|A man seldom thinks with more earnestness of anything than he does of his dinner. - Samuel Johnson|
No. 123, 01 July 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR SECOND STAGE OF RUSSIAN ECONOMIC REFORM APPROVED. On 30 June, the Russian cabinet approved the final draft of the second-stage economic reform program, ITAR-TASS reported. The program is expected to be presented to the Russian parliament on 2 July. The program has six major features: liberalization; stabilization; privatization; structural perestroika; creation of a competitive market environment; and the provision of a social umbrella. The program envisages a fall in output of 15% in 1992 and 5% in 1993, with some growth expected in 1994. The privatization targets appear to restate the schedule outlined in May by Anatolii Chubais. (Keith Bush) DEBT RESCHEDULING PACKAGE READIED. The IMF has devised a debt rescheduling package that will be offered to Russia and other former Soviet republics at the G-7 summit, according to The Financial Times of 30 June. The package will reportedly give Moscow a grace period of 3-5 years to meet principal and some or all interest payments owed on debts incurred before 1 January 1991. The package is said to have been agreed in principle between Michel Camdessus and Egor Gaidar. It will be offered before a standby deal is in place, which is not regular IMF pratice, but it could be withdrawn if no final agreement is reached on the standby program. Any rescheduling agreement is expected to drive Russia's creditworthiness to new lows. (Keith Bush) THE RUBLE FLOATS. Starting on 2 July, the ruble will be allowed to float at a single rate of exchange. The New York Times of 1 July quotes Russian First Deputy Finance Minister Aleksei Vavilov as saying that the unified rate will begin on 1 July at 125.26 rubles to the US dollar--the market average during June--until the next interbank dollar auction on 2 July, when the ruble will float. Russian companies must still sell half of their export earnings to the government but, with effect from 1 July, this will be done at the prevailing market rate and not at a low pegged rate. The pegging of the ruble to the dollar, once projected for August 1992, is now not expected until 1993 at the earliest. (Keith Bush) GAIDAR MAY RESIGN, ACCORDING TO NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA. The reform process has been halted and the promotion of Egor Gaidar to the post of acting prime minister is nothing more than a camouflage in order to receive credits from the West, according to commentator Mikhail Leontev in Nezavisimaya gazeta on 30 June. Leontev predicts the resignation of Gaidar and his reform team and the emergence of a new political ideology in Russia which will put the blame for economic failure on the West. He compared the present situation with that in 1939, when the Western-oriented Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov was replaced by the isolationist Vyacheslav Molotov. (Alexander Rahr) KOZYREV UNDER ATTACK. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev has rejected criticism from the Russian parliamentary Committee of Foreign Affairs that he is following Western instructions in the Yugoslav conflict, Kuranty reported on 30 June. He stated that the Russian foreign policy had succeeded in altering UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali's report on Yugoslavia in so far as Serbia was not mentioned as the only aggressive force in the conflict. Kozyrev has also been accused by some conservative deputies of not fulfilling the orders of the Russian parliament in solving conflicts in neighboring countries (blizhnie zarubezhe). (Alexander Rahr) RUSSIAN NOTE INCREASES PRESSURE ON MOLDOVA. Moldova's Foreign Ministry communicated to RFE/RL's Research Institute the text of a note received from Russia's Foreign Ministry on 27 June. It accused Moldova of "using the most modern armaments," "placing [Russia's] 14th Army in a difficult situation," and showing "a persistent unwillingness to look for a peaceful settlement of the problem of the Dniester region with the participation of all interested parties." "Authorized to express a determined protest over Moldova's continuing military actions in the Dniester area ... [which] have highly adverse consequences for regional peace," Russia's Foreign Ministry warned that "the leadership of the Russian Federation can not stand idly by." It demanded that Moldova "not permit further bloodshed" and "enter into constructive negotiations for settling the situation around the Dniester region." These accusations have increased concern in Chisinau that Moscow seeks pretexts for escalating strong-arm tactics against Moldova. (Vladimir Socor) UN DELEGATES UNDER FIRE ON THE LEFT BANK. The fact-finding group dispatched by UN Secretary-General Boutros Ghali to Moldova was prevented by "Dniester" Russian insurgents from inspecting Bendery on 29 June, Western agencies and Moldovapres reported. The group, accompanied by Moldovan government officials and the US envoy to Moldova, was fired upon in Bendery and forced to take refuge inside the last Moldovan controlled police station in the city. Insurgent fire on the police station continued unabated for three hours. "Dniester" leaders contacted by telephone offered to transport the group to Tiraspol by armored vehicle, but the UN group refused on the grounds that this would deny them a proper look at the area. The same day, the UN group was also forced to interrupt a visit to a left-bank Moldovan village by insurgent artillery fire aimed at the village. (Vladimir Socor) UN GROUP DENIED LAND ACCESS TO TIRASPOL. On 30 June the UN fact-finding group seeking to travel to Tiraspol from Chisinau was told by "Dniester republic" leaders by telephone that the group's safety could be guaranteed only if they landed in Tiraspol by airliner. The group declined the offer as inadequate for an inspection and left Moldova the same day, Moldovapres reported. (Vladimir Socor). INSIDE THE MOLDOVAN POLICE STATION IN BENDERY. A New York Times correspondent reported from inside the last Moldovan police station in Bendery on 30 June that ethnic Russian and Ukrainian policemen are among those fighting there for Moldova. The officers were quoted as dismissing Moscow's allegations about persecution of Russian-speakers in Moldova. Slavic members of Moldova's police were similarly cited by Western agencies on 25 and 26 June. The police commander in Bendery, Colonel Viktor Gusliakov, said that "the Dniester republic is run by a military dictatorship." (Vladimir Socor) PAMYAT VOLUNTEERS FIGHTING ON THE DNIESTER. A "platoon" of the St. Petersburg branch of Russia's ultranationalist organization Pamyat has "given a good account of itself" in the recent fighting in Bendery and is currently fighting near Tiraspol, the TV program "600 seconds" reported on 29 June. Individual members of Pamyat from St. Petersburg have reportedly been joining the "Dniester" Russian insurgents since late 1991. (Vladimir Socor) UKRAINE, BELARUS PASSED OVER BY COUNCIL OF EUROPE. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe unexpectedly failed to give preliminary membership to Ukraine and Belarus, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 30 June. Both were expected to be given special guest status, which is the first step towards full membership. A spokesmen for the council said that some problems had arisen, but did not provide details. The issue will be discussed again at the next session of the parliamentary assembly in September. (Roman Solchanyk) DRAFT UKRAINIAN CONSTITUTION DISCUSSED. The Ukrainian parliament on 30 June began discussing the draft of a new constitution, Radio Ukraine and ITAR-TASS reported on 30 June. President Leonid Kravchuk, addressing the lawmakers, characterized the new document as providing for a unitary state with a presidential form of government. The concept of a new draft Ukrainian constitution approved last June became largely irrelevant after the failed August putsch. (Roman Solchanyk) CRIMEA AND UKRAINE: DELINEATION OF POWERS. Ukrainian lawmakers also approved changes in the law delineating powers between Crimea and Ukraine, Radio Ukraine reported. Article 1 of the law states that Crimea is an autonomous entity within Ukraine. The law states that every citizen of Crimea is also a citizen of Ukraine and that the territory of the peninsula cannot be changed or transferred to another country without the approval of the Crimean and Ukrainian parliaments. (Roman Solchanyk) GAMSAKHURDIA REFUSED VISA FOR HELSINKI CSCE SUMMIT. Ousted Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia has been refused a visa to visit Finland during the CSCE summit on 9-10 July, Western agencies reported. A Finnish Foreign Ministry official told RFE/RL that since Finland has extended diplomatic recognition to Georgia and Georgian State Council Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze is to represent Georgia at the summit, Finland will not grant Gamsakhurdia a visa for the period in question, but is willing to give him a tourist visa to visit Finland later in July. (Liz Fuller) SOUTH OSSETIAN SEPARATIST LEADER ON PRO-ISLAMIC ORIENTATION. In an interview published in Komsomolskaya pravda of 30 June, Alan Chochiev, head of the South Ossetian separatist organization "Ademon Nykhas," warned that Ossetians, who had traditionally been the most pro-Russian of the peoples of the Caucasus, are increasingly disillusioned at the Russian parliament's failure to recognize South Ossetia's declaration of independence from Georgia and its desire to become part of the Russian Federation. Although only 8-10% of Ossetians are Muslims, pro-Islamic sympathies are growing; Ossetian leaders have held talks with both Turkish and Iranian diplomats in the hope of receiving financial and humanitarian assistance. (Liz Fuller) TWO DIE IN GROZNYI TV TOWER BOMBING. Two Slavs, a technician and a watchman, were killed when two powerful blasts damaged one of the supports of the TV tower and wrecked a technical facility in the Chechen capital, Groznyi, in the early hours of 30 June, the Russian media reported. No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, which Chechen Information Minister Movladi Udugov told RFE/RL's Moscow correspondent was the work of professionals. Five people were killed when an opposition group temporarily seized the TV center and tower in March 1992. (Ann Sheehy) AZERBAIJAN DEMANDS MUTALIBOV'S EXTRADITION. Azerbaijan's Minister of Internal Affairs has demanded that Russia hand over ousted President Ayaz Mutalibov to face charges of abuse of his official position and damaging the interests of the republic, "Vesti" reported on 30 June. Mutalibov fled to Moscow after the Azerbaijan Popular Front seized power in mid-May. (Liz Fuller) UZBEK OPPOSITION LEADER BEATEN, CRITICALLY INJURED. Abdurahim Pulatov, head of the Uzbek popular front movement "Birlik" was attacked on 30 June by four men wielding iron bars, Reuters reported. Pulatov was leaving the city prosecutor's office in Tashkent, and a Birlik spokesman in Moscow alleged that the deputy chief of the city police and the deputy prosecutor for Tashkent stood by as Pulatov was attacked. The men struck him on the head, and he was taken to the hospital for emergency surgery, where he remains in serious condition. Uzbekistan's authoritarian government has recently begun a drive to suppress Birlik, which has called for mass demonstrations to coincide with the opening of a new session of the Supreme Soviet on 2 July. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) TAJIK EXTREMISTS THREATEN HYDROELECTRIC STATION; NABIEV IN IRAN. Russian TV reported on 30 June that an unidentified armed group fired on the Nurek hydroelectric station 70km from Dushanbe, damaging the transformer. Division leader, General Muhredin Ashurov, who had been on a peacekeeping mission to Kulyab oblast, was sent instead to guard the station. Meanwhile, President Rakhmon Nabiev arrived on a state visit to Pakistan, where he will spend three days in talks with Pakistani leaders. Iran was the first stop on Nabiev's first international tour; he and President Rafsanjani signed a treaty of friendship, and cultural, trade, scientific and banking agreements. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) RUSSIAN AND US FIRMS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CONVERSION. The Russian export consortium A/O "Rusintern" and enterprise "Aerolit LTD" have signed a general agreement with "Aeronautics International," a US firm based in Oregon, for the joint exploration and development of aerial transport. Part of the agreement calls for the reciprocal testing of each partner's manufactures. Yurii Chernegov, director of "Rusintern," told ITAR-TASS on 24 June that "the scientific, technical and economic potential of Russia is huge," and that it is not being lost to a "massive brain drain" caused by conversion; on the contrary, this deal proves that Russia has something to offer to foreign firms. When asked if his firm feared a loss of its capital to any kind of political or economic shocks, Daniel Valentine, a representative of "Aeronautics International," reportedly replied, "I believe the guarantees and assurances given by Russian President Boris Yeltsin." (Chris Hummel) VOLKOGONOV ON AMERICAN POWS. "The veil on the secrets of the past will be lifted," exclaimed General Dmitri Volkogonov, co-chairman of the Russian-American commission on determining the fate of US citizens missing on the territory of the former USSR during and after WW II. Appearing on "Panorama" of 28 June, Volkogonov said that Soviet forces freed more than 23,000 Americans from Nazi camps after WW II, and most of them were repatriated immediately. Those with Russian, Jewish and Ukrainian names, however, aroused suspicion and were often taken as Soviets. He knew of no case, however, where anyone from the 1,309 US planes shot down in Korea was located on Soviet territory. The commission will also investigate missing US citizens from the Vietnam War and from the other periods of the Cold War, "when by various means . . . Americans could have found themselves on the territory of the [Soviet] Union." (Chris Hummel) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE US READY TO PROVIDE MILITARY SUPPORT FOR SARAJEVO RELIEF EFFORT. Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney told reporters in Washington on 30 June that the US was ready to provide naval and air cover to relief efforts for the besieged city of Sarajevo. According to The Washington Post, six U.S. naval ships with 2,200 marines on board are already in the Adriatic Sea, off the Yugoslav coast. Cheney stressed that U.S ground troops would not be involved, and that U.S. involvement would only be part of a broader international effort. Four French supply planes loaded with 33 tons of supplies landed at Sarajevo airport over the past two days, but renewed fighting near the airport on 30 June raised doubts over whether the relief efforts could continue. Four U.N. relief workers were slightly wounded by shellfire from Bosnian positions in Dobrinja. (Gordon Bardos) COUNCIL OF EUROPE EXPELS YUGOSLAVIA. In a unanimous decision, the 27-member Council of Europe formally voted on 30 June to expel the rump Yugoslav federation in protest at its involvement in the Bosnian war. Meeting in Budapest for a three-day session, the Council concluded that the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina was a threat to European peace and security. In other Yugoslav news, demonstrations against Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic continued for a third straight day on 30 June, with thousands of students marching past the Serbian Parliament and the state-owned television building. Later, they joined several thousand supporters of DEPOS, the Democratic Movement of Serbia, who have been occupying Belgrade's Pioneer Square since Sunday. (Gordon Bardos) U.N WARNS CROATIA ON TROOP ADVANCES. The UN Security Council has warned the Croatian government that recent advances by Croatian troops into Serbian-populated areas threaten the fragile cease-fire in the region. The council's resolution also called on the Croatians to allow more UN peacekeepers to be deployed in the troubled areas. According to The Financial Times, UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali has asked Croatian President Franjo Tudjman to order a halt to Croatian attacks on U.N. protected areas in Croatia, and to withdraw Croatian forces from Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the past few days, a 7000-strong Croatian force has attacked Serbian positions south of the Neretva river, and is moving toward the Serb stronghold at Trebinje. (Gordon Bardos) TWO CANDIDATES FOR CZECHOSLOVAK PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. The incumbent President Vaclav Havel and Juraj Cop of the extreme right Republican Party were the only two official candidates for the post of president when nominations closed on 30 June, Czechoslovak media reported. Havel was nominated by the Civic Democratic Party, the strongest political party in the Czech Republic. There is strong Slovak opposition to Havel's reelection, led by Slovakia's ruling party, the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia. The party and other Slovak groups opposed to Havel have enough seats in the Federal Assembly to block Havel's reelection. Cop is a Slovak from Kosice. His party holds only 14 seats in the 300-member parliament. The presidential election will be held on 3 July. (Jiri Pehe) CHANGES IN THE SLOVAK GOVERNMENT. Vladimir Meciar, the new Slovak Prime Minister, on 30 June blamed the previous government of Jan Carnogursky for the current deficit of 14 billion koruna, CSTK reported. Meciar's government, meeting in Bratislava, recalled 53 deputy ministers who served under the previous administration. Meciar argued that the step was not politically motivated, explaining that the position of deputy minister would be replaced by that of state secretary. There will be only 15 or 16 of these posts. The government also dismissed a Czechoslovak State Bank vice-governor responsible for Slovakia and the head of Slovakia's anti-monopoly office. Meciar is to meet with President Vaclav Havel in Bratislava today to introduce him to the new Slovak government. (Jiri Pehe) CHAIRMAN OF THE CZECH PARLIAMENT ELECTED. Milan Uhde, the Minister of Culture in the outgoing Czech government, was elected Chairman of the Czech National Council, CSTK reported on 30 June . Uhde, a former dissident playwright and Charter 77 signatory, is a member of Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party, which holds the largest number of seats in the Czech parliament. Uhde was elected only in the second round of voting, as left-of-center parties managed to block his election in the first round. Also on 30 June , the Czech parliament failed to agree on the composition of its Presidium. While Klaus's party and its allies want to exclude the Communists and the extreme-right Republicans from the Presidium, left-of-center parties demand proportional representation in the Presidium for all parties elected to the parliament. (Jiri Pehe) PAWLAK FACES PARLIAMENTARY TEST. Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak presented his government program to the Sejm on 1 July, but failed to offer any proposed cabinet line-up. Instead, Pawlak asked the Sejm to decide whether he should carry on with his mission, given the failure of negotiations with the tripartite "little coalition." Confusion had earlier reigned as to Pawlak's ministerial candidates; different tentative lists had circulated on 30 June and included members of parties opposed to Pawlak. The decisive blow came when the "little coalition" led by Tadeusz Mazowiecki opted not to delegate its members to the cabinet. Only two parties, the postcommunist Democratic Left and Pawlak's own Peasant Party, with a total of 110 votes out of 460, had indicated on 30 June that they would vote for the cabinet. (Louisa Vinton) COUNCIL OF EUROPE DELAYS DECISION ON ROMANIA. Romania's application for full membership in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will not be considered before the elections, which are scheduled for September. The decision was taken by the assembly's political affairs committee at a meeting in Budapest. According to an RFE correspondent, the assembly's chairman, Miguel Angel Martinez, suggested that Romania's full membership would depend on both holding free elections and the future government's commitment to democracy. The council will also investigate the situation of ethnic minorities in Transylvania. (Dan Ionescu) OPPOSITION LEADER COMMENTS UPON NOMINATION. Corneliu Coposu, executive president of the opposition Democratic Convention (DC), told an RFE correspondent that the nomination of Emil Constantinescu as the DC's presidential candidate would help counter attempts to scare away former communists from voting for the opposition. Constantinescu, who is rector of Bucharest University, was himself a member of the Communist Party during the Ceausescu regime, but held no party office. Coposu said that Constantinescu's personal history should dispel fears that the opposition would conduct a purge if it came to power. (Dan Ionescu) BULGARIAN COMMUNISTS TO BE ARRESTED. Ivan Tatarchev, Bulgaria's Prosecutor General, said at a press conference on 30 June in Sofia that some twenty ex-ministers and other top-ranking communists would face charges for having allowed state funds to be sent to communist movements in developing and Third World countries, BTA and Western agencies reported. Tatarchev stated that the investigation had focussed on the actions of the government led by Georgi Atanasov between 1986-89, when $264 million plus 56 million Soviet rubles had been diverted to Cuba, Nicaragua, Mozambique, Yemen and Afghanistan. He said charges would be filed this week. (Kjell Engelbrekt) HEAD OF BULGARIA'S SECURITY SERVICE REPLACED. The Director of the National Security Service (NSS), Chavdar Petkov was removed from his post by a presidential decree on 29 June. Petkov had been running the NSS since April 1991, when he was assigned to reform Bulgaria's feared secret police--the State Security. The new head of the NSS, who was proposed by the government, is 44-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Arlin Antonov. According to BTA, Antonov is Director of the Pazardzhik police district and a former Deputy Commander of a military special unit--the so-called "Red Berets." (Kjell Engelbrekt) LITHUANIA RESPONDS TO GRACHEV'S THREATS. On 30 June Lithuanian parliament press spokesman Audrius Azubalis issued a statement saying that Russia was preparing for the CSCE conference in a strange way. He said the speech on 29 June by Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev to Russian troops in the Baltic States, Moldova, and the Caucasus, calling them "martyrs" in an "unfortunate situation" amounted to a "direct incitement" to action. He noted that Russia had not fulfilled promises to begin the withdrawal of its troops from Lithuania in the spring and is delaying the talks on their withdrawal. Unsubstantiated charges in the Russian press about the violations of human rights of non-natives, he claimed, seemed to be preparations for future military interference in the internal affairs of former USSR republics to protect the rights of Russian-speakers. (Saulius Girnius) ANTI-ESTONIAN DEMONSTRATION IN PETSERI. Protesters in the Pskov oblast city of Pechora (Petseri in Estonian) on 30 June called on the Russian government to reiterate the inviolability of the Russian-Estonian border. ITAR-TASS reported that the demonstrators denounced Estonia's demand that Russia return formerly-Estonian territories around Petseri and east of Narva, both of which were annexed by Russia in 1945. In fact, the Estonian government has not called for return of the territories, as ITAR-TASS is claiming. (Riina Kionka) BALTIC EMBASSIES LOSE SOVIET HOTLINE PHONES. On 30 June the Russian authorities disconnected the special hotline telephones in the Baltic embassies in Moscow, since foreign missions are not entitled to such facilities. The ATS-2 and VTZ systems had been set up at the so-called permanent representations of the republics of the USSR. Estonia had 5 such lines and the annual expenses for one ATS-2 line were about 35,000 rubles which the embassy had to pay, BNS reported on 30 June. (Dzintra Bungs) ANTALL CALLS FOR LEADERSHIP TO PREVENT CRISES. At the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Budapest, Hungarian prime minister Jozsef Antall criticized governments "which for decades followed a policy of reacting to events rather than showing leadership before crises developed," an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 30 June. He said that governments had rarely used a "preventive foreign policy," taking a timely stand to prevent a crisis. Antall reproached governments for not recognizing in advance the human rights abuses and ethnic conflicts that led to the Yugoslav crisis. He called on governments to rise above domestic political concerns and to follow a comprehensive security policy on behalf of all Europe. (Edith Oltay) COUNCIL OF EUROPE RESOLUTION ON MIGRANTS. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted at its meeting in Budapest a resolution on dealing with migration in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Poland, MTI reported on 30 June. The resolution states that the three countries have become transit routes for migrants but lack the institutional framework to deal with related problems. It calls on the three countries to develop a comprehensive migration policy and to coordinate measures related to migration. The resolution proposes that the three countries work out a contingency plan to cope with mass migration, and urges European Community countries to help shoulder the burden of taking care of migrants. (Edith Oltay) POLISH ECONOMIC UPDATE. Energy price hikes scheduled to take effect on 1 July have been postponed, the Polish finance ministry announced on 29 June. Gazeta Wyborcza reported that this was a political decision designed to calm the public mood. The Solidarity trade union had objected to the planned increases during its fourth congress. Meanwhile, a government fund with resources to buy up the debts of 20,000 indebted farmers begins functioning on 1 July. Only those farmers who devoted their loans to agricultural improvement will receive assistance, and only if they present detailed plans to reform their farms. Farmers will still be required to repay their debts, but the fund will ease the terms. The radical "Self-Defense" union, responsible for recent road-blocks throughout Poland, has demanded that the government simply freeze farmers' debts and offer new low-interest loans. (Louisa Vinton) NEARLY 45,000 PRIVATE FARMS IN LATVIA. Some 44,490 private farms had been registered in Latvia up to 1 June. Altogether these farms comprise about 678,354 hectares, or about one-fourth of the arable land (some 2.6 million hectares) in Latvia. The average size of a private farm is 17 hectares. The greatest number of private farms in the Limbazi raion, near Estonia--2616 farms-- spread over 47,800 hectares of land. Early in April some 32,000 private farms had been registered in Latvia, Diena reported on 25 June. (Dzintra Bungs) TELEPHONE RATE INCREASES IN LITHUANIA. On 30 June Radio Lithuania reported that the Ministry of Communications was planning to introduce a system of direct dial international telephone communications. The rates of international telephone calls, last raised on 1 April, will increase up to five times. From 1 July the rates per minute of conversation between cities in the republic will increase from 1.25 to 2 rubles. The charges for installing a telephone will be 3,000 rubles for individuals and 12,000 rubles for businesses. (Saulius Girnius) [As of 1200 CET]
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