|If you're sure you understand everthing that is going on, you're hopelessly confused. - Walter Mondale|
No. 99, 25 May 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR FOUR REPUBLICS AND UNITED STATES SIGN START PROTOCOL. Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine formally committed themselves to the terms of the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) when their representatives and US Secretary of State James Baker signed a protocol to the treaty in Lisbon on 23May. A partial text of the protocol, published by Reuters, indicated that all five parties will now have to ratify the treaty before it enters into force. Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine also pledged to adhere to the Non-Proliferation Treaty as non-nuclear states. (Doug Clarke) STRONG WORDS FROM RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER. Speaking to reporters on 22May, newly appointed Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev said that he would not allow the honor and dignity of Russians to be insulted on the territory of any state and that we will suppress armed attacks on military facilities in the most decisive way, right up to shooting to kill. Grachev said that Russia would build an armed forces commensurate with the countrys status as a great power, and described a three-stage plan for military reform that would cut the army to 2.1 million men by 1995 and to 1.5 million by the year 2000. In remarks made earlier, Grachev had suggested that the armed forces would be cut to 1.5 million by 1996, and his latest comments appear to be a concession to those in the CIS high command and General Staff who had warned against rapid reductions. (Stephen Foye) OTHER COMMENTS. Grachev also argued against appointing a civilian defense minister because it would cause problems within the army, called for military conscription to take place at the age of 21 rather than 18, bemoaned the waning of the warrior spirit among Russian young people, and said that the entire Black Sea Fleet must be subordinated to the CIS joint armed forces (according to Vesti on 22May). He also said that his recent comments on the withdrawal of troops from the Kurile Islands (see Daily Report, 21May) had been misinterpreted, and revealed that Russia would begin pulling the 7th Army out of Armenia on 1June. His remarks, reported by CIS and Western media on 22May, are sure to be disquieting to many inside and outside of Russia. (Stephen Foye) SIMILAR REMARKS FROM RUTSKOI. Many of Grachevs statements on the reform of the Russian armed forces were echoed by Russian Vice-president Aleksandr Rutskoi in an interview published by Krasnaya zvezda on 22May (as summarized by ITAR-TASS). He too emphasized the need to create highly mobile and well-equipped forces and to cut the army to 1.5 million by the year 2000. Rutskoi also called for guaranteeing reliable civilian control over the army. (Stephen Foye) UKRAINE PROTESTS OVER BLACK SEA FLEET. . . ITAR-TASS on 22May reported that Ukrainian Defense Minister Konstantin Morozov had sent a telegram to CIS Commander in Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov protesting against the use of non-Ukrainian conscripts in the Black Sea Fleet. The report said that the Ukrainians had reliable information that the CIS authorities were using only draftees from other republics to man the fleet. Morozov is quoted as saying that the Ukrainians would take the firmest measures to prevent the violation of our legislation.... He reportedly called on Shaposhnikov to suspend sending draftees to the fleet until a political agreement on its future has been reached. (Doug Clarke) . . . AND RUSSIAN DECISION ON CRIMEA. Ukraines Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent a diplomatic note of protest to Moscow in connection with last weeks Russian parliament resolution on the illegality of the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine in 1954. The note, which was circulated on 23May, called the resolution a threat to the territorial integrity of Ukraine as well as to European security. Further pursuit of the matter could, the MFA statement warned, lead to dangerous and unforeseen consequences. The note said that the Crimean question is a strictly internal Ukrainian matter that cannot be viewed as a subject for negotiations with other states. (Kathy Mihalisko) YELTSIN OPTIMISTIC ON CIS. In an interview published in a Polish newspaper, Yeltsin said that the CIS has a future, ITAR-TASS reported on 22May. While it was too early to draw conclusions, Yeltsin maintained that a number of critical points had been passed, and we have gained more than we have lost. He added that the composition of the CIS could change, and not necessarily in the direction of a reduction in the number of member states. (Ann Sheehy) RUSSIAN OFFICIALS ON DEFENSE CONVERSION. Speaking at a conference in Brussels on 23May, the Russian state adviser on questions of conversion, Mikhail Malei, said that over a 15-year period, conversion should be extended to 70% of the Russian defense industrial sector. He suggested that the tempo of conversion would be greatest in the first 3-4 years of that period, with roughly 70% of the total conversion plan implemented, at a cost of some $150-160 billion, according to ITAR-TASS. Meanwhile, at a conference in Oslo on 22May, the deputy chairman of the Russian State Committee for Defense Questions, Vitalii Shlykov, charged that Russia still lacked a coherent conversion plan, and that there was a real possibility of chaos developing in the defense industrial center. (Stephen Foye) JOINT TURKMEN-RUSSIAN MILITARY. Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov told a group of military personnel that Turkmenistan and Russia have worked out a bilateral agreement on military forces under which the two countries will have a joint military and share the costs. Military units stationed in Turkmenistan, which will supply land for bases, energy and water, will be called the Joint Forces in Turkmenistan. They will be under the command of the ministries of defense of the two countries. (Bess Brown) BELARUSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON MILITARY CUTS. Petr Kozlovsky, the new Belarusian defense minister, announced to journalists in Minsk on 23May that he intends to reduce the military presence in his country. According to Interfax, 62 large units will be disbanded before 1993 and up to 22,000 officers will have to retire in the next few years. The number of troops will be reduced by 40%, leaving 95,000 men serving in the ground, air or air defense forces. Pointing out that the offensive potential of Belarus is considered to be the greatest in Europe, Kozlovsky said that his short-term goal is to develop a defense doctrine and destroy the vestiges of the old offensive doctrine. The fate of tanks in Belarus will be decided at the forthcoming North Atlantic Cooperation Council meeting in Oslo. (Kathy Mihalisko) KEBICH IN KUWAIT. On 24May, Belarusian Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich began a three-day official visit to Kuwait, where he will discuss bilateral ties and the situation in the Middle East with the head of the Kuwaiti cabinet, according to ITAR-TASS. The two sides are expected to establish diplomatic relations. (Kathy Mihalisko) CEASEFIRE AGREED IN NAKHICHEVAN. Artillery fire continued across the Armenian-Nakhichevan border on 22May, but on 23May Nakhichevan parliament Chairman Geidar Aliev declared a unilateral ceasefire, Western agencies reported. Also on 23May, Turkish Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel reportedly ruled out Turkish military intervention or annexation of Nakhichevan, according the Anatolian News Agency. Meanwhile, a Turkish diplomatic delegation travelled to Nakhichevan to evaluate the situation, prior to Demirels departure for talks in Moscow on 25May. In two telephone conversations with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmoud Vaezi on 23 and 24May, Aliev requested continued humanitarian aid from Iran. Despite the ceasefire announcement, CIS and Turkish TV reported on 24May that Armenian forces had resumed artillery attacks on Nakhichevan. (Liz Fuller) BAKER CALLS FOR PEACEFUL SOLUTION TO KARABAKH CONFLICT. US Secretary of State James Baker met in Lisbon on 24May with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan and with a senior Turkish official to discuss the situation in the Transcaucasus, Western media reported. Baker called for a negotiated solution to the conflict which he termed another humanitarian tragedy that could escalate out of control. (Liz Fuller) FORMER KARABAKH OFFICIAL ARRESTED. Boris Kevorkov, who was replaced as Nagorno-Karabakh obkom first secretary in March, 1988, has been arrested in Baku, Radio Mayak reported on 22May. Azerbaijan Minister of Internal Affairs Isa Gamidov was quoted as stating that Kevorkovs ties with Azerbaijans former leadership were being investigated. (Liz Fuller) KAZAKHSTAN TO ISSUE OWN CURRENCY. Sauk Takezhanov, chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee of Kazakhstans Supreme Soviet, told a press conference on 22May that Kazakhstan will soon start issuing its own currency, the Tanga, which will circulate in the republic along with the ruble, KazTAG-TASS reported. Initially, the new currency will be distributed only to pensioners, large families and people with low incomes, who will be able to use it in special stores. (Bess Brown) TAJIKISTAN OBLASTS REMAIN DEFIANT. Leaders of Leninabad have announced that they will obey only those presidential decrees and government instructions which they decide are legal, ITAR-TASS reported on 23May. Leninabad is one of the two oblasts that has rejected the coalition government created after two months of opposition demonstrations in Dushanbe. Leaders of the other, Kulyab Oblast, have demanded that the Constitutional Oversight Committee check recent presidential decrees and decisions of the coalition government. They questioned Tajik President Rakhman Nabievs decree creating a National Assembly to replace the Supreme Soviet. (Bess Brown) RUSSIAN MILITARY INVOLVEMENT CONTINUES IN MOLDOVA. Six soldiers of Russias 14th Army were killed while attacking Moldovan positions, the Moldovan police announced on 22-23May. Tiraspol for its part held a funeral for four 14th Army servicemen, Western agencies reported on 24May. Dniester state secretary Valerii Litskay told ITAR-TASS on 22May that only those soldiers who have taken an oath of allegiance to the Dniester republic have joined the fighting. Meanwhile, a Dniester Guard officer in Dubasari told Tiraspol TV in an interview on 22May, that 14th Army servicemen fighting alongside the Dniester forces and the Cossacks were enabling them to step up offensive operations against Moldovan police positions. (Vladimir Socor) US STATE DEPARTMENT DISTURBED. Spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler told journalists on 21May that the US State Department found the reports on Russias 14th Army involvement in the fighting in Moldova disturbing. The department expressed support for the peace plan worked out in April by the Foreign Ministers of Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, and Russia, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. A Moldovapres editorial on 23May commented that the US and other developed nations will not be inclined to contribute [to Russia] billions of dollars in aid if that would finance wars on the Dniester or in the Crimea to reconstitute the empire. (Vladimir Socor) PAN-RUSSIAN GROUPS BACKING DNIESTER REPUBLIC. The leader of the All-Russian Peoples Union and the Rossiya parliamentary group in Russias Supreme Soviet, Sergei Baburin, threatened tragic consequences for the ruling circles of Moldova and Romania if Moldova continues the violation of human rights and armed aggression on the Dniester. Baburin made this statement to journalists in Moscow and in a message to Moldovan President Mircea Snegur, Moldovan and Romanian media reported on 21May. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDOVA CLOSES AIR SPACE AFTER RUSSIAN MILITARY VIOLATIONS. On 21May, a detachment of Russian Cossacks from the Don landed at the Russian Armys airport in Tiraspol, Moldovas military authorities announced. In response, Moldovas Ministry of Defense banned all flights in and out of the Russian Armys airport in Tiraspol and all overflights of the combat zone on the Dniester. On 23May, reacting to stepped-up flights by Russian Army helicopters over its entire territory, Moldova introduced the requirement that all flights within its airspace be cleared in advance with the authorities in Chisinau. (Vladimir Socor) CONGRESS OF PEOPLES OF TATARSTAN. The first Congress of Peoples of Tatarstan, which attracted about 500 delegates from the republic and two hundred guests from neighboring oblasts and republics, took place on 23-24May, the Russian media reported. The congress supported the republics declaration of sovereignty and called for a state program on the developing the languages and cultures of the republics peoples. Representatives of the Soglasie movement, the Movement for Democratic Reforms, and other organizations that favor Tatarstan signing the federal treaty walked out after they were not allowed to air their views on the national question and relations with Russia. (Ann Sheehy) F............................................................M.................M CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE ON YUGOSLAVIA INCREASES. On 22May US Secretary of State James Baker announced diplomatic sanctions against Yugoslavia in a protest against Serbian actions in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He accused Yugoslavia of causing a humanitarian nightmare in Bosnia. The US will close two Yugoslav consulates in the USA and break contacts with the Yugoslav military attaché. Earlier, the US also cancelled landing rights for Yugoslav airlines. After meeting with EC officials and Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, Baker told reporters in Lisbon on 24May that he favors UN sanctions and left the door open to military force, though stressing that there will be no unilateral use of US force. Kozyrev said Russia is reluctant to support UN sanctions and feels other methods should be used first. Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina were admitted as new members of the UN on 22May, clearing the way for a possible trade and oil embargo against Yugoslavia. On 23May German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel told EC foreign ministers in Lisbon that Yugoslavia should be punished for its role in the war in Bosnia and urged trade sanctions against Belgrade. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic cautioned that the US and EC are risking total Balkan war. (Milan Andrejevich) BOSNIA UPDATE. Radio Sarajevo reports on 24May that federal army troops have withdrawn from one of four barracks in Sarajevo. A complete pullout of federal troops is expected to end by midnight. Meanwhile fighting was reported in several areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina. There were also more allegations of civilian massacres and clashes between Muslims and Croats in western Herzegovina. Bosnias Presidency fired its territorial defense commander, and the governments interior ministry on 23May filed criminal charges against the leaders of Bosnias Serbian Democratic Party, Radovan Karadzic, Nikola Koljevic, and Biljana Plavsic. On 20May that partys leading ideologist, historian Milorad Ekmecic, was arrested. EC-mediated talks on Bosnias political shape resumed in Lisbon on 23May. Radio Croatia said the three sides, meeting separately with EC mediators, examined maps indicating the new territorial divisions of Bosnia-Herzegovina. (Milan Andrejevich) KOSOVO ALBANIANS VOTE. The predominantly Albanian population in Serbias province of Kosovo voted in legislative and presidential elections on 24May. The assembly of the Republic of Kosovo said the vote will legitimize political parties and win international recognition of their drive for independence that they declared in October 1991. Radio Croatia reports some minor incidents involving Albanians and police. Serbias government has said the elections are illegal and Serbian police confiscated ballots from polling places set up in what police say were public buildings. Nonetheless, heavy voter turnout was reported and many polling places were able to close early because everyone had voted. The only candidate for president is the writer Ibrahim Rugova, head of Kosovos leading Democratic League party. Eight foreign observer teams in Kosovo monitored the elections. (Milan Andrejevich) BULGARIA REQUESTS OBSERVERS TO ITS WESTERN BORDER. In a declaration addressed simultaneously to the EC and the UN, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry on 22May proposed that international observers be sent to Bulgaria to monitor developments in former Yugoslavia. According to BTA, the declaration said Bulgaria is seriously concerned with the increasingly confusing situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the growth of ethnic tension in Kosovo; it emphasized that the measure is an attempt to militate against further destabilization of the Balkans. (Kjell Engelbrekt) LITHUANIANS REJECTS STONG PRESIDENCY. On 23May Lithuania staged a referendum calling for the establishment of a strong presidency. Preliminary results announced by Radio Lithuania on 24May indicated that 57.5% of all eligible voters participated; 69.4% voted yes, 24.6%no, and 5.0% of the ballots were declared invalid. Although more than two-thirds of those voting expressed support for a strong president, the referendum failed since the majority of all eligible voters did not support it. Voters in only two cities and three regions approved the referendum which gathered less than 31% of all eligible voters in four regions. Parliament chairman Vytautas Landsbergis did not view the vote as a personal defeat but merely as a political poll in which no decision was reached. (Saulius Girnius) HAVEL SAYS HIS NAME IN POLICE FILES. In his weekly radio address on 24May President Vaclav Havel said the communist secret police (StB) once listed him as a potential collaborator, but after three months switched him to the category of persons hostile to the regime. Havels remarks came after a series of public figures were identified as working for the StB. A Czech daily recently said police files revealed Michael Kocab, a former member of parliament and one of Havels early supporters, was listed in the police files as a candidate for police collaboration. Havel said his name appeared in the same category. Havels revelation apparently is intended to show the absurdity of assuming that anybody listed in the StB files was guilty of collaboration. (Peter Matuska) MAZOWIECKI CALLS FOR OLSZEWSKIS RESIGNATION. On 24May Tadeusz Mazowiecki, former prime minister and chairman of the Democratic Union, called for the resignation of Prime Minister Jan Olszewski. He told a meeting of the party leadership that Olszewskis government is not capable of guiding the country or putting reforms into effect. He also said he supports renewed efforts to form a new government coalition. Olszewski has been under growing pressure to resign from various quarters. Walesa recently expressed his skepticism about the longevity of the government, and leaders of Olszewskis own Center Alliance called last week for a new coalition government with majority support in Parliament. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) OPPOSITION CANDIDATE WINS HUNGARIAN BY-ELECTION. A candidate of the Alliance of Free Democrats (AFD) won a by-election in the southeastern town of Bekescsaba on 24May, MTI reports. The AFDs candidate received 36% of the votes, the candidate of the Hungarian Socialist Party was second with 28%, while the ruling Hungarian Democratic Forums candidate, Minister of International Economic Relations Bela Kadar, came in third with 24%. In the first round of the by-elections on 10May Kadar received the most votes, but that election was declared invalid because of low voter turnout. The by-election is widely viewed as a test of strength between the Democratic Forum and the opposition parties. (Edith Oltay) CALFA SAYS SLOVAKIA NEEDS FEDERAL STATE. On 23May at a seminar called Solidarity through Federation, Federal Prime Minister Marian Calfa said a federative system is necessary for Slovakia on condition that the federal state have a common president, a federal parliament and government, a common supreme court, and a constitutional court. Calfa added that the federal government should have a limited number of ministries to guarantee common defense, foreign policy, and internal security as well as a common economic scheme, CSTK reports. At the same conference, Slovak Prime Minister Jan Carnogursky said he favors calm and patience in settling Czechoslovakias future constitutional set-up. (Peter Matuska) MORE ON ROMANIAN ELECTIONS. On 22May the government urged parliament to speed up its debates on the election law in order to make sure that elections take place before the end of July. It also suggested limiting the election campaign to 45 days. Delaying the elections would have serious local and international consequences, the communiqué warned. Opposition parties and the independent press are also campaigning for early elections. On 20May President Ion Iliescu went on television to say he favors presidential and parliamentary elections to be held simultaneously. Separate elections, he said, would only prolong political instability. Local media carried the stories. (Mihai Sturdza) ESTONIAN PETITION GATHERS STEAM. A petition drive in Estonia to hold elections to the new parliament in June and disperse the Supreme Council is gaining momentum. According to ETA on 22May, some 100,000 have already signed their support for the grass-roots initiative. Supporters began gathering signatures on 12May. (Riina Kionka) CONGRESS OF ESTONIA WANTS ROUNDTABLE. The Congress of Estonia held its ninth session on 24May. The high point of the meeting, according to Postimees on 25May, was chairman Tunne Kelams call for a roundtable of all political parties and movements in Estonia to agree on procedures for the upcoming election and to set a date for the polling. The congresss only substantive decision was to defeat a proposal that the congress withhold support from the draft constitution prepared by the Constituent Assembly in favor of throwing its weight behind the 1938 constitution. Because it lacked a quorum, the congress was unable to take a vote on any other issues. (Riina Kionka) POLAND, RUSSIA SIGN AGREEMENTS. On 22May in the Kremlin Presidents Lech Walesa and Boris Yeltsin signed treaties of friendship and good neighborly relations. Yeltsin said the friendship treaty lays a new basis for the development of relations in political, economic, humanitarian, and other fields. Walesa said it would be wrong to put the seal of silence on the past, acknowledging, however, that some problems and tasks linked to that period are yet to be resolved. Walesa and Yeltsin also signed a declaration condemning the totalitarian regimes that earlier ruled their countries. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksander Shokhin and Polish Foreign Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski signed separate agreements on the withdrawal of ex-USSR troops from Poland. A consular convention, a declaration on cultural and educational cooperation, an accord on avoiding double taxation, and an agreement on borders were also signed. Walesa met with Yeltsin on 22May and later told told newsmen that he favors a Russian-Polish partnership to shape Eastern Europes politics; he also called for the demilitarization of Kaliningrad Oblast. On the 23rd Walesa visited Katyn Forest, where he commemorated Polish officers shot by the Red Army in 1940. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) MORE EQUIVOCATION ON TROOP WITHDRAWAL DATE. On 23May Izvestiya issued a correction to a report it published on 21May that the pullout of ex-USSR troops from the Baltic States would be completed in 1994: In actual fact Army Gen. P.S. Grachev [said] that it is planned to withdraw the main groupings of Russian forces from the Baltic States after the completion of the withdrawal of units from Germany and Poland. It is proposed to withdraw 40% of the troops from the Baltic region during 199294 and the remaining 60% after 1994. The timing will be decided during the talks among state delegations from Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIA ASKS UN HELP ON VERIFYING LIBYAN PRESENCE. On 22May Aivars Baumanis, Latvias permanent representative to the UN, expressed concern about the possibility of continued Libyan military presence on Latvian territory. He made the statement despite Russian claims that repair work on a Libyan submarine at Bolderaja has been halted and assurances that Libyan military personnel will be leaving Latvia. Baumanis said Latvia has been denied access to the ship repair facilities at Bolderaja and so has been unable to verify the situation. He asked the Secretary-General for UN assistance in inspecting Russian-controlled bases in Bolderaja. (Dzintra Bungs) GREEK MILITARY VISIT IN ROMANIA. A Greek military delegation headed by Defense Minister Ioannis Varvitsiotis arrived on 22May in Bucharest at the invitation of Defense Minister Lt.Gen. Nicolae Spiroiu. Besides holding talks about cooperation and ways to develop peace and stability in the Balkans, the delegation will visit military institutions and Romanias Black Sea coast. Varvitsiotis was received on 23May by President Ion Iliescu, Rompres reports. (Mihai Sturdza) HUNGARY JOINS EUREKA RESEARCH PROGRAM. On 22May Eureka, Western Europes high technology research program, accepted Hungary as a member, Western news agencies report. A ministerial conference of Eureka member countries in Tampere, Finland, said that the acceptance of the first Central and Eastern European country into the Eureka family underlines Eurekas positive role as a technological and political bridge between...Western countries and those in Central and Eastern Europe. Eureka is composed of the 12EC countries plus Austria, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Turkey. (Edith Oltay) Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull 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.