|Experience is in the fingers and head. The heart is inexperienced. - Henry David Thoreau|
No. 145, 31 July 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR POPOV SUGGESTS SETTING UP CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY. Russia's new Constitution should be adopted by a constitutional assembly, not by the Congress of People's Deputies, according to Gavriil Popov, chairman of the Russian Movement for Democratic Reform. He was quoted on Radio Rossii on 31 July as saying that one third of the members of such a constitutional assembly should be members of the Supreme Soviet, one third should be individuals appointed by the president and one third should be representatives of all public organizations and parties in Russia. Popov added that he does not believe the Congress of People's Deputies will approve the existing draft constitution because to do so would be to end the existence of the Congress, which is not included in the draft. (Alexander Rahr) ARBATOV ATTACKS GOVERNMENT. The director of the US and Canada Institute, Georgii Arbatov, was quoted in the Munich daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung on 30 July as saying that Egor Gaidar's government has reintroduced "War Communism" in Russia. Arbatov criticized the present Russian government for attempting to introduce capitalism too quickly, and also attacked the IMF for treating Russia as a Third World country. Arbatov argued that Russia should not follow the Polish model of "shock therapy" but rather should learn from Japan. He also asserted that if Mikhail Gorbachev had given "some autonomy" to the republics and proposed a union treaty in 1989, rather than shortly before the putsch, the Soviet Union would still exist as a federation. (Alexander Rahr) PROGRESS OF RUSSIAN PRIVATIZATION. Anatolii Chubais, Russia's first deputy premier in charge of privatization, told Reuters on 30 July about progress to date. Privatization vouchers for the entire population of Russia will be distributed by 31 December. Eventually, state-owned enterprises should account for only 5-7% of the economy. Chubais said that privatization will replace price policies as the centerpiece of the reform program from now on, and he restated his belief that privatization will make reform irreversible. He estimated that the military sector now probably accounts for about 40% of the economy. (Keith Bush) RUBLE STABILIZES? The ruble held its ground against the dollar on 30 July trading at the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange. The exchange rate is 161 rubles to the dollar. At the same time, a dealer at the International Moscow Bank told Reuters that it is more reasonable to expect the ruble to stabilize at the rate of 170 to 180 to the dollar. Russian economist Ivan Korolev is more pessimistic. Korolev, deputy director of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, suggested in an article in July/August's Delovye lyudi that a more realistic dollar rate for the ruble may be over 200. (Erik Whitlock) NEW RUBLE COINS CIRCULATED. Ruble coins will now circulate alongside paper money, Russian television reported on 30 July. The coinsissued in values of one, five, ten, twenty, fifty and 100 rublesare eventually intended to replace their paper counterparts. Meanwhile almost all production of kopeck coins, whose value evaporated with the onset of hyperinflation, has ended. Russia will continue to mint only a 10-kopeck coin. (Erik Whitlock) BUNICH CITES GROWING DISTORTIONS. Well-known Russian economist Pavel Bunich said in an interview published in the current issue of Rossiiskie Vesti and summarized by ITAR-TASS on 30 July that the government's current economic policy ignores significant inequities in incomes. Bunich noted that while inflation had cut real wages in half on average, certain income groups were suffering disproportionately. Wages at enterprises and organizations financed from the state budget, for example, are two to three times lower than those of self-financing enterprises. He also suggested that divergence of agricultural and industrial prices is threatening peasant living standards. (Erik Whitlock) GENERAL WARNS OF WESTERN INTERFERENCE. The First Deputy Chief of the Russian General Staff, Colonel General Mikhail Kolesnikov, charged on 30 July that the breakup of the USSR had rallied the NATO alliance and encouraged it to build closer ties with former Warsaw Pact members and with several former Soviet republics. Kolesnikov warned that growing instability could lead to direct intervention by Western powers in the former USSR under the pretext of establishing international control over nuclear weapons located there. He also argued that the long-term interests of the US and NATO were not served by the re-establishment of Russia as a new center of power in place of the USSR. His remarks were made at a meeting of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policies, identified by ITAR-TASS as a non-governmental association of leading military and civilian defense experts. (Stephen Foye) GRACHEV ON POLITICAL STATEMENT, SHOOTING TO KILL. Interfax reported on 30 July that Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev has ordered Russian officers, including the high command, to cease making political statements. Henceforth, he said, only the Defense Minister and his deputies will be permitted to make political statements. Grachev also reportedly said that Russian officers are entitled to shoot to kill in cases of arbitrary actions against themselves or army installations. According to Interfax, a high-ranking officer explained that Grachev had eliminated the requirement that warning shots to be fired first in clear-cut assault cases. (Stephen Foye) BLACK SEA FLEET UPDATE. The Russian Foreign Ministry has sent a protest note to Sevastopol demanding the return of a ship that fled on 21 July without authorization to Odessa, where it has been kept by the Ukrainian naval authorities. The protest note criticized the "illegal" acts of the crew and charged that they had "destabilized" relations between the two countries. Meanwhile, a coordinating council claiming to represent Black Sea Fleet officers proposed on 30 July that the fleet be split into separate Ukrainian and Russian fleets with equal rights and under joint operational and strategic command. The latter condition is unlikely to be acceptable to Kiev. Both items were reported by AFP on 30 July. The latest jousting comes as Presidents Kravchuk and Yeltsin prepare for a 3 August meeting in Yalta to discuss the fleet. (Stephen Foye) RUSSIA, US SIGN CHEMICAL ARMS ACCORD. The US and Russia signed an agreement on 30 July by which Washington will provide up to twenty-five million dollars for the destruction of Russian chemical weapons, Western agencies reported. The funds will also go toward providing safe transportation for the weapons and for the training of Russian experts in the US.(Stephen Foye) RUSSIAN ARMS TO PAKISTAN? Although an unnamed official of Pakistan's Ministry of External Affairs made a statement on July 29 describing recent press reports that Pakistan planned to place a large order for Russian arms as "purely speculative," ITAR-TASS reported the following day that many Pakistani newspapers had indicated that an agreement to purchase MiG-29 and Su-27 jets, T-72 tanks, and 130mm artillery pieces would soon be signed. The newspapers indicated that $400 million had been earmarked for the arms deal. (Doug Clarke) HIGHER PAY FOR RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS. A battalion of Russian paratrooper volunteers joined the peacekeeping forces in the conflict zone in Moldova on 29 July and another battalion was scheduled to leave for Moldova the following day. ITAR-TASS indicated that these troops were under contracts that would pay them over 8,000 rubles per month plus a lump-sum bonus of one month's pay. They were also promised a thirty-day leave after serving six months in the conflict zone. Should one of the volunteers be killed in action, his family will receive 100,000 rubles plus a life-long pension 2.5 times greater than the minimum pension in the Russian Federation. (Doug Clarke) OFFICERS TAKE UP THE PLOW. Some 50,000 discharged Russian officers will soon become farmers, according to Aleksandr Temerko, chairman of the Russian Defense Ministry committee responsible for the social welfare of servicemen. Temerko said that the new agricultural ventures would be realized through the use of freed-up military property. His remarks, reported by ITAR-TASS, were broadcast by Radio Rossii on 29 July. (Stephen Foye) CRIME RATE UP IN RUSSIAN MILITARY. The Russian State Prosecutor's office reported on 28 July that the number of crimes in the Russian armed forces had grown by 12.4% in the first six months of 1992. As reported by ITAR-TASS, the officials revealed that during the same period what were referred to as "common crimes" jumped 41%. The most dramatic rise was in attempts to seize weapons and ammunition, up by a factor of 2.5. The incidence of burglary and assaults rose by 89% while there were only 3% more murders. (Doug Clarke) GROUP CALLS FOR CHAPLAINS IN RUSSIAN ARMY. The movement called "Soldiers for the Spiritual Rebirth of the Army" has drafted a bill for the Russian parliament calling for chaplains to replace the former political officers. Colonel Mikhail Kuznetsov, a spokesman for the movement, explained to ITAR-TASS on 28 July that chaplains would first be assigned to military districts and armies as well as the central headquarters of the defense, interior, and security ministries. All religious beliefs would be accepted. (Doug Clarke) US ACADEMY CRITICIZES RUSSIAN MATHEMATICIAN FOR ANTI-SEMITISM. The US Academy of Sciences has criticized anti-Semitism in the writings of the well-known Russian mathematician and former dissident, Igor Shafarevich. Academy President Frank Press and its foreign secretary James Wyngaarden wrote a letter to Shafarevich, saying the academy would be pleased if Shafarevich resigned, The New York Times reported on 29 July. The academy has no mechanism for expelling members. As an example of Shafarevich's antiSemitism, the letter cited his book Russophobia, which alleged that Jews have been plotting for centuries to destroy Russia. The letter also mentioned that Shafarevich is currently part of the management of the Steklov Institute for mathematics in Moscow. The institute has been notorious for an employment policy which discriminates against Jews. (Vera Tolz) DEMIREL IN GEORGIA. Turkish Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel flew to Georgia on 30 July for a one-day official visit during which he pledged Turkish support for Georgia's economic and political reforms and signed seven agreements on friendship and cooperation in the spheres of economy, science and technology, culture and ecology, ITAR-TASS reported. Turkey also airlifted 15 tons of humanitarian aid to Georgia. (Liz Fuller) NEW PRIME MINISTER APPOINTED IN ARMENIA. Khosrov Arutyunyan, a 44-year old engineer and chairman of the Armenian parliament's permanent commission on local self-government, has been appointed Armenian prime minister, ITAR-TASS reported on 30 July. He replaces Gagik Arutyunyan, the Armenian vice-president who was named acting prime minister last November. (Liz Fuller) UZBEK PARLIAMENT VOTES TO FILE SUIT AGAINST GDLYAN/IVANOV. During its tenth session on 2-4 July, the Uzbek Supreme Soviet voted that criminal charges be brought against former USSR Special Prosecutors Tel'man Gdlyan and Nikolai Ivanov for the "illegal" arrest of former Chairman of the Uzbek Council of Ministers Narmakhonmadi Khudaiberdiev, Moskovskii komsomolets reported on 30 July. Khudaiberdiev was sentenced in September, 1989, to nine years' imprisonment for corruption as part of the "Cotton Affair" of the mid-1980s. This year the Uzbek Supreme Soviet has also voted to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of former Uzbek Communist Party chief Sharaf Rashidov, one of the main figures in the "Cotton Affair," but now lionized as a national hero in Uzbekistan. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) US AID TO TAJIK EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS. The US charge d'affaires in Tajikistan has announced that $70,000 have been set aside to help victims of the April-May earthquakes in Tajikistan's Kulyab Oblast, ITAR-TASS reported on 30 July. Thousands were left homeless in a region also torn in recent months by political fighting. The US embassy in Dushanbe intends to open a number of soup kitchens in cooperation with the Tajik Red Crescent organization. In the past three months, the US has also sent six cargo planes and 14 railway cars filled with medical and food aid to Tajikistan.(Cassandra Cavanaugh) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE FIGHTING CONTINUES IN BOSNIA. UN peacekeeping forces came under attack the night of 29-30 July as artillery and gunfire barrages continued to rage in Sarajevo. A radar-monitoring unit staffed by a Ukrainian contingent of UN forces, the UN headquarters in Sarajevo, and Sarajevo airport were all hit during the fighting. No injuries were reported among the UN troops. Witnesses said it was impossible to tell who was responsible for the shelling. More fighting was reported in the eastern Bosnian towns of Foca and Zvornik. Radio Serbia reported on 29 July that a major Croatian offensive on the Trebinje-Dubrovnik front, apparently aimed at conquering Serbian strongholds in eastern Herzegovina, was beaten back. Reuters reports that Iranian newspapers are calling for the formation of a volunteer Islamic force to rescue the Bosnian Muslims and to provide heavy artillery, small arms, and ammunitionthis, the Iranians said, in light of the apparent indifference of European powers to the Muslims' plight. (Gordon Bardos) GENEVA REFUGEE CONFERENCE UPDATE. The Washington Post reports on 31 July that the European delegates discussing the Balkan refugee crisis agreed on 30 July to set aside visa requirements and give "temporary shelter" to refugees arriving on their borders. This still leaves the differences unresolved between Germany and other countries near the former Yugoslavia on the one hand, and Britain, France, and the Scandinavian countries on the other. The former want refugee quotas for all European countries, while the latter want the refugees to stay as close to their former homes as possible, albeit with increased funding made available for their care. The BBC and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung note that international attention is increasingly drawn to the idea of setting up "safe havens" for refugees within Bosnia itself on the Kurdish model. Critics of the concept suggest, however, that the havens might not be completely secure from attack, and that establishing such zones might only encourage the Serbs to chase Muslims and Croats into them. (Patrick Moore) PANIC IN HUNGARY. Milan Panic, prime minister of the rump Yugoslavia, told reporters following talks on 30 July in Budapest with Hungarian prime minister Jozsef Antall that he wished to open a new chapter in the two countries' relations, MTI reports. Panic said that his major goal is restoring peace, and he attributes great importance to cooperation with Hungary. Panic called for a revival of Hungarian-Serbian economic relations and pledged to treat minorities in the spirit of tolerance. Panic proposed Budapest as the venue for an international conference to be attended by all republics of former Yugoslavia. (Edith Oltay) POLITICS ENGULF POLITIKA. On 30 July Serbia's Socialist-dominated parliament approved a bill nationalizing Belgrade's oldest publishing group, Politika. According to Radio Serbia, the measure is planned to take effect on 1 August, but parliament must first debate some 300 amendments proposed by the opposition. The entire staff of more than 4,000 employees went on strike on 31 July in protest. In addition to its influential daily, Politika publishes 15 other newspapers and magazines and operates a radio and TV station. For the first time since World War II, none of Politika's three dailies will appear on 31 July. Zivorad Minovic, Politika's director, said on Politika TV on 30 July that the Socialist Party and government "have thoroughly plundered and now confiscated Politika because they are trying to save themselves through dictatorship." CZECHOSLOVAK PARLIAMENT AGAIN FAILS TO ELECT PRESIDENT. All three candidates who competed for the post of president in the third round of Czechoslovak elections on 30 July failed to be elected, CSTK reports. Marie Kristkova of the Liberal and Social Union was top vote-getter but still came up far short of the required number of votes. Her opponents were Zdenek Pinta of Movement 90 and Zdenek Viktor Prochazka of the extreme-right Republican Party. At a press conference in Prague, Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus called the Czechoslovak presidential elections, repeated every fortnight, "ridiculous." Responding to the mounting criticism, the parliament decided to hold the fourth election on 6 August but to delay the fifth round by eight weeks in case the fourth round fails to produce a president. (Jiri Pehe) NEW LITHUANIAN MINISTERS APPOINTED. On 30 July parliament approved as a group the appointments of Audrius Misevicius as finance minister, Teodoras Medaiskis as social security minister, and Gediminas Serksnys as minister without portfolio with responsibilities for negotiations with Russia, the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service reports. Two deputy ministers were designated as acting ministers; Zenonas Juknevicius for the Ministry of Justice and Romualdas Ramoska for the Ministry of Trade and Material Resources. Prime Minister Aleksandras Abisala has suggested that the latter ministry be changed to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. (Saulius Girnius) LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT UNABLE TO FINISH WORK. On 30 July parliament officially declared the ending of its fifth session, Radio Lithuania reports, although an extraordinary meeting will be held on 4 August to debate a measure on the building of an oil terminal near Klaipeda that was not passed due to the lack of a quorum and discuss possible leadership changes in the Bank of Lithuania. (Saulius Girnius) EDU DELEGATION ENDS ROMANIAN VISIT. A delegation of the European Democratic Union, headed by Jan Carnogursky, the former Slovak premier, has ended a visit to Romania, local media reported on 30 July. EDU president, Austrian foreign minister Alois Mock, had sent the delegation to prepare a report on the preelectoral situation. They met President Ion Iliescu, Premier Theodor Stolojan, Foreign Affairs Minister Adrian Nastase, and members of the opposition. At a press conference on 30 July Carnogursky said the number of international observers for the 27 September elections is too small and found discriminatory policies in allotment of radio and TV time to various parties. (Michael Shafir). ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT ON 1991 STATE BUDGET. At its weekly meeting on 29 July, the Romanian government endorsed a bill on the annual general account of the 1991 state budget, local media report. The 1991 deficit is smaller than originally projected. Revenues were 496.8 billion lei and expenditures amounted to 537.9 billion lei. Public debt on 31 December 1991 was 396 billion lei, of which foreign debt was 199.1 billion lei and domestic debt 196.9 billion lei. (Michael Shafir). HUNGARIAN ECONOMIC INDICATORS. A report published by the Ministry of Finance found that economic development during the past six months proceeded along the lines forecast by the government. The current balance of payments showed $530 million in creditsconsiderably more than expectedwhile foreign currency reserves amounted to $5.1 billion. The value of exports was $5.1 billion, or 16.5% more than in the same period last year, while imports amounted to $5.2 billion. Industrial production fell by 18.4% in the first five months of the year as loss-making enterprises closed down. The number of registered unemployed at the end of June stood at 547,000 or 10.1% of the work force. Rises in prices were held to 20.6% in the past 12 months compared to 38.6% for the same period last year. (Edith Oltay) BULGARIA SPECIFIES PRIVATIZATION PROCEDURE. On 30 July the government adopted a set of instructions that outline the rules for public auctions of state and municipal property, BTA reports. Each offer must comprise the suggested price, payment terms, and a detailed business plan, including proposed policies on financial, organizational, social and environmental matters. Only the government, the Agency for Privatization, the ministries concerned and Municipal Councils are authorized to organize privatization auctions and they are not obliged to provide any explanations for their decisions. (Kjell Engelbrekt) BULGARIA: ECONOMIC BRIEFS. In an effort to stimulate production, on 30 July Bulgaria's central bank announced it will lower the base lending rate from 49% to 45% effective 3 August, BTA reports. Last month the base rate was reduced from 54%. Meanwhile, an RFE/RL correspondent in Sofia says the government has made a preliminary decision to discontinue uranium production by 1994; the industry employs 3,000 Bulgarians. Reuters reports Bulgaria is inviting bids from Western firms to update its telecommunications system, a deal worth some $230 million. (Kjell Engelbrekt) WALESA PREPARES DEFENSE DOCTRINE. At the first meeting of the National Defense Committee (KOK) since the formation of the new government, on 30 July President Lech Walesa proposed the outlines of Poland's defense doctrine and security policy. The president has primary responsibility for the country's sovereignty and security, Walesa said. Emphasizing that presidential preparation of security guidelines was "no coup or quest for power," he listed the basic principles: Poland has no declared enemy, respects the inviolability of borders and the sovereignty of other nations, rejects the use of force in bilateral relations, and makes no territorial demands against its neighbors. NATO membership is a long-term goal. Poland's peacetime army need not exceed 0.5% of the population, but must be mobile and effective. The special troops of the internal affairs ministry should be replaced by a national guard. The next KOK meeting, to be held within two months, is to adopt the defense doctrine in its final form. (Louisa Vinton) POLAND'S MILITARY REFORM OUTLINED. Defense Minister Janusz Onyszkiewicz announced on 30 July that 10,000 personnel changes, constituting a "generational change among officers," will take place during the reform of the armed forces. The number of generals' slots will fall from 448 (only 86 of which are now filled) to 150. Generals over 60 and colonels and lieutenant colonels over 58 will face forced retirement. Careful delineation of civilian control of the defense ministry from the military hierarchy will insulate the armed forces from political influence. Onyszkiewicz warned that sweeping lustration plans could destroy the army; no more than two or three generals would survive, he said. Meanwhile, the Sejm voted on 30 July to make 15 August (the date of the "miracle on the Vistula" in 1920 when the Poles defeated the Soviet Army outside Warsaw) the official army holiday. (Louisa Vinton) MAYOROV MEETS WITH BALTS. At a meeting with Latvian prime minister Ivars Godmanis in Riga on 29 July, Col. Gen. Leonid Mayorov, the new commander in chief of the Northwest Group of Forces, said that he is "well aware that we have to withdraw from the Baltics, and my task is to accomplish the removal of troops in a civilized manner." He promised to try to speed up the turnover of military facilities to Latvian authorities and noted that several installations could be sold to Latvia in order to gain funds to provide accommodations for the troops to be withdrawn. The following day Mayorov held talks with chairman of the Estonian Supreme Council, Arnold Ruutel, and the two sides presented their differing views on recent armed incidents. ITAR-TASS cited the press office of the CIS Navy in reporting two more instances of Estonians beating up or firing on Russian sailors in Tallinn on 30 July. Late on the 30th Mayorov's group also visited Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis, who told him that Lithuania's main concerns are the Russian military's introduction of new recruits and its refusal to abide by local laws, noting that every day military airports allow 10 or more planes violating Lithuania's air space. Local media featured the story. (Dzintra Bungs, Riina Kionka & Saulius Girnius) NATO BODY DISCUSSES BALTICS. The political committee of the North Atlantic Consultative Council devoted part of its 29 July session in Brussels to discussion of troop withdrawals from the Baltic States, BNS reports. Several Western delegations proposed that Russia draw on the negotiating experience of other member states and make use of unofficial contact groups for mediation. The Russian representative agreed to the proposal only in limited and indirect form, such as in resolving the economic problems associated with withdrawals. (Riina Kionka) ESTONIA HALTS ARMS SHIPMENT. Estonian Defense Forces seized 21 Soviet-built armored vehicles in Tallinn on 30 July, BNS reports. The BTR-80 vehicles, which were listed as normal trucks in documents, were taken over after Estonian authorities learned they were slated for sale and shipment to an undisclosed party in Europe. An Estonian Defense Forces official told BNS the vehicles are worth about $20,000 each. (Riina Kionka) LATVIANS REGAIN OLD DEFENSE MINISTRY BUILDING. Following a decision of Latvia's Economic Court the day before, on 30 July the authorities took over a building in Riga from the NWGF that until the Soviet occupation in 1940 had housed Latvia's Ministry of Defense, Diena reports. The staff of the NWGF newspaper Za rodinu and employees of a private firm had to vacate the building. According to an RFE/RL correspondent, the takeover was peaceful, although some Russian soldiers guarding the building had to be disarmed. (Dzintra Bungs)
write to us
with your comments and suggestions.