|Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to a man. - Leon Trotsky|
No. 105, 03 June 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR NEW RUSSIAN FIRST DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER. Vladimir Shumeiko has been appointed first deputy prime minister of the Russian Government, ITAR-TASS reported on 2 June. He will be in charge of industry and supervise the work of two other deputy prime ministers. Georgii Khizha and Viktor Chernomydrin. Shumeiko will also represent the government in parliament. Prior to his recent appointment, Shumeiko worked as deputy parliament chairman when the legislature turned against the government. Contrary to the other first deputy prime minister, Egor Gaidar, Shumeiko is an experienced production leader. He had been director of a plant in Krasnodar and president of the Confederation of the Union of Russian Businessmen. (Alexander Rahr) CHUBAIS APPOINTED DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER. Anatolii Chubais, the head of the State Committee for Management of State Property and close associate of the economic overlord, Egor Gaidar, has been appointed deputy prime minister, ITAR-TASS reported on 1 June. Nezavisimaya gazeta on 2 June speculated that after the recent appointment of two representatives of the military-industrial lobby (Georgii Khizha and Viktor Chernomyrdin) to deputy prime minister positions, the reformist camp within the government had been reduced to Gaidar and Aleksandr Shokhin. Chubais's appointment, however, indicated that Yeltsin is prepared to press ahead with privatization in Russia. (Alexander Rahr) PRIVATIZATION PLANS THREATENED. Anatolii Chubais told a Moscow news conference on 2 June that conservative parliamentary deputies are obstructing government plans for privatization, "Vesti," reported. He charged that the deputies were pressing for shares in state enterprises to be sold only to the work collectives of those enterprises. This would effectively exclude about one half of the population from acquiring shares and "put in doubt the very possibility of privatization and the entire reform process." (Keith Bush) YELTSIN THREATENS GORBACHEV? "Novosti" on 2 June, reported that Russian President Boris Yeltsin's spokesman, Vyacheslav Kostikov, had warned Mikhail Gorbachev over what he termed "dangerous and intolerable comments" made by the former Soviet president in an interview with Komsomolskaya pravda (29 May). Kostikov said that "all legal measures" would be taken to halt Gorbachev's criticism of the Russian president. Meanwhile, Gorbachev's spokesman, Aleksandr Likhotal, noted that this episode only proves that Gorbachev's opinion on the danger of authoritarianism within the Yeltsin administration is entirely justified. In an interview with "Novosti" later that night, however, Gorbachev said that he believed Yeltsin was unaware of Kostikov's statement and that the sole purpose of his remarks was to rally reformist forces. (Julia Wishnevsky) RUSSIAN TV COVERAGE OF THE FEUD. In a departure from its usual position, "Novosti" openly sided with Gorbachev over Yeltsin's criticism. Tatyana Mitkova, the anchor of the evening newscast, quoted from Gorbachev's interview with Komsomolskaya pravda and added that such criticism "entirely corresponded with the policy of glasnost and pluralism" that Gorbachev had initiated. By contrast, none of the day's four editions of the second channel's newscast, "Vesti," even mentioned the episode. (Julia Wishnevsky) UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT DENOUNCES RUSSIAN "INTERFERENCE" IN CRIMEAN ISSUE. . . On 2 June, the Ukrainian parliament declared that a recent statement by the Russian parliament that the transfer of Crimea from the Russian Federation to Ukraine in 1954 was illegal "has no legal significance and no legal consequences for Ukraine," Ukrinform-TASS and Reuters reported. Condemning Russian claims to the peninsula as interference, the resolution adopted by the Ukrainian parliament also rejected the idea of negotiating with Moscow on Crimea's status because the latter is an integral part of Ukraine. (Bohdan Nahaylo) . . . AND RUSSIAN "CHAUVINISM." Ukrinform-TASS reported that during the Ukrainian parlia-ment's discussion on Russia, the deputy chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, Vasyl Durdinets, charged Russia with pursuing a policy of "pressure by force" and "unconcealed political dictat" towards independent Ukraine. He accused the Russian parliament of violating the Helsinki Accords and the existing bilateral treaty between Ukraine and Russia, and in this way, undermining peace and stability in Europe generally. The Ukrainian parliament voted to adopt a separate statement in which "attempts" by the Russian parliament to pursue a policy towards Ukraine "based on Russian national-chauvinism" and the mentality of "the elder brother" were condemned. (Bohdan Nahaylo) UKRAINE CALLS FOR FREEZE ON ASSETS OF FORMER USSR. In a further expression of Ukrainian annoyance and frustration with Russia, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called on foreign governments to freeze all former Soviet assets taken over by Russia, Reuters reported on 2 June. Ukrainian foreign office officials pointed out that ever since the USSR collapsed, Ukraine has been pressing Russia to divide up the former Soviet embassies and other property abroad among all the other former Soviet republics. Russia, which unilaterally took over these assets, has agreed to discuss this subject but in practice continues to stall. (Bohdan Nahaylo) RUSSIA SEEKING TO KEEP UKRAINE AND ROMANIA OUT OF NEGOTIATIONS ON MOLDOVAN CONFLICT. The Moldovan foreign minister, Nicolae Tiu, told journalists before setting off for talks in Moscow that "Russia is attempting to exclude Ukraine and Romania from the process of regulating the conflict in the Trans-Dniester region and to conduct the negotiations with Moldova on a bilateral basis," Radio Ukraine reported on 2 June 1992. Ukraine supports Moldova and Romania in insisting that the Russian 14th Army be withdrawn from the "Dniester republic." (Bohdan Nahaylo) MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ACCUSES MOSCOW OF MISUSE OF CIS. Addressing the people of Moldova on TV on 1 June, as cited by Moldovapres, Moldovan President Mircea Snegur denounced "those who are trying to make Moldova into a base for continuing the imperial games of the former Union and its legal successor, Russia." While Moldova and other states "regarded the CIS as a means for discarding the former Soviet empire in a peaceful and civilized way, Moscow seeks to use the CIS as a new form of the USSR and to install pro-Moscow governments... Resenting our independent course," Snegur noted, "Moscow uses separatist movements as a means for pressing Moldova into changing its course and for installing a pro-Moscow regime in Chisinau." Snegur recalled that the former USSR central authorities had unsuccessfully used similar tactics against Moldova. (Vladimir Socor) ANOTHER WARNING BY GAGAUZ. In its third warning to Chisinau in the past week, the self-styled "Gagauz Republic Supreme Soviet" appealed to Russia to include the Gagauz issue on the agenda for negotiations regarding the future of the "Dniester republic." "Any attempt to ignore the will of the Gagauz people could lead to a large-scale conflict," the appeal warned, adding that there were now "three independent republics in place of the former Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic." CIS TV gave the appeal prominent coverage, Moldovapres reported on 31 May. On 1 June, CIS TV also reported from Tiraspol on an alleged "congress of Moldovans in the Dniester republic" at which the Moldovans were said to have unanimously called for the secession of the Dniester region from Moldova, Moldovapres reported. (Vladimir Socor) RUSSIAN STRIKES CALLED OFF. Workers in several regions of Russia had threatened to walk off their jobs unless they were paid (see the RFE/RL Daily Report of 2 June). Spokesmen for the Kuzbass coal miners and the nuclear industry employees in Krasnoyarsk-26 told Reuters on 2 June that no major strikes were under way. A railway car carrying cash for the workers had arrived at Krasnoyarsk, while money for oil workers in Tyumen was reported to be on its way. The head of the workers' committee at Novokuznetsk blamed ex-CP officials for using strike calls to disrupt reforms. (Keith Bush) KOKOSHIN VISITS TULA. Russian First Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin, along with a group of generals and military experts, left for the city of Tula on 2 June, Radio Mayak reported. The purpose of the visit was reportedly to confer on the problem of conversion with leaders of defense enterprises in the city, which is the center of one of Russia's major defense industrial regions. Kokoshin oversees relations between the Russian Defense Ministry and the defense industrial sector. (Stephen Foye) FUEL PRICE RISE TO BE DELAYED? President Yeltsin reiterated his appeal to the oil and gas industries to delay raising the prices for their products, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported on 2 June. He said that immediate price increases would be a serious blow both to families, already suffering under market reforms, and to the agricultural sector. Yeltsin has on several occasions implicitly and explicitly accused the IMF of advocating an immediate liberalization of wholesale prices for energy carriers. Yet the published studies and statements of the Fund acknowledge that an overnight transition to world prices would have a disastrous impact on most of Russian industry, and have recommended a step-by-step adjustment. (Keith Bush) NUCLEAR POWER PROGRAM REVIVED. A Russian government directive of 26 March ordered the resumption of construction of nuclear power plants and the increase of existing capacity, according to Komsomolskaya pravda of 2 June, as reported by Western agencies. The circular, signed by Egor Gaidar, termed the nuclear power program a top priority for 1992. Construction of new nuclear plants had effectively been halted after the Chernobyl explosion, and the Gaidar directive was signed two days after the accident at the Sosnovy Bar reactor near St. Petersburg. (Keith Bush) LAST CONGRESS OF THE USSR WRITERS UNION OPENS. The Ninth Congress (expected to be its last) of the USSR Writers Union opened in Moscow on 2 June. The Congress agenda includes dividing up the assets of the Union and its Literary Fund among the respective republican organ-izations. Although the Union has been subdivided into at least four different organizations since last August's coup attempt, it remains the only major all-Union organization to have survived for so long. Despite the Union's reputation for scandal, according to Russian TV, the first day at the Congress was unusually calm. (Julia Wishnevsky) FOKIN UNDER FIRE AGAIN. Ukrainian Prime Min-ister Vitold Fokin has come under renewed fire in the Ukrainian parliament for not proceeding rapidly and decisively enough with economic reform. Accor-ding to Reuters, about one third of the Ukrainian parliament's deputies have signed a motion of no confidence in Fokin, and on 2 June around 2,000 people demonstrated before the parliament calling for his resignation. Some democratic deputies, like Vyacheslav Chornovil, say they would prefer President Leonid Kravchuk to take charge of the government himself. (Bohdan Nahaylo) KRAVCHUK TO VISIT FRANCE. According to Ukrainian foreign office officials, Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk will visit France next week, Reuters reported on 2 June. That same day, a "Days of France" festival opened in Kiev (Bohdan Nahaylo) DRAFT EVADERS IN BELARUS. Radio Mayak reported on 2 June that some 2,400 Belarusian conscripts have to date failed to appear at military collection points in what is the first draft conducted by the independent Belarusian armed forces. Evidence of continued draft avoidance has been seen in other republics as well, despite the creation of national armies. (Stephen Foye) AZERBAIJAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE WITHDRAWS. Etibar Mamedov, the chairman of the Azerbaijan National Independence Party, has withdrawn his candidacy for the 7 June presidential elections, alleging that the ballot and a ban on political demonstrations passed by the Azerbaijani parliament last week are unconstitutional, Western agencies reported on 2 June. (Liz Fuller) 11-nation pre-liminary peace talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis that opened in Rome on 1 June are in jeopardy because of the unexplained absence of an Armenian delegation from Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan's querying of the principle of holding the peace conference in Minsk under CSCE auspices, an Italian diplomat told Western media on 2 June. Agreement was reached, however, on basic areas for discussion, including recent territorial gains by Armenian forces, the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and dispatching observers to the region. (Liz Fuller) KAZAKHSTAN ADOPTS DRAFT CONSTITUTION. Kazakhstan's Supreme Soviet adopted a draft constitution on its first reading, KazTAG-TASS reported on 2 June. In a concluding statement, President Nursultan Nazarbaev, who chaired the commission that drew up the draft, noted that adoption was eased by a compromise on the language issue that retained Kazakh as the state language but promised free development to all others. The previous day he had told the legislature that the new constitution would guarantee political pluralism, but complained that the unregistered Kazakh nationalist parties, Alash and Jeltoqsan, and the Cossack movement have been causing instability. (Bess Brown) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BOSNIA UPDATE, MILITARY INTERVENTION HINTED. Radio Bosnia-Herzegovina reports on 2 June that a UN-escorted relief convoy was ambushed on the outskirts of Sarajevo by Serb militia, killing one driver and wounding several others. Serb forces continued to shell Sarajevo despite another appeal by the Yugoslav State Presidency to stop the bombardment and hand over control of Sarajevo airport to UN representatives. This latest Serb action is yet another indication that several paramilitary units in Bosnia are acting independently of Belgrade. Radio Croatia reports on 2 June that several European leaders at a WEU meeting said military intervention might be needed to stop the fighting if the UN sanctions do not work. German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel emphasized that military intervention should be a last resort. Portuguese Prime Minister Anibal Cavaco Silva, the current EC president, said that if military action is needed it would have to be under UN auspices. British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd cautioned that it is easier in theory than in practice to "impose a peace by force." (Milan Andrejevich) SANCTIONS COULD TRIGGER CIVIL WAR IN SERBIA. A statement released on 2 June by the key coalition Democratic Movement of Serbia (DEPOS) warns that the UN sanctions could result in civil war among Serbs. The statement also said the current Socialist regime has pushed the Serbian people into a humiliating position and "inflicted one of the most serious historical defeats on Serbia." Radio Serbia reports that gasoline prices have doubled and food prices have risen sharply. Borba reported on 2 June that ration coupons are being printed for cooking oil, flour, sugar, coffee, and detergent. Many stores are already reporting shortages. On 2 June Croatia ordered a ban on all ships sailing under the Yugoslav flag from sailing into Croatian territorial waters and ordered all Croatian firms to discontinue business and commercial trade with Yugoslavia, except for relief goods. (Milan Andrejevich) BULGARIA'S GROWING CONCERN OVER YUGOSLAV CRISIS. During the visits of US Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger and Macedonian Foreign Minister Denko Maleski on 29-30 May, President Zhelev was quoted by BTA as telling both visitors that he hopes European organizations can find ways to contain violence in former Yugoslavia and prevent it from spreading. Foreign Minister Ganev said on TV he had discussed various possibilities with Eagleburger, including the use of NATO forces as an instrument of the CSCE. On 1 June Prime Minister Dimitrov, visiting the Netherlands, also voiced concern that the conflict might spread and repeated Bulgaria's call for international observers on its borders with Macedonia and Serbia. (Rada Nikolaev) BULGARIA SUPPORTS SANCTIONS AGAINST SERBIA. Foreign Minister Stoyan Ganev was quoted by Demokratsiya on 2 June as saying that Bulgaria "will adhere to" the sanctions imposed by the UN on Serbia, a formulation that appears to avoid speaking of formally joining the measures. Ganev said that any damage that countries applying the sanctions might suffer would be trifling compared with the devastation that a military conflict in the region would cause. 24 chasa of 2 June says overflights by planes to and from Serbia and Montenegro have been prohibited but that flights by foreign airlines over Bulgaria have increased by 10-15% because of the embargo. Trud estimates that if the embargo lasts for five months Bulgaria stands to lose about $100 million. (Rada Nikolaev) HUNGARY WON'T JOIN MILITARY INTER-VENTION. Defense Minister Lajos Fur told reporters that Hungarian troops will not take part in possible UN-sponsored military intervention in Yugoslavia, MTI reports on 2 June. Fur said that troops in the border area have not been mobilized but continue to be kept at "an appropriate level of alert." A Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the government is closely watching the situation of the ethnic Hungarian minority in Vojvodina and hopes that no action will be taken against them because of Hungary's support for UN sanctions. On 2 June Serbian truck drivers blockaded a major border crossing between Vojvodina and Hungary for over six hours in retaliation for Hungary's adhering to the UN sanctions. A Hungarian government resolution issued the same day ends freight traffic between Hungary and Serbia and Montenegro. Hungary has already suspended air links with those countries. (Edith Oltay) ON ELECTIONS IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA. In a TV address on 2 June President Vaclav Havel called on the 11.3 million voters to pick candidates who "are ready to look for a truly just way for coexistence of the Czech and Slovak nations." He added that "by deciding today about our own future, we are indirectly also deciding about the future of Europe," Reuters reports. On 2 June Czechoslovakia complained to Hungary about Hungarian TV broadcasts interfering in the Czechoslovak election campaign. The complaint involves Miklos Duray, chairman of the Czechoslovak political movement Egyutteles, who is accused of using Hungarian TV to "promote his own ideas and attack other parties," an RFE/RL correspondent reports. On 2 June a Slovak Radio spokesman said that only three minutes after polling stations close on 6 June, the final day of the parliamentary elections, Slovak Radio will release first estimates of the election results in that republic. (Peter Matuska) PRAGUE ARCHBISHOP DEFENDS RETURN OF CHURCH PROPERTY. On 2 June in an interview with Prace Prague Archbishop Miloslav Vlk said the Church's difficulties in reclaiming confiscated property cast a "shadow across Czechoslovakia's commitment to democracy." In April parliament rejected a draft law on property restitution to churches and religious communities arguing that if land were returned collective farms would suffer and agricultural production would fall. Vlk said about half of the country's population declare themselves Roman Catholics, which means that "Church property belongs literally to half the inhabitants of the country." He added that in view of the Church's charitable works, a return of Church property would benefit the whole population. (Peter Matuska) PRAGUE WEEKLY LISTS 130 FORMER StB MEMBERS. On 2 June Reflex published a list of 130 officers of the former communist regime's secret police (StB)--most with photographs--who were responsible for what was then called "the fight against the enemy within." It also published a chart explaining for the first time the country's former secret police apparatus. Reflex said that before the 1989 revolution there were 683 senior officers in the StB. The paper said it had published the names "in order to single out those who worked for evil" to prevent any "return to evil," and it promised to seek out and publish thousands of other names of those who had worked for the StB since 1948. (Peter Matuska) CONTROVERSY OVER AGENTS CONTINUES IN POLAND. On 2 June President Lech Walesa asked Ombudsman Tadeusz Zielinski and the Helsinki Committee in Poland for opinions on a parliamentary resolution to publicize the names of former communist agents. Former labor minister Jacek Kuron said that naming officials who worked with former secret police would lead to false identifications. He told Gazeta wyborcza on 2 June that some 45,000 people at all levels of government would be affected by such an action and that state activities would be brought to a standstill. Meanwhile, Janusz Korwin-Mikke, leader of the Union of Real Politics, said he was guided by "moral, not political principles" in proposing the resolution to the Sejm. Western and Polish wire services carried the story. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) KPN WITHDRAWS SUPPORT FOR OLSZEWSKI'S GOVERNMENT. Leszek Moczulski, leader of the Confederation for Independent Poland (KPN), told again Prime Minister Olszewski that he wants the government to abandon reform policies and take radical steps to combat recession, even at the cost of increased inflation. Speaking on Radio Z Moczulski said "our demands are one package and there can be no compromise on them." Olszewski's minority government, although desperately seeking to survive a no-confidence vote this week, rejected KPN's demands. After talks between the two sides on 2 June, Moczulski said the KPN will vote against governmental draft budget. Olszewski told newsmen that conditions presented by the KPN were unacceptable. KPN support is crucial since its 51 deputies hold the balance of power in the Sejm, PAP and Reuters report. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) ESTONIANS FAVOR COALITION PARTY. The Coalition Party, comprising a number of former and current government ministers, remains the most popular political movement among ethnic Estonians, according to the latest EMOR opinion poll published in Rahva Haal of 3 June. The only four parties more popular with Russian-speakers than with Estonians were all leftist: the Estonian Communist Party; the Free Estonia coalition --made up of former commu-nist functionaries; the Russian Democratic Union; and former Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar's leftist-nationalist Peoples' Center Party. (Riina Kionka) HUNGARIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULING ON MINORITY LAW. On 2 June the Hungarian Constitutional Court ruled that parliament should adopt a law on minority rights by 1 December 1992, MTI reports. The court said that parliament's failure to adopt such a law after the multiparty elections amounts to "negligence," since under the constitution ethnic minorities in Hungary "share in the power of the people and are [state] constituent elements," which makes it imperative that their rights be prescribed by law. The court stressed that minorities' parliamentary representation in particular must be legally guaranteed. The government had prepared a draft law on minority rights earlier but it was rejected by minority representatives as inadequate. (Edith Oltay) JURKANS RETAINS LATVIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY. On 2 June Foreign Minister Janis Jurkans presented basic concepts of Latvia's foreign policy, stressing the need to address issues both to the east and west of Latvia. The concepts, worked out by the ministry, were sharply criticized by the deputies, but a call by 24 deputies for a vote of no confidence was rejected by the Supreme Council. Many deputies did not support the proposal essentially because they do not want to destabilize further the already precarious political situation, BNS reports. (Dzintra Bungs) SWEDEN TO REPAY BALTIC GOLD. On 2 June the Swedish parliament voted to pay Estonia and Lithuania 275 million kronor ($47.4 million) in compensation for deposits of their gold--2.9 tons and 1.25 tons, respectively--handed over by Sweden to the USSR in 1940. Reuters reports that the repayment will be taken out of an already planned 3 billion kronor ($515 million) three-year aid package for Eastern Europe, the main recipients being Poland, the Baltic States, and Russia's St. Petersburg region. Lithuania had argued that the repayment should be the top item of the aid program. The Swedish government will begin talks over when and how the compensation will be paid. Estonia prefers to be paid in gold as a symbol of the continuity between the current state and the prewar Republic of Estonia. (Saulius Girnius) LATVIAN RUBLE EMISSION LIMITED. Bank of Latvia president Einars Repse told Diena on 1 June that the emission of the Latvian ruble is proceeding according to plan and will be limited. Should the government ask for the emission of additional banknotes in an effort to cover a budget deficit, he would resist such requests, he said, adding that the Latvian ruble is now being widely accepted in Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs) ESTONIAN CURRENCY PRINTED ABROAD. Estonia's new currency, the kroon, was produced in the United States and the UK, Rahva Haal eports on 3 June. The one- and two-kroon bills were printed by United States Banknote International, and 10-, 25-, 100-, and 500-kroon notes by Thomas de la Rue and Company, Ltd. (Riina Kionka) WORLD BANK APPROVES LOAN FOR ROMANIA. The World Bank has approved a $400 million structural adjustment loan to assist Romanian economic reforms. A bank spokesman in Washington said that the loan is designed to support the Romanian government's economic stabilization efforts "while maintaining the momentum of price liberalization and the progressive opening of the economy," an RFE/RL correspondent reports. The loan was prepared along with a $440-million credit approved on 1 June by the IMF. (Crisula Stefanescu) SWEDISH FIGHTER PLANES FOR HUNGARY. According to a Hungarian radio report of 1 June 1992, SAAB spokesman Jan Algrin confirmed that Hungary wants to purchase 26 JAC-29 fighter planes. The intention was expressed by Hungarian International Economic Minister Bela Kadar during his May visit to Stockholm. The total price of the new planes is reportedly to 65 billion forint (about $870 million). The Hungarian purchase of the Swedish jets would the first confirmed transaction in which a former communist country made a major purchase of Western military equipment. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) [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). 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. 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