У философов и детей есть одна благородная черта - они не придают значения никаким различиям между людьми - ни социальным, ни умственным, ни внешним. - А. Т. Аверченко
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 143, 29 July 1992


session of the Russian parliament on 29 July failed to resolve
a bitter disagreement between liberals and conservatives over
the fate of the Kurile Islands, Russian and Western agencies
reported. Yeltsin is scheduled to visit Tokyo in mid-September,
and there have been rumors that the Foreign Ministry has backed
a policy of concessions on the islands in order to win financial
aid from Tokyo. Russian nationalists have opposed proposals to
return the islands to Japan, and a number of legislators at the
29 July session, including the Chairman of the parliament's Foreign
Affairs Committee, Evgenii Ambartsumov, reportedly called upon
Yeltsin to cancel the Tokyo visit. (Stephen Foye)

leadership reportedly charged at the session that a return of
the islands would compromise Russian security in the Pacific,
and recommended halting troop withdrawals from the islands until
the political dispute is resolved. According to ITAR-TASS on
28 July, military leaders argue that concessions on the islands
could also lead to further territorial demands by Japan and could
even weaken the Russian position in border negotiations with
China; that it would undermine the integrity of the Pacific fleet,
disrupt the region's unified radar system, and compromise Russian
coastal defense in the far east; and that ultimately Russia would
have to allocate large sums of money to rebuild its defenses
in the region. (Stephen Foye)

SKOKOV REJECTS PUTSCH RUMORS. Secretary of the Russian Security
Council Yurii Skokov told Russian TV on 27 July that the leadership
of the army, the former KGB and the interior ministry are firmly
supporting President Boris Yeltsin and therefore no coup is possible
in the Kremlin. Yeltsin's new national security advisor also
emphasized that there is nobody in the president's entourage
who wants to change the political system by force. He acknowledged
that the Security Council's status has recently been enhanced
but stated that this body "remains a constitutional body" which
helps the president to run the state and to develop measures
to protect citizens. (Alexander Rahr)

CONSUMPTION DOWN IN RUSSIA. Referring to Goskomstat data, Radio
Rossii of 25 July reported that, in comparison with last year,
the population of the Russian Federation is now consuming 25%
less milk products, 15% less meat, 30% less fruit, and 20% less
sugar and confectionery. The amount of clothes and shoes purchased
has more than halved. (Sarah Helmstadter)

reported on 26 July that residents of Ekaterinburg, Yeltsin's
base, are disillusioned and discouraged with his administration.
The city, the fifth largest in Russia and until 1990 a "closed"
defense industry center, has been hit hard by the economic reforms.
Like other local enterprises, the former SS-20 plant is attempting
to convert and now produces timber-cutting equipment. Yet thousands
of workers are threatened with unemployment and many are already
on unpaid or partially paid vacations. Uralmash, which employs
40,000, last paid its workers in May. (Brenda Horrigan)

STRIKES ON THE RISE IN RUSSIA? According to government statistics,
the number of man-days lost in Russia through strikes was nearly
twice as high in the second quarter of 1992 as in the first quarter
of the year. ITAR-TASS on 24 July said that, of 9 million man-days
lost in Russia in the first six months of this year, eleven-twelfths
were caused by shortages of raw materials, including energy.
The remainder (750,000 man-days) can presumably be attributed
to strikes. Since strikes caused a loss of 268,000 man-days in
January-March 1992, this means the figure for April-June was
482,000. This increase in workers' protests seems mainly to have
been provoked by the shortage of cash for wages. (Elizabeth Teague)

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS TO STRIKE? Air traffic controllers decided
at a 24 July plenum of the Central Council of the Federation
of Air Traffic Controllers of Russia (FPAD) to begin a nation-wide
strike on 15 August, according to Interfax and ITAR-TASS. FPAD
is demanding increased wages and fulfillment of Yeltsin's 20
March decree on the creation of a state committee on air space
and air traffic control. Aircraft used for rescue and other humanitarian
flights reportedly will not be affected by the strike. (Brenda

NUCLEAR EXPERTS TO STRIKE? Employees of the once-closed city
of Arzamas-16, which Yeltsin decreed the Russian "Federal Nuclear
Center" during a February 1992 visit, are threatening to strike,
Russian TV reported on 26 July. The specialists at the research
center plan to halt their current work, which is the dismantling
of nuclear warheads, unless they get their back pay and receive
their future wages on a regular basis. An unidentfied spokesman
from the nuclear center said that several protests had already
been lodged before the technicians received their May wages.
(Brenda Horrigan)

RUSSIA AND NORTH KOREA. The Russian foreign ministry rejected
a South Korean defense ministry official's suggestion that Russia
end its military ties with North Korea and termed the proposal
an attempt "to dictate to Russia how to develop its relations
with other countries." The Russian foreign ministry noted that
Moscow would adhere to all international agreements inherited
from the USSR, including ones with North Korea, Reuter reported.
Indeed, Russia not only stands by these agreements, but also
renewed on 7 July the friendship treaty signed by Moscow and
Pyongyang in 1961. At the signing, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister
Georgii Kunadze said, "we and the Korean People's Democratic
Republic share common concerns of a strategic nature," Russian
TV reported on 7 July. (Suzanne Crow)

BAZHANOV ON CONVERSION. Mikhail Bazhanov, head of the Russian
State Committee on Conversion, told Business-TASS on 27 July
that "what we are going through is not conversion but convulsion"
and that rash actions had already led to negative consequences.
He said that conversion need not exceed 3% a year and criticized
the Russian program for moving too quickly70% of defense enterprises
in two years. He also estimated that the cost and duration of
conversion in the US and in Russia would be roughly the same.
Thus far, the Russian government has allocated only 15 billion
rubles toward conversion and set aside 43 billion rubles in credits
for the process. Furthermore, the Ministry of Industry and the
State Committee on Conversion will set up a special directorate
for implementing an innovation program with the aid of Russian
and foreign capital. (Chris Hummel)

Times of 28 July quotes both foreign experts and government officials
in Moscow as expressing pessimism over Russia's finances. The
government is considered to be rapidly losing control over the
budget deficit and over inflation. They cite the approval of
1 trillion rubles' worth of credits for industry, the postponement
of the convertibility of the ruble, and the increased purchase
prices for grain as factors contributing to hyperinflation (quantified
as a monthly increase in prices of over 50%). Hopes for a standby
agreement with the IMF in the fall are said to be evaporating.
(Keith Bush)

RUBLE CONTINUES SLIDE. The ruble fell again on 28 July at the
Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange The dollar now buys 161.1
rubles compared with 134.8 rubles at the beginning of the month.
Russia's Foreign Trade Bank, according to Reuters, identifies
reluctance by central bank to support the ruble as the chief
cause of the decline. ITAR-TASS offers expectations of increased
inflation as the culprit. (Erik Whitlock).

OUTSTANDING DEBTS TO RUSSIA. Russian Foreign Trade Minister Petr
Aven told Komsomolskaya pravda on 28 July that Russia was owed
more than $140 billion by former allies and by nations of the
third world. Cuba was said to be the biggest debtor, owing $75
billion. Aven also named other countries who "are scarcely in
a position to pay us," such as Zambia, Algeria, Angola, and Uganda.
The first authoritative estimate of third world and socialist
community debts to the former Soviet Union was 86 billion hard-currency
rubles at the end of 1989 (Izvestiya, 2 March 1990). The sharp
increase in the value of this debt since then is evidently attributable
to the inclusion of the subsidies paid in Soviet-Cuban trade
and accrued interest. (Keith Bush)

35% in the first half of 1992, according to the Russian State
Statistical Committee, Western agencies reported on 24 July.
June exports amounted to $3 billion dollarsonly 49% of last year's
figure. The fall in oil exports is reportedly the primary factor
in the worsening trade figures. In a related story, the Russian
government announced a tripling of tariffs on most imported goods
in September, Western agencies reported. The import tax is intended
to help improve Russia's international payments imbalance and
protect domestic industry from competition abroad. (Erik Whitlock)

STATE PURCHASES OF GRAIN IN RUSSIA. The first deputy chairman
of the Russian Committee on Bread products, Aleksandr Kudelya,
told a news conference on 27 July that one million tons of grain
had been purchased from farmers, Interfax reported. The total
planned for the year is 29 million tons. Kudelya claimed that
farmers had increased their sales to the government after President
Yeltsin conrmed last week that the purchase price would not be
raised. He also maintained that the state purchase price of 8-10
rubles a kilogram was equal to world market prices and to price
levels on the stock exchanges. (Keith Bush)

the Constitutional Court on 28 July, the chairman of the Russian
parliament's human rights committee, Sergei Kovalev, revealed
the number of people to have been sentenced in 1976-86 under
two laws which were applied most often against political opponents
of the Soviet regime, Russian TV reported. According to the records
uncovered by Kovalev's aides in the Party archives, a total of
667 persons were sentenced under Article 1990-1 "Dissimulation
of Known False Fabrications Slandering the Soviet State and Civil
Order," while 2,186 people were sentenced under Article 70 "Anti-Soviet
Agitation and Propaganda" of the RSFSR Criminal Code. (Julia

MORE FIGHTING IN TAJIKISTAN. Shortly before a ceasefire was due
to go into effect between armed groups in Tajikistan on 28 July,
Radio Dushanbe reported continuing fighting in Kurgan-Tyube Oblast
in the southern part of the country. More than 1000 people were
reported to have staged a demonstration on 27 July in front of
the Kurgan-Tyube government building demanding that Tajik President
Rakhmon Nabiev resign for failing to stop the fighting in the
oblast. The radio report gave no indication whether the latest
attempt to institute a ceasefire has had any success. An earlier
attempt, arranged by liberal leader Davlat Khudonazarov, was
largely ignored by combatants. (Bess Brown)

28 July that a party with the name "For a Free Uiguristan" had
held a founding congress near Bishkek. The objective of the new
party is the creation of an independent state in China's Xinjiang
province. The creation of such a party is no surprise given the
number of Uigurs living in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The example
of the independent Central Asian states could hardly avoid inspiring
Uigurs in Xinjiang as well as in the new states with hopes that
they too can have an independent state. Uigur activities aimed
at realizing this goal are likely to complicate relations between
China and its new western neighbors, however. Both Kyrgyzstan
and Kazakhstan look to China as a valuable trade partner. (Bess

LEBED DIGS IN. Addressing a session of the self-styled "Dniester
republic Supreme Soviet" on 28 July, Maj.-General Aleksandr Lebed,
the new commander of Russia's 14th Army in Moldova, said that
his Army can not withdraw from Moldova for at least another 15
years, a Radio Liberty correspondent reported from Tiraspol.
Lebed claimed that most of the Army's officers and NCOs were
"local inhabitants"a claim made repeatedly by Russia's military
leaders recently in attempting to counter international demands
for the Army's withdrawal. In fact, almost all of that Army's
officers and NCOs are natives of the former Soviet republics,
mostly of the Russian Federation, who were sent to Moldova for
military service in the last years of Soviet rule. (Vladimir

MOLDOVAN REFUGEE PROBLEM GROWING. The number of officially registered
Moldovan refugees from the left to the right bank of the Dniester
has grown to 50,377 as of 22 July, the Moldovan government's
Commission for Refugee Problems announced on July 24, Moldovapres
reported. The actual number is presumed to be somewhat higher,
as the authorities have not managed to register all refugees.
Refugees from right-bank villages occupied by left-bank Russian
insurgents are also not included in that figure. The majority
of the refugees are peasant women and children. (Vladimir Socor)

UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION COALITION. The Kiev regional organization
of the Congress of National Democratic forces held its founding
congress in the Ukrainian capital on 26 July, DR-Press and Radio
Ukraine reported. The organization adopted its programmatic principles,
a statement, and a statute. Participating in the meeting were
representatives of the Ukrainian Republican Party, the Democratic
Party of Ukraine, "Rukh," and other national democratic parties
and groups. The Congress is scheduled to meet in Kiev on 2 August.
(Roman Solchanyk)


BOSNIAN FIGHTING UPDATE. Hajrudin Somun, an advisor to Bosnian
president Alija Izetbegovic, claims that on 28 July up to 60
Yugoslav Army tanks crossed the border from Serbia into Bosnia
to relieve the northwest Bosnian town of Brcko, where Serb forces
have been surrounded by Muslim fighters. The Yugoslav Army General
Staff in Belgrade denied the allegation, claiming that Bosnian
Muslim leaders were attempting to provoke foreign military intervention.
Sporadic artillery and gunfire was reported in Sarajevo. Serb
and Croat military commanders are due to hold talks on 29 July
aboard the British warship HMS Avenger to discuss the disengagement
and withdrawal of their forces around Dubrovnik. The Avenger
is in the Adriatic as part of the WEU fleet that is monitoring
compliance with UN sanctions. (Gordon Bardos)

DIPLOMATIC INITIATIVES. A second day of EC-sponsored talks on
the Bosnian civil war on 28 July made little progress. Bosnian
foreign minister Haris Silajdzic demanded that a ceasefire be
implemented before any negotiations could begin. Another sticking
point is the EC's plan for drawing up a new constitution for
Bosnia-Herzegovina, which envisions a cantonization of the republic
with each ethnic group having significant control over its own
territory. Serb and Croat leaders have accepted the EC plan in
principle, but Muslim officials continue to demand a unitary
state structure. In Geneva the UN High Commissioner for Refugees,
Sadako Ogata, is holding a one-day conference on 29 July to deal
with the growing refugee problem in the former Yugoslavia. More
than two million people have been driven from their homes by
the fighting thus far. (Gordon Bardos)

on 28 July that Serbia's parliament is expected to vote today
on a government proposal to acquire majority ownership of Belgrade's
oldest newspaper, Politika. The government says it wants to protect
the paper's assets. Journalists say they will hold a general
strike if the measure is passed, calling it a blatant attempt
to ensure government control of the media. A spokesman for the
independent journalists union at Politika told the RFE/RL Research
Institute that the government has targeted Politika in recent
months because of the daily's coverage of the activities of Serbia's
opposition parties. The union spokesman predicts widespread public
opposition: "all of Serbia has sprung to its feet, sending a
clear message to the government to keep its hands off." (Milan

28 July to pull out of an agreement to buy a 90% share in the
FSM auto plant in Tychy, where workers have been on strike for
a week. The strikers want wages equal to 10% of the market value
of a Cinquecento auto. In a pattern followed elsewhere in Poland,
Solidarity has withdrawn from the strike and opened negotiations
with management, whereas the Solidarity 80 splinter union has
tried to sharpen the protest. FSM has moved to press legal charges
against strike organizers. The continuing strike at the Polska
Miedz copper combine has forced the gradual shutdown of furnaces
as copper supplies are exhausted. One Solidarity local has abandoned
that strike. Solidarity 80 threatened on 28 July to declare a
national strike unless the government withdraws energy price
hikes planned for 1 August. Solidarity issued a more moderate
protest, calling for efforts to limit the impact of the increases.
(Louisa Vinton)

BUDGET CRISIS FOR POLAND? During a cabinet meeting on 28 July,
Deputy Prime Minister Henryk Goryszewski warned that revenue
shortfalls threaten Poland with a crisis of public finances.
In the first half of 1992, revenues were only 39% of the year's
planned total. Without scheduled price hikes and rigorous tax
enforcement, the budget deficit could reach 8-9% of GDP by year's
end, well exceeding the 5% maximum set in the budget. Finance
Minister Jerzy Osiatynski called the shortfall a "service" of
the ousted Olszewski government, which put off necessary spending
and delayed raising sales taxes. Meanwhile, Labor Minister Jacek
Kuron indicated that some state firms could gain exemptions from
the excess wages tax as of 1 January 1993. Only firms with high
profits and no outstanding tax obligations would be eligible.
(Louisa Vinton)

Independence Party announced on 28 July that it had nominated
its chairman, Lagle Parek, for president, the RFE/RL Estonian
Service reports. Parek, one of the former Soviet Union's leading
female dissidents, was born in 1941. She was deported to Siberia
as a child with the remainder of her familySoviet occupying troops
had shot her father, an officer in the Estonian Army. In 1982
Parek received a sentence of 8 plus 3 years for anti-Soviet political
activity, but she was released early in 1987. Since 1989 she
has been the chairman of the ENIP, Estonia's first alternative
political party to the ECP. So far, four other candidates for
president have been posted. (Riina Kionka)

talks with EC officials, Czechoslovak Foreign Affairs Minister
Jozef Moravcik told CSTK on 28 July that in case Czechoslovakia
splits, the two new states would have to negotiate their own
association treaties with EC. However, should the level of integration
and cooperation between the two new states remain at least at
a level corresponding to that enjoyed by current EC members,
the EC would be willing to apply to both successor states the
terms of the current association treaty with Czechoslovakia,
signed in December 1991. Moravcik said that owing to changing
conditions on European markets, the terms of new association
treaties will be less advantageous than those of the current
treaty between Czechoslovakia and EC. (Jiri Pehe)

KLAUS, MECIAR TO VISIT HUNGARY. Czech and Slovak prime ministers
Vaclav Klaus and Vladimir Meciar have accepted invitations by
Hungarian prime minister Jozsef Antall to visit Hungary in the
near future, MTI reported on 28 July. The invitations were conveyed
by state secretaries Gyula Kodolanyi and Tamas Katona during
recent talks in Prague and Bratislava. With Meciar Katona discussed
Hungarian-Slovak cooperation, the situation of the Hungarian
minority, and the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros hydroelectric power project.
MTI described both sets of talks as "exceptionally open, constructive,
and pragmatic." (Edith Oltay)

Minister Theodor Stolojan and Romania's two secretaries of state
at the Department for Public Administration received a joint
delegation of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania
(HDFR) and Democratic Convention from Harghita and Covasna Counties,
Radio Bucharest reports. The delegation informed the premier
on the reaction of the local population to the replacement of
Magyar by Romanian prefects. HDFR president Geza Domokos said
his organization will call on the population of the two counties
to escalate the protest and, if the government will not revise
its decision, the HDFR will call on the population to wear white
arm bands in protest. Domokos's statement was carried in Romania
libera on 27 July. (Michael Shafir)

UKRAINIAN VISIT TO ROMANIA. Anatolii Voronkov, Ukrainian minister
for foreign economic relations, was received on 28 July by Romanian
prime minister Stolojan and conducted talks with foreign affairs
minister Adrian Nastase and other officials, Radio Bucharest
reports. The two sides explored possibilities of expanding economic
relations and signed several agreements on economic and scientific-technical
cooperation. (Michael Shafir)

Joint Minority Committee held its first meeting in Budapest on
28 July, MTI reports. The committee was set up in the wake of
the signing last May of a declaration on ethnic minority rights
that grants minorities not only individual but also group rights.
The committee's task is to review the situation at regular intervals
and work out proposals concerning minority affairs with the participation
of minority representatives. Geza Entz, Hungarian state secretary
and head of the Office for Hungarians Abroad, called the setting
up of the committee "exemplary" and said that Hungary hopes to
set up similar committees with all neighboring countries. (Edith

of non-Estonian organizations met in a closed-door session in
Narva last weekend to hammer out plans for their own representative
body. The meeting passed a resolution establishing an 11-member
directorate, which includes some former Intermovement leaders.
The directorate will prepare for elections to the "Representative
Assembly," probably to be held alongside the Estonian general
election on 20 September. The assembly does not seek an alternative
parliament or to engage in international relations, but to influence
internal Estonian politics. The Estonian press has been silent
on the Narva meeting, which was closed to journalists. The RFE/RL
Estonian Service broke the story on 28 July. (Riina Kionka)

of Monday's incident between the Estonian Defense Forces and
the Russian Navy, the Estonian government on 28 July suspended
all Defense Forces General Staff officers from duty, BNS reports.
A government commission has been formed to look into the dispute.
(Riina Kionka)

Uffe Ellemann-Jensen told reporters on 28 June that his government
is "shocked by the way Russian troops behave themselves in Estonia,"
BNS reports. After hearing about Monday's incident between Estonian
Defense Forces and the Russian Navy, Ellemann-Jensen said "such
behavior is a brutal violation of international law and once
again highlights the need to withdraw foreign troops from the
Baltics." Ellemann-Jensen spoke in Tallinn after signing an economic
cooperation agreement with Estonia. (Riina Kionka)

minister Talavs Jundzis described a draft Russian military concept,
distributed to an international seminar in Moscow on 13-15 July,
as hiding the old imperialistic spirit behind a veil of peaceful
notions, Diena reported on 27 July. Jundzis expressed concern
about such ill-defined expressions as "potential enemy" and "strategic
balance" and the freedom of action that Russia would like to
reserve for itself, including defense of its nationals abroad,
intervention in potential military conflicts between CIS states,
and unspecified reaction in case troop strengths or foreign forces
increase in bordering countries. According to Jundziz, the draft
also states that political or economic pressure could also provoke
hostilitiesa notion that Jundzis finds menacing, since Latvia
is trying to place political pressure on Moscow to hasten the
pullout of ex-USSR forces. (Dzintra Bungs)

suggested that the next meeting of the delegations be held in
Vilnius on 4 August, Radio Lithuania reports. Parliament chairman
Vytautas Landsbergis has accepted a proposal to meet Col. Gen.
Leonid Mayarov, new commander of the Northwest Group of Forces,
in Vilnius on 30 July. (Saulius Girnius)

ZHIVKOV MAY FACE 10-YEAR SENTENCE. Concluding the case against
Bulgaria's former president and Communist Party leader Todor
Zhivkov on 28 July, prosecutor Krasimir Zhekov demanded a 10-year
jail term, Western agencies report. Zhivkov is accused of embezzlement
of 26.5 million leva in state funds that he allegedly used for
buying flats and Western cars for his family and other high-ranking
communist officials. (Kjell Engelbrekt)

political forces to gain control of the National Counter-Espionage
Service is causing information leaks," its Director Maj. Gen.
Brigo Asparuhov charged in a rare public appearance on 28 July.
According to BTA, Asparuhov told a press conference in Sofia
that he and his colleagues are strongly opposed to political
meddling in their work but that they hope new legislation will
clarify their status. He said Bulgarian counterespionage currently
concentrates on international terrorism, illegal trafficking
in arms and technology, and ethnic problems. (Kjell Engelbrekt)

Jonas Birziskis, Lithuanian transportation minister, and Wolfgang
Grobl, first deputy German transportation minister, signed an
agreement granting each other's ships the same rights as native
ships in German and Lithuanian ports, Radio Lithuania reports.
Grobl's delegation arrived on 27 July for a five-day visit. That
day he held talks with Prime Minister Abisala and on 28 July
with Landsbergis on the signing of international transportation
treaties, financing reconstruction of Lithuania's railroads,
favorable credits for purchasing railroad cars, and the further
development of the Klaipeda-Mukran ferry with particular attention
to the transfer of ex-USSR troops from Germany. (Saulius Girnius)

[As of 1200 CET]

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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Наташа Булашова,Грег Коул
Updated: 1998-11-

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