|Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece. - Vladimir Nabokov|
No. 128, 08 July 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR YELTSIN IN MUNICH. . . On 7 July, President Yeltsin went to Munich to meet with leaders of the G-7 major industrial democracies for talks focusing on Western financial aid to Russia, Russian and Western media reported. Before his departure, Yeltsin told journalists that he was disappointed that economic relations between Russia and the West have not developed sufficiently, although the Cold War has ended. He said he was expecting concrete results from his talks in Munich. Yeltsin is accompanied by acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar and Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev. In the evening, Yeltsin met with the leaders informally at a dinner hosted by the Bavarian premier. He is expected to hold more substantive talks on 8 July. The Western leaders noted that they understood the difficulty Russia faces in withdrawing troops from the Baltic states, but called on Moscow to begin the withdrawal and set a timetable. The G-7 leaders also expressed concern about continuing ethnic conflicts in the former USSR. (Vera Tolz) . . . ON THE KURILES DISPUTE. Before his departure from Moscow, Yeltsin also noted that Russia's dispute with Japan over the Kurile Islands was strictly a bilateral issue and should not have been on the agenda of the G-7 summit, Russian and Western media reported. He said that he would discuss the Kurile issue directly with Japanese leaders during his planned visit to Tokyo in September. At the Munich summit, Japan pushed its G-7 partners to strongly back its position. On 7 July, a wide-ranging political statement by the summit leaders included a brief mention of the Kurile issue but only in broad terms. It said that the G-7 seeks the "full normalization of Russian-Japanese relations through the resolution of the territorial issue." (Vera Tolz) OPENING SALVOS AT CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. On the first day of the Constitutional Court hearings on the banning of the Communist Party, preliminary statements and procedural issues predominated. In his opening remarks, the court's chairman, Valerii Zorkin noted, "this is not a case against the party." The president's lawyers reiterated their position, this is "not a ban on the idea of communism, but a case about the neutralization of an anticonstitutional structure." On the other hand, People's Deputy Viktor Zorkaltsev, representing the Party, argued that Yeltsin's ban would lead to a dictatorship by democrats, and former politburo member Egor Ligachev compared this hearing to the show trials of the 1930's, Russian and Western agencies reported on 7 July. The witnesses to be called in the case include American historian Richard Pipes; and demands that President Yeltsin himself attend the session were made by People's Deputy Yurii Slobodkin, but the court overruled his request. (Carla Thorson) COMMUNIST ALLEGES GORBACHEV INVOLVED IN COUP. Addressing the Constitutional Court on 7 July, a pro-communist people's deputy, Dmitrii Stepanov, said Mikhail Gorbachev was involved in last August's failed coup, Russian and Western media reported. As Soviet president and the CPSU's general secretary, Gorbachev knew what was planned; the self-styled emergency committee that tried to seize power did not want to dispose of Gorbachev, Stepanov alleged. Gorbachev has denied any involvement in the coup and declined to attend the court hearings. Meanwhile, the Russian press continues to publish archival documents on the CPSU's illegal activities. On 7 July, Kuranty published documents detailing financial support, authorized by Gorbachev, to communist bureaucrats in Poland who lost their jobs following the 1989 fall of the communist government. (Vera Tolz) RUSSIAN DRAFT LAW ON MILITARY SERVICE APPROVED. The two houses of the Russian parliament, meeting separately on 7 July, approved on first reading a draft law "on military obligations and military service" in the new Russian army. According to ITAR-TASS, the draft law eliminates several existing military ranks, shortens the term of military service to 18 months in the army and to two years in the Navy, introduces contract service, and establishes mandatory retirement ages for the various officer ranks. Recently appointed Deputy Defense Minister Valerii Mironov spoke on a number of related issues, and recommended that the terms of alternative military service contained in the draft be more carefully specified. The draft will be submitted to a joint session of parliament (Stephen Foye) KRAVCHUK IN BRUSSELS: UKRAINE WANTS SPEEDY DISPOSAL OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Speaking to journalists on 7 July during his visit to Brussels, Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk said that Kiev intended to destroy its entire nuclear arsenal as quickly as possible, Western agencies reported. He emphasized that Ukraine had no intention of moving these weapons elsewhere, and said that, if possible, Ukraine would eliminate them in advance of currently agreed upon timetables. That same day, Kravchuk met with Belgian Foreign Minister Willy Claes and later addressed an international conference on anti-Semitism. On 8 July, the Ukrainian president is scheduled to meet with NATO secretary General Manfred Woerner. (Stephen Foye and Bohdan Nahaylo) FOKIN CABINET SURVIVES, BUT REFORMIST MINISTER RESIGNS. The Ukrainian government headed by Prime Minister Vitold Fokin on 7 July narrowly survived a vote of no confidence, Radio Ukraine and Western agencies reported. Instead, lawmakers passed a resolution calling on President Leonid Kravchuk to form a new cabinet by September, when parliament reconvenes after the summer break. A further setback for reformers was the announcement by Deputy Prime Minister and Economics Minister Volodymyr Lanovy that he will step down. Lanovy argued that his economic reform plans are not supported by Kravchuk. (Roman Solchanyk) CIS SUMMIT DECIDES TO SEND PEACEMAKING FORCE TO MOLDOVA. At their meeting in Moscow on 6 July, the CIS heads of state agreed in principle to create joint peacekeeping forces and resolved to deploy such forces in eastern Moldova within the next few weeks. As reported by Western, Russian, and Moldovan media, the decision on Moldova provides for a joint force of Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian troops as well as troops from Romania and Bulgaria, with a mandate to enforce and monitor a cease-fire and the separation of the forces in the Dniester conflict. The forces are described as "peacemaking" (rather than peacekeeping). Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev told journalists that the joint force may number anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 soldiers. The Russian contingent will be over and above the 14th Army which will not be involved in the peacemaking operation. The leaders of Belarus and Kazakhstan, Stanislau Shushkevich and Nursultan Nazarbaev, were reported as insisting on the preservation of Moldova's territorial integrity and counseling against the creation of autonomous enclaves within Moldova. (Vladimir Socor) MOLDOVA REQUESTS THE TROOP DEPLOYMENT. Yeltsin told journalists that the deployment was contingent on a Moldovan request and that Moldovan President Mircea Snegur had promised that a request would be forthcoming. On Snegur's proposal, the Moldovan parliament on 7 July voted 225 to 3, with 9 abstentions, to appeal to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Romania, and Bulgaria to send the peacemaking troops to Moldova. The expenses involved are to be borne by Moldova. (Vladimir Socor) US TRADE PRIVILEGES FOR MOLDOVA. At a ceremony in Chisinau on 2 July, the US and Moldova exchanged the instruments of ratification of their recently signed trade agreement which includes the most-favored-nation clause. In an address at the ceremony, the US charge d'affairs to Moldova, Howard Steers, said that the accord "means that the US and Moldova are now real partners and that the US believes in Moldova's chosen political course of asserting its presence in the international arena and creating a new, democratic and law-based society." Steers was further quoted as saying that the policies of Moldova's leadership "inspire confidence" and that President Mircea Snegur had shown "a very impressive capacity for political conciliation." The remarks were reported by ITAR-TASS, and an RFE/RL correspondent. (Vladimir Socor) "DNIESTER" DEATH TOLL REVISED SHARPLY DOWNWARD. The self-styled "Dniester republic Supreme Soviet" issued, on 30 June, a revised casualty toll sharply scaling down earlier claims. As reported by ITAR-TASS, the revised figure is 425 dead for the entire period from 2 March (the beginning of war) to 22 June (the victory over Moldova in Bendery). The revised toll is at odds with earlier charges that the [defeated] Moldovan side had inflicted "hundreds" of deaths in the battle for Bendery on 19-22 June. (Vladimir Socor) KAZAKHSTAN CREATES CENTRAL PRIVATIZATION AUTHORITY. The Kazakh parliament passed a decree amending the law on privatization in force since last year, according to a 7 July Kaztag-TASS report. The change places all state property, including that formerly controlled by local governments, under the authority of a centralized organization charged with privatizing state assets. The new statute is intended to speed the process of privatization, now stalled by local bureaucrats; the commission will also examine the problem of how the public can acquire shares of property with the vouchers they received under the privatization law, now mostly unused except to purchase housing. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) TAJIK FORCES AGREE ON CEASE-FIRE. According to an RFE/RL report, the Tajik government and guerrilla forces in the south of Tajikistan reached a cease-fire agreement on 7 July. Democratic opposition leader, Davlat Khudonazarov, was quoted by Interfax as confirming the agreement, saying that negotiations between the two sides would begin soon. Since fighting broke out in the southern region of Kurgan-Tyube in late May, dozens of casualties have been registered and scores have fled the area. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) ABOLITION OF TURKESTAN MILITARY DISTRICT EXAMINED. Megalopolis Express published an interview on 8 July with a recent graduate of the General Staff Academy who chose to remain anonymous. He noted that the Central Asian states' independence has forced reform of the Russian Army's manpower policy, due to the loss of the 500,000 recruits that these states supplied annually. The capabilities of the new national armies fare poorly when compared to the Soviet Army, he said, due to the loss of many highly qualified Slavic officers with combat experience in Afghanistan, and to the fact that the rank and file are on the whole technically less literate. He also noted the danger that the new military elite of these states might produce another Sadaam Hussein. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX PUSHING RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT TO THE RIGHT. The "New Russia" bloc of the Russian parliament believes that the military-industrial complex is successfully pressing for conservative appointees in Russia's government, according to Interfax of 3 July. The bloc points to what they claim is an emerging imbalance between conservatives and reformers in key posts. In particular, it notes the recent appointment of Deputy Defense Minister Boris Gromov whose 1990 appointment in the Interior Ministry, they assert, had signaled a shift to the right in USSR politics. A particular danger, says the bloc is that this shift is not in line with Russian citizens' views and, hence, could cause social unrest. (Brenda Horrigan) TRILATERAL GROUP PROPOSES DEFENSE INDUSTRY POLICIES. At its 3 July meeting, according to Interfax, Russia's trilateral commission of government, labor, and business resolved to present the cabinet with a draft resolution on economic incentives for the defense industry by 15 July. The draft will focus on developing a defense doctrine for Russia and establishing a set volume of state orders for defense industries for 1992-93. Another proposal is to pay off government debts to defense industries and to establish a conversion fund with state money and military industrial complex profits. A plan to offer loans to converting enterprises was also suggested. (Brenda Horrigan) IMF CONDITIONS FOR RUSSIA REVEALED. In an interview with The Financial Times of 7 July, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Shokhin disclosed details of Russia's commitment to the IMF in order to secure the first tranche of credit. The Russian government has undertaken to reduce its budget deficit to 5% of GDP, down from its present level which is believed to be heading towards 17%. To achieve this, Russia has asked for a rescheduling of most of its $8.4 billion debt repayment due this year. It is also committed to reduce the monthly rate of inflation from around 20% at present to no more than 10% at year's end. Subsidies on grain and fuel are to be limited. (Keith Bush) RUSSIAN TAX REDUCTION PROPOSALS TO BE VETOED? Egor Gaidar told an RFE/RL correspondent on 6 July that he will ask President Yeltsin to veto any attempt by the parliament to lower taxes. He said that any lowering of taxes would be "suicidal" when inflation remains high and is out of control. Such a move, he added, could endanger reform and democracy in Russia. At the 2 July session of parliament, Gaidar defended the value-added tax rate of 28%, while some deputies proposed a reduction to 14%, and Khasbulatov agreed to a rate of 20%. On 3 July, the parliament decided to delay a vote on the issue pending talks between the government and parliamentary leaders. (Keith Bush) NO MORE RESIDENCE PERMITS IN RUSSIA? A draft law on the right of freedom of movement and choice of residence within the Russian Federation is almost complete, ITAR-TASS reported on 4 July (as quoted by the TV program, "Moscow Telegraph"). If parliament adopts the law, it would mean the end of residence permits, the papers stipulating the right to reside in certain areas. Residence permits restricted the ability of Russians to get apartments, social benefits, and jobs to within the area in which they were registered. The abolition of the system could bring an influx of Russians to the cities, further straining the already overcrowded housing and increasing the number of unemployed. (Sarah Helmstadter) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE G-7 ISSUES "DECLARATION ON FORMER YUGOSLAVIA." This document, given to the press on 7 July in Munich, makes a number of key points. First, it notes that "all parties have contributed" to the crisis but adds that "the Serbian leadership and the Yugoslav army . . . bear the greatest share of the responsibility." Second, it declares that "the tragic humanitarian situation, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is unacceptable." Third, it goes on to "warn the parties concerned, including irregular forces" not to interfere with the relief of Sarajevo. The text then adds that "should these efforts fail due to . . . [a lack of cooperation] with the United Nations, we believe the Security Council will have to consider other measures, not excluding military means, to achieve its humanitarian objectives," including relief of areas beyond Sarajevo. Fourth, the document urges aid for the refugees. Fifth, it calls on Serbia and Croatia to respect Bosnia's territorial integrity. Sixth, it warns against spreading the conflict, and specifically urges Serbia to "respect minority rights in full" and to begin "serious dialogue" in Kosovo. Finally, it backs UN Resolution 757, which imposed sanctions on Serbia and Montenegro, and rejects those republics' claim to be "the sole successor state of the former Yugoslavia." (Patrick Moore) ROMANIA AND THE EMBARGO. Western agencies report on 7 July that delegates at the G-7 summit concluded that the oil embargo imposed last month against Serbia and Montenegro is not working, in part because of continuing Romanian assistance. According to the Canadian foreign minister, oil continues to flow into Serbia through a pipeline from Romania. The same day, however, Rompres released a communiqué from the Romanian Ministry of Transportation denying that oil shipments are originating at Constanta for the Montenegrin port of Bar. The ministry insists that it is adhering strictly to government instructions concerning the UN sanctions. (Dan Ionescu) HEAVY FIGHTING IN SARAJEVO. Even as the G-7 issued their warning, international media were reporting on 7 and 8 July that Sarajevo witnessed the worst fighting in three weeks. Reports differ as to who is to blame. On 7 July the BBC quoted UN sources as saying that the conflict so far has displaced two million persons, one million from Bosnia and Herzegovina alone. Meanwhile, on 7 July the Washington Post and on 8 July the New York Times argued that Zagreb may be backing secessionist moves by Croatian extremists in Bosnia, and called for considering sanctions against Croatia. It is not clear, however, who or what is behind the secessionists; a 7 July editorial in Vjesnik, which is close to Croatia's governing party, slammed the idea of partitioning Bosnia. And it is difficult to see how the international community could, on the one hand, impose sanctions on Croatia while, on the other, use its territory for relief of Sarajevo. (Patrick Moore) SERB SEES HOPE. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Yugoslav prime minister designate Milan Panic expressed hope that the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina can be stopped and that the badly damaged Serbian economy can be quickly resuscitated. Panic promised to visit Sarajevo soon, and expressed confidence that the economy of the new Yugoslav federation, composed now of only Serbia and Montenegro, will quickly become the most robust of all the former Yugoslav republics, even suggesting that the new Yugoslavia would be willing to pay off the entire $14-billion foreign debt of the old federation. As for possible problems in his relations with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, Panic said "God help him if he gets in my way." (Gordon Bardos) MACEDONIAN GOVERNMENT FALLS. On 7 July Western agencies reported that Prime Minister Nikola Kljusev's government had lost a no-confidence vote in parliament. Critics blamed the government for the decision by the EC and the US to accept the Greek position that Macedonia must change its name before it can be formally recognized. Nationalist parties are expected to benefit from Kljusev's defeat. (Patrick Moore) G-7, FINNISH ORGANIZATIONS ON TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM BALTICS. The G-7 nations also issued a statement on 7 July urging Russia to agree to a timetable for the withdrawal of ex-USSR troops from the Baltic States, an RFE/RL correspondent reports. The statement, read by German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, also said: "It is impossible that these problems should contravene the application of the principle of international law whereby military forces may not be stationed on the territory of a foreign state without its approval." On 7 July four Finnish organizations, including The Helsinki Group of Finland, appealed to "governments and civic organizations of Finland and other participating states of the CSCE to make insistent demands for an end to the military occupation of the Baltic States, and to support these demands by reduction of all assistance to Russia, until her troops have left Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania." (Dzintra Bungs) RUSSIA, BALTICS COMPROMISE ON STATEMENT. Meeting in Helsinki prior to the CSCE meeting, Baltic and Russian delegations agreed on a two-paragraph statement on the need to resolve through negotiations "the problems that remain from the past, such as the stationing of foreign armed forces on the territories of the Baltic States without the required consent of those countries," an RFE/RL corespondent in Helsinki reported on 7 July. The second paragraph says: "In line with basic principles of international law and in order to prevent any possible conflict, we call on the states concerned to conclude, without delay, appropriate bilateral agreements, including timetables, for the early, orderly and complete withdrawal of such foreign troops" from the Baltics. The statement was accepted by the 50 other CSCE members. Latvian delegation head Aivars Markots said that the text is the "minimum acceptable" by the Baltic States. (Dzintra Bungs) BALTIC LEADERS PREPARE FOR CSCE. On 7 July in Jurmala top Baltic leaders discussed a common strategy at the upcoming Helsinki meeting. They focused on how to speed up the pullout of the ex-USSR armed forces from the Baltic States, BNS reports. They also met with Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt who was visiting Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs) POWELL IN HUNGARY. On 7 July Gen. Colin L. Powell, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in Budapest at the head of a delegation invited by Hungarian armed forces commander Col. Gen. Kalman Lorincz. Powell discussed further cooperation between the armies of the two countries, while Lorincz briefed the visitors about the state of the Hungarian army and its future plans. The Americans visited an army unit near Budapest and held talks with top Hungarian officials. Prime Minister Jozsef Antall stressed that the survival of NATO and the American military presence is vital for European security. At a final press conference Powell said the US does not exclude the possibility of international military action [presumably in Yugoslavia], but Lorincz said that Hungary would not become involved in such action. He did not address the question of whether Hungary would open its borders to other forces should such military action take place. (Judith Pataki) POLISH CABINET LINEUP COMPLETED. Despite a final walkout by one of the eight coalition parties, the Center Alliance (PC), prime minister candidate Hanna Suchocka managed on 7 July to complete a full cabinet list for consideration by President Lech Walesa. Walesa is scheduled to meet with Suchocka early on 8 July, before he leaves to attend the CSCE summit in Helsinki. The departure of the PC, a party hostile to Walesa and inclined to confrontational rhetoric, was greeted with mixed feelings, as it removed the most controversial candidates from the cabinet list and forestalled a potential showdown with the president. The remaining seven parties quickly reshuffled the five posts set aside for the PC and, in the process, opted to leave internal affairs in the hands of acting minister Andrzej Milczanowski, as Walesa had wished. (Louisa Vinton) PROPOSED CABINET SPANS LEFT AND RIGHT. Party of Christian Democrats leader Pawel Laczkowski is now slated to take the post of deputy prime minister for politics. The proposed seven-party cabinet features veterans from all three previous Solidarity governments, including Jacek Kuron (labor), Jan Krzysztof Bielecki (EC integration), Janusz Lewandowski (privatization), Jerzy Osiatynski (finance), Janusz Onyszkiewicz (defense), Krzysztof Skubiszewski (foreign affairs), and Gabriel Janowski (agriculture). The liberal "little coalition" has won the key economic and political posts, while justice, education, and culture have been awarded to the right-wing Christian National Union. To avoid "unpleasant surprises" in parliament, Walesa has demanded written guarantees from all coalition parties that they accept the prime minister and her cabinet choices, as a condition for his approval. (Louisa Vinton) FARMERS' PROTEST ALARMS WALESA. About 250 farmers from the Self-Defense union on 7 July renewed their threat to drive their tractors into Warsaw. Polish TV reports that 73 farm vehicles are assembled on the city's outskirts. At the president's urging, agriculture minister Gabriel Janowski met with the group, but charged afterward that Self-Defense is more interested in publicity than assisting farmers. "No discussion is possible," Janowski said. A statement issued by the president's office on 7 July calls the situation in the country "very tense" and criticized protesters for violating the law rather than attempting to solve problems through accepted democratic means. Walesa announced the creation of a special working group on "public order" attached to the National Defense Committee (KOK), which he chairs. The purpose of the new body, Walesa said, is to ensure that order and calm prevail. In a letter to Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak on 7 July, Walesa called for effective measures to keep the roads open and added that, "in building a state based on the democratic order, we cannot look on as that order is undermined." (Louisa Vinton) MECIAR WANTS ELECTION OF A SLOVAK PRESIDENT. According to a CSTK report of 7 July, Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar announced that his Movement for a Democratic Slovakia wants the Slovak Republic to elect its own president at the end of August, adding that the Czech Republic should do the same. He said that the Slovak and Czech presidents could then serve as Czechoslovak president and vice president. Referring to the rejection by his party of President Vaclav Havel's reelection, Meciar said that his party was not interested in causing a presidential crisis. (Jan Obrman) BULGARIAN EX-PREMIER STRIPPED OF IMMUNITY. Following an intensive six-hour debate on 7 July, the Bulgarian National Assembly lifted the parliamentary immunity of Andrey Lukanov, the former prime minister and BSP deputy, BTA and Western agencies report. The decision came after a request by Prosecutor General Ivan Tatarchev, who intends to charge Lukanov with embezzlement and misappropriation of state property. While BSP and UDF demonstrations in support of Lukanov were taking place outside the parliament, Lukanov charged that "the ruling political force"--the UDF--is preparing a show trial against him. (Kjell Engelbrekt) BULGARIAN BANK HEAD STEPS DOWN. On 7 July the head of the Bulgarian National Bank, economics professor Todor Valchev announced his resignation. The object of recent allegations of corruption in the Bulgarian press, Valchev said he is leaving office so that confidence in the central bank is maintained, Reuters reports. Even though he was appointed by a socialist cabinet two years ago, Valchev told BTA he had had only few substantial disagreements with the current government and that the reason for his resignation was not political. (Kjell Engelbrekt) OPPOSITION RALLY IN TIMISOARA. A large rally was held on 7 July in Timisoara, the Romanian city where the December 1989 uprising against Nicolae Ceausescu started. According to an RFE correspondent, the rally called for all former communist activists and members of the former political police to quit public posts. The rally's organizer, the Timisoara Society, a loose association of opposition parties and movements, launched an appeal for Romanians to turn out in large numbers in the parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for 27 September. The rally was attended by many leaders of the Democratic Convention, an alliance of the main opposition parties. (Dan Ionescu) RUSSIA "FORCING LITHUANIA OUT" OF RUBLE ZONE. On 7 July Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar held talks in Moscow with a Lithuanian delegation, headed by Deputy Supreme Council Chairman Ceslovas Stankevicius, Radio Lithuania reports. The meeting was prompted by Russia's unilateral decision to stop bank transfers to Lithuania. Gaidar said Russia will no longer guarantee purchase agreements signed by cities or companies, although it will guarantee sales of food to the army. He suggested that Lithuania should follow Russia's example and demand prepayment for purchases. Further, Russia will not help Lithuania recoup the $3 billion owed for previous food purchases. As a special concession, Russia will guarantee a lower price for oil purchased in July, but thereafter will charge Lithuania world prices. The Lithuanian side expressed regret that Russia is unilaterally breaking its trade agreements by no longer granting Lithuania most favored nation trade status and is, in effect, pushing it out of the ruble zone. (Saulius Girnius) [As of 1200 CET]
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