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RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 140, 24 July 1992


BLACK SEA FLEET UPDATE. Ukrinform-TASS reported on 23 July that
talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations on the latest
squabble over the Black Sea Fleet had produced several agreements,
including one on the creation of a parliamentary commission to
supervise observance of the Dagomys agreement and another on
cooperation between the Russian and Ukrainian commanders of the
fleet, to be aimed at avoiding future incidents. The accords,
which came in response to the recent unsanctioned flight of an
escort ship to Odessa, nevertheless appeared merely to paper
over differences between the two sides. On 23 July, Ukrainian
Defense Minister Konstantyn Morozov said that Kiev insisted on
complete control of those naval bases located in Ukraine and
charged that CIS naval forces had tried to damage the renegade
ship, AFP and Reuters reported. Ukrainian military spokesmen,
who at first condemned the actions of the rebellious crew, have
now begun to justify them. (Stephen Foye)

LEBED HAILED ON THE DNIESTER. The new commander of Russia's 14th
Army, Maj. Gen. Aleksandr Lebed, a highly controversial figure
because of his threats against Moldova and criticisms of Yeltsin,
has become "the number one man in the Dniester region," his political
statements having "propelled him to the pinnacle of authoritarian
power" there, Izvestiya reported from Tiraspol on 20 July. Krasnaya
zvezda reported on 22 July that officers' assemblies in 14th
Army units have unanimously come out in defense of Lebed. The
military daily also reported that Lebed has been linked to Russian
Defense Minister Pavel Grachev ever since Lebed commanded a platoon
in a company commanded by Grachev. (Vladimir Socor)

on 23 July that Boris Yeltsin signed a decree during his 21 July
meeting with military commanders and local officials that specified
a large allocation of state funds for the construction of military
housing. Yeltsin also reportedly lambasted local government officials
for violating his decree of 19 February that called for local
authorities to provide housing for military personnel, and warned
the local leaders that their actions risked setting off a "social
explosion." His warning echoed complaints that military leaders
have long leveled against regional leaders, and balanced the
criticism that Yeltsin had meted out to military leaders for
alleged abuses of office. (Stephen Foye)

with Krasnaya zvezda on 22 July, First Deputy Defense Minister
Andrei Kokoshin claimed that weapons production in Russia had
already dropped 50-60% (in some cases as much as 90%). He stressed
the need to preserve Russia's scientific-technical potential,
determine the new defense production needs of the state, and
move to a contract-based procurement system. He also suggested
that defense enterprises should diversify more, producing both
military and civilian goods, and that some unification of the
numerous models and types of existing military technologies "is
simply required." Finally, he noted that while complete independence
among CIS defense firms was possible, it was "not profitable."
(Chris Hummel)

Constitutional Court decided on 22 July to limit the number of
witnesses to ten for each side on each of the two issues before
the court (that is, 40 in total), but on 23 July, following testimony
from various witnesses denying the Communist Party's involvement
in the coup and alleged illegal funding activities, some members
of the court demanded that Gorbachev and other prominent former
Party officials be called to testify, Russian and Western agencies
reported. Judges Nikolai Vedernikov and Yurii Rudkin insisted
that Gorbachev be summoned in order to clarify a number of issues.
Other prominent officials who may be called include former KGB
Chairman Vladimir Kruchkov, former Chairman of the Council of
Ministers Nikolai Ryzhkov, former Deputy Director of CPSU Central
Committee Affairs Valentin Leschinski, and Central Committee
secretaries, Aleksandr Yakovlev, Vadim Medvedev, and Aleksandr
Dzasokhov. (Carla Thorson)

ARBATOV DENOUNCES GAIDAR. The director of the USA and Canada
Institute, Georgii Arbatov, has denounced acting Prime Minister
Egor Gaidar at a meeting of the Scientific Council of the Chairman
of the Russian Supreme Soviet, Stolitsa (No. 29) reported. Arbatov
called government members "liars" and lambasted Gaidar's economic
program as a path toward "wild capitalism." He noted, in particular,
that under present conditions, his personal driver has a bigger
salary than he does. Parliamentary Speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov
emphasized that the G-7 and IMF conditions are unacceptable for
Russia and that the parliament would have to adjust the economic
program. He, however, stated that he wants the government to
stay. (Alexander Rahr)

IS TRIPARTISM DEAD IN RUSSIA? Complaining that the tripartite
commission set up at the beginning of this year (on which the
Russian government, unions and employers are equally represented)
has not reached a single constructive decision, Russia's official
trade union federation (FNPR) on 8 July formed a new alliance
with Russia's largest employers' association, the Union of Industrialists
and Entrepreneurs led by Arkadii Volsky. The new alliancethe
Russian Assembly of Social Partnership (RASP)calls itself an
alternative to the tripartite commission; it appears to be an
attempt by the industrial lobby to gang up with organized labor
against the government. Remarks by FNPR Chairman Igor Klochkov,
quoted by Interfax on 21 July, indicate the Gaidar government
reacted negatively to the creation of the new body. Klochkov
claimed that as long as the unions operated on their own, the
government ignored them, but now that they are in a coalition
with business, the government has to take them seriously. (Elizabeth

INDUSTRIALISTS TO CONFER. Industrial managers from all over Russia
will gather in Moscow on 13-15 August. Announcing the upcoming
conference on 22 July, Yurii Gekht, leader of the industrialists'
union faction of the Russian parliament, was quoted by Reuters
and Interfax as saying the conference was being held to put pressure
on the government, which had so far ignored demands that it modify
its economic reforms. He said the recent infusion of credits
for industry and agriculture were inadequate. (Elizabeth Teague)

economies have approved a loan to help Russia pay its IMF membership
dues. Citing Japanese sources, ITAR-TASS reported on 23 July
that Russia has been unable to come up with the hard currency
portion of its dues, amounting to nearly $940 million. These
dues are necessary for IMF members to obtain credit allocations
from the Fund. Russia is hoping to draw its first such allocation
in August. (Erik Whitlock)

RUSSIA'S HALF-YEARLY RESULTS. The Russian Goskomstat report for
the first six months of 1992, as summarized by ITAR-TASS of 23
July, presents a picture of almost unrelieved gloom. Consumer
prices rose by a factor of 10, industrial wholesale prices by
a factor of 15, and prices on the kolkhoz markets increased six-fold.
The volume of retail trade turnover dropped by 42%, gross industrial
output by 13%, and investment by 46%. Progress in privatization
and land reform was modest and monopolistic tendencies continued
to prevail in all sectors. The positive features claimed were
a certain stabilization of the economy, the prevention of total
collapse, and the maintenance of the ruble as a viable means
of monetary transactions. (Keith Bush)

RUSSIAN LIVING STANDARDS DOWN. Also, according to the Goskomstat
report, prices grew twice as fast as money incomes, and nearly
half of the Russian population are now below the poverty level.
In June, this level was set at 2,150 rubles per capita per month.
Consumption is down by one quarter. Income differentials widened.
And transfer payments to alleviate hardship were often made with
considerable delays. (Keith Bush)

YELTSIN ENDS VISIT TO KALMYKIA. Yeltsin left Kalmykia for Omsk
on 23 July after a 24-hour visit, the first by a Russian head
of state in 270 years, ITAR-TASS reported citing Russian TV.
Yeltsin sympathized with the local population over the ecological
catastrophe that has affected millions of hectares of once-fertile
black earth in the Caspian region. He also promised to allocate
$50,000 from his personal social fund to buy pedigree sheep so
that the Kalmyks can restore the flocks with broad soft hooves
ideally suited for the Kalmyk steppes that were lost when the
Kalmyks were deported en masse in 1943. The present flocks with
their hard hooves have seriously damaged the steppe. (Ann Sheehy)

KALMYKIA RECEIVES CONCESSIONS. Kalmykia was promised significant
financial support from the Russian government on 23 July, Interfax
reports. President Yeltsin signed documents in the autonomous
republic's capital which permitted Kalmykia to retain 50% of
the production of its main industriesnatural resources, wool
and leather. The agreements also provide for subsidies from the
Russian budget for economic development projects. (Erik Whitlock)

PURCHASE PRICE OF GRAIN IN RUSSIA. The price paid to farmers
by the Russian government for grain is now critical. Many farmers
are asking for 1500 rubles a ton (15 rubles a kilo) or more,
while the government has drawn a line at 1000 rubles a ton. On
his arrival in Armavir on 22 July at the beginning of the Russian
president's 3-day tour around the country, Yeltsin said that
farmers who hope the price of grain will rise will be disappointed.
He expressed concern that the region had sold only 164,000 tons
of grain to the government, although ITAR-TASS quoted government
sources to the effect that the region had about 3 million tons
in storage. At his news conference on the same day, Deputy Prime
Minister Shumeiko confirmed that the state purchase price for
grain will remain at not more than 10 rubles a kilo. (Keith Bush)

conference on 22 July, Shumeiko also said that the government
agrees with parliament that the rates of value added tax should
be reduced but that this should take place only at the end of
the budget year (i.e., at the end of calendar year 1992). On
the face of it, this statement appears to run counter to parliament's
decision on 17 July to cut the VAT rates and thereby lower the
projected budgetary revenue for 1992 by 460 billion rubles. (Keith

deputies from Kulyab and Leninabad Oblasts, the two regions that
have refused to recognize the coalition government of communists
and oppositionists, have called for a special session of Tajikistan's
Supreme Soviet to discuss the political situation in those regions
of the country that are engaged in a virtual civil war. ITAR-TASS
reported the demand, addressed to President Rakhmon Nabiev and
the Supreme Soviet Presidium, on 23 July. The signatories claim
that the new government lacks authority with most of the population.
Under the agreement between Nabiev and the opposition, Tajikistan's
Supreme Soviet was to have been replaced by an assembly consisting
of some Supreme Soviet deputies and opposition members, but the
former refused to participate. (Bess Brown)

in Moskovskie novosti (No. 30), Utkam Bekmuhamedov, leader of
the "Samarkand" movement which seeks to defend the human rights
of Tajiks in Uzbekistan, compared the situation of the Uzbek
opposition with that of Russian dissidents in the 1970s. He urged
Russia to press for democracy in Central Asia as the West did
in Russia. Though the Uzbek government has succeeded in portraying
"Samarkand" as an advocate of Tajik separatism, the group favors
a multiethnic democracy within current borders. Nonetheless,
lingering suspicion has kept the mainly Uzbek groups "Birlik"
and "Erk" from cooperating with "Samarkand," although they share
the same goals, and are subject to the same persecution. (Cassandra

Daily, reported on 23 July that Air China has rented two Ilyushin
IL-86 airliners and 70 crew members from Uzbekistan's newly-formed
national airline. The planes are to be used on the route between
Beijing and Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang. The report said that
the Chinese carrier lacks planes to meet scheduled increases
in domestic service. Xinhua reported the arrival of the first
plane rented from Uzbekistan on 20 July. The aircraft rental
is one of the first indications of concrete cooperation between
China and its new neighbors. (Bess Brown)

LARGEST MOSQUE IN RUSSIA OPENED. The largest mosque in Russia,
built in Naberezhnye Chelni in Tatarstan in honor of the 1,100
anniversary of the adoption of Islam, was opened on 22 July,
RFE/RL's correspondent in Tatarstan reported. The opening of
the mosque is being followed by a two-day world forum of representatives
of business circles and religious figures of the Arabic and Islamic
world under the slogan "Muslims and The New World OrderOur Reality
and The Horizons of the Future in the Framework of Cooperation."
The forum is being attended by the heads of the Muslim religious
boards of CIS states, leaders of world Islamic organizations,
and businessmen from 40 foreign countries. (Ann Sheehy)


AID CONVOY REACHES GORAZDE. A UN convoy carrying relief supplies
reached the outskirts of the besieged Bosnian city of Gorazde
late on 23 July. The convoy will attempt to enter the city, which
has been surrounded by Serb forces for three months, on 24 July.
An estimated 70,000 people are trapped in the town. Only small-scale
fighting was reported in Sarajevo. In London the EC's chief negotiator
for the Yugoslav crisis, Lord Carrington, told the Daily Telegraph
that he will not attempt to broker any more cease-fire agreements
until the warring Serbs, Muslims, and Croats reach either "stalemate
or exhaustion." (Gordon Bardos)

BALKANSA HUMANITARIAN NIGHTMARE. The fighting in what used to
be Yugoslavia has caused the greatest refugee crisis in Europe
since World War II, with more than two million people forced
to evacuate their homes. The New York Times on 24 July reports
that UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata has scheduled
an international conference in Geneva by the end of the month
in an attempt to deal with the problem. UN officials fear that
those who have been uprooted, mainly Muslims who have become
the primary victims of a policy of "ethnic cleansing," could
become permanent refugees if Serb and Croat forces that have
overrun most of Bosnia-Herzegovina prevent their return. (Gordon

only one candidate for the upcoming third round of voting for
President Havel's successor, scheduled for 30 July. Zdenek Prochazka,
a member of the extreme-right Republican Party announced his
candidacy on 23 July, but he is given virtually no chance to
be elected by the deadlocked federal parliament. Several Federal
Assembly deputies have meanwhile proposed postponing the presidential
elections, claiming that the repeated, inconclusive voting harms
parliament's image. (Jan Obrman)

defense minister, Maj. Gen. Imrich Andrejcak, said on 23 July
that even if the country's armed forces should be split up in
the future, there should still be a joint command, CSTK reported.
The minister also said that if the federation splits into separate
states, any break-up of the army must allow it to be restored
to a unified system at any moment. He added that the army feels
obligated to maintain a united command until the combat and operational
readiness of any possible republican armies is ensured. (Jan

HUNGARY'S TIES WITH SLOVAKIA. In an interview in Nepszabadsag
on 23 July, Hungarian State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Janos
Martonyi welcomed Slovak premier Vladimir Meciar's statement
that Slovakia wants good neighborly and close economic, border,
and regional cooperation with Hungary. He said Hungary, too,
wants to maintain regional cooperation with Czechoslovakia and
Poland in the framework of the Visegrad Triangle. Martonyi declined
to comment on the stand of the Magyar minority on the issue of
Slovakia's sovereignty, saying only that its was its own affair.
Hungary supports the minority deputies' demand for cultural and
educational self-government, and has no intention whatsoever
to raise border or territorial issues with Slovakia, Martonyi
concluded. In a 23 July interview with Radio Budapest, Hungarian
Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky said his country hopes the Czech-Slovak
separation takes place in a "constitutional, peaceful, and orderly"
fashion and that politics "free of emotions" will prevail in
the region. (Alfred Reisch)

HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT WRITES HAVEL. In a warm personal letter ("Dear
Vaclav") Hungarian President Arpad Goncz expressed his sadness
at the resignation of Czechoslovakia's president, MTI reported
on 22 July. Expressing admiration for Havel's efforts in promoting
democracy, Goncz wrote that Hungary finds it important to "build
and cultivate the best possible relations" with Czechoslovakia,
no matter what the latter's future status will be. (Alfred Reisch)

held meetings to protest the dismissal of the prefects of the
counties of Harghita and Covasna, Radio Bucharest reported on
23 July. The two prefects, themselves ethnic Hungarians, were
dismissed by the government on 18 July. The nationalist Party
of National Unity of Romanians, however, maintains that the dismissals
were legal and accused the Hungarian Democratic Federation of
Romania of fomenting "antinational ethnic provocations that infringe
on the constitution and on the principles of a state based on
the rule of law." (Michael Shafir)

NEW LITHUANIAN GOVERNMENT. On 23 July the Lithuanian parliament
approved the cabinet proposed by Prime Minister Aleksandras Abisala
by a vote of 70 to 2 with 8 abstentions, Radio Lithuania reports.
The cabinet has four new members, Deputy Prime Minister Bronislovas
Lubys (replacing three former deputy prime ministers), Communications
and Information Minister Gintautas Zintelis, and two ministers
without portfolio, Leonas Kadziulis and Stasys Kropas. Twelve
ministers of the previous Vagnorius government were retained
with four more being asked to remain temporarily. Abisala will
present his nominees for the four ministers at the next parliament
session on 30 July. (Saulius Girnius)

parliament approved elections to the councils of the Vilnius
and Salcininkai regions to be held on 22 November, Radio Lithuania
reports. Direct administration of these regions was introduced
on 12 September 1991 because the councils had been engaging in
anti- constitutional activities and had supported the August
putsch. Direct rule was seen as the major stumbling block to
establishing better Lithuanian-Polish relations. (Saulius Girnius)

chairman of the Bulgarian National Assembly, Stefan Savov, narrowly
escaped a demand for his removal raised by the BSP, BTA reported.
In yesterday's secret ballot, most deputies115 to 112voted against
Savov, thus leaving the result only one vote short of the required
simple majority. While Savov conceded that the outcome was unfavorable,
the leaders of the UDF and MRF groups declared their continued
support. The BSP has accused Savov of being overtly partisan
and applying double standards in leading parliamentary sessions.
(Kjell Engelbrekt)

SUCHOCKA STANDS FIRM IN SENATE. Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka
presented the outlines of her government's policies to the Senate
on 23 July. She said that the very fact that rival political
forces had managed to form a government was a "moral fact of
significance" that could restore hope for improvement in Poland.
Suchocka acknowledged that the government could soon exhaust
the public's trust if it did not prove capable of effective action.
She ruled out economic miracles, but emphasized that systematic
effort could bring results. Underlining her willingness to negotiate
with trade unions, she warned that the government would not yield
to protest actions designed to win privileges for one group at
the expense of others. (Louisa Vinton)

Poland, charges were raised that radical groups such as Solidarity
80 were attempting to exploit wage disputes for political ends.
Never far away when trouble is to be found, the Confederation
for an Independent Poland (KPN) proclaimed that the proper place
for Sejm deputies is not in parliament but at the side of striking
workers. KPN leader Leszek Moczulski visited striking workers
at the Zofiowka mine and the Katowice steel mill on 23 July.
"KPN members should take charge wherever something's going on,"
he said. An adviser to the prime minister criticized the KPN
for lending its support to unlawful strikes, in which miners'
demands were "extremely unrealistic." At the other end of the
spectrum, the postcommunist Democratic Left Alliance chimed in
with an endorsement of strikes as "the ultimate form of defense
of workers' rights in a country that lacks a coherent industrial
policy." (Louisa Vinton)

twelve hours of acrimonious debate held to conclude a nine-hour
session that was suspended on 5 July, the Sejm voted on 23 July
to accept the report of the commission investigating the "agents"
disclosures made by former Internal Affairs Minister Antoni Macierewicz.
The vote was 184 to 110, with 19 abstentions. The commission's
report was highly critical of Macierewicz and former Prime Minister
Jan Olszewski, and accused them of taking actions that could
have destabilized Poland's highest state institutions. The Sejm
launches a debate on abortion on 24 July; this promises to be
even more heated. (Louisa Vinton)

POLISH IMF TALKS TO RESUME. Finance Minister Jerzy Osiatynski
announced on 22 July that an IMF mission will arrive in Warsaw
at the end of August to resume talks on restoring credits suspended
when the 1991 budget deficit exceeded IMF limits. (Louisa Vinton)

exports and sales of non-ferrous metals and metal scraps, the
Latvian Customs Department announced that as of 21 July all previous
export permits for these metals and their alloys would be canceled
and a careful of check will be made of vehicles suspected of
being used to transport such metals. According to Western and
Baltic dispatches of 22 July, in recent months thievery of bronze
statues, copper wiring, and pipes has increased sharply. One
of the boldest thefts was the removal of the official name plaque
of the Latvian Supreme Council. (Dzintra Bungs)

ROMANIA INTRODUCES VAT. The Romanian government has issued a
directive introducing an 18% value added tax beginning on 1 January
1993 to replace the current tax on goods circulation. Governmental
spokeswoman Virginia Gheorghiu made the announcement on 22 July,
Radio Bucharest reports. (Michael Shafir)

ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN TALKS. Troop withdrawal talks ended on 23 July
with an agreement to resume the negotiations that Estonia broke
off last month. According to the RFE/RL Estonian Service that
day, the Russian side presented a timetable by which some 6,000
troops would pull out of Estonia this year, which reportedly
makes up one-quarter of the former Soviet forces stationed in
Estonia. Estonian chief negotiator Uno Veering told reporters
that the timetable is not acceptable to Estonia. Russian chief
negotiator Vasilii Svirin told reporters that recent incidents
involving Russian troops and Estonia's civil militia, the Defense
Union (Kaitseliit) will have no influence on the withdrawal talks.
Svirin also said Russia does not regard the Defense Union's actions
as being part of official Estonian government policy toward Russia.
(Riina Kionka)

LITHUANIAN-RUSSIAN TALKS. On 23 July groups of experts concluded
four days of talks negotiating the withdrawal of former USSR
troops from Lithuania, Radio Lithuania reports. The delegation
heads told a press conference that the negotiations were conducted
in a friendly atmosphere and were constructive. The Lithuanians,
however, noted that the Russian side was unable to give a date
for the completion of the withdrawal and did not respond to the
Lithuanian timetable, proposed on 30 June, for the troops to
depart in four months. (Saulius Girnius)

expressed concern and dismay over two documents of 17 July from
the Russian Supreme Soviet accusing the Baltic States, but especially
Estonia, of human rights violations and threatening the Baltics
with economic and other sanctions, Diena reported on 21 July.
The Latvian Foreign Ministry said that it found the documents
"unacceptable" and considered them as an effort on the part of
Russia to "postpone the resolution of issues related to the withdrawal
of the troops under its jurisdictions from the Baltic States."
Chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet's Council of Nationalities
Ramazan Abdulatipov told BNS on 22 July that the Baltic legislatures
are forming "ethnocentric, not democratic states." He used the
term "humiliation" to describe a situation in which applicants
for citizenship are required to know the national language and
the constitution of that country. He claimed that "any other
country would have long since started large-scale actions [against
the Baltic States], including economic blockade." (Dzintra Bungs)

UN Economic and Social Council on 22 July, Bulgarian delegate
Vladlen Stefanov spoke about the deteriorating social situation
in his country, an RFE/RL correspondent reports. Stefanov said
government efforts to improve social "safety nets" could not
offset the rapid decline in living conditions resulting from
falling production and cuts in public spending. Among other issues,
Stefanov specifically addressed increasing unemployment, worsening
dietary problems, a sharp drop in preschool enrollment, and shortages
of housing and medicine. (Kjell Engelbrekt)

[As of 1200 CET]

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