|Words that open our eyes to the world are always the easiest to remember. - Ryszard Kapuscinski|
No. 94, 18 May 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR CIS COLLECTIVE SECURITY AGREEMENT. Six CIS states, including Russia, signed a collective security agreement in Tashkent on 15 May, but the absence of Ukraine and four other CIS states from among the signatories once again demonstrated the deep divisions separating CIS leaders. The agreement, which was signed by Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Armenia, stipulated that aggression against any signatory to the agreement will be considered aggression against all other members. Belarusian Supreme Soviet Chairman Stanislav Shushkevich said that he supported the agreement, but that at present it violated the Belarusian constitution. Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitold Fokin said that the pact was incompatible with other CIS agreements. (Stephen Foye) SHAPOSHNIKOV REMARKS. The commander in chief of CIS forces, Evgenii Shaposhnikov, told ITAR-TASS on 15 May that his command would exist so long as nuclear weapons remained deployed in four different CIS states and so long as the collective security agreement remained in force. Shaposhnikov also claimed that all CIS states, with the exception of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan, were contributing some degree of financial support to CIS forces located on their territories, and that financial aid would be extended to states who couldn't afford to support such forces. Finally, he criticized Ukraine for moving to take control of strategic forces on its territory. (Stephen Foye) TASHKENT SUMMIT "THE MOST PRODUCTIVE SO FAR." The CIS summit meeting in Tashkent on 15 May was described by Russian President Yeltsin on 16 May as "the most productive so far," Russian media reported. Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev also rated the meeting highly, and Stanislav Shushkevich, chairman of the Belarusian parliament, said the CIS had emerged stronger. Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitold Fokin was less enthusiastic, however, saying that the most important problem, namely the credit and financial system, had not been solved. The meeting lasted only one day instead of the expected two. (Ann Sheehy) AGREEMENT REACHED ON SEVERAL ISSUES. Aside from the collective security pact, agreement was reached inter alia on the joint use of air space and the Baikonur and Plesetsk space stations, the manning and financing of frontier troops, the formation of peacekeeping forces, fulfilling the former USSR's obligations on chemical weapons, and the principles of reducing the armed forces of the former USSR. A question on which little or no progress was made was dividing up the assets of the former USSR. Most of the member states object to Russia's tough stance on this issue, but Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar said the assets could not be divided without considering who was paying off the Soviet Union's debts. (Ann Sheehy) NEXT SUMMIT IN MOSCOW. The next meeting of CIS heads of state will be in Moscow on 6 July. Thereafter summits will always take place in Minsk. The next meeting of the CIS heads of government will be in Minsk on 26 June. The ministers of foreign affairs of the member states have been charged with drawing up a charter for the CIS to be discussed at one of the upcoming summits. The head of the Belarusian parliament, Stanislav Shushkevich said that an important decision at the Tashkent summit had been a new treatment of consensus--the principle of "minus one"--meaning that if only one state dissents it has to submit to the will of the majority. It is not clear what effect this decision will have since states may still opt out. (Ann Sheehy) MOLDOVA AND THE CIS. The Moldovan delegation to the CIS summit took part almost exclusively in discussions on economic matters, Prime Minister Valeriu Muravschi told the Moldovan media on 16-17 May. Muravschi added that Moldova will remain in the CIS as long it retains common economic interests with the other member states. The delegation protested to the assembled leaders, and also at a press conference, against the support extended by Russia, "including official circles," to the Russian insurgency in eastern Moldova. Citing the role of Russia's 14th Army in arming, training, and staffing the paramilitary forces of the "Dniester republic," the Moldovan delegation renewed the demand for the urgent withdrawal of that army. (Vladimir Socor) POPULAR FRONT CONSOLIDATES POWER IN AZERBAIJAN. One person was killed and three injured when armed adherents of the Azerbaijan Popular Front (AzPF) occupied the parliament building, TV headquarters and presidential palace on 15 May, Western media reported. In a Baku Radio broadcast, AzPF Executive Committee member Tofik Dzhemilov claimed that the AzPF had "seized power" and restored "the legitimate government." The National Council suspended the state of emergency and all decisions taken by Ayaz Mutalibov during his brief return to power, including the postponement of presidential elections scheduled for 7 June. On 16 May the Council appointed a coalition government and rejected the resignation of Yagub Mamedov from the post of interim president to which he had been named in early March. (Liz Fuller) . . . FIGHTING CONTINUES. Shooting was reported in Baku on the night of 16 May and following a rally outside the AzPF headquarters on 17 May. The whereabouts of Mutalibov, who reportedly fled Baku with his National Security Minister Ilhusein Huseinov, are not known. Fierce fighting was reported on 16-17 May around the town of Lachin, strategically located between the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and Nagorno-Karabakh. "Novosti" claimed on 18 May that Kurdish armed groups demanding the creation of a Kurdish autonomous formation are also engaged in fighting Azerbaijani forces in Lachin. (Liz Fuller) IRAN ABANDONS KARABAKH MEDIATION ATTEMPT; TURKEY VOWS TO CONTINUE. On 17 May Iranian Radio quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmoud Vaezi, who for the past three months has coordinated Iranian attempts to mediate the Karabakh dispute, as stating that further efforts to achieve a settlement between Armenia and Azerbaijan are "not advisable" until "calm and stability" are restored to Azerbaijan and the two sides show they are prepared to resolve the problem peacefully. Departing Ankara on 17 May for an OECD meeting in Paris, Turkish Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin stated that he would also conduct talks there on the Karabakh issue, Turkish TV reported. (Liz Fuller) RUSSIA'S STATE APPARATUS GROWING. The chief of the newly created Administration for Education of Cadres for State Service, Magomet Bekov, told Rossiya on 17 May that the Russian state administrative apparatus has become bigger than that of the former Soviet Union. Bekov's administration has taken over seven of the former Communist Party schools. Bekov asserted that there are now 15-20% more top administrators in the Russian state administration than there had been in the Soviet regime. He noted that previously, the state had been run by two apparatuses: the Party and the state, and that the "vacuum" left by the Party apparatus has to be filled. (Alexander Rahr) CONFERENCE ON BUILDING MULTIPARTY SYSTEMS. A roundtable discussion on the problems of building multiparty systems in Russia and other CIS states was organized by the Democratic Reform Movement and the Gorbachev Foundation on 15 May, ITAR-TASS reported. Vladimir Lysenko, a leader of the Russian Republican Party, noted that there are already 24 parties registered in Russia but there is still no multiparty system to speak of. Several participants reportedly accused the Russian government of hindering the development of a multiparty system, but Sergei Stankevich, Russian state secretary for political questions, denied this. He argued that, "even though there is the will, there is not the strength nor the resources." (Carla Thorson) RUSSIAN DEBT DEFERRAL AND SUSPENSION. On 16 May, the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry and the Russian Bank for Foreign Trade agreed to defer repayments of hard-currency debts owed by the former Soviet Union, AFP reported. Japan will grant a maximum six-month deferral of principal repayments for medium- and long-term debt falling due in 1992. On 17 May, Russia informed South Korea that it will not be able to pay $32.5 million in interest that is due this week, Western agencies reported. The money is interest on loans amounting to about $1 billion provided to the former Soviet Union by South Korean banks in 1991. (Keith Bush) SOLZHENITSYN RETURNING. The writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn has granted his first interview to a film director from the ex-Soviet Union since his expulsion in 1974, The London Times reported on 14 May. Solzhenitsyn's wife Nataliya will also reportedly travel to Moscow on 22 May to prepare her husband's return to Russia. Solzhenitsyn had said that he will return to Russia after finishing the main part of his present historical work because of the better living conditions in Vermont. The newspaper also asserted that Solzhenitsyn's return will be comparable only to the welcome accorded to Pope John Paul II on his first visit to Poland. (Alexander Rahr) SPOKESMAN ON MILITARY BUDGET, CUTS. The head of the CIS information administration, Lt. Gen. Valerii Manilov, told ITAR-TASS on 15 May that military spending in Russia would continue to decline, despite recent reports to the contrary. According to Manilov, planned reductions in military manpower would permit defense expenditures to continue falling. He claimed that spending in 1992 would be at least 12% less than in 1991. Manilov admitted that further funding would be devoted to converting the defense industrial complex, but he claimed that the majority of this funding would be found in monies already earmarked for this sector. (Stephen Foye) UKRAINE TAKES CONTROL OF LONG RANGE AVIATION. By way of a presidential decree and an order from the Defense Minister, Ukraine on 15 May moved to take control of long range aviation formations and units deployed on its territory, Ukrinform-TASS reported that same day. These units had been subordinated to the CIS central command as part of the CIS strategic forces. The same documents reportedly said that those formations and units still possessing nuclear weapons would remain under the operational control of the CIS central command until such time as the nuclear weapons were liquidated and the units dissolved. Those officers not wishing to serve Ukraine will be removed from their posts, the report said. (Stephen Foye) POLL OF MOSCOW AND KIEV RESIDENTS. Residents of Kiev have higher confidence in their country's president and lower expectations for the CIS than Muscovites, according to a recent poll conducted by the Institute of Parliamentary Sociology that was summarized on 17 May by Central TV. Only 30% of respondents in Moscow said that President Yeltsin's course corresponded to their own positions versus 48% of Kievans who were in agreement with the policies of Leonid Kravchuk. The two capitals also diverged on attitudes to the CIS, with 39% of Kiev respondents calling for Ukraine to leave the CIS as against 18% of Muscovites who want Russia to do the same. A minority of 14% in both cities, however, believed in the "reality" of the Commonwealth. (Kathy Mihalisko) CRIMEA UPDATE. In another reflection of popular attitudes, 60% of residents of Crimea reportedly are ready to vote yes to Crimean independence in the forthcoming referendum, according to sources cited on 17 May in Izvestiya. A session of the Crimean parliament that begins on 20 May is expected to examine the Ukrainian parliament's demand that Simferopol cancel the scheduled 2 August referendum. (Kathy Mihalisko) OUSTED GEORGIAN PRESIDENT ACCUSED OF EMBEZZLEMENT. Western agencies quoted Russian TV on 17 May as reporting that investigators have accused ousted Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia of abuse of power, embezzling state funds and organizing mass disturbances in western Georgia. It is not clear whether the ruling State Council intends to try to extradite Gamsakhurdia, whose current whereabouts are unknown: RIKA reported on 13 May that he had left Chechnya for an unspecified destination. (Liz Fuller) NAZARBAEV TO US. Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev is scheduled to begin an official visit to the United States on 19 May. He is to meet with businessmen as well as with President George Bush, and attend the formal opening of Kazakhstan's embassy in Washington, "Vesti" reported on 17 May. Nazarbaev told an Izvestiya interviewer on 15 May (as cited by ITAR-TASS) that he was in full agreement with the desire of the US Administration to see Kazakhstan become a non-nuclear state; he saw the creation of a control mechanism for nuclear weapons, involving the leaders of the nuclear successor states (Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia) as a step in the right direction. (Bess Brown) AKAEV IN CHINA. Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev's visit to China ended on 16 May with the issuance of a joint communique in which Kyrgyzstan and China undertook to respect each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, but there seem to have been few concrete agreements on economic and other types of cooperation to emerge from the visit. The results of the visit were summarized by ITAR-TASS on 16 May. (Bess Brown) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE __________________________ VIOLENCE IN BOSNIA CONTINUES THROUGH THE WEEKEND. Western agencies report continued heavy fighting in several locations throughout Bosnia on 16 and 17 May. Heavy Serb shelling continues to ravage the Bosnian capital. Serbian forces reportedly tried to isolate the western regions of Sarajevo on the 17th but were turned back by Muslim and Croat units. Heavy fighting was also reported on the 17th in the northern Bosnian town of Bosanski Samac, and early on the 18th in Mostar, the Herzegovinian capital. Bosnian troops reportedly backed down on a threat to attack two barracks occupied by federal army troops in Sarajevo in order to force the withdrawal of the forces; the units had been expected to leave the barracks in accordance with an agreement reached last week. Meanwhile, moving in two convoys, the UN peacekeeping force in Bosnia under its commander, Indian general Satish Nambiar, completed its withdrawal from the war-torn republic. (Charles Trumbull) DIPLOMATIC MOVES IN FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev is expected in Belgrade on 18 May in yet another external attempt to mediate the Bosnian situation, Western agencies report. Tanjug reported on 15 May that Russia has recognized the Republic of Macedonia. Russia has also recognized Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, but only after the EC did so; the EC has not yet recognized Macedonia, principally because of Greek objections. In a unanimous resolution on 16 May the UN Security Council demanded an immediate halt to the fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the withdrawal of Serb-led Yugoslav federal troops and Croatian army units, and the disbanding of irregular forces. Meanwhile, on 15 May applications by Croatia and Slovenia to joint the UN were approved by the Security Council's admissions committee. The same day it was announced in Geneva that a cooperation agreement between Slovenia and the European Free Trade Association will be signed this week; Czechoslovakia already has such an agreement and Poland an Hungary are negotiating for association with EFTA as well. (Charles Trumbull) ON THE JUNE ELECTION CAMPAIGN IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA. On 16 May Petr Havlik, the secretary of the Czech Civic Democratic Party (ODS), which is expected to win the 5-6 June elections in the Czech Republic, said his party would negotiate with the election winner in Slovakia under two conditions: that a common state of Czechs and Slovaks have the form of a functioning federation, and that the pace of economic transformation be preserved throughout the country. On 16 May Vladimir Meciar, chairman of the Movement for Democratic Slovakia, ruled out a postelection coalition with the Democratic Party, which, he said, leans too much in the direction of ODS chairman and federal Finance Minister Vaclav Klaus, CSTK reports. Meciar's party is expected to win the election in Slovakia. (Peter Matuska) VAGNORIUS SUBMITS RESIGNATION. On 16 May Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius sent a letter to parliament chairman Vytautas Landsbergis asking for acceptance of his resignation effective 28 May, Radio Lithuania reports. Vagnorius wrote that his government could no longer control the republic's economic and social life because the left-wing opposition has taken the initiative in the parliament. It had rejected his request to dismiss the chairman of the Bank of Lithuania and the minister of energy and to call new parliamentary elections. In a television address on 17 May Landsbergis asked Vagnorius to remain in office. (Saulius Girnius) MITTERRAND IN LATVIA. French President FranŠÁŠois Mitterrand concluded his Baltic tour with a visit to Riga on 15 May. He opened the French embassy in the Latvian capital, met with key Latvian officials, and endorsed a bilateral economic cooperation accord, Radio Riga reports. As he did in Vilnius and Tallinn, Mitterrand emphasized that no country should have to accept the presence of foreign troops on its territory and urged the pullout of ex-USSR troops from the Baltics be settled through negotiations with Russia; should this approach fail, the issue should go to an international forum. Concerning Moscow's continuing economic dominance, Mitterrand said in Tallinn: "It's not normal that Russia recover all of its rights and capacities on the international scene as an independent sovereign state--which we hoped for--while the same rights are denied the smaller countries that lived under the Soviet Union." (Dzintra Bungs) WALESA IN EGYPT. On 17 May President Lech Walesa said he liked Egypt's presidential system, finding it "most suitable" for Poland, since it allows the president to appoint and dismiss ministers, Western and Polish media reported. Earlier, speaking at the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo, the Polish President called for "comprehensive and close cooperation with the Arab states," and said that normalization of Polish-Israeli ties should not hinder cooperation with Arab nations. On 16 May Walesa held talks with the Egyptian Prime Minister Atef Sidki and President Hosni Mubarak on increasing trade and technological exchanges between the two countries. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) POLAND, RUSSIA DECIDE FUTURE RELATIONS. On 15 May Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Iwo Byczewski and Russian ambassador to Warsaw Yurii Kashlev initialed five documents on new relations between the two countries to be signed by the respective presidents when Walesa visits Yeltsin in Moscow on 22 May. Byczewski said that the treaty on friendship and good-neighborly relations is "the first of its kind for decades or even centuries." Four other agreements initialled in Warsaw deal mainly with the withdrawal of former Soviet troops from Poland and from former East Germany (across Poland). Western and Polish wire services carried the story. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) SAJUDIS RALLY FOR REFERENDUM. On 17 May thousands of people attended a rally in Independence Square in Vilnius, broadcast live by Radio Lithuania, to support the planned referendum on the presidency on 23 May. Sajudis chairman Juozas Tumelis, Landsbergis, Vagnorius, State Controller Kazimieras Uoka were among the speakers at the rally who stressed that Lithuania needed a president to lead it through its current difficulties. When Lithuanian Freedom League chairman Antanas Terleckas declared that Vagnorius was continuing the communist policies of his predecessor Kazimiera Prunskiene, the crowd began to boo and did not allow him to finish his speech. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIANS FIRE AT MILITARY VEHICLES. On 15 May a column of six Russian military vehicles in Kaunas refused to stop at two National Defense posts and were stopped at a third post when shots were fired into the wheels of two vehicles, Radio Lithuania reports. An inspection of the vehicles revealed that three of them were carrying liquid fuel and lacked permits for doing so. Minister of National Defense Audrius Butkevicius said on Lithuanian TV on 16 May that illegal military flights in Lithuanian air space has become more frequent. He had information that Russia was planning to replenish its army in Lithuania by bringing in 15-21,000 new recruits, suggesting that the Russian army is not planning to comply with Lithuanian demands that it withdraw.(Saulius Girnius) NATO OBSERVERS TO ATTEND TALKS ON TROOP PULLOUT? At the North Atlantic Assembly's meeting in Banff, Alberta, on 17 May the Russian delegation agreed to hold informal talks on arranging a timetable for the withdrawal of ex-USSR troops from the Baltic States and that the talks would be attended by observers from NATO, Reuters reports. Peteris Simsons, a member of the Latvian delegation, pointed out that heretofore Russia has insisted on talking with each of the Baltic States separately, in secret, with no observers present and that such practices were a principal cause for the lack of progress of past negotiations. The Baltic and Russian sides have agreed to submit their proposals for troop withdrawals to the NAA secretariat in Brussels by June. (Dzintra Bungs) ESTONIA CONCERNED ABOUT RUSSIA'S MINORITIES. Estonia is concerned about the treatment of minorities living in Russia, according to an Estonian TV press conference. Foreign Minister Jaan Manitsky told reporters on 17 May that Estonia must help Finno-Ugric minorities living in Russia: "All European countries bear the responsibility for the cultures of small peoples. This cannot be regarded as interference in internal affairs," Manitsky said, adding that political support for such small peoples should come through international organizations: "We cannot allow ourselves to influence Russia directly in these questions." (Riina Kionka) HUNGARIAN SOCIALIST PARTY CONGRESS. The Hungarian Socialist Party (HSP), the former reform communist party, held its third national congress in Szeged, MTI reported on 15-17 May. The three-day congress reelected party president Gyula Horn and discussed the party's strategy leading up to the 1994 parliamentary elections. A statement issued at the end of the congress described the HSP as an "independent third force" in Hungarian political life--alongside the conservative and liberal currents--whose policy is based on a "commitment to leftist values and the country's well-being and professional expertise." Horn is optimistic that the HSP will start on an equal footing with the other parties in the 1994 elections, and said that the socialists are willing to cooperate with any party committed to parliamentary democracy. (Edith Oltay) SIGNS OF POLISH ECONOMIC RECOVERY. On 15 May Prime Minister Jan Olszewski told a news conference in Warsaw that some economic indicators for April show increases in industrial production, a lower inflation rate, and a good surplus in the nation's balance of payments. According to Western agencies, Olszewski called them the first positive economic tendencies in two years, but he also pointed out that a "financial collapse" of most state-owned industries has taken place, adding that his government is working on a restructuring program designed to help those companies to recover. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) NO AGREEMENT ON BULGARIAN FOREIGN DEBT. On 15 May BulgarianŠˇŠ government officials declared that the most recent negotiations on resolving the country's $12 billion debt had failed, Reuters reports. In an interview broadcast on Bulgarian radio the same day, a member of the Bulgarian delegation complained that the parties are talking at cross purposes. He said that Deutsche Bank, representing the creditors, rejected a Bulgarian proposal to buy the debt at a 90% discount, suggesting a simple rescheduling agreement instead. According to another Bulgarian official, a compromise is still possible. (Kjell Engelbrekt) WAGES, COSTS RISE IN ESTONIA. The average income in Estonia rose 530 rubles in April, but monthly expenditures also jumped an average of 555 rubles. According to Labor Ministry data cited by BNS on 15 May, the average income in April was 3,030 rubles, whereas average expenditures for that month were estimated at 2,600 rubles. In 1991 the average monthly income for workers was 577 rubles. (Riina Kionka) DOCUMENTS FOUND ON CZECHOSLOVAK COMMUNIST PARAMILITARY. Federal Deputy Michal Maly (ODS) found two sealed packages in the State Central Archives containing complete lists of militia personnel as well as requests for a 150% increase in weapons and ammunition for 1988-90, Czechoslovak TV announced on 14 May. The documents also provide information on the organization's activities during the 1956 anticommunist uprising in Hungary and in the years 1968-69 in Czechoslovakia. Maly said the papers show an unusually large arms transfer from the People's Militia to the Czechoslovak army in the first weeks of December 1989, a time when the Communist Party was negotiating its exit after 41 years in power. (Peter Matuska) ROMANIAN SENATE FINDS PROPERTY SCANDAL. Over the weekend local and foreign media reported an inquiry by the Senate published on 14 May calling for prosecution of members of the former Petre Roman government. The report alleges that in 1990-91 his government illegally disposed of hundreds of mansions confiscated by the communist nomenklatura from their prewar owners. In Bucharest alone 276 houses allegedly went to Roman's friends, ministers, associates, who paid only token rents. The report names names and will likely further weaken the position of the former premier, who, after the defection of a splinter group supporting President Ion Iliescu, now leads a much-diminished NSF. (Mihai Sturdza) NOISY FAREWELL TO BULGARIAN COMMUNISM. On 15 May the politically symbolic mauso-leum of Georgi Dimitrov, Bulgaria's first communist leader, was dismantled in Sofia--to the accompaniment of a rock concert in Demokratsiya Square attended, according to Western agencies, by some 40,000 people. The body of Georgi Dimitrov was on display in the mausoleum from 1949 until July 1990, when his remains were removed by the BSP--successor to the Communist Party. (Kjell Engelbrekt) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles TrumbullŠˇŠ (END) The RFE/RL Daily Report is produced by the RFE/RL Research Institute (a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Inc.) in Munich, Germany, with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division (NCA). 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.