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No. 112, 15 June 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR GAIDAR APPOINTED RUSSIAN ACTING PRIME MINISTER. Egor Gaidar has been appointed acting Russian premier, Radio Rosii reported on 15 June. Yelstin may have made the appointment only a temporary one because he wants the Russian parliament to confirm it. The appointment was announced at the beginning of Russian President Boris Yeltsin"s visit to the US. Gaidar"s appointment strengthens the reformist faction in the government. Russian first deputy premier Vladimir Shumeiko, who represents the more conservative section in the government, told ITAR-TASS on 14 June that he intended to support the Gaidar team. He also emphasized his belief that Gaidar would replace Yeltsin if Yeltsin stepped down as premier. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN, KRAVCHUK ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Speaking to the crowd following a special church service on 14 June Russian President Boris Yeltsin said that he and President George Bush would sign a treaty eliminating nuclear weapons altogether when they meet in Washington. Radio Moscow quoted Yeltsin as saying that he and Bush would sign "a cooperation accord the likes of which has never been signed by two superpowers." Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk on 11 June, according to Postfactum of 13 June, had told reporters that Ukraine intended to control the nuclear weapons located on its territory, and that Yeltsin was not empowered to discuss these weapons in his talks with Bush. (Doug Clarke) AZERBAIJAN LAUNCHES NEW ASSAULT ON ARMENIA. Azerbaijani forces, backed by tanks and helicopter gunships, launched a new offensive on Armenian villages in eastern Nagorno-Karabakh on 12 June and reportedly recaptured 15 villages in three days" heavy fighting that left hundreds dead, Western agencies report. A statement issued by the Azerbaijani Presidential press service and quoted by AzerINFORM-TASS claimed that since 9 June Armenian forces had repeatedly attacked Azerbaijani villages outside the borders of Nagorno-Karabakh and were preparing to occupy more Azerbaijani territory. On 13 June "Novosti" quoted Azerbaijani Defense Minister Rahim Gaziev as stating that he would shoot himself in front of the parliament building in Baku if his forces fail to retake Karabakh. (Liz Fuller) DIPLOMATIC REPERCUSSIONS. Mario Raffaelli, chairman of the CSCE preparatory peace conference on Karabakh due to open in Rome on 15 June expressed concern and disappointment at the renewed fighting, according to ITAR-TASS. At a meeting in Rio de Janiero with Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan, Turkish Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel said future Armenian-Turkish relations depend on Armenia "adopting a peaceful stand" in Azerbaijan, Turkish radio reported on 14 June. Turkey has rejected Armenia"s request to establish diplomatic relations. Ter-Petrossyan called for the deployment of UN forces and for international pressure on Azerbaijan. ( Liz Fuller) OSSETIAN CONFLICT DETERIORATES. Despite the agreement reportedly reached on 11 June between Georgian State Council chairman Eduard Shevardnadze and Boris Yeltsin on a settlement of the Ossetian conflict, the ceasefire that went into effect on 12 June was almost immediately violated when Georgian guerrillas not subordinate to the Georgian government began a new artillery bombardment of the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali, killing 13 people, ITAR-TASS reported. Additional Russian troops have been sent to the North Ossetian capital, Vladikavkaz, to enforce the state of emergency imposed there on 11 June. Russian Television reported on 13 June that South Ossetian parliament chairman Oleg Teziev and Ossetian Popular Front leader Alan Chochiev had been detained in Vladikavkaz for their involvement in an attack on a military depot in which three people were killed. (Liz Fuller) SEVEN KILLED IN CAR BOMB ATTACK ON GEORGIAN STATE COUNCIL DEPUTY CHAIRMAN. Two people were killed outright and five died later from injuries received when a car bomb exploded on the morning of 13 June outside the home of State Council Deputy Chairman and leader of the Mkhedrioni military group Dzhaba Ioseliani, Western agencies reported. Ioseliani himself was unhurt. State Council chairman Eduard Shevardnadze condemned the attack as directed against the democratic process in Georgia rather than at a specific individual. There are, however, serious tensions within the State Council leadership between Shevardnadze and Ioseliani, on the one hand , and Prime Minister Tengiz Sigua and rival militia leader Tengiz Kitovani on the other. (Liz Fuller) RUSSIA"S INDEPENDENCE COMMEMORATED. A new Russian holiday, celebrated on 12 June and commemorating the 1990 declaration of Russian sovereignty, met with strong opposition. The "Union of Russia"s Revival", which consists of nationalistic forces, condemned the present leadership for having destroyed the state in its fight against Communism, "Novosti" reported on 12 June. In an interview with Trud, Sergei Stankevich, counsellor of the Russian President, also criticized the holiday, arguing that Russia should not emphasize its independence but seek to keep firm ties with other CIS states. Nezavisimaya gazeta commented that the holiday is controversial since for many people, 12 June signifies the end of the Soviet Union. (Alexander Rahr) MOSCOW TV STUDIOS PICKETED. The new holiday was also greeted in Moscow on 12 June by a pro-communist rally calling for the restoration of the USSR. The demonstration continued on 13 June as some 500 demonstrators struck camp outside the central television studies in Moscow and slept out over night, Western agencies reported. The rally was called by "Working Moscow" and the "Patriotic Movement" and demonstrators, some of whom reportedly carried antisemitic banners and demanded that state television be purged of "Jews and infidels." (Elizabeth Teague) RUSSIA"S MAIN OPPOSITION GROUP APPEALS TO WESTERN MEDIA. The main anti-Yeltsin faction in the Russian parliament, "Russian Unity," has distributed to representatives of the Western media a statement critical of the Russian political leadership. Radio Rossii said on 14 June that the statement, signed by Sergei Baburin, Vladimir Isakov and others, said that the USA and other Western countries were making a serious mistake by supporting Boris Yeltsin. In fact, they said, Yeltsin was trying to impose a totalitarian rule in Russia. Radio Rossii said that the appeal was pegged to Yeltsin"s trip to the United States and was aimed at undermining the position of the Russian president at the US-Russian negotiations. (Vera Tolz) YELTSIN "SHIFTS" LABOR MINISTER ALEXANDER SHOKHIN. Yeltsin signed a decree on 14 June releasing Alexander Shokhin from head of the Ministry of Labor and Employment. Shokhin apparently remains deputy chairman of the Russian government in charge of social policy. According to The New York Times on 14 June, Shokhin was shifted to duties dealing with foreign economic relations. No reason was given for the change. (Sarah Helmstadter) NATIONWIDE STRIKE THREATENED IN RUSSIA. The official Russian trade union organization, the FNPR, is calling on the Russian government to provide enough cash to pay overdue wages to workers in all regions of the country by 1 July, Interfax reported on 12 June. Priority is to go to workers in the Far North. If the government fails to provide the funds by that date, the official unions say, they may call a nationwide strike. (Elizabeth Teague) MEDICAL WORKERS STRIKE IN LIPETSK. Medical workers in Lipetsk staged a warning strike on 10 June. Hospitals were not accepting patients, were not writing prescriptions, and ambulances were sent out only in extreme cases. "Vesti" also reported that medical workers were demanding reduced taxes and higher wages. Doctors who have worked for 15 years receive little more than 1500 rubles per month. The head of the strike committee said that if demands were not met, Lipetsk medical workers would carry on an indefinite strike. (Sarah Helmstadter) YELTSIN CALLS FOR CASH CIRCULATION CONTROLS. Boris Yeltsin issued a decree on 14June limiting cash circulation, western agencies reported. The decree instructed companies to keep their cash in banks, and to carry out transactions by bank transfer. Company directors must negotiate the amount of cash they are allowed to keep on hand directly with the banks. The ministries of justice and finance will impose fines and punitive measures on companies that exceed the limits. However, companies will be allowed to hold enough cash to cover three days worth of wages, social allocations, student grants and pensions, even if that amount exceeds the agreed cash limit. (Sarah Helmstadter) RUBLE TRANSFER TO KYRGYZSTAN. In accordance with the agreement signed last week by Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Askar Akaev, a freight car full of rubles was dispatched to Kyrgyzstan, Radio Rossii reported on 14 June. All of the former Soviet republics using the ruble as currency have been suffering from shortages of cash in recent weeks, as Russia still controls the printing presses. Kyrgyzstan is one of the few CIS states to declare it has no intention of issuing its own currency in the near future, a stand taken last month following the recommendation of International Monetary Fund observers at a meeting of the Central Bank chairmen of the CIS states in Tashkent. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) MILITARY DISTRICT TO BE ABOLISHED. Interfax on 13 June carried an announcement that the Turkestan Military District was to be disbanded as of 30 June. This district encompasses the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. The agency said that the district would be dissolved by order of its present commander, Colonel General Georgii Kondratyev. Kondratyev was recently appointed a deputy defense minister by President Yeltsin. (Doug Clarke) NEW NATIONAL GUARD IN TAJIKISTAN. Tajik President Rakhmon Nabiev is making another attempt to create a National Guard in Tajikistan, ITAR-TASS reported on 13 June. At the end of April, he set up and armed a "National Guard" that was to put an end to the months-long confrontation between opposition and government supporters. This group was dissolved under the agreement that finally ended the confrontation, but its members have been unwilling to give up their weapons. The new formation, according to sources close to Nabiev, is supposed to help disarm groups that have refused to hand in their weapons. The opposition may have reservations about the new group, because it, like its predecessor, is to be directly subordinate to the president. (Bess Brown) CHINESE INTERESTED IN EX-SOVIET CARRIER. Western agencies on 11 June reported that China was negotiating with Ukraine to buy what would be that Asian country"s first aircraft carrier. While not named, the ship in question is the Varyag, the sister-ship to the CIS Navy"s first true aircraft carrier, the Kuznetsov. The Varyag was launched in December 1988 at the Black Sea Shipyard in Mykolaiv, Ukraine. It was being fitted out when the USSR disintegrated, and was taken over by Ukraine. Previously, it had been reported that Ukraine had hired a Norwegian shipbroker to find a buyer for the uncompleted carrier. India is also believed to be interested in the ship. (Doug Clarke) SHOULD RUSSIAN ALSO BE THE STATE LANGUAGE IN BELARUS? A sociological study in Belarus has shown that roughly 70% of the population think that both Belarusian and Russian should be state languages, rather than just Belarusian as at present, the Belarusian "Radyofakt" program reported on 9 June. The study showed that 56.6% of the population use only Russian, whereas only 2.4% of the population use only Belarusian, and only about a third of the population are truly bilingual. The sociologists suggested that either the law on the state language should be amended or a referendum held. (Ann Sheehy) GORBACHEV AND YAKOVLEV LOSE THEIR LIMOS. On 4 June, Mikhail Gorbachev was deprived of the "Zil" limousine allocated to the former USSR president by the leaders of the CIS members states in December 1991. According to Izvestiya on 6 June, Yeltsin himself ordered the replacement of the limo with a "Volga" sedan. The Russian media have interpreted this move as an effort to punish Gorbachev for his recent outspoken criticism of Yeltsin"s economic reforms. Meanwhile, on 10 June Radio Rossii (quoting Moskovskii komsomolets) reported that Aleksandr Yakovlev, former Politburo member and now vice president of the Gorbachev Foundation, was deprived of his state car altogether. Yakovlev is entitled to a free vehicle by law as a disabled World War II veteran. (Julia Wishnevsky) METROPOLITAN FILARET DEFROCKED. The ousted head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Filaret, has been defrocked by a synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, Russian and Western media reported on 12 June. Filaret was accused of breaking church rules, dictatorial and unworthy behavior, and schismatic activity. Filaret said that his removal was an act of revenge for his attempts to break away from the Russian Orthodox Church. The synod maintained, however, that his defrocking would not affect any decision about autocephalous status for the Ukrainian church, which should be decided by canon law. Many Ukrainian believers still recognize Filaret as head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and the latest action against him could raise tensions between Russia and Ukraine. (Ann Sheehy) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE THOUSANDS CALL FOR MILOSEVIC'S OVERTHROW. The New York Times reported on 15 June that two groups of about 6,000 each staged separate demonstrations in Belgrade the previous day. One consisted mainly of young people ringing cow bells and setting off alarm clocks to tell the regime of President Slobodan Milosevic that its time is up. The BBC said that Orthodox Church leaders told the other group that the Milosevic leadership bears the chief responsibility for the breakup of Yugoslavia. The Church added that it condemns the regime's practice of "killing neighbors and taking their property" as being un-Serbian. Pressure has been building against Milosevic in recent weeks as Serbia's international isolation has become more evident, but it is not clear who or what might follow him should he eventually resign. (Patrick Moore) OTHER AREA DEVELOPMENTS. International media report on 15 June that yet another cease-fire is slated to begin in Sarajevo at 6:00 local time. Seven previous agreements were stillborn, but UN spokesmen feel that local Serbian forces will be cooperative this time, the Washington Post says. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, also on 15 June, quotes Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov as saying that Greece is being obstinate in holding up EC recognition of his republic, but he also admits that in the past Macedonia had said and done "stupid things" against Greece. Gligorov went on to praise Albania's cooperation in exercising a moderating influence upon Macedonia's large Albanian minority. He has established good working relations with new Albanian President Sali Berisha, who is now in Washington for a visit. Finally, the 13 June Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and other Western media have begun to report on the session of the Organization of the Islamic Conference opening 17 June in Istanbul to discuss the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina. (Patrick Moore) CZECHOSLOVAK UPDATE. Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel is to meet on 15 June in Prague with Vladimir Meciar, head of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS). Meciar said earlier he will postpone talks with Vaclav Klaus on the formation of a Czechoslovak government until Wednesday. Klaus said on 14 June that there was no reason why talks on the future of Czechoslovakia should be delayed. Klaus' Civic Democratic Party (ODS) wants to maintain the Czechoslovak federation, the HZDS wants a sovereign Slovak state. Earlier Meciar rejected the federal status quo and called for a dual presidency, suggesting also that if talks continue to be deadlocked the current government should remain in office. Havel said on 14 June that he will not seek reelection if it becomes clear that the country will split in two. Meanwhile, leaders of political parties expected to be in opposition in Slovakia called on the HZDS and ODS to take no steps leading to the country's break-up. Some 1,000 people gathered in Bratislava on 14 June to voice support for a common state and for President Havel, CSTK and foreign agencies report. (Barbara Kroulik) SOLIDARITY CONGRESS TURNS AGAINST WALESA, BACKS OLSZEWSKI. On 13 June the fourth national congress of the Solidarity Trade Union passed a resolution expressing outrage at recent events in Poland and the role played by President Lech Walesa, Western and Polish media report. The resolution demands "immediate statutory decommunization" in Poland and opposes handing over power to "post-communist forces." Questioned by the delegates earlier, Walesa told the congress that when he dismissed Prime Minister Jan Olszewski last week he had to act quickly: "the irresponsibility was so great that if he did not act, Poland would have been ruined." In sharp contrast, the delegates gave a standing ovation to Olszewski when he addressed the congress. He defended the record of his government and also spoke about the list of alleged secret police informers, emphasizing "on this matter there can be no compromise." On June 12, voting 214-136, the congress re-elected its chairman Marian Krzaklewski to a second term. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) OLSZEWSKI'S GOVERNMENT ACCUSED OF ORDERING TROOP ALERT. Acting Interior Minister Andrzej Milczanowski told newsmen that documents show an order was given to put the special Interior Ministry's Vistula area troops on alert last week as the Sejm was about to oust former government of Jan Olszewski. According to Western and Polish media, the order was given by former head of State Protection Office (UOP) Piotr Naimski, but Naimski denied giving such orders, saying he only called for more guards around the Interior Ministry. The former government repeatedly denied speculations that it was ready to use force to stay in power. President Walesa said, however, that the former government's actions had the indications of a coup d'etat. (Wladyslaw Minkiewicz) NEW RUSSIAN COMMANDER IN POLAND. PAP reported on 12 June that Lt. Gen. Leonid Kovalev has been named commander of Russian forces in Poland. Kovalev served until recently as chief of staff in the Odessa Military District in Ukraine and was one of only a handful of staff officers who refused to take the oath of loyalty to Ukraine. (Stephen Foye) STOLOJAN WON'T RUN. Romanian Premier Theodor Stolojan said in an interview with daily Romania libera on 13 June that he will not run in coming legislative or presidential elections, but hopes, after his term as prime minister, to work in an international body which could benefit from his knowledge and experience. Stolojan replaced Petre Roman last September after miners rampaged in Bucharest. Parliamentary elections are to be held on 27 September but no date has been set for a presidential election.(Crisula Stefanescu) ROMANIANS MARK TWO YEARS SINCE MINERS' RAMPAGE. Hundreds of Romanians gathered in central Bucharest on 13 and 14 June to mark the second anniversary of a bloody crackdown by the Jiu Valley miners against antigovernment protesters. The demonstrators shouted slogans against President Ion Iliescu and for ex-King Michael. In June 1990 miners and police used violence to disperse demonstrators occupying University Square to demand Iliescu's resignation. At least six people were killed, but an official inquiry failed to establish who was to blame. In a related development, a report of a parliamentary commission looking into last September's clashesthe fourth time the miners rampaged through Bucharestconcluded that Miners' Union leader Miron Cosma "bears principal responsibility" for the three days of unrest because he organized the miners and persuaded them to come to Bucharest, Romanian and foreign media report. The September disturbances led to the resignation of Prime Minister Petre Roman and left three people dead and hundreds injured. (Crisula Stefanescu) BULGARIAN PENSION LAW AMENDED. On 12 June the National Assembly approved an amended law on pensions. A particularly tense situation occurred on 9 June when a proposal was made not to count toward pensions the time persons worked as paid party functionaries. It was passed, however, despite heated objections by the BSP opposition. As summed up by Demokratsiya on 12 June and Bulgarian TV on 13 June, the amendment raises pensions by an average of 170 leva with an upper monthly limit of 1,165 leva and a lower limit of 570 leva. The law also includes provisions allowing pensioners to engage in paid work. (Rada Nikolaev) BULGARIAN AIR CONTROLLERS' STRIKE CALLED OFF. As a result of a compromise reached in the late afternoon on 12 June, the strike which was to have begun a few hours later was called off. BTA says that demands for better delimitation of air space for military and civil flights and for funding air control work were met, while the controllers gave up their demand for wage increases by 2,000 leva. Instead the government pledged to guarantee present average pay of 3,700 leva (more than double the average monthly wage in Bulgaria1,728 leva in April). (Rada Nikolaev) HUNGARY TO CUT DOWN MONOPOLIES. Ferenc Vissi, the head of Hungary's Competition Office, told reporters on 12 June that the government has decided to take measures to prevent the creation of monopolies and to broaden competition during the process of privatization of state property, Western news agencies and Radio Budapest report. Vissi said that the decision was prompted by the fact that certain branches, including the sugar, cement, road construction, paper, and gas industries, were bought up by one or only few foreign owners during the privatization process. The main problem is, according to Vissi, that there is no unified government policy aimed at preventing the creation of monopolies. (Edith Oltay) LITHUANIAN PLEBISCITE APPROVES ARMY WITHDRAWAL. On 15 June Radio Lithuania announced the preliminary results of the previous day's plebiscite demanding the unconditional withdrawal of the former Soviet army in 1992 with suitable compensations for damages. Some 1,924,328 of the 2,450,023 eligible voters participated with 91% voting "yes", 7%"no", with 2% spoiled ballots. The 68.7% affirmation should strengthen the position of the Lithuanian authorities in its talks with Russia. (Saulius Girnius) BALTS WOULD LINK AID, CSCE PARTICIPATION TO TROOP PULLOUT. On 13 June in Rio de Janeiro, the chairmen of the Baltic Supreme CouncilsArnold Ruutel of Estonia, Anatolijs Gorbunovs of Latvia, and Vytautas Landsbergis of Lithuaniaissued a joint statement concerning the dangers presented to their countries by the presence of ex-Soviet troops. They propose linking Western economic assistance to Russia with Russia's political and military conduct in the Baltics, according to a Lithuanian Supreme Council press release of 14 June. Meanwhile, Estonian Foreign Minister Jaan Manitski told reporters on 12 June that Estonia may not be able to sign the CSCE Final Act in July. He said the act should reflect the withdrawal of Russian troops, suggesting that such international support may break the deadlock in bilateral withdrawal talks with Russia. Latvian officials also said earlier that their country may not sign the final documents if the troop withdrawal issue is not sufficiently internationalized. (Dzintra Bungs & Riina Kionka) MORE ON KANDALOVSKY'S "PROTECTION." Col. Gen. Valerii Mironov, former commander of the Northwestern Group of Forces (NWGF), told a correspondent of S-M Segodnya on 6 June that Col. Vladimir Kandalovsky has no authority from the NWGF to offer Russian military protection of the Latvian government from possible attempts to overthrow it (See DR of 11 June). Mironov said that the offer should be seen as a provocation and expressed hope that the Latvian authorities will not let this isolated act cast a shadow on Latvia's relations with the NWGF, BNS reported on 12 June. (Dzintra Bungs) BALTS COMMEMORATE DEPORTATIONS. In a message to the Estonian people, Chairman of the Supreme Council Arnold Ruutel commemorated the 51st anniversary of mass Soviet deportations of Baltic citizens to Siberia, ETA reports. Ruutel called the deportation "an attempt by an alien force to choke opposition to foreign power and an alien ideology." A special church service was held at the Riga Dom cathedral, and religious and secular ceremonies were held throughout Latvia and Lithuania, where 14 June was commemorated as a "Day of Mourning and Hope." On that day in 1941, Soviet authorities deported an estimated 60,000 people to the East. (Riina Kionka, Dzintra Bungs, & Saulius Girnius) CZECHS COMMEMORATE LIDICE. On 13 June hundreds of people gathered for ceremonies in the Czech village of Lidice, which was destroyed by the Nazis in 1942. President Havel spoke, Prague Bishop Miroslav Vlk celebrated Mass, and a wreath from German President Richard von Weizsaecker was laid at the memorial, Western agencies report. The Nazis shot to death 173 men as revenge for the assassination of Reinhard Heidrich, and Lidice's women and children were sent to concentration camps. (Barbara Kroulik) RIO WRAPUP. Eastern European delegates at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro again stressed that they do not want to compete with developing nations for funding of environmental improvements. On 11 June Stefan Kozlowski, Poland's Minister for Environmental Protection, said countries with transition economies in Eastern Europe should constitute a "third group," alongside the "haves" and "have-nots," in environmental concerns. Poland, Kozlowski said, is participating in initiatives designed to clean up the Baltic Sea, establish international biosphere reserves, and rehabilitate the degraded environment in industrial centers on Poland's German and Czechoslovak borders. On 12 June Czechoslovak Environment Minister Josef Vavrousek quoted a $2-billion price tag for cleaning up environmental hazards created during communist rule. Bulgarian President Zhelev suggested that countries could be asked to make commitments to improve the environment in exchange for cancellation of their foreign debt. The Latvian and Estonian heads of state, Anatolijs Gorbunovs and Arnold Ruutel, tied their countries' environmental problems to withdrawal of ex-USSR troops, which are causing environmental damage but do not come under local environmental laws. Ruutel called for continued cooperation among the Baltic littoral countries and welcomed the notion of international environmental aid to countries like his. (Charles Trumbull & RI staff) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Stephen Foye & 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). 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. 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