|When we can begin to take our failures non-seriously, it means we are ceasing to be afraid of them. It is of immense importance to learn to laugh at ourselves. - Katherine Mansfield|
No. 134, 16 July 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR RUSSIAN SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS. The Russian Security Council met on 15 July under the chairmanship of Boris Yeltsin. According to Interfax, discussion focused on the structuring of the Russian armed forces and on Russian policies with respect to developments in areas of ethnic tension throughout the CIS. ITAR-TASS reported that the agenda included discussion on the situation in Moldova and on mechanisms for implementing existing political accords, ensuring a cease-fire, and on withdrawal of forces involved in the conflict from the region. (Stephen Foye) CIS LEADERS TO MEET ON PEACEKEEPING FORCES. CIS Foreign and Defense Ministers are scheduled to meet in Tashkent on 16 July to discuss mechanisms for deploying peace-keeping forces in areas of ethnic strife, ITAR-TASS reported on 15 July. The CIS high command has prepared draft documents outlining the structure and duties of these forces. According to Lt. Gen. Valerii Manilov, a CIS armed forces spokesman, it is proposed that the peacekeeping forces be organized on a permanent basis, that they be manned by volunteers, and that they carry weapons. States will be given quotas for providing peace-keepers in accordance with the strength of their armed forces, he added, while the right to deploy the forces will belong exclusively to the CIS Council of Heads of State after a mutual request by sides involved in a conflict. A deputy to the CIS commander in chief is to supervise the creation of the force. (Stephen Foye) "DNIESTER REPUBLIC" SETS NEGOTIATING TERMS. On 14 July, the self-styled "Dniester republic Supreme Soviet" turned down Chisinau's offer of four seats in the Moldovan government, pending the determination of the left bank's political status; and decided, at the same time, against the return of left bank deputies to the Moldovan parliament, which is to determine that status. The Tiraspol assembly called on Russia and Ukraine to assume the functions of "protecting powers" and to represent the interests of the "Dniester republic," Moscow media reported on 15 July. (Vladimir Socor) MINSK-MOSCOW MILITARY AGREEMENT? Mechislav Grib, chairman of the Belarusian parliamentary National Security Committee and a member of the Belarusian Security Council, told Interfax on 15 July that he will meet with the heads of the Russian and Belarusian governments in late July in order to sign a bilateral military agreement. According to Grib, the agreement will specify the stationing in Belarus of a force of 30,000 Russian troops, the majority of which will consist of strategic forces units. By virtue of a special Russian-Belarusian military agreement, they will remain subordinate to Moscow. Grib said that the agreement should not be viewed as a military union, because "the possibility of conducting joint military operations is not touched upon in the document." His remarks do not appear to be entirely consistent with those made on 14 July by Belarusian Deputy Defense Minister Petr Chaus, who said that Belarus had no need of strategic forces on its territory (see Daily Report of 15 July). (Stephen Foye) YELTSIN ON THE CIS. Russian President Yeltsin told journalists in Moscow on 15 July that the latest CIS summit in Moscow held on 6 July had been a turning point, ITAR-TASS reported. There were no disagreements at all at the last meeting, he declared. Yeltsin said that initially some member-states had thought they could manage without Russia and orient themselves toward the West, but they had experienced difficulties. Similarly the tendency of the Central Asia republics to look to cooperation with their Asian neighbors at the expense of cooperation with Russia had been replaced by the realization that this was a strategic mistake. (Ann Sheehy) YELTSIN ON DIFFERENT POLITICAL "CAMPS." Yeltsin also told journalists that he considers the presence of various "camps" around him a serious problem, Interfax reported on 15 July. He noted that, during a recent session of the Russian Security Council, the positions of Vice-president Aleksandr Rutskoi, State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis, Acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar and parliament's First Deputy Speaker Sergei Filatov had to be "clarified." These positions, Yeltsin said, "differ from each other somewhat," but nevertheless they are all in favor of reform. Yeltsin did not mention Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev in this connection. Previous reports have said that the Security Council called for Kozyrev's resignation. (Alexander Rahr) RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT INVESTIGATES STATE SECURITY. The Russian parliamentary investigation of the Ministry of Security has resulted in a purge within the former KGB. Andrei Beloborodov, head of a temporary parliamentary commission, set up in February to look at the internal workings of the ministry, revealed that some 2,000 officials have recently left the ministry for various reasons, Radio Rossii reported on 15 July. He noted that the chief of staff and the head of counterintelligence were fired and the first deputy minister of security, Anatolii Oleynikov, has also submitted his resignation. Beloborodov suggested that many decisions on new appointments had been made in a hurry, and several officials turned out to be corrupt or incompetent. (Alexander Rahr) PARLIAMENT DELAYS DISCUSSION OF RESOLUTION ON IZVESTIYA. President Yeltsin met with Russian parliamentary chairman, Ruslan Khasbulatov, and convinced him to delay consideration of a draft resolution which would give parliament control over the independent newspaper Izvestiya. "Vesti reported on 15 July that Yeltsin sided with editors of leading periodicals, who urged him to protect the media from arbitrary interference in their work by parliament. The issue of Izvestiya will be further analyzed by the parliament's presidium and then debated next week. However, another controversial draft resolution stipulating the establishment of a special council to control Russian television is to be debated on 16 July. On 16 July, Yeltsin will meet with twenty representatives from leading media organizations within the Russian Federation to discuss the situation, Interfax reported. (Vera Tolz) CPSU INVESTIGATORS CANNOT PAY THEIR OWN EXPENSES. An official in the Russian Prosecutor's Office said that investigators who were sent abroad to find illegally diverted Communist Party funds do not even have enough money to pay hotel bills. In an interview published on 14 July in Pravda, Sergei Aristov, chief of the Russian prosecutor's special investigations unit, said that budget problems were slowing down the investigation. Aristov noted that investigators so far had been able to recover only about $4 million. (Vera Tolz) NO IMF STANDBY AGREEMENT WITH RUSSIA? According to The Financial Times of 15 July, the International Monetary Fund may fail to conclude a standby agreement with Russia because of continuing lack of monetary control by Moscow. Visiting economists were told that the budget deficit amounted to 20% of GNP, and private forecasts by Russian government officials suggest that the deficit cannot be reduced significantly by the end of 1992. Before the G-7 summit, the Russian government had pledged to reduce the deficit, net of all foreign assistance or loans, to 5% by December as a condition for receiving the first tranche of $1 billion. (Keith Bush) OFFICERS DRAFTED TO CHECK TAXES. The Russian president has signed a decree drafting thousands of officers from the army and the ministries of the interior and security to work in tax investigation bodies, Interfax reported on 15 July. The officers will "fight financial misconduct and corruption." They will remain on active duty in the army and the ministries. Because of the inadequacy of tax collection facilities, it was announced in April that Russia would hire an additional 100,000 tax inspectors by the end of the year (Radio Mayak, 12 April 1992). (Keith Bush) LABOR FORMS STRIKE COMMITTEE. Russia's labor collectives met on 11-12 July to form a temporary All-Russian Strike Committee, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 15 July. The committee will plan further strike action unless the government meets the demands of 600 labor collectives. These demands include the elimination of outstanding government debts to enterprises; the payment of overdue wages (indexed for inflation); the reestablishment of government price controls; and the issuance of a presidential decree on transforming state enterprises into joint stock companies. (Brenda Horrigan) NEGOTIATIONS ON VIETNAMESE DEBT. The first meeting of a Russian-Vietnamese joint commission is scheduled for 27 July in Hanoi, Western agencies reported on 14 July. One of the principal items on the agenda will be the Vietnamese debt to the former Soviet Union. It will be necessary to agree on Russia's share of the total debt, estimated at 10 billion rubles, and the exchange rate to be used. Vietnam has already started to repay some of its debt with exports of foodstuffs and soft goods. Another topic for the Hanoi negotiations will be the status of the Vietnamese workers in the FSU: there are thought to be around 30,000 of these. (Keith Bush) NEW TWIST IN UKRAINIAN ECONOMY. The newly appointed Ukrainian economics minister, Valentyn Symonenko, says that he is "categorically against any help from the West," but favors "equal, mutually beneficial cooperation." His remarks were made in an interview with Reuters on 15 July. Symonenko recently replaced Volodymyr Lanovy, a champion of market reforms, who was sacked by Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk for criticizing the government's economic policies. Symonenko told Reuters that too much attention has been given to the theoretical aspects of economic reform. What is needed, he said, is "concrete action," but no details were provided. (Roman Solchanyk) OECD TO CONSIDER CENTRAL ASIAN COUNTRIES DEVELOPING NATIONS? According to Germany's Development Aid Minister, Carl-Dieter Spranger, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development will soon decide whether to recognize the five former Soviet Central Asian republics as developing nations, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 14 July. Based on the per capita gross national product of those states, Spranger said he expected the organization to grant developing-nation status to the five countries. Germany itself will find it difficult to develop aid projects and to find the necessary partners, because the Central Asian states lack the necessary infrastructure, said Spranger. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) KYRGYZSTAN TO REMAIN IN RUBLE ZONE. Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev announced on 15 July that Kyrgyzstan will keep the ruble as its currency as long as it remains viable, Kyrgyztag-TASS reported. He pointed out that 98% of his country's exports are to CIS countries, which supply nearly as much of Kyrgyzstan's imports. Kyrgyzstan may introduce coupons for domestic use, however, if ruble cash shortages persist. Among the Central Asian states, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have announced their intention to switch to their own currencies.(Cassandra Cavanaugh) UZBEKISTAN TO RECEIVE TURKISH GRAIN. Turkey will export 2 million tons of grain to Uzbekistan, AFP reported on 14 July. While the price of the exports will be set at world levels (amounting to nearly $260 million, according to experts) with a repayment period of three years, the purchase will likely be financed by the Turkish Eximbank. In the first half of 1992, Uzbekistan received $37 million worth of aid from Turkey, mostly medicine and food, and has also been granted $250 million in export credits from the Turkish Eximbank. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE SERBS SHELL STADIUM PACKED WITH REFUGEES. The 16 July Washington Post and Chicago Tribune say that at least 8 were killed and dozens wounded when Serbian artillery shells fell on a stadium filled with Bosnian refugees in Slavonski Brod. Croatian Vice President Mate Granic was in the area and called the attack "100% intentional." In London, international media report on 15 July that Lord Carrington held separate talks with Serbian, Muslim, and Croat leaders in his peace effort for Bosnia. That republic's Muslim foreign minister, Haris Silajdzic, said he would meet with the Serbs only if fighting stopped and that for now he refuses "to talk with child-killers," which is the Muslims' standing policy. Finally, Germany on 16 July joins 6 other NATO countries in monitoring the UN-sponsored embargo of Montenegrin ports. The destroyer Bayern and 3 patrol aircraft, like the other ships and planes involved, are not empowered to stop or search ships. (Patrick Moore) SERBIAN PRINCE SAYS CORONATION CAN WAIT. In an interview with the Belgrade weekly NIN, Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic said that he has not discussed any plans for his own coronation. "First we have to crown democracy in Serbia, and then everything else will follow in due course." Alexander, considered a serious political figure in Serbia, attacked the government of President Slobodan Milosevic's ruling Socialist Party, saying that it has not initiated "any type of democratic reformsa fact the Western democracies are fully aware of." He called the constitution of the new rump Yugoslav federation "illegal" and the May elections to the Yugoslav federal legislature, sponsored by the Socialists, a "farce." The official Serbian news media controlled by Milosevic's party has largely ignored Alexander's activities since his return to Serbia two weeks ago. (Gordon Bardos) ROMANIA AND THE YUGOSLAV EMBARGO. At the weekly meeting of the government Prime Minister Theodor Stolojan said that there is no reasons to suspect the embargo against Yugoslavia has in any way been broken by Romania, Radio Bucharest said on 15 July. A government statement read on Radio Bucharest said that the committee on sanctions against Yugoslavia rejected a Romanian request to allow two commercial companies, Solventul and Comtim, to continue trading with Yugoslavia, and the government decided to stop trade between the two companies and Yugoslav firms. The UN Security Council sanctions are "strictly respected." (Michael Shafir). BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT, UNIONS OPT FOR CONFRONTATION. On 15 July the Bulgarian capital wa paralyzed by a near-complete strike among transport workers, supported by the country's two major trade unions, Podkrepa and CITUB. BTA reported widespread traffic jams and attacks against strike-breakers by militant trade unionists. The executive council of Podkrepa, the driving force behind the strike, rejected accusations of political motivations. Meanwhile Prime Minister Filip Dimitrov, who in a television address on Tuesday evening declared he would not allow trade unions to put "the country's destiny at stake," yesterday pledged to clear the strike blockade by sending in military and other buses and to guarantee the safety of transport workers who want to do their job. Sofia mayor Aleksandar Yanchulev told Reuters the demands of the strikers are "sound" but that the municipality lacks the funds to satisfy them. A strike among medical staff is also moving into its second week. (Kjell Engelbrekt) POLISH MINERS ON STRIKE. Wildcat strikes have broken out in a number of Silesian coal mines. Miners are demanding higher wages. Supported by the Solidarity 80 splinter union, the strikes are technically illegal, as they precede any attempt at collective bargaining. Mainstream Solidarity unionists were forcibly removed from some mines, amid reports of shoving and intimidation. Solidarity 80 activists are also occupying the Katowice headquarters of the state coal agency. Appearing on Polish TV on 14 July, Labor Minister Jacek Kuron condemned the decision to strike before negotiating "a suicidal tactic, particularly for the strikers." Official talks with miners' unions were held at the industry ministry on 15 July; Solidarity 80 was excluded because of its use of "unacceptable measures to pressure the government." (Louisa Vinton) GOOD POLISH ECONOMIC NEWS. Promising signs of economic recovery continue to emerge in Poland. The statistical office announced on 15 July that industrial production in June was 5.9% higher than in May and 7.6% higher than in June 1991. Production figures for the first six months of 1992 are still 3% below those for the comparable period in 1991. Inflation for June was only 1.6%. (Louisa Vinton) HUNGARIAN STOCK ON NEW YORK EXCHANGE. MTI reports that shares of the Hungarian private enterprise FOTEX, involved with same-day photo delivery service, is ready for trade on the New York over-the-counter market. The stock received the necessary permits, and Morgan Guaranty Trust Company will handle the trades. FOTEX is the first stock from Eastern Europe to be traded on a US exchange. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) FIRST FOREIGN BANK STARTS KROON EXCHANGE. A Lithuanian bank has become the first foreign monetary institution to begin exchanging the Estonian kroon, BNS reports on 15 July. The Litimpex Bank is buying kroons at a rate of 1 to 8 rubles and selling them at 1 to 11 rubles, a rate which in DM is slightly lower than the official Estonian Bank rate. (Riina Kionka) UNEMPLOYMENT UP IN ESTONIA. Estonia's jobless rate increased by 19.1% over the past month, Rahva Haal reported on 11 July. There are currently 5,635 unemployed in Estonia. (Riina Kionka) MASTERCARD WELCOME IN RIGA. As of 14 July, those having a Eurocard/Mastercard can now use it to pay for their bills in some 15 business establishments, including the better hotels in Riga, Diena reports. The credit card would be used to cover bills in hard currency. (Dzintra Bungs) SECOND ROUND OF CZECHOSLOVAK PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. The single candidate for the post of Czechoslovak president in the second round of presidential elections on 16 July, Miroslav Sladek, leader of the extreme-right Republican Party, was not elected, Czechoslovak media report. Sladek was defeated in two consecutive rounds of voting. In the first round, he needed a three-fifths majority of votes in the 300-member Federal Assembly that elects the president; in the second round, he needed a simple majority. A total of 58 deputies voted for Sladek in the first round of voting; 60 deputies voted for him in the second. Prior to the vote, Sladek was though to have the support of only his own party, which has 14 seats in the parliament. President Vaclav Havel's bid to be reelected was defeated on 3 July by Slovak deputies. (Jiri Pehe) SLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES GOVERNMENT'S PROGRAM. The Slovak National Council approved its ogvernment's program on 15 July, CSTK reports. In the 150-member parliament 104 deputies voted for the program, 14 voted against; others either abstained or were not present. The program calls for steps that would ensure Slovakia's "political and economic sovereignty." The parliament rejected a call by Hungarian deputies for greater autonomy. Slovak International Relations Minister Milan Knazko told the parliament that he will not preside over a disintegration of Slovakia. Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar said that his government is disturbed by the fact that demands for greater autonomy originate in Budapest. (Jiri Pehe) VAGNORIUS TO REMAIN IN POST UNTIL 21 JULY. On 15 July the Lithuanian parliament in a session broadcast live by Radio Lithuania passed by a vote of 82 to 2 with 8 abstentions a resolution extending its fifth session until a new prime minister is appointed. It instructed Gediminas Vagnorius, voted out in a no-confidence vote the previous day, to continue in his post until the next session on 21 July when parliament chairman Vytautas Landsbergis will submit names of candidates for prime minister. The unruly session suggests again that Lithuania will have to wait until the election of a new parliament on 25 October to have an effective legislative body. (Saulius Girnius) ROMANIAN SENATE APPROVES CORRUPTION REPORTS. On 15 July, reports presented by a special commission investigating allegations of corruption under Petre Roman's government were endorsed by the Senate, according to Rompres. The Senate asked the prosecutor's office to proceed with investigations along the lines indicated and report back by September 1992. The chamber extended the investigation commission's mandate until the new Senate convenes after the 27 September elections. The commission's findings might damage the electoral chances of the National Salvation Front and its leader, former prime minister Petre Roman. The archrival of the NSF, the Democratic National Salvation Front, which backs president Ion Iliescu, is the largest party represented in the Senate. (Michael Shafir) RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT DISCUSSES BALTIC SITUATION. The Supreme Soviet, acting on a proposal of Ruslan Khasbulatov, started to discuss the situation in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on 15 July. Special attention was paid to what was perceived as real or potential discrimination against Russians and other Slavs, the so-called Russian-speakers, in the laws of the Baltic States. Vladimir Podoprigora, chairman of the Commission on Questions of Interrepublican Relations, claimed that the atmosphere in the Baltics opens the door to intolerance and "aggressive nationalism," ITAR-TASS reported on 15 July. Radio Riga described the session as an effort to whip up public sentiment against Baltic independence and create a situation that could lead to Dniestr-type conflicts. (Dzintra Bungs) LANDSBERGIS PRESS CONFERENCE. On 16 July Landsbergis announced that due to the government crisis in Lithuania he is canceling a trip to Schleswig-Holstein, where he was going to receive an award today, Radio Lithuania reports. At a press conference he spoke about what he called "reactionary statements" in the Russian Supreme Council on human rights violations in the Baltic States that include the suggestion that Russia should renounce some of its treaties. He noted, however, that parliament did not seem to reject the timetable for the withdrawal of former USSR troops from Lithuania, which has called for their departure in four months. (Saulius Girnius) ANOTHER MILITARY INCIDENT IN ESTONIA. Reports from Estonia say there has been another incident involving Russian military forces and Estonian defense forces. According to BNS, a GAZ-66 truck on 14 July entered the grounds of an Estonian fire fighting unit near Vihterpalu in northwestern Estonia. When the truck did not halt at the entrance, Estonian authorities tried to stop it, and an exchange of gunfire ensued. There are conflicting reports as to which side began firing first, but in the end, one Russian officer was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening wounds. This is the latest in a series of incidents in the last few days involving Estonia's Defense Union (Kaitseliit) and the Russian military. (Riina Kionka) POLISH DEFENSE REFORM TO CONTINUE. Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka indicated on 15 July that she intends to push ahead with military restructuring plans put on hold by her predecessor. Formally welcoming Defense Minister Janusz Onyszkiewicz to his ministry, Suchocka listed the goals: separating the military command structure from the civilian administration; streamlining the general staff; and the even territorial distribution of the army. In a nod to Walesa, Suchocka said that the "armed forces, in accordance with the constitution, will be subordinated to the president." The army will be reduced to 250,000 men, but without cutting professional officers. (Louisa Vinton) KLESTIL, HAVEL CONFER. Austrian president Thomas Klestil's first official visit abroad was to Czechoslovakia. On 15 July he met with his counterpart Vaclav Havel in a castle in southern Moravia. The two presidents exchanged views on the political situation in Czechoslovakia and agreed that their meeting had a great symbolic value, CSTK reports. During the tenure of controversial President Kurt Waldheim, contacts on the ceremonial level between the two countries were severely limited. (Jan Obrman) HAVEL TO RECEIVE IMPORTANT 1968 DOCUMENTS FROM YELTSIN. On 15 July, Russian President Boris Yeltsin informed his Czechoslovak counterpart, Vaclav Havel, that he had discovered two very important documents on the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Yeltsin said he planned to hand the documents over to Czechoslovakia. The contents of the documents were not revealed, but Czechoslovak Television reported that, according to "well-informed sources," the documents could be the so-called invitation letters in which Czechoslovak hard-line Communists reportedly urged the Soviet Union to invade Czechoslovakia and stop the Prague Spring reforms. (Jiri Pehe) ROMANIA, KAZAKHSTAN ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. In Alma-Ata Romanian Foreign Minister Adrian Nastase and his counterpart from Kazakhstan, Tuleutai Suleimenov, signed a protocol providing for the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, radio Bucharest said on 15 July. Talks also touched on possible mutual cooperation agreements. Nastase later flew to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, the second leg of his Central Asian visit. (Michael Shafir). IOM SETS UP OFFICE IN ROMANIA. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced on 14 July that its director-general will sign an agreement to set up an office in Romania, an RFE/RL correspondent reports from Bucharest. The agreement will make it easier for Romanians to get information about emigration. A spokesman for the organization said that since the end of 1989 there has been a steady and growing outflow of highly-qualified Romanians applying for asylum in Western countries. Many Western countries have been tightening border controls and making asylum difficult to obtain. The IOM intends to provide potential emigrants with reliable information concerning conditions they can expect abroad. (Michael Shafir) LATVIAN FOREST FIRES UNDER CONTROL. Forest fires throughout Latvia are under control, Radio Riga reported on 15 July. Smoldering is reported in many areasincluding Daugavpils, Garkalne, and the Slitere nature preservewhich requires careful monitoring and considerable effort to eliminate the threat of additional fires. More than 7000 acres of forests have been destroyed. (Dzintra Bungs) [As of 1200 CET]
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