|To appreciate nonsense requires a serious interest in life. - Gelett Burgess|
No. 106, 04 June 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR RUSSIAN SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS. Russian President Boris Yeltsin chaired a meeting of the newly created Security Council on 3 June, ITAR-TASS reported. Members of the Council discussed the problems facing Russian minorities in the CIS states. The debate focused on the situation in Northern Ossetia and Moldova. Yeltsin stressed the need to establish a "temporary moratorium on any kind of border changes," indicating that at a later stage border issues could be reviewed. The Security Council called for the protection of Russian interests in the Trans-Dniester and the North Caucasus. (Alexander Rahr) GRACHEV AGAIN WARNS MOLDOVA. On 3 June, Russian Defense Minister, Gen. Pavel Grachev, threat-ened Moldova's "politicians" that "should they initiate military action against the Dniester region and the [Russian] 14th Army units, he would find it difficult to restrain the military units subordinated to him." According to ITAR-TASS, Grachev told "the Russian population living in Moldova to be reas-sured: we shall not leave it in the lurch." This was the latest in a series of warnings to Moldova by Rus-sian and CIS generals in recent days. (Vladimir Socor) YELTSIN TO TAKE PART IN BLACK SEA SUMMIT. Before traveling to the G-7 meeting in Munich on 8 July, Russian President Boris Yeltsin is scheduled to participate in the summit of government leaders of Black Sea neighboring states in Istanbul on 25 June, ITAR-TASS reported on 2 June. The Black Sea summit will focus on prospects for economic cooperation between Turkey and the western and Transcaucasian CIS states. (Alexander Rahr) MONEY SUPPLY TAKES OFF. Addressing reporters after a meeting on 3 June of the "Trilateral Commission" representing government, industry and trade unions, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar announced plans for even higher monetary emissions to counter the cash shortage, Interfax, ITAR-TASS, and "Vesti" reported. 64 billion rubles' worth of new notes were printed in May, 142 billion will be printed in June, and 250 billion rubles' worth will be issued in August. (Apparently, no figures were given for July). Gaidar hoped that 5,000 ruble notes would be in circulation by July, instead of August as planned. (Keith Bush) GOLD COINS IN PAY PACKETS. Gaidar said that the government was ready to use its gold reserves and to mint gold coins in order to help pay overdue wages. (It will be interesting to see what face value the gold coins will bear, how long they will remain in circulation, and how long the gold reserves last). Overdue salaries will be indexed at the current inflation rate; last week, Gaidar had promised that they would be indexed at an annual rate of 80%. Further credits will be extended, over and above the 200 billion rubles already promised in April to defaulting enterprises, and the 200 billion rubles pledged by Yeltsin to the oil and gas industry last week. (Keith Bush) TAX CUT FORTHCOMING? In reply to questions, Gaidar said that the government had asked for parliamentary approval for its proposal that the top rate of personal income tax be reduced from 60% to 30%. The Western business community in Russia has been vociferously--and predictably--disturbed that foreigners who reside there for more than 183 days in a year are also subject to this 60% rate on annual world-wide earnings exceeding 420,000 rubles--or about $4,200 at the current exchange rate. (Keith Bush) IMPACT OF FUEL PRICE RISES. Last week, Russian President Boris Yeltsin announced that further increases in the wholesale prices of energy-carriers will be postponed until a special commission studied their anticipated impact on consumers. In the meantime, several officials have aired their own forecasts. Economics Minister Andrei Nechaev told the Trilateral Commission that retail prices would rise by an average of 40%. An official of the chemical and petrochemical machine-building industry told ITAR-TASS on 3 June that the wholesale prices of his branch's products could double. (Keith Bush) CORRUPTION IN THE SECURITY MINISTRY? Russian Security Minister Viktor Barannikov has fired some high-level generals in his agency for abuse of power, Interfax reported on 2 June. One of the sacked generals is the former deputy head of the KGB's Second Main Administration responsible for counterintelligence, Viktor Klishin. Apparently, the dismissals may be followed by criminal proceedings. Barannikov has ordered investigations by an internal anti-corruption commission. ITAR-TASS called the dismissals part of an "unprecedented anti-corruption campaign" within the former KGB. (Alexander Rahr) COMMERCIAL ESPIONAGE SERVICE CREATED. Boris Yeltsin has reportedly established a new commercial espionage agency attached to the office of the president, Postfactum reported on 3 June. The agency will not become part of the Security Ministry (the former KGB) or the Interior Ministry and will be financed separately. According to an unidentified official of the Security Ministry, this agency will audit the financial solvency of Russian firms and monitor foreign trade transactions. Itagency will operate within Russia as well as abroad. (Alexander Rahr) MORE ON KOKOSHIN'S VISIT TO TULA. On 2 June Andrei Kokoshin, the first deputy defense minister, Viktor Glukhikh, the first deputy minister of industry, and other Russian military officials visited defense factories and met with workers in Tula to familiarize themselves with ongoing conversion efforts. According to ITAR-TASS, the military officials were questioned by workers on national defense "in conditions of economic anarchy" and on the potential loss of Russia's "unique scientific and technological potential." Kokoshin emphasized contracts and economic agreements as the most important instruments for directing defense orders in a market economy. Within the next two months decisions will reportedly be made as to which defense enterprises will be auctioned and which will transfer production to civilian output.(Chris Hummel) CONVERSION IN THE AEROSPACE INDUSTRY. Russian TV on 2 June examined conversion in the aerospace industry and specifically at the Tupolev firm. The report questioned the logic and profitability of using the highly qualified workers within the defense industrial complex, and particularly the aerospace industry, to produce consumer goods, and suggested that conversion for a firm like Tupolev should not involve fundamental changes in output. The report also claimed that while 86% of Tupolev's production was militarily-oriented in 1986, civilian space production already accounts for 92% of the firm's activities in 1992. (Chris Hummel) TUPOLEV MAKES DEAL WITH FOREIGN FIRMS. Russian TV went on to say that Tupolev is developing a joint project with foreign firms that would include a deal whereby Rolls-Royce would supply the engines on one of the TU-204 series. Tests for this model are conducted at a forest base in Zukovskii. The report also identified the project as the first cooperative effort between Tupolev and a foreign firm in such a highly classified field as airplane construction. (Chris Hummel) UNHAPPY OFFICERS IN BELARUS. The Belarus Academy of Sciences Institute for Sociology has conducted a survey that indicates a significant amount of dissatisfaction among officers in Belarus, Radio Mayak reported on 3 June. According to Igor Kotlyarov, a researcher at the institute, some 68.7% of respondents complained about their living condi-tions and low pay, and only 8.2% felt that life in the army had improved over the past year. Two-thirds of officers polled reportedly said that they would not choose a career as an officer if they had the choice to make again, while five times as many officers supported maintenance of a CIS armed forces over those who supported the creation of Belarusian forces. Just over 16% reportedly said that they were willing to engage in various acts of public protest to indicate their dissatisfaction. (Stephen Foye) UKRAINE DEFINES ROLE OF CONSTITUTIONAL COURT; ADOPTS NEW ECONOMIC LEGISLATION. In an important move towards the establishment of the rule of law in Ukraine, the Ukrainian parliament has passed a new law on its second reading on the formation and powers of Ukraine's constitutional court, Radio Ukraine reported on 3 June. On the same day, the parliament also adopted another law paving the way for Ukraine's integration into international economic structures, such as the IMF and World Bank. (Bohdan Nahaylo) KRAVCHUK SAVES FOKIN YET AGAIN. The Ukrainian parliament failed on 3 June to vote on the question of confidence in Ukraine's prime minister, Vitold Fokin, Radio Ukraine reported. His replacement has been demanded by the democratic forces in the parliament and demonstrators who are unhappy with the slow pace of reform in Ukraine. According to Radio Ukraine, President Kravchuk once again came to Fokin's rescue and appealed to the deputies not to vote on the issue. He also rejected proposals from some democratic deputies that he take over as prime minister. Pointing to the example of Russia, he said that Boris Yeltsin's move to head the Russian government "wasn't the best decision" he has ever taken, Reuters reported. (Bohdan Nahaylo) KRAVCHUK RECEIVES BIB DELEGATION. On 3 June, Ukrainian President Kravchuk met in Kiev with a delegation of the US Board for International Broadcasting. According to Radio Ukraine, Kravchuk told the visitors that Ukraine wants the outside world to have as full and unbiased a picture of developments in the republic as possible, and does not want to be viewed through the prism of Russia and its media. At home, Kravchuk, added, Ukraine wants to create conditions for the media and flow of information befitting a "civilized, democratic, and independent" state. That same day, the president of the BIB, Malcolm Forbes Jr. opened an RFE/RL bureau in the Ukrainian capital. (Bohdan Nahaylo) UKRAINE'S GROWING CONTACTS WITH VISEGRAD TRIANGLE. Ukraine is continuing to develop its contacts with members of the Visegrad Triangle. On 2 June Ukraine and Hungary signed an agreement in Budapest on cooperation between the police forces of both countries, ITAR-TASS reported. The following day, as part of the bilateral agreement for 1992 on military cooperation between Ukraine and Czechoslovakia, a Czechoslovak military delegation arrived in Kiev, Radio Ukraine reported. (Bohdan Nahaylo) AZERBAIJAN ADOPTS LAW ON POLITICAL PARTIES. After a five month debate, on 3 June the Azerbaijan National Council adopted a law on political parties which guarantees the free activity of social-political organizations and movements, ITAR-TASS reported. The president, military personnel, religious figures, civil servants and journalists are also barred from party membership. (Liz Fuller) ACCUSATIONS AGAINST KARIMOV. In an interview published in the 28 May issue of Nezavisimaya gazeta, Uzbekistan's former vice-president, Shukrulla Mirsaidov, described the reason for his recent resignation as the increasing authoritarianism shown by President Islam Karimov. Though the "never-ending search" for an economic model continues, the country lacks a coherent economic plan, and the situation is rapidly worsening. Since his resignation, Mirsaidov and family members have been followed, their phones tapped, and repeated efforts (including press reports which Mirsaidov is challenging) have been made to charge them with corruption. Mirsaidov accused the Uzbek president of directing this campaign. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) UZBEKISTAN TO HAVE OWN CURRENCY. The chairman of the board of Uzbekistan's State Bank, Faizulla Mullazhanov, said on 3 June that Uzbekistan intends to introduce its own currency, Uza-TASS reported. Officials in Uzbekistan have made similar announcements in the past. Mullazhanov explained the need for an Uzbek cur-rency by pointing out that the shortage of banknotes has affected thousands of the country's inhabitants and is endangering the creation of a market economy. Uzbekistan must import its banknotes from Russia, but its requests for additional notes are not being met. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) "DNIESTER REPUBLIC" "RECOGNIZED" BY SERBIAN KRAJINA. The "Serbian Republic of Krajina" has recognized the "independence and sovereignty of the Dniester republic," TASS reported from Belgrade on 3 June. The recognition was publicly announced by Krajina Serb representatives at a rally in front of Russia's embassy in Belgrade. The message of recognition said that the respective situations of Krajina and the "Dniester republic" were similar and that Krajina will soon send a mission to Tiraspol. (Vladimir Socor) THE BREZHNEV ERA: A REAL DOWNER? According to the memoirs of former Soviet Minister of Health Evgenii Chazov, cited by The Observer of 31 May, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev abused tranquilizers and sleeping pills provided by his personal nurse and Politburo colleagues for the last ten years of his life. As Breznev's personal physician at the time, Chazov accompanied the leader on his travels well armed with stimulants which he administered prior to important meetings. On one occasion, Brezhnev took a sleeping pill so strong that Chazov's stimulants failed to get him up. Brezhnev's dependency is said to have hastened his aging process and irreparably damaged his central nervous system. (Sarah Helmstadter) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE UN REPORT SHEDS DIFFERENT LIGHT ON BOSNIA. The latest UN report on the Bosnian crisis differs from previous assessments, which placed much of the blame for the fighting in Bosnia on the Serb-dominated federal army. Yugoslav area and Western media report on 3 and 4 June that the new report concludes Serbia has no direct control over Bosnian Serb militiamen, and says that Croatian forces from Croatia are staging offensives in Bosnia-Herzegovina as well. The report states that Belgrade gave up its control last month after the federal army discharged its Bosnian Serb troops--about 40,000 men--who took their weapons and equipment with them. Most joined the army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina commanded by Lt. Gen Ratko Mladic. Another 20,000 Serb soldiers in Bosnia who are citizens of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were returned home. The report also says Bosnian Serb forces have launched attacks despite Belgrade's orders to honor cease-fires. The UN report was made available to the Security Council an hour after it voted to impose sanctions against Yugoslavia. Some Security Council members would probably have delayed the vote had the report been available sooner, but they rejected the notion that Belgrade is entirely blameless. Some representatives are having second thoughts and suggest that Croatia could also face sanctions, Radio Serbia reports. (Milan Andrejevich) MILOSEVIC WOULD RESIGN--IF . . . Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic told British Channel 4 TV on 3 June that he would resign if that would bring about peace in Bosnia. He said that it was not the Serbian government but foreign diplomatic decisions that led to the violent breakup of Yugoslavia. In an interview with the Greek TV station MEGA he welcomed the latest UN report, describing it as the "first big step towards the truth," adding that he had not expected "such good news." He also accused Western media of incorrect and biased reporting of the Bosnian situation. Radio Serbia carried the report. (Milan Andrejevich) BOSNIA UPDATE. Bosnia's medical crisis center estimates that 5,700 people have been killed and 20,000 wounded since fighting began 29 February, Radio Serbia reported on 3 June. Bosnia's Presidency has again requested foreign military intervention amid intense fighting. Croatia's government has also called on the UN to step up its efforts to halt the fighting and, at a CSCE meeting, urged immediate intervention by NATO. (Milan Andrejevich) MACEDONIAN LEADERS IN ALBANIA. Officials from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia met with top Albanian leaders in Tirana on 3 June, ATA reports. Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov and Albanian President Sali Berisha pledged to establish a "model relationship" for other Balkan states to follow. Berisha said that Albania may soon recognize Macedonia's independence. Both men promised to improve bilateral relations quickly "in all fields of mutual interest." Relations have been strained by Albanian charges that Macedonia is discriminating against its large ethnic Albanian minority. (Milan Andrejevich) ROMANIA, NATO, AND YUGOSLAVIA. A spokesman said on 3 June that Foreign Minister Adrian Nastase will head a delegation to the NATO meeting in Oslo on 5 June. Because of conflicts on Romania's borders and of related "aggressive nationalism fanning ethnic fighting," the statement also said that Romanian security should be guaranteed by strengthening ties with NATO and with the Western European Union. Romania will comply with the UN sanctions against Yugoslavia, however, it reserves the right to demand compensation for the resulting losses, otherwise it would itself become the victim of the sanctions. The spokesman mentioned that Romania received no compensation for losses incurred from its compliance with the UN sanctions against Iraq. (Mihai Sturdza) CZECHOSLOVAK CAMPAIGN: THE SOUND OF TEARING VELVET? Candidates in the general elections concluded their campaigns with final appeals to voters on 3 June, Western agencies report. Vladimir Meciar, head of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, confirmed that his group plans to declare the region's sovereignty: "No one could stop us from adopting our own constitution and electing a Slovak president." He criticized federal President Vaclav Havel's televised address of 2 June as more emotional than rational. Federal Finance Minister Vaclav Klaus, head of the Civic Democratic Party, said Meciar's demands for looser ties with the Czech lands are unacceptable. He says he sees the breakup of the country as no real danger; if it does happen it will be done in a "velvet" manner. (Barbara Kroulik) WALESA OFFERS PREMIERSHIP TO RURAL LEADER. On 3 June President Lech Walesa proposed Waldemar Pawlak, chairman of the Polish Peasant Party (PSL), for the post of prime minister, PAP and Reuters report. If Olszewski's government falls, the leader of Poland's biggest farm party would become a head of a cabinet formed from two coalitions. The PSL's spokesman said Pawlak hoped to combine his own newly created three-party alliance that includes also the Christian National Union and the Peasant Accord with the proreform "small coalition" of the Democratic Union, the Liberal-Democratic Congress, and the Polish Economic Program. Such a coalition could command a majority in the Sejm, which Olszewski's government has failed to achieve. The confidence vote is scheduled for 5 June. Asked by reporters to comment on his chances of forming a new coalition, Pawlak, with characteristic shrewdness and caution replied: "Let me comment on that in due time." (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) HUNGARIAN COALITION ON DISPUTE OVER PRESIDENTIAL JURISDICTION. Imre Konya, the parliamentary leader of the Democratic Forum, told an international press conference on 3 June that "there is no political or constitutional crisis" in Hungary because of the dispute over the sphere of authority of the president. Konya stressed that the dispute is not a political matter but rather a constitutional problem that arose because the prime minister and the president interpreted the president's jurisdiction differently. The coalition parties have recently criticized President Arpad Goncz because he refused to approve Prime Minister Jozsef Antall's motion to dismiss the president of Hungarian radio. Konya reiterated that the government does not seek Goncz's resignation. This was reported by MTI. (Edith Oltay) ESTONIAN MINISTER WINS VOTE. Estonia's Interior Minister Robert Narska survived a vote of no-confidence in the Supreme Council on 3 June, the next day's Rahva Haal reports. In what was described as a stormy session, Prime Minister Tiit Vahi defended his appointee against the Peoples' Center faction, led by former Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar, which brought the motion against Narska last week. When the votes were tallied, 42 were for taking Narska down, 30 against, and 2 abstained. (Riina Kionka) UDF ON SECRET POLICE FILES. In connection with a draft law on secret police files to be introduced to the Bulgarian National Assembly, the UDF Coordination Council on 2 June adopted a declaration calling on UDF deputies help disclose files on key personalities in public life. The chairman of the UDF parliamentary group Aleksandar Yordanov, interviewed by Demokratsiya daily, said the names of "both victims and hangmen" must be made public. Some UDF parliamentarians, who argue that there is no way of knowing whether the original files have been replaced or "edited," oppose the draft. (Kjell Engelbrekt) BELGIUM HALVES POLAND'S DEBT. On 3 June Poland and Belgium signed an agreement reducing Warsaw's foreign debt with Brussels by half. Under the accord, repayment of the remaining $305 million is to be accomplished in stages over a period of 17 years, Western and Polish media report. Finance Ministry spokesmen said Belgium is the fourteenth country to sign a debt reduction accord with Poland and agreements are to be signed yet with Spain, Switzerland, and Italy. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) ROMANIA'S FINANCIAL NEEDS AND CREDITS. Officials from the Environment Ministry said that Romania will need up to $250 million to clean up pollution and solve other environmental problems. The World Bank and foreign experts are drawing up a plan to that end to be ready by September. Refineries, as well as power and metal plants, head the list of the some 20 sites classified as critical. Romania will get a $400 million loan from the Washington-based International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and an additional cofinancing credit of more than $100 million from Japan, local and Western media said on 3 June. (Mihai Sturdza) DUBYNIN: MOST RUSSIAN SOLDIERS OUT OF POLAND. On 3 June Gen. Viktor Dubynin said that of the 59,000 former Soviet troops previously stationed in Poland, 35,000 have now been withdrawn. During a meting in Warsaw with President Walesa, Dubynin also said that with the exception of 6,000 communications specialists, the remaining units will be pulled out by 15 November of this year. He assured the Polish president that facilities vacated by Russian troops will handed over to Polish authorities "in good order." He apparently also "apologized" for the "47-year presence" of ex-Soviet soldiers on Polish soil, which has occasioned "much ill will," AFP reports. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) ESTONIA BREAKS OFF TALKS WITH RUSSIA. On 3 June Estonia temporarily suspended consultations intended to lead to general disengagement negotiations with Russia. The action was taken when it became apparent the sides could not even agree on a point of departure for real negotiations. Negotiator Juri Kahn told Paevaleht on 4 June that the Russian military negotiators "presented their positions in a form so categorical that no room remains for a compromise solution." This round is the third between Russia and Estonia this year. (Riina Kionka) GRACHEV PROTESTS TREATMENT OF FORCES. On 3 June Radio Lithuania reported that Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev sent a telegram to Lithuanian parliament chairman Vytautas Landsbergis complaining about attempts to create unbearable working conditions for his soldiers serving in Lithuania. He threatened to ask the Russian government to halt the withdrawal of the troops. Landsbergis responded in a telegram that only by stretching the point could one say that the withdrawal had begun. Noting that Russia has more than once recognized that Lithuania has complete sovereignty, he repeated that Russian soldiers violating Lithuanian laws would be prosecuted. After a telephone call with Russian President Boris Yeltsin, it was decided that the two would meet informally in Moscow on 5 June (Saulius Girnius) BALTIC DEFENSE LEADERS TO COOPERATE. On 2 June Baltic defense leaders signed an accord to develop a common defense system and cooperate in military matters, BNS reports. At the meeting in Paernu, Estonia, the officials also discussed ways to facilitate the exchange of information on operations, designation of military attaches, coordination of plans to deal with crisis situations, cooperation on military-technical issues, and the development of common training bases. (Dzintra Bungs) PUBLIC SAFETY ENDANGERED BY STORED AMMUNITION. Radio Riga interviewed local officials from Garkalne County on 27 May concerning mines and other ammunition stored on its territory since World War II. They were concerned about public safety at this, the largest such storage area in the Baltic States containing enough ammunition to fill at least 2,000 railroad cars. Moreover the area is no longer properly patrolled. Given that Garkalne is about 30 kilometers east of Riga, the residents fear that should an explosion occur, the damage would be enormous. They want the issue to be brought up in the Latvian-Russian talks of the withdrawal of ex-USSR troops from Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs) MILOSZ VISITING LITHUANIA. Literature Nobel Prize laureate Czeslaw Milosz has returned to Lithuania after a 52-year absence, Radio Lithuania reports. He arrived in Vilnius on 26 May and held a meeting with Landsbergis the following day. He took part in the 28th Spring of Poetry festivities and received an honorary doctorate from Vytautas Magnus University. He spent 30 and 31 May visiting the village of Sateiniai, where he was born, and other areas of the Kedainiai Region, and participated in numerous literary readings throughout the republic. On 3 June the presidium of the Supreme Council made Milosz an honorary citizen of Lithuania. (Saulius Girnius) INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR IN VILNIUS. On 3 June Landsbergis opened the first session of a four-day international seminar "Parliament and Government: Relations in the Process of Passing Laws," Radio Lithuania reports. Parliamentarians and experts from East and West European countries and the USA have gathered in the seminar, organized by the East-West Parliamentary Practice Project. The main speech from Lithuania was given by parliament deputy chairman Bronius Kuzmickas. (Saulius Girnius) [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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