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No. 131, 13 July 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR SHAPOSHNIKOV CALLS FOR COORDINATED MILITARY POLICY. The commander in chief of the CIS Joint Forces, Marshal Evgenii Shaposhnikov, said on Russian TV on 11 July that a coordinated military policy among CIS member states was essential both to protect CIS borders and to maintain peace within the commonwealth. According to ITAR-TASS and Radio Rossii reports, Shaposhnikov said that there was the potential for conflict between Armenia and Turkey and between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Inside the CIS, he emphasized the need for peacekeeping forces--suggesting that they could be deployed in Moldova in a matter of days--and urged the leaders of the Baltic states to sign an agreement on the status of former Soviet forces in the region and to cease their calls for a quick withdrawal of those forces. He also said that CIS member states were fully capable of handling internal problems, and said he saw no reason for the introduction of UN forces. (Stephen Foye) US-RUSSIAN TALKS ON MISSILE DEFENSE. The New York Times reported on 12 July that the Bush administration has sent a high level delegation to Moscow in hopes of persuading the Russian leadership to agree to joint deployment of an anti-missile defense system. The talks, which were arranged during last month's summit meeting between presidents Bush and Yeltsin, are to take place on 13-14 July. Moscow has apparently balked at the idea of involving itself in a system of "Global Protection against a Limited Ballistic Missile Attack" (GPALS), because of concerns that the US will not share sensitive technology and because the US would like to use a GPALS agreement to justify revision of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, a prospect the Russians view with concern. (Stephen Foye) CIS STATES SIGN CFE AGREEMENT. Twenty-nine states, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan, formally signed the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty in Helsinki on 10 July, Western agencies reported. (Stephen Foye) MOLDOVA CALLS FOR CSCE PEACEKEEPING MECHANISM. In his speech to the CSCE summit in Helsinki on 9 July, Moldovan President Mircea Snegur called for the use of CSCE peacekeeping mechanisms in Moldova, without mentioning the CIS plan to send CIS "peacemaking forces" to Moldova--a plan to which Moldova had given preliminary consent on 6 and 7 July. Officials from Moldova's Presidential Office and Foreign Ministry have told the RFE/RL Research Institute that Snegur's appeal to the CSCE supersedes the earlier consent to the CIS plan. The officials also said that, during the Helsinki summit, Russia failed to obtain a CSCE mandate for the dispatch of CIS "peacemaking" forces to Moldova. (Vladimir Socor) RUSSIAN MILITARY ACTION IN MOLDOVA URGED. During the Russian Supreme Soviet's debate on the resolution on Moldova on 9 July which called for deploying Russian troops as peacekeepers there, several speakers, including military officers, urged that paratroop units be sent into Moldova to supplement Russia's 14th Army, Moldovan media reported on 10 July. On 11 July, Col. Gen. Vladimir Semenov, Yeltsin's military plenipotentiary, requested President Snegur's consent that Russian paratroops be immediately deployed for "peacemaking" operations in Bendery (where Russian observers have determined that "Dniester" forces are the only violators of the ceasefire). Judging from Moldovan and Romanian media reports, the Moldovan leadership finds itself in a quandary over the Russian proposal. (Vladimir Socor) ANOTHER LEBED FOR MOLDOVA. The unit that Semenov proposes to immediately deploy in Bendery is a paratroop regiment stationed in central Chisinau and which is not a part of the 14th Army. The regiment's commander is Colonel Aleksei Lebed, brother of the 14th Army's recently appointed commander, Maj. Gen. Aleksandr Lebed, whose threats to use force against Moldova have been widely publicized recently. (Vladimir Socor) CHORNOVIL IN MOLDOVA. The cochairman of Ukraine's "Rukh" party, Vyacheslav Chornovil, visited Moldova at the invitation of its parliament on 10-12 July. In interviews with Moldovan media and in meetings with representatives of Moldova's Ukrainian community on both banks of the Dniester, Chornovil strongly criticized the would-be "Dniester republic" and Russia's support for the creation of a new state formation under its influence in eastern Moldova, on Ukraine's border. At the same time Chornovil urged Moldova to allow the left bank to determine its own status in the event that Moldova unites with Romania (an option that Moldova itself does not favor). (Vladimir Socor) RUSSIAN SECURITY COUNCIL SECRETARY GIVEN SPECIAL POWERS. Russian President Boris Yeltsin has issued a presidential decree entrusting the secretary of the Russian Security Council, Yurii Skokov, with special powers to implement the council's decisions and presidential decrees on security issues, Interfax reported on 9 July. By extending the authority of the Security Council secretary, Yeltsin has simultaneously restricted the responsibilities of the acting prime minister, Egor Gaidar. (Alexander Rahr) NAVY OFFICERS READY TO REBEL. Captain Valerii Novikov, director of the CIS Navy press service, said on 10 July that Naval officers throughout the CIS were becoming very upset over delays in receiving their pay and over the failure of local authorities to allocate housing to officers that was mandated by a Yeltsin decree issued early this year. According to ITAR-TASS (as reported by AFP), Novikov claimed that the CIS currently owes Naval officers some 1.5 billion rubles in salaries. He said that local authorities had been particularly remiss on the housing issue in many cities in the Russian far east, and that in the Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg regions officers had received less than 6% of the housing that they had requested. (Stephen Foye) GERMAN-RUSSIAN PROTOCOL ON VOLGA GERMANS SIGNED. A protocol on cooperation in the stage-by-stage restoration of the Volga German republic was signed in Moscow on 10 July by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Valerii Makharadze, the chairman of the Russian State Committee for Nationalities Policy, Valerii Tishkov, and Bonn's special envoy for ethnic Germans, Horst Waffenschmidt, Russian and Western media reported. According to Reuters, Tishkov said that the local authorities had agreed that German autonomy would be restored before the end of the year, but this seems overly optimistic given that Yeltsin has said it will only be restored when there are a sufficient number of Germans in the area. (Ann Sheehy) CONSTITUTIONAL COURT FOCUSES ON FINAL YEARS OF CPSU. On 10 July, the Constitutional Court asked lawyers to focus their arguments on whether the Communist Party had changed into a law-abiding parliamentary party after 14 March 1990, when Article VI, guaranteeing the CPSU's monopoly on power was officially removed from the Soviet Constitution. Among other things, Andrei Makarov, representing the Russian president, argued that two days after the CPSU supposedly gave up its monopoly on power, it secretly created KGB teams to fight its domestic enemies, Russian and Western agencies reported. As evidence, Makarov cited a secret 16 March 1990 decision by the Politburo to create five regional KGB "Alpha" groups. He further accused these groups of involvement in the crackdown in the Baltics in early 1991. (Carla Thorson) KRAVCHUK FIRES ECONOMICS MINISTER. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk, over the weekend, fired Volodymyr Lanovy from his posts as economics minister and deputy prime minister, Western agencies and Radio Ukraine reported on 12 July. In a television interview on 11 July, Kravchuk argued that it was "nonsense" for a cabinet minister to criticize the government. Lanovy had earlier threatened to resign over the slow pace of reforms in Ukraine, but later insisted that he would continue to push for his program of liberal reforms. Lanovy told journalists that he does not believe that Kravchuk is sincerely interested in market reforms. Kravchuk appointed Valentyn Symonenko as first deputy prime minister, Radio Ukraine reported. Previously, Symonenko was Kravchuk's representative in the Odessa Oblast and a former Communist Party functionary. (Roman Solchanyk) MORE ARMENIAN-AZERBAIJANI FIGHTING. Interfax, quoting Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry, reported more fighting between Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Nagorno-Karabakh, Nakhichevan and on the border of the two countries on 11 and 12 July. AFP reported on 12 July that Armenian forces claimed to have killed at least 30 Azerbaijanis in the Mardakert region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Villages in the region were occupied by Azerbaijani forces in June. Armenpress reported on 11 July that 10,000 refugees from these villages have arrived in Erevan, and another 10,000 have sought refuge in Stepanakert. (Bess Brown) ARMENIA WANTS REGULATION OF RUSSIAN ARMY STATUS. Western agencies and ITAR-TASS reported on 12 July that Armenia has called for the speedy signing of agreements with Russia to regulate the status of former Soviet troops on its territory. The appeal by Armenian Vice-president Gagik Arutyunyan followed an incident on 10 July in which five Russian soldiers were reported to have been killed in a gun battle with Armenian security forces. The Russian Foreign Ministry lodged a protest over the attack; Arutyunyan's proposal was contained in a message of apology for the incident. (Bess Brown) CIS INTERSTATE ECOLOGY COUNCIL ESTABLISHED. Seven CIS states (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) signed a protocol in Minsk on 10 July on the creation of an Interstate Ecological Council, ITAR-TASS reported. Ukraine attended the meeting but did not sign. Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Turkmenistan apparently did not attend. The protocol implements the agreement on ecological cooperation signed on 8 February 1992 by the heads of government of the CIS states with the exception of Ukraine. Attached to the new council will be an Interstate Ecological Fund with a capital of 60 million rubles. The fund will open a central bank in Minsk with branches in each state to finance interstate ecological programs. (Ann Sheehy) COAL MINERS RALLY, PLAN STRIKE. In Moscow on 11 July, over 200 coal miners from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan held a solidarity rally, ITAR-TASS reported. Siberian participants declared they will cut shipments to enterprises owing them money. Chairman of the Independent Union of Miners of Russia, Aleksandr Sergeev, said the miners sought reforms that benefit workers "and not an elite." An RFE/RL corespondent says the Russian Independent Coal Miners Union also called for a one-day nationwide strike on 15 July to protest overdue pay. (Brenda Horrigan) RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT REDUCES INCOME TAX. During its 10 July session, the Russian parliament passed most of a bill that amends taxation rates, Interfax reported. The biggest changes were said to affect personal income tax rates. The minimum tax rate of 12% will be applied to earnings of up to 200,000 rubles a year. The maximum rate will be reduced from 60% to 40% and will apply to earnings over 600,000 rubles a year (the previous threshold was 420,000 rubles). Acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar has threatened that a presidential veto will be applied to tax cuts proposed by the parliament, and he has invoked the IMF's insistence on a more balanced budget. (Keith Bush) CHANGES ENVISAGED IN RUSSIAN SOCIAL SAFETY NET. At a Moscow news conference on 10 July, Evgenii Yasin and Sergei Vasilev elaborated upon their "program for deepening economic reform" that was unveiled in June, Reuters and Interfax reported. Yasin said that until now, the state has paid for social security, health care, education, and housing, but that in future consumers will contribute by means of vouchers to the cost of the services they need. He explained that the 260-page document covering the second stage of economic reform is merely a draft and that it could be changed after consultation with specialists and with parliament. (Keith Bush) RUSSIAN GOLD CHIEF RESIGNS. Valerii Rudakov, the head of Rosalmazzoloto, the Russian State Monopoly for Precious Metals and Diamonds, has resigned, Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on 11 July. Rudakov claimed that the chain of command in the industry had broken down and that the state had failed to fund new mining equipment and supplies. He reckoned that these shortfalls would lead to a sharp drop in output by 1993 and 1994. In Kazakhstan, the situation of the gold industry was said to be "catastrophic," according to Kazreview News Agency, ( as cited by Reuters on 11 July). High taxation and the exorbitant prices for equipment were blamed for the production fall. (Keith Bush) RUSSIAN HARVEST FORECAST REVISED. Russian Agricultural Minister Viktor Khlystun was quoted by Interfax on 10 July as putting this year's grain harvest at 94-98 million tons. (An earlier forecast gave the figure as 98 million tons). He compared this with the 1986-90 annual average of 150 million tons. Meanwhile, a presidential decree, also cited by RIA, puts planned grain imports this year at 29.1 million tons, although specialists believe that 20 million tons is a more realistic figure. (Keith Bush) PRIVATIZATION OF HOUSING IN MOSCOW. An official of the Moscow statistical office told RIA on 12 July that more than 146,000 apartments were privatized in the city during the first half of 1992. The figure for the first half of 1991 was 553 apartments. She also disclosed that the city is behind schedule in providing apartments for military officers. In the period, April-June 1992, only 275 apartments were provided. Plans call for a total of 2,740 apartments to be made available for military families. (Keith Bush) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE TUDJMAN CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTION IN BOSNIA. The BBC on 13 July quoted Croatian President Franjo Tudjman as urging once again that the UN provide armed support for relief missions to Sarajevo. On 12 July a convoy succeeded in briefly supplying food and other supplies to the embattled suburb of Dobrinja, where residents had spent months indoors and said they had eaten grass to stay alive. Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has asked for additional peace-keeping forces to be sent to the Bosnian capital. (Patrick Moore) SERBS BEGIN NEW OFFENSIVE. The mainly Muslim town of Gorazde, about 45 miles southeast of Sarajevo, came under fierce attack by Serb forces on 12 July. Approximately 70,000 people (including 30,000 refugees) are trapped inside the city, which has been under siege and without water or electricity for three months. The Bosnian News Agency BH reported that the situation in the town was "critical." Elsewhere in Bosnia, Serbs are reported to have "retaken" the strategic towns of Ozdak and Gradacac in the north, which are mainly Muslim but provides an overland link between Serbia proper and the Serb enclave of Krajina in Croatia. Serb forces are also reported advancing on the Herzegovinian capital of Mostar in the south. (Gordon Bardos) PANIC MAKES SURPRISE VISIT TO HELSINKI. The Serbian-American prime minister-designate of the rump "Yugoslavia," Milan Panic, made an unscheduled visit to Helsinki on 10 July and succeeded in meeting with US Secretary of State James Baker, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, and Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev. Baker told Panic: "the world now demands deeds from Yugoslavia, not just words," while Tudjman said after meeting Panic that "I believe he has good intentions." Panic told reporters Kozyrev had promised that Russia would prevent any attempt to expel his country, now consisting only of Serbia and Montenegro, from the United Nations "even if Russia has to veto the idea 100 times." International media carried the reports. (Gordon Bardos) HUNGARY ACCUSES ROMANIA BREAKING THE UN EMBARGO AGAINST SERBIA. A Hungarian delegate at the Helsinki conference said that the planned joint WEU and NATO blockade of the Otranto Channel will not be enough to enforce the UN embargo against Serbia, because supplies go through Romania. The British televison service ITN ran the report on 10 July. WEU's spokesman agreed, said that the blockade is nonetheless a further political sign of international dissatisfaction with Belgrad. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) ROMANIA SEEKS TO TIGHTEN ITS EMBARGO ON SERBIA. On 10 July Romanian Prime Minister Theodor Stolojan met officials of the defense, transport, interior, trade, and tourism ministries, as well as with the customs directorate, in order to review Romania's compliance with the sanctions. According to Radio Bucharest, the meeting concluded that Western reports on Romania violating the embargo "failed to prove true." Participants recommended, however, that controls be tightened and invited foreign observers to acome to Romania in order to remove any doubts. On 11 July the transport ministry announced that Romania would establish 13 control points on the Danube and on the Black Sea to monitor sea and river traffic. (Dan Ionescu) POLAND GETS A GOVERNMENT. The Sejm confirmed constitutional law specialist Hanna Suchocka as prime minister on 10 July, hours after it voted to dismiss her predecessor, Polish Peasant Party leader Waldemar Pawlak. The vote on Suchocka's confirmation was 233 to 61, with 113 abstentions. Suchocka's twenty-four member multi-party cabinet was approved on 11 July. Backing Suchocka were the seven-party coalition, the Solidarity trade union, and the German minority. Opposed or abstaining were the postcommunist Democratic Left, the Polish Peasant Party, the KPN, the Center Alliance, and former Prime Minister Jan Olszewski's Movement for the Republic. (Louisa Vinton) SUCHOCKA CALLS FOR "NATIONAL AGREEMENT." In a pithy and resolute inaugural address on 10 July, Suchocka stressed that her government's formation "must put a definitive end to the period of conflict and quarreling between political forces." Ideological battles must remain outside the government. "Poland can and will be a strong state," Suchocka continued. The law must not be degraded; "always, when necessary, the state will manifest its power." A "European orientation" remained Poland's foreign policy priority; integration with the EC was the most pressing task. The government's three central economic challenges were to overcome the crisis of public finances; improve the functioning of enterprises through privatization and better management; and modernize agriculture. Concluding with an appeal to the public, Suchocka said that the time for making demands had passed; "the time has come to ask what we can give Poland." President Lech Walesa predicted on 10 July that Suchocka's would be "the best of all four" Solidarity governments. He pledged to put his own ambitions "in his pocket." (Louisa Vinton) LANDSBERGIS SPEAKS AT CSCE. On 10 July Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis spoke twice at the CSCE session in Helsinki, the VOA Lithuanian Service reports. In his scheduled speech, he noted that Lithuania had already given Russia a detailed timetable for the latter's army's withdrawal in four months and saw no reason why it could not be completed by the end of the year. He said that the Russian troops continued to violate Lithuanian laws and that their presence remained a threat to the region and to all small countries, "for the powerful of this world are quick to see how easy it is to place the so-called global interest above the global right." In an interpretative statement on the accepted document, he noted that its Article 15 showed that the presence of the troops was not a bilateral problem, but a violation of international law that the CSCE states should monitor. (Saulius Girnius) CSCE:GORBUNOVS MORE POSITIVE, RUUTEL MORE CRITICAL. Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs told the press upon his return to Riga on 10 July that the CSCE meeting was "a new step toward safeguarding Latvia's security." The withdrawal of ex-USSR troops was generally endorsed and the issue has been internationalized, in that it was discussed in Helsinki and referred to in the final document. "This provides a new basis for talks with Russia, "he said, and "affirms also Russia's responsibility for negotiations and the pullout of troops," Radio Riga reported. Estonian Supreme Council Chairman Arnold Ruutel was disappointed by the CSCE: "We have hoped and believed in its ability to help resolve one of [our] most important problems--the need for complete withdrawal of all-ex-Soviet troops. Unfortunately, our expectations have yet to be fulfilled," Reuter reported on 11 July. (Dzintra Bungs) FIRES, DROUGHT HIT LATVIA, ESTONIA. Due to very dry weather, Estonia and Latvia are expected to harvest only one-half of the quantity of grain produced last year and to suffer from food shortages next winter. Consequently, while in Helsinki for the CSCE, Estonian and Latvian leaders asked Finland for aid in overcoming the anticipated crisis, Finnish radio reported on 9 July. Forest fires are raging in both countries. The situation is gravest in Latvia, where over the weekend 60 fires had to be fought. The worst fires are in northern Courland, around the Slitere nature preserve, and in the Riga raion, especially around the ex-USSR military base near Adazi. Finland, Sweden, and France have sent fire-fighting experts and equipment to help overcome the critical situation. So far no human lives or homes have been lost, Western and Baltic media report on 6-13 July. (Dzintra Bungs) LITHUANIA DECLARED A DISASTER ZONE. On 10 July the Lithuanian parliament declared the republic to be a disaster zone due to the drought that has already resulted in damages of 22 billion rubles, Radio Lithuania reports. The parliament appealed to the EC for emergency deliveries of 800,000 tons of fodder, 400,000 tons of grain, and 150,000 tons of soybeans. It began discussing a financial relief program for farmers that is expected to be approved at the session on 14 July, which will also continue to discuss a proposed no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius. (Saulius Girnius) ROMANIAN PRESIDENT LEAVES HELSINKI FOR TALLINN AND MINSK. In his address to the CSCE summit on 10 July, Ion Iliescu described "the presence of Russian troops in the Baltic republics, the Republic of Moldova, and other foreign territories" as "unjustified" and "a dangerous legacy of the Soviet system." He accordingly called for those troops' withdrawal, Rompres reported. On 11 July Iliescu arrived in Tallinn, where he conferred with Arnold Ruutel, the chairman of Estonia's Supreme Council. The two leaders signed a friendship and cooperation agreement, providing for closer ties between the two countries. On 12 July Iliescu signed a declaration of friendship with Belarus in Minsk. (Dan Ionescu) ROMANIA'S PARLIAMENT ADOPTS DECLARATION ON MOLDOVA. The two houses of the Romanian parliament adopted on 10 July a common declaration on the situation in the eastern region of the Republic of Moldova. Radio Bucharest quoted the text as calling for a political solution of the conflict, in accordance with the understandings reached at the Istanbul Black Sea regional conference on 25 June. The declaration described Russia's 14th army in Moldova as "a foreign army stationed on the territory of an independent and sovereign state," and demanded its withdrawal. In case of continued violence in Moldova, the Romanian government should ask for the UN Security Council to intervene, the communique said. (Dan Ionescu) GERMAN-TURKISH TALKS. German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, who began a two day visit to Turkey on 12 July, held wide-ranging talks with his Turkish counterpart Hikmet Cetin and other high officials. Kinkel, who expressed German support for bringing Turkey closer to the EC, doubted whether Turkey would achieve full membership in that organization in the near future. Other topics on the agenda include talks on the Balkans and the former Soviet Union, as well as Turkey's higher political and stragetic profile in Central Asia, the Balck Sea region, and Southeastern Europe. (Duncan M. Perry) BULGARIAN MIDYEAR INFLATION FIGURES. According to reports in Pari and 24 chasa of 9 July, prices in the first six months of 1992 rose by 40.7%. An official of the National Statistical Institute said that inflation reached 5.76% in June. The NSI estimates that two factors--the 15.1% rise in tobacco prices and a 13.3% increase in taxes and other charges were largely responsible. The NSI expects about 5% inflation in July, although uncertainty about gasoline prices makes it difficult to predict. (Kjell Engelbrekt) CZECHOSLOVAK GOVERNMENT SUBMITS DRAFT PROGRAM STATEMENT. On 10 July Czechoslovak Prime Minister Jan Strasky presented to the Federal Assembly a draft policy statement on how his government plans to operate until a decision is taken on whether the federation should split, Czechoslovak media reported. The policy statement restates plans for the republican parliaments to negotiate between now and the end of September on how a split into separate states could best be handled, if such a decision is reached. Until the country's fate is decided, the government plans to maintain control over finance, foreign policy, defense, transport and communications, economic policy, and environmental affairs. The program also says that starting next year the federal government will no longer distribute budget funds to the Czech and Slovak republics; the republics will operate exclusively on the basis of their own budgets. (Jiri Pehe) HAVEL ON CZECH PRESIDENCY. On 12 July Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel said during his regular Sunday radio address that he would be willing to become president of an independent Czech Republic if Czechoslovakia splits up. He suggested, however, that his decision would depend on how the job would be constitutionally defined. He said he did not want to be merely a symbolic figure. Havel suggested that a future Czech constitution should contain provision for a state president to be elected directly by the Czech people. Such a president should act as a "safeguard" between legislative and executive powers. At present, the federal president is elected by the parliament. (Jiri Pehe) CATHERINE LALUMIERE VISITS SLOVAKIA. During her visit to Slovakia on 12 July, Catherine Lalumiere, the General Secretary of the Council of Europe, met with Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, CSTK reported. Meciar asked Lalumiere for assistance in drafting a new Slovak constitution, building a pluralistic political system, and establishing foreign trade contacts. Lalumiere said that if Czechoslovakia breaks apart, the Council would treat the two new states in the same way it treats any other countries applying for membership. In response to Hungarian concerns, Meciar assured Lalumiere that an independent Slovakia would respect all human rights and asked the Council to establish an international commission to monitor human rights in Slovakia. (Jiri Pehe) [As of 1200 CET]
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