|Words that open our eyes to the world are always the easiest to remember. - Ryszard Kapuscinski|
No. 121, 29 June 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR MEETING OF CIS HEADS OF GOVERNMENT IN MINSK. The meeting of CIS heads of government (in most cases deputy prime ministers) on 26 June was apparently more business-like than usual, to judge by CIS media reports. Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Konstantin Masik noted that for the first time the meeting had been "extremely constructive." Despite some dissension, the Russian draft agreement on the procedures for introducing national currencies was initialed. Documents were signed on raising railway tariffs, pension transfers, and coordinating work on export control of dangerous technologies. No agreement was reached on the CIS TV company "Ostankino," which came in for some harsh criticism; a major stumbling block is that the promised charter for the company has not yet been drawn up. (Ann Sheehy) PROPOSAL TO CREATE CIS ECONOMIC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE. Belarusian Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kebich put forward on behalf of Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan a proposal to create a CIS Economic Executive Committee whose decisions would be binding on all member states. In support, Kebich cited the remarks of the Russian and Ukrainian presidents at their recent meeting in Dagomys that such organs are necessary. The reports are unclear as to how much support this proposal received, but it is difficult to believe that Kravchuk will endorse it wholeheartedly, in spite of his recent complaints that CIS decisions are not being implemented. Up to now he has been against anything except consultative bodies. (Ann Sheehy) NO CIS AGREEMENT ON CURRENCIES. The Financial Times of 27 June, however, cited Aleksandr Granberg, an economic adviser to President Yeltsin, as reporting failure at the Minsk summit to agree on procedures to establish separate currencies. Granberg said that the Ukrainian delegation had "put in doubt" the arrangements for transferring cash rubles to Russia when Ukraine introduces its own currency in the fall. Agreement had been reportedly reached on this issue between Presidents Yeltsin and Kravchuk at Dagomys on 23 June. Acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar told a news conference that the matter will be broached again in Moscow on 6 July. (Keith Bush) STATUS OF MOLDOVA AND AZERBAIJAN IN CIS. Reports on the meeting treated Azerbaijan as though it were still a member of CIS, although the Azerbaijani leadership has recently said that it does not regard Azerbaijan as a member since its parliament never ratified the treaty. The Moldovan parliament has never done so either. Both were represented in Minsk by observers. At the press conference after the meeting Kebich said that it had been decided that those states that had not ratified the CIS treaty would in future not participate as full members. Their status would be decided in each instance immediately before the opening of the meeting. (Ann Sheehy) FOUR PRESIDENTS DISCUSS MOLDOVA. While in Istanbul to sign the Black Sea cooperation pact, the Presidents of Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania conferred among themselves and issued a communiqué on the conflict in Moldova on 25 June, Western agencies reported. The communiqué called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, the disengagement of forces within 24 hours of the ceasefire, the neutrality of Russia's 14th Army, Russian-Moldovan negotiations on that army's status and the terms of its withdrawal, and a "political status" to be granted by Moldova to its eastern area. Yeltsin and Snegur constituted themselves as "guarantors" of the ceasefire. Statements made on the fringes of the conference indicated that Russia will insist on a formal autonomous status for eastern Moldova, will link that issue to any withdrawal of its army from the area, and is prepared to use economic sanctions against Moldova. (Vladimir Socor) NEW COMMANDER FOR 14TH ARMY. A 42-year-old Airborne Forces commander, Maj. Gen. Aleksandr Lebed, has been named by the Russian Defense Ministry to replace Maj. Gen. Yurii Nekachev as commander of the troubled 14th army in Moldova, ITAR-TASS reported on 28 and 29 June. Lebed first become known during last year's August coup when, like current Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, he sided with Boris Yeltsin against the putchists. Like Grachev, Lebed is also anything but a political liberal, and upon assuming his new duties repeated the charge that "genocide" has been perpetrated against the Russian population in the Dniester region. He said that the Russian army would henceforth take up a stance of "armed neutrality," meaning that the 14th army would not stand idly by and, in his words, watch "as peaceful inhabitants are killed, wounded, and maimed before our eyes." His appointment is hardly likely to calm tensions in the Dniester region. (Stephen Foye) MOLDOVAN APPEAL TO THE WORLD. In an appeal to the "governments, parliaments, and peoples of the world," issued through Moldovapres on 23 June, the Moldovan Parliamentary Presidium said that "pro-communist paramilitary forces," Russia's 14th Army, and units of Russian Cossacks had seized a part of Moldova's territory. Pointing to the recent "threats proffered by the leadership of the Russian Federation," the Presidium asked all states to help halt "the armed aggression against Moldova." It also called for inspections by foreign experts to ascertain the causes and consequences of the fighting in eastern Moldova and the true situation of human and ethnic rights in the republic. Previous appeals of this kind by Moldova have been largely ignored. (Vladimir Socor) UN DELEGATION TO MOLDOVA. Reacting to the appeals sent to it by Moldova repeatedly since the autumn of 1991, the UN has sent a fact-finding team which arrived there on 27 June. The three-person team appointed by Secretary-General Boutros Ghali is led by the Brazilian, Gilberto Schlittler. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDOVAN OFFICIALS OPPOSE UNIFICATION WITH ROMANIA. Four senior government and parliamentary officials representing Moldova at the Crans-Montana Forum on European Integration were cited by an RFE/RL correspondent on 24 and 25 June as refuting the "myth concerning Moldova's alleged desire to become part of Romania. That is completely untrue...Moldovans want complete independence and freedom. At most 5% of our population have an interest in an association with Romania...Moldova struggled for its freedom and we will never give it away to anyone." The officials said that "propaganda" about unification comes mainly from "Romanians who have imperialistic designs" and from Moscow's "disinformation campaign designed to mislead Russians and justify outside intervention in Moldova." While fearing a Russian invasion, the Moldovan officials said that "the Romanians were colonizers too. No one should forget that." (Vladimir Socor) UKRAINE WARNS MOLDOVA. The Ukrainian government issued a statement on 27 June expressing its "considerable concern" over the armed clashes in Moldova, ITAR-TASS and Western news agencies reported. Kiev also warned Moldova that it would have to pick up the bill for thousands of refugees streaming into Ukraine and for the damage sustained by the Ukrainian economy as a result of the fighting near its border. Belarus also called for an immediate end to the fighting between Moldova and the separatists in the "Dniester Republic." (Roman Solchanyk) RUSSIA PASSES DEFENSE LAW. Both Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported on 26 June that the Russian parliament had passed the law "on defense," which is to establish the broad legal basis for the Russian armed forces. The parliament instructed the relevant organs and agencies to prepare related bills on, among other things, the status of servicemen, military pensions, and the military budget. On the same day, however, "Vesti" reported that the law had run into problems in the Council of Nationalities, where some delegates reportedly complained that the law failed to protect citizens adequately from the security organs. Details of the debates were not available. (Stephen Foye) COMMANDER OF RUSSIAN BORDER TROOPS PROFILED. Moscow News (no. 26) profiled the new deputy minister of security in charge of the Russian border troops, Vladimir Shlyakhtin. Born in 1940 in Rostov oblast, Shlyakhtin is a graduate of the Frunze Military Academy and the Academy of the General Staff. During the Afghanistan War, he was commander of the Central Asian border defense and took part in many clashes with the Mujahaddin. Before coming to his current position, Shlyakhtin worked on the interdepartmental committee which evaluated the state boundaries of Russia. (Chris Hummel) NEW PROJECTION OF RUSSIAN BUDGET DEFICIT FOR 1992. The projected deficit in the Russian budget for 1992 is now set at 686.5 billion rubles, Reuters of 26 June reported, citing a draft law circulated in parliament that day. The new figure represents a steep rise on the 398.9 billion rubles projected earlier in June and the 245 billion rubles forecast in March. The increase is believed to be due primarily to inflation which the government apparently envisages as rising to over 1000% in 1992. The draft law is reported to provide for foreign and domestic credits to cover part of the deficit. (Keith Bush) SCENARIOS FOR DEFICIT. The program for deepening the economic reforms (the document on which current discussions in the Russian government are based) provides some background to this report. It sets out alternative scenarios for the 1992 budget but avoids giving a full set of figures for projected GNP and budget revenue and expenditure in current prices. Its two main revenue schemes and two main expenditure plans produce four alternative scenarios for the budget deficit as a percentage of GNP. These range from 3.4% to 11.3%. The figure cited is 5.1% of an implied projected current-price GNP of 13.4 trillion rubles. In principle, these figures include federal and local budgets and off-budget funds. (Philip Hanson) "OSTANKINO" GIVES AIR TIME TO OPPOSITION. Representatives of opposition groups of Russia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan conducted a live dialogue on the "Ostankino" TV channel on 28 June. The Russian side was represented by a member of the Russian nationalist opposition to Yeltsin's leadership, Gennadii Zyuganov, and chief editor of the newspaper Den, Aleksandr Prokhanov; the Ukrainian side was represented by a leading member of "Rukh," Aleksandr Lavrinovich, and the Kyrgyz sideby deputy chairman of the Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan, Zhypar Zhykeev. The participants in the program discussed what forces constitute opposition in their respective countries and what methods the opposition should use in its political activities. The leadership of "Ostankino" denied that in permitting the program, the company had given in to demands by Russian nationalist and pro-Communist opposition groups which earlier this month organized picketing of "Ostankino" TV center. (Vera Tolz) GERMAN CREDITS FOR BELARUS. Germany has agreed in principle to extend $325 million worth of credit to Belarus to boost trade between the two countries, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 June. An official from the economics ministry in Bonn said that Germany was prepared to increase the sum. (Roman Solchanyk) AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT VOWS TO RETAKE LOST TERRITORY. Speaking in Istanbul on 27 June, Azerbaijani President Abulfaz Elchibey vowed that Azerbaijan would recapture within two months all territory in Nagorno-Karabakh lost to Armenian forces earlier this year, Western agencies reported. He excluded any degree of political autonomy for the Armenian population of Karabakh, where fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces is deadlocked. On 28 June the Iranian daily newspaper Abrar denounced Elchibey as a demagogue hostile to Iran and a proponent of unification of Northern and Iranian Azerbaijan, Western agencies reported. (Liz Fuller) AZERBAIJAN TO INTRODUCE OWN CURRENCY. Azerbaijan intends to introduce its own currency the "manat" possibly by mid-July, Western agencies reported on 27 June quoting the Turan news agency. The manat will be printed in France; one manat will initially be worth ten rubles. Azerbaijani First Deputy Finance Minister Tofik Guseinov was quoted as saying that the new currency would help offset critical cash shortages and would soften the impact if Russia decides to introduce its own currency. (Liz Fuller) CASH SHIPMENT TO KAZAKHSTAN. According to a statement of Kazakhstan's Vice President Daulet Sembaev, as reported by Russian TV, on June 26 Kazakhstan expected an air shipment from Russia of 4 billion rubles. The cash shortage in the republic, as in other Central Asian states, has contributed significantly to social unrest. It was announced 22 May that Kazakhstan would soon issue its own currency, the "tanga." (Cassandra Cavanaugh) FURTHER FIGHTING IN TAJIKISTAN. According to Moscow news reports on 27 June, more than 100 people were killed during an attack on a kolkhoz in Vakhsh Raion of Kurgan-Tyube Oblast by members of what the reports identified as the "Islamic opposition." The same day, the headquarters of the Islamic Renaissance Party in Dushanbe denied that the party had any involvement in what had happened, according to "Vesti." OMON forces had reportedly succeeded in stopping the fighting. Apparently inhabitants of the kolkhoz and a nearby sovkhoz were on opposing sides of the ongoing political, regional and ethnic disputes that have reduced Tajikistan to a state of near civil war. On 29 June, TSN television news reported that the Tajik Ministry of Internal Affairs was denying reports of the number of persons killed in the gun battle, claiming that no more than 10 had been killed. (Bess Brown) CENTRAL AND EATERN EUROPE BELGRADE RALLY CALLS FOR MILOSEVIC RESIGNATION Over 100,000 people turned out in central Belgrade on 28 June to call for the resignation of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, with some estimates of the crowd size ranging up to 400,000. The rally was organized by Vuk Draskovic, leader of the opposition Serbian Renewal Movement, and was attended by Patriarch Pavle of the Serbian Orthodox Church and Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic. He is the pretender to the throne and returned from exile on 27 June. Draskovic called for the formation of a government of national salvation, to include Albanian, Hungarian, and Muslim representatives of Serbia's ethnic minorities. Draskovic also said that "Serbs must show great repentance" for much of the bloodshed in the former Yugoslavia. "There is no other way. The other way is the peace of the graveyard." Several thousand protesters camped out overnight, vowing to remain on the streets until Milosevic is ousted. Der Spiegel suggested that the opposition and the army had agreed in advance that the latter would not intervene. (Gordon Bardos) MITTERRAND PAYS SURPRISE VISIT TO SARAJEVO. International media reported on 28 June that the French president unexpectedly went to the Bosnian capital by air via Split. He was warmly recieved by his hosts, and said he had come to "open a door" so that relief supplies might start coming into the city freely. Continued gunfire has, however, prevented food and medicine from arriving. Some observers applauded Mitterrand's move as a brave act designed to break a logjam, while others suggested it was electioneering and had not been coordinated with Paris' EC partners. The EC had earlier agreed in Lisbon to support UN-sponsored military action in Bosnia, and the 29 June Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung adds that Italy has now said it will send troops. News agencies quote Newsweek's latest issue as claiming that Saudi Arabia has offered to fund such a mission. (Patrick Moore) PRELIMINARY RESULTS IN ESTONIA. Early reports from Estonia say that the country's constitutional referendum held on 28 June has passed. According to Estonian Radio today (29 June), some 60% of all eligible voters turned out, thus making the referendum a valid vote (50% was needed). Excluding results from Tallinn, which are not yet in, voters overwhelmingly approved the draft constitution, with the percentage of "yes" votes ranging from 87% in central Estonia to 94% in mostly Russian Kohtla-Jarve. Passage of the second question--on whether non-citizens who had applied for citizenship before 5 June may vote in the fall parliamentary elections--is still up in the air, with approval hovering around 50%. Results from Tallinn seem likely to determine the second question, since one-third of the country's population lives in the capital city. (Riina Kionka) BALTIC COUNCIL PREPARES FOR CSCE SUMMIT... Meeting in Tallinn on 26 June, the chairmen of the three supreme councils--Arnold Ruutel of Estonia, Anatolijs Gorbunovs of Latvia, and Vytautas Landsbergis of Lithuania--and other top leaders focused on the most pressing common issue: the continued presence of ex-USSR troops in their countries. They discussed issues to be raised at the upcoming CSCE summit, but did not agree on a common stance. Some Baltic leaders have threatened to refuse to sign CSCE documents unless they gain a Russian commitment ot a troop withdrawal timetable. David Johnson, chief British delegate to the CSCE said Russia would not agree to a direct mention of its troops in the final text of any agreement in Helsinki, Western and Baltic media reported on 26 June. (Dzintra Bungs) ...AND ADOPTS FOUR DOCUMENTS. The first of four documents adopted by the Baltic Council is an appeal to the G-7 states for their help in promoting a prompt withdrawal of Russian troops from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Stressing that the troops have no legal basis for remaining in the Baltic States, the document asks for financial aid specifically to help speed up their withdrawal. The second document expresses concern about statements of Russian officials that Russia can use force against those who attack its military personnel and their families. The third statement, addressed to the president of Moldova, stressed the need for a political settlement of the Dniestr conflict. The fourth document proposed forming an international commission to study ecological problems caused by the burial of toxic combat substances in the Baltic Sea, Baltfax reported on 26 June. (Dzintra Bungs) POLAND'S PAWLAK LOSES COALITION PARTNERS... Conflict over the composition of the cabinet led to the collapse of the partnership between Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak and the "little coalition" (Democratic Union, Liberal Democratic Congress, and "Big Beer") on 26 June. The "little coalition" had demanded a commanding role in the government, or none at all. Coalition leader Tadeusz Mazowiecki had proposed that the Liberal Democrats set economic policy and the Democratic Union supervise the political ministries, with Jan Krzysztof Bielecki and Jacek Kuron as deputy prime ministers. Pawlak, in contrast, had wanted his own Polish Peasant Party in charge of the economic posts. Pawlak also expressed skepticism about Bielecki's return to government, noting to PAP on 25 June that "firms are hard to run when the former director becomes the deputy director." (Louisa Vinton) ... AND PUSHES ON ALONE. After the collapse of negotiations with the "little coalition," Pawlak announced he would assemble a cabinet on his own, in consultation with President Lech Walesa, and present it to the Sejm on 1 July. Ministerial candidates would be chosen on the basis of qualifications rather than party affiliation, he said. Even with presidential backing, Pawlak's chances of winning the Sejm's approval now appear slim. The Warsaw rumor mill is predicting that Walesa's next candidate to make the attempt will be Henryk Goryszewski, from the right-wing Christian National Union. Public impatience with the stalemate may be growing. According to poll results reported by PAP on 27 June, 60% believe the Sejm is incapable of forming a stable and effective government and 46% want new elections. (Louisa Vinton) CZECHOSLOVAK POLITICAL UPDATE. The Czechoslovak federal government resigned on 26 June to make way for a new cabinet following parliamentary elections in early June. President Vaclav Havel accepted the resignations of Prime Minister Marian Calfa and his cabinet, news agencies report. But Havel asked the government to stay on until a new cabinet is appointed in the next few days. Under an agreement reached between the election winners - the Civic Democratic Party (Czech lands) and the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, the new government will have 10 members: five Czechs and five Slovaks. Jan Strasky, now Czech Vice Premier, is considered the top candidate for the post of prime minister. Today the Czech parliament, at its constituent assembly, is to elect the presidium, parliament chairman and deputy chairman, as well as the chairmen and deputy chairmen of parliamentary committees. The two houses of the federal parliament and the Slovak parliament held their constituent sessions last week. (Barbara Kroulik) HAVEL REGRETS BAVARIA'S REJECTION OF TREATY. Havel said he regrets that Bavaria opposed the comprehensive Czechoslovak-German Treaty when it was ratified by Germany's upper house of parliament on 26 June. Bavaria was the only German state to oppose the treaty, which was signed in February. Havel said in his regular radio talk on 28 June that this does not contribute to good neighborly relations between Bavaria and the Czech Republic. Bavaria criticized it for not clearing up the questions of the Sudeten Germans' property. Havel said Bavaria's action showed the unpreparedness of the West for the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. Havel also criticized the publication in a Czech periodical of unofficial lists of collaborators with the former secret police. He said unofficial lists are dubious. (Barbara Kroulik) GREECE WINS POINT OVER MACEDONIA. The EC agreed at its Lisbon meeting on 27 June to recognize Macedonia, but only under the condition that it take on a new name that excludes the word "Macedonia." The European media widely saw this as a victory for Athens, which argues that the word is part of the Greek cultural patrimony. Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov said that the EC decision offends his people's feelings and dignity, news agencies reported on 28 June. (Patrick Moore) LITHUANIA RECOGNIZES MACEDONIA, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA. On 25 June the Lithuanian Supreme Council passed resolutions recognizing the Republics of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia, the Lithuanian parliament Office of Public Affairs reports. The resolutions noted that "international political and diplomatic assistence will increase stability in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia" and instructed the Lithuanian government to establish diplomatic relations with the two states. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIA PASSES LAWS ON STATE BORDERS. On 25 June the Lithuanian Supreme Council passed a "Law on State Borders" and a "Law on the Defense of State Borders," the Lithuanian parliament Office of Public Affairs reports. The first law defines the country's borders on land, sea, and air, officially determining transit requirements, outlaws the transport of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction through Lithuania, and allows for the transport of foreign troops through Lithuania only as agreed in international agreeements reached by Lithuania. The second law determines the nature of border defense, officially organizing the state border defense department and regulating its activities. (Saulius Girnius) RUSSIA RETURNS KGB FILES TO LITHUANIA. On 26 June Russian officials handed over to the Lithuanian government about 50,000 KGB files containing information on Lithuanians exiled to Siberia by the Soviet authorities, those persecuted by the KGB, and background data on those who fled to West Germany, Western agencies report. Lithuanian Sajudis chairman historian Juozas Tumelis said that the files, confiscated by the Soviet government after Lithuania declared its independence and later taken over by Russia, arrived in Vilnius by truck from Ulyanovsk. The files are only a small part of the total Lithuanian is trying to get back from Russia. (Saulius Girnius) ANTALL URGES WEST TO BOOST ROLE IN EASTERN EUROPE. In an interview with the The Wall Street Journal of 26/27 June, Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef Antall urged Western Europe and the US to take a more forceful role in halting the disintegration of the East European countries. Antall said that failure by the West to actively support restructuring, especially in the former Soviet Union, "could lead to the fall or isolation of the forces of reform...posing an enormous danger for Europe and the whole world." He warned that "uncontrollable armies" left behind by the collapse of the communist system are the single most threatening factor, and stressed that NATO "was never so important as it is today." (Edith Oltay) ATTALI IN BULGARIA. On 27 June the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Jacques Attali, paid a one-day visit to Bulgaria. According to Western agencies, Attali declared that the EBRD would lend Bulgaria $65 million to modernize its telecommunications and another $65 million to improve the road system. He also made a trip to Kozloduy, Bulgaria's heavily criticized nuclear power plant. Attali expressed doubts about the possibility of making the current plant safe, saying it might prove less expensive to replace the power units than to reconstruct them. (Kjell Engelbrekt) ZHELEV ON BLACK SEA COOPERATION. Returning from Istanbul, where representatives of eleven states had signed a declaration on Black Sea economic cooperation, Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev told national TV on 26 June that he was content with the meeting. Zhelev said the agreement could help to improve regional economic relations--on a downturn since the dissolution of Comecon--and also permit movement on other issues. According to Zhelev, Bulgaria offered to host a special working group dealing with environmental problems in the Black Sea. (Kjell Engelbrekt) CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT IN THE 27 SEPTEMBER ELECTIONS NOMINATED IN ROMANIA. A congress of the Democratic National Salvation Front (DNSF) has predictably endorsed President Ion Iliescu for re-election, Romanian and foreign media reported on 27 June. At the same time, Romania's main opposition group, the Democratic Convention, voted to name Emil Constantinescu, the 53-year-old rector of Bucharest University, as its candidate for president. A group of 67 electors chose Constantinescu from a list of five candidates, including, besides Constantinescu, Ion Ratiu, Nicolae Manolescu, Sergiu Cunescu, and Nicu Stancescu. (Crisula Stefanescu) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Carla Thorson & Patrick Moore The RFE/RL Daily Report is produced by the RFE/RL Research Institute (a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Inc.) in Munich, Germany, with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division (NCA). The report is available Monday through Friday, except holidays, at approximately 0800 US Eastern Time (1400 Central European Time) by fax, post, or e-mail. The report is also posted daily on the SOVSET' computer network. For inquiries about specific news items, subscriptions, or additional copies, please contact: In USA: Mr. Jon Lodeesen or Mr. Brian Reed RFE/RL, Inc., 1201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036. 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