|The only certainty is that nothing is certain. - Pliny the Elder|
No. 111, 12 June 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR RUSSIA CRITICAL OF UKRAINIAN MOVES ON STRATEGIC WEAPONS. . . General Yurii Maksimov, the commander in chief of the CIS Strategic Forces, recently warned that the CIS and Ukraine were headed for a struggle over strategic nuclear weapons that would make the dispute over the Black Sea Fleet "look like child's play." In an interview published in Izvestiya on 11 June, Maksimov pointed out that servicemen in a number of strategic units in Ukraine had recently taken an oath of allegiance to that republic, while the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense was attempting to take "administrative control" of these units, effectively creating a confusing dual command and dual leadership of the strategic nuclear forces. Maksimov charged that these developments had, in practice, removed his headquarters from decisions concerning the manning, training, and combat readiness of these units, and were in violation of previous CIS agreements. While it supposedly retains operational control, Maksimov questioned his command's ability in this regard, since "people on duty on the nuclear button will carry out orders not from Moscow, but from the capital of Ukraine." (Doug Clarke) . . . UKRAINE RESPONDS. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk dismissed Maksimov's charges, saying that the CIS general was "talking after the fact." According to the 11 June account by Reuters of Kravchuk's press conference, the Ukrainian leader said that Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan were full parties to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), so "Russia cannot today speak in the name of all four states. That question is decided." (Doug Clarke) OFFICERS TO BE TRANSFERRED FROM UKRAINE. As reported earlier (see Daily Report for 9 June), Ukrainian Defense Minister Konstantin Morozov has issued an order that will transfer out of Ukraine some 6,000 officers who have refused to swear the oath of loyalty of Ukraine. According to an 11 June Reuters report, the Ukrainian deputy defense minister for personnel, Oleksandr Ihnatenko, told Narodnaya armiya that 9,500 officers had refused to take the oath, and that 3,500 of them had already decided to be demobilized. While the transfer order emphasizes that the remaining 6,000 officers are to be treated fairly and with full honors, there is apparently fear in Ukraine that they could become a disruptive "fifth column." At the same time, Ukraine is trying to arrange for the transfer to Ukraine of ethnic Ukrainian officers serving outside the republic, particularly from "hot spots," and charges that the CIS command has been uncooperative in this matter. (Stephen Foye) KRAVCHUK ON UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS. Speaking to journalists in Kiev on 11 June before an official visit to France, Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk described his Russian counterpart Boris Yeltsin as leader with whom it was possible to conduct a dialogue, But, according to Reuters, Kravchuk also stressed that for relations between Kiev and Russia to improve, "Russia would have to recognize Ukraine as independent state without any qualifications, 'like Germany or France,' and drop any suggestion of territorial claims." The Ukrainian president argued that "an independent Ukraine is a condition for democratization in Russia. If Ukraine remains dependent on Russia," he explained, "then Russia remains an empire." (Bohdan Nahaylo) KRAVCHUK WARNS OF REACTIONARY RUSSIAN ANTI-YELTSIN FORCES. The Ukrainian president also expressed his concern about the rise of "revanchist" right-wing nationalist and communist opposition forces in Russia to President Boris Yeltsin, which, he said, are seeking to re-establish the Russian empire within the borders of the former Soviet Union. "These forces," Kravchuk declared, "are a danger not only to Ukraine but to all of Europe and the whole world." "If Yeltsin was defeated by the Russian imperial-nationalists," he added, "it would be practically impossible" for Kiev and Moscow "to hold a dialogue." Kravchuk's comments reflect the indignation which is currently being expressed in the Ukrainian press with a statement made by Sergei Baburin,the leader of the Russian parliamentary faction "Rossiya." According to Izvestiya of 27 May, Baburin told the official Ukrainian representative in Moscow: "Either Ukraine reunites with Russia, or [there will be] war." (Bohdan Nahaylo) CONSERVATIVE FORCES COULD TRY AND REMOVE YELTSIN. Sergei Shakhrai, Yeltsin's former legal affairs advisor, has suggested that conservative forces in Russia could try to remove Boris Yeltsin from the post of president before the end of the year, "Vesti" reported on 11 June. In a Reuters interview, Shakhrai argued that the military-industrial complex and the agricultural sector, who have a powerful base of support in the parliament and in the executive, continue to resist Yeltsin's reform policies. Resistance to the Russian president could manifest itself in an "outwardly legitimate" way by pushing motions in parliament to demand Yeltsin's resignation. (Carla Thorson/Chris Hummel) YELTSIN INTERVIEW. On 11 June, Russian President Boris Yeltsin gave an interview to the chairman of the Russian TV and Radio Broadcasting Company, Oleg Poptsov, and chief editor of Izvestiya Igor Golembiovsky. The interview was connected to Russian Independence Day (12 June). In the interview, Yeltsin said that he had kept the situation in Russia under control and intended to continue with economic reforms, despite criticism in the media. He reiterated that he had no intention to run for president again in 1996. He also rejected suggestions that he wanted to set up a presidential party, arguing that any party that enjoyed special protection from a president would gradually become similar to the CPSU and would start claiming monopoly on political power. The Russian president stressed, however, that a multi-party system was still underdeveloped in Russia. He said that among the twenty largest Russian parties, not a single one was strong enough to seriously influence politics in the republic. (Vera Tolz) RUSSIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS TO BE POSTPONED UNTIL 1994? Izvestiya, on 6 June, quoted Boris Yeltsin as saying, during his meetings with representatives of the Union of Russian Cities, that there will be no local elections until 1994. These elections had been scheduled for 1991, but in December Yeltsin convinced the Russian parliament and the Fifth Congress of People's Deputies to postpone the elections and allow him to appoint the regional and city governors until the end of 1992. Yeltsin had argued that local elections would disrupt the implementation of rapid economic reform, but this was a controversial and quasi-legal move. (Julia Wishnevsky) RUSSIAN PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM ADOPTED. The Russian Supreme Soviet adopted the government privatization program on 11 June, ITAR-TASS reported. More than twenty-five types of state property are excluded from privatization, including water resources, cultural and historical properties, republican hard currency reserves, the central bank, and the pension fund. The privatization program will officially take effect after additional enabling legislation is drawn up. This process is scheduled for completion by 25 July. It is estimated that the privatization program will bring 91 billion rubles into the Russian budget. (Sarah Helmstadter) RUSSIANS TO RECEIVE PRIVATIZATION VOUCHERS. Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais has said vouchers for purchasing shares in state-owned property will be given to all Russian citizens by 1 December, pending approval by the Supreme Soviet. Western agencies quoted Chubais as saying the amount of the vouchers will depend on the Supreme Soviet's decision: they could be worth anything from 700 to 8,000 rubles. Aleksei Ulyukaev, a government economic advisor, said the government hopes the 150 million vouchers to be distributed this year will be valued between 5,000 to 10,000 rubles. (Sarah Helmstadter) SINGLE EXCHANGE RATE FOR THE RUBLE STARTING 1 JULY. ITAR-TASS reported 11 June that Sergei Vasilev, an economic advisor, repeated the government's intention to introduce a single rate of exchange for the ruble on 1 July, 1992. He said that with the introduction of the market exchange rate for the ruble, Russia will stop using foreign currency for all types of transactions. ITAR-TASS reported that once the ruble has floated against other currencies for several months, an exchange rate of 80 rubles to the US dollar would be set. (Sarah Helmstadter) STERN MEASURES TO PROTECT RUBLE ZONE. First Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar told a meeting of the cabinet on 11 June that Russia would impose very tough terms on republics that wished to remain in the ruble zone, ITARTASS reported. The chairman of the State Committee for Economic Cooperation with CIS States, Vladimir Mashchits, proposed that, if these states did not sign bilateral agreements with Russia on financial relations, Russia should unilaterally take stern measures including demanding foreign currency forraw materials and denying them cash. (Ann Sheehy) TENS OF BILLIONS OF RUBLES DIVERTED TO CHECHNYA. The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs is investigating the transfer of tens of billions of rubles in cash from Moscow banks to a bank in Chechnya, Krim-PRESS reported on 11 June. The affair is described as the largest bank robbery in the world. The transfers have taken place since the beginning of spring 1992, and are said to have been facilitated by the collapse of the banking system. At the end of May nearly 10 billion rubles were transferred, and a few days later another 15 billion. The documents were made out in the name of various commercial structures associated with the so-called "Chechen Commune." (Ann Sheehy) YELTSIN SENDS MESSAGE TO RUSSIA'S MUSLIMS. In a message of congratulations to Russia's millions of Muslims to mark Kurban Bairam, Yeltsin called for ethnic and religious harmony, Reuters reported on 11 June. For the first time the feast is being celebrated officially in Tatarstan and the Karachai-Cherkess republic. Muslims in Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and the North Caucasus are currently trying to assert their independence from Russia and probably represent the greatest threat to Russia's integrity. The Saudi press agency reported that 15,409 pilgrims from the CIS states were in Mecca, ITAR-TASS reported on 11 June. This is well up on the estmiated 4,000 that went last year. (Ann Sheehy) TATARS AND RUSSIANS OBJECT TO DRAFT BASHKORTOSTAN CONSTITUTION. The Bashkir section of the Tatar Public Center and the duma of the "Rus" public association have criticized the recently published draft constitution of Bashkortostan for giving the right of self-determination only to the indigenous nationality, Radio Rossii reported on 10 June. They also complained that the draft constitution disavows the federal treaty, and grants Bashkortostan the right to conduct its own foreign policy, have an independent judiciary, and secede from the Russian Federation. (Ann Sheehy) MORE DEATHS IN UKRAINIAN MINING DISASTER. The death toll in the mining disaster in the eastern Ukrainian town of Krasnodon has risen to 53, CIS agencies reported on 11 June, and the final total may be as high as 57 or 58. Four of those killed, were volunteer rescue workers. Another 21 miners are in hospital, four in a serious condition. (Bohdan Nahaylo) UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES DENY CURBING RIGHTS OF ETHNIC ROMANIANS. Ethnic Romanians living in Ukraine's south-western Chernivtsi oblast (the disputed region of Northern Bukovyna) accused the Kiev authorities of placing curbs on travel and other contacts with Romania. Ukrainian officials have denied these charges and pointed to the cultural facilities enjoyed by the Chernivtsi region's Romanians, (where they constitute about 20% of the population). These facilities, the Ukrainian officials argued, are superior to those which the Ukrainian minority in Romania have, and there has not been a single complaint from the Romanians in Chernivtsi oblast, Reuters reported on 9-10 June. During the recent referendum on Ukrainian independence, some ethnic Romanians were reported to have supported calls for a boycott. (Bohdan Nahaylo) KAZAKH SOLDIERS MUTINY IN RUSSIA. "Vesti" reported on 11 June that Kazakh soldiers have mutinied in Arkhangelsk Oblast, because they object to having to serve in a foreign state. They had been assigned to guard a prison colony. Twenty-eight Kazakh soldiers deserted with their weapons. In the scuffle that occurred, two of the Kazakhs were injured. If such attitudes become widespread among Central Asians stationed outside their home countries, it could undermine the CIS defense agreement reached at Tashkent. (Bess Brown) CENTRAL ASIAN STATES TO BE RECOGNIZED AS "DEVELOPING." Japanese officials expect that the five Central Asian countries will soon be recognized as "developing countries" by the OECD, ITAR-TASS reported on 11 June. Such a designation would make it easier for the Central Asians to obtain development assistance. Japan sent a team of trade and industrial experts to Central Asia at the end of May to assess the region's needs. According to ITAR-TASS, the team reported that all five countries need immediate help. The Japanese were quoted as saying that France agreed with their assessment of the Central Asian situation. (Bess Brown) "STEPS TOWARD DEMOCRACY" IN ALMA-ATA. The Washington-based International Republican Institute is sponsoring a conference, "Steps Towards Democracy," which opens 13 June in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz journalist Tynchtybek Chorotegin reported on 12 June. Representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and southern Russia will receive advice on conducting election campaigns and public discussions, on the principles of governing in a multi-party system. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE CZECH-SLOVAK TALKS ON THE COUNTRY'S FUTURE. On 11 June negotiations between the Czech election winner, Vaclav Klaus, and his Slovak counterpart Vladimir Meciar over the future relations of the Czech and the Slovak republics ended in a deadlock. Both sides said their initial positions had not changed. Among the bones of contention is the Slovak side's conception of a confederation, its insistence on a referendum to decide on the form of joint state by the end of 1992, its determination to be represented in the UN and other international bodies, and its rejection of Vaclav Havel's continuing as president. The Czechs insist on a strong federation, a referendum to take place later this year, and, especially, Havel's reelection. Another parliamentary meeting between the Czech and the Slovak parliamentary leaders is scheduled Sunday in Bratislava, Western media report. (Peter Matuska) MUSLIMS AND CROATS ABOUT TO BREAK SIEGE OF MOSTAR? Radio Bosnia-Herzegovina said on 11 June that Muslim and Croat forces have taken key Serbian positions around Herzegovina's main city and were ready to end the Serbian grip on the mainly Muslim and Croat town. There has been no independent confirmation of the report. Meanwhile, international media quoted UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali as calling the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina "desperate." A UN team arrived in Sarajevo on 11 June to negotiate the reopening of the airport for relief flights, but local residents were skeptical, given the track record of past cease-fires and the fact that the new agreement would not require the Serbs to stop attacking the town completely. (Patrick Moore) MORE DISCUSSION ON POSSIBLE MILITARY INTERVENTION. The European Parliament on 11 June rejected calls for intervention while demanding the "orderly" disarming of the Serbian-dominated federal forces by the UN, Western news agencies said. The 12 June Washington Post quoted President Bush as saying that "we will do what we should do, but I'm not going to go into the fact of using US troops. We're not the world's policeman." Meanwhile, on 11 June the Washington Times carried an article by Senator Richard Lugar, who called for the US to "lead the United Nations and NATO to stern enforcement of a cease-fire in Yugoslavia before it's too late." He warned that otherwise armed ethnic conflicts could multiply around the world in "an almost endless replication." Finally, on 12 June a Canadian staff officer was quoted in Western papers as describing the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina as "so badly screwed up [that] it can't be unscrewed." (Patrick Moore) PAWLAK OPTIMISTIC ON FORMING NEW GOVERNMENT. On 11 June after talks with Bronislaw Geremek of the Democratic Union (UD) and acting Agriculture Minister Gabriel Janowski of the Polish Peasant PartyPeasant Accord (PSL-PL), Polish Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak said the atmosphere is improving" and he sees "better prospects" for a positive outcome to his efforts to form a government. Geremek told reporters the UD fully agreed on the terms for entering the cabinet previously announced by the Liberal-Democratic Congress (KLD). He criticized the Confederation for Independent Poland (KPN) and several smaller parties for not adopting concrete positions on many issues. Jankowski, however, said there is little chance of forming a new government, PAP reports. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) SEJM DEPUTIES SUGGEST EARLY ELECTIONS. Echoing Jankowski's tone, several Sejm deputies suggested new parliamentary elections if the prime minister does not form a cabinet soon. According to Western and Polish media, Waldemar Kuczynski of the UD said that chances for agreement on economic issues are growing even smaller. Donald Tusk of the KLD said that a quick election was likely if a three-party "little coalition" (UD, KLD and PPG) and Pawlak's PSL do not receive Sejm support. Leszek Moczulski, chairman of the KPN, said "if Pawlak fails, we need early elections; time is pressing." (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) WALESA: POLITICAL SITUATION SERIOUS AND DANGEROUS. On 11 June President Lech Walesa told a press conference in Warsaw that the political situation in Poland is dangerous and that he may consider taking over the premiership himself as a last resort. He said that the country is at a crossroads and called on rival factions to stop quarreling so that a new government can be formed and a new constitution adopted. He also said that the previous Olszewski government tried "to blackmail" him with information allegedly tying him to the former communists secret police. Western and Polish wire services carried the story. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) EASTERN EUROPE AT RIO. President Ion Iliescu, Foreign Affairs Minister Adrian Nastase, and other Romanian officials traveled to Rio de Janeiro on 11 June. Iliescu stressed the significance of the environment summit and welcomed the opportunity to meet with other political, business, and media leaders. Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev heads his county's delegation and is using the occasion to make official visits to Venezuela, Uruguay, and Argentina. The three Baltic delegations are lead by the supreme council chairmen, all of whom will address the meeting on 12 June. Before departing for Rio, Latvian Anatolijs Gorbunovs told Radio Riga that he plans to outline the ecological situation in Latvia and invite the participants to hold a follow-up conference in Jurmala. Poland is represented in Rio by Environmental Protection Minister Stefan Kozlowski. Slovenia, Croatia, and the United States, among others, protested Yugoslavia's participation, but the UN credentials committee has ruled that the delegation can stay, Reuters reports. (Charles Trumbull & RI staff) RIO DELEGATES HEAR CENTRAL EUROPEAN VIEWS. On 10 June Hungarian Minister for Environment and Regional Policy Sandor Keresztes told the Rio conference that Hungary is willing to pay a high price to integrate environmental protection into economic development, Western news agencies report. Hungary will seek to remedy damages to its environment by "mistaken environmental policies" of previous decades, but this will require "considerable support" from Western countries. Keresztes said that the biodiversity of the Carpathian Basin survived in a relatively good state environmentally and its protection is in the interest of the entire northern hemisphere. The same day Czechoslovak Environment Minister Josef Vavrousek said his country is not competing for funds with the developing world even if the transition from communism to capitalism causes economic hardship. He said Eastern Europe would be "very glad" to receive financial help for specific projects, such as making its nuclear plants safe and cleaning up air pollution and soil contamination caused by Soviet troops, an RFE/RL correspondent reports. (Edith Oltay & Peter Matuska) BOX SCORE ON RIO CONVENTIONS. According to UN counts released on 11 June, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Poland, and Romania are among the 31 countries that have so far signed the Convention on Climate Change, with Belarus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine promising to sign before the conference ends on Sunday. The Convention on Biological Diversity has also been signed by 31 nations so far, including Moldova, Poland, and Romania, with Belarus, Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Russia, and Ukraine expected to do so this week. (Jeff Endrst/NCA) BALTS ENLIST KOHL'S SUPPORT ON TROOPS. The three Baltic supreme council chairmenVytautas Landsbergis of Lithuania, Anatolijs Gorbunovs of Latvia, and Arnold Ruutel of Estoniaused the occasion of attending the Rio conference to hold talks with a number of other world leaders. On 11 June they met with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and primarily discussed the withdrawal of former USSR troops from their territories. Kohl promised to raise the question in all European forums and at his meeting with Russian President Boris Yeltsin, the VOA Lithuanian Service reported on 12 June. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIAN PLEBISCITE ON TROOP WITHDRAWAL. On 14 June citizens of Lithuania will vote on whether or not to demand the withdrawal this year of all former USSR troops. On 11 June Radio Lithuania noted that the Northwestern Group of Forces informed Lithuania on 1 January that 34,852 officers and soldiers were stationed in the republic. At the present time there are about 180 military bases with about 68,000 hectares of land. During the first three months of this year 253 troops were withdrawn from Lithuania, but many new recruits have arrived and the number of troops is probably unchanged. Lithuania has submitted a provisional bill of $143 billion for damages caused by the military, but it will increase after Lithuania can determine the ecological damages on the bases still occupied by the troops. (Saulius Girnius) NEW HEAD OF LATVIAN CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT. Radio Riga announced on 11 June that Viesturs Karnups has been appointed director of Latvia's Citizenship and Immigration Department. An Australian specialist in demographics and statistics, Karnups is a close associate of Maris Plavnieks, the previous department head. The department will henceforth be answerable to the Ministry of State. The organizational changes were necessitated by a conflict between the department and its oversight body, the Ministry of Justice. (Dzintra Bungs) RESIDENCE PERMITS REQUIRED IN LATVIA. As of 1 July all foreigners and stateless persons wishing to stay in Latvia longer than three months will have to obtain a residence permit. A law to that effect was adopted by Latvia's Supreme Council on 10 June, BNS reports. Deputy Rolands Rikards said that initially this would affect about 150,000 persons. The law does not deal with officially registered non-Latvians residents of Latvia. Further legislation is expected on these issues, especially since Latvia does not consider itself to be a land of immigration. (Dzintra Bungs) PUTSCH IN THE HUNGARIAN SMALLHOLDERS' PARTY? Smallholders' chairman Jozsef Torgyan told MTI on 11 June that the party's general secretary, Bela Nemeth, and a few followers tried to "seize control [of the party] through a putsch." Nemeth ordered Torgyan's suspension as president and is considering disciplinary action for alleged offences. According to Torgyan, Nemeth and followers tried first to forcibly remove him from his office, and then locked him up. He was freed by supporters on the same day. The Smallholders' Party is the second largest party in the ruling coalition; it split into two parliamentary groups some months ago because of internal disputes. (Edith Oltay) ETHNIC HUNGARIANS PROTEST ROMANIAN LAW. Ethnic Hungarians held meetings throughout Transylvania to protest a law on education currently being prepared that reportedly would reduce Hungarian-language education in schools, Radio Budapest reported on 11 June. The Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania, the representative organization of Hungarians in Romania, initiated the protest meetings and held a meeting in Tirgu Mures. (Edith Oltay) DIENSTBIER WARNS BAVARIA ON SUDETEN CLAIMS. On 11 June Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier sharply criticized Bavarian state Prime Minister Max Streibl for saying Germany should press claims by Sudeten Germans expelled after World War II. Dienstbier was reacting to comments made by Streibl on 7 June when he said Bavaria could not support the new Czechoslovak-German treaty of friendship because it "legitimizes the expulsion of 2.5 million Sudeten Germans after the war." The treaty is due to be voted on by Germany's parliament next month, an RFE/RL correspondent reports. (Peter Matuska) BULGARIAN AIR CONTROLLERS TO STRIKE. For several days Bulgaria's air controllers have been warning of a strike. They demand improved pay and working conditions to increase flight safety. Following contacts with government representatives the daily press on 9 June reported that the controllers agreed to wait 48 hours. In the morning of 12 June Bulgarian Radio said continued talks were fruitless and the strike will begin early on 13 June. Bulgaria's air space could be closed by the strike. (Rada Nikolaev) COURT RULES ON BULGARIAN CHURCH. On 11 June the Constitutional Court ruled that the activities of the Directorate on Religions at the Council of Ministers in connection with the conflict in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church represent an inadmissible interference by the state in church affairs, BTA reports. Court President Asen Manov was quoted as saying the Orthodox Church must decide for itself which of the two synods is the real one. Duma on 12 June predicted that the head of the Directorate, Metodi Spasov, will be replaced. (Rada Nikolaev) IMF GIVES ROMANIA LOAN FOR OIL. The International Monetary Fund has approved a loan to Romania of about $108 million under its special compensatory and contingency financing facility of to cover the excess cost of oil imports during 1991, an RFE/RL correspondent reports. The collapse of the USSR oil export industry and the effects of the Gulf War sent Romania's oil import costs soaring over the last two years. Earlier this month, the IMF approved a standby credit for Romania of about $440 million to support the Romanian economic reform program. (Crisula Stefanescu) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & 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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