enough to prevent US supremacy. This argument is echoed in Gorbachev's
6 May proposal that Japan, Germany and India should become members
of the UN Security Council. (Elizabeth Teague)

RETAIL PRICES OF VODKA DECONTROLLED. The retail prices of vodka
in Russia were freed on 7 May, ITAR-TASS reported. (The retail
price of the most common varieties of vodka had been pegged at
50 rubles for half a liter excluding container charges). Vodka
may henceforth be produced at any state-owned enterprise and
not just at specifically authorized distilleries. The state has
surrendered its monopoly over the production of wine and beer,
but will continue to levy excise and value-added taxes on alcoholic
beverages. (Keith Bush)

MEDICAL WORKERS ASK FOR 1000% PAY RAISE. An official of the Russian
health-care workers' union told a news conference in Moscow on
7 May that its members are demanding a ten-fold increase in salaries
to keep pace with inflation, ITAR-TASS reported. The official
cited a current minimum wage of 342 rubles a month for health
workers [although this is due to rise to 900 rubles a month,
effective 1 June]. The speaker did not expect the ongoing medical
workers' strike to move to the third stage--that of withholding
all medical care. (Keith Bush)

TENGIZ AGREEMENT SIGNED. The Kazakh government and the Chevron
Overseas Petroleum Company signed a joint venture agreement on
7 May to exploit the Tengiz oilfield, ITAR-TASS reported. The
venture is to begin operations in 1993 and the agreement is valid
for 40 years. The project was described as being export-oriented,
with a pipeline being built from Tengiz to a Black Sea port.
Chevron has been negotiating the deal for over three years, first
with the central authorities in Moscow and, more recently, with
the Kazakh government. It has been seen as a touchstone agreement
for similar projects involving Western expertise and capital.
(Keith Bush)

EXIMBANK GUARANTEES FOR OIL SECTOR. The US Export-Import Bank
announced on 7 May that it would guarantee loans for two Russian
firms to import US oil equipment to the value of $90 million,
Reuters reported. An official of the ExImBank was quoted as saying
that a further $500 million to $1 billion in credits could be
made available "for starters" to the Russian oil sector. The
credits were the first from the ExImBank to the former USSR since
1974. (Keith Bush)

ARMS SALES TO FINANCE CONVERSION. Addressing a news conference
in Moscow on 7 May, Mikhail Malei, Russian presidential adviser
on conversion, restated Russia's intention to finance conversion
through the export of arms, Western agencies reported. Malei
repeated his earlier estimate that $150 billion over 15 years
will be needed for the task of conversion, and that this kind
of money can only be earned from the sale abroad of Russian weapons
and nuclear raw materials. (Keith Bush)

INTEREST RATES TO BE RAISED. ITAR-TASS on 7 May reported that
interest rates for private savers in Russia are to be raised
by up to 50%, although it did not specify when these higher rates
would come into effect. Russian savings banks have been offering
rates of between 3% and 15% since January 1992. These have been
negative interest rates, as inflation exceeded 400% during the
first quarter of this year. (Keith Bush)

CHERNOBYL-TYPE PLANTS TO CONTINUE OPERATING. Speaking at a nuclear
safety seminar in Brussels on 7 May, Russian presidential adviser
Evgenii Velikhov said that Russia's 11 RBMK reactors must continue
operating, AP reported. A shutdown of the plants, according to
Velikhov, would cause an immediate and radical slump in energy
production with "tragic socio-economic consequences." (Keith
Bush)



CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UPDATE ON SERB-CROAT AGREEMENT TO PARTITION BOSNIA. Radios Serbia
and Croatia reported on 7 May that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic and Bosnian Croat leader Mate Boban, meeting in Graz,
Austria, have agreed to a cease-fire in Bosnia-Herzegovina and
said there are no reasons for the continuation of armed conflicts
between Serbs and Croats in the republic. The meeting was first
reported on Austrian TV on 6 May. In a six-point statement the
leaders agreed that all controversial issues should be resolved
through peaceful means, including what Radio Croatia described
as "the delineation between Croat and Serb constituent units"
in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Both sides said disagreements exist with
regard to the drawing of borders between the two national communities,
but pledged to honor the principles adopted at the EC-sponsored
conference on Bosnia-Herzegovina in March. They also stressed
that talks should be expanded to include Muslims, the republic's
largest ethnic community. Radio Serbia said that Bosnian Serb
leaders showed journalists a map indicating that Muslims would
receive only one large area in northwestern Bosnia with Bihac
as its capital. (Milan Andrejevich)

REACTIONS TO THE AGREEMENT. Radio Sarajevo quotes Bosnian Muslim
leaders as saying that they are opposed to any agreement between
Serbs and Croats that draws up new administrative units in the
republic. Serbia's President Slobodan Milosevic told Radio Serbia
yesterday that the Serb-Croat agreement is a very positive development,
but underscored that a political solution for Bosnia can only
be achieved on the basis of a consensus among Muslims, Serbs,
and Croats, adding that Yugoslavia would not support any agreement
lacking a tripartite consensus. (Milan Andrejevich)

BOSNIAN CEASE-FIRE SHATTERED, PEACE TALKS CONTINUE. Yugoslav
area media report on 7 and 8 May that the latest cease-fire has
been broken in several areas in Bosnia-Herzegovina. After two
days of relative calm, Sarajevo was pounded by heavy artillery
and mortar fire. Radio Serbia reports that the federal army has
commenced its withdrawal from Bosnia-Herzegovina. UN envoy Marrack
Goulding met with Milosevic and federal officials in Belgrade
yesterday and told the BBC that all sides in the fighting have
made mistakes that led to the violent breakup of Yugoslavia.
Milosevic implied that Serbia shares the blame for the Bosnian
conflict when he told reporters after the meeting that "no one
is blameless in Bosnia; no side is innocent," an apparent modification
of his position since he had said on 6 May that Serbia is not
responsible for the situation. In Istanbul Bosnia's deputy prime
minister Muhamed Cengic told a meeting of the Islamic Conference
that Bosnia-Herzegovina is on the brink of famine and called
on Muslim nations for aid. He described the fighting in his republic
as "a war between good and evil." (Milan Andrejevich)

ROMANIA RECOGNIZES YUGOSLAVIA. Romania recognized the transformation
of the former Yugoslav Socialist Federal Republic into the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia. A Foreign Ministry communique on 7 May
said, however, that recognition does not imply that Romania is
taking a position on the claim of the new republic to be the
successor of former Yugoslavia nor on the status of other former
Yugoslav territories already recognized as independent states
or seeking recognition. Romania has recognized Slovenia and Croatia.
(Mihai Sturdza)

WALESA ADDRESSES SEJM ON POLAND'S CRISIS. President Lech Walesa
addressed the Sejm on 8 May on Poland's economic and parliamentary
crisis. Earlier he promised he would present a remedy for the
governmental paralysis caused by a parliament divided among 29
parties. According to Bavarian Radio at noon CET, Walesa proposed
constitutional changes that would create a stronger presidency
on the model of the French system in which the president would
appoint and dismiss the prime minister and cabinet subject to
parliamentary approval. He is also expected to discuss the resignation
of Finance Minister Andrzej Olechowski. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)


IMF DELAYS DEAL WITH POLAND. On 7 May IMF representative Michel
Deppler said that the resignation of Finance Minister Andrzej
Olechowski will delay a new IMF agreement with Poland. He told
PAP that negotiations will last longer than expected and a preliminary
agreement planned for 12 May would be put off indefinitely. Deppler
said the IMF is worried about Poland's ability to hold its budget
deficit to an agreed $4.7 billion. Meanwhile, Olechowski, who
has agreed to stay on as a caretaker, continues talks with IMF
negotiators in Warsaw on renewing Warsaw's access to the suspended
IMF aid package. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)

STUDY PROPOSES CHANGES IN WESTERN AID. A task force organized
by the private, New York-based Institute for East-West Studies
released a report in Bonn on 7 May proposing major changes in
Western aid programs for Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland.
The group, chaired by former French premier Raymond Barre, proposes
creation of a new assistance coordination council to be chaired
by the European Community but also including the three East European
countries. It recommends that more Western aid be provided in
the form of grants and less as loans that must be repaid and
calls for the opening of Western markets to Eastern goods. (Barbara
Kroulik)

BULGARIA AND EUROPE. At a ceremony in Stras-bourg on 7 May, Bulgaria
was formally admitted to the Council of Europe. According to
an RFE/RL correspondent, Foreign Minister Stoyan Ganev, on signing
the instruments of accession, noted that the event marks "the
first result of European magnitude" following the defeat of communism
in last October's general elections. In a comment on Bulgarian
TV, President Zhelyu Zhelev said he would not be surprised if
Bulgaria could become associate member of the European Community
(EC) by the end of 1992. Negotiations with the EC are expected
to begin next week. (Kjell Engelbrekt)

VISEGRAD SUMMIT UPDATE. The three Central European leaders meeting
in Prague on 6 May discussed the creation of a new regional group
to include the former Yugoslav republics and possibly Ukraine.
The "Visegrad Three"--Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary--plus
Austria, Italy, and the former Yugoslavia comprise the "Hexagonal"
grouping, which, however, is moribund because of the disintegration
of Yugoslavia. (Barbara Kroulik)

BALTS SIGN EUROPEAN CULTURAL CONVENTION. On 7 May Estonian Foreign
Minister Jaan Manitski, Latvian ambassador to France Aina Abols,
and Lithuanian ambassador to the EC Adolfas Venskus signed the
European Cultural Convention, an RFE/RL correspondent in Strasbourg
reports. The signing moves the Baltic States a step closer to
full membership in the Council of Europe. The three states already
have guest status in the council's parliamentary assembly that
allows them to participate in the assembly's debates and committee
work without voting rights. They will now be able to participate
in all intergovernmental activities in the fields of culture,
education, youth, and sports sponsored by the council. (Saulius
Girnius)

BULGARIAN MINISTER OF CULTURE RESIGNS. Elka Konstantinova confirmed
to journalists on 7 May a rumor leaked the previous day that
she has submitted her resignation. She expressed her frustration
at not being able to resolve problems of "dying" Bulgarian culture;
she had complained earlier about insufficient funding for culture.
Konstantinova also made it clear to BTA that as leader of the
Radical Democratic Party she does not support Prime Minister
Filip Dimitrov's recent call for the resignation of Defense Minister
Dimitar Ludzhev, who she thinks is doing a fine job. These and
other changes in the government are expected to be announced
next week. (Rada Nikolaev)

LATVIA ADOPTS LAW ON RADIO AND TV. The Latvian Supreme Council,
after nearly two years of debate, adopted a law on radio and
television on 6 May, Diena reports. The new law provides for
the dissolution of the State Committee on Radio and Television
and creation of separate administrative bodies for both radio
and television. These new organizations will be answerable to
the Supreme Council and their directors will be appointed by
the council; nonetheless, the new law forbids the Supreme Council,
government, and other state institutions from interfering in
the work of radio and TV. The law also stipulates the creation
of a Radio and Television Council to assign channels and frequencies.
(Dzintra Bungs)

HUNGARY TO CANCEL DAM TREATY WITH CZECHOSLOVAKIA. On 7 May the
Hungarian government decided to cancel unilaterally the 1977
treaty with Czechoslovakia on the joint construction of the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros
hydroelectric dam project, MTI reports. Minister without Portfolio
Ferenc Madl told reporters that the cancellation will take effect
on 25 May and that on 15 May Hungary plans to make a last attempt
to convince the Czechoslovak side to suspend construction work
until environmental effects can be assessed by international
experts. Hungary suspended work on its part of the project in
1989 because of environmental concerns and warned earlier this
year that it would cancel the treaty if Czechoslovakia continued
construction work. (Edith Oltay)

ROMANIAN MAGYAR LEADER TO QUIT. Geza Domokos, the moderate chairman
of the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania since December
1989, announced on 7 May in Bucharest that he will not seek reelection
at the organization's next congress after Romania's general elections
this summer, Radio Budapest reports. Domokos, referring to his
past membership in the Ceausescu-era nomenklatura (he was an
alternate member of the Romanian CP central committee) and the
state of his health, said he intends to make room for younger
leaders. (Alfred Reisch)

BOTH LITHUANIAN REFERENDUMS ON SAME DAY? In a speech broadcast
by Radio Lithuania on 7 May Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas
Landsbergis told parliament that the meeting of the parliament's
presidium had discussed the idea of holding the two scheduled
referendums on the same day, 6 June, in order to increase participation
and save money. A referendum on presidential powers is scheduled
to be held on 23 May and another--on the withdrawal in 1992 of
the former USSR army--on 14 June. (Saulius Girnius)

CONCERN ABOUT ROMANIAN ELECTIONS. Parliament voted on 7 May that
parliamentary elections will take place in July on a date to
be set by the government. The US-based International Human Rights
Law Group has voiced concern about a provision in the election
law that would reduce the number of election observers to one
for each polling station. It also expressed concern about restrictions
on freedom of assembly and expression in Cluj, where many ethnic
Hungarians live; and the withdrawal of press credentials of Gilda
Lazur, who has been critical of President Iliescu. The umbrella
Democratic Convention, uniting almost all opposition parties,
said the election law hampers fair representation and does not
prevent the candidacy of former leading communists. Local and
foreign media carried the stories. (Mihai Sturdza)

K-MART BUYS PRAGUE DEPARTMENT STORE. The US K-Mart Corporation
purchased the Maj department store in Prague. K-Mart chairman
Joseph Antonini announced the purchase at a news conference in
Washington on 7 May together with Tomas Jezek, Czechoslovak Minister
of Privatization. K-Mart received tentative approval to buy 11
other stores in Czechoslovakia and paid $100 million for the
entire deal. Antonini says K-Mart will share its technology,
distribution methods, and merchandising skills with the Maj store.
It will refurbish the building and plans to retain local employees.
(Barbara Kroulik)

PEOPLE ACCEPT LATVIAN RUBLE, BUT BANKERS WARY. Radio Riga reported
on 7 May that the first payments of salaries and pensions have
been made in Latvian rubles and that recipients seem to accept
the new currency. Banks and commodities exchanges appeared to
be largely ignoring the Latvian ruble, using the ex-USSR ruble
in their transactions. A notable exception was Parex, the largest
banking establishment specializing in the exchange of foreign
currency, which already started to sell US dollars for Latvian
rubles. The current exchange rate was not reported, although
Radio Riga said that the value of the dollar against the Russian
ruble had fallen this week. Several banking experts, however,
see the Latvian ruble as an impediment to speedy monetary and
financial reform in Latvia, Diena reported on 6 May. (Dzintra
Bungs)

UN, GERMANY TO ASSIST BULGARIA FIGHT DRUG TRAFFICKING. The United
Nations will grant Bulgaria some $250,000 to be used in a program
to stop drugs from entering from Turkey, Reuters reported on
7 May. The money is intended for antidrug scanning equipment,
sniffer dogs, and training programs for personnel. According
to another agreement signed yesterday, Germany will provide two
million marks to the same end. (Kjell Engelbrekt) [As of 1200
CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull











(END)



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