|The fool wonders, the wise man asks. - Benjamin Disraeli|
No. 127, 07 July 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR CIS SUMMIT LEADERS AGREE ON PEACEKEEPERS . . . Security issues proved once again to be a contentious issue for CIS leaders meeting in Moscow on 6 July. According to CIS and Western reports, the participants did agree in principle to create joint peacekeeping forces that might be deployed in areas of ethnic conflict, first and foremost in Moldova. According to Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, the force would consist of between 2,000 and 10,000 troops and could be deployed by the end of July. While several CIS leaders hailed the agreement as a sign that the CIS was alive and well, Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan disagreed, arguing that the commonwealth still lacks the will and the means to halt interethnic disputes. Russian President Yeltsin said that CIS foreign and defense ministers would meet before 15 July to establish the peacekeeping force, The Washington Post reported. (Stephen Foye) . . . BUT STUMBLE AGAIN ON STRATEGIC FORCES. The summit leaders were once again unable to resolve the question of control over strategic nuclear forces located in Ukraine, however, and, in the end, removed the issue from the agenda. The impasse, which began in April when Ukraine declared its intention to establish "administrative" control over strategic nuclear forces in Ukraine, has left Ukraine isolated among the four CIS states possessing nuclear weapons. Ukrainian spokesmen denied that Kiev was trying to block the agreement on strategic forces, and Ukrainian First Deputy Defense Minister Ivan Bizhan insisted that Ukraine still intended to become a non-nuclear state. According to Interfax on 6 July, Bizhan said that Ukraine had refused various options proposed by the CIS command to replace nuclear warheads in Ukraine with non-nuclear equivalents primarily because Kiev had no faith in CIS Commander in Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov. (Stephen Foye) OTHER SECURITY DEVELOPMENTS. The CIS leaders also apparently decided to restructure the CIS Border Forces. According to Radio Mayak on 6 July, Yeltsin said that the commander of the CIS Border Forces, Ilya Kalinichenko, had resigned and that a CIS Council of Commanders of Border Forces is now being set up. The implications of that change were not clear, but the decision is related to Moscow's intention to create independent Russian Border Forces. Meanwhile, Radio Mayak also reported that the summit leaders had endorsed the appointment of Colonel General Boris Pyankov as the first deputy commander in chief of the CIS Joint Forces. Pyankov has been active since last year's August coup in efforts to negotiate the division of the former Soviet armed forces. (Stephen Foye) ECONOMIC ACCORDS AT CIS SUMMIT. Agreement was reportedly reached on a number of economic issues at the CIS summit, according to ITAR-TASS. These included the creation of an "economic court" that will resolve legal disputes on economic matters between member states (Kravchuk objected to the wording of the proposal); the division of the property of the former USSR (to be divided in the same way as the debt of the former Soviet Union); and the coordination of the introduction of new currencies when states leave the ruble zone. Yeltsin told reporters after the summit that the other leaders had authorized him to ask, at the G-7 summit, for several years' deferral of principal and interest payments on the debt of the FSU. (Keith Bush) CONSTITUTIONAL COURT HEARINGS ON COMMUNIST PARTY OPENED. The Russian Constitutional Court began hearings on 7 July to consider the ban of the Soviet communist party; the opening session was broadcast live on Russian TV. The court will review three presidential decrees, dated from 23 August to 6 November, 1991, banning the Russian and Soviet communist parties and confiscating their property, as well as the constitutionality of the party's activities. The Russian president's lawyers intend to argue that the Communist Party was not a true party but a state structure which systematically violated constitutional norms. The party's representatives, for their part, will argue that President Yeltsin overstepped his powers and has violated the rights of 19 million party members. A large volume of documents will be reviewed, demonstrating the role of the party in the August 1991 attempted coup and its activities while in power from 1917-91, including its role in political repression during the Soviet era. (Julia Wishnevsky/Carla Thorson) YELTSIN REJECTS POSSIBILITY OF PUTSCH. Boris Yeltsin reprimanded Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev for his statement of a possible coup d'état and called the warning "harmful." In his press conference reported by ITAR-TASS on 4 July, he noted that the press had wrongly interpreted the minister's remarks. He named some reasons why, in his opinion, a putsch in Russia is not feasible. First, the army is completely faithful to him. Second, the ministries of defense, internal affairs and security are all in the hands of his firm supporters. Third, the opposition forces have no social base in the country. And fourth, there is no one like former KGB boss Vladimir Kryuchkov who could organize such a putsch. (Alexander Rahr) RUSSIAN POLL: 58% WOULD SUPPORT A NEW COUP. Commenting on Yeltsin's 4 July interview in which he rejected the possibility of another putch, "Ostankino" TV reported on 5 July that the majority of the Russian population think differently. A specially commissioned poll found that 46% of those questioned thought a coup possible; only 30% ruled it out. More important, only 30% said they would not support a new putsch; while 58% said they would. The TV said the majority thought authoritarian rule would bring better living standards (68%) and less crime (65%) while those putting human rights and democracy first numbered only 25% and 15% respectively. This corresponds to a recent opinion poll that found that the number of Muscovites dissatisfied with their lives is now 73%, up from 61% in April (The Times, 1 July). (Elizabeth Teague) GORBACHEV ON YELTSIN'S ATTEMPT TO DISCREDIT HIM. Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev complained, during a meeting with a group of Russian intellectuals, that President Yeltsin has set up a "special group of people" to discredit him and bring him to trial, Western agencies reported on 3 July. Gorbachev noted that when he came to Japan, he found out that the Russian Embassy had been told to avoid making contact with him and he also reportedly had trouble obtaining a passport to travel to Israel. Gorbachev claimed that he was informed of the existence of such a group two months ago. Gorbachev also noted that Yeltsin has surrounded himself with aides who want to push the president toward authoritarian rule. (Alexander Rahr) 14TH ARMY COMMANDER CRITICIZES YELTSIN. . . At a news conference in Tiraspol on 4 July, the commander of Russia's 14th Army in Moldova, Maj. Gen. Aleksandr Lebed, deprecated--in an apparent reference to Yeltsin--the policy of "going with an outstretched hand to the world's cabinets, instead of building up a great power capable of imposing its will," Moldovapres and Radio Bucharest reported. The Times, on 6 July, in turn reported that Lebed urged that a stop be put to "political blathering and begging for aid around the world." Lebed, who was speaking on the day of Yeltsin's meeting with Moldovan President Mircea Snegur in Moscow, also charged that Snegur was "negotiating with Yeltsin only in order to mislead public opinion, while in reality preparing for war." Lebed has just been appointed by Yeltsin, who expressed satisfaction with this appointment and full confidence in Lebed, in a telephone call-in session reproduced by Komsomolskaya pravda on 3 July. (Vladimir Socor) . . . AND ASSAILS MOLDOVAN GOVERNMENT. Lebed told the same news conference that he "can no longer regard Moldova's President as a legitimate president" as he has "created a fascist state." He also termed "[Moldova's] government a fascist clique," and accused Moldova of "committing genocide on the border between Moldova and the Dniester republic.'" Lebed said that "the former USSR, this huge country, ought to take all measures to send fascism to its deserved place on history's gallows. It would be appropriate to start this process from the bridgehead of Cocieri" [one of the last two Moldovan bridgeheads on the left bank of the Dniester]. Lebed's remarks were carried by Moldovapres and Radio Moscow on 4 July. (Vladimir Socor) US SENATE URGES WITHDRAWAL OF RUSSIAN ARMY FROM MOLDOVA. The United States Senate on 2 July adopted by an overwhelming margin an amendment, offered by Senator Larry Pressler, to the law on US aid to Russia. The amendment asks the US government to "urge through all possible means the Russian government to withdraw the 14th Army from the independent and sovereign state of Moldova" and also to "urge an end to the economic blockade of the Republic of Moldova"; and that the US should support the establishment of an international monitoring committee, including the US, to oversee the "orderly and expeditious withdrawal" of Russian troops from Moldova. (Vladimir Socor) KRAVCHUK LEAVES FOR BRUSSELS AND HELSINKI. On 7 July, while the Ukrainian government headed by Prime Minister Vitold Fokin faced a vote of no confidence, Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk embarked on working visits to Brussels and Helsinki. In Brussels, apart from meetings with Belgian leaders, Kravchuk is scheduled to address an international conference on anti-Semitism. On 8-10 July, Kravchuk will take part in the CSCE summit in Finland. (Bohdan Nahaylo) ROME KARABAKH PEACE TALKS END IN DEADLOCK. The third session of preparatory talks in Rome on the CSCE Karabakh peace conference to be held in Minsk closed on 6 July without reaching an agreement on ways of resolving the conflict, and the head of the Armenian government delegation accused the Azerbaijanis of launching a new military assault every time a new phase in negotiations was reached. Western agencies reported. According to ITAR-TASS, the chairman of the talks, Mario Raffaelli, nonetheless greeted as "constructive" the belated agreement of the Armenian delegation from Nagorno-Karabakh to participate in the talks; he said it was up to the participants in the CSCE summit in Helsinki this week to decide whether a fourth round of preparatory talks is necessary prior to the Minsk conference. (Liz Fuller) DEMONSTRATORS CALL ON ARMENIAN GOVERNMENT TO RESIGN. Some 40,000 demonstrators gathered in Erevan on 6 July to demand the Armenian government's resignation and diplomatic recognition of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Western agencies reported. The opposition parties represented within the Armenian parliament have repeatedly made the same demands over the past three weeks. (Liz Fuller) GAMSAKHURDIA SUPPORTERS LAUNCH NEW ATTACK IN GEORGIA. A group of 300 supporters of ousted Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia blew up two strategic rail bridges in western Georgia on 6 July and then laid siege to a school building in the town of Tsalendzhika where a detachment of 60 troops from the unofficial paramilitary group "Mkhedrioni" and the group's leader, Dzhaba Ioseliani, were garrisoned. Six people were killed and many wounded when Georgian government troops moved in to break the siege, Interfax reported. Gamsakhurdia supporters have launched two car bomb attacks on Mkhedrioni leaders over the past month. (Liz Fuller) TAJIK OPPOSITION ON REFUGEES. ITAR-TASS reported on 7 July that, in an interview with the Dushanbe newspaper Eko, Tajik Democratic Reform Movement Chairman Kakhramon Ashurov criticized the lack of legal protection for refugees. Ashurov noted the particular need for a law on refugees for Tajikistan, since nearly 100,000 people, overwhelmingly non-Tajik, have fled the republic so far this year due to political instability. The draft constitution now before parliament forbids dual citizenship, and limits the official use of the Russian language, thereby stimulating outmigration of Russian-speakers. Russian-language media and education have decreased precipitously, though Tajik law stipulates the introduction of Tajik as the official language only in 1995. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) GAIDAR QUANTIFIES FSU CONVERTIBLE CURRENCY DEBT. Egor Gaidar told parliament on 3 July that the country's foreign debt now totals $74 billion--an increase of $4 billion since January, Western agencies reported. It is thought that Gaidar was referring to the convertible currency debt of the former Soviet Union, which had been estimated at about $65 billion at the end of 1991. The latter figure excluded debts to former socialist countries totaling some $17 billion and commercial arrears of about $4 billion. Gaidar said that Russia's foreign debt was not large in relation to the nation's wealth "but it is huge from the point of view of its restructuring." (Keith Bush) RUSSIAN ENTERPRISES CLOSING. Radio Rossii of 3 July reported an interview by the chairman of the Russian parliamentary Committee on Industry and Energy with Imapress. The chairman stated that hundreds of enterprises in Russia are shutting down every month, and that in the second quarter of this year, 50% more workers were let go compared to the first quarter. This number did not include workers sent on extended leave and those transferred to a shortened work-week. The chairman did not mention the presidential decree of 2 July on the settlement of inter-enterprise debts which, if implemented, could further raise the number of enterprises to be closed down and the total of laid-off workers. (Sarah Helmstadter) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE G-7 DISCUSS NEW MEASURES TO DEAL WITH BOSNIAN CRISIS. International media on 7 July report that the G-7 leaders meeting the previous day in Munich discussed setting up land corridors from Croatia to Sarajevo and possibly beyond. Other suggstions included imposing a naval blockade of Montenegro on the Adriatic, which Italy said it would recommend to the WEU. The Washington Post adds that France is interested in blocking trade between Romania and Serbia, while the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports that Serbia buys 25,000 tons of oil in Romania each week and ships it from Constanta to Bar in Montenegro. The German daily cited an article in Borba quoting the vice-chairman of Serbia's parliament. Some media suggest that the current talk of further action is designed to prod the Serbs in Bosnia into retreating, thereby making such moves unnecessary. (Patrick Moore) PANIC ASKS FOR 100 DAYS. Yugoslav prime minister-designate Milan Panic appealed to the 52-state CSCE conference to defer the expulsion of the rump Yugoslav state from the organization. The New York Times reports that Panic sent a letter on 6 July to the conference members, meeting this week in Helsinki, in which he asks for "100 days, the traditional period given every new government to show the direction of its actions," before the conference acts on proposals to expel or suspend Yugoslavia. The CSCE is considering the actions because of Yugoslavia's involvement in the Bosnian war. Panic, who is forming a new federal government for the truncated Yugoslav state this week, told the conference members that "I need your help and not another obstacle in my path." (Gordon Bardos) BOSNIAN CROAT LEADERS CALL ESTABLISHMENT OF CROAT ENCLAVE "TREASON." Western news agencies on 6 July quoted Bosnian Croatian leaders Stjepan Kljuic and Jovan Dijvak as lambasting Mate Boban's earlier proclamation of the "Community of Herceg-Bosna." The political circumstances surrounding Boban's declaration and other Croats' reactions to it remain unclear, but past practice suggests that little should be taken at face value. Meanwhile, there are conflicting accounts as to whether Serbian forces have succeeded in taking the strategic town of Derventa northwest of Sarajevo. Elsewhere, the Independent reports that European countries are increasingly closing their borders to Bosnian refugees. Reuters quotes Muslims from Zvornik as saying that Serb forces brutally deported them from their homes to Hungary in setting up "ethnically pure" Serbian districts. (Patrick Moore) POLISH CABINET TALKS NEAR CONCLUSION. Prime minister candidate Hanna Suchocka announced late on 6 July that her proposed cabinet is "75% complete." Negotiations are proceeding smoothly, and Suchocka said she hopes to present a full list of names to President Lech Walesa by 8 July. Christian National Union deputy Henryk Goryszewski confirmed that he was in line to become deputy prime minister for economic matters. He told RFE/RL on 7 July that the eight disparate parties in the coalition had agreed to leave ideological battles to the Sejm, freeing the government to push on pragmatically with Poland's economic transformation. The only remaining bone of contention is the role of the Center Alliance, which has demanded that its controversial economic cooperation minister, Adam Glapinski, retain his post. But even without the Center Alliance, the new coalition would command a comfortable parliamentary majority. After meeting with Walesa on 6 July, Jan Rulewski, the Solidarity union deputy who brokered the eight-party coalition agreement, told reporters that the president, was warmly disposed toward the new arrangement. (Louisa Vinton) OLSZEWSKI, MACIEREWICZ CENSURED FOR "AGENTS" DISCLOSURES. The special Sejm commission investigating the disclosure of the names of alleged secret police collaborators by the government of Jan Olszewski presented its report on 4 July. The report concluded that former Internal Affairs Minister Antoni Macierewicz and State Security Office chief Piotr Naimski had deliberately released the names in a manner that could have destabilized Poland's highest state institutions. It charged former Prime Minister Olszewski with complicity. Stopping short of recommending that Macierewicz, Naimski, and Olszewski face charges before the State Tribunal, the commission nonetheless recommended that the Sejm consider their "constitutional responsibility." After nine hours of acrimonious debate, the issue was postponed until the next Sejm session on 16 July. (Louisa Vinton) FARMERS YIELD TO POLICE PERSUASION. Without using force Polish police brought to a halt just outside Warsaw the protest march staged by farmers from the radical Self-Defense union. The farmers agreed to move their tractors off the road, ending an 18-hour blockade of the Warsaw-Berlin highway. Self-Defense leader Andrzej Lepper continued to demand that the farmers be allowed to parade through Warsaw. Roads were cleared of protesting farmers in seven other locations. Police were ordered earlier in the day to take "decisive action to prevent the blocking of roads," PAP reports. (Louisa Vinton) LOOTING AT FORMER SOVIET BASES IN POLAND. The administrative chief of Legnica voivodship in Lower Silesia (where the Soviet Northern Group of Forces was once headquartered) ordered law enforcement agencies in the voivodship on increased alert on 6 July, PAP reported, in order to deal with "the increased looting of [Polish] state property used temporarily by the troops of the Russian Federation." (Louisa Vinton) GONCZ ATTACKED BY DEMOCRATIC FORUM. According to a 6 July MTI report, representatives of the national presidium of the ruling Hungarian Democratic Forum issued a statement condemning President Arpad Goncz for his refusal to dismiss the presidents of Hungarian Radio and TV. The statement said that Goncz's decision was politically motivated and therefore he overstepped his constitutional authority. The Democratic Forum views Goncz's actions as directed against parliamentary democracy and very dangerous. The statement alleges Goncz abused his powers and is serving the interest of one segment of society instead of the whole people. (Judith Pataki) CONTROVERSY OVER STATUS OF SLOVAKIA'S HUNGARIAN MINORITY. On 6 July CSTK said that Ivan Laluha, chairman of the Slovak National Council's foreign affairs committee, criticized former Hungarian Foreign Minister Gyula Horn for suggesting that Slovakia's 600,000-strong Magyar minority had a right to some form of autonomy. Laluha said that Hungarians in Slovakia already enjoyed all the rights called for under international agreements. He was reacting to statements made by Horn, who is currently the Chairman of the Hungarian parliament's foreign affairs committee, on 5 July. Laluha added that Horn should concentrate on good relations between Budapest and Bratislava instead of "stirring up emotions." (Jan Obrman) BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS SAY DEMOCRACY ENDANGERED. In a memorandum addressed to the member states of the CSCE and "world opinion"--a summary of which was published in Duma on 6 July--the BSP parliamentary group contends that "negative tendencies" in Bulgaria threaten to "reverse the democratic process." As quoted by Duma, part of the memorandum is devoted to work of the National Assembly, where the BSP says its proposals and statements have consistently been "blocked" by the majority. The memorandum further alleges that violations of human rights, firings based purely on political considerations, censorship of the electronic media, and phone-tapping occur frequently in today's Bulgaria. (Kjell Engelbrekt) BULGARIAN CENSUS SCHEDULED FOR DECEMBER. According to a decree issued by the government on 6 July, Bulgaria will conduct a census in December of this year, BTA reports. The census is intended to provide details about the population and living conditions as well as reveal the true size of Bulgaria's minorities. The National Statistical Institute will conduct the count, which is estimated to cost 85.9 million leva. (Kjell Engelbrekt) UNEMPLOYMENT ON THE RISE IN ROMANIA . . . Rompres reports on 6 July that the number of jobless in Romania increased by about 27,000 over the last two weeks. There are currently 663,000 unemployed in Romania, representing 5.7% of the labor force. Only 434,000 receive unemployment benefits, the rest being divided among people not legally entitled to benefits (some 80,000) and long-term unemployed, whose eligibility for benefits ceased after the statutory 9-month cutoff period (some 160,000). (Dan Ionescu) . . . AND LATVIA. State employment office director Sergejs Blazevics told Radio Riga on 6 July that by the end of the year about 12% of the labor force may be unemployed; next year the figure could rise to 20%. About 8,700 persons have been registered as unemployed. Blazevics said that a major cause of unemployment has been Russia's failure to supply Latvian factories with raw materials. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN RUBLE TO PREVAIL. The Monetary Reform Commission announced on 6 July that as of 20 July the only legal tender would be the Latvian ruble. The smallest denomination will be one ruble, Radio Riga reports. Russian rubles and kopecks will be treated as foreign currency that can be freely bought and sold. This step is taken in preparation for the introduction--possibly this fall--of Latvia's own currency, the lats, and as a consequences of the recent influx of large amounts of Russian rubles in Latvia. The Latvian ruble was introduced in May as an interim currency in order to cope with the grave shortage of cash--i.e. Russian rubles--in Latvia and has had the same value as the Russian ruble. (Dzintra Bungs) ENERGY, TRANSPORTATION BILLS BURDEN LATVIAN ENTERPRISES. BNS reported on 30 June that enterprises are seriously in arrears for their energy and transportation bills. Minister of Industry and Energy Aivars Millers said that if the enterprises do not submit and receive approval for debt repayment plans by 10 July, electricity and gas would be cut off. The biggest debtors are Daugavpils chemical fiber plant (82.8 million rubles), Radiotehnika (20.6 million), Sloka paper factory (18.8 million), Biolar (16 million), and Alfa (11.7 million). The Latvian railroad administration says that various enterprises owe the railroad about 40 million rubles, but these debts stem from a change in the system of payments instituted earlier this year. (Dzintra Bungs) LITHUANIA INCREASES ENERGY PRICES. BNS reports that on 1 July the price of a liter of A-76 gasoline rose from 14 to 19 rubles, A-92 from 18 to 23, and of diesel from 10 to 14. Further price rises are expected, since Russia has informed Lithuania that it will send 480,000 tons of crude oil in July at an average cost of 7,500 rubles/ton. Lithuania had paid 4,5006,000 rubles/ton in June; the price will probably reach 11,00014,000 rubles per ton by the end of the year. On 3 July the cost of a kilowatt-hour of electricity increased from 0.5 rubles to 0.7 rubles for the general population, religious communities, and producers of agricultural products; other users will pay 1.42 rubles/kwh. (Saulius Girnius) VAGNORIUS IN WASHINGTON. On 6 July Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius signed an accord at the State Department making Lithuania the 161st member of the World Bank and its branches, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, Reuters reports. Vagnorius also met with Vice President Dan Quayle and signed a bilateral trade and investment framework agreement that commits the two countries to the principles of free trade, open investment, and protection of intellectual property. (Saulius Girnius) ROMANIAN PARLIAMENTARIANS VISIT CHINA. Xinhua reports that a delegation headed by Dan Martian, chairman of the Chamber of Deputies arrived in Beijing on 6 July. The delegation will stay in China for nine days as guests of the Chinese National People's Congress. Romania's relations to China, particularly close under Nicolae Ceausescu, have remained good under the current regime. In January 1991 President Ion Iliescu was the first European leader to visit China since the violent repression of the opposition in that country in June 1989. (Dan Ionescu) ROMANIA SEEKS LOAN FROM THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. Seeking assistance to finance development projects, Paul Coman, a high-ranking official in the Romanian Ministry for Economic and Financial Affairs, arrived in Abu Dhabi on 5 July. He is to meet with officials from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Arab Economic Development, a government institution that grants loans to both Arab and non-Arab countries, Reuters reports. Romania and the UAE signed a cooperation agreement in June to boast trade. (Dan Ionescu) [As of 1200 CET]
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