|Liberty of thought means liberty to communicate one's thought. - Salvador de Madariaga|
No. 104, 02 June 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR YELTSIN GETS MORE FLAK FROM GENERALS ON MOLDOVA. Russian generals continue to oppose President Boris Yeltsin's suggestion of 27 May concerning the withdrawal of Russia's 14th Army from Moldova. That Army's chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Vyacheslav Sitnikov, told Radio Moscow on 31 May that Yeltsin's proposal "was not thoroughly thought out." Sitnikov reiterated the false claim that most of the Army's personnel are native to the area, maintained that it was "inexpedient" for them to give up their housing and move elsewhere, and implied that they would join the "Dniester" forces if ordered to withdraw. Russia's defense minister, General Pavel Grachev, told CIS TV on 31 May, that a decision had to be made "in the future" whether to withdraw the 14th Army or to formalize its status as a force "temporarily stationed" in Moldova. Grachev also persisted in denying that Army's involvement in the conflict, despite Yeltsin's admission of that fact. (Vladimir Socor). GRACHEV THREATENS CHISINAU. In the same interview, Grachev charged that "political mistakes made by Moldova's political leaders in the Dniester region have exacerbated the situation" and demanded that Moldovan President Mircea Snegur order a unilateral cease-fire. Grachev did not mention that several cease-fire agreements signed in recent months collapsed when "Dniester" Russian forces sought to eliminate the Moldovan bridgeheads on the left bank of the river. Interviewed in Izvestiya of 1 June, Grachev said that Snegur's accusations concerning 14th Army involvement in the conflict were "absurd" and that the Moldovan President's "playing of the Army card provokes the Army into opening retaliatory fire when its bases are fired upon." This statement appeared to justify the intervention of elements of the 14th Army in the fighting on the side of "Dniester" forces which began on 18 May under just such a pretext. Chisinau has termed this argument, a fabrication. (Vladimir Socor) SHAPOSHNIKOV BACKS 14TH ARMY. Replying to a recent appeal by the Moldovan Women's Council, asking him to intercede for an end to military involvement in the fighting on the Dniester, the CIS commander in chief, Marshal Evgenii Shaposhnikov, escalated the accusations by claiming that the 14th Army was "under permanent attack by the Moldovan side." "The military's patience has an end too," Shaposhnikov warned. His letter was cited in Die Welt of 1 June. (Vladimir Socor) PULL-OUT FROM CAUCASUS DELAYED. Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev said in Izvestiya on 1 June (as summarized by Western agencies) that the withdrawal of Russian military units from the Caucasus, scheduled to begin that day, had been delayed at the request of the Armenian and Georgian governments. Units of the 7th army will apparently remain in Azerbaijan as well, although it is not clear how the Azerbaijani government views that decision. Grachev said that the army would leave Azerbaijan and Armenia, but over a longer period than had been originally planned. According to an ITAR-TASS report of 1 June, the commander of the 7th army, Fedor Reyut, said the withdrawal from Armenia would begin in 10-15 days. (Stephen Foye) GRACHEV ON MILITARY REFORM AND POTENTIAL THREATS. Grachev also told Izvestiya that the Russian army should be rebuilt from scratch, and he proposed setting up a new "Smolensk Military District," ITAR-TASS reported. He called for a transition to contract service and a professional military, but said that such a change would cost about 68 billion rubles. Both proposals, he admitted, would be difficult to realize under current economic conditions. Speaking at an international security conference on 1 June, Grachev said that Russia would regard "the dispatch of foreign troops to neighboring states and the build-up of troops and naval forces at its borders as a direct military threat." He said that the ministry plans to drastically reduce orders for weapons, adding that reform "will be guided by real economic conditions." (Stephen Foye) BELARUSIAN MILITARY REFORM. Belarusian Defense Minister Pavel Kozlovsky said on 1 June that Belarus would replace its existing tank-heavy divisions with "highly-mobile mechanized brigades of an exceptionally defensive character," ITAR-TASS reported. He said that the republic's air defense armies and air force units would be united with air defense and air force units attached to other formations to create powerful air defenses and air forces. Kozlovsky also said that the army would not discriminate against non-Belarusians, but added that by the end of the year Belarusian would be the language of the armed forces and that half of the officers corps and most of the soldiers would be ethnic Belarusians. (Stephen Foye) KYRGYZSTAN ASSUMES JURISDICTION OVER MILITARY UNITS. Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev has issued a decree under which Kyrgyzstan assumes jurisdiction over the military units stationed on its territory, KyrgyzTAG-TASS reported on 1 June. Vice-president Feliks Kulov told a press conference the same day that the number of military personnel would be reduced and that those remaining would have a purely defensive character, and therefore could dispense with complex and expensive equipment. Kyrgyzstan, Kulov added, intends to honor its commitment to contribute recruits to the CIS military forces. (Bess Brown) COMMITTEE SET UP TO DEMAND YELTSIN'S RESIGNATION. Leaders of pro-Communist opposition parties in Russia set up a committee in the Siberian city of Omsk to demand the resignation of President Boris Yeltsin and the entire Russian leadership. The main organizer of the committee is the head of the Russian Union and people's deputy, Sergei Baburin. ITAR-TASS reported on 1 June that the committee called for Yeltsin and other politicians to be put on trial, accusing them of being "responsible for the disintegration of the USSR and for the violation of the country's constitutional order." The committee also described as unconstitutional Yeltsin's decree of last year banning the CPSU. Baburin was quoted as saying that if Yeltsin remains in power, the committee will call for a mass political strike. (Vera Tolz) CUTS IN THE RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF SECURITY. The chief of the St. Petersburg administration of the Ministry of Security, Sergei Stepashin, told Argumenty i fakty (No. 18) that he expects former KGB leaders such as Vadim Bakatin, Viktor Ivanenko and Leonid Sheparshin to return to the leadership of the Russian intelligence agency soon. He also claimed that the personnel of the Ministry of Security has been reduced by 30% to 76,000 people. (Alexander Rahr) EMIGRATION TO ISRAEL DROPS SHARPLY. Only 3,360 emigrants from the CIS states arrived in Israel in May of this year, compared with 16,440 in May 1991, a Jewish agency spokesman told AFP on 1 June. The figure for the first five months of the year was 23,400 compared with 66,000 in 1991. The main reason for the drop is the job shortage. 39% of immigrants from the former Soviet Union are said to be unemployed. A higher proportion of recent immigrants are people of retirement age and Jews living in the Muslim republics where the political situation is less stable, the spokesman said. (Ann Sheehy) GERMAN OFFICIAL VISITS SARATOV, VOLGOGRAD OBLASTS. German parliamentary State Secretary Horst Waffenschmidt told a press conference in Bonn on 1 June that he hoped for a speedy restoration of the Volga German republic, ITAR-TASS reported. Speaking about his recent visit to the Saratov and Volgograd oblasts, he said that the local authorities were making serious efforts to implement Yeltsin's decree on a step-by-step restoration, conducting explanatory work among the population and coordinating their actions with Russian German representatives. Waffenschmidt noted that a positive factor was that thousands of Germans from Central Asia had expressed their intention of moving to the Volga. (Ann Sheehy) UKRAINE AND CRIMEA REACH ACCOMMODATION? High-level representatives of Ukraine and Crimea appear to have worked out a compromise wherein Crimea has renounced the idea of seeking political independence in return for broad autonomy, CIS agencies and Reuters reported. A joint declaration issued on 1 June in Yalta by the heads of the Ukrainian and Crimean parliaments, describes the peninsula as "an integral part of Ukraine," but specifies that it has the right to a special economic status and also "independently to enter into social, economic and cultural relations with other states." Calling for political restraint, the statement condemns "efforts to use anticonstitutional methods of resolving problems, and to artificially whip up passions." Negotiations on power sharing arrangements between Kiev and Simferopol will continue. (Bohdan Nahaylo) RUSSIAN CENTRAL BANK CHAIRMAN RESIGNS. Russian Central Bank Chairman Georgii Matyukhin and his deputy, Vladimir Rasskazov, tendered their resignations at a session of the Russian Supreme Soviet Presidium on 1 June, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. Matyukhin later told a press conference that his decision to resign was final, although the resignations must be approved by the parliament. Matyukhin has long been at odds with the Gaidar team and, more recently, the bank has come under fire from the parliament. The latest dispute arose when the bank increased its base lending rate to 80% a year (against an annual inflation rate expected to exceed 1000%), while parliament pressed for a reduction of the rate to 50%. (Keith Bush) RUSSIA FORMALLY JOINS IMF. Russia was formally accepted as a member of the International Monetary Fund on 1 June at a ceremony in Washington, Western agencies reported. It is the 7th former Soviet republic to join the fund. Russia's quota will be $2.876 billion in Special Drawing Rights which will enable it to borrow about $4 billion in 1992 provided that it implements a stabilization policy approved by the IMF. An IMF team that visited Moscow two weeks ago was reported to have been disappointed by progress to date in such areas as the reduction of the budget deficit and control over the money supply, and left without recommending approval. (Keith Bush) INDEPENDENT TRADE UNIONS SCORE A VICTORY. A new Russian Federation law, "On Col-lective Agreements" has been adopted in the Russian Federation (for the text, see Ekonomika i zhizn, No. 21, May 1992). It gives Russia's unofficial unions the right for the first time to negotiate with manage-ment. Collective agreements covering enterprise working conditions are concluded annually by management and representatives of the workforce. In the past, they were negotiated and signed by the official trade unions, but now the workers may be represented by any trade union, (i.e., the unofficial unions have won the right to negotiate with management). The first draft of the new law, drawn up by the official unions, stated that only the largest union in each enterprise would negotiate with management. The unofficial unions objected and the draft was discarded in favor of one prepared by the independent union, Sotsprof. (Elizabeth Teague) STRIKES THREATENED OVER CASH SHORTAGE. Workers in several regions of Russia have threatened to strike unless they are paid, Interfax reported on 1 June. Coal miners and chemical workers in Kuzbass planned to start their strike on 2 June, while nuclear industry employees in Krasnoyarsk-26 say they will stop work on 10 June unless their wages are forthcoming. Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar told a parliamentary faction on 1 June that "cash and non-payments between enterprises are the two most serious problems that could force the government to stop its (reformist) activities," Reuters reported. Gaidar promised that delayed salary payments would be indexed at an annual rate of 80%. (Keith Bush) FURTHER RETAIL PRICE INCREASES. The retail prices of vodka, other spirits, certain foodstuffs and some consumer services rose on 1 June, Izvestiya reported. The retail price of regular vodka at state stores went up from around 50 rubles to about 150 rubles for half a liter: this is the price that commission stores and kiosks have been charging recently. Monthly telephone charges in Moscow rose by a factor of three, calls from phone booths jumped to 50 kopeks, and the charge for installing a home telephone was increased to 3,000 rubles. The prices for bread and milk in Moscow may be freed soon. The charges for public transport, postal services, heating and water were also raised in Erevan. (Keith Bush) KAZAKHSTAN FREES BASIC FOODSTUFF PRICES. Kazakhstan has freed the prices for meat, milk and butter, and free sugar prices will follow on 1 July, Radio Mayak reported on 1 June. Bread prices will also be raised later. Meanwhile, prices for petroleum products were set at the level prevailing in the Russian Federation on 1 June. These price increases were said to be in conformity with the Kazakh government policy to end the country's role as a source of cheap agricultural products. (Bess Brown) MORE CHURCHES RETURNED IN MOSCOW. Radio Rossii reported on 27 May that the Moscow city government is preparing to return to the Russian Orthodox Church, eight church buildings in the near future. According to Radio Rossii, there are now more than 400 churches in Moscow, but restoration of these churches is handicapped by lack of funds and building materials.(Oxana Antic) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE ANOTHER CEASE-FIRE COME AND GONE. Yet another cease-fire has been shattered, less than two hours after it went into effect at 6:00 p.m. on 1 June. Radio Croatia reports that Serb irregular forces shelled Sarajevo for two hours amid fighting in the streets and airport. A Sarajevo radio commentator suggests that those responsible should consult a dictionary for the meaning of cease-fire. Clashes were also reported in other areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Bosnian Defense Minister Jerko Doko sent a protest to the Yugoslav federal military command and EC mediator for Bosnia, Jose Cutilheiro, stating that the "senseless attacks continue with unabated ferocity." Dubrovnik was shelled again by Serb forces for the fourth consecutive day. The local Serbian commander denied his troops were involved in the shelling. (Milan Andrejevich) NEW BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT INCLUDES SERBS. On 1 June Bosnia's State Presidency announced that the vacancies in the Presidency by its Serb representatives have been filled. Nenad Kecmanovic and Mirko Pejanovic of Bosnia's moderate-left Alliance of Reform Forces (established in 1990 by former federal prime minister Ante Markovic) were named to replace Biljana Plavsic and Nikola Koljevic, who resigned on 7 April. A reshuffle in the Bosnia-Herzegovina government is expected on 2 June, and most of the posts vacated by members of the leading Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) will probably be filled by Serbs from moderate-left parties. Unconfirmed reports say the SDS members are willing to return to their government posts. Radio Bosnia-Herzegovina carried the report. (Milan Andrejevich) REACTIONS TO UN SANCTIONS. Serbs are reported to be stocking up on food essentials and gasoline as international support mounts for the wide range of sanctions approved on 30 May by the UN Security Council. Britain expelled Yugoslavia's ambassador, and the Yugoslav ambassador to Canada resigned because of the fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Federal Yugoslav and Serb leaders have described the sanctions as unjust and unnecessary. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic told Radio Bosnia-Herzegovina on 31 May that he is sorry the sanctions will "hurt the innocent Serbian people." But, describing Serbia's policies and leaders both in Serbia and Bosnia, he said the sanctions are necessary because "the beast has suffered a fatal blow, regardless of how much it may writhe before it dies." Stjepan Kljuic, a Croat member of Bosnia's Presidency, said he hopes the sanctions will bring about a change in the internal political scene in Serbia and Montenegro to help alter their government's attitude towards Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mirko Jovic, leader of a main opposition party in Serbia, however, said it will not make any difference if the sanctions topples the Milosevic regime because any government in Serbia will continue to support the right of Bosnia's Serbs to self-determination. Serbian opposition leaders term the sanctions brutal, but most have openly called for the current leadership to step down. (Milan Andrejevich) EAST EUROPEAN INVOLVEMENT. Romania has decided to recognize Bosnia-Herzegovina and establish diplomatic relations, local media report. The Foreign Ministry statement on 1 June also calls on the three communities in Bosnia-Herzegovina to put an end to hostilities. In support of UN sanctions Czechoslovakia informed the Yugoslav ambassador, Stanislav Stojanovic, on 1 June that the Yugoslav military attache and at least one other high-level diplomat will be asked to leave. The government will consider implementing other UN sanctions on 4 June. Two reporters of the Hungarian Panorama TV team were expelled from the territory of Serbia and Montenegro and banned for one year by Serbian police, MTI reported on 1 June. They were preparing a report on the parliamentary and local elections in Vojvodina on 31 May, and were arrested while photographing the house of an ethnic Hungarian damaged by gunfire shortly before the elections. The police charged that the team had no permit to photograph and detained the reporters for over six hours. (Crisula Stefanescu, Barbara Kroulik, & Edith Oltay) CZECHOSLOVAK STEEL IMPORTS TO EC. In talks in Brussels on 1 June the EC Executive Commission warned Czechoslovakia that it must limit steel exports or face economic action. The EC is concerned about a recent increase in Czechoslovak steel exports to some EC states. Steel trade was among the most controversial points of the EC-Czechoslovak association accord signed in March. The joint statement said Prague will try to ensure a better balance in steel exports. Germany and France call for close monitoring of Czechoslovak steel imports, while the UK is more supportive, saying the EC must open its doors to Czechoslovak exports, foreign agencies report. (Barbara Kroulik) DELORS URGES FINANCIAL DISCIPLINE FOR POLAND. European Commission President Jacques Delors urged Poland to improve its financial discipline as a prelude to closer EC ties. After arriving in Warsaw on 1 June for an official two-day visit, Delors met with Prime Minister Jan Olszewski to discuss Poland's economic cooperation with the EC, Western and Polish media report. Olszewski said Delors stressed the need to adjust Poland's economy to EC requirements, especially by increasing the competitiveness of exports and bringing more financial discipline to the economy. Delors later attended an international seminar on European integration in Zakrzew. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) ROMANIA'S PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM. The government has begun mailing out vouchers--representing shares in about 3,000 small and medium-sized firms--to adult citizens as part of its plan to privatize state-owned firms, Romanian and foreign media report. The vouchers can be claimed at post offices for 100 lei and may be traded or sold, but not to foreigners. Romania's voucher plan is similar to one used to privatize firms in Czechoslovakia. (Crisula Stefanescu) WARSAW TAKES A DIFFERENT TACK. On 1 June Poland unveiled the legal framework for its mass privatization program, Reuters reports. Jerzy Thieme, head of the program, told newsmen that it will not involve auction vouchers as is being done elsewhere in Eastern Europe, a system he criticized because, he says, vouchers give no guarantee of effective industry ownership or management. The Polish scheme, which still needs approval from the Sejm, will involve "real shares in real companies being restructured by real experts." It envisages handing over controlling interest in about 200 large state enterprises to funds run by management consulting firms. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) RUN ON VALUTA IN ESTONIA. Banks in Estonia report a record boom in valuta-buying, with exchange rates increasing some 3% each day in one week, according to BNS on 28 May. Banking officials believe Estonians are cashing in rubles for hard currency in the last days before the currency reform and introduction of the Estonian kroon expected some time in June. (Riina Kionka) CENSUS IN ROMANIA. According to preliminary results of the January 1992 census, Romania's population numbers 22,760,449 people, of which 20,352,960 are ethnic Romanians (89.4%), i.e. 1,353,000 more than in the 1977 census. Ethnic Hungarians number 1,620,199 (700 less than in 1977) or 7.1% of the population. Gypsies account for 1.8% of the country's population (but experts report a tendency among them to declare a different nationality), Germans--0.5%, Ukrainians--0.3%, Russians-Lipovans--0.2%, and other national-ities--less than 0.1%, Romanian media report. (Crisula Stefanescu) LATVIA WANTS LATVIANS BACK. The Repatriation Commission, formed by the Latvian Supreme Council Presidium on 30 April, has held its first meeting in the office of its chairman, Anatolijs Gorbunovs, who is also Chairman of the Supreme Council, Diena reported on 28 May. The purpose of the commission is to facilitate the return of Latvians to Latvia, whether they live in the West or the East, and to help them maintain their ties with Latvia if they wish to remain abroad. The commission will meet again on 16 June to discuss a detailed program. (Dzintra Bungs) MOSCOW WANTS VALGA BACK. Calling the seizure by Estonian forces of the Valga air defense base on 24 May "an armed assault" on Russia leading to "the capture" of facility, the Russian Foreign Ministry last week sent Estonia a note demanding its return. BNS reports that Estonian sources dispute this interpretation, saying the empty base was taken from two sleeping Russian soldiers without using force, but the government has not yet responded officially. (Riina Kionka) LIPPMAA ON HOW RUSSIA VIEWS THE OUTSIDE WORLD. Russia views foreign countries as belonging to two categories--the "far outside world" such as Germany and the UK, and the "near outside world," including Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. This was the impression that former Savisaar government minister Endel Lippmaa came away with after he participated in the latest round of Estonian-Russian expert group consultations last weekend. Lippmaa told Postimees of 2 June that the two sides remain diametrically opposed on the legal point of departure for interstate relations between the two states. (Riina Kionka) BULGARIA'S ASP HOLDS CONGRESS. The Alternative Social-Liberal Party, a member of the ruling UDF, held its third congress on 30-31 May. It reelected as its chairman professor Nikolay Vasilev, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education. BTA quoted Vasilev as saying that the ASP is one of only two UDF members that have not split. He said the present crisis in the UDF might be solved by an expansion of its social basis. The congress called for resetting priorities in the economic reform with privatization as the key, a reduction of interest rates, and a moderate encouragement of consumption in order to revive the economy. It rejected the idea of freezing wages. (Rada Nikolaev) LATVIAN LABOR PARTY LOSES HEAD-QUARTERS. The Democratic Labor Party of Latvia (DLPL) was issued a court order on 27 May to vacate within one month its headquarters in the center of Riga, according to Diena of 28 May. The party, which was formed by the liberal communists who split from the Latvian Communist Party in 1990, was using space that had been allocated to the LCP and had not been paying rent. The DLPL's protracted conflict over the space is with Riga's Center District Committee, which has authority over it and which is trying to regularize its dealings with renters and leasers. The DLPL claims that it has tried repeatedly to obtain a lease from the district committee, but that the committee has been obstructionist. (Dzintra Bungs) SAJUDIS COALITION FOR "A DEMOCRATIC LITHUANIA." On 1 June the parliament deputies of the recently formed Sajudis Coalition for "a Democratic Lithuania" held an organizational meeting, Radio Lithuania reports. The meeting approved by-laws and elected a 13-member council headed by deputies Egidijus Jarasiunas, Stasys Malkevicius, Algimantas Sejunas, Jonas Simenas, and parliament deputy chairman Ceslovas Stankevicius. The coalition now has 57 members from four factions, Joint Sajudis, National, Conciliation, and Moderate. The coalition supports holding elections to a new parliament and the councils of the Vilnius and Salcininkai regions in September and will continue to boycott the parliament until an election date is set. Acting as an alternative parliament, the coalition will meet on 2 June to discuss the government crisis and expects to hear a report from Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius. (Saulius Girnius) ANOTHER ELECTION COALITION IN ESTONIA. A group of former Savisaar government ministers known as the Coalition Party have formed a new election coalition, BNS reported on 1 June. The Secure Home coalition seeks to protect the interests of Estonia's active citizens and build a secure economy and humane environment so that people can feel secure in their old age. Because the group is an election coalition rather than a party, Secure Home will allow its candidates to the new parliament to vote according to their consciences and the wishes of the voters rather than holding them to party discipline. (Riina Kionka) BULGARIAN CHURCH CONFLICT. The "renewed" Holy Synod, which was registered by the government's Directorate on Religions on 25 May, took over the synod building and held a meeting on 1 June. BTA said that the 12 prelates and clerics, headed by Bishop Pimen, approved the directorate's declaration that the 1971 appointment of Patriarch Maksim had been procedurally irregular. In another dispatch BTA said Maksim requested an urgent meeting with President Zhelev to complain of obstructions to convening the regular session of the Holy Synod. Zhelev's spokesman said the president is sympathetic and has asked the Constitutional Court to consider the problem of separation of church and state with special reference to the role of the Directorate on Religions. (Rada Nikolaev) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Charles Trumbull (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). 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