|A host is like general: calamities often reveal his genius. - Horace|
No. 132, 14 July 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR CIS "PEACEMAKING" PLAN FOR MOLDOVA STILLBORN. . . The plan devised by the CIS summit in Moscow on 6 July to deploy "peacemaking" troops in Moldova has collapsed. It called for Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Romanian, and Bulgarian troops to be used as part of the operation under CIS auspices. Belarus, Romania, and Bulgaria have, however, declined to participate and have all called for the use of CSCE mechanisms. Belarus has further pointed out that it has no troops of its own but only Russian troops stationed on its territory. Moreover, Moldova has rescinded its preliminary consent to the plan and has appealed for the intercession of the CSCE instead. At the CSCE summit in Helsinki, Russia's attempts to obtain CSCE authorization for CIS "peacemaking" operations in Moldova were blocked by several Western delegations, Moldovapres reported on 11 July. The CIS plan would have provided a multilateral framework for an operation which was likely to be Russian dominated. (Vladimir Socor) . . . BUT SHAPOSHNIKOV PERSISTS. Marshal Evgenii Shaposhnikov, commander in chief of the CIS forces, told Russian TV on 11 July, as cited by Moldovapres on 12 July, that CIS "peacemaking" forces could be sent to Moldova in a week's time; that military experts are at work planning the operation; and that the ministers of foreign affairs and defense and the commanders of border troops of the CIS member states would meet in Tashkent on 16 July to discuss the operation. Shaposhnikov did not mention which states of the CIS would participate in the planned operation and failed to mention the absence of both Moldovan and international consent for such an operation. (Vladimir Socor) RUSSIA'S GENERAL STAFF PLANS FOR MOLDOVA. Addressing Russia's Supreme Soviet, which on 8 July authorized the deployment of "peacemaking" troops in Moldova, Col. Gen. M. Kolesnikov, deputy chief of staff for Russia's armed forces, outlined the staff's plan for the operation, Izvestiya reported on 10 July. The plan calls for deploying Russian troops along most of the left bank of the Dniester and around Bendery on the right bank. The troops would "disarm the sides," and would create "normal conditions for the functioning of local bodies of power." The "peacemaking" forces would consist of Russia's 14th Army plus two paratroop regiments from Ukraine and/or Belarus. There was no mention of the lack of Moldovan consent for such an operation. (Vladimir Socor) GAIDAR ANTICIPATES DEPLOYMENT OF TROOPS IN MOLDOVA. Russian Acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar told ITAR-TASS on 13 July that his government is "dealing with practical issues connected with the deployment of military units that must perform a peacekeeping role in the Dniester conflict." While referring to the deployment of Russian troops, Gaidar claimed that the operation would be "multilateral." (Vladimir Socor) NEW BLACK SEA FLEET IMBROGLIO. Conflict continues to surround the Black Sea Fleet. On 11 July, according to Reuters, the CIS Black Sea Fleet commander, Igor Kasatonov, and the commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Boris Kozhin, met in Sevastopol and signed an accord pledging adherence to the terms of the Dagomys agreement, signed by Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kravchuk on 23 June. That agreement said that neither side would take unilateral actions with respect to the fleet. However, on the same day, 11 July, a naval infantry unit from the Black Sea Fleet apparently seized the military commandant's office of the Sevastopol garrison and forcibly removed its Ukrainian commander, Lt. Col. Vladimir Zverev, according to AFP on 11 July. Exactly what did happen remains unclear, however, and each side has accused the other of having violated the Dagomys agreement. Zverev and a second Ukrainian officer, Col. Vladimir Indilo, have reportedly gone on a hunger strike to protest the seizure of the building. (Stephen Foye) CHERNAVIN: "SLOW DEATH OF THE FLEET." A report in Izvestiya on 11 July quoted CIS Naval Commander Vladimir Chernavin as claiming that in 1992, for the first time since Peter I, Russia failed to begin construction on a single warship. According to the report, which was based on an RIA dispatch, Russia has also been forced to suspend work on half of the approximately 130 warships whose construction had been started earlier. (Stephen Foye) RUSSIAN SECURITY COUNCIL SECRETARY'S NEW POWERS. The presidential decree of 7 July on strengthening the role of the Security Council and its secretary Yurii Skokov limits the power of the government and the parliament. Kommersant (no. 28) compared the Security Council with the old Politburo and commented that Skokov may now overrule the government in practically all its decisions and turn Acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar into a figurehead. The presidential decree calls upon the heads of all ministries and local administrations to fulfill the instructions of the Security Council and its secretary. The Security Council consists of five permanent members--Boris Yeltsin, Aleksandr Rutskoi, Sergei Filatov, Egor Gaidar, and Yurii Skokov. (Alexander Rahr) HEARINGS ON THE CPSU CONTINUE. On 13 July, one of Yeltsin's lawyers, Andrei Makarov, continued to offer evidence that the CPSU had not reformed itself after March 1990. Makarov argued that the Communist Party had destroyed some 25 million files last year, which proved that the Party's professed repentance in recent years about past wrongdoing was a lie, Russian and Western agencies reported. Following this testimony, Valentin Kuptsov, former chairman of the Russian Communist Party, argued that the Constitutional Court can either heal Russian society or launch a witch-hunt against millions of communists. He said that ruling the Communist Party unconstitutional "would also rule communist and socialist ideologies unconstitutional," and "create a legal basis for a witch-hunt." (Carla Thorson) WAFFENSCHMIDT ON PROSPECTS FOR VOLGA-GERMAN AUTONOMY. During a visit to Saratov Oblast on 13 July, Horst Waffenschmidt, the German official responsible for German resettlement, told Deutschlandfunk radio that he was confident there would be a speedy restoration of Volga-German autonomy, ITAR-TASS reported. Waffenschmidt rejected the idea that most of the inhabitants of Saratov Oblast were against the idea, saying that those questioned by German journalists had said it would benefit the area. A report by ITAR-TASS from Saratov on 13 July said that the visit by the German delegation came after the Engels Raion Soviet had decided against the creation of Germany autonomy in the raion on the grounds that Russian authorities had not proposed a mechanism for implementing the decree. The soviet was, however, preparing to reopen the question. (Ann Sheehy) INDUSTRIAL LOBBY ATTACKS REFORM. Aleksandr Vladislavlev, who, together with Arkadii Volsky heads the "Industrial Lobby," attacked the Gaidar government for not having altered its course to meet the demands of production managers. He told Nezavisimaya gazeta on 11 July that "a new reform strategy is needed" because the Industrial Lobby cannot support the existing course. He noted that Gaidar's reforms are leading the country down the road to catastrophe. He said the government should concentrate on curtailing the sharp decline in living standards and restoring industrial output in order to prevent social tensions. (Alexander Rahr) RUSSIAN OIL OUTPUT DOWN. The Russian Ministry of Energy announced on 13 July that 200 million tons of oil was produced in the federation during the first half of this year, ITAR-TASS reported. This was down by 20 million tons on the amount produced during the first half of 1991. A ministry spokesman said that oil output would continue to fall because of underinvestment and equipment shortages. He warned that fuel rationing might be introduced if annual output dropped below 300 million tons. (Keith Bush) RUBLE MATTERS. 5,000 ruble banknotes are to go into circulation on 14 July, ITAR-TASS reported. Meanwhile, Acting Russian Prime Minister Egor Gaidar told Russian TV on 13 July that economic reform has not progressed far enough to make use of any ruble stabilization fund. He hoped that the necessary progress will be made by the fall. (Keith Bush) QUICK PAY AVERTS NUCLEAR WORKERS STRIKE. On 13 July workers at Krasnoyarsk-26 and Krasnoyarsk-45, closed Siberian nuclear research cities, received 50 million rubles from the Russian government, according to Western agency reports. It was one of a series of payments, reportedly totaling 120 million rubles, rushed in this month to placate workers angry over earlier nonpayment of wages. In a cable sent to President Yeltsin, Interfax reported on 12 July, local officials, who said the workers had not been paid in three months, warned that a strike could make the plants unstable. One of the cities' reactors produces plutonium for nuclear weapons. (Brenda Horrigan) UNIONS WARN OF MILITARY INDUSTRY STRIKE. The Moscow Federation of Trade Unions Information Center claims Moscow's military industry (VKP) is about to strike, ITAR-TASS reported on 9 July. The Federation's statement claims 90% of Moscow VPK plants are bankrupt. Work hours are being cut and departments temporarily closed in some plants. The unions blame government policy for the sector's "artificial bankruptcy"; as a sign of protest, radio electronics industry workers already are picketing government and parliament buildings in Moscow. (Brenda Horrigan) TURKISH ENERGY DEAL WITH KAZAKHSTAN. The Turkish firm Birlesmis Muhendiler Buroso (BMB) signed protocols on 13 July agreeing to provide energy services to the value of $11.7 billion to Kazakhstan, Western agencies reported. The agreement calls for BMB to operate 4 oil fields, refurbish wells in another oil field, and explore a sixth. BMB will also build a power plant in Aktyubinsk and a gas pipeline to fuel it. The Kazakh energy minister told reporters that Kazakhstan needs Turkey's help to attract foreign credits for the deal: these will be repaid with Kazakh oil. He hoped that the Aktyubinsk plant will turn Kazakhstan into a net exporter of electricity. (Keith Bush) COUNCIL OF EUROPE REPRESENTATIVES TO VISIT CENTRAL ASIA. Council of Europe General Secretary Catherine Lalumiere and Turkish Foreign Minister, now serving as Chairman of the organization's Committee of Ministers, Hikmat Chetin will travel on 14 July to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, as well as Ukraine and Georgia, ITAR-TASS reported on 12 July. The delegation plans to assess the countries' desire to join the Council, and to what degree they conform to its membership requirements, mostly in terms of constitutional and legal reform, and human rights. On 1 July, the Council's parliamentary assembly discussed establishing an "associate membership" status for the five Central Asian states, though it opposes "watering down" the criteria for admittance. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) MOLDOVAN REFUGEE PROBLEM GROWING. The number of refugees from the left to the right bank of the Dniester has grown to 43,200, Moldova's Interministerial Commission on Refugees announced on 10 July. Most are Moldovan peasants who fled from villages subject to artillery fire by "Dniester" forces. (Vladimir Socor) "DNIESTER REPUBLIC" RECOGNIZED BY SOUTH OSSETIA. Tiraspol leader Aleksandr Karaman told Sovetskaya Rossiya of 4 July that South Ossetia has "recognized" the "Dniester republic". The "Serbian republic of Krajina" has also recognized the "Dniester republic" recently. (Vladimir Socor) AVERAGE WAGE IN RUSSIA. Quoting from the latest Russian State Committee for Statistics report, Izvestiya of 27 June stated that the average monthly wage in Russia in May was 3,650 rubles. This was up by nearly 20% on the average wage of 3,052 rubles in April. (Keith Bush) NO WAGE FREEZE FOR RUSSIAN BUREAUCRATS. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Boris Saltykov appeared on "Novosti" on 6 July to reassure bureaucrats that the government has taken no decision nor made plans to freeze their salaries. Acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar has repeatedly spoken out against wage (and price) freezes. Instead, his program that was outlined in the memorandum published in March, provides for a punitive tax on enterprises that grant excessive wage hikes. (Keith Bush) RUSSIANS INCREASINGLY INTERESTED IN WORKING ABROAD. Radio Rossii of 5 July reported that, according to the Director of the Administration on Working Emigrants (under the Ministry of Labor and Employment) Vladimir Volokh, close to 1.5 million Russians would like to work abroad and another 4-5 million are considering the possibility. Volokh said that concrete agreements on Russians working abroad already exist, (see Daily Report, 19 June). (Sarah Helmstadter) ILLEGAL EXPORT OF ICONS FROM RUSSIA. Some 27 million icons have been illegally exported from Russia since 1980, according to Moscow News cited by Western agencies on 8 July. This represented 90% of all icons in the country at that time. The article referred to long-established networks involving diplomats, transporters, and customs officials. Most of the icons are said to have been sold in Germany. (Keith Bush) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE RUMORS SUGGEST MILOSEVIC MAY STEP DOWN. In its 13 July edition the respected Belgrade daily Borba quoted "reliable" sources saying that Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic is prepared to step down once prime minister-designate Milan Panic takes control of the Yugoslav government. The new Yugoslavia's parliament, now consisting of delegates from only Serbia and Montenegro, is scheduled to vote on Panic's nomination on 14 July. According to Borba, Milosevic has been severely hurt by a string of political setbacks, including the imposition of international sanctions against the Belgrade regime and a week-long series of protests against Milosevic in the Serbian capital. Many observers believe that Milosevic's voluntary resignation is the only way to prevent civil war in Serbia itself. (Gordon Bardos) 500 MORE PEACE-KEEPERS TO BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA. On 13 July the Security Council voted unanimously to increase the total UN forces in the republic to 1,600, the New York Times said the next day. The paper also quoted an unnamed diplomat that the decision does not, however, mean a "qualitative change" in the UN role in the Yugoslav crisis. Western press reports on the G-7 and CSCE summits the previous week, moreover, stress the lack of willingness on the part of major Western nations to take concrete military action, while at the same time seeing no easy political solution on the horizon. Meanwhile, fighting took place around Sarajevo, and the Serbian offensive against Gorazde and other Muslim towns continued, international media report. (Patrick Moore) HUNGARY, AUSTRIA PROD UN ON BOSNIA. Hungarian radio reported that Hungary joined Austria in asking the United Nations to take further steps to solve the Bosnia-Herzegovina crisis. Further, Socialist Party leader Gyula Horn said that since international efforts to stop the fighting seem unsuccessful, visa requirements should be introduced for people entering Hungary from the war zone in order to stem the flow of refugees. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) HAVEL MAY END PARLIAMENT'S SPRING SESSION. On 13 July President Vaclav Havel discussed with Michal Kovac, chairman of the Federal Assembly, the possibility of ending the parliament's spring session one month earlier than originally scheduled, CSTK reports. Havel and Kovac agreed that the repeated presidential elections by the parliament adversely affect Czechoslovakia's image abroad. Moreover, the Czech and Slovak National Councils (republican parliaments) are likely to adopt republican constitutions and elect republican presidents by the end of the summer, steps in which the federal parliament would play no role. Such actions by the republics would result in their de facto sovereignty. Under such circumstances, the post of federal president would probably become redundant, unless the Federal Assembly adopts a constitutional amendment which would establish a new type of union between the two republics. (Jiri Pehe) CZECH GOVERNMENT PRESENTS PROGRAM. Vaclav Klaus, prime minister of the Czech Republic, presented his government's program to the Czech National Council on 13 July, CSTK reports. Arguing that the breakup of Czechoslovakia is likely, Klaus told the Czech parliament that his government will take all necessary measures for the republic to exist as an independent state, including the adoption of a republican constitution and the creation of the post of Czech president. Klaus also vowed to pursue radical economic reforms based on rapid privatization and build a state based on the rule of law. The prime minister further said he was disturbed by the fact that some politicians in Germany support claims for return of the property of more than two million Sudeten Germans who were expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War II. Klaus said his government will not bow to such pressure. (Jiri Pehe) ROMANIAN PRESIDENT BACK TO BUCHAREST. Ion Iliescu returned on 13 July, after attending the CSCE summit and visiting Estonia and Belarus. In an interview with Radio Bucharest, he expressed hopes that his contacts in Helsinki contributed to finding a political solution to the conflict in the Dniester region. In talks with Russian president Boris Yeltsin Iliescu insisted on recognition of Moldovan state authority throughout Moldova's territory and withdrawal of Russia's 14th army in accordance with plans to be directly negotiated between Chisinau and Moscow. Iliescu also expressed satisfaction with his visits to Tallinn and Minsk. (Dan Ionescu) ROMANIAN OFFICIAL ON TALKS AT UN HEADQUARTERS. Constantin Ene, secretary of state at Romania's Ministry for Foreign Affairs, provided details on his talks with UN officials in New York last week. In an interview with Radio Bucharest on 13 July, Ene said that the talks focused on Romania's observance of the UN sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro and the situation in eastern Moldova. Ene deplored the fact that, despite sympathy for Romania's sacrifices, the Security Council remains rather noncommittal on possible compensation for embargo-related losses. Ene said that developments in Moldova are being closely watched by the Security Council. (Dan Ionescu) LANDSBERGIS VISIT TO BELARUS. On 14 July Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis will begin a two-day visit to Belarus to continue bilateral talks begun on 9 July at the CSCE in Helsinki, Radio Lithuania reports. The talks with Belarus parliament chairman Stanislau Shushkevich will be held at Gerveciai, a town with a large ethnic Lithuanian population, and later near Lake Narutis. The primary focus of the talks is the formal establishment of diplomatic relations and the fixing of borders between the two states, but attention will also be devoted to discussing the situation of the national minorities in the two republics. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIAN-FRENCH VISITS. On 13 July a delegation from the general staff of the French Defense Ministry held a meeting in Vilnius with Landsbergis, Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas, and National Defense Minister Audrius Butkevicius to discuss the creation of closer ties between the military of the two states, Radio Lithuania reports. A group of Lithuanian officers will study at the French War Academy. Deputy Prime Minister Vytautas Pakalniskis departed that day for Paris to participate in Bastille Day ceremonies and lead the Lithuanian delegation at the seminar "The Modernization of the Social Sector in a Market Economy" on 1517 July in Paris. (Saulius Girnius) DROUGHT THREATENS POLISH CROPS. Poland's agriculture ministry reported on 13 July that drought conditions could reduce this year's harvests by more than a dozen percent in comparison with 1991 results. Some 75% of the country is affected. (Louisa Vinton) POLISH-GERMAN BORDER TEMPTS ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. Polish border police report that 14,812 persons were caught trying to cross the border into Germany illegally in the first half of 1992, triple the number caught in the same period last year. Some12,450 of those caught were Romanians, 1,191 were Poles, and 598 were Bulgarians, according to Western media reports. (Louisa Vinton) THREE HUNGARIAN BANKS SUSPEND OPERATIONS. The state bank supervisory committee has appointed commissioners to run three private banking units because of undisclosed irregularities, MTI reports. The banks were also given ten days to produce reorganization plans. The operation of the Ybl Bank was suspended until the end of the year, and half-million-forint penalties were given to two bank chiefs. Ownership and credit relations were intertwined at the three banks. One of the institutions involved, the General Entrepreneurial Bank is 34.9% owned by the Westdeutsche Landesbank. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) MOUNTING UNION PRESSURE IN BULGARIA. The government is at odds with the two leading trade and professional unions, Podkrepa and Federation of Independent Trade Unions, over the problem of low wages and poor working conditions. In the face of threatened strikes by government and medical workers, on 14 July the government authorized a 26% salary increase for all employees on the state payroll. Meanwhile, Sofia transport workers have pledged to strike at 4:00 a.m. on 15 July, bringing the capital's buses, trams, and trolleys to a halt. Sofia's mayor has called upon private bus owners to make their vehicles and drivers available.. In a related incident, Bulgarian troops that constitute part of the UN peacekeeping force in Cambodia have vowed to leave if their salary arrears are not soon paid by their government. (Duncan M. Perry) POPE HOPES TO VISIT BALTIC STATES. On 10 July during the formal presentation of credentials to the Vatican by Lithuania's ambassador Kazimieras Lozoraitis, Pope John Paul II said that he gladly accepts the invitation by Church and civilian authorities and would visit the Baltic States in September 1993, Radio Vatican's Lithuanian Service reports. Concerns about whether the pope's health will allow him to make the visit were raised on 12 July when he was admitted to a hospital in Rome to undergo tests for an intestinal problem. Doctors will decide on 14 July on whether to operate. (Saulius Girnius) CLERGY IN SOFIA UNDER SIEGE. The Bulgarian Orthodox clergy is divided into two factions, those who support the church hierarchy of the communist years headed by Patriarch Maxim, accused of collaboration with the communist authorities, and those who support a rebel hierarchy led by MP and Bishop Hristofor Sabev, which has attempted to usurp the leadership. The latter group, which has occupied the Holy Synod building for six weeks, came under siege on 12 July when a group of priests supporting Maxim attacked the synod using a battering ram, bottles, and iron bars. Police were called in to end the disturbance, which occurred on a day when thousands of Bulgarians were lined up at the nearby Alexander Nevski Cathedral to view a piece of wood, said to be part of Christ's cross, on loan from Greece. (Duncan M. Perry) FOREST FIRES IN LATVIA LOCALIZED. The spread of forest fires has been halted in Latvia, Radio Riga reported on 13 July. The situation is still dangerous because burning has not been stopped entirely and smoldering embers could quickly start new fires. Some 3,800 hectares of forests in the Slitere nature preserve and about 1,200 hectares near Adazi were destroyed. Minister of State Janis Dinevics said that it was too soon the assess the damages throughout Latvia, but that in some areas the situation was "tragic." He noted that some of the fires may have been caused by arsonists. Finland, Sweden, France, Germany, Norway have sent experts and equipment to help fight the fires. (Dzintra Bungs) RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY: NO NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN THE BALTICS. ITAR-TASS reported on 13 July that there are no nuclear weapons on the territory of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, according to a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman; he did not specify what weapons or equipment are now located in the Baltics. The statement was made in response to questions arising about public safety in view of the fact that some of the forests on fire in Latvia are near ex-USSR bases and ammunition storage areas, for example Adazi and Garkalne. Latvian Defense Minister Talavs Jundzis, in response to questions from the press on 11 July, said that he did not know what kind of weapons are to be found in the ex-Soviet bases in Latvia and could not, therefore, rule out the possibility that some of them might be nuclear. (Dzintra Bungs) MORE RUSSIAN ARMY SOLDIERS IN LATVIA WANT TO SERVE IN RUSSIA. Radio Riga reported on 9 July that the number of recruits and soldiers of the Russian-CIS forces in Latvia who have asked the Latvian authorities to help them complete their military service in their homeland has risen to 19; 16 men come from Russia, 3 from Turkmenistan. All were transferred to Latvia in June, despite the fact that Russia had agreed already in February not to bring new troops to Latvia. Fearing reprisals, the soldiers do not want to be delivered to the army without some guarantees of their safety from the Russian authorities. Latvia is trying to resolve this matter diplomatically, but so far, except for the military, Russian authorities have been reluctant to act on these matters. (Dzintra Bungs) RUSSIA CHARGES ESTONIANS FOR ENTRY. Estonian residents who wish to visit Russia's Pskov Oblast by rail must pay $10 to cross the border. Russian Embassy spokesman Artur Kuznetsov told BNS on 13 July that exceptions would be made for pensioners, youth under the age of 18, handicapped persons, and students. Kuznetsov, a minister in Estonia's previous government and possible candidate for Russian ambassador, said Pskov authorities had informed the Russian Foreign Ministry of the plan. The Foreign Ministry has not officially responded yet. (Riina Kionka) ZHIRINOVSKY ROUSES NARVA. During a visit to the Estonian city of Ivangorod on 13 July, Russian Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky chided Estonia for having established state borders unilaterally. According to BNS that day, Zhirinovsky said that Russian Su-29 bombers would start retribution flights over Narva in response to Estonia's "rabid nationalists." Zhirinovsky told reporters that Estonia is a "criminal state" that "turns the entire population into a nation of thieves." Thousands of Russian-speakers rallied behind the LDP leader that evening, BNS reports. (Riina Kionka) [As of 1200 CET]
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