|Samaya bol'shaya trata, kotoruyu mozhno sdelat', - eto trata vremeni. - Teofrast|
No. 150, 07 August 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR NAZARBAEV TO PROPOSE UNION INSTEAD OF CIS? Rabochaya tribuna's editorial office has learned from "absolutely trustworthy sources" that Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev is preparing to submit an official proposal to establish a closer Union of states instead of the amorphous CIS, the newspaper reported on 7 August. Nazarbaev is said to be proceeding on the assumption that seven CIS member-states are ready to take this step. Nazarbaev has long been frustrated by the unwillingness of Ukraine, in particular, to agree to the creation of effective CIS bodies. If the report is true, it would indicate that the 6 July summit did nothing to convince him that Ukraine has had a change of heart. The seven member-states he envisages as ready to form a Union would be Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Armenia. (Ann Sheehy) KASATONOV BELIEVES FLEET WILL REMAIN UNITED. The CIS Black Sea Fleet commander, Admiral Igor Kasatonov, told Krasnaya zvezda on 6 August that he believes the fleet will remain united following the three-year transitional period agreed upon by Presidents Kravchuk and Yeltsin in Yalta on 3 August. He based his belief on what he portrayed as Kiev's and Moscow's commonalty of interests in the Black Sea and predicted that the two countries would voluntarily agree to maintain the unity of the fleet. He confirmed that the fleet command would be removed from the CIS Joint Command and would instead be subordinated directly to the two presidents. (Stephen Foye) YALTA AGREEMENT DEFENDED BY UKRAINIAN OFFICIAL. The first deputy head of the Ukrainian parliament, Vasyl Durdynets, told a group of foreign diplomats in Kiev that the recent agreement on the Black Sea Fleet in Yalta "made it possible to avoid serious and unforeseen consequences" for the strained relations between Ukraine and Russia, Radio Ukraine reported on 5 August. The Yalta agreement, he said, was a classic example of political compromise that is also in the interests of the world community. The agreement is under fire from several fronts along the Ukrainian political spectrum. (Roman Solchanyk) PRESIDIUM OF BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT OBJECTS TO YALTA. The presidium of the Belarusian parliament issued a statement on 6 August saying that the Yalta agreement between Russia and Ukraine on the Black Sea Fleet violated various CIS agreements and that such matters should be decided by the Council of CIS Heads of State, BelInform-TASS reported. The chairman of the parliament, Stanislav Shushkevich, who interrupted his vacation to attend the extraordinary session of the presidium, said that Belarus was not claiming part of the fleet but all member-states should have a say in the matter in view of their share in creating and equipping this and other fleets. (Ann Sheehy) RUSSIA LIKELY TO SELL MISSILES TO CHINA. The Russian government is expected to sell surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles to China, according to a government official described by Moscow News on 6 August as "a senior official responsible for arms export policy." The official revealed that the Chinese government had proposed buying tactical ballistic missiles and air defense missilesboth with ranges of less than 500 kilometersduring the several rounds of talks held this year. He also claimed that Malaysia was close to a decision on whether or not to buy MiG-29 jet fighters. The official estimated that Russia would sell China arms worth more than $4 billion each year over the next 5 to 10 years. (Doug Clarke) RUSSIA TO DISPLAY ONCE SECRET WEAPONS AT AIR SHOW. On 6 August, ITAR-TASS reported that several once-secret aircraft and weapons systems would be displayed at an air show to be held at Zhukovsky, near Moscow, between 11 and 16 August. Among the aircraft will be the Tu-160 Backfire strategic jet bomber and the attack helicopter known in the West as the Hokumthe world's first single-seat close support helicopter. The supersonic "jump-jet" fighter known in the West as the Freestyle will also be on display. The Russians will also be pushing their S-300 anti-aircraft missile systemknown in the West as the SA-10 Grumble. The Russians claim that this system can outperform the American Patriot missile. (Doug Clarke) MOSCOW NEWS ON UKRAINIAN ARMY. Moscow News (No. 32) carried a report on developments within the Ukrainian armed forces. Defense Minister Konstantin Morozov and Rukh leader, Vyacheslav Chornovil, were quoted to the effect that Kiev can count on neither the loyalty nor the battle worthiness of the army. The persistence of draft evasion, and of continued incidents of brutality among Ukrainian conscripts was also noted. The report outlined the debate over military doctrine, claiming that the Defense Ministry's current draft has been challenged by the Ukrainian National Democratic Party, which apparently views Russia as the major threat and calls for the army to be maintained at a strength of some 500,000 men. It also discussed the activities of the Union of Ukrainian Officers and the internal politics of the army, including efforts to dismiss the current defense minister. According to the report, Ukraine currently has 657,000 men in uniform. (Stephen Foye) POSSIBLE SUCCESSORS TO KOZYREV. Moscow News (No. 32) mentioned Ambassador Vladimir Lukin, Presidential Counselor Sergei Stankevich, the chief of staff for the presidents office, Yurii Petrov, and Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Poltoranin as possible successors to Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev. Rumors of Kozyrev's departure are currently dominating Moscow's political life. Moscow News stated, however, that Kozyrev's departure would signify a major change in Yeltsin's political course. It warned that Kozyrev's resignation would lead to endless debates in parliament during which Yeltsin's foreign policy would become a target of new attacks. (Alexander Rahr) NEW CHIEF OF PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE. Anatolii Krasikov, head of the international section of the liberal newspaper Nezavisimaya gazeta, has been appointed chief of the Russian Presidential Press Service, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 6 August. Krasikov was at one time a deputy director of TASS. He has published books on the Vatican and on Spanish road from totalitarianism to democracy. In 1991, he was demoted because of his reformist views. He joined the staff of Nezavisimaya gazeta after the August 1991 failed coup. The newly created press service will work under Yeltsin's chief press spokesman, Vyacheslav Kostikov. (Alexander Rahr) YELTSIN'S REPRESENTATIVES PREDICT VICTORY IN CPSU CASE. At a press conference on 6 August, Russian State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis predicted that the presidential decrees banning the Communist Party would be ruled constitutional, Interfax reported. Burbulis argued that the president's position was amply supported by witnesses' testimony. He also noted that, in his opinion, the lawyers had provided convincing arguments that the Communist Party is unconstitutional. Sergei Shakhrai, the president's chief lawyer, said that he had not seen a single document indicative of former Soviet President Gorbachev's involvement in the August 1991 coup attempt, and claimed that neither Gorbachev nor Yeltsin would be called to testify when the hearings resume next month. (Carla Thorson) CLAMP ON RUSSIAN EXPORTS TO CIS? At a news conference and in an interview with RFE/RL's Moscow correspondent on 6 August, Russian Economics Minister Andrei Nechaev said that the cabinet had that day discussed, inter alia, Russian exports to other CIS members. He implied that Russia might clamp down on exports to other former Soviet republics, as they were defaulting on payment and owed Russia hundreds of billions of rubles. Export bans might be applied to individual enterprises. Nechaev also announced that Russia will conclude "specialized agreements" for 1993 with other CIS members. (Keith Bush) NECHAEV ON RUSSIA'S ECONOMIC PROSPECTS. At his news conference, and in an interview with Trud on 6 August, Nechaev forecast a continuation of the economic slump through mid-1993. Provided that there is no interference in the reform program, stabilization could occur in the summer of 1993, followed by renewed growth. He estimated Russia's debt service in 1992 at over $22 billion, and admitted that the federation could not even pay the interest, let alone the principal. Nechaev put the current rate of inflation at 15-17% a month, but expressed confidence that this could be lowered to 9% a month by the end of the year. (Keith Bush) US AID PACKAGE FOR RUSSIA PASSES HOUSE... Final passage of the multi-billion dollar American aid package is virtually assured after a crucial House vote on 6 August, Western agencies reported. The House approved $1.2 billion in bilateral aid and $12 billion for increasing IMF lending resources. The package, a version of which has already passed through the Senate, also sanctions $3 billion for use in the IMF-sponsored ruble stabilization fund. The final bill is expected to be approved this fall, after a joint Congressional committee irons out the details. (Erik Whitlock) ...AND WORLD BANK APPROVES MONEY FOR IMPORTS. The World Bank is preparing to give Russia $600 million. The components of the total, summarized by Western agencies on 7 August, include $350 million earmarked for purchases of much needed equipment in the agro-industrial, energy and health sectors. The remaining $250 will be made available to the private sector to finance imports. The World Bank is also expected to authorize another $1 billion over the next year. (Erik Whitlock) MORE GLASNOST ON RUSSIAN GOLD? According to Interfax, as cited by Reuters on 6 August, the Russian government has passed a special resolution agreeing to disclose details of the federation's gold output. A Rosalmazzoloto official also told the agency that more information on gold output and reserves would eventually be made available. However, virtually all of the salient data on the former USSR's gold output, sales, and reserves were published in Moscow News of 17-24 November 1991. (Keith Bush) MOSCOW OBLAST TO HELP NEAR-BANKRUPT DEFENSE INDUSTRY. Moscow TV reported on 5 August that deputies of the Moscow oblast council have decided to give "urgent aid" to defense industry enterprises in the oblast. The help will go to converting enterprises which are suffering severe financial difficulties during the shift to civilian production. (Brenda Horrigan) PREPARATIONS FOR UKRAINIAN REFERENDUM. A working conference organized by Rukh has resolved to complete the formation of initiative groups on a referendum by early September, the Ukrainian TV news, "Dnipro," reported on 6 August. Taking part in the session were representatives from most Ukrainian political parties, according to the report. The referendum is aimed at the dissolution of parliament, dismissal of the cabinet of ministers, and the formation of a coalition government. (Roman Solchanyk) UZBEK DEFENSE LAW: ADHERENCE TO NON-NUCLEAR PRINCIPLES. On 6 August an Uzbek Presidential bulletin was issued on the Law on Defense (in effect since 4 August), Interfax reported. The law rejects military action as a means of settling disputes, and rejects any territorial claims on any other states. It describes Uzbekistan as "aspiring to neutrality," which corresponds with the decision to join the Non-Aligned Movement announced in late June by President Karimov. Uzbekistan will not produce, acquire, or station nuclear weapons on its territory. The law states that the Uzbek Armed forces will be built according to the principle of reasonable sufficiency, and that in case of martial law, the president will serve as commander-in-chief. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) TAJIK SUPREME SOVIET TO MEET. Tajikistan's Supreme Soviet is to open a special session on 10 August, ITAR-TASS reported on 6 August. The deputies apparently want to try their hand at ending the chaos in the country, which has been in a state of virtual civil war since June. The Supreme Soviet, which is dominated by conservative communists, was supposed to have been replaced by an Assembly made up of parliamentary deputies and opposition representatives, but deputies from some of Tajikistan's oblasts refused to participate and the Assembly never met. The report noted that deputies do not exclude a resumption of demonstrations during the session, such as those that occurred during the spring. (Bess Brown) CHERNOBYL OFFICIAL WARNS OF LEAKING "SARCOPHAGUS." An official at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine warned that radioactive material is continuing to erode the protective "sarcophagus" surrounding the plant's reactor, "Vesti" reported on 6 August. Vladimir Shcherbina said that crevices had formed in the "sarcophagus" covering some 1,000 square meters and that the situation was unpredictable. (Carla Thorson) FOREST FIRES IN BELARUS. Prolonged forest fires and burning peat bogs in the area of Belarus contaminated with radiation by the 1986 Chernobyl accident have raised fears of increased radioactivity in the area, Western agencies reported on 6 August. Similar alarms were heard last year. Head of the Belarus center for radiological monitoring, Ivan Matveyenko, reported that while high levels of radiation in the air had been registered, there was no spread of radioactive material, and no significant increase in the form of radiation most dangerous to humansgamma radiation. (Sarah Helmstadter) ANTHRAX CASES REPORTED IN GEORGIA. At least sixteen people in western Georgia are known to have contracted anthrax as a result of contact with or consumption of tainted meat, some of which was sold at an unofficial market in Kutaisi, according to an interview with a Georgian medical official in Sakartvelos respublika of 28 July. One of those infected developed the most severe form of the disease; whether any of those infected have died was not clear. (Liz Fuller) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE UN SARAJEVO HEADQUARTERS SHELLED. Four 122-mm artillery shells struck UN headquarters in Sarajevo on the night of 6/7 August in what the UN described as "a deliberate attack." Four French soldiers were injured. A UN spokesman said it was unclear which of the warring sides was responsible. Bosnian government forces are reported to have suffered a "major defeat" and "heavy losses" after the failure of their offensive against Bosnian Serbs besieging Sarajevo. Attacks on Serb positions both north and south of the city were repulsed, and the Serbs responded with an artillery barrage of the city. UN Lt. Gen. Philippe Morillon met with Bosnian officials 6 August in an unsuccessful attempt to have them call a halt to the offensive, which has forced Sarajevo's airport to be shut down. Meanwhile, UN spokesman Mik Magnusson said that Bosnian government troops "had several times recently" broken an agreement requiring both sides to keep their forces at least 500 meters away from UN positions. Magnusson said one Bosnian government tank position was only 100 meters from UN headquarters in Sarajevo. International media carried the reports. (Gordon Bardos) BUSH STATEMENT. International media on 6 August reported that the US president for the first time raised the possibility of using force to ensure delivery of humanitarian aid "to the people of Sarajevo and elsewhere in Bosnia, no matter what it takes." He attacked "the aggressors and extremists" for their "vile policy of ethnic cleansing" and demanded international access to detention camps, but noted that there is no "easy or simple solution to this tragedy." Bush called on the Security Council to authorize "the use of all necessary measures" to get the humanitarian aid through. He took additional moves to "support the legitimate governments of Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina" by setting up full diplomatic relations with them, and took further steps "to isolate Serbia economically and politically." Finally, he wants international monitors to help ensure that the conflict does not spread to other areas of the former Yugoslavia or beyond. The VOA noted that Bush is "under intense political pressure to do something" amid increasing media reports of Serbian concentration camps, where Muslims and Croats are allegedly beaten and killed. (Patrick Moore) MORE INTERNATIONAL REACTION. The BBC said on 6 August that British TV crews obtained footage of one of the camps that seems to bear out the reports. Some alleged camps visited by journalists turned out to be nothing unusual, but many American dailies on 7 August ran stories supporting the allegations that Serbs are following a systematic and brutal policy of "ethnic cleansing" very much along Nazi lines. Lady Thatcher, Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham Foxman and other prominent Western figures called for action, but British prime minister John Major again ruled out using force to stop the conflict. Bosnia's vice president appealed to the international community on 6 August to sell Bosnia arms if there is to be no intervention, while Iranian leaders urged Islamic states to meet to consider using force. Finally, a Greek spokesman told the BBC that people in Athens were asking themselves whether Russia's announcement in Bulgaria that it intended to recognize Macedonia means that Moscow is trying again to claim leadership of Balkan Slavs. (Patrick Moore) PANIC VISITS CAMP, MEETS GREGURIC. On 6 August Milan Panic, prime minister of the rump Yugoslavia, visited a refugee camp in Palic near the Yugoslav-Hungarian border, a facility the governments of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina have described as a concentration camp for Bosnian, Muslim, and Croatian refugees. After a two-hour tour, Panic concluded that Palic is a refugee center and not a concentration camp; he offered a reward of $5,000 to anyone who can prove otherwise. Meanwhile, Hungarian foreign minister Geza Jeszenszky said his country will do everything in its power to help the talks taking place in Budapest on 7 August between Panic and Croatian prime minister Franjo Greguric, Hungarian Radio reports. The meeting is being organized by the International Red Cross. (Milan Andrejevich & Karoly Okolicsanyi) PANIC ON KOSOVO. During a news conference on 4 August Panic, said that he is ordering the reopening of Albanian schools in Kosovo. He did not specify the terms of his decision nor is it clear whether he is prepared to meet the demands of local Albanian leaders for tuition and textbooks in the Albanian language. Panic also criticized countries sending commissions to investigate human rights conditions into Yugoslavia, saying that most of these countrieswhich he did not namehad at one time supported Tito, "the greatest violator of human rights." Adding that "because they are my people, the lives of Albanians are more dear to me than any foreign commission" he warned that he will take any foreign country to court if their commissions spark unrest. (Milan Andrejevich) NO BREAKTHROUGH AT BALTIC TALKS. Despite optimistic predictions by Russian foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev, no breakthrough was achieved in Moscow on 6 August about the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Baltic States and the situation of the Russian-speaking population there. Though all sides stressed the significance of discussing these issues at a conference table and agreed to work on a detailed timetable for the troop pullout, this meeting also demonstrated how difficult it will be to find mutually acceptable solutions. The Baltic side sees the presence of foreign troops on its territory as the major obstacle to its economic and political development, while Kozyrev claims that "aggressive nationalism [on both sides] is responsible for the division between our peoples, violations of human rights, and territorial claims," Western agencies report. (Dzintra Bungs) RUSSIA'S TOUGH CONDITIONS. According to BNS and Western agency reports, Russia said the pullout of its forces from the Baltic States in 1994 could proceed if the Baltic States agree: (1) to grant legal status to the armed forces there in the interim period so as to insure their normal functioning; (2) to accept Russia's strategic installations for the time being; (3) to drop compensation claims for the damage inflicted on their territories by the USSR during 1940-91; (4) to help construct housing in Russia for the departing troops; (5) to guarantee transit rights of military cargoes destined for Kaliningrad; (6) to provide compensation for the land and property vacated by the troops; (7) to guarantee social security (including pensions) and human rights for Soviet officers retired in the Baltics and their families; (8) to alter laws that infringe upon the political and economic rights of the Russian-speaking population; and (9) to drop territorial claims on land annexed by Russia from the Baltic States after World War II. (Dzintra Bungs) LITHUANIAN REACTION. On 6 August Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis expressed surprise to the VOA Lithuanian Service that at the Moscow talks Russia presented conditions for the withdrawal of forces that came as an occupying army. Noting that Russia signed the CSCE document in Helsinki calling for the swift withdrawal of the troops, he doubted that anyone would call the proposed withdrawal by 1994 "swift." On 7 August Foreign Affairs Minister Algirdas Saudargas told a press conference that he welcomes an official Russian position at last on troop withdrawal but particularly regrets that the Russian position does not deal with the Baltic States individually. (Saulius Girnius) ESTONIAN REACTION. Foreign Minister Jaan Manitski took particular exception to the eighth point above and told reporters that his country's legislation cannot be a topic of bilateral talks. If at all, Manitski told BNS, discussion of the legislation should come at the international level, with the participation of foreign experts. Although Manitski described the meeting as "useful," he added that Estonia considers impossible Russia's suggestion to maintain some strategic bases on the Baltic territories, and reiterated that the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty must be the point of departure for bilateral talks. (Riina Kionka) YELTSIN TO MEET BALTIC LEADERS? BNS and ITAR-TASS reported on 6 August that there may soon be a meeting between Russia's president Boris Yeltsin and the Baltic leaders to discuss Baltic-Russian relations. This was also suggested by Kozyrev, who told BNS that the Russian position at the foreign ministers' meeting had been coordinated with Yeltsin. He noted that "the sides have agreed to keep the issues raised during the meeting in the focus of their political attention and initiate preparations for bilateral summits." (Dzintra Bungs) CANDIDATE REGISTRATION ENDS IN ESTONIA. The State Election Commission on 6 August formally closed the books on new candidates for next month's parliamentary elections. Candidates now have until 11 August to register themselves with the commission. Election coalitions may continue putting up candidates for president until 11 August, and those candidates must register themselves by 21 August. Elections will be held on 20 September. (Riina Kionka) BULGARIA ASKS FOR DEBT REDUCTION. Returning from a new round of talks with Bulgaria's creditor banksto which it owes nearly $9 billionFinance Minister Ivan Kostov told reporters he expects his new compromise proposal to make creditors accept the idea of an all-encompassing arrangement and a substantial debt reduction, Demokratsiya wrote on 6 August. Kostov said the deal will include a guarantee that Bulgaria repay all debts in case its finances improved, immediate resumption of interest payments, and a special clause on debt/equity swaps. (Kjell Engelbrekt) POLISH-RUSSIAN DEBT TALKS. The foreign economic cooperation ministers for Poland and Russia signed an agreement in Warsaw on 6 August that paves the way for a treaty on trade relations between the two countries. The Russian side pledged to maintain deliveries of oil and natural gas in return for Polish goods. Turning to the troublesome issue of mutual indebtedness, the two ministers agreed to draw up a final balance at their next meeting in September in Kaliningrad. According to the Polish Finance Ministry, Poland owes the former Soviet Union 4.7 billion transferable rubles and $1.6 billion, while the former Soviet countries owe Poland 7 billion transferable rubles and $336 million. The Russian delegation also conveyed an invitation from President Boris Yeltsin for Polish prime minister Hanna Suchocka to visit Kaliningrad in September, when a conference of Baltic states is scheduled. (Louisa Vinton) POLISH STRIKE STANDOFF CONTINUES. The strike organizers at the FSM auto plant in Tychy declared on 6 August that the strike will go on until wage demands are granted. Privatization Minister Janusz Lewandowski revealed that FSM runs a loss even at present wage levels, effectively costing the state more than 100 billion zloty ($7 million) per month. The government's only responsible option, Lewandowski said, is to reject unreasonable wage demands and accelerate the firm's transfer to Fiat, which could make higher wages possible. Meanwhile, Labor Minister Jacek Kuron said the package of legislation in preparation for state industries is a "lifeline for the trade unions," as it allows them to shift the focus from current pay conflicts to future structural reforms. Radical union and party leaders continued to make the rounds of troubled state firms, exhorting workers to demand pay concessions. (Louisa Vinton) WALESA ON MILITARY REFORM. Attending a session of the Defense Ministry's military council on 6 August, Polish president Lech Walesa emphasized the importance of the military's apolitical status. Addressing the fears of high-ranking officers, most of whom held posts in the communist party, the president ruled out the "decommunization" of the armed forces. "We must be aware of the past, but also build the future," Walesa said. Defense changes should focus on the creation of a separate civilian control structure, the adoption of a new defense doctrine, the even relocation of forces, and overcoming financial problems, rather than sweeping personnel changes, Walesa indicated. (Louisa Vinton) STATE OF PRIVATIZATION IN ROMANIA. Adrian Severin, chairman of the Romanian National Privatization Agency, told journalists on 6 August that more than half of the 16.5 million Romanians eligible to receive ownership certificates in accordance with the privatization law have already received them over the period 1 June-31 July. Radio Bucharest quoted Severin as saying that the pace of privatization is "slow, if we judge it by our over-optimistic expectations, but normal if we take into consideration our possibilities." He added that Romania is ahead of other East European countries in implementing large-scale privatization programs. (Dan Ionescu) ROMANIAN-AMERICAN RELATIONS. In a statement released on 6 August, the Romanian government hailed recent recommendations made by the US House Subcommittee for Trade and the Ways and Means Committee to ratify the Romanian-American trade agreement. Ratification would restore most-favored-nation status for Romania, which was unilaterally renounced by Nicolae Ceausescu's regime in 1988. The statement, broadcast by Radio Bucharest, expressed hopes for prompt ratification, "thus leading to the complete normalization of relations between Romanian and the US." (Dan Ionescu)
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