|Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened. - Sir Winston Churchill|
No. 91, 13 May 1992
Successor States to the USSR DEMONSTRATIONS IN DUSHANBE, FIGHTING IN KULYAB. Moscow and Western agencies reported on 12 May that thousands of demonstrators in Dushanbe were continuing to demand the resignation of Tajik president Rakhman Nabiev. A leader of the Islamic Renaissance Party, the supporters of which have been the most vocal in demanding Nabiev's resignation, told the demonstrators that Nabiev should stay on in the name of national unity, although he had no moral right to rule. Tajikistan's highest-ranking Muslim clergyman, Kazi Akbar Turadzhonzoda, was quoted by ITAR-TASS as saying that Nabiev represents the old thinking, but his departure might cause the disintegration of the country. Moscow and Western agencies also reported that 6 members of the opposition were killed in the town of Kulyab when fighting erupted between two opposition groups and then spread to include Nabiev supporters. (Bess Brown) NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BEING FORMED IN TAJIKISTAN. A Popular Assembly is being formed in Tajikistan to act as the country's interim legislature until a new one can be elected in December, Moscow agencies reported on 12May. Members of the opposition are to occupy half the seats in the interim assembly. Shodmon Yusuf, chairman of the Democratic Party, said on Tajik TV that leaders of the opposition parties had chosen to stay out of the new government in order to avoid charges that they had grabbed power. ITAR-TASS later reported that Deputy Chairman of the Islamic Renaissance Party Usmon Dovlat has been appointed a vice-premier. (Bess Brown) KRAVCHUK AND OTHERS TO SKIP CIS SUMMIT. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk told reporters upon arrival in Kiev on 12 May that he would not be in Tashkent for the CIS summit that opens on 15 May, Radio Ukraine and Western news agencies reported. Kravchuk said that his scheduled meeting with Finland's president, Mauno Koivisto, prevented him from attending the summit. A Ukrainian deputy foreign minister noted that Kravchuk's decision reflects Ukraine's pessimism about the future of the CIS. The leaders of Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan are also reported planning to stay away. (Roman Solchanyk) PLANS FOR RUSSIAN MILITARY OUTLINED. Lieutenant General Viktor Barynkin, the deputy chief of Operations of the CIS High Command, told a Russian parliamentary hearing on 12 May that 1.5 trillion rubles would be needed prior to the year 2000 to form Russia's armed forces. According to a Postfactum account of his testimony, Barynkin said that the Russian military would be based on three new concepts: the armed forces would be used exclusively to defend the territory and independence of Russia and to fulfill international agreements; no attempt would be made to place strong forces along all frontiers; "mobile attack divisions" would be formed to more efficiently utilize the country's combat potential. Barynkin listed three urgent programs: to withdraw Russian troops from adjoining states; to ensure the "social security" of servicemen; and to destroy over 100 obsolete nuclear submarines. He estimated these tasks would require some 900 billion rubles. (Doug Clarke) ARMY IN GERMANY TO FORM CORE OF RUSSIAN FORCES. Sergei Stepashin, the chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the Russian Parliament, has stated that the Western Group of Forces (WGF)--the former Soviet troops in what was East Germany--would comprise the bulk of Russia's armed forces. In an interview with Interfax on 12 May Stepashin said that it would therefore be desirable to suspend the process of disbanding some of these units as they are withdrawn from Germany. He revealed that the committee had worked out a plan of organizational measures to transform the WGF into the Russian armed forces and they would be coordinating this plan with the government and the CIS General Staff. (Doug Clarke) BELARUS MILITARY DISTRICT ABOLISHED. Mayak Radio on 12 May reported from Moscow that the Russian government had decided to abolish the Belarus military district. The report said that the units in that district that were not part of the CIS Strategic Forces had been transferred to the command of the Belarus Defense Ministry. Postfactum the same day quoted Lieutenant General Viktor Barynkin of the CIS High Command as telling a Russian parliamentary hearing that the planned reorganization of the armed forces also envisaged the liquidation of six out of the seven military districts in lRussia itself. (Doug Clarke) KHASBULATOV NOT RESISTING DISSOLUTION OF CONGRESS. The speaker of the Russian parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, has given up resistance to the proposed dissolution of the Congress. In an article published in Rossiiskaya gazeta on 12 May, he called for the adoptation of a new constitution which would abolish the Congress but establish a smaller working parliament and a strong parliamentary presidium. He also refrained from his earlier demands to change the government but stated that, in future, only the parliament will be responsible for economic reform. (Alexander Rahr) MEETING OF REGIONAL LEADERS OF RUSSIA ON FOREIGN TRADE ACTIVITIES. The Russian Foreign Ministry held a meeting in Moscow on 12May with leaders of Russia's republics and regions to discuss the foreign policy and foreign trade activities which the federal treaty empowers them to conduct, "Vesti" reported. It was stated that bureaus of the Russian Foreign Ministry had already been opened in some regions, and offices of the Ministry of Foreign Economic Ties should also be set up to exercise careful control over foreign trade and foreign currency revenues. First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs F. Shelov-Kovedyaev said that some regions were being sold short because of their inexperience. Many leaders of the regions said, however, that they did not want tutelage, regarding it as a new turn of the screw of centralization. (Ann Sheehy) ABDULATIPOV ON THE FEDERAL TREATY. Ramazan Abdulatipov, chairman of the Council of Nationalities of the Russian parliament, said at a meeting on experts on drawing up mechanisms for the implementation of the federal treaty in Moscow on 12 May that the treaty should not be allowed to be "a cover for separatism or for increasing the centralism of the federal bureaucracy," which could reduce to nil the autonomy of the republics, krais, and oblasts, ITAR-TASS reported. Abdulatipov commented in this connection that at present "not one Russian ministry is federal either in its make-up or in the work it conducts. (Ann Sheehy) SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS GET NEW CHAIRMAN. The Social-Democratic Party of Russia has selected the 62-year-old political scientist Boris Orlov as its new chairman, ITAR-TASS reported on 12 May. The deputy chairman of the Social-Democratic Party, Oleg Rumyantsev, said that the party will work to increase its membership. The Social-Democrats want to support Yeltsin's reforms but argue against the dissolution of the Congress. Instead they propose the strengthening of the legal base of the present Supreme Soviet. (Alexander Rahr) KGB INFILTRATION INTO EMIGRE CIRCLES. An unidentified former KGB officer revealed in an interview with New Times (no.14) that the KGB had infiltrated the entire Soviet emigre community. He stated that by planting agents in the Russian People's Labor Alliance (NTS) and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), the KGB actually served its own interests because it provided work for itself. He charged that nearly all leaders of these organizations worked for the KGB. He alleged that agents were selected even before World War II and then perfectly integrated into the emigre milieu. He said that if the KGB had not reinforced the NTS with its agents, the NTS would have collapsed a long time ago. (Alexander Rahr) CHUBAIS ON PRIVATIZATION PLANS. At a Moscow news conference on 12 May, Anatolii Chubais disclosed further details of Russia's plans for privatization in 1992 and 1993, Western agencies reported. Workers will be given vouchers enabling them to buy shares in their factories. Chubais welcomed foreign investment but suggested that a special investment rate of exchange will be retained, despite last week's announcement of a single rate of exchange for the ruble. Foreign investment will still be restricted in 19 key economic sectors, including oil, gas, gold, mining, and some defense industries. Separate auctions may be held for foreigners at which minimum prices would be set. (Keith Bush) OIL TAX SLOWS JOINT VENTURE. The two Western partners in an oil exploration joint venture announced that they are reducing their investment from $13 million to $4 million a month, Western agencies reported on 12 May. Anglo-Suisse and Phibro are making the cut in the "White Knights" venture in Tyumen because of the Russian government's oil tax which amounts to $5 a barrel. (Keith Bush) IMPROMPTU MEETING ON BLACK SEA FLEET. Russian and Ukrainian delegations held an impromptu meeting in Sevastopol on 12 May regarding the future of the Black Sea Fleet, but apparently made little progress. ITAR-TASS had announced that a delegation of Russian lawmakers was visiting the fleet headquarters to prepare for the second round of talks, scheduled for later in the month in Dagomys, Russia. Radio Mayak later reported that a Ukrainian delegation had arrived. Following their meeting, the reports said that the two sides had reiterated their previous positions. (Doug Clarke) PROTESTS OVER CRIMEA. Activists of "Rukh" and the Ukrainian National Assembly (UNA) organized a demonstration at the Ukrainian Supreme Council building against the secession of the Crimea, "Novosti-1" reported on 12 May. The parliament is scheduled to discuss the Crimean situation on 13 May with the participation of the Presidium of the Crimean parliament, its chairman, and representatives of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis. (Roman Solchanyk) REFERENDUM APPROVED IN BELARUS. The campaign to hold a referendum in Belarus on the dissolution of parliament and the holding of new elections has ended successfully, the "Panarama" news program reported on 11 May. Of the 440,000 signatures gathered, 383,000 were judged to be valid by the Central Referendum Commission, thereby clearing the way for the referendum. It now remains for parliament to set a referendum date. (Roman Solchanyk) UN TO SEND NEW FACT-FINDING MISSION TO NAGORNO-KARABAKH. The UN Security Council voted at a closed session on 12 May to send another fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh, but declined Armenia's request for the dispatch of peacekeeping forces to the area. Azerbaijan's UN envoy Hassan Hassanov had objected to the deployment of peacekeeping troops in Karabakh but called for stationing them along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. A UN spokesman told RFE-RL that UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali continues to regard the CSCE process as the most promising forum for achieving a settlement of the conflict. (Jeff Endrst/Liz Fuller) FIGHTING CONTINUES ALONG ARMENIAN-AZERBAIJANI BORDER. At least nine people were killed on 12 May as Azerbaijani troops shelled virtually the whole length of the Armenian Azerbaijani border, ITAR-TASS reported. There were further fatalities in an overnight artillery attack by Armenian forces on the town of Mardakert in north-eastern Karabakh, according to a Western news agency report quoting the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry. While the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry has issued a statement renouncing the Tehran accord of 8 May, Interfax on 12 May quoted an Armenian Presidential spokesman as arguing that the accord was still valid in that it provides for no specific mechanism for restoring stability to the area and contains no requirement that a ceasefire go into effect immediately. (Liz Fuller) DEMONSTRATIONS IN BAKU. Armed supporters of ousted President Ayaz Mutalibov besieged the parliament building in Baku for several hours on 12 May and withdrew only after the National Council agreed to their demand to convene an extraordinary Supreme Soviet session on 14 May to debate the Armenian occupation of Shusha, Western agencies reported. Also on 12 May, Radio Rossiya reported that Azerbaijani Presidential candidate Nizami Suleimanov, the chairman of the Democratic Union of the Intelligentsia of Azerbaijan, announced that he was suspending his candidacy because of the gravity of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.(Liz Fuller) AKAEV TO CHINA. Kyrgyz president Askar Akaev arrived in Beijing for a five-day official visit, Moscow and Chinese agencies reported. In an interview on Radio Mayak, Akaev explained that Kyrgyzstan sees China as a major source of trade opportunities and inexpensive consumer goods, and hopes to sell non-ferrous metals to the Chinese and interest them in helping develop the hydroelectric dams on the Naryn River, electricity from which could be exported to northern China. Akaev is missing the Commonwealth summit later in the week in order to make the China trip. (Bess Brown) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BOSNIA UPDATE. Radio Sarajevo reports that Bosnian Serb leaders have announced a 5-day unilateral ceasefire to take effect at 6:00 a.m. on 13May. Serbs hope the ceasefire will convince the EC to resume peace talks on Bosnia-Herzegovina with the republic's Serb, Muslim, and Croat leaders. Bosnian Serbs also announced that they are forming their own army under Gen. Ratko Mladic, currently commander of federal army's 2nd district in Sarajevo. Heavy fighting continued throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina with Bosnian forces claiming their first success against Serb forces backed federal troops in the area around Bosanski Brod. Two international humanitarian organizations, the ICRC and UNHCR, announced on 12 May they will maintain relief operations in the republic. UNHCR special envoy Jose-Marie Mendilice, a 14-year veteran of Third-World conflicts, described the war in Bosnia as more horrific than anything he's experienced yet. Radio Sarajevo reports that the Turkish Red Crescent Society is sending 1.4 tons of medicine to Bosnia. (Milan Andrejevich) CSCE EXCLUDES YUGOSLAVIA FROM CRISIS DECISIONS. The CSCE announced on 12 May that it is excluding the Yugoslav delegation from further talks on the Bosnian crisis until the end of June. This is the first time the CSCE has isolated a member nation. The CSCE also demanded that Belgrade either withdraw all federal troops from Bosnia-Herzegovina or disband its forces. The decision was described as a compromise between most member states, which were demanding Yugoslavia's suspension, and Russia, which had refused to go along with the proposal. The agreement did not use the word "suspension," but the measure will be reconsidered on 30 June. (Milan Andrejevich) US RECALLS AMBASSADOR; EC CONSIDERS SANCTIONS. The State Department announced on 12 May that it is recalling the US ambassador, Warren Zimmerman, from Belgrade for con-sultations. Spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler said the action was taken in coordination with the EC, whose members withdrew their ambassadors on 11 May. The EC announced that it is considering stiff economic sanctions. The chairman of the EC conference on Yugoslavia, Lord Carrington, expressed gloom about a resumption of EC-mediated talks. He told the BBC that "it looks even more unlikely that in the present circumstances a peace conference could be successful." Austria also recalled its ambassador, and the country's foreign minister said on Austrian TV last night that short of "massive military intervention," total diplomatic isolation and tough economic sanctions may be the only thing left to do to stop Serbian aggression. (Milan Andrejevich) MITTERRAND TO BALTIC STATES. On 13 May French President François Mitterrand, accom-panied by Foreign Minister Roland Dumas and Trade and Industry Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn, will begin a tour of the Baltic States beginning in Lithuania, Radio Lithuania reports. He will fly to Tallinn on the 14th and Riga on the 15th. (Saulius Girnius) WALESA ACCEPTS INVITATION TO MOSCOW. On 12 May Lech Walesa accepted an invitation from Russian President Boris Yeltsin to visit Moscow on 22 May. Presidential spokesman Andrzej Drzycimski said the visit might be extended by up to two days. In an invitation to Walesa issued on 9May, Yeltsin proposed that the two leaders sign a long-delayed friendship treaty and an agreement on the withdrawal of former Soviet troops from Poland. According to Western and Polish media, Walesa had not accepted previous invitations from Yeltsin because of lack of progress in negotiations on troop pullouts. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) BALTS ASK NATO HELP IN TROOP WITH-DRAWAL. On 11 May Lithuanian Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas and his counterparts Jaan Manitsky of Estonia and Janis Jurkans of Latvia held talks with senior officials at NATO headquarters, Reuters reports. They made another appeal for help in removing the more than 100,000 former Soviet army troops from their territories. NATO sources said that the alliance would pass on requests for financial aid to individual member states once more details were known, but said NATO as an organization is unlikely to get involved in the dispute. (Saulius Girnius) 13 VEHICLES LEAVE ESTONIA. A convoy of 13military vehicles left Estonia for Russia on 12May, BNS reports. There are an estimated 25,000 former Soviet troops remaining in Estonia. Meanwhile, consultations on beginning serious troop withdrawal talks continued on 12 May between Estonian and Russian negotiators in Moscow, BNS reports. (Riina Kionka) LATVIA REJECTS MOSCOW'S ATTACKS AGAINST ITS REPRESENTATIVE. The Latvian Foreign Ministry has prepared a statement re-jecting the recent criticism leveled by the Russian Foreign Ministry against Janis Peters, Latvia's representative in Moscow. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky accused Peters of overstepping diplomatic norms after Peters stated that the Latvian-Russian talks on the withdrawal of ex-Soviet troops from Latvia had yielded no tangible results so far. The Latvian Foreign Ministry argues that Peters was correct in his assessment of the situation and notes that Russia has still not produced a timetable for the troop pullout, and is avoiding a discussion of issues related to compensation for environmental damage resulting from USSR military presence in Latvia, Diena reported on 12 May. (Dzintra Bungs) ROMANIAN JOURNALISTS ADMIT SECURI-TATE TIES. Amid much public debate over whether the names of former Securitate informers should be publicized, Florin Gabriel Marculescu and Sorin Rosca Stanescu, two journalists from Romania libera, a large-circulation independent daily, acknowledged on 11 May that they had collaborated with the former secret police beginning in 1975. The news editor of the paper, Anton Uncu, defended them in a commentary published alongside the confessions. On 12 May, however, the paper's board of directors voted to dismiss the two journalists, local media said. (Mihai Sturdza) FINANCIAL COMPENSATION FOR HUNGARIAN VICTIMS. On 12 May the Hungarian parliament adopted a law that offers financial compensation for those who because of political reasons were unlawfully deprived of life or liberty between 1939 and 1989, MTI reports. Relatives of those who lost their life as a result of unlawful sentences handed down by Hungarian courts will be granted a one-time compensation of 1 million forint. Monthly financial allowances will be paid to those who were imprisoned, interned, deported, or served as forced laborers for the Hungarian or Soviet authorities. The amount of financial compensation depends on the length of internment land on the age of those eligible. This is the third and last law designed to compensate Hungarians who fell victim to the communist regime. (Edith Oltay) POLAND'S NEGOTIATIONS WITH IMF, LONDON CLUB. On 12 May the Finance Ministry issued a statement saying Poland and its creditors have expressed readiness to resume negotiations, Western and Polish media report. Poland's commercial bank creditors want to resume debt reduction talks as soon as Warsaw finalizes an aid agreement with the IMF. Jeffrey Stockley, an official from the London Group of commercial bank creditors, made a similar statement after meeting with caretaker finance minister Andrzej Olechowski, saying they agreed on a schedule for talks on restructuring Poland's estimated $11.4billion commercial bank debt. Talks between Poland and its commercial creditors were suspended a year ago when Warsaw refused to pay $1.8 billion in interest payment arrears. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) CZECHOSLOVAK ARMS EXPORT LIST PUBLISHED. Czech TV has revealed a confidential list of countries to which arms exports are already banned or where Czech firms require special government dispensation. The list includes the republics of the former Yugoslavia, South Africa, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Palestinian organizations, Burma, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Iran, and Cuba. (Barbara Kroulik) NORWAY HELPS CZECHOSLOVAKIA WITH NUCLEAR PLANTS. Norwegian experts have agreed to help improve safety at 14 Soviet-designed nuclear reactors in Czechoslovakia. Norwegian official Helge Haernes told the NTB news agency that Czechoslovakia has already done a great deal to improve safety at these plants. It was the first former East bloc country to join the Halden project, a network of atomic safety agencies, institutes, and industries from 13 OECD member states. (Barbara Kroulik) CZECH HEALTH CARE. A new study says that the Czech Republic's health care system is riddled with bribery, poor hospitals, and too many doctors who are paid too little. The study, described as the first of its kind, was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on 12 May. The study was completed in February by US physicians and Czech Health Minister Martin Bojar. In addition to detailing shortages of medical technology and supplies, the investigators discovered that in the past the government also withheld or falsified data on declining health care standards and possible environmental causes for increased morbidity. (Barbara Kroulik) POPULAR MOVE TO DISPERSE ESTONIAN SUPREME COUNCIL. A grass-roots move is underway to disperse Estonia's Supreme Council and hold elections to the new parliament in June, according to a 12 May BNS report. After repeated attempts in the Supreme Council by leaders of former Prime Minister Savisaar's People's Center Party to extend voting rights to noncitizens, last week a group of citizens suggested holding a plebiscite. The idea is supported by a varied group of well-known moderate and conservative political leaders, including Estonian National Independence Party Chairwoman Lagle Parek, Savisaar government minister Endel Lippmaa, and Supreme Council deputy and legal scholar Johannes Kass. By 12 May ballots had been sent out all over Estonia and the initiative was gaining momentum. (Riina Kionka) VAGNORIUS FAILS TO FIRE MINISTER, BANK CHAIRMAN. On 12 May at a session of the Lithuanian Supreme Council, broadcast live by Radio Lithuania, Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius failed to get the parliament's approval to dismiss Energy Minister Leonas Asmantas and Bank of Lithuania chairman Vilius Baldisius. Although the votes for dismissing Asmantas and Baldisius were 43 to 32 with 15 abstentions and 45to 22 with 20 abstentions respectively, they remain in their posts because the majority of the 93 deputies registered as attending did not vote for dismissal. (Saulius Girnius) LEGISLATORS DISSATISFIED WITH LATVIA'S FOREIGN MINISTRY. Deputies of the Satversme (Constitution) faction of the Latvian Supreme Council are collecting signatures for a review of the work of leading Foreign Ministry officials, including Foreign Minister Janis Jurkans and counsellor Mavriks Vulfsons, Radio Riga reported on 12 and 13 May. The ministry has also been criticized by deputies of the People's Front faction, especially with regard to the ministry's critical attitude toward the legislature and the ministry's disregard for the legislature's foreign policy decisions. The legislators were especially dissatisfied with Jurkans' criticism of the Supreme Council in an interview in Diena on 12 May. (Dzintra Bungs) UDF BACKS DIMITROV. On 12 May the leading body of the UDF--the National Coordination Council--reaffirmed its support for UDF chairman and prime minister, Filip Dimitrov, and gave him a free hand to reorganize his cabinet. Dimitrov has recently been subjected to strong criticism from some UDF member organizations that are apparently trying to take advantage of his planned government reshuffle to strengthen their own positions. Among other things, Dimitrov was attacked for his intention to sack defense minister Dimitar Ludzhev, a measure that the National Coordination Council now backs. (Kjell Engelbrekt) ROMANIA'S PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE ON MONARCHISTS. Continuing monarchist demonstrations throughout Romania prompted Petre Turlea of the [pro-Iliescu] Democratic NSF Party to remind parliament on 11 May that Romania is a republic and the Constitution cannot be altered. He intimated that Petre Roman, leader of the rival NSF party, is currying favor with the former monarch: he said Roman had "smiled sweetly" at ex-king Michael for having said, suggestively, that the republic is the form of state in Romania "for the time being." A 12 May communique from the president's office said that broadcast and newspaper propaganda in favor of "Mr. Mihai von Hohenzollern" is anticonstitutional and called for legal measures. Local media carried the stories. (Mihai Sturdza) 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. The report is also posted daily on the SOVSET computer network. For inquiries about specific news items, subscriptions, or additional copies, please contact: In USA: Mr. Jon Lodeesen or Mr. Brian Reed RFE/RL, Inc., 1201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036. Telephone: (202) 457-6912 or -6900 fax: (202) 457-6992 or -202-828-8783; or in Europe: Mr. David L. Troyanek or Ms. Helga Hofer Publications Department, RFE/RL Research Institute Oettingenstrasse 67 8000 Munich 22 Telephone: (-49 89) 2102-2631 or -2642 fax: (-49 89) 2102-2648
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.