|We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us. - George Eliot|
No. 149, 06 August 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR UKRAINIAN CRITICISM OF YALTA AGREEMENT ON FLEET. The Ukrainian Republican Party, led by Mykhailo Horyn, has criticized the recent agreement between Ukraine and Russia on the division of the Black Sea Fleet, the Ukrainian TV news program "Dnipro" reported on 4 August. The Republican Party characterized the agreement as a further step in the direction of a "new association" along the lines of the former Soviet Union. Specifically, they noted that, according to the Ukrainian declaration of independence, everything on the territory of Ukraine, including the Black Sea Fleet, is the property of the people of Ukraine. The party has appealed to the parliament to annul the agreement. (Roman Solchanyk) KAZAKHSTAN OBJECTS TO YALTA AS WELL. The deputy chairman of Kazakhstan's Supreme Soviet Committee for National Security and Defense, Sergei Subbotin, has expressed doubt as to how far the agreement reached by Yeltsin and Kravchuk to remove the Black Sea Fleet from the jurisdiction of the CIS command corresponds to the general position of the CIS countries, Radio Mayak reported on 4 August. A commentary on the Yalta agreement on Radio Rossii on 4 August made the same point, noting that most of the other CIS countries were not consulted. The commentator also forecast that Georgia would take a sharply negative view of the agreement. (Ann Sheehy) RUSSIA, AZERBAIJAN SPLIT FLOTILLA. Interfax reported on 5 August that Russia and Azerbaijan have agreed to transfer 30% of the Caspian Sea Flotilla to Azerbaijan. Earlier reports had put the figure at 25%. The chief of the naval headquarters of Azerbaijan, Capt. Rafik Askerov, told a press conference in Baku on 4 August that negotiations on the fleet's division would be completed by 15 November and that Azerbaijan expected to get mine-sweepers, anti-submarine vessels, and auxiliary and support ships. He also said that the fleet was currently manned by only 70 officers out of the normal complement of 1,000-1,500. (Stephen Foye) AMERICANS TO HELP BELARUS DESTROY AMMUNITION. Radio Moscow reported on 5 August that an American company had signed a contract to help Belarus destroy ammunition once belonging to the former Soviet army. The ammunition will be converted into materiel "for use in the national economy" and the Belarusian government and the (unidentified) American company will split the profits from the joint venture. (Doug Clarke) GEORGIA TO FORM BORDER FORCES. Col. Otar Gumberidze, the commander of Georgian Border Forces, said that Georgia expects to complete the creation of its border forces by May of 1994, Interfax reported on 5 August. The report added that, according to an agreement reached between Georgia and Russia, Russian border guards will be responsible for training Georgian conscripts. (Stephen Foye) FILATOV TO VISIT WESTERN GROUP OF FORCES. The first deputy chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet, Sergei Filatov, is scheduled to visit the Eighth Guards Air Army in Germany on 8 August, ITAR-TASS reported. Plans call for the army to be disbanded. Filatov sits on the Russian Security Council and is also a member of the Russian State Commission for the Creation of a Russian Defense Ministry. He is expected to investigate preparations for the withdrawal of the former Soviet forces in Germany. (Stephen Foye) CONSTITUTIONAL COURT ASKS PARLIAMENT TO REVERSE IZVESTIYA DECISION. The Russian Constitutional Court has asked the Supreme Soviet to reverse its decision to take over control of Izvestiya. Sergei Filatov, deputy supreme soviet chairman, announced the court's request on 5 August, and added that the parliament cannot decide on the request until after the parliament's chairman, Ruslan Khasbulatov, returns from a visit to India, ITAR-TASS reported. Khasbulatov had led the drive to re-register the leading daily as an organ of the Supreme Soviet. The constitutional court's request was in response to a lawsuit filed on 3 August by three reformist members of the Russian parliament. (Kathryn Brown) OPPOSITION IN CHECHNYA CRITICAL OF RUSSIA. Sultan Meduev, one of the leaders of the "Daimokhk" (Fatherland) opposition movement in Chechnya, has said that Russia is behaving in an unprincipled manner towards Chechnya by halting all financial operations with Groznyi in the hope of getting the population to rise up against Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev, ITAR-TASS reported on 5 August. In addition, Meduev accused the Chechen authorities of suppressing criticism, but, as ITAR-TASS commented, "Daimokhk's" statements are, in fact, frequently published in the press. "Daimokhk's" members come mainly from the intelligentsia, but its ranks are growing outside the capital. (Ann Sheehy) KOZYREV UNDER FIRE. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev is facing three major problems which may lead to his departure, according to Megapolis-Ekspress on 5 August. The first is the loss of influence by his former mentor, State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis. The second is the lack of a policy concept for dealing with Russian minorities in neighboring states. The third and most serious problem is Kozyrev's personal image abroad. The British and Indian foreign offices have apparently recently criticized his performance. Kozyrev is also becoming increasingly isolated within the Russian Foreign Ministry. (Alexander Rahr, Moscow) REQUIEM FOR GAIDAR? The influential Nezavisimaya gazeta proclaimed on the front page of its 5 August edition that "The Gaidar Era is Over," the Los Angeles Times of 6 August and Western agencies reported. It referred to the as yet unresolved deadlock between some members of the Russian cabinet and the Russian Central Bank over the forgiveness of interenterprise debts. "For half a year there has been a war of nerves between the government and state industry," the newspaper noted, but now "industry has won." It speculated that members of a new "constructive opposition," including Arkadii Volsky and Konstantin Borovoi, could soon be appointed to a government of "new reforms." (Keith Bush) GERASHCHENKO FOR PRESERVATION OF RUBLE ZONE. In a Moscow TV broadcast on 5 August, Russian Central Bank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko called upon the former Soviet republics to remain in the ruble zone, Reuters reported. He said that republics which issue their own currencies "will soon see that this leads to a dead end." Gerashchenko further said that Russia "naturally will spare no effort in preserving the ruble zone... This is in the interests not only of Russia but of our neighbors as well." (Keith Bush) IMF APPROVES $1 BILLION CREDIT FOR RUSSIA. The IMF authorized the first of an anticipated series of multi-billion-dollar Western loans to aid Russia in its transition to a market economy, Western agencies reported on August 5. This first billion dollars in credit will be disbursed over the next five months. Meanwhile the US Congress is expected to vote on a US aid package to Russia on 6 or 7 August. The package includes an additional contribution to IMF coffers to make further IMF loans possible. (Erik Whitlock) MORE STATISTICS ON RUSSIAN ECONOMY RELEASED. New Goskomstat figures on wages and prices appeared in the latest issue of Literaturnaya Gazeta, Western agencies reported on 5 August. Personal incomes in the nation grew 590% in comparison to last year at this time while consumer prices grew at almost double that rate, 1170%. The inflation rate for food products in June was 12.1%. It also appears that projections on this year's total grain harvest have dropped. The CIS statistical committee disclosed that harvests will be down across the CIS except in Kazakhstan, Izvestiya reported on 5 August. The Russian harvest is now expected to be 90-93 million tons, rather than the 96 million reported just two weeks ago. (Erik Whitlock) RUSSIAN FARMERS TAKE TO THE STREETS. State and collective farm workers held demonstrations and picketed government buildings in many cities throughout Russia on 5 August, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. The action to mark a "day of unity of Russian peasants" was the largest of its kind, but the turnout was not as high as the organizers, the Russian Agrarian Union, had hoped. Among the grievances displayed by the protesters were the adverse terms of trade between agriculture and industry, the levels of state purchase prices for agricultural produce, the non-payment of bonuses for 1991 harvest results, the removal or threatened removal of subsidies, and the high levels of value-added tax. (Keith Bush) AGRICULTURAL SITUATION "EXTREMELY TENSE." Russian Vice-president Aleksandr Rutskoi held a meeting on 5 August of his "operational staff for the organization and preservation of the harvest," ITAR-TASS reported. He described the situation in the agro-industrial complex as "extremely tense." Of the production totals planned for the year, so far only 3.1% of grain purchases and 29% of potato purchases had been registered. Livestock inventories were down by 27%. Rutskoi blamed the "completely incomprehensible inactivity and irresponsibility" of many Russian ministries and organizations,and he threatened to take "the most decisive measures." Rutskoi had invited representatives from the farm workers' protest to his staff meeting, but they declined. He also declined to speak to one of the protest meetings. (Keith Bush) DEFENSE INDUSTRY TO DEFEND ENVIRONMENT. A conference on "Global Environmental Monitoring" will be held in Dubna, near Moscow, according to a 5 August ITAR-TASS report. Representatives from the military industrial complexes of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine as well as from the aerospace industries of the United States and other nations will participate. At a 4 August press conference, chairman of the Council of Ecological Security of the Foreign Policy Association, Rostislav Sergeev, announced that a key topic for discussion will be the use of existing weapons technology to develop a system of space-atmosphere-land environmental monitoring equipment. (Brenda Horrigan) RUSSIA PROPOSES KARABAKH PEACE TALKS. Following talks in Moscow on 5 August with his Armenian counterpart Raffi Hovannisian, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev proposed convening peace talks between Armenia and Russia somewhere in southern Russia in order to reach a cease-fire agreement in Nagorno-Karabakh, Russian and Western media reported. Interfax quoted Kozyrev as suggesting the deployment of a UN- or CIS-sponsored peacekeeping force in Karabakh. Meanwhile, in Rome delegates to the CSCE-sponsored Karabakh peace talks failed to come to any agreement on a fifth round of negotiations after the fourth round ended in failure on 4 August. (Liz Fuller) KAZAKH-TURKISH OIL PIPELINE IN THREE YEARS. On August 5, President Nursultan Nazarbaev, on the last day of a week-long official visit to Turkey, announced that the planned pipeline to transport Kazakh crude oil to Turkey will take three years to complete, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. Last month, a Turkish firm, Birlesmis Muhendisler Burosu, signed an energy deal worth $11.7 billion, and Kazakhstan's Energy Minister Kadir Baikanov indicated that his country is soliciting Turkey's help to find foreign credits, which would be repaid in oil. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) NABIEV'S POSITION IN TAJIKISTAN ERODES FURTHER. Employees of Tajikistan's National Security Committee, the successor to the republican KGB, have declared their intent to stage a sit-down strike if President Rakhmon Nabiev does not withdraw a decree removing Committee Chairman Alizhon Solibaev from his post, ITAR-TASS reported on 5 August. The declaration, which was published in the Dushanbe press, accuses Nabiev of destabilizing the situation in the country and creating preconditions for more "violence, repression and social tension." Similar attacks on the president, which have become more frequent as his attempts to end the fighting in Tajikistan have failed, have previously come from opposition figures. The protest by security personnel suggests that dissatisfaction with Nabiev is spreading to his former supporters. (Bess Brown) ANOTHER NEW PARTY FOR UZBEKISTAN. Russian TV reported on 5 August that another political party, calling itself the "Fatherland Progress" Party, held its founding congress in the capital of Tashkent. The party, which has been officially registered, claims 4,000 members, mostly from the Uzbek intelligentsia. The poet, Usman Azimov, was elected chairman. Azimov was one of the founding members of the Democratic People's Front "Birlik," before being lured away by a seat on President Karimov's Presidential Council in 1991. Azimov describes the party as liberal-democratic, advocating parliamentary democracy, complete independence of Uzbekistan, and a market economy. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) MORE DEATHS THAN BIRTHS IN UKRAINE, ST. PETERSBURG. In the first half of 1992 deaths exceeded births by more than 65,000 in Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Statistics, Ukrinform-TASS reported on 3 August. Ukraine has one of the lowest birth rates of any of the republics of the former Soviet Union. In St. Petersburg more than 17,000 babies were born in the first six months of 1992, but over 31,000 people died, ITAR-TASS reported on 5 August, citing Izvestiya. (Ann Sheehy) RUSSIAN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM FAILS NEWBORNS. Health department experts believe that a locally produced glucose solution administered to newborn babies in a Bryansk maternity hospital may have caused 14 babies to fall ill, and six to die, according to ITAR-TASS on 5 August. Low standards of health care and a lack of medicines are in large part to blame for the high infant mortality rate in Russia17.3 per 1,000 live births in 1990. (Sarah Helmstadter) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE US CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION OF BALKAN WAR CRIMES. Major US dailies on 6 August report that a State Department spokesman released a statement the previous day signed by Acting Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger calling for an investigation of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia. Measures include reports by the UN Human Rights Commission, appeals to the Serbs, Croats, and Muslims to open "any and all prisons and detention centers" to neutral observers, and involvement by the EC, Russia, the CSCE, and the UN Security Council. It is not clear what exactly this would lead to, however. In recent days media and political pressures have increased rapidly on the Bush administration for it to be seen as being more assertive in light of reports on Serb death camps, with the media making graphic comparisons with Nazi concentration camps. Meanwhile at the UN, Bosnia's representative Muhamed Sacirbey charged that UN officials have failed to act on month-old reports about the camps, and went on to present a list of 105 alleged Serbian camps and prisons in the former Yugoslavia. (Patrick Moore) FRANCE PLEDGES TROOPS FOR UN STRIKE FORCE. Once again displaying a high profile in matters relating to the Bosnian crisis, Paris has pledged 2,000 troops for a UN rapid-reaction force that could be used to "stop wars" in local conflicts, Reuters said on 5 August. UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali told a German reporter that "if 20 other countries were ready to do that, I would be in much better position" to handle regional disputes. Elsewhere, French president Francois Mitterrand told parliament that, in Bosnia, "all humanitarian convoys must be protected, all camps must be inspected, monitored, and opened," AFP reports. (Patrick Moore) PANIC ON THE OFFENSIVE. Radio Serbia reports on 5 August that the federal government of the rump Yugoslavia has issued a declaration calling for a series of roundtable talks after 15 August among political parties represented in parliament as a "precondition" for holding elections in Yugoslavia sometime at the end of November. The declaration, signed by Prime Minister Milan Panic, also stipulates that the participants will decide whether political parties and citizens' groups not represented in government and parliament may take part. On 4 August Panic said he will ask the UN to monitor Yugoslavia's borders in order to prove that it is not sending troops and arms to Bosnia-Herzegovina. He also said that he has agreed with Bosnian foreign minister Haris Silajdzic on the formation of an elite Serb-Croat-Muslim antiterrorist unit to try to eliminate snipers, terrorists, and criminals whom Panic regards as the main obstacles to peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Responding to widespread reports of concentration camps, Panic said that there are camps and some have refugees who have been forcibly sent there. On the diplomatic front Panic said he will soon travel to Greece and Albania. On 7 August he is scheduled to meet Croatia's Prime Minister Franjo Greguric in Budapest to discuss mutual recognition, prisoner exchanges, and the reopening of the Belgrade-Zagreb highway. (Milan Andrejevich) RUSSIA RECOGNIZES MACEDONIA. Making good on President Boris Yeltsin's pledge in Sofia on 4 August, Russian deputy foreign Minister Vitalii Churkin delivered a note on the 5th to the leadership of the Republic of Macedonia extending formal recognition. Bulgaria, Turkey, and a few other countries also recognize the ex-Yugoslav republic, and last week Milan Panic announced that the rump Yugoslavia might also do so. Athens strongly objects to the use of the name Macedonia and has been trying to block recognition by the European Community and other countries. In a foreign ministry statement released on 5 August Greece deplored Russia's "hasty unilateral act." The Russian Foreign Ministry in turn took umbrage at the tone of the Greek message and stated that Russia finds it "impermissible to protract the resolution of the so-called Macedonian issue and leave a dangerous vacuum in the heart of the Balkans." Tanjug, Greek Radio, ITAR-TASS, and Western agencies carried the story. (Charles Trumbull) SLOVAK PREMIER OPPOSES REFERENDUM. On 5 August Vladimir Meciar told the Slovak Parliament that a referendum to decide whether or not Czechoslovakia should split as planned "is against Slovakia's interests." In Meciar's opinion, a referendum would only complicate the question of the so-called successor rights of the two new states. According to CSTK, Meciar also said that if a referendum were held and a majority of the electorate voted for the preservation of the federation, new elections would not be necessary. (Paulina Bren) ELECTION OF SLOVAK PRESIDENT. According to Michal Kovac, the head of the Federal Assembly, the election of a Slovak president will take place at the beginning of next year at the latest. At a meeting of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), HZDS chairman Meciar said that his party would not, however, consider Alexander Dubcek for the post because "he had done more harm than good for Slovak politics." According to various media reports, Meciar further added that he himself will not seek the post of Slovak president. (Paulina Bren) STOPGAP SOLUTION TO ROMANIAN PREFECT CRISIS? On 5 August Prime Minister Theodor Stolojan briefed Romania's government on his talks with representatives of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania conducted on the previous day in Sfintu Gheorghe and Miercurea-Ciuc. The talks aimed at defusing tension provoked by Stolojan's recent dismissal of the ethnic Hungarian prefects of Harghita and Covasna counties, where Hungarians are in the majority. Radio Bucharest reports that Stolojan decided to appoint two caretakersone ethnic Romanian and one ethnic Hungarianfor each of the two counties, until final nominations are made. Gheorghe Funar, the nationalist mayor of Cluj, strongly criticized Stolojan for the compromise. (Dan Ionescu) BALTIC FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET, PREP FOR MOSCOW. The three Baltic foreign ministers met in Riga on 5 August to unify positions for their meeting with Russian foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev on 6 August. In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, Estonia's Jaan Manitski, Latvia's Janis Jurkans and Lithuania's Algirdas Saudargas said they regarded the Moscow meeting as "an opportunity for Russia to begin practical implementation of the commitments" made at the CSCE summit in Helsinki. According to reports from Moscow, Kozyrev is expected to present an accelerated withdrawal timetable. ITAR-TASS reports that Russia also plans to discuss territorial claims and the treatment of ethnic Russians living in the Baltic States. In an interview with the VOA Lithuanian Service, Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis said that the 6 August meeting can not substitute for direct negotiations between Russia and the individual republics. Noting that Russia did not hold joint troop withdrawal talks with Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, Landsbergis sees no reason for the three Baltic States to do so simply because the Russian army troops were united under the Northwest Group of Forces. (Riina Kionka & Saulius Girnius) ESTONIAN COMMUNISTS FORM ELECTION COALITION. The Estonian Communist Party announced on 5 August that it has formed an election coalition called Leftist Opportunity. The coalition will field 15 candidates13 of them ECP membersin next month's parliamentary election. Unlike all the other coalitions in the race, Leftist Opportunity will not field its own presidential candidate. ECP secretary Harry Roots told the RFE/RL Estonian Service on 5 August that there are those among the candidates already nominated by other coalitions who are, by virtue of their many years of demonstrated loyalty to the CPSU, more than suitable to Leftist Opportunity. (Riina Kionka) ESTONIA PROTESTS NARVA BEATINGS. The Estonian Foreign Ministry on 5 August sent its Russian counterpart a formal note protesting what it says was a violation by Russia of the Narva River border point on 2 August. That day, a group of 30 intoxicated men wearing Russian marine uniforms assaulted guards at the Estonian border checkpoint on the bridge. According to Paevaleht of 4 August, the men beat up the Estonian border guards and then forced their way across the bridge to Narva. It is not certain that the men have returned to Russia. Estonian police are investigating. (Riina Kionka) WALESA NAMES NEW GENERAL STAFF CHIEF. President Lech Walesa appointed Gen. Tadeusz Wilecki as chief of the Polish armed forces General Staff on 5 August. Wilecki, 47, previously served as Silesian Military District commander. He replaces Gen. Zdzislaw Stelmaszuk, who held the post for two years. Early in 1992, the appointment of the General Staff chief became a major source of conflict between Walesa and the ousted government of Prime Minister Jan Olszewski. The president had proposed Wilecki for the job, but Olszewski's defense minister had insisted on retaining Stelmaszuk. Wilecki's appointment is a further sign of good relations between Walesa and the current defense minister, Janusz Onyszkiewicz, whose constitutional right it is to nominate the candidate for the General Staff post. (Louisa Vinton) POLISH PRIMATE IN MOSCOW. Cardinal Jozef Glemp met in Moscow with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Aleksei II on 5 August. Glemp said afterward that the talks created a good climate for better relations between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, but that it was too early to speak of a breakthrough. Tensions have recently arisen over the right of the Catholic Church to seek new followers in parts of the former Soviet Union. According Gazeta Wyborcza on 6 August, Orthodox Metropolitan Kirill told a press conference that while the Orthodox Church supports religious freedom for Catholics, it objects to attempts to proselytize among the Orthodox population. On 6 August Glemp begins a pastoral visit to Polish communities in Kazakhstan. (Louisa Vinton) POLISH STRIKES REACH IMPASSE. Meeting with unionists from the former official OPZZ federation on 5 August, Labor Minister Kuron said that "all possibilities of negotiation in the conflict at the [Polska Miedz] copper combine have been exhausted." Workers at the combine have been on strike for 17 days, and fourteen of them are now staging a hunger strike. Kuron criticized the "every man for himself" attitude of strikers. Speaking at the same meeting, Privatization Minister Janusz Lewandowski described that the strike now underway at the FSM auto plant in Tychy as a "strike against the work force," as its continuation could undermine the factory's purchase by Fiat. (Louisa Vinton) FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN SLOVAKIA INCREASING. Data released by Slovakia's State Statistical Office on 5 August reveal a sharp rise in foreign investment in the republic. While foreign investment had totalled 3,000 million koruny by April 1992, it reportedly increased by 47.1% by the end of June. CSTK quoted Rudolf Krc, head of the Statistics Office, as saying that 117 foreign companies have negotiated new investments in Slovakia since April, the leading companies being German, Austrian, and American. Currently 2,129 joint ventures with foreign capital participation are registered in Slovakia. (Paulina Bren) 22,300 ENTERPRISES REGISTERED IN LATVIA. BNS reported on 5 August that so far 22,300 enterprises have been registered in Latvia of which 1,163 include foreign investments, 1,165 are state enterprises, and 14 are enterprises leased from the state. The lion's share (15,800) of the enterprises are registered in Riga. Comparing the total number of enterprises to Latvia's population, there is currently one enterprise for every 120 residents. These figures indicate great interest in private business on the part of the population but obviously give no clue as to the viability of such a large number of businesses. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN-UKRAINIAN TRADE ACCORD. On 4 August in Kiev Latvia's prime minister Ivars Godmanis and his Ukrainian counterpart Vitold Fokin signed a bilateral trade and economic accord, BNS reports. The two leaders also discussed agriculture, energy, relations with international organizations, and experience with instituting their own currency. (Dzintra Bungs) GERMAN TOXIC WASTE SHIPMENT STOPPED IN ROMANIAN PORT. On 4 August Romanian customs inspectors stopped a German barge carrying toxic wastes in the Danube port of Moldova Veche after they discovered its papers were not in order. According to members of the crew, the shipment consisted of more than 400,000 kg of plastic wastes loaded at Regensburg and headed for Bulgaria. Rompres said that Romanian officials will not allow the barge into Romanian territorial waters until proper documents are presented. This is the latest in a series of incidents resulting from attempts to dump West Europeanmostly Germantoxic wastes in the Balkan area. (Dan Ionescu)
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