|The only certainty is that nothing is certain. - Pliny the Elder|
No. 108, 09 June 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR AZERBAIJAN POPULAR FRONT CLAIMS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION VICTORY. According to preliminary estimates, the 54-year old oriental historian and chairman of the Azerbaijan Popular Front (AzPF), Abulfaz Elchibey, received over 60% of the vote in the presidential elections held on 7 June, Western agencies reported. Claims by Elchibeys closest rival among the remaining four candidates, Nizami Suleimanov of the Union of the Democratic Intelligentsia of Azerbaijan, that the AzPF had falsified the vote were discounted by Western observers. The Tehran Times of 8 June expressed dissatisfaction over Elchibeys pro-Turkish, anti-Iranian orientation. (Liz Fuller) MORE TOUGH TALK FROM GRACHEV. Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev told a press conference on 5 June that he would answer any infringement upon the honor and dignity of the Russian population in any part of the CIS with the most resolute measures, right up to the dispatch of armed units. While his remarks, widely reported by both CIS and Western agencies, were clearly meant to be understood broadly, Grachev was commenting specifically on an order he had issued earlier that day to withdraw Russian troops from Groznyi, the capital of Chechnya. (On 8 June Interfax, quoting the Chechenpress information agency, reported that the Russian withdrawal from Chechnya had been completed.) Novosti noted with concern that Grachev appeared to be assuming personal responsibility for ordering Russian troops into action on the periphery, an exercise of authority that was likely to be unacceptable not only to the Russian president and parliament, but also to neighboring CIS states where leaders fear that the Russian generals are increasingly out of control (Stephen Foye) ON NUCLEAR UMBRELLA, OTHER TOPICS. In answer to questions posed by the Japanese Kyodo news agency, Grachev said that Russia would be the only CIS state possessing nuclear weapons by the year 2000, and that Moscow would extend its nuclear umbrella to CIS states signing the Treaty on Collective Security. According to ITAR-TASS on 5 June, he also said that by the year 2000 the number of Russian troops would be reduced to 1.5 million and that expenditures on defense would be reduced to 5-6% of the Russian GNP. Grachev claimed to support Yeltsins decision to withdraw all Russian forces, except for border guards, from the Kurile Islands, and suggested that he is only waiting for a political resolution of the issue. (Stephen Foye) KRAVCHUK ON UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk, meeting with his representatives on the local level on 8 June, said that the policies of the Russian parliament with regard to Ukraine are disturbing, Radio Ukraine reported. Kravchuk said that his planned meeting with Russian President Yeltsin will cover a wide range of issues, including serious problems between the two countries. Kravchuk repeated his remarks at the opening of a new institute of state management and self-government the same day, saying once again that the Crimean issue is an internal Ukrainian affair. (Roman Solchanyk) KRAVCHUK FILLS DEFENSE MINISTRY POSTS. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk has named six generals, five of them Ukrainian, to top posts in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, Ukrinform-TASS reported on 5 June. The new appointees are: Lt. Gen. Ivan Bizhan, 50, to First Deputy Defense Minister; Lt. Gen. Vasyl Sobkov, 47, named Chief of the armed forces Main Staff; Lt. Gen. Anatolii Lopata, 52, named Deputy Defense Minister; Lt. Gen. Ivan Oliinyk, 55, named Deputy Defense Minister for Armaments; Maj. Gen. Oleksandr Ihnatenko, 47, appointed Deputy Defense Minister for Personnel and chief of the Personnel Directorate; and Lt. Gen. Mikhail Lopatin, named commander of Air Defense Forces. Lopatin is Belarusian. (Stephen Foye) MOROZOV ON UKRAINIAN DEFENSE DEVELOPMENTS. Ukrainian Defense Minister Konstantin Morozov told a plenum of the Executive Committee of the Union of Officers of Ukraine that an order has been issued to remove from Ukraine all officers who have failed to taken the oath of loyalty to the republic, Ukrinform-TASS reported on 6 June. Morozov said that the order was made necessary by the failure of the central military command in Moscow to honor an April agreement on the exchange of officers between republics, despite the fact that Ukraine had already transferred, at its own expense, over 5,000 officers to the armies of other republics. On the subject of Ukraines military draft, Morozov said that only one-third of the draft plan had been fulfilled to date, with the highest turnout taking place in Odessa and Kherson Oblasts, and the worst in western oblasts and Kiev. Morozov was reportedly subjected to harsh questioning, and some participants charged that Ukrainian military reform had collapsed, leaving the country with an unreliable Soviet army. On 8 June, Radio Rossii reported, Morozov said that only conscripts from Ukraine would be allowed to serve in the republic.(Stephen Foye) DOCUMENTS FROM CPSU ARCHIVES RELEASED. The Russian Presidential Commission for the Declassification of CPSU Documents held a press conference on 5 June to release archival documents on the CPSUs criminal activities, Russian and Western media reported. The press conference was held in preparation for the Constitutional Court hearings on the CPSU scheduled for 7 July. The head of the commission, Information Minister Mikhail Poltoranin, read excerpts from documents aimed at proving that the CPSU continued to finance terrorist organizations in the Middle East and other parts of the world during the Gorbachev era. Poltoranin also promised that more documents would be released on 12 June. (Vera Tolz) REACTION TO ARCHIVAL REVELATIONS. The press conference provoked a mixed reaction from both Russian and Western scholars. On 5 June, a Western agency quoted an unidentified Western historian as saying that the Russian government was using its control over the CPSU records to manipulate information and undermine its opponents. The Los Angeles Times reported on 6 June that a spokesman for Mikhail Gorbachev dismissed the revelations as part of a campaign by Russian President Yeltsin and his team to disgrace the former Soviet president. I think its simply immoral to try to put the blame and responsibility on Gorbachev for 70 years of [the CPSUs] vicious practices. How can we reproach Gorbachev for having signed some Party documents in the final phase of the Partys influence..., considering that it was Gorbachev who put an end to its influence, said Aleksandr Likhotal, spokesman for the Gorbachev Foundation. (Vera Tolz) ENERGY PRICE INCREASES TO BE FURTHER DELAYED? Speaking in Nizhny Tagil on 8 June, Yeltsin denied that his government was backing away from reform but merely changing tactics, Vesti reported. One of these changes was the postponement of deregulation of wholesale prices of energy-carriers. He was quoted as saying that these prices will not be raised until the end of the year. The Memorandum on the Economic Policy of the Russian Federation, which was conditionally approved by the IMF, envisaged a controlled increase in oil prices from 3% of the world level in January (at an exchange rate of 50 rubles to the dollar) to 33% by 20 April and to 66% by the end of 1992. (Keith Bush) RUTSKOI UNVEILS AGRICULTURAL REFORM CENTER. Russian Vice-president Aleksandr Rutskoi told a cabinet meeting on 4June of his plan to set up an Agrarian Reform Center, ITAR-TASS reported. Rutskoi will head the center, which is designed to further the rapid establishment of market structures within the agricultural sector and in the agro-industrial complex. Yeltsin was quoted as saying that the center will facilitate the passage from the old centralized system to free agriculture. He said that he would sign a decree formally creating the center on 15June. Rutskoi also submitted a proposal for a new fund designed to attract foreign investment in the agricultural sector. (Keith Bush) DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA APPROVES QUESTIONS FOR REFERENDUM. The Council of Representatives of the Democratic Russia Movement held a plenum on 7 June to discuss questions for a referendum to be held in the Russian Federation, the Russian media reported. Questions on land ownership, the powers of the Russian president, and the need to convene a constituent assembly are to be posed in the referendum. The question on convening a constituent assembly was suggested by the radical St. Petersburg branch of the movement. The branch suggested that an assembly, similar to the one disbanded by the Bolsheviks in 1918, is the appropriate body to approve a new Russian constitution. ITAR-TASS reported that the Democratic Russia had almost split again during the plenum because representatives of the St. Petersburg branch demanded that the movement announce its formal opposition to Yeltsins government. This suggestion was not approved by the majority, however. (Vera Tolz) MOSCOW MAYOR RESIGNS. Moscow Mayor Gavriil Popov submitted his resignation to President Yeltsin and it was accepted on 6 June, ITAR-TASS reported. The mayor has repeatedly come under heavy attack from members of the Moscow City Council who oppose his radical reform policies, and he had already threatened to resign in December 1991. Explaining his decision, Popov cited Russian legislation that prohibits government officials from also holding positions in political parties. He argued that the current difficult political and economic situation requires a broad strategy for the whole country and that he could better serve Muscovites and all Russians as a leader of the Movement for Democratic Reforms. Deputy Mayor Yurii Luzhkov has been named as the new mayor of Moscow. (Carla Thorson) NO RESTITUTION OF TSARIST-ERA PROPERTY. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais, who is also head of the State Property Committee, told a news conference on 8 June that the government had rejected proposals to return property seized by the Bolsheviks after the 1917 revolution, Reuters reported. He was quoted as saying that this is the biggest source of delay in the privatization programs in Czechoslovakia, Poland, and in (Eastern) Germany. Chubais predicted a real fight when the governments program for implementing privatization measures comes up for discussion this week in parliament. (Keith Bush) LAW ADOPTED ON FORMATION OF INGUSH REPUBLIC. On 4June, the Russian Supreme Soviet adopted a law on the formation of an Ingush republic within the Russian Federation, ITAR-TASS reported. A transitional period up to March 1994 was set for solving the problems connected with setting up the republic. Until the supreme organs of power of the new republic are created the Russian parliament will appoint a temporary representative in Ingushetia. The law recommends that the Russian president appoint the head of the provisional administration in Ingushetia. ITAR-TASS noted that the initiative for the law had come from Yeltsin, and that it was necessitated by the proclamation made last year by the Chechen republic declaring its independence and its secession from the former Chechen-Ingush autonomous republic. (Ann Sheehy) IMPLICATIONS OF AN INGUSH REPUBLIC. The adoption of this law is the first implicit, official recognition of the existence of a separate Chechen republic. Amendments to the Russian constitution adopted by the Russian Congress in April referred only to the Chechen-Ingush republic. The action of the Russian Supreme Soviet would also seem to run counter to Yeltsins statement at the meeting of the Russian Security Council on 3June that there should be a moratorium on any frontier changes in the North Caucasus, for the time being. The law is clearly aimed against the Chechen leader Dudaev, and will not satisfy those Ingush who want to remain with Chechnya either. It does not give Ingushetia back the Prigorodnyi raion of North Ossetia, and Dudaev served notice some time ago that he would dispute the amount of territory given to a separate Ingush republic. (Ann Sheehy) CENTRAL ASIAN DEMOCRATIC GROUPS HOLD CONGRESS. Moskovskie Novosti reported on 8 June on the 30-31 May congress of Central Asian democrats in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Representatives from Tajikistan were unable to attend due to the political unrest there. Among the issues discussed were the ambiguous status of CIS troops stationed in the region, as well as the growing danger of separatist groups. Congress participants declared that any reconsideration of borders could cause interethnic conflicts that could become international ones. The Congress voted to create a permanent coordinating body to be located in Bishkek. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) UZBEK GOVERNMENT HARASSES OPPOSITION. As reported by Moskovskie Novosti on 8 June, the leader of the Uzbek Popular Front Birlik, Abdurahim Pulatov, told the Bishkek congress that several Birlik activists have been arrested recently. The movements offices were raided, and one of its leaders, the lawyer, Miralim Adylov, was beaten. The city of Namangan had also witnessed demonstrations pressing for the release of leaders of another political group, Adolat (Justice), who had been arrested in March. Birlik appealed to the United Nations on 26 May to call on Uzbekistans government to observe its obligation to protect human rights. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE CZECHOSLOVAK ELECTIONS. In the parliamentary elections in Czechoslovakia on 5 and 6 June the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) of Vaclav Klaus won in the Czech Republic. It ran in alliance with the Christian Democratic Party (KDS) and got 80 seats in the 300-member bicameral federal parliament. (The distribution of seats will be revised slightly in coming days after the vote for those parties that did not receive the minimum 5% of votes is redistributed to those that passed the threshold.) Vladimir Meciars Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) won in Slovakia and with 54 seats becomes the second-largest party in the federal parliament. The communist-led Left Bloc was next with 30 seats, followed by the Party for the Democratic Left (SDL) with 20 seats and the Czechoslovak Social Democrats with 10 seats. The right-wing ODS favors rapid economic reform and a strong federation. The HZDS wants a stronger Slovakia and slower economic reforms. On 7 June President Vaclav Havel asked Klaus to form a new government, a move promptly criticized by Meciar, who said talks between the political parties must precede negotiations on forming the government. He also called for a referendum on the future of the federation and said that Havels chances of being reelected president by the parliament are minimal, Czechoslovak and foreign media report. (Barbara Kroulik) FEDERATION/COALITION TALKS FAIL. On 8 June Klaus and Meciar held talks on the future of the federation and on the possible formation of a coalition federal government. However, the talks failed, a Klaus aide told reporters. Klaus told CSTK that it is clear that the HZDS wants to create a sovereign Slovak state with international status, something for which the ODS has no mandate from voters. He said the talks will continue on 10 June but was pessimistic that a solution can be found, as there are deep essential differences. Earlier, Meciar held talks with leaders of other Slovak parties, the reformed communists, and the separatist Slovak National Party. (Barbara Kroulik) PAWLAK APPROVED AS POLISH PREMIER. On 5 June, voting 261149 with 7 abstentions, the Sejm approved Waldemar Pawlak as Polands new prime minister, Western and Polish media report. The 32-year-old leader of the Polish Peasant Party (PSL) was nominated by President Walesa after the dismissal of Jan Olszewskis government, also on 5 June. Before the vote Pawlak told the Sejm he had accepted the difficult mission of forming a new government because of what he called the dramatic situation of the state. He said one of his first tasks is to relax political tensions in the Sejm and create a balanced government with a common program. It is time to end the struggle of everybody with everybody and solve Polish problems as effectively as possible. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) UN TO SEND 1,100 TROOPS TO SARAJEVO. On 8 June the Security Council voted unanimously to send the soldiers and 60 observers to reopen the airport in the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina and distribute humanitarian aid once a truce comes into effect. It is not clear what would happen if the cease-fire proves stillborn, like the one on 5 June, which was followed by what the BBC called the fiercest fighting since the conflict there began. The 9 June New York Times quotes Alija Izetbegovic, president of Bosnia-Herzegovina, as calling for the US air force to attack the Serbian artillery positions laying waste to Sarajevo: let them bomb those who are bombing us. That would probably be enough. (Patrick Moore) BLEAK PICTURE INSIDE SARAJEVO. Western media reported over the long European holiday weekend on the increasingly desperate situation in the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Recurrent themes included near-starvation among a population often reduced to a diet of roots and pigeonsto the extent that there is food at all. The media also reported, however, that largely Muslim and Croat Territorial Defense units have staged their first breakthrough in the siege by capturing some key Serbian positions around the town with heavy weapons taken the previous week from a newly abandoned army base. Serbian media denied the story. (Patrick Moore) HUNGARIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT ON MEDIA. The court ruled on 8 June that a 1974 decree granting the government supervision over state media is unconstitutional because it fails to restrict government influence over radio and television programs, MTI reports. The court called on parliament to adopt a media law by 30 November 1992. Until that time the existing decree will remain in effect to avoid putting the media at the mercy of power struggles between political parties. Prime Minister Jozsef Antall used the decree in his attempt to dismiss the radio president. President Arpad Goncz refused to approve the dismissal saying that a new radio president should only be appointed after the adoption of a media law by parliament. (Edith Oltay) MINISTER QUITS POST IN ESTONIA. Estonias Minister for the Economy Heido Vitsur has resigned, BNS reports on 8 June. Vitsur said he quit the government in order to manage the campaign for the Secure Home election coalition established last week by the Coalition Party and the Rural Union. Olari Taal, currently Minister for Construction, will act in Vitsurs stead until a replacement can be named. (Riina Kionka) SEJM PASSES BUDGET. Also on 5 June parliament overwhelmingly passed a new, IMF-backed budget. Deputies voted 23090, with 7 abstentions, in favor of the bill, which foresees a deficit of $2.8 billion but calls for large spending cuts to limit the deficit to 5% of the GNP, Western and Polish media report. The IMF made implementation of the new budget a condition for renewing a three-year credit agreement. Prime Minister Pawlak said he may introduce some amendments to the budget but stressed that he will adhere to the IMF s 5% deficit limitation requirement. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) ROMANIA STARTS PRIVATIZATION. The Ursus brewery at Cluj-Napoca is to be the first Romanian company to be privatized through sale of shares. Romanian small investors will be offered 51% of the shares, with the remaining 49% sold directly to bigger Romanian investors or foreigners. The brewerys staff of 470 has first option to buy up to one-tenth of the shares at a 10% discount. Applications will be accepted beginning 6 July, after a month of publicity, Romanian and foreign media reported. (Crisula Stefanescu) NEW FOREIGN EXCHANGE RULES IN ROMANIA. Romania is about to implement new foreign exchange rules that will fully liberalize the countrys convertible currency market. The rules, which take effect on 8 June, will sharply reduce the Centrals Bank role in setting exchange rates for the leu, which will be set now through bank auctions, Romanian and foreign media report. The new rules seek to narrow the gap between the official rate for the leu (which had been set at 226 to the dollar) and those offered in Romania by licensed foreign offices (at 360:dollar). (Crisula Stefanescu) KRAMBERGER MURDERED IN SLOVENIA. Ivan Kramberger, leader of the Homeland Peoples Party of Slovenia and a presidential candidate, was shot dead on 7 June by an intoxicated farmer shortly before a campaign meeting in northeastern Slovenia. Kramberger was sharply critical of Slovenian President Milan Kucan and the government on economic and social issues. In the April 1990 electionsthe first multiparty vote since 1938Kramberger finished third in the presidential race. A farm hand and illiterate until his late teens, he invented a a low-cost kidney dialysis machine, went on to become a self-made millionaire and wrote several best-selling books in Slovenia. He donated more than 50 dialysis machines to medical clinics in Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, and Montenegro. (Milan Andrejevich) ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT DECIDES AGAINST JULY ELECTIONS. Parliament voted narrowly against a proposal to hold general elections in July. Prime Minister Theodor Stolojan had urged that the elections be held on 26 July, saying a delay would destabilize the country. After the vote, Stolojan suggested Iliescu meet parliamentary party leaders to discuss a date for elections, foreign media reported. (Crisula Stefanescu) ESTONIAN POPULAR FRONT READIES FOR ELECTION. In a move that surprised few observers, the Estonian Popular Front announced last weekend that it had formally joined forces with former Prime Minister Edgar Savisaars Peoples Center Party for the election campaign. According to BNS of 8 June, the Popular Front-PCP election coalition is holding talks with other like-minded parties in search of allies. (Riina Kionka) APATHY DEFEATS HUNGARIAN CANDIDATEAGAIN. Only 27% of the eligible voters cast votes in the seventh attempt to elect a parliamentary representative in County Komarom-Esztergom, MTI reported on 7 June. This was well below the 50%-plus-one-vote needed to validate the vote. Former Defense Ministry spokesman Gyorgy Keleti, the candidate of the Hungarian Socialist Party, received over 62% of the votes cast. (Edith Oltay) BULGARIAS USD HOLDS CONFERENCE. The Union for Social Democracy, which took shape inside the BSP at the latest BSP congress last December, held a national conference on 67 June, extensively covered by BTA and Duma. The group emphasized that it is not a faction and will not be an opposition in the BSP, but represents the trend inside it which is for speeding up its change and transformation into an organization of left social democracy. It will maintain contacts with similar parties abroad, some of which sent guests to the conference. A political council of 31 members of local USD clubs and 33 members of parliament was elected, the latter including several of the most active BSP deputies. Prof. Chavdar Kyuranov was elected chairman and Alexandar Tomov and Dimitar Yonchev deputy chairmen. (Rada Nikolaev) EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT. On 8 June the Sajudis Coalition For a Democratic Lithuania ended its boycott and attended an extraordinary session of the parliament, Radio Lithuania reports. It approved by a vote of 1090 with 1 abstention a constitutional act declaring that Lithuania will never join any political, military, economic, or other union with the former USSR. The session also approved longer hours for referendums, but postponed until the next day decisions on the more important questions of setting a date for elections to the new parliament and the resignation of Prime Minister Vagnorius. (Saulius Girnius) BALTS REFUSE TO SIGN ARMS PROTOCOL. On 5 June in Oslo representatives of NATO countries, former Warsaw Pact states, and former USSR republics signed a protocol committing themselves to cut their conventional military forces. According to a RFE/RL correspondent and agency reports, Baltic representatives declined to sign the document on the grounds that its terms might provide an excuse for the continued presence of the ex-USSR forces on their territories. Representatives of NATO, while expressing in their communique understanding of the practical difficulties for Russia associated with the withdrawal of its troops, nonetheless noted One of the fundamental principles of international law is that the presence of foreign troops on the territory of a sovereign state requires the clearly expressed consent of that state. (Dzintra Bungs) LANDSBERGIS-YELTSIN MEETING. On 5 June Lithuanian Supreme Council chairman Vytautas Landsbergis met with Russian President Boris Yeltsin for about an hour, the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service reports. Landsbergis said that he was satisfied with the talks, noting that agreements had been reached on oil supplies to Lithuania in the second half of the year and compensation for Lithuanian deposits in the former USSR Vneshekonombank. He said that Yeltsin had suggested that setting a timetable for early withdrawals was more important than the final date for its completion. Landsbergis repeated his demands that the 107th division in Vilnius should be among the first units to leave. (Saulius Girnius) LATVIA REQUIRES LICENSES FOR MILITARY FLIGHTS. Auseklis Zobens, director of the aviation department of Latvias Transportation Ministry, told the press on 8 June that Russian military flights over Latvian airspace henceforth will have to be coordinated with the Latvias Ministry of Defense and licensed by Latvias Air Transportation. So far Latvia has received 11 requests for licenses, valid for one year, from Russian military units. Karlis Kins of the Defense Ministry said that arms-carrying flights would be forbidden, BNS reported on 8 June. (Dzintra Bungs) ZHELEV STARTS LATIN AMERICAN TOUR. President Zhelyu Zhelev left on 7 June for an eleven-day tour. BTA and Bulgarian Radio gave details. First on his schedule are official visits to Venezuela and Uruguay. After attending the UN ecological summit in Rio de Janeiro, he will pay an official visit to Argentina. Zhelev is accompanied by Foreign Minister Ganev, presidential advisers, government representatives, and businessmen. (Rada Nikolaev)
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