|Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead|
No. 130, 10 July 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR CSCE PEACEKEEPING FORCE FOR NAGORNO-KARABAKH. German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel told reporters in Helsinki on 9 July that the CSCE had reached agreement in principle on a long-term plan for deploying unarmed peacekeeping troops in Nagorno-Karabakh. Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Zdenek Zigmund said that eight CSCE member states had offered to provide observers, but that the situation was still too dangerous and they would be deployed only once a cease-fire had gone into effect. Armenian and Azerbaijani officials greeted the decision with cautious approval, but a Nagorno-Karabakh spokesman protested that unarmed peacekeepers "would simply mislead people and be of little use." Meanwhile, Armenia's permanent representative in Moscow, Feliks Mamikonyan, said on 9 July that Azerbaijan had launched a new offensive in Karabakh despite having declared a unilateral cease-fire on 8 July. (Liz Fuller) RUSSIA'S SUPREME SOVIET THREATENS MOLDOVA. In a resolution on Moldova, adopted on 9 July and carried by Moldovan media, Russia's Supreme Soviet called for "using the Russian army to separate the parties in conflict before the CIS peacekeeping forces go into action." It also called for "urgent measures" in the event that "Moldovan military forces fail to cease actions in the Dniester region"; and proposed that Yeltsin raise, in Helsinki, the issue of Moldova's membership in the CSCE on the grounds that Moldova "has committed genocide." (Vladimir Socor) "DNIESTER" FORCES VIOLATE CEASE-FIRE. At a meeting on 9 July to assess compliance with the cease-fire agreement signed on 7 July, the commission of Russian, Moldovan, and "Dniester" military observers found that Moldovan forces had complied fully while the "Dniester" forces had not. The commission's report was released by Moldova's Foreign Ministry. Two previous reports, issued by a quadripartite commission comprised of Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, and Moldovan officers, also blamed the cease-fire violations on the "Dniester" side. (Vladimir Socor) CRIMEAN REFERENDUM SUSPENDED. The Crimean parliament voted on 9 July to place a moratorium on its resolution of 5 May to hold a referendum on the peninsula's status, Radio Ukraine and "Novosti" reported. The referendum was scheduled to be held on 2 August. Parliamentary Chairman Nikolai Bagrov argued that it would be unwise to hold the vote at a time when negotiations with Kiev were moving in a positive direction. (Roman Solchanyk) CONSTITUTIONAL COURT DENIES REQUEST TO POSTPONE CASE AGAINST CPSU. On 9 July, People's Deputy Aleksandr Kligman, representing the CPSU, asked the Constitutional Court to postpone consideration of the Party's constitutionality until the Russian parliament votes on a draft law which would set procedural guidelines, Russian and Western agencies reported. Kligman argued that Russian law has no norms for determining the constitutionality any party. The court, after a brief recess, denied the request. In his opening statement on the constitutionality of the CPSU, lawyer Andrei Makarov, representing the Russian president, said, "we will prove that under the guise of bringing communist ideology to life, the . . . Communist Party of the Soviet Union carried out, against its own people, a terror unprecedented in history." (Carla Thorson) CONSCRIPT PROBLEMS IN THE CIS. The commander in chief of CIS Naval Forces, Adm. Vladimir Chernavin, told reporters on 8 July that more than half of all CIS military conscripts have managed to avoid induction this year, Reuters reported. He also said that large numbers of conscripts with criminal records are coming into the armed forces, and that the scale of ethnic strife has grown to unprecedented dimensions. Meanwhile, Moskovsky komsomolets reported on 10 July that, according to officials in the Moscow draft office, almost 50% of all eligible conscripts in the city have been granted deferrals for reasons of health. Bad eyesight and internal disorders were reported to be the most common ailments, while psychological illnesses were also said to be on the rise. The report linked the health problems to environmental degradation and to alcoholism among the parents of conscripts. (Stephen Foye) DEFENSE INDUSTRY WORKERS TO PICKET GOVERNMENT. Defense industry workers plan to picket Moscow legislative and state buildings daily, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 July. "We have no other choice," declared the Coordinating Committee of Moscow Defense Industry Labor Collectives (VKP) chairman, expressing frustration at the Russian leadership's failure to resolve sectoral ills. ITAR-TASS noted that the defense industry shares the problems of other industrial branches, including non-payment of wages and lack of available credit. Unless some of their demands are met, the VPK's high technology enterprises-will likely halt production. (Brenda Horrigan) RUSSIAN COMMISSION ON MILITARY PROPERTY IN GERMANY CREATED. Russia has set up a commission to handle the disposal of former Soviet military property in Eastern Germany, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 July. Contingent on the approval of local military authorities, the commission will sell or lease military property; it is also authorized by new Russian government regulations to invest in, or create, corporations. (Brenda Horrigan) KHASBULATOV AGAIN ATTACKS GOVERNMENT. Ruslan Khasbulatov, the Russian parliamentary chairman, resumed his attack on the government during a meeting with leading economists. He stated that the parliament wants to "act more decisively" on the reform program, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 July. Arguing that the situation in the economy can still be brought under control, Khasbulatov noted that if the government fails to develop a more far-reaching reform program, the parliament will prepare its own version of reform and force the government to fulfill it. (Alexander Rahr) NEW DEMOCRATIC BLOC SET UP IN RUSSIA. Several democratic parties and movements, out of some 40 political groups that met in Moscow on 4 July, signed a declaration on 9 July announcing the creation of the bloc "Democratic Choice" in support of President Yeltsin and the Russian government, ITAR-TASS reported. Among the organizations, which signed the declaration, are the Democratic Russia movement, the Republican Party of Russia (set up in late 1990 on the basis of the Democratic Platform within the CPSU), and the Russian League of Businessmen. The Russian Democratic Reform Movement, headed by Gavriil Popov, which took part in the 4 July meeting, has not signed the declaration so far. The bloc said it would try to neutralize the activities of the communists and the extreme Russian nationalist opposition to Yeltsin as well as the recently created centrist bloc "Civic Union." (Vera Tolz) NEW VICE-CHAIRMAN OF STATE TV APPOINTED. Political analyst Igor Malashenko, 38, has been appointed vice chairman of the first channel of Russian television, "Ostankino." In an interview carried by ITAR-TASS on 9 July, Malashenko said that TV must offer information and not propaganda. The official also spoke of long-term tasks: preserving a "common information space" within the former Soviet Union, and creating an interstate TV company. Earlier, at the CIS meeting in Moscow, Yeltsin and other leaders of CIS member countries criticized "Ostankino." One of the criticisms was that its reporting had contributed to the escalation of the conflict in Moldova. In response, on 6 July, the leadership of "Ostankino" issued a statement saying that "it is obvious that the times are returning when political leaders try to blame the media for their own mistakes" and to hold the media responsible for political instability. The statement said "Ostankino" would resist any attempts to turn it into a propaganda tool for leaders of the CIS countries. (Vera Tolz) SOME RUSSIAN REGIONS CLOSED TO FOREIGNERS. The Russian Government announced that 16 regions in the country will be closed to foreigners, ITAR-TASS reported on 9 July. Foreigners will not be permitted to travel without special permission from the Ministry of Security to the following regions: the Kamchatka peninsula, the city of Komsomolsk on Amur, the island of Russky in Primore, several raions in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The regions of Orenburg, Nizhegorod, Arkhangelsk, Murmansk, Ekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Astrakhan, Krasnoyarsk, Mordovia and some other raions are also restricted. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN IN GOOD HEALTH. Physicians have examined Boris Yeltsin in Moscow and came to the conclusion that the president is in good general health but needs more physical activity, such as playing tennis and swimming, in order to stay fit, ITAR-TASS reported on 9 July. A full report on Yeltsin's health will appear in the next issue of Argumenty i fakty. Yeltsin had taken several unexpected vacations in recent months, prompting speculation that he had either a heart ailment or a drinking problem. (Alexander Rahr) KRAVCHUK ON THE CIS. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk told the Belgian newspaper Le Soir that he had no intention of idealizing the CIS and that his criticism of the commonwealth is intended to break its paralysis. The CIS, he added, should not be protected, but instead every effort should be made to resolve the problems before it. The interview was summarized by ITAR-TASS on 9 July. (Roman Solchanyk) GEORGIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER KIDNAPPED BY GAMSAKHURDIA SUPPORTERS? The whereabouts of Georgian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Kavsadze remain unclear following an incident on 9 July in which his car was blown up while traveling in north-west Georgia, according to Interfax and Kavinform. The driver was killed; Kavsadze and two other passengers are missing. Georgian State Council secretary Vakhtang Goguadze stated that Kavsadze was probably alive and in the hands of terrorists. Speaking in Helsinki where he is attending the CSCE summit, State Council chairman Eduard Shevardnadze blamed supporters of ousted president Zviad Gamsakhurdia for the incident, Western agencies reported. (Liz Fuller) SIGNS OF STABILIZATION IN TAJIKISTAN. In Kurgan Tyube oblast, the main highway has passed from the control of rival fighting groups to that of the republican OMON, according to Russian TV on 9 July. Radio Rossii reported that over the past three days, residents of the Kurgan Tyube and Kulyab oblasts have turned in over 120 firearms to Interior Ministry authorities. Meanwhile, the government has announced an amnesty for all participants of the April-May demonstrations in Dushanbe, according to an ITAR-TASS report of 8 July. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) TAJIK BORDER VIOLATIONS CONTINUE. Izvestiya of 9 July details an attempt by an armed group of Tajiks to reenter the republic illegally from Afghanistan on 8 July. One person was killed, two wounded, and eighteen captured. According to the chief of the Central Asian Border District, B. Gribanov, the violators, all residents of Kurgan-Tyube oblast, had undergone military training in Afghanistan and were transporting weaponry. Nezavisimaya gazeta also reported on 10 July that negotiations between representatives of the Central Asian Border District and the Russian Border Guards were considering the transfer of the Tajik border guards to Russian jurisdiction. Meanwhile, Afghanistan's Hezb-i-Islami party released a statement on 8 July requesting direct talks with Tajikistan on the exchange of prisoners of war, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) JAPAN TO AID DEVELOPMENT OF KYRGYZSTAN? Kyrgyztag-TASS reported on 9 July that the Japanese firm, Mitsui Corporation, has completed an analysis of that country's program of economic reform measures. Japan is prepared to give an unspecified amount of aid to Kyrgyzstan if experts from the International Organization on Economic and Social Development find that it meets the criteria for the status of a developing country. The report notes that Japan gave over $9 billion in aid to developing countries in 1991. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) DEMOGRAPHIC SITUATION IN RUSSIA. The Russian population will reach 148.5 million at the beginning of 1993, up only 0.1 million from 1992, according to a prognosis by the Russian State Committee for Statistics, as reported by Rossiiskie Vesti (no. 27). The population growth will result from in-migration exceeding out-migration. The birth rate continues to fall; preliminary calculations show 1.7 million births in 1992, compared to 1.8 million in 1991 and 2.2 million in 1989. For the first time since the 1950s, the number of births will equal the number of deaths, resulting in zero real population growth. The number of deaths in 1992 is expected to increase by 15% to reach 1.7 million. (Sarah Helmstadter) FARM MACHINERY PLANTS HALT PRODUCTION. Two of Russia's biggest farm machinery plants have halted production, Reuters reported on 4 July, citing Russian and CIS TV reports. The Rosselmash plant in Rostov had been idle for two weeks because of nondeliveries of components from Ukraine. The plant owed suppliers 4 billion rubles but was itself owed 9 billion rubles by customers; 44,000 workers at the plant had been laid off. The tractor assembly lines at another plant, the Kirov factory in St. Petersburg, had also been halted because nobody wanted to buy the tractors. Although observers have predicted better crop yields this year, the harvest is expected to suffer from widespread shortages of equipment and spare parts. (Keith Bush) RUSSIAN GRAIN HARVEST OUTLOOK. Russian Agriculture Minister Viktor Khlystun announced on 8 July that this year's grain harvest is now estimated at 98 million tons, ITAR-TASS reported. This would be below the 108 million tons originally planned but above last year's total of 89 million tons. A government decree published on 8 July provides for a crash program to help bring in this year's harvest. It stipulates cheap credits for kolkhozes, sovkhozes, and private farmers; earmarks fuel and equipment for the agricultural sector; and it envisages massive participation by the army. (Keith Bush) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE EASTERN EUROPEANS IN HELSINKI. World leaders assembled at the summit meeting of the Council for Security and Cooperation in Europe on 9 July. · In his speech Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel urged the West to establish a peace order capable of meeting the demands of the 21st century. He deplored the growth of racial tensions, nationalist fanaticism and intolerance following the downfall of communism but added that these negative features were an illustration for the fact that old ambitions of different peoples which had been suppressed for long are now dramatically claiming recognition. Havel said that even if there were a split in his country, "both halves will continue to be trustworthy partners." German Chancellor Helmut Kohl reportedly assured Havel that Germany will adhere to all of its treaties with Czechoslovakia whether or not the county splits. The two agreed that "the door to the EC cannot be permanently closed to either Prague or Bratislava." In a meeting with US President George Bush, Havel said the Czechoslovak crisis is based on historical processes that can be stopped neither from within nor without. · Poland's President Lech Walesa offered support for the creation of a European peace-keeping force. He added that he had identified the need for a peace-keeping operation in Yugoslavia as early as September 1991. Walesa proposed adding the principles of "solidarity and reconciliation" to the CSCE's credo. Walesa met with Havel and Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Walesa and Yeltsin agreed to hold a bilateral conference on economic relations, possibly in August in Kaliningrad. Gazeta Wyborcza reports on 10 July that Walesa also appealed to Yeltsin to halt the devastation of former Soviet bases in Poland by withdrawing Russian troops. · Also on 9 June Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs asked for help from other CSCE states in resolving problems hampering Latvia's further democratic, political and economic development, principally the illegal presence of ex-USSR forces, and pointed out that the instability stemming from the presence of these troops in Latvia is also a source of potential instability for its neighbors, Radio Riga reports. In his speech, Estonian Supreme Council Chairman Arnold Ruutel reiterated this point and noted that European countries should ask against whom these troops in the Baltic States are being directed. Ruutel also noted that in the allocation of aid, credits, and investments, the Baltic States have sometimes received less than their East European neighbors and that an important reason for this disparity is the political instability created by the presence of foreign troops, Radio Tallinn reports. Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis, held talks with Council of Europe Secretary-General Catherine Lalumière on 8 July and the next day with delegation leaders from Ireland, Finland, Canada, and Belarus. The three Baltic foreign ministers also spoke with British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd. Landsbergis will address the session on 10 July and, with his Latvian and Estonian colleagues, meet with President Bush. · Romanian President Ion Iliescu met on the 9th with delegation heads from the US, Canada, Moldova, Russia, and Bulgaria, as well as with EBRD president Jacques Attali. Iliescu concentrated on the situation in neighboring Moldova. According to Rompres, Iliescu and Yeltsin agreed that the status of the Dniester region should be decided by Moldova's parliament, and that Moldova's sovereignty and integrity must be respected. Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev proposed that all foreign ministers of the CSCE get together in order to discuss the ongoing military conflict in Moldova. In addition to Iliescu, Zhelev has also met with his Moldovan counterpart Mircea Snegur. Reportedly, Zhelev is the only speaker who has raised the Macedonian problem at CSCE; he repeated the view that no Balkan state should be involved in peace-keeping operations in ex-Yugoslavia. In his speech at the CSCE Conference, Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef Antall was very critical of the "insecure steps" taken by the [Western] democracies in the Yugoslav conflict and stressed the importance of solving the problems in the world by preventing such conflicts like Yugoslavia. Antall later held half-hour talks with Lech Walesa and Boris Yeltsin. · President Alija Izetbegovic of Bosnia-Herzegovina called for military intervention in his embattled republic, especially for air strikes against Serb artillery and armor around Sarajevo. The 10 July Washington Post quotes him as asking rhetorically "is the world powerless to put an end to this evil?" US President George Bush gave what the New York Times calls a "sympathetic but unforthcoming hearing," and several American dailies noted that his comment on Bosnia, namely "this has to be stopped," fell far short of his famous line on Kuwait, "this will not stand." Bush called for: getting relief supplies through "no matter what it takes," seeing that UN sanctions are respected, preventing the spread of the conflict, and supporting efforts aimed at securing a cease-fire. He said he would "consider" Izetbegovic's request for intervention, Secretary of State James Baker noted. The Bosnian leader replied that it was "enough for me" that the Americans were not ruling out intervention. (RI staff) MOMENTUM BUILDS FOR INTERVENTION IN BOSNIA. The 10 July Los Angeles Times reports that the US and its allies are pursuing "a strategy of gradual escalation" in the conflict, in hopes of halting [it] without having to resort to outright military intervention." Meanwhile, sporadic fighting became more intense in Sarajevo on 9 July, German media report, and France announced it is placing an additional 700 men and a squadron of helicopter gunships at the UN's disposal. Britain and the US each said they are sending additional warships to the Adriatic, while the WEU and NATO foreign ministers are preparing to meet in Helsinki to consider imposing a naval blockade on the Montenegrin coast. A UN mandate will be necessary, however, to sanction either a military intervention or the stopping and searching of ships at sea. (Patrick Moore) BREAKTHROUGH IN CROATIAN WAR? According to the New York Times, Serbian forces in the disputed Krajina region of Croatia have agreed to return the so-called "pink zones" to Croatian government control. The pink zones are those areas Serbs occupy that lie outside of areas protected by UN forces. The agreement was reached on 9 July between the commander of the UN peacekeeping force in Yugoslavia, Gen. Satish Nambiar, and the president of the Serbian "Krajina Republic," Goran Hadzic, and calls for the gradual withdrawal of Serb forces to be supervised by a four-member commission consisting of UN, EC, Croatian, and Serbian delegates. No timetable has been set for the withdrawal. (Gordon Bardos) SUCHOCKA CHARTS COURSE. Speaking at a press conference on the eve of her confirmation vote in the Sejm, prime minister candidate Hanna Suchocka said she intends to find a middle road between conflict and submissiveness in her relations with President Lech Walesa. She said her seven-party coalition is open to other partners. Asked if she planned to be a "second Thatcher," she said there was no reason to assume there was no place for a "first Suchocka." In an interview with Gazeta Wyborcza on 10 July, Suchocka praised the achievements of former finance minister Leszek Balcerowicz, adding that "eventually everyone will give him credit for enacting a revolution." She admitted that, if confirmed, her first challenge would be dealing with the road blockades organized by the Self-Defense union. (Louisa Vinton) POLISH POLICE BLOCK FARMERS' MARCH. Radical farmers from Self-Defense attempted to drive dozens of tractors into Warsaw on 9 July, despite city authorities' refusal to grant them permission. Riot police halted the farmers, who advanced on the city from four directions, and forced them off the main roadways. A few farmers were injured; two were arrested. In one location, tear gas was used against farmers who threatened to set fire to tanks of gasoline. By midnight, all the roads around Warsaw were cleared. Self-Defense leaders nonetheless threatened to attempt a second, larger march on Warsaw. (Louisa Vinton) NEW CANDIDATES FOR CZECHOSLOVAK PRESIDENCY. Miroslav Sladek, chairman of the extreme-right Republican Party announced on 9 July that he will run for the presidency to replace Vaclav Havel in the next round of voting to be held on 16 July. Another possible candidate might be controversial former federal interior minister Richard Sacher, who would probably be supported by Communists and Slovak nationalists. Neither candidate is seen to have much chance, however, as Czech right-of-center parties are expected to block them. In a separate development, Havel said on 9 July that it "would not be reasonable for him to run again for president even if that option becomes available." (Jan Obrman) ESTONIA SETS ELECTION DATE. On 9 July the Estonian Supreme Council voted to hold elections for its parliament and president on 20 September, ETA reports. These will be the first elections in any of the Baltic States after they achieved their independence. Only persons who were citizens of Estonia in 1940 and their descendants will be eligible to vote--in effect not giving the vote to the large number of Russian-speakers who arrived in the republic later. (Saulius Girnius) LATVIAN SUPREME COUNCIL OUSTS 15 DEPUTIES. The Latvian Supreme Council, upon recommendation of a special investigative commission, voted on 9 July to annul the mandates of 15 deputies because in the period from 4 May 1990 through August 1991 they had actively opposed Latvia's independence. Most of these deputies belonged to the procommunist and pro-Moscow Ravnopravie faction; its leader Sergejs Dimanis also lost his mandate. Now 170 deputies remain in the Latvian Supreme Council, Radio Riga reports. The ousted deputies claim the action is illegal, but the annulment of a deputy's mandate is permitted under the Law on the Status of Deputies. (Dzintra Bungs) LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES ELECTION LAW. On 9 July the Lithuanian Supreme Council approved a new election law for its parliament by a vote of 93 to 1, Radio Lithuania reports. The law states that voters will be given two ballots; one for the direct election of 71 deputies and the other for electing 70 deputies as representatives of parties or political movements. A 4% minimum will be required for a party to gain any seats. By a vote of 98 to 2 with 5 abstentions the parliament decided that the elections will be held on 25 October. (Saulius Girnius) LUKANOV ARRESTED. On 9 July Andrey Lukanov, former Bulgarian prime minister and top-ranking Socialist was jailed, BTA reports. Lukanov, who served as foreign trade minister 1987-89 but helped to oust communist leader Todor Zhivkov in November 1989, is charged with misappropriation of state funds, in particular granting financial support to communist states and Third World regimes. Lukanov was stripped of his parliamentary immunity on 7 July. The Socialist caucus has temporarily suspended its participation in the National Assembly in protest. (Kjell Engelbrekt) JESZENSZKY ON RELATIONS WITH SLOVAKIA. Hungarian Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky said in an interview published on 8 June in the Slovak paper Narodna obroda that he hopes that new talks between his government and Slovakia can soon begin on ethnic minorities as well as the controversial hydroelectric project at Gabcikovo-Nagymaros recently canceled by the Hungarian side. Jeszenszky said that responsibility for the welfare of ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia and ethnic Slovaks in Hungary lies with the country where those minorities live and expressed the hope that the two governments would continue to cooperate on cross-cultural issues. On the Danube dam project, Jeszenszky repeated his government's intention to halt construction and urged new negotiations. According to Radio Budapest on 8 July , Hungary presented yet another protest note to the Czechoslovak embassy in Budapest on the continued construction. (Judith Pataki) HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN ON HIS VISIT TO ROMANIA. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Janos Hermann returned from a 2-day visit to Bucharest on 9 July. In an interview with Radio Budapest, Hermann sounded altogether positive about the improvement of relations between the two countries and expressed hope that new border crossings will be opened. He also said that agreement was reached between the two countries on the mutual return of refugees. Hermann told reporters that high-level foreign ministry officials from the two countries will confer in Szeged and said that Hungarian Interior Minister Peter Boross is expected in Romania in the near future. (Judith Pataki) CZECHOSLOVAK FOREIGN RESERVES HIGHEST SINCE WAR. According to CSTK, the Czechoslovak State Bank announced on 9 July that the country's foreign exchange reserves rose last month to their highest level since the end of World War II. The bank said reserves in the entire Czechoslovak banking system rose to $4.7 billion in June--a 100% increase since the end of communist rule. Also on 9 July, 19 commercial banks and brokerage firms signed the charter of the new Prague stock market due to open in the fall. The stock market will open with an initial capital of about 5.44 million koruny ($188,000) and is patterned after other European bourses. (Jan Obrman) [As of 1200 CET]
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