If we are to live together in peace, we must first come to know each other better. - Lyndon B. Johnson
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 93, 15 May 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

TASHKENT SUMMIT OPENS. The CIS heads of state summit opened in
Tashkent on 15 May with Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbaev
in the chair, ITAR-TASS reported. Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan,
Turkmenistan, Belorussia, and Armenia are represented by their
heads of state, the other five states by their premiers. Tengiz
Sigua, a member of the presidium of the Georgian State Council,
is attending as an observer. Interviewed before the start of
the meeting, Yeltsin said that he would insist on the signing
of a treaty on collective security. Ukrainian premier Vitold
Fokin said he thought the agenda was too full and there were
no easy topics. In his view, discussion of the financial collapse
of the CIS should have priority. He said that whether or not
Ukraine would sign a collective security treaty would be decided
in the course of the discussions. (Ann Sheehy)

CRISIS IN AZERBAIJAN. The Azerbaijani Popular Front took control
of Baku airport on 15 May to prevent recently reinstated president
Ayaz Mutalibov from flying to Tashkent for the CIS summit, Western
sources and Radio Liberty reported. Over 50,000 people rallied
outside the Azerbaijan Populart Front headquarters in Baku. Popular
Front leaders have issued an ultimatum to Mutalibov to resign
by this evening. Nakhichevan parliament chairman Geidar Aliev
has issued a statement condemning Mutalibov's reinstatement as
illegal and calling on the Popular Front to cooperate in establishing
a lawful leadership in Azerbaijan. (See below for background
on the political situation in Azerbaijan.) (Elizabeth Carlson)


KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA PESSIMISTIC ON OUTCOME. In a commentary
on the summit, Komsomolskaya pravda of 15 May noted that the
meeting of the CIS defense ministers on the eve of the summit
had failed to reach agreement on two major issues, namely a single
defense budget for the joint armed forces and reducing the armed
forces of the former USSR, ITAR-TASS reported. The newspaper
was pessimistic about the possibility of agreement on other matters
too, but stated that the CIS would not collapse for the time
being because all the property of the former USSR had not yet
been divided up. (Ann Sheehy)

FATE OF CONGRESS TO BE DECIDED. The speaker of the Russian parliament
Ruslan Khasbulatov has said that the dissolution of the Congress
should not be decided by a referendum, according to

ITAR-TASS on 14 May. He added that the Congress has "in principle"
adopted the draft of the new constitution which does not foresee
its preservation. Meanwhile the Russian Movement for Democratic
Reform and the movement "Democratic Russia" have called upon
Russian President Boris Yeltsin to bring into parliament an amendment
to the present law on the referendum which would allow him to
conduct plebiscites on his personal initiative. According to
recent opinion polls, over 50% of Russians would today participate
in a referendum. (Alexander Rahr)

REFERENDUM ON LAND OWNERSHIP PLANNED. According to Izvestiya
of 13 May, President Boris Yeltsin has "almost definitely decided"
to hold a referendum not only on a new Russian constitution but
also on the issue of land ownership. The Russian parliament approved
private ownership of land last year but hedged it with so many
restrictions regarding resale that all possibility of the development
of a market in land was precluded. This is hindering progress
of the reform process in agriculture. (Elizabeth Teague)

ANOTHER NEW BUSINESS PARTY? Izvestiya of 13 May also reported
that Konstantin Borovoi, who in 1990 founded the Moscow-based
Russian Commodities and Raw Materials Exchange, plans to devote
all his energy in coming months to the creation of a new "businessmen's
party"--the Party of Economic Freedom. Borovoi said several financial
groups have expressed interest such a party and offered to put
up 80 million rubles for its creation but a further 150 to 200
million rubles will still be needed. (Elizabeth Teague)

NEW PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SECRETARY. Vyacheslav Kostikov is to be
Boris Yeltsin's new press secretary, Interfax reported on 13
May, replacing Pavel Voshchanov, who returned to journalism earlier
this year. Born in 1940, Kostikov graduated from the journalism
faculty of Moscow State University and worked for many years
as a political commentator for "Novosti." His writing was distinguished
by several rather liberal statements. In August 1980, for example,
he said the lesson of the current topics of popular attention--the
Olympic Games and the Helsinki process--was that "You must trust
the other side if you want them to trust you." In a 1989 article
for Ogonek, Kostikov was highly critical of press censorship
as practised by Lenin and the Bolsheviks. (Elizabeth Teague)


RUSSIAN KGB CONTINUES TO RELY ON SECRET INFORMERS. The spokesman
of the KGB successor organization--the Russian Ministry of Security--Andrei
Chernenko, said that his agency will continue to rely on its
network of secret informers inside the country, ITAR-TASS reported
on 14 May. He asserted that when the media attacks on the agency
started, many secret informers rejected further cooperation.
He added that now these "destructive processes" have been stopped
and the secret agents have resumed their work. He denied that
the agency continues spying on dissidents. Chernenko rejected
demands from the Baltic states to reveal the KGB's former network
on their territory. (Alexander Rahr)

NEW PARLIAMENTARY GROUP SET UP. The creation of a new parliamentary
faction called "Reform" (Reforma) was announced on 14 May, ITAR-TASS
reported. The new faction unites representatives of various Russian
political parties who are Russian people's deputies and members
of other parliamentary groups. Members of "Reform" come from
the Democratic Russia movement, Social Democratic and Republican
Parties and the parliamentary group of Radical Democrats. The
announced aim of the "Reform" faction is to cooperate with the
Russian government in finding new ways of implementing and broadening
economic reforms. ITAR-TASS quoted one of the organizers of the
group, people's deputy Viktor Sheinis, as saying the new faction
supports the current economic reforms in general, but believes
there is a necessity to modify some aspects of them. (Vera Tolz)




ZHIRINOVSKY IN BELGOROD. The ultra-nationalist leader of the
Liberal-Democratic Party Vladimir Zhirinovsky told a crowd of
2,000 people who gathered to meet him in Belgorod that he wants
to collect the needed one million signatures in the population
in order to conduct a referendum for the ouster of Russian President
Boris Yeltsin, Radio Rossii reported on 14 May. Zhirinovsky said
that in the new presidential elections, 60 Million Russians will
vote for him. He welcomed Yeltsin's plea for a strong presidential
republic but criticized his economic reform program. He stated
that if he comes to power he will immediately execute ten of
the most corrupt businessmen. (Alexander Rahr)

TATARSTAN PREMIER ON WORLD CONGRESS OF TATARS. In an appeal to
the peoples of Tatarstan, the CIS, and the world in connection
with the World Congress of Tatars to be held in Kazan on 19-21
June, Tatarstan premier Mukhammat Sabirov stressed the importance
of the conference in view of the fact that Tatars are scattered
throughout the world. Sabirov noted that the holding of the conference
was expensive and appealed for assistance to all those related
by blood and faith and who were not indifferent to the future
of the land of their ancestors. (Ann Sheehy)

PACIFIC FLEET AMMO DUMP EXPLODES. ITAR-TASS on 14 May reported
that a "mighty explosion" in an ammunition dump of the CIS Navy's
Pacific Fleet had rocked the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok.
Russian and Western agencies reported that local residents had
been advised to evacuate the area--said to be some 10 kilometers
from the center of the city-- while explosions and fires were
said to be continuing more than 12 hours after the original blast.
ITAR-TASS on 15 May carried an interview with Major General Boris
Lupko, a navy prosecutor, who said that sabotage might have been
involved. Lupko reported that four servicemen had been injured
fighting the fires and another four were still missing. According
to the agency, Navy commander in chief Admiral Vladimir Chernavin
broke off a tour of the Kamchatka region to visit the scene.
(Doug Clarke)

DRAFT LAW ON RUSSIAN MONETARY SYSTEM. On 13 May ITAR-TASS reported
that a Law on the Monetary System of the Russian Federation had
passed its first reading in parliament. The report suggests that
the law will set the legal framework for the monetary system
after the ruble is made internally convertible. It specifies
that the ruble will be the only legal tender on Russian territory,
that the general circulation of other currencies is forbidden,
that there is no connection between the currency and gold, and
that the Russian central bank has the monopoly of currency emission.
By implication, the policymakers have ruled out a gold standard,
a currency board and the parallel use of (e.g.) dollars. (Philip
Hanson)

AZERBAIJANI PARLIAMENT REINSTATES MUTALIBOV AS PRESIDENT . .
. At an extraordinary session of the Azerbaijani parliament on
14 May, 240 of the 300 deputies voted to restore Ayaz Mutalibov
to the post of president from which he had been removed on 6
March. Opposition deputies from the Democratic Azerbaijan bloc
boycotted the session, and called for a campaign of civil disobedience
to protest Mutalibov's reinstatement, which they termed "a constitutional
coup." Yagub Mamedov, the former Baku Medical Institute rector
who served as acting president following Mutalibov's ouster,
was blamed by deputies for the capture of Shusha, the last Azerbaijani
town within Nagorno-Karabakh, by Armenian forces on 9-10 May;
Mamedov will, however, continue to hold the post of parliament
chairman, Western agencies reported. (Liz Fuller)

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS CANCELLED; MUTALIBOV DECLARES STATE OF
EMERGENCY. The Azerbaijani parliament also cancelled the presidential
elections scheduled for 7 June in which Azerbaijan Popular Front
candidate Abulfaz El'chibey was clear favorite, and voted to
disband the National Council, a 50-man body set up last October
at the insistence of the opposition, on which conservative and
opposition deputies were equally represented. Mutalibov further
declared a state of emergency in Baku for an initial period of
two months that comprises the suspension of the activities of
all political parties, a nightly curfew, and a ban on political
meetings and strikes, ITAR-TASS reported. Mutalibov was quoted
by the Turan news agency as affirming that all Azerbaijani lands
lost to Armenia would be retaken, and that he would not hesitate
to set up " a dictatorship" in order to reestablish order within
the country. (Liz Fuller)

CEASE-FIRE AGREED IN SOUTH OSSETIA. Following talks on 13 May
between Georgian State Council chairman Eduard Shevardnadze and
South Ossetian parliament chairman Torez Kulumbegov a cease-fire
went into force at noon local time on 14 May, ITAR-TASS reported.
Agreement was also reached on lifting the transport and economic
blockade of Tskhinvali and creating conditions for refugees from
the past two years' fighting to return home. Further talks between
Georgian and South Ossetian officials were continuing on 14 May.
(Liz Fuller)

COALITION GOVERNMENT MEETS IN TAJIKISTAN. The first meeting of
the Tajik coalition government was held on 14 May, newly-appointed
Deputy Premier Dovlat Usmon, a member of the Islamic Renaissance
Party, told ITAR-TASS. He promised that the meeting would be
shown on local television later in the day. Central TV's "Novosti"
commented that opposition demonstrators have agreed to end their
two-month-long demonstration, but say that they still distrust
Tajik president Rakhman Nabiev, who retains his job under the
agreement reached by the government and opposition leaders. The
Presidential Palace, seized last week by the opposition, has
been handed over to the ministry of internal affairs, which is
headed by an opposition sympathizer. (Bess Brown)

ETHNIC ELEMENTS IN TAJIKISTAN'S TROUBLES. The midnight (15 May)
installment of Central TV's "Novosti" reported having learned
that the former chairman of Tajikistan's Supreme Soviet, Safarali
Kenzhaev, has fled to Uzbekistan and three other officials who
lost their jobs as part of the government's concessions to the
opposition have taken refuge in Khuzhand, the capital of northern
Tajikistan's Leninabad Oblast. Their action lends credence to
suggestions that there has been an ethnic element in the recent
disturbances in Tajikistan: Leninabad has a large Uzbek population,
and Tajiks in the south often claim that many Tajiks from Leninabad,
including President Nabiev, are actually Uzbeks. Significantly,
Leninabad officials threatened earlier in the week to detach
the oblast from Tajikistan and join it to Uzbekistan. (Bess Brown)


AKAEV IN CHINA. Kyrgyz president Askar Akaev, on a five-day official
visit to China that precludes his participation in the CIS summit
in Tashkent, has signed an agreement with his hosts that will
provide credits to Kyrgyzstan to buy food and consumer goods,
Western agencies reported on 14 May. (Bess Brown)





CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIA FIGHTING UPDATE. Radio Croatia reports at dawn on 15 May
that Sarajevo spent a relatively calm night after a day of heavy
shelling and street combat described as the most violent to date.
Radio Sarajevo said 15 people may have been killed. Two cease-fires
were arranged by UNPROFOR officials stationed in Sarajevo, and
both were broken on 14 May. The UN said that the Bosnian Muslims
broke the first when they attacked a Serb position near the airport
in an attempt to break out of a Serb encirclement of the city;
this provoked further heavy shelling of Sarajevo by the federal
army. UNPROFOR headquarters was hit and the villa housing UNPROFOR
commander Gen. Satish Nambiar also came under fire. (Milan Andrejevich)


UN TO DISCUSS RESOLUTION ON BOSNIA. The UN Security Council meets
today to consider a resolution calling for the immediate end
of all outside interference in Bosnia-Herzegovina, either through
the withdrawal of the Yugoslav and Croatian armies from Bosnia-Herzegovina
or by subjecting them to the republic's government under effective
international monitoring. (Milan Andrejevich)

SERBS TO RETURN SEIZED TERRITORY? Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic told Radio Serbia on 14 May that the Serbs are willing
to discuss giving back some areas to the Muslims and Croats seized
by Serb militia and federal army. He said the actions were taken
to "liberate villages where the Serb population is a minority
. . . but we have no intention of keeping Muslim and Croat towns."
If Karadzic is sincere, can he persuade the Serb militia? He
also called on the EC to resume its sponsorship of negotiations
between Bosnia's Muslims, Serbs, and Croats over the reorganization
of the republic. (Milan Andrejevich)

SLOVENIA'S NEW GOVERNMENT CONFIRMED. The new coalition government
of Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek was confirmed on 14 May by Slovenia's
national assembly. The cabinet is made up of members of six moderate
and left-wing parties. Twelve of the 27 ministers were retained
from the former moderate-right coalition government of Lojze
Peterle. Drnovsek told the national assembly that his government's
priority is to rebuild the economy and reestablish trade links
with the former Yugoslav republics. He said new elections should
take place in the fall. (Milan Andrejevich)

BULGARIAN MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND TRADE STEPS DOWN. Having lost
a vote of confidence in the UDF parliamentary faction, Ivan Pushkarov,
Bulgaria's minister of industry and trade announced on 14 May
he will resign, Reuters reports. Pushkarov headed the country's
major economic ministry for a year and a half, carrying out several
important reforms, such as an ambitious demonopolization program.
Although his overall performance is viewed favorably, Pushkarov
has lately came under pressure to step down, especially from
the free market-oriented Podkrepa trade union. (Kjell Engelbrekt)


MECIAR ON THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. Vladimir Meciar, chairman of
the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), Slovakia's strongest
party, said his party would not enter the federal government
if "all questions of Slovakia's economic and social development
and of state setup are not answered," after the June 1992 elections.
Meciar added his party would not support the federal cabinet
if the posts of interior minister and deputy minister continue
to be held by Jan Langos and Jan Ruml. Asked whether he would
accept a federal government post, Meciar said "by no means would
I go to Prague," CSTK reported on 13 May. (Peter Matuska)

WALESA WANTS TO TIGHTEN GUN LAW . . . Following an incident on
12 May in which three car thieves killed a taxi driver and wounded
four other people, including two policemen, President Lech Walesa
has called for tighter controls on firearms. According to Western
and Polish media, he told Interior Minister Antoni Macierewicz
that more effective measures must be taken to protect society.
Saying that Poland must find out where the arms are coming from,
he added "if it is from the (former) Soviet army, the matter
must be taken up at the highest level." Interior Ministry spokesman
Tomasz Tywonek said most of the unauthorized weapons in Poland
came from the former Soviet army which still has an estimated
40,000 troops stationed in the country. On 14 May the police
announced they had arrested three suspects, armed with Kalashnikov
rifles, in the taxi driver shooting. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)

. . . MEETS OLSZEWSKI, GOES TO EGYPT. On 14 May the Polish president
met with Premier Jan Olszewski to discuss a range of pressing
matters. An interim "small constitution" might help creating
an efficient legal system, he said, also emphasizing the need
for constant cooperation between the president and the government
in order to avoid possible misunderstandings slowing down the
reform process. Walesa begins an official three-day visit to
Egypt on 15 May. He will hold talks with President Hosni Mubarak
and Prime Minister Atef Sedky. He will also visit the Egyptian
Parliament and the secretariat of the Arab League, PAP reports.
(Wladyslaw Minkiewicz)

MITTERRAND IN VILNIUS, TALLINN. On 14 May French President Frans
Mitterrand told the Lithuanian parliament that the continued
presence of former USSR troops in the Baltic States as "abnormal
and shocking," noting "It is not natural if Lithuania cannot
use its own territory the way it wants, and that Lithuania should
keep the Soviet Army longer than it likes." He said that the
withdrawal should be agreed through "friendly negotiations" and
that the CSCE should be pressed to intervene on the Balts' behalf.
He and Lithuanian parliament chairman Vytautas Landsbergis signed
a friendship and cooperation treaty, but he stopped short of
promising French financial support, expressing hope that the
EC would help. That evening at a dinner in Tallinn with Arnold
Ruutel, chairman of the Estonian Supreme Council, Mitterrand
called for a strengthened CSCE process, saying "more has to be
done to reinforce the international order, the principles and
mechanisms [of the CSCE]." Mitterrand specifically called for
stronger arbitration and crisis resolution mechanisms in order
to establish "a real code of conduct." (Saulius Girnius & Riina
Kionka)

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT REFUSES TO COMBINE REFERENDUM DAYS. After
Mitterrand's speech, the parliament fruitlessly discussed the
upcoming referendums. A proposal that the referendums scheduled
for 23 May and 14 June be held on 7 June was not approved. A
compromise proposal that voters in the referendum on the president
should choose either the Sajudis-backed proposal or the one made
by the parliament commission on the new constitution was also
not accepted. Sajudis announced that it would hold a rally on
17 May to protest the parliament's inability to make needed decisions.
(Saulius Girnius)

HUNGARIAN STATE DEBT. Data released by the State Audit Office
on 14 May indicate that Hungary's domestic state debt currently
amounts to 1,750 billion forint, MTI reports. Audit Office head
Istvan Hagelmayer says that although the state began to run into
debt in 1968, indebtedness only began taking on significant proportions
in 1973. Most of the debt resulted from decisions by the government
and party apparatus, and the debt burden was significantly increased
through large investments such as the building of the Jamburg
pipeline and the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros dam project--the latter
costing some 120 billion forint. Hagelmayer warns that the annual
interest charges are increasingly burdening the budget, and that
only economic growth can offer relief. (Edith Oltay)

CZECHOSLOVAKIA TO CONTINUE DAM CONSTRUCTION. In an interview
with CSTK on 14 May, Slovak Prime Minister Jan Carnogursky said
construction would continue on the controversial Gabcikovo dam
despite Hungary's unilateral withdrawal from the joint project
in 1989 and the country's warning that it plans to cancel the
1977 interstate treaty. Carnogursky said that continued work
at Gabcikovo should not concern Hungary and assured his country
was always ready for talks to resolve the problem. He concluded
that the only way for the dam not to go into service would be
if a second commission of experts supports an EC opinion that
the dam should not be put into operation. (Peter Matuska)

BANKRUPTCY LAW DOOMS HUNGARIAN COMPANIES. Deputy State Secretary
in the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Balazs Botos, says that
102 state-owned companies have gone bankrupt since a new bankruptcy
law came into effect on 1 January, MTI and Western news agencies
report. He says that as many as 30% of the state-owned companies
under the ministry's jurisdiction may file for bankruptcy protection
by the end of the year. These companies account for about 33%
of the industrial production and employ some 130,000 people.
Botos criticized the new law for its failure to distinguish between
bankruptcies due to bad management and those brought about by
huge outstanding claims. He also announced that the ministry
has set up committees to predict new bankruptcies and work out
crisis-handling programs for companies near bankruptcy. (Edith
Oltay)

UNEMPLOYMENT IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA. Federal Minister of Labor and
Social Affairs Petr Miller said the steep rise in unemployment--by
almost 450,000 people--in 1991 was caused by privatization of
industries and by the fact that a large number of people born
in the 1970s achieved working age, CSTK reported on 13 May. Miller
expressed concern about the economic situation facing the additional
400,000 people who are not working but who are not registered
as unemployed. Miller quoted his ministry's report saying that
"our researchers fear some of the people might form the nucleus
of a certain kind of mafias--a new situation for Czechoslovakia."
(Peter Matuska)

MORE JOBLESS IN ESTONIA. Unemployment continues to climb steadily
in Estonia. According to Rahva Haal on 14 May, 3,800 people were
registered as jobless by the beginning of the month. Most are
in Narva (1050) and Kohtla-Jarve (860). Unemployed persons receive
benefits of 1000 rubles/month for six months if they have not
been given appropriate jobs. (Riina Kionka)

RUSSIA TO RETURN MILLIONS TO ESTONIA. Russia will return some
$14.5 million deposited in the Soviet Foreign Trade Bank, BNS
reported on 13 May. The agreement came after a meeting between
Estonian Bank President Siim Kallas and Russian Central Bank
President Georgii Matyukhin that day in Moscow. (Riina Kionka)


TALKS ABOUT ROMANIA'S ETHNIC GERMANS, . . . A German-Romanian
government commission is meeting in Bonn from 13 to 15 May to
discuss Bonn's proposals concerning the welfare of the 100,000
ethnic Germans living in Romania. Franz Koppenstedt, State Secretary
of the German Interior Ministry, said on 14 May that his government
is making available almost 20 million Deutsche Marks this year
for the Germans in Romania but it also expects measures from
the Romanian side to ease their situation such that fewer of
them will emigrate. The Romanian delegation is headed by Teodor
Melescan, Foreign Ministry state secretary, and includes representatives
of the German Forum, a group of the ethnic Germans, among others.
(Mihai Sturdza)

. . . HUNGARIANS, JEWS, AND CZECHS. Melescan is expected to start
a three-day visit to Budapest on 15 May to meet his Hungarian
counterpart, Tamas Katona, and other officials. The agenda includes
measures to improve bilateral relations as well as Hungary's
insistence that a forthcoming agreement include a comprehensive
provision on minority rights. Meanwhile, on 13 May in Washington
Romania's chief rabbi Moses Rosen met with Deputy Secretary of
State Lawrence Eagleburger, who said that Romania needs to increase
efforts to combat anti-Semitism. Also, Viktorie Hradska, Deputy
Chairwoman of the Czech Committee for International Relations,
arrived in Romania the same day for a five-day visit. She visited
villages inhabited by Romania's 8,000 ethnic Czechs, met President
Ion Iliescu on 14 May, and will discuss bilateral relations with
Foreign Minister Adrian Nastase. Local media carried the stories.
(Mihai Sturdza)

TROOPS IN LATVIA OBSTRUCT TV CREW. On 13 May ex-Soviet troops
detained two members of a German TV crew trying to film a military
airport near Daugavpils. The two were reprimanded by the base
commander and released over an hour later. The rest of the crew
was able to film a part of the incident. The Germans were doing
a story about the work of Latvian customs officials and the lack
of cooperation of the ex-Soviet military, who are apparently
using the airport to ship large amounts of goods and equipment
out of Latvia, BNS reported on 14 May. (Dzintra Bungs)

CORRECTION. The Estonian kroon will be linked to the Deutsche
Mark in a relationship of plus or minus 3%, not plus or minues
0.3% as reported in yesterday's RFE/RL daily Report. [As of 1200
CET] Compiled by John Tedstrom & Charles Trumbull









(END)



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