|Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead|
No. 100, 26 May 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR CPSU ACCUSED OF SUPPORTING TERRORISTS. On 26May, Russias Constitutional Court begins a review of whether Russian President Yeltsins edict banning the CPSU in the wake of the failed coup of August 1991 accorded with the Russian constitution. Sergei Shakhraithe Yeltsin legal adviser who drafted the edict and who will represent Yeltsin at the hearingsshowed a Moscow news conference on 25May a document dated May 1975 according to which the KGB had, on the orders of the CPSU Central Committee, supplied arms to the Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine for the purpose of carrying out acts of sabotage and terrorism against Israelis and Americans in third countries. Shakhrai was quoted by Western agencies as saying he intends to turn the court hearing into a second Nuremberg trial. (Elizabeth Teague) YELTSIN ACCEPTS SHAKHRAIS RESIGNATION. After a meeting with Yeltsin, Sergei Shakhrai told journalists in Moscow that the Russian president has now accepted his recently-tendered resignation as chief legal affairs adviser, an RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow and Interfax reported on 25May. Shakhrai cited differences with Yeltsin on reforms and the composition of the presidential staff as reasons for his resignation. He said, however, that he had no plans to join the opposition, and he would also represent Yeltsin at the 26May session of the Constitutional Court as a lawyer, but not as an official. (Vera Tolz) GRACHEV ON NUCLEAR ARMS. Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev told journalists on 25May that it was out of the question that any former Soviet strategic nuclear weapons would remain in Kazakhstan. According to Radio Rossii, he said that all these weapons would be removed to Russia. Grachev added that while all strategic nuclear forces were presently under CIS joint command, Russia would establish its own nuclear forces once the reductions mandated by the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) had been carried out. (Doug Clarke) NATO GIVEN CONVENTIONAL ARMS FIGURES. The former Soviet republics that will participate in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty told NATO on 25May how they had agreed to split up the weapons quotas of the former USSR at the recent Tashkent summit. As reported by Western agencies, Russia will be allowed to keep just under 50% of the tanks and artillery once allocated to the Soviet Union, and nearly 70% of the combat aircraft and 60% of the combat helicopters. When the quotas in all five weapons categories covered by the treaty are added together, Russias share is 54%, Ukraine will have 27%, and Belarus 12%. The remainder is divided between Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Moldova. (Doug Clarke) MILITARY NEWS FROM BELARUS. Belarusian radio reported on 24May that the START protocol, signed the previous day in Lisbon, is expected to be ratified by the Belarusian parliament during its autumn session. Parliament is also due at that time to examine the question of signing the 1968 nuclear nonproliferation treaty. BelTA-TASS reported on 25May that 47-year-old scientist Alyaksandr Tushinsky has been chosen for the post of first deputy defense minister of Belarus. Tushinsky was quoted as saying that defense industry structures must be put onto a qualitatively new basis, taking into account the formation of the Belarus armed forces. (Kathy Mihalisko) RUSSIAN-KAZAKH FRIENDSHIP TREATY SIGNED. A treaty on friendship, cooperation and mutual aid was signed in Moscow on 25May by the presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan, ITAR-TASS reported. Under the terms of the treaty, the two countries agreed to form a common military area with joint use of military installations and a common economic area. Both recognize the inviolability of each others borders. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has said that it was the terms of this treaty, along with agreement on common defense signed at the Tashkent summit, that convinced him to agree to give up Kazakhstans nuclear missiles. (Bess Brown) RUSSIAN POLITICIANS SET UP NEW MOVEMENT. A group of Russian political leaders, including some of Boris Yeltsins top aides, set up a new political movement called the Union for Democracy and Reforms, ITAR-TASS reported on 25May. The founders include: the first deputy chairman of the Russian parliament, Sergei Filatov; the parliaments deputy chairman Vladimir Shumeiko; and deputy prime ministers Aleksandr Shokhin and Mikhail Poltoranin. A declaration issued by its leaders noted that the movement is directed toward consolidating the constructive and responsible section of Russian society. Like similar organizations (e.g., the Movement for Democratic Reforms set up in 1991, or the Reforma group set up earlier this month), the new movement seeks to rally the center ground in support of Yeltsins move to the market. (Jean Riollot/Vera Tolz/Elizabeth Teague) SPECULATION ABOUT GORBACHEVS RETURN TO POLITICS. On 24May, Radio Rossii quoted Argumenty i fakty as saying Mikhail Gorbachev and former member of the CPSU CC Politburo, Dzasokhov, would probably run for election to the Russian parliament. There are currently 25 vacancies in the parliament. (Dzasokhov is actively involved in attempts to revive a Communist movement in Russia). Radio Rossii also quoted an article in the weekly, Rossiya, established by the Presidium of the Russian parliament, as saying Gorbachev was yearning for political revenge. Expressing hostility towards Gorbachev, the article seems to have been prompted by the former Soviet presidents recent trips to Japan and the United States. (Vera Tolz) RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES RUSSIAS IMF MEMBERSHIP. On 22May, the Russian parliament approved a decree on Russias entry into the IMF and World Bank, (Izvestiya, 25May). Izvestiya noted that the former USSR could be receiving $4.5-5 billion a year in World Bank credits, with about half going to Russia. This is consistent with earlier reports in the Western press (The Wall Street Journal, 28 April, The International Herald Tribune, 29 April). (Philip Hanson) BELARUS INTRODUCES OWN RUBLE AHEAD OF SCHEDULE. Although it was not scheduled to appear in circulation until 1 July, the National Bank of Belarus has already begun making payments in the Belarusian ruble, according to Novosti on 25May. Its early introduction was due to the severe shortage of ordinary ruble notes. Between 10% and 15% of Belarusian salaries will be paid out in the new banknotes, which will be exchangeable into ordinary rubles at the rate of 1:10. In related news, IMF representatives met in Minsk on 25May with deputy prime minister Mikhail Myasnikovich, according to BelTA-TASS. RUSSIAS CASH SHORTAGE. The Moscow evening news, on 25May, commented on the worsening shortages of ruble notes and coins. In revolutionary situations, the commentator observed, People storm the banks. So far [it is only] accounts clerks [who] are storming the main entrance of the Russian Central Bank. Arrears in wage and benefit payments (nearly all paid in cash), according to the report, now total 2 trillion rubles. One cause of this was said to be increased cash hoarding by the population. This is probably at the expense of additions to savings bank deposits, though experience in Czechoslovakia suggests it is possible for household saving to rise when price liberalization cuts real incomes. (Philip Hanson) PUBLIC TRANSPORT WORKERS SUSPEND STRIKE. Russian public transport workers have suspended a planned 24-hour nationwide strike that was to have taken place on 26May, ITAR-TASS reported on 25May. The agency said the Russian government has pledged to address the drivers demands within one or two weeks. These demands include not only higher wages but also modernization of vehicles to improve safety. (Elizabeth Teague) YELTSIN RAISES MINIMUM WAGE. The minimum monthly wage will rise in Russia from 600 to 900 rubles on 1 June, RadioMayak reported on 23May. Under an edict signed by Yeltsin, the monthly stipends of graduate students will go up to 900 rubles while undergraduates will get 700 rubles; the allocation for single mothers will rise to between 400 and 500 rubles a month while couples will qualify for a one-time payment of 2,700 rubles on the birth of each child. (Elizabeth Teague) UKRAINE-CZECHOSLOVAKIA INITIAL FRIENDSHIP TREATY. On 25May, during a one-day visit to Kiev by Czechoslovak Prime Minister Marian Calfa, Ukraine and Czechoslovakia initialed a treaty in which, among other things, both sides pledged not to raise any territorial claims against the other, Radio Ukraine and CSTK reported. During a meeting with Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk, Calfa presented him with an invitation from President Vaclav Havel to visit Czechoslovakia. Kravchuk, according to Ukrinform-TASS, told Calfa that his visit had a great significance because relations between Ukraine and Czechoslovakia have not yet developed as much as they could. (Bohdan Nahaylo and Barbara Kroulik) UKRAINE LOOKS TO VISEGRAD TRIANGLE. Czechoslovak Prime Minister Marian Calfa confirmed at a press conference in Kiev on 25May that Ukraine is interested in closer cooperation with the Visegrad Triangle, consisting of Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland, CSTK reported. Last week, Ukraines Prime Minister Vitold Fokin visited Hungary (with which Ukraine already has signed several agreements) and hinted at a press conference that it was not excluded that Ukraine might eventually be able to join the Triangle, RFE/RLs Budapest correspondent reported on 22May. Fokin commented that, A table with four legs was more stable than one with only three. On 18May, President Kravchuk also signed a treaty on good-neighborly relations and cooperation between Ukraine and Poland. (Bohdan Nahaylo) DEMIREL PROPOSES NEW KARABAKH PEACE CONFERENCE. Following a meeting with Russian President Boris Yeltsin on 25May, Turkish Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel called for the convening of a new Karabakh peace conference under the auspices of the CSCE. Turkish Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin told reporters that the conference would probably begin on 28May but the venue had not been chosen, and that representatives of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic would attend but not actively participate. The prospects for a solution of the conflict appear remote, however, in that NKR parliament deputy Levon Melik-Shakhnazaryan told ITAR-TASS on 25May that the parliament would never again acknowledge Azerbaijans jurisdiction. (Liz Fuller) MOLDOVA APPEALS TO UN. Moldovan President Mircea Snegur cabled UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali on 23May that Moldovas independence and territorial integrity are being endangered by the Russian 14th Armys brutal use of force...This constitutes an armed aggression by the Russian Federation against the Republic of Moldova, an undeclared war for whose consequences the Russian government bears full responsibility. Citing Moldovas initiatives for a peaceful resolution of the conflict and the Russian leaderships failure to reply, Snegur noted that unless Russia withdraws its army, Moldova reserves the right to submit the issue to the UN Security Council. (Vladimir Socor) RUSSIA IGNORES MOLDOVAN MESSAGES. Since the latest escalation (which began on 18May) of the military-supported Russian insurgency in Moldova, Snegur and the Moldovan Parliament Presidium have cabled four messages to Yeltsin and to the Russian Supreme Soviet Presidium, calling for an end to support for the insurgency by the Russian Federation and the withdrawal of Russias 14th Army. As on previous occasions, the messages have gone unanswered. Moreover, Moldovas Presidential Office told the RFE/RL Research Institute that Yeltsin has consistently been unavailable to Snegur by telephone. Russias Foreign Ministry has failed to answer a protest note from Moldovas Foreign Ministry. Russias Defense Ministry for its part claims, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that the 14th Army is neutral. (Vladimir Socor) UKRAINE RESPONDS. Snegur's message of 19May to the heads of CIS member states, soliciting political support for Moldova, has only been answered by the Ukrainian president. As cited by Moldovapres on 24May, Kravchuk wrote Snegur that Ukraine firmly condemns any military aggression and regards as unacceptable any involvement in the conflict by a third party. Expressing support for Moldovas independence and sovereignty, Kravchuk called for a political settlement based on the principles worked out by the Moldovan, Romanian, Russian, and Ukrainian Foreign Ministers in April. Kravchuks last point is significant since those principles favor Moldova, while Russia has yet to abide by them and the Russian Foreign Ministry has since backtracked from them. (Vladimir Socor) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN UPDATE. Radio Bosnia-Herzegovina reports on 25May that Bosnian Serb officials and militia have agreed to lift a blockade of Sarajevo airport to allow the landing of aircraft carrying international humanitarian aid. A Bosnian interior ministry statement, however, warned that the Serbs are planning to hijack the convoy, but that its leaders are planning to place the blame on renegade Serb terrorists. Heavy fighting was reported in only a few towns in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Belgrade papers say Muslim and Croat forces are fighting in western Herzegovina over several former federal military arms factories. Radio Serbia reports on 25May that the Belgrade staff of the Sarajevo daily Oslobodjenje and Radio Bosnia-Herzegovina were forcibly evicted from their offices by the Bosnia Serb news agency SRNA. In Lisbon slow progress was reported in the EC-mediated talks. Muslim, Serb, and Croat leaders refused to negotiate directly, but did meet separately with head mediator Josť Cutilheiro and showed some willingness to discuss the proposed reorganization of the republic into separate national units. (Milan Andrejevich) FEDERAL TROOP WITHDRAWAL HALTED. Radio Croatia reports on 25May that the federal army withdrawal from three barracks in Sarajevo has been halted. Bosnian officials said the soldiers are in violation of an agreement that calls for the federal army to leave behind half their weapons and equipment. One barracks had been cleared, and federal army and Bosnian officials are meeting to resolve the dispute. In a related matter, Vuk Obradovic, Yugoslavias youngest general, has resigned, citing moral reasons. In earlyMay he had promised the parents of soldiers stationed in Bosnia that they would be returned home by 19May. Obradovic is widely regarded as the instigator of the early retirements of 68generals since February. (Milan Andrejevich) KOSOVO ELECTION A SUCCESS. On 25May the chairman of the Kosovo election commission told reporters that the parliamentary and presidential election in Kosovo was a success: 90% of the eligible voters cast ballots and the elections passed without violence. Provisional results from 21 of the 29 municipalities show nearly 99% voted for writer Ibrahim Rugova, who ran unopposed for president of the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo. Rugovas party, the Democratic Alliance (DSK), has apparently won at least 80 of the 83 contests so far decided for seats in the 130-member parliament. Serbia has said the elections are illegal, but did little to prevent the balloting. The elections were monitored by numerous international observers from Europe and the US. (Milan Andrejevich) BALTIC TROOP TALKS RESUME. Another round of talks on withdrawal of ex-USSR troopsapparently, according to Radio Riga, including all three Baltic States and Russiais underway in Moscow. Latvian Deputy Defense Minister Dainis Turlajs told BNS on 25May that the talks are needed to iron out differences on drawing up a timetable for the withdrawal that the Russian and Latvian groups of experts could not resolve in their meetings. The Latvian delegation is being led by Minister of State Janis Dinevics. Lithuanian parliament deputy chairman Ceslovas Stankevicius, who is heading his countrys delegation, said that Lithuania will continue to demand the departure of the Russian troops this year and suitable compensation for the damages the army had caused over more than 50years, Radio Lithuania reports. (Dzintra Bungs & Saulius Girnius) BALTIC DEFENSE MINISTRIES COOPERATE. Latvias Defense Minister Talavs Jundzis told the press that during the meeting with his Estonian and Lithuanian counterparts in Riga on 22May the three ministers and other Baltic officials plan to cooperate in the guarding of borders and work out joint systems of antiaircraft defense. The participants also discussed the formulation of a common Baltic foreign policy. Jundzis also said that the there could be a joint approach to the withdrawal of ex-USSR troops from the Baltic States, Diena reported on 22May. (Dzintra Bungs) ESTONIANS SEIZE TWO BASES. Estonias Border Defense Forces over the weekend seized two bases belonging to the former Soviet military. The Valga base was taken over early on 24May after former Soviet military officials had offered to sell Estonia the property. The second base, a facility near Tallinn, had been sold to a joint stock company. The actions come after the Estonian government on 22May reiterated the terms of an agreement last autumn with Soviet Defense Minister Evgenii Shaposhnikov that withdrawing troops will leave most property and equipment to Estonia. The Estonian government on 25May issued another statement saying such sales are illegal without official authorization. (Riina Kionka) MIRONOV THREATENS LATVIA. Valerii Mironov, commander of the Northwestern Group of Forces, told the press in Riga on 21May that he could not rule out the possibility of Dniester-type conflict from erupting in the Baltic region. He claimed that the military training facility in Rigas Ciekurkalns district, taken over by Latvian authorities on 20May, was actually the property of Russia and that the army was only using that property. Mironov also protested to Latvias Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs, who explained that such problems stem from the fact that no procedures for such takeovers have yet been agreed upon. Mironov agreed with Gorbunovss proposal for a special commission to deal with these matters, Diena reported on 21May. (Dzintra Bungs) MAJOR TO CENTRAL EUROPEAN TRIANGLE. Arriving in Warsaw on 25May for the first leg of a tour of Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, Prime Minister John Major expressed his countrys commitment to bringing the three countries of the Triangle into the European Community when they are ready. According to Western media, he said that the target date for EC membership should be the end of the century. Britain takes over the rotating presidency of the EC in July. (Louisa Vinton) HERZOG IN WARSAW. President Chaim Herzog began a four-day official visit to Polandthe first ever by an Israeli head of stateon 25May. In welcoming remarks, President Walesa said that our past should unite rather than divide us and expressed his determination to fight prejudices and stereotypes. Herzog stressed that Jews and Poles had both suffered greatly during the Nazi occupation and expressed tribute to the Poles who had risked their lives to save Jews. The Israeli president also met with Prime Minister Olszewski and visited memorials to murdered Jews in Warsaw. Questioned by Western reporters, both Walesa and Olszewski argued that anti-Semitism was a marginal phenomenon in Poland. (Louisa Vinton) GANEV TO GREECE. On 26May Bulgarian foreign minister Stoyan Ganev, accompanied by government officials, experts, and businessmen, begins a two-day visit to Greece. He will hold talks with Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis in Athens, but he will also go to Thessaloniki for discussions with Panayotis Hadzinoklau, minister for Greek Macedonia and Thrace, who visited Sofia last month. The situation in the former Yugoslavia, notably the newly independent Republic of Macedonia, as well as bilateral business and environmental issues are on the agenda. (Kjell Engelbrekt) EAGLEBURGER TO BUCHAREST. A press release from the US Embassy in Bucharest sent to Rompres on 25May announces that a US government delegation headed by Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, coordinator for aid to the Eastern countries, will arrive in Bucharest on 28May to discuss political reforms and the US assistance programs to Romania. (Crisula Stefanescu) BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT, TRADE UNIONS RESUME DIALOGUE. On 25May Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Vasilev, responsible for trade union relations, on 25May had informal talks with the chairmen of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and the Podkrepa and CITUB trade unions regarding a new social partnership arrangement. According to BTA, the idea is to revive the previous Tripartite Committee but in a new form. It has been suggested that the revived committee should include a National Council on Social Partnership, whose decisionswhen taken by consensuswould be binding on the government. (Kjell Engelbrekt) HAVEL OPENS NEWSPAPER CONGRESS IN PRAGUE. Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel opened the 45th World Newspaper Congress in Prague on 25May, calling freedom of the press the soul of humanity. Some 500 delegates from publications in 50 countries will discuss issues facing the press. Nelson Mandela, president of the African National Congress, will be the guest of honor on 26May. The congress is sponsored by the Paris-based International Federation of Newspaper Publishers, foreign agencies report. (Barbara Kroulik) GOVERNMENTS IRRESPONSIBILITY JEOPARDIZED SUCCESS OF WALESA TRIP. President Lech Walesa charged on 25May that eleventh-hour demands from the Polish government for revisions to new Russian-Polish agreements had threatened to make a fiasco of his recent state visit to Moscow. By the presidents account, Prime Minister Jan Olszewski dispatched a coded instruction to Walesa just two hours before his meeting with Russian President Boris Yeltsin, demanding the deletion of one item of the agreement on the financial aspects of the withdrawal of former Soviet troops. The governments irresponsibility could have led to a complete breakdown in the [Polish-Russian] talks, Walesas office charged. The prime minister countered immediately with a statement insisting that Walesa and Foreign Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski had known of the governments reservations well before the presidents departure for Moscow. This clash reflects a larger battle between Walesa and the ailing government over the presidents right to a say in foreign policy, military, and security matters. (Louisa Vinton) NASTASE SPEAKS OUT. On 25May Rompres quoted Foreign Minister Adrian Nastase as complaining that all European countries are unfortunately not judged by the same criteria and that Romania should assert with all its might that it belongs to Central Europe. Referring to relations with Hungary, he said improvement depends on Hungarys acceding to a very clear statement in a bilateral treaty, specifying that it has no territorial claims on Romania. In another statement after his return from Lisbon, where he attended the conference on aid to the CIS and met with the foreign ministers of Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine, Nastase said that Russia is seeking politically to control the situation in Transdniester. He warned against possible double-dealing by some parties involved in the conflict and affirmed that it is absolutely necessary that the Russian 14th Army withdrew immediately so that the political process could go on. (Crisula Stefanescu) LANDSBERGIS WONT CHANGE COURSE. On 26May Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis, in a speech broadcast live by Radio Lithuania, clearly affirmed that he is not going to change his policies after the referendum vote. He accused the left-wing deputies of planning a creeping coup to seize all control in Lithuania and directly attacked the Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party. He called for a three-month freeze on replacing high officials in parliament and government and the holding of elections to a new parliament on 23August. The speech is likely to further inflame the already heated situation in the parliament. (Saulius Girnius) CONTROVERSY AROUND HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT. Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef Antall will ask the Constitutional Court to determine whether President Arpad Goncz violated the law by refusing to meet Antalls request to dismiss the president of Hungarian radio, MTI reported on 25May. On the same day, the leaders of the parliamentary groups of the three coalition parties initiated the adoption of a statement by parliament declaring that Gonczs refusal to dismiss the radio president was unconstitutional and could endanger [the functioning of] parliamentary democracy. The opposition parties, on the other hand, argued that the parliament has no right to issue a statement condemning the president, since under the constitution only the Constitutional Court may initiate proceedings against him. (Edith Oltay) ESTONIAN COMMUNISTS: LIVING OFF OLD FAT The Estonian Communist Party remains in good financial shape, despite a massive drop in its membership, because it continues to live off the old fat, ECP First Secretary Enn-Arno Sillari told Postimees on 25May. Sillari praised the partys smart bookkeeping for its current success: Despite the fact that we got back only 2.6% of our assets after nationalization, weve been able to sell off this and that, and live from it. Postimees interviewed Sillari after the RFE/RL Estonian Service broadcast a report last week on a visit by Sillari and other leftist political leaders to Sweden in search of political and financial support.(Riina Kionka) [As of 1200 CET] 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
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