|Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead|
No. 147, 04 August 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR YELTSIN, KRAVCHUK DISCUSS FRIENDSHIP TREATY. Meeting on 3 August in the Crimean resort, Mukhalatka, Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk agreed on the main points of a prospective treaty on friendship, cooperation and partnership between their two states. Interfax quoted Kravchuk as saying the basic propositions of the treaty were practically worked out and that the foreign ministries of the two countries will now handle the details. Kravchuk said the treaty would be signed in Moscow soon. (Elizabeth Teague) JOINT CONTROL OF BLACK SEA FLEET. During their meeting at Mukhalatka, presidents Yeltsin and Kravchuk agreed to place the disputed Black Sea Fleet under joint control for a three-year interim period. According to the UPI account of the pact, the fleet will no longer be under the jurisdiction of the CIS military command. The leaders of Russia and Ukraine will share authority over the fleet and will jointly appoint its commanders. Following the interim period of joint control Russia and Ukraine would establish two separate fleets. (Doug Clarke) RUSSIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT ADJOURNS. On 3 August, the Russian Constitutional Court announced an indefinite postponement of the hearings on the constitutionality of the banning of the Communist Party, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. Court chairman, Valerii Zorkin, said that the court will need time to consider all the evidence presented and to prepare for final arguments. The court has heard evidence from some 40 witnesses and appears to have decided not to call additional witnesses, despite discussion of calling prominent former Party officials such as Mikhail Gorbachev. One member of the court suggested that the hearings could resume in early September, according to Radio Rossii. (Carla Thorson) LAWSUIT CHALLENGING IZVESTIYA TAKEOVER FILED. Three members of the Russian Supreme Soviet have filed a lawsuit challenging the 13 July parliamentary resolution to transfer founding status of Izvestiya to the Russian parliament. Sergei Shakhrai and two other parliamentarians filed the suit with the constitutional court. They claim that the parliament's resolution violates the constitutional guarantee of freedom of information and infringes on the government's authority to regulate the press. Editors of Izvestiya have refused to comply with the parliament's resolution, and the newspaper continues to print under its independent masthead. (Kathryn Brown) RUSSIAN BAN ON ARMS SALES. Boris Drozhdin, a people's deputy and the director of the Mayak plant in Kirov, claimed that the Russian government has banned the sale of military hardware to twenty-seven countries, Radio Rossii reported on 23 July. He did not specify which countries had been listed, but said that defense plants had lost their traditional markets in the Near East and in Africa. Drozhdin further asserted that the Russian Foreign Ministry had placed a ban on arms shipments even after President Yeltsin and Acting Prime Minister Gaidar had approved the sales. (Keith Bush) RUSSIAN ARMS SALES IN ASIA? Interfax reported on 3 August that the Gagarin aviation factory in far eastern Russia has sold more than twenty SU-27 "Flanker" combat aircraft to the People's Republic of China. The odd report, which is unconfirmed, suggested that the sale was completed after the Russian Defense Ministry and the Far Eastern Military District were themselves unable to come up with funding for the planes. A group of pilots from the Far Eastern Military District reportedly have left to train Chinese pilots on the new planes. Meanwhile, "Novosti" reported on 2 August that China is now conducting negotiations through the Norwegians on the purchase of the Varyag aircraft carrier, currently being constructed in Ukraine. According to the report, which also is unconfirmed, Taiwanese political authorities are concerned over escalating arms purchases in the region and are themselves considering trying to acquire modern military equipment from other CIS states. (Stephen Foye) MOTHERS PROTEST NON-COMBAT DEATHS. More than 100 mothers from across Russia began a two-day protest in Moscow over deaths and injuries resulting from brutality in the army, Western agencies reported on 3 August. The group wants the government to open investigations into what it claims are 40,000 cases each of murders, beatings, and suicides, and to win compensation from the government for the families of the victims. Mothers' groups have been protesting violence in army life for over three years now, and claim to have received no satisfaction from either the political or the military leaderships. (Stephen Foye) AIRBORNE FORCES HOLIDAY TURNS INTO BRAWL. Officers celebrating Russian Airborne Forces Day on 2 August caused disturbances in a number of Russian and Ukrainian cities, including Moscow, Tyumen, and Kiev, Western agencies reported. According to The New York Times on 3 August, many of the officers involved in the disturbances in Moscow were veterans of the war in Afghanistan. (Stephen Foye) ENTERPRISE DEBTS TO BE WRITTEN OFF. The chairman of the Russian Central Bank, Viktor Gerashchenko, has announced that over 1.5 trillion rubles of debts owed to the state by enterprises will be written off, Komsomolskaya pravda reported on 3 August (as cited by Western agencies). The Boston Globe of 4 August said that Gerashchenko had instructed the bank's settlement agencies to pay off the debts on 28 July. The move runs counter to previous declarations by the Gaidar administration and to IMF guidelines. Critics of the move held a news conference in Moscow on 3 August in the hope of pressuring President Yeltsin into rescinding the bailout. (Keith Bush) TRIPARTITE COMMISSION DISCUSSES SINGLE TARIFF SCALE. Russia's Tripartite Commission, on which government, unions and employers are represented, met to discuss the introduction of a single tariff scale to correct present discrepancies in the wage rates for staff in Russia's budget-financed enterprises, Interfax reported on 31 July. This year, strikes have been particularly prevalent at such enterprises. Russian Labor Minister Gennadii Melikyan said the new tariff would comprise 18 grades, ranging from a minimum salary of 1,350 rubles in the first grade to 13,000 rubles in the 18th. This would mean an increase of between 1.45 and 2.3 times the present average salaries. Melikyan said his ministry plans a gradual transition, starting with education and health workers and completing the introduction of the single tariff scale by the end of 1992. Trade union representatives approved the new scale in general but advised that it should be introduced for all workers in budget enterprises on 1 October 1992 in order to avoid unrest. (Elizabeth Teague) REFUGEES ROAMING THE KULUNDA STEPPE IN THE ALTAI. About 20,000 hungry and homeless refugees are roaming the Kulunda steppe in Altai krai in search of help, ITAR-TASS reported on 4 August. They have come from Central Asia, Transcaucasia, and adjacent republics of RussiaTatarstan, Tuva, Buryatia, Bashkiria, and Yakutia. About 90% are Russians, but they also include Germans, Ossetians, Kazakhs, and Moldovans. A commission has been set up to deal with the problem, but it has no funds and the Siberian winter is approaching. (Ann Sheehy) UNIFIED CIS CRIME FIGHTING AGENCY? A meeting of CIS Interior Ministers in the Kyrgyz city of Cholpon-Ata yielded an agreement on the formation of a joint data bank on crime, Kyrgyztag-TASS reported on 3 August. This is reportedly the first in a series of measures intended to boost the fight against crime in the CIS. Two CIS non-member states, Azerbaijan and Latvia, also sent observers to the meeting. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) KAZAKH ANTI-NARCOTICS ORGANIZATION HEAD INTERVIEWED. Vostochnyi Ekspress No. 28 published an interview with Vladimir Artemenko, head of the Kazakh branch of the International Association Against the Narcotics Trade. Artemenko warned that "in the near future, Kazakhstan will become an enormous market for the supply and use of narcoticsthe international drug mafia's interest in the region is increasing. Lack of resources limits the organization's ability to fight narcotics dealers. Opium poppies, marijuana and hashish are widely grown in Kazakhstan's Chuisk valley. Looming social dislocation caused by the market threatens to greatly increase the number of addicts, which has increased fourfold in recent years. (Cassandra Cavanaugh)
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