|Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened. - Sir Winston Churchill|
No. 124, 02 July 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR KOZYREV WARNS OF POSSIBLE COUP IN RUSSIA. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev has warned of the possibility of a new putsch led by nationalistic forces in an interview with Izvestiya on 30 June. He deplored the fact that parts of the liberal intelligentsia have shifted to nationalistic positions. He also called for "deep reforms" in the former KGB and armed forces, arguing that the military had escaped political control and is arming separatists in the Transcaucasus and Moldova. He also accused the Ministry of Security of feeding tendentious information on ethnic conflicts to the government and the president. The spokesman of the security ministry, Aleksandr Gurov, rejected these accusations, on the "Utro" TV program of 1 July (Alexander Rahr) SECRET 29TH COMMUNIST PARTY CONGRESS. Some 150 communist intend to hold a secret "29th Communist Party Congress" this weekend, ITAR-TASS and "Vesti" reported on 30 June. The "All-Union Committee of Communists" which claims to be organizing the event, have called the meeting in order to chart the future of the Communist Party. It is unclear who will be represented at the meeting since the reports indicate that none of the leaders of the other various parties which claim to be successors of the CPSU will attend. Sergei Skvortsov, one of the organizers, noted that the meeting would be held in secret "for security reasons" and out of concern that President Yeltsin might move to enforce his decree banning the Communist Party. (Carla Thorson) ZHIRINOVSKY'S PLEA FOR DICTATORSHIP. The leader of the Liberal-Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, told Rossiya (no. 27) that a majority of Russians favor dictatorship. He said that he wants to reinstall the Russian empire, first within the boundaries of the former USSR, but subsequently along the borders of the former Tsarist empire. He stated that right-wing forces will come to power in Russia and Germany under the slogan of the protection of the white race and divide eastern Europe among themselves. He added that after the forthcoming demise of the United States, Alaska will also be incorporated into the Russian empire. He noted that, if elected president, he would strengthen the army and state security forces. (Alexander Rahr) BABURIN AND RUMYANTSEV JOIN FORCES AGAINST MOLDOVA. At the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, just held in Budapest, Sergei Baburin, leader of the ultranationalist and pro-communist Russian Unity bloc in Russia's Supreme Soviet, and Russian Social-Democratic leader, Oleg Rumyantsev, joined in accusing Moldova of discrimination against Russians and of aggression and atrocities in the Dniester area. They denounced alleged Romanian deliveries of tanks and helicopters to Moldova. Rumyantsev added that the evidence of Moldovan atrocities will be presented in due course, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 1 July. The consensus on this issue among Rumyantsev and Baburin--who otherwise are political adversaries--reflects the shift of some leading Russian liberals toward hardline positions vis-a-vis Moldova and other newly independent states. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDOVA'S NEW PRIME MINISTER. President Mircea Snegur on 30 June nominated Andrei Sangheli as Prime Minister of Moldova, in place of Valeriu Muravschi who had resigned along with most of his government on 8 June. An ethnic Moldovan born in 1944 in Bessarabia. Sangheli is a trained agronomist and also a graduate of the Higher [Communist] Party School in Kiev. From 1986 to 1992 he was Moldova's first deputy prime minister and minister of agriculture concurrently. He was a member of the Moldovan CP CC Bureau until 1990, and became a full member of the CPSU CC in July 1990 as a supporter of perestroika. Along with Snegur, Sangheli worked within against the Moldovan leadership of the "era of stagnation." But unlike Snegur, Sangheli is distrusted by Moldova's radical reformers. Sangheli is the unofficial leader of the Agrarian Group of deputies. (Vladimir Socor) WHY SANGHELI? Snegur's nomination of Sangheli was approved on 1 July by a two-thirds majority of the parliament (in the absence of left-bank Russian deputies). The nomination was virtually imposed on a reluctant Snegur by the Agrarians, but other deputies' groups including right-bank Russians rallied behind Sangheli hoping that he would be acceptable to left-bank Russian and Gagauz secessionists who have always shown a preference for dealing with communist holdovers in Chisinau. From late 1990 to early 1992, Sangheli chaired the Conciliation Commissions impaneled by the parliament to negotiate with the breakaway leaders in the two areas. In his brief acceptance speech, Sangheli indicated that he would not confine his role to economic management as his predecessors did, but would actively seek a political settlement with the left-bank Russians and the Gagauz. (Vladimir Socor) BLACK SEA FLEET: BACK TO ZERO? The commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Igor Kasatonov, said on 1 July that Ukraine wants 90% of the disputed fleet while Russia is prepared to give Kiev only 22% of it, Reuters reported. The fact that these are roughly the same numbers that have been bandied about for months suggests that, despite the agreement reached by Yeltsin and Kravchuk in Dagomys on 23 June, the two sides have made little progress in resolving the impasse. Ukrinform-TASS also reported on 1 July that, according to Kasatonov, the military council of the fleet has protested the appointment Ukrainian Admiral Boris Kozhin to the post of head of commander of the Sevastopol garrison. Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Leonid Ivashov, the secretary of the Commonwealth Defense Ministers' Council, told journalists on 1 July that the fleet issue would not be raised at an upcoming meeting of CIS defense ministers in Moscow on 6 July because it was now the object of negotiations at the level of state delegations, ITAR-TASS reported. (Stephen Foye) FIRST READING OF RUSSIAN BUDGET FOR 1992. On 1 July, the Russian parliament approved, in principle, the 1992 state budget, Interfax and Radio Rossii reported. It was sent back to committee for revision. The second reading and vote were set for 10 July. In presenting the budget, Acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar said that in May the budget deficit exceeded 60 billion rubles, and in June "the situation became especially tense" as revenues dropped, inflation rose, and the exchange rate deteriorated. Gaidar further warned that the outlook for July and August was "particularly difficult" and argued against any reduction in taxes. His presentation met with virulent opposition from parliamentary chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov and other critics. (Keith Bush) RUSSIAN DEFENSE UPDATE: SPENDING AND THE DRAFT. Aleksandr Pochinok, the chairman of the parliamentary budget committee, charged on 1 July that the proposed Russian state budget fails to provide normal appropriations for defense, and undermines efforts both to withdraw Russian troops from abroad and to provide social programs for officers. His remarks were reported by ITAR-TASS. Meanwhile, "Vesti" reported on 1 July that the spring military draft, at least in Moscow oblast, was being extended by several weeks because approximately one-third of eligible draftees had not shown up for induction. The draft period traditionally ends on 30 June but, according to the report, will be extended to mid-July. (Stephen Foye) RUSSIAN DECREE ON PRIVATIZATION. Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed a decree on 1 July to speed up the privatization of state enterprises other than sovkhozes, ITAR-TASS reported. Enterprises are to be turned into shareholding companies within four months. In some cases, the entire value of the firm will be up for sale, but in others the state will retain a 50% share to be held in trust for subsequent acquisition by employees and investors. (Keith Bush) RUSSIAN DECREE ON INTER-ENTERPRISE SETTLEMENTS. President Yeltsin also signed a decree on 2 July on the normalization of settlements in the economy. The text of the decree was not available, but from the ITAR-TASS summary and from Egor Gaidar's references in his budget speech, this appears to freeze inter-enterprise debts incurred before 1 July, and to impose tough measures against firms which fail to pay their bills after that date. They will face bankruptcy proceedings, receivership, and could be sold off. A state agency for settling debts is to be set up to adjudicate on past inter-enterprise debts; it is to complete its work by the end of 1993. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Georgii Khizha recently estimated the gross value of these debts at over 2.5 trillion rubles: the net debt would be only a fraction of this amount. (Keith Bush) OIL JOINT VENTURES GAIN TAX CONCESSIONS. According to The Journal of Commerce of 30 June, Western oil joint ventures in Russia are applying for, and receiving, full or partial exemption from the $6 a barrel oil export tax. A US oilman was quoted as saying that "there have been many taxes and decrees issued over the past several months, and when you put them all together, business becomes uneconomical." He went on to say that his firm had, however, worked out a tax regime "that we can live with." (Keith Bush) BONN APPROVES PROTOCOL ON ETHNIC GERMANS IN RUSSIA. The German cabinet approved on 1 July a protocol on cooperation with Moscow for gradually restoring an autonomous German republic on the Volga, the Russian and German media reported. With the signing of the protocol, which is to take place in Moscow next week, Russia will for the first time accept a binding obligation to start restoring the Volga German republic, a German government spokesman said. Both sides will undertake to create a viable economy in the settlement area on the Volga. Germany will help with the infrastructure, training of specialists, and equipment, while Russia will arrange the transfer of ethnic Germans to the area. (Ann Sheehy) UKRAINIAN REFERENDUM ON NEW CONSTITUTION. The Ukrainian parliament on 1 July continued its discussion on the draft of a new constitution, Radio Ukraine reported. According to ITAR-TASS, the deputies resolved to submit the approved draft to a "national discussion" and to hold a referendum on the new fundamental law no later than 1 November. President Leonid Kravchuk, summing up the discussion, expressed his disagreement with those favoring a federal structure for Ukraine. (Roman Solchanyk) NAGORNO-KARABAKH TO SEND DELEGATION TO ROME PEACE TALKS. The government of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic decided on 1 July to send a delegation to the CSCE sponsored preparatory peace talks that resumed in Rome on 29 June, ITAR-TASS reported, in defiance of an earlier decision by the NKR parliament not to attend in order to protest the fact that a delegation from the NKR would not be accorded equal status as a negotiating partner. Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan had criticized the NKR parliament's failure to send a delegation. The chief of the Armenian delegation told Western agencies on 1 July that progress had been made on the basis of a new negotiating document that calls for an immediate truce in the region. (Liz Fuller) ARMENIAN PRESIDENT ADAMANTLY REFUSES TO RECOGNIZE NKR. Addressing the Armenian parliament on 1 July, on the third day of a debate on Nagorno-Karabakh (NKR), President Ter-Petrossyan rejected a demand by 7 of the 8 parties represented in parliament, which have united to create a "National Union," that Armenia should immediately recognize the NKR as an independent state, as this would be interpreted by world public opinion as Armenian encroachment on Azerbaijan's territorial integrity. He likewise rejected calls for concluding a military-political alliance with the NKR, arguing that such a step would inevitably involve Armenia in a war with Azerbaijan and Turkey, Radio Moscow reported. (Liz Fuller) TAJIK ELECTION RESULTS QUESTIONED. ITAR-TASS reported on 1 July that the Tajik opposition's paper Adolat published the results of an independent study of the November 1991 presidential elections in that republic. The organization which conducted the study, RF-Politika, found that while the official results showed President Nabiev received two-thirds of the vote compared to one-third for filmmaker Davlat Khudonazarov, a more likely result would have been Nabiev--45%, and Khudonazarov--38-40%. RF-Politika analyst Aleksandr Sobyanin stated that a closer study of local polling results would be necessary to establish legal proof that the election was falsified. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) US EMBASSY DENIES AIDING TAJIK REBELS. The US Embassy in Dushanbe issued a statement categorically denying that it had provided military assistance to any political groups, including rebels in Kulyab, ITAR-TASS reported on 1 July. In fact, an American military aircraft had brought humanitarian aid which was then transported to Kulyab oblast by Tajik helicopter, into the capital, with the knowledge and cooperation of the Tajik government. The press release emphasized that no American plane had landed in Kulyab. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) PROTEST AGAINST TSAR'S CANONIZATION. Moskovskie novosti (no. 27), published an article by Yakov Krotov on the canonization of Tsar Nicholas II which is being considered by the Russian Orthodox Church. Krotov protests against this move on the grounds that this canonization would be a political and not a religious act since those who mourn the Tsar plainly show their hatred for those who killed him instead of demonstrating Christian love and forgiveness. (Oxana Antic) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN BOSNIAN CRISIS. The BBC said on 2 July that Canadian UN peace-keeping forces headed overland to Sarajevo are running into difficulties from local Serbian units. Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that Secretary of State James Baker said on 1 July that two US C-130 transports will help in the planned Sarajevo relief mission, but the paper adds that further details are yet unclear. The major US east-coast dailies quote President George Bush as saying that "we have two task forces right now in the Mediterranean . . . [and] I have no plans at this juncture to use those forces." The press also reports that some of the ships in the Adriatic have already left the Yugoslav coast for holiday leave in Italy and Greece. (Patrick Moore) DEBATE OVER INTERVENTION IN BOSNIA CONTINUES IN THE US. The 2 July New York Times quotes Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd as saying the previous day that "the American people ought to be told what the consequences are of a recess war in the Balkans." The Washington Post presents misgivings among the American military about a possible role in the area, with one officer "saying the crisis in the former Yugoslavia may be too big to swallow and too big to spit out." The 1 July New York Times, however, sums up what seems to be the increasingly dominant view, saying: "no one should underestimate the risks of moving from symbolic to substantial involvement. But as the murderous battering of Bosnia continues, the world sees the cost of allowing Serbian aggression to succeed." (Patrick Moore) CROATIA AND SLOVENIA PLEAD FOR HELP IN CARING FOR REFUGEES. An RFE/RL correspondent in Budapest on 1 July quoted Croatian representatives at a Council of Europe parliamentary session as saying that their republic spends $57 million per month on refugees and cannot afford it. Some $32 million goes for displaced persons from last year's fighting in Croatia, while the rest is for victims of the current war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Slovenian deputy prime minister Joze Pucnik also appealed for help, saying that 63,000 refugees are registered in his republic and more are staying with relatives there. Austria also said that it was reaching the limits of its possibilities. (Patrick Moore) ILIESCU BRIEFS POLITICAL LEADERS ON MOLDOVA. During a close-door meeting on 1 July, Romania's President Ion Iliescu urged the leaders of the country's main political parties "to find a way to voice a united position on developments in Moldova." Rompres quoted Iliescu as describing these developments as "matters of national interest for Romania." Iliescu is expected to meet Moldovan President Mircea Snegur on 2 July, at festivities for the canonisation of Moldova's medieval ruler Stephan the Great at the Putna monastery in northeastern Romania, where the prince is buried. (Dan Ionescu) ROMANIA'S FOREIGN MINISTER WRITES LETTER TO RUSSIAN COUNTERPART. On 1 July, Rompres made public the text of a letter addressed by Adrian Nastase, Romania's minister of foreign affairs, to Andrei Kozyrev, his Russian counterpart. The letter, which is dated 30 June, includes a strongly-worded attack on major general Aleksandr Lebed, the new commander of Russia's 14th army, accusing him of behaving like a self-styled "Dniestr governor." Nastase depicted Lebed's stance as "arrogant and full of contempt towards the authorities and the constitutional order of the Republic of Moldova," and added that the 14th army's presence in Moldova had no legal basis. (Dan Ionescu) PAWLAK'S TIME RUNS OUT. Polish Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak announced he was resigning on the morning of 2 July, after nearly a month of fruitless efforts to build a viable governing coalition. Speaking before the Sejm, Pawlak attributed the failure of his mission to the demand by his major potential partner, the tripartite "little coalition" led by Tadeusz Mazowiecki, for total control over economic policy. Pawlak wanted his own Polish Peasant Party to supervise the economy. The "little coalition's" decision on 1 July to stay out of the cabinet torpedoed Pawlak's mission. The Sejm can only vote on the prime minister's dismissal after a motion from President Lech Walesa. According to PAP, however, Walesa has informed the Sejm that he is not yet prepared to comply with Pawlak's request for dismissal. (Louisa Vinton) WALESA WEIGHS OPTIONS. President Lech Walesa was in attendance on 1 July when Pawlak made his unusual presentation of a government program without a cabinet. Speaking later at a press conference, Walesa said he had a number of options in case Pawlak's efforts ended in failure, including a "presidential government." New elections were a last resort, Walesa said, adding that "the next parliament will be worse." The president called Pawlak's tenure a "step toward normality," signaling an attempt to reach beyond the confines of the Solidarity movement. Walesa confirmed that he had empowered Christian National Union member Henryk Goryszewski to broker a new coalition. (Louisa Vinton) "GRAND COALITION" IN THE WORKS? Eight parties spanning the entire sweep of the Solidarity tradition--the tripartite "little coalition" of liberal, free-market forces and a five-party alignment of Christian-democratic and peasant forces--met on 1 July to discuss the chances for a majority coalition. The meeting was held at the initiative of Solidarity union deputies. The same parties tried but failed to form a broad Solidarity coalition during the tenure of Prime Minister Jan Olszewski, but talks may proceed more smoothly now that the government crisis has deepened and Olszewski is out of the picture. (Louisa Vinton) HAVEL APPROVES NEW FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. Speaking in Bratislava, where he had met with the Slovak government and, later, the leaders of Czechoslovakia's two strongest political parties, Vaclav Klaus and Vladimir Meciar, President Vaclav Havel announced the composition of a caretaker federal government. CSTK reported Havel as saying that the streamlined government, to be sworn in on 2 July , may have a limited term but should be seen as "fully valid." Headed by Jan Stransky, a former Czech deputy prime minister, the government will have only 10 members. Slovak members of the cabinet will have the foreign, defense, and economy ministries and two deputy premierships. The Czechs will have two deputy premierships, as well as the interior and finance ministries and the post of the prime minister. Jozef Moravcik of Meciar's party will replace outgoing Jiri Dienstbier as foreign minister. The defense minister-designate is lieutenant general Imrich Andrejcak. Havel said he would have preferred a civilian in the post and asked Andrejcak to become a reservist. (Jiri Pehe) AGREEMENT REACHED ON THE CZECH REPUBLIC'S GOVERNMENT. Four right-of-center parties represented in the new Czech National Council (the Czech parliament) signed a coalition agreement on 1 July, CSTK reported. Among other things, the parties agreed on the composition of the new Czech government. Vaclav Klaus, the leader of the Civic Democratic Party, will become the new Czech prime minister. The government will have three deputy premiers: Jan Kalvoda, the leader of the Civic Democratic Alliance; Josef Lux, the leader of the People's Party; and Ivan Kocarnik of Klaus's party. Kocarnik, a former federal deputy minister of finance will also head the ministry of finance. Vladimir Dlouhy of the Civic Democratic Alliance, formerly the federal minister of economy, will be the minister of industry and trade in the new Czech government. Klaus's close ally, Jozef Zieleniec, will become minister of foreign affairs. (Jiri Pehe) TRADE AGREEMENT WITH CZECHOSLOVAKIA UNCERTAIN. The European Free Trade Association says that an agreement with Czechoslovakia may have to be renegotiated if the federation breaks up, Western media reported. The accord came into force on 1 July and will be reviewed in the fall after the situation in Czechoslovakia becomes clearer. An EFTA spokesman said that if the Czechoslovak custom union and common currency remain, it may not be necessary to change the agreement. The accord with Czechoslovakia covers trade in industrial goods and processed agricultural products. (Jiri Pehe) ESTONIAN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN UNDERWAY. On 1 July, the conservative coalition "Pro Patria "(Isamaa) announced that former foreign minister Lennart Meri had agreed to run for president on its ticket, BNS reports. Elections in Estonia are due in fall, following the approval of the referendum last week. Meanwhile, the leftist coalition "Secure Home" said its nominee was the current Supreme Council Chairman Arnold Ruutel, who is Estonia's most popular political figure. (Riina Kionka) GONCZ AGAIN REFUSES TO DISMISS BROADCASTING CHAIRMEN. Hungarian president Arpad Goncz again rejected a motion by prime minister Jozsef Antall to dismiss the chairmen of Hungarian radio and television, MTI reported on 1 July. Goncz said that the dismissal of the chairmen could endanger the independence of public broadcasting because radio and television might not be able to withstand pressures to give the government decisive influence over broadcasting. The Hungarian Constitutional Court has recently ruled that the president can only refuse to approve appointments to state positions if the democratic functioning of the institution is endangered. (Edith Oltay) EXPERT SAYS KOZLODUY IN BETTER SHAPE. Following a visit to the Kozloduy nuclear power plant, the head of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) Lord Walter Marshall told journalists on 1 June that management was "much better" than last year, Reuters reported. Some 25 WANO experts have been working with Bulgarian nuclear engineers since 1991, and Marshall said repair work on the reactors should be completed by November and even the two oldest 440-megawatt reactors would be ready in time for the coming winter. Still, he deplored the fact that Bulgaria relied on Kozloduy for 40% of its energy needs, suggesting that other possibilities should be investigated. (Kjell Engelbrekt) US SENATE LINKS RUSSIAN AID TO BALTIC TROOP WITHDRAWAL. On 1 July the US Senate voted 92 to 2 to impose restrictions on aid to Russia after a year unless it made significant progress towards withdrawing its troops from the Baltic States, Reuters reports. By a vote of 60 to 35, the Senate defeated a stronger alternative bill that would have imposed the restrictions immediately, without the 12-month grace period. The bill authorized $620 million ($150 million for 1992 and $470 million for 1993) for economic aid to Russia. The bill also included $400 million for 1992 and $450 million for 1993 as aid to Eastern Europe nations, including the Baltic States. (Saulius Girnius) LATVIAN, RUSSIAN EXPERTS DISCUSS TROOP WITHDRAWAL. At their third meeting, which began in Jurmala on 30 June, Latvian and Russian experts continued discussions on the withdrawal of ex-USSR troops from Latvia, Radio Riga reported on 1 July. Latvia's deputy defense minister Dainis Turlajs said Russia was disregarding previous accords; he noted that in the 1 February communique, signed by representatives of both countries, Russia had agreed to discuss the withdrawal of all ex-USSR troops, adding that now Russian experts insist the communique had only mentioned the pullout of some troops. Latvian group member Juris Dobelis said that the Russian side had, however, presented a list of 84 military objects in Latvia that the military could vacate soon and said that this would be compared with a similar list compiled by the Latvians. Dobelis said that Latvia wants to take advantage of any positive steps made by the Russians. (Dzintra Bungs) 450 PEOPLE TURNED BACK AT ESTONIAN BORDER. Some 450 people were refused entrance into Estonia at the Narva border with Russia on 1 July because they did not have Estonian visas. BNS reports that four train loads of people wishing to enter Estonia were checked for documents at the Narva rail station. Estonia began requiring visas of former Soviet citizens on 1 July. All other foreigners have been subject to a visa requirement since last October. After Estonia's currency reform, the cost of a single-entry visa jumped to $60. (Riina Kionka) POLISH-LATVIAN TREATY OF COOPERATION SIGNED. While visiting Riga, Polish Foreign Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski signed a treaty of cooperation between Poland and Latvia--the first such treaty to be signed with one of the Baltic States--and accords on trade, travel, and legal protection for citizens of the two countries. Skubiszewski told the press that he was pleased with the development of Latvian-Polish relations. He praised in particular Latvia's generous policies toward its many national minorities. While in Riga, the Polish foreign minister also met with representatives of the approximately 60,000 Poles living in Latvia, Radio Riga reported on 1 July. (Dzintra Bungs) BULGARIA TO LOWER INTEREST RATES. On 30 June the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) decided to reduce the base rate from 54% to 49%, taking effect on 6 July. As quoted by BTA, the BNB explained that the measure was aimed at maintaining the relative stability of the Bulgarian lev, at a time when demand for foreign currency was dropping. The BNB also argued that a lower base rate might stimulate domestic output and investments, whereas the currently high interests threaten to boost inflation by suppressing production. The BNB indicated that further reductions in the base rate may follow. (Kjell Engelbrekt) [As of 1200 CET]
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