|A friend is a gift you give yourself. - Robert Louis Stevenson|
No. 110, 11 June 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR YELTSIN ON ROLE OF RUSSIAN MILITARY. In his speech to the Russian military high command on 10 June, Russian President Boris Yeltsin vowed that Russia would maintain an army commensurate with its status as a great nuclear power, and echoed his generals by asserting that Russian troops would not withdraw in disarray from other former Soviet CIS states. According to Western and CIS reports of the closed meeting, Yeltsin also said that he had signed a decree on 10 June that will increase pay significantly for all military ranks. By the tone of his remarks, Yeltsin is apparently trying to shore up support within the disgruntled Russian high command. (Stephen Foye) . . .ON NUCLEAR ARMS ACCORD. According to Russian and Western accounts, Yeltsin also told his top military leaders that Russia supported the idea of strategic nuclear parity with the United States, while the recent American proposals on further arms cuts would leave the US in a more advantageous position. Yeltsin was still hopeful that he and US President George Bush would be able to sign an agreement on the framework for further arms cuts during their upcoming Washington summit. He was quoted by Radio Rossii on 10 June as saying the positions of the two sides have not yet been clarified, and revealed that he had sent Bush a letter that day on this issue. (Doug Clarke) . . .ON RELATIONS WITH UKRAINE AND THE BLACK SEA FLEET. The Russian president also reportedly said that talks with Ukraine over the future of the Black Sea Fleet were proceeding with difficulty, but that both sides had agreed not to take any unilateral actions until a compromise has been worked out. According to ITAR-TASS, he expressed the hope that Russia and Ukraine would be be able to move from confrontation to dialogue on the issues that divide them. At the same conference, however, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev continued to go against Yeltsins declared position that the Black Sea Fleet be divided between Ukraine and Russia by insisting that it be regarded as part of the CIS armed forces, RIA reported. (Bohdan Nahaylo) THE AFGHAN CONNECTION. Yeltsins 10 June appointments to the top posts in the Russian Defense Ministry and General Staff were a clear sign that generals who served in Afghanistan will oversee the construction of the new Russian army. Defense Minister Pavel Grachev was a much decorated hero of the war in Afghanistan, while new appointees Viktor Dubynin, Valerii Mironov, Grigorii Kondratev also served in the 40th army in the 1980s, Dubynin as the armys commander. According to Radio Rossii, in fact, all five of the new appointees held command posts in Afghanistan. (Stephen Foye) ESTABLISHING RUSSIAS FRONTIERS. Yeltsin told journalists in Moscow on 10 June that Russia was taking immediate steps to establish state frontiers with the Baltic States and also with Azerbaijan, which has virtually abolished visas for entry from Turkey and Iran, ITAR-TASS reported. He also noted that goods were leaving unchecked for Latvia and Estonia and that foreign intelligence services were gaining free access into Russia from the two Baltic States. Yeltsin said that, if the situation improved in Georgia, he might agree to a semi-transparent frontier with Georgia. The question of establishing a Russian-Kazakhstan frontier depended on whether or not the Central Asian republicswhich have no frontier with Russiaended entry without visas from other countries of the region. Yeltsin said that the most difficult question was that of the frontier with Ukraine. The setting up of a real Russian-Ukrainian state frontier would greatly complicate bilateral relations, but Russia would create one if Ukraine introduced its own currency. (Ann Sheehy) RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT DISCUSSES LAW ON REPRESSED PEOPLES. The Council of Nationalities of the Russian parliament discussed the implementation of its 1991 law on the rehabilitation of repressed peoples on 10 June, ITAR-TASS reported. The report on the governments activity, given by the Chairman of the State Committee for Nationalities Policy Valerii Tishkov, came in for heavy criticism. Chechen deputy Aslanbek Aslakhanov said Tishkov, the director of the Academy of Sciences Institute of Ethnography, was not on top of the subject and further discussion would be useless. There was general agreement that the law was not being implemented. Economics Minister Andrei Nechaev said it had been adopted chiefly as a political gesture and needed to be amended. (Ann Sheehy) RUSSIAN MINISTER CRITICAL OF INDEPENDENCE MALAIS. . . Russian Information Minister Mikhail Poltoranin, told the Kyodo News Service in an interview on 10 June that the new states which emerged as a result of the collapse of the USSR have fallen ill with independence, but that after they had recovered from this national measles they would begin to unite again. Poltoranin singled out Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk, accusing him of bathing in nationalism. The Russian information minister predicted that in three to four years the dust will settle and that Russia, Ukraine, and a number of other republics...will be something single. Earlier this year, in speech shown on Ukrainian TV, Kravchuk had accused Poltoranin of Russian great-state chauvinism and of interfering in Ukraines internal affairs. (Bohdan Nahaylo) . . . AND OF THE COMMONWEALTH. In the same interview, the Russian information minister also said that the CIS is not viable and cannot survive. He described it as an attempt to restore, recreate that former Union built by Communists who made different civilizations live under one roof. (Bohdan Nahaylo) GOVERNMENT OFFENSIVE AGAINST GORBACHEV. In an interview published in an Italian daily LUnita on 9 June, Russian Information Minister Mikhail Poltoranin levelled additional accusations of international terrorism against former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. According to Poltoranin, Gorbachev prolonged the Afghan war for five years and squandered the Soviet Unions resources to assist the communist regimes in Ethiopia, Cambodia, Nicaragua and Afghanistan. Today we can bury Gorbachev with one blow, Poltoranin said. (Julia Wishnevsky) GORBACHEV WILL NOT STAND TRIAL FOR COUP. The volume of compromising materials gathered by the Russian prosecutors office on the August 1991 coup attempt are not sufficient to try Mikhail Gorbachev, Russian TV reported on 10 June. Russian General Prosecutor Valentin Stepankov made this announcement during a press conference on the case against Vasilii Starodubtsev, one of the coup leaders who was released from prison a few days before. (Julia Wishnevsky) UKRAINIAN ECONOMICS MINISTER MEETS WITH EC OFFICIALS. On 10 June, Ukrainian Economics Minister Volodymyr Lanovy met in Brussels with European Community officials to discuss Ukraines request for a bigger share of the technical assistance budget for reform in the new CIS states, Reuters reported. An aide to Lanovy said that the Ukrainian delegation was pleased with the response and announced that it had also been agreed that a group of EC financial experts would visit Ukraine at the end of July. (Bohdan Nahaylo) NEW UKRAINIAN POLITICAL PARTY. The Ukrainian Conservative Republican Party was formed at its constituent conference in Kiev on 7 June, Radio Ukraine reported. The new grouping, which is headed by the well-known radical-minded peoples deputy, Stepan Khmara, represents a splinter group of the Ukrainian Republican Party (URP), until recently headed by Levko Lukyanenko. Lukyanenko is the new Ukrainian ambassador in Ottawa. The split in the URP occurred at its recent third congress. At the time, Khmara accused the partys leadership of supporting with the Kravchuk administration. (Roman Solchanyk) MINING DISASTER IN EASTERN UKRAINE. Residents of the eastern Ukrainian coal mining town of Krasnodon are mourning the deaths of 49 miners who were killed on 9 June by a powerful gas explosion, Reuters reported. Safety standards in the Donbasss outdated mining industry have long been a source of concern. (Bohdan Nahaylo) RUSSIA TO INTRODUCE HEALTH INSURANCE? Russian Minister of Health Andrei Vorobev stated at a 9 June parliamentary hearing that the speedy introduction of medical insurance is the cure for the current crisis in public health care. He foresees an increase in the volume of ambulatory care provided by independent physicians practicing general and family medicine. Vorobev stated that this care will be financed by the local governments. (Sarah Helmstadter) HEALTH CARE CRISIS AFFECTS INVALIDS. ITAR-TASS reported on 8 June that 200 invalids picketed the White House, protesting the closing of the Central Prosthesis Institute. Patients were discharged without treatment or prostheses and many workers were fired or sent on leave without pay, when the Institutes financing was cut. The Institute was the central office for conducting scientific work and production of prostheses. Most patients had turned to the Central Institute after they were denied artificial limbs by regional offices. Its closing is representative of the bankruptcy in health care throughout the CIS. (Sarah Helmstadter) MORE RUSSIAN UNEMPLOYMENT STATISTICS. The 4 June issue of Delovoi Mir reports a decrease in the number of employed persons in the majority of industrial sectors throughout the Russian Federation. The greatest decrease in workers occurred in sectors where wage increases were the lowest. Employment dropped by 3% in meat and dairy industries, 4.2% in the fish industry, 4.4% in medical services, 4.5% in machine building, and 5.5% in the metal processing industry. The number of workers increased in areas where wages had gone up the most: namely the energy sector, with the exception of oil processing. Komsomolskaya pravda of 9 June reported that 70% of the unemployed in Russia are women, more than 85% are city dwellers, and less than 15% are inhabitants of rural areas. (Sarah Helmstadter) UKRAINE TO CUT SUBSIDIES ON STAPLE GOODS. Ukrainian officials announced on 10 June that prices for milk, butter, vodka, and other staple goods would be freed as of 11 June. They did not mention whether subsidies for bread would be cut. By bringing Ukrainian prices into line with Russian prices, Deputy Economic Minister Viktor Kalnik hopes to stem the flow of goods from Ukraine to Russia caused by large price differentials. The government will assist 16 million people with income supplements. (Sarah Helmstadter) MISHAP WITH BACTERIOLOGICAL WEAPONS IN 1979. Komsomolskaya pravda on 10 June carried a story saying that an anthrax epidemic around Sverdlovsk in 1979 was caused by an accident during secret tests of bacteriological weapons and not by the sale of tainted meat as officialsincluding Boris Yeltsinclaimed at the time. The paper said that the outbreak of the disease followed an explosion at the 19th Secret Military City in the Chkalovski region near Sverdlovsk. Yeltsin was then the First Secretary of the Sverdlovsk communist party. The city has since been renamed Ekaterinburg. (Doug Clarke) DEMOS RESUME IN DUSHANBE. Activists of Tajikistans opposition coalition are again picketing the Presidential Palace in Dushanbe, ITAR-TASS reported on 10 June. Prior to the May agreement between government and opposition, the opposition demonstrators were demanding President Rakhmon Nabievs resignation, but now they are demanding that he use his powers to stabilize the situation in Kulyab and Leninabad oblasts, which refuse to recognize the new government created under the agreement. The picketers claim that more than 100 people have been killed in fighting in Kulyab, and have warned Nabiev that they will defend the integrity of the country if he cannot. (Bess Brown) OPPOSITION DEMANDS IN KAZAKHSTAN. The chairman and four members of the unregistered Kazakh nationalist Jeltoqsan Party are staging a hunger strike in Alma-Ata, accusing the authorities of repressing dissidents and criticizing President Nursultan Nazarbaev for agreeing to give up Kazakhstans strategic missiles, Vesti reported on 10 June. Batirhan Darimbetov, editor of the moderate Azat Movements press organ, told the RFE/RL Kazakh Service on 10 June that the hunger strike is also in protest against the arrest of three Jeltoqsan members who attacked a statue of Dzerzhinsky. Jeltoqsan, Azat and its associated Republican Party are demanding a coalition government and the division of Communist Party assets among Kazakhstans registered parties. (Bess Brown) RUSSIANS TO REMAIN IN TURKMENISTAN. In an interview published in the 23 May issue of Turkmenskaya iskra, Archbishop Vladimir of Tashkent and Central Asia commented that Turkmenistan has always remained the calmest and most stable republic within the bishopric. In his discussions with Orthodox parishioners during his annual tour of the bishopric, he found none who planned to leave the region, a reflection of unusual quiescence; other former Soviet Central Asian republics have witnessed massive out-migration of European minorities. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) Insect infestations threaten Russian grain IMPORTS. On 5 June, the Canadian government lifted a ban on port calls by Russian grain ships, an RFE/RL Ottawa correspondent reported. The ban had been imposed at the end of March after gypsy moth eggs were discovered in several ships coming from Siberia. The gypsy moth, very harmful to foliage, is commonly found in Russias far eastern forests. Interfax reported that the moths in the Pacific ports were causing serious difficulties in shipping grain. Far Eastern ports of Russia have been infested by gypsy moths, forcing grain imports to be rerouted to western ports. (Sarah Helmstadter/Carol Macivor) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE PROTESTS AGAINST MILOSEVIC. Radio Croatia reports on 10 June that more than 5,000 students rallied in Belgrade demanding the resignation of Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, the replacement of Serbias parliament and government by a government of national salvation, and calling for multiparty elections to a constitutive assembly. Organizers stated that if the demands are not fulfilled the students will call a general strike at Belgrade University on 15 June. Meanwhile Vuk Draskovic, leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement, told reporters on 10 June that an antigovernment rally scheduled for 21 June will be democratic and will last as long as it is necessary to bring down Milosevic and his regime. He is calling for an interim government, including some socialists and representatives of national minorities, to guarantee a radical democratic transformation. The ruling Socialist party has condemned the activities of the opposition saying there will be a civil war if power is handed over to them. Radio Croatia reports on 11 June that Milosevic is rumored to have left Belgrade unexpectedly. (Milan Andrejevich) NEW SERBIAN OPPOSITION PARTY FOUNDED. On 10 June four small Serbian opposition parties formed a coalition party in Belgrade called the Civic League of Serbia (GSS). Its specific aim is to pacify Serbia and free the republic from nationalism. The GSS wants to establish normal relations with the former Yugoslav republics, begin negotiations on the rights and status of Serbs in these states, resolve the autonomy and status of Kosovo and Vojvodina, and form a transitional government in Serbia without Socialist representatives. Belgrades circle of independent intellectuals, the Center for Antiwar Action, and the Civil Movement of Resistance will also participate in GSS activities. Radio Serbia carried the story. (Milan Andrejevich) MORE TALK ON MILITARY INTERVENTION IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA. Western agencies on 10 June quoted Serbian chief of staff Gen. Zivota Panic as saying that Serbia must prepare for outside intervention, and that low-intensity attacks on Serbian military sites are the most likely possibilities. On 11 June the Washington Post and Boston Globe have lengthy articles reviewing the discussion in American policy-making circles about a possible US military role in the conflict, including a call by Senator Richard Lugar for NATO to demand that Serbia observe a cease-fire or face sufficient military force to ensure its certain and swift defeat. Finally, Western media report that on 10 June the US recommended that Serbia and Montenegro should not be allowed automatically to claim Yugoslavias UN seat, but rather should first have to prove that they meet certain standards of internationally acceptable behavior. (Patrick Moore) KOSOVO ALBANIANS REJECT TALKS WITH SERBIA. On 10 June representatives of Kosovos Albanian parties and associations rejected another offer from the Serbian government to start talks on the situation in the province, Radio Serbia reports. Most parties say they did not receive invitations. The influential Independent Trade Union of Kosovo says they feel slighted because in their invitation Albanians were repeatedly treated as an ethnic minority. The Social Democratic Party of Kosovo said the talks can only be held with international mediators and on neutral territory. The Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and the Democratic Alliance of Kosovo, the largest party, also found the invitation one-sided and demeaning. (Milan Andrejevich) TALKS ON CZECH-SLOVAK RELATIONS CONTINUE. On 11 June the second round of talks between the Czech election winner, Vaclav Klaus, and his Slovak counterpart Vladimir Meciar will focus on building up a broad coalition government and the division of powers between the federal government and the two republics to prevent a breakup of the country. Meciars party (HZDS) wants a sovereign Slovak state with weaker links with Prague, while Klaus party (ODS) favors a strong federation. Meciar said on 10 June that he would not meet personally with Havel to discuss the future of the country but would send a delegation to meet with him on 11 June. Meciars refusal to see Havel was his personal response to what he considers Havels interference with party politics after the elections, Western media report. President Vaclav Havel reaffirmed that he will be candidate for the presidential elections on 3 July. (Peter Matuska) CZECHOSLOVAKIA SAYS DANUBE DAM ACCORD STILL VALID. Reacting to the Hungarian parliaments decision of 9 June declaring the 1977 Czechoslovak-Hungarian treaty on the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros dam project invalid, Czechoslovak Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zdenek Zikmund, said on 10 June that his country views the treaty as still valid. Zikmund said his ministry will continue efforts to form an international commission of experts to analyze all technical aspects of the projects construction, an RFE/RL correspondent reports. Slovak Prime Minister Jan Carnogursky said on 10 June that the Hungarian parliaments action is just as illegal as the treatys cancellation by the Hungarian government in May. Czechoslovakia has continued work on its (Gabcikovo) side of the project and has demanded that Hungary compensate it for cancelling the treaty. (Peter Matuska) YELTSIN ON TROOP WITHDRAWAL. At a meeting of senior Russian military commanders in Moscow on 10 June, President Boris Yeltsin said the solution to the troop pullout from the Baltic States is possible only on the basis of realism; we reject any ultimatums, ITAR-TASS reports. He added that the Baltic appeals to the CSCE and UN on this matter cause bewilderment, and maintained that Russia has no secret political aims that would be implemented by means of its troops stationed in the Baltic States. Yeltsin also insisted that the problem of withdrawal is mostly a technical one: we cannot pull out troops into an open field and we would never agree that the withdrawal resemble fleeing. He added that the pullout process could be accelerated if the other side contributes to the resettlement of troops. (Dzintra Bungs) RUSSIA PROTESTS TREATMENT OF MILITARY. The Russian Foreign Ministry has joined the Defense Ministry in protesting the treatment of Russian troops serving in the Baltics. In a statement to ITAR-TASS on 8 June, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that characterizing military units stationed in areas previously part of the USSR as occupiers is incorrect, especially given deliberate provocations against Russian troops . The statement said Russia does not intend to stand idly by in the face insulting treatment against Russian troops and will defend their interests in the most decisive manner. The statement added that provocative statements are hindering the progress of troop withdrawal talks. Because this is the strongest stand the Foreign Ministry has taken regarding treatment of military personnelrather than civiliansthe statement suggests that the two agencies may now be coordinating policy on the Baltic issue. (Riina Kionka) RUSSIA: NO NEED FOR GO-BETWEENS. Russian chief negotiator Vasilii Svirin does not think Estonian-Russian talks need an intermediary to speed them along, as proposed earlier this week by Estonian Deputy Foreign Minister Trivimi Velliste. In a 11 June article in Paevaleht Svirin said Estonia must take into account the realistic situation in talks and reiterated that Russian troops must first be withdrawn from Germany and Poland before the Baltics. (Riina Kionka) LATVIA REJECTS OFFER TO SECURE STABILITY. Radio Riga reported on 10 June that Latvias Defense Council has rejected an offer by Col. V. Kandalovsky to protect the Latvian government from possible attempts to overthrow it. The Latvian Defense Council, noting that the political situation in Latvia is stable and that the government is in control, considered such an offer inappropriateit smacks of a desire to interfere in Latvias internal affairs. Kandalovsky is chairman of the Coordinating Council of Servicemen of the Baltic Region, an organization that has consistently resisted Baltic independence. Moreover, since the fall 1991 Kandalovsky has been a point man in efforts by ex-USSR officers in the Baltic to resist rapid withdrawal from the region. (Dzintra Bungs & Stephen Foye) ROMANIA CRITICIZES KOZYREV ON MOLDOVA. Romania strongly criticized Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev for suggesting the Dniestr dispute could be solved by breaking up Moldova or creating a federation, Romanian and foreign media report on 11 June. A Romanian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Kozyrevs comment, which appeared in Le Monde of 9 June, runs counter to European security accords and could spark a wider conflict. (Crisula Stefanescu) ROMANIAN ELECTIONS SET FOR SEPTEMBER. On 11 June President Ion Iliescu announced that leaders of the main political parties have agreed, after a three-hour meeting, to hold parliamentary elections on 27 September. Although Iliescu favored delaying the elections until the fall, he admitted that any further delay would cause uncertainty and tension, Romanian and foreign media report. The meeting failed to settle differences on whether presidential polls should be held at the same time as parliamentary elections, as favored by Iliescu. (Crisula Stefanescu) MORE ON BULGARIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH CONFLICT. On 10 June a rally was held in front of Alexander Nevski Cathedral in support of the new Holy Synod, which had been registered on 25 May and had taken over the synod building on 1 June. The rally was organized by the Union of Priests, which sides with the new body. Earlier the same day the main figure in the new Synod, newly appointed Bishop Hristofor Makariopolski (former Father Hristofor Sabev) read over Bulgarian Radio a number of decisions taken by the new Synod involving dismissals and appointments of leading priests. The name of Patriarch Maksim is no longer to be mentioned in church services, and prayers are to include the name of late Tsar Boris III. Bishop Hristofor reaffirmed an opinion he had expressed the previous day, calling for observance of the old Tarnovo constitution and return of ex-Tsar Simeon to the throne. (Rada Nikolaev) BCP SUPPORTED INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM. In an announcement quoted by BTA on 10 June, the Ministry of the Interior said that documents had been found in its archives implicating the former Bulgarian Communist Party in organizing and aiding international terrorism and interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign states. In 1974 the Greek CP was supported through illegal transfer of persons and material across the border, via a secret radio link, and with money. In 1984 political asylum was given to seven Turkish terrorists and hijackers. Various other BCP decisions involved training of security agents from Angola, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Yemen, Cuba, Tanzania, and Ghana and providing them with money and arms. (Rada Nikolaev) HUNGARYS UNEMPLOYED. According to figures released by the Ministry of Labor, unemployment rose in May to 9.7% of the work force, up from 9.3% in April, MTI reports. Preliminary figures indicate that in May 522,700 people were registered as unemployed. The largest number of unemployedover 63,000were registered in the northern county of Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen, where 16.3% of the work force is jobless. (Edith Oltay) ROMANIA, LITHUANIA SIGN TRADE AGREEMENT. On 10 June Romanian Trade Minister Constantin Fota and Lithuanian Economics Minister Albertas Simenas signed an agreement in Bucharest for economic and commercial cooperation, granting each other most-favored-nation trading status, Reuters reports. A protocol on goods supplies, services, and payments was also signed. No details about the goods in the 1992 list were announced, but payments would be made in hard currency at market prices. (Saulius Girnius) EC TO PROVIDE $80 MILLION TO POLAND. On 8 June EC Commissioner for Regional Policy Bruce Milan announced that the European Community will provide $80 million in aid to Poland this year under the program for regional restructuring. Polish Minister for European Integration and Foreign Aid Jacek Saryusz-Wolski said Warsaw will identify which regions require most help and allocate the money accordingly, AFP reports. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) POLES WATCH ILLEGALLY IMPORTED TV SETS. On 8 June Foreign Trade Minister Adam Glapinski said that over 400,000 Western TV sets were smuggled into Poland last year, AFP reports. He told a press conference that the treasury lost over $250 million last year because some importers of electronic equipment provided falsified receipts to customs officials. He said that new antifraud legislation will be introduced at the end of next month. Under the legislation, electronic equipment imported into Poland will have to come through specified entry points for checking by specialized teams. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson and Charles Trumbull The RFE/RL Daily Report is produced by the RFE/RL Research Institute (a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Inc.) in Munich, Germany, with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division (NCA). 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