|The only certainty is that nothing is certain. - Pliny the Elder|
No. 155, 14 August 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR STATE OF EMERGENCY, MASS MOBILIZATION IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH. The parliament of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic declared a state of emergency in the region on 13 August and ordered the mobilization of all men aged 18-45 in response to recent military successes by Azerbaijan, Western agencies reported. In a message addressed to Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan, the parliament requested that the Armenian authorities return all refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh currently in Armenia. (Liz Fuller) CIS GENERAL REJECTS FORCE IN ARMENIA-AZERBAIJAN CONFLICT. Lt. Gen. Valerii Manilov, the press secretary of CIS Commander in Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov, told ITAR-TASS on 13 August that the CIS command had, for several reasons, rejected the introduction of peacekeeping forces to regulate the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Manilov, in response to a request by Armenia that the CIS Collective Security agreement be invoked, said that the use of force should be considered only after political, diplomatic, and economic means of resolving the dispute had been tried and had proven unsuccessful. He also argued that the CIS Collective Security Agreement had not yet acquired the full legal status of an international act because the ratification process spelled out in the agreement had not yet been completed. (Stephen Foye) BLACK SEA FLEET PRESS CENTER "ALARMED." The Black Sea Fleet Press Center in Sevastopol charged on 13 August that fleet personnel and "the Crimean public" are "alarmed" over reports that the current fleet commander, Admiral Igor Kasatonov, is to be replaced by a Ukrainian admiral. According to Interfax, the statement said that only "a highly professional officer can run the fleet," adding that Kasatonov "is the right man for the job." It also announced that committees for defending Kasatonov have been set up in Simferopol and Sevastopol. The statement is probably a response to a dispatch released by the Ukrainian Naval Press Center the day before that charged that Kasatonov's Russian-controlled fleet command continues to harass officers loyal to Ukraine (see RFE/RL Daily Report 13 August). (Stephen Foye) STORMY OPENING TO CONFERENCE OF "RED DIRECTORS." Managers of Russia's state-owned enterprises, trade union leaders, members of parliament, and representatives of local government opened a two-day conference in Moscow on 13 August to debate alternatives to the Gaidar government's economic reform program. (Proposals for the "second stage" of the Gaidar plan are to be discussed by the Russian parliament when it reconvenes after its summer recess on 20 September.) "Vesti" said the first day of the meeting was stormy. Some speakers demanded Gaidar's resignation, but the call was not generally accepted and was not adopted. However, participants were united in their demand that a moratorium be put on enterprise bankruptcies, and that the introduction of industrial privatization (due to start in the fall) be postponed. Gaidar and his colleagues had promised to attend the meeting, which was organized by the militant "Industrialists' Union" faction of the Russian parliament; their failure to appear caused "outrage" among the participants, Interfax reported. "Vesti" credited industrial leader Arkadii Volsky with calling for calm. (Elizabeth Teague) RYZHOV MAY RETURN TO POLITICS. The possible return of the Russian ambassador to France, Yurii Ryzhov, is being discussed in Moscow. Ryzhov may be recalled in order to take over an important role in the newly created Russian Security Council, Russian government sources at Staraya ploshchad told the RFE/RL Research Institute on 12 August. Ryzhov, a former member of the Interregional Group of People's Deputies, is regarded as the architect of the new Russian national security concept which he had developed long before the August 1991 coup attempt. If Ryzhov is indeed appointed, he will become an important counterweight to the Secretary of the Security Council, Yurii Skokov, whose position is viewed by liberals with skepticism. (Alexander Rahr) KHASBULATOV APPOINTS HARDLINE ADVISORS. Russian parliamentary chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov has surrounded himself with hardliners. He has appointed Col. Gen. Vladislav Achalov as head of Khasbulatov's personal scientific-political center. Achalov was formerly head of the Soviet Airborne Forces and then a deputy defense minister. He also participated in the 1991 Soviet military crackdown in the Baltics and supported the putsch. Khasbulatov has made former KGB first deputy chief Filip Bobkov his personal security advisor, a member of the presidential research group, "RF politika" told the RFE/RL Research Institute on 12 August. (Alexander Rahr, Moscow) TATARSTAN, BASHKORTOSTAN AND SAKHA PRESIDENTS WARN CENTER. The presidents of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and Sakha (Yakutia) issued a joint statement on 13 August warning the central Russian authorities that, if the center ignored their legal rights, they would take further steps to strengthen their sovereignty, ITAR-TASS reported. Their statement was prompted by the law on the 1992 budget adopted by the Russian parliament on 17 July and the parliament's annulment of the three republics' decision that all taxes be paid into the republican budgets. They also protested the parliament's giving the Russian government and Central Bank the right to impose economic sanctions against republics not fulfilling their obligations to the federal budget. (Ann Sheehy) ABDULATIPOV ON FEDERAL TREATY AND UNITARISTS. Writing in Rossiiskaya gazeta of 13 August, Ramazan Abdulatipov, chairman of the Russian parliament's Council of Nationalities, stated that the federal treaty signed on 31 March laid the basis for the formation of civilized democratic relations within the Russian state. However, there are those in the federal organs of power who regard the treaty as just another piece of paper, and, Abdulatipov said, the influence of these unitarists is increasing. Abdulatipov maintains that even in the draft of the new Russian constitution some provisions of the treaty are reworked, and he warns that this kind of thing can only further the destruction of Russian statehood. (Ann Sheehy) RUSSIA WANTS TO EXPORT TWO TYPES OF HELICOPTERS. Mark Vainberg, the General Director of the Mil helicopter factory in Moscow, told a news conference on 13 August that his plant was eager to export Mi-26 and Mi-28 helicopters. The Mi-26 is an unarmed heavy assault/transport helicopter know in the West as the Halo. It can carry 100 troops. The Mi-28, known in the West as the Havoc, is a twin-engine attack helicopter that is believed to have lost out to another model in a competition to provide a new attack helicopter to the Soviet/Russian army. Vainberg said that the first production models of the Mi-28 would leave the plant in mid-1993. He also condemned plans by the Moscow government to purchase foreign helicopters at a cost of $1.5 million each. He said a new, domestically-designed helicopter would go into production next year and would cost only 300,000 rubles. (Doug Clarke) INTERENTERPRISE DEBT SETTLEMENT CONTINUES. Russian commercial banks are continuing work on settling enterprise debts, Interfax reported on 13 August. They are said to be following the instructions issued on 28 July by the acting chairman of the Russian Central bank, Viktor Gerashchenko. On 6 August, according to Radio Rossii, Russian Economics Minister Andrei Nechaev announced that the government was insisting that the Central Bank withdraw the 28 July telegram and ruled out the automatic writing off of interenterprise debts. Gerashchenko subsequently said that the Central Bank plans to print between 350 billion and 450 billion rubles in 1992 to cover these debts. The precise status of the standoff between Gerashchenko and the Gaidar administration remains unclear. (Keith Bush) PERIODICAL DISTRIBUTORS TO BE PRIVATIZED. The Russian Ministry of Communications will kick off its privatization program this year with the sale of Rospechat, the network of periodical distributors. In an interview with ITAR-TASS on 13 August, Deputy Minister of Communications Boris Butenko said the ministry had not yet decided whether to sell off the network as a whole or each kiosk individually. The ministry's program also includes creating three separate companies for telecommunications, broadcasting and postal services. By 1995, minority shares in the first two companies will have been sold off to workers and other investors. Only the postal service is to remain fully in state hands. (Erik Whitlock). MORE CUSTOMS POSTS ON RUSSIA'S BORDERS. On 12 August, the Russian Cabinet of Ministers discussed measures to prevent "unlawful exports of valuable raw materials from the Russian Federation," Interfax reported. In this connection, the agency noted, 23 new customs posts are to be erected along Russia's borders with the Baltic states, in addition to the 24 opened there in June. An unnamed customs official was quoted as saying that 24 customs posts will be created on the border with Ukraine. Russian Vice-president Aleksandr Rutskoi was quoted by Interfax on 13 August as calling for the immediate creation of customs posts on Russian borders, but it was not clear whether this call came before or after the cabinet meeting. (Keith Bush) GEORGIAN NATIONAL GUARD LAUNCHES HUNT FOR HOSTAGES. National Guard contingents in Western Georgia set about securing road and rail links on 13 August in the hunt for the security officials taken hostage two days earlier, Western and Russian agencies reported. Arguing against the use of military force, Aleksandr Ankvab, the Abkhaz Minister of Internal Affairs, told Interfax that he was prepared to act as mediator in securing the release of the hostages. The Georgian Interior Ministry quoted Ankvab as stating that he had met with Gocha Bakhia, the head of the group holding the hostages, and that he had had access to the hostages themselves, who were in "satisfactory" condition. The location of the hostages is still unclear. (Liz Fuller) FOKIN TO GO? A "reliable source close to Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk" told DR-Press on 13 August that Prime Minister Vitold Fokin will be sacked in three weeks' time and take charge of Ukraine's oil industry. Kravchuk, according to the report, will propose Vasyl Evtukhov as Fokin's replacement. Evtukhov is a deputy from the "New Ukraine" faction in the Ukrainian parliament and currently heads the parliamentary commission on the development of base branches of the economy. (Roman Solchanyk). DEBATE OVER PRESIDENCY CONTINUES IN TAJIKISTAN. The debate in Tajikistan's Supreme Soviet over the institution of the presidency continued on 13 August with the head of the opposition Democratic Party, Shodmon Yusupov, describing President Rakhmon Nabiev as the chief destabilizing figure in the country and demanding his resignation, ITAR-TASS reported. Prior to the opening of the session, the opposition coalition had announced their intention to demand Nabiev's resignation; this had been one of their main objectives during the two months of demonstrations in the spring. Yusupov went even further in his speech to the legislature, calling for the presidency to be replaced by a temporary state council that would include representatives of all regions of the country. (Bess Brown) US OFFERS CREDITS TO TAJIKISTAN. The United States is offering credits to Tajikistan to enable the country to make purchases of food, especially grains, Khovar-TASS reported on 13 August. The offer comes on top of the aid shipments sent earlier in the year to help the violence-torn and economically distressed country cope with the effects of severe natural disasters, including major landslides, earlier in the year. (Bess Brown) KARIMOV VISITS PAKISTAN. An RFE/RL correspondent reported on Uzbek President Karimov's arrival in the Pakistan capital of Islamabad on 13 August. Karimov and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have signed three accords, including agreements on protecting investments, and cooperation on communications and energy projects. The two leaders expressed their concern about the situation in Afghanistan; fighting in the capital Kabul prevented a planned trilateral meeting with interim Afghan President Burhannudin Rabbani. Karimov will also attend Pakistani independence day celebrations on 14 August. (Cassandra Cavanaugh) FURTHER STEP TOWARD SOLUTION OF KAZAKHSTAN'S TRANSPORT PROBLEMS. Soon after Kazakhstan became an independent state, officials in Alma-Ata announced that the country was seeking outside help in construction of a motor vehicle factory to help solve Kazakhstan's chronic shortage of transport. At first Turkish firms were approached, and later contacts were established with Japanese and Italian auto makers. On 13 August, Kaztag-TASS reported that Kazakhstan's Premier Sergei Tereshchenko had signed an agreement with General Motors and the Russian passenger-vehicle firm Avtovaz to cooperate in the production and sale of motor vehicles and development of a network of service establishments. (Bess Brown) RISE IN TUBERCULOSIS IN KHABAROVSK REGION. ITAR-TASS of 13 August reported a sharp rise in the number of registered tuberculosis cases in the Khabarovsk region: 52 out of every 100,000 inhabitants are infected with active TB. A third of these are untreated. Sufferers of active but untreated TB put those around them at risk, especially children and teenagers. TB is a sensitive indicator of social disorder: it thrives in conditions of crowding and poverty, and requires an intact health system able to track patient treatment over an extended period in time. According to the Russian Ministry of Health, TB is on the rise throughout the former Soviet Union. (Sarah Helmstadter) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE UN APPROVES LIMITED USE OF FORCE IN BOSNIA. International media reported on 13 August that the Security Council voted 12-0-3 to authorize "all necessary measures" to ensure the delivery of relief aid, but it did not endorse using force to end of the fighting. The Council also voted 15-0 to condemn "ethnic cleansing" and warn those committing war crimes that they may be called to account. It is difficult to predict what may actually come to pass regarding protecting the relief supplies, since few countries have offered troops, and only Turkey is willing to send soldiers for more extensive operations to stop the fighting. This is despite the fact that there seems to be an international consensus to "do something" in the face of growing reports of human rights abuses in Bosnia, especially of alleged Serbian death camps. Bosnia's UN ambassador called the resolutions "a band-aid" and "the minimum to appease public opinion." In Rome, the WEU rejected proposals to set up a fully-manned land corridor from the Adriatic into Bosnia or any other major armed action. (Patrick Moore) US CONDEMNS "THE LAST FASCIST STATE IN EUROPE." These were the words Assistant Secretary of State John R. Bolton used to describe "Serbia-Montenegro" before the special session of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva on 13 August, an official press release said. He assailed human rights abuses by all sides, and warned the belligerants that "nothing can come of this violence except more violence. Political gains obtained through violence can only be maintained through further violence and repression." Also in Geneva, the International Committee of the Red Cross said all sides in the conflict have violated the Geneva Conventions designed to set basic humanitarian standards in war. The ICRC criticized deportations and "reducing individuals to the role of bargaining chips," wire services reported. (Patrick Moore) TURKEY CALLS FOR SELECTIVE AIR STRIKES IN BOSNIAN CONFLICT. The 13 August issue of Vienna's Die Presse quotes top Turkishofficials as saying again that military intervention is necessary to end what they call "Serbian aggression." The Turks deny that the conflict is an ethnic or a religious one, calling it instead the work of "a little more than a thousand bandits" around Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Like former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the Turks want selective air strikes against Serbian military positions, arms dumps, and supply routes. Turkey is willing to join a UN-sponsored international effort on the model of the Gulf War coalition to bring an end to the fighting. Turkish diplomats have recently visited London, Moscow, Budapest, and Vienna to publicize Ankara's "action plan," which the Turks launched earlier this month. (Patrick Moore) MORE ON BOSNIAN MUSLIMS' CRITICISM OF TUDJMAN. The Belgrade daily Vecernje novosti reported on 12 August that the President of Bosnia-Herzegovina Alija Izetbegovic rejected allegations by Croatia's Franjo Tudjman that Bosnia's Muslims intended to create na Islamic state at the expense of the Croats and Serbs. Izetbegovic termed Tudjman's views unfounded and emphasized that Muslims do not want to create such a state and "nobody holds any proof that we demanded it." On 12 August Izetbegovic's Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) blamed Tudjman for allowing Croatian troops to violate an agreement recently signed between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina on joint operations against Serb forces in Herzegovina and central Bosnia. The SDA referred to reports in the Bosnian, Slovenian and Serbian media that Croatian forces have shelled Muslim villages and clashed with Bosnian Muslim units. (Milan Andrejevich) RUMP YUGOSLAVIA TO RECOGNIZE SLOVENIA. Radio Serbia reported on 13 August that the government of the rump Yugoslavia would recognize Slovenia's independence. No date was announced. Slovenia declared its independence 25 June 1991. (Milan Andrejevich) CSCE MEETING ON BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA. A meeting of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, called to discuss humanitarian aid for Bosnia-Herzegovina and NATO's and Western European Union's participation in the military protection of humanitarian convoys, began in Prague on 13 August, CSTK and Western agencies reported. The CSCE meeeting was also to discuss the possibility of creating a special CSCE committee to examine the situation in detention camps in Bosnia-Herzegovina and monitor human rights in that country. The CSCE may also set up a similar body in Belgrade, to monitor human rights in Vojvodina, Kosovo, and Sandjak. (Jiri Pehe) BULGARIA TO ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC TIES WITH CROATIA AND SLOVENIA. Speaking at a press conference in Sofia on 13 August, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Stoyan Ganev announced that his country is quickly moving toward the establishment of diplomatic relations with Croatia and Slovenia. According to BTA, Ganev said diplomatic notes would be sent to Zagreb and Ljubljana already the same day. He added that relations would be extended to Bosnia-Herzegovina as soon as peace had been reestablished there. (Kjell Engelbrekt) BULGARIA TO END URANIUM EXTRACTION. Following several months of intense debate, the Bulgarian government on 13 August decided to phase out the domestic uranium extraction industry, BTA reported. The cabinet called on the municipalities in the areas concerned to cooperate with the labor and industry ministries in setting up retraining programs for the 3,000 employees. Whereas government estimates put the costs for closing down the uranium industry at slightly below 1 billion leva (about $43 million), presidential economic advisor and energy specialist Evgeniy Angelov in yesterday's Otechestven vestnik suggested total expenses could rise to 6.5 billion leva (some $280 million). (Kjell Engelbrekt) KLAUS REJECTS FEDERALIZATION OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC. Speaking at a press conference in Prague on 13 August, Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus said that his party was opposed to the idea of a federal arrangement for the Czech Republic. Klaus reacted to various proposals made by opposition parties in connection with the preparation of a new Czech constitution. These parties had argued that the Czech Republic should not be a unitary state but should be composed of three lands: Bohemia, Moravia-Silesia, and Prague. Klaus said that the republic might be subdivided into regions, but the idea of "lands" was not part of his party's program. (Jiri Pehe) ESTONIA RATIFIES LATVIAN BORDER AGREEMENT. The Estonian Supreme Council on 12 August ratified an agreement setting the land border with Latvia, BNS reported. According to the conditions of the agreement, the land border will follow the frontier set in a 1920 border convention and the supplementary protocol to that convention signed in 1923. A separate agreement will govern the sea border between the two countries. (Riina Kionka) ESTONIA SEEKS TO NEUTRALIZE FOREIGN PROPAGANDA. The Estonian State Chancellory has created a special press office whose mandate is "to neutralize hostile propaganda." The new press office director Ulo Vooglaid told BNS on 13 August that his office was tasked with fighting the libel and propaganda that some neighboring countries "have dug out of the garbage can." Last month, "Black Colonel" Viktor Alksnis, a well-known conduit for Moscow's conservative circles,said that Russia would resume broadcasting Russian-language political programs to the Baltic states. The new programs would resemble Estonia's "Nadezhda" and Lithuania's "Sovetskaya Litva," both run by the Soviet military but banned after last year's coup attempt. (Riina Kionka) HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT IS READY TO TALK ABOUT MEDIA. President Arpad Goncz sent a letter to Prime Minister Jozsef Antall, saying that he was willing to talk about the problems concerning Hungarian radio and television, reported MTI. Antall wants to replace the heads of these organizations, but Goncz refused to accept that. The case, which was presented to the Constitutional Court but could not be resolved there, delays the passage of the media law in parliament. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) HUNGARIAN CABINET DECIDES ON SUBSIDIES TO WHEAT BUYERS. The Hungarian government will grant preferencial credits to wheat purchasers, up to half-a-million ton, reported MTI. The move came because of agricultiral sector's liquidity problem, and repeated a similar action in 1991. In addition, tax rebates on gasoline used in agriculture will be considered during September's budget revision. The cabinet also decided to provide a $10 million trade guarantee to help the sale of pharmaceuticals to the Soviet successor states, in order to save about 22,000 jobs. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) LATVIA: KOZYREV'S PROPOSALS UNACCEPTABLE. On 13 August the Latvian authorities rejected Russian proposals on the pullout of troops from the Baltic republic. Those proposals were presented by Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev at his 6 August meeting in Moscow with his Baltic counterparts. The Latvians said that the proposals were unacceptable because 1) they link issues that should not be linked; 2) several points sound like ultimata; and 3) some points, if implemented, would amount to interference in the internal affairs of another states. The Latvians also want the issues to be internationalized, using the CSCE process to resolve them, BNS and Radio Riga report. (Dzintra Bungs) RUSSIAN, LATVIAN REPRESENTATIVES DISCUSS HUMAN RIGHTS. On 13 August a Russian Foreign Ministry delegation, headed by Vyacheslav Bakhmin, arrived in Riga for a two-day visit to talk with Latvian government and parliamentary representatives, as well as members of the Russian community, about the situation of ethnic Russians in Latvia. Latvia invited the Russians to foster progress on Russian-Latvian accords, especially the general treaty of cooperation which still has not been endorsed by the Russian Supreme Soviet, Radio Riga reports. (Dzintra Bungs) LITHUANIANS NO LONGER NEED VISAS TO POLAND. On 13 August the Polish embassy in Vilnius informed the Lithuanian news service ELTA that starting from 10 August citizens of Lithuania would no longer require visas to visit Poland for up to 90 days. Lithuanians wishing to work in Poland will still require visas. Poland's decision to grant visa-free travel to citizens of the three Baltic republics from 10 August matched the earlier decisions by Lithuania and Estonia to allow Polish citizens to visit their republics without visas. (Saulius Girnius) WALESA APPEALS TO SOLIDARITY. In an appeal to Solidarity members and sympathizers issued on 13 August, President Lech Walesa rejected comparisons between current strikes and the situation that gave rise to Solidarity in 1980. Polish society, no longer oppressed by totalitarian rule, should respect decisions made by its democratically elected representatives. The governed as well as the governing had responsibilities. The president called on the government to formulate a clear program of reform, with set deadlines, and supported the idea of a social contract. One of Solidarity's strengths, Walesa said, was wise self-limitation; fist-pounding was not an appropriate tactic. (Louisa Vinton) POLISH STRIKE ROUNDUP. As the strike committee at the Polska Miedz copper combine moved to start up production under its own supervision, Privatization Minister Janusz Lewandowski warned on 13 August that this could be grounds to declare the strike illegal. Strikers at the FSM auto plant refused to allow Fiat representatives to enter the plant and staged a brief blockade of the management's offices. During a closed-door meeting of Solidarity's national commission in Gdansk, representatives of the Network (Solidarity locals from Poland's largest industrial plants) threatened to form a national strike committee unless the national leadership undertook to do this itself. The radical Solidarity '80 union decided in turn to organize a national "strike action," criticized the policies of "round-table governments," and demanded a national referendum to decide the fate of "the nation's assets." Finally, the postcommunist SDRP party condemned as "scandalous" the Solidarity elite's treatment of workers and said that similarities with the August 1980 situation were obvious. (Louisa Vinton) ROMANIA'S EXILED KING DENIED VISA. Romania's former King Michael, who lives in Swiss exile, was denied a visa to visit his country of origin in mid-August. In a statement broadcast by Radio Bucharest on 13 August, the government described the timing of Michael's planned trip as "inopportune," suggesting that it might cause unrest ahead of the 27 September elections. Earlier this week the government offered the king a visa for October, but Michael refused. The king, who had been forced out of the country by the Communists in 1947, was cheered by big crowds upon his first homecoming in April. (Dan Ionescu) SHELLOIL TO EXPLORE IN ROMANIA. On 13 August a subsidiary of Shell Petroleum International signed an agreement with Romania's state oil company Rompetrol to explore for new oil and gas sources in a 6,150 sq km area in northern Transylvania. The contract provides for transfer of modern technology to Romania and training of Romanian oil workers. Radio Bucharest said that this was the thrid concession contract signed by Romania thus far. (Dan Ionescu)
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